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GISS Temperature Records
for the British Isles

Why do the GISS records for world temperature have so many anomalies on my own doorstep?
Click on each thumbnail graph for full graph. I've standardized the format and scale so that in all graphs, the pale-blue zone starts at 1880 and ends at 2000 CE. I downloaded most of the British Isles GISS record set on 3rd November this year. Blue is the "original" data according to GISS; red is the "homogenized" record, supposedly adjusted for UHI etc though I have yet to find out just how. The Met Office records for Ross-on-Wye and Braemar (just acquired) are green - but these are unfortunately already "adjusted", with no raw as with GISS.

I'd trust the old record-keepers any day. In the past, Arctic temperature records could be a matter of life and death to the record-keeper's community. Many records here are sited at old universities and other historical places that once cared about longterm accuracy. The CRU records we now know are worthless as they stand. The GISS records here look seriously flawed; adjustments are not explained or justified. Now we know GISS is also cutting off inconveniently high old records and goodness knows what else.


Here is a small selection of records; click on names below to see a bigger set (all the long records). Most of these records, inexplicably, do not come up to the current date. Why are so many old records truncated around 1980? What do they reveal between 1980 and 2009? Can anyone supply the missing data? Where did GISS get the UK records from? I'm sure it still exists somewhere. Graphs plus data preferred! I'm sure that these old stations have not disappeared. We ought to be able to see the complete datasets here, and also the "metadata" - the history of site location changes, instrumentation changes, etc, and the coding and reasoning for all "adjustments".

I think we need an Open Source database for temperature records and other records and fundamentals of the real Climate Science. And close on the temperature record is the need to establish trustworthy, transparent, and adjustable adjustments for the Urban Heat Island effect (not the mess we see here, nor reliance on its downplaying by Peterson 2003), and station biases, as the Surface Stations project has been cataloguing in the US. I hope that, in the ongoing effects of ClimateGate, this will start to happen. But it is not something I can do.

I've used Photoshop for visual effects only, no direct data handling here. But even without the mathematical handling of the data, with trends, smoothing, and metadata, the evidence is telling. My source was Click on the British Isles outline here, scroll down the GISS page to the world map, and follow instructions there, to find the original graphs and data (if they are still there - they may have changed and are worth checking!). I used a common scale, so that I could overlay different versions of each station record; this way, much was revealed. Even more has been revealed by putting all these comparisons side-by-side, even at this thumbnail size. Namely: THE ADJUSTMENTS ARE SELF-EVIDENTLY SUSPECT. They all point to arbitrary alterations that appear to have the overall effect, not of compensating for UHI, but of hyping the UHI and increasing the warming.

We see visually that:-

  • many of the adjustments exaggerate the warming trend; this adjustment is often done by depressing earlier measurements (and implying our forebears kept records less accurately than we do), whereas I would expect UHI correction at the END, with the warming lessened, not increased.
  • there is a strange and disturbing lack of common pattern, such as is so evident in the Russian Arctic temperature records. UHI can account for some but not all of it. Yet similar interannual fluctuations show up.
  • many of these GISS records that "start" at 1880 appear to "end" around 1980. I believe that most of these are from still-existing weather stations, and that it should be possible to complete them, find details of station changes, and apply sensitive individual adjustments for UHI etc, with a bit of careful friendly research.
  • Many stations here are at airports. Airports were used originally simply because the Royal Air Force were in charge of the Met Office. But with AGW nonsense today, times have changed.
  • There are several more GISS stations not listed here because they are too short to be much use as they do not cover the crucial time of temperatures "uptick", with a reasonable past comparison; yet many of these reach up to the present time and probably contain spurious warming owing to airport siting.
  • the adjustsments for Greenwich Maritime are, uniquely, above the "raw" record, unlike all the other adjustments. So I trust its "adjusted" slope but it is altogether too hot.
  • Ross-on-Wye and Braemar are the only two long records that have not been "homogenized". These might yield very interesting information if the data up to the present time, in raw form, can be found. I've now got the Met Office data but this is pre-adjusted and therefore suspect. See links below.

Here are notes about each of the records I've done comparative graphs for.

  • Aberdeen is an old university, but the current site is probably the airport. The further north we go, the more important temperature records become - hence the many excellent old Arctic records. Also I trust the Celts' sense of history. An interested MP there, keen to keep the met office there going. URL to explore
  • Aberystwyth is an old Welsh university town, so small that UHI should impact it but little.
  • Armagh - comparison is irrelevant because this valuable and important record surfaced independently of GISS. URL for data & details
  • Belfast Aldergrove - hey, an airport in 1880? One of the few long records to overshoot 2000.
  • Bidston - on the Wirrall opposite Liverpool, UHI likely. Here are the records if someone can put them into an Excel graph.
  • Braemar - googling led to a very interesting web page that should be followed up. One of the two unchanged records. Too cold, too rural, and no doubt nobody to fool! URL to explore
  • Cambridge - old record, probably the University, little adjustments. Almost certainly still runs. Possibly little UHI. URL to explore (this wider link system is based in Cambridge I think)
  • Dublin - extends beyond 2000 like Belfast. Airport again probably. What the heck is up with their adjustments?
  • Dumfries - huge temp range ( the colder the record, the more it tends to extremes). Close to Eskdalemuir. Interesting URL
  • Durham - University town, old record.
  • Edgbaston - old record. How old? Large UHI expected, from extended Midlands urbanization.
  • Edinburgh - Royal Observatory of some considerable fame. Records may still be kept there, could be a good continuous source. Current GISS records switched to (surprise surprise) the airport. URL to explore
  • Eskdalemuir - records centre, moved from Kew when they reckoned they started getting interference with readings. Truly rural.
  • Glamorgan Rhoose Airport (Cardiff), only a few decades long, but what about the University there?
  • Glasgow - interesting, has another venerable observatory. Another long record worth chasing. Current location is no doubt the airport though it can't have been in 1880.
  • Kew (London) - again, I suspect interesting long records, likely to be more complete than GISS suggests.
  • London Gatwick - speaks for itself. Not very long records.
  • Greenwich Maritime Museum, London  - again, I wonder if records are being kept at this important historical centre. The "homogenized" version is HIGHER than the recorded version - until the very last records. WUWT?
  • Oxford - should still be running at University. Certainly there are several weather stations in the area. I put the Brize Norton RAF record (green) alongside Oxford. See how short it is. URL to explore
  • Plymouth - I'd trust the Navy over the Met Office.
  • Ross-on-Wye - one of the two records that haven't been adjusted. Low population. URL to explore
  • Rothamsted - important agricultural research establishment, probably was an old aristocratic seat before that, so records may go back a long way. St Albans area, probably affected by London UHI. URL to explore
  • Scarborough - old records.
  • Sheffield - old records. URL to explore
  • Southampton - old records. Again I'd hope for Navy connections here.
  • York - old records, university town. What the heck is happening with their UHI adjustments? URL to explore

I'm not a meteorologist, I only know science from school and general interest, I cannot even turn csv lists into Excel graphs, and I'm glad when others can do this for me! I've just received charts for Ross-on-Wye and Braemar from a WUWT reader. But these are from CRU data, whose preset adjustments are still unknown. I believe that most if not all these records will be found to extend back further, and continue forward to the present time, if people can track them down, find friendly individuals, amateur meteorologists, who understand the science, can lay hands on the records, and supply details of station changes.

Updated 13th December 2009



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