...and Jeff Id's attempted takedown thereof.
Id's point -- and you should read his post so that you aren't victimized by unwitting misrepresentations on my part -- is that there were lots of weather stations in Antarctica to choose from, but GHCN's "value-added" process threw out all but one. I thought I'd help out by pointing out what it's like to use a single thermometer to measure the temperature for all of Antarctica.
First of all, Antarctica is big. Here it is on the same scale as North America:
If you go from the coastal thermometer used by GHCN to the South Pole, that's 1,555 miles, which is slightly less than the distance between coastal Corpus Christi, Texas and...Winnipeg. If you go from that same thermometer to Vanderford Valley, on the opposite coast, that's 3,200 miles. If you start at the point where New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all meet, about fifty miles or so from Trenton, and you go 3,200 miles in the general direction of Alaska, you wind up in Fairbanks.
So let me ask you: if you had a single thermometer in, say, the Catskills, and I told you that that thermometer could tell you what was happening to the average temperature across all of North America between there and Fairbanks...how much crack would you think I was smoking?
Now I add that there are actually thirty or so other thermometers, but I only took this one. And then I add that the one I picked showed more warming than any of the other thirty. And then I add that since that thermometer was installed, they've built an airport next to it and turned that outpost into a sort of tourist destination complete with a coffee shop...would you begin to have suspicions about my scientific integrity?
Then you point out that maybe global warming's not that unprecedented because people used to farm successfully in Greenland and make wine around Hadrian's wall -- and I respond, "Oh, well, you have to ignore that; that was just a local warming effect."
Hmmmmmmm...Greenland's being farmable for a century or so is a purely local effect of no significance, but a thermometer in the Catskills is a good proxy for Anchorage, Fargo, Cleveland and Seattle...look, I'm not exactly saying there's inconsistency in the standards here, I'm just saying the consistency isn't obvious to the Uninitiated Non-Scientist, like, um, yours truly. Just sayin', that's all.
Here's another thing: looking at this picture of Antarctica, where would you guess this oh-so-representative thermometer sits?
Try right where this arrow points...yes, on that island just off the coast, on the part that sticks out way further north than the rest of the continent.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm.....if there was any grant money or political power-grabbing at stake here I might be suspicious. Good thing it's just our good old trustworthy friends the Scientists...