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PBS Still Pedalling The “Record Temperature” Con

November 15, 2013

By Paul Homewood




It appears that PBS are still pushing their “record temperatures” propaganda. They originally introduced this widget in 2011, but they are still keeping it updated.

“877 Records Set This Year”!  Sounds impressive eh? Well maybe not, when you look more closely.

For a start, we need to understand they are talking about “daily record temperatures”, i.e. the record for that particular day of the year, not all-time highs. So assuming, say, 5,000 stations, there would be 1,825,000 records up for grabs (excl leap years!). And with records going back to 1895, this would equate to 15,466 records set every year.

But, delve even deeper and you will see just how misleading the whole business is. When you click on the “View All…………..” button, you come up with a list of the actual records claimed, so let’s have a look at June/July this year.





You’re probably way ahead of me already, but let’s analyse these stations a bit further.


Station Year Became Operational Airport? USHCN?
Camarillo 1944 Y N
Topeka 1942 Y N
Olathe 1978 Y N
Bedford 1942 Y N
Lebanon 1943 Y N
Kalispell 1896 Y Y



  • They are all airport sites.
  • Only one is from the USHCN network, which is regarded as a “high quality dataset
  • Apart from Kalispell, none go back to the hot summers of the 1930’s.
  • Notice how the same sites keep repeating!

Kalispell, Montana, is an interesting case. The station dates back to 1896, but has only been at the airport since 1997. It’s current location can be seen below.




According to the PBS list, a new record was set there on 1st July this year , with a temperature of 96.1F.

The nearest USHCN station to Kalispell is Fortine, about 44 miles away, and this is a rural, non airport site.

On 1st July this year, the maximum temperature at Fortine reached 90F, much less than the 98F logged on 1st July 1924, which still holds the record for that day. in comparison, the temperature at Kalispell on 1st July 1924 was 92F.

There are two other stations in the same Western Division of Montana that have records back to 1924, Haugan and Missoula. Both of these were also hotter on 1st July 1924 than they were on the corresponding day this year.

The daily temperatures can be seen below.








Would the new record have been set at Kalispell this year, if the station had not been sited at the airport?



It is often argued that the number of record highs set recently far exceeds record lows. But this misses the point that the 1960’s and 70’s were a much colder interlude across the USA. We would not expect to see so many record lows at sites set up in the 1940’s and 50’s, when many were, due to the massive expansion of airport construction.

I have argued this before, and I will make the point again. For these daily records to be meaningful, they need to be based on:

1) Only USHCN sites.

2) Only sites with at least 100 years of record.

3) Non airport sites.

4) Non urban sites.


There are approximately 1200 USHCN stations, and their almost total absence from the above daily records for June/July is significant. If we really were seeing new daily record temperatures in these regions, the USHCN stations would reflect that fact.

The conclusion is clear – the records claimed are spurious.


This all leaves the question – why are PBS pedalling grossly misleading information?

  1. mkelly permalink
    November 15, 2013 7:15 pm

    This all leaves the question – why are PBS pedalling grossly misleading information?

    Because of where they get a portion of their funding and the mindset of the folks at PBS is the same as the folks at SKS.

  2. Sparks permalink
    November 15, 2013 9:02 pm

    Paul, did you get to watch question time on the bbc last night? Wow… I have never in my life seen politicians trying so hard to sell the public such a shifty politicized brand of science like that. The audience didn’t seem to be buying their claptrap, judging by the uneasy silence after they finished their standard ranting about how “the science is settled”, “the ice caps are melting” and “super typhoons are caused by man made climate change” etc..

  3. Brian H permalink
    November 16, 2013 3:50 am

    The Propaganda Broadcasting System. Good work for the Party minders, if they can get it. And they can.

  4. Streetcred permalink
    November 17, 2013 4:18 am

    Time for a widget that tracks the lies spoken by PBS … that’ll set records every day.

  5. November 17, 2013 10:13 pm

    PBS has relentlessly pedaled the AGW propaganda . I only see their Newshour by chance when I happen to be at my parent’s house at that time. And it seems like every time they have some propaganda piece on climate, the last being on the storm in the Philippines. And, as usual, they had the views of two guests, but on this topic, both on the same side, i.e. Kevin Trenberth of Climategate fame and Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground.

    More of us need to voice complaints to the PBS ombudsman.

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