Note to Tamino: Cherries are not the only fruit

Guest post by Verity Jones

A Tamino rant aimed at Joe D’Aleo’s Arctic ice refreezing after falling short of 2007 record (also at ICECAP) has had me smiling.  Tamino’s accusation against Joe of cherry picking are centred on one of the graphs originally posted here at DITC.

“D’Aleo tries so hard to blame Arctic climate change on ocean oscillations. Part of his dissertation includes a plot of “Arctic Region Temperatures”:”

“Do you suspect that these six stations were “hand-picked” to give the impression he wanted to give? Do you think maybe they were cherry-picked? If so, you’d be right.”

Well excuse me but of course they were cherry-picked, but not for the reasons Tamino suggests.  If you really want to spit cherry stones, Tamino, chew on them first.

The graph was originally posted here: http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/in-search-of-cooling-trends/ and here’s what I said about it then:

“Tony had found many climate stations all over the world with a cooling trend in temperatures over at least the last thirty years…

We were concerned that this could be seen as ‘cherrypicking’ …  In many cases it was not just cherrypicking the stations, but also the start dates of each cooling trend.”

However, the story the post revealed wasn’t the one Tony wanted to tell from the original reason why the stations were chosen – the story that came out of the work was the unexpected (to us) cyclical pattern exhibited by so many of the stations across the world. The pattern matched more closely in regional stations – hence the closely grouped Arctic set in the graph above.  So no, the stations in the graph weren’t meant to represent the whole of the Arctic (the original presentation of the graph is here).

But while we’re at it let’s look at a few more stations.

One of the reasons for choosing the stations we did in the graph above was the longevity of the record.  This was something I had a look at in the Canadian Arctic too when comparing GHCN/GISS data and that of Environment Canada.

Tamino also berates Joe for not averaging/spatially weighting the data:

“He wants you to think that Arctic regional temperature was just as hot in the 1930s-1940s as it is today.”

If we want a simple comparison of the 1930s with the present we need stations that cover both time periods.  In GHCN v2 for Canada, only one station (Fort Smith) has data in 2009 and also has data prior to 1943. Now Fort Smith is more than 1°C warmer on average in the five years 1998-2002 than in 1938-1942, but if we look at Mayo in the Environment Canada data set, it is only 0.275°C warmer in recent times when comparing averages of the two periods.

These are just two stations but such differences intrigue me. If you don’t compare like with like, how can you be sure there is no inadvertent bias? Are we comparing apples in the 1930s/40s with oranges in the 1990s and 2000s?

If we plot all the (GHCN/GISS) data (yes it’s another one of those ‘awful’ spaghetti graphs ;-0) – look at that big white gap under the plots from1937-1946.

Those years look pretty warm compared to 2000-2010, but unfortunately the data for Hay River, Mayo and Dawson does not extend to recent times. To do a comparison, you need to plot GISS and Environment Canada data together, and (as I showed here) there is a bit of a mismatch that needs to be overcome.  In Dawson the 1940s are warmer; Hay River shows a slow continuous upward trend.

If you want to compare the two periods in Canada, unfortunately you mostly have to rely on combining stations, and methods for this are well documented (I’ll not go into detail here). What is still debated though is the magnitude of correction (if any) for urban warming.

Much as scientists are required to be objective, there is a need for subjectivity in looking at the surface temperature records. What has changed around this station? Why is one station producing a cyclical signal while another gives a near linear trend? Like I’ve said before, I’m a fan of a parallax view.

Canadian Arctic stations are mostly rural and very small settlements; they’re labelled as <10,000 population by GISS.  Analysis by Roy Spencer showed the greatest warming bias associated with population density increases at low population density.  Ed Caryl in A Light in Siberia compared “isolated stations” with “urban” where there was a possible influence from human activity. He found distinct warming trend in temperatures of “urban” stations where there were increasing evidence of manmade structures or heat sources. In contrast, he found little or no trend in “isolated stations”.  Normalising the data for the isolated stations, he too produced a ‘spaghetti’ graph, which, lo and behold, also shows up that cyclical variation. Not only that, but for a lot of these stations (go ahead – call them cherry picked if you wish), the 1940s are clearly warmer than recent times.

So it is very clear to me that, in comparing station data, we’re dealing with cherries, apples, oranges, and probably a whole fruit bowl. Banana anyone?  The problem is that Tamino and others insist on mixing it all up to make a smoothie. Now that’s OK as long as you like bananas.

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Stay tuned – Anthony

73 thoughts on “Note to Tamino: Cherries are not the only fruit

  1. Lefties’ #1 defense mechanism is projection of their own neuroses upon their intellectual opponents.
    Their strident cries of ‘Cherry Picking’ sound ironic coming from those with brightly cherry-stained fingers.
    Only confirming ‘evidence’ need apply for Warmista science-status, however contrived or downright bogus.

  2. As clear an explanation of the importance of empirical research in evaluating data as I have ever seen. Now, Verity needs only a huge grant and she can work up the physical hypotheses which govern the behavior of the several instruments used and the behavior of the many environments in which they were used. Then we will substantial data.

    As for Warmista, you see an Arctic Tern in Alaska, you see one in Norway, you assume they are the same thing. Darwin would have spewed his coffee all over his monitor, except they didn’t have monitors.

  3. History is written by the victors. I fear Tamino and his ilk believe that they are such…all the more reason to continue to prove them wrong or at least hypocritical. ;-) Fight the good fight!

  4. Joe is like an energetic young birddog – fascinating but you need to stay close to keep him honest.

    Verity is like the highly tuned champion.

    Tamino is the nasty bulldog with fleas. Very disagreeable.

    Best to avoid disagreeable dogs.

  5. Tamino must be stuck on Hockey Stick stupid–just compile data from a bunch of different sources and hope they cancel each other out, leaving the desired trend in the more recent record. Glad you dissected his Epic Fail here, Anthony.

    REPLY: Actually, Verity did the vivisectioning – Anthony

  6. Clinton insulting all non-Republcan CAGW sceptics and throwing the “denier” word about:

    20 Sept: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Clinton: Climate deniers make US ‘look like a joke’
    Republican presidential candidates who question climate change and its causes make the United States “look like a joke,” ex-President Bill Clinton told the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York.
    “If you’re an American, the best thing you can do is to make it politically unacceptable for people to engage in denial” about global warming, said Clinton, speaking at the initiative’s opening session.
    “I mean, it makes us — we look like a joke, right? You can’t win the nomination of one of the major parties in the country if you admit that the scientists are right? That disqualifies you from doing it? You could really help us here.”…
    The quality of debate in America over climate and its consequences is “really tragic” due to the vocal deniers, Clinton argued…

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2011/09/20/clinton-climate-deniers-make-us-look-like-a-joke/

    20 Sept: AP: Ex-President Clinton: Green movement needs money
    Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that the success of the alternative energy movement is hampered by a lack of financing…
    Clinton said the next countries most likely to be affected by climate change are places that are inland and hot – such as Mali, a landlocked nation in western Africa.
    “A few years ago, after the south Asian tsunami, I spent a lot of time in the Maldives,” Clinton said. “I think it’s quite possible that the Maldives won’t be here in 30 or 40 years.”

    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/09/20/general-us-clinton-global-initiative_8691090.html

  7. Clinton said. “I think it’s quite possible that the Maldives won’t be here in 30 or 40 years.”

    This is the same guy that picked Gore as a running mate? And that same Gore failed to win with incumbancy in his hind pocket? That’s all I need to say about that (another Epic Fail comment by Clinton).

  8. There is evidence from temp records confirming this article. Another thing that gets forgotten is that the St Roch sailed the deep water northwest passage in 1944. To do so, not only the temp had to be warm, but the ice scant.

    And this was before satillties etc.

  9. 21 Sept: UK Daily Mail: Tamara Cohen: New Times Atlas ‘must be pulped’ over climate change exaggeration row
    In the map, the small numbers indicating altitude levels – known as spot heights – are also wrong because the contours drawn actually indicate thickness.
    Dr Willis, a glaciologist, said: ‘One of the first things that geographers learn at GCSE is that contours of surface elevation cannot cross one another. That should have set the alarm bells ringing.
    ‘There’s a discrepancy, they are not comparing like with like, and if I was a primary school teacher giving out a project on Greenland I would refer my students to Google Earth rather than the latest Times Atlas because it is wrong.
    ‘We think they should just come clean and make a bold statement that they have got this wrong.
    ‘They are doing a disservice to the art of cartography, to the reputation of their atlas, to scientists who are actually researching the real changes that are occurring in Greenland, and to the general public who need to know the truth about how climate change is impacting our ice masses worldwide.’…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2039807/New-Times-Atlas-pulped-climate-change-exaggeration-row.html

  10. The only people looking at the warmists sites are the believers and the writers. They scare off anyone else with their goon-like behavior. Since the number of believers is shrinking, soon only the writers and their shrillest hard-core supporters will remain.

  11. 21 Sept: UK Daily Mail: Christopher Booker: Global warming and the twisting of our children’s minds
    So one of the world’s most respected reference books, it seems, has been caught out perpetrating what amounts to yet more propaganda for the belief in global warming.
    One of the most disturbing features of this is that copies of the new atlas may soon be found in school libraries, where it will be cited by teachers as yet more evidence that climate change is now dramatically changing the world we live in.
    The propaganda is all-encompassing. The Climate Change Schools Project, an outfit that exists in partnership with the Environment Agency and other government-funded bodies, promises on its website ‘to put global warming at the heart of the national curriculum . . . We want schools to become the “hub” of excellence in climate change teaching, learning and positive action in their local communities.’…
    But the fact that responsible scientists who are by no means climate sceptics should have been so anxious to point out the errors in the Times Atlas is perhaps an indication that some of the lessons of those blunders by the IPCC have struck home…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2039797/Global-warming-twisting-childrens-minds.html

  12. Camburn,

    From Wikipedia:

    In 1940, Canadian RCMP officer Henry Larsen was the second to sail the passage, crossing west to east, from Vancouver to Halifax. More than once on this trip, it was unknown whether the St. Roch a Royal Canadian Mounted Police “ice-fortified” schooner would survive the ravages of the sea ice. At one point, Larsen wondered “if we had come this far only to be crushed like a nut on a shoal and then buried by the ice.” The ship and all but one of her crew survived the winter on Boothia Peninsula. Each of the men on the trip was awarded a medal by Canada’s sovereign, King George VI, in recognition of this notable feat of Arctic navigation.

    Doesn’t quite sound like current passages by yachts in one summer, does it?

  13. “Rattus Norvegicus says:
    Doesn’t quite sound like current passages by yachts in one summer, does it?”

    Perhaps in 1940 they couldn’t afford the GPS and satellite ice imagery downloaded every 20 minutes on their mobiles.

  14. pat says:
    September 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    So, Clinton has finally embraced Gore and lowered himself to Gore’s level. And Clinton was supposed to be a policy wonk. I guess retirement has made him fat and lazy like Gore.

  15. Rattus Norvegicus

    I believe Camburn was referring to the second passage since 1944 was referenced.

    Between 1940 – 1942 the Canadian RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) vessel St. Roch sailed through the Northwest Passage (Map). It left Vancouver in June 1940, and after spending two winters frozen in the ice, finally docked at Halifax on October 11, 1942. It was the second ship to navigate the passage, and the first to go from west to east.

    In 1944, St. Roch returned to Vancouver by way of a more northerly Northwest Passage route – cutting the time down to just 86 days.

    http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-st-roch.htm

  16. And even with all this modern technology they didn’t sail, they motored. And no doubt the frequency of Arctic icebreakers charging about, also helped a little.

  17. Rattus writes “Doesn’t quite sound like current passages by yachts in one summer, does it?”

    And DocMartyn counters with “Perhaps in 1940 they couldn’t afford the GPS and satellite ice imagery downloaded every 20 minutes on their mobiles.”

    Rattus and Tamino were cast of the same mold. Neither has any sense of reality when considering “the data” whatever the data may be (in this case relating to navigation in the Arctic). If you’re going to cherry pick a quote Rattus, it would probably pay to think it through.

  18. Rattus’s convenient silence on the 86 day 1944 voyage of the St. Roch is cherry picking, pure and simple. Picture yourself at the wheel of Captain Larsen’s wooden hulled schooner in 1944 as compared to today’s “yachts” with satellite info, radar and advanced communications. Conditions must have been auspicious to make that voyage in 86 days. And the repeat of the present day repeat of the auspicious sailing conditions merely hints at the cyclical nature of Arctic ice extent.

  19. Or this Central European station, Hungary:

    The sine wave is visible in all NH records. 2000s were barely warmer than 40ties. Never seen that in the models.

  20. - Clinton said. “I think it’s quite possible that the Maldives won’t be here in 30 or 40 years.”

    Looks like somebody’s been spending too much time reading the Times Comprehensive Atlas Of The World, as rightly criticised by James Delingpole yesterday.

  21. Tamino freaks out whenever anyone suggests that there is any similarity between the current warm period and the previous Arctic warming. I got banned from commenting on his Closed-Minded-site when trying to argue against his silly bayesian argument here: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/how-likely/

    (and I don’t really mind, I prefer discussing in less sour-stomached environments, like WUWT)

  22. Be all this as it may, summer sea ice is dropping steadily both in extent and thickness (lots of blog posts on this site that I know you’re aware of) and has been for decades. That the datasets being argued about here do not show an increase in temperature is neither here nor there. Net melting is unarguable evidence for net energy input into the system. Remember that your Gin and Tonic stays around zero degrees until the ice has melted.

    And there is a plausible mechanism to account for this energy input that makes us all very uncomfortable.

    @Dr Ed and others – for all of Tamino’s “closed mindedness”, and “ranting” (let he who is without sin cast the first stone), it’s worth reading his stuff to find out what the other side thinks. It’s one of the reasons why I read both this blog and that one. Otherwise all you do is hear what you want to hear. Plenty of empires and states have collapsed because the leaders didn’t listen to what they didn’t want to hear. Gaddafi? Mubarak? I’m sure you can name a few more.

  23. Tamino is guilty of cherry-picking as well.
    But his readers will never know.
    I called him out on it and he sent my responses to the ether.
    So be it.
    The websites that don’t block me, wither and die in viewership.
    I like that.
    False science should die and the only way these momo’s get away with continuing the lies is to block the real science from getting out.
    I’ve quit visiting sites like SkSci and OpenMind and the others Anthony has in the blog roll.
    I refuse to give them a hit.
    I have Google set up to retrieve the articles on climate and carefully pick the ones I read or follow up on my site.
    The media blitz that is taking place right now is absurd.
    Some by us, but mostly the media that supports the propaganda from the ‘ It’s worse that you thought guys’.
    I have a suggestion to make to the rest of you…
    Lets concentrate on improving the understanding of the current science and focus less on the detractors. Lets these alarmists continue to rant and rave. But let them rant to themselves.
    I would like to see the lot of us clean house and work towards defining the science more clearer.
    Its obvious to most that the Co2 gang has lost their freaking minds, and that the general public just needs us to reassure them that the approach we take is the correct one.
    Its possible I shouldn’t draw attention to this line of reasoning, because there are powers that use the information we print and use it to their benefit.
    But having said that, each of us walk our own walk.
    It would be a good thing to provide less information to ‘them’ regarding any progress in these matters, until such time we can effectively convey the science we support.
    That is all. ; )

  24. Prof A. Net melting is not unarguable evidence for net energy input into the system. It can just as easily be evidence of the movement of the same energy from somewhere else, with the total unchanged.

  25. Whatever station is used there will be temperature differences which will not confirm warming/cooling if only because we are using a naturally controlled system with varying inputs. Using rainfall or sunshine totals will show the same. Varying weather.

    This is natural and does not prove climate change only natural variability.

  26. “it’s worth reading his stuff to find out what the other side thinks.”

    Absolutely. You cant be a proper skeptic without knowing what you’re being skeptical about! Having said that Judith Curry’s “Climate etc” is more middle of the road with respect to the arguments and IMO a better use of one’s time. Both sides argue relatively free of moderation there. And “Science of Doom” is exceptional when discussing the science independently of any bias.

  27. Anent Peer Review vs. Blog Review:

    There is no ‘R’ in Tuktoyaktuk.

    You read it in this blog first!

  28. The only problem I have with this kind of “spaghetti” graphs is that they deceive the eye. You can clearly see how maxima and minima evolved but you have little insight what’s in between.

  29. Verity was kind enough to cite a project we worked on-she has used it to make an excellent refutation of Tamino-I can’t praise her work enough.

    My interest is primarily in History and I suspect this is a blind spot for most climate science researchers such as Dr Mann and many computer analysts such as Tamino..

    It is very rare to find that modern day circumstances dont have a precedent in past ages. Sorry for the people who have seen this before but the following article puts modern arctic ice melting into its proper perspective-merely the latest in a long line of similar incidents

    “Claims of unprecedented warmth and abnormal melting of melting arctic ice are unfounded if we look at history;
    1 The following link describes the ancient cultures of the warmer arctic 5000 to 1000 years ago

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Lithoderm/Inuit_culture

    2 This relates to an Arctic culture thriving in warmer times 2000 years ago
    From the Eskimo Times Monday, Mar. 17, 1941
    “The corner of Alaska nearest Siberia was probably man’s first threshold to the Western Hemisphere. So for years archeologists have dug there for a clue to America’s prehistoric past. Until last year, all the finds were obviously Eskimo. Then Anthropologists Froelich G. Rainey of the University of Alaska and two collaborators struck the remains of a town, of inciedible size and mysterious culture. Last week in Natural History Professor Rainey, still somewhat amazed, described this lost Arctic city.

    It lies at Ipiutak on Point Hope, a bleak sandspit in the Arctic Ocean, where no trees and little grass survive endless gales at 30° below zero. But where houses lay more than 2,000 years ago, underlying refuse makes grass and moss grow greener. The scientists could easily discern traces of long avenues and hundreds of dwelling sites. A mile long, a quarter-mile wide, this ruined city was perhaps as big as any in Alaska today (biggest: Juneau, pop. 5,700).
    On the Arctic coast today an Eskimo village of even 250 folk can catch scarcely enough seals, whales, caribou to live on. What these ancient Alaskans ate is all the more puzzling because they seem to have lacked such Arctic weapons as the Eskimo harpoon.

    Yet they had enough leisure to make many purely artistic objects, some of no recognizable use. Their carvings are vaguely akin to Eskimo work but so sophisticated and elaborate as to indicate a relation with some centre of advanced culture — perhaps Japan or southern Siberia —certainly older than the Aztec or Mayan”.

    3 This link leads to the Academy of science report of the same year regarding the Ipiutak culture described above

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1078291

    4 This interesting book refers to the Vikings living in a warmer arctic culture 1000 years ago
    It is called ‘The Viking world’. It is a very scholarly and highly referenced book running to some 700 pages and deals with all aspects of the Vikings. It is good because it does not have an axe to grind, but deals matter of factly with all aspects of Viking culture and exploration.
    There is a large section on their initial exploration of Greenland, the subsequent establishment of their farms there, everyday life, how they gradually lost access to the outside world as the sea lanes closed through ice, a record of the last wedding held In Greenland and how trade dried up. It also deals with Vinland/Newfoundland and it seems that it was wild grapes that helped give the area its name, it being somewhat warmer than today.

    This is one of a number of similar books that record our warmer and cooler past throughout the Northern Hermisphere. Al Gore wrote a good book in 1992 called ‘Earth in the Balance’ in which he explored the changing climate that devastated the civilisations in the Southern Hemishpere.
    The book ‘The Viking World’ is Edited by Stefan Brink with Neil Price Published by Routledge ISBN 978 0 415 33315-3
    I suggest you borrow it from the local library as it costs $250!

    5 I wrote about the The Great Arctic warming in the 19th Century a couple of years ago-it examines the period 1815-60 when the Arctic ice melted and the Royal Society mounted an expedition to investigate the causes.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/#more-8688

    6) This refers to a warmer arctic 75 years ago recorded on Pathe newsreel by Bob Bartlett on the Morrisey during his journeys there in the 1920’s and 1930’s and reported in all the media.

    http://boothbayharborshipyard.blogspot.com/2008/08/arctic-explorer-on-ways.html

    “Diary- Wednesday, 10th August 1932
    The ship rolled heavily all night and continues to do so….
    The glacier continues its disturbances. No real bergs break off but great sheets of ice slide down into the water and cause heavy seas. About noon, the entire face of the glacier, almost a mile in length and six or eight feet deep slid off with a roar and a rumble that must have been heard at some distance. We were on deck at the time for a preliminary report like a pistol shot had warned us what was coming. The Morrissey rolled until her boats at the davits almost scooped up the water and everything on board that was not firmly anchored in place crashed loose. But this was nothing to the pandemonium on shore. I watched it all through the glasses. The water receded leaving yards of beach bare and then returned with a terrific rush, bringing great chunks of ice with it. Up the beach it raced further and further, with the Eskimos fleeing before it. It covered all the carefully cherished piles of walrus meat, flowed across two of the tents with their contents, put out the fire over which the noonday meal for the sled drivers was being prepared, and stopped a matter of inches before it reached the pile of cement waiting to be taken up the mountain. Fortunately, in spite of heavy sea, which was running, the Captain had managed to be set shore this morning so he was there with them to help straighten out things and calm them down.”

    7) This period was also recorded in a more scientific fashion in this free online book on the Arctic warming 1919-1939 written by my colleague Dr Arnd Bernaerts who examined the last great warming -prior to the modern one- in great detail.

    http://www.arctic-heats-up.com/chapter_1.html

    The arctic has periodically warmed to greater amounts than today. A reduction in ice extent in that brief moment in time since 1979 is of no consequence if you look at the historical record of this region.It would appear that the advent of satellite monitoring coincided with a 100 year peak in ice levels.
    tonyb

  30. Prof A
    Given that nearly every believer site I have been on, blocks and bans anyone who posts ideas not from the religion ! but Anthony’s site along with the likes of Bishop hill and other non believers seem to allow counter arguments and some real nasty zealots to post I think stones and glass houses is a better term !

  31. @- Robert Austin says:
    September 20, 2011 at 9:39 pm
    “Rattus’s convenient silence on the 86 day 1944 voyage of the St. Roch is cherry picking, pure and simple. Picture yourself at the wheel of Captain Larsen’s wooden hulled schooner in 1944 as compared to today’s “yachts” with satellite info, radar and advanced communications. Conditions must have been auspicious to make that voyage in 86 days. ”

    Conditions were not auspicious all over the Arctic that year.
    While Capt Larsen was taking the best part of 3 months to get through the NW passage arctic convoys were struggling through some of the worst weather encountered in the NE passage taking supplies to Russian forces in one of the worst winters on record. Even in the summer there were problems getting to Archangel, some of the convoys and escorts had to stop at Murmansk.
    Unlike the present the NE passage was definately NOT passable, the exceptional ice conditions across N Canada were balanced by exceptionaly cold conditions across N Russia.
    Not the exceptional ice-free conditions seen on BOTH sides of the Arctic ocean at present.

  32. climatereason says:
    September 21, 2011 at 3:57 am
    Thank you for taking the time to post the best set of links on Arctic melt and history I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It’s information like this, clear, well documented, and well researched which allows me hope that, over time, I can keep my grandchildren out of the hands of the propagandistas. I’m making progress in general science and math, but I’ve needed help in the area of history. Thanks again!

    Thanks to Anthony for making this all possible!

  33. When I saw Tamino’s comment on cherry picking by Joe D’Aleo I went and read his full post. It really was more of an attack than a reasoned comment. I agree with Verity completely that you must use what data you have. Especially the temperature record data. I did a regional study on NM temperature and found very few sites that had data longer than 60 or 70 years. I found about 10 sites that were about 100 years and 100s that were 60 years or less. In the final analysis I found exactly the same pattern that she (actually Tony) found. If you take regional data and plot it with her “spaghetti” pattern the alignment is very good (much less noisey). There seems to be a slight phase shift throughout the Northern Hemisphere and over periods of 30 years (or more) there is a complete out of phase shift between the NH and the SH. Urban heat island effects of data from increasingly urban areas tends to blur the data more. It is all there without any fancy filtering process whether Tamino wishes to acknowledge it or not. Thank you Verity and Tony.

    Bernie

  34. Hmmm. I think Tamino does it properly. It is fun to search for “cooling trends”, and to pontificate on temperature trends and changes to population density. But, you see a trend because it is there now, not because it will be there in future. Just because you’ve thrown a die 4 times and its come up 6 each time, does not mean that the next throw is likely to be a 6 (presuming you’ve checked the die for bias).

    Anyway, the problem of classifying weather stations as “increasing population starting from a low base” and various other possibilities is that you need to develop algorithms to do your classification, not use “human judgment”. And, you should choose the algorithm for sound reasons, not just because it fits in best with the pattern you think you’ve seen.

    • @John Brookes
      Tamino can do it “properly” or any way he wishes, but see my reply to Robert.

      Anyway, the problem of classifying weather stations as “increasing population starting from a low base” and various other possibilities is that you need to develop algorithms to do your classification, not use “human judgment”. And, you should choose the algorithm for sound reasons, not just because it fits in best with the pattern you think you’ve seen.

      And just how does one develop algorithms? I seem to remember the starting point is quantified knowedge and measurement. And that is just my point – when you do actually go and look at the stations (for example Anthony’s Surface Stations project) and classify them, you have a starting point for your algorithm. Just a starting point mind. You still have to assign values to the differences in the classifications. The starting point of such a classification is both objective and subjective – there is subjectivity and human judgement in all good science (it’s called experience). If I take two stations, here are the differences and how the surroundings have altered over the years; I think this difference might cause a big effect, but I have to be objective in the way I measure any effect.

  35. Verity Jones,

    Tamino has responded

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/fruit-loops/

    “Normalising the data for the isolated stations, he too produced a ‘spaghetti’ graph, which, lo and behold, also shows up that cyclical variation. Not only that, but for a lot of these stations (go ahead – call them cherry picked if you wish), the 1940s are clearly warmer than recent times.”

    His method is crap. Seriously, there are well-documented techniques that work effectively for this type of situation to combine station data. See Tamino’s method or RomanMs/Nick Stokes. The normalization process used there is not an effective technique and is filled with holes. If you took the time to actually look into the issue rather than blindly accepting other results you would know that.

    • Robert So Tamino is now comparing breakfast cereals is he?
      If you took the time to actually look into the issue rather than blindly accepting other results you would know that.
      Spending a substantial proportion of my spare time in the last couple of years looking at this stuff is the reason why I am able to see past the methods. Combining station data, whether done by Tamino, or Jeff Id and RomanM is fine if you are working with data from stations where you can stand over the quality of the data. If you combine data from stations with a strong warming trend with those that have a sine wave and no overall trend, you will get the graphs they all produce.

      Suppose you have a region with two stations – one with a sine wave, one with a warming trend, each representing the same area – which one better represents the temperature of the area? is one ‘right’ and one ‘wrong’, or is the average of the two the true temperature of the area? You can do all the theorising about right and wrong methods you wish but unless you look critically at the two stations and account for how and why they differ (as any good scientist should) you can use a “crap method” or an “effective technique” but the result will still be garbage.

  36. Robert Austin says:
    September 20, 2011 at 9:39 pm
    Rattus’s convenient silence on the 86 day 1944 voyage of the St. Roch is cherry picking, pure and simple. Picture yourself at the wheel of Captain Larsen’s wooden hulled schooner in 1944 as compared to today’s “yachts” with satellite info, radar and advanced communications. Conditions must have been auspicious to make that voyage in 86 days. And the repeat of the present day repeat of the auspicious sailing conditions merely hints at the cyclical nature of Arctic ice extent.

    For which there is no evidence! Joe’s cherry picking notwithstanding, the constant trotting out of a newspaper article about the 1922 Arctic ‘melt’, like Joe refers to a small region of the arctic, and completely ignores the freeze up in the region of the Bering strait. Anthony no doubt recalls my pointing that out here last year.

    Regarding the St Roch, the first trip took 28 months and involved being frozen in like Amundsen. The NW passage has been navigable by yachts for the last several years, 1940 was not as clear as this year and was an isolated event.

  37. spangled drongo says:
    September 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm
    And even with all this modern technology they didn’t sail, they motored. And no doubt the frequency of Arctic icebreakers charging about, also helped a little.

    Not at all, check out the sailing schedules and routes of the ice breakers in the NW Passage!

  38. I wonder how hard it would be to document a warming bias in cold climates due to anthropogenic movement. Such as traffic. I have noticed on nights where it goes below -20F, that is is colder at my house than at the road, and colder at the road than at the highway, and colder at the highway than in town. It is also warmer at the top of a tall bridge than on the road surface on either side.

    These kind of clear, wind still nights happen maybe once or twice a winter where I live,but I bet they are more common in the arctic, by far.

  39. Well, tomatoes are botanically a fruit, but I would be glad if somebody who’d pick fruits for a fruit salad would leave them out of the bowl – he might be scientifically right, but he is not going to win any favours showing up with a fruit salad that contains tomatoes. I guess the team’s answer would be to put the whole fruit basket through a grinder and hope that nobody notices? And I couldn’t say if the picked fruits were any good, once they are in a slimy pulp, now, can I?

    • Theo Goodwin Thanks. I don’t suppose you know anyone who could put in a good word with Exxon do you?

      Anthony – vivisectioning? Well I suppose the copious production of bile is a give away that were are talking about a living organism.

      Doug in Seattle Perhaps Tamino’s invective is the only thing that keeps his blog stats up these days.

      Kim ??? Oh ye of few words can be so cryptic

      Juraj V. Thank you for the graphs. I still find the sine wave pattern amazing.

      ClimateForAll said:
      “Lets concentrate on improving the understanding of the current science and focus less on the detractors. Lets these alarmists continue to rant and rave. But let them rant to themselves. I would like to see the lot of us clean house and work towards defining the science”

      My thoughts too. But sometimes I give into temptation.

  40. Robert says:
    September 21, 2011 at 8:11 am
    Verity Jones,

    Tamino has responded

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/fruit-loops/

    “Normalising the data for the isolated stations, he too produced a ‘spaghetti’ graph, which, lo and behold, also shows up that cyclical variation. Not only that, but for a lot of these stations (go ahead – call them cherry picked if you wish), the 1940s are clearly warmer than recent times.”

    On what basis does Tamino claim that the graph by Joe D’Aleo is not credible? the curve shown above of Arctic temperature stations matches very closely the graph published by Levitus et al, 2009 (pdf here) showing Barents sea temperatures in the upper 150m. This correspondence gives strong credibiity to the data and graph by Joe. Tamino would by contrast need to show why the Arctic temperatures should depart significantly from Arctic sea surface temperatures (upper layer OHC).

    See the WUWT article here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/08/new-paper-barents-sea-temperature-correlated-to-the-amo-as-much-as-4%C2%B0c/

  41. Thanks Verity. You are reminding me of the piece I did that was published here, that evidently really got up Tamino’s nose because he honoured me with two rebuttals. Nick Stokes was jumping in there too, to try and bat me down. Hasn’t changed. Then I realized Tamino had handed me something I could use to strengthen my own argument.

    Yes most of the Arctic records show it as warmer in the 1940’s than recently. And the Greenland ice record shows it was warmer in medieval times, warmer still in Roman times, warmer still in the Holocene optimum. Click my name and then click on the section labelled “-distorted” to see this.

    IMHO it’s really important to NOT mush records together, but simply use reliable stations, that have (a) a really long record and (b) no real UHI issues – as did my mentor John Daly. However, as Verity suggests and Illarionov demonstrates, UHI effects can be most serious in the most sparsely-populated “rural” areas.

  42. We need to be careful with data and the way it is analysed. If comparing analyses, an essential question is: were the hypothesis being tested the same.

    I looked at just the Mayo data, which is the longest of the time series. I did not transform the data, or calculate anomalies (which can introduce bias). After filling some missing months, which made no difference to the long-term series monthly averages, I tested for step-changes.

    Step changes are not incremental changes, such as those usually investigated by regression approaches (although we can incorporate “steps” into regression); steps essentially expose external “shocks” to the time series. These could be station moves for example; changes in instruments or observation times; or changes in atmospheric circulation, such as summarised by indices like ENSO, DPO etc. Step-changes reveal inhomogeneities in the base series, and for a valid apples vs. apples comparison, data need to be homogeneous through time.

    Clearly, if monthly values move in opposite directions, it is possible for annual data to remain the same. So I analysed month by month as well as annual data, and there is some nifty software available now to do this easily. I checked the variance – variability in period data contributing to the mean; as well as the mean; and when I finished, I checked the residuals after step-corrections, and they showed no trends.

    I found statistically significant (P<0.01) steps in all months except September and November, and they were months that showed no linear trend over time either (slope not significantly different to zero).

    Fitting any model that assumes data are serially coherent leads to false conclusions when in fact data are "stepped". In the case of Mayo, the same years ring a bell as they do in Australian data – there was a major climate shift in 1948 in both places; again in 1974 and 1996. 1948 was the most pronounced shift. For Australia, temperature changes were lagged relative to the rainfall shifts. It is also clear in Australian data that relationships between maximum and minimum temperature exhibit hysteresis – their trajectory is different depending on whether temperature is in a falling or rising phase.

    For Mayo, the eyeball average temperature from 1938-1947 (3.72 deg C) may not be statistically different to that from 1997 to 2010 (3.99 deg C), and if it were, the difference (0.27 deg. C) would be immaterial. It is not a difference due to a trend, it arises because of a step. The later step corresponds to the 1998 ElNino.

    My view, is that climate is a continuum; it has a bandwidth of values that it moves between, and that changes in its relative trajectory reflect passing interventions (eg. station moves; ElNino), rather than trends. That the residuals for Mayo showed no pattern after step-change effects were removed debunks the "trend" hypothesis, at least for the period of the data (1929-2010).

    The final issue that I'd note is that for measured data there is an obvious limitation (bias?) resulting from the length of record. Most data ends post the 1998 ElNino in 2010-2011 (hot, dry); so that "end" of the data spectrum is fixed. The start date (year) is variable. Data may start for example on a low time step; thus giving a strong but misleading "trend" to 2010. It may start on a high time-step, that results in no trend at all. If we had comparable data going back far enough, we would probably be less likely to be able to support hypotheses relating to contemporary warming.

    • Bill Johnston
      I’ve been aware of many of these issues, even if I’ve not had the facility to do such analyses myself, and your conclusions are very reasuring. I am intrigued by the dates you assert for the major climate shifts. We had previously used 1939 and 1969 in mapping trends here: http://diggingintheclay.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/multiple-maps.png?w=610&h=782. I have always assumed that, while at the time there was a data handling necessity for this, it was not ideal. My perception was always that such shifts would not necessarily manifest themselves in all regions simultaneously. Is this correct? Is there any reading on this that is readily accessible?

  43. Instead of apologising for spaghetti graphs, how about stretching out the x axis a bit so that the wriggly lines are not so tightly jammed together? Then they would be a lot easier to understand.

  44. phlogiston
    Sorry, I overlooked your question earlier. Thanks for that link.

    Tamino’s problem with the first graph in (this) post (and in fact all of them) seems to that the stations are cherrypicked and not geographically representative of the Artic as a whole (therein he insists they are wrong). In this he is not dealing with the issue I have raised in asking why these stations show the strongly cyclical pattern while other stations do not. In fact I suggest it is an issue that he would rather avoid.

  45. Rattus:
    St. Roch made 2 trips through the NW passage, 1943 and 1944 I believe. One trip tokk a grand toatal of 86 days PORT TO PORT. Light speed for the day. They encountered very little ice.

  46. Verity Jones
    There are several regime shift detection packages available that you could find. There are also interesting papers in the general field of “Nonsense regressions due to neglected time-varying means” mainly in econometric literature, but its an equally valid issue for climate time-series. (My long-ago training was in biometry, not mathematical statistics, so I’m not big on the maths part of this, but conceptually it is easily understood.)
    An issue that I mentioned was that an “average” may mask what is going on within data. This is because across datasets, months (or stations) may dull or even cancel out step-changes that on a “unit” (month, or particular station’s data) basis could be real. This was why I analysed for individual months, as well as for step-changes in yearly means.
    Obviously, the more values that contribute to a data average results in a smoother average. This increases the risk of masking small differences within stations, and stations within zones, that may be real and important.
    For instance, in Australian data, if we averaged a parameter for stations in different climatic zones, say on the east and western side of the Great Dividing Range, we may find no time-steps in the average; but if we looked within zones we may find large steps. It would be cheating to claim an overall trend, when its components act to cancel-out real variation.
    The other issue that may have slipped by is that statistical significance is not a reward in itself. The difference that it detects must also be relevant and important. In my mind, it matters little, for a station that is always hot; say 45 deg.C that its temperature increases or decreases by a statistically significant point-something of a degree. The same for a station that is very cold. So after a statistical test, there needs to be interpretation, and part of that should consider the relevance or otherwise of the data change/difference. In blogspace, there seems to be much more excitement about something being “significant” rather than if it makes any real difference. It would be a challenge for anybody to walk outside and detect a temperature change of much less than a couple of degrees.
    As for spaghetti graphs, it is possible to standardize across multi-data, calculate an error estimate for the series at each time; and plot just one line with error bars. It is also possible to test for steps in combined data. I’ve seen this recommended as the 1st step in climatic time series analysis.
    If there are no steps, then it would be OK to assume something about trends. Linear detrending of non-linear data can also result in spurious results. There is also the issue of data transformation to handle mean-variance correlation; serial correlation and so on. A full-blown analysis is somewhat more complex than just fitting a few trend lines in EXCEL and getting excited about a high R^2.

  47. A point of clarification:
    I was only looking at maximum temperatures for Mayo; and only to illustrate an important oft-neglected point. The question that I missed from Verity Jones, was:

    “I am intrigued by the dates you assert for the major climate shifts. We had previously used 1939 and 1969 in mapping trends here: http://diggingintheclay.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/multiple-maps.png?w=610&h=782. I have always assumed that, while at the time there was a data handling necessity for this, it was not ideal.”

    The real answer is: The data should tell you where the shifts occur.

    It is easy to test; I have 2 excel add-ins that do it in seconds; and there are more sophisticated stand-alone packages; as well, most full-blown stats-programs can be programmed do it, but they are more complicated to drive.

    If you test between stations, the similarity of detected “dates” should tell you something about how well they cluster around an average date; if they are scattered all over the place they could be nonsensical/not real. If they are not, then you can go off and look for reasons for changes at those times, either in the climate literature or using other data.

    Cheers

  48. Verity Jones says:
    September 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm
    phlogiston
    Sorry, I overlooked your question earlier. Thanks for that link.

    Tamino’s problem with the first graph in (this) post (and in fact all of them) seems to that the stations are cherrypicked and not geographically representative of the Artic as a whole (therein he insists they are wrong). In this he is not dealing with the issue I have raised in asking why these stations show the strongly cyclical pattern while other stations do not. In fact I suggest it is an issue that he would rather avoid.

    How much scope is there even for cherry-picking of Arctic temperatures, even if you tried? How much variation is there in temporal trends from one location to another? In the Antarctic – a much larger frozen region – the western peninsula seems to behave differently to the main continent. But at the Arctic does the variation in temporal pattern even exist to provide the potential for cherry picking?

  49. @ Juraj V. – “Oh another academic here”…… What’s that supposed to mean? Personal remarks are seldom effective when debating a position.

    @ Disco Troop. -” Prof A. Net melting is not unarguable evidence for net energy input into the system. It can just as easily be evidence of the movement of the same energy from somewhere else, with the total unchanged.”
    Yeah. I agree. Very good point. In an isolated system energy can move from one place to another. It’s the First Law. Are you suggesting planet Earth is isolated from the rest of the universe? Leaving that aside, if there is this movement of energy, thermal energy transfer occurs as a result of temperature difference and would result in a counterbalancing cooling somewhere else on the planet. Bearing in mind that the enthalpy of melting (latent heat) of ice is huge, one should see a warmer zone cooling substantially. One would also need to show how this energy flow from one part of the planet to the other has actually increased over time, giving rise to the progressive melting.
    Of course if you agree that planet earth is an open system then we need a mechanism to account for the increased energy flow into the planet that is giving rise to melting, even if, as is being asserted by some, there is no temperature increase. As I said before, there is a mechanism on the table that many of us find very uncomfortable.

  50. Verity Jones says:
    September 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm
    Tamino’s problem with the first graph in (this) post (and in fact all of them) seems to that the stations are cherrypicked and not geographically representative of the Artic as a whole (therein he insists they are wrong).

    Quite so, since he was addressing d’Aleo’s post concerning the Arctic (not one quadrant of it), which used that figure, he is quite right to object to such cherry picking.

    In this he is not dealing with the issue I have raised in asking why these stations show the strongly cyclical pattern while other stations do not. In fact I suggest it is an issue that he would rather avoid.</em.

    You're right he's not addressing your issue because he's not referring to your post.

  51. Tamino is an ignorant hick who thought Mannian Statistics was real mathematics; who thinks the Jones-Briffa ‘extensions’ to the ‘new field of Climate Math’ are real mathematics.

    The fact everyone under the sun’s taken Mann’s algorithms and made calibration noise turn into graphing error using it means nothing to him. He’s so stupid he actually BELIEVES that the men who were FURIOUSLY CALCULATING DOOMSDAY with SCRIBBLES THEY COULDN’T TELL W.E.R.E.
    N.O.T.
    R.E.A.L.
    M.A.T.H.

    have nothing to be ashamed of, intellectually.

    Tamino is the one who thinks the – and I mean every syllable of this I’ve followed this scam for 18 years – the ignorant Mann, referred to as a “Charlatan of Statistics” – who is actually nothing more than a geologist: not an atmospheric scientist, not a statistician of A.N.Y. note –

    Tamino thinks
    the HEAD
    of the ROYAL STATISTICAL SOCIETY
    was W.R.O.N.G.

    when he said that Mann’s statistics “aren’t statistics” and that “for that matter no ‘Climate Math’ is mathematics of any kind.”

    and that Mann, mediocre intellect without a talent for much but SCAM and statistical EPIC PHALE,

    knows more of statistics than he.

    So whenever you ask yourself how much sense Tamino has, R.E.M.E.M.B.E.R:
    HE STILL THINKS AN ALGORITHM PROVEN REPEATEDLY to PRODUCE ERROR
    is REAL MATHEMATICS,
    and that the men caught red faced FURIOUSLY teaching it to ANYONE WHO AGREED not to REVEAL what they were doing,
    are prophets of CREATIONIST Al Gore’s SCIENCE foray into doom and gloom.

    Tamino: the CREATIONIST Al Gore’s,
    mathematics speshULisT.

    This is a man who thinks photons dragging entire gas molecules VIOLENTLY upward, emit DOWN if they emit from said gas. Have any one of those clowns explain that mechanical event to you. You’ll be laughing so hard you won’t be able to type.

    This is a man who believes that James Hansen is an actual scientifically relevent voice, after his LEGENDARY propensity to be wrong if he so much as tells you a traffic light’s gonna cycle Red-Green-Yellow.

    So – always be aware: an ignorant mathematician who can’t count is among the stupidest things to ever be cursed with capacity to wrap a paw around a pen.

  52. Bill Johnston says:
    September 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm
    I appreciate your explanations and agree with you. My own foray into all of this began more than two years ago and the Arctic spaghetti graph must be some 18 months old. I do not believe the station data is in a state where we can confidently treat each single time series in the same way without the detailed examinations you describe (over and above simple corrections for time of observation bias and station history adjustments). I have since moved on to other analyses but rarely post on it these days due to lack of time (now) for the rigour of checking and completion, but I have learned a lot about the state of the data. I will look into “nonsense regressions…”. I see there is plenty readily available to investigate.

    Despite previously bemoaning my lack of programming ability I actually now bless it because it has forced me to go the other way and, instead of dealing with large numbers of data sets and requireing to treat them all in the same way, look at individual stations and very small groups or pairs – in Excel. So I am very receptive to all that you say.

    phlogiston says:
    September 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm
    How much scope is there even for cherry-picking of Arctic temperatures, even if you tried?
    Good question. There are stations with no or small overall trend and plenty showing substantial warming. Why? – that’s an issue. Proximity to water (frozen, recently less so) is likely to be a factor. For example in Canada, Alert had data in GHCNv2/GISS only up to 1991, whereas Eureka and Resolute remained in the dataset. Alert, however, was frozen in for much nore of the year and showed less warming. See: http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/canada-3-comparing-eureka/
    How much variation is there in temporal trends from one location to another?
    In the Arctic, offf the top of my head I’d imagine the onset of warming shows up soonest where currents are strongest. I don’t think there is much temporal variation say by longitude in the Arctic, but there is some varaition by latitude, can’t say exactly without a detailed look. IIRC there is a hemispheric see-saw (teeter-totter) going between the regimes at the poles in certain periods.

  53. Verity Jones says:
    September 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    For example in Canada, Alert had data in GHCNv2/GISS only up to 1991, whereas Eureka and Resolute remained in the dataset.

    Thanks for this insight – the paucity of data around the Arctic with the big fall-off of stations – and the related issue of stretched extrapolation of station data, narrows even thinner the possibilities for cherry-picking along with the limited “raw material” of trend variability. Seems Granny Foster chose a strange battle to fight here – no wonder he’s being evasive!

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