July 3 2019

We are in the middle of a heat wave, but it has not been historic. If anything, we had a late start to the heat this year and now more or less what is expected in summer. But the temperatures that were reported at Baltimore’s BWI Marshall Airport have been warmer than the surroundings. This was spotted and questioned last week by my friend, Meteorologist Howard Bernstein who works at WUSA in Washington DC.


Temperatures Running Too Hot?

These numbers were hotter than average, but consistently warmer than those reported at Washington’s National Airport


This morning, Howard had a follow up from The National Weather Service:



So it appears ‘cement dust’ was on the sensor. It was cleaned and the calibrated. But it is acceptable of the data to be up to 2.5ºF off?  In the era of questioning the climate and highlighting warming, I agree with Howard that is ‘huge’, or too much to be allowed.

I asked this follow up:


Background For Questioning Data Recording

During the first of our two blizzards in February 2010, BWI was about to break the all time daily snow fall record. On Feb 6th the reporting stopped with a few additional hours of accumulating snowfall. The snowfall was lowered after the event with no public explanation. I questioned NWS about this. They said they found that the observations at BWI were made by FAA guidelines since the NWS observer was removed in 2000 during budget cuts. The FAA snow measurements are more frequent than NWS/NOAA guidelines which could result in higher totals during heavy storm events.

Despite the fact that an NWS employee reported over 30″ of snow at his home a few miles away in Catonsville, the BWI snow total was lowered to 24.8″.

NWS then retroactively lowered the snowfall for storms dating back to 2000. They said they used an algorithm to make the adjustment.

So I think it’s fair to ask if the temperatures will be lowered in our present situation. June was trending below average but the end of month heat wave put the month over the above average mark. Perhaps an accurate temperature reading would not have done that?

This is not the first time a weather station has been question or found to have data that was skewed. I was among a few meteorologists that question the weather station a few years ago. It is located between two runways rather than in an open unobstructed field.

The weather station at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is also not compliant with NOAA Guidelines. It is next to the Maryland Science Center blocking wind mixing. There is not wind measurement and that alone should make this unofficial and should not be on hourly reports. There are also trees growing around the station AND a car port with solar panels (that generate heat) is located less than 50 yards to the south.  These are factors that would skew the temperature data too warm even in an urban heat island environment.

An audit of weather stations was conducted by SurfaceStations.org  This was last updated in 2012, but at the time the majority of weather stations in the US were found to have questionable data with many not complying with NOAA guidelines (next to pavement, adjacent to building vents, or too close to buildings or trees).


Note: Howard Bernstein is a meteorologist that has reported and supported human influenced climate change. The questions raised should not be confused as political, but rather an effort to maintain scientific integrity for data collection and record keeping.

What are your thoughts?


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