If you care about the future of this planet, you might want to find out for yourself how surface temperatures are being measured. Some urban areas are getting much hotter over the last 100 years while nearby rural areas are showing almost flat temperature trends over the same time.
There are several networks of MMTS temperature monitoring stations (Maximum/Minimum Temperature Systems) and they were originally set up so that the stations would provide stable measurements for many years and would not be affected by nearby civilization with its heat sources. The criteria for establishing these stations can be found here.
This is what a MMTS station should look like: rural, not urban, and with no artificial sources of heat.
Unfortunately, civilization has encroached upon these once rural stations and too many of these stations now look like this one:
Tahoe City, CA (burn barrel, close by parking, tennis court surface 25 feet away built in early 1980's). These urban MMTS stations all have uptrending temperature graphs and have local heat sources that skew the results.
The current analysis uses surface air temperatures measurements from several networks:
USHCN = US Historical Climate Network (NOAA)
SCAR = Scientific Committee on Arctic Research
Here is the graph that James Hansen and Al Gore believe is correct although I believe it is based on data from networks that do not seem to be properly audited:
In his most recent mailing James Hansen summarizes NASA's prediction about global temperatures in the near future:.
Could there be sources of errors that are being overlooked? A growing number of scientists and lay people think so.
In 1999, a U.S. National Research Council panel was commissioned to study the state of the U.S. climate observing systems and issued a report entitled: “Adequacy of Climate Observing Systems. National Academy Press”.
Here is the money quote:
The panel was chaired by Dr. Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Center, and Dr. James Hansen, lead climate researcher at NASA GISS. That panel concluded that the ability to monitor the global climate was inadequate and deteriorating. Yet, ten years later, even the most basic beginning of a recovery program has not been started.
There are volunteers who are taking responsibility for this and they are surveying the stations in the USHCN network. This what they have discovered so far:
(Making them useless as a source of accurate temperature data.)
69% of the USHCN stations used for the climate surface temperature record were surveyed by teams of volunteers and were found to be much like this:
Marysville, CA (close by parking, air conditioners blowing exhaust near
MMTS temp sensor, BBQ used by firefighters, cell phone tower base)
More photos: http://gallery.surfacestations.org/main.php?g2_itemId=1493
Other odd sites: http://www.surfacestations.org/odd_sites.htm
Anthony Watts of IntelliWeather has created a project surfacestations.org to do a hands-on site survey to photograph and document all 1221 USHCN climate stations in the USA.
You can be a part of the action and help with site surveys and photographs of the remaining stations to see if they conform to the standards originally established by NOAA . If you would like a piece of the action, visit surfacestations.org and sign up to survey the climate measuring stations near you.