Skip to comments.Did NASA/JPL Shroud Publicly-Funded California Climate Study from Open Review?
Posted on 03/31/2007 9:45:18 PM PDT by WayneLusvardi
Did NASA/JPL Shroud Publicly-Funded California Climate Study from Open Review?
The Pasadena Pundit - March 31,2007
This past week NASA issued a news release of a study "Recent California Climate Variability" reported in many California newspapers http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/search/ci_5544296 and posted widely on many online websites http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Golden_State_Heating_Up_999.html
The co-authors of the climate study, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Bill Patzert and Cal State University Los Angeles' Professor Steve LaDochy, are quoted in the newspaper as attributing the warming trend to urban sprawl and the urban heat island effect.
"According to the analysis of more than 330 weather stations, California's average temperature has increased 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 50 years, said JPL climatologist Bill Patzert. Perhaps even more striking, though, is the impact that urban sprawl has contributed to the temperatures - even more than global warming, Patzert said."
The conclusion that California climate warming is due to urban sprawl appears contradicted by the news release and the abstract of the study by Patzert and LaDochy released by NASA, which "found a strong correlation between air temperatures and Pacific coastal sea surface temperatures." http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/cr/v33/n2/p159-169/
So if the correlation to coast sea surface temperatures is strong, are we to deduce that the correlation to other causes such as urbanization and sprawl was weak? Then why report it? And of what real importance is it to state that an analysis of more than 330 weather stations indicates California's average temperature has increased 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 50 years due to urban sprawl? Wouldn't State temperature readings be expected to rise over 50 years weather stations which may have been located in orange groves transitioned to subdivisions with concrete roadways which absorb heat? Are most of these temperature recording stations located on CalTrans freeway rights of ways which reflect the radiant heat of the concrete?
A prior study by Patzert and LaDochy attributed California weather variation to the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation" (PDO), which may last decades, rather than the ocean current El Nino effect, which is of shorter duration. http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/71130.pdf. Interestingly, neither Patzert or LaDochy claim urban sprawl was a significant factor in climate change in this earlier study.
Neither do Patzert and LaDochy say why the "cold phase" of the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation" which occurred from 1950 to 1976, was unconnected to urban sprawl, when Los Angeles arguably was building more houses and removing more orange groves than today.
The claim that the average annual minimum temperature increased 9 degrees (Fahrenheit) since 1878 at the Los Angeles Civic Center is a gross exaggeration and distortion. As even JPL's Bill Patzert admits in another unmentioned NASA news release, the move of the central Los Angeles weather station from the Civic Center to the campus of the University of Southern California (about 4 miles) in 1999 can attribute for most of the huge climate change http://www.nasa.gov/centers/jpl/news/weather-20070117.html
Another climate researcher connected with the recent NASA study is quoted as making an apocalyptic statement which no reputable scientist should ever make:
"The one reason I stayed on is because I've got seven grandkids, and I know how bad it could get," said Tim Barnett, a researcher at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego. 'By the time they're my age, L.A., Phoenix and Sacramento could be ghost towns."
Despite public funding by NASA, the authors have shrouded their full study and the data by publishing it in the Journal of Climate Research, http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/cr/v33/n2/, which is available to subscribers only for a fee of $585 British pounds http://www.int-res.com/journals/cr/cr-home/.
If the public paid for this study shouldn't it have free access to the data and the full report for public inspection? If the Federal Freedom of Information Act is to be complied with, how does one get a copy of this study without having to pay an exorbitant sum for it? Where is the outrage by the local newspapers and civil rights advocacy organizations? Newspapers should have an ethical obligation not to report scientific studies which are not fully available to the public. But don't expect this any time soon.
A rule should prevail here. Any purported scientific study, especially about the politically-charged topic of global warming, which does not make the full study, including the data, available for public review should not be considered credible. This is an ongoing problem with global warming studies, especially those by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (see here: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=640). And newspapers which report such shrouded studies should only be considered as tabloids.
Another interesting observation is that meteorologists and academic climate change scientists differ greatly over whether there is or isn't global warming. Most meteorologists, whose livelihoods are not dependent on research grants, say there is not sufficient proof of global warming. While academic climate scientists, whose livelihoods depend on research grants, generally assert there is global warming and sub-regional warming caused by urban sprawl. So we're not measuring a "climate variable" as much as a "sociological variable." See here: http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/011907EB.shtml and here: http://www.texasinsider.org/opinion/Opinion_GaryPalmer-01-31-07-ExpertsDisagreeWithGlobalWarming.htm
Ping me if you find one I've missed.
This is pretty interesting news to those of us who thought an Inconvenient Truth was well too convenient.
There's nothing like riding a motorcycle to feel the urban heat island effect. The first time I ever was on a motorcycle, driving from the city to the 'country', the temperature drop literally took my breath away.
Could you put me on the junk science ping list?
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