Thursday, June 8, 2017

Global warming, Wake Island, the Pacific Ocean

Well, it is 5:41 am here in Lanett Alabama. Not too long now before the alarm goes off and I need to wake up so I can get ready for work. Insomnia bites again. Coffee is coming though. After a good shower & shave and after I get some good, non hotel brand coffee I am sure I will feel human again.

So. What's up today? Well, I was kind of wiped out yesterday after work so I didn't play amateur weather researcher much, but the one hour I did put in was pretty productive. You can read on ahead and decide for yourself.

If you remember last time, I demonstrated there is as good a relationship between so called global warming and the number of weather monitoring stations active in the world as there is with how much CO2 is in the atmosphere. Today I am going to zero in on one station and show you a potential cause for that. Call it progressive error in the system. That location is station 61353 on Wake Island.

Which is really cool, because Wake Island played a role in World War II. Americans died there defending our country. The ones who survived entered a nightmare of captivity under the Japanese. The price was heavy, but they paid it. God bless them. We owe them. We owe their families. Some debts just can't be paid.

Below are pictures of monitoring stations on Wake Island. While these are clearly two different stations, according to NOAA, Smart Tracker, and other sources there is only one station on Wake. It is the only station within 200 kilometers.

I believe this is the older station.
The tower looks like 70's construction.
Looks like solar panels were added at
different times. Plus this is the older picture by
the digital info.

This appears to be a newer station.
It was uploaded after the one above.
The tower appears to match newer construction.
The technology appears newer. The data transmitter
appears to be on the tower.
Below is the temperature record from Wake Island in the NOAA dataset.

In the story of global warming, 1946 to 2004 is a pretty important time frame. The location, smack dab in the middle of no where in the Pacific Ocean, is also pretty important too. The Pacific in particular and oceans in general play a very important role in global temperature and weather. I really can't stress that enough. I may go into detail on why that is a true statement in another post down the line.

I did some statistical analysis of the data and here are the results. I won't get into the details of how and what, though I can if anyone asks. The conclusion matches reality so well I honestly don't think it necessary to prove anything. What appears at first glance to be a general rise in temperature over time resolves into a nearly 1° C jump in temperature occurring in 1979. There appears there may be another such sudden change around 2003 but there just isn't enough data to make the determination. There is a single singularity in the annual readings both before 1979 and after 1979. Other than that the data, when viewed as two separate data sets, shows a high degree of consistency and constancy. No trends in other words. In other words, something happened.

There are only two options here. There was an actual change in the weather or there was a change in how the weather is measured. The evidence presented above shows the monitoring station was moved. No doubt the actual temperature measuring equipment has changed from 1946 to 2004.

There can be quite a difference in temperature from one location to another. That is just a fact. How the a thermometer is positioned, how it is shielded from the sun or wind can make big differences. There is, however, potentially more. Remember, in a prior blog I mentioned my experience in metrology through my nearly 30 year career in Engineering.

Measuring temperature isn't very tricky really, but measuring temperature accurately is. Regardless of instrument resolution, otherwise known as precision, the accuracy of the device depends upon being able to calibrate it to a known standard of much higher accuracy. Unfortunately, temperature isn't something you can carry around. The standard in calibrating thermometers in general use has not changed appreciably since the late 1800's. The standard for the relative zero point on the scale, regardless of what scale you use, is the freezing point of water. That is the general method. The standard for accuracy for normal usage field and regular laboratory usage is ± 1° C. With special care, accuracies of ± 0.1° C can be achieved. With extraordinary care accuracies of ± 0.001° C can be achieved. So, while ultimate accuracy within those parameters can be achieved actual referential accuracy between stations would be twice that. In other words, take two thermometers, regardless of precision, put them in a temperature and humidity controlled environment and you may find they differ by as much as 2° C.

So what does this mean? It is pretty simple really. There has been no significant change in average annual temperatures on Wake Island since 1946.

There is more to be gleaned here, but I am out of time.

Until the next time, be good to one another and remember the boys and men of Wake Island who gave it everything they had and be grateful.

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