Skip to comments.A little perspective on the U.S. and global temperature records
Posted on 08/10/2007 8:24:21 AM PDT by cogitator
There's been some ballyhoo about an adjustment to the U.S. temperature record from GISS (it will be interesting to see if the NOAA record will require a similar adjustment). What some are apparently forgetting is that the U.S. warm temperature anomaly (the Dust Bowl) in the 1930s, and the cooling of the 1960s and 1970s, was somewhat disconnected from the global temperature trends. The two graphs below illustrate this.
Global land-ocean temperature record
Note that there is also a global meteorological-station-only record; graph can be found at the Source URL.
U.S. Temperature Record
A substantial difference can be perceived.
[Important note: First notice that the global land-ocean temperature record includes the anomalous tropical warmth of the 1930s into the 1940s, which was apparently "magnified" (see below) by interactions with the North American land surface.]
What Caused the Dust Bowl in the US Midwest in the 1930's?
Was the Dust Bowl predictable?
An excerpt from the latter link is provided below:
"The inability to correctly model the spatial pattern of the Dust Bowl drought, and its deviation from the typical pattern of tropical SST-forced drought, makes us wonder how unusual the Dust Bowl pattern was. Analyses of instrumental data since the mid nineteenth century - shows that none of the other five multiyear droughts in this interval (1856-65, 1870-77, 1890-96, 1948-57 and post 1998) had a similar pattern. For a longer record we examined the updated version of the gridded tree ring records within the North American Drought Atlas. Computation of the spatial correlation between the Dust Bowl pattern and six year low pass filtered data revealed only three prior droughts that had an anomaly correlation exceeding 0.4 (Figure 4). All were in the Medieval period. No other droughts had an AC exceeding 0.31 presenting a clear separation between Dust Bowl type droughts and the more commonly occurring pattern with a center in the Southwest and southern and central Plains."
MY SHORT SUMMARY: The warm temperatures of the 1930s were extremely unusual in the United States. This has been known for quite awhile. The adjustments to the United States temperature record do not significantly change the current climate understanding: i.e., the 1930s were anomalously warm in the United States for one particular and unusual reason; the current warm temperatures in the United States are linked directly to the warming trend over the entire globe (with some minor exceptions like central Antarctica).
I don't really want to be attacked for my political motivations for posting this, because I don't have any. I will not respond to any non-scientific discussion - that's why I posted this in the "Science" forum and not "News/Current Events". I'm attempting to help people to understand the issue better, and not to get "carried away" with the latest "global warming refutation". My advice: don't get too excited. Keep reading. Try to separate knowledge from belief.
Oh yeah; you can also read my profile.
If you're uncertain about the basics of the issue, this is a great place to start.
A few postings, notably #105, #111, #112, and #114, touch on the GISS adjustment.
RealClimate? Those guys are as biased as they come regarding human-caused global warming. And they wasted no time downplaying the GISS adjustment. What other problems are lurking in the data? A sane, unbiased scientist, upon discovering one major problem in their datasets, would proceed to examine all other inputs for similar problems, instead of treating the problem data set as an outlier.
But that's what bias does to a scientist. It removes their objectivity. And science without objectivity is little more than propaganda.
The argument is with those who claim we are the cause and we are all doomed unless we go vegan and walk to work in dirty cloths.
Any perceived or real bias does not affect what is written in "The CO2 Problem in 6 Easy Steps". (Perhaps in the responses to comments, but not the actual article.) And this was only a sidebar to my post, anyway.
Really. I imagine a month ago the global warming alarmists would have said no bias or error infected the GISS data, either.
The onus is now on the global warming crowd to go back through all their data sets and models to look for bias. They are the ones calling for massive societal changes. They need to show their science is airtight.
But they won't, because their science isn't. As was noted in another blog post on the GISS data, scientists take taxpayer money but often won't provide the source code for their modelling and adjustment. Until that happens, they have no credibility outside their echo chamber.
August 9th 2007 marked the death of the Global Warming Conspiracy.
Those men intimately involved, and every single one of the “scientists” and “researchers” who co-authored papers with the inner group of criminal conspirators MUST be brought up on charges, and must be stripped of their credentials.
This could be the greatest and longest lasting achievement of the Bush administration.
The fraud has been apparent for a decade, it’s time for the charlatans to pay the piper.
Thanks for the link. Climate and prediction has so many not always well understood variables. For example when no planes flew the three days after 9/11, scientists discovered there was an increase in the rate of evaporation from test pans in the farm belt. Evaporation is not caused by heat, but by photons striking the water. Without airplane pollution, more photons were hitting the test water.
There was also a link discovered between climate and drought in northern Africa after Europe began cutting its air pollution, which was blowing south over Africa. And since our hurricane precursors originate in Africa, what has the reduction of European air pollution done to our hurricane patterns?
Science is so complicated and interactive that I wish individual disciplines would not be so territorial and dogmatic, and that non scientists would not pop off with so much ill considered and silly/hostile commentary.
The GISS problem is merely a clear example of how long very basic errors sit around because despite claims of widespread peer-review, they've never really been examined...and hundreds of papers cite them, and other networks gain credibility by matching them...just as with the Mann MHB98/99 papers.
Mann claimed his papers were not just read, but actively peer-reviewed by THOUSANDS of scientists; the TAR heavily relied on his work (in part because the IPCC made him a chapter author, which he took full advantage of)...and yet it took 8 years and congressional pressure before the math was thoroughly checked and found "not skillful".
The GISS calculations are widely cited, and a great deal of faith is placed upon Hansen's team performing adjustments for which they are not required to really explain what they are doing in any examinable detail.
Mr. McIntyre, did not find the error by himself - he lacks the resources to set up an alternate climate reference network - but the adverserial process narrowed down the error which had been overlooked for 7-1/2 years.
In May, Mr. Watts noticed that his local USHCN station (labelled as "high quality" by the NOAA) was both severly outside of NOAA standards for environment and adjacent to several features that have been demonstrated to induce a measurement error in the 5C range; this was concurrent with his finding that just the change in paint type on Stevenson shelters was enough to alter station readings.
Mr. Watts then went to another local USHCN site, and found lesser, but substantial problems.
Mr. Watts then set up an internet site and began recruiting volunteers to systematically record other sites in an attempt to get a complete census of the USHCN network, and evaluate whether the network is consistant with the NOAA claims.
This survey is still ongoing (with approx 270 out of 1200 surveys completed), and results from it are suggestive in nature only, however while there are some sites which appear pristine (as the network is represented) - at least as regards a consistant environment - even if all further sites surveyed turn out to be proper, the numbers of sites outside of parameters seems enough to overwhelm the signal purported to be selected out of it.
One thing that appears to have happened systematically, is that sites were commonly moved adjacent to buildings apparently so as to allow the migration to MMTS sensors with a commonly used cable length. This occurred gradually in the 1980s and 1990s.
Generally the most extreme warming trends have been associated with the most absurd site placement, such as the site sitting IN the parking lot.
The claim has been made that the various semi-documented adjustment procedures account for the ill-placement. To date, it appears as though many of the most ill-sited sites have been adjusted down....and pristine sites adjusted upwards(or more properly, adjusted downwards in the past more than recently). Again, the survey is incomplete, and the adjustment methods are not clearly stated.
One of the sites photographed was the site in MN, which it was discovered had a large jump, and two large AC compressors placed absurdly close;
some associates of Mr. Watts assumed that the relocation of air conditioning compressors next to the sensors were responsible for a sudden jump in site records; this was countered that the jump did not exactly match (though there does seem to be a signal as well) the relocation by Mr. Rabbet and his AGW associates; Mr. McIntyre then dug about attempting to match other records, and discovered that for some reason that a semi-adjusted record which had been replaced some time ago, suddenly replaced the more adjusted records beginning in Jan 2000, without being normalized.
GISSs attempts to correct the programming error that caused that use further non-public adjustments, and though the programming error only directly affected data since Jan 2000, apparently the data was used to adjust data prior to that time as well. These source for these "corrections" are unknown as well...which is the real problem.
Many prominent studies which use the USHCN network don't identify exactly which sites they used - even upon explicit request - which again, blocks review. Others such as the "light1 = urban/light0 = rural" have been shown to have not merely flawed assumptions, but downright silly...and have been relied upon by other studies for use to derive controls.
I agree with you that interpretation of the finding of the error is in some ways overblown, but the real point is that there ARE systemic problems with the data; the scientists don't know "nothing" but are far more confident than their data would objectively suggest they should be; peer-review is much less than it is represented as, at least as regards the upper levels of climate science; and widespread refusal of prominent climate scientists to make their data and methods open for review of reproducibility is allowing errors such as the GISS one to continue undetected for absurdly long periods of time...and then there's the widespread reference-kiting.
You undoubtedly will receive a lot of abuse here, but as for me, thank you...even if I disagree on a lot of points.
even if all further sites surveyed turn out to be proper, the numbers of sites outside of parameters seems enough to overwhelm the signal purported to be selected out of it.
Or maybe not.
To make it scientific, they are going to have to work a bit harder than taking pictures and finding data problems at a few stations.
The bottom line is that this may cause the USHCN principals to examine their methods and data; and the ultimate bottom line will turn out to be the current scientific understanding of the issue -- the world is warming and the scientists know why.
Or why else is spring earlier and winter later?
I can't remember where I read it, but there are many examples in the history of science where a recognized "great mind" really did have insight into breakthrough knowledge, but the data available didn't always agree with what he or she knew had to be the nature of nature. Sometimes this knowledge resulted in "adjustments" to the data by the "great mind". (Sometimes it turned out later that the adjustments made ad hoc were found to be due to an instrumental or bias error not immediately perceptible; the "great mind" knew that this must be the case but couldn't prove it at the time, but the adjustments made to prove the point (or publish the paper) turned out to be exactly what was required).
Two sort-of like this examples: Gregor Mendel and Einstein's cosmological constant.
Which gets back to what I quoted. That confidence comes from knowledge, not just data. Sometimes such confidence is misplaced. But I respect the minds of those who are investigating the way the world's climate works.
I agree with dirtboy's skepticism toward all the data sets. Not too long ago the stratosphere temperatures showed cooling and it was explained as something that would be expected from global warming. Then a correction in the bias was done to the data set and it showed the stratosphere temperatures to be warming and the scientists said that that was exactly what they had expected to see the stratosphere temperatures warming. Can't have it both ways.
I also see from the RealClimate link that they used a weighted formula for temperatures values to arrive at the "average" global temperature. I work in seismic processing and we deal with huge volumes of data and one of the holy grails is to "regularize" data sets and it involves much more than a simple weighted formula. In fact, there is no actual algorithm today in the seismic industry that is even close to 100% accurate and all the various algorithms are very data dependent.
I also have a problem with the concept of "climate sensitivity" being a value for a system in equilibrium when in fact the Earth is a non-equillibrum system in which temperature gradients drive the weather.
These are just random thoughts.
Well, you just kicked the global warming holy grail like an old coffee can. If you normalize a non-equilibrium system as being in equilibrium when you start your models, lo and behold, you are guaranteed to demonstrate climate change! You could run last night's baseball line scores through the model and show climate change.
I love the latest "proof" from the global warming weenies - that their latest wundermodel shows how natural factors are buffering global warming recently, but we're guaranteed to have warming take off come 2009! I wonder how much of that "proof" relied on the pre-adjustment GISS data...
Wegner and continental drift comes to mind.
However, plate tectonics was not subsequently proven by computer models, but hard science from the field.
Whereas when we look at hard science regarding solar variation and paleoclimate, human-caused global warming falls apart.
I’ll read through the Surfacestations link more thoroughly later (heading out), but the first scan suggests the guy who wrote it is doing the hyperbole thing himself, discounts that we still don’t know whether the GISS adjustments are appropriate since they are functionally secret, and appears to have used the quasi-averaged adjusted data that is being disputed to show that the two sites are more alike than the raw data shows.
LOL!!! You got me laughing with that line!
"I love the latest "proof" from the global warming weenies - that their latest wundermodel shows how natural factors are buffering global warming recently, but we're guaranteed to have warming take off come 2009! I wonder how much of that "proof" relied on the pre-adjustment GISS data..."
I hadn't heard that "global warming" is being delayed until 2009. Was that on that link?
But global warming will begin in earnest in 2009, and a couple of the years between 2009 and 2014 will eclipse 1998, the warmest year on record to date, in the heat stakes, British meteorologists said.
Oops, 1998 is no longer the warmest year on record.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.