Global warming is currently one of the most contentious issues. Everyone recognizes there have been changes in global climate. The big question is whether the changes have been caused exclusively or to a large degree by man. Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth documents his belief that humans are the cause of this warming and of an impending catastrophe on the planet. Therefore, many experts call for reducing emissions of such of greenhouse gases as carbon dioxide. They claim global warming is caused by an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That is why they talk about a “carbon footprint” that should be kept as small as possible. Dissenting experts claim that global warming is cyclical as evidenced by the several historical ice ages and periods of warming. These periods have not been of equal duration or severity, of course. The dissenters also point out that the increase in carbon dioxide has always followed periods of warming rather than causing the warming.
It must be kept in mind that since it is not possible to do scientific experiments and testing with making certain types of climates, the climate modelers have to rely on theories instead. The closest the meteorologists have come to a laboratory is to record temperature readings for a relatively few decades, which then have been used to predict temperatures and climate for a hundred years into the future. The common sense question is: How well have the meteorologists predicted the weather a week into the future? What about one year into the future? A decade? One hundred years?
What about the data, then? To substantiate the claim for global warming, accurate historical data must be available. Weather data has been recorded and collected by the National Weather Service. Its U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) is comprised of 1221 reporting stations within the 48 contiguous United States. These historical records generally include the period from 1900 to 1995. Each station is subject to certain quality control and homogeneity testing and adjustment procedures. If the data are not reported, data from other nearby sites are substituted. Obviously, this can and has introduced major errors in temperature readings.
In addition, the National Weather Service through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has established standards for the proper siting of the reporting stations and the sensors. They define five classes of sites:
Class I - Sensors are located at least 100 meters (330 feet) from artificial heating or reflecting surfaces, such as buildings, concrete surfaces, and parking lots.
Class 2 - Artificial heating sources are located 30 meters (100 feet) away from sensor.
Class 3 - Artificial heating sources are located 10 meters (33 feet) away from sensor. Introduces an error of 1 degree C
Class 4 - Artificial heating sources are less than 10 meters (33 feet) away from sensor. Introduces an error greater than 2 degrees C.
Class 5 - Temperature sensor located next to or above an artificial heating source, such as a building, rooftop, parking lot, or concrete surface. Introduces an error greater than 5 degrees C.
I went to observe two of the 1221 climate-reporting stations. The one in Paso Robles has placed the sensor on a concrete pad, with cars parked against the pad and a building next to it. In addition, it is located next to a major city street with constant heavy automobile traffic. Consequently, the readings from this reporting station have been high, showing an error greater than 5 degrees C or approximately 8 degrees F for several years. It is most disturbing to realize that erroneously high readings from stations such as this have been used by climatologists to claim man-caused global warming.
Cal Poly also has a climate-reporting station. Its sensor is located five feet from the gravel road and 40 feet from a concrete walkway next to buildings. However there are broken-down RVs right next to the sensor. One of them has been sitting there for several years as a heat sink. In addition, there are several chemical test pools between 100 and 200 feet away.
Both of these stations fail NWS’ own standards and reporting procedures. In fact, research done by meteorologist Anthony Watts of “SurfaceStations.org” shows that almost 90 percent of the 1221 stations report rising temperatures because they are badly sited. It shows that the data have been seriously erroneous. The temperature readings have been consistently too high. The global warming proponents claim that the temperature readings show a trend, not an absolute measurement. However, the reading is a factual finite measurement, and if it is wrong, the interpretation will be wrong as well. They also claim that NOAA takes into account any bias due to the “urban heat island effects”. However, the corrections themselves are very obscure and inaccurate.
The foundation for the claim for man-made global warming—considering the historical data gathered from San Luis Obispo County’s two reporting stations—is fallacious. Unfortunately, the reported temperature data, not the Earth, are cooked by man.
Matt Kokkonen of San Luis Obispo is a candidate for the California Assembly. Send comments via the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.