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Death Valley Temperatures

(I tried posting this on WUWT, but picture links don't work on Wordpress.)

Years ago (before 2003 and after 1998), I became interested in desert temperatures (specifically Death Valley). One of the predictions of greenhouse theory is that dry regions, like deserts and polar regions, will show the effects of CO2 warming more than other areas. This is because CO2 effects are masked by water vapor, so dry regions are the "canary in the mine" signal of GW. Unfortunately, during the hot year of 1998, Death Valley had a cold year--third coldest in fact. I stored my data away and didn't check Death Valley temperatures until recently. The current data show that 1998 is still a cool year, but something has changed. The temperatures now shown for Death Valley weren't as I remembered them. So I pulled out my old data and checked. Below is a comparison of these datasets. The first graph is the pre-2003 plot of my saved data. The second plot is the current GISTEMP values. In the third plot, I overlay the two datasets. Apparently Hansen's been busy "correcting" these temperature values during the last few years.



The linear trend slope of the pre-2003 data is 0.0143 °C/year and the current data has a linear trend slope of 0.0192 °C/year.

Have fun trying to figure out the temperature modification algorithm. I tried to check the original B91 forms and that's a lot of work. Too bad there isn't a fancy OCR program that will scan these forms. The two years that I checked don't match either dataset.

Jim

Re: Death Valley Temperatures

The record you've got Jim from before 2003 seems to tie up with the temperature curve for Death Valley on John Daly's "Still Waiting for Greenhouse" website. Apparently it corresponds to a site called Furnace Creek.

link1

Daly's website has hardly been updated since he died in 2004 and the temperature records stored there are the versions that would have been current in the early 00s.

The other temperature record in your post may have something to do with an issue Daly identified after a visit by him to Death Valley described on this webpage:

link2

Another recording station was introduced in Death Valley in the late 1990s at a location called Badwater. Daly suggested that Badwater might have been deliberately chosen as a particular hot spot in Death Valley in an attempt to capture a world high temperature record. In several figures in the webpage are photos of a plaque which is mounted on the Badwater temperature recording station which gives a Death Valley temperature curve in the 20th Century. Daly thought this was the Furnace Creek curve but noted it seemed to have a continual slope throughout the 20th Century.

Re: Death Valley Temperatures

Dave,

Thanks for the links. On WUWT, an individual, who goes by Baa Humbug, pointed me to the same location as your second link. My plot and John Daly’s look identical. As I said previously, I’ve been trying to convert the actual B91 forms to digital, and that’s a lot of work. After doing two years, the annual numbers don’t match either dataset. This doesn’t give me much confidence. You can’t argue against one spurious temperature series, when the one you’re arguing for is also spurious. These temperature datasets are just too flawed to use for anything but cursory investigations.

John Brignell’s site and John Daly’s site were breaths of fresh air when it came to all of this climate nonsense. It’s too bad John Daly couldn’t be alive today to see the fruits of his labor. I’m sure he would have been a prime player in the toppling of the AGW agenda.

Jim

Re: Death Valley Temperatures

From my visit to death valley in the '80s.

Despite the name, Furnace Creek is a dried creek bed.

Badwater is the lowest point in Death Valley, I think it's something like 283Ft below sea level. It is also the only place in the valley that nearly always has water. It's a salt water pond which is what gives it its name.

Many people died in Death Valley, despite never being more than a mile from fresh water, they just didn't know where to look.

This is from memory so may be worth a google or bing fact-check

DaveE.

Re: Death Valley Temperatures

Jim,

Are the forms hand written? I assume they are.

If they are typed there may be some potential for OCR and then, maybe, mapping the resulting output and extracting the numbers. However even then the chances of there being machine-untrappable errors would be quite high.

Grant

Re: Death Valley Temperatures

Grant,

They are handwritten with scribblings, crossouts, and random placement of various stamps (IDs and keypunch comments). Here is an example:



An OCR of THIS form would be nearly impossible. It's easier to hand-enter the data than to babysit an OCR scan.

Jim

Re: Death Valley Temperatures

As I feared.

In fact there seem to be plenty of opportunities for error of transcription and presumably the subsequent digital transfer (thinking of older records which would not have been entered directly in a computer system).

Makes me wonder just how good the data are for the practical purposes of creating social policy.


Grant

Re: Death Valley Temperatures

Thinking about this further Jim, a better approach for validating or invalidating the greenhouse effect at Death Valley might be to look at ground temperature data rather than (shaded) air temperature data. The idea of the greenhouse effect, as I understand it, is that the ground gets its temperature boosted by 'back-radiation' from greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, so it makes more sense to look at ground temperature. If you look at air temperature, you are looking at the thing which is doing the back-radiating.

I don't think ground temperature is normally measured at all but it might be available in the specific case of Death Valley. According to this webpage:

link

"Highest ground temperatures
The highest ground temperature recorded was 201° F at Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972. The maximum air temperature for that day was 128° F."

The maximum ground temperature recorded was 201 deg F (93.9 deg C) in 1972. The fact that a specific date is quoted suggests ground temperature is being recorded every day and it is possible the data might be available to the public. I suspect that any ground temperature data might also be less likely to suffer from 'adjustments'.

Re: Death Valley Temperatures

Dave,

I'm not sure they publish ground temperatures. I agree with you, the surface temperatures are really SATs (Surface Air Temperatures)--the temperature of the air just above the surface. The climate models always refer to surface temperatures, but they really mean SATs. That's another problem with climate models (and there are so many problems).

Jim