SEARCH BLOG: WEATHER
There may be more to this story. We'll give NCDC a chance to respond.
I was going through the 2009 records at the National Climatic Data Center and noticed that there were no new all-time low monthly records set during January 2009. That seemed curious to me because I recalled reading this:
By Giselle Goodman, Maine Portland Press Herald - Maine Today
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey and Maine State Climate Office announced today that a minus-50 reading in northwestern Maine held up to scientific scrutiny. That beats Maine’s old record of 48 below zero set in 1925 in Van Buren, and ties the record for coldest temperature recorded in New England. That reading was made in 1933 in Bloomfield, Vt.
The record on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington is minus -47. Maine’s minus-50 reading was made on Jan. 16 at a remote site along the Big Black River near the Quebec border as the region was in the grip of a blast of arctic air.
By the way after a thaw this week, cold air will return starting Friday to the nation. Watch for lots of cold and snow probably the rest of the month.
See story here. Don’t expect it to receive a lot of national media coverage.So I checked back to some older NCDC news and found this as part of the January 2009 NCDC overview:
Several minimum temperature records were set this month (see below), including a pending new state record minimum of -50°F (-45.3°C) recorded on the 16th at Big Black River, ME.Apparently that confirmed record may have been tossed along with another one in Illinois which was disallowed because it wasn't an "official" site, but had been calibrated the day before.
I've written to the NCDC for some clarification. The first quarter reporting seems to be missing data from thousands of stations, so it is possible that the Maine station data wasn't added in. There are about 185K to 190K stations reporting each month. Last January had about 150K, February dropped way down to about half of normal at 92K, and March was up to 148K. April showed a recovery to 177K and by May the full complement of around 190K stations were reporting... or included in the reports.
Of course, you all remember how cold last winter was... don't you? Well, I don't have the data, but it was. When an organization is dealing with as much data as is generated for the U.S. weather... much less global weather... it is reasonable to expect occasional glitches. I have no indication that there is any "East Anglia-ing" with the data. This seems to be a systemic problem for a period of months. But it should be corrected if possible.
By the way, it also appears that the October and November 2009 monthly all-time record high temperature data may have an issue. There were exactly the same number of reporting stations... 186,578... for both months. While that may seem reasonable, it is generally not the rule with the NCDC records which usually vary by a few thousand each month. It seems more likely that October records may have been input for November as well which could certainly overstate temperatures.
Odd, but I seem to recall another distraction around the end of November or early December when these records were run.
I'll let you know what the NCDC response is when I get it.