NOAA UHI Adjustments Are A Farce

Summer nighttime temperatures in Fort Collins, Colorado have increased more than three degrees F over the past sixty years.


Boulder is locate 40 miles away, at the same elevation and very similar geography. Yet Boulder has seen the opposite trend. Summer nights have cooled nearly four degrees F.



There is a seven degree discrepancy in trend between the two stations. The next graph overlays the two at the same scale. Nights in Boulder used to be much warmer than Fort Collins, but now they are cooler.


The Fort Collins weather station started out in a farm, and is now in the middle of a very busy parking lot and bus terminal.

In 1937, the station was located in the middle of a farm.

By 1950, the area was starting to get built up.

By 1969, the city had surrounded the weather station.

Now it is in the middle of a parking lot in the middle of a large urban area, which has tripled in size over the past 60 years.

ScreenHunter_619 Sep. 16 08.24

 Fort Collins has a major UHI problem. So how does NOAA handle it? They deduct less than one degree F, when they probably should be deducting closer to 7F.


NOAA adjustments are a farce. They massively over adjust for TOBS, and massively under adjust for UHI – thus corrupting the temperature record beyond comprehension.  But it gets worse. Rather than correcting the broken Fort Collins temperatures, they massively corrupt the Boulder temperatures.


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65 Responses to NOAA UHI Adjustments Are A Farce

  1. dave andrews says:

    Why was there such a difference between the two in the 50’s?

    • tonyheller says:

      Fort Collins gets cold air spilling across from Wyoming.

      • Lived_in_Denver says:

        Been there, experienced THAT! IN fact, Ft. Collins gets it right in the face when an “Alberta Clipper” (a cold, windy blizzard from the north) heads south through Wyoming.

      • Philip Shehan says:

        The fact that the fort Collins adjustment is smaller than what is claimed to be expected from UHI ignores the fact that adjustments and are made to take into account a number of factors, do do with changes in instrumentation, changes of the site or around the site changes in time of day that measurements may be taken and human factors with different individuals recording measurements over time etc.

        Jennifer Marohasy spent much time and effort pointing to apparently anomalous drops in temperatures at Rutherglen and Deniliquin in Aistralia. Then she discovered that the drops concided wiht the opening of a local irrigation scheme.

        In the case of Fort Collins, construction of the nearby Horsetooth reservoir (see google maps) began in 1949. Also just to the south of the trees shown in the image of the weather sttion is a lagoon. These features could easily partially offset effects of warming by buildup around the station.

        Out of the hundreds of weather stations involved in building up a national adjustment chart, some apparently anomalous sites can always be found.

        You need to examine why such anomalies may occur.

        They do not mean that the continent wide temperature adjustment process is flawed.

        In the case of Australia, while skeptics complain about the adjustment homogenisation process, there is in fact very little differnce between the raw and adjusted data, especially after 1950.

  2. AndyG55 says:


    How has the Boulder station changed during that time?

  3. That example of Fort Collins and Boulder as a comparison is really telling. The causes for the increase in temperature are obvious and none of them are CO2.

  4. Charles Higley says:

    It’s a simple plan, really. Don’t fix what’s broken, but break what’s not broken.

  5. Ben Vorlich says:

    UK Weather Girls on TV and Radio know about UHI. They always say several degrees (Centigrade) different in the countryside and even more in remote Scottish glens during anti-cyclonic weather.

  6. Duke Silver says:

    Oh, no – those adjustments make the numbers super-reliable. So, reliable, in fact, we can now take political action based on changes of .02 degrees. /s

    Ya, it’s the standard ‘measure with a micrometer and cut with an axe’ but in reverse. Measure with an eyeball and cut with a laser. Then massage the data with a sledge-hammer when it doesn’t fit.

  7. Chad Wozniak says:

    The NOAA and NASA “adjustments” to temperature data aren’t merely a farce – they’re the crimes of fraud and of destroying government property. The responsible individuals should be prosecuted.

  8. Bob G. says:

    I live in St Cloud, MN. We have temp records going way back. The most recent 25 years was actually 0ne tenth of a degree colder than 1900 – 1924. I have alerted the news media to this fact and have gotten nothing but silence. At the same time, the past 100 years, our c02 level has risen 33%, and no temp change.. Still waiting for the Greenhouse…..

  9. John says:

    Concerning the measured vs adjusted temps for Boulder, I went through all the hard data from 1879 to March 2016 and I found that there was only 2 measurements of 100/+ degrees Fahrenheit from 1897-1947, but 14 measurements of 100/+ degrees Fahrenheit from 1947-1954, but then again only 12 measurements of 100/+ from 1954-2016. Could the 1947-1954 anomaly be reason enough to explain such a discrepancy in measured vs adjusted? Perhaps during this period the hard data was being recorded incorrectly?

    • John says:

      Sorry the initial record should be 1879-1947 of which there was only 2 recordings of 100/+ degrees Fahrenheit recorded.

      • David A says:

        You need to rewrite your entire communication, as it does not make sense. What are you saying about the raw boulder reports.

        There is no sudden change in either station, but a gradual warming in Fort Collins, and a gradual cooling in boulder.

        Below you bring Colorado springs into the equation, and still are not clear.

        • John says:

          Shessh it is plan as day.
          Boulder raw data temps

          2 temps of 100 degrees or more Fahrenheit between 1879-1947
          14 temps of 100 degrees or more Fahrenheit between 1947-1954
          12 temps of 100 degrees or more Fahrenheit between 1954-2016

          If you don’t find this strange then I can no longer help you.

  10. John says:

    So I decided to do a little investigation and this is what I came up with.

    I took July 1947 max temps and min temps for each day and added them together to get 4774.85, which I divided by 62 to give me an average of 77.01 Fahrenheit, or 25.00 Celsius.

    I then used the raw data compiled by Berkeley Earth from Colorado Springs which is 97.2 miles (156k’s) away from Boulder to compare average temps and the results are very interesting indeed. So the average temp for the month of July 1947 in Colorado Springs was 21.233.

    Now Berkeley uses raw data from one or more data sets and it does provide an adjusted data set that may have been impacted because of biases and that measurement was 21.239. Now the best thing about Berkeley Earth is that it also looks at the regional temperature expectation and it does this through combining multiple weather station readings and that measurement was 21.577. The link is below because I know you will want to clarify my results and they are 100% accurate as I triple checked them.

    So in conclusion the average temp using raw data from Boulder for the month of July 1947 was 25.00, but just 156k’s down the road the average temp using raw data from Colorado Springs for the month of July 1974 was 21.33.

  11. John says:

    Now to just be fair I did the exact same thing using raw data from July 2012 and I got –

    Boulder – 23.77
    Colorado Springs – 24.10 and with adjusted due to biases it was 23.51 and the regional temp was 24.46

    Seems to me that something went amiss in those early recordings to get a 4 degree difference.

  12. John says:

    Oh one more thing, the average temp for July 1947 in Fort Collins was 21.05. Now when that is compared with Colorado Springs of 21.233 they seem extremely similar. So how can Boulder have an average of 25? Seems to me that either A. the instrument was faulty, or B. we had inaccurate readings and recordings from human error.

    • AndyG55 says:

      or weather patterns changed.

      • John says:

        Within 150k’s the weather was over 4 degrees in difference? Don’t think so. Check the hard data and you will see that NOAA has done the correct thing here by matching Fort Collins.

        • AndyG55 says:

          No they haven’t, that have changed the original data on nothing more than a supposition…. end of story

          • David A says:

            Mountain weather conditions change regularly, even at the same elevation. Micro climate issues all over, with some areas in a drive I do regularly consistently cooler at 5100 and 1 to 2 degrees warmer at about 5500 a couple of miles away.

    • David A says:

      The Boulder chart starts in the mid 1950s, what does 1947 have to do with this post. You claim that Boulder was way to high in 1947? The decline in Boulder T was rock steady until the mid 1970s. You are merely speculating of a systematic error in recording for a long duration.

      All these changes should NEVER be generic algorithms based on surrounding stations, but be specific and based on each station sighting history and careful examination of the known facts in each. (And tested by experiment when possible) True, the Boulder cooling over a long period should be explained as well, but that matches the strong NH cooling we had during that time period.

      The cool Fort Collins may well be …

      Fort Collins gets cold air spilling across from Wyoming.


      Lived_in_Denver says:

      May 22, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Been there, experienced THAT! IN fact, Ft. Collins gets it right in the face when an “Alberta Clipper” (a cold, windy blizzard from the north) heads south through Wyoming.

  13. John says:

    To make it really clear I did pulled the map of Fort Collins, Boulder and Colorado Springs and plotted the average temp for the month of July.

    This image corresponds to July 1947

  14. John says:

    And this is July 2012

    As we can clearly see there is no significant difference in the RAW temps between the 3 measuring stations. As I said before I think there may have been some anomaly that caused such crazy readings in Boulder during that time span and I am okay with NOAA adjusting the temps to match Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.

    • AndyG55 says:

      ” I think there may have been some anomaly”

      …. so you THINK there MAY HAVE BEEN…

      Real sciency… NOT !!!

      • John says:

        Well obviously I can’t go back to July 1947, so I can only put forth a theory as to why the temps were so conflicting. If you look at the data I have presented objectively you will come to the same conclusion. But somehow I don’t think you will.

        • AndyG55 says:

          You have ZERO proof.

          What you do is NOT science.. its FUDGING and speculating.

          It could just as easily be that the Fort Collins and Colorado Springs are both significantly affected by UHI, and there has been an overall cooling trend.

          Until you KNOW.. DO NOT ADJUST…

          That is FRAUD.

    • David A says:

      The UHI potential from the photos in Fort Collins are very clear.

      • John says:

        No UHI problems in 1947

        • AndyG55 says:

          Again, you assume that Bolder is not naturally warmer than the other two places. I know places around here that are just as close and yet regularly differ by well more than a couple of degrees.

          Could be a natural cooling trend and Fort Collins and Colorado springs have remained the same due to UHI effect since.

          You CANNOT just make unproven assumptions unless you are an anti-science “climate data adjuster”.

          • John says:

            From 1947 until 1970, the official observations of weather in Boulder were made under the direction of the Boulder fire chief, at the central fire station. The Boulder Fire Department also maintained a weather station at the South Side Fire Station starting in July 1958. Prior to 1947, observations were made from the homes of volunteering citizens of Boulder. (Cf. station history in BHS 351 b1 f6.).
            From the description of Voluntary oberserver’s meteorological record, Boulder, Colo. ledgers 1917-1975. (Boulder Public Library). WorldCat record id: 427276002
            Established in the Department of Agriculture by an act of October 1, 1890 (26 Stat. 653). The Weather Bureau provided basic weather service in support of federal agencies and the general public, including weather forecasting and collecting, and disseminating temperature, rainfall, and climatic data for the United States. The Bureau was abolished By Department of Commerce Organization Order 25-5A, effective October 9, 1970. Successor agencies include: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. National Archives Guide to Federal Records – Records of the Weather Bureau (Retrieved May 4, 2009)
            From the description of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau records, 1891-1981. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 320129175
            According to the station history appended to this article, ” the first recorded weather observations for Boulder were made for several months in 1893 to 1895.” Records are for the most part complete since 1897. Observation stations were located in the western part of the city until 1912, near the University of Colorado campus until 1936, and on campus until 1947. Since 1947, observations were made by the Boulder Fire Dept., under the direction of the Fire Chief.
            From the description of Climatological summary: Boulder, Colorado, 1931-1960 [ca. 1961]. (Boulder Public Library). WorldCat record id: 427275741
            According to the station history in folder 6, Boulder weather observations were made from the roof of the old Central Fire Station at the western edge of the main business district from 1947 until 1958, when they were taken on the grounds of the new Central Fire Station north of the business district. The Boulder Fire Department also maintained a weather station at the South Side Fire Station since July 1958.
            From the description of Boulder (Colo.) annual climatological summary tables 1958- 1965. (Boulder Public Library). WorldCat record id: 427275796
            According to the station history in folder 6, starting in 1958 the official observations of weather in Boulder were made under the direction of the fire chief on the grounds of the new Central Fire Station north of the business district. The Boulder Fire Department also maintained a weather station at the South Side Fire Station starting July 1958. Responsible fire chiefs were F. J. Johnson (1956-Nov. 1960) and George Morse (Dec. 1960- Aug. 1965).
            Observations were taken by the following fire chiefs after Aug. 1965: R. K. McCutcheon (Oct. 1965-May 1966), Kenneth J. Nicholas (June 1966-Nov. 1969), and P. J. Ringleman (Jan.-Mar. 1970).
            From the description of Boulder (Colo.) record of climatological observations tables 1958-1970. (Boulder Public Library). WorldCat record id: 427275804

          • AndyG55 says:

            So.. Fire chiefs don’t know how to take temperatures… roflmao.

            Keep digging John

            In way over your head at the moment ! :-)

    • David A says:

      The decline in Boulder is very steady for decades. By 1968 (still 1.5 C warmer then Fort Collins) they had only dropped about 50 percent of their eventual drop by the mid 1970s. There was no step change! You are purely speculating.

      • John says:

        Give me a week and I will go through all the raw data for Fort Collins, Boulder and Colorado Springs from 1879-2016 just so I can prove a point to you.

        • AndyG55 says:

          The data will not tell you anything unless you look at the sites and how they have changed….

          … as Tony has done with Fort Collins…… showing large urban effects.

        • AndyG55 says:

          Maybe Colorado Springs weather station got moved to the airport ;-)

        • Arsten says:

          Before you go analyzing this detail, you need to realize several things:

          First, temperatures are watched in anomalies because that is the only way you can compare locations. If there was a problem with the equipment, the equipment would have a consistent error – e.g. always +2 degrees or something. There is no step change in the data presented on Boulder, above, which leads me to believe that the equipment was taken care of and calibrated to an external source.

          Second, the Boulder temperature apparatus isn’t in some field, it’s been maintained by UC Boulder. This is where a lot of the Colorado climate announcements come from. I have doubts that they have been mishandling the recording, but I’m always open to any evidence you may have.

          Third, Boulder’s incorporated area is primarily in a crested valley that buffers against cold air from the north. It tends to be a few degrees F warmer in most cases. For instance, right now it is 57.5 F where I am and 62.2 F in Boulder CO. I am about 50km from Boulder, which is 1/3rd of the distance you say is too short to be that different, temperature-wise. (I am also within 10m of elevation.)

          So, the fact that now the records say that there is little difference between Ft Collins, Colorado Springs, and Boulder is good reason to be suspicious that the Boulder readings are being maladjusted. Mountain climate is no joke.

        • Colorado Wellington says:

          … I will go through all the raw data for Fort Collins, Boulder and Colorado Springs from 1879-2016 just so I can prove a point to you.

          John, do you already know what point you will prove after you go through the data?

          • John says:

            I have a hunch that the data will prove my hypothesis right. If I am wrong the data will show that too.

        • Colorado Wellington says:


          I am always wary of the things I don’t know that I don’t know.

          We must examine the raw data but there’s also metadata.

          Have you ever heard of the prevalence of Chinook-type winds in Boulder versus Bora-type winds in Fort Collins?

          I’ve lived through them for decades.

          • John says:

            Wind chill index is very misleading and confuses a lot of people. For example pull up your sleeve and blow on your arm – it gets colder right, but has the air temp dropped at all in the room? Well of course not. Wind removes energy from a surface. Quite complex and not many people understand it.

          • Colorado Wellington says:

            You see, John, this is the danger I am talking about. Chinook and Bora air temperatures have nothing to do with wind-chill.

          • John says:

            Please tell me as I am very interested and it looks like I am obviously way off the mark.

          • Colorado Wellington says:

            It’s late and I don’t have the time to check the source but this looks like a place to start:


          • John says:

            Thanks I will check it out. Do you have anything on Colorado Springs?

            Also how often do you get these winds in Boulder and Fort Collins? Year round or just in certain seasons?

          • AndyG55 says:

            “Wind removes energy from a surface. Quite complex and not many people understand it.”

            Seems you are one of those people who doesn’t understand.

            Hole is now well over your head…..

            hint…. stop digging !!!

  15. AndyG55 says:


    The prevailing winds in Ft Collins and Colorado Springs are from the north all year round. Both have significant urban development to the north of their weather stations.

    However, the prevailing winds in Boulder are from the west in winter, and since the weather station is on the western side of Boulder, (checked on GoogleEarth) and this western side is still totally exposed to those NATURAL prevailing winds off the mountains.

    The differences are to do with prevailing winds and the effect of urban growth on those winds.

    END OF STORY !!!

    • John says:

      hahahahaha so 3 months of the year when the wind blows west is the reason why the temps are so much higher. Oh you must have also forgotten that Boulder weather observations were made from the roof of the old Central Fire Station at the western edge of the main business district from 1947 until 1958, when they were taken on the grounds of the new Central Fire Station north of the business district. hahaha nice work hahaha.

    • John says:

      hahaha you actually contradict yourself Andy hahaha

      So if as you say Boulder has its weather station on the western side totally exposed to those Natural prevailing winds off the mountain THEN WHY ARE THE RAW TEMPS FOR BOULDER WARMER hahahahaha

      And do you know what the best part about this all is? You don’t understand that wind chill doesn’t impact temperature hahahaha that is the funniest part hahahaha go back to school Andy.

      • AndyG55 says:

        Sorry that you don’t have the intelligence to work it out.

        There has been a natural cooling trend, urban effects in Ft Collins and Colorado springs have brought them up level with Boulber.

        Try doing a basic logic course some day.

        May stand you in good stead…. or not.

      • AndyG55 says:

        good to see you starting to giggle like the child-mind that you are…

        It suits you.

      • AndyG55 says:

        oh dear.. poor john..

  16. AndyG55 says:

    Boulder minimum temps..

    down- up-down -level

  17. AndyG55 says:

    Ft Collins min temps.. obviously very different, but that is to be expected with the different wind patterns.

  18. AndyG55 says:

    I bet they felt they HAD to get rid of the peak around 1955 at Boulder.. would spoil the whole AGW farce, wouldn’t it.

    Where is the current Boulder site.. I’m guessing it very much exposed to NATURAL variability.

    Current Ft Collins site is very much urban.

    • John says:

      Okay so here is the raw temp data for 1961.

      Now the for the question. Why are Fort Collins and Colorado Springs very similar, but Boulder ranges from 2-7 degrees in difference each month. Averaged out over the whole year it is still 4-5 degrees warmer.

      Remember this is 1961 so UHI would not be a big factor.

  19. AndyG55 says:

    And talk about an urban signature

    Boulder lowest temps.

  20. AndyG55 says:

    and Ft Collins lowest temps

  21. AndyG55 says:

    Even the maximums show an urban signature since 1960.


  22. AndyG55 says:

    Ft Collins

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