GHCN – GIStemp Interactions – The Bolivia Effect

GISS Anomaly map for November 2009

GIS Anomaly Map for November 2009

This “Anomaly Map” was produced for the most recent month at the NASA / GISS web site here:

You can create many maps, and many of them will not show The Bolivia Effect as well as this one (while some may be better). This map was not “cherry picked”, it is just the most recent month with data available. It does, however, have a very nice example of The Bolivia Effect in it. (At least 2, in fact).

UPDATE: I’ve made a comparison map that uses a 1881-1990 ‘baseline’ (i.e. all but the most recent decade) of data and that only uses a 250 km ‘smoothing’. I’d have liked to have used a 0 km smoothing so you could see just how small an area is really covered, but GISS only let you do 250 km at the smallest. Notice how much of this map is grey. We just don’t have the data. Notice too that you can clearly see the Canadian warmth is in an arc around the population centers and down toward the warmer south. The “in fill” has to come from somewhere… And we still have “the Bolivia Effect”. BTW, that arctic red is questionable at best (they use interpolated estimates from ice estimates in the Arctic) but at least we can see that Northern Canada is empty as is much of Africa and the heart of South America. Oh, and notice all those yellow island spots? Those are the airports on each of those islands…

November 2009 250km in fill full baseline anomaly map

November 2009, 250 km fill in limit, 1881-1990 baseline anomaly map

For comparison, here is the 1981-1990 baseline chart:

250 km cells, 1981-1990 baseline, November 2009

Alright Already, what is this Bolivia Effect?

Notice that nice rosy red over the top of Bolivia? Bolivia is that country near, but not on, the coast just about half way up the Pacific Ocean side. It has a patch of high cold Andes Mountains where most of the population live. It’s the patch of yellow / whitish mountains near the top in this picture:

White, Green, or Brown?  Decisions Decisions

White, Green, or Brown? Decisions Decisions

South American Andes

We originally saw this picture, and this problem, in this posting:

One Small Problem with the anomally map. There has not been any thermometer data for Bolivia in GHCN since 1990.

None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. Empty Set.

So just how can it be so Hot Hot Hot! in Bolivia if there is NO data from the last 20 years?

Easy. GIStemp “makes it up” from “nearby” thermometers up to 1200 km away. So what is within 1200 km of Bolivia? The beaches of Chili, Peru and the Amazon Jungle.

Not exactly the same as snow capped peaks and high cold desert, but hey, you gotta make do with what you have, you know? (The official excuse given is that the data acceptance window closes on one day of the month and Bolivia does not report until after that date. Oh, and they never ever would want to go back and add date into the past after a close date. Yet they are happy to fiddle with, adjust, modify, and wholesale change and delete old data as they change their adjustment methods…)

The eastern side of Bolivia grades down into semi-tropical and eventually into the Amazon. More details on the climate of Bolivia can be found on this link that has a nice graphic as well.

The description of the mountain portion includes:

The Altiplano Region typically has a chilly climate and is considered to have a semi-arid climate. Since it is at a high altitude the thin air retains little heat and the air is typically dry, with cool temperatures and strong cold winds that can sweep over the region.

From the wiki page we have:

The geography of Bolivia is unique among the nations of South America. Bolivia is one of two landlocked countries on the continent, and also has the highest average altitude. The main features of Bolivia’s geography include the Altiplano, a highland plateau of the Andes, and Lake Titicaca (Lago Titicaca), the largest lake in South America and the highest commercially navigable lake on Earth (which it shares with Peru).


Temperatures and rainfall amounts in mountain areas vary considerably. The Yungas, where the moist northeast trade winds are pushed up by the mountains, is the cloudiest, most humid, and rainiest area, receiving up to 152 cm (60 in) annually. Sheltered valleys and basins throughout the Cordillera Oriental have mild temperatures and moderate rainfall amounts, averaging from 64 cm (25 in) to 76 cm (30 in) annually. Temperatures drop with increasing elevation, however. Snowfall is possible at elevations above 2,000 m (6,562 ft), and the permanent snow line is at 4,600 m (15,092 ft). Areas over 5,500 m (18,045 ft) have a polar climate, with glaciated zones. The Cordillera Occidental is a high desert with cold, windswept peaks.

If you do not have thermometers in those high cold parts, you are not measuring correctly. Though I am surpised that they did not keep a thermometer or two on the eastern side of the country with tropical exposure:

The eastern lowlands include all of Bolivia north and east of the Andes. […]the region is sparsely populated and, until recently, has played a minor role in the economy.

Differences in topography and climate separate the lowlands into three areas. The flat northern area, made up of Beni and Pando departments and the northern part of Cochabamba Department, consists of rainforest. Because much of the topsoil is underlain by claypan, drainage is poor, and heavy rainfall periodically converts vast parts of the region to swamp.

Maybe it’s that lack of people and swamp thing…


What about that other red spot in the middle of Canada? Yup, you guessed it. No thermometers survive north of 65 degrees in recent GHCN data in Yukon and The Northwest Territories, and only one survives in Nunavut (at the northern edge of Canada, but in a location called The Garden Spot of the Arctic due to the unusual warmth of the area allowing a variety of plants and animals to survive there that do not survive elsewhere.

In both these cases, there is real data in the baseline period, but the current temperatures must be created from somewhere else.

We took an in depth look at those thermometer deletions in this posting:

Which included this description (from the wiki page) of the only surviving thermometer in Northern Canada, at the weather station in Eureka:

“Eureka has been described as “The Garden Spot of the Arctic” due to the flora and fauna abundant around the Eureka area, more so than anywhere else in the High Arctic.” …

Further down, under “Climate” it says:

“Winters are frigid, but summers are slightly warmer than at other places in the Canadian Arctic.”

The station is on the coast near water. Water, as we know, serves to moderate extremes of temperature. There is a nice picture of it, showing the ocean in the background, on the above link, if you wish to see it.

Arctic Red is What Again?

How about all that Red in the Arctic? Well, no surprise, there are no thermometers up there. Yes, all that red across the top is fiction. It is called “estimation” based on ice estimates and “interpolation” and even “the reference station method” but in the end it all comes down to “just made up”.

So when you look at one of these Anomaly Maps, the “highest and best use” that I have found for those rosy red patches is to find those places where there have been abuses of the thermometers (such as in Morocco where they move from the coast, near cool ocean currents, to the Atlas Mountains, on the edge of the Sahara Desert) or where they have been deleted from High Cold Places (such as Bolivia), or where there are simply none at all (such as the Arctic).

Bolivian Data

This is a listing of the “By Altitude” report for Bolivia, so you can see for yourself that there are data in the “baseline” period used by GIStemp, but there is no data since 1990.

Why does a “by altitude” report matter? Again, from the wiki page about Bolivia:

Climate: varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid

Terrain: rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin.

Change the altitude of the thermometers and you change the climate you are measuring. Yes, that is “man made climate change” I can believe in. ;-)

This report shows the percentage of thermometers in any given altitude band (in meters). So we see that Bolivia began with 25% of it’s thermometers above 2000 meters (in the snow zone) and with 75% between 500 and 1000 meters in the decade ending in 1919. It ended with 100% of them at that 2000 meter+ altitude in the last reported year of 1990.

The GHCN "By Altitude" report for Bolivia, Country Code 302:

    Year -MSL    20   50  100  200  300  400  500 1000 2000  Space
DAltPct: 1919   0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0 75.0  0.0 25.0  0.0
DAltPct: 1929   0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0 50.0  0.0 50.0  0.0
DAltPct: 1939   0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  9.1  0.0 90.9  0.0
DAltPct: 1949   0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0 27.6  0.0  0.0 72.4  0.0
DAltPct: 1959   0.0  0.0  0.0 18.5 23.9  0.0 20.8 10.0  0.0 26.6  0.0
DAltPct: 1969   0.0  0.0  0.0 20.5 21.8  0.0 16.2 13.0  2.6 26.0  0.0
DAltPct: 1979   0.0  0.0  0.0 23.1 15.7  0.0 14.0 12.5  6.2 28.4  0.0
DAltPct: 1989   0.0  0.0  0.0 23.3 17.3  0.0 16.4 12.4  3.6 27.0  0.0
DAltPct: 1990   0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0100.0  0.0

Notice that while one thermometer level manages to straggle into 1990, it gets shot that year (or the “decade ending” would have had a later year – by default I end the decade counts in years ending in “9” so 0-9 end up in one decade average together; unless you run out of records… )

It is very hard to have “warming” with no data, but somehow GIStemp, with GHCN, manages to do just that. I guess Bolivia is somehow magical, so I just call it “The Bolivia Effect”… and it is warming the planet.


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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113 Responses to GHCN – GIStemp Interactions – The Bolivia Effect

  1. Tony Hansen says:

    Well, if you have gotten away with making up data for the last 20 years why not give it one more go?

    And they have the unmitigated gall to call themselves scientists!!!
    A few other more appropriate names readily spring to mind.

  2. Tony Hansen says:

    So they’ve been making it up for 20 years.
    Can we then reasonably assume that they think this is therefore quite O.K.?
    Perhaps even commendable?
    How far would you have to go before you reached the point where they started to feel some concern?
    Where they thought that it had perhaps been stretched just a wee bit too far.

    And what else have they been making up?

  3. j ferguson says:

    You would trust the product of people who cannot even color within the lines?

  4. wolfwalker says:

    I have a request. Can you please put together a short explanation of these ‘thermometers by altitude’ tables and how to read them, and either post it as a separate, linkable page or insert it each time you use one of these tables? I had to chase back through half a dozen links to find out what the table represents, and even now I’m not sure I have it right. All I’m sure of is that a 0.0 entry means “no data”.

    REPLY: [ Yes, you are right. Sometimes when you’ve worked with things for months you forget that they will be new to some folks. The “short form” for now is that the numbers are the percentage of the thermometers at any given altitude band, in meters. It is a way to see how much of the data comes from any given “chunk” of altitude. So in 1990, you can see that all the data is from a single altitude (that 100%) and that usually means only one or two thermometers are left. -E.M.Smith ]

  5. kramer says:

    Are you sure there are no weather stations in Bolivia? The following GHCN map shows there is:

    I found this link from this page:

    REPLY: [ Pretty picuture. Very misleading. (Where have I seen that pattern from the NASA / NOAA before ;-) There are stations with data from Bolivia in GHCN. They nicely record a baseline period, then are no longer reported in GHCN. So yes, there is a dot in Boliva, but the last DATA for that dot is 1989 (or for one or two of them 1990 for a couple of data points). So the “anomaly map” for today is based on comparing an old real baseline with a fiction of recent creation. -E.M.Smith ]

  6. Eric says:

    Expect more warmer readings. I was travelling through the DC Baltimore area and saw a brand new weather station right next to an 8 lane black top highway. I was amazed at the stupidity of the placement but then I thought it was done on purpose. Now I’m sure it was done on purpose.

    This certainly jives with the spirit of this article.

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  9. Luvmy91stang says:


    I looked in the v2.mean file from GHCN and there was no data past 1989 for Bolivia.

  10. ruhroh says:

    Hey Cheif;

    This post is a great example of the thing you have been mentioning to the GiMPTran crew over at

    They are looking for some persuasive ways to ‘validate’ their
    G(Iss)M(illenial)P(ython)TRAN(smogrification) of the spaghettiball on which the ‘Green’ world is basing attempted ‘fundamental transformation’ of the leading world economies.

    As I understand, you were suggesting that they look to see how accurately they reproduce the anomalous ‘Bolivia’ effect.
    Kon they reproduce the “Yukon’ anomaly?
    What about the great Arctic heat blob fiction?

    ANYWAY, here’s the brainstorm du jour;

    Beyond handchecks by the (skeleton) CCC crew,
    (whose expertise seems to reside more in codeland than temperature history-ville);

    The folks who could really do a compellingly powerful analysis are the crew who were able to import the ‘raw’ and ‘adjusted’ GHCN into a (mircofots)ACCESS database, upon which they are now performing many valuable analyses and posting them at

    AFAICT, they could (if they were in the mood) similarly import the raw and adjusted output files of the version (which deserves a better name than Gimptran),
    and eventually provide irrefutable evidence of exact emulation of the code you have so lovingly dissected.

    The Power of the CCC code is its ‘open source’ operability and accessibility to the modern ‘code-kids’ and their toolsets. The CCC ’emulation’ is much more amenable to ‘what-if’ scenario work;
    And if the team at
    made it similarly easy to comprehend and validate the outputs of the ‘what-if’ scenarios (such as variation of the hand-tuned parameters you’ve identified);

    The combination of these tools would VASTLY outperform the
    Pyrite Standard of the legacy-coded GHCN.

    Hansen’s GISS would no longer have a stranglehold on the planet’s Surface Temperature Record.


    Of course, I’ve already demonstrated (at my day job) that I can flood arbitrarily large workgroups with Great Ideas which only need intense-and-inspired effort to approach the intended Nirvana…

    But I am curious about your take on this concept.
    Often with Great Ideas, there is some overarching ‘Technical Difficulty’ which transforms ‘Great Idea’ into ‘Grandiose Delusion’. Sometimes, the mere presence of a ‘Lesser Embedded Embuggerance’ is enough to moot the thing.

    So, as our CIC has yet again reminded us, Words are not Actions.

    Do you think these words are actionable, and if so, attractive if not compelling?

    Big Thanks

  11. ruhroh says:


    Here’s a simpler question that you might address for the re-edification of newbs like me;

    How does NASA get from the temperature files to those worldmaps with the big red blobs?

    Or more specifically, at what step do the ocean and arctic temperature gridboxes get filled with the extrapolated (and that may be a generous deployment of the term) data?

    Its still early here…
    RR aka AC aka TL

    REPLY: [ In STEP3. You can find a link to it in the “GIStemp for humans” posting that is the first link in the GIStemp tab up top. That is the “anomaly grid box” step that makes the map data. -E.M.Smith ]

  12. vigilantfish says:

    E.M. Smith, well done! This report is destined for my office door – great to see the empirical data that blows apart the credibility of GISS and the alarmist ‘science’. Nice to be able to share with non-scientists the case for skepticism using your clear, well-argued and easily understood example.

  13. Luvmy91stang says:

    I notice a big chunk of west central Africa has no color. Maybe Hanson doesn’t want the polar ice caps to melt too fast?
    /sarc off

  14. stan says:

    I would love to subpoena Hansen for a deposition duces tecum and have him explain all this mess under oath. Especially if I could have Chief sit in.

  15. ruhroh says:

    I need to make a sincere apology to the crew at

    for my silly acronym rework of Gisstran.

    The good intent (of expressing modernization via Python)
    is massively overpowered by the implicit pejorative of the acronym I am now unwilling to repeat.
    This acronym design effort was a massive failure, on the scale of the branding failure of the Chevy NoVa in spanish-speaking markets. I still think their project needs a one or two-syllable ‘handle’ , but I’ve now mooted my credibility to come up with it.

    It would be most unfortunate if my effort to promote
    their ‘beautiful thing’ backfired by tainting their project.

    I’ll shut up now and try to learn Python (and R for that matter).
    TL aka RR aka AC

  16. SteveCase says:

    This page lists all sorts of weather stations in Bolivia:

    I’m as skeptical of “Global Warming” as anybody, so whats up?

    Steve Case
    Brown Deer, WI

  17. Bruce says:

    Steve Case – Wunderground may get weather data from Bolivia, GHCN doesn’t, I think is the answer.

    REPLY: [ Yes, that is correct. Stations exist. You can get the data. GHCN does not bother. Hmmm. Since Wunderground has the temps, maybe they could be talked into making a competitor product to GHCN… -E.M.Smith ]

  18. Lamont says:

    Going through the wunderground station for La Paz (not exactly the beaches of Peru or the Amazon jungle), the average temperature was 51.2, while the seasonal average for that station is 49. That puts it medium red for that one weather station, which agrees with the GIS anomaly map.

  19. kramer says:


    Fair enough. I wasn’t challenging the article, I just want to know wtf is going on.

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  21. vjones says:

    Hey E.M.,

    Great post. Here is the GISS/GHCN Station inventory list for Bolivia (from the TEKtemp Database):

    and a visualisation of the locations:

    What I couldn’t quickly pull out is the operational years for these; they are very short – typically 1951- 1989 some only from 1970 and most have a lot of ‘missing months’ with no data. In the TEKtemp Database trend graphs are only shown for stations with 50 complete years of data (not necessarily continuous) More info here:

    The only station that qualifies is La Paz:

  22. vjones says:

    Damn, let’s try that again, with proper hyperlinks this time.

    Here is the GISS/GHCN Station inventory list for Bolivia (from the TEKtemp Database):
    and a visualisation of the locations (non-interactive screenshot):

    What I couldn’t quickly pull out is the operational years for these; they are very short – typically 1951- 1989 some only from 1970 and most have a lot of ‘missing months’ with no data. In the TEKtemp Database trend graphs are only shown for stations with 50 complete years of data (not necessarily continuous) More info here:

    The only station that qualifies is La Paz:

    Interactive world map here:

  23. vjones says:

    was it you was having trouble registering for the database? I am not sure if it is fixed yet as we’ve discovered an issue that means we (well Kevin the hard-working one!) needs to address, so I may even remove the link for a bit.

    Basically WMO often assigns the same station code to stations with proximity, but different locations (even altitudes). In combining stations NOAA/GHCN and GISS/GHCN take this into account most of the time. However we’ve discovered rather a lot of stations that should really be separate in TEKtemp and have been combined.

    An example is Dallas highlighted here by “lws (06:46:41):” at where there are three concurren stations, with different latitude/longitude, but the same WMO code; GISS (quite rightly) gives each a separate flag and deals with them separately.


  24. Luvmy91stang says:

    It’s curious that GHCN wouldn’t contain any Bolivian data points after 1989 when they are still available. What’s going to end up happening is some enterprising person is going to go around to all the various regional data sources around the world and compile their own data set. I would expect this data set to be more complete than that offered by GHCN. With broadband access, cost effective desktop gpu “super-computers” and more of the worlds databases going online one would expect to see this effort soon.

    Of course, that’s only the starting point. You then have to deal with all problems with the data and methods used around the world. See this paper for a small taste of some of those problems.

    Click to access ghcn_temp_overview.pdf

  25. Mark Bosley says:

    The patch of whitish mountains in this picture is the patagonian mountains of Chile and Argentina. Bolivia is up the whiteish stuff is desert. Cheers

  26. Pat says:

    SteveCasre wrote:

    This page lists all sorts of weather stations in Bolivia:

    These stations aren’t used by NASA, simple as that. I also believe that anyone can submit a station to WU – such as my $50 station I have in my back yard that is currently experiencing 15C below normal temps, so these wouldn’t haven’t any “control” over the quality of the sites. Though that’s is not to say the stations NASA uses are of good quality.


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  29. NikFromNYC says:

    Wolfram Alpha plots a Bolivian airport’s data for the last six decades (select “all data” from the pop-up menu). It is cooling.

    REPLY: [ Thanks! Nice to know ;-) Frankly, the folks freezing to death in Peruvian mountains just a little bit further north (i.e. ought to be closer to equator and ought to be warmer) kind of “gives the lie” to the Bolivian Red Blob, but having actual temperatures is even nicer. -E.M.Smith ]

  30. GOBOMBO says:

    Global warming huh? I cannot help but think that things must be getting pretty warm, even hot by now, for those who have committed this wholesale fraud, literally upon the whole world.

    Somehow, there will soon be a day of serious reconing. This scam has corrupted all of the major governments of Europe. The United States was about to jump in line, a la Obama. The original intent was for the fraud to continue.

    Our monies have been supporting this ongoing scam. We, the American People are victims of this fraud. Laws have certainly been broken.

    Man cause global warming will happen when hell freezes over. The corruption of this process goes far and deep.

    But there is another take on this one:
    BUSH 100% RIGHT
    OBAMA ZEROOOOOOO – Like those sub freezing temperatures wrecking havoc across Europe and North America.

  31. You can view all GHCN and HadCRU stations and plot them (as well as the HadCRU 5×5 degree gridded data) here:

  32. Norm in Calgary says:

    Very funny, there’s lots of Environment Canada weather stations in the great whiter north (NWT/Yukon/Nunavut). They report the temperatures from far more places than just Eureka on our TV Weather Reports. There’s Whitehorse and Inuvik in the Yukon, Yellowknife and Hay River in the NWT, finally there’s also Alert in Nunavut. Here’s what Wikipedia says about Alert.

    Alert, in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada, is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world. It is only 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole.

    Why would they not use these weather stations, and there are many, many more up there too!

    REPLY: [ IMHO, only NOAA / NCDC can answer why they choose to delete the cold stations from the modern part of the GHCN data set, yet leave them in the baseline period for programs like GIStemp (and UEA HadCRUT and…) though the data set manager looks to be a “loaner” from NASA Goddard, so maybe NASA knows too. Hey, maybe they even talked to each other in reaching the decision… (At exactly what point does “collaboration” turn into “conspiracy”?… just wondering…) So I suppose someone could ask them. There is only one answer that “fits” IMHO, but I’m going to be polite and not give voice to it without further evidence. -E.M.Smith]

  33. Norm in Calgary says:

    Oh by the way…

    The weather station (Alert) was established in 1950.

  34. gobombo says:

    Just a reply to Mark Bosley’s post. WorldAtlas.Com clearly shows the Andes going through the Western border of Bolivia, comprising of more than a third of the entire country. Explore clearly shows those same mountains covered in snow.

    The above map does show the Patagonia Mountains, but they are down in the southernmost region of the continent, where they have always been.

    REPLY: [ Perhaps I ought to have said “the creamy color at the top of the map”. The pure white at the bottom is Patagonia but I can’t tell if it’s clouds or snow or both. At any rate, both are in the picture, just in different places. -E.M.Smith]

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    To all:

    I spent today being “on camera” for a TV “special” to be shown soon. (about a week). I’ll get around to answering specific issues “real soon now”; but for a while I’m going to be AFK as I get some sleep and ‘recharge’.

    As noted under the “about” tab: There is only one of me, and I sleep, and am AFK from time to time. Now I have to add to that “and I’m driving a few hundred miles round trip for TV interviews”.

    Not complaining, mind you, just explaining why you may not get a personalized answer “right now”…

  36. vjones says:

    E.M., Fantastic – way to go!!!!!

    REPLY: Thanks! -E.M.Smith

  37. Viv Evans says:

    Best wishes for a healthy sleep and successful recharge – and for that interview, natch!

    This business of simply using the data from stations around 1000 km away, to replace data from a missing station, can in no way be described as proper data gathering.

    I am grateful you’ve shown here how The team gets their warming – they simply regard the globe as a smooth ball, disregarding any physical features which actually do have pretty major influences on weather and thus climate.

    IAW, their computer models are useless – and, as I keep saying, nobody ought to work in climate science who doesn’t, from time to time, actually, physically, gets out of their computer rooms into nature as she is.

    REPLY: [ Thanks! FWIW, GIStemp does not just copy hot temps to cold, it does an attempt at a translation via offsets calculated in the baseline period. Basically, if it was an average of 5 C “offset” from Amazon to La Paz between 1951-1980 it just assumes that holds today and adjusts via that offset. OK, but are there not large cyclical changes to weather / climate patterns like, oh, the 60 year PDO with a 30 year hot then a 30 year cold phase? And El Nino / La Nina? And… So Bolivia has fantastic fantasy temperatures and who knows if they have any relationship to reality today. That all the “empty places” get filled in with warm periodically leads me to think that the method is broken, but I can not point at the particular lines of code in GIStemp… yet… -E.M.Smith]

  38. Rod Smith says:

    The NCDC DVD with all world’s surface temperature reports for 2008 contains 36 stations reporting from Bolivia, both SYNOP and METAR. So no “climate” stations I notice.

    Bolivia is part of WMO Block 85, and I see reports from stations 033, 041, 043, 104, 109, 114, 123, 140, 141, 151, 152, 153, 154, 175, 195, 196, 201, 207, 210, 223, 230, 242, 244, 245, 247, 264, 268, 283, 289, 293, 312, 315, 345, 364, 365, and 394.

    I would estimate this is about 70-80 mb of data in ISH format. (The 2008 world’s surface data fills 23+ GB.)

    So, there ARE surface temperatures available from Bolivia, but none from stations without probable UHI.

    REPLY: [ In most, maybe all?, cases the local offices look like they collect data, but the data to not make it into GHCN. My presumption would be that the “data set manager” has chosen to leave them out. And it would be a fascinating excercise to put them back in and see what happens to the “anomaly map”, but don’t have the time to do it right now. The CCC port is more robust to this kind of “what if” as I understand it, so they are most likely best positioned to do that kind of test / benchmark. -E.M.Smith ]

  39. H.R. says:

    on January 9, 2010 at 2:28 am E.M.Smith

    “To all:

    I spent today being “on camera” for a TV “special” to be shown soon. […]”

    We know you’re married, but in this show do you get the girl? :o))

    I’ll be looking forward to seeing the one and only Chiefio in action on screen.

    REPLY: [We’ll have to see what survives editing to know who get’s what ;-) Early proposed schedule is to air on KUSI in San Diego on January 14th as a 1 hour special (of which I’m just a few minutes). After that it depends on who “picks it up” or maybe it ends up on youtube… who knows. -E.M.Smith ]

  40. c.w. schoneveld says:

    But we know man-made global warming is real!

    All the pal -reviewed literature says so!

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  43. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve updated the descriptions of the picture and added some more detail on the climate zones of Bolivia. Also put in a bit about what the “by altitude” chart is saying. Hope that makes it a bit of a better read and clears up any vague parts.

  44. H.R. says:

    “[…] After that it depends on who “picks it up” or maybe it ends up on youtube… who knows. -E.M.Smith”

    Be sure to post about it for us’ns here. (Well, unless the editing has you saying you believe in sacrificing babies to Gaia or some other horrible words that are exactly opposite of what you actually said. I am familiar with what clever editing can do.)

  45. dougie says:

    about time your efforts were noticed by someone in MSM.
    all the best & take it easy (but keep slowly digging please:-)

    REPLY: [ I’m going to keep digging at it. It will slow down some, though, just as a natural consequence of already having found some of it. “Resource depletion curves” and all. You know, like the bell shaped oil production curves for an oil field. You get the big deposits early on. -E.M.Smith ]

  46. Jiminmpls says:

    Are you sure you WANT them to include Bolivia in their records? That would really undermine your propaganda efforts. Bolivian glaciers are melting at an alarming rate.

    REPLY: [ Let me make this perfectly clear. I have exactly ONE agenda. TRUTH. You have accused me of “propaganda”. To quote one of my favorite movie lines: “That’s One, you don’t want to see three.”. I expect folks to behave politely here. Insulting your host is not polite behaviour. I don’t care if putting Bolivia back in makes the map light up a gazlillion degrees of red. I care greatly that Boliva is flat out missing and that missing data shows up as FICTIONAL RED. I find the behaviour of GIStemp when fed missing data highly suspicious (since we have 3 examples in this chart of missing data going red), but have made no statement about what I think the alternative would be. So, to the only valid point in your comment: Yes, I absolutely want Bolivia “back in” no matter what the data then show (and yes, I want the valid data used, not some cooked and adjusted out of all reason pasturized processed data food product.) I want the truth “come what may”. -E.M.Smith ]

  47. Jiminmpls says:


    Do you REALLY think ave temps at Jorge Wilstermann in Bolivia dropped nearly ten degrees between 1960 and 1974 as shown on the “all” graph.

    What do you think that dotted line means? I would interpret that as “no data”.

    And how about that unexplained difference between 1960 and 1973? What does the data BEFORE 1960 show? I’d suggest that there are signficant differences between the instrumental records before 1960 and after 1973. For example, before 1960, they may have recording the daily maximum temp and after 1973 they may have recorded the daily mean temp.

    Actually, since therre are many unknowns, it’s impossible to conculde anything from the “all” graph. Other sources say that warming in Bolivia has been particularly severe.

    And btw, the high today was 84F – nearly 20F degrees warmer than average.

  48. Jeff Alberts says:

    Are you sure you WANT them to include Bolivia in their records? That would really undermine your propaganda efforts. Bolivian glaciers are melting at an alarming rate.

    Wow! Alarming! run for the hills!

    How were they doing 1000 years ago? 2000? Oh, that’s right, we don’t know. So how do you know any recession now is unprecedented?

    Oh, and if you’re certain there’s a catastrophe going on, why are you using a computer? Shouldn’t you be giving up your modern lifestyle, and returning to a hunter/gatherer existence? Or maybe you think changing light bulbs will save the planet.

    REPLY: [ One could also point out that glaciers advance with more snow, that often happens when oceans are warmer, and retreat with less snow, that often happens when oceans are colder. The notion that glacier movement is driven just by the temperature of the glacier is naive. -E.M.Smith ]

  49. Jiminmpls says:

    Actually, it turns out that the data wolframalpha is trash. They report the temp today at Jorge Wilsterman in Cochabamba as 84F. That is inaccurate. It was 73F – still above average, but not nearly so much. The forecast for this week is for up 82F on Tuesday – 14 degrees above average.

    My best guess is that the 84F is the highest temp in the whole country. The Amazonian cities are always warm, so this would not be remarkable.

  50. Doug Bostrom says:

    Data for Bolivian METAR is available, if you care to find it. If you’re counting on upturning mainstream science probably better not. Nothing to see outside of the ordinary.

    REPLY: [ It’s not me that needs to find it, it is NOAA / NCDC. They are the folks who produce the GHCN data set and they are the folks who have dropped 90% or so of the thermometer records (with what looks like a clear bias toward dropping high cold places). I’m just the messenger pointing out what they have done and where (and what it looks like after GIStemp turns it into an anomaly map). And given the revelations of ClimateGate, “mainstream science” seems to be shooting off it’s toes just fine without me ;-) -E.M.Smith]

  51. dhogaza says:

    “It’s not me that needs to find it, it is NOAA / NCDC. They are the folks who produce the GHCN data set and they are the folks who have dropped 90% or so of the thermometer records ”

    No, they don’t.

    They shove CLIMAT reports into their database. They report what they get. They don’t report what they don’t get (gee whiz!). Apparently Bolivia doesn’t submit CLIMAT reports.

    REPLY: [ So I can go get them and it’s my ‘fault’ that I didn’t put them in for this study of the NOAA / NCDC GHCN data set (per other folks comments above); but NCDC can’t go get them because they don’t show up exactly in the place and form they want, so it’s OK for them to leave them out (yet they end up on a different product, the NCDC DVD per comment above. Lord Forbid they go to all the work to move the data from their right pocket to their left pocket…). Interesting composit “reasoning” in the comments as a whole… What I said before still stands. I’m looking at what is actually in GHCN. It is not me that needs to go find the Bolivia data. If NOAA wanted to have the data in, they could get it and put it in. They CHOOSE their rules and they CHOOSE their product and they CHOOSE to not put Bolivia in. It is not up to me what they CHOOSE to do. It is up to them.

    I’m just the messenger showing what is and is not done. -E.M.Smith ]

  52. hunter says:

    If Boeing built airplanes the way GISS and CRU and the rest make climate science, would anyone here fly their planes?

  53. E.M.Smith says:


    If airplanes were built the way GISS and CRU do climate science I would not live within 100 miles of an airport or major airway. (I doubt any airplane designed that way would make it more than 100 miles, so that ought to be a safe limit ;-)

    The one thing that has been driven home to me more than anything else in this whole “Global Warming” technical investigation is just how much more rigorous Engineering is when compared to “science” and “research”.

    But maybe I’m biased. Dad was a “combat engineer” and if you screwed up even a little bit, people died. (One guy stacked some enemy tank mines they were removing from a field “one too high”… Dad tackled his buddy in time to prevent his death from flying “debris”… Another time they got a bridge built from “found materials” (and under fire) in time for our tanks to cross. If they had done the math wrong, tanks would have been swimming on the bottom of the river.) The kind of “stuff” done in “climate science” would have gotten someone’s heads knocked together… or they would have been assigned to “mine clearing duty” for a while and the survivors would be kept…

    For me, “Science” has gone from a “High Holy” to a “One step removed from Nintendo Nerds”. I have no idea if it will ever recover that former status, but I doubt it.

    I now read “peer reviewed papers” with a eye to who is who’s buddy and what journal is in the pocket of whom; and I now read the “public science magazines” with the same level of trust and belief that I give to science fiction magazines. It is, until proven otherwise, just marketing and PR fluff hustling for the next grant.

    Sad. I once read every single Scientific American that came to the library (when I was a kid) and had a cherished stash of them that I’d bought when I got the money. Still have some of the old ones. Now I don’t even read the cover. It’s become just another marketing hype outlet.

    Oh well. Times move on.

    At least the internet has enabled this sort of “public review” to happen and “scientists” have to figure that even if they “own the journal editor” they can still be ‘found out’ by public review.

  54. j ferguson says:


    Can’t science still be where “This doesn’t quite work yet, but we think we’re getting somewhere?”

    JeffId had a wonderful series of graphs a week ago where he looked at the effects of doing the numbers on a tempset differently in sequence. No claims, no posturing just “Here’s what I did and this is what I got.”

    Among the hiccups such as a year as a research assistant in a psych lab, and 7 years as an engineering software consultant, I designed construction. That’s the business where it really is not nice to fool mother nature – people could die.

    So everything we did had to work for sure, although sometimes processes could be designed on the basis that “we think this will work, but here is what you’ll have to do in addition if it doesn’t and here’s what that will cost and how much time will be needed.”

    So science ought to be “here’s what we did, what resulted and a bit of what we think it means.”

    And that is still going on out there – somewhere. I hope.

    I know what my brother does reads like that.

    REPLY: [ I’d love to think so (and I hope that some other fields are still ‘clean’; but frankly, when you’ve been bit by a dog, you don’t start off by asking what variety of which breed it is… ). Frankly also, if NASA / GISS were saying “This is the best we can do to date. I probably has some issues ‘here’ and I don’t think we can drive the world economy based on it” rather than their present “OMG, the Anomaly is +0.01C and we’re all going to die for sure!!!!” I’d be doing something else entirely. (Probably improving my income from better stock screens ;-)

    What has me doing this, here, now, is the simple fact that the books don’t add up. One gets a fairly finely honed nose for when someone has dodgy books and claims more than the data support when looking at companies and their stocks. It is a constant occupational hazard and you better get some skill at it; and always be skeptical of claims. And the AGW “evidence” just sets off my BS detector way too much. Then the more I look, the worse it is. That is “way wrong”. And since they are being used as a lever to move almost all of the global economy (and thus stocks) I have to know what’s true and what isn’t if I’m going to “bet right”. (For example, on a cold winter this year rather than a warm one ;-)

    With luck, a bit of house cleaning in the field and some more “public review” instead of insider “peer / pal review” and scientists can regain some of the respect that has been lost. We’ll see. -E.M.Smith ]

  55. windansea says:


    great blog, keep up the good work.

    I see you are attracting the attention of climate nazis like dhogaza

    poor things are out of their element when they stray from alarmist friendly blogs

  56. M. Simon says:

    A dedication to the Truth? What a novel idea Chief.

    Great Caesar’s Ghost.

    And for those of you who need a hint: Perry White.

  57. M. Simon says:

    The one thing that has been driven home to me more than anything else in this whole “Global Warming” technical investigation is just how much more rigorous Engineering is when compared to “science” and “research”.

    I’d love to subject these climate bastiches to a full up aerospace design review. After 3 minutes I guarantee you they would be begging to be waterboarded instead.

  58. M. Simon says:

    BTW loss of faith in science is a very good thing. Because science is not a faith based activity.

    Yeah. I will miss the GeeWhiz factor I had when growing up. The new attitude is better.

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  60. E.M.Smith says:


    It’s a mixed blessing. It confirms I’ve stepped on something they have cause to panic about. It looks like I’ve been assigned “minders”. It’s nice to have that validation.

    At the same time, I expect folks to be honest and civil and not to play manipulative games. It will take them a while to catch on that when they toss some ‘doo’ at me it comes back twice over. Frankly, over half my postings have come directly from a “warmer” getting up in my grill about something a bit too aggressively.

    Gee, maybe you can look forward to a whole NEW set of stellar articles if they get cranky enough ;-)

    So I’m very “warmer friendly” for folks wanting help to understanding. But as you observed, I’m not very “alarmist friendly” for folks posing for the purpose of playing blog wars or highjacking threads for an agenda.

    An innocent honest person who has heard some “warmer” talking points they don’t quite understand and wants to know why they don’t fit with what I’m saying has nothing to worry about. Someone who want to play games and snark? Sorry, “Life is too short to drink bad wine.”

    The intent here is to have a lawn party atmosphere with a set of “just regular folks” and some technical geeks sharing a pleasant place to talk. Every so often I’ll put a new slide show on the big screen and come around to see how things are going along. If someone is making a negative fuss, well, they will be talked to a bit. If they don’t ‘get along’ with everyone else; sorry, but … sometimes a host has to think about what’s good for everyone else at the lawn party…

    @M. Simon: What? You crazy? What on God’s earth makes you think they have any chance at all of making it for 3 minutes? Oh, or were you counting the 2 minutes of getting coffee and doing introductions ? ;-)

    I have painful memories of my first “code review”… then (fast forward 10 years): A “new programmer” in my group was having a code review… I had to stop it for a while (called a ‘coffee break’ and took them aside to give them a bit of a pep talk and explain that the ocean of red ink on their code listing was NOT saying they were lousy or anyone was attacking them… and explained the law of mutual superiority “Anything you code, I can improve; and anything I code, you can improve”). We came back and resumed, but I had folks start with a brief review of some little script or other that I think I’d written (or maybe one of the other sysprogs). Same red ink… Several “Oh, you can do that? Neat approach” replies. They were OK after that (in a stunned sort of way ;-) Don’t know which stunned them the most, that their work had been criticized so strongly, or that everyone in the group got the same treatment, even me, and we were all OK with it. Glad those days are over…

    Once, after a “design review” (same general process at the design level, no code yet) my boss asked if “Bob and I were having problems?”. I got to explain that the loud voices he had heard through the door was “not a bad thing” and that we both were fine with the process… and oh, by the way, we had dramatically improved the eventual product… We worked together for about 7 or 8 years. Sometimes it can even be cathartic ;-) Kind of like “Kumite” in the dojo. You know the sparring is “safe” but you still have a fist coming dead on at your nose from time to time 8?} Same kind of thing but with code instead of fists… ‘sparing’ make you better “right quick” ;-)

    I also remember another boss that would randomly call you to his desk and demand specific fine grained detail and defense on random parts of your work, listings, plans, math, whatever. Basically, a “final exam” at any time and on any topic area in your “turf”. Kind of a drill sergeant style. 10 minutes of hell every day. Sometimes twice…

    The folks who wrote GIStemp have no clue what that would be like. You can tell by the way the code is written.

    And the stuff I worked on didn’t even have anybody’s life depending on it… Closest I came was an accounting system for a military vehicle. Got to watch some of the mechanical engineering guys come out of reviews. You have no idea how intense a “design review” can be until it is conducted by folks who expect they may well be riding in your “stuff” while taking fire… The Colonels were the toughest. They expected themselves or their friends to be in the vehicles some day.

    They shot one of the vehicles up with “spec” ammo and it passed. Then shot it up with “out of spec” to see what “a bad day” would look like. Then went back and did redesign enhancements… Never saw such long faces and drained pale skin on engineers before.

    I understand Aerospace tends to include Colonels and Generals too ;-) what with those military contracts and all… Oh, what the heck, they might make it 3 minutes if it was only with folks who work on the civilian side…

    And they didn’t ask for the full set of design documents up front… “Everyone ready to begin? OK. Where are your flow charts, external requirements specification, QA suite listing, QA testing results and signed off validations runs (with vetted sample data), … ” doesn’t take 3 minutes.

    A no-show on the goods would result in a short walk to the exit.

  61. boballab says:

    Yeah I saw that earlier in the Mr. McQuire thread, which reminds me of a phrase used by one of my instructors at Naval Nuclear Power School: “We measure with a Micrometer, we line it with chalk and then cut it with a chainsaw. So even though you are very precise with a micrometer your results are not based on it but on the precision of that chainsaw”. This was in my Advanced math prep classes for the follow on Nuclear Physics, Thermodynamics and Radation Theory classes.

  62. Ian Beale says:


    Don’t write off Scientific American entirely.

    Have a look at

    Gale, N.H. and Stos-Gale, Z. (1981). Lead and silver in the ancient Aegean. Sci. Amer. 244 (6) 142-152

    and you’ll see the best cleavage I’ve ever seen in a scientific article such as this!

  63. cinyc says:

    You wrote: “No thermometers survive in recent GHCN data in Yukon and The Northwest Territories, and only one survives in Nunavut (at the northern edge of Canada…”

    But your list of surviving Canadian stations in 2009 at the provided link includes Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory as well as Dawson City, Yukon Territory. Coral Harbour, Nunavut is also on the list. (Not-so-surprisingly, Coral Harbour is on Hudson Bay.)

    All three may be south of the Arctic Circle, but they are in one of the three Canadian territories. Everything north of the 60 parallel in Canada is in one of the three territories or in extreme Northern Quebec or Labrador.

    One other bizarre pattern that emerges from the great Canadian thermometer purge is the slashing of all but a handful of stations in Ontario. It’s as if Ottawa and points south don’t exist.

    REPLY: [ You are right. In the original Canada article (in the link) I’d had the caveat “north of 65 degrees”. In excerpting that article to make this one, I managed to leave out that qualifier. I’ve put it back in above. -E.M.Smith ]

  64. ditmar says:

    Re comment no.52 hunter
    If boeing built airplanes etc. Probabl not but they sure know how to build a bandwagon. The agw bandwagon rolls on despite the fact that the wheels are off, the ecu is shot, all the bodywork is full of holes and it failed the emission tests. But it just keeps going. They knew how to build bandwagons all thos years ago.

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  66. Dave F says:

    Just thought I would come by to drop you a line. You did a good job explaining this on the Coleman program.

    What do the adjustments for the baseline period 1951-1980 look like compared with adjustments after and adjustments before? I have plotted much in the way of data, so I am a little foggy on it, but I believe that the baseline period has the smallest trend out of the thirty year periods you could select, yes? Is that before or after adjustments, and I wouldn’t know where to get the data for the adjustments, but it would be interesting to see *-1950 compared to 1951-1980 and then 1981-*.

  67. Vincent Gray says:

    I suppose you all know that everything on the GHCN is “homogenized”. “corrected” for every last deviation from what might be considered “normal:. Amongst these is a correction for altitude. So Bolivia is hot even if it is guessed because they are guessing the temperature as if the mountains were not there. It is probably done automatically by a computer programme

  68. Michael Larkin says:

    Only read this today, I’m ashamed to say, but found it most enlightening, so many thanks. Also, saw you on the video and think you did a good job.

    I wondered whether there couldn’t be some kind of World map (or maybe one for each continent) that indicated how many thermometers are actually used in the GHCN data set. It could, maybe, show country boundaries, or state/regions for large countries. Nothing too fancy, just something that could be rapidly taken in and make its point. It could maybe be overlaid with coloured anomalies as at the start of your post. One would immediately be able to see then that Bolivia, for example, currently has 0 real thermometers. Anybody seeing it would immediately ask themselves whether that could possibly be right, and maybe that would get them thinking and doing some investigation.

    I’m thinking about advertising principles here. Mann had his hockey stick, which was great advertising, if nothing else. Perhaps scepticism needs its own icon, all the better if it is actually true. Maybe this particular idea wouldn’t work, but some other would? I wonder if other readers are interested and have any relevant ideas? It’d be great if something really punchy could be made to go “viral” on the Web…

    REPLY: [ Sounds like a gread idea, and would not be too hard to create the input data for it either. (I basically have a ‘script’ that lets me find out the actual stations in any one year, but a simple search / match of the inventory to the data file and search on a given year would be enough. Don’t know how to make the pretty pictures though… (keep telling myself I need to do that some day…) -E.M.Smith ]

  69. vjones says:

    Michael Larkin,

    You might like these maps for a start (note slow to load):

    This is a work in progress still and note that not all stations are shown due to QC: Any year for which there is even some missing data is dropped (more on this when we write up properly – on the web) and then the maps locate only stations for which there are more than 20 complete years of data.

  70. Vincent Gray says:

    The Bolivia resulys are actually a double whammy.

    Because there are no measurements the avarage of neighboiuring stations on the coast is assugned to Bolivia.

    Then, all stationns need to be “corrected” for “elevatio:” and since Bolivia has a high elevation this allocated temperature figure is increased , to give this extreme result.

    This would be carried out automatically by a computer programme.

    It raises the question as to whether all the temperatures of the world are “corrected” to ground level.

    REPLY: [ I think you will find temperatures decrease with altitude, so any smearing to altitude will try to adjust the warm temperature downward. This process must be perfect for the 1/10 C “anomaly” to mean warming. So all you need is an imperfect construction of the “fill in”, and not a ‘double dip’, to make the warming thesis a failure. -E.M.Smith ]

  71. vjones says:

    Write up with static JPEGs of the maps now as well as links to the interactive vesions:

    Perhaps one of these could become an iconic image for the skeptic movement to replace the ubiquitous Anomaly Maps

    Global warming is certainly not global!!!

    E.M., note the last two figures show agreement with your thesis “CO2 takes summers off”

  72. vjones says:

    Also, the ‘March of the Thermometers graph is now cleaned up if you can find a use for it:

  73. E.M.Smith says:


    Very Nice! Two things: You need to do a proof read, there are a few obvious ones… It would be nice to have a ‘color key’ that says what each color dot means. I figured it out, but a key would help.

    I think I’ll use the other graph for a heading on an article pointing at the rist link ;-)


  74. Michael Larkin says:


    “Michael Larkin,

    You might like these maps for a start (note slow to load):”

    Thank you so much for this!

  75. Michael Larkin says:

    I’ve been thinking about the figure showing the rise and decline of temperature stations at:

    (thanks again, vjones!)

    Just eyeballing the histograms on the right, it’s easily seen that there are currently around 1300 stations in the band from 15-30 degrees N. hemisphere. In all the other latitude bands put together, I estimate only around 500.

    Imagine a simplified image: just a flat global projection map with the latitude bands overlaid on it. In each band, there would be just two numbers indicated: One for the number of “oceanic” thermometers, and the other for the thermometers on major land masses.

    The graphic could be labelled something like: “How many surface thermometers are currently used to measure Global temperature?

    The legend beneath could maybe read:

    “Jim Hansen thinks it’s arrogant for some people to overemphasise temperatures in the US’s two percent of global area. Apparently, it’s humble to overemphasise the accuracy of global temperature measurements based on so few thermometers for much of the rest of the globe.”

    One could imagine something like this being a stand-alone icon that could even be printed, but also, when viewed on the web, could have linkages, perhaps via an image map, to more detailed information. The top levels could emphasise graphics, and lower levels link to relevant sites such as the first one that vjones referenced.

  76. vjones says:

    @Michael Larkin:

    Thanks!! I hope it (and the database behind it) become useful to anyone interested in number crunching , or even just looking. I’d like to see if the map/dots can be overlaid on one of the anomaly graphs.

    One of the weaknesses (and strengths) of my collaborator Kevin’s method, is that he removed years for which there is incomplete data. Although he has now reduced the graph plotting threshold to 20 years of (non-consecutive) data, this still means our analysis drops some data and stations that make it through the NOAA/GHCN or GISS QC (they infill where there is e.g. one missing month in a season).

    The thermometers graph was done a while ago from data posted here. I have a need to see things in pictures as well as in numbers, and I can see the need for eye-catching stuff.

    Yes, Kevin has asked me to proof read it (should have done it earlier but he was too quick for me). I too have spotted a few typos but they are hard to find on the blog draft post. I need to print it.

    There is a color key (Figure 1) but perhaps Figure 2 legend needs to point to it also.

    Note also that none of this would exist without your blog as the source of my increased understanding and pointing the way to the both the data and the problems with it. Climate Audit has been a longstanding inspiration for Kevin, but your site pointed us directly at the data – the ‘where to get’ and ‘what to get’.

    What you have done and are doing is important and I second the fantastic endorsement from John Coleman. To help get your message accross I am only too happy to help by putting it into pictures. And if you have a specific requirement just ask.

  77. Michael Larkin says:


    I hadn’t realised you collaborated with Kevin – I posted at diggingintheclay to compliment him and make some remarks to which he has given a generous reply.

    This stuff really hits home for a poor old zoology graduate like me who sometimes struggles with the maths and physics of climate science. You and Kevin are, I think, onto something really important here, something that, presented in the right way, could make a breakthrough.

    All it might need would be for a punchy image to make it to one of the MSM critical articles such as we’ve had in the UK in the Daily Express and Daily Mail. Steve M’s “hide the decline” graphic made it there and went viral, but this could reach more people because it’s even less technical if presented the right way.

    Everyone knows what the world looks like and understands simple numbers, right? It gives an instant, visceral impression of the enormity of the claims being made on the basis of such flimsy evidence. But it does need to be accurate…

    Might a good move if you had a good graphic be a post at one of James Delingpole’s blogs referencing it and inviting him to take a look?

  78. Michael Larkin says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to seem pushy, but I find this really exciting! :-)

  79. vjones says:

    @Michael Larkin:

    Thank you again. I’ll take any pushiness as enthusuasm then ;-)

    Kevin and I have been collaborating since the end of November – that is how quickly he has done this. The analyses will now start to come out also, although I need to redo some due to updates in the last week. We were introduced by TonyB, who you will also see posting here and with guest posts on WUWT and the Air Vent, and with whom I have also been collaborating.

    If you have a chance to read back through the blog, you’ll see that it is the ‘getting the message across to people’ thing that has driven me, and I know graphics are key. I have a good grounding in communication and understand about pace and timing. I have commented at James Delingpole’s blog recently, but the subjects weren’t right yesterday; the January 16th thread was too old.


  80. boballab says:

    Think you guys might like to see this:

    REPLY: [ Finally got around to looking at this. Cool. Way cool. -E.M.Smith ]

  81. Tonyb says:

    VJones and Kevin have done a splendid job on the maps and it will be fascinating to carry out the analysis.

    There are lots of twidlly bits to consider but it undoubtedly appears that some of the world has been cooling for a statistically meaningful period. This is in direct contradiction to the IPCC reports who cite only South Greenland and parts of the tropics as cooling.


  82. Harold Vance says:


    Nice video. It’s very interesting to see Africa and northern Canada getting butt naked (again) at the end.

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  84. Barry Brill says:

    “…temperatures decrease with altitude, so any smearing to altitude will try to adjust the warm temperature downward”.

    I think this might be a misunderstanding. The thought is that a sea-level Peruvian temp is ascribed to Bolivia (first step) then the computer code recognises that Bolivia, along with other alpine grid-boxes, needs to be expressed at its sea-level equivalent. The second step is an (upward) adjustment for altitude.

    Does GIStemp adjust all temps to sea-level equivalent, or just take them as they come?

  85. E.M.Smith says:

    GIStemp TRIES to adjust temperatures for the “in fill”. IMHO it fails. There is some reduction of the error, but it is not a perfect filter. (I’ve done a rough benchmark that shows this ‘try but fall short’ effect, but the results are not yet ready for publication as a detailed analsys – there is a page up showing that it does happen.)

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  87. crapstats says:

    I’ve done a bit of work with the raw data that was made available through (Climate Science from climate scientists) which is the GHCN v.2 I thought that if the stations observed vary from year to year, it might be interesting to look each year in terms of ONLY stations that reported in that year and the previous year AS WELL (we sometimes call this a constant sample).
    Results on

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  90. Bill Brent says:

    It appears that the 100% in your table is in the “Space” column, not in the “2000” column. Does that mean all temperature measurements in 1990 come from space – meaning, from satellite measurements?

    Also, there seems to be two columns for “Space.” Do you know what the second column, the one that contains “0.0” for every year, refers to?

    REPLY: [ The columns are “up to”, so “Space” is everything above 2000 and “up to” space. the “0.0” is just indicating none of the data came from a thermometer “on orbit” … Hey, it never hurts to be prepared ;-) -E.M. Smith ]

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  92. Vincent Gray says:

    I am irritated by people who think they have “raw data”. ALL of the informatiom we have on local temperatures is processed data and few seem ever to ask what the actual original obervations were, or how they have been processed.

    Most of the earliy data on temperature from weather stations consists of daily sheets of measurements made by people with various levels of expertise, consisting of either a single measurement on a thermometer at some time of day, or of two measurements also once a day,, one of the maximum, often on the previous day, and of the minimum, usually the same day. The thermometer is usually sheltered in some way, but its surroundings usually not stated.

    The single measurement, and the average of the maximum and minimum are first taken to represent the “mean daily temperature” and then these are averaged over a week, a month, and a year, filling in any gaps by guesswork. The monthly processed data may be said to be the “raw data” for that site.

    Then, in the GHCN system, each “raw” record is “homogenized” by “corrections” which are supposed to make allowances for elevation, Time of Observation Bias, (but not changes in surroundings) change of site,etc. using figures derived from experiments exclusively conducted in the USA.

    Each of these processing operations is affected by uncertainties that are not properly assessed. Both the “raw” data” and the further processed data have very large unknown uncertainties which seem to be ignored by those who use linear regression and other staistical methods which assume that individual points are constants instead of very uncertain figures. Their conclusions therefore have very little plausibility.

    REPLY: [ By definition, the data used by GIStemp can not be called “raw”, ever. It is a monthly average only. And a monthly average can never be “raw” as it is calculated… And there is a set of “corrections” and “quality procedures” applied by NOAA that tosses out any data they find unacceptable… -E.M.Smith ]

  93. Rod Smith says:

    Well, I ran several USAF “weather editing” sites in my day, and we sometimes ‘corrected’ (changed) observations before relay.

    A prime example would be Soviet observations during the cold war. For years these obs violated WMO standards by being encoded with Moscow Standard time instead of the standard Zulu date/time group. We would change them to standard before relay to avoid confusing users.

    I will note that both input and output reels (originally paper tape — later magnetic tape) were routinely “mailed” to Asheville daily. I always assumed that they archived the Zulu Time data, but I actually have no real knowledge that it was handled correctly. Frankly, in those days I could have cared less about much of anything other than “operational” support to my ‘customers.’ Everything else was secondary.

  94. boballab says:

    Maybe we need to classify the Temperature datasets on the same scale we do a steak:

    Raw – When the readings were taken
    Rare – The monthly reports sent to NOAA
    Medium Rare – TOBS adjusted data
    Medium – NOAA final adjusted data
    Medium Well- GIStemp combine all stations data
    Well Done – GIStemp final output data

  95. vjones says:

    Well, I’ve always liked my steak rare, but I guess I could live with Medium Rare for temperature datasets.

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  97. boballab says:

    Here is a website I found linked in the comments section over on Lucia’s Blackboard:

    They show the changes that GISS is using. Back on Jan 16 there was 38 changes to the historical temperature record. The majority of them were in the downward direction.

  98. Richard Garnache says:

    Just over from WUWT. I want to thank you for assisting with the PDF paper by Anthony and D’Aleo. I don’t know how you can get this through to policy makers but keep up the great work.

    REPLY: [ You are most welcome. We each have a job we take on. I took on the “discovery” part of digging through the data and GIStemp at a very detailed “down in the bits and bytes” level. It will fall to others to figure out how to get things packaged for policy makers. (Though I would be happy to personally clarify any of this to policy makers if asked. I’m a fairly entertaining teacher who believes even this kind of detail can be packaged in an attainable way and is pretty good at leaving jargon out for non-technical audiences. See the “GIStemp a Human View” posting under the GIStemp tab up top for an example of that style.) For now, though, I chose the path no one else seemed willing to take; the long way through the middle of the guts of GIStemp… So Anthony and Joe have taken the next step and made it ‘approachable’. I’m sure there are lots of folks who can take an approachable document and do the presenting… We each pick a place to take our stand. -E.M.Smith ]

  99. Zack says:

    I’m an hour late and a dollar short to this website but what the hell? I got here as fast as the knees would let me!

    If you go to the 1st link Chiefio includes and change the data map to 1951 to 2009, look at what the map looks like then! Have they been listening to Chiefio and changed the data inputs or —–??????

  100. philwynk says:

    Did you make an error? I notice in your UPDATE that you report the baseline of the comparison map as “1981-1990.” When I enlarge the map itself, it lists the baseline as “1881-1990.” Which is the correct starting year, 1881 or 1981?

    Just curious.

    REPLY: [ Yup, that’s a typo. I said “1981-1990” but also “all but the most recent 10 years” that would be 1881-1990. Fingers just not wanting to type that 18… Just for grins, and in case anyone had thought the other chart WAS the 1981 start date, I’m putting that one in too. Not much of a difference, but it does show the recent cooling a bit more. Couple of touches of purple more here and there. -E.M.Smith ]

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  104. Mike Rankin says:

    E. M.,

    I made a brief search using Google to look for weather station records for Madagascar re the WUWT posting by vjones. The site I found shows climate records for Bolivia up to the present. What comes up are daily records. Nothing about adjustments. You might look and see if you can use the data. I have not figured out who maintains the site, quality control, etc.. Is this some significant find?

  105. STBro says:

    >” There has not been any thermometer data for Bolivia in GHCN since 1990. … None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. Empty Set. … So just how can it be so Hot Hot Hot! in Bolivia if there is NO data from the last 20 years? … Easy. GIStemp “makes it up” …”

    It is far worse than trying to extrapolate conditions for a Bolivia which has no reporting weather stations. It is a case of intentional exclusion of data. Look at the number of weather stations in Bolivia:

    There are forty weather stations in Bolivia providing data to the web. Perhaps the Bolivia Effect tells us more about the lower forms of human consciousness than about Planetary Climate distributions. The greatest increases in trends reported by some modelers coincide with the greatest decreases in reporting weather stations in their databases. It is not as much a case of global warming as it is as a case of global disinformation.

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  108. On “missing” Arctic Canadian data:

    In addition to Eureka, the Canadian Arctic has the following stations north of 65N listed with up-to-date data in GISS:

    Resolute, 74.7 N
    Clyde, 68.5 N
    Hall Beach, 68.8 N
    Cambridge Bay, 69.1 N
    Inuvik, 68.3 N
    Norman Wells, 65.3 N
    Coppermine, 67.8 N

    I believe the Yukon Territory does have to make do with Dawson, at 64N, as its most northerly GHCN station. But then the northern “panhandle” of the YT is fairly narrow anyway, and relatively close to Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik in the NWT.

    Oh, and BTW, the Wikipedia article quoted for the “garden spot of the Arctic” comment also had this to say about Eureka:

    “Eureka has the lowest average annual temperature and least precipitation of any weather station in Canada.”

    I presume this additional information will prove useful.

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