Seismographs, earthquakes, surface temperature stations, and lemonade

Does technology create disaster? No, but why don’t climate statisticians have heartburn?

Paul Kedrosky crunches the numbers and finds that there were less than 3,000 seismographs deployed in 1932, and more than 23,000 in 2007. His conclusion:

Combine the preceding with the fact that the number of seismographs worldwide grew from under 350 to over 4,000 during the same period — an 11-fold increase — and you have all the proof any sober-minded person could need: Seismographs cause earthquakes.

Of course, there’s some humor in that. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as funny when it comes to surface stations and temperature warming.

I recently read a study on western rivers and trout (.pdf) stating in no uncertain terms that regional temperatures over the last decade were significantly higher that 20th century averages. I love western rivers and I love trout – plainly and simply, if they didn’t exist I probably wouldn’t live where I live. But I’ve just got to ask…

How does the number of surface temperature stations deployed by or on behalf of the United States Historical Climatology Network over the same period effect that data? And, how does the apparently woeful condition and sometimes absurd positioning of those stations play into the mix? According to an independent, volunteer organized survey of those stations (which, by the way, has covered roughly 44% of all existing stations so far), the data could be “toast”.

LIke I said – not a laughing matter.

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