## Zeke, Mosher, and Rohde and the new BEST dataset

L-R Zeke Hausfather, Robert Rhode, Steven Mosher

And here is the poster

I’ll have more later with a video interview.

This entry was posted in AGU 2013, Climate News, Presentations. Bookmark the permalink.

### 292 Responses to Zeke, Mosher, and Rohde and the new BEST dataset

1. phodges says:

I applaud BEST for transparency, but they ultimately do the same thing NASA, CRU and the rest do…alter measured temperatures.

I have looked extensively at local temperature series. The raw plots are given but are then altered to match some mythical regional trend. If none of the local stations show that trend, then from where does it come?

2. Mike Mangan says:

From the looks of the poster, the United States is on fire, man!

3. Steve from Rockwood says:

I love the term homogenized. Just like milk, they remove all the good stuff so whatever is left over will last forever.

4. Rob Dawg says:

I have to watch my blood pressure whenever I see “adjustments.” Dedicated people trudging out to a thermometer unceasingly for years back in the 1930s. What would they think if they knew 80 years after their painstaking observations trying to eek out the last 0.1° F from the instruments that people would be adjusting their numbers by several degrees?

What about their blood pressure if they heard any of the excuses? “Yes, you measured a high of 92° but because of urban heat island effects in the 2010s what you really saw was 89°. Trust us.”

5. Bloke down the pub says:

Look forward to hearing how it matches up to USCRN.

6. James Allison says:

These three musketeers are going to save the world from us.

7. philjourdan says:

Damn Steve! You are getting old! ;-)

8. Janice Moore says:

“… the United States is on fire, man!” (Mike Mangan at 10:20am today)

Lol, yes, indeed. BUT, that was the “Before” panel of graphics.

The “After” (the day after the day after…) panel is: All the warming went north! (note the two hockey sticks in our little graphs above; that means all of Canada is up — in flames) — THE ENTIRE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE (and especially the Arctic where no one goes much) IS BURNING UP! SEND M-O-N-E-Y NNNOOOOOWWWW!

Sure, this is the message of that poster from 10 feet. How much closer do you think most people will come to it (except to turn their backs on it for a photo op)? Just more propaganda.

9. Resourceguy says:

I thought blue was officially banned as a thematic color anyway. It sounds like New Improved Best, as in marketing hype.

10. Mindert Eiting says:

If biologists would present to us a homogenized fossil record, we know that they have done something with the data. In that case it is not a data set.

11. Mike Mangan says:

Zeke is like, “Why do I always have to get the coffee?”

12. Max Hugoson says:

Oh, so the wonderful Steve M. is ON THE DOLE.

13. Frank Kotler says:

For pity’s sake, is the man’s name “Rhode” or “Rohde”? I see alternating spellings all the time, and I’m pretty sure it must be one or the other!

14. vukcevic says:

Mosher is OK, one day he’ll leave the CO2 presumption behind and get on to natural variability; when he does I got the data waiting.

15. Janice Moore says:

@ Frank Kotler — Well, I have never heard of him, so I just Bing’d his name and if he’s the guy connected with Berkeley Earth, it is Rohde.

16. Alan Robertson says:

Mike Mangan says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

“From the looks of the poster, the United States is on fire, man!”
_____________________
Yes, on fire. Here in the center of the nation, Oklahomans awoke to an egg- frying 18F this morning.

17. dbstealey says:

Lest folks forget, here is the BEST graph — before and after “adjustments”.

It seems that BEST has followed the lead of Mann’s Hokey Stick chart.

18. Mario Lento says:

dbstealey says:
December 12, 2013 at 11:50 am
Lest folks forget, here is the BEST graph — before and after “adjustments”.
It seems that BEST has followed the lead of Mann’s Hokey Stick chart.
+++++++++
Where’s the source of this data that created the graph? I’d like to learn more about what BEST recent says about AGW, warming cooling etc. It seems Steven Mosher does not believe we are headed for doom

19. Alan Robertson says:

James Allison says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:43 am

These three musketeers are going to save the world from us.
_________________________
Swashbuckling fashionistas…

20. charles nelson says:

Steven Mosher is actually a real person!
Wow.

21. Steven Mosher says:

There is the raw data if you like crap.
There is qc data
There is breakpoint data.
Then there is the estimated field.

We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.
Then we estimate a field.

22. Mario Lento says:

Steven Mosher, you do not agree with Rohdes in this video, do you? All and all I’m unclear on your thoughts on CO2 and whether it’s the culprit for the warming.

23. Rob Dawg says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:30 am
“I have to watch my blood pressure whenever I see “adjustments.” Dedicated people trudging out to a thermometer unceasingly for years back in the 1930s. What would they think if they knew 80 years after their painstaking observations trying to eek out the last 0.1° F from the instruments that people would be adjusting their numbers by several degrees?

Exactly. I was looking into BE to see what they’ve done with one very long record from the Prague Klementinum (uninterrupted since 1775) at BE – which already in the past was absolutely raped and merged with another record from Prague Ruzyne airport by the GISS – even the original record is kept uninterrupted untill very present.
And what do you think?
It was raped even more by the BE and merged with yet another record from Prague-Libus station.
In fact there doesn’t exist any record neither for Prague-Ruzyne, nor Prague-Libus before 1950, yet BerkeleyEarth has it back to 1700s.
Magicians…
What is really funny: the adjustments made to the Prague-Klementinum (made in the past already by the GISS -clearly to get rid of the hot decade 1790-1799) are quite very different than the adjustments done with the Prague-Klementinum+Prague-Ruzyne/Prague-Libus record (just compare this and this(the “PRAHA/RUZYNE U/A TO LIBUS11520″ before 1950 it is the Klementinum record – just in the BE they don’t know…).
Which somehow seems to well show what a guessjob is all this.
If they do everything like treating the most valuable historic records their credibility in my opinion tends to simmilar level as that of GISS, moreover they have land only, which is quite unsufficient for global climatology for a planet where more than 2/3rd of the surface is covered by the ocean…

24. Janice Moore says:

“We don’t adjust data. … we estimate … .” (S. M0sh-er <– to avoid moderation)

Oh.

25. Janice Moore says:

@ Mario Lento — For laughing out loud, that was a FUNNY video!!!

I don’t know how S.M. could agree or disagree — pick a side of the mouth the guy’s talking out of, I guess.

Remark edited off the end (I found it….. somewhere, heh):

So, I know I can count on your vote next November.

(on your lunch break? Have a good one! #(:))

26. BW2013 says:

Janice,
You beat me to it.

Steve,
Raw data is crap?

What is it after you get done slicing, dicing, and estimating it? Do you add deodorizer to make it smell better?

27. And now we know things have warmed up a little from the LIA, the coldest time since the Ice Age.

Any more gems?

28. holts says:

“We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.
Then we estimate a field.” S Mosher quote
…IE interpretation: we don’t adjust data, we just sort of manipulate, alter, change, vary, etc data
Come back to the reality and admit what you are doing!!!

29. Mario Lento says:

From Dictionary:
verb (used with object)
1. to change (something) so that it fits, corresponds, or conforms; adapt; accommodate:

Below, I added my interpretation in (in parenthesis).

Yes – Janice – I am in work, and was checking my private email). Are you running for something in November??

From Steven Mosher:
We identify breakpoints and slice. (or change the data so that it fits) Then we estimate a field (to conform of adapt the sliced piece to accommodate the improved dataset)

30. Reg Nelson says:

Steven Mosher says:

There is the raw data if you like crap.
——
I actually agree with this. Anything other than the satellite data is crap and is not suited for the purpose it is being used. It should be thrown in the bin.

Crap data leads to crap results and crap science, no matter how you slice it and dice it. You can put lipstick on pig, but at the end of the day it’s still a pig.

31. holts says:

“raw data is crap” S Mosher,
IE: Yes, we don’t want to actually believe that all the observations are real…
…….so we make up our own as we know better that the real data!

32. Mark Bofill says:

Sometimes raw data is crap. Is there something noble about including an obviously bogus reading of say 0C from an obviously broken sensor into a temperature average? I hope there’s at least something noble about it, because it certainly isn’t going to improve the scientific result.

I used to wonder why Steven Mosher seemed to delight in posting obnoxious posts here. I’ve long since quit wondering.

33. holts says:

MB your post helps nothing here as a few obvious wrong readings have nothing to do with data manipulation at all!

34. Janice Moore says:

@ Mario Lento — just my lame attempt at a joke (the guy sounded like a typical politician, to me, heh, heh).

Loved the “sanitized” version of M0-sher’s prevarication. BRAVISSIMO.

Attention Mario Lento’s boss: He is NOT using company resources or time, here!

#(:))

**************
@ BW — great minds! (less than 4 minutes……. next time! (smile))

35. NikFromNYC says:

Three of the oldest continuous running thermometer stations in the world are in the USA, all of which falsify the BEST hockey stick by showing no trend change whatsoever:
http://s24.postimg.org/498mmzb6d/2agnous.gif

Few climate papers are referencing overly convenient, massively-parametrized, data-sliced-and-diced, model-matching BEST, just the 2012 up-adjusted HadCRUT4, the magic pause buster compared to boring old HadCRUT3, care of Phil Jones:

Phil was attributed to a Saudi Arabian university on his paper introducing HadCRUT4, seen here in the land of harems:
http://mpc.kau.edu.sa/Pages-Prof-Philip-Jones.aspx

36. Canman says:

You mean they couldn’t get Richard or Elizebeth Muller?

37. Resourceguy says:

If seismic data was termed crap, no amount of filtering would show anything interesting or not. If financial data was crap, it would…..make a minority of people a lot of money. If economic data was all crap, it would….generate a lot of publications anyway. And, if engineering data was crap, it would injure a lot of people. I suspect climate data is some of all these cases.

38. Pamela Gray says:

It’s been hot before. Real thermometers can register hot weather. They can even reflect a hot decade. Heck, it’s been known that “hot and dry” can last even longer than a decade. So can wet and cool. And then it can turn on a dime. The obvious question is: And…?

The rest of us that have history, and even oral history, will just plant something else. We adapt. We say, “Oh well, it rains on both the good and the evil. No benefit to wringing our hands over what or who dunit.” We don’t have a god-complex. But apparently BEST does?

39. MiCro says:

You’re right Steve the raw data is crap, but it is what we have, and what you do with it doesn’t make it better it makes it worse.

40. Mark Bofill says:

Holts,

holts says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm

MB your post helps nothing here as a few obvious wrong readings have nothing to do with data manipulation at all!

I hate to interrupt a tribal ritual or whatever the heck this is, but if the group here is accusing Steven Mosher of manpulating data, I’d like to hear the basis.
I’m not sure if the general populace is aware that Sherlock Mosher was the one who busted Gleick in the Heartland fraud affair. This doesn’t strike me as the typical behavior of a Team player.
Come on people. Quit behaving like a bad mirror of SkS drones.

41. Reg Nelson says:
December 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm
Anything other than the satellite data is crap and is not suited for the purpose it is being used. It should be thrown in the bin.
Satellites actually are unable to measure surface temperatures with accuracy the surfacestations do. So I’m not much sure what is the message?

42. Mario Lento says:

Janice: I’m an shareholder/owner :)

43. Richard of NZ says:

“raw data is crap” S Mosher

Is S. Mosher for real?

Raw data is Data! Do anything to it and it ceases to be data, but becomes results or perhaps information. Data only comes from observation, with measurement being, hopefully, a more precise, accurate and reproducible form of observation. Nothing else is data.

Perhaps Mr. Mosher should return to his wall in Wonderland and leave the world to realists.

(Attn mods. The last line may be over the top, if so please delete).

44. tenndon says:

phodges says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:19 am

“I have looked extensively at local temperature series. The raw plots are given but are then altered to match some mythical regional trend. If none of the local stations show that trend, then from where does it come?”

Their imagination, I think!
~Don

45. Steven Mosher says:

Mario.

Are we headed for doom. Dunno.
Our goal was simple. Collect and use all the data.
Use methods first suggested by skeptics.
Show everything we did.

46. NikFromNYC says:

Steve Mosher says:
“There are no adjustments.” / “We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.”

Yet BEST data that show no breakpoints show great adjustment:
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/stations/6691

The *way* breakpoints are determined can readily be parameter tweaked for any random result you desire, such as one that matches climate models, as BEST indeed does as it now storms above even HadCRUT4. That represents an adjustment indeed, via parameter adjustment, which are then dishonestly called “empirical breakpoints.” The BEST breakpoints do not appear where any visual breakpoints exist, more often than not. Central England, plotted in my above link, gets turned into a hockey stick, thus:
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/stations/24994

Just because the breaks are via computer code doesn’t make them “empirical” especially if they do not correspond to actual sudden data jumps. I also plotted Berlin, which shows no such jumps, yet BEST slices and dices like crazy, again seemingly based not on the temperature record itself but on “regional differences”:
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/stations/155192

Also, older data is discarded without explanation or peer review, just like NASA GISS cuts off data before 1880. Central England, goes back to the late 1600s yet BEST also cuts it off before 1880 even though the resulting BEST hockey stick goes back to 1800. I also plotted Minneapolis, back to 1820, yet BEST cuts it off in 1859.

47. holts says:

MB all I said was manipulating data as in altering changing varying etc data… U put the wrong slant on it that I did not intend mate

48. Scott Basinger says:

3 of the good ones. They are an example for others to follow.

49. Reg Nelson says:

tumetuestumefaisdubien1 says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm
Reg Nelson says:

Satellites actually are unable to measure surface temperatures with accuracy the surfacestations do. So I’m not much sure what is the message?
—————
NASA claims the accuracy of the satellite measurements are within 0.03 C. Do you have evidence to suggest otherwise? Or are you saying that measurements taken in the 1920′s are more accurate than that?

50. Steven Mosher says:

There is no such thing as raw data.
All data comes with assumptions and theory.
There are first reports.
These are error prone.
Use them and youll be wrong

51. Mark Bofill says:

Holts,

Okay, my bad then. It just seems like whenever Mosher comes along everybody gets a hard on for some reason. It bugs me when people casually lump him in with the real scumbag data manipulators out there, apparently for no better reason than he’s annoying and says stuff people don’t want to hear sometimes.

52. NikFromNYC says:

Yet BEST data that show no breakpoints show great adjustment:
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/stations/160013

53. jono1066 says:

ref the video from Mario of Mr Mosher
It is suggested by some, (far more than one), thinking, (they have written books and given lectures), older, (the information has been out there for many years), people that the brain subconsciously controls the eyes when thinking, the eyes look, in defined combination up, down , left, right, depending upon wether it is recalling fact or inventing fiction, obviously over written by extraneous forcing influences.
I know what I saw in the video on the first run through, a pretty clear cut well documented example.
regards

54. Anton Eagle says:

This whole issue is really much simpler than most people are making of it.
Altering data is wrong. Period.
I work in healthcare… in a very technical sub-field of healthcare. In my field, errors in calculations and errors in commissioning systems will potentially kill people… in bad horrible ways. In such a field, altering data in any way is absolutely unheard of. Never done… except by the unethical few that are have some agenda (…cough… money) other than patient care. And they usually end up in jail or sued for everything they have.
In short, if I were to do even 1/10th of the contortions that we see with this kind of climate data, I would be fired and pretty much run out of my field for life… and deservedly so.
Feel free to throw out bad data if you wish… all scientific fields do this as needed. But don’t then go and guess what that data would be if it were “good”. If you can’t re-measure (which we can’t for historical time-series) then simply do the best you can with the data you have… but leave it unaltered. Period.
Why this has to be explained to “scientists” is beyond me. Anyone that publishes any climate article using anything other than raw data is, simply put, not a scientist. Instead, they are simply a propagandist.

55. MarkB says:

Reg Nelson says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm

tumetuestumefaisdubien1 says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm
Reg Nelson says:

Satellites actually are unable to measure surface temperatures with accuracy the surfacestations do. So I’m not much sure what is the message?
—————
NASA claims the accuracy of the satellite measurements are within 0.03 C. Do you have evidence to suggest otherwise? Or are you saying that measurements taken in the 1920′s are more accurate than that?

The issue with satellite measurements isn’t so much the accuracy of the measurement but figuring out precisely what region of the atmosphere has been measured. The final product is separated from raw data by a lot of data processing.

One overview is presented here: http://www.remss.com/measurements/upper-air-temperature

56. NikFromNYC says:

Hey, Steven Mosher, the series I just posted shows no peak in 2007 whatsoever, and there are no “empirical break points” added by BEST, yet the result at the bottom does show a huge spike in 2008. Is that not an “adjustment”?

57. Bill Illis says:

What we need is a histogram of the breakpoints identified and pulled out.

For example, how many and what weight were the temperature decline breakpoints versus how many were temperature increase breakpoints.

I think I asked for this before and was told it was about the same for both but I haven’t seen the data.

We are talking about a huge number of breakpoints here; on average, about 8 per individual station.

58. TimTheToolMan says:

Mosher writes “We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.”

Its a valiant effort. But at the end of the day there is simply no substitute for a proper understanding of a temperature station that statistics simply cant supply. For example a tree growing near to a weather staion increasingly casts its shadow over the area and then one day gets cut down. Voila breakpoint. But without understanding the reality of the weather station environment how do you interpret that?

59. WeatherOrNot says:

Raw data contains lots of crap. I maintain a well-sited weather station that sends data to the local NOAA automatically every 5 minutes. Despite my diligence in maintaining it there are still problems that interrupt it – power outages that disrupt the computer and console, occasional problems with the sensor suite, etc. I would guess that 1-3% of my data is inaccurate despite my efforts. I would also guess that there are similar problems all over the world, which is why raw data can be smelly. The key is to remove the smelliness in a methodical, objective manner that is free of political or other motivations. Isn’t that part of the reason for the existence of WUWT in the first place?

60. RoHa says:

All that poster shows is US warming, so I assume the warming isn’t Global and 95.55% of us are O.K.

61. tobyglyn says:

jono1066 says:
December 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm
“ref the video from Mario of Mr Mosher…”

Your comment would carry more weight if you had noticed that it is not Steven Mosher in the video. Instead it is Robert Rhode or perhaps Rohde depending on where you get your information :)

62. Anton Eagle

This whole issue is really much simpler than most people are making of it.
Altering data is wrong. Period.

Spot on, Anton

If there is a suspicion that data is wrong, chuck it out.
If this means we have to admit we have gaps in the historic temperature record, man up and admit it.

63. dp says:

Steve Mosher sez

We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.

Then you abandon the data because it is crap, but apparently a nice starting point. And the result as we’ve seen is… wrong.

64. BW2013 says:

I do a lot of forensic work in the building industry. The computerized Heating Ventilation Air-Conditioning (HVAC) control systems (DDC or BAS) can trend critical data points which get used in the same way. Some people even remotely access the data and download trends without ever doing a sanity check on the sensors and their locations. No calibration checks, they are not even sure the sensor is located where its descriptor says it is.

I often encounter the DDC system taking 15 minute interval data (due to restrictive memory capacity) on a device that can cycle 100% in 3 minutes. Then the vendor wants the owner to invest great sums of money on the results.

Had one building where the air-handler economizer dampers were not positioned where they should be based on the temperatures being mixed. Traced the control cabling to a nearby J-box, found them coiled inside and never landed in the local control panel. They were installed 4 years prior.

Outside air sensors are probably the most difficult to properly locate. Many designs will use a single sensor for operations at both the base and rooftop of high-rises, even though temperature can vary 15-degrees or more in some locations. I found one located on the south-facing wall of the penthouse, which was painted black.

Anytime I find conditions as those listed above, I have no faith in the controls, system operations, or past energy use. You essentially have to “reset” the building, then wait a year or two to start getting good data to work with.

We can do that with the planet when we get time travel? Go back and install sensors where we want them with accuracy needed…:)

65. Mario Lento says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm
Mario.

Are we headed for doom. Dunno.
Our goal was simple. Collect and use all the data.
Use methods first suggested by skeptics.
Show everything we did.

+++++++++++
Thank you for responding Steven. I’m impressed by the BEST study, but need to read it more closely. Something that bothered me a bit was that (if I recall) was that it confirmed in some people’s minds that the UHI did not really affect the resulting temperatures. I tend to believe that the UHI does in fact skew the numbers a bit higher than they otherwise would have been.

I’ve read your commentary on the IPCC a few times, and believe you have a balanced view on some of their science.

66. Mario Lento says:

jono1066 says:
December 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm
ref the video from Mario of Mr Mosher
+++++++++
That video, as tobyglyn pointed out, was of Mr. Rohde, not Steven Mosher. (I mistakenly added an “s” to the end of his last name). I would be curious to read what you think of the shifty eyes… I believe the gestures have to do with something being digested or not. Mr Rohde looked uncomfortable to me.

I do not believe he made a cogent case that CO2 was the cause of the brief warming that stopped last century.

67. Mario Lento says:

Bloke down the pub says (December 12, 2013 at 10:31 am): “Look forward to hearing how it matches up to USCRN.”

On a related topic, did Anthony ever find the time to set up his CRN-based “New national temperature resource”?

I looked in the WUWT reference pages and didn’t find it.

Also, was there ever a followup to

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/02/14/the-monthly-report-noaa-never-produces-from-the-climate-reference-network/

I’m dying to learn the reason(s) for the summer/winter differences between COOP & CRN “average temperatures”.

69. John Whitman says:

Mosh,

It was really pleasant to finally meeting you after years of blog dialog.

Thanks for explaining how your poster differentiates your focus from the approaches of other GASTA data sets.

Meeting blog commenting associates in person reminds one that we are all real people not disembodied words. It softens the tone of future comments.

John

70. Gunga Din says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

===============================================================
A good line. I chuckled.8-)

As a layman, I’m not sure what you mean by, “We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.
Then we estimate a field.

I’m tempted to say “A Field of Dreams” but I honestly don’t know what you mean.

71. Mario Lento says:

To all – I am soliciting criticism here. Please be brutal.

The BEST explanation states and I quote “The conclusion of the three groups [NOAA, NASA GIS and HadCRU] is that the urban heat island contribution to their global averages is much smaller than the observed global warming.”

First – that statement, this century, cannot even be honestly made since there is no global warming being measured this century –but I will get past that for now.

They (the three groups) make tiny adjustments through various listed (in BEST summary) methods. But when more simple analysis is done, the rural areas show a range from very little warming to no warming to slight cooling over the time periods studied, while the urban areas show significant warming (through the end of last century).

To me, this does not pass the smell test.

The Best (not BEST) thing to do is Not simply trust the adjustments made to bad data (I understand BEST says they do not actually adjust data – but they do say that the raw data is “crap” so I agree we can call it bad data). The summary at this point in my narrative is that “crap” data with “trusted” adjustments are “sliced” at identified “breakpoints” and conclusions are made. Do we agree so far?

The value in the above conclusions by BEST based on data which begins as “crap” that gets adjusted by three different (trusted?) sources, and for value-added BEST science, is then sliced and estimated so it can be served with conclusions that include “CO2 accounts for the warming”, can not be very good in my opinion.

72. James Allison says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm
There is the raw data if you like crap.
There is qc data
There is breakpoint data.
Then there is the estimated field.

We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.
Then we estimate a field.

——————————————————–
For the benefit of the ignorant among us (especially me) would you kindly post your explanation about how this all works?

Seriously.

73. Mark Bofill says:

That’s more like it. I’m not saying Mosher isn’t full of it, I’ve got no idea on that score and he very well might be, just that I don’t doubt his basic integrity.

Add me to the list of those who’d love to hear how BEST works.

74. Richard M says:

There are innumerable ways to *adjust* the data. The chances of any particular method being correct is as close to zero as one can get. This is not unlike the problem with climate models. They are all wrong, we just don’t know which are the wrongest. I would much rather trust the law of large numbers than any other approach.

Personally, I would generate many random views of the data. From this one could get a feel for the range of possibilities hidden within the complete set.

In any event the raw data should always be shown together with the adjusted data. It is simply good form.

75. jorgekafkazar says:

Reg Nelson says: You can put lipstick on pig, but at the end of the day it’s still a pig.

But will it fly?

76. jorgekafkazar says:

BW2013 says: “Had one building where the air-handler economizer dampers were not positioned where they should be based on the temperatures being mixed. Traced the control cabling to a nearby J-box, found them coiled inside and never landed in the local control panel. They were installed 4 years prior.

I’ll bet if you looked in that area, you could probably find several dozen installations done the exact same way.

77. jorgekafkazar says:

philjourdan says: “Damn Steve! You are getting old! ;-)”

Heck, Phil, he doesn’t look anywhere near as old as I thought he was. : ]

78. kuhnkat says:

Steven Mosher,

“We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.
Then we estimate a field.”

and every break point and slice adds a tiny amount of positive bias. Is that why you and GISS go out of your way to find breakpoints and use ALL the data??

Oh yeah, NCDC homogenizes it for you!!

Estimate a “field?”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

79. kuhnkat says:

Get a haircut you Hippy!!

80. DirkH says:

Mario Lento says:
December 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm
“Steven Mosher, you do not agree with Rohdes in this video, do you? All and all I’m unclear on your thoughts on CO2 and whether it’s the culprit for the warming.”

So Rhode says BEST shows it’s all CO2 plus some natural variation, fine, so obviously from 1995 on the natural variation completely compensates CO2 and when it’ll be in the other phase we must therefore get all the Global Warming we missed out on during the past 17 years PLUS more Global Warming from still rising CO2 levels, so we now know that the BEST team are on the extreme side of catastrophism; Schellnhuber-style catastrophism.

Mosher, do you agree that a Great Transformation of the world’s economy is necessary to evade this terrible fate?

81. Janice Moore says:

@ Mario Lento —

Then, you have the toughest boss in the world!

I think your excellently posed question at 4:43pm today was responded to by one poster (Mark Bofill at 5:13pm), kinda sorta (he, too wants some answers along those same lines!). Hard to figure why your Q was ignored. I see TONS of excellent questions posed that get silence for an answer. Then, others are responded to wonderfully. Guess it’s just hit and miss on WUWT as I realize you know.

Mainly, I mentioned your GREAT QUESTION in case this post will give it a little promotional boost.

And, thank you so much for your kind words.

Janice

82. Steven Mosher says:

Kuhnkat.

Hippy?
How many libertarian hippies do you know

83. Janice Moore says:

@ Dirk — way to get to the bottom line (last sentence at 6:38pm today).

(btw: in case my sloppy English is unclear, by “way to” I mean “well done.”)

84. Steven Mosher says:

So my views on Co2. On my phone. Will post tonight later

85. It would be nice it Steve would do a “simple” essay for us on what they have done. I believe WUWT had some information on what they proposed to do some time ago. Or perhaps they have a nice summary on the BEST website somewhere that could be pointed out (again?). Getting old and I don’t remember as well as I used to. But the civil engineer in me wonders how this slicing and dicing would do with test to failure for beams for a new bridge or building design. It may be mathematically or statistically correct, but will it stand the test of time? Will it stand at all? (Just kidding, but a simple essay for the mathematically challenged would be good.)

Oh darn, I was going to stop there but then I went back and did some reading:

“Berkeley Earth is a Berkeley, California based independent non-profit focused on climate science and strategic analysis. Berkeley Earth was founded in early 2010 (originally called the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project) with the goal of addressing the major concerns of skeptics regarding global warming and the land surface temperature record. The project’s stated aim was a “transparent approach, based on data analysis.”[1] In February 2013, Berkeley Earth became an independent non-profit. In August 2013, Berkeley Earth was granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by the US government. Berkeley Earth is now expanding scientific investigations, educating and communicating about climate change, and evaluating mitigation efforts in developing and developed economies.[2]”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Good Lord y’all”, doesn’t that sound a bit similar to the raison d’être of the IPCC? The mandate appears to be to convince those of us of a skeptical mind that we are the problem. We may be. Certainly most of us here would agree that the earth has warmed up since the Little Ice Age, and most of us would agree that our heating and cooling systems, automobiles, power plants etc. etc. produce heat and must have an effect – we know deforestation has an effect and poor countries short on energy are going to have problems with agricultural practices and deforestation. But CO2 as a MAJOR driver.

I doubt anyone can provide conclusive evidence of CO2 or even the scale of man’s influence on the total. When the next MOC takes things in a different direction, what power will we have to change anything? About as much as ISON had on the sun I reckon.

So let’s have a nice summary from BEST.

Thanks.

86. Truthseeker says:

For anyone who thinks that a “global” temperature is anything but a meaningless concept, I suggest you go here and following the text and links it contains …

http://www.l4patterns.com/Air_Temperatures.php

87. Mario Lento says:

Janice Moore says:
December 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm
@ Mario Lento —
… Mainly, I mentioned your GREAT QUESTION in case this post will give it a little promotional boost…
++++++
Thank you Janice. I sort of lay out how I think BEST says the UHI is real, but that it’s compensated for and has pretty much no measurable effect on temperature records. I don’t buy it. I don’t expect people read all of the literature, but I think people want to know how BEST came to these conclusions.

I used quotes and references so people who know (like Steven Mosher) can correct my understanding. It could be that I misunderstand, misread, or did not read enough to really get it.

In project management, sometimes I can give a cursory look at a complex problem and see there will be no solution with the path we’re on – and change course. That’s how I read the BEST explanation of how they try to have it both ways (YES WE DON’T DENY THE UHI – BUT IT HAS NO EFFECT). They go through many pages of gyrations that do not pass the smell test. Some of the gyrations rely on flat trust. Some are just assumptions such that since two methods agreed with each other, they must be correct. Other gyrations require a willful suspension of disbelief to swallow. They say all three sources (NOAA, NASA GIS and HadCRU) compensate for UHI in different ways and all three come out to the pretty much the same result –so there – we think they are right. They go as far as suggesting that 1/3 of the data are really bad.

I’m ready to be schooled here. Being wrong teaches me something I did not previously know. Being right is frustrating when everyone around me (I live in CA) votes to take my money to save “the childrens’s” future – while saddling those same children with a debt laiden weak country to run.

88. RE: Mosher 12:18 pm
We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.
Then we estimate a field.

Slicing the data IS adjusting the data… BEST uses a Cuisinart — so that it is difficult to know with what you began.
My April 2, 2011 objection to BEST is fundamental on a mathematical and information theory basis. All time series have a 1 to 1 equivalent Fourier series (frequency, amplitude, phase). The best scalpel finds “breakpoints” in the time series. Breaking a time series discards the lowest frequencies of the Fourier series, as well as changing much of the rest. Climate signals are found in the lowest frequencies. The scalpel “adjusts” the Fourier spectrum, not exclusively by loss of low frequency data and therefore it adjusts the timeseries. Whatever we can use BEST work for, low frequency climate information is the least trustworthy.

One year ago, Dec. 13, 2012, I posted a longer critique of the scalpel method that resonated with some readers here.

Kudo’s and in agreement with:

holts at 12:46 pm & 12:53 pm
Mario Lento at 12:46 pm
Reg Nelson at 12:47 pm
Richard of NZ at 1:36 pm
NikFromNYC at 1:41 pm & 1:58 pm +5 for all the specifics!

TimTheToolMan at 2:37 pm +2 (Yes! The scalpel preserves the instrument drift as signal and discards the recalibration as noise)

Dp at 3:04 pm
Gunga Din at 4:02 pm

89. Mario Lento says:

Wayne Delbeke says:
December 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm
It would be nice it Steve would do a “simple” essay for us on what they have done.
+++++++
Let BEST answer a different question – but first tell you that their charter is to GET PAID to solve energy problems caused by AGW. They are a political organization making money by continuing meme.
BEST wrote the following about THEMSELVES:
What is next for Berkeley Earth?
… One key element of this latter program will be to try to forge a new coalition between industry and environmental groups for the use of cleanly-produced natural gas as a bridging fuel to slow global warming over the next few decades – with a particular focus on China.

90. Bob says:

Mario Lento, Rohde claim that CO2 is the cause of warming is pure speculation on his part. While he doesn’t say directly that CO2 is the “control knob”, he does by inference. No one denies that CO2 is a GHG, albeit a minor one.
The doom you worry about all comes from models, not data. Where is the evidence showing that the Berkely CO2-warming is expanded to 4 degrees as depicted by the climate modelers? There is none. So Mario, all the talk you hear about CAGW, including the precautionary babble, is premised on the notion that CO2 can amplify warming to 3-4 degrees C based on model outputs, not data. I take it you are aware that the models have little fidelity to observations. http://climateaudit.org/2013/12/09/does-the-observational-evidence-in-ar5-support-itsthe-cmip5-models-tcr-ranges/

I would like to know how Mosher justifies his libertarianism with calamitous CO2 prescriptive policy that primarily emanate from unreliable, and apparently incomplete models.

91. Tom J says:

Those three wise men really need to acquire some wardrobe assistance. First, and most certainly worst is L-R Zeke Hausfather. May I kindly state, Mr. Hausfather, that shirt of your’s is, like, way too tight. I can handle seeing the distended belly, and the love handles, but I really don’t need to see your nipples. You’re not Vladimir Putin: and I get tired of seeing his too. And, Zeke, if you don’t have any other shirts to wear the least you could do is not assume a cocky stance – hands in the pockets; head cocked with an in-your-face grin – while you’re wearing a nipple shirt. It obliterates any justification for cockiness.

Now, as far as Robert Rhode; do you really wish to be wearing a blue shirt while you’re standing right next to somebody wearing a nipple revealing shirt in the same blue color? If you need to have that explained further, well I just can’t help you. And aside from that wardrobe fail may I suggest that you don’t wear your coat as if it’s the cape of Zorro. You’re not Zorro.

And Steven Mosher, ok, I’ll give you some credit for not looking like a dweeb. But you’re standing next to
people who look like dweebs. I don’t want my life run by dweebs. I don’t want my life run by anybody.

92. E.M.Smith says:

The problem I have with all the slice and splice “fixes” is this:

An old Stevenson screen gathers dirt (after a whitewash to latex warming paint change…) and shows a bogus rise. A new mmts is installed. Now there is a down spike of 1/2 degree. So the past is adjusted down to make a smooth curve out of the discontinuity. We have now made a smooth temp series and made a bogus rise Recieved Wisdom. That is the method used to fix the past by automation that removes discontinuities.

We need to accept the data as is and understand the discontinuities, not remove them backwards…

93. Mario Lento says:

Bob says:
December 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm
++++++++
Yes – we’re on the same page. I am trying to find out if Mosher really believes specific BEST results.

94. Rob Ricket says:

Steve has my respect and admiration for his role in breaking the Climategate emails. Do make an attempt to understand what he is trying to accomplish before busting on the man

95. Bill H says:

Slicing and dicing of a data set removes the low end and then elevates the high end… now why would we want to remove th low and exagerate the high?

I cant think of a single agenda that would require that … /Sarc…

running low on money send more soon… BEST

96. RE: TimTheToolMan at 2:37 pm and
E.M.Smith at 7:45 pm
Both address what I too see as a practical problem with the BEST scalpel. It treats instrument drift as real climate signal and treats maintenance recalibrations as “discontinuities” to be discarded.

Let me nominate the occasional “painting of a Stephenson screen” as a member of a class of events called recalibration of the temperature sensor. Other members of the class might be: weeding around the enclosure, replacement of degrading sensors, trimming of nearby trees, removal of a bird’s nest, other actions that might fall under the name “maintenance”.

A property of this “recalibration class” is that there is slow buildup of instrument drift, then quick, discontinuous offset to restore calibration. At time t=A0 the sensor is set up for use at a quality satisfactory for someone who signs the log. The station operates with some degree of human oversight. At time t=A9, a human schedules some maintenance (painting, weeding, trimming, sensor replacement, whatever). The maintenance is performed and at the time tools are packed up the station is ready to take measurements again at time t=B0. A recalibration event happened between A9 and B0. The station operates until time t=B9 when the human sees the need for more work. Tools up, work performed, tools down. t=C0 and we take measurements again. The intervals between A0-A9, B0-B9 are wide, likely many years. A9-B0 and B9-C0 recalibration events are very short, probably within a sample period. My key point is that A0-A9 and B0-B9 contain instrument drift as well as temperature record. A9-B0, B9-C0 are related to the drift estimation and correction.

At what points in the record are the temperatures most trustworthy? How can they be any other but the “tools down” points of A0, B0, C0?

We go back to look at the temperature record and let BEST slice and dice with the scalpel. What if the scalpel detects a discontinuity at B0 and/or C0? Should it make a cut there? That all depends upon what happens next.

1. From everything I have read about the BEST process, it would slice the record into a A0-A9 segment and a B0-B9 segment and treat the A9-B0, B9-C0 displacements as discontinuities and discard them. BEST will honor the A0-A9, B0-B9 trends and codify two episodes of instrument drift into real temperature trends. Not only will Instrument drift and climate signal be inseparable, we have multiplied the drift in the overall record by discarding the correcting recalibration at the discontinuities. ….

With a saw-tooth signal, the climate is the SAW. BEST slices up the saw and lines up all the teeth into a smoth edge.

97. E.M.Smith says:

@Stephen Rasey:

BINGO!

98. An addendum to 8:16 pm.

Let suggest a potentially invalid assumption in the BEST scalpel approach. The potential error in the temperature segments is NOT UNIFORM across the segment.

At what points in the record are the temperatures most trustworthy? How can they be any other but the “tools down” points of A0, B0, C0? (from 8:16 pm above)

Temperature segments, if they have any reality at all, ought to be most trustworthy at the begining of the segment when a record segment begins. Its error range should be smallest at the point of maintenance, recalibration, or station move. The potential error should be is largest at the end of each segment. A non-uniform standard deviation that is a function of time, requires unusual mathematics of the statistics and estimations of the trends. What did BEST assume about the standard deviation of the data as a funciton of time?

99. Tilo says:

So, Steve, I’m looking at the global Cryosphere data and a rough eyeball tells me that the global anomaly for the entire year is zero, and maybe positive. Wish they had their raw data posted. I’d like to run a trend through it for 2013. In any case, spiking around zero is typical, but having a year average at or above zero is unusual. It’s going to be difficult justifying an upward temp trend if the ice stops cooperating. I’m still going with the satellite data as being the real deal on global temp.

100. Eliza says:

To what year does that graph go? I bet it is 2007 or less? The BEST effort is AGW and always has been follow the money…..

101. Eliza says:

CET, RSS and AMSU are the ONLY reliable temperature records they show no change up to current date. PERIOD. AGW is total C@@@.

102. Reg Nelson says:

jorgekafkazar says:

Reg Nelson says: You can put lipstick on pig, but at the end of the day it’s still a pig.

But will it fly?

Yes, but only if it drinks Red Bull first (according to the TV ads I have seen, which, as we all know, are settled science).

103. Mi Cro says:

To eliminate these sawtooth type errors, what I did was to subtract yesterday’s temp from today’s, these deltas should then have the least of these “drift” type errors possible, and then I do nothing else but average the measurement from the stations that meet the inclusion requirements (ie so many samples per year for so many years). I know it’s not perfect, but it is the data we have. I also realize it not an average for said area, but an average of the measurements from the area.
Steve always tells me it’s wrong but to be fair I tell him what they do is wrong.

For those who haven’t seen the results of these processes, follow the link in my name, there are a number of blogs on this there.

104. Sleepalot says:

I like to compare national Met Office weather station data to that used to make climate series. I see blantant fraud and all manner of manipulations and errors.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7360644@N07/

105. Mario Lento says:

Bill H says:
December 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm
Slicing and dicing of a data set removes the low end and then elevates the high end… now why would we want to remove th low and exagerate the high?

I cant think of a single agenda that would require that … /Sarc…

running low on money send more soon… BEST
+++++++++++
I so much want the truth. So what is BEST’s best intentions?

106. MattS says:

Resourceguy,

“If financial data was crap, it would…..make a minority of people a lot of money.”

Financial guys are interested in growth. Crap is fertilizer, it promotes growth. :)

107. Steven Mosher says:

C02.

Like skeptics Lindzen, Christy, Spencer, and Anthony I know that adding C02 to an atmosphere will warm a planet not cool it.

Some skeptics are certain the amount of warming will be small
Some Warmist are certain the amount will be large.

Im skeptical of their certainty.

108. Steven Mosher says:

“Tilo says:
December 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm
So, Steve, I’m looking at the global Cryosphere data and a rough eyeball tells me that the global anomaly for the entire year is zero, and maybe positive. Wish they had their raw data posted. I’d like to run a trend through it for 2013. In any case, spiking around zero is typical, but having a year average at or above zero is unusual. It’s going to be difficult justifying an upward temp trend if the ice stops cooperating. I’m still going with the satellite data as being the real deal on global temp.”

#######################

Tilo you’ll be glad to hear that there is a new satillite data product coming out in a few weeks.
Its a complete dataset over the satellite era for the artic surface temperature.

Anybody care to take a bet on what the trend is?

109. Mario Lento says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm
#######################

Tilo you’ll be glad to hear that there is a new satillite data product coming out in a few weeks.
Its a complete dataset over the satellite era for the artic surface temperature.

Anybody care to take a bet on what the trend is?
+++++++++++++
Trend? Over what time period? And at the Arctic, the air is so dry, there is very little energy in it. My guess is that it’s been cooling over the past year – and cooler than in 1998 :)

110. Reg Nelson says:

Steven Mosher says:
#######################

Tilo you’ll be glad to hear that there is a new satillite data product coming out in a few weeks.
Its a complete dataset over the satellite era for the artic surface temperature.

Anybody care to take a bet on what the trend is?
——
I think that would depend greatly on who is “producing” the data (product).

Is the data only “artic’ (sic)? And if so why?

111. Steven Mosher says:

Stephan Rasey.

I dont think you understand what the process is. It’s an idea that folks like Willis, RomanM, JeffID and others came up with.

Suppose you have a station.

It starts in location X. on a moutain top. For 10 years it records a summer temperature of 10C.
Then you move it down to the valley. The summer temperature goes up to 15C

What do you do.

A) Raw data lover. Leave the data alone. The record now shows a warming of 5C
B) NOAA. adjust the data because the station moved. either subtract 5 C from
one segment or add 5C to the other
C) The skeptic approved position. These are two different stations. It moved for christs
sake. Split the record dont adjust it
D) The berkeley method: These are two different stations. It moved for christs
sake. Split the record dont adjust it

Suppose you have a station.

At the begining the observer was collecting temperature at 7am. Then after 30 years
they collected temperatures at midnight. This leads to a spurious warming of .25C

What to do?

A) Raw data lover. Leave the data alone. The record now shows a warming of .25c
B) NOAA. adjust the data because TOBS changed. either subtract .25 C from
one segment or add .25C to the other
C) The skeptic approved position. These are two different stations. You changed the TOBS for christs sake. Split the record dont adjust it
D) The berkeley method: These are two different stations. You changed the TOBS for christs sake. Split the record dont adjust it

112. Steven Mosher says:

EM smith also does not understand the process.

113. Steven Mosher says:

Eliza says:
December 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm
To what year does that graph go? I bet it is 2007 or less? The BEST effort is AGW and always has been follow the money…..

##############################

The chart goes to december 2012.

We compared datasets from UAH, RSS, MERRA, NARR, NCDC, PRISM.

since all were complete through 2012, built the datasets through that period.

The point of this excercise was not what you think it is.

114. Steven Mosher says:

As for repainting screens. I’ll suggest you all look back at the actual field experiments.

115. wayne says:

Sleepalot, nice collection there. I see you are onto the adjustments too.

116. Janice Moore says:

“Trend? Over what time period?” (Mario Lento)

Exactly.

Dear Mario Lento,

You have such a good heart that you think the BEST guys may also. From their track record, it doesn’t look like it. They appear to be con-artists of the first order.

Thus, asking them what their intentions are is honorable, but, futile. Only “by their fruits will you know them.” They may “smile in your face,” but, so far, their actions say only that they are l!ars. They are in it for \$. And that is it.

Janice

***********************************

Dear Steven M0-sher,

As you can see, many of us want very much for you to be “one of the good guys.” I think, deep down, you are. Step away from those greedy l!ars and be true to your REAL self. You haven’t listened to it for a long time, but your conscience is still there and it’s saying, “Get real, man, choose truth!” Life is going by fast. Don’t spend it grubbing for gold in the dirt of pseudo-science. You are better than that.

You have a philosophy degree — didn’t that tell you anything about what really matters in life? Well, money is not it.

Still hoping,

Janice

117. Steven Mosher says:

Reg.

You like satellite data?
Uah stitches together various satellites by making adjustments to data. For example orbital decay.
And uah doesnt measure temparature. Its raw data is a voltage. This gets turned into a temperature by applying a physics model. That model is also the same model that says co2 warms the planet. I bet you thought uah was data. Its not. Its adjusted modelled outputs. Go read the theory behind satellite data.

118. Steven Mosher says:

1. I wanted jones data and code so that I could do a better job.
2. My goal was to use all the data and show every step.
3. Next I wanted to use methods suggested by skeptics
B. Kriging rather than averaging

Berkeley did everything I asked and skeptics asked. So I volunteered over a year of free time to help.

Bottomline. I wont say no to anybody with a better idea of how to estimate the historical climate field. But whoever has a better idea has to put in the time and live with the answer their approach produces. I dont have time for critics who wont work. I learned from steve mcintyre and anthony. If you want to criticize you better be willing to work. Sometimes for free..sometimes for years.

119. crabalocker says:

I wish they could homogenize my bank account!

120. Paul Martin says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm
There is the raw data if you like crap.
There is qc data
There is breakpoint data.
Then there is the estimated field.

BURMA SHAVE

121. Steve C says:

Never mind BEST. I’m waiting for TRUE.

122. Stephen Richards says:

The three of them have demonstrated an attachment to the AGW même as solid as Hansen and Mann. No respect for them I’m afraid.

123. Elizabeth says:

Oh well Mosher must the right The earth is heating beyond belief due to C02. LOL

124. Anthony Violi says:

Steven Mosher says:

December 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Stephan Rasey.

I dont think you understand what the process is. It’s an idea that folks like Willis, RomanM, JeffID and others came up with.

Suppose you have a station.

It starts in location X. on a moutain top. For 10 years it records a summer temperature of 10C.
Then you move it down to the valley. The summer temperature goes up to 15C

What do you do.

A) Raw data lover. Leave the data alone. The record now shows a warming of 5C
B) NOAA. adjust the data because the station moved. either subtract 5 C from
one segment or add 5C to the other
C) The skeptic approved position. These are two different stations. It moved for christs
sake. Split the record dont adjust it
D) The berkeley method: These are two different stations. It moved for christs
sake. Split the record dont adjust it

Suppose you have a station.

At the begining the observer was collecting temperature at 7am. Then after 30 years
they collected temperatures at midnight. This leads to a spurious warming of .25C

What to do?

A) Raw data lover. Leave the data alone. The record now shows a warming of .25c
B) NOAA. adjust the data because TOBS changed. either subtract .25 C from
one segment or add .25C to the other
C) The skeptic approved position. These are two different stations. You changed the TOBS for christs sake. Split the record dont adjust it
D) The berkeley method: These are two different stations. You changed the TOBS for christs sake. Split the record dont adjust it
————————————————————–

Here’s an idea Steven.

Use all the stations we have always used for the last century. Like every single one.

All the databases are unrecognizable since stations have been deleted ad nauseam over time.

Lets use them all over 2 centuries, and if takes another 100 years, so be it.

We have plenty of time, we have been flat for at least 12 years according to GISS and 17 according to RSS.

125. M Simon says:

charles nelson says:
December 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Steven Mosher is actually a real person!
Wow.

126. David A says:

Humm, sounds very difficult to constantly change stations, change elevations, change locations, compensate for different TOB adjustments, compensate for changes to stations etc, add in all the known and unknowns, homengise relative to nearby stations, and come up with a correct solution. (Lip stick on a pig, or twister with five points of contact may be valid) The potential for FUBAR is real.

In the US alone we have many continuously active stations since the early 1900s. Same station, same location, same elevation, (This accounts for many, but of course not all variables) They show the US as being warmer in the late 30s and early 1940s, at the same time the arctic ice was known to be retreating. The vast majority of the highest recorded Ts were from that time period. Stream flow data from that period also indicates drought far worse then we have experienced since. US average T graphs fro the 1980s and 1990s show the US was as warm, or warmer then the current decade.
http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/spectacularly-poor-climate-science-at-nasa/

Also, I have yet to hear how the Iceland adjustments are justified, or how many other specific area adjustments are justified, which people have identified and questioned in comments above.
Also the land adjustments appear to be diverging ever further from RSS.

127. philjourdan says:

@ Steven Mosher says: December 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Raw data is not crap. It may not tell you much until it is analyzed, but raw data is raw data. Manipulated data is crap. It destroys the information the raw data contains. Regardless of what you want it to tell you.

128. MarkB says:
December 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm
The issue with satellite measurements isn’t so much the accuracy of the measurement but figuring out precisely what region of the atmosphere has been measured.
And that’s it – the satellite measurements of atmosphere are of course useful, but we must always bear in mind it is measurements of the atmosphere layers which is not always clear what are their boundaries (and there is relatively very steep adiabatic lapse rate in the troposphere, changing considerably also with water content, so it is of crucial importance) and it is not same as the surface air and SST in-situ measurements.

129. DirkH says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:37 pm
“You like satellite data?
Uah stitches together various satellites by making adjustments to data. For example orbital decay.
And uah doesnt measure temparature. Its raw data is a voltage. This gets turned into a temperature by applying a physics model. That model is also the same model that says co2 warms the planet. ”

The last sentence is a lie. The model says that CO2 absorbs and emits certain IR frequencies, not more and not less. You slip in such lies all the time. That’s why I think you either have a political agenda or a very muddled thought process.

130. Mindert Eiting says:

One year ago I have read that about thirty percent of the surface stations in the USA show an individual cooling trend (negative regression slope). The first question you should ask is whether there is a difference between distributions of station regression slopes within a certain data set and within drop-out stations. In the last decades of the twentieth century more than 80 percent of all stations were dropped and, because of inclusion, almost no station of the old population survived. If drop-out were random or determined by coverage, the effects would be harmless, but it can be shown that stations were dropped on the basis of their past records. It is the worst kind of drop-out which cannot be repaired by statistical technicalities. From noise from multiple sources you can create any signal you want by source selection. Take a random sample from the drop-out stations and compare mean and variance of slope distributions over a certain period with mean and variance of that distribution in a data set. Has this be done for new BEST?

131. mwgrant says:

DirkH

“The last sentence is a lie. The model says that CO2 absorbs and emits certain IR frequencies, not more and not less. You slip in such lies all the time.”

The language here is why I think your biases are operating at full capacity. And BTW the second sentence in the quote here is is ambiguous at best and incorrect at worst. I’ll be charitable and assume the former.

132. ferd berple says:

Anton Eagle says:
December 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm
Why this has to be explained to “scientists” is beyond me. Anyone that publishes any climate article using anything other than raw data is, simply put, not a scientist. Instead, they are simply a propagandist.
===========
One of the very best examples of how to keep records are the old manual ledgers kept by accountants before computerization. In such a ledger you NEVER update or delete any record. All changes to the data must be done via inserts. In this fashion a full audit trail is preserved.

Using an eraser to delete or update any data in a manual ledger was forbidden. It was considered “cooking” the books. Instead, if you wanted to make a correction you inserted two new records. One was a reversal for the previous record, the other a corrected amount.

The problem is that in the age of computers, we started using updates and deletes to “correct” data errors. The problem is that the corrections themselves are also full of errors. These are processing errors as opposed to the data errors in the raw data. And if you do update or delete any data, then you can no longer identify data errors from processing errors.

So, if you are working with any data that contains any updates or deletes you are working with garbage, because you cannot separate data errors from processing errors. Any attempt to place error bounds around the data is a nonsense, because you cannot determine the error rate, because your calculations assume the processing error rate to be zero, which is a false assumption.

133. Bill Illis says:

Many of you would have, at one time, built a database of the temperature record where you live. Maybe its got some problems. Maybe it is good.

You can compare that to what Berkeley Earth (BEST) has come up with.

At this site: just type in your city name. You’ll get a link to the temperature record which Berkeley uses, maybe several individual stations (and it may have the raw data from your location, but I would use the actual raw record of your location that you have built).

http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/city-list/

You’ll find that Berkeley has a higher temperature increase trend than you have.

134. Reg Nelson says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm
“NASA claims the accuracy of the satellite measurements are within 0.03 C. Do you have evidence to suggest otherwise?”
The question is what is measured there. Are you sure it is the surface temperature as measured by in-situ measurements? I very much don’t think so. Also the 2/3rds+ of the Earth surface area is the ocean and the problems with the satellite measurements of the SST are endemic and principial, because the satellite instruments based on IR an microwave sensing are unable to “see” beyond the very surface skin of the ocean where the temperature due to insolation and eveporation is usually not representative for temperature of the layer where in-situ measurements are made. Not speaking any cloudiness immediately makes even this “100 micrometers SST” unmeasurable from a satellite.
And even if this all would be solved one day, which I rather doubt, still there is lack of historic record anyway. So I still think, that the in-situ measurements have its value and especially when it comes to the long historical instrumental time series (as the CET or the Klementinum I mentioned here) -the series should be treated with much more respect than is usual “raw” data treatment with the global temperature composites.
With the ocean I think it is much more telling the data from say the ARGO than satellites. Even for the relatively short period it covers the oceans (last 10 years) it already consistently shows things the satellites in my opinion never would be able to measure, not speaking with sufficient accuracy.
When I touched it – btw. ARGO shows a consistent cooling of the sea surface layer for whole its era since 2004, the downward slopes, especially in the upper photic layer are considerably steeper even than HadSST3 (and the ARGO global SST signal really much more resembles what’s predicted theoretically) and when it comes to yearly temperature maxima caused quite clearly by the Earth perihelion coinciding closely with summer beginning at the southern hemisphere (where bulk of the ocean resides) the cooling is already identifiable even under the photic layer botom at 150m depth. In my opinion the ARGO in-situ data show not only striking dependence of the ocean surface layer temperature on the insolation variation, but more or less “temperature history of the ocean insolation” couple of decades long as the heat waves progress down – which is also quite very well identifiable in the ARGO data despite partially obscured by yearly insolation variation pattern – which nevertheless leaves no space for doubt about intimate dependence of the OHC and resulting temperature in the ocean photic layer on the insolation variation. So if there’s a candidate for adding to the BE to make it truly global temperature dataset in my opinion the ARGO in-situ ocean surface layer data would be much better choice than satellite records.

135. beng says:

If it’s the “new” BEST, the old BEST wasn’t the best. Best that….

136. Max™ says:

So, uh… I saw a comment about how “uah doesnt measure temparature. Its raw data is a voltage. This gets turned into a temperature by applying a physics model” which sounds like there is “then a wizard does something” step inserted in there?

I have to say, electricity isn’t magic.

If a receiver shows a certain voltage change and is properly designed then you can eliminate other causes for that voltage change until you can safely assume that there was a specific type of signal received.

Assuming then that people aren’t standing around outside with open microwave ovens trying to spoof your detector you can look at what sort of phenomenon can cause microwave emissions of that type and characterize said emissions accordingly.

If a randomized band of frequencies within certain parameters are typical of thermal emission by bodies at a certain temperature you can then point to a detection of that signal and say “there is a body within the view of this instrument at that temperature, or some jerk is going through a lot of effort to generate noise with certain properties to try and throw off our data collection, or the instrument is broken”, what you can’t do is say “oh that’s a load of crap because microwave sounding isn’t a direct detection, it’s just interpreting signals”… at least not with any sort of credibility.

You aren’t actually seeing these words on the screen, they’re just signals received by your retina and interpreted by the relevant structures in your brain which then pass a note to the homunculus sitting in your skull which says “hey jerk, you saw this” and you register it as an impression of light and dark patterns on a screen representing certain information, which again is interpreted secondhand by the relevant processing routines inside your head, which pass a note back to the homunculus in your head which says “hey jerk that stuff you saw means this”, and then you understand these signals and interpret it accordingly.

The physics involved in microwave sounding is pretty old stuff involving the response of resistors to changes in a linked antenna, light pressure, black body calibration, and so forth. So arguing that “it is just a change in voltage” and then jumping to “and that is interpreted by the same models as the ones that say CO2 is warming the planet” is rather nonsensical.

You can understand the responses of a microwave sounder in terms of some electrical engineering and a bit of quantum mechanics, we’re talking stuff that was around in the 40′s, when the systems were theorized and developed.

137. ferd berple says:

One of the most glaring examples of the problem with using updates and deletes instead of inserts was the CRU at East Anglia. The foremost temperature record in the world, yet it was discovered they no longer have the raw data. All they have is the processed data. As such there is no way to determine the processing error rate in their results, and no way any faith can be placed in the quality of their data. It is simply not suitable to purpose.

To give an example, say a company published a year end financial report, and then destroyed all the raw data behind the report. Would you trust the financial report? Of course not, because you would suspect an Enron. You would suspect that the raw data had been destroyed to hide the truth, that the financial reports were a result of creative accounting that would not stand up to scrutiny.

As a result of Enron we got Sarbanes–Oxley. Criminal penalties for falsification of accounting data. Yet we are being asked to change the economies of the world based on temperature data that holds absolutely no assurance of data quality. No independent audit. Absolutely no penalties for data manipulation or fraud.

Temperature data that in many cases has been actively hidden from the public, even though it was paid for by the public. And as Climategate showed, leading Climate Scientists were involved in a conspiracy to withhold the raw data from the public, and have never been held to account for their actions. So why would anyone think they have corrected their behavior?

138. Marc77 says:

They should not use breakpoints. It makes no sense to add an offset to many years of record because of a small jump.

Stations are known to measure temperatures lower than a simple thermometer hatched to your house. This is because the Stevenson screen limits the amount of warming in different ways. So when the screen slowly decays, the station shows an artificial warming. This is not corrected because it is too slow. When the station is renovated, there is a sudden cooling and it will be corrected because it shows as a jump in the record.

139. beng says:

***
Bill Illis says:
December 13, 2013 at 6:31 am
***

Bill, Frostburg, MD is near me & still fairly small & presumably a small UHI effect. Somehow BEST turns raw data showing slight long-term cooling into a warming trend:

http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/stations/34727

What a surprise. /sarc

140. MiCro says:

To go with Max’s post above, what do you think electronic thermometers generate? Thermocouples generate a voltage output that’s measured as a temp, thermistors resistance varies with temp, and are used to generate, wait for it, a varying voltage that’s measured as a temp. You can use a diode as a thermometer, you can even use a photodiode in your digital camera as a thermometer.

The issue with satellite measurements, is you don’t really measure surface temps.

141. Joseph Murphy says:

Stephen Richards says:
December 13, 2013 at 1:23 am
The three of them have demonstrated an attachment to the AGW même as solid as Hansen and Mann. No respect for them I’m afraid.
———————————————————–
There is a very big difference between someone you disagree with and someone trying to sell you snake oil. Confusing the two makes you look bad. The BEST project is very trasparent, if they are selling snake oil then they are at least advertising it as such. In the many years I have been following climate science I have found many people who do not appear to be honest and sincere in their opinions. Mosh isn’t one of them (and not even close for that matter). Prove him wrong or thank him for the work that he does.

142. ferd berple says:

One of the biggest problems in “correcting” raw data is that we rarely look for processing errors when the results match our expectations. As a result processed data is almost always biased in the direction of the expectations of those controlling the data processing.

This is not a concious process. It is sub-concious. As a result the bias cannot be detected by those doing the processing. Thus the need for an independent audit of all data processing results. Even this is problematic, because the auditors will be blind to errors that match their expectations.

143. ferd berple says:

Joseph Murphy says:
December 13, 2013 at 6:56 am
In the many years I have been following climate science I have found many people who do not appear to be honest and sincere in their opinions.
=============
bias due to experimenter expectation effect is independent of honesty or sincerity. In fact, honesty and sincerity can make the problem worse, because you are more likely to suspect errors in the work of a dishonest or insincere person. However, even the most honest and sincere among us still have bias. We all do, and it is the in-built bias that blinds us to error that match our bias. Thus the failing of peer review to catch errors when the author and reviewers share the same bias.

144. Joseph Murphy says:

@ferd berple
Agreed, but in the case you mentioned one should disprove the bias, not dismiss the work out of hand. Dismissing BEST because you believe there is a biased without demonstrating so shows more bias with you (a general ‘you’) than with them.

145. Sleepalot says:

@ Wayne Thanks for the reply – I usually get met with silence.

146. bit chilly says:

from papers i have recently read it would seem the earth,s energy budget is never in equilibrium,there is either net gain or loss as would be expected in a chaotic system.

to my mind any increase in temperature in the arctic could well be seen as a first indicator cooling is on the way.whether it be air or water,moving towards the arctic will end in one result,it will cool.during that cooling period the average temperature of the sea and air may well rise a small amount for an indeterminate period,but eventually it will return to cooling.

simple reasoning that requires a leap of faith,but i believe that is what is currently happening.with southern hemisphere ice on the increase and indications the arctic is getting cooler,i am fairly certain i will find out within the next ten years.

147. philjourdan says:

@Steven Mosher

Suppose you have a station.

It starts in location X. on a moutain top. For 10 years it records a summer temperature of 10C.
Then you move it down to the valley. The summer temperature goes up to 15C

Clearly you do not have 1 station, you have 2. One was shut down, and another one started. The names may be the same, but the data sources are not (one is the top of a mountain, the other a valley).

148. @Steven Mosher at 10:20 pm
Stephan Rasey. I dont think you understand what the process is.

Steven chooses two cases to justify BEST methodlogy.
1. Moving a station from a mountain top into a valley.
2. Changing the Time of Observation
Is that the BEST you can do? How many stations fit your example #1?
Of course #1 ought to be a new station record.

Let’s face it, it would be far better to have two stations with overlapping records. Given the Great Thermometer Dying, it is an open question in my mind how many overlapping records have been eliminated.
I’m skeptical of TOBS adjustments in general. I think they are overwrought and an excuse to adjust data. TOBS adjustments in part assumes that thousands of volunteers faithfully recording temperatures year after year were idiots recording daily min and maxes without regard to the day’s weather.

In either case, splitting the record is masking instrument drift as real temerature change. Unless you know the drift from a recalibration done at the end of the record, you have no idea what it is. Since BEST itself is finding breakpoints, you don’t have this recalibration at the end of a record.

Let’s take a more realistic example of #1.
You have a Stevenson screen at an airport.
The Stevenson screen gets moved to another place at the airport because airport expansion and growth in activity over the years reduced the siting criteria from a Class 2 to a Class 5. The screen’s new location is now a Class 1. SHOULD it be a split? In my book, it is a much tougher call because the act of moving the station is one of recalibration and restoration of the long term local climate. Preservation of low frequency data content is paramount, so the bias should be to not split the record

How many temperature stations are in the BEST dataset?
How many breakpoints (slices) did BEST create on that dataset?
What is the distribution of segment lengths after the breakpoints are applied?
(What is the histogram of segment lengths in bins of 2 year widths. )
What is the average lenght of segment? I’ve read report that it is 12 years.
When the segment slopes are subject to krieging, is there a weighting in the estimated trend that give greater weight to longer segment lengths?

How many temperature segment breakpoints do you KNOW fit either of the two categories above? You don’t have the metadate to justify most of these breakpoints.

149. I recently adjusted a 1000 year dataset of observations of the daytime sky.

While past observers stated various shades of blue with white clouds they did not have color calibration tools like we have today (like Pantone color charts). I adjusted those further out to be more accurate. The adjusted data (that is, the more accurate data) clearly shows that the sky in the past was maroon and the clouds gold. The current blue / white scheme is clearly a severe anomaly and we all need to make drastic changes to our lifestyles to restore it.

When do I pick up my Nobel Prize?

150. Thanks for the explanation Mosher. I think the slicing is ok but nor sure how it is affects things as I am not any better than any layman at reading a graph and interpreting data.
As for the graphs, they are what they are. Perhaps the BEST but we have but some who think otherwise. Time will tell as someone else commented.

I once wrote a financial program to predict company revenues based on a sum of all projects across several companies and projection of all the companies projects given their progress and cost to date. (And the shape of typical project cost completions curves for various size projects and components.) The employees called it the “Delbeke Lie Detector” because many would get calls from head office asking how much trouble their project was in before they recognized trouble as we could parametrize a few simple things and see when projects were going off the rails. They hated it and loved it at the same time and it helped corporate ensure we didn’t get too many financial surprises. Some folks would try to work the system, but they always failed in the end. I have been retired for many years but the system is still in place.

I hope Climate Science hasn’t fallen into the trap of trying to work the system ’cause the chickens always come home to roost in the long term.

Thanks to all the contributors to WUWT including MOSH for keeping my brain active.

151. There have been other published methods. Courtillot’s group, for instance, has papers that estimate the land average by selecting only stations with good data. The temperature curve takes a different shape, especially, IIRC, over Europe.

Secondly, the fallacy of calculating a point in a field from its neighbours, by whatever method, does not address the circularity involved, regardless of the superiority of the used method.

152. Mario Lento says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:37 pm
Reg.
You like satellite data?
Uah stitches together various satellites by making adjustments to data. For example orbital decay.
And uah doesnt measure temparature. Its raw data is a voltage. This gets turned into a temperature by applying a physics model. That model is also the same model that says co2 warms the planet. I bet you thought uah was data. Its not. Its adjusted modelled outputs. Go read the theory behind satellite data.
+++++++++++
Actually Steve, you are artfully one of the finest verbal prestidigitators I’ve had the honor of conversing with. You’re brain is wicked smart.

The satellites (that you seem to poo poo) use the most precise type of electronic temperature sensors known to man. They are called RTDs. You are correct, as RTDs use the resistance measured across a platinum resistor which is excited by a known small current. Said another way, the raw data comes from measuring the resistance by applying precise current and measuring the voltage. There are three physical constants referred to as Alpha, Delta and Beta which reflect the properties of the platinum. As well, sensors are calibrated using for scale and offset before they are put into service. If a 3 or 4 wire RTD is used, the controller also needs to constantly measure the resistance of the leads to the RTD so that the resulting voltage measurement reflects the temperature. A 3 wire assumes both leads have the same resistance. A 4 wire measures resistance of both leads. The resistance of the leads is subtracted from the resistance of the RTD so that only the resistance of the sensor is used in the “calculation” of temperature.

Further, the current that flows through the platinum needs to be low enough such that it does not heat up the sensor significantly enough to hurt the measurement. The heating is now a days several orders of magnitude lower than the resulting reading.

So your attempt at obfuscating satellite sensors with your statement they the raw data is a voltage, is telling that you have said nothing towards addressing people’s questions.

Take what Janice clearly said about you to heart and prove her wrong.

I asked you some specific questions after summarizing what I think BEST does. You say things, but do not answer. Either: you do not know, but won’t say that or you do know, but do not want us knowing what you know. Why must you go through gyrations, like I think BEST does, to avoid cogent discussion.

I assume at this point that you know BEST starts with bad data (because it refuses to get rid of he poorly sited stations.) They slices and estimates after trusting that bad data should be used.

153. Mr. Jones says:

‘Raw Data = “Crap” . . . But the 21st Century Alchemists can turn it into ‘Not Crap’?

A pile of Crap hosed down with Febreze ™ is still a pile of Crap that smells less crappy.

How can it be both ways?

154. Richard D says:

I love the term homogenized. Just like milk, they remove all the good stuff so whatever is left over will last forever.
………………………………….
Not really. It’s chemistry….homogenization makes a solution uniform throughout by transforming immiscible components to an emulsion – nothing is removed.

155. Slartibartfast says:

There is no such thing as raw data.

This is as asinine a statement as I have ever run across from a purported scientist.

Its raw data is a voltage.

Condradiction is a useful device if your objective is to muddy the waters rather than clarify.

My personal liking for having raw data at hand is that armed with raw data and how that raw data was processed, one can reproduce results. Then one can create different results as one pleases, using different hypotheses. But only if one has access to the raw data. Which either exists or doesn’t, depending on which Steve Mosher you’re talking to.

156. rgbatduke says:

There is the raw data if you like crap.
There is qc data
There is breakpoint data.
Then there is the estimated field.

We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.
Then we estimate a field.

Steven, a serious question. Estimating a field via e.g. kriging as a general rule cannot alter the mean, or perhaps should not alter the mean. To quote the wikipedia article:

If the cloud of real values $Z(x_0)$ is plotted against the estimated values $\hat{Z}(x_0)$, the criterion for global unbias, intrinsic stationarity or wide sense stationarity of the field, implies that the mean of the estimations must be equal to mean of the real values.

The second criterion says that the mean of the squared deviations ($\hat{Z}(x)-Z(x))$ must be minimal, which means that when the cloud of estimated values versus the cloud real values is more disperse, the estimator is more imprecise.

Both of these are also intuitively obvious on the basis of information theory — you cannot generate information content out of thin air by means of an interpolation. Hence one cannot do better than a simple average over the data by kriging — unbias is a requirement of the method to avoid, well, bias. The second criterion is equally important — one cannot improve the precision of the estimate by kriging, because the “data” you add via the krige is not even conceptually iid samples, it is basically a model fit.

This is true even if you use Bayesian reasoning to try to include priors (and get a, well, biased estimation contingent on the priors. The priors themselves come with error estimates and so the biased estimated field variance should be strictly larger than the field variance of the data itself.

Finally, there are well-known systematic biases in the underlying data, the most prominent of which is the UHI, which can be thought of as the sampling bias introduced by the tendency of humans to (vastly, preferentially) systematically measure temperatures where they live instead of where they don’t live, plus the tendency of human/anthropogenic changes associated with building human habitat or converting forestland to farm field to introduce profound local warming (but only in the comparatively small area in which humans actually reside). Anthony has documented many, many such biases produced by poor local siting of weather stations now, and of course it is almost impossible to determine related biases from (say) the early 1900s or mid 1800′s. However, there is I think fairly reliable data that suggests that non-rural areas remain a degree or two warmer than the surrounding countryside (in a way that is even reasonably proportional to average population density) and yet contain the bulk of the thermometers that contribute to the field average.

So one would expect that to do the best possible job of estimating land surface temperatures from historical thermometric data, one has two options, one of which should always be undertaken, and the other of which might well be done several ways for comparison and plausibility, not necessarily as an improved claim.

The first is to do a straight up area-weighted average, accumulating large errors wherever the data is sparse (after eliminating e.g. nonphysical outliers, broken thermometers, alcoholic record keepers to the extent that you can detect them, etc). Nothing can provide you with the missing information in the sparse regions any better than the simple average — attempts that give a different answer are enormously risky (or comparatively easily doubtable, if you prefer) because you at the very least have to make it very clear indeed what the source is for the missing information content that you are generating. Maximum entropy, after all. Start with this baseline unbiased estimate based on the direct, naive use of the actual data as it is almost by definition the one that maximizes your use of the available information in the data itself.

Second, by all means correct for perceived biases in the sampling data itself — e.g the UHI. This is critical because while UHI warming is indeed anthropogenic, and while we can presume that it has occurred repeatedly throughout history when e.g. first growth forest has been cut down and replaced by agriculture, when 19,000 square miles of the US have been covered by asphalt roadways directly exposed to the sun instead of evaporative-cooling trees, where every alteration of the environment due to humans has some thermal effect, that isn’t relevant to the question of GHG-induced warming. To detect the latter, we could safely completely exclude all urban area records and concentrate only on areas that have a long-running continuous measurement of reliable temperatures and that are still “pristeen” as far as anthropogenic alterations of the environment are concerned. One needs to do this anyway, to be able to compare the warming of this subgroup to the warming of the complementary set — all of the sites that have experienced substantial, sustained urban growth (e.g. Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City). CO_2 could hardly be expected to act to preferentially warm proportional to population density unless it is related to local warming, not global warming. But one should be very wary of using corrections of this nature without very sound, well-separated evidence of bias and one should recognize that using them increases the expected error of the result because uncertainty in the correction always will increase the raw statistical uncertainty in the aggregated data itself.

Then publish the two side by side. Or the three, four, five side by side — there may be more than one correction one can justify, and one might well want to try permutations of the corrections, but one would always like to be able to see just what the corrections were and assess whether or not the resulting shift is plausible. It is precisely this that I’m having trouble with in the case of Cowtan and Way’s paper, where they explicitly state that they are not using unbiased kriging because they want to correct e.g. HADCRUT’s simple average data. Then one has to look very carefully at just where the difference they obtain comes from, and why it almost all appears post 2005 even as the satellite data they are mixing into the sparse, kriged surface data goes the other way. Angels fear to tread where kriging some field changes the baseline average, especially when looking at the data itself provides no obvious answer for why it produces the change it produces (and it MUST end up with a higher error estimate than the original unbiased average).

There are other things I’d worry about — one can learn a lot from jackknifing, for example, or (if you krige, especially if you krige to a different average) how well your methodology can take 1/2 the data, apply the method, and predict the missing other half. Training and trial methodology is useful for things other than just predictive modeling, and of course when you estimate a field you are doing predictive modeling, just not necessarily in time.

So I’m not sure what you mean when you say that you adjust breakpoints, slice, and estimate a field. And this isn’t an effort to suggest that your temperature estimate is bad, good, or in between. It truly is a request for information. It’s a lot more fun to talk about what you actually do and why than to engage in the usual round of ad hominem bashing that often occurs. Sure, if I were good, I’d get the poster and read or get the paper (if you send me a reference) and read it, but I’m lazy (and proctoring a final at the moment and then insanely busy for three days, so maybe I’m not really lazy) and I’m curious, so a slightly more illuminating nutshell would be appreciated.

rgb

157. Mario Lento says:

Richard D says:
December 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

I love the term homogenized. Just like milk, they remove all the good stuff so whatever is left over will last forever.
………………………………….
Not really. It’s chemistry….homogenization makes a solution uniform throughout by transforming immiscible components to an emulsion – nothing is removed.
+++++++
The other thing that is done to milk (besides adding vitamin D3 it is pasteurized – heated so as to kill living things within it.

158. MarkB says:

Tilo says:
December 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm

. . .I’m still going with the satellite data as being the real deal on global temp.

Would this then give you heartburn?

159. vukcevic says:

Raw data is the king.
This is what the NASA got from a set of the ‘adjusted’ geomagnetic data
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/525284main_earth20110309b-full.jpg
and this is what I got from the same set of the raw data
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-LOD.htm

160. Jason Bates says:

I don’t want to get involved in the mud slinging contests, but I do have a pair of questions regarding the adjusted climate data that have always bugged me and for which I have never seen satisfactory answers (ones that, until I do see answers, force me to discard all temperature reconstructions based the surfacestation record).

The adjusted climate data from BEST, HadCRUT, and GISS all exhibit a markedly different trend from that seen in the raw data. I fully agree that the raw data is crap, and I agree that in principle it should be possible to use data from nearby stations to identify which portions of the raw data from individual stations are crap – averages over noisy data reduce noise, assuming that the noise is random and uncorrelated.

However, that final clause is the kicker here. The adjustment process – whatever it may be – significantly alters the trend of the raw data. This suggests, prima facie, that whatever noise or bias is present in the raw data is either not random or not uncorrelated. Otherwise, one should expect up adjustments to roughyl cancel down adjustments and the overall trend to be substantially unchanged. This is not what is happening.

Therefore, there is something that is biasing the raw data in a systematic way. This leads me to my questions: first, what is biasing the raw data in a systematic way which would justify alteration of the trend? And second, given that the noise in the raw data is systematically biased, what justification is there for assuming that averaging, kriging, slicing, or any combination of those will correcly identify and rectify it?

Regarding the first, the obvious answer is that the urban heat island effect is contributes a systematic bias; however, it biases the raw data in the wrong direction – it should lead to an adjusted trend that is cooler. not warmer, than the raw data in recent times. Thus, there must be an additional source of bias – and one that is stronger than the known bias of the UHI. What is it?

Regarding the second, if the raw data is systematically biased, then it seems wrong to assume that using data from nearby stations will help to remove that bias, because it is no longer clear that it is more likely that a collection of such stations will have better data than any given single station.

161. rgbatduke says:

bias due to experimenter expectation effect is independent of honesty or sincerity. In fact, honesty and sincerity can make the problem worse, because you are more likely to suspect errors in the work of a dishonest or insincere person. However, even the most honest and sincere among us still have bias. We all do, and it is the in-built bias that blinds us to error that match our bias. Thus the failing of peer review to catch errors when the author and reviewers share the same bias.

Amazingly welle said once again, sir. Bravo!

As Feynman said, the person we have to be the most careful not to fool is ourself. Then we can be just ordinarily honest with other folks.

I teach introductory physics (in fact, that’s what I’m doing right at this moment, sort of, proctoring a final). I am pretty good at it. Give me a kiddy-physics problem and I’m hell on wheels. I lecture cold — no notes, I just walk in and do it. After all, I wrote the book I’m using.

However, teaching like this one quickly learns several things. For example, you can’t find your own errors in anything you write. Not just physics — if you miswrite a sentence, the human brain reads what you meant to say, not what you said, when you try to reread your own work. Never have I worked harder than when I tried to proofread my own novel — it took 20 or so passes, with long times in between for me to forget what I actually wrote (and there are probably still errors in the text). Second, you can’t find your own conceptual errors in anything you write or do. I teach with other, very talented, physics people. Every now and then one of them points out where I’ve been teaching something incorrectly (often for decades). Or where I use nonstandard notation. Every now and then I do the same for them — we all have those “holes” and again, we cannot pull the mote out of our own eye, for that we need help.

Third, my students find errors in what I do. I lecture live. I make algebra mistakes. I bribe the students with chocolate for every error they catch me making at the board, and make an average of 1-2 per lecture. Lots of times they are trivial algebra errors (which I’m as prone to as anybody else) — or I’ll literally SAY one thing (one half of my brain) and WRITE a different thing (a different half of my brain). With luck I catch my own errors — I’m constantly checking units and while I don’t remember the exact results or answers for everything I derive or solve for at the board, I can often recognize a problem and do so with my eyes while I’m talking about the next things. No candy for you! when I catch my own errors.

This is for easy stuff — Newton’s laws, elementary E&M. It isn’t just “bias” — the most honest of us make honest errors, even in the case of stuff we know extraordinarily well. We are also mistaken in places that our knowledge is as good as we think it is. We just don’t know where those places are. To find them, we often need help.

The desire to prove a point is an entirely natural human tendency. It is also one of the great mind-traps, perhaps even the world-class mind trap. Jaynes calls it the

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_projection_fallacy

… the tendency to believe that the way one sees the world is the way the world really is. Once infected, one “Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts” as Sherlock Holmes put it long before Jaynes put a Bayesian cast on the logic of science.

Three words every scientist should make a part of their commonly used repertoire: “I’m not sure.”

rgb

162. rgbatduke says:

There is a very big difference between someone you disagree with and someone trying to sell you snake oil. Confusing the two makes you look bad. The BEST project is very trasparent, if they are selling snake oil then they are at least advertising it as such. In the many years I have been following climate science I have found many people who do not appear to be honest and sincere in their opinions. Mosh isn’t one of them (and not even close for that matter). Prove him wrong or thank him for the work that he does.

Also well said, and I agree. Besides, you can tell he isn’t a “real” climate scientist from the photo above. He isn’t bald, and has no beard.

I, on the other hand, just might be… Gads!

rgb

163. rgbatduke says:

1. I wanted jones data and code so that I could do a better job.
2. My goal was to use all the data and show every step.
3. Next I wanted to use methods suggested by skeptics
B. Kriging rather than averaging

This is better, but I’m still confused. Kriging and averaging “should” give the same result if the kriging is done correctly, because that is a constraint on doing it correctly, is it not? The only kriging does is give you a comparatively high(er) estimate for infilled regions that are strictly consistent because they lead to the same average and hence didn’t invent information where there was none in the data.

Or maybe I just don’t understand this.

rgb

164. Mario Lento says:

I teach introductory physics (in fact, that’s what I’m doing right at this moment, sort of, proctoring a final). I am pretty good at it. Give me a kiddy-physics problem and I’m hell on wheels. I lecture cold — no notes, I just walk in and do it. After all, I wrote the book I’m using.
++++++++
Love it! Sounds like you enjoy thinking on your feet!

When I give presentations I use words sparingly on screen. Rather I use images that set up for an open ended, though framed, discussion. After all, I need to read the class/audience so that I can figure out how to deliver the messages through interactive engagement.

When I coach race car drivers, I do not follow a script. I set up the controls, and then figure out what they need to go faster safely. As long as they act without hesitation when I deliver one of three commands (gas, brake or easy) and they agree to let me keep a hand on the steering wheel, then I am in control of the situation. I need to get bumper stickers that read, “my student can kick your student’s *ss”

165. Richard D says:

No candy for you!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bummer. And a bit stingy, professor :) ………..I had a chemistry professor who would give a point added to exams for errors we found in the text. I was seriously interested in reading the text.

166. vukcevic says:

rgbatduke says:
December 13, 2013 at 10:53 am
&
Richard D says:
December 13, 2013 at 11:05 am
…………….
I educated was at a university where certain lectures were compulsory regardless of courses selected. Pointing out at errors in the theory presented would seriously jeopardised once further academic advance, even expulsion was realistic possibility. Fortunately, that is no further case.

167. mwgrant says:

” Thus, there must be an additional source of bias – and one that is stronger than the known bias of the UHI. What is it?”

This is pulling on a thread that has been bugging me–in an interest way, not bad way. Locales with UHI tend to be in well-sampled’ urban areas. Because these areas are preferentially sampled they are over-represented in the overall sample population. (This is entirely separate from the UHI.) It would seem that detailed care is needed to sift thru and ‘sort’ the numbers in these areas where both effects are potentially skewing estimation of a global average.

Kriging does intrinsically accommodate clustering to a degree but even that depends on the parametrized variogram/correlation function. Unfortunately clustering can also have a direct effect on the variogram making coming up with a good model (variogram) more difficult. I still think that BEST is headed down a good road but from a geostatistical perspective it is just in initial stages…there have to be a lot of priorities in something of this scope.

BTW a very entertaining and manageable learning exercise is to pick a set of data, e.g., US COOP [warts and all] and explore it with geostatistics [geoR, gstat, gslib, etc.]. Note: I have been using COOP because I am interested in a data set for a region that is small enough (~1200] to be relatively easy to manipulate, but covers a region large enough to have distinct physiographic regions. From the POV of a look into the window, it has been a fortuitous choice. Additional gravy is the promise of more information regarding station data quality, but that is just something still down the road–if at all.

168. Janice Moore says:

A Story with a Moral

(and, yes, I believe it is a true story — you need not to get the point, though, I think…)

Once there were three wealthy Persian kings who were brilliant astronomers. They knew the diamond spangled night sky like they knew the sparkle in their childrens’ eyes when their little ones ran to greet them upon their entering the family living quarters each evening. Year after year, they watched the heavens, just for the love of knowledge (a.k.a. “science”). Then, one night, they saw it. They would talk about this night for the rest of their lives, “… and remember the night we saw The Star?” And, then, once again, with the youngest grandchildren eagerly listening and the older grandchildren smiling while rolling their eyes, they would excitedly tell the story… .

First King: BAM! There it was, out of nowhere. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was an enigma, an anomalous phenomenon

Second King: Yes, yes, but we knew from it’s position that it meant that a new king had been born and that he was great.

Third King: AND, we figured out that he was Jewish.

2K: And we knew our minds’ calm sea would be tossing until we had seen him. No matter how long it took.

Grandchild 1: So… you called for your finest camels and packed up and —

Grandchild 2: — you didn’t forget the gold, frankincense, and myrrh because he was a king and because he was also something more than a king and you didn’t know what the myrrh was for.

Grandchild 1 (glaring at being interrupted, but quickly gets over it)

2K: That’s right (smiling), you know the story as well as we do. We just all three had this idea that myrrh was something to take along. So, we did.

1K: And we hoped it didn’t mean that one of us would die on the journey and would need to be embalmed with it. We just took it along not knowing why, just that it seemed important. Remember, children, never throw out what you believe may be significant even if you have no idea what it could be used for and even if you don’t like the implication of what that use might turn out to be.

3K: Also, do not assume you know why it is significant. Wait until you have strong evidence before coming to a conclusion.

Grandchild 1: (eyes shining) Tell us about that crazy old Herod. And how you were mixed up and …

3K: (rolling eyes and grimacing) Herod, ugh. Well, when we finally reached Jerusalem nearly two years after we left, we went straight to Herod — who else would know where the new king would be?

Grandchild 1: But, he DIDN’T KNOW.

1K: No, he didn’t know. And we didn’t know what he would do. (everyone is silent, faces downcast, remembering Herod’s brutal murder of all the babies 2 years old and under in Bethlehem because of what the 3 kings had told him).

2K: Well, that old snake’s eyes narrowed when we told him we were looking for the new king of the Jews. He got all oily and smiled a lot and asked us a lot of questions. His advisors were the real brains of the administration; they were scholars and knew that Bethlehem was the place we should look.

Grandchild 2: (jumping up and doing a fine imitation of Herod) And he gyrated and he rolled his googly eyes and …. (all the grandchildren jump up and go crazy acting like Herod) … and THEN he threw himself DOWN ON THE FLOOR AND THREW A TANTRUM and… (all the children follow suit, collapsing in a giggling pile)

2K: (chuckling) Okay, okay, it was sort of like that, heh, heh. Anyway, we headed for Bethlehem. We took measurements all along the way. Sure enough, the star was directly over that little town. We checked and double-checked. We re-calibrated our instruments on known constellations. We really thought we were way off course and wondered if we had come all this way for nothing. You just can’t imagine how we felt, standing there outside that shabby town. We were so sure… .

3K: Our data was correct. We had made, without even realizing it, an unwarranted assumption. We assumed that all kings were found in palaces, among wealth and fine things. We were wrong. But, we were determined to follow the data wherever it led us, so, we were perplexed, but we were still on the road to truth, for we trusted the data more than we trusted our own minds.

1K: And, we found what we were actually searching for, not what we thought we were searching for.

Grandchild 2: A little boy in a wee house without even a carpet on the floor…

Grandchild 1: (soberly) … or even one servant. Not even a cook. Just Mary and Joseph who were very nice people but not what you had expected at all… .

************************

Keep following that star of observations, O Science Giants of WUWT — you and not the guys at BEST are on the road to truth. They, poor souls, are wandering in the wilderness.

169. Steve says:

@Bill Illis:

I looked at the Ottawa (Canada) station data from BEST, and compared it to the Environment Canada record. The BEST graph looks like the usual ho(c)key stick:

http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/locations/45.81N-75.00W

It shows, eyeballing it, about 1.5 degrees C of warming in the last 75 years. (!) They don’t show the raw data they started with. But EC has some:

http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climateData/monthlydata_e.html?timeframe=3&Prov=ONT&StationID=4337&mlyRange=1938-01-01|2011-06-01&Year=1970&Month=01&Day=01

From there it is possible to download monthly average temperatures since 1938, and calculate running 12-month means, which I did, and plotted the result here:

http://imgur.com/bSLOZrQ

I don’t know where BEST got data for Ottawa prior to 1938, because according to Environment Canada, there isn’t any. They just made it up? But there definitely isn’t a hockey stick here. It may be a bit warmer in the last few years than it was prior to the 1998 El Nino, but I don’t see any influence other than that small step. The most recent 12-month average I plotted is cooler than it was in the 1940s, for instance. Prior to 1998 it is basically completely flat.

I suppose Steve M. will have some kind of explanation for this that involves breakpoints and slicing. As others have said, this just doesn’t pass the smell test…

170. vukcevic says:

Janice Moore says:
December 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm
Keep following that star of observations. O Science Giants of WUWT….

Yes, observations, observations… , but the giants of WUWT tell you that results of the observation are pseudo-science and nonsense (see link ). Well, agree one Earth year is 365.25 and not 364 days; 178 & 222 may not mean much, but together they make 400 days, not a place to elaborate.
Janice, doing science for fun is a serious business.

171. mwgrant says:

One area in which BEST will likey need to improve/change is how how spatial correlation changes over time. A single parameterized correlation function over time and space is just too crude beyond initial calculations. Keeping in mind that the final product is an estimated temperature/anomaly field at time landmarks of interest things like station location/layout changes while remaining important will take on a different perspective–more isolated in time.

Also as long as kriging is employed and as long as anomalies are used some one probably needs to work out/check/search nitty-gritty details, e.g., invariance of the correlation function/variogram to the selection of a reference range used for calculating anomalies. The local mean temperature of a range changes with translation in space, and in an evolving system this suggests that employment of different reference ranges can lead to different anomaly spatial distributions for a given year. Said another way, each anomaly calculation is local and each location evolve differently. Maybe it shakes out. Still a ways to go…nothing wrong with that.

172. Bill Illis says:

Steve says:
December 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm
—————

At EC, there is a station called Ottawa which goes (monthly) from 1872 to 1935 (lots of missing months) and one called Ottawa CDA that goes (monthly) from 1889 to 2006 (with almost no missing months). Ottawa airport from 1938 to today.

Should be able to put a long record together from that.

173. Mario Lento says:

@Steven Mosher: You wrote “And uah doesnt measure temparature. Its raw data is a voltage. This gets turned into a temperature by applying a physics model. That model is also the same model that says co2 warms the planet. I bet you thought uah was data. Its not. Its adjusted modelled outputs. Go read the theory behind satellite data.”
+++++++++++
Not so fast. I thought about what you wrote and it was intellectually dishonest. First – what is temperature but a measured value? I digress. Let me address the physics, which is where I have a real problem with your statement. The physical model used to determine temperature using platinum is known and repeatable. So repeatable in fact, that platinum is the “gold” standard for electronic temperature sensing devices. There is no physical model that (honestly) “says CO2 warms the planet” that is repeatable! It’s not the same, but you feel it advances the argument.

Your statement is yet another attempt at obfuscation, in my opinion. I am not going to tell you to “read the theory about” anything because I already know that you know I am right.

I do feel a little bit bad about harping on you, since for you to come clean and advance our understanding of your knowledge would be career suicide for you. We both know that. I am only a man seeking truth, and will selfishly continue on my journey. So I apologize ahead of time for my modus operandi.

174. Mario Lento says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm

1. I wanted jones data and code so that I could do a better job.
2. My goal was to use all the data and show every step.
3. Next I wanted to use methods suggested by skeptics
B. Kriging rather than averaging

Berkeley did everything I asked and skeptics asked. So I volunteered over a year of free time to help.

Bottomline. I wont say no to anybody with a better idea of how to estimate the historical climate field. But whoever has a better idea has to put in the time and live with the answer their approach produces. I dont have time for critics who wont work. I learned from steve mcintyre and anthony. If you want to criticize you better be willing to work. Sometimes for free..sometimes for years.
+++++++++++
There’s so much wrong here.
Regarding “3. Next I wanted to use methods suggested by skeptics”
When did skeptics say the stations with poor siting should be subjectively sliced and added to mix so their warming could fit the narrative?

Neither BEST nor you have ever honestly addressed why “if only urban areas show warming, while rural areas don’t, that you could slice (in?) the poorly sited urban stations to make their “crap” value warm the entire temperature record.

175. Zeke Hausfather says:

Don’t have much time before I need to run for dinner, but a few things in this thread caught my eye:

Stephen Rasey: the march of the thermometers meme was so 2010. Berkeley uses ~40,000 stations, and 2012 has more station date than any prior year (it increases pretty monotonically. GHCN-M version 3 (which NCDC/NASA now use) also has much more station data post-1992 than the prior version 2.

rgbatduke: The Berkeley method does a few things. First it uses pair-wise comparisons of nearby stations to identify localized step-changes in difference series that are specific to one station but not seen in surrounding stations. These are assumed to be localized biases (e.g. station moves, instrument changes, time of observation changes). We cut the station record at these breakpoints, and treat the record after these cuts as a different station.

Second, all resulting station records are combined into regional estimates using a kriging approach for spatial interpolation. Fragmentary records are in a region aligned using a least-squares method to avoid discarding short series.

Third, we use a jackknife approach to estimate uncertainty both for each grid cell and over larger areas (e.g. global land).

You can find full details on the methodology here: http://www.scitechnol.com/2327-4581/2327-4581-1-103.pdf

Tom J: Be nice. Also, I think I might have accidentally grabbed my fiancee’s blue dress shirt that looks exactly the same as mine (but is a small rather than a medium), but so it goes. :-p

To others: We will try and get a version of the poster online soon, as the image Anthony posted is hard to decipher. In short, its a downscaled U.S. version of the Berkeley dataset at 25 kilometer resolution from 1850 to present using ~20,000 stations.

176. Folks can find a full high-resolution version of our poster here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lzivyl2dd7bfl2s/AGU%202013%20Poster%20ZH.pdf

177. E.M.Smith says:

@Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm

C02.

Like skeptics Lindzen, Christy, Spencer, and Anthony I know that adding C02 to an atmosphere will warm a planet not cool it.

Below the tropopause, CO2 does nothing. The radiative bands are fully closed and “always” have been. (as far as human existence is concerned)

The tropopause is dominated by convection precisely because of this radiative closure. That is WHY there is a troposphere…

Above the tropopause, IR active gasses cause increased radiation of heat. That is, CO2 net radiates more heat off the planet.

There’s a fair argument that more CO2 simply causes more net radiation to space from above the tropopause.

(Not saying I’m convinced by that argument; but it’s an interesting case…)

See this graph / image: http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/media/archive/1460.jpg
from this paper: http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/20c.html
discussed here: http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/tropopause-rules/

3. Stratospheric cooling rates: The picture shows how water, cabon dioxide and ozone contribute to longwave cooling in the stratosphere. Colours from blue through red, yellow and to green show increasing cooling, grey areas show warming of the stratosphere. The tropopause is shown as dotted line (the troposphere below and the stratosphere above). For CO2 it is obvious that there is no cooling in the troposphere, but a strong cooling effect in the stratosphere. Ozone, on the other hand, cools the upper stratosphere but warms the lower stratosphere. Figure from: Clough and Iacono, JGR, 1995; adapted from the SPARC Website. Please click to enlarge! (60 K)

Notice the large ‘diamond’ of cooling reds / yellows in the stratosphere. Caused by CO2. (so labeled in the graph).

I think this matters.

178. E.M.Smith says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm

EM smith also does not understand the process.

Oh, please Mosh. You know darned well I “understand the process”. I was making a general comment about how climate data food products behave with respect to discontinuities (the spice and dice) and not fingering you. So you give me a personal slam? Sheesh. Starting to get a bit sensitive aren’t you?

The problems arise as soon as you start to average and blend different things and think that gives more accuracy. It doesn’t. It can remove random error, but not systematic error. Temperature measurement is dominated by systematic error, not random. So you take an error prone intrinsic (or intensive) property and average it. It simply can not be done and have any meaning. (Since most data sets start with an average of high / low or an average over a month, from the outset the math is meaningless)

http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/intrinsic-extrinsic-intensive-extensive/

Now you want me to believe that you have overcome the fundamental nature of physical properties and have a magic sauce that fixes it. No, not going to happen. I’m sticking with fundamental properties of the universe, thank you. So I don’t really care if you use Kriging or Averaging or how you manufacture your “field”. At the outset the fundamental philosophy of the process is broken. There simply can not be a “global average temperature” so it can not rise nor fall. For that you want to claim I don’t understand your “process”? When from the very foundation it is a fools errand of fundamental impossibility? Just who is not understanding what can and can not be done with intrinsic properties? Hmmm?

Look, you guys made a good effort. Put a lot of time in. Likely did some good code and some nice experience was gained. In the end, the product is useless simply because the fundamental philosophy of the math is broken. No more nor less useless than any other system that uses averages of temperatures or does similar things with intrinsic properties, but still, just as pointless.

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but that’s how the reality just is.

Now go back and look at individual instruments and their trends. Not any adjusted, fixed, averaged, or otherwise molested composite. Some go up, some go down. Most of the world simply is not warming. What is warming is often over tarmac at airports and in urban areas. It’s not the climate that changed, it’s the instruments and locations. Intrinsic properties are like that…

179. Poptech says:

Rob Ricket says: Steve has my respect and admiration for his role in breaking the Climategate emails.

What? He was handed the emails by Charles the moderator and wrote a book about them, he didn’t break anything. It is amazing how bad these myths keep getting spun out of reality,

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/13/climategate%E2%80%94the-ctm-story/

Mosher is a legend in his own mind.

180. Poptech says:

Steven Mosher says: I want to thank folks for the kind comments about climategate.

This is how delusional you have become, only ONE person (Rob Ricket) made an inaccurate climategate comment referencing you.

181. Bob says:

Steve Mosher, ” It starts in location X. on a moutain top. For 10 years it records a summer temperature of 10C.
Then you move it down to the valley. The summer temperature goes up to 15C

What do you do.”

Don’t use it. It is a protocol violator.

182. E.M.Smith says:

@ ferd berple says:
December 13, 2013 at 6:23 am:

Well there’s my problem….

I put myself through school partly as a “Night Auditor” at a hotel. It had the old “Posting Machine” method with large cards for each room and a ledger where errors were to be noted. I spent many long nights back figuring how various folks screwed things up so I could “undo them” with the right double entries… I started learning “bookkeeping” at about 8 from my Mum who did the books for our family restaurant.

Then in high school I had a Chemistry / Physic teacher (Mr. McGuire) who rigorously enforced that the Lab Book Was Sacred. “NO ERASURES!”. (It was an automatic fail to have an erasure mark on any lab work). Only a single line through the prior writing and a new entry were allowed.

I simply can not abide the idea of a blind change of old data. The original MUST be kept and a full record of how the new is created appended. Anything else is a fail.

@Bit Chilly:

There is an oscillation between Arctic and Antarctic temperatures. I think it is driven by lunar tide effects (the moon has a long cycle effect on how much water is in which hemisphere, not just a monthly effect. http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/why-weather-has-a-60-year-lunar-beat/ ) So the fact that the Antarctic is getting colder while the Arctic had some melt is absolutely normal. Changes in total water volume in the circumpolar current near Antarctica whack into Drake’s Passage and that changes how much cold water goes up the spine of S. America and into the central Pacific. The rest is time delay and elaboration.

On top of that, layer in some solar changes (that happen in step with the lunar tidal cycle due to orbital resonance effects) and that changes the atmosphere on a very long cycle. Thus our recent warm phase that has now crashed into a cold phase. Low UV now means lower deep ocean energy delivery and more IR driven prompt surface evaporation. More “heat pipe earth” cooling the oceans, less heat build up.

IMHO, you will see it in a lot less than a decade. It’s happening now.

@Jason Bates:

I’ve wondered the same thing. In the data there is a pronounced shift. It happens at a specific point in time for each region. The “lows” start getting clipped from the record. The highs do not go up, but the lows just don’t go as low. I did a long series of postings on it (search on “hair graphs” at chiefio.wordpress.com or look in the http://chiefio.wordpress.com/category/dtdt/ category).

I’ve not worked out exactly what caused it. Two things changed at about the same time. Large areas moved from Liquid In Glass to MMTS electronic measurements (and often pulled the sensor closer to buildings due to the wires…) and the QA method changed (in a way I think may toss low excursions – local ASOS stations at airports are used to toss ‘outlier’ data…)

And there is the massive loss of stations at altitude, and a dramatic increase in the use of airport stations as a percentage.

In any case, it all comes down to “station issues”. Individual long lived stations do not support the notion of Global Warming. Only homogenized fictions do…

183. Mario Lento says:

Janice Moore says:
December 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm
A Story with a Moral
+++++++
very clever and timely dear Janice.

184. john robertson says:

Now an ever increasing defensiveness.
If the data is crap, what is produced from, dicing it up and mixing it around, can only be manure.
Mr Mosher, are you annoyed at yourself for wasting a year?
Or is there more in the “BEST methods”, to make you unhappy with yourself?

185. Mario Lento says:

Steven: I am begging you to reply in a cogent manner to my questions without subterfuge. Just come out with it.

186. Richard D says:

It’s a lot more fun to talk about what you actually do and why than to engage in the usual round of ad hominem bashing that often occurs.
__________________________________________-
And much appreciated as it’s an opportunity to learn from scientist actually involved in the process,

187. BW2013 says:

I was one of the first commenters on this article, and was contentous. I see raw data manipulated all the time to suit the user’s needs. Typically the analyst is looking to either make a name for thselves, or a salary.

188. Sleepalot says:

Zeke Hausfather says:
December 13, 2013 at 6:32 pm

“Don’t have much time before I need to run for dinner, but a few things in this thread caught my eye:”

That’s your exit strategy, is it?

“Stephen Rasey: the march of the thermometers meme was so 2010.”

You changed the name of the great dying of the thermometers? Why, strawman or denial? Here’s the CRUtem3 count:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7360644@N07/8293832934/

“Berkeley uses ~40,000 stations, (…)”

How many for 1880?

189. rgbatduke says:

A Story with a Moral

(and, yes, I believe it is a true story — you need not to get the point, though, I think…)

Once there were three wealthy Persian kings who were brilliant astronomers.

Interestingly, you’re posting this in a science discussion on a website devoted to skepticism, so commenting is, I presume, fair game.

There isn’t one single thing about this 2000 year old myth, written hundreds of years after year 0 by people that were not there, that you find dubious based on mere common sense and everyday experience? The fact that the two Nativity myths in the New Testament unambiguously report that the birth occurred during the reign of two different Herods — Herod the great in one (who died in 4 BCE, which was at least a year post birth if we are to believe the utterly unconfirmed myth about the slaughter of the innocents) and Herod Antipas in the other (positively identified in Luke by his reference to Quirinius, who wasn’t appointed governor of Syria until 6 CE). So the story you believe is true isn’t physically plausible (if somebody told you the same story happened yesterday you would automatically disbelieve it — in fact when people DO tell stories JUST like this in association with religious cults and all of the other religions of the world you DO routinely disbelieve it) and isn’t even told consistently within the “divinely inspired” New Testament.

Science is all about believing things that are the best things to believe, given the evidence! We hold extended discussions on the list about how susceptible scientists (who should know better) are to confirmation bias, interspersed with a liberal dose of accusations of dishonesty. If you can’t and don’t (and perhaps shouldn’t) trust the honesty of contemporary observers (because, in another oft-cited complaint, those observers make a living and gain status from their work on the basis of their claims of an implausible disaster) why in the world would you trust the honesty of Nth had reports (basically anecdotal hearsay, not admissible in any court in the world) from the second century, long after the events supposedly being recounted, that are at best individuals that were making a living and gaining status from their work on the basis of claims of an implausible apocalyptic disaster?

If, esteemed madam, you are indeed a hardnosed skeptic, I strongly urge you to read Bart Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus, followed by a good pass through:

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm

It is my experience that Christians who most avidly defend their religion in general haven’t actually read the Bible, and certainly haven’t either properly studied it or subjected it to anything like a critical analysis. The Skeptics Annotated Bible will help you a lot with that, because it highlights and lays bare the thousands of direct contradictions in biblical text, the hundreds of places where God, Moses, and countless other “saints” behave really badly (on any ethical basis you like), the manifold places that statements in the Bible are baldly absurd or contradicted by science.

You owe it to yourself to doubt your own faith by exposing it to a ruthlessly honest skeptical process. If you carve out a special exception, one set of rules for religion and another for science, how can you possibly blame honest climate scientists for following the rules of science and arriving at a conclusion that — true or not — is infinitely better founded than your religious beliefs?

rgb

190. Jason Bates says:

@E.M.Smith says:
December 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm

My personal, very naive assessment of the situation is that the change in trend from the raw data to the homogenized record is related to the relative oversampling of urban or semi-rural stations with respect to true rural stations and the assumption that a collection of stations should have better data than the individual stations from which the collection is composed (this is the underlying assumption which justifies the use of nearby stations to correct “errors” in the record of individual stations).

To illustrate my point, consider the following five hypothetical stations in a small, relatively sparsely populated region. Stations one through four all show a slow, gradual increase in temperature over the course of a decade. Station five shows a flat trend for the first three years of the decade, a sharp downward spike during year four, and a gradual upward slope for the remainder of the decade, ending the decade at a level just slightly lower than at the beginning of the decade.

The BEST process would, if I understand it correctly, insert a breakpoint in the data for station five at year four, adjusting the data upwards so that the downward spike was eliminated. The homogenized data would then nicely match the regional trend of slowly increasing temperature in the area.

Now let’s consider what “actually happened” in this hypothetical example. Stations one through four in this hypothetical were located in semi-rural areas which experienced moderate population growth over the course of the decade, and thus the environment around the station changed gradually.

Station five was located in a national park. In year four, a fire occurred to the north of the station, decimating a region of forest that had previously served as a windbreak, allowing a steady north wind to blow across the station lowering temperatures slightly. During the rest of the decade, new growth slowly replaced the old, and the wind break filled back in.

So, in each of the five cases, the temperature changes were “real” (in the sense that the station faithfully recorded the temperature change of its immediate surroundings), and yet the extrapolation to the region as a whole is false. The problem lies with the homogenization process, and the assumption that the data of the first four stations (which largely agreed with each other) was better than that of the fifth. In reality, the fifth station had the best quality data (despite of the downward spike and subsequent uptrend).

This is the entire problem with any data set that includes systematic biases; the four semi-rural stations experienced correlated error because the underlying process which led to the error was correlated. The slicing and kriging technique, in this hypothetical, serves to exacerbate, rather than diminish, the error. The systematic error of the four has served to introduce bias into the fifth masquerading as a “correction” for the random error to which the fifth was subject.

Alternatively, suppose the fire had occurred to the south of station five, allowing more direct sunlight to reach the area surrounding the station. Then, we’d see an upward spike, followed by a gradual downward trend. Again, the slicing method would shift the latter part of station five’s data downward; however, this time it leads to an overall trend that moves in the “wrong” direction, making it more likely that the homogenization process would interpret subsequent random noise as additional break points to bring the station’s data back closer in line to the other four. Once again, we find the highest quality dataset to be the one that is getting homogenized, and thus the homogenization reduces the overall quality of data for this region.

Now, you might say that these are rather far fetched examples – and you’d be right – but keep in mind that these are hardly the only plausible situations which might lead to such circumstances, and these are the type of circumstances that computer data analysis cannot (yet) catch. Furthermore, the primary driver behind the largest potential source of bias – human development – is increasing, and therefore it is no surprise to me that a homogenizing process that fails to (and, by nature, cannot) account for this bias leads to a trend higher than that seen in the raw data.

Basically, the fundamental problem is this: any time the analysis finds a discontinuity in the data and inserts a breakpoint, the resulting temperature shift for that station is only as good as the quality of data used to compute that shift – ie., only as good as whatever composite of nearby stations the software is using. Now, if the majority of the stations had good data most of the time, this wouldn’t be a problem; likewise, is the major sources of error were random we’d expect them to cancel out of the composite and we’d be fine. However, we know this isn’t the case! Many – perhaps most – of the stations are downright terrible, subject to both random and systematic error, and while the slicing may help eliminate the former, it also serves to propogate the latter.

Now, if I had seen a detailed, quality analysis of how such a scenario (or similar ones) could not affect the BEST dataset, then I’d be more inclined to trust it. Alternatively, an estimation of how likely such events were, and how much they might effect the dataset overall, would be welcome (although I suspect nearly impossible to do in practice). In the absence of either of those, I’m forced to treat the BEST dataset as fiction – or, at best, a faithful reproduction of the average temperature of the few square meters surrounding each station in its database.

191. Mario Lento says:

rgbatduke says:
December 13, 2013 at 10:07 am
+++++++++
Long post, but worth the read. The basic problem I have is that there is no way, none at all, to honestly say that the UHI effect is taken care of such that the data used produces a reasonably reliable temperature record. I recall reading (a good several years ago) on the NOAA website about the “5 supposed algorithms” used to compensate for the UHI effect. It read something like –in conclusion after applying the algorithms, the resulting warming temperature trend/outcome was what we had expected due to the anthropogenic warming, so we know the adjustments were correct.

As an process engineer, I was so taken back with what I had just read it sealed in my mind at that point that science was dead – and the political witch hunt was well in progress.

Steven Mosher knows for certain that the released BEST products do not improve upon our understanding of the temperature past. At some point, we need to judge for ourselves what is true and move on.

192. Janice Moore says:

Vukcevic,

I’m sorry, but I have no idea what you are saying to me at 2:50pm on Dec. 13th. I’d like to respond, but, well, I can’t.

Janice

*******************************************************
Dear Mario, thank you.
***************************************************

Dear Mr. Brown,

I have so many, many, things I would like to say to you. But, I can’t. This is, indeed, a science site (and thread). I realized when I posted my story that many of you guys would not believe it to be truth, to be, as you characterize it, a “myth.” I thought if I just wrote clearly and skillfully enough that the metaphors and analogies and allegorical parallels would be obvious. Obviously, I need to work on my writing skills. Please believe me, although I used a Bible event for my allegory, and it occurred to me, I think, because of the time of the year (the 3 guys in the photo certainly did not elicit it, heh), I was not trying to use a science thread to promote my religion. My religion is just such a part of me that it naturally comes out in my writing.

Oh, I want to respond to you so much, here! I’ll just say that, from my research and from reading the Bible (and I am more than a little familiar with the text of the Old and New Testaments) and history, I can see that you have made several factual errors and, from my educational background, I can see that your understanding of the hearsay rule of evidence appears to be inadequate.

Thanks for letting me know that I failed so utterly abysmally at creative writing. Always good to be made aware of one’s weaknesses. Can you believe it? I actually thought I might have communicated something in that story worthwhile even to non-believers. Truth hurts, but truth and nothing else, is what matters.

Oh, and, Merry Christmas! #(:))

Janice

193. E.M.Smith says:

@Janice:

There’s a lot of folks who read what you wrote and liked it, but didn’t say anything. There is more to life than what passes as science these days. (There is also no fundamental conflict of science and religion – that’s another “progressive” myth. Most of our best scientists of history were highly religious…)

@Jason Bates:

At this point large parts of the GHCN are essentially “The History Of Airport Growth”… Then add in the swap to electronic gizmos and the homogenizing makes it all into a “warming trend”. Look at the individual data and it is not a warming. The highs do not go up. It is a loss of cold excursions. Loss of cold excursion data is not the same as increasing hot days.

I’m pretty sure that tarmac and sunshine are part of the loss of cold excursions. That electronic measuring may have some issues to the low side. That short wires pulling things closer to buildings and vehicles and further from trees clips some lows. That the QA and homogenizing to “fix” the data also averages out the low excursions more than the highs. Maybe even that since the ’70s there have actually been fewer really cold days (as solar and lunar effects had some warming of the lows); but recent news seems to be demonstrating that the cold lows are back.

It will be interesting to see if the recent cold is preserved once the data hits GISS, Hadcrut, etc… There’s a reason they continue to diverge from the satellite data, and it isn’t because the satellites can’t measure well…

In any case, the land history of temperature data is not suited for purpose to demonstrate some supposed 1/2 C warming. It just doesn’t have the quality, precision, accuracy, or completeness.

194. Richard D says:

E.M.Smith says: December 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

There’s a reason they continue to diverge from the satellite data, and it isn’t because the satellites can’t measure well…In any case, the land history of temperature data is not suited for purpose to demonstrate some supposed 1/2 C warming. It just doesn’t have the quality, precision, accuracy, or completeness.
____________________________________

A truly terrific post, thanks

195. Mario Lento says:

Richard D says:
December 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm
E.M.Smith says: December 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

There’s a reason they continue to diverge from the satellite data, and it isn’t because the satellites can’t measure well…In any case, the land history of temperature data is not suited for purpose to demonstrate some supposed 1/2 C warming. It just doesn’t have the quality, precision, accuracy, or completeness.
++++++++
Richard: Well said. Of course I agree with you. But – but BEST did something incredible. According to Mosher, they sliced into datasets (that were adjusted faithfully by people who know it should be warming). BEST (used “skeptical methods” to extract the goodness from what Mosher refers to as “crap” raw data to estimate the correct resulting information (with great precision beyond that which the sensors are capable of reading) that shows CO2 is causing the warming – according to nervous looking Rohde.

What a team effort, everyone doing their part, and no one answering our skeptical questions without obfuscation.

The way the data was adjusted to supposedly correct for the UHI effect, reminds me of the”Jump to conclusions mat” from Office Space.

196. Mi Cro says:

Jason, wise observations on programmatic processing of data. Unless you know the history of each set of data, the updates are just as likely to make the data worse not better. And the more data you have the harder it is to qa the data.

197. Mi Cro says:

EM, when you look at the min and max surface records, what you describe is exactly what I see.
Follow the link in my name to see this in the surface station measurements.

198. Richard D says:

@ Mario Lento

That’s a fun video, thanks. I’m Canada on this one, as I really don’t know enough about Best to make a judgment on the science. I’m certainly not prepared to impugn their motives or integrity of their science, either. I’m learning here and try not to interject too much unless it’s little stuff concerning basic physical sciences and human biology. I do appreciate hearing first hand from working scientists including Mosher and the many learned commenters here.

199. Gunga Din says:

Steven Mosher says:
December 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/12/zeke-mosher-and-rohde-and-the-new-best-dataset/#comment-1499928

========================================================================
The answer is “C” on both counts.
What’s happening is that data from sites that were never intended to give a “Global” temperature is being used for something for they are unsuited. The sites are fine for local weather forecasting (when properly sited) but not uniform enough to give a true “Global” perspective.
It’s like trying to eat soup with a fork. You might get a taste that satisfies your taste buds but your belly is still empty.

200. Janice Moore says:

Thank you, so much, E. M. Smith, for your kind words and encouragement — and accurate definition of the subject areas. Thanks for taking the time. Have a good time at Grandma’s Kitchen tomorrow! Boy, I’ll bet that place has really great cinnamon rolls and pecan pie and brownies and….. oooooh, boy, I think I need to go get a snack. #(:))

****************************************

Mario Lento — LAUGH OUT LOUD, that video was so funny. Thanks for posting it. I can just see that REALLY happening. My brother has told me a few stories (he used to work (maybe…. he still does, but, we’ll just not go there… (I mean, since the internet is essentially a big giant billboard)) with some guys a lot like that)… . Hey, what do you know! For once I didn’t leave off an end-parenthesis!

****************************

@ Richard D — yes, we noticed that you are again promoting Mr. M0sh-er as a “scientist.” I measure things and observe stuff and write down what I saw and slice and compute averages and all sorts of junk like that. Guess that makes ME a scientist!! Cool!

If everybody’s somebody,
no one’s anybody.

Scientists Gilbert and Sullivan (et. al.).

Why not just say, “I think Steven M0sh-er is neat. He is good at ____ (fill in blank with what he is actually competent at)”?

Well, off I go, now, skipping merrily, singing: I’m a scientist, I’m a scientist, I AM A SCIENTIST! If M0sh-er’s one, then I am, too!!! Wheeee! {and that crash you just heard was my brother throwing a basketball at me but miiiiiiiissing ….. ha, ha, ha, ha, haaa — ooops. Gotta go.}

201. Gunga Din says:

Janice Moore says:
December 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

===============================================================
Here are a few links which deal with some of his objections. The last has the most info but might be the hardest to follow. It’s more a list of facts rather than a narrative.
http://www.cortright.org/birth.htm
http://judahsdaughter.hubpages.com/hub/The-Bible-Reveals-when-Jesus-was-Born
http://www.versebyverse.org/doctrine/birthofchrist.html
He came once. He’s coming again.

202. Janice Moore says:

Thanks, Gunga Din. Excellent sources. Really, there has not been a genuine issue about Jesus’ historicity for a long time. That question was answered fully a long time ago. I sure do appreciate your coming alongside once again. Hopefully, he will read them. I have some sources I was thinking of too, but, you know what? He is a very bright man. If he really wants the answers, he will find them. Let’s pray (I already did) a believer whose intellectual abilities he respects crosses his path. This kind of discussion should be done in person, not by written correspondence. If I lived within an hour’s drive of him (and with his wife there, too, if he has one), I’d get together and talk. No, no, ya know, I wouldn’t. (What am I saying!) It needs to be someone he respects (v. a v. academia). That rules me out.

And, GREAT double entendre, there. As to the commenter, highly likely; as to the Messiah, for sure!

203. @Zeke Hausfather at Dec 13, 6:32 pm
cc: Sleepalot at 6:45 am
Stephen Rasey: the march of the thermometers meme was so 2010. Berkeley uses ~40,000 stations, and 2012 has more station date than any prior year (it increases pretty monotonically.

Like Sleepalot says, 40,000 stations for what time frame?
How many segments have those 40,000 station been sliced into?
What is the distribution of segment lengths?
What percent of segments are shorter than 10 years? Shorter than 20 years?
Do long segments get greater weight than short segments in the kriging?

15.7 Million “Monthly Mean Observations”
Point of order: A “Monthly Mean” is not an observation. It is a calculation of about 30 min and 30 Max observations.

While we are at it,…. Suppose we have a month with 30 straight days of 10 C lows and 20 C highs. Mean is 15 C for 30 days straight.
What is the mean standard error of the monthly mean with 30 days of 15 C daily means?
My answer: We didn’t make 30 observations of 15 C means. We observed thirty 10 C lows and thirth 20 C highs which gets us a mean of 15.00, a sample standard deviation of 5.04 C and a mean standard error of 0.92 C. I don’t see error bars on anomaly plots anywhere near this big.

Back to 15.7 Million Monthly station means.
40,747 stations
So that is an average of 385 months / station or 32.1 years / station.

IF we assume 5000 stations with 100 years of data,
That leaves 35,757 stations with an average of 22.6 years of data.

When you look at the data by country, the Bad Science meter starts pinging.
Look at Algeriafor instance:
Prior to 1875, there are fewer than 10 thermometers.
Perhaps non prior to 1850.
1875-1915 there are 10 to 25 one year might have 25% fewer than the previous.
1915-1930 drops to as low as 2 and works it way back to 10-12.
1930-1975 15 to 30. with 1957 being an obvious break point of many stations.
1975-2011 30 to 76 stations, with some years dropping to 20. 1980-2000 there are large swings from 60 to 35, so many of these stations are contributing very short segments.

So one again I ask, how short are the segments you use?

Finally, at the top of the Algeria page, you have the average temperature plot for Algeria.
It runs from 1787, even though not a single thermometer is in Alteria until 1850 and only 2 thermometers within 500 km of Algeria most of the time from 1800 to 1850.
Yet BEST reports the 95% confidence range on the temperature of Algeria in 1825 is only 1.1 deg C (+/- 0.55 deg C)

BEST just cannot admit that it doesn’t know the temperature. Better to make it up and plot the party line than limit yourself to good data.

204. Mi Cro says:

Stephen R, I have a copy of NCDC,S Global Summary of days. It has 120 million samples from 1929 on. Most of those samples 2-3 million per year happen after ~1973. In 1930 iirc there 100-200 stations. Only a small number have 40+ years of data. I do know that BEST has other older station data, but I don’t see them having significantly more data after the 40′s or 50′s. It just doesn’t exist.

205. @Mi Cro at 6:46 am
Only a small number have 40+ years of data…….. It just doesn’t exist.
Yet, BEST believes it knows enough to chop these precious few long station records into bite size bits to create a paper mache it can shape to its liking.

The entire premise of BEST is that the discontinuities are noise and the gradual instrument drift and contamination are signal. It might be true in a few cases, but anecdotes of moving stations from peaks into valleys cannot justify the carnage.

206. rgbatduke says:

Thanks for letting me know that I failed so utterly abysmally at creative writing. Always good to be made aware of one’s weaknesses. Can you believe it? I actually thought I might have communicated something in that story worthwhile even to non-believers. Truth hurts, but truth and nothing else, is what matters.

Oh, and, Merry Christmas! #(:))

Dear Ms. Moore,

Truth is indeed what matters. I am not unfamiliar with the rules of hearsay evidence, and there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that is not hearsay evidence with the possible exception of some of the letters of Paul, and all Paul can give evidence for is Paul, not Jesus. Even so, something like half of the letters in the New Testament attributed to Paul are now known to be forgeries, just as e.g. the Book of Genesis is a work that is cobbled together with contributions from many writers (and cultures!) to the extent that the Rabbinic community has had to generate midrash to explain some of the apparent contradictions between (for example) the six-day creation myth — and I use the term myth very precisely because I can recite direct evidence chapter and verse that any reasonable person would have to accept that the Universe is not six thousand years old, was not created in six days, that evolution happened, that basically 100% of Genesis never happened. One cannot even find a plausible basis for part of it being a legend (assuming that you know the difference between a myth, a legend, and actual history on a continuum).

Nor am I unfamiliar with the actual history of the New Testament. I suggest that you read Ehrman’s work — Ehrman began his life as a born again Christian, attended a Christian undergraduate institution focussing on Bible studies because he wanted to read the word of God in the original, attended Yale for graduate school in pursuit of the same dream, and learned that there is no such thing as the original. We have only fragments of a handful of bible texts from the second century, and there is obvious, visible drift in the texts from century to century.

Over the course of his studies, Mr. Ehrman lost his faith, because he was in pursuit of truth (and was well-educated and well-equipped for it) — if anything the bulk of his education and life experience predisposed him to belief. He simply found that there is no substantive basis for the set of syncretic beliefs and tenth hand texts that eventually became “Christianity”. I think you’d find the well-documented, clearly reference discussion in Misquoting Jesus to be very illuminating even as it overwhelms you with a continuation of your cognitive dissonance on the issue.

I’m also well-aware of the practice of Exegesis and Hermeneutics — which might liberally be reinterpreting ordinary language to hide apparent contradictions in a document that is supposed to be divinely inspired and hence free from all error. I have a very difficult time understanding how any reasonable person could imagine that the Bible is free from all error, especially after reading Ehrman (and that is the NEW Testament, which is far closer to original source material, whatever it might have been). I also find it absolutely incredible that any reasonable person could read, e.g. Numbers 31 and conclude that Moses was a good person, suitable for Jesus to hang out with during the transfiguration. When it comes to slaughtering the Midianite old men, women, and children down to babes in arms and fetuses in bellies except for the young virginal females who he gave to his troops to enslave for sexual pleasure, what exactly would Jesus do? When Jesus speaks of preaching in parables in order to deliberately deceive some of his listeners so that they would not believe and thereby be damned, which is this? Ethical perfection? An error (misquote) in the New Testament? Or is it itself a self-referential piece of hermeneutic obfuscation that would cause a perfectly reasonable person to experience a certain abhorrence towards the speaker (and thereby be damned)? I don’t see any real winners here, and this is the tip of a very large iceberg that is there for anyone to read the minute that they take off the hermeneutical blinders they’ve been raised with.

Again, the fundamental issue is that you clearly use a dichotomous criterion for the evaluation of hypotheses as possible truth. If someone today claimed to be able to cure blindness by rubbing filthy mud and spit into their eyes, you would instantly recognize that to be stage magic at best, conducted with a shill of some sort to take in a gullible audience. You know that because mud (especially middle eastern first century mud, trust me) is literally teeming with bacteria and consists of small pieces of grit that abrade and damage the eye, and the human mouth is the dirtiest and most dangerous part of their entire body and the saliva of another human — especially a human from long before proper dental hygiene was invented — is not a plausible cure for any possible sort of blindness any more than madness is caused by devils or disease is inflicted on humans because they pissed God off. You know that it is incalculably more likely that anyone that makes such a claim is lying, or that the actual events are being misreported, because the claim doesn’t even make sense and because you do have a world of experience with cunning liars who want to profit from uncritical acceptance of “magic”. You have no trouble at all rejecting the claims of miracles in e.g. Hinduism or Paganism, because they are obviously myths (mixed, perhaps, with an unknown base of legend). Why is it that you cannot apply the same criterion to your own belief in a similarly “impossible” mythology?

Indeed, the very way you address me (or “us”, as others seem to share my skepticism) as “non-believers” is highly revealing. What does “belief” have to do with anything? I do not “believe” in science, I accept it as anything from highly implausible, plausible but unproven, plausible and indeed likely to be true, and almost certainly true, on the sole criteria of mutual interwoven consistency and evidence. I have written an entire book explaining why not just my own knowledge but everybody’s knowledge should arise from these criteria — to the extent that all knowledge is the belief, well or poorly founded, that each assertion in an entire ontology, an entire worldview, is probably true, we should use the best possible criterion for sorting all of this out without bias, not the worst one, which is uncritical acceptance of whatever you are told on the basis of some sort of authority.

I urge you to stop “believing” in things. Instead, subject all of the possible plausible truths you encounter to a truly skeptical process, one that begins by confronting your own biases on the matter and then looks at the evidence available on the same basis that you do for everything else, not with one set of rules for religion and a second one for the physical principles that govern the operation of the electrical lights by means of which you are able to read this reply. I can tell you precisely why I believe the latter, and can propose experiments of any rigor you care to suggest that will (I am enormously confident — as confident as I am that my laptop will continue to function, that the sun will appear to rise tomorrow, that a pen, released above the ground, will fall) validate my beliefs and you can conduct those experiments without my presence and be convinced no matter what your preconceptions as long as you rely on evidence to determine the best basis of belief.

What experiment can you possibly suggest to validate one single belief in any of the substantive content of the Bible? The best that you can offer is to “trust” the supposed authors (where my only possible reply is the best philosophical statement Ronald Reagan ever uttered — “Trust, but verify” which is sort of like no, you should never just “trust” a claim, you should be able to verify it or treat it as unproven and usually rather dubious). If I invite Jesus (a supposedly all-powerful God) to appear before me in my den as he supposedly appeared to Saul/Paul and “hundreds of others”, he either declines or, more likely, either never existed or did exist as an ordinary human and is simply dead, and dead is dead. Clearly it would not violate my free will for him to appear there any more than it violated Paul’s (who was, recall, actively persecuting Christians as Saul at the time). Clearly, if Jesus is all loving, he does not want me to be damned, and given that my disbelief is in the very best of faith according to entirely defensible rules of evidence as the basis of good belief, he can hardly fault me for doing my best and thereby disbelieving in him. And of course, it would take a being that could take an (at least) 5 trillion light year diameter Universe and pop it into existence out of nothingness less than zero “energy” (or whatever Gods use for their dynamical process) to save my soul by appearing, changing some water into beer, and explaining my errors as gently and patiently to me as I explain errors to my equally blameless students. It would be easier for Jesus to save me by providing some concrete basis for belief than it is for me to type a single tedious keystroke of this long reply.

Yet he never does. Which would be sad indeed if he does exist — it wouldn’t speak well for his moral compass any more than it would speak well of my own if I failed to gently help my students with their errors and to do the reproducible, double blind, experiments and measurements that would convince anybody reasonable that they are errors and that they aren’t something that I or anybody else “just made up”. This and other mysteries, such as why Jesus never heals amputees, are easy to understand if one hypothesizes that Jesus is a legend or possibly even a syncretic myth, and that the stories of “miracles” in the Bible are without exception non-reproducible myth, hearsay evidence, anecdotes, from long, long ago and a very superstitious age.

Paul did have some good one liners. At some point, the human species does indeed need to put away its childish things and grow up. Actual belief in non-verifiable, physically implausible mythology is one of those childish things.

rgb

207. Pamela Gray says:

I love plain martinis. With vodka. Not gin. Just vodka. And not that flavored vodka crap they’ve been advertising. Can’t stand the saccharine sweetness of Shirley Temples, honey whiskey, or any of the other popular flavored up spirits that line the shelves of the liquor store these days, though apparently many others do. The back and forth between rgb and Janice reminds me of the battle of tastes between untouched alcohol straight up and sugared mixed drinks with flavored alcohol. I don’t want to have to ask my bartender, “What’s in this?”

As for biblical accuracy, it is highly instructive and accurate in this: It describes humanity’s historical effort to explain their wonderings about things they cannot wrap their seeing eyes and inner worries around. Seen in that light, it is one of the greatest Existential compilations of all time. And I love reading it.

208. Gunga Din says:

This may well be way across that “sometimes fuzzy line” that is the site policy. But it is also highly instructive and accurate in this.
(Apologies to Caleb if he preferred I not link to his blog.)

http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/attention-surplus-disorder-part-two/comment-page-1/#comment-456

209. Mario Lento says:

rgbatduke:
You’re a terrific thinker, writer, and user of the tools of science. That said, mankind has not the capability to comprehend subject matter beyond that which can be sensed by the limited sensory capabilities of the human physiology. Reading your well written prose, I get the sense that this idea is foreign.

Things which cannot be explained to me to my satisfaction are not necessarily untrue. No amount philosophical, scientific or rhetorical scribes will change the deep belief that some people own because their senses are filtered differently their some others.

You seem deeply concerned that Janice doesn’t see things the way you do. From a man (me) who is is not deeply religious, I am perfectly comfortable in the company of fine people, regardless of their religious beliefs. I am uncomfortable when I am judged and energy is put forth with fervor to change my religious views. Then, I walk away.

210. Gunga Din says:

Mario Lento says:
December 15, 2013 at 10:50 am
===================================================================
I brought some of that up a year ago.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/25/bethlehem-and-the-rat-hole-problem/#comment-1184128

211. @rgbatduke at 8:23 am

Dr. Brown, do you have an opinion on the merits of The New Chronology (Rohl) that realigns the pre 664 BC Egyptian chronology in a way that Egyption Archeology aligns with Old Testament and Canaan and Assyrian Archeology.

This account of a battle near Mount Gilboa is particulary interesting. The old chronology has two similar battles, with similar rulers meeting similar fates, at similar locations, told by two cultures with a time period 360 yeas apart. The Rohl New Chronology realigns reigns so that these are the same battle told bey the two cultures.

Rohl identifies Labaya, a local ruler in Canaan whose activities are documented in the Amarna Letters, with King Saul, and identifies King David with Dadua (“Tadua”), also mentioned in Amarna Letter EA256. Saul and Labaya share the same demise – “both die in battle – against a coalition of city states from the coastal plain – on or near Mount Gilboa, both as a result of betrayal.”[5] Both also have a surviving son whose name translates as “Man of Baal.”

There are also some archeaoastronomy evidence. In particular there is a sunset solar eclipse in the reign of Amenhotep IV described from Ugarit. Conventional dating puts this 1375 BC, but the New Chronology could place it May 20, 1078 BC. The account also mentions a blood red star near by, which some have taken to mean Mars, but some others think it is the red-giant precursor to the Crab Nebula supernova only 1.5 degrees off the eclipic which supports an early-middle May eclipse date.

I love the smell of uncertainty in the morning.
It smells like … SCIENCE!

212. Mario Lento says:

Gunga Din says:
December 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Mario Lento says:
December 15, 2013 at 10:50 am
===================================================================
I brought some of that up a year ago.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/25/bethlehem-and-the-rat-hole-problem/#comment-1184128
++++++++
I think this is an all too important point for some of us to concede Guga Din. I am an anomaly in that I am certain my opinions are flawed. That humble belief (in that my opinions are flawed) keeps my ego humbled and drives my quest for truth. I do not wish to quell others’ beliefs, but rather question them to coax out the truth. It leads me to learn more by being wrong than being right.

That all said, I want Steven Mosher to tell the whole truth along with the obfuscation that I “believe” comes with his seemingly trolling prose.

213. @Zeke Hausfather at Dec 13, 6:32 pm
RE: Stephen Rasey at 12:19 am

Let’s take a look at BEST results for Iceland.

You say that BEST has over 40,000 stations. The page lists 40,747.

Dumb question #1. Are these 40,747 stations
A) separate thermometer locations with potentially discontinuous records, before the application of the BEST scalpel? or
B) virtual stations CREATED by taking a slice from far fewer locations. For example they are from 8000 geographic locations with an average of 4 scalpel-slice “breakpoints” in each location records.
C) Neither (A) nor (B).

Under (B), you get more “stations” by making more breakpoints. The claim that you have more stations implies you have more coverage and better data. But if stations are created by a new breakpoint, more stations hints at worse data, greater uncertainty and more loss of low frequency information.

So what is closer to the truth?
(A) where you have 40,747 stations thermometer records you slice into 200,000 segments or
(B) you have fewer than 10,000 thermometer locations you slice into 40,747 “stations.”

Dumb question #2: RE: Iceland 1885 to 1940, there are 3 stations with years where it drops to two.
When yoiu have a partial year, either as a start up, shut down, or drop out for a few weeks, what is the criteria for counting it? At least half a year?

Iceland is a great test case. See: GHCNS Dodgy Adjustments in Iceland It is good to see BEST keep the warming pulse in the 1930-1945 period seen in the local records. But I cannot help noticing that the earliest observation is 1870, yet the top graph shows an Iceland mean profile starting in 1755.

So 1755 to 1870 iceland trends come from thermometers 500 to 2000 km away from Iceland over open, Gulf Stream warmed, ocean. Why do you do this?

214. Pamela Gray says:

Mario, those that liberally pepper their conversation with religious jargon and prose (while not actually overtly and directly trying to convert) are hoping that some spark is ignited in the person or people they are speaking to. An even greater hope is that someone unenvolved in the discussion but who happens to hear it or read it is converted. Climate science is peppered with such style and it is grating. Indirect or cross talk in the hopes that some listener might be converted is, in my view, more irritating than direct debate when it comes to beliefs. It’s a throw something and hope some of it sticks maneuver. As such it is certainly not a higher level form of debate in my opinion.

That said, I did appreciate the biblical vignette Janice penned. But only as it stands as a religious vignette. I think it was ineffective in a climate science debate.

215. @Mario Lento at 10:50 am
That said, mankind has not the capability to comprehend subject matter beyond that which can be sensed by the limited sensory capabilities of the human physiology.

X-rays?
Cat-Scans
MRI medical imaging
Magneo-Tellurics?
Accustic 3D prestack depth migration?
Ultrasound scanning?
Tevatron particle accelerator?

Whole science are based upon extending our abilty to perceive nature beyond our magic 5: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. There is at least one more: a sense of humor.

This web page list other separate senses, at least nine and potentially many more that could be special cases of touch and taste.
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/07/humans-have-a-lot-more-than-five-senses/

216. Mario Lento says:

Pamela:

Points well taken. You’re one of the fascinating technical posters here on WUWT. I as well appreciate Janice’s perspectives. She’s well spoken, and a seeker of truth. That puts her into a cherished category. As she’s stated to be a person with no formal science background, she has a keen eye to understanding the political science of climate issues with an excellent filter for discerning truth. I value Janice’ input into what could be often times be dull for the non-technical folks who visit.

Janice’ feedback and commentaries contribute to the advancement of understanding for many of us. Though I lack a spiritual connection to a higher power, I believe there are forces greater than I can comprehend that guide the perfection found in the universe. As we technically trained individuals grapple with science with what tools we muster, Janice offers to some (perhaps many) a perspective some of us are incapable of finding on our own. To some, perhaps it complicates or offends what they believe. I am grateful for people like Janice –who in the end, does not seem to need to tax me or anyone to get what she wants. In that respect, she is nothing at all like the political climate science folks whose actions tend to bring havoc to the human population.

217. Mario Lento says:

Stephen Rasey says:
December 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm
@Mario Lento at 10:50 am
That said, mankind has not the capability to comprehend subject matter beyond that which can be sensed by the limited sensory capabilities of the human physiology.

X-rays?
Cat-Scans
MRI medical imaging
Magneo-Tellurics?
Accustic 3D prestack depth migration?
Ultrasound scanning?
Tevatron particle accelerator?

Whole science are based upon extending our abilty to perceive nature beyond our magic 5: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. There is at least one more: a sense of humor.

This web page list other separate senses, at least nine and potentially many more that could be special cases of touch and taste.
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/07/humans-have-a-lot-more-than-five-senses/
+++++++++++
Stephen Rasey, thank you for helping clarify. I work in process control and automation and I appreciate your comment.

None of these things can be comprehended without using some combination of our senses. We can see “evidence” of X-Rays by translating their energy into other formats that we can then see or handle. We cannot see infra red, however by translating that invisible light into wavelengths, we can see images in visible light that were sensed by the “invisible” light. Bats can see fairly well by “hearing” the way disturbances in air bounce off of things – some deaf people can do the same to a lesser extent.

218. @Mario Lento at 1:25 pm
Then I don’t know what you mean by mankind has not the capability to comprehend subject matter beyond that which can be sensed by the limited sensory capabilities of the human physiology.

We comprehend subject matter well enough to transform a manefesation of that remote sensing subject matter into a format tuned to high resolution by our existing senses. Those transformations just don’t happen by accident. We comprehend them before we are able to create the mechanisms to transform them into convenient formats.

We comprehend more than 3 spatial dimensions through the use of mathematics.

219. Richard D says:

“Whole science are based upon extending our abilty to perceive nature beyond our magic 5: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. There is at least one more: a sense of humor.”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bravo, re: sense of humor :)

More formally, there are six modalities or types of information detectable by the senses. 1) Chemical – taste and smell. 2) Heat. 3) Mechanical – touch, balance, sound. 4) Electrical. 5) Light. 6) Magnetic. Humans aren’t very good at this one, although some organisms may navigate by the magnetic field of the earth. Pain is perhaps a special case and is distinguished from other modalities because of the emotional distress that is associated with it. Pain receptors aka nociceptors detect tissue damage.

220. Richard D says:

“I measure things and observe stuff and write down what I saw and slice and compute averages and all sorts of junk like that. Guess that makes ME a scientist!! Cool!”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
There are broad and narrow definitions of science; however, it’s indisputable that empirical/natural science relies on formal sciences, like mathematics, statistics, logic, computer science and modeling. It’s also indisputable that scientists today often work across disciplines and in teams. Feel free to disagree with BEST all you want. Kick holes in their assumptions, methods and conclusions as some very able commenters here have done. I’m simply learning from others and have no set opinions on their work. But to deny as you do that a guy like Mosher is not doing science when he is a named coauthor on BEST papers is beyond inane – its mendacious.

221. Poptech says:

Richard, if all that it takes to be a “scientist” is to be name a co-author on a paper than the term is meaningless. I don’t believe Mosher is doing science at all but simply manipulating existing data.

222. Richard D says:

“Truth hurts, but truth and nothing else, is what matters.”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Truth does matter. But how do we know what’s true or anything at all for that matter? Natural science are empirical and based on observation and experiment. The formal sciences are ultimately rational and based on philosophical reasoning. I was bashed pretty good on another thread in arguing that philosophy prepares one for science and scientific thinking, e.g. Mosher’s philosophical training. Which is what I think Janice was mocking me about in her reference to science. We’ve been treated to a world class mini-seminar on the philosophy of science by rgb@duke. Some of the smartest people I know majored in philosophy. Philosopher physicists are just plain scary. Now I would wager from experience that less smart folks in say Anatomy/Physiology and applied human biology can crush most people with TOIL. Ultimately a well rounded undergraduate EDUCATION in the Liberal Arts is useful in helping students make connections between disciplines and knowledge.

223. Richard D says:

“I don’t believe Mosher is doing science at all but simply manipulating existing data.”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Perhaps fair? I honestly don’t know. Show me why….show your work. I have looked at BEST papers with Mosher as a coauthor and I know from this Blog’s owner A. Watts that his contribution was not insignificant.

224. u.k.(us) says:

Poptech says:

December 15, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Richard, if all that it takes to be a “scientist” is to be name a co-author on a paper than the term is meaningless. I don’t believe Mosher is doing science at all but simply manipulating existing data.
=============
Seems a rather harsh statement.
We are awash in data, more than we can comprehend, if we don’t try manipulating/understanding it, what was the point of collecting it ?

225. Mario Lento says:

Stephen Rasey says:
December 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm
@Mario Lento at 1:25 pm
Then I don’t know what you mean by mankind has not the capability to comprehend subject matter beyond that which can be sensed by the limited sensory capabilities of the human physiology.

We comprehend subject matter well enough to transform a manefesation of that remote sensing subject matter into a format tuned to high resolution by our existing senses. Those transformations just don’t happen by accident. We comprehend them before we are able to create the mechanisms to transform them into convenient formats.

We comprehend more than 3 spatial dimensions through the use of mathematics.
++++++++++
Stephen: I think you miss the points entirely. If you’re nit picking OK, I get it.

My career involves sensors and actuators and signal processing. That’s not what I’m talking about. Everything you described can be comprehended but requires various of the 5 senses. Things you cannot sense, you cannot comprehend. If you could not see and hear, you’d not have been able to read or hear people describe wave theory, frequency, vectors, induced fields and so on. I submit there are senses beyond that which humans are endowed with – and without them we are blind to what those senses reveal. To think otherwise, may require one to have a god complex, which I don’t have.

226. @Mario Lento at 6:23 pm
No, I’m not picking nits. The issue is whether you can comprehend something without the human sense to detect it. You say the sense is required. I say that comprehension often comes before our building the sensor that allow us to detect it and to transform the manifestation into a format useful to our senses.

A case in point is the neutrino.
The neutrino was comprehended as a potential answer to an apparent violation of conservation of momentum in sub-atomic partical decay. The “little-neutral-one” was invisible to existing cloud chambers and other detectors. So, comprehending the nature of the ghost people built detectors to find what they suspected was flying around “in the dark”. Lo and behold they found it. Still, human senses are so much used as it is photo-multiplier tubes generating arrays of time series and data events in a recognizable patterns.

Come Supernova SN1987a and three neutrino detectors captured the passing of 25 neutrinos 3 hours before the flash of light from the exploding star 168,000 light years away.

It is a wonderful example of mind over senses. Comprehension came first. The visualizaiton of it came later.

227. Correction to Stephen Rasey 7:19 pm
Still, human senses are NOT so much used as it is photo-multiplier tubes generating arrays of time series and data events in a recognizable patterns. Eventually the most sense is made projecting 4D or 5D data into 2D projections and 3D animated projections.

228. Mario Lento says:

How did the evidence of present itself in its final incarnation? Did someone see something – and point out there… there is what we were looking for? Was it with their eyes after the sensors sensed and presented the electrical signals to processors which displayed the sensed signals onto some sort of media?

I get what you are saying – and it’s not what I was trying to get across. If people could not perceive sight none of this would be possible.

229. Richard D says:

The issue is whether you can comprehend something without the human sense to detect it. You say the sense is required. I say that comprehension often comes before our building the sensor that allow us to detect it and to transform the manifestation into a format useful to our senses.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Well said and an interesting example. We have interneurons/grey matter in our cerebral cortex that allow us to remember, reason, comprehend, imagine, decide, etc.

230. Janice Moore says:

Dear Mr. Brown,

After this, I really must stop. I feel that I’m abusing our wonderful host’s hospitality by even answering you, here. Please forgive me for just going silent on you after this. As I said above, if it turned out that you really are genuinely seeking to know, I would so very much like to talk with you in person (aaack! I did it again! I MEAN, (eye roll) I wish someone who in your opinion has “grown up,” a scientist or scholar whom you respect, could sit down and answer any questions you’d really like answered).

“… the very way you {refer to me} … as {a} “non-believer{}” is highly revealing. What does “belief” have to do with anything?…
… he can hardly fault me for doing my best and thereby disbelieving in him.”
(you at 8:23am today)

You do yourself (you’re better than that) a gross injustice in your above two posts. Your reply is internally inconsistent and full of errors and gross distortions. Your great intellect is blinded by your emotional attachment to your worldview. You are emotionally blinded to your own logical inconsistencies and even to the internal inconsistencies within your post. There is no point to my responding to you for: 1) you can find the answers yourself if you are really seeking truth; and 2) so far, you are clearly not interested in listening to, only in talking at, me.

Further: 1) WUWT is not the place for such a discussion; and 2) to attempt such a discussion in THIS particular format would be a fool’s errand. Written correspondence is far too prone to misunderstanding for a topic as complex as this one.

Re: “It would be easier for Jesus to save me by providing some concrete basis for belief … ,” (ibid.) — he died on a cross for you.

Yes, indeed, I. Corinthians 13:11 is a wise verse (and so are the two verses following it):

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Why write so sharply? I hope these barbs will trouble your mind enough that you will genuinely (you know good and well you are selectively filtering what data you will consider; I think you underestimate my intelligence a little… I see more than you realize…) seek the truth.

Well, what I will say next will probably sound to Ms. Gray like I’ve just dumped half a bottle of Rose’s lime juice into the glass, but, I care about you. If I did not, I would not have bothered to write all this. I hope that you can believe that. Certainly, there is some ego involved, some base desire just to refute someone who has attacked my views, but, the overwhelming motive (conscious, I mean) on my part is that I want so much for you to have light where there is darkness, peace where there is turmoil, joy where there is despair. And if you think that you can have light, peace, and joy without Jesus, you are doing a mighty fine job of kidding yourself. That, O Mighty-brained One, is why the “rich” have such a hard time “entering the kingdom.” Your brilliant mind is not revealing truth to you; it is hiding it from you.

Do seek out someone who believes and whose mind you respect and keep on seeking.
You are worth it!

And… I just thought of more stuff I would like to write!!! It is so hard to just let this drop. Okay. I’m finally stopping.

With respect for you as a person,

And with love (agape),

Janice

[With this, until Anthony begins a specific thread dissecting/discussing/dissenting such Origins and Topics and Books or otherwise directs this holiday season, let the matter stop. Mod]

231. Janice Moore says:

Dear Mario,

Thank you for your generous and kind words above. That you, someone who does not believe as I do, would support me is great-hearted, indeed. You are, indeed, a delightful anomaly, here: a world-class scientist (yes, I can tell by your many technical posts over the past 8 months) with a big heart and global (not just linear) thinking ability. Congratulations on being so broadly and deeply gifted!

btw: I could see that Mr. Rasey was completely missing what you tried to say (and over and over, too!). He’s so intelligent, I think it had to be intentional — didn’t it? Maybe not!

Ask him how he explains: 1) how both a strong “survival instinct” and a jump-in-front-of-the-train altruism lives within the human heart; 2) how is it that he and his wife fell in love? 3) why did the idea of a Designer (or of “God”) ever even occur to a purely materialistic mind? All he can do is ignore such questions. He cannot answer them outside religion. You are right. There ARE things that cannot be touched, tasted, smelled, seen, or heard.

Well, I’m going on about spiritual things again and I should not, so, I’ll stop.

Thank you for your enduring, generous, encouragement. You are a shining light.

Janice

232. Janice Moore says:

Just saw your request above, Mod. I will abide by it. Sorry for such remarks in my post below your request — I was writing it while you were posting.

233. u.k.(us) says:

Richard D says:

December 15, 2013 at 7:58 pm

The issue is whether you can comprehend something without the human sense to detect it. You say the sense is required. I say that comprehension often comes before our building the sensor that allow us to detect it and to transform the manifestation into a format useful to our senses.
=================
Its only been 4 billion years, if it wasn’t for that comet? 66 million years ago, things would be going according to plan.
There seemed to be comprehension and sensor/senses at that time.
How far back shall we go ?

234. @Mario Lento at 7:35 pm
I get what you are saying – and it’s not what I was trying to get across. If people could not perceive sight none of this would be possible.

I think I get your bigger metaphysical idea. There are things we don’t understand and our present ideas of how to measure them are inadequate.

In addition to the common senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch,
We have a sense of humor. This is a first step into metaphysics.
There is also a sense of drama. What are the equations for that?
There are many other senses grounded in physics, biochemistry, and biomechanics. Some of these listed in the link above are
Pressure
Thermoception
Proprioception (knowing how your body parts are arranged.)
Nociception (Pain)
Muscular Tension
Stretch Receptors (but maybe this is a combination of Tension and Pain)
Equilibrioception (balance, acceleration, equilibrium)
Chemoreceptors: (hormones, drugs)
Thirst: (sense of hydration)
Hunger: (sense of blood chemistry and energy levels)
Magentoception: detection of magnetic fields.
Time: with what organ do we sense the passage of time? The brain.

Nothing says this list is exhaustive.
So I’ll nominate another: a Sense of Mystery

Some of the things that tickle my Sense of Mystery are.
The Lifecycle and Migration of the Monarch Butterfly.
The Reproductive cycle of Salmon.
The values of the 25 fundamental constants of the standard quantum model and why their combined values allow for a “just-right” universe where an Antropic Principle can be stated.

Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. — Han Solo.

That is why you fail. — Yoda.

There are things we do not understand.
There are more we do not grok.
“Wait for Fullness.” — Michael Smith.

235. Slartibartfast says:

I don’t believe Mosher is doing science at all but simply manipulating existing data.

Collecting and making sense of data is what science is all about, to a large extent. I can’t fault Mosher for doing what he does, personally. It’s what he says that I have a beef with.

That, and the glibness. If he isn’t going to put together a clear statement to argue counter to what’s being said here, he shouldn’t bother at all. IMO, of course.

But I don’t take “doing science” away from him for attempting to make sense of the data. If he’s doing it wrong, time will tell.

236. Mario Lento says:

Stephen Rasey says:
December 15, 2013 at 11:01 pm
++++++++
Nicely stated. I think I cannot come up with things that I cannot sense/perceive because I am limited by the senses and perceptions that I have. That’s why I love science, which has afforded us the ability to sense things which are out of range, and touch –and to see how they work and interoperate. Our minds integrate “things” using combinations of other things which are sensed or perceived. My body is amazing in that it senses levels of sugar and Calcium flowing in my blood, and that triggers all sorts of other things to happen to maintain blood stasis, often times taking minerals from other areas of my body (which are apparently less crucial) to maintain the hierarchy. If blood pH falls below (7.2?) death is near. But I can live with porous bones a bit longer. When I’m angry, my stomach makes other chemicals which make it harder to digest, but which can magically summon me into a fright or flight reaction. We know that these things happen, but we cannot make these things by putting together all of the elements nearly as well as a live cell.

The universe is amazingly more complex than I can imagine it to be. I have never seen single atoms, but we can certainly see evidence of those tiny particles and make nice models to show how they react –in repeatable ways. So many building blocks of the universe act with perfectly precision and we’ve learned to harness their unwavering stubbornness to continue behavior in ways that are defined by Physics. Yet we still do not know why mass attracts mass in a way that we have defined it to be gravity. The universe plays by rules which seem to never break, and we can count on them. Who, what rules these (should I say) behaviors?

Perhaps, it is true that we humans are in fact endowed with all of the senses that are needed to describe our vast universe eventually in its entirety. Had I been born an earthworm, it’d make my understanding of the universe much simpler – perhaps it would be the lush composting garden that gave me a good life which is my wormy universe.

237. Poptech says:

Richard D says: Perhaps fair? I honestly don’t know. Show me why….show your work. I have looked at BEST papers with Mosher as a coauthor and I know from this Blog’s owner A. Watts that his contribution was not insignificant.

What? That has nothing to do with what I am talking about. Accountants work with a lot of data, that does not make them scientists.

238. Richard D says:

Poptech says: December 16, 2013 at 8:50 am
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I’ll take that as a no. You don’t have anything substantive to say about the science produced by BEST and its team of scientists including Mosher.

239. rgbatduke says:

You’re a terrific thinker, writer, and user of the tools of science. That said, mankind has not the capability to comprehend subject matter beyond that which can be sensed by the limited sensory capabilities of the human physiology. Reading your well written prose, I get the sense that this idea is foreign.

On the contrary, I fully appreciate the fact that there are limitations to our brain’s ability to comprehend and cognitively and conceptually function. I write extensively about it, and struggle with the multicameral, multilayer brain and its oddities of function and dysfunction every day while trying to teach students who come in with a dazzling range of misperceptions, preconceptions, and cognitive styles. Also, note well, the progress of humanity away from Platonic Idealism — the notion that our ideas are some how more real than reality itself, that reality has to conform to our ideas of it when they are sufficiently dazzling instead of the other way around — towards an empirically well-founded ontology took place upon the broad shoulders of two devices — the microscope and the telescope — that extended the range of our limited sensory capabilities to the very small and nearby and to the very large and distant.

The former allowed us to see the actual causes of disease, and thereby realize that all of the manifold hypotheses of “bad air”, “demons”, “God’s will”, “curses”, and more that were advanced for the cause of any given illness were, however much sense they may have made in some myth-based ontology or even whether or not there was some degree of empirical agreement (you are more likely to get malaria in a swampy area than on a dry mountaintop, but not because of “bad air”), incorrect. The latter let is see that the sky is not a collection of transparent “spheres” surrounded by an opaque sphere pierced with holes through which the bright light of a surrounding “heaven” shines and through which God occasionally pours rain. It let us measure it dimensions and learn that our sun is a sphere almost a million miles across, and that those tiny lights are stars like the sun, some larger (MUCH larger) and some smaller, and that in the visible Universe there are hundreds of billions of galaxies each consisting of hundreds of billions of stars. When one looks at the sky with the Hubble, nearly every small light revealed in the deep field view it produces is a galaxy, not a star. These are the stars God supposedly made to “measure the seasons”.

All scientists are well aware of the limitations of the senses, and they work very hard to extend their range. Good scientists are further aware of the limitations of their own cognition and imagination and instrumentation, and are perfectly happy to postulate things like dark energy and dark matter that are literally invisible not only to our senses but to any sort of electromagnetic apparatus, or things like neutrinos or magnetic monopoles or Higgs particles that might (or do) exist but be very difficult to detect.

The difference is that a physicist understands that “belief” in dark matter or a monopole is both weak and strictly provisional unless or until one has solid evidence that they actually exist. It isn’t enough to say that they are a sufficient (or, in the case of monopoles, beautiful) explanation for some of the things we observe, therefore they must exist. Some of us have even read Plato’s parable of the cave. Some of us have even written our own version of Plato’s parable of the cave, or drawn parallels between this and elements of excellent works of speculative fiction such as “The Matrix” movie series.

It is entirely possible that the Cosmos that undeniably exists as something that is at least the actual process of our sensation if not the existential object consistently underlying our experience of sensation is all that there really is, that the Universe we can see (reasonably extended to the limits in length and time) is all that there is that has objective existence. It is entirely possible that the Cosmos we can see is only one of many, even an infinite number of Cosmi that collectively make up the Universe of all things, places, times that have objective existence. It is entirely possible that it is all a simulation (as it was presented to me in The Matrix) being presented to our minds by a fantastically powerful computer, and that everything we think we know is false — also the idea underlying Descartes’ “Evil Demon”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_demon. It is even possible that the Universe of our senses is being made up by us, that Solipsism is correct, or some pan-deific version such as Vedantic Hinduism, where Atman equals Brahman. It is possible that Chronos originally created Aether and Chaos and made a silvery egg in the Aether that exploded into the Cosmos. There is literally no end to the possible hypotheses capable of explaining our experience of “something” as opposed to the absolute void of no existence of anything anywhere anytime at all.

Given the awful infinity of possible explanations, the still awful infinity of possible explanations that can be made consistent with our observations and experience (often at the expense of considerable complexity, as one can explain absolutely anything with invisible fairies who make things work out the way we experience them because they feel like it), how are we to proceed to put together not only a good epistemlogy/ontology, but a defensibly best ontology, a best possible worldview? One possible answer is to believe whatever the hell you like, for no reason other than it makes you feel good or because you were taught it by your elders, or because believing it gives you status and advantage in our society. One possible answer is that we really don’t have a lot of choice in what we believe because, in the end, the system of belief we adopt isn’t one we actually chose and it contains internal memes that prevent you from discovering or objectively considering alternative schema for deciding what it is best to believe, given our experience.

My own conclusion regarding this question — which you can take for whatever it is worth, as of course you have to make your own choice(s), if you can — is that the rigorously defensible answer is believe the most what you can doubt the least, given your experience (the evidence) and the network of consistent evidence-based mutually supporting beliefs, when you try to doubt very hard. This is a succinct expression of the Cox axioms, as it were, as the basis for an ontology, and is of course the rigorous basis for the scientific worldview. It is also the rigorous basis for what we call “common sense” — it is silly to believe in things without a good reason to do so, and we should increase our degree of belief on the basis of positive evidence and decrease our degree of belief in negative evidence. If we increase our degree of belief in white, we must necessarily decrease our degree of belief in black if black and white are mutually exclusive hypotheses.

This allows me to at last make the final answer to the objection that you seem to raise above. You assert that we do not have the ability to comprehend things outside of our sensory experience. First of all, if that were true there would be no such thing as the discipline of mathematics or almost any capability for science or abstract thought. Indeed, I think it is almost the exact opposite of the case — we comprehend things outside of our immediate experience precisely because we are able to abstract non-sensory constructs that function consistently. Not just in the context of “explanations” — there would be no such thing as prose fiction (which I write), poetry (which I write), or the ability to invent any sort of new concept (which I on occasion do).

However, the real problem with this assertion is that is absolutely no help whatsoever with the terrible infinity of possibly correct notions, all of the notions we can think up and then all the rest that we cannot even think up because we lack the time or processing power or because there is some (hypothetical) barrier to our ability to correctly perceive the True Nature of Things. Lacking consistency and evidence, all of them are equally likely to be true and there are infinitely many of them so in some sense they are all equally unlikely to be true with a probability near zero. After all, even if God exists, all of the world’s religions could be incorrect and God could be nothing like anything we could imagine (literally) or nothing like anything we have imagined so far. And there are an infinite number of ways for this to occur, differing in details great and small, comprehensible or quite possibly incomprehensible. So why in the world should we give any particular invention of our imagination, without any empirical support, any particular weight, elevate it from a vagrant notion or clear work of fiction to the exalted status of something that we really believe is true for good, common sense reasons?

In The Matrix, Neo is perfectly happy living and working in what appears to be a perfectly normal world, right up to the moment that his particular experience gives him new evidence that consistently reveals that his entire world is a simulation built by a Cartesian Demon. At the end of the trilogy that entire world — right down to the Demon in it — is shown to be a simulation at a higher level. Do we believe in this, just because we’ve seen a movie that shows us how this could be possible? Would it be morally correct to believe in it just because it could be true? I think not. We may all live in Plato’s Cave, and our experiences may all be experiences of shadows cast on the wall of that cave, projections from some higher order reality with dimensions we cannot (yet?) comprehend, but we don’t make progress by just making up stories about what goes on in that reality without the very necessary constraint that a) the stories produce results that are consistent with those projected observations of those trapped in the cave; and b) the ability to predict something new, to understand new features in the behavior of the shadows because we look for them only after they are predicted by the inferred higher order reality that created the shadows.

Physicists are constantly working on that. Literally — many worlds interpretations of quantum theory, string theory in absurd numbers of hidden dimensions, and more are stories people invent to try to understand the behavior of the shadows on the wall of our cave (and the wall itself behind the shadows). We don’t believe in them (when we do) just because they are lovely stories — we believe in them when they work.

rgb

240. Poptech says:

Richard D says: I’ll take that as a no. You don’t have anything substantive to say about the science produced by BEST and its team of scientists including Mosher.

Do you understand what a strawman argument is? I suggest you look it up. The “science” produced by the non-university affiliated, not for profit organization “BEST” and Mosher being a “scientist” are two entirely different arguments. Up until recently Mosher was titled an “open-source” volunteer.

It looks like I have to handle this is a more effective way.

241. rgbatduke says:

Dear Mod,

I appreciate the intervention, and hope that last contribution is more along the lines of the fundamental philosophical basis of skepticism as a constructive tool in human epistemology. In that context, it isn’t entirely irrelevant to discussions of climate science, since a major issue is precisely the necessity of agreement between a complex tentative hypothesis and eventually observed contingent reality — that is, the theory has to make testable predictions and those predictions have to be realized in further observations. Believing in some assertion(s) because of the “beauty” of the hypothesis, or because of how the theory makes one feel (like, for example, someone who is Saving the World, or Doing the Right Thing), or because one derives an income or status or mating rights from social and political actions taken on the basis of the hypothesis, is often called religious belief, and not in a good way, in the context of science because the common factor in all of these is that the right reason to believe in something is because there is direct evidence that it is true, evidence that anybody can replicate or observe for themselves (with the right tools and methods). There are religious assertions (in this specific context) made with great frequency on both sides of the debate. Skeptics are accused of being the paid tools of the oil or coal industry, warmists are accused of making money or becoming famous as world savers — in both cases sometimes implying an underlying sincerity and sometimes not.

Since ethics often frequently comes into the discussion, it isn’t completely insane even to debate the ethics of the science (or the basis of ethics itself) either way. Do we, by inaction, damn the world to a fiery hell in a century (if CAGW is a true hypothesis) or do we, by acting to end it (if CAGW is not a true hypothesis), damn the world to an impoverished, disease-ridden hell right now? The argument is even directly formulated as Pascal’s Wager in new clothing.

That’s the only reason I originally replied. It is unreasonable — literally — to maintain a split standard for what we accept as probable truth. I could wax poetic about the many logical fallacies involved, from special pleading to begging the question, but in the end if one has a confused or dichotomous standard for what constitutes probably true belief, one is going to run a continuous risk of equally confused, internally contradictory, conclusions drawn on the basis of those beliefs.

rgb

242. Gunga Din says:

My last word here. (If the Mods will allow. If they don’t, no problems on my end. The sometimes fuzzy line has become blurred.)
Many take a lack of a “natural” explanation of what is claimed as “supernatural” is proof that anything that is “supernatural” does not exist. There is no “natural” way to prove there is no such thing as “supernatural”.

243. Mario Lento says:

Gunga Din says:
December 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm
+++++++
Amen – I could not resist.

244. rgbatduke says:

My last word here. (If the Mods will allow. If they don’t, no problems on my end. The sometimes fuzzy line has become blurred.)
Many take a lack of a “natural” explanation of what is claimed as “supernatural” is proof that anything that is “supernatural” does not exist. There is no “natural” way to prove there is no such thing as “supernatural”.

Hey, the thread proper is played out AFAICT, so why not?

Or, we could take “nature” to be everything that has objectively real existence, which is a natural way to prove that there is no such thing as the supernatural. To put it another way, even if “magic” exists, it’s ultimately just another branch of physics. I’m happy to believe in fairies, as soon as somebody shows me that fairies are real. But if they’re real, they aren’t really supernatural. If demons exist, but exist in a completely separate Cosmos than this one, that too doesn’t make them supernatural, any more than the versions of physics that postulate multiple “universes” (a term I abhor, given that it oxymoronic) mean that quantum mechanics is supernatural.

Even if the LOTR Cosmos exists, complete with dark lords, magic rings, dragons — that isn’t supernature in that world, it is just a different sort of nature.

As for magic into this world, outside of the timeless quote about any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic I’m afraid that I have to invoke the Randi Defense: Show me. Under rigorously controlled conditions. Until then, it is stage magic, not the real thing, until proven otherwise because believing anything else just makes you a mark for every shady con game in the world that exploits people’s desire to believe that the world they live in is something else entirely — a place of perfect justice (in spite of the deaths of countless children for entirely preventable reasons), a place where their misery now will be rewarded later by magical means to balance the scales, a place where if they do things just right they’ll continue to live on in an another world (or be reborn in this one — take your immortality straight up or serially, makes no difference) in spite of the fact that there isn’t a shred of reliable, double blind, placebo controlled, experimentally reproducible under rigorously controlled evidence that we do anything but die when we die and our brains (which support absolutely all of our cognitive functions in ways that incrementally disappear as we age, as we have accidents, as we have strokes in direct proportion to our damage of brain tissue) rot and return indeed to dust.

Everything we understand about cognition and awareness suggests that it is an enormously complex process supported by an enormously complex structure of physically interacting “stuff”, and that when that stuff breaks down and ceases to function, so do “we” (often before our physical bodies even die). If you ask someone how it is that their memory will continue to function or they will continue to be able to remain aware without the actual cells that encode their memory or the processes that represent their cognition running on them, not a single person can even begin to offer a coherent explanation or anything like evidence that any such thing happens. Yet ever so many people are certain that it does. I think there is a very simple explanation for why people are certain that it does. But it has nothing to do with evidence and everything to do with psychology and cognitive dissonance.

Personally, I don’t find the idea of a permanent death particularly sad. However much I enjoy life — when I’m not in pain — I’ve lived through some awful deaths of those around me, deaths from a state of misery that nobody would want to endure long, especially when it is hopeless pain, pain and a degradation of the mind itself as it spirals down toward entropic extinction. I’ll no more care about being dead after I die than I cared about being dead before I was born. So far, I’ve had a pretty good life — I’ve been lucky even as I’ve watched countless others be unlucky. I’ve paid some dues in the form of serious pain and misery, but nothing like the pain that many others have experienced. If Janice thinks that I’m existing in a state of personal misery or unfulfilled angst or that I go out of my way too kick cats and dogs because I discovered that Jesus and the other religious worldviews and Science and its reason based worldview are pretty much orthogonal no matter how many people claim (without evidence or even a coherent argument, of course) otherwise, well, neither one is true. I try to lead a good life and harm no one and help as many as I reasonably can.

And gee, I manage to do it without any desire for the carrot of infinite life or communion with God or whatever the current benefit is, or out of fear of the stick of equally infinite punishment in a horrific chamber of tortures or being reborn as an intestinal parasite. I (as did Buddha and many others of passing wisdom) kind of think both are the inventions of the manifold priesthoods of the world seeking to extort compliance with the rules of their religion, however eagerly they are embraced by people seeking an easy way to avoid the truths that their own eyes can see and their own minds comprehend. The incomprehensible is a lot easier, especially if you’re proud of its incomprehensibility and it will provide for you — somehow, incomprehensibly — all sorts of benefits, only don’t ask for any proof that it in fact does or will because there isn’t any. It’s a mystery. Mankind isn’t supposed to understand. Etc. I can really easily understand how my brain’s destruction equals the death of my personal consciousness. That one is bone simple. Explain any alternative, please? Right, a mystery.

rgb

245. mwgrant says:

rgbatduke said:

Hey, the thread proper is played out AFAICT…

No, it was pretty much suffocated, and that is unfortunate.

246. Richard D says:

“in spite of the deaths of countless children for entirely preventable reasons”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Right and a thought…..A particularly galling argument flaunted by greens is that we don’t want to risk the predicted effects of CO2 induced warming down the line. Yet we’re guaranteed to incur the full cost of green energy policies presently and (as you’ve argued elsewhere in these threads) disproportionately on the weakest, poorest and most vulnerable in the third world. These people desperately need fuel and electricity, clean water, adequate food, vaccination, etc., basics that elites take for granted. Where’s the justice or morality in that?

247. Mario Lento says:

rgbatduke says:
December 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm
“I’m happy to believe in fairies, as soon as somebody shows me that fairies are real.”
++++++++++
I feel like I am going into the field of philosophy. Whether or not you are shown that fairies are real has no being on whether they are. Hey – and if they are not real, then how do you explain fairy dust? That last sentence used my sense of humor, which I hope you appreciate.

248. Gunga Din says:

Mario Lento says:
December 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

rgbatduke says:
December 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm
“I’m happy to believe in fairies, as soon as somebody shows me that fairies are real.”
++++++++++
I feel like I am going into the field of philosophy. Whether or not you are shown that fairies are real has no being on whether they are. Hey – and if they are not real, then how do you explain fairy dust? That last sentence used my sense of humor, which I hope you appreciate.

========================================================================
Perhaps it would have been BEST if Hansen had blamed fairy dust instead of CO2? They’ve both had about the same effect on CAGW.

249. Richard D says:

Poptech says: December 16, 2013 at 8:50 am
What? That has nothing to do with what I am talking about. Accountants work with a lot of data, that does not make them scientists.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
So is Dr. Judith Curry an accountant too or is she a scientist, Poptech? Keep in mind she’s a BEST co-author along with Steven Mosher, and others.

BTW, I found this interesting over at climate etc.:

JC comments: “The epistemology of computer simulations is a growing subspecialty in the philosophy of science, and we are even seeing the development of a community of philosophers of science that focus on climate modeling”. …… http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/16/how-far-should-we-trust-models/

250. Poptech says:

Richard D says: So is Dr. Judith Curry an accountant too or is she a scientist, Poptech? Keep in mind she’s a BEST co-author along with Steven Mosher, and others.

Dr. Curry has two science degrees, including a Ph.D. in Geophysical Sciences and has been employed her entire life as a scientist. http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/files/currycv.pdf

Mr. Mosher doesn’t even have an undergraduate degree in science and has spent his entire career in marketing.

251. E.M.Smith says:

Mosher is a Scientist. That is just anyone who follows the scientific method of enquiry. Being a scientist does not make you right, just more systematic and with a bit better long term QA filter. (Usually provided by others; and if very famous, often only after death…)

So, roughly, make a guess, gather data, TEST if the data show your guess is right or wrong. Make a new guess or gather more data and repeat…

252. Poptech says:

E.M.Smith says: Mosher is a Scientist. That is just anyone who follows the scientific method of enquiry.

So you are a scientist too? I guess everyone is a scientist now.

253. Mario Lento says:

So, roughly, make a guess, gather data, TEST if the data show your guess is right or wrong. Make a new guess or gather more data and repeat…
+++++++++++++
And if the models don’t agree with observations, it’s the crap data.

254. Richard D says:

Poptech says: December 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Go study Kant. Be prepared to examine the metaphysics and epistemology of mathematics.

255. There are too many unanswered questions on this thread for it to play out.

Bill Illis at 12/12 2:28 pm
What we need is a histogram of the breakpoints identified and pulled out.

For example, how many and what weight were the temperature decline breakpoints versus how many were temperature increase breakpoints.

We are talking about a huge number of breakpoints here; on average, about 8 per individual station.

TimTheToolMan at 12/12 2:37 pm
Mosher writes “We dont adjust data. We identify breakpoints and slice.”

Its a valiant effort. But at the end of the day there is simply no substitute for a proper understanding of a temperature station that statistics simply cant supply. For example a tree growing near to a weather staion increasingly casts its shadow over the area and then one day gets cut down. Voila breakpoint. But without understanding the reality of the weather station environment how do you interpret that?

James Allison at 12/12 5:06 pm
@Steven Mosher says:
For the benefit of the ignorant among us (especially me) would you kindly post your explanation about how this all works?

Stephen Rasey at 12/12 8:32 pm
Temperature segments, if they have any reality at all, ought to be most trustworthy at the beginning of the segment when a record segment begins. Its error range should be smallest at the point of maintenance, recalibration, or station move. The potential error should be is largest at the end of each segment. A non-uniform standard deviation that is a function of time, requires unusual mathematics of the statistics and estimations of the trends. What did BEST assume about the standard deviation of the data as a function of time?

Stephen Rasey at 12/13 8:12 am
@Steven Mosher at 10:20 pm
Let’s take a more realistic example of #1.
You have a Stevenson screen at an airport.
The Stevenson screen gets moved to another place at the airport because airport expansion and growth in activity over the years reduced the siting criteria from a Class 2 to a Class 5. The screen’s new location is now a Class 1. SHOULD it be a split? In my book, it is a much tougher call because the act of moving the station is one of recalibration and restoration of the long term local climate. Preservation of low frequency data content is paramount, so the bias should be to not split the record

How many temperature stations are in the BEST dataset?
How many breakpoints (slices) did BEST create on that dataset?
What is the distribution of segment lengths after the breakpoints are applied?
(What is the histogram of segment lengths in bins of 2 year widths. )
What is the average lenght of segment? I’ve read report that it is 12 years.
When the segment slopes are subject to krieging, is there a weighting in the estimated trend that give greater weight to longer segment lengths?

256. Jason Bates at 12/13 10:20 am
….The adjustment process – whatever it may be – significantly alters the trend of the raw data…..
Therefore, there is something that is biasing the raw data in a systematic way. This leads me to my questions: first, what is biasing the raw data in a systematic way which would justify alteration of the trend? And second, given that the noise in the raw data is systematically biased, what justification is there for assuming that averaging, kriging, slicing, or any combination of those will correcly identify and rectify it?

mwgrant at 12/13 12:03 pm
” Thus, there must be an additional source of bias – and one that is stronger than the known bias of the UHI. What is it?”

This is pulling on a thread that has been bugging me–in an interest way, not bad way. Locales with UHI tend to be in well-sampled’ urban areas. Because these areas are preferentially sampled they are over-represented in the overall sample population. (This is entirely separate from the UHI.) It would seem that detailed care is needed to sift thru and ‘sort’ the numbers in these areas where both effects are potentially skewing estimation of a global average.

Mario Lento at 12/13 3:27 pm
@Steven Mosher at 12/12 10:53 pm
There’s so much wrong here.
Regarding “3. Next I wanted to use methods suggested by skeptics”
When did skeptics say the stations with poor siting should be subjectively sliced and added to mix so their warming could fit the narrative?

Neither BEST nor you have ever honestly addressed why “if only urban areas show warming, while rural areas don’t, that you could slice (in?) the poorly sited urban stations to make their “crap” value warm the entire temperature record.

E.M.Smith at 12/13 7:27 pm
@ Steven Mosher at 12/12 10:22 pm
I’m sticking with fundamental properties of the universe, thank you. So I don’t really care if you use Kriging or Averaging or how you manufacture your “field”. At the outset the fundamental philosophy of the process is broken. There simply can not be a “global average temperature” so it can not rise nor fall. For that you want to claim I don’t understand your “process”?When from the very foundation it is a fools errand of fundamental impossibility? Just who is not understanding what can and can not be done with intrinsic properties? Hmmm?

Stephen Rasey at 12/15 12:19 am
@Zeke Hausfather at Dec 13, 6:32 pm
Like Sleepalot says, 40,000 stations for what time frame?
How many segments have those 40,000 station been sliced into?
What is the distribution of segment lengths?
What percent of segments are shorter than 10 years? Shorter than 20 years?
Do long segments get greater weight than short segments in the kriging?

While we are at it,…. Suppose we have a month with 30 straight days of 10 C lows and 20 C highs. Mean is 15 C for 30 days straight.
What is the mean standard error of the monthly mean with 30 days of 15 C daily means?

Stephen Rasey at 12/15 12:49 pm
@Zeke Hausfather at Dec 13, 6:32 pm
Dumb Question #1: …..
So what is closer to the truth?
(A) where you have 40,747 stations thermometer records you slice into 200,000 segments or
(B) you have fewer than 10,000 thermometer locations you slice into 40,747 “stations.”

Dumb question #2: RE: Iceland 1885 to 1940, there are 3 stations with years where it drops to two.
When yoiu have a partial year, either as a start up, shut down, or drop out for a few weeks, what is the criteria for counting it? At least half a year?
[]
So 1755 to 1870 Iceland trends come from thermometers 500 to 2000 km away from Iceland over open, Gulf Stream warmed, ocean. Why do you do this?

257. Poptech says:

Richard D says: Go study Kant. Be prepared to examine the metaphysics and epistemology of mathematics.

More nonsense because you cannot rationally argue your point. Either the label “scientist” has a real meaning or it does not. If anyone can be a scientist by simply declaring themselves one, then the word is meaningless.

Can anyone be called a medical doctor?

258. rgbatduke says:

I feel like I am going into the field of philosophy. Whether or not you are shown that fairies are real has no being on whether they are. Hey – and if they are not real, then how do you explain fairy dust? That last sentence used my sense of humor, which I hope you appreciate.

Obtain, and read, E. T. Jaynes’ Probability Theory: The Logic of Science. Learn about Bayes theorem and how to relate prior, marginal, joint, conditional, and prior probabilities and learn how they relate to evidence and a rational way of altering degree of belief in arbitrary propositions.

You are inverting the order of things. One proposes “perhaps fairies exist”. That’s fine. But there is literally no reason to believe that this proposition (or any other proposition concerning the real world) is true without evidence that it is true. Note that this is precisely what we do in science. “Perhaps magnetic monopoles exist” or “Perhaps gravitons exist” to cite two particular named species of so-far invisible fairy.

In both cases there are at least some reasons to think that they might, as the hypotheses have at least limited explanatory power, just as invisible but maleficent fairies with cute little wings instead of wild onions in a field or various bacteria in a septic environment could be responsible for turning the cow’s milk sour. But until you catch an invisible fairy in a fairy trap and spray it with black paint to make it visible, or catch a graviton in a graviton trap or a monopole in a monopole trap, rational people will not waste a lot of mental energy on belief that any of these fairies are real. That’s precisely the line for religious thinking in science as well as anything else. If I believe too strongly in monopoles without direct evidence, I naturally become inclined to interpret all sorts of things as being caused by monopoles and eventually stop being a scientist, I become a crank who twists the evidence insensibly to fit the theory instead of the other way around.

Otherwise, how can one reasonably decide between competing claims? There are an infinite number of mutually contradictory propositions one can frame about the real world. Nearly all of them are false. How can we reasonably home in on the almost invisibly small set (and yet still infinite — of measure zero if you know what that means) of propositions that are more likely than the rest be true, and home in further still to the ones that are most likely to be true?

In my opinion, it is “on the basis of the evidence, subject to a global consistency requirement for the entire ontology”. To a truly religious person it is “on the basis of what I want to believe, regardless of whether there is global consistency or evidence to support my beliefs”. One is right because it works, the other wrong because it doesn’t. It’s as simple as that.

rgb

259. rgbatduke says:

Sorry, one of the first [two] “priors” should have been “posterior”. I’m coming down off of a four day grading jag.

rgb

260. Mario Lento says:

rgbatduke says:
December 17, 2013 at 11:39 am:
“You are inverting the order of things.”
++++++
The “truth” of whether or not Fairies exist was there “before” anyone started trying to find the truth. It is not be that is inverting the order of things.

261. Mario Lento says:

Correction of a typo. I meant to write: The “truth” of whether or not Fairies exist was there “before” anyone started trying to find the truth. It is not ME that is inverting the order of things.

262. Richard D says:

E. T. Jaynes’ Probability Theory: The Logic of Science. Learn about Bayes theorem and how to relate prior, marginal, joint, conditional, and prior probabilities and learn how they relate to evidence and a rational way of altering degree of belief in arbitrary propositions.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=
Thanks for the tip, and the seminars throughout this thread.

263. rgbatduke says:

Correction of a typo. I meant to write: The “truth” of whether or not Fairies exist was there “before” anyone started trying to find the truth. It is not ME that is inverting the order of things.

The Universe contains an enormous amount of information. That information content is further organizable into still more higher order information — structural and functional meta-information if you like. You are a subset of the Universe. Your information content is a lot smaller. Human “knowledge” is a representation of a high-order feature decomposition of the (generally but not exclusively) exterior “not me” part of the Universe. Indeed, from our cognitive point of view, we are “in” the Universe and trying to learn about the reality we are “in” (including, in part, ourselves).

I (at least in MY experience) did not come with much preprogrammed knowledge. Nearly everything I know I have learned by information transfer across some sort of boundary between “me” and “not-me”. The aggregate of consistent, high-level organized information that I have built up over living 59+ years as a single entity with some sort of continuity of existence (according to my imperfect memory of affairs) is what we might call “stuff I know”, or more precisely “stuff I think is very likely to be true” about the Universe. Some of this knowledge may be precisely true, some may be approximately true, some may be approximately false, some may be perfectly false, some of it may be knowable, and almost all of what there is to be known is fundamentally unknowable by me if even in fact my knowledge of physics (which I think is very probably true) is, in fact, at least approximately true and correct. Indeed, information theory states quite clearly that one cannot encode the information content of a larger system uniquely in a smaller one without entropic loss (or prior knowledge in the form of assumptions that one generally cannot prove).

Now of course I cannot speak for you in this matter. Perhaps you were born with perfect innate knowledge. Perhaps you were not even born. I have pretty serious beliefs that you were indeed born and, like me, were born in a state of nearly perfect ignorance about the world into which you were born. Are we in agreement here? Because if you were not born or know things about fairies a priori or have a higher order pathway to “truth” that doesn’t involve altering the internal biological state of your brain, then we probably are never going to achieve communication here, and I’ll move on.

If OTOH, you are, like me, a pilgrim soul making sense of the aggregate information that comes into our “senses”, then you have the order backwards. The Universe is an objective reality in which pink unicorns or invisible fairies in fact exist or do not exist, agreed. However we literally can never be certain either way! No experience you could have would suffice to prove that they really exist and an external material object — no experience you can have suffice to prove the existence of an external material reality in the first place!

The best we can do is agree on how we arrive at the best possible answer to the question “Do pink unicorns (really!) exist”. Granted that we will never be certain, it seems foolish to conclude that it is probably true that they exist without some consistent evidentiary pathway supporting the assertion that they do. Sure, they could exist somewhere nobody can see them — maybe Europa is heavily populated with pink unicorns, or maybe they live inside an unexplored extinct volcano cauldron in Tibet and nowhere else. But even if we could see them, they still might not exist — we could all be power units in The Matrix where all of our senses are systematically deceived.

Just as Candide finally concluded that the best way to proceed through life is to tend one’s own garden, I have to say that I think that the best way to build an epistemology is believe the most that which we can doubt the least, given the evidence and a consistent set of evidence based knowledge — basically stuff that is consistent with our aggregate sensory experience — rather than believing in things for which there is NO evidence in preference to things for which there is lots. This leaves a terrible infinity of possible truths that are unknown or perhaps even unknowable, and a single Universe that is in some sense fundamentally unknowable except through inference based on our sensory stream. All of these unsupported but possibly true assertions fall into the general category of “things one probably shouldn’t waste belief in until evidence supporting their probable true emerges in my sensory experience in some consistent, believable way”.

On the dark side of the moon, there could be a rock the exact size and shape of Abraham Lincoln’s head, carved out by accident so that the resemblance is uncanny, right down to the beard and eyebrows. It could be true! It doesn’t even contradict a single law of physics for it to be true!

Well, except for one. The second law of thermodynamics. When you understand the second law (especially from an information theoretic perspective), you’ll understand why you have things backwards.

rgb

264. Richard D says:

You can’t get work from blind faith.

265. @rgb 2:31 pm
I (at least in MY experience) did not come with much preprogrammed knowledge.

A person’s “boot sector” is an enourmous amount of code. Granted, much of it is firmware, but there is so much code in operation at birth, we only have a vague inventory of the subroutines. The visual Input bus alone is a daunting bio-electrical process beyond our collective capability to understand let alone duplicate.

I realize your key word is “knowledge”. Which somehow implies a bright line between what we learn how to do and what we can do inately. I don’t think there is a bright line. Imagine how much programming we would need to write to bootstrap the routine to recognize a face much less recognize any approximate pattern rendered between maculas and visual cortex.

Yet somehow, it is all comes encoded in our DNA.
…. and maybe some stuff we don’t know about.
That is just another tickle of the Sense of Mystery.

266. Mario Lento says:

rgbatduke says:
December 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm
+++++
Please step back and realize that you’re responding in a way that I think does not address the point I am making.

I’ll make it simple for you so we can end the back and forth. Let’s assume that Fairies do not exist. This is my assumption anyway, that they do not exist.

OK – so let’s agree for the sake of argument that Fairies do not exist.

The fact that Fairies do not exist, existed before the any scientific research took place. The research did not make it so, it may have eased the minds of those whom wanted to know.

267. rgbatduke says:

Yet somehow, it is all comes encoded in our DNA.
…. and maybe some stuff we don’t know about.
That is just another tickle of the Sense of Mystery.

Encoded in our DNA I’m good with. Even associated with the developmental process in the womb. If the “some stuff we don’t know about” is hypothesized to include information flow from some non-material source, though, the “maybe” becomes “almost certainly not, disbelieve until given some reason to do otherwise”. Not that this codicil isn’t there on anything at all we believe. One can never rule anything out completely because lack of evidence isn’t evidence of lack.

268. Mario Lento says:

rgbatduke says:
December 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm
…”The best we can do is agree on how we arrive at the best possible answer to the question ”
+++++++++
You’re being practical, and describing how to use science (as I do in many facets of my work) to come up with solutions to problems. Science works. I get it.

If we could only get human kind to do so [ agree on how we arrive at the best possible answer to the question] in large numbers. Oh – wait, we have gotten human kind to agree in large numbers. There was a time when the world was for a fact, flat. It was undeniable. There was a time where the sun traveled around the world –fact. This happened at the pinnacle of mankind’s understanding of all sorts of things.

The agreement has no affect on whether something is true or not. But agreeing and moving forward is more practical than philosophizing (which is what I guess I was doing :)

There is a reason that smart people can disagree in large numbers. Some people still believe in Fairies, witches, and that we are headed for a climate tipping point due to CO2.

You and I are on the same side of this debate.

269. Mario Lento at 8:30 pm
There was a time when the world was for a fact, flat.
At the scale of a square acre, the world IS flat. It is the terrain that is lumpy.
See “The Relativity of Wrong” by Isaac Asimov.

There was a time where the sun traveled around the world –fact.
There was a time when we THOUGHT the sun traveled around the world. And if it was only the Sun and Earth we needed to consider, it would be a workable model. It is when you need to explain the movements of Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn that a different model becomes desirable. Want to visit Saturn with a 5-ton Cassini explorer with a VVEJ gravity assist trajectory, then even a sun-centered model isn’t quite good enough and you must refer to a Solar System Barycenter.

270. Sleepalot says:

Gunga Din says: December 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm
“There is no “natural” way to prove there is no such thing as “supernatural”.”

Nor is there any need to.

271. Mario Lento says:

Stephen Rasey says:
December 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm
Mario Lento at 8:30 pm
There was a time when the world was for a fact, flat.
At the scale of a square acre, the world IS flat. It is the terrain that is lumpy.
See “The Relativity of Wrong” by Isaac Asimov.

There was a time where the sun traveled around the world –fact.
There was a time when we THOUGHT the sun traveled around the world. And if it was only the Sun and Earth we needed to consider, it would be a workable model. It is when you need to explain the movements of Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn that a different model becomes desirable. Want to visit Saturn with a 5-ton Cassini explorer with a VVEJ gravity assist trajectory, then even a sun-centered model isn’t quite good enough and you must refer to a Solar System Barycenter.
++++++++++
You prove my point PERFECTLY. At the point we knew for a fact that the sun does not go around the earth! Dare I say even a consensus agrees. MY POINT IS THAT that “discovery” had no affect on whether the sun goes around the earth. The truth exists whether or not anyone realizes it whether through pure science or religion. What is just is.

I submit to you that 100 years from now, we are going to discover things that many today thought were fact. Our feelings about these things will not have changed what is and was.

272. rgbatduke says:

I submit to you that 100 years from now, we are going to discover things that many today thought were fact. Our feelings about these things will not have changed what is and was.

I think we are all in agreement here. The whole point of science is that it is an ongoing process. One never achieves complete certainty. However, this does not really have to lead to Hume’s “epistemological catastrophe” where we cannot derive truths about the real world or prove (by derivation) that we can reliably infer truths about the real world, but one can agree to accept a set of unprovable assumptions/axioms (such as the Cox-Jaynes axioms) and use them as the basis of a derivation of a theory of scientific inference that does justify and even quantify the use of inference and evidence as a best basis for unprovable beliefs about the real world. In part this merely describes what we all do anyway — it quantifies “common sense”. However, there are advantages to putting the process on a formal footing — one obtains the Bayesian theory of statistics, information theory, statistical mechanics in physics all for “free” on the coattails of a small, remarkably powerful set of axioms.

It is also formally defensible as a basis for epistemology — instead of defending inference or falsification or verification or divinely revealed truthism per se, one only has to defend the reasonableness of the axioms, and since they manifestly ARE the basis for mere common sense, it is rather difficult to disagree with them and appear sane or propose an alternative that is more reasonable. That’s what I was trying to point out to Janice — she currently lives in an epistemological Universe with two distinct standards for probable truth. One applies to religion and spiritual/ethical matters, and an entirely different one applies to matters of fact, to scientific matters, to legal matters, to everything else but religion. Indeed, it is usually the case that even religious matters are partitioned, and one uses one standard for one’s own religion and the other standard for all of the other religions.

In one of the two worlds, one cannot twist the facts to fit the theory. In the other, one can do nothing else. I’ve had an extended discussion with a Christian who believed that the Bible was inerrant truth (just as Cardinal Saint Bellarmine clearly did, as revealed in his letter to Galileo back in 1612 or thereabouts). I tried to explain how we know that the Universe is older than 6000-10000 years, that there was no world-spanning flood, that life evolved. We went through radiometric dating and the use of parallax and so on (I teach astronomy from time to time so I can actually walk through EXACTLY how we know a lot of these things) but his counter-argument was very simple. He was happy to concede all of the observational data I liked, but none of it mattered. The Bible was Literally True, period! If its statements contradicted the conclusions of physics, so much the worse for physics. We obviously had it all wrong.

This in a nutshell is the fundamental problem with the religious cognitive/epistemological dichotomy. At one point or another it must separate itself from the usual cognitive epistemological rules. Even the Catholic Church, infamous for its opposition to nearly every important advance in science over many, many centuries (and sure, it wasn’t all bad and occasionally made contributions of its own) has had little choice but to accept the scientific epistemology as the correct basis for truth but has carefully and jealously carved out its own special exception as the sole authority on moral truths and religious truths which are safely beyond any possibility of empirical contradiction or affirmation. At some point all of the actual world religions require you to believe something not because there is reliable, reproducible evidence that would convince anybody but because they say so! Or some antique religious scripture of uncertain provenance says so.

There isn’t a single world religion that worships God — they all worship scripture. They worship ritual. They worship authority. Without it, there is nothing. (Well, OK, the Quakers might be an exception, sometimes. But I have little beef with Quakers — you can even be an atheist Quaker if that’s the way your heart moves you). Sadly, there is a certain amount of this mindset in at least the public presentation of climate research. We have replaced the oracle of holy scripture with the oracle of the GCM. We have replaced Bellarmine’s:

Second. I say that, as you know, the Council [of Trent] prohibits expounding the Scriptures contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers. And if Your Reverence would read not only the Fathers but also the commentaries of modern writers on Genesis, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Josue, you would find that all agree in explaining literally (ad litteram) that the sun is in the heavens and moves swiftly around the earth, and that the earth is far from the heavens and stands immobile in the center of the universe. Now consider whether in all prudence the Church could encourage giving to Scripture a sense contrary to the holy Fathers and all the Latin and Greek commentators. Nor may it be answered that this is not a matter of faith, for if it is not a matter of faith from the point of view of the subject matter, it is on the part of the ones who have spoken. It would be just as heretical to deny that Abraham had two sons and Jacob twelve, as it would be to deny the virgin birth of Christ, for both are declared by the Holy Ghost through the mouths of the prophets and apostles.

with the “97% of all scientists agree that CAGW is an accomplished fact” argument. We no longer to care whether or not the GCMs are working — it would be just as heretical to deny that these physics-based models are correct as it would be to deny the virgin birth of Christ, because both are declared true and correct by the Holy Ghost of Authority through the mouths of various authoritative prophets and apostles.

Personally I prefer Bertrand Russell (I’m a second generation disciple of Russell, as my guru of philosophy was one of Russell’s students):

Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.

rgb

273. Mario Lento says:

rgbatduke says:
December 18, 2013 at 11:58 am:
It’s perhaps not possible to separate religion from God for some. For others, God just is; -and religion is the manifestation of a set of behaviors related to scriptures or other historical documents. I once heard a wise person say, when people argue about religion, both sides are wrong. I hope we can agree :)

Now, back to figuring out which ORP sensors to use, and where measurements should be taken (for determining disinfection levels in treated water).

274. Richard D says:

Good grief….work all day and I’m lost here, again….not that I can keep up with you learned posters here anyway…..Cheers to you all as I’ve enjoyed the discussion about meaningful beliefs/reality very much.

275. Richard D says:

Can anyone be called a medical doctor?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sure…..after the rugby, beer and girls in premed go to med school for basic science, pass steps and clinical clerkships….then do “grad school” aka residency and boards then perhaps a fellowship.

BTW, I know more than a few who hold a BA including literature, history and philosophy….scary ones do philosophy or mathematics. I hold a BA, liberal arts……I bet I have as many or more undergraduate science credits as many who hold a BS.

Shout out to rgb…..I did general physics lecture/lab in summer school at university after sophomore year in prep school……Engineers….everywhere…..PLEASE GOD HELP ME>>>>

276. @Richard D at 6:02 pm
I did general physics lecture/lab in summer school at university after sophomore year in prep school……Engineers….everywhere…..PLEASE GOD HELP ME
You went to the right school. ;-)

@Rgb
(I teach astronomy from time to time so I can actually walk through EXACTLY how we know a lot of these things)
I’m an Astronomy Merit Badge councilor, so that is as close as I get to teach it. But I love how the history of science is so intertwined with astronomy. On a clear fall-winter night we can make out Andromeda. “Did you know the Universe is only 83 years old? Ok, the Universe is about 15 billion years old, but we didn’t know there was more than one galaxy until Ed Hubble in 1930 proved that fuzzy patch was not in the Milky Way and was another galaxy.”

277. rgbatduke says:

I’m an Astronomy Merit Badge councilor, so that is as close as I get to teach it. But I love how the history of science is so intertwined with astronomy. On a clear fall-winter night we can make out Andromeda. “Did you know the Universe is only 83 years old? Ok, the Universe is about 15 billion years old, but we didn’t know there was more than one galaxy until Ed Hubble in 1930 proved that fuzzy patch was not in the Milky Way and was another galaxy.”

Astronomy is awesome to teach, even without the joy of viewings (I have my own 10″ Schmidt-Cassegrain with all the bells and whistles, although I don’t get to use it anywhere nearly as often as I would like as we live “in” Durham and there is too much haze except in the winter, and then it is cold…;-). Explaining how one can measure the distance to the nearest stars (start by measuring the distance to the Sun to get the base of a big triangle, then shoot precise lines to a “nearby” star in the evening, six months separated, to determine the angle in the apex as its apparent location shifts relative to the truly distant background stars, then do simple trig “parallax” to find the height of the triangle and/or distance to the star in parsecs. Explaining how knowing the distance and measuring intensity of the light from the star, we know its total output power. Explaining how we know its luminosity and temperature from its color and the Planck distribution and the Stephan-Boltzmann equation. Explaining how its luminosity and total power yield its cross-sectional area and hence its size. Plotting the color against the size for all the stars close enough to use parallax on (hundreds) to make the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and begin to understand BOTH the life cycle of the star AND how one can determine luminosity as a function of color/type. Then inverting the process — using the color of a more distant star to determine its size, temperature, and luminosity, then using its measured intensity to determine the distance! Suddenly instead of being limited to a hundred parsecs or so (limits of parallax), we can determine the distance to every star we can see in the Milky Way! Using some of those stars — e.g. Cepheid variables — that are bright enough and characteristic enough to be seen even in other galaxies to create a still longer “meter stick” that allows us to measure the distances to galaxies. Using telescopes to learn that the Universe is absoloutely lousy with Galaxies and that they are huge — Andromeda is order of a million parsecs away, and subtends as much of the night sky as the moon! Hubble using the measured distance to a large set of “nearby” galaxies to discover that the Universe is expanding, and that the red-shift of spectral lines from distant, receding galaxies can become yet another meter stick, and suddenly the Universe is at least billions of years old and billions of light years across. Watching the life cycle of stars and galaxies themselves play out (distance equals time in the past, so sorting them out they make a “movie” of how galaxies and stars evolve in time). Discovering that our Sun is a third generation star some five billion years old — rich in “metals” (any element other than hydrogen and helium) and that we ourselves are made of stardust, forged in the heart of exploding stars, that the Earth is some 4.5 billion years old (radiometric dating of the rocks) and that life is almost as old, appearing remarkably shortly after temperatures dropped to where it was possible at all.

It’s a hell of a story, and every bit of it can be checked! You can do at least the first few steps yourself with equipment at least as good as that available to 19th century astronomers, for a few thousand dollars in personal investment or a trip to a nearby observatory and chatting up its astronomers. It isn’t scripture, it isn’t authority, it contradicts all scriptures of all religions to a greater or lesser extent (although apologists will ever find ways of twisting language to convince at least themselves that it doesn’t), and even though we have excellent reasons to think that the reasoning above is correct, it is still being investigated for consistency, accuracy, correctness, and things like the estimated size of the visible post-Big Bang Universe were still changing until a decade or so after the Hubble went aloft when they finally started to converge (basically, they had to make very precise measurements for their “standard candles” to extend the metrics to the edges of the visible Universe, at the end of “The Big Dark” post big-bang).

Since this is real science, it isn’t out of the question that there could be game changers out there — dark matter or energy, new physics, figuring out string theory. Even the Big Bang itself isn’t completely a done deal, although it is by far the most obvious explanation of the observations. You might well find a 97% (or even 100%) consensus among astronomers that the Big Bang is correct, but there are a number of unresolved issues — monopoles (where are they)? The observed matter/antimatter asymmetry. Flatness issues. And of course, we still lack a GUT that consistently handles things like quantum theory and gravitation and general relativity, which makes it difficult to answer all of the questions one might have about precisely how the BB might have worked.

Love it. Not my field, but hey, neither is climate science (although some days it feels like it).

rgb

278. Poptech says:

[snip - this argument is getting old -give it a rest -mod]

279. MiCro says:

I’ve loved astronomy since I was 8-10. About 12 years ago I started doing astrophotography.
This is my picture of Andromeda, I collected almost 40 hours of exposures(5 min@ a time), this is the best 19 or so hours.
My interest is Nebula’s and Galaxies.

280. @rgbatduke at 7:52 am
It is a shame that Astronomy is such a cold weather “sport.”

You covered a lot of subjects, but you left out one of my favorites: The AU.
Why do we measure the distance from the Sun in AU? Because via geometry we quickly found the distances of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn as a ratio of the Sun-Earth distance.
But finding the Sun-Earth distance was REALLY hard. It was via the Transits of Mercury and Venus that we established that key baseline. You had to measure Venus’ shadow across the earth to simultaneously determine its diameter and relative velocity. Geometry problem: Isosolies triangle with known base length and opposite angle. This took exquisit timing across multiple places on the earth with synchronized clocks. And we needed to know the longitude of the places we measured it. All in the day when precise timing and longitude were edge of the envelope technology. With Venus, you got only 2 chances eight years apart every 113 years. Tricky.

281. @MiCro
Great photo. When all you have is an eyeball, it is easy to see why it was called a “Planetary Nebula” and completely misjudge size and distance.

Oh, and I was wrong about 1930. Hubble found the Cepheids in 1925

282. MiCro says:

It is a shame that Astronomy is such a cold weather “sport.”

Well, that’s not always a bad thing. Unless you have a big scope (> 18-20″) you really can’t see much of galaxies or nebulae with your eye, they just aren’t bright enough. I learned this when I got my first scope, and figured out I couldn’t see star clusters and such like I saw in pictures. Unless, you have a big scope or take long exposure images(or both). Digital cameras are what got me into imaging, faint objects really need long exposures or darker skies than what i have(or once again both). And the colder it is the longer exposure you can take without getting a lot of thermal noise that you have to process out. Some of my best pictures were captured with 12 minute exposures @ about 5F. Fortunately you can spend an hour or so getting everything setup, and then go inside while it captures data.

283. MiCro says:

Oh, let me drag this back a little more on topic.
To remove thermal noise from your images, you take a number of “Dark” frames, a number of exposures of the same length as your “Light” frames , that you average together into a statistically averaged thermal noise map, this then gets subtracted as you stack your light’s, removing the noise. But Darks have to be taken at the same temp as lights, and if you log the temp, you can create a library of darks so you don’t have to waste a lot of precious imaging time not collecting photons.
So I started logging temperatures on clear sky nights, starting just after dark to well into the night, and I became more and more bothered by how much the temp dropped after dark, through all of that heat retaining Co2………..

284. @MiCro 1:52 pm.
Thanks for the skilled tip. To clarify…
You Stack the Lights
You Stack the Darks (for the same temps as the lights)
You subtract the Stacked Darks from the Stacked Lights.
What software do you use? Photoshop?

285. MiCro says:

That’s it basically. You can also add bias frames (Darks (lens cap on) for the shortest exposure which collects the pixel and read circuit noise), and flats non-saturated exposures of a uniform field (the day time sky works) which captures optical field flatness. I use a Shareware program called DeepSkyStacker to process all of my subs (stack and then adjust levels since the program has the full range of fractional values) then I do a little bit of polishing (curves, and final level adjustments) in Photoshop.
There’s a great book “The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing” by R. Berry and J. Burnell that has all the gory details, and the Forums @ http://www.cloudynights.com has a treasure of info as well.
I’ve been using Canon DSLR’s, which have great low noise sensors, and there are some excellent cooled astro cameras available.
Capturing photons is pretty straight forward, making the optics track a single spot in the sky to within a few pixels is the hard part. You need a high quality German Eq. mount, and depending how good it is you may also need a guide scope that you lock on to a star and servo the mount to point in one spot. I use another shareware program called PhD Guiding for that. They even have ways to guide out the turbulence of the atm.
This is how you do deep sky imaging, different objects (planets, Solar, orbital) need whole different approaches as well as possibly completely different equipment. But I’ve always like Galaxies, Nebulae, and blown up stars. I even have a low quality before and during Supernova in M101.

Oh, you also catch cosmic ray events, if you go to my link and look up all the articles, you find one there on that topic.

286. Mario Lento says:

I just need to say this one more time about BEST. They intend to make money based on convincing people that CO2 is not clean and is the cause of global warming. They are not trying to find truth, since truth could destroy their charter. They are in fact selling a product which in large part requires taking other people’s money to fund, while making life on earth much more difficult for everyone –except those who receive the people’s money.

The following is a direct quote from the FAQ section of BEST website:

“What is next for Berkeley Earth?
… One key element of this latter program will be to try to forge a new coalition between industry and environmental groups for the use of cleanly-produced natural gas as a bridging fuel to slow global warming over the next few decades – with a particular focus on China.”

Please, anyone, correct me if I’m in error here.

287. MiCro says:

Mario, I think the only ones with little financial interest are the many amateurs who analyze data and post on the various blogs and websites, and even then there’s the opportunity to turn it into a book or career like Dana Nutball did :) . What’s Mosh’s end game? He’s a volunteer now, but he’s well known now job offers will be presented, if they haven’t already been.

288. Mario Lento says:

MiCro says:

December 20, 2013 at 9:20 am

Mario, I think the only ones with little financial interest are the many amateurs who analyze data and post on the various blogs and websites, and even then there’s the opportunity to turn it into a book or career like Dana Nutball did :) . What’s Mosh’s end game? He’s a volunteer now, but he’s well known now job offers will be presented, if they haven’t already been.
++++++++++
My point is that people should know that there is financial incentive to not seek truth. Their statement proves that BEST seeks only proof that CO2 is:

1) pollution
2) causes global warming

If they find any evidence to the contrary, their business model becomes moot.

There can be no cogent discussion with people who have seek a specific outcome as the end game.

289. Richard D says:

You went to the right school. ;-)
+++++++++++++++++++++++
Yep, University of Louisville Speed School of engineering I was just a kid and worked in trauma center university hospital……very bad things came our way including a dude who decided to settle his fight with a shootout in our ER. I was better at the academic and physical stuff not knives and guns….

290. Richard D says:

Stephen Rasey says: December 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm
“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
You guys are too smart but we work hard too………… :)

291. Richard D says:

Stephen Rasey says:

December 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

@rgbatduke at 7:52 am
It is a shame that Astronomy is such a cold weather “sport.”

You covered a lot of subjects, but you left out one of my favorites: The AU.
Why do we measure the distance from the Sun in AU?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Old school. sir my complements