I thought it would be useful to look at and show some of the problems with UK climatic weather sites. A primary one is WMO 003377, located at RAF Waddington.
Figure 1 shows the new Google facility for different image dates. I’ve left the date selector slider in view, top left.
The yellow “pin” is pointing at the met enclosure. There is obvious construction work going on which became tarmac.
- top 2001
- centre 2005
- bottom 2007
From the RAF web page
“RAF Waddington – Met Office
The Met Office, situated within RAF Waddington, plays a vital role within our organisation.
The Met Office is a world-leading provider of environmental and weather-related services in the UK and around the world. It operates 24/7, 365 days of the year, providing a weather-warning service for the UK and – via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – for UK citizens abroad. The Met Office’s Hadley Centre is at the forefront of international climate research.
The Met Office’s role, within RAF Waddington, is to understand the science behind the weather and the environment; and so to provide forecasts and information which allow the integral components on station to make informed decisions about how best to capitalise on, adapt to, or mitigate the impacts of weather and climate change”
The Met Office doesn’t provide (and probably doesn’t know) the exact co-ordinates of their enclosures so it is necessary to play hunt the thimble. For these particular sites with the additional problem of restricted military areas. To the best of my knowledge this is the met enclosure. A search of the later image shows no new enclosure so I assume this remains in use. A twist comes later, ridiculous data.
Overseas readers should note the UK Met Office are part of the Ministry of Defence, although the dislike of this by ministers tends to leak. Fundamentally the weather service is only there for the military and is much the same as Air Traffic Control which uses shared services, common computers for obvious practical reasons (each needs to know the location of all flights, shared airspace), but separate operators.
There is nothing wrong with locating expensive equipment is areas where vandalism etc. isn’t going to happen yet the other side of the coin is a lack of public scrutiny, daylight to keep things honest.
Just to the north is the city of Lincoln (nice page done by the university), fairly flat, North Sea is not so far to the east. Quilt of farming.
Yellow marker on the met enclosure. Prevailing wind in the UK is from the south west, with small town grown up that way. Effective heating of buildings only came during the 1970s, 80s.
This looks a typical Met Office enclosure co-ordinates 53.175364 -0.523324
(no easy way to give a direct link here, copy and paste should work, GE, various browser maps)
Traditionally, this started as a aerodrome during WWII, the enclosures were close to Ops, control tower, an easy walk for whoever was on duty. In this case it is a highly developed site, the control tower has been relocated to the centre. Met site is an AWS, power and comms probably along the concrete covered conduit, all standard stuff. The instruments can be taken as pretty good today but historically that is a whole different matter. The Met Office moved onto remote linked during the 1980s, early 90s and this often shows in the data as a change in character. (and in fingerprinting, not exact science)
I recall showing some history of Waddington but perhaps on a different web site. Found some air shots from way back.
Briefly, WWII, then very active in several major guises including a base for nuclear armed V-bombers during the cold war. Victor, Vulcan, etc. A static display Vulcan can be seen on the other side of the airfield. May as well say it, various munitions shelters are present. (see much the same near Jerusalem) Dotted around are also the usual older dispersal emplacements, makes it harder for an enemy to take out aircraft on the ground.
No history of runway, apron or building development seems to exist… of course not. Fairly obviously this has been piecemeal, including extensions of runways and aprons.
Almost certainly the met enclosure will have been relocated, hopefully done properly with bridging but the Met Office are coy about this stuff. I am certain that for some airfield sites this is not true and similarly moves have not been done. There are rational explanations
For those interested, wartime memories.
Just missed the 2012 international airshow. There is a photo gallery…
Found a picture on disk here. Image from 1945
Back to business.
An objective here is seeing whether a change close to an enclosure shows in the data. In this case I suspect not.
As an international climatic station it ought to be in GCHCN and it is.
I have older monthly data, daily? I checked, datafile exists.
Best by ftp, anonymous is fine.
ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov off here /pub/data/ghcn/daily
Specific file ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/daily/all/UK000003377.dly
I grabbed and had a quick look, nice, 1949 through recent 2012, however, experience tells me to beware chickens. Data is often in a mess.
Comprises lines for a month, precip, tmin, tmax and other stuff.
Got a decode. On first look ???
A couple months of tmax is missing 1973, which makes no sense with tmin present. ghcn at it again.
Look at the end, huh? Eyeball raw data, this turns out to be an unholy mess.
6th June 2001 through 30th June 2001 missing and all that follows is a mess of missing data and corrupt data. Such as zeros marked as good.
Also, the data source is random, marked as European source or estimate. Basically is a complete screwup.
This needs reporting but in my experience it is pointless. ghcn is notoriously poor yet the UK Met Office can’t have checked their own data is being published correctly either.
Typical, my decode
y, m, d, tmin, tmax, tmean
2011 6 28 na na na
2011 6 29 8.8 18.5 13.65
2011 6 30 8.7 18.5 13.6
2011 7 1 na 20.6 na
2011 7 2 na 21.3 na
2011 7 3 9.6 24.4 17
2011 7 4 12.7 24 18.35
2011 7 5 11.2 25.1 18.15
2011 7 6 12.7 20.4 16.55
2011 7 7 na 21 na
2011 7 8 11 na na
2011 7 9 10.8 22 16.4
2011 7 10 11.9 na na
2011 7 11 11.7 21.2 16.45
Monthly? Data is there GHCN V1 V2 and V3 but I haven’t coded up a decode for V3 and it takes time anyway doing V2.
I have the Met Office 2010 data release on file. Monthly 1951 through end 2009 with no missing data.
Figure 6 is filtered @ 2 years giving valid annual. Nothing showing 2001.
[UPDATE 2nd August]
Writing articles like this one take a lot of time and effort because they are based on new work. I knew I had datafiles for this station which I have now extracted from the archives here.
These are monthly data only. Several surprises coming.
Nothing surprising in GHCN-V1
You have never seen this before although this particular data is of no interest as such. A database was part of foia 2009. I am far more interested in information than social tittle tattle of emails words. There is a temperature database in there and I decoded it. A little later I told Warwick Hughes and he declared it was the missing Jones database.
The database is highly significant and remains only trial explored. Some interesting edits were found (not sinister) but perhaps most critically the easily overlooked Fortran style mask layer, which was found to be in a surprising state.
I’ll skip GHCN-V2 for the moment which is highly interesting and talk about the Met Office version first which is Figure 5 & 6 above. If you actually look at their released data you will find a mystery.
Here is my decode and headings. Notice YearJones.
The Jones column is mentioned in the notes as ignore, internal use.
It actually pretty much links back into the foia database, or more likely a later version of it, a database which apparently does not exist. You’d have to look to see what I mean. So far as I can tell the only meaning is a commonality between Met Office / Hadley / CRU with current data, they are not independent.
Moving on to GHCN-V2
V2 is the better data because it is more honest, it suggests changes in data by month gaps but very critically it separates WMO suffix stations, which are often in very different locations. In this case it reveals there is suffix 000 and 001. (usually 000 is the master station).
What we see here is a change major enough to warrant data bridging, running old and new stations in parallel. I am very nervous of these, especially perfect matches, sorry, doesn’t happen.
Two possibilities come to mind
- There was a station move to the new location
- The Met Office switched from mercury to AWS
Notice too there is a data break 2001, yet the Met Office data shows no gap. Did they make it up? If they have data why didn’t they distribute it to NOAA etc? Gaps, breaks, changes are very important as markers, warnings.
GHCN-V3 is much smaller, they have hidden suffix stations. Some are even at different altitudes! (lapse rate)
Here is experimental dataset fingerprinting where the general technique has uncovered station problems before. As such it means little but points at where to look for trouble. An ideal dataset would show three straight lines except A which will wobble regularly with the weather.
I conclude that nothing is showing in monthly data to do with the 2001 change.
There are likely to be serious problems circa 1964/5 and 1986/7
It wasn’t the winter of 1963 extreme as it was, doesn’t show. What happened?
The 1980s matter seems to have an obvious answer, regardless of bridging there really was a change in the data. This seems to co-incide with a near step in the longer term. I am very suspicious of these dataset butt joins and faking up, another name for homogenising.
What the heck is going on here? All the later data is different from GHCN-V1. This is direct evidence of data change.
And that is all I know so far.
[/UPDATE 2nd August]
Not provided any data, ask if you want.
Any suggestions on where to go from here or help offered? I suspect this is one to drop.
Posted by co-moderator