There is a war of words going on between two scientific blogs over my project at www.surfacestations.org. The RealClimate blog, operated by pro AGW global warming scientists Penn State’s Dr. Michael Mann and NASA’s Dr. Gavin Schmidt, and others, has posted a six point rebuttal to the effort saying that it is only marginally useful. It’s called “No Man is an (Urban Heat) Island”.
Dr. Roger Pielke, of the University of Colorado, runs a blog called Climate Science which looks at a wide variety of topics on climate change outside of the AGW mainstream, has posted his response to RealClimate’s rebuttal in defense of the project saying its good science. The debate is intense, and some normally reserved scientists are letting the fur fly over the issue. There’s sensible debate, science at high levels, diatribe, rhetoric, and even a “Tasker” like character who is a scientist for a major university that uses a doppelganger persona to attack ideas rather than risk his own credentials.
All because I want to take some pictures of weather stations and put them online in a publicly open database for the purpose of evaluating the weather station network and it’s data integrity. Go figure.
I guess I should be flattered that people are fighting over my idea, but I’d really rather just get on with the project and see what comes out of it. I figure that the established science should be able to withstand the scrutiny of a former TV weatherman and some volunteers taking pictures. If not, there’s something really wrong. I’m not getting involved in the bickering, I’m just keeping to the work I and the volunteers have started. We are almost up to 100 stations surveyed now.
But I did find a nugget of wisdom in this entry on Climate Science which clears the air rather nicely:
If a [weather station] site is initially chosen because it meets all the qualifications for observing temperature, there is little about the site that could change to develop a cool bias. Almost all the changes will result in a warming trend from the original, ideal setting.
Natural changes such as the growth of trees and shrubs, reduce the clear sky radiation, resulting in a warming trend. Man made changes, such as increased building and paving in and around the site, also results in a warming trend that is unrelated to any potential climate change. Finally, deterioration of the shelter housing the instruments also leads to an artificial warming.
Any correction of these potential warming factors simply returns the site to its initial, ideal state. The only way to get an artificial cooling is to start with a less than ideal setting for recording air temperature and improve it. While this may have happened in a few locations, it is obvious that the gradual degradation of recording sites is the norm.
The calculations of the temperature increase due to increasing CO2 are theory, which can only be verified with actual, accurate data. Those who claim that the accuracy of the data is not relevant are, in effect, defending a theory against reality, which is faith, not science.
I know that supporters of the AGW theory get very upset when they are accused of behaving in a religious fashion, instead of behaving like scientists. To avoid this, I suggest they start behaving like scientists and support the effort to obtain the best data possible.
Comment by Jim Clarke — July 4, 2007 @ 6:23 pm