NOAA Closes Some Heat-Biased Temperature Stations

Published October 15, 2013

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration closed approximately 600 temperature stations during the past two years, reflecting heat bias concerns raised by a prominent meteorologist.

Few Stations Meet Standards
During the past several years, meteorologist Anthony Watts has documented hundreds of flawed NOAA temperature stations on his website. Utilizing NOAA’s criteria for determining whether temperature stations are situated in a manner likely to provide accurate readings, Watts reports 70 percent of NOAA’s temperature stations rate as either “poor” or “worst.”

Stations receive a “poor” designation if their readings are likely to be erroneous by at least 2 degrees Celsius. Stations receive a “worst” designation if their readings are likely to be erroneous by at least 5 degrees Celsius.

Watts reports another 22 percent of NOAA temperature stations receive merely a “fair” designation, indicating errors of at least 1 degree Celsius. Only 8 percent of NOAA stations rate as either “good” or “best.”

After interviewing Watts and conducting its own research and analysis, the Government Accountability Office issued a 2011 report finding NOAA does not adhere to consistent standards for fixing or closing flawed temperature stations.

Examples of Biased Stations
In Marysville, California, according to photos posted at, the station’s thermometer is located adjacent to an asphalt parking lot just a few feet from where automobiles park. A barbeque grill sits just a few feet away.

In Tahoe City, California, the station’s thermometer is just five feet away from a trash burn barrel.

In Roseburg, Oregon, the station’s thermometer sits on a roof above an asphalt parking lot.

In Aberdeen, Washington, a large outdoor ashtray and cigarette receptacle sits next to the station’s thermometer. The thermometer is adjacent to an asphalt parking lot.

In Redding, California, a large light bulb hangs directly above the station’s thermometer.

In Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the station’s thermometer hangs directly above a barbeque grill and an asphalt parking lot.

Problem Not Solved
Despite NOAA’s decision to close 600 temperature stations, many heat-biased temperature stations remain. documented more than 900 NOAA temperature stations with an error factor of more than 1 degree Celsius.

“NOAA’s decision to close 600 problematic temperature stations is a welcome admission that its surface temperature network needs improvement,” said Jay Lehr, science director for the Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News. “NASA satellite instruments that do not have such temperature biases report less recent warming than the NOAA temperature stations.”

“The U.S. temperature station network is considered the most reliable temperature network in the world. Temperature readings in other nations are even less reliable,” said Lehr.

“Federal government employees, many of whom are vocal global warming alarmists, cite the temperature station flaws as an excuse to subjectively adjust the raw temperature readings,” Lehr explained. “Ironically, they consistently add still more heat to the temperature readings, making the temperature reports even more erroneous.”

Alyssa Carducci ([email protected]) writes from Tampa, Florida.