Trenberth takes on UAH satellite data in a new paper

They create an adjustment for the way the Alabama scientists handled data from NOAA-9, a satellite that collected temperature data in the mid-1980s.

From the University of Washington comes this press release:

New research brings satellite measurements and global climate models closer

By Nancy Gohring News and Information For more information: Po-Chedley, pochedls@atmos.uw.edu Trenberth, trenbert@ucar.edu, 303.497.1318

One popular climate record that shows a slower atmospheric warming trend than other studies contains a data calibration problem, and when the problem is corrected the results fall in line with other records and climate models, according to a new University of Washington study.

The finding is important because it helps confirm that models that simulate global warming agree with observations, said Stephen Po-Chedley, a UW graduate student in atmospheric sciences who wrote the paper with Qiang Fu, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences.

They identified a problem with the satellite temperature record put together by the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Researchers there were the first to release such a record, in 1989, and it has often been cited by climate change skeptics to cast doubt on models that show the impact of greenhouse gases on global warming.

In their paper, appearing this month in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, Po-Chedley and Fu examined the record from the researchers in Alabama along with satellite temperature records that were subsequently developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Remote Sensing Systems.

The UW researchers are the first to come up with an adjustment for the way the Alabama scientists handled data from NOAA-9, a satellite that collected temperature data in the mid-1980s.

The UW researchers are the first to come up with an adjustment for the way the Alabama scientists handled data from NOAA-9, a satellite that collected temperature data in the mid-1980s.

Scientists like Po-Chedley and Fu have been studying the three records because each comes to a different conclusion.

“There’s been a debate for many, many years about the different results but we didn’t know which had a problem,” Fu said. “This discovery reduces uncertainty, which is very important.”

When they applied their correction to the Alabama-Huntsville climate record for a UW-derived tropospheric temperature measurement, it effectively eliminated differences with the other studies.

Scientists already had noticed that there were issues with the way the Alabama researchers handled data from NOAA-9, one satellite that collected temperature data for a short time in the mid-1980s. But Po-Chedley and Fu are the first to offer a calculation related to the NOAA-9 data for adjusting the Alabama findings, said Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

“It should therefore make for a better record, as long as UAH accepts it,” he said.

To come up with the correction, Po-Chedley and Fu closely examined the way the three teams interpreted readings from NOAA-9 and compared it to data collected from weather balloons about the temperature of the troposphere.

They found that the Alabama research incorrectly factors in the changing temperature of the NOAA-9 satellite itself and devised a method to estimate the impact on the Alabama trend.

Like how a baker might use an oven thermometer to gauge the true temperature of an oven and then adjust the oven dial accordingly, the researchers must adjust the temperature data collected by the satellites.

That’s because the calibration of the instruments used to measure the Earth’s temperature is different after the satellites are launched, and because the satellite readings are calibrated by the temperature of the satellite itself. The groups have each separately made their adjustments in part by comparing the satellite’s data to that of other satellites in service at the same time.

Once Po-Chedley and Fu apply the correction, the Alabama-Huntsville record shows 0.21 F warming per decade in the tropics since 1979, instead of its previous finding of 0.13 F warming. Surface measurements show the temperature of Earth in the tropics has increased by about 0.21 F per decade.

The Remote Sensing Systems and NOAA reports continue to reflect warming of the troposphere that’s close to the surface measurements, with warming of 0.26 F per decade and 0.33 F respectively.

The discrepancy among the records stems from challenges climate researchers face when using weather satellites to measure the temperature of the atmosphere. The records are a composite of over a dozen satellites launched since late 1978 that use microwaves to determine atmospheric temperature.

However, stitching together data collected by those satellites to discover how the climate has changed over time is a complicated matter. Other factors scientists must take into account include the satellite’s drift over time and differences in the instruments used to measure atmospheric temperature on board each satellite.

The temperature reports look largely at the troposphere, which stretches from the surface of the earth to around 10 miles above it, where most weather occurs. Climate models show that this region of the atmosphere will warm considerably due to greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, scientists expect that in some areas, such as over the tropics, the troposphere will warm faster than the surface of the Earth.

The paper does not resolve all the discrepancies among the records, and researchers will continue to look at ways to reconcile those conflicts.

“It will be interesting to see how these differences are resolved in the coming years,” Po-Chedley said.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and NOAA.

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142 thoughts on “Trenberth takes on UAH satellite data in a new paper

  1. Distinguished? Maybe Kevin is distinguished, but only by his actions. His actions have distinguished him as someone that is party to the ruining of the impression the public has of scientists.

  2. This is important. Not only does the scientific world need to finally define what constitutes Global Average Temperature (or Climate), it also needs to solve the reasons behind the discrepancies between various datasets. Here’s to a humane discourse between scientists using different techniques to treat the raw data.

    The article begs for a rebuttal from the Huntsville researchers.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  3. “Like how a baker might use an oven thermometer to gauge the true temperature of an oven and then adjust the oven dial accordingly, the researchers must adjust the temperature data collected by the satellites.”

    Just so …………………………………. gauge the true temperature and then adjust it. Nothing to see here then ………………………move on!

  4. “The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and NOAA.”

    Says it all for me – I’ll wait for Dr Christy .

    Of course it could never be the massaged NOAA data at fault that needs to come into alignment.

  5. I guess I’ll have to RTFP. Did they treat all three records the same, and re-process with their methodology, or did they attack the outlier data series to make it conform to the other two? IOW, confirmation bias much?

  6. Adjust – adjust – adjust – this is the ‘climate scientists’ mantra.

    Put even more simply: If the data doesn’t fit the models, adjust the data. That’s the first thing they learn in ‘Climate Science’ 101.

    In any real science, these clowns and all their adjustments to fit the models would be a laughing stock; however in ‘climate science’ they are taken seriously.

    Oh, and let’s not forget the second thing they learn in ‘climate science’ 101: “this clearly needs more study, so please can we have more grants.”

  7. Start with he results you NEED , work out how to make the data give it .
    One classic way , find the set date you like they argue how all other data sets you don’t like need to be ‘adjusted ‘ so its looks like the one you do. And never, ever ask any ‘difficult ‘ questions such is the data set I do like actual any good .

  8. So warming of 0.13F was so badly out from 0.21F (ground) that they had to adjust it, but the NOAA estimates is 0.33F and that is just fine?

    I’ll wait for John Christy to weigh in on this – unfortunately he out of his office at the moment (according to Roy Spencer) – I wonder if they tried to get this out while he was away and couldn’t respond straight away…..

  9. Climate science relates to real science the way Astrology relates to Astronomy. Just a distant goofy cousin.

  10. Tim Walker says:
    May 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Distinguished? Maybe Kevin is distinguished, but only by his actions. His actions have distinguished him as someone that is party to the ruining of the impression the public has of scientists.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    IMO: Well said!

  11. In 2010: A seven state study conducted from the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality found that Tea Party movement supporters within those states were “more likely to be racially resentful” than the population as a whole, even when controlling for partisanship and ideology.

    Sorry for the strawman, but I have never trusted that college since then. The professor that conducted the study refused to share the raw data when pressed.

  12. I bet ya, during the next ice age instrumental record will show an average temperature of +3C at the poles, all in compliance with the climate models at the time.

  13. If the data do not fit the model, find a way to change the data. This is not the first time we have seen this sort of behavior from the alarmists. Of course it is possible that the satellite data are incorrect but there are now so many examples of exaggeration, group think and now even out right lies (Phil Jones and company) it makes it impossible to know who are the true scientists and who are the frauds. I say let’s take this bit of information on the satellite correction data with a great deal of caution until we have corroborating evidence from multiple sources.

  14. “Like how a baker might use an oven thermometer to gauge the true temperature of an oven and then adjust the oven dial accordingly, the researchers must adjust the temperature data collected by the satellites.”

    Funniest thing I’ve read in a while. This terrible analogy should become a meme, a slogan against CAGW, like flinging “post-normal science.”

    Post-normal cooking the books? …the data? Cooking the data. LOL.

  15. I have a method that I’m sure Trenberth will gladly accept. Take the UAH numbers, make them bigger, because it “therefore makes for a better record”, because it confirms what Trenberth already knows, that its getting hotter, much hotter, so any data adjustment that makes the trend hotter must be “a better record”. This grad student would be in deep doo doo if their method showed anything else….and the thesis advisor? Hope you have tenure. As for the editor at the journal? Forget about your career until you apologize to Trenberth for allowing it to be published.

  16. Can you imagine them adjusting to show the satellites actually showing cooler than they indicate. Always adjust towards warming. This is a scam.

  17. Po-Diddley says,

    “The finding is important because it helps confirm that models that simulate global warming agree with observations.”

    Helps confirm? And that means ???

    “When they applied their correction to the Alabama-Huntsville climate record for a UW-derived tropospheric temperature measurement, it effectively eliminated differences with the other studies.”

    Was it “effective” in eliminating all differences? Or did it “effectively” (as in “virtually”) eliminate differences (meaning it “maybe” did in some minds)?

    “This discovery reduces uncertainty, which is very important.”

    Yes, the word “uncertainty” is used in a supposedly scientific paper — this should mean narrowing the standard deviation, or reducing the variance. How much?

    I am not being snarky (well, a bit). But Po and Fu could have eased our scientific inquiry a bit by talking about error.

    1) SO, the other comparators did not warm up or fatigue?
    2) We can assume the comparators (balloons only?) did warm up (or fatigue?), but at different rates in order to correct for the NOAA-9. That would demand, statistically, doing a trend analysis, a complicated algorithm. Or, did they just add a “calculated” amount from each of the NOAA-9 data points.
    3) If they did this statistically correctly, then why is the number reported as “0.21 °F/decade, and not “0.21 ± 0.xx °F/decade.
    4) Why is it reported as “0.21°F and not 0.12 °C?

    Are we comparing balloons with satellites because they have better statistics? If so, what does the pure radiosonde data say, apart from satellites? Of what value, then, the satellites? (I hope the pure radiosonde data are in the paper).

  18. Dr. John Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer will soon produce the UHA Lower Troposphere Global Temperature Report for April 2012 and the Global lower tropospheric temperature anomalies, 1979 thru April 2012.
    Then I hope they will produce a rebuttal paper.
    Then I expect Dr. Trenberth not to like it and the warmista crowd to continue trusting the pressure-cooked thermometer data over and above any satellite data, even after adjusted to trumpet the intended message.
    Watch http://nsstc.uah.edu/climate/ and http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/

  19. They’ve modified all the actual thermometer readings to match the models, so it’s only fair that they should modify the actual satellite readings, too.

  20. “There’s been a debate for many, many years about the different results but we didn’t know which had a problem,” Fu said.””

    What a croc! Fu knew where Fu wanted to find the problem and lo and behold……the satellites.

    Other factors scientists must take into account include the satellite’s drift over time and differences in the instruments used to measure atmospheric temperature on board each satellite.

    Yes indeed. Now look back down on the ground and you will see the Urban Heat Island effect and related problems. Can we REALLY adjust for this? Does bias creep in?

  21. Re: “adjustments” of data…. It is inherently worthy of suspicion (suggestive at least of confirmation bias) when climate science “adjustments” of data ***always*** seem to favor C-AGW interests. I’ll wait for this to sort out with more perspectives.

  22. Fu was one of the researchers whose work identified the errors in the UAH processing of the MSU data which led to S&C’s corrections, so he’s not a neophyte in this area.

  23. I haven’t read the journal article, but I note that the above press release doesn’t say anything about physics. It’s all about “calibration” and “adjustments”. As one who has actually designed Radars for space, I’m highly skeptical of this “calibration”. What the Alabama folks have done has met the test of time AND influenced other applicantions of space based radar. If Christy’s calibration was off that much, that’s a HUGE error in phase, and there’s a bunch of radars out there that are wrong. Given that they are demonstratively not, I’m calling BS.

    I doubt there was a single radar expert in the peer review.

  24. So, if we grant for a moment that the “real” value is 0.21F / decade then why is a UAH figure of 0.13F (a 0.08F or 38% error) a problem, while a NOAA figure of 0.33F (0.12F or 57% error) is “close to” reality?

    Don’t suppose the direction of error has anthing to do with it?

  25. I would sure like to know if Trenberth is a US citizen and/or if he is lawfully able to work in the US. We would be a lot better off if he could return to his home country of residence, New Zealand, and contribute to the socialist, isolationist and environmental-wacko policies there.

  26. “They create an adjustment for the way the Alabama scientists handled data from NOAA-9, a satellite that collected temperature data in the mid-1980s.”

    When the data contradicts your conclusions, adjust the data. This type of elite thinking can only be from the brilliant minds of Climate Science. Well played, gentlemen.

  27. Having done some of the early work in the field during the 1970s on Nimbus-E and Nimbus-F I call bullshit. Our temperature profiles retrieved from those instruments (NEMS and SCAMS) did not have a systemic bias at any pressure level in the retrieval. Errors at a given pressure level? Yeah sure, the inversion is an under-determined problem. And yes, we used RAOBs for “ground truth”. But what they are implying is that there are gremlins in the cold load and or the frequency that systematically shift the weighting functions or render the brightness temperatures systematically biased in a way that gives them the “happy” result that they want. I cannot speak for the AMSU and later instruments, but if anything, I suspect they were much more advanced technically and more accurate as a result.

  28. Why did they share the data when they knew they would try to find something wrong with it? ;>)

  29. The link ‘Satellite Temperature Measurements FAQ’ says:

    “Weather balloons are used as an independent check for the (satellite) microwave sounding unit. Because the weather balloon measurement is independent of the temperature of the satellite (which warms and cools based on the angle in which the sun hits it), the UW researchers were able to conclude that the Alabama measurements of Earth temperature for one of its satellites (NOAA-9) were affected by the satellite temperature itself. This indicates that the Alabama research(ers) mis-calibrated the NOAA-9 satellite.”

    It’s certainly possible that the satellite sensor is out of calibration, as we’ve seen before with sea ice detectors. If it is, I hope Spencer & Christy acknowledge the error and congratulate the authors for finding it. However, if this “miscalibration” can’t be replicated by others and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s just another blatant example of Trenberth and the ‘Gang that Couldn’t Adjust Straight’ adjusting empirical data to fit their beloved models. They have destroyed their credibility numerous times already. Let’s see how this pans out.

  30. CodeTech says:
    May 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm
    So, if you don’t like what the data shows, just change the data?
    =====================================================

    only if “…it’s obviously wrong.”

  31. Strange that they mention UAH so much – there’s virtually no difference between RSS and UAH and in fact RSS is recently the one that shows less warming.
    Apart of that the press release says nothing except that they yet again don’t feel like discussing it on professional level among scientists and rather release a paper about how bad the UAH team is. Let’s wait for Dr. Spencer’s opinion.

  32. It is truly remarkable that every single adjustment to actual data over the last 25 years required that the data be ‘ warmed’. How did we manage to create such a wide variety of instrumentation, with each and every one of them having a cold bias? It is now blatantly obvious that engineers have been involved in a global conspiracy to hide the excessive warming we are all suffering and dying from.

    And they are so good at it that no one is suffering or dying.

  33. So just where is this missing “heat”?

    If satellites cannot find it in the deep oceans, then ipso facto their ability to quantify surface data is to be doubted.

    For those in need – sarc/off

  34. Well, we shouldn’t be surprised by this. We must get our minds right before the next IPCC meeting.

    The revisions of our climate indicators has gone well past laughable.

  35. It’s a sad reflection on ‘climate science’ that whenever certain names appear in a Blog you mentally check your wallet.
    You could have knocked me down with a feather when I learned that if you adjust satellite data, it agrees with the models.

  36. I note this line:

    “compared it to data collected from weather balloons about the temperature of the troposphere.”

    How close is “about the temperature”?

  37. RE: Kasuha says:
    May 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    Strange that they mention UAH so much – there’s virtually no difference between RSS and UAH and in fact RSS is recently the one that shows less warming.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I did a crude match up of the two with an offset to mate the starting anomaly.

    I will leave it to readers to determine why UAH is slammed hardest…….. Trenberth?

  38. This is back to the age-old (as in within the climate debate) problem of ‘what is real data’? All satellite/sensor data is calibrated against some ‘standard’. Even thermometers are calibrated against reference standards. If the calibration is ‘out’ – the data is out – period. if the calibration changes with time, as in say, ‘drift’ of satellite sensors – how do we recalibrate? Do they bring satellites back to earth to run ‘checks’? (To my knowledge this has never been done and is to all intent and purpose, impossible!) So back to the problem – which data is ‘real’ and ‘valid’?
    THEN – some smartarse decides to ‘check’ the data – and ‘adjust’ it – and this is supposed to be fecking science????? Oh FFS, come on folks, this is most likely to be BS………………
    Put it another way – if this is good science, the Pope is likely to be Elvis reincarnated – (OMG, I bet there are some that will believe that’s possible too…..aarrgghh!)

  39. They found that the Alabama research incorrectly factors in the changing temperature of the NOAA-9 satellite itself and devised a method to estimate the impact on the Alabama trend.
    =============================
    So I take it the NOAA-9 satellite gradually gets warmer…………………..a trend

  40. Lee Kington says:
    May 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    RE: Kasuha says:
    May 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    Strange that they mention UAH so much – there’s virtually no difference between RSS and UAH and in fact RSS is recently the one that shows less warming.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I did a crude match up of the two with an offset to mate the starting anomaly.

    I will leave it to readers to determine why UAH is slammed hardest…….. Trenberth?

    =============
    slam dunk………….

  41. Has there ever been an example of data being “adjusted” to make AGW less? Every time I see an “adjustment”, it makes recent temperatures hotter and past temperatures colder.

  42. It was about time the warmist antiscientists start to destroy the satellite measurements.

  43. Since NOAA-9 warms throughout its lifetime, this introduces a spurious cooling into the satellite measurement, which subsequently affects the entire 30-plus year record.

    This is from their website. I would like to see the data regarding the warming of NOAA-9 over its lifetime. Why would that be? Normally, after a few weeks of outgassing a satellites temperature range stabilizes unless there is something wrong with the paint coatings used for thermal control. This could heat the spacecraft over time but usually this is a log function, not a linear one.

    I would like to see their data on this one as it does not correspond to the on board calibration of the instruments.

  44. From the abstract: “This study evaluates the selection of the MSU TMT warm target factor for the NOAA-9 satellite using five homogenized radiosonde products as references. The analysis reveals that the UAH TMT product has a positive bias of 0.062 ± 0.040 in the warm target factor that artificially reduces the global TMT trend by 0.050 K decade−1 for 1979 – 2009. Accounting for this bias increases the global UAH TMT trend from 0.038 K decade−1 to 0.088 K decade−1, effectively eliminating the trend difference between UAH and RSS and decreasing the trend difference between UAH and NOAA by 56%. “

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00147.1

    From the press release: “Once Po-Chedley and Fu apply the correction, the Alabama-Huntsville record shows 0.21 F warming per decade in the tropics since 1979, instead of its previous finding of 0.13 F warming.

    http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/new-research-brings-satellite-measurements-and-global-climate-models-closer

    Uh ……doesn’t 0.088 K = 0.1584 F not 0.21 F?

    What am I missing? The press release doesn’t seem to match the Abstract.

  45. A warmist science project.
    A tweak here, a tweak there, a little fudge, a hint of toffee to firm it up. walla a perfect model with a adjusta matrix calculation that simple solves all differentials! Fixamatosis the art of developing an answer first then asking the question. Long live the science of predetermination.

  46. I would like to see the paper on this. Here is a paper where Trenberth and Christy Co-authored a paper on this subject.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0477%282000%29081%3C2165%3ACOTTFR%3E2.3.CO%3B2

    An interesting statement was made in the paper.

    As radiosonde records almost universally contain temporal inhomogeneities as well, caution is required when interpreting trends, which are not known to within 0.1°C decade–1.

    I would like a link to the actual paper if possible.

  47. If the data do not fit the model, fit the data using the model. It’s an interesting procedure for sure, but it’s not science.

  48. It is not the climate that is broken, it is the climate model. It does not match real temperatures so adjust the data. Pre 1990 adjust down post 1991 adjust up, It seems those days I spent at the beach in the 1960’s were not as warm as I thought they were or as warm as the thermometer recorded them, who would have thought that.

    We need to graph the number of times past temperatures have been adjusted down, that would be an interesting trend.

  49. The times they are a changin…

    For a decade or more “sceptics” have been lampooned for challenging the accuracy of the numerous databases purporting to provide a “Global Average Temperature”.

    Now for some reason they challenged by the people that used to defend them?

    I wonder why?

    PS, watch out for that rising water:-

    “Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’
    Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’.”

  50. Shouldn’t the guys at UAH be the only ones in the kitchen with thier hands in the pot? It *is* thier data, afterall.

    If its good for the goose….just sayin’….

  51. When was the NOAA-9 satellite in service?

    How long is the overlap period with other satellites?

  52. CodeTech says:
    May 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm
    So, if you don’t like what the data shows, just change the data?
    =====================================================
    sophocles says:
    May 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    only if “…it’s obviously wrong.”
    ==============================================
    After thirty or so years of all corrections having a warming bias, the temptation is to call BS without even checking the paper. Comes from crying wolf for years.

  53. Yet another adjustment in the AGW world. Not sure if this one is legit or not, it could be…

    Kind of funny how in the last few months, there have been about 4 or 5 adjustments. Here are a few I remember:
    1) CRU temp record
    2) UAH satellite data
    3) Antarctica CO2 leading temperature
    4) Sea level adjusted from Envirsat (I forget the exact spelling)
    5) Volcanos, not the sun, caused the Little Ice Age.

    It’s only about another month to Rio+20, I don’t anticipate any more adjustments…

  54. Then explain to me why UAH an RSS were, for the most part, agreeing with each other even though they are on different instruments on different satellites and managed by different teams?

  55. I must confess I am rather puzzled why they are picking on UAH and ignoring RSS. RSS has a straight line since November 1996 or 15 years, 6 months. UAH has a straight line since August 2001 or 10 years, 9 months. And from where RSS is straight, UAH shows a rise. And from where UAH is straight, RSS shows a drop. See

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1995/plot/rss/from:1996.83/trend/plot/rss/from:2001.58/trend/plot/uah/from:1995/plot/uah/from:1996.83/trend/plot/uah/from:2001.58/trend

  56. Amazing. First, “adjust” your “observations” to agree with your “theory”, then point at your work with a straight face and declare that “it helps confirm that models that simulate global warming agree with observations”.

    It’s “science”, Jim, but not as we know it.

  57. They’re basically saying

    “We adjusted their data to fit our models.”

    Yeah, that’s credible.

  58. Richdo says: May 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    The UW FAQ on this “study” can be found here: http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/satellite-temperature-measurements-faq

    I think my head is going to explode! If any of this has scientific merit why the #$%^ did it take >20years to figure it out?

    When I starting working with scientific instrumentation way back in 1980, the issue of calibration drift was already ancient history. When experiments are run a starting calibration is taken, then the experiment is run, and then an ending calibration is run. If the starting and ending calibration measurements differ (beyond some very small delta), then the results are not reliable and you have to rerun the experiment.

    From the FAQ link above, Po and Fu seem to imply that UAH has not been conducting updated calibration weather balloon tests throughout the life of the UAH satellite program. If true, then UAH has been negligently operating these systems for many years. However, given that Drs. Spencer and Christy have responded promptly to previously discovered errors I cannot believe that they are capable of that level of impropriety. As far as I can tell, UAH is still providing a first-rate product that is second to none.

  59. There has been a difference (Tropics only) between RSS and UAH and the Wentz/Trenberth backed group has been looking at this for awhile. The adjustments are fairly arbitrary given how much these satellites drift and I don’t think anyone can say this is the right adjustment or not.

    But, while Tenberth and Wentz (from RSS) are doing their victory dance, we should look at the actual trends (and do away with the degrees F trend garbage – yes it is garbage, science does not work in F anymore).

    The Tropics are not warming anything like was predicted and there, most especially, is NO Tropical Hotspot.

    Surface Tropics temperatures are increasing at just 0.12C per decade. The Surface is supposed to be increasing at something like 0.18C over this period and the Troposphere level (at the level measured by RSS and UAH) are supposed to be warming at 1.27 times that or 0.229C per decade – instead it is slightly lower than the surface at 0.118C per decade according to RSS.

    (for reference of the Tropics lower troposphere is supposed to be warming at 1.27 times compared to the surface according to the climate models – the Hotspot – see figure 7 from this paper by Peter Thorne and Thomas Peterson – the two people who are really in charge of the surface temperature record. There is also some discussion of this issue directly).

    http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/envs501/downloads/Thorne%20et%20al.%202010.pdf

  60. SO they kept adjusting the satellite data to fit the models. Hmmmm. Well my income tax model shows that I should get back 100k each year, So, I guess I just need to adjust the data I receive from my employer to fit my model and, voila, I am right. Anyone think the US government will go for that “logic?” No? Yeah, me neither. However, many in government, and outside, expect us to buy into this line of utter feldercarb.

  61. The team should have Michael Mann recalibrate the sensor readings using tree ring data from the past 20 years.

  62. Its jailtime!!

    Fraudsters! Ohhh well what a surprise!! They made the hustory cooler and present warmer? havent seen that before have we???

  63. I’ve warned Dr. Spencer that they’re coming for him. The warmists will attack on the fringes, as in this case, but ultimately they will wrest control of the entire program from him and be free to make up the data as they please.

    I encourage Drs. Spencer and Christie to 1) make all satellite processing codes and methodologies publicly available 2) establish a precedent of publishing the *raw* satellite data together with required processing steps on the internet so that when it is “disappeared” we will know they’re cooking the results.

    I envision a freely downloadable R package capable of transforming the raw data into the monthly anomaly.

  64. Gail, the history of S&C and the UAH MSU product has been to make errors which have tended to underestimate the temperature trend. In fact their error which they acknowledged in the correction to version 5.2 was first spotted by Fu et al., and confirmed by Mears et al. (RSS authors). So Fu has credibility in this area.

  65. If it wasn’t for my hard earned money being at stake, this would be comical. Are most people really this gullible?

  66. I am sure the temperature sensors in weather balloons are absolutely perfect at measuring the temperature.
    I bet this new paper completely validates all the measurements made by each balloon.
    It makes sense that a balloon. based cheap, lightweight, disposable temperature sensor/power supply is going to be better than one placed in a Satellite where it costs $50,000 a Kg just to get into orbit.

  67. So CAGW rests 100% on adjustments to data, it cannot be argued from any direct interpretation of real world data.

  68. Roy Spencer found a step change in UAH at 1995 when they switched satellites
    (second last graph)

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/04/new-u-s-population-adjusted-temperature-dataset-pdat-1973-2012/

    It is possible that UAH shows 0.5 deg C too much since that time.

    This would explain why it’s so friggin’ cold here. Looks like Piers Corbyn was right with his “coldest May in 100 years.”

    In the meantime the warmists pull every filthy trick to adjust temps and sea level data up. In a few years we’ll be living under glaciers and they’ll still tell us it’s the warmest year ever. Time to run them out of town and let them freeze.

  69. “There’s been a debate for many, many years about the different results but we didn’t know which had a problem,” Fu said. “This discovery reduces uncertainty, which is very important.”

    I’m confused again.
    If “the science is settled” and “THERE’S A CONSENSUS!” then what was the debate about?
    Just where and when was this dabate taking place?
    Why didn’t Trenbreth mention these differences (publicly) before the fix was in?

  70. Po & Fu adjust the data for Christie and Spenser to help them agree with Trenberth; all express their undying gratitude.

    Or not.

  71. The establishment steps forth to try to “discredit” UAH for the umpteenth time. They must be frustrated by how little this has accomplished over time: Enough to claim a couple of “victories” that didn’t save the models, probably half a dozen flops that UAH themselves showed to be wrong. But they really just want to raise doubt, it’s enough to make some scientists think “that data will eventually be brought in line” or even to believe, from disinformation, that this has already been achieved. If it takes that much work to bring an unruly data series into line, through fairly explicitly one-sided efforts of correction, one has to wonder if maybe the series is just telling us the models are wrong. Nah, couldn’t be, why trust data we’ve gotten changed so much after such extensive effort to get it changed in the direction we wanted.

    There are errors in every time series: cooling errors and warming errors. And yet every major correction is always to more warming: not surprising*, the researchers expect warming so they look to make sure nothing is hiding it: they have little reason to make sure nothing is artificially creating it. Nothing surprising, in a way, about straight up confirmation bias. Researchers would apparently prefer to believe that there is a vast conspiracy of all bias factors to hide the warming.

    *If you doubt this, read Michaels and Balling’s Climate of Extremes. It’s a documented fact: they could even add another example, now, to the HadCRUT section, as the new series adds yet more warming.

  72. The satellite and balloon data blow up the Hot Spot and thereby blow up the key mechanism of AGW theory and models. Highly significant controversy.

    What to do, what to do? Well, past is prologue in how to respond to any empirical threat to AGW. Just as the MWP and LIA were disappeared, and just as the warming of the 1930s is progressively being erased from the instrumental record, and just as UHI adjustments are thrown out, the balloon and satellite data are being “homogenized” and “adjusted.” The homogenized balloon data is claimed to not blow up the Hot Spot, or at least not so much. Adjusting satellite data to fit these homogenized balloon data series is a prelude to claiming that the Hot Spot actually exists. It will be interesting to see what Spencer and Christy have to say, for they have a proven track record of honesty concerning their own errors.

  73. “examined the record from the researchers in Alabama along with satellite temperature records that were subsequently developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Remote Sensing Systems.”

    So what does RSS show?

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1997.33/scale:1000/plot/rss/from:1997.33/scale:1000/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:1997.33

    Well certainly for the last 15 years, the climate models have been bang on haven’t they!

    /sarc off

  74. Note how these “scientists” never consult Spencer and Christy, they just lob grenades. Fu is the same guy who smeared UAH for stratospheric measurements. Christy and Spencer gobsmacked him then, and I suspect will do the same now.

    Trenberth is only there for the ride to give the paper name recognition.

    I don’t believe one thing Trenberth or any of his ilk say anymore.

  75. That satellite record has always been a thorn in the side of global warming advocates. Neither NASA, nor NOAA, nor the Met Office has had any use for it during the 32 years that it has been available. I always wondered how long it will be until they mount a direct attack and now it has happened. Apparently they found a grad student they could set up as a patsy to do their dirty work.

  76. Old Nanook, noooooooo, nooooooooooo, we don’t want trenberth back here, Took us long enough to get rid of him, pleeeeeeeaase. Sorry, he’s all yours now. PMSL

  77. Is it true to say one or both of the following?

    1. Peer-reviewed published studies that deal with adjustments to any temperature measurements over time, including proxies, have all resulted in increasing the warming trend.

    2. Peer-reviewed published studies that deal with adjustments to any temperature measurements over time, including proxies, have all examined data sets that show warming trends lower than climate models.

  78. Alan Esworthy says:
    May 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm
    Is it true to say one or both of the following?

    1. Peer-reviewed published studies that deal with adjustments to any temperature measurements over time, including proxies, have all resulted in increasing the warming trend.

    2. Peer-reviewed published studies that deal with adjustments to any temperature measurements over time, including proxies, have all examined data sets that show warming trends lower than climate models.
    ===========================================================================
    Depends on who the peers are doing the reviewing.

  79. Ok, ok, I know for a long time I’ve been saying that there are no substantive disagreements among climate scientist. Well, that wasn’t exactly true. There was this insey-winsey disagreement about the satellite data. See, there you go — I’m an honest guy, I’ll admit that there was one area of minor disagreement. But the good news is that we reconciled the disagreement. We’ve adjusted the satellite data to agree with the adjusted thermometer data. Problem solved! So now there really are no more disagreement in climate science. Now some of you might be saying, “wait a minute, Spencer and Christy don’t agree with what you’ve done”. Well to that, I say it doesn’t matter. See the great thing about science is that its not about people’s opinions. Its about data. And the data agrees! .Mike’s been telling me that if and journalists bring up Spencer and Christy I should simple say that their arguments are “disingenuous”. Te-he, I like that. Whew, I’m glad we got that resolved. And just in time for AR5 to boot. Anyhoo, gotta run, I’m working on some really exciting ways of homogenizing Svensmark’s data. Oh, hmm, maybe there is one other little area of disagreement.

  80. If the data don’t fit …. you must …..errr … they just adjust it …..

    ;-)

  81. Gunga Din says (May 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm):

    …Depends on who the peers are doing the reviewing.

    Well, yes. Of course it does. That is one of the points of my question, which is a serious one.

    Your reply did make me chuckle, though. Thanks!

  82. Bill Illis says:
    May 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    The Tropics are not warming anything like was predicted and there, most especially, is NO Tropical Hotspot.

    No Tropical hotspot—that’s something that matters. It is evidence that global warming computer models are wrong. And it’s something Kevin Trenberth, or any study, cannot tinker away.

    Also, regardless of their tinkering with the data, there still has been cooling since 1998. This “adjustment” has not, and cannot, changed that. Kevin Trenberth’s missing heat is still missing.

    This study is essentially meaningless as proof of global warming. But that won’t matter to most global warming alarmists. They will persistently chalk it up as some kind of victory. How do I know? Because, as an example, in spite of the negative findings of the National Academy of Science in the case of the Mann Hockey Stick global warming alarmists persistently claim those findings supported the Mann Hockey Stick. What they have done is what they will do.

    “That which has been is that which will be. And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.”

    ~Solomon

  83. Trenberth has admitted that he knows the radiation “window” to space is 66W/m2 and not 40W/m2 as in his papers but has made no effort to withdraw the papers or correct them. There is no missing heat. The missing item is the amount of heat absorbed by CO2 which is insignificant in comparison to the heat transfer at the surface by convection and phase change (ie evaporation). Also, missing completely is Trenberth’s understanding of heat transfer.

  84. I’m getting SOOOooooo tired of the repeated application of Finagles Variable Constant to “adjust” data to the narrative. Can’t they see that folks have reached the point where such gimmicks are just seen to shout “Bogus!”…

  85. I do not understanding adjusting measured data. Back when I was a pup, if the data were unreliable, it was because the experiments could not be replicated by subsequent repetition. In that case, we didn’t adjust the data, we threw our the data that could not be replicated and took a hard look at the equpment and personnel producing the un-replicatable data. We were also told by our teachers and professors that if an experiment could not be replicated, then it was worthless.

    Does replication of experimental data exist anymore in climate science?

  86. Fu said. “This discovery reduces uncertainty, which is very important.”

    This remark sounds familiar and raises alarm bells. Fu may have recalled that Hadley used a very similar phrase to justifiy their highly dubious overwriting of 30% of sea surface data in HadSST3 with an extremely lame excuse.

    They claimed that by doubting and overwriting the content of historic documents, they “correct the uncertainty”. Of course, uncertainty cannot be “corrected”. Instead they INCREASED uncertainty by doubting the content of historic logs. This single episode contributed a staggering 1/3 of the warming since the last cyclical peak in the 1940s. (The warming would be 0.2 degree instead of 0.3 degrees in 70 years or 0.3 degrees insted of 0.45 degrees per century.)

    —————————————

    Here are the relevant quotes from the Hadley paper:

    “It is likely that many ships that are listed as using buckets actually used the ERI method (see end Section 3.2). To correct the uncertainty arising from this, 30+-10% of bucket observations were reassigned as ERI observations.”

    Section 3.2:

    “It is probable that some observations recorded as being from buckets were made by the ERI method. The Norwegian contribution to WMO Tech note 2 (Amot [1954]) states that the ERI method was preferred owing to the dangers involved in deploying a bucket. This is consistent with the rst issue of WMO Pub 47 (1955), in which 80% of Norwegian ships were using ERI measurements. US Weather Bureau instructions (Bureau [1938]) state that the \condenserintake method is the simpler and shorter means of obtaining the water temperature” and that some observers took ERI measurements \if the severity of the weather [was] such as to exclude the possibility of making a bucket observation”. The only quantitative reference to the practice is in the 1956 UK Handbook of Meteorological Instruments HMSO [1956] which states that ships that travel faster than 15 knots should use the ERI method in preference to the bucket method for safety reasons. Approximately 30% of ships travelled at this speed between 1940 and 1970.”

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/07/12/hadsst3/

  87. @Bill Illis says:
    “The Tropics are not warming anything like was predicted and there, most especially, is NO Tropical Hotspot.”
    ====================================

    Prof. Lindzen has recently speculated that the surface temperatures may have been tampered with so much that those in charge of the surface record have managed to mess up the trends and hide the hotspot…

    The hotspot should be there and there is a good solid physical basis for expecting to be able to find it. That is to say, if you accept the claim that a doubling of CO2 should warm the atmosphere by approx. 1C. However, if it is found, it’s most likely a great deal smaller than what the Warmists were hoping for. And probably more in lines of what the sceptics would be expecting to find all along…

  88. **Trenberth !!!! How dare you mention that name! That name is banned in my home. Please refrain from its use as it has the ability to make me spew. Stephen Po-Chedley, a UW graduate student, lol; some kid with his first real job, bet he would tell ** only wants ** wants to hear? I feel ill now and have to go to bed. **= scumbag!

  89. First they homogenised the instrumental temperatures – result lower historical temperatures

    Surprise – 2 of Trenberth’s lackies make adjustments and lo & behold the models are now much closer – yeah right

    Lets get rid of the Medieval warm period, lets pretend the sea level rise is accelerating, lets pretend the Arctic sea ice is in a spiral of death, lets get rid of satellite temperature differences

    Ah you can’t beat the the smell of Lysenkoism in the morning

  90. [..] examined the way the three teams interpreted readings from NOAA-9 and compared it to data collected from weather balloons about the temperature of the troposphere.[…]

    So, when it comes to bringing satellite data in to line balloons are great. When balloons fail, after millions of attempts, to find a tropospheric hotspot they are garbage and we need wind shear and a creative colour scheme.

    Adjusted ARGO, adjusted Satellites, carefully selected trees and the ever ‘flexible’ surface station record. We could be in a bloody ice age by now and we wouldn’t know except by looking out the window. These people are beyond parody.

  91. As Dr. Spencer recently said (WUWT crosspost here) when looking at US temperature trends with the ground-based USHCN with its “adjustments”:

    And I must admit that those adjustments constituting virtually all of the warming signal in the last 40 years is disconcerting. When “global warming” only shows up after the data are adjusted, one can understand why so many people are suspicious of the adjustments.

    So, in the US at least, for the last 40 years, adjusting the data is required to “reveal” the devastating potentially-catastrophic “global warming signal”. Much like a block of marble needs to be “adjusted” by a sculptor to reveal the statue hiding underneath.

    Now Spencer and Christy are being told they need to “adjust” their work so it appropriately matches the beautiful models that Trenberth et al are so completely enamored with, that obviously must represent the true reality for everyone.

    Which is only fair, as the elegant lovely models were carefully chosen and extensively exhaustively shaped to reflect true reality as perceived by the scientists who used them, as in that reality which must be the correct reality. So changing the satellite data so it resembles the models which were made to resemble reality, is essentially just altering reality until it matches reality.

    And what can be wrong with that?

  92. I am afraid Po and Fu sound like Teletubbies. Hence I must ask my granddaughter whether to believe them. She probably already knows more about climate than them anyway, after all there is a big smiley Sun in the Teletubbies which totally controls their climate.

  93. DR says:

    May 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Note how these “scientists” never consult Spencer and Christy, they just lob grenades. Fu is the same guy who smeared UAH for stratospheric measurements. Christy and Spencer gobsmacked him then, and I suspect will do the same now.

    Whether they ‘gobsmacked’ him or not there was a subsequent upwards adjustment to the UAH trend which was almost exactly the same as the stratospheric cooling influence estimated by Fu.

  94. Until Drs Spencer and Christy have assessed and commented on the data in this paper it seems premature for posters here to comment disparagingly on the alterations. Judging without reading the paper or checking the processes used to or the scientific rationale for making the adjustments is hardly a scientific approach. Responding in this vein gives those such as Gavin Schmidt and Grant Foster more ammunition with which to lambast “CAGW deniers”.

  95. jorgekafkazar says @ May 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    It’s hard to uncreate data where some exists.

    CRU have been quite successful at it :-)

  96. There are problems with UAH data, particularly evident in the Tropics. I don’t know if this proposed fix is the right fix or not, but they do need to fix it. This issue is why a lot of people have been turning from UAH to RSS for data lately. Dr Spencer even admits this in his blog when he says:

    “But, until the discrepancy is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, those of you who REALLY REALLY need the global temperature record to show as little warming as possible might want to consider jumping ship, and switch from the UAH to RSS dataset.

    It’s OK, we’ve developed thick skin over the years. You can always come home later.”

    You can read the whole blog here…

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/07/on-the-divergence-between-the-uah-and-rss-global-temperature-records/

    As a skeptic, I think the most important thing is to get the differences in satellite datasets sorted out as quickly as possible. We need a completely valid dataset which everyone can believe in and put their trust in.

  97. A telling statement from RSS at: http://www.ssmi.com/msu/msu_data_description.html

    The MSU and AMSU instruments were intended for day to day operational use in weather forecasting and thus are not calibrated to the precision needed for climate studies. A climate quality dataset can be extracted from their measurements only by careful intercalibration of the distinct MSU and AMSU instruments.

    The above page also describes some of the ‘adjustments’ made to data showing just how difficult it is to rely upon satellite measurements for temperature.

    And: http://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/smcd/spb/calibration/msu/msucal.pdf contains a good description of how the MSU is calibrated.

  98. The abstract for this paper reports in degrees K, not F. It is reasonable to assume the paper will use K.

    “The University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have constructed long-term temperature records for deep atmospheric layers using satellite microwave sounding unit (MSU) and advanced microwave sounding unit (AMSU) observations. However, these groups disagree on the magnitude of global temperature trends since 1979, including the trend for the mid-tropospheric layer (TMT). This study evaluates the selection of the MSU TMT warm target factor for the NOAA-9 satellite using five homogenized radiosonde products as references. The analysis reveals that the UAH TMT product has a positive bias of 0.062 ± 0.040 in the warm target factor that artificially reduces the global TMT trend by 0.050 K decade−1 for 1979 – 2009. Accounting for this bias increases the global UAH TMT trend from 0.038 K decade−1 to 0.088 K decade−1, effectively eliminating the trend difference between UAH and RSS and decreasing the trend difference between UAH and NOAA by 56%. This warm target factor bias directly affects the UAH lower tropospheric (TLT) product and tropospheric temperature trends derived from a combination of TMT and lower stratospheric (TLS) channels.

  99. @ Skeptikal on May 8, 2012 at 4:38 am:

    Your comment and reasoning seems most confused. As mentioned at the start of the original post above, stated as a conclusion of the paper:

    One popular climate record that shows a slower atmospheric warming trend than other studies contains a data calibration problem, and when the problem is corrected the results fall in line with other records and climate models, according to a new University of Washington study.

    So the identified problem is UAH is not showing enough warming.

    You say of assorted “problems” with the UAH dataset, noting specifically the Tropics: “This issue is why a lot of people have been turning from UAH to RSS for data lately.”

    Yet the Dr. Spencer post you linked to and quoted from says (bold added), backed with data and graphs:

    But, until the discrepancy is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, those of you who REALLY REALLY need the global temperature record to show as little warming as possible might want to consider jumping ship, and switch from the UAH to RSS dataset.

    Thus Dr. Spencer identified in that post that UAH shows more warming than RSS.

    So this new paper argues UAH needs more warming to bring it in line with RSS and other datasets. Dr. Spencer identified that UAH needs less warming to line up with RSS, or RSS needs more to align with UAH.

    Got that?

    Paper: UAH needs more warmth to match RSS
    Spencer: UAH needs less warmth to match RSS

    Now how can that paper possibly be right, and that proposed fix be a good one, when they don’t even know what direction to move UAH?

  100. @ kadaka (KD Knoebel),

    If you read the article, you’ll notice that the problem being addressed in this article relates to data from NOAA-9. This was a satellite used in the 1980’s. Back then, UAH was LOWER than RSS. The numbers being punched out by UAH for the latest observations are HIGHER than RSS.

    UAH: LOW in the 1980’s
    UAH: HIGH now.

    So, UAH data has more than one problem when compared to RSS or any other dataset. That’s not to say that all the problems are with UAH data, but I’d be surprised to find no problems with UAH data.

    Got it?

  101. Hmm. I am no expert but their approach sounds like it assumes that the UAH data is the data that needs recalibration. Is there a rationale given for why the RSS and NOAA data do not need recalibration to match the UAH data? They seem to assume there is “something wrong with” the UAH data, so we need to adjust it to fit their models. Is there a rationale given for why the models should not be adjusted to fit the data?

    Reading J. Gleick’s Chaos book would indicate that modeling non-normal, nonlinear systems such as climate should be done with great humility. Minor differences in the beginning conditions can cause dramatically different results. Misunderstanding processes (which is easy to do) leads GIGO. In climate research, it seems rational to ALWAYS start with the hypothesis that the model is wrong and needs changing to reflect the data. Am I missing something?

  102. @ kellyhaughton,

    “They seem to assume there is “something wrong with” the UAH data, so we need to adjust it to fit their models.”

    This has nothing to do with models. It’s all about datasets being in agreement with other datasets.

  103. what have these temperature-anomalies to do with the definition of the climate?. These values are in my opinion absolutly useless numbers. Accordung to Prof. Kramm, university of Alaska, Fairbanks, none of the global mean energyfluxes depends on the mean tempeature value of the earth surface.

  104. I was buying a particular model of thermometer in Walmart the other day and noticed they didn’t all show the same temperature. So I lined them all up and chose one based on how many others gave the same reading.

    I went with the consensus opinion.

  105. It was quite clear when the “CO2 leads temperature” paper that the team is systematically attacking some of the core points skeptics use. They are just making stuff up for AR5. It doesn’t matter if it won’t hold up to scrutiny. They have the money and the will to tell lies and stand behind them forever.

  106. Kadaka, Spencer is referring to the TLT product whereas this paper is talking about the discrepancy in the TMT products.

  107. The true definition of Manmade Global Warming is men fiddeling with empirical data to make all temperature graphs go from lower left to upper right….

    It’s funny, I was joking with a friend yesterday that the IPCC will have to increase UAH and RSS satellite temperatures as their huge disparities currently invalidate the “new and improved” HadCRUT4 and CRUTEM4 monstrosities….

    Right on cue…..

    I’d like to say I can’t believe they’re actually considering increasing the satellite temperatures, but That would be naive.

    CAGW *sigh*ence at its best…. It’s disgusting.

  108. nutso fasst says:

    May 8, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I was buying a particular model of thermometer in Walmart the other day and noticed they didn’t all show the same temperature. So I lined them all up and chose one based on how many others gave the same reading.

    I went with the consensus opinion.
    =================================================================

    I would’ve gone and bought a drink with ice in it….. and done it scientifically.

    I’d buy whichever thermometer said my melting ice was 0 degrees celsius.

  109. Now to adjust that pesky historical record so it shows the AGW predictions regarding extreme weather……
    This ‘adjustment’ reeks of ex-post facto diddling to achieve the desired result.
    Perhaps it is the current data the needs adjusting- down?

  110. @ Skeptikal on May 8, 2012 at 6:20 am:

    Had read it, wasn’t impressed. For example:

    Like how a baker might use an oven thermometer to gauge the true temperature of an oven and then adjust the oven dial accordingly, the researchers must adjust the temperature data collected by the satellites.

    That’s because the calibration of the instruments used to measure the Earth’s temperature is different after the satellites are launched, and because the satellite readings are calibrated by the temperature of the satellite itself. The groups have each separately made their adjustments in part by comparing the satellite’s data to that of other satellites in service at the same time.

    Yet as has long been mentioned by Spencer, as it says at this writing on the UAH Monthly Global Anomaly Update page here:

    Contrary to some reports, the satellite measurements are not calibrated in any way with the global surface-based thermometer records of temperature. They instead use their own on-board precision redundant platinum resistance thermometers calibrated to a laboratory reference standard before launch.

    I have read they used to calibrate by referencing an onboard “hot target”, and temperature of the satellite was something to consider, but not currently. Thus the more recent UAH vs RSS divergence, which Spencer’s post identified as growing over the last ten years, remains unresolved.

    The arguing is over the trends, with the UAH warming trends since 1979 not matching RSS. As it says above:

    Once Po-Chedley and Fu apply the correction, the Alabama-Huntsville record shows 0.21 F warming per decade in the tropics since 1979, instead of its previous finding of 0.13 F warming. Surface measurements show the temperature of Earth in the tropics has increased by about 0.21 F per decade.

    By applying their correction to the NOAA-9 changeover near the oldest end of the record, lowering the trend line on that end, they get the tropic trends to match.

    But Spencer said in his post about the global average lower tropospheric temperature anomalies (1979 through June 2011):

    If we look at the entire 30+ year record, we see that the UAH and RSS temperature variations look very similar, with a correlation coefficient of 0.963 and linear trends which are both about +0.14 deg. C per decade:

    So the paper basically argues for a correction that lowers one end of UAH’s tropic trend line until it matches the RSS tropic trend line. But how can you make such a correction that affects all of the relevant satellite readings to bring the tropics into agreement, without screwing up the already-existing great agreement with the global trend lines?

    I will admit you got me on the timeline, I should have caught that, and I shouldn’t allow my current sleep-deprived state to be an excuse. But please explain to me, if you can, how this adjustment to rectify the “tropic problem” won’t screw up the global trends. Looks like another fine example of “cutting off the nose to spite the face” at this point.

  111. From J.Hansford on May 8, 2012 at 8:22 am:

    I would’ve gone and bought a drink with ice in it….. and done it scientifically.

    I’d buy whichever thermometer said my melting ice was 0 degrees celsius.

    Ethanol depresses the freezing point. Its cousin methanol was used in the early days of automobiles as engine antifreeze. If you were watching your flavored ethanol/water solution as it cooled to see when ice started to form, I definitely would not pick a thermometer which said it happened at 0°C. But I’m not certain what would happen with an above-freezing solution that had ice added, if you’re actually directly checking the temperature of the solution rather than the ice.

    Research is indicated.

  112. So there’s a calibration error. That implies, to me, that they’ve found a systematic, constant error to the satellite temperature measurements. So how does this affect the temperature slope over time?

  113. ROFLMAO.
    So how are they (Po-Chedley & Fu) going to justify their results when the .21 F warming per decade gets re-adjusted after the surface temp data is “corrected” later by their cohorts?

    What we’ve got is not the dog chasing its tail, but the tail chasing its tail. My prediction, based on the CAGW history of adjustments is that they’ll want this paper to quietly fade when more NOAA adjustments make this paper false.

  114. Using Limited Time Period Trends as a Means to Determine Attribution of Discrepancies in Microwave Sounding Unit Derived Tropospheric Temperature Time

    RSS had a warm bias during the early 90’s resulting in a step change error.

    No other temperature reporting product has received more anal exams than UAH. Keep in mind UAH uses a different satellite for the past decade, and that Dr. Spencer has stated there will be adjustments in their latest revision release.

    BTW, Tamino deleted the thread where he smeared the authors of the above paper until one of them caught wind and pinned Tamino’s ears back. Anyone want to bet one this one? :)

  115. @ kadaka (KD Knoebel),

    To your question of “how this adjustment to rectify the “tropic problem” won’t screw up the global trends”, I can only answer with what I said previously “I don’t know if this proposed fix is the right fix or not”.

    We also have to ask the question; is the current good agreement in the global trend lines mearly a transient thing? Given that UAH and RSS process the data differently, I suspect that a divergence is inevitable.

    As I said in my original comment, I think the most important thing is to get the differences in satellite datasets sorted out as quickly as possible. How that is to be achieved will be determined by people more knowledgeable than myself.

  116. The satellite is so poorly constructed it has a temperature drift in its calibration but it is so well constructed that the drift is perfectly linear and the data can be adjusted to usable values.

    /sarc

  117. What, rightly or wrongly, I get out of the current draft on an initial
    read is:
    “We don’t like UAH. We don’t believe radiosondes over the satellite
    period, but do over the longer period (paradox). We believe Fu et al. is
    correct. There is no longer any problem whatsoever.”
    I don’t think this simple message is actually remotely supported by the
    science.
    Quoting Peter Thorne 4/2/2005 from the email to Ken & Phil at this post:
    Ripper says: May 8, 2012 at 7:03 am
    revealing to say the least.

  118. @Skeptikal

    “If you read the article, you’ll notice that the problem being addressed in this article relates to data from NOAA-9. This was a satellite used in the 1980′s. Back then, UAH was LOWER than RSS. The numbers being punched out by UAH for the latest observations are HIGHER than RSS.

    UAH: LOW in the 1980′s
    UAH: HIGH now.”

    Only problem with that, is if the UAH needs to be adjusted up in the past, as this paper is suggestion from my understanding of the press release, then this would -decrease the trend- of the total UAH dataset. That is, UAH would be rising a lot slower if you had to raise its early years relative to its current years.

    So, what really is going on if they are supposedly adjusting it warmer in the past and getting a bigger temperature trend?

  119. Skeptikal,

    Nonsense. What’s the point of having an independent database if you’re going to adjust it to be in agreement with the others. Adjustments are only required when a source of error that cannot be corrected introduces a systematic bias in data acquisition.

  120. C.M. Carmichael says:
    Climate science relates to real science the way Astrology relates to Astronomy. Just a distant goofy cousin.

    I think Astrology has more supporting evidence.

  121. “This study evaluates the selection of the MSU TMT warm target factor for the NOAA-9 satellite using five homogenized radiosonde products as references. The analysis reveals that the UAH TMT product has a positive bias of 0.062 ± 0.040 in the warm target factor that artificially reduces the global TMT trend by 0.050 K decade−1 for 1979 – 2009″

    NOAA-9 launch date 12 Dec 1984

    http://database.eohandbook.com/database/missionsummary.aspx?missionID=97

    How can a claimed satellite error launched at the end of 1984 affect data from 1979 on?

  122. Capell says:
    May 8, 2012 at 9:15 am
    So there’s a calibration error. That implies, to me, that they’ve found a systematic, constant error to the satellite temperature measurements. So how does this affect the temperature slope over time?

    No, I don’t think so. Calibration is the wrong word here. Calibration requires a ‘Standard’ against which to calibrate. They do not have a calibration standard, thay have a ‘special need’ to help Trenberth et al to prove their models accurate.

    In engineering circles this work would be called cheating.

  123. François GM says:
    May 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm
    Skeptikal,

    Nonsense. What’s the point of having an independent database if you’re going to adjust it to be in agreement with the others. Adjustments are only required when a source of error that cannot be corrected introduces a systematic bias in data acquisition.

    You do have to PROVE that you have a systemic bias and be able to verify and validate the value and cause of the bias before applying your correction which will then have to be rechecked against the original before acceptance.

    You are correct, of course.?

  124. “John West says: May 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm From the abstract: “…

    From the abstract:

    1. They studied the MSU TMT warm target factor for the NOAA-9 satellite using five homogenized radiosonde products as references.

    2. There is a positive bias of 0.062 ± 0.040 in the warm target factor.

    3. This artificially reduces the global TMT trend by 0.050 K decade−1 for 1979 – 2009

    4. Accounting for this bias increases the global UAH TMT trend from 0.038 K decade−1 to 0.088 K decade−1.

    There is something not right about this set of facts. The error is between 0.022 and 0.102 K/decade-1. An error range of 1/2 an order of magnitude is no better than guessing. The known problem is the NOAA-9 satellite which was only in use by UAH for about 2 years, but was operational for about 10 years. To ask UAH to increase the correction for all years is … a little crazy.

    The “its 0.062 K/degree-1 but just remove 0.050″ smacks of a negotiating ploy. The GIS correction to the sea surface level was defended the same way “the sea level rise will have 0.3 mm/yr added to compensate for the ocean floor falling even though we estimate it is 0.4mm/yr”, to obscure the fact that they had no damn business making this correction to a sea surface measurement.

  125. Errr. “error range of 1/2 an order of magnitude” … make that “error range of over 1/2 an order of magnitude”

  126. Kurt in Switzerland says:
    May 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    This is important. Not only does the scientific world need to finally define what constitutes Global Average Temperature

    Why waste time on something so meaningless?

  127. I would note first of all, that there still isn’t a hot spot.

    Secondly. this paper will be accepted as gospel and repeated ad nauseam , even if proven to be junk

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