GISS Releases September 2008 Data

GISS (Goddard Institute of Space Studies) Surface Temperature Analysis (GISSTemp) released their monthly global temperature anomaly data for September 2008. Following is the monthly global ∆T from January to September 2008:

Year J  F  M  A  M  J  J  A  S

2007 85 61 59 64 55 53 53 55 50

2008 14 25 62 36 40 29 53 50 49

Here is a plot of the GISSTemp monthly anomaly since January 1979 (keeping in line with the time period displayed for UAH). I have added a simple 12-month moving average displayed in red.

For those astute readers of this blog, you will note how the addition of September data warmed our summer months:

GISS 2008  J  F  M  A  M  J  J  A  S

As of 8/08 14 25 60 42 40 28 50 39 ..

As of 9/08 14 25 62 36 40 29 53 50 49

In other words, when GISS closed the books on August, the summer average (JJA) was 0.39 C. Upon closing the books on September, the summer average increased to 0.44 C.

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Graeme Rodaughan
October 8, 2008 4:36 pm

How on earth can the past temperature averages go up?
How is such a change legitimate?
Reply by John Goetz: Graeme, read Rewriting History, Time and Time Again for an explanation of why the GISStemp algorithm produces such fluid numbers.

October 8, 2008 4:50 pm

Nope, doesn’t look like a hockey stick to me.

Bill Marsh
October 8, 2008 4:50 pm

Umm, August rose from 39 to 50? That’s a 22% increase. How does that work?
Meanwhile, take a look at the Arctic, the ‘refreeze’ this year is spectacular so far. wonder what the deal is there.

October 8, 2008 4:59 pm

Regarding the jump in August: I’m not a believer in conspiracies or the like, although some of the GISS practices seem to be questionable. I look for simple answers.
I believe GISS might put the data out early in the month, aiming for a specific day of the month. Sometimes that requires them to present incomplete data. If memory serves me well (and at my age that’s a rarity) the following map was missing Antarctic data a month ago, but it’s there now. And considering the magnitude of the Antarctic anomaly present in the following, its inclusion would explain a good portion if not all of that jump.
Did anyone save a copy of the August 2008 map or zonal mean plot from a month ago?

Bill Marsh
October 8, 2008 5:00 pm

ROFL, leaves you able to speculate, “I wonder what the average temperature in August, 2008 will in September, 2010.”

Robert Wood
October 8, 2008 5:02 pm

Yes, but it only gets hotter in the GISS past when it was actually colder. If it were hotter, then it would become colder, due to global warming.
You have to maintain a coherent story.

Robert Wood
October 8, 2008 5:06 pm

Bill Marsh … poor, poor, innocent foolish boy.
the ‘refreeze’ this year is spectacular so far. wonder what the deal is there.
It’s due to global warming. Didn’t you follow the lesson?

October 8, 2008 5:06 pm

I’m confused too, along with the first post.
Where is the data “warehouse that keeps these records as they were released, rather than the revisions and redefintion of the temp record? I would like to see the record pre-and post-adjustment for record purposes. I know GISS adjusts all the time as I also follow the discussions on climate audit….
I guess I’m trying to understand how someone could be so wedded to their position that data corruption becomes common place? What happens when that position fails?

Bill Marsh
October 8, 2008 5:17 pm

In the same way that economic data like jobless numbers and job creation/loss is revised from month to month. A lot of it is because of additional data that was not available at the time the data is issued plus statistical corrections.
It just strikes me as funny.

Robert Wood
October 8, 2008 5:19 pm

Mongo, what is more shocking is that this is NASA.
Why does this branch of NASA put so much faith in bad terrestrial measurements (see and not satellite data? Kind of spoils the brand, doesn’t it?
Of course, sat data cannot be manipulated to give the answer one wants. And, of course, I would never use the word “fraud” in a public agora such as this.

October 8, 2008 5:29 pm

” I’m not a believer in conspiracies or the like,”
When it comes to GISS and Hansen, I am a 100% believer. I no longer acknowlege GISTEMP as a legitimate source of temerature data.

mark wagner
October 8, 2008 5:47 pm

I no longer acknowlege GISTEMP as a legitimate source of temerature data.
what he said.

Mike Bryant
October 8, 2008 5:54 pm

Proud NASA took us to the moon and the planets using slide rules.
Now they can’t keep a mid level bureaucrat under control.
NASA… the world is watching and laughing.
The new world power will not put up with this sort of self deception.
We better learn to speak Chinese soon.

October 8, 2008 5:55 pm

When adding a moving average, the Excel way [and others too, perhaps] is not correct as it introduces a phase shift of half the averaging period [which is clearly seen in the graph]. The correct way is to make a separate column and compute its values using a centered average, e.g. for cell C100: =AVERAGE(B94:B105). This still introduces a phase shift but now only half a month, so much less of a problem. And no moving average should be computed for the first and last six months.

George E. Smith
October 8, 2008 6:27 pm

Say Anthony, Marc Morano, put out a recent statement by UN climate head Rajendra Pachauri, regarding the certainty of man made climate change. He repeated that sorry statement, that 11 of the last 12 years, have been the warmest on record; and looking at your new GISS graph you can sort of see that might be true. But it begs the question: Ever notice how higher than usual readings tend to cluster around a maximum ? It’s just a conjecture on my part, but I’ll bet that some of the lowest readings will be found clustered around a minimum.
Pachauri also repeated the well known fact that the 2007 ice retreat was the largest on record (since all the way back to 1979); and then claimed that we almost broke the record last month; which is a cool way of saying there wasn’t as much summer melt this year.
But speaking of the ice retreat and the “spectacular” refreeze; I have a conjecture which I will put here for all you experts to think about.
As you know, abnormal melting of the Greenland ice sheets are supposed to raise the oceans 20 feet and flood New York; and the reduced salinity from all that fresh water, is supposed to shut down the gulf stream; that thermohaline thing. Now here is my thought. The normal ocean is about 3.5% salt content, and freezes at about -2.5 deg C. Unlike fresh water, sea water has no density maximum down to the freezing point; and that is true for anything more than 2.47% salinity.
So all that fresh or diluted surface water layer sloshing around in the Arctic from all that melted Greenland ice, has a much higher freezing temperature than normal sea water; the 2.47% salinity water freezes at -1.33 deg C, and anything less that may not sink, will freeze at an even higher temperature.
I would expect then, that a large melt of the Greenland ice sheet, would lead to an earlier and more intense refreeze of the arctic ocean, and in fact all of that Greenland ice melt might just refreeze in the Artic, since once the ice starts to form, the Arctic temperature should then drop faster due to the increased albedo effect.
So I am not at all convinced that the melting of Greenland ice will actually raise sea levels much at all, but just get transferred to the sea ice pack.
So what do all you experts think of that possibility ?

October 8, 2008 6:36 pm

Thank you guys for the chuckle…especially regarding the August 2008 data in Sept 2010…still has me going.

Robert Wood
October 8, 2008 6:45 pm

GISS – Gore Inspired Science Scam

Paul Linsay
October 8, 2008 7:08 pm

Graeme Rodaughan (16:36:42) :
“How on earth can the past temperature averages go up?
How is such a change legitimate?”
It’s not, it’s totally unphysical. And it’s just an exercise in careful data collection and arithmetic. Yet we’re supposed to believe that the same people can correctly model the earth’s climate one hundred years into the future with a hugely complex computer program that is supposed to solve a very large number of coupled nonlinear partial differential equations.

Mike Bryant
October 8, 2008 7:10 pm

Speaking of Hansen:
“Hansen says Arctic ice will melt completely during each summer in five to ten years but that it can be reversed if mankind stops burning fossil fuels and phases out coal, the chief cause of manmade greenhouse gasses.”
Five to ten years… I hope Hansen doesn’t get a side job over at CT. That could be really interesting. Although I have noticed that CT has the NH Sea Ice Extent numbers all the way back to 1900. They haven’t adjusted it in a while.

October 8, 2008 7:32 pm

George E. Smith.
I belive the currents in the Arctic would take Greenlands fresh water melt into the Atlantic.
One of the problems I have with what is said about Arctic warming is that they never talk about what happens on an annual basis. It is my opinion that the Arctic looses much more heat from non-multi-year ice than from multi-year ice. The Arctic looses 9-10 million sq. Km of sea ice every year. It melts at about -1.6 C and sinks. All that open water radiates a lot of heat when the sun is down.

Neil Crafter
October 8, 2008 7:39 pm

Mike Bryant
I checked out that link and Hansen with his “planetary emergencies” and “tipping points” are growing very wearisome. I couldn’t stomach reading all the way through. I wish NASA would reach a tipping point and tip Hansen into retirement.

Graeme Rodaughan
October 8, 2008 7:41 pm

Hi Mark,
The sea ice numbers could be adjusted as much as any one likes – hiding the Arctic Ice would be a bit difficult… 🙂

Michael J. Bentley
October 8, 2008 7:49 pm

Of course it doesn’t look like a hockey stick, your using the wrong program.
Here’s how to do it.
You squint your eyes real hard, and think like a hockey puck.
Presto – A hockey stick.
Sorry all, couldn’t help myself…

October 8, 2008 8:07 pm

Mike Bryant (17:54:13)
This is not your father’s NASA. After Challenger I stopped believing. The sorry details go way beyond those O rings.

Mike Bryant
October 8, 2008 8:10 pm

They can hide the sea ice wherever they hid all that heat.

Michael J. Bentley
October 8, 2008 8:50 pm

I’m a bit denser then you are – It took the Columbia to prove to me that NASA was just another gv’t institution where the inmates were in charge and the rocket scientists (and engineers) were long gone.
A sad commentary on our science, nation and educational system.

October 8, 2008 9:00 pm

I wonder what the temperature of August 2008 was in September 2000.

October 9, 2008 12:38 am

I think I will take this mathematical approach when completing my tax forms this year. I could save myself a fortune: “sauce for the goose” and all that…

October 9, 2008 12:52 am

Why all this fuss about August temp going from 39 to 50?
The adjustments that are made are typically small corrections (see June or July) and can be in both directions (see April). But hey, it seems most people just do not “see” when temps are adjusted in a non-global-warming-conspiracy way.
Please stop being paranoid…

October 9, 2008 2:11 am

George you are making a basic error.
Ice on Greenland doesn’t displace any water so has no impact on sea levels. If you transfer that ice to the arctic then it floats on water a hence displaces its equivalent volume resulting in a sea level rise. Ice melting/forming in the arctic has no direct impact on sea levels, its only ice melting/forming on land masses that directly impact the sea level

October 9, 2008 3:54 am

Agreed about the moving average phase shift. FWIW, WFT does it exactly as you suggest (and hence chops 6 months off each end):

Mary Hinge
October 9, 2008 4:15 am

Mike Bryant (20:10:38) :
“They can hide the sea ice wherever they hid all that heat.”
They’ll probably have to hide all the Antarctic ice now as well….

Bob B
October 9, 2008 5:05 am

Flanagan, most of GIStemp corrections are upward in the recent past and downward in the firther past giving GIS temp a more pronounced positive slope.

October 9, 2008 5:13 am

Hiya folks,
Excellent article and excellent feedback. All of this hullaballoo is simply nothing more than that, and Flanagan, we’re not being paranoid. Besides, just because I’mparanoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me! This Gaia-worship thing, let by the high priest Al Gore, is simply a way to milk more money out of us poor slobs.
Anybody take a look at the bailout package we US Citizens were so generous in implementing? There’s CARBON TAX issues in it; there are also paragraphs/sections on bailing out television/movie production companies, etc.
Looks like the greens are going to win, along with the rest of the “elected” masters (ahem).

Scott Covert
October 9, 2008 7:09 am

Since the Greenland ice pack comes and goes (geological time scale), in retrospect it seems that flooding of coastal areas is inevitable. Not a disaster, more like a stock market “correction”. It will also move at a snail’s pace and allow plenty of time to move buildings inland as the level elevates. It won’t destroy anything. Moving city borders happens daily, usually outward but can be moved inland just as easily. Al Gore’s images of skyscrapers wading in sea water is just stupid.

October 9, 2008 7:41 am

Here’s a plot with the 12 month ma centered, along with a smoothed trend line (using HP smoothing):

Michael J. Bentley
October 9, 2008 8:05 am

A little OT but still in the ballpark I think…
Has anyone else laughed at those commercials touting hydrogen fueled vehicles (or LPG or NG or whatever “clean fuel”)?
Here’s the flunked giggle test for me. The announcer entones “And only pure water is the exhaust.”
I’m rolling on the floor.
On top of the fact that, if our astronomers are correct, hydrogen is truely “a fossel fuel” being the oldest element.
Ya know, there’s almost enough material in on of those commercials for a great stand-up comedy routine.

Rod Smith
October 9, 2008 9:00 am

Isn’t it taxpayer’s money funding all these “math wizards?” Why should we tolerate such nonsense from well paid “scientists?”

Russ R.
October 9, 2008 9:05 am

GISS has become a passion play about a small bureacrat with a big ego, pretending to be a super hero. The idea that they are accurately presenting data, is the plot line, to keep funding for this little charade.
The problems with site installations, and UHI, both past and present, have rendered this “data” corrupted, and requires our hero to fix it, in a way that shows how evil our modern society has become.
So now it is a political tool, allowing the Chicken Littles of the world, a piece of sky to parade around to the horror of those who are easily fooled.

October 9, 2008 9:22 am

The real sham about hydrogen is that it’s most commonly sourced from natural gas, so there’s carbon desequestering tossed in.
I have seen a concept of using wind generated electricity to power hydrogen generation from water by electrolysis. If you got hydrogen by that method, you could reduce some of the wind variability issues on output, provide a portable “storage” method for excess power, and make the hydrogen-water cycle a closed loop.

George E. Smith
October 9, 2008 9:39 am

>>”TerryS (02:11:26) :
George you are making a basic error.
Ice on Greenland doesn’t displace any water so has no impact on sea levels. If you transfer that ice to the arctic then it floats on water a hence displaces its equivalent volume resulting in a sea level rise. Ice melting/forming in the arctic has no direct impact on sea levels, its only ice melting/forming on land masses that directly impact the sea level “<<
Sorry TerryS, but it is you that are making a basic error. The whole concern with any Greenland ice melt, is that Greenland ice, like Antarctic ice, is presently sitting on land; but if it melts or breaks off and falls into the ocean, it increases the total mass of water contained in the ocean, and there is no way that doesn’t immediately raise the level.
Just try filling a glass with water, and then dropping a couple of ice cubes in it; it will overflow.
It is the floating sea ice; not the land ice, whose melting wouldn’t raise the ocean level. But even that has been misrepresented. In Jan 2005, “Physics Today” letters to the editor, I wrote a letter (actually sent June 2004) commenting on a book review of Spenser Weart’s book “The Discovery of Global Warming.”
In that letter which Weart pooh-poohed in a comment, I pointed out that when the floating sea ice melts, the sea level will not go up (Archimedes), but it will not stay the same either; it WILL go down.
And the reason it will go down is simple 8th grade high school science. The latent heat of freezing for water is 80 calories per gram, and when floating ice melts, the heat to melt it supplying that latent heat comes out of the water it is floating on; not out of the air which is a much weaker heat source. So when the sea ice melts it cools an astronomical amount of surrounding ocean water, which shrinks, so the level must go down. As I pointed out above sea water has no maximum density down to the freezing point (for salinity greater than 2.47% (3.5% is normal)); so cooling seawater always contracts. As I said Weart poohpoohed my suggestion.
In mid 2006, two years after I wrote my letter and 18 months after it was published, a British/Dutch team reported on ten years of measurements of the arctic ocean sea level made with a European polar satellite. Their results which they said they were highly confident of, showed the Arctic ocean sea level had been falling at 2 mm per year.
Kent’s comment that melting Greenland ice would flow into the Atlantic (and not the Arctic) is of interest; and I don’t know what those currents are. I have a query into a Greenland glaciologist now seeking some insight. I still think it is an interesting possibility; and thanks Kent, I did wonder about the currents; but assumed that the gulf stream would keep pushing water north, since surface water has to go north to cool and sink, to keep that circulation going.
This winter is going to be very interesting as far as sea ice goes.

George E. Smith
October 9, 2008 10:05 am

OOoops !!!
Well I see a slight snag there triggered by TerryS comment; the typing hand was quicker than the brain.
When (if) the Greenland land ice falls into the sea and melts; IT DOES INCREASE THE OCEAN WATER MASS SO THE SEA LEVEL MUST GO UP.

October 9, 2008 10:08 am

Michael J. Bentley, do you have to squint your eyes until they bleed? Because I am squinting really hard and still don’t see the hockey stick. It hurts!

October 9, 2008 10:15 am

About the sea level and other lies from IPCC and Gore… refresh your memories with this article:

George E. Smith
October 9, 2008 10:15 am

I hit the wrong button there. So the sea level will go up if lots of Greenland or Antarctic land ice melts.
But there is the possibility that the Greenland melt woul transfer that fresh water to the Arctic ice pack and become floating sea ice (at an elevated sea level) and that increased Arctic ice would increase the albedo.
I have also wondered about the issue Kent raised about the open water in the arctic radiating faster than the ice, and cooling more. Open water must radiate almost like a black body with about 97% emissivity, and of course it is also warmer than the ice, so that should be true. There is also the evaporation cooling. The saturation vapor pressure over water and ice at the same temperature, is not very different; but assuming that sea ice is cooler on top than open water, there will be a slight evaporative cooling that exceeds the sublimation over the ice.

October 9, 2008 11:00 am

Nope, doesn’t look like a hockey stick to me.
Look again, the “toe” s pointing down.

Sam Urbinto
October 9, 2008 1:59 pm

I can see how putting out tentative numbers when more data is added could go up or down (and depending on the type and behavior of tentative data, usually do one or the other). I’m not so sure about the statisitical corrections. Both of those of course ignore the temperature samplings themselves and the methods by which the means are gathered and combined.
On the other hand, let’s not forget what August was, a mean of means of means of means of derived sampled global readings, and it only changed .11 Folks, we’re only talking about .11 And then we can ask the question; what type of margin of error does each month have?
More than .11 I’d guess.
But what about the trend? Well. I have a chart from 1945 up here, where I removed the persisting +.2 from 1959-present and another +.2 from 1992-present. So indeed, we have seen the anomaly sitting on a .4 platform for the last half “real climate” period of 30 years.

October 9, 2008 2:12 pm

Off topic. The current Arctic ice recovery.
Graph link:
It seems like the ice extent may reach a 7 year record any month if the global temperature stays low, at average 1980th temperatures. But 7 year record is only like …7 years ago and far below ice extent average since 1979, but the trend may be broken!

October 9, 2008 2:13 pm

Ray, remember, you have to think you’re a hockey puck. Then everything looks like a hockey stick.

October 9, 2008 2:40 pm

[…] GISS Releases September 2008 Data […]

October 9, 2008 2:50 pm

Keith, I guess Al Gore never played hockey. Not only he is fat but when I was young we used to bend our stick (left or right depending on which side you held your stick) so we could grab the puck easier. This temperature hockey stick is so bent now that it will snap.

October 9, 2008 3:01 pm

Michael J. Bentley (20:50:34) :
You didn’t read the book on Challenger that I did. I’ve lost it and can’t even remember the title, but based on what I read Dr. Fletcher, the head of NASA at the time, should have at least been charged with lying to congress about the shuttle when it was proposed and should have be charged with negligent homicide for shuttle design and construction.

Dave Andrews
October 9, 2008 3:20 pm

Vicky Pope, head of climate change for government at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre,
said last year that a tipping point could soon be reached (2 degree rise in temperature) that would lead to the melting of the Greenland icesheet!
She then added that this might take 3000 years!! to occur.
Strange that Hansen talks about centuries for this to happen – but I suppose 3000 years are only 30 centuries

John M
October 9, 2008 3:51 pm

“Mary” (04:15:40) :

<They’ll probably have to hide all the Antarctic ice now as well…

Since you refer specifically to the Antarctic, I wonder why you didn’t link to the Southern Hemisphere charts.
Yessir, mighty impressive trends there!

Michael J. Bentley
October 9, 2008 4:43 pm

You’re right – I haven’t read the book, I only have what the press put out, and some info from my own “unidentified highly placed sources”. Therefore I only have part of the story.
The issue that makes me angry is after causing the “event” NASA hasn’t removed the cause, simple arrogance – “We’re the rocket scientists – and you’re not”. This CO2 caused global warming fiasco, at least NASA’s part in it, stems from the same mindset that sent the Challenger to it’s doom, and brought the Columbia to it’s firey end.
Sadly the NASA noise is drowning out legitimate voices doing good science that presently are on both sides of the fence.
The UN’s issue, I think stems from an entirely different mindset altogether.
Just maybe those who are saying the economic downturn will “help the environment” are correct. By slowing some of the overblown and downright dangerous fooling with the climate, the ol’ mudball might just be able to prove it’s in control, not NASA, not the UN, and certainly not us’ns.

George E. Smith
October 9, 2008 6:04 pm

Well being just a plain physicist/mathematician; with no credentials in the climate discipline; I can afford to look at all this stuff (the parts I understand) and not pay a lot of attention to the traditions. Hopefully this doesn’t tread on too many toes.
But thinking of GISS, or UAH or RSS or HADcrut, which you presented a nice compact dissertation on Anthony, not so long ago, I have a hard time seeing what all the fuss is about.
Somewhere Ir ead, that back in the 1850-1900 time frame, there were precisely 12 measuring stations in the Arctic; that being above Lat +60. This number gradually grew over the years to anumber about 86 if I remember correctly, and then declined to aorund 72; which I took a wild guess might have been a result of the implosion of the Soviet Union.
So throughou all this messing around with the instrumentation; I guess these global temperature watchers maintained the illusion that they still knew what the global temperature was relative to what it was in 1850 or thereabouts. The fact that they call them anomalies suggests they aren’t supposed to be different from zero, and nobody knows what zero really is; that being the unknown average of some baseline time frame.
So I don’t have the foggiest idea just exactly what James Hansen does for his annual budget, in order to come up with that one magical number that the lay press tells the public is the actual mean temperature of the earth.
Well we know it isn’t that, because the actual mean temperature of the earth would immediately vaporize every living thing on this planet.
So maybe its the average surface temperature of the planet, that being the most apparent thing you could actually see.
But then it isn’t that either; because some of those barn owl boxes that Anthony has shown us in funny places aren’t even on the ground.
So how exactly would you go about measuring the true average temperature of the earth’s surface; assuming that there even is some scientific significance to such a number (which there isn’t; except to compare it with previous calculations of the same number which also didn’t mean anything. I’ll explain why it doesn’t mean anything later.
So if I were to ask a bunch of 8th grade science students how to measure the average temperature of the earth’s surface; they wouldn’t have any problem coming up with a method. You simply measure the temperature at every point on the surface continuously, and then you integrate all that over time (say one year) and all over the earth surface. Well you can’t actually measure the temperature of every point, because that takes an infinite number of thermometers, so you can only sample it here and there.
you could start with the fundamental MKS units of the metre, and the second, and simply put a thermometer in the middle of each square meter plot, and read it once per second. Then after you have a year of data, you simply add all those numbers, divide by the number of seconds in a year, and divide by the surface area of the earth, and you get the average. What could be simpler ?
Well that still takes a lot of thermometers. And the sun moves about 463 meters in one second (equator), so you should either measure more often, or put the thermometers further apart. A good compromise would be to use a 1 km square rather than 1 metre, and read it once per second.
Obviously you still can’t do this, but if you did, and added all those temps, dividing by the number of seconds in a year, and the number of square km of the earth surface, then you truly would ahve the mean surface temperature of the earth.
It would also be much better than GISS (or anybody else); because if you had all that data, you actually could reproduce the complete continuous surface temperature map of the earth for any second of time in a year, or any longer period of time if you had been recording it for the last 100 years or more.
One thing you can say about Hansen’s annual budget one magic number, is that you can never go back and say what the temperature was at any random point on earth and any particular time; you cannot reconstruct the past from any of the so called “anomally ” methodologies. Even if you kept all the data, from how ever many (or few) sites where you actually measure it; you couldn’t tell what the temperature was any place else or any time other than when you measured it.
The problem is you have violated the most fundamental law of sampled data systems; the Nyquist criterion.
Nyquist says you can completely reconstruct a continuous function f(x), if and only if f(x) is a “bandlimited” function, and you sample f(x) at a rate at least twice the maximum frequency present in the band limited signal. So if the bandlimited signal contains no signals at any frequency greater than (B), then sampling at a rate of 2B is sufficient to enable complete reconstruction of the original continuous function f(x) from the samples.
If however your signal contains a component with a frequency that is B+b; and you sample that at a rate 2B, then the reconstructed function will contain a spurious signal at a frequency of B-b ; and that signal is now inside the pass band of your desired signal strethcing from zero to frequency B; so no amount of filtering can remove the erroneous “noise”. this “Aliassing noise” will prevent you from accurately reconstructing the original continuous function f(x).
Note that if you violate the Nyquist criterion by a factor of two, so your signal contains components at 2B frequency, the same as your sample rate, you now get aliassing noise at a frequency of B-B, whcih is zero frequency, and is a polite name for the average value of the continuous function f(x).
So now you have the essence of the problem with GISS or anyone else. They don’t read their thermometer once a second or anything like it; maybe max and min for the day which is twice a day, and you can easily show that is not often enough to avoid aliassing of the temporal variable. then the temperature changes much faster spatially than the gaps between these owl boxes, so in temrs of the spatial variable of the continuous function F(s,t), you have gross violation of both the spatial and temporal Nyquist criteria, and there is no way to reconstruct that function so that you can properly determine even the average value.
What GISS gives you or anybody else is the numerical result of performing some algorithm on some set of raw data, and comparing the result with the result of the same process performed at some other time; like last year, on presumably the data from the same ssytem, that was apporpriate for last year. So you have a number, which is meaningless except in the concept of the previous computations of the same number using the same algorithm; which also don’t mean anything; let alone the mean surface temperature of the earth.
I have to go and eat, so I’ll tell you tomorrow, why the number doesn’t mean anything, even if you measure it correctly (which you can’t).

Gary Gulrud
October 10, 2008 6:48 am

George E. Smith:
Looks like enough material for a post to me. I was 4.0 in this data comm/transmission stuff and can say your analysis more than refreshed.

mark wagner
October 10, 2008 9:26 am

Just maybe those who are saying the economic downturn will “help the environment” are correct. By slowing some of the overblown and downright dangerous fooling with the climate, the ol’ mudball might just be able to prove it’s in control, not NASA, not the UN, and certainly not us’ns.
No, it won’t. As corporate and private grant money dries up due to the economic crisis, the shrill cries of impending doom will become louder, more frequent, and more scary. Only the most critical-sounding scenarios will continue to get funding.

George E. Smith
October 10, 2008 1:22 pm

“Gary Gulrud (06:48:48) :
George E. Smith:
Looks like enough material for a post to me. I was 4.0 in this data comm/transmission stuff and can say your analysis more than refreshed. ”
Thanks for the ratification Gary.
I don’t know beans about why the US climate is the way it is, and Africa’s the way it is; so I rely on the real Climatologists, like Singer, Lintzen, Spencer Christie et al; but when it comes to are we warming up or cooling down planet wise, and who’s in control of that; my thermodynamics, optics, and other aspects of Physics/Math incuding sampled data sytem theory are more than sufficient for me to comment intelligently (most of the time); and like a lot of other scientists, I take umbrage at these newspape “Science writers” who think that you can’t contribute if you don’t have a PhD in “Climate Science” (whatever that is). They don’t understand that basic physical principles operate in diverse fields from astronomy to semiconductors or particle physics. I could get a PhD in Ice cream making, but it never seemed useful to any of my employers; in some fields it’s mandatory .
All I care about is that they get the science correct, and nobody seems to mention that the whole of future energy policy the way things are going is predicated on the erroneous belief that CO2 is the devil incarnate. If that is not true; and I firmly believe it is not true, then suddenly the USA has more stored chemical energy than anybody else; if we just want to go get it. (responsibly of course).
The interesting thing about this ice business, is that the first polar orbit satellites went up circa 1979 to give us our first real look at polar ice extent. And it was that 1975/6 period, when the earlier fears of a coming ice age were rampant. so those early 1979 looks at the Arctic sea ice saw that ice at its most advanced stage in recent years, so everybody compares the 2007 meltback with not the normal ice, but the most advanced ice since the IGY in 1957/8.
But it is nice to see that all the Kayak adventure expeditions to the North Pole; had to be scrapped this year. I hate to wish a deep freeze on everybody, but taking a leaf out of James Hansen’s book, if that is what it takes to wake people up to the global warming scam; and get things back on a scientific footign then so be it.

George E. Smith
October 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Looking at either the GISStemp or UAH anomalies, one has to conclude that either the data of both is extremely noisy, or else it is not noisy but is real data.
In which case the five year running average concept makes no sense to me. You are just throwing away real data. I should add that I discarded the noisy option. so all those folks who say that the 2008 plunge doesn’t mean anything are implying that the numbers aren’t real.
I believe they are real numbers for whatever algorithmic ritual Hansen’s team and UAH go through; same for RSS, and HADcrut; but with those very rapid changes, I think it is fair to say they are certainly not the average temperature of the earth’s surface, which simply cannot change that fast.
If they were truly the average temperature of the earth’s surface, then you would have to say that any of the values is a real number and if the 2008 plunge says the temperature went back to its 1900 or its 1850 value or whatever, that that is a real effect, and whatever happens next will start from the latest low temperature value; it isn’t going to somehow know what the five year or ten year or whatever longer filtering you want to do, and try and return to that, it is going to move continuously form wherever it is at right now.
So the 1998 el nino peak, was a real uptick in whatever those algorithms compute from whatever data they input; but I don’t believe that the average surface temperature of the globe did anything like that.
On any midsummer day (north) the local temperature on the globe could be anywhere from as low as -90C (Vostock station) to maybe +60 in a northern tropical desert (surface temps), and actually everywhere between those extremes somewhere on the earth (due to that marvellous argument in Galileo’s “Dialog on the Two World systems”.
You could sprinkle thermometers around your house; in the freezer, and the oven, the attic, the TV set etc, and daily calculate your own house global temperature. Well you’d get some occasional “heat island phenomena, if your wife is baking a cake (or you are) when it is time to read the thermometers; but it will all average out over time. Of Course it won’t mean anything, because all of those locations have different thermal processes going on, that don’t simply relate to the local temperature; so averaging them makes no sense at all; they are supposed to be different.
Same goes for GISStemp of course; it doesn’t mean anything either, except with relation to all the previous GISStemp calculations, and all those yet to come. But it keeps a lot of scientists busy all round the world tending that thermometer in their local bat box or barn owl box.

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