Degrees matter

To the News Enterprise:

Readers aware that Indian Lake Dam (elev. 1660’) notched 103F on July 2, 102 the next day and 102 again on the Fourth...back in 1911...must have found mystifying that with just “three 90-degree days in a row” Paul Little’s Riparius site had the “warmest on record” July this year. The listed Riparius elevation of 876’ implies that if Paul’s site, like Indian Lake Dam, is by a big body of water, then its denser air (vs. Indian Lake) would, in 1911, have reached ~109, 108 and 108F (as physics hikes readings ~2F for every ~300’ elevation drop, and v.v.). Riparius sites away from big water would thus have been hotter still. Oddly, for that reason, the hottest New York State temperature which officials recognize is a mere 108F, set July 22, 1926 in Troy...at just 35’ above mean sea level!

For still more perspective, contrast Paul’s 47F low this July vs. Saranac’s 33 (which smashed their 1953 mark of 36 for July 25th). Saranac’s 1,600’ elevation can’t explain more than ~3 of that 47-vs.-33 spread. Further, even my 2000’ Indian Lake ridge-top hit 46 that morning: Unless it’s windy, we’re always warmer than surrounding valleys, since air gets heavier as it cools and naturally drains into those valleys.

Little’s readings, too, would be skewed upward, if he happens to be on terrain higher than his neighbors’. Ditto, if he uses an HO-83 hygrothermometer, known to have a warm bias of 0.9-1.3F, as well-known professional meteorologist blogger Watts has shown (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/10/inside-the-asos-ho83-tempdewpoint-sensor/). Also unhelpful is his short observation track: He notes 1987 & ‘88 as the previous “record”-warm Julies.

To see what data corruption can do, look at Tucson, AZ, where in June 1990 a malfunctioning HO83 fabricated dozens of new highs for the city, while surrounding areas registered no extremes. That fraud the New York Times acknowledged in 1991 (see http://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/18/us/in-tucson-it-s-not-the-heat-it-s-the-thermometers.html). Sadly, the National Weather Service kept the bogus records in the “official” annals, including the phantom 117F all-time high. The American Meteorological Society, alas, seems to be collaborating, no longer sharing a research paper by Kessler et al. that outlined data corruption also in Albany (again http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/10/inside-the-asos-ho83-tempdewpoint-sensor/).

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