Mauna Loa to improve CO2 data reporting

Regular readers may recall our conversations this week on the hiccup in CO2 data from the Mauna Loa Observatory. I’m pleased to announce that I received this encouraging email today from Dr. Pieter Tans, who is responsible for the Mauna Loa CO2 data. The data reporting will improve.

—– Original Message —–
From: “Pieter Tans” Pieter.Tans@xxxxx.xxx
To: “Anthony Watts- TVWeather” awatts@xxxxxx.xxx
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2008 12:11 PM
Subject: Re: wrap up – again my thanks

Anthony,

I will start a change log with the next update, and the monthly file for

MLO that can be downloaded will have the number of days that went into

each month.  I will also add a description of how we actually make and

quality-control these measurements because I found a lot of

misperception about that.  These descriptions are in the scientific

literature but that’s too far removed from most people.

Pieter

Let me be the first to publicly congratulate Dr. Tans on this. On behalf of myself and others that frequent here, we sincerely appreciate this improvement in data detail and reporting. – Anthony

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47 thoughts on “Mauna Loa to improve CO2 data reporting

  1. I too congratulate Dr. Tans. The change log is very important with any notes. The QA function is of vital importance as well. A review of the measurements by a second party is part of the QA process. I believe the skill of the QA people must be on a par or better than the people doing the actual work. A second sign off of the work is typically in order (by whom, reviewed by whom).
    Terry

  2. hyonmin (13:40:44) :
    re.: I too congratulate Dr. Tans….. Yep, agree – but – there’s more to do.
    When Al Gore will get his – better deserved – Oscar for his movie ‘An Inconvenient Cold’ – somewhere between ’25 and ’40, then, only then, we succeeded.

  3. This is a very good sign and should be celebrated as doing the right thing (as opposed to the correct thing).
    Of course, it is to be expected from some who spells his name — Pieter — with an “i.”

  4. More data, more openness and more information is always a good thing for science.
    It may or may not be a good thing for various theories, but for science in general; I’ve never seen the problem be that too much data and information was available.

  5. Thank you Dr. Tans.
    Just as Anthony has demonstrated the importance of (or lack of) quality temperature data, we that frequent this site appreciate that you see the importance of your data quality.
    (After all, trillions of dollars of our future economy depend on this type of data.)
    With respect,
    Gary

  6. Dr. Tans
    Thanks for adding the change log and number of days of data.
    May I encourage you to also add the raw data by date, together with any calibration adjustments etc. That would give other scientists the opportunity to apply their own models to the raw data which may reveal features that would otherwise be hidden in conventional processing.
    The relationships between Total Solar Insolation, Global temperature, Ocean temperature and CO2 are key differences between various climate theories. The relative phase differences between CO2 and ocean temperature may be detectable through some processing of raw data which may be hidden by conventional averaging.

  7. Congratulations are in order to Dr. Tans. Such a move may add to his work but it also makes the work done more transparent.
    As a skeptic, I’m really not interested if the data that comes out agrees with my understanding of the science or not. What is important is being able to see how the results were arrived at. With such understanding comes a greater appreciation of the work being done by a true scientist. Everyone has an opportunity to learn; even Dr. Tans might get a flash of unexpected insight from some hidden intellect out there in the general populace.
    After reading Dr. Tans’ final sentence, let me just say not to underestimate the intelligence of the not so ordinary layman. He might be surprised what the ordinary layman can grasp if the layman thinks it’s something important enough to grasp.

  8. Thank you Dr. Tans.
    I am looking forward to see any further information about athmospheric C02 measurements at Mauna Loa Observatory.
    More data, more openness and more information is always a good thing for science.
    I’ve never seen the problem be that too much data and information was available.
    I agree, the whole scientific community can benefit from this.
    Regards from Hungary

  9. Robert Cote (15:34:15) stole my thunder. Those who hide behind data secrecy need to be de-normalized; they have no place in the scientific community.

  10. Doctor Hansen & his Team members could learn a lesson or two from Dr. Tans on how to conduct science.

  11. Good news. Now if Dr. Tans could show the natural and man-made CO2 levels instead of lumping them together…

  12. I am uncomfortable with this quote from Dr. Tans;
    “We are very much aware that in a time when carbon dioxide emissions will cost a lot of money, there has to be an objective and fully credible way to quantify emissions. Without that, carbon markets cannot function efficiently, and policies cannot be measured relative to their objectives. We think that the atmosphere itself can provide objective quantification.”
    Who sent down THAT directive? That is the root of the whole human induced global warming scam. I really don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it seems “the powers that be” are looking for “quantification” in order to levee the appropriate taxation on the wealthier countries in the name of saving the planet.

  13. Anthony,
    This is OT, but EUReferendum.com references you. That is, oddly enough, where I found out about your site, it being one of their favorites. This time, however, the news is not so good, although the witty sarcasm they use in regards to AGW is deliciously funny. I don’t know how to put links in here without getting flagged, so I’ll just tell you it is under the heading of “There is Only One True God.”
    I will quote it. Verify it if you like by visiting their page. I quote:
    “In terms, there is no difference in the tenor of the messages. Thus, in “climate change”, we are not dealing with science but a belief system. The “scientists” are merely the High Priests of this strange new religion, their bible the IPPC assessment report. This is the Holy Writ, handed down from on High. There can be no deviation from The Word.
    This is why the likes of Watts up with that and Climate audit, invaluable though they are, will never prevail. They are attempting to deal, methodically and dispassionately, with the science. But this is a religion. And there is only one true God … the God of climate change.
    If you dispute this fact, you are an unbeliever, and you will be cast into to the Hell of a planet warmed by 4 degrees. We know this to be true – Professor Bob Watson has said so and The Guardian has printed it. No more proof is needed.”
    What is the old saying? Never discuss politics and religion at the dinner table?
    REPLY: Science is self correcting, and the process is usually methodical. While some would say I should fight fire with fire, that is not always productive. So far, my approach has made a lot of inroads.
    Nature will be the final arbiter of truth.

  14. Oh, by the way, their site has actual links to this site, climate audit, whatever Prof. Watson said and whatever the UK Guardian printed. Check it out yourself for references. Oh, but the spark of the column (not copied) was that yet another scientist has made yet another temperature rise predicition.
    What this time? I’ll quote a bit.
    “The EU is committed to limiting emissions globally so that temperatures do not rise more than 2C.”
    But…”There is no doubt that we should aim to limit changes in the global mean surface temperature to 2C above pre-industrial,” Watson, the chief scientific adviser to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told the Guardian. “But given this is an ambitious target, and we don’t know in detail how to limit greenhouse gas emissions to realise a 2 degree target, we should be prepared to adapt to 4C.”
    And, as expected, of course…
    “Globally, a 4C temperature rise would have a catastrophic impact. In the UK, the most significant impact would be rising sea levels and inland flooding. Climate modellers also predict there would be an increase in heavy rainfall events in winter and drier summers.”
    Hi ho. Hi ho. It’s off to Hell we go.

  15. I’m sorry to take up so much space, but when you read a funny story you have to share it. This is apparently from the Bart Simpson Institute of Science, where you’re darned if you do and darned if you don’t (to be polite). Again, from the Guardian article EUReferendum.com references:
    “He also said as coal burning is cleaned up to remove harmful sulphur pollution climate change would actually get worse. The sulphur aerosols are actually preventing some warming from taking place currently.
    “This offsetting effect, which is equivalent to about 100 parts per million of carbon dioxide, will largely disappear if China and India follow the lead of the US and Europe in limiting sulphur emissions, the cause of acid deposition,” he said.
    [end]
    Hmm, so it’s a choice between acid rain or runaway temperatures. Choices. Always choices.

  16. Re: Low Moaning CO2
    Well, well…
    Kudzu… kudos… sudoku… anyway congrats to you, Anthony! And a bushel or two of carbon credits to the doctor as well.

  17. This is nice. Dr Tans gets the praise of all the sceptics because he was responsive and willing to improve the quality of the observations. If Hansen would have taken this tone, he probably would get just as much praise… instead we got all the unsufruct and gorilla insults from him. I’m still amazed that a NASA scientist would degrade the public then expect their cooperation. And in the mean time, the quack over at broken mind is still harping about Anthony’s response to bad data that NOAA provided.

  18. I agree with David L. Hagen. Without seeing the raw data and what is done with it, the rest is just posturing.

  19. Very encouraging news. I hope the idea catches on.
    The Argo project seems to be doing a major job on the oceans.
    Their data is available but beyond me. Anyone out there
    attempting a provisional report?

  20. I also say thank you to Dr. Tans and to you, Anthony.
    As to science being self correcting, I agree entirely and admire the work that you and others are doing to forward the science. This is all essential. But how does one get the latest and best science through to the people that matter, the policy makers, in the quickest possible manner to stop them pursuing impossible goals at the expense of peoples’ lives and enormous sums of money?

  21. Why does this feel like a triumph? Using proper scientific method shouldn’t be a target we keep striving for, it should be expected.
    Thank you very much Dr. Tans, you show integrity in the face of those whom would preferr you kept your data “private” so the uninformed and fatally dull “Skeptics” won’t second guess the “Real Scientists”.
    I apologize for this coming off so negative. You did a good thing Dr. Tans, thank you very much.

  22. Anthony and Dr. Tans should take this as a win for everybody. This is what science does, it self corrects. Good scientists should welcome the input of helpful reviewers. The most helpful reviewer is the one who understands things well enough to spot the small mistakes you have stopped seeing in your own work because it’s all so familiar.
    And Anthony is completely correct that keeping on target with science is the way to go. Getting into the mud-slinging that some people allow themselves is just unhelpful. There are plenty of forums for people who want to shout about the non-science aspects of things. There are precious few places to talk about the science.
    Well done Anthony. Well done Dr. Tans.

  23. Dr Tans!
    Thank you.
    I appologize about the 1984 reference. Clearly it does not apply.
    I hope you are not too affected by the VOG. I hear it is quite bad, with crop failures and all.

  24. “raw data” from Mauna Loa.
    What is the raw data. ?
    The “raw data” linked to so far is,
    284,000 records of hourly averages, covering 32 years and 7 months.
    I am informed that is enough data for 4 EXCEL SHEETS.
    1) “hourly averages” are they not already processed data,
    in which case, what is the “raw data” ?
    2) The records do not include wind vector or temperatures.
    3) “rejected, diurnal variation (upslope)” in the records implies quality control decisions,
    but there is no basis, or data, or reference papers explaining these occurences.
    4) There is no way to tell if the instruments, or stations, or calibrations of the records is continuous.
    I asked elsewhere, and these were the points raised..

  25. It will be very interesting to see an analysys of the satellite temperature record, against the new AIRS satellite CO2 record. What amazing times we live in!
    Can you imagine a three dimensional representation of the sea surface temperatures, the UAH atmospheric temperatures, the AIRS CO2, water vapor, clouds, sea level and any other satellite data that is available, all from the last five years, and all coming together on a supercomputer?
    Truly a magnificent and worthwhile usage of the resources available. My only fear is that this will NOT come to pass if we believe the science is settled…
    I think that type of climate model, of the recent past, is a dream worth pursuing.

  26. I have continued my email exchange with Dr. Tans regarding the post-collection processing of the MLO data.
    I am still digesting some of his material, but he did include a paper which I have made that paper available here: http://tinyurl.com/5q6uob
    Regarding the paper, he states:
    “I have attached Kirk Thoning’s paper describing the data at Mauna Loa, and how we extract the “background” signal from it. “Background” is defined as not influenced by locally generated CO2 variations on the island, either through photosynthesis, respiration, or human activity. Then we separate the purely seasonal cycle caused mainly by photosynthesis and respiration from the underlying upward trend. The methods have evolved a little since that paper, but they are still largely the same.”

  27. Anthony,
    In reply to my first posting you said:
    “Science is self correcting, and the process is usually methodical. While some would say I should fight fire with fire, that is not always productive. So far, my approach has made a lot of inroads.
    Nature will be the final arbiter of truth.”
    I really agree with both of you. I agree with your assessment of science, but I also have to agree with their assessment of the matter in terms of the larger socio-political context. There is a lot of money and power behind the AGW agenda, and thus a lot of corrupting influence. In those terms, you ought to go on just as you have to point out where the AGW case is weak and to criticize it on the merits of the science, as I hope other scientists and non-scientists will do. On the other hand, if the AGW is a political/quasi-religious movement, what good ultimately will the methodical self-correction of science do? Will anyone be paying attention? And will it move quickly enough to prevent us from committing economic and/or political suicide? I suppose those answers may be beyond the purview of this blog and its author, but they are nevertheless connected to its content.

  28. From now on I will refer to Dr Tans as Dr Transparent, I hope he doesn’t mind.
    Have a nice weekend everyone.

  29. Better science from better scientists. Dr. Tan sets an important example; demonstrates he is a scientist who knows how to act like one.
    (Let others take heed.)
    I hope he reads this thread and sees his honest efforts are supported.

  30. Dee Norris (15:35:27) :
    I have continued my email exchange with Dr. Tans regarding the post-collection processing of the MLO data.
    I am still digesting some of his material, but he did include a paper which I have made that paper available here: http://tinyurl.com/5q6uob
    Regarding the paper, he states:
    “The methods have evolved a little since that paper, but they are still largely the same.”
    End of quotes.
    To understand a staistic or statistics,
    first you must understand the assumptions behind the statistics.
    It is a little disconcerting that the best explanation given so far is so old,
    and admitted as out of date.
    The raw data is anything but unprocessed, so is in my eyes probably not what you would expect raw data to be.
    (ie unprocessed)
    I am not referring to voltages recorded by the machine / measuring device/s or such like, but the amount of data removed before the “averages” are calculated.
    It would appear much data is removed / discarded for reasons not fully explained, or for somewhat idealised reasons. I noted the reference to background levels that do not vary much at the South Pole so larger variations are discarded from the data at Mauna Loa, with words to the effect in keeping with the CO2 evenly missed assumption…
    I hope a later pdf is soon avaliable as this important data set and it’s statistics should have known assumptions,
    and therefore we may better understand the data set and it’s statistics.
    Dr. Tans is obviously the only (or one of the very few) man to ask at present,
    which in itself says much about the whole subject……

  31. @Derek
    There will be more to come, I suspect. When I get it, I will share it. He is not resisting to share material, I just have not marched into his office demanding it.

  32. @Dee Norris
    I genuinely look forward to Dr. Tans sharing more material.
    Keep up the good work.
    Q – Are there files containing the removed / discarded data.
    Then we would have the raw data.

  33. Anthony, I reference Dr. Pieter Tans email (final note) in the discussion under your posting: Post mortem on the Mauna Loa CO2 data eruption
    “We are very much aware that in a time
    when carbon dioxide emissions will cost a lot of money, there has to be
    an objective and fully credible way to quantify emissions. Without
    that, carbon markets cannot function efficiently, and policies cannot be
    measured relative to their objectives. We think that the atmosphere
    itself can provide objective quantification.”
    Am I correct in assuming that Dr. Tan supports the premise that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are responsible for global warming/climate change?
    In an earlier discuaaion, I believe I read that the MLO was isolated from CO2 vents.
    There are several vents on the Big Island of Hawaii, one a vent actively spewing lava and gases, that are in relatively close proximity to MLO and are located on the down-slope of Mauna Loa. These vents are not a source of CO2?
    Good health, good luck, good data,
    Ed Scott
    REPLY: They say they can differentiate the CO2 from the vents due to knowing the location and wind direction changes. Only when the wind blows a certain direction does there appear to be a CO2 input from thge volcanic vent.

  34. October 2008 shows a distinct up tick in the smoothed CO2 level at Mauna Loa. Can anyone point me to discussion of this uptick?

  35. Pingback: Itaquera » Mauna Loa CO2 recorde lugares menor ganho anual em sua história - talvez

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