Another View on Climate

My Own View of Global Warming

Posts Tagged ‘Measurements’

Study finds global warming over past 4 centuries was due to increased solar activity

Posted by greg2213 on June 6, 2011

A peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics finds global warming over the 20th century “not significantly different” from warming episodes that occurred in earlier centuries. The paper finds that the increase in solar activity over the past 400 years explains the warming, without any need to search for a unique cause of late 20th century warming, such as greenhouse gas concentrations. The NIPCC website just posted this summary of the paper:

Here’s the rest of the post: Study finds global warming over past 4 centuries was due to increased solar activity

The paper is not behind a payway, so click the link above to get the link to the PDF. Given that papers of this sort have a much higher bar to pass than alarmist supporting papers I’m going to assume that it’s pretty solid. Conclusive? Who knows. A pretty good piece of research, yes.

A slightly variable sun causes warming of the surface and atmosphere which causes airstreams and currents which are affected by the physical location and shape of the landmasses and the Earth’s rotation, day night cycles, and a few other things. Somewhere CO2/methane might have something to do with it, but that’s looking less likely as time goes on.

One of the issues with the Global Warming concept is the lack of explanation for prior warm periods, warmer than the current period, when CO2 could not have been the driver. And if it was then we should be seeing seriously warmer temps today. We’re not.

Additionally, there is the lack of explanation for why the planet didn’t burn up in past ages when CO2 was far higher than today’s measly concentration. In fact, life flourished back then. If the CO2 concerns were real then we’d be seeing significantly higher, to much higher, temps today and at least some of the hysterical remarks would be coming true. At little bit, anyway.

As it is, all of them can by put into the “The End is Near” bin of failed religious cult predictions. 100% fail rate. If we need to mend our ways then the accusing side should have some credibility, I think. So far, they have none.

As far as I’m concerned, the sooner we got off the “CO2 is bad” kick, the better.

Posted in CO2, Scientists Say | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

7-15C in Just Decades

Posted by greg2213 on April 21, 2010

The Al Gore View of Global Warming basically states that the world is doomed, unless (snarky remarks deleted.) The ward does seem to have warmed by  maybe .6C or so over the last 120 some odd years. The Gore crowd claims this is unprecedented, rational people point out that the historical record says that it isn’t.

As I mentioned in the previous post, 1500 year cycles, there were a number of times during the last ice ages where temps rose 7-8C in a matter of decades. Before SUVs were invented or any fossil fuel was being burned.

I found this in a WUWT comment:

“The Greenland (Arctic) and Vostok (Antarctic) ice cores are particularly informative, offering fine temporal resolution and continuity. This has revealed surprising oscillations of climate on a millennial scale within the main 100-kyr cycle. The Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) identifies some 24 interstadials through the last ice age with average temperature rising rapidly by ~7 C over just decades. Further ice and sediment cores from around the world are demonstrating the global scale of these major climatic events.”

From: Hewitt, G. 2000. The genetic legacy of the Quarternary ice ages. NATURE, Vol. 405, 22 June 2000 (

Here’s a  2004 paper from the same author (and it’s a Royal Society paper)

Our climate has been cooling for ca. 60Myr, with the Antarctic ice sheet forming ca. 35 Ma and the Arctic icecap growing from ca. 3 Ma. The Quaternary Period has been dominated by Ice Ages, which involve repeated global cooling and increasing advances of these ice sheets. These oscillations are paced by regular eccentricities in the Earth’s orbit around the sun every 100, 41 and 21 kyr. The large ice sheets, surrounding permafrost, lower global temperature and reduced water availability caused great changes in the distribution of species, which can be seen in the fossil record (Bennett 1997; Williams et al. 1998). Recent work with cores from ice sheets and sea beds confirms the effects of millennial-scale change in climate nested within the main 100 kyr cycle. These involved changes of as much as 7–15 °C over a few decades, which then lasted for hundreds of years, and there is fossil evidence that these, including the Younger Dryas ca. 11 ka, caused shifts in species distributions.

Full paper (PDF) here: Genetic consequences of climatic oscillations in the Quaternary

7-15C over a few decades, from perfectly nature causes, and we’re supposed to hand over the world’s economies to Al Gore & Co over Zero.6C?

Posted in History | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Do 10ths of a Degree Matter?

Posted by greg2213 on April 16, 2010

In my view, no, other than as talking points to people to yell at each other.

Assumming that the global temperature…

  1. actually has any meaning given all the regional variation, and
  2. is something that actually can be measured, and
  3. that we have the technology to do it accurately, and
  4. that we actually are doing it accurately…

can we pick out changes coming about from a .1 degree change? Does the world care about .1 degree?

Willis at WUWT runs with the topic and says, “no.”  Where’s the climate Beef?

Posted in Surface Record | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Damn Lies, Statistics, Perspective, Graphs, and Background Pics

Posted by greg2213 on April 13, 2010

Background pics?

It’s  generally accepted, though still debatable, that global temps have gone up about .6C over the last 100 some odd years. This is averaged over the whole year and some months will show a higher rate, others a lower one.

But .6C isn’t particularly alarming. It’s interesting only because we’re living through it, it’s by no means unique to this period in time. Given data manipulation and heat island effects it can be argued that there has been close to zero warming, on average, but let’s go with the .6 number.

How do you make it into a scarier picture? After all, there’s all that grant money to think about, not to mention Al Gore’s fortunes, incredible tax revenues, increasing government power, massiive boosts to the bottom line of any corporation that can play in the carbon market (Big Oil, Brokerage firms, UN IPCC Chief Pachauuri’s firms, etc.)  Showing a warming picture that’s just  interesting won’t do.

So let’s grab a particularly terrifying pic from WUWT:

US Annual Temperatures by Month

US Annual Temperatures by Month

What’s shown here is the average monthy temperature for many different years, each year being a separate line. The red line is 2009 and it seems to be pretty average. So where’s the catastrophic warming? Think the background pic does anything to add to the alarm? I don’t either.

Then compare that pic to this one, also  from the same post:

US Temps Rising Rapidly?

US Temps Rising Rapidly?

Nice background pic, hmmm?

Squish 120 years of temps into a short space and widen the vertical graph, both of  which exaggerate that upward sloping red line. Make the scale in degrees Fahrenheit, instead of Celsius, since .6C becomes just over 1F, so looks bigger (scarier.)

So the two graphs display the same data, but which one do you think will be more likely to be on the cover of any report by any of the above listed warming beneficiaries?

Here’s the WUWT post with the graphs, more discussion, and the usual bazillion comments: Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics … and Graphs

More stuff:

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Dr. Jones Confirms “How Science is Done”

Posted by greg2213 on March 1, 2010

In a previous post – Climategate, NASA, and so on… – I made a few remarks on why Climategate is no big thing and that all the scientific practices (shoddy data handling, using only convenient data, insuring correct pal-review of papers, etc.) were simply SOP.

Apparently another belief that some of us had about “proper science” has been shot down. Dr. Phil Jones makes it very clear that sharing data (so that it can be fact-checked) is not standard practice in science:

Prof Jones today said it was not ’standard practice’ in climate science to release data and methodology for scientific findings so that other scientists could check and challenge the research.

See WUWT for the article: Phil Jones on the hot seat – not sharing data is “standard practice”

Since Big Climate is setting the standard here let’s remember this the next time Big Pharma tries to hide the data on a drug study. It’s SOP and quite Ok. The same, of course, goes for Big Tobacco. Big Green funds a study that claims some harmless chemical will kill the Earth? No prob, they don’t have to support the claim with anything like actual data. Heaven forbid some evil cynic should check their (or Pharma’s) work.

I feel down here. I used to think that proper scientific procedure involved a certain amount of openness so that work could be duplicated, fact checked, critiqued, etc. Especially publicly funded research.

Update: Heh. Some WUWT comments

  • …Which demonstrates that any correlation between ‘climate science’ and real science is purely coincidental.
  • (commenter) did my undergrad in geology some years ago. There, it was standard practice to hide your data – but ONLY until you’d published your research, because you didn’t want to get “scooped”. Small wonder that so many geologists think AGW is a load of crap.

And then there’s the THE BIG-SCIENCE POKER GAME which provides a certain amount of justification for keeping data close to the chest.

JoNova has a few remarks about acedemia and their “standards” for science:  Science associations give science a bad name

Another update:

It seems that they can’t write software, either. Now, since the conclusions of these climate “scientists” are the primary drivers behind bazillions of $$ in taxes, fees, and whatever doesn’t it seem reasonable that they should have some standards for the code they write (and the science that they do?) Colleges are full of kids who speak fluent code and who, I’m sure, would be happy to work in a prestigious science environment. Perhaps some of them should be hired? I’m sure it’d be cheap enough.

And why is climate science held to a far lower standard than any other science?

Posted in Climategate, Scientists Say | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Errors in Measurement

Posted by greg2213 on February 12, 2010

A generally accepted number for the amount of warming over the last 100 some odd years is .6 +- .2 degrees C. According to a lot of the stations used to measure temps have an error of >= 2C.

So how the heck do you get an error measurement of 0.2 when your thermometer has an error of +-2.0??

Apparently if you throw a bazillion measurements into the mix the errors tend to cancel each other out. As an extreme, consider this: an atom (or a molecule) is mostly empty space and subatomic particles tend to move somewhat randomly. Yet that baseball bat is very sold, very predictable, and make a nice noise when you hit a homer.

So maybe if we had a million (or several million or maybe 50,000) thermometers scattered all over the world their errors would tend to cancel (some high, some low) and you could get a small error measurement like tenths or hundredths.

But what if there are only a few hundred? Or a few dozen? And what if you calculation software adds a small error of it’s own? Or if that software isn’t perfectly programmed and adds some other error? You certainly won’t get tiny error ranges.

I ask “Where’s the Beef?” and folks offer Holy Hypothetical Cows

Whenever I’ve raised the issue of precision and accuracy drift in GIStemp, the discussion has ended up with folks offering all sorts of reasons why hypothetically you can get a gazillion bits of precision out of a large average of a bazillion things. Then I point out that we have only, at most, 62 values going into the monthly mean (and that done in 2 steps, with opportunities for error and accuracy drift). And that then those values are used for all sorts of other calculations (homogenizing, UHI “correction”, weighting, all sorts of things) before they ever approach the point where they are finally turned into “anomalies”. Even then the method used does not always compare a station with itself. It is more a “basket of oranges” to a “basket of apples”. (And some times there are as few as ONE station forming the “anomaly” for a given GRID box…)

Still, the Hypothetical Cow gets trotted out on stage each time the issue is raised. A Hypothetical Cow, we are told, has near infinite accuracy and precision due to the central limit theorem and the law of large numbers (which, in hypothetical land, can even be applied to small groups of real numbers…)

But this article…

He skewers that cow in the rest of the piece, here: Of Hypothetical Cows and Real Program Accuracy

Here are a couple of other posts on the GISS surface record:

  • The Surface Temp Record is a Mess
  • 1934 Warmer than 1998? Yes, No, Yes, No…
  • Jim Hansen, Chief Alarmist of GISS, says, “…the US time series which (US covering less than 2% of the world) is so noisy and has such a large margin of error that no conclusions can be drawn from it at this point.” Keep in mind that the US series is the gold standard, which means the rest of the world’s measurements are is worse shape.The same article points out that current temps as measured by the surface record are not significantly warmer than the 30s & 40s.


CRU’s Dr. Jones: CRU’s Jones: Climate data ‘not well organised’ and MWP debate ‘not settled’

Jones says, ““The major datasets mostly agree,” he said. “If some of our critics spent less time criticising us and prepared a dataset of their own, that would be much more constructive.”

How can it be constructive if all critics of Jones’ (and other warmist) work is universally derided as “flat earth thinking?” What really needs to happen is that the proponents of warming need to be a lot more respectful of the skeptics than they are.

Also, the critics have done a lot of work with the data and it’s all over the web (Chefio has a lot of it.) Secondly, if Jone’s work was robust then the criticism wouldn’t be an issue.

Lastly, far more work shows the MWP as at least as warm as today, and maybe as much as 2C (or more) warmer. Very few papers beyond the discredited Hockey Sticks show that it was cooler.

There’s lots of MWP stuff on CO2 Science.

Posted in Surface Record | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Temperature, Measurements, and Engineering

Posted by greg2213 on January 22, 2010

Just a few thoughts on the reliability of measurements and related stuff.

Engineers Vs. Scientists.

There are various papers available, written by Engineers, on the issues with global warming/cooling, aka climate change. Believers typically dismiss them with something like, “But they’re not climate scientists…”

In my view real data (you go out and measure something) always takes precedence over theory. If the data doesn’t match the theory then fix the theory. (I assume that the ruler is accurate and the person holding the ruler is using it both honestly and competently.) Then the data has to be used somehow.

An engineer will take that data and make something that, hopefully, works. For example: NASA builds a probe, launches it, and put it very close to its target point. Whether that point is in Earth’s orbit, or on the moon, or on one of Saturn’s moons the theories used obviously work.

At the other end is the scientist (or organization) who only needs to convince a policy maker of the accuracy of his claims. An extreme example is Al Gore. Gore is certainly not a scientist, he did very poorly in his college science classes, and nothing he said is supported by the science, yet policy is based on that “science.” He’s certainly a very good marketer, presenting to a market that very much wants what he has to sell, so there’s no real need for real science in his presentations. (It’s interesting that the believers atack skeptics and not Al Gore, or more hysterical types.)

The “theory” doesn’t need to work, especially when the crowd that it’s marketed to energetically joins in the defense of the “theory.” All it needs to do it be presented to the believers. If marketed properly then new believers can be created. This is one of the reasons that children are a target market for An Inconvenient Truth.

Somewhere in the middle of these extremes are the guys who measure the Earth’s temperature and then graph it. Now I don’t know how you could hold these measurements to the same standard as putting a probe within a few feet of your target point near a moon, but they have to be better than someone who merely needs to pursuade, right? Which brings us to the infamous Hockey Stick and NASA’s GISS measurements.

First, the Hockey Stick. Al Gore puts it up and everyone oohs and ahhs at his proof. Nevermind that…

  • It did away with a Medieval Warm Period that hundreds of peer reviewed papers show to be warmer than current times (we’ll ignore, for now, periods prior to the MWP that may have been warmer still)
  • It did away with a Little Ice Age that is at least as well supported as the MWP
  • It used very iffy math which would generate a hockey stick shape from random data.

A newer version of the Hockey Stick, featured in the IPCC 2007 policy summary had a couple of interesting features. A couple of the proxies used to help create the graph up to 1960 or so were neatly trimmed at that point. Why? Because the data from those proxies went in the wrong direction. Briffa & Co (who did the graph) hid the decline by trimming inconvenient data. At the end the blade of the hockey stick was based mostly from one tree.

It seems that the Hockey Stick was designed to the persuasion standard and not to engineering standards.

Is it any wonder that some of use question these guys?

Next up is the GISS set of rulers. One would think that an organization that could do what it does with space probes could do the same with climate studies, right? NASA has a certain well deserved reputation from the space program.

NASA recently released a report that stated that 2009 was one of the warmest years ever and that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade. Obviously if we have been warming then the most recent decade is the warmest. Keeping in mind that decent thermometers have only been generally available since 1880 or so. Nasa says…

Although 2008 was the coolest year of the decade because of a strong La Nina that cooled the tropical Pacific Ocean, 2009 saw a return to a near-record global temperatures as the La Nina diminished, according to the new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The past year was a small fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest on record, putting 2009 in a virtual tie with a cluster of other years –1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 — for the second warmest on record.

here’s the rest of the press release

Now, if 2005 is the warmest (remember, it used to be 1934) and if 1998, ’02, ’03, ’06, ’07, and 2009 are the same, then where’s the warming? Especially with all those cool years inbetween the others?

Also, given the above and given that Dr. Hansen, the man in charge of NASA’s GISS, is an alarmist of the first order, is it any wonder that there’s some mistrust of this data? One is tempted to ask: James Hansen: Would you buy a used temperature data set from THIS man?

Posted in Where's the Warming? | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »