Furthermore, a major data-reporting error occured early this month. According to http://wattsupwiththat.com/ as well as http://www.realclimate.org/ the official NASA GISS (Goddard Institute of Space Studies) worldwide surface temperature readings for October 2008 contained 90 sites (all or mostly in Russia) where September data was reported instead of October data, ressulting in errors of several degrees.
This data error affected a small percentage of worldwide sites. Due to this error, the average worldwide surface temperature for October was interpreted to be the warmest October on record. The worldwide surface data set goes back to 1880. GISS has corrected the error, see http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/.
There are a number of responsible and reasonable internet sites that report on climate change, some of which generally support the consensus that human activity is responsible for most global warming (particularly the http://www.realclimate.org/) and others that are skeptical (such as http://wattsupwiththat.com/). It is the skeptical sites that first noticed the error in the October data from Russia as well as the inappropriate locations of some official climate-monitoring stations.
It seems NASA simply took the reported October data without sufficient examination. How could they overlook such a drastic increase in temperatures from Russia when other sites in Europe and Asia reported little change? How could they miss 90 sites that had the exact, digit-for-digit data as in the previous month? Perhaps they were so pleased to have their theory of global warming confirmed that they failed to investigate further?
What if the faulty dataset had been of the previous January rather than September? I'll bet that if the dataset showed significant cooling rather than warming someone at NASA would have noticed the error!
It seems to me there should be standards for placement of official NOAA Climate Monitoring stations. For example, they should be at least 100 meters from a direct source of heat. Government employees regularly visit these stations for maintenance and they should notice if someone has placed a barbeque right underneath one! Of course, sometimes civilization may encroach on an existing site with a new house or a new factory or power plant or road. They should notice and move the site! According to http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/11/19/how-not-to-measure-temperature-part-74/#more-4209 there are dozens of official sites that are located in highly questionable places, many put there within the past decades.
By the way, the site in the second photo was placed in 1998, obviously after that old house was already there. The site in the top photo was placed in 1985, most likely also after the wastewater treatment plant, with its methane burnoff torch, was already in place!