Report By Samuel Wilson/The Daily Inter Lake
Online?? —?? “A climate researcher at Montana State University has found that high-elevation warming trends over the past two decades in the Western United States are likely less severe than previously reported.
“Jared Oyler blamed inaccurate temperature sensors installed in more than 700 weather stations in the Snowpack Telemetry station network, also known as SNOTEL.
“The network monitors a range of data used to measure snowpack and generate models and forecasts for water resource management.”
???It looks like the new sensor they put in is truly biased; in other words, when it???s freezing the sensor is actually reading about 1.5 degrees Celsius,??? he said. ???That???s a large amount [of error] when you???re looking at understanding snowpack melt dynamics.???
It’s also a very large error since these data points are included in some of the NCDC databases as data sources on climatic conditions in the NW USA.
Time and some further work will tell what impact, if any, this has in biasing the results for parts of the USA temperature histories. But it does point out that flaws can exist even in big data collection resources that appear to be perfect.
We all know that it is a major ongoing effort to maintain and update?? sensors in networks of any size, and usually the larger the more difficult it is. Even worse, like many things run in a bureaucracy, there are always pressures to keep costs low and “make do” when budgets are tight.
Meanwhile, to learn more visit the SNOTEL webpage at http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/.
For More Information
For more information, contact the NRCS State Office in any of the western states or:
Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program Manager
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1201 NE Lloyd Blvd Suite 802
Portland, Oregon 97232 USA