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How Ohio Temperatures Are Affected By UHI

August 5, 2013
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By Paul Homewood



Cleveland Airport


Last week, I ran a post showing that it was hotter in 1921 in Ohio, in contrast to NCDC’s claims that last year was the hottest on record. My analysis was based on USHCN stations, which NOAA describe as “high-quality stations from the U.S. Cooperative Observing Network “.

However, NCDC don’t just use these high quality sites, when calculating their state and national temperatures. As an example, in Ohio, they use temperature data from 98 stations, of which only 26 are USHCN.

So how reliable are these non USHCN stations? Let’s take a closer look at one of the climatological divisions in Ohio, the Northeast. There are five stations in this division, with long term records back to 1930, as listed below. Only one, Hiram, is a USHCN station, or classified by GISS as rural.


The table compares annual temperatures for 1931 and 2012.


  Population in thousands 1931 2012 Difference
Akron AP 653 53.5 53.7 0.2
Cleveland AP 1845 53.4 54.0 0.6
Hiram 1 51.6 50.9 -0.7
Warren 51 52.9 51.2 -1.7
Youngstown AP 96 54.2 52.2 -2.0


There are some huge variations, despite the fact that all the sites are within 50 miles of Akron. The UHI effect in Akron and Cleveland is clear, though it is slightly surprising that Warren and Youngstown show a larger temperature drop than Hiram.

So what do NCDC say? According to them, the annual temperatures for 1931 and 2012 were 51.9F and 52.2C respectively, for the Northeast Division. In other words, they say that last year was 0.3F hotter.



This is clearly a nonsense, as it implies that the trends at the large urban airport sites of Akron and Cleveland are representative, and that the rural and other sites are not.

It is worth noting, by the way, that, in 1931, both the Akron and Cleveland stations were airport based. The Cleveland site was within yards of the current site, but the Akron station was at the Municipal Airport. The current Akron station is located at the Akron Canton airport, a few miles to the south.


History of Akron

It is interesting to look at how the Akron airports have developed over the years. Below id an early artist’s impression of Akron Municipal. Judging from the plane, it looks early 1930’s.


Akron Municipal Airport Ohio Airports


Now compare to the modern Akron Canton Airport.





According to Wikipedia, the airport is one of the fastest-growing airports in the Midwest, with 1.4 million passengers passing through each year.

The UHI effect must be substantial, but NCDC don’t seem to think it matters.



1) Data for 1931

2) Data for 2012

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