New paper on the quality of USHCN station siting

Bartow_080478_West_02.JPG

USHCN thermometer at Bartow, FL city fire station in 2007, provided by http://www.surfacestations.org volunteer surveyor Don Kostuch.

Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. draws attention today to a new study that cites Fall et al. 2011 aka the “Surfacestations Paper” that I co-authored, which was a follow up to my original surveys published in Watts 2009. The new paper is:

Martinez, C.J., Maleski, J.J., Miller, M.F, 2012: Trends in precipitation and temperature in Florida, USA. Journal of Hydrology. volume 452-453, issue , year 2012, pp. 259 – 281

They took a look at USHCN stations in Florida, and found some problems, such as trend aberrations introduced in the conversion from Cotton Region Shelters to MMTS starting in the 1980′s that aren’t fully removed by the Menne et al USHCN v2 adjustments.

Dr. Pielke writes: 

they conclude  in their paper

This work provides a preliminary analysis of historical trends in the climate record in the state of Florida. While this work did not attempt to fully attribute the cause of observed trends, it provides a first step in future attribution to possible causes including multidecadal climate variability, long term regional temperature trends, and potential errors caused by station siting, regional land use/land cover, and data homogenization.

We need more such detailed analyses, in order to further examine the multitude of issues with the USHCN and GHCN analyses of long term temperature and precipitation trends. Despite what is written on the NCDC website for the USHCN website; i.e. that

The U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN, Karl et al. 1990) is a high-quality moderate sized data set of monthly averaged maximum, minimum, and mean temperature and total monthly precipitation developed to assist in the detection of regional climate change.

they are really not as of as high a quality as claimed.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Surfacestations paper and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

98 Responses to New paper on the quality of USHCN station siting

  1. gator69 says:

    At least that MMTS sensor is not black, like the sensor I photographed last year. Not only was it black, but it was located in an enclosure with air conditioning units. Geesh!

  2. Matthew W says:

    “potential errors caused by station siting, regional land use/land cover, and data homogenization.”

    At least that’s getting more attention in the science

  3. Dickens Goes Metro says:

    If every adjustment introduces an error, and if the adjustments are done sequentially, does not the overall adjustment process amplify errors and especially those that were introduced at the beginning of the sequence?

  4. Entropic man says:

    I was browsing the station site a while back and something puzzled me. I could not identify from the data onsite , when car parks, air conditioners, etc were installed.
    An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged. Instead, my impression was that sites with air conditioners showed steeper graphs than sites without. Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?

  5. highflight56433 says:

    Maybe they hired the same person that located the thermostat in my home on a wall that faces the south, allowing direct sunlight in winter months to shine its warmth upon it. Simple solution is too obvious?

  6. manicbeancounter says:

    In most areas where data analysis is important, there are independent audits to laid down standards. For instance in establishing the efficacy of a new pharmaceutical, the accounting information before a business is brought to the stock market, or mining exploration data.
    Yet the means by which average temperatures are calculated – used to promote the biggest ever public policy – the standard; statistical method; data selection; data adjustments; and results interpretation are in the control of those who are most vigorously promoting the policies. In any other area, there would be questions about conflicts of interest.

  7. Hey, they noticed! How robust of them!

  8. John Whitman says:

    Anthony’s original interest in temperature measuring sites has seeded a broadening interest in the scientific community.

    John

  9. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    A few days ago, Waterloo recorded a new high temperature record for the date of 35 C at: the newly expanded, freshly tarred airport!

  10. Matt says:

    Why no comments on the posting susspension announcement? I was looking forward to reading amusing speculations about what the upcomming Sunday anouncement will be.

    My contribution: Watts running for president as an independent.

  11. Theo Goodwin says:

    Entropic man says:
    July 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

    “An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged.”

    I do not think that we should assume that installation of an air conditioner presents a change in temperature that is constant. Any temperature change that might occur depends on who is operating the air conditioner. Anthony has photos of temperature stations that are located next to air conditioners that appear to be window units in rundown garages or greasy spoons.

  12. Jim G says:

    AGW is for sure happening in the cities but it is not because of CO2, but rather due to pavement, rooftops and exhaust and heat from furnaces, air conditioners and machinery of all kinds.

  13. Alan S. Blue says:

    I still say the largest ignored error is the step between the point-source measurement error and the restatement thereof as the gridcell measurement error.

    A single thermometer of 0.1C error does -not- provide a measurement of a gridcell with an error of 0.1C.

    It’s making the step from a direct measurement to a proxy … but then calling the proxy a measurement. It just isn’t.

  14. Darrin says:

    Entropic man, in essence as an AC unit ages it doesn’t become more powerful but does usually end up working harder. Most the reasons for this boils down to people not doing proper maintenance on units so they lose effeciency.

  15. Dave Worley says:

    Watt’s Up With That?
    Suspending the blog?
    This is deliciously intriguing……
    I smell something humorous but we’ll see.

  16. Jeremy says:

    Ah, I hope Anthony isn’t abandoning blogging. :(

    I confess I haven’t visited here or commented much at WUWT in the past year. But mostly that’s because global warming has become such a joke, it’s hard to believe anyone dogmatically believes in CAGW anymore.

  17. John Whitman says:

    BH has a post up for discussion of what are the possibilities wrt what Anthony will reveal @ WUWT at ~noon (PDT) on Sunday, July 29.

    John

  18. MarkW says:

    “Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?”
    ========

    Depends on if the air conditioning units all get installed at the same time.

    Additionally, in many instances, the AC unit is just one instance of bad siting. Not every thing is changed at once.

  19. Gail Combs says:

    Entropic man says:
    July 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I was browsing the station site a while back and something puzzled me. I could not identify from the data onsite , when car parks, air conditioners, etc were installed.
    An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged. Instead, my impression was that sites with air conditioners showed steeper graphs than sites without. Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?
    _______________________________
    Day to day temp data is “noisy” to begin with. The effect of an A/C unit or black top or car emissions would not be a constant but would also be sporadic. Urbanization normally does not occur over night but over a period of time.

    Here are two near by stations, one an airport and some other stations plus the Atlantic SST.
    The city is on the North Carolina/Virgina border and right on the ocean. Take a look at the city vs the airport! Norfolk City and

    Norfolk International Airport

    North to south thru the middle of the state of NC

    North – Raleigh NC

    Chapel Hill which is just west of Raleigh.

    Large city in the middle of NC – Fayetteville NC
    South – Lumberton NC

    Other Coastal Cities:
    North – Elisabeth City

    South – Wilmington NC

    Rural
    North – Louisburg
    North – Louisburg

    South – Southport
    South – Southport

    Here is the raw 1856 to current Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation Amazing how the temperatures follow the Atlantic ocean oscillation as long as the weather station is not sitting at an airport isn’t it?

  20. Entropic man says:

    Theo Goodwin says:
    July 27, 2012 at 10:03 am
    “I do not think that we should assume that installation of an air conditioner presents a change in temperature that is constant.”
    Fair enough. A greasy spoon just opening would produce an upward step , followed by a decline in average temperature at the site as it gradually ran down again.
    Perhaps someone familiar with the station website could link graphs illustrating the effect of installing an air conditioner, and the effect of different patterns of air conditioner use, on the temperature record of the sites alongside.

  21. I believe most new heat records are due to the UHI and improper heat sensors.
    I hope Anthony’s health is good! Please set up comments for this ‘suspension’.

  22. brokenyogi says:

    Anyone want to lay down bets as to what the announcement will be?

  23. Eugene says:

    Oh, come on now, Anthony… “high” is relatively. Anything above absolute junk could be “high-quality.” And in the case of HCN, well, that might be what we’ve got, something better than junk.

  24. Perhaps FOIA’s password for the Climategate 3.0 leak has been ‘guessed’ (i.e. brute force discovered)? Was in “Mann Handled” spelled backwards? Was in “Penn State Hockey same as Penn State Football” spelled backwards? with or without spaces?

    Perhaps Heartland has settled out of court with confessed interstate identity thief Peter Gleick? The out-of-court Fakegate settlement being: read a court approved apology aloud at next Heartland conference, engage in a vigorous intellectual 3-hour long debate against someone of equal/greater credentials, pay his own way to/from the Heartland conference?

  25. Jimbo says:

    Has WUWT been hacked I wonder?

  26. JJ says:

    Entropic man says:

    “An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged.”

    That is one of those statements whose truth depends on numerous unstated assumptions. Investigate those assumptions, and you will find that many are not necessarily true. In fact, if you ask yourself why you believe your two primary conclusions (that installation of an air conditioner would cause a dramatic step change and that the slope of any trend before and after would be the same for the life of the station) you will probably be able to imagine circunmstances under which neither of those would happen.

  27. WLF15Y says:

    Re: suspension of publishing; Cimategate 3.0?

  28. Keith Pearson, Formerly bikermailman, Anon No Longer says:

    Matt on July 27, 2012 at 9:52 am My contribution: Watts running for president as an independent.

    While Romney, Johnson,or my dog Jake would be a vast improvement over the current occupier…er, occupant, Anthony would get my vote over all of them. Well, not over Jake, he’s kind of special to me.

  29. u.k.(us) says:

    “First, I am well. This isn’t a health issue for me or my family.”
    ==========
    Thank you Anthony, now our thoughts turn to lesser concerns.

  30. Entropic man says:

    JJ says:
    July 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm
    Entropic man says:
    “An abrupt additional heat input to the vicinity of a surface station should cause a step in the temperature graph for that station, with the slope before and after the installation unchanged.”

    You reply “That is one of those statements whose truth depends on numerous unstated assumptions.”
    “ask yourself why you believe your two primary conclusions (that installation of an air conditioner would cause a dramatic step change and that the slope of any trend before and after would be the same for the life of the station)”

    If my two primary conclusions are wrong then the whole premise on which the stations website is based is also wrong.
    I still havent had much data. Gail Combes has suggested graphs, but left me to do the legwork myself, assuming her point is immediately obvious, which it is not.
    Without knowing more about the history of the airport station, such as when it was built, paved and repaved and when its surroundings became urbanised , how can I properly interpret the graph?

  31. kwinterkorn says:

    What would make my day on Sunday is to learn that the Romney campaign is announcing that Anthony Watts will be their official advisor on weather and climate issues.

  32. SteveSadlov says:

    Drum rolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll ……………………

  33. LazyTeenager says:

    Dickens Goes Metro on July 27, 2012 at 8:04 am
    If every adjustment introduces an error, and if the adjustments are done sequentially, does not the overall adjustment process amplify errors and especially those that were introduced at the beginning of the sequence?
    ————
    No.

    The adjustments are intended to remove some forms of error.

    While its possible that the adjustments introduce errors of their own those errors are not necessarily all biassed in the same direction and in fact are likely to cancel out to some extent.

  34. wws says:

    lol – the speculation and mystery around the upcoming announcement…

    reminds of when my wife says “Um – we have something real important we need to talk about… but you go ahead and do what you need to do first.”

    ARRRGHH!!! How can I do anything with that kind of thing hanging over my head????

    and then it turns out to be whether we should change the landscaping or something.

  35. Gdn says:

    Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?
    Context is everything.

    Air conditioners tend to get used more often over time, though the rate at which they do so tends to be related to what they are being used for. A restaurant accumulating electronic devices or customers tends to need more to maintain the same temperature. A new datacenter tends to be only moderately filled, and over time every nook and cranny gets filled with heat-producing devices…until they get ripped out and replaced and the process begins again.

  36. Gail Combs says:

    Entropic man says:
    July 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    …I still havent had much data. Gail Combes has suggested graphs, but left me to do the legwork myself, assuming her point is immediately obvious, which it is not.
    ________________________________
    SIGHhhh

    Here is the Norfolk International Airport History complete with time line beginning in 1903 and with commercial flight starting in April 7, 1938

    As early as 1903, Hampton Roads was making a connection with aviation. The Virginian-Pilot based in Norfolk, Virginia was one of the first newspapers in the country to publish an eyewitness account of the Wright Brothers’ historic first flight….

    I really hate writing a book in a comment

  37. Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer says:

    C’mon mods, everyone knows that the original source of that Heartland thing is George Soros. Will entropic man acknowledge this?

  38. Dave Worley says:

    Maybe Kenji has been appointed chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
    Either that or he has won a Nobel Peace Prize.

  39. Matt says: My contribution: Watts running for president as an independent.

    Great!

  40. Alan Wilkinson says:

    One “as” too many in last line.

  41. Entropic man says:

    Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer says:
    July 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm
    “C’mon mods, everyone knows that the original source of that Heartland thing is George Soros. Will entropic man acknowledge this”

    I dont know where it came from.

    [snip - rather than propagate inaccuracies after which the story moved on, jove ~Mod]

  42. Entropic man says:

    Gail Combs says:
    July 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm
    Entropic man says:
    July 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    …I still havent had much data. Gail Combes has suggested graphs, but left me to do the legwork myself, assuming her point is immediately obvious, which it is not.
    ________________________________
    SIGHhhh

    Here is the Norfolk International Airport History complete with time line.

    I really hate writing a book in a comment

    Thank you for the dates. Now I can analyse the graph better.
    I’m afraid this is how a scientific debate should work. If you want to persuade an opponent, you have to do the persuading.

  43. Entropic man says:

    [SNIP: Your continued efforts to present forged documents as "evidence" is wearing thin. You do NOT have a right to comment here and if you keep this up the privilege will be revoked. -REP]

  44. petermue says:

    Gail Combs says:
    July 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Here is the Norfolk International Airport History complete with time line beginning in 1903 and with commercial flight starting in April 7, 1938
    ————————————————————-

    Wrong link?

  45. Entropic man says:

    Gdn says:
    July 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm
    Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?
    Context is everything.

    Air conditioners tend to get used more often over time, though the rate at which they do so tends to be related to what they are being used for. A restaurant accumulating electronic devices or customers tends to need more to maintain the same temperature. A new datacenter tends to be only moderately filled, and over time every nook and cranny gets filled with heat-producing devices…until they get ripped out and replaced and the process begins again.

    Perhaps the station website should go into more detail regarding the context of the stations it condemms.

  46. I would have thought that after the survey and the surrounding publicity at least the worst positioned stations would have been relocated to better places. Or am I too simple not to grasp the full implications of keeping this data as poor as it now is?

  47. Entropic man says:

    John Marshall says:
    July 28, 2012 at 3:16 am
    “I would have thought that after the survey and the surrounding publicity at least the worst positioned stations would have been relocated to better places. Or am I too simple not to grasp the full implications of keeping this data as poor as it now is?”

    For the meteoroologists this is a no win situation. If you leave the station where it is, you get degraded data because of the development.
    If you move to a new site, with a new microclimate, you lose the continuous record which is important for assessing long term trends.
    One solution would be a law banning any development liable to distort the data from a weather station, though I doubt that the general population would stand for it.

  48. Entropic man says:

    Moderator, would you please stop removing my posts regarding the Heartland Institute and Mr. Watts. When I arrived on this site a few days ago a moderator assured me that you had an open moderation policy, and any inaccurate statements would be corrected by your posters.
    Now you are censoring me!

    [REPLY: Richard, an open moderating policy does not mean that you can post false and malicious information. Your continued efforts to do so reek of dishonesty and will not be tolerated. I have no intention of arguing this with you. -REP]

  49. Entropic man says:

    Close to my home is a station in a frost hollow, which gives the lowest winter temperatures for 200 miles. The meteorologists are reluctant to move it after 132 years in place, and have learned to correct for its minor eccentricity.

  50. Entropic man says:

    Entropic man says:
    July 28, 2012 at 2:40 am
    [SNIP: Your continued efforts to present forged documents as "evidence" is wearing thin. You do NOT have a right to comment here and if you keep this up the privilege will be revoked. -REP]

    YOU asked ME to document a guess regarding the Sunday announcement being discussed here, and then removed my response. This is not the open moderation you promised me a couple of days ago.

    [REPLY: Nice try, but don't try it again. If you have links, post them. Expect criticism if they really are untrustworthy. Expect argument if the descriptions are shonky. Very little gets snipped here and it has to be pretty egregious. The moderators will let you know if it is. Stay civil, obey site policy, and everything will be fine. Casting aspersions is a cause to be snipped. Please don't do it again. -REP]

    [Reply - since you are new here - your guess about the announcement was OK but the links were not and some of the 'facts' were wrong. To allow you to post this and have have other commentors correct you would have taken the thread off topic which we try to avoid. Regulars here know the story was well covered at the time including the links you provided - here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/some-notes-on-the-heartland-leak/ and corrections. jove, mod]

    [REPLY: "open moderation" is for people who are honest. You do not have the right to post to false and forged documents. -REP]

  51. TerryS says:

    Perhaps someone familiar with the station website could link graphs illustrating the effect of installing an air conditioner, and the effect of different patterns of air conditioner use, on the temperature record of the sites alongside.

    You would think that with all the billions getting pumped into climate science that they could spare some money to perform actual experiments and measure the effect. They even have ready made installations like the one holding NOAA’s Gaea super computer. That’s going to have more than enough air conditioner outlets for them to monitor the impacts on temperature sensors.

    Then again why bother performing experiments when you can model it or just guess at the effect.

  52. Steve Keohane says:

    LazyTeenager says: July 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm
    [...]
    While its possible that the adjustments introduce errors of their own those errors are not necessarily all biassed in the same direction and in fact are likely to cancel out to some extent.

    Like this: http://i42.tinypic.com/2luqma8.jpg

  53. prjindigo says:

    I think a larger issue is at hand than air conditioners and ground albedo.

    I live in Lakeland, FL about 4 miles from the airport where our local temp and rainfall readings are taken. They’re reporting a total of about 5.5 inches of water in July and I just dumped eleven inches of water out of an aquarium in the back of a pick-up in my driveway which has been setting exposed only since July 5th. Setting in sunlight every day that we had it from 10:30am through 5pm inside a five by six foot by 18 inch tall black lined bed it has received more than double the amount reported for the area.

    I’m of the deep statistical suspicion that the reasons we select construction sites for airports make them specifically invalid as locations for environmental and climate data collection stations. Either the air-port is receiving below-average rainfall for the area or my house happens to receive above average rainfall – or both of these statements are wrong.

    I doubt any data collected by ANY government placed station, be it Aeronautical or Meteorlogical in nature, can ever be used to produce a model of any form of accuracy.

    The simple act of placing all the stations where we can get to them easily has already destroyed the entire historical data set. The information is useless to any form of modeling. Over my lifespan the weather forecasts have become more and more inaccurate. A two headed-coin toss gets it right more often than the local forecast.

  54. Gail Combs says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    July 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Dickens Goes Metro on July 27, 2012 at 8:04 am
    If every adjustment introduces an error, and if the adjustments are done sequentially, does not the overall adjustment process amplify errors and especially those that were introduced at the beginning of the sequence?
    ————
    LazyTeenager says: @ July 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm
    No.

    The adjustments are intended to remove some forms of error.

    While its possible that the adjustments introduce errors of their own those errors are not necessarily all biassed in the same direction and in fact are likely to cancel out to some extent.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    And if you believe that, I have a bridge I want to sell….. or maybe I should let Lazy do the selling for me.

    On the error in temperature measurements:
    Three graphs where GISS (Hansen) progressively adjusts temperature. Text link 1 and link 2

    US temperature difference between Raw and final for 1999 – So much for Lazy’s claim that if “..the adjustments introduce errors of their own those errors are not necessarily all biassed in the same direction and in fact are likely to cancel out to some extent” ROTFLMAO

    Station dropout is another method to make the global temperature “increase”

    And then there is this method: Another GISS miss: warming in the Arctic – the adjustments are key

    Here is an actual Analysis of Error by a NASA engineer showing When we look at the CRU error budget and error margins we find a glimmer of reality setting in, in that there is no way to detect the claimed warming trend with the claimed accuracy.

    Additional data backing up the above Error Analysis link

    And as the real kicker, the temperature data set they forgot to ‘adjust’ Study finds stream temperatures don’t parallel warming climate trend

    And the real reason WHY of the “adjustments” link

    Sorry Lazy that dog don’t hunt any more. He is dead lame in all four feet and his nose has been cut off. I suggest you give it a pass the next time the subject comes up.

  55. Stephen Richards says:

    While its possible that the adjustments introduce errors of their own those errors are not necessarily all biassed in the same direction and in fact are likely to cancel out to some extent.

    Speculation ! plus “biased”

  56. agwnot says:

    Gail Combs, thanx for the links. Just eyeballing the AMO index sinewave function on one of your links, it appears the peaks and valleys are increasingly higher over time.

  57. Smokey says:

    Steve Keohane,

    You da man!!

  58. Gail Combs says:

    petermue says:
    July 28, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Gail Combs says:
    July 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Here is the Norfolk International Airport History complete with time line beginning in 1903 and with commercial flight starting in April 7, 1938
    ————————————————————-

    Wrong link?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    OOPs sorry thats what I get for having more than one window up and trying to imbed it. The actual link is: http://www.norfolkairport.com/airport-information/norfolk-airport-authority/mission-and-history

  59. Gail Combs says:

    agwnot says:
    July 28, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Gail Combs, thanx for the links. Just eyeballing the AMO index sinewave function on one of your links, it appears the peaks and valleys are increasingly higher over time.
    ___________________________
    Yes there is more than one climate cycle that has been identified.

    Joan Feyman (Richard Feyman’s sister) has found for the particular 850-year period they studied. NASA: …The Nile water levels and aurora records had two somewhat regularly occurring variations in common – one with a period of about 88 years and the second with a period of about 200 years. The researchers said the findings have climate implications that extend far beyond the Nile River basin. The link to the peer reviewed paper.

    The Milanchovitch cycles are the well known classic. The link to the peer reviewed 2006 paper updating the cycles by looking at the rate of CHANGE in the amount of ice volume.

    E. M. Smith discusses the well known 1470 year cycle of Bond Events and Dansgaard-Oeschger events. link 1and link 2 and link 3 and link 4

    If you really want a long cycle there is Dr. Nir J. Shaviv and his The Milky Way Galaxy’s Spiral Arms and Ice-Age Epochs and the Cosmic Ray Connection

    Dr. Nir J. Shaviv is an Israeli‐American physics professor, carrying out research in the fields of astrophysics and climate science. He is currently an associate professor at the Racah Institute of Physics of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    If you are unaware of the cyclical nature of the earth’s climate then you can be stampeded by the propaganda designed to part you from your wealth and freedom. It is the reason most geologists or anyone with training in geology laugh there heads off at CAGW.

  60. Entropic man says:

    TerryS says:
    July 28, 2012 at 4:15 am
    “You would think that with all the billions getting pumped into climate science that they could spare some money to perform actual experiments and measure the effect.”[of development on weather stations]

    They have; try this one.

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf

  61. wws says:

    funny, reading this thread a scene from Holy Grail popped into my mind, when Arthur is trying to have a chat with Dennis the Peasant:

    “HEP! I’m bein’ repressed! I’m bein’ repressed! See the violence inherent in the system! See the violence inherent in the system!!!”

    of course he should never have told Arthur that “strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government!”

  62. johnmcguire says:

    I comne to the Watts site to get informed and read and be educated by the intelligent commentary of the many regular commentors here . I thank all of you for that and for the relatively easy to obtain education . I’ve also learned to ignore a few commenters such as lazy teenager and entropic man and w. connelly who bring deception and no valuable contribution other than the intelligent rebuttals that come from the regular commentors.

  63. Verity Jones says:

    Entropic man says:
    July 28, 2012 at 6:44 am

    TerryS says:
    July 28, 2012 at 4:15 am
    “You would think that with all the billions getting pumped into climate science that they could spare some money to perform actual experiments and measure the effect.”[of development on weather stations]

    They have; try this one.

    But with a little more thoroughness a publication that differs in its conclusions was written: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/11/the-long-awaited-surfacestations-paper/

  64. JJ says:

    Entropic man says:

    If my two primary conclusions are wrong then the whole premise on which the stations website is based is also wrong.

    Absolute nonsense.

    The premise of the stations website does not depend on non-climate signals in the temp record being only abrupt step changes, Your “argument” does. And, not uninterestingly, so does the mechanism of the popular homogenization schemes employed by “climate scientists”.

    You have been presented above with examples of circumstances which may cause the installation of an air conditioning unit in the vicinity of a temp station to behave other than as an abrupt step change:

    1) The magnitude of the introdued signal may be smaller than the variability of the data.

    2) As air conditioners age, they become less efficient. They produce more waste heat for the same operation parameters.

    3) The operation parameters frequently change over the life of the unit.

    3a) When a unit is installed, it is often just used to clip the peaks off the hottest days of the summer. As people become more used to indoor climate control, they begin to use it to maintain a constant indoor temperature, and that temperature tends to drop. This causes the temp at the heat exchanger of the unit to rise.

    3b) Over time, heat generating activities within the building tend to increase, causing the air conditioning unit to run harder. My first home had a 30 watt electrical service. If you ran the toaster and the radio at the same time, the kitchen fuse would blow. Today, standard residential electrical service is 200 watts. A nearly seven fold increase in the amount of heat dissapated within the building is ultimately funneled thru the waste stream of the cooling system.

    3c) Actual temperature increases in the microclimates of the building and air conditioning unit, (whether natural climate change, anthropogenic climate change, or some other non-climate signal such as UHI) function to both increase the cooling load on the unit, and reduce its efficiency. This causes the unit to amplify those other signals.

    If you are reasonably intelligent and honest, you can probably come up with additional examples of your own.

  65. Entropic man says:

    Gail Combes, thank you. When I put the two Norfolk graphs on a light box the results were interesting. From 1960 on, the two graphs showed a strong link with each other (and, approximately, with the AMO). The airport showed a consistent warming of about 0.5C compared with the city, which could well be the new runway
    Before 1960 the city was about 2C warmer than the airport, despite the runway laid in 1938. The airport station seems to behave more like the rural stations.
    Without detailed data on the area I would hypothesise that the main driver in the changes to the airport station was urbanisation of the northern part of the city from 1960, the old runway not having much effect on airport temperatures. Any thoughts?

  66. Entropic man says:

    JJ says:
    July 28, 2012 at 7:55 am
    “If you are reasonably intelligent and honest, you can probably come up with additional examples of your own.”

    And therein lies a lot of the problem! You gave a masterful description regarding the complexities of air conditioner operation, but it rather makes the problem worse.
    Menne et al concluded that the overall effect of environmental distortion was was neutral; Watts et al concluded some false warming. Both agreed that a large proportion of the stations suffered some +ve or -ve distortion.
    If the processes generating the distortion are so complex that we cannot reliably compensate , 90% the temperature data become useless and neither side, warmist or coolist has much chance of proving a case using it.
    Before either side can prove its point, we need a more positive attitude. I would encourage Mr. Watts to stop running the record down and look for ways of salvaging the maximum amount of data from it. Any ideas?

  67. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Entropic man on July 28, 2012 at 3:37 am:

    For the meteoroologists this is a no win situation. If you leave the station where it is, you get degraded data because of the development.
    If you move to a new site, with a new microclimate, you lose the continuous record which is important for assessing long term trends.

    So bad data is better than no data at all?

    If what’s being measured is trends in airplane traffic or air conditioner usage, or there are spikes from using the barbee or burning trash, how does that serve science? All that does is yield higher high temperature readings. And if that’s what you want, to show modern temperatures are higher than in the past (when an instrument didn’t have those influences), then proper siting is much less of an issue.

    If you move to a new site without those influences, and get cleaner data that actually measures the real local climate, how can that not be a benefit? Call the old data corrupted and start a new record.

    Why the worry about the local micro-climate? Hansen has GISS smearing temperature data up to 1200 km, more than the distance between Chicago, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia. People are quite willing to complain about global warming without worrying about even regional temperature trends. If “experts” don’t worry about such continuous records when deciding what the long-term trends must be, how can that be an issue?

    One solution would be a law banning any development liable to distort the data from a weather station, though I doubt that the general population would stand for it.

    That you could even propose such says a lot about you. You would prevent a farmer from clearing a wooded area on their own land for farming, which would be a land-use change, for the sake of a thermometer? You would prevent someone from building a house, or garage, or putting in a paved driveway?

    And it’ll have to be a national law for consistency. Repeated in every country supplying temperature data for the global indexes. Perhaps you want it as a UN law, so it covers Antarctica and the oceans as well?

    And you think the unwashed masses, excuse me, the general population, would be the ones who wouldn’t stand for that? Fascinating.

  68. JJ says:

    Entropic man says:

    JJ says:
    “If you are , you can probably come up with additional examples of your own.”

    And therein lies a lot of the problem!

    I concur. The problem is that you are not reasonably intelligent and honest.

    You gave a masterful description regarding the complexities of air conditioner operation,…

    Actually, what I gave was multiple counterexamples to your conclusion/assumption that a signal contaminant such as an air conditioner next to a temp station would necessarily be an abrupt step change incident at the time of installation, with unchanged slope before and after. Talking around it doesn’t address it.

    “… but it rather makes the problem worse..

    No, it makes the problem clearer.

    Menne et al concluded that the overall effect of environmental distortion was was neutral;

    Menne’s homogenation methodology operates on abrupt step changes. Perhaps you see the relevance.

    If the processes generating the distortion are so complex that we cannot reliably compensate , 90% the temperature data become useless and neither side, warmist or coolist has much chance of proving a case using it.

    The sides are not ‘warmist’ and ‘coolist’. The sides are ‘we are certain of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming’ and ‘no, you are not’. Only one of those ‘sides’ is hampered by contaminated data.

    Given that the data in question were not collected for the purposes of predictive global climatology, we should not be surprised that they are not sufficient for that purpose. Pigs ears, silk purses, etc.

  69. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Entropic man on July 28, 2012 at 9:07 am:

    Menne et al concluded that the overall effect of environmental distortion was was neutral; Watts et al concluded some false warming. Both agreed that a large proportion of the stations suffered some +ve or -ve distortion.

    Menne 2010 used an incomplete list from the surfacestations project, only 43%, that wasn’t current and wasn’t quality controlled, said data basically misappropriated from Anthony and the project in what was termed a “professional discourtesy”. Others would call it stealing.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/27/rumours-of-my-death-have-been-greatly-exaggerated/

    Based on that incompleteness, problems in methodology and what was actually being (erroneously) compared to reach their conclusions, etc, Menne 2010 should be disregarded.

    The other paper that should be considered, which would not be the earlier Watts 2009 but the more-complete follow-up paper Fall et al 2011 (aka the Surfacestations Paper), should be regarded as authoritative.

    If the processes generating the distortion are so complex that we cannot reliably compensate , 90% the temperature data become useless and neither side, warmist or coolist has much chance of proving a case using it.

    Please feel free to convince fellow “warmists” they should stop using those records to claim dangerous global warming is occurring.

    Meanwhile you can stick to the satellite record for modern times.

    Before either side can prove its point, we need a more positive attitude. I would encourage Mr. Watts to stop running the record down and look for ways of salvaging the maximum amount of data from it. Any ideas?

    Before you can identify how to salvage the data and how much should be salvaged, first step should be identifying how the data has been screwed up. Thus your recommendation is Anthony should stop checking and reporting how it is screwed up?

  70. Manfred says:

    Mueller with newrelease

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/07/28/new-global-temperature-data-reanlysis-co

    The “converted sceptic” meme still doesn’t sound convincing in the context of his climate business background and prior quotes.

    Let’s see if his work improves anything from the last piece, which includes the implausible UHI result, and the total neglect to explain deviation of land temperatures from ocean temoperatures and satellite data.

    Most important is probably the last point, “I expect the rate of warming to proceed at a steady pace, about 1.5 degree F over land in the next 50 years”.

    That would just be about 2 degrees Celsius in a 100 years over land and much less over land and oceans combined, without doing anything and comes pretty close to sceptics estimations and is far off the IPCC estimate.

    I wonder why he is talking in Fahrenheit, looks bigger that way…

  71. Gail Combs says:

    Entropic man says: @ July 28, 2012 at 9:07 am

    ….If the processes generating the distortion are so complex that we cannot reliably compensate , 90% the temperature data become useless and neither side, warmist or coolist has much chance of proving a case using it.
    Before either side can prove its point, we need a more positive attitude. I would encourage Mr. Watts to stop running the record down and look for ways of salvaging the maximum amount of data from it. Any ideas?
    _______________________________
    I think you would have to examine each record very carefully. As you just saw with the two Norfolk data sets, you have the influence of the ocean, urbanization and the airport. Other records are discontinuous, the stations have been moved and Cthulu knows what else.

    Frank Lancer has done some work: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/ruti-global-land-temperatures-1880-2010-part-1-244.php

    And of course so have a lot of people here a WUWT: such as :link and link

    AJ Strata, a NASA engineer, did an error analysis: link that sums up the situation best. We just do not have the accuracy or precision to be making the statements that are being made from the historical land based data. Joanne Nova confirms this with her article Australian temperature records shoddy, inaccurate, unreliable.

    … An independent audit team has just produced a report showing that as many as 85 -95% of all Australian sites in the pre-Celsius era (before 1972) did not comply with the BOM’s own stipulations. The audit shows 20-30% of all the measurements back then were rounded or possibly truncated. Even modern electronic equipment was at times, so faulty and unmonitored that one station rounded all the readings for nearly 10 years!

    Only 15% of sites were compliant with the BOM stipulations for Fahrenheit maximums, and only about 5% were compliant for Fahrenheit minima…. Around half of all sites were so bad that three out of 10 records were rounded or truncated to whole degrees.

    And this is from another large chunk of land where we would expect the data to be of the best quality!

    On top of that as a few commenters have mentioned the heat content of the air is not just temperature but has to also include the humidity. The relative humidity has been decreasing over the time period that the temperature was increasing (1948 – 2004) link

    From my point of view the data is being treated as if it came out of a precision analytical lab with calibrated equipment and college educated lab techs when it is actually coming from field measurements using also ran equipment and who know what type of operators.

    Silk and sows ears come to mind.

  72. Keith Pearson, Formerly bikermailman, Anon No Longer says:

    johnmcguire on July 28, 2012 at 7:27 am
    I comne to the Watts site to get informed and read and be educated by the intelligent commentary of the many regular commentors here . I thank all of you for that and for the relatively easy to obtain education . I’ve also learned to ignore a few commenters such as lazy teenager and entropic man and w. connelly who bring deception and no valuable contribution other than the intelligent rebuttals that come from the regular commenters.

    For a layman such as I, the back and forth that is elicited, whether from lazy teenager, or from Dr Svaalsgard (no disrespect to him, there are just discussions of facts), is usually helpful. If there’s trolling or laziness involved, people such as Gail jump into the breech with a cluehammer built from facts. Other times, there is a legitimate back and forth between people who both know their stuff, but just differ on conclusions. Either way, it’s helpful for me, and no doubt many others, and is much appreciated.

  73. An Inquirer says:

    Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?
    Based on my experience, it likely is not the air conditioner’s power that changes –but rather people’s expectations and presumed right to be comfortable. 40 years ago, air conditioners were rare in my state. 30 years ago, the well-to-do had air conditioners. 20 years ago, air conditioners were common, but were used only on really hot days — why spend money unnecessarily? 10 years ago, people adopted the attitude that they had the right to be comfortable all the time, but they still opened windows on cool evenings. Now, opening windows is too much work, and most air conditioners are now running 24/7.

  74. David Falkner says:

    Dickens Goes Metro says:
    July 27, 2012 at 8:04 am

    If every adjustment introduces an error, and if the adjustments are done sequentially, does not the overall adjustment process amplify errors and especially those that were introduced at the beginning of the sequence?

    Unless you can prove you have knowledge of the error factor somewhere between 1 and 0, yes.

  75. Jack Simmons says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    July 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    No.

    The adjustments are intended to remove some forms of error.

    While its possible that the adjustments introduce errors of their own those errors are not necessarily all biassed in the same direction and in fact are likely to cancel out to some extent.

    Lazy Teenager,

    You are making quite a leap of faith here.

    I know adjustments SHOULD be intended to remove some form of error; but sad to say, the results of most adjustments are reinforcements of someone’s agenda. GISS has many unexplained adjustments to its database:

    http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateReflections.htm#28012012: Reflections on effects on NCDC and GISS global data series by transition to GHCN version 3

    In a world interested in the facts, raw databases would always be available. Adjusted versions of those databases would have detailed explanations of EVERY single adjustments. This, sadly, is not the case. We are simply informed (sometimes) that adjustments have been made to “correct errors.”

    Imagine the uproar if votes in the upcoming election were ‘adjusted’ by poll monitors.

    However if I’m wrong, please demonstrate how GISS has made its adjustments.

  76. cba says:


    An Inquirer says:
    July 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm
    Do air conditioners get more powerful with time?
    Based on my experience, it likely is not the air conditioner’s power that changes –but rather people’s expectations and presumed right to be comfortable. 40 years ago, air conditioners were rare in my state. 30 years ago, the well-to-do had air conditioners. 20 years ago, air conditioners were common, but were used only on really hot days — why spend money unnecessarily? 10 years ago, people adopted the attitude that they had the right to be comfortable all the time, but they still opened windows on cool evenings. Now, opening windows is too much work, and most air conditioners are now running 24/7.

    Actually, more and more people were able to afford some comfort and chose that over misery and over heat stroke. A/C efficiencies have risen tremendously over the years just as prices have dropped. However, efficiencies tend to drop due to maintenance issues and common wear and tear. This is perhaps what is being wondered about in the original post on A/C changes over time.

    Living in places where A/C units sometime have to run during the Christmas holidays, I don’t think we pay much more for the A/C power now (in kWh not in $) than back when we first got A/C and I was able to retire the fan and close the window. Not having to spend the night in 90% + humidity and 80+ deg. heat also permits one to sleep, reduces the amount mold and mildew present, and cut back a little bit on the need for multiple showers per day and the economic costs of those.

  77. CodeTech says:

    Entropic Man:

    Although others have stated this, let me say it in different words:

    The ‘warmist’ position is that there is an increase in temperatures during the period covered by the record (with the probable cause being increased atmospheric CO2, or at the very least primarily due to human activity).

    The ‘skeptic’ position is that the record is contaminated, perhaps too much to ever recover any useful information. The only ‘human activity’ affecting the temperature record is local land use, A/C units, jet wash, paving, BBQs, and other things directly affecting the area immediately surrounding thermometers.

    I’ve yet to hear anyone refer to skeptics (or myself) as a ‘coolist’, and that would be highly inaccurate. I don’t think either warming or cooling are happening other than natural cycles which are fairly easy to see in the record. None of these self-described ‘climate scientists’ have ever suggested a plausible cause for the LIA or MWP, they seem to be too busy pretending they didn’t exist.

    As with others here, I’d believe there is warming (or warming worth worrying about) if anyone would demonstrate to me that data and methodologies are sound. I see no such evidence. Then again, I live in a winter climate and can see absolutely zero downside possible if there was warming. I’d much prefer if our coldest winter lows were -35C instead of -42C.

  78. Entropic man says:

    Gail Combs says:
    July 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm
    “From my point of view the data is being treated as if it came out of a precision analytical lab with calibrated equipment and college educated lab techs when it is actually coming from field measurements using also ran equipment and who know what type of operators.”

    Mann, Hansen and Watts have all come through a meteorology training system based on physics. They would tend to look at climate as a series of physical processes scaled up from laboratory conditions to the atmosphere.
    Perhaps some crosstalk might be useful.
    A plant can be studied in the lab and its respiration, growth, energy budget, etc, measured accurately.
    Put that plant back in the wild and its lab perfomance is modified by many factors in its environment. As hundreds of species interact, this level of study suffers the same complexity problem as station analysis and is just as hard to get useful data from.
    Go up a level again, to the level of a whole ecosystem and it gets a lot easier as the mid-level complexity averages out in the overall operation of the system. It becomes much easier to measure the performance of a whole forest, than the individual behaviour of each tree.

    Watts et al advocate using the raw climate data for the same reason, the +ve distortions due towarmed urban stations would be balanced by the -ve distortion of frost hollow stations. This would make the large scale averaged data for a country more reliable than the individual station records.

  79. Entropic man says:

    The LIA correalates strongly with the Maunder Minimum, a period of sustained low sunspot activity.

    http://www.solarstorms.org/SunLikeStars.html

    The MWP is harder to pin down, especially since it shows much more in the European data than worldwide.
    I’ve included three links to give you a flavour of the debate.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16892-natural-mechanism-for-medieval-warming-discovered.html

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/29/the-medieval-warm-period-a-global-phenonmena-unprecedented-warming-or-unprecedented-data-manipulation/

  80. Entropic man says:

    On the basis of the discussion here, suggesting that decreasing efficiency and increasing use would increase the net heat output of air conditioners with time, I suggst an updated basic shape for the yearly average graph for a station in the decades before and after an air conditioner is installed alongside it. For simplicity I assume that no other local changes affect the station, and , considering the sensitivities of those here, no global warming trend.
    Before the air conditioner is installed the graph would be flat. In the year that the air conditioner is installed, the extra heat would cause an increase in thermometer readings averaging, say, 1C. This would show as a 1C jump in the average temperature from the previous year.
    In subsequent years the graph would be flat until changes in use and deteriorating efficiency progressively increased heat output. The graph would then gradually steepen.

    You now have a tool for measuring long term climate temperature trends, independant of larger averages. Look throught Mr. Watts’ station website for stations that come near my simplified model and inspect the yearly average graphs. If no climate change is taking place, they will match my description.
    If there is a global warming trend there will be an underlying slope of a size proportional to the rate of change.

    Over to you.

    I would do it myself, but you would doubt the outcome as coming from a known warmist. You will have more confidence in the result if you do it yourselves.
    If global waming is happening

  81. Entropic man says:

    Incidentally, a quick trawl through the station website while writing my previous post showed a mumber of stations with +ve distortion, but I cannot recall offhand seeing any stations which were underreading due to shading, frost hollows, etc.
    Could anyone give me a few examples of -ve distortion stations on the site, to reassure me that the voluntary contribution method used to collect the data is not overcounting +ve stations and undercounting -ve ones.

  82. Entropic man says:

    Moderator, how about an upgrade to the posting system to allow previewing of posts. I am finding it difficult to produce error-free copy using the system as is.

    [REPLY: WordPress does not offer that feature. The is something called CA Assistant which I don't use but a number of our commenters do, or you can do what I do: write your comment in Word and then cut and paste into the comment box. This method proves especially useful when wordpress really screws up and swallows a comment, or a moderator screws up and hits "delete" when he really mneant "approve". -REP]

  83. Gail Combs says:

    Entropic man says:
    July 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

    On the basis of the discussion here…
    _____________________________
    You are still missing the fact that temperatures were reported as whole degrees in the past. This means any reports of less than one degree are artifacts of the calculations.

    If the data resolution is not there you can’t stuff it back in using “Averaging” That only works if you are doing repeat measurements of the same exact thing like measuring the length of a board.

    What is done with temperature is the same as having 30 hundred cavity machines making widgets. Measuring a widget from each machine and taking the average does not give me more measuring accuracy like measuring the same widget 30 times would. The two types of measurements are apples and oranges. Unfortunately they are considered the same by climate scientists.

    The fallacy of reporting numbers to tenths and hundredths just because the computer spits out a couple extra decimal places is another reason skeptics think the data stinks. Seems significant figures are no longer taught in school any more much less statistics.

  84. observa says:

    Well you always have to erase the hottest temperature ever recorded on a whole Continent as not ‘official’ it seems, but the problem is when you decide to become ‘official it’s a thorny problem to hide the coldest ever reading on the Continent-
    http://www.australian-information-stories.com/weather-facts.html
    Although I suspect the indigenous aborigines might have a good laugh at such whitefella presumptuosness which simply oozes irony since those same whitefella Climate Catastrophists will lecture you with their next breath about how important such aboriginal oral history is in the big scheme of things. Their hypocrisy and anti-science knows no bounds.

  85. observa says:

    Although some indigenous folk are not so much laughing at their presumptuousnes and hypocrisy, as wincing it seems. You’ll get the gist of it here-
    http://theblacksteamtrain.blogspot.com.au/

  86. JJ says:

    Entropic man says:

    On the basis of the discussion here, suggesting that decreasing efficiency and increasing use would increase the net heat output of air conditioners with time, I suggst an updated basic shape for the yearly average graph for a station in the decades before and after an air conditioner is installed alongside it.

    Your ‘suggestion’ has no basis in reality. It is fabricated from the whole cloth of your preconceived conclusions and biases.

    As such, it comports quite well with ‘climate science’ practices. Tie a ribbon on it, and you can probably get it published.

  87. Entropic man says:

    JJ says:
    July 29, 2012 at 8:55 am
    “Your ‘suggestion’ has no basis in reality. It is fabricated from the whole cloth of your preconceived conclusions and biases.”

    I am disappointed to find that your approach is so negative. I have proposed a hypothetical solution to a problem which Mr Watts will also have considered, avoiding anything controversial. I get rudeness in return.
    To demonstrate that you are capable of more than tobacco lobby tactics, perhaps you would like to suggest how the graph of my simplified interaction between a station and an air conditioner should look.

  88. Entropic man says:

    Gail Combs says:
    July 29, 2012 at 7:50 am
    “Entropic man says:
    July 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

    On the basis of the discussion here…”

    My hypothesis is not temperature critical.
    You could try the same thought experiment. assuming a 3C rise when the air conditioner arrived, which even the old thermometers would detect.
    Alternatively, you could instead consider the effect of a new installation alongside an MMTS temperature sensor, which would record to greater sensitivity.

  89. Jim says:

    I’m not too surprised by BEST’s results. I’ve looked over a lot of historical data available at NCDC and elsewhere, and it’s pretty obvious that it’s warmed significantly since the 1800s. Before 1850, there were only scattered observations conducted by the U.S. Army Signal Corps, but they definitely support a cooler climate. This doesn’t mean the change is entirely attributable to man, but I suspect there is some correlation.

    Still, global warming will NOT be a catastrophe and, in fact, is more apt to be a boon to civilization. According to BEST, it’s already warmed 1.5C since 1800. Far from a catastrophe, this has corresponded with the growth of civilization! So why should we fear another 1 or 2 degree rise over the next 50+ years? It’s the CAGW-ers we should be focusing our efforts, NOT someone like Dr. Muller, who is making an reasonable, good-faith effort. As Dr. Muller correctly points out, while there has been some increase in temperature, there is NO evidence of the catastrophic effects the CAGW crowd goes on about.

  90. Roy UK says:

    Entropic man says:
    July 29, 2012 at 10:31 am

    …tobacco lobby tactic…

    The only people who are using that tactic are those who want everyone else to believe in the CAGW scare. Did you never hear about the all of the data adjustments they have made? The false press releases they have made? Sounds a lot like the tobacco lobby to me. But maybe you just believe that all of us sceptics are in the pay of “Big Oil”, “Big Energy” or even “Big Conspiracy”. Why do you not look at the evidence? Or are you in the pay of “Big Green”?

    BTW I looked at all of the 3 links you provided. You do realize that scepticalscience is anything but. They delete views/ comments dissenting from their orthodoxy. So why should I trust their version of events?

    And Newscientist? You are kidding right? you mean newactivist. C’mon Entropic, show us some spine and spirit.

  91. JJ says:

    Entropic man says:

    I am disappointed to find that your approach is so negative.

    I am disappointed, but not at all surprised, that your approach is so willfully obstuse.

    I have proposed a hypothetical solution to a problem which Mr Watts will also have considered, avoiding anything controversial. I get rudeness in return.

    Your hypothetical solution has no basis in reality. It is wholey a product of your imagination. You got an honest assessment of that. What is required in this circumstance is science, not people making shit up. We have way too much of that already.

    To demonstrate that you are capable of more than tobacco lobby tactics, perhaps you would like to suggest how the graph of my simplified interaction between a station and an air conditioner should look.

    You are demanding an imaginary answer to an irrelevant question. Imaginary simplifications of real world circumstances that are far from simple are the problem here, not the solution.

    A monitoring system has to discern between (at minimum) three intermingled quantities: the signal , the variability, and the contamination. In order to deduce one of the three, you have to know the other two. You can’t fabricate the other two, you have to know what they are. You are attempting to fabricate a contamination profile.

    “Say 1C”? Why say 1C? Why not say 1.5C? Or say 0.1C? Or say 0.01C? You assume a step change, despite having been provided information that demonstrates the failure of that assumption.

    Then you make up an operation profile. Flat after the start? Why? You made that up.

    Increasing at some point later. When? You make that up. At what rate? You make that up.

    When you don’t have the data necessary to answer the question, the proper response is to collect proper data, not to make stuff up. If you can’t get the proper data, then you admit that you cannot answer the question, you dont make shit up.

  92. Gail Combs says:
    July 29, 2012 at 7:50 am

    You are still missing the fact that temperatures were reported as whole degrees in the past. This means any reports of less than one degree are artifacts of the calculations.

    If the data resolution is not there you can’t stuff it back in using “Averaging” That only works if you are doing repeat measurements of the same exact thing like measuring the length of a board.

    I speak under correction, of course, but I thought even measuring the length of a board several times won’t give you more significant digits. If your tape measure is marked in centimeters, won’t your error still be +/- 0.5 cm no matter how many times you measure? You can get more accurate, and be sure that the length is 35 cm +/- 0.5 cm and not 36 or 37 cm, but you can’t get to +/- 0.05 cm unless you switch to a tape marked in mm. Is that not right?

  93. JJ says:

    James Schrumpf (@ShroomKeppie) says:

    You can get more accurate, and be sure that the length is 35 cm +/- 0.5 cm and not 36 or 37 cm, but you can’t get to +/- 0.05 cm unless you switch to a tape marked in mm. Is that not right?

    That is correct, for the measurement of a single board. If what you are interested in is not the measurement of a single board, but the average of 1,000 boards, then there is the possibility that you can do better. If the remainders of the measurements (those +/- 0.5 cm bits) are evenly distributed between + and -, then they effectively cancel out over large numbers of measurments.

    The question is, are the remainders evenly distributed between + and -? To know, you’d have to have more accurate measurments. If you had those more accurate measurements, you wouldn’t even be asking this question. In order to take advantage of this benefit of large N, you have to assume that the remainders average out, and you have to be correct in that assumption .

    Sometimes, such assumptions are well supported. Sometimes, they aren’t. All to often, such assumptions aren’t even recognized, let lone supported.

    What process produced these boards? Does it have any bias that could skew the distribution of the remainders? How do you know? Same with temps.

  94. Entropic man says:

    Roy UK says:
    July 29, 2012 at 11:17 am
    “I looked at all of the 3 links you provided. You do realize that scepticalscience is anything but. They delete views/ comments dissenting from their orthodoxy. So why should I trust their version of events?”
    And Newscientist? You are kidding right? you mean newactivist. C’mon Entropic, show us some spine and spirit.”

    Most people regard links supporting their view as good and links that disagree as bad. If I put the same list of links on a pro-cAGW site the more vocal posters would describe wattsupwitthat in the same terms you use for scepticalscience. Can you suggest neutral sources a warmist and a sceptic can both agree on?

    As for deletions, I have had several posts deleted here, on a topic the moderaters have asked me not to discuss at present.

    Spine and spirit? I am here , a warmist among sceptics, trying to debate the science with those few people interested in doing so and getting insults from the rest.

    In that spirit, I had best ignore the first part of your post, couched in a style which a juornalist recently described as “dogmatic garbage”

  95. JJ says:
    July 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    James Schrumpf (@ShroomKeppie) says:

    You can get more accurate, and be sure that the length is 35 cm +/- 0.5 cm and not 36 or 37 cm, but you can’t get to +/- 0.05 cm unless you switch to a tape marked in mm. Is that not right?

    That is correct, for the measurement of a single board. If what you are interested in is not the measurement of a single board, but the average of 1,000 boards, then there is the possibility that you can do better. If the remainders of the measurements (those +/- 0.5 cm bits) are evenly distributed between + and -, then they effectively cancel out over large numbers of measurements.

    How would that work? Assume there are a thousand volunteers with standardized tape measures marked in cm. out there, and every day they get a new board to measure. Every day at noon they measure their daily board with their identical Craftsman tape measures, and then call in their measurements in centimeters with +/- 0.5 cm error bars.

    What would the statistical process used be if one wanted to know the average monthly length of the boards to a precision of +/- 0.05 cm? Stats was a very weak spot for me in math, and I can’t even claim total understanding of calculus. But it seems to be to be a “trick” of some sort to presume you could do some kind of statistical analysis and then say that the average board length was actually 35.3 cm +/- 0.05 cm.

    If a brief explanation is possible, I’d love to hear it, but I don’t want to exacerbate anyone’s incipient carpal tunnel syndrome!

  96. JJ says:

    James Schrumpf (@ShroomKeppie) says:

    How would that work?

    It works if you have a large number of measurements and if the errors are distributed with a mean of 0.

    What would the statistical process used be if one wanted to know the average monthly length of the boards to a precision of +/- 0.05 cm?

    The process is no more complicated than adding up the measurements and dividing by the number of measurements. There is no special statictical processing of the data that gives you higher precision. The precision is determined by the number of measurements and the distribution of the errors, i.e. the precision is determined by the data, not by the processing.

    The stats trick is not in achieving the precision, but in measuring that precision. The precision is what it is, but how can you know what it is?

    Basically, it is a probability calculation, driven by the number of measurements and the distribution of the errors. Consider the simple case where the error for an individual measurement is either -0.5cm or +0.5 cm. This distribution has an average of 0, so it is a bit like flipping a fair coin – for a small number of flips, you might get alot more heads than tails. For a small number of measurements, you might get a bunch of +0.5cm erorrs and very few -0.5cm errors. That would tend to drive the error of the average toward 0.5. Over a very large number of flips, the probability that you are going to stack up way more heads than tails is very very small – its going to drive towards even. Similarly, over a very large number of measurments, the probability that you are going to get way more +0.5cm errors vs -0.5cm errors is very very small – its going to drive the error of the average towards 0.

    Just as you can calc the odds of getting X number of heads out of Y number of flips of a fair coin, you can also calc the odds of getting an average error as large as (insert arbitrary precison goal here) – provided that you know the probability distribution for the errors. And there is the rub. What if the errors are a bit like an unfair coin, if they don’t average to zero? Or what if the possible – error is smaller than the possible + error? Or both? In those cases, the precision you calc under the wrong assumptions will also be wrong.

    How well do we know the probability distribution of the errors of 30,000 thermometers over 150 years of measurments?

  97. JamesS says:

    So essentially, what is happening is that if a thousand people look at their cm-marked tape measures and measure their board at somewhere between 35 and 36 cm, and they estimate 35.3 cm +/- 0.5 cm, we can assume that the +/- errors average out to zero and that the 35.3 measurement is good precision? Sounds like you’d also have to hope the human reading errors average out to zero as well as the tape measure errors.

    Sounds like a lot of hoping, and it doesn’t sound justified when everyone is measuring a different length board.

  98. Steve M. From TN says:

    @entropic man,
    No, we’re not going to do your research for you. If you believe there are -Ve sites equal to +Ve sites, that is up to you to research, after all, it is your theory. I think surface stations documented 85%+ of the stations, so you don’t even have to do that part.

    Good luck, let us know what you find.

Comments are closed.