Another View on Climate

My Own View of Global Warming

Posts Tagged ‘temp stations’

Jones says, “It’s Dead, Jim”

Posted by greg2213 on February 15, 2010

One of the Chief Scientists behind Global Warming says that any modern warming is similar to, and not statistically significantly different from prior warming.

Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I’ve assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

This was from a BBC interview with Dr, Jones., via WattsUpWuthThat


Caveats: so why is Dr. Jones saying this? New data? New review of data? Tired of fighting? Tired of pressure to conform? CYA in case AGW falls apart?

Posted in 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 »

The Surface Temp Record is a Mess

Posted by greg2213 on January 27, 2010

So says Anthony Watts of Watt’s Up With That? He and others, especially E.M. Smith, aka “Chiefio,” have put together a PDF that analyzes the surface temp record (it isn’t pretty )and they include a one page summary for polcy makers.

To summarize the overall issue (and note that people are discussing whether or not each point is actually  important:)

  • Many of the measurement stations used are very poorly placed
  • Stations are moved, equipment is upgraded or changed, standards change, data doesn’t get recorded, used, or is lost, etc.
  • A bias, for whatever reason, has been shown that cools pre-1960 temps and warms post 1960 temps. This, of course, has the effect of exaggerating any detected warming.
  • Heat island effects seem to be poorly corrected
  • 75% of the stations are no longer used in the temp record. Coincidentally most of these stations were from cooler/rural areas.
  • And on and on.

From WUWT:

As many readers know, there have been a number of interesting analysis posts on surface data that have been on various blogs in the past couple of months. But, they’ve been widely scattered. This document was created to pull that collective body of work together.

Of course there will be those who say “but it is not peer reviewed” as some scientific papers are. But the sections in it have been reviewed by thousands before being combined into this new document.  We welcome constructive feedback on this compendium.

WUWT announcement: New Compendium Paper on Surface Temperature Records (The comments are interesting, even the critical ones and the rebuttals, and include discussion about exactly what is measured, and why. )

The full pdf is here – Not peer-reviewed you say? I say that the readers of these blogs would not let sloppy data pass. Any dirty data crunching would be exposed for all to see.

E.M. Smith has done a ton of work on this thing (and so has Mr. Watts with his SurfaceStations project) and has a ton of info and analysis on his blog. Musings from the Chiefio

Other notes:

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 »

Official US Temperature Station

Posted by greg2213 on January 16, 2010

The US (and much of the rest of the world) has a set of temperature stations, made to exacting standards and carefully maintained. These are used to provide data for both weather calculations and governmental carbon trading and “tax them until they bleed” schemes, er… climate control policy.

Naysayers have been criticizing the stations for various reasons. Obviously these guys are a few marbles short of a full bag and should be ignored. Questioning the dogma, er.. scriptures, er… science of the IPCC (and Co.) is very poor form.

Here’s a pic of one of the official stations used by the NOAA, and probably the UN IPCC and in various hockey stick projections.I guess Al Gore was right, after all!

(From Failblog)

By the way – if you really don’t get the joke, check out

Posted in Jokes, Measurements | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »