Pielke Sr. on Skeptical Science’s attacks on Spencer and Christy

Scientific Robustness Of The University Of Alabama At Huntsville MSU Data

By Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.

UniversityofAlabama-Huntsville (4)

As a result of the persistent, but incorrect (often derogatory) blog posts and media reports on the robustness of the University of Alabama MSU temperature data, I want to summarize the history of this data analysis below. John Christy and Roy Spencer lead this climate research program.

The ad hominem presentations on this subject include those from the weblog Skeptical Science who have sections titled

Christy Crocks and Spencer Slip Ups

If this weblog intends, as they write, to contribute to

Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

they certainly have failed in this effort, with respect to the outstanding research that Christy and Spencer have accomplished.

To summarize specifically the UAH MSU dataset, it has gone through about 9 revisions (A, B, C, D, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 – some listed in CCSP 1.1.)  Two of the revisions involved changes Jim Wentz of RSS spotted, but the other seven were ones John Chrsity and Roy Spencer discovered (i.e. major ones like the spurious warming due to a change in the sensor when the satellite went in and out of sunlight).

Such corrections are what happens in the normal course of science when you are the first to build the data set and discover issues as time goes on, especially when a satellite goes through a calibration shift.  Their data are publicly available and their  methods published in a diverse range of peer-reviewed journals.

A example of their reporting on a correction and acknowledging who found it (in this case Jim Wentz) is written in the article

Christy, J. R. and R. W. Spencer, 2005: Correcting Temperature Data Sets. 11 November 2005: 972. Science.  DOI:10.1126/science.310.5750.972

Text from their article includes [highlight added]

“We agree with C. Mears and F. J. Wentz (“The effect of diurnal correction on satellite-derived lower tropospheric temperature,” 2 Sept., p. 1548; published online 11 Aug.) that our University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) method of calculating a diurnal correction to our lower tropospheric (LT) temperature data (v5.1) introduced a spurious component. We are grateful that they spotted the error and have made the necessary adjustments. The new UAH LT trend (v5.2, December 1978 to July 2005) is +0.123 K/decade, or +0.035 K/decade warmer than v5.1. This adjustment is within our previously published error margin of ± 0.05 K/decade.”

I also reported on an independent check on the robustness of the UAH MSU analyses in my post

where I reported

In order to further examine the robustness of the Christy and Spencer analyses, in 2006 I asked Professor Ben Herman, who is an internationally well-respect expert in atmospheric remote sensing, to examine the Christy and Spencer UAH MSU  and the Wentz and Mears RSS MSU data analyses.   He worked with a student to do this and completed the following study

Randall, R. M., and B. M. Herman (2007), Using Limited Time Period Trends as a Means to Determine Attribution of Discrepancies in Microwave Sounding Unit Derived Tropospheric Temperature Time Series, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2007JD008864

which includes the finding that

“Comparison of MSU data with the reduced Radiosonde Atmospheric Temperature Products for Assessing Climate radiosonde data set indicates that RSS’s method (use of climate model) of determining diurnal effects is likely overestimating the correction in the LT channel. Diurnal correction signatures still exist in the RSS LT time series and are likely affecting the long-term trend with a warm bias.”

The plot of the lower tropospheric temperature analysis, as obtained from the MSU data, for the RSS and UAH groups are shown below. The degree of correspondence between them is another check on the value of both data sets in assessing long-term variations in the global averaged lower tropospheric temperatures.

Channel TLT Trend Comparison

Figure from RSS MSU

Figure from UAH MSU

The bottom line conclusion is that the statements made by Kevin Trenberth, John Abraham, and Peter Gleick  in

Opinion: The damaging impact of Roy Spencer’s science

that

Unfortunately this is not the first time the science conducted by Roy Spencer and colleagues has been found lacking. Spencer, a University of Alabama, Huntsville, climatologist, and his colleagues have a history of making serious technical errors in their effort to cast doubt on the seriousness of climate change. Their errors date to the mid-1990s, when their satellite temperature record reportedly showed the lower atmosphere was cooling. As obvious and serious errors in that analysis were made public, Spencer and Christy were forced to revise their work several times and, not surprisingly, their findings agree better with those of other scientists around the world…

are grossly incorrect and a retraction and a correction by Trenberth, Abraham and Gleick  is appropriate. Similarly, weblogs such as Skeptical Science, if they want to move the debate on the climate issues forward, need to move towards a more constructive approach.

source of image

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I’d like to add this from Dr. John Christy, from a comment he left on WUWT in this thread. – Anthony

J Christy says:

Some clarifications are needed. The orbital decay effect was discovered by Wentz around 1997 which induced a spurious cooling effect on one of our microwave satellite products (lower troposphere) but not the others. However, most people forget that at the same time Roy and I discovered an “instrument body effect” in which the observed Earth-view temperature is affected by the temperature of the instrument itself, leading to spurious warming (Christy et al. 1998, 2000). This effect counteracted about 75 percent of the orbital decay cooling effect – so the net effect of the two together was almost a wash (a point rarely acknowledged.)

In 2005, Wentz and Mears discovered an error in the equation we used for the diurnal correction in one of our products (again, lower troposphere) which we quickly corrected and then published a “thank you” to Wentz and Mears in Science for their cleverness in spotting the error with an update on what the magnitude of the error was. Again, the magnitude of this error was small, being well within our previously published error estimates for the global trend. (Note that we were first to discover the diurnal drift problem back in the 1990s and initiated various corrections for it through the years.)

Roy and I were the first to build climate-type global temperature datasets from satellite microwave sensors, so we learned as we went – and were aided by others who read our papers and checked our methods. My latest papers continue to investigate error issues of our products and of the products of others.

The review of my one publication in Remote Sensing last year was done quite professionally and it was clear to me and my co-authors that the referees chosen to review the paper were specifically knowledgeable of the various satellite, radiosonde and statistical issues, leading to some substantial and useful revisions.

Kevin Trenberth was my MS and PhD graduate adviser at Univ. of Illinois.

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63 thoughts on “Pielke Sr. on Skeptical Science’s attacks on Spencer and Christy

  1. It’s crucial to keep things in perspective. This is Skeptical Science (SS) as penned by John Cook. It is a site characterised by abuse of the moderators position and and a Taliban intolerance of any deviation from fundamentalist climate change orthodoxy. Ignore them. Although there are one or two brave posters on that site ( the mirror image of R.Gates) the majority are not interested in scientific debate, only in trashing any opinion which regardless of accuracy, right or wrong, good or bad, they feel is heretical. And this post is from a self confessed luke warmist.

  2. Well I can’t read the scale on the first graph (time) but I’m guessing, that the big sore thumb peak near the middle was around 1998.

    So here is where I disagree with the myth of a “linear” long term trend of 0.142 deg C per decade. I for one refuse to use Kelvins for Temperature differentials.

    But that graph actually shows no meaningful trend at all since around 1995, and to imply otherwise, is simply to imply something that isn’t true.
    The graph clearly shows shorter periods of substantially faster warming, followed by even faster retrenchments; and no movement since 1995 or so.
    The second RSS graph seems to clearly demonstrate a significant change near the middle from a not so blah earlier record, to a very blah recent record.
    And who knows what is the correct time delay to allow between some meaningful causal change, and some apparent step Temperature change. I say apparent, because I’m not at all a believer that the purported global lower tropospheric Temperature “data” is at all continuous.

    Seems to me, that it was about Jan 2001, when Christy et al, reported the simultaneous oceanic buoy air and surface water Temperatures, and showed that they were not the same, and also are not correlated. The actual air Temperature increase, was considerably less than the water Temperature over the 20 or so years they reported on.

    And I don’t believe the sampling methodology complies with the Nyquist criterion, either spatially, or even Temporally, and in both cases, the undersampling is big enough to render even the average value unrecoverable.

    But of course the current paper donnybrook is about other issues than pure science, and science paper peer review, and I am glad RP Snr is weighing in on this.

  3. Dr Pielke writes:

    If this weblog intends, as they write, to contribute to

    “Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation”

    they certainly have failed in this effort, with respect to the outstanding research that Christy and Spencer have accomplished.
    ====================================

    Well, Dr Pielke, you must be confusing ‘sceptical science’ with a site that actually cares about the truth regarding climate science, rather than say – erm, I dunno – a global warming propaganda site?

  4. I have a couple of questions for Dr Pielke Sr.:

    You refer to the claims on skeptical science as being ad hominem. I was wondering if you could clarify what you mean by that? I went to that section on skeptical science. And, it consisted only on referenced claims they made next to linked rebuttals. Perhaps the rebuttals are incorrect, but it seems a stretch to call the arguments ad hominem, since they focus on specific claims made by spencer and christy, not on their characters as people.

    I agree with your point that your quote from the Trenberth, Abraham, Gleick article is unfairly harsh and personal. I also that revisions such as those made to UAH data set are part of normal science. However, that article is from “The Daily Climate”, not “Skeptical Science”. Could you please point me to an analogous statement on “Skeptical Science”?

    Anyway, I’m not trying to be argumentative here. I generally think that the tone of skepticalscience is generally pretty good and stays clear from ad hominem’s or claims of conspiracy, but I am genuinely interested to hear why you feel otherwise.

  5. Re: “Christy Crocks and Spencer Slip Ups”

    “Slip Ups” seems innocuous. But I agree “Crocks” is offensive. I wrote Sk Sc about this. However, these are mild compared to the name calling that goes on here in the comments!

  6. Me thinks that there is a whiff of double standards.

    Can someone remind me how many times the temperatyre record for the 1930s has been revised/adjusted/’corrrected;

  7. I agree with Gareth Phillips……. forget Cook. And, forget tweedle dee, tweedle dumb, and tweedle dumber. If they had an ounce of integrity, they’d never wrote that opinion piece, that contained zero science, which was nothing more than personal attacks in the first place. They don’t have any integrity and they’ve displayed their lack of courage for all the world to see. At least Dessler tried to address the science those 3 idiots didn’t even have the ability to do that!

  8. Matt – The headers to their sections on John Christy and Roy Spencer

    Christy Crocks and Spencer Slip Ups

    are quite clearly (and unnecessarily) ad hominem, particularly the first one as Mike also replies in the comments.

  9. Matt says:
    September 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm
    Anyway, I’m not trying to be argumentative here. I generally think that the tone of skepticalscience is generally pretty good and stays clear from ad hominem’s or claims of conspiracy, but I am genuinely interested to hear why you feel otherwise.

    Garethman says,
    Well Matt, we must have read different discussion zones. Ad hominem attacks are a real characteristic of SS with John Cook frequently using his role as moderator to insult posters safe in the knowledge he can delete any response. A casual flick through the site will show numerous examples of ad hominem attacks on posters he who’s view he does not like. I’d be happy to link you to a selection of classics but do not wish inflate the sites views by my own actions. If I, as a long term blogger, believer in climate change and used to the rough and tumble of debate, think SS is a dysfunctional site, trust me, thats a pretty bad indication.

  10. I have tried to debate with cook via twitter after he attacked me for a tweet I made. He went quiet when I tried to discuss ENSO.

  11. @.Vukcevic: Your charts are interesting but difficult to understand due to a lack of labels, e.g. what is shown on the y-axis? What is the significance of the red sign wave?

  12. I get the feeling that Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. is an honest and objective ‘true scientist’ in the sense that whatever his research shows, he will report.

    He (and Dr. Judith Curry) are a few luke-warmer climate scientists that I trust…

  13. So then, I gather the lesson to be learned is that every time Kevin Trenberth publishes something someone doesn’t like, it should be immediately dismissed publicly with a reminder that no one should take seriously the future work of anyone who participated in a self-described “travesty”.

  14. “Roy and I were the first to build climate-type global temperature datasets from satellite microwave sensors,…”

    It seems easy to forget that we are talking about pioneers here. Others should be gratefull for these achievements.

  15. Christy and Spencer have done great pioneering scientific work to produce the MSU dataset.
    Remote sensing has been a triumph of modern empiricism.

    I have nothing but contempt for fools like John Cook and his moderators who censor comments and cast slurs at truly sceptical scientists.

    Trenberth has done good science in the past, but now seems to be losing his way. One day he will realise how he fooled himself but not many others. Too far up his own theory.

  16. Wow, that’s absolutely awful and sick that Trenberth would ad-hominem one of his former graduate students.

    I’m glad that Dr. Pielke made this post, as I am really utterly sick and tired of John Cook and Skeptical Science’s arrogance, and it needs to come to an end. Thank you Dr. Pielke for exposing them for who they really are.

  17. If we followed the “Skeptical Science” method we would still be using maps from the middle ages to navigate our ships. Nice to see Dr Pielke point out the obvious. In the end the good science will stand.

  18. Gareth Phillips says:
    September 12, 2011 at 11:11 am

    “[ . . . ]Although there are one or two brave posters on that site ( the mirror image of R.Gates) the majority are not interested in scientific debate, only in trashing any opinion which regardless of accuracy, right or wrong, good or bad, they feel is heretical. [ . . . ]”

    —————–

    Gareth Phillips,

    I am very sympathetic to the gentlemanly discourse shown by R. Spencer and J. Christy. I appreciate Pielke Sr’s supportive post.

    Thanks for your insight about the Skeptical Science blog site. I only go there if there is a reputable reference from an open commenter at a more open blog site. Which next to never, and that’s a long, long time.

    You suggest there is at least one commenter at Skeptical Science who might be “the mirror image of R.Gates”?

    The possible existence at Skeptical Science of an anti-doppelgänger to WUWT’s own R.Gates has deep metaphysical significance to the blogosphere.

    R. Gates, are you OK with this idea of anti-cloning?

    John

  19. What bothers me about SS is the self-congratulatory nature of weak and often incorrectly supported declarations of the rightness of their AGW cause. Like RC, the links provided are (far too) often to papers that are themselves Dessler-style shoot-from-the-lip rebuttals of something so solid and contrarian that it gave the Team the willies. If you (laboriously) check the initial and follow-up articles, like the ones forthcoming in this S&B case, you will find that the positions mooted by Cook are often unsound and inflated. The exercise of the moderators cleaver obviously inhibits proper discourse.

    They are counting on you not doing the work of actually understanding the issues and filtering out the ordinary stream of opinions from individual scientists. Mike, are you listening? It means work to understand! You gotta read all the papers, not listen to the opinions of a couple guys who read the abstracts.

    Someone on RC even made a robotic responder that replies to questions with cut and paste links to papers that, if fully investigated, expose the weakness of the case to claim there is any detectable human imprint on the climate at all. Then he hooted about it and how easy it was to fool ‘skeptics’. They are counting on people getting sucked into a ‘party position’ and settling into a comfy AGW pew to admire the climate clerics pontificating on the terrifying tenets of da debbil CO2. Ignorance is not a virtue, no matter how comfortable it may make one among friendly leaders.

    Misrepresentation of another guy’s paper is inevitable from time to time. We can deal with that. Serial misrepresentation is suspicious. It is not how progress is made!

  20. Sceptical Science was once a good site, but John Cook has been rather naive in letting certain elements take control of the moderation process and thus set the agenda.
    Most of the entrenched regular contributors fancy themselves as more knowledgeable experts as they attempt to demolish the papers of those truly qualified scientists that represent and present an alternate position to their own.
    It is almost comic that all that they achieve is confirmation of the degree that the Dunning–Kruger effect is entrenched amongst those regulars.
    The abuse of moderation process means that any posters who are able to present logical and coherent arguments that are unable to be countered or even addressed, gradually withdraw leaving the good old boys talking to and patting each other on the backs for being so clever.

  21. geo says:
    September 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    When you choose a most public venue to declare your personal war against science, you draw attention to yourself. He did this when he announced that CAGW should become the default hypothesis and that others should have to prove that there is no global warming. This put him in the same tiny ballpark as Al Gore. At any time, Trenberth could remove himself from that ballpark by withdrawing his statement. Because the statement amounts to a curse on science and because the statement has not been withdrawn, when someone calls him Travesty Trenberth they are simply reporting relevant important facts about his views of science. So, it is not an ad hominem. If you call yourself a pig then I am totally justified in calling you a pig.

  22. I looked through SkepSci’s characterizations of Spencer and Cristy, they took some specific quotes from them and their rebuttals were mostly along the lines of “everyone else says they’re wrong”; here a new idea, point us at some peer reviewed papers, preferably some not hiding behind a pay-wall.. Maybe what we really need is something like arXiv for climatology, when we get stuck with a report of a report of a report, nothing beats consulting the original sources. One of the reasons Dr. Spencer gets my respect is because he not only reports results without regard to whether they support any position or not, but he can explain technical nuances so that even a layman like my self can understand what he’s talking about and I can decide the merits of his arguments on my own.

  23. Dr Pielke:

    Thankyou for your article. It is a required read for all who have been exposed to the attacks (n.b. attacks and not criticisms) on the work of Spencer and Christy.

    Richard

  24. John Cook is funded by the Australian Government (through his Uni) to work the site and push the CAGW message that the Govt is trying desperately to push at the moment. All so they can introduce their carbon “tax on everything”.

    He even recently won an “award” at the Eureka’s for “promoting the message of man made climate change”. An obvious award created for him, to try to validate his site and him.

    He’s not a true scientist as all he does is regurgitate anything that promotes this catastrophic message.

  25. jason says: “I have tried to debate with cook via twitter after he attacked me for a tweet I made. He went quiet when I tried to discuss ENSO.”

    There’s a reason for that. They don’t understand ENSO.

  26. M.A.Vukcevic says: “Some data are more robust then others. This graph shows an unusual configuration within one of the top five temperature data sets used by the climate scientists in their calculations, predictions and computer models. I wander do they know of this little curiosity and if they do, what they make of it.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Data.htm

    The website address you provided as the source of the data on your graph…

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/monthly

    …does not work. What is it you’re illustrating?

  27. RE Spencer and Christy being pioneers and noted by Tallbloke September 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm, I am reminded of the old story about how you indentify the pioneers. They are the ones with the arrows in their backs. Fortunately,S and C and their colleagues are well armed and are able to fend off the outrageous slings and arrows of SS’s TAG team.

  28. Dr.Pielke Sr. wrote (in part, referring to the named scientist’s criticism of Drs Spencer and Christy);

    “are grossly incorrect and a retraction and a correction by Trenberth, Abraham and Gleick is appropriate.”

    IMHO this is totally correct.

    In the engineering field (often dismissed by scientists, at their peril I will add) Dr. Trenberth’s “It’s a travesty that our data does not match our theory” (Paraphrased by this author) is the engineering equivalent of “It’s a travesty that our airplane did not remain airborne, we must re-engineer the plane until it remains airborne as the CONSENSUS MODELS CLEARLY predict it will”.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  29. Paul says: September 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    One of the reasons Dr. Spencer gets my respect is because he not only reports results without regard to whether they support any position or not, but he can explain technical nuances so that even a layman like my self can understand what he’s talking about and I can decide the merits of his arguments on my own.

    This has been my experience, as well. But it occurs to me that perhaps this may be the root of the alarmists’ antipathy and their reliance on faulty “revisionist” reconstructions: they suffer from an extreme (if not terminal) case of “communication envy” ;-)

  30. Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.:

    Please promise me, that you will never send me to such a site AGAIN. These are the type of people, whose ideological ends, justify any means. They risk losing important science because it contradicts their invested hypothesis. Worse it can lead innocents down the road of error to greenville, home of the gaia religion, where they will become zombified dupes. You should have at least posted a warning:

    WARNING: This site is not suitable for anyone under the age of 100yrs.

  31. An important story implicit in the extreme scrutiny and search for errors directed to the smallest details of the UAH satellite tropospheric temperature measurements, is the glaring lack of any such scrutiny by the same scientists, but directed at the global surface air temperature record. Whatever GISS and CRU publish is widely taken as the equivalent of revealed knowledge and accepted virtually without criticism. But the potential for errors in the surface air temperature record is enormously greater than exists in the satellite record.

    The difference with which the two data sets are treated, in a context where only one of them has shown a pronounced warming trend, is all one really needs to understand the credibility of AGW-driven modern climate science.

  32. From Skeptical Science:

    Comments Policy

    The main purpose of the discussion threads is that we all develop a greater understanding of the science. To that end, the following rules must be followed when posting comments:

    No accusations of deception. Any accusations of deception, fraud, dishonesty or corruption will be deleted. This applies to both sides. Stick to the science. You may criticise a person’s methods but not their motives.
    No ad hominem attacks. Attacking other users or anyone holding a different opinion to you is common in debates but gets us no closer to understanding the science. For example, comments containing the words ‘religion’ and ‘conspiracy’ tend to get deleted. Comments using labels like ‘alarmist’ and ‘denier’ are usually skating on thin ice.
    No politics. Rants about politics, ideology or one world governments will be deleted.
    No profanity or inflammatory tone. Again, constructive discussion is difficult when overheated rhetoric or profanity is flying around…

    Now two comments from 8 September 2011 which are the very mild end of the spectrum:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/dessler-2011-rebuttal-revisions.html

    I suspect that there is a personality type — or perhaps mental aberration? — that succumbs to Dunning-Kruger and it would be interesting for someone with psychiatric qualifications to define exactly what the characteristics are. I suspect it lies behind quite a few people in climate denial who clearly think they understand the science better than the acknowledged experts. >/i>

    Moreover:

    It would most closely be identified with narcissistic personality, where an individual has an exceedingly inflated self-opinion that cannot be substantiated by the evidence. The person instead seeks to create and perpetuate assorted rationalizations justifying their grandiosity, while minimizing the conclusions one would arrive at with more objective measures

    I have commented on a number of occasions on Skeptical Science about its failure to observe its own comments policy only to be told very patiently that after all I need to understand that dealing with denialists (yes, the word frequently appears) is just so frustrating that I should excuse folks’ resort to slightly intemperate language.

    I picked these two examples simply because as a psychiatrist, I find attempts at discrediting people you disagree with via faux diagnostic labels offensive in the extreme. I’ve long given up on Skeptical Science and its solipsistic mutual self adulation.

  33. Pat Frank-Indeed. Revisions to the surface temperature record have generally been done more quietly than those of the satellite data, the latter announced proudly by many wishing to claim triumph that they have “fixed” these sinfully “wrong” data. But in fact revisions have been made to the surface temperature record over time, that have also had the net effect of increasing warming (see Michaels’ and Balling’s Climate of Extremes which shows the data) without the fanfare that they had discovered an error in their calculations or what have you. They perhaps wanted to avoid being scrutinized on their continual claims of additional warming they have “found”? I dunno, but I do find it striking that to the extent they do “scrutinize” the surface record, it always seems to be that they “scrutinize” it for some cooling bias. They exercised similar, louder scrutiny, but much tougher on the whole, on the satellite data. What they do with their own, surface data might be less called “scrutiny” and more “confirmation bias”.

  34. After about 2 years of posting at the ‘Skeptical Science’ website, I have just re-inforced my view held from the beginning, that the site is not being fair with the data.

    It’s very easy to hear a about different data/opinion/criticism, search around for a paper which says what one wants to say, and then dismiss such criticism, when in specific cases there is ambiguity in making any conclusions. Do this for long enough and one loses touch with the data and reality. One simply believes ones own repressions of ambiguities and uncertainities. The sites’ list of 100+plus arguments supporting strong AGW and refuting criticism is not a real reflection of the data.

    On my very first post there, it was obvious that online replies to skeptical posts were not being either rational or fair. This lack of rationalism in science is what is alarming. It also saddens me that the site won a Eureka prize, although the prize guidelines actually state that one has to be ‘doing something about climate change’ to begin with, which somewhat pre-empts the science.

    It would be nice to live in a world where all the arguments fall neatly on one side, and the rest is all wrong, but that is an arranged reality, not science.

  35. I must have made it. Skeptical Science has provided a link to my little blog on ‘final nails’ etc and a few came over today to have a look. They would have been disappointed, they were directed to the real science of Lindzen and Choi 2011, S & B 2011, the CERN experiment and a whole lot of others.

  36. chris1958 says:
    September 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm
    From Skeptical Science:

    I picked these two examples simply because as a psychiatrist, I find attempts at discrediting people you disagree with via faux diagnostic labels offensive in the extreme. I’ve long given up on Skeptical Science and its solipsistic mutual self adulation.

    Thanks for that Chris. I suffered exactly that attack and then censorship when I responded on SkS, as documented here:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/cooking-the-books-snip-snip-go-the-censors-scissors/

  37. How many times have Dr Hansen and colleagues issued adjustments to their data? Perhaps Christy and Spencer’s mistake has been their frank use of “corrections” instead of PC-certified “adjustments”.

  38. Brian H says:
    September 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm
    Gareth;
    I was four-square with you, till you used “who’s” instead of “whose”. Where are your intellectual standards, sir?

    ;)
    ;p

    I stand corrected Sir and am grateful for your grammatical insights. :)

  39. Skeptical Science is a double oxymoron. Perry mentioned Galileo the other day: well, some time ago I defined SS as the return of the Aristotelians because of its unbending effort to defend AGW orthodoxy, in a neverending rationalization away from physical reality (like Gleick’s idiotic “data must agree with the models” statement).

    SS is a Climate Protection Squadron only good for jokes about Godwin’s Law :)) and attractive mostly to journalists unfamiliar with the scientific process. It looks good to the ignoramuses, like a Milli Vanilli of global warming.

  40. John Whitman says
    R. Gates, are you OK with this idea of anti-cloning?>>>

    Pain, oh the pain, laughing so hard…. can’t breath… sides hurt…might black ou

  41. Bob Tisdale says:
    September 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm
    ………….
    Hi Bob
    Re: Some data are more robust then others
    The link is truncated. I was comparing two sets of very important temperature data, found strange correlation ( R^2) turnaround in 1936 from ~0.02 to 0.69, within space of couple of years (looking at the monthly numbers). This is highly unusual so I did a test which I often do for a correlation double take, and got the graph:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Data.htm

    Looking further into it, I found that one data set was ‘corrected’ with reasons given. Once everything is double checked, and numbers in the NOAA data link confirmed from elsewhere, I will put full info on my website.

  42. One might suspect this thread is engaged in a ‘looking-glass’ war with SS…
    If it wasn’t for the total abscence of insults and adhoms from the posters at WUWT!

    I am sure that the reputation that Spencer and Christy have for serial errors that favor their ideological preferences, is entierly undeserved….

  43. When you can’t attack a scientist’s science and prove him wrong the only thing left is to attack the integrity and sub-simian origins of the scientist himself. It’s 2011, and “Caveman Rules” still rule. Life’s a beach. Always different. Always the same.

  44. izen says:
    September 13, 2011 at 3:55 am
    One might suspect this thread is engaged in a ‘looking-glass’ war with SS…
    If it wasn’t for the total abscence of insults and adhoms from the posters at WUWT!

    I am sure that the reputation that Spencer and Christy have for serial errors that favor their ideological preferences, is entierly undeserved….

    No doubt Al Gore will reveal their secret funding sources. Big Oil, perhaps? The Illuminati, the Freemasons, Scientologists and the Rothschilds are also involved, no doubt.

    After all, everyone knows the Team has no ideology and aren’t advocating anything. Gore just wants to the science to get a fair hearing, right? So far, the vast skeptical conspiracy has kept his message from being heard.

    BTW: I’m being sarcastic (duh). And for somebody complaining about insults and adhoms, you just tossed a few yourself.

  45. Pat Frank says:
    September 12, 2011 at 7:59 pm
    An important story implicit in the extreme scrutiny and search for errors directed to the smallest details of the UAH satellite tropospheric temperature measurements, is the glaring lack of any such scrutiny by the same scientists, but directed at the global surface air temperature record. Whatever GISS and CRU publish is widely taken as the equivalent of revealed knowledge and accepted virtually without criticism. But the potential for errors in the surface air temperature record is enormously greater than exists in the satellite record.

    The difference with which the two data sets are treated, in a context where only one of them has shown a pronounced warming trend, is all one really needs to understand the credibility of AGW-driven modern climate science.

    True dat.

  46. I’ve managed to get hold of a copy of the Santer paper which Pielke commented on and wanted to know whether I’m barking up the wrong tree. I looked in vane for the model for the climate noise they were using. Eventually it dawned on me that they weren’t modelling the noise. Instead it must go like this:

    I want to know the signal to noise of my estimate of the number of apples. First. however tell me how many apples you have. Right, now my signal to noise is infinite because my estimate is precise. QED, I have a fantastic model which perfectly predicts the number of apples (after it knows how many to predict – and as it’s an exact prediction there is no noise).

    Likewise I think this Santer paper is doing the same: they are creating a model to match the temperature signal and then assuming that the noise is any mismatch. Which is why the S/N gets increasingly better, the closer it matches the whole sample period because it is increasingly easy to get an exact fit to the temperature series over the whole period. This is not what the noise model suggests if you analyse it as it increases with increasing periods.

    This simply doesn’t get around the real question which is: “how much is signal and how much is noise”. Instead it really says: “everything we can’t explain by tweaking the model is noise” and therefore the signal to noise is what we can’t post-factum explain. This is absurd nonsense.

    The real signal to noise is the deviation between the model and actual signal. So, e.g. we need to take models produced prior to 2001 and compare their “signal” which was around 0.35C/decade warming with the “noise” which was … around 0.35C/decade less, all the “signal” could be explained as noise. Then, if we back project this, we find the potential limit at this trend (given that trends can last centuries even millennium) is that the noise could be as high as 3.5C/century. This therefore suggests that the actual signal to noise over a century is as low as 0.25 to 1

    In other words, far from proving that we have to wait 30 years to assess climate, what the Santer type approach shows is that models are so bad that all the signal could easily be noise.

  47. omnologos says:
    September 13, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Very well said. I will add that they are so ignorant of scientific method that they are not aware that there is a difference between Aristotle and Galileo on scientific method. Their arrogance makes their ignorance permanent.

  48. G. Karst says:
    September 12, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Make that “Pagan zombified dupes.” It is a religion after all.

  49. It was SkepticalScience that made me a skeptic.

    Trying to find info about the Medieval Warm Period I visited SkepticalScience. Here it had two images, one showing the heat anomalies during the MWP and one showing the heat anomalies for today. The image for the MWP was a lot colder than today. After reading several posts the reason was obvious, the first image was the average temperature over the entire MWP period, about 300 years, I guess he decided when it started and ended. The one for today was the average temp for a single decade. Apples, pears, anyone. It was also an obvious and deliberate deceit.

    That for me was game over, I mean How do you know when a liar is telling the truth?

    Skeptical Science is a joke, just ignore it.

  50. Matt says:
    September 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Any “argument” that somehow implies that the target of the argument is the individual(s) who made it rather than the points made in the argument itself, is effectively ad hominem. Drawing attention to potetnially mistaken positions on unrelated subjects is also effectively an ad hominem attack. So asserting that Spencer and Christy have some sort of “history” of being mistaken a personal attack against the men themselves rather than what they have said. In fact, drawing Christy into the debate regarding a paper by Spencer and Braswell is outright irresponsible. Christy was not an author of the paper. These kinds of behaviours are “political” debate tactics and not scientific. Laymen readers may neither understand nor note the differences, which is the purpose. The arguments are not directed to fellow scientists but to the climate “laity.” The hope is to restore or reinforce “conviction” in the religious sense rather than clarify and inhance understanding.

  51. Scottish Sceptic says:
    September 13, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I’ve managed to get hold of a copy of the Santer paper which Pielke commented on and wanted to know whether I’m barking up the wrong tree. I looked in vane for the model for the climate noise they were using.

    In other words, far from proving that we have to wait 30 years to assess climate, what the Santer type approach shows is that models are so bad that all the signal could easily be noise.

    There are no models in the vanes; your search would necessarily be in vain. ;) ;p

    Your conclusion echoes a critique I read long ago, that the climate models are skillful only at selecting their preferred noise. Is that an accurate précis?

  52. Scotty (first comment)

    “If there was a prize for cherry-picking, “Skeptical Science” would be Fruiterer of the Year.”
    I love this term for the cherry picking award and it should become an annual prize “Fruiterer of the Year”. Has a resonance hasn’t it?

  53. J Christy says:
    September 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Some clarifications are needed. The orbital decay effect was discovered by Wentz around 1997 which induced a spurious cooling effect on one of our microwave satellite products (lower troposphere) but not the others. However, most people forget that at the same time Roy and I discovered an “instrument body effect” in which the observed Earth-view temperature is affected by the temperature of the instrument itself, leading to spurious warming (Christy et al. 1998, 2000). This effect counteracted about 75 percent of the orbital decay cooling effect – so the net effect of the two together was almost a wash (a point rarely acknowledged.)

    In 2005, Wentz and Mears discovered an error in the equation we used for the diurnal correction in one of our products (again, lower troposphere) which we quickly corrected and then published a “thank you” to Wentz and Mears in Science for their cleverness in spotting the error with an update on what the magnitude of the error was. Again, the magnitude of this error was small, being well within our previously published error estimates for the global trend. (Note that we were first to discover the diurnal drift problem back in the 1990s and initiated various corrections for it through the years.)

    Just to clarify the total magnitude of the errors, in January 2009, I made a comparison of the current version of the analysis to that reported in earlier work for the period that they shared in common (January 1979–April 1997). Here is what I found:

    Trend prior to 1998 paper by Spencer and Christy ( http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0442/11/8/pdf/i1520-0442-11-8-2016.pdf ): -0.076 C / decade.

    Trend with correction in 1998 paper: -0.046 C / decade.

    Trend using method of analysis current as of Jan 2009: +0.029 C / decade

    In the 2008 paper, Spencer and Christy stated “We estimate the precision of the overall trend as +/- .05 C / decade.” However, the total change in the trend from immediately prior to the 1998 paper to the Jan 2009 analysis version was in fact +0.105 C / decade (with 0.075 of that occurring between the 1998 paper and the 2009 analysis.

    Since the trend for the full data set through Dec 2008 was +0.127 C / decade, the change due to the longer time series is +0.098 C / decade. So, a little more than half the change in trend between the -0.076 C/decade trend prior to the 1998 paper and the +0.127 C / decade as of Dec 2008 was due to corrections and a little less than half was due to the longer time series.

    [Since Jan 2009, there have been some changes in the UAH analysis, but as I understand the changes, they are mainly in the annual cycle and have very little effect on longer trends, so I haven't bothered to redo the calculation with the latest version of the UAH analysis.]

  54. Skeptical Science isn’t. Sadly it is nothing more than an echo chamber for pseudo science. Models are treated as science and data is treated as useless. Not worth reading anything there.

  55. Davy123 said

    After reading several posts the reason was obvious, the first image was the average temperature over the entire MWP period, about 300 years, I guess he decided when it started and ended. The one for today was the average temp for a single decade. Apples, pears, anyone. It was also an obvious and deliberate deceit.

    This is interesting. Could you tell me which 10 year period from the MWP you would like to use in the comparison and how much data you have to establish the worldwide temperature for those 10 years?

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