Here we'll answer some Frequently Asked Questions about this
stations in the USHCN climate network, and the republication and
use of materials from this website. If you
have additional questions please use the "contact" button at
upper right to see the email address for the webmaster.
Q: What is this project all
A: The short answer is; to do a hands on site
survey to photograph and document all 1221 USHCN climate
stations in the USA. No photographic database of these stations
existed, hence the need for this project. See the
about page which outlines the goals.
Q: What does USHCN mean and what is it?
A: USHCN stands for the United States
Historical Climate Network as defined by the National Climatic
Data Center You can read all about it
Q: Why are you doing
this? Isn't all the data discontinuity and urban biases
accounted for by all the adjustments made to the climate data
sets as described in the
USHCN home page?
A: Yes adjustments have been made to account
for measurable and predictable data biases, such as Time of Observation and
station moves, but the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and
NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Flight (GISS) who are the main
collectors, analyzers, and modelers of climatic data have not
done a site by site hands on photographic survey to account for
microsite influences near the thermometer. To date all such
studies conducted have been data analysis and data manipulations
used to spot and/or minimize data inconsistencies.
Published works by Dr. Roger Pielke of the
University of Colorado, Dev Nyogi of Purdue University, and
Georg Taylor of Oregon State University have demonstrated that a
significant number of USHCN and other weather stations used in
the climate record have some significant, and in some cases
severe measurement biases near the thermometers in these climate
stations of record. There have been instances recorded of air
conditioners being located directly adjacent to the thermometer,
vehicles parked next to thermometers head-in, heat generating
electronics and electrical components being placed in the
thermometer shelters within inches of the sensor, and sensors
being located in the middle of large areas of asphalt/concrete
and directly attached to buildings all in violation of standard
published NOAA practices for temperature measurement. None of
these things witnessed by observers and captured by photography
are known or accounted for by climate researchers. See the
Odd Sites page for examples of these
types of issues with USHCN stations.
This website exists as a repository of such
information to compile a list of stations with issues and a list
of stations that are issue free. Knowing this will help produce
better data and hence better climate predications.
Q: Why is a TV/radio
meteorologist and volunteers doing this job? Shouldn't this be
the work of climate scientists?
A; Well it should be, but the USHCN has been
established since 1994, and in that time, the NCDC scientists
managing the network have not done this most basic of quality
control checks; visiting each station, doing a photographic
survey, and determining if the climate monitoring station
temperature and rainfall measurement been compromised by any
local influences. While there is a
metadata system in place, it is primarily designed to show
site moves and instrumentation changes. Remote data analysis and
applied statistical techniques cannot replace basic observations
in all cases. Basic observation of any experiment and recording
of what is observed is the foundation of professional science
practice. Likewise, sharing such data is also one of those
tenets. Therefore during and after the survey is completed, the
data will be publicly available for any scientist that wishes to
use it to further analyze the data from these stations and
provide appropriately calculated adjustments.
While a government survey program may take
months of planning, months or years more of execution, and
hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce a simple volunteer
program like this can easily and without taxpayer cost produce
the same or better results, and certainly at a much faster pace.
Hopefully this project can serve as a model for a future program
administered by NOAA.
Q: Is this project funded by
any individual, entity, corporation, or group? Do you accept
A: The project has minimal costs, mostly for
this website and computer hosting/bandwidth and that is paid for
by the designer of the project, Anthony Watts, out of
pocket. No other funding has been needed, sought, or accepted
from any entity, corporation, or group. Monetary
donations from interested individuals is accepted, but not from
any organizations. Donations of time and
expertise are however welcome at all levels, especially welcome
are volunteers that can conduct site surveys. If you'd like to
help please see the Get Involved
page or see the contact page.
Q: How is the survey
conducted? What steps have you taken to ensure that each station
is surveyed the same way?
A: Participants in this survey are provided
with a set of
instructions (PDF) that detail how to do the survey on a
step by step basis along with a
survey form (DOC
File) to complete. When the reports and photos are uploaded to
the photographic database, each is examined to ensure that the
correct station has been surveyed, and the procedure for
photography and recording of details has been completed per
instructions. Those site surveyors that have not done so are
asked to either re-survey or correct any errors found. Site
surveys that haven't completed the instructions are removed or
re-done. If you notice an error or quality issue, use the
contact page and send us an email
Q: I'd like to use some of the
photographs and data on this website, can I do that, and what
credits/citations must I give?
A: For mass media publications or for
scientific research the policy is simple. A citation should be
given both to the website/project designer and to the person
doing the site survey. Our Rules page
outlines the license terms user have made when submitting
surveys and photos. Each station should have a site survey form
which indicates the photographer by name.
A sample photo
credit/citation would look like this: Photo courtesy
of Anthony Watts,
www.surfacestations.org and [photographer name in survey
Q: Are you going to do other
sites worldwide in this project?
A: Yes, hopefully the entire GHCN station list
will be included eventually. For now, for the summer of 2007,
the USHCN station list is
what this project is concentrating on for summer/fall 2007.