US Temperature Readings Are Junk, Negating Climate Science

Posted on Wed 08/03/2022 by


By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

Anthony Watts has done it again. He and his intrepid brigade of field workers have done what the super rich US Global Change Research Program cannot seem to do, or does not want to do. They actually went out to see how well the Federal thermometers met the required performance standards.

The thermometers fail, in fact they fail miserably. Thus their readings showing rapid warming are pure junk. Much follows from this. The whole $2.6 billion a year USGCRP is trying to explain something that does not exist. Science is only as good as its data and the temperature data is very bad.

The issue is local heat contamination. Not the famous urban heat island contamination; that error goes on top of what Watts and Co found. We are talking about visible sources of heat contamination, many just a few feet from the contaminated thermometer.

The report has a great many pictures of these contaminated thermometers, which would be hilarious if it were not so serious. Okay it is still funny, as in “You call this junk scientific instrumentation?”. See

There has always been this puzzle as to why the surface statistics show a lot more warming than the satellites do? Heat contamination looks like the answer. This should be a major research question, but the Feds ignore it because they like the erroneous extra warming. It supports their alarmist agenda.

It is not like this is a surprise, because the Watts Brigade did a similar study 15 long years ago and got similar bad results. The only difference is that this time the results are even worse, probably because heat contamination grows with economic development and the Feds ignore it.

There have been several good articles on the study itself so I will not go much into that aspect. A succinct summary is found on Anthony Watt’s own popular blog — “Watts Up With That” — here: There are also hundreds of comments, some quite useful.

Here is a beginning excerpt: “The report, published by The Heartland Institute, was compiled via satellite and in-person survey visits to NOAA weather stations that contribute to the officialland temperature data in the United States. The research shows that 96% of these stations are corrupted by localized effects of urbanization producing heat-bias because of their close proximity to asphalt, machinery, and other heat-producing, heat-trapping, or heat-accentuating objects. Placing temperature stations in such locations violates NOAAs own published standards and strongly undermines the legitimacy and the magnitude of the official consensus on long-term climate warming trends in the United States.

Not that “urbanization” as used here can occur in remote open country. Simply paving a parking area next to the station would be an example of local heat contamination. Increasing traffic might then increase the contamination over time. This is very different from the large spatial scale urban heat island effect, which compounds the heat contamination in urban areas.

It is especially interesting that when Watts et al analyze the records from the relatively few uncontaminated stations the result is similar in scale to the small warming found by the satellites. This strongly supports the idea that most of the reported surface warming is instrumental error due to local heat contamination. After all it is easy to make a thermometer read high, but very hard to make it read low.

The magnitude of the local heat contamination found by the Watts Brigade of citizen scientists should be a major research question going forward. Even more important, what are the implications of this profound instrumental error for climate science?

Most of today’s climate science depends upon the presumed temperature record that is now known to be false. Thus climate science must be corrected.

David Wojick contributes Posts at the CFACT site. He is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy.

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