GISS's Gavin Schmidt credits WUWT community with spotting the error

I was driving in the middle of Nevada when all this happened, and was offline the entire time. So I can’t claim any credit here.  But, it sure is nice to see that the collection of people who visit and post here have had an impact. I offer my particular thanks to WUWT contributor John Goetz. It seems Gavin agrees. I’m up early this morning on my trip back home, and I was quite surprised to find this on RC. See this comment from Gavin Schmidt on Real Climate:

You and McIntyre are mistaken. The first intimation of a problem was posted on Watt’s blog in the comments by ‘Chris’ at around 4pm EST. By 7pm in those comments John Goetz had confirmed that the NOAA file was the problem. Notifications to the GISTEMP team of a problem started arriving very shortly after that, and I personally emailed them that evening. However, no action was taken until the next morning because people had left work already. They had decided to take the analysis down before 8.14am (email time stamp to me) since the overnight update to the NOAA file (uploaded 4.30am) had not fixed the problem. McIntyre’s intervention sometime that morning is neither here nor there. Possibly he should consider that he is not the only person in the world with email, nor is he the only person that can read. The credit for first spotting this goes to the commentators on WUWT, and the first notification to GISTEMP was that evening. – gavin

John Goetz writes later in RC comments, it appears that Steve McIntyre at least raised the consciousnous level with his first blog posting:

For what it is worth, Chris posted his discovery on WUWT about 45 minutes before I made my update indicating an error existed. However, I made my posting because of two emails Steve Mc sent me about two hours prior. The first was the email John S. sent him, quickly followed by a confirmation from Steve. I simply had not checked email due to being busy with work. Steve had already written most of his post by the time I saw the emails.

Not sure it really matters who was there first. I am ashamed to say I saw the big red blotch in central Asia and was so insensitized that I did not investigate it further. Perhaps I’ve lost my critical eye.

Despite some commenters there at RC referring to WUWT in less than glowing terms, I’m pleased that this blog has been a vehicle for, ahem, “climate change”. 😉 Being first really isn’t all that important, getting the data right is.

Quality control is the issue. It is the reason that I started the surfacestations.org project. If after QC for climate data has been suitably addressed with a standards compliant methodology, such as ISO-8000, I’ll be satisfied with the final data. Right now I’m not convinced that the surface data is truly representative.

Gavin, if you’d like to do a guest post here on this error, the floor is yours. Just leave a comment or drop an email. – Anthony

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170 thoughts on “GISS's Gavin Schmidt credits WUWT community with spotting the error

  1. Respect to Gavin Schmidt and congratulations tu WUWT.
    Maybe Gavin could also discuss the systematic differences between satellite RSS/UAH data and the surface based GISS/HADCRUT data. My son has produced a comparison of the four sets, smoothed by 1y running mean, whereby he fixed on equal height the positions of the 1998 landmark El Nino peak. RSS/UAH are almost indistingiushable through 20 years of data, while HADCRUT lies on average 0.1 centigrade higher, and GISS another 0.1 centigrade. I will mail the plot.
    As the 1998 El Nino peak is (predominantly) a sea surface temperature anomaly, it appears, when the satellite data give higher weight to this peak, they give higher weight to ocean temperatures. Turn it around, the surface based GISS/HADCRUT data seem to give more weight to land data.

  2. Your title is incorrect. I have no connection to GISTEMP other than the fact they work out of the same building.
    REPLY: Yet you’ve spoken publicly on behalf of the GISTEMP product and the current issue, so forgive me for not immediately realizing there was “no connection”. I’ve changed the title to say GISS rather than GISTEMP in deference to your raising the issue. – Anthony

  3. On surfacestations.org we learn that many stations are badly placed, and data from them shouldn’t be trusted. But there are some of them which are OK. What happens when one compares the historical data of American temperatures from the observatories in the OK-set (say CRN=1,2), the not-OK-set (say CRN=4,5), and the total-set? Is that data available? Can it be done? I know that the good stations are possibly too few to make a good statistics, but I think it’d be amusing to see the differences, and a nice addition to the project.

  4. “Not sure it really matters who was there first. I am ashamed to say I saw the big red blotch in central Asia and was so insensitized that I did not investigate it further. Perhaps I’ve lost my critical eye.”
    Credit to Steve McIntyre for learning something about himself and how easy it is to color one’s scientific search for the NULL HYPOTHESIS, which is the proper way to conduct research and analysis. As far as I am concerned, that is the only way to view any such endeavor, and especially AGW theories.

  5. It’s nice to see credit given where it is due.
    More important than credit though. it the acknowledgment from Gavin Schmidt that no one at NASA is verifying/going through the records. If a giant mistake like this with the “warmest October on record” slips through, how many smaller mistakes are part of the permanent record. How can anyone rely on GISS to give temperatures accurate to even 1 C?
    The surface stations project, the dissection of the nonsensical UHI effects at CA, and now this. Is there any reason not to simply scrap it altogether?

  6. From the Gistemp website:
    “2008-11-12: It seems that one of the sources sent September data rather than October data. ”
    So, which ‘one source’ sends them the data for Russia, Denmark, Britain, Ireland, Australia…..
    Perhaps Gavin can enlighten us.

  7. Since GISS only has 1/4 FTE to manage the factual basis of re-engineering the world’s economy, Gavin should be grateful to Anthony for providing this free public service.

  8. helvio asked:
    “What happens when one compares the historical data of American temperatures from the observatories in the OK-set (say CRN=1,2), the not-OK-set (say CRN=4,5), and the total-set?”
    As Anthony knows, I did this comparison last year. Basically, these were the results (for the USA lower-48):
    – The GISTEMP trend is very close to the trend from the best stations (CRN=1 or 2, rural locations);
    – The worst stations (CRN5) show about 0.4 degC/century more warming than the best stations;
    Here’s a quick graph of the best, worst, and GISTEMP for the USA48:
    http://opentemp.org/_results/20071002_CRN12R_CRN5_TOBS/temp5yr_1951_1980.png
    More information and comparisons are available here:
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2124#comment-144287
    I’ve seen this question asked a number of times at WUWT. Anthony is aware of the results of the comparison between GISTEMP and the best stations.
    REPLY: And as John VanVliet knows, but never seems to mention, is that the comparison he did last year was in the first couple of months of the project, on a minimal data set, and that there were only 17 stations that made up the best (CRN1/2) group, and with poor spatial distribution.
    But, this conclusion from JohnV’s analysis has been trumpeted many times by others as being conclusive, even while the USHCN survey is still ongoing. If I had done this, and done an early analysis, I’d have been vilified for jumping the gun. When the survey is completed, or as near complete as is possible, that will be the time for doing the analysis comparing station quality groups. – Anthony

  9. It is particularly telling that Gavin Schmidt’s attack on Steve McIntyre should be of the ad hominem variety. McIntyre has (1) not claimed special glory in this case and (2) is still conducting an investigation into GISStemp’s appalling October anomaly work. In other words, McIntyre has his eye on the ball and is doing diligent, difficult work to ferret out misinformation.
    GISS’s “nothing to see here” should not be honored.
    This is a game-changing moment in the climate debates.

  10. It’s not important whether it’s WUWT or Climate Audit. A lot of folks (like Goetz) post both places. IMHO Schmidt is just trying to stir up trouble in the “skeptic” community.

  11. Sorry but I don’t think it was as much of a credit to WUWT as a snub to Steve McIntyre.
    The line regarding McIntyre; “Possibly he should consider that he is not the only person in the world with email, nor is he the only person that can read.” doesn’t impress me, except with the rudeness that it contains.

  12. Hi,
    Please forgive an OT which moderation can delete as they see fit.
    I read people talking about an icon up in the corner of the site that takes you to the Artic ice anomaly and graphic. I never have found that icon. Mebbe I’m just clueless . . but any help would be appreciated.
    Grant
    Reply: The Sea Ice link is the one just above the 5-day forecast, along the right side of the page [it’s two links above the “Sunspots” & “Weather from Phoenix Mars Lander” links]. ~ moderator

  13. I suspect that Gavin Schmidt is attempting to deny any credit to Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre who, on numerous occasions, has publicly shown that Schmidt lacks probity.

  14. Whoever spotted the problem… congratulations!! I know one thing, it would have never been spotted at Real Climate.

  15. What is the difference between GISS and GISTEMP? Only a buffoon would make an issue of it.
    Oh gee Gavin, stick to the fact that this was an error in the preliminary data that you guys get from someone else and that your boss refuses to label as preliminary.

  16. By Gavin’s deeds and words shall ye know him. This is a hostage to fortune as far as GISS Gavin and AGW are concerned. A bit like the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond banging on about the arc of prosperity that Scotland could join just before the Iceland banks went bust.

  17. Credit or blame aside, this shows the immense value of having folks with little or no axe to grind looking at the data. Take out the agendas, and you have a better chance of understanding what’s happening.
    Transparency. A good model for all of government.
    Cynical question: Will the MSM reeport that October wasn’t really the warmest on record?

  18. Obviously there’s no dispute between WU and CA on this matter. The issue was identified more or less concurrently by blog readers John S and Chris, one of whom brought the matter to my attention by email (which I forwarded to John Goetz as noted elsewhere he) and one of whom (Chris) was working his way through the problem here.
    On Tuesday morning, none of us had any basis for assuming that NASA was keeping up to date with either blog. While Gavin now admits to reading about the problem at Watts Up on Monday night, he did not leave a post here acknowledging the issue and saying that he would communicate the matter to those responsible in GISTEMP, as perhaps he should have.
    Accordingly, I sent Hansen a short and polite email notifying him of the problem. This was done as a courtesy. In response to such an email, in their shoes, based on what Gavin says they knew at the time. I would have sent a short reply, thanking me for the heads-up, saying that they were already aware of the problem via Watts Up and were working on a correction. I would have been quite happy to post up this message.
    Instead, Gavin now makes the following gratuitous insult:
    McIntyre’s intervention sometime that morning is neither here nor there. Possibly he should consider that he is not the only person in the world with email, nor is he the only person that can read.
    What conceivable justification does NASA employee Schmidt have this most recent outburst?
    I sent them a polite email. At no point did I claim any personal priority for noticing this particular problem.
    In NASA’s original disclosure of the error, they did not acknowledge the role of either blog, though Gavin now admits that he learned of the problem on Monday night from Watts Up. A reader of the NASA webpage could easily conclude that they had corrected the error through their own internal quality control. In response to a CA reader admonishing me for my post, I pointed to the fact that their changes had occurred after my email, which at least set a time after which they could be presumed to be aware of the problem (because to that point no one at NASA had acknowledged either blog). I criticized Hansen because of their failure to acknowledge sources; a reference to Watts Up would have been fine. I did not claim any personal priority. Schmidt’s outburst is entirely uncalled for.
    In their most recent notice, NASA has continued to omit any direct reference to the blogs. They now thank “many” who notified them of the problem. However, I’m quite sure that the sources for the “many” ultimately derive entirely from the readership of the two blogs.

  19. JohnV,
    That GISSTEMP plot has a gift that keeps on giving. The initial anomalous low temps that bake a larger long term warming trend into any analysis. Unless you are somehow arguing that the CRN12 thermometers, randomly scattered through the set had some statistically improbable unified eroneous warm reading.
    More likely the rising trend is a result of the garbage stations which were affected noticable by rising UHI during the postwar boom which forced up the average over the thirty years bewtween ’51 and ’80 higher than it would have been absent an outside trend, which was then was baked into their long term average acting like a thumb on the left side for that green line, and also threw off GISSTEMP in a similar fashion. The assumption that there was no UHI trend in the ’51 to ’80 data when your normalizing average was calculated is the Achiles heel of your argument.
    Just saying.

  20. I think gavin is graciously responding to a post I made stating that we can all agree on two things. Finding errors is good. giving credit where credit is due is good. Everybody, ( yours truly included) has engaged in some unscientific motive hunting. generally, this diverts us from factual questions we can at least hope to answer.

  21. All: Off topic.
    I received an invitation for this UNEP “Climate Change Survey”. As Leif and I have commented on before, this does not indicate a keen selection process.
    It regards the upcoming COP 14 and 15, and the negotiations post Kyoto.
    I am pretty sure that they didn’t want this out in the wild, but they didn’t tell me NOT to, so…
    I would hope that Mcitrick, McIntyre, Peilke and Watt (amongst others) have received this already. If not, its important that their voice be heard.
    http://surveys.globescan.com/unep_gs_invite/

  22. Steve McIntyre, I would consider all the fire you are receiving from Santer, Jones, Gavin et al a compliment because it means they see you as a legitimate threat to their kingdom of malfeasance, mistakes, and mischief of which you are the king of ferreting out. You and Anthony are doing yeoman’s work for those of us who merely want honest answers to questions we have about mans influence on the Climate and we appreciate it

  23. From RC….
    # gavin Says:
    13 November 2008 at 10:14 AM
    Groan… The NOAA fixes are not complete. There are still some stations where they have some Sep data in the Oct column. Stay tuned for more updates…

  24. I have just read Gavins defence of GISS over at ‘real climate'(if you say so Gavin), his article entitled ‘mountains & molehills’ made for interesting reading.
    A response by Gavin to post 48 was very interesting, according to Gavin GISS doesnt run any weather stations, is not an international weather service(but the GISS compiled data IS used internationally), employs no staff to verify surface station accuracy or integrity, takes no part in international negotiations on sharing weather station data and all GISTEMP can do when major problems occur is to query the originators of the data.
    The question that springs to mind is what if there are previous ‘misreadings’ that are small enough to pass unoticed into the GISTEMP climate record but still support a positive warming trend and have already been passed on to policy makers and organisations like the IPCC, will they all have to revise their data led conclusions if the GISTEMP hisorical record is found to have processed bad data that has already been included and compiled?
    So what does NASA GISS actually do then,do they just take in data on trust, do they just accept weather stations are perfectly well set up/callibrated and run without recourse to the worlds finest verification tool in the form of the ‘Mk1 eyeball’? How do they know that stations are still active/have the most accurate sensors/send in accurate upto date data?
    Gavin seems to suggest that they are happy to accept any data coming in and would publish it without due dilligence, only checking if gross errors occur(or if they are caught out), if so this would be very strange because NASA GISS/GISTEMP is often used by the IPCC/MSM/goverments/researchers/climate model projections as a source of accurate weather data, so in effect Gavin is saying that GISS has no way of checking their raw data and they just accept it on blind trust in the innocent hope that all will be well?
    It does seem likely that errors will be very common in an unchecked grid of far flung data collection points that have no common data collection methods or independent quality control systems in place, surely to gain accurate and reliable readings from a censor network a sesnsible unified method of verifiable and accountable quality control should be in place?
    In effect NASA GISS are using junk figures taken entirely on trust to build a clamate history taken to be highly accurate by world policy makers/NGOs, is that a fair summary?

  25. The credibility of the “real” “climate scientists” is in a spiralling tail-spin, as they are being held to account.
    Meanwhile, all of the fuss about CO2 AGW is diverting attention from the real issue, which as Roger Pielke Sr points out (along with others) is that man IS having an impact on climate, at least regionally, through land-use impacts. A particularly sad example is the encroachment of the Gobi Desert over the Beijing hinterland. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-gathering-sandstorm-encroaching-desert-missing-water-399653.html
    Desertification is a VERY serious problem in many countries, yet is largely being ignored due to the antics of Al Gore, James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann et al, who persist in alarming world populations, and hence governments, about CO2 and AGW based on what is increasingly being shown up as dodgy evidence.

  26. Cassandra,
    As I understand it GISStemp is an algorithmically derived computation of a GISStemp anomaly; which I take to be an abnormal deviation from some baseline; whose own value is also unknown. Presumably the raw field data consist of some kind of temperature readings, each of which is obtained in some evidently not too standardized fashion; but presumably consistently repeated (I hope).
    In that the temperature at some location tells us exactly nothing about the net heat (energy) flows at that location or anywhere else; I think it is a giant and unwarranted stretch to characterize GISStemp as any kind of record of “climate” or even “weather”.
    GISStemp seems to have a total scale range of perhaps a couple of “anomaly degrees”; whereas on any ordinary summer day (north), the surface/ lower troposphere temperature at different spots on earth ranges from about +60 deg C down to about -90 deg C; and due to a classic argument in Galileo’s “Dialog on the two World Systems”; every possible temperature between those extremes exists simultaneously, somewhere on this planet.
    I think both weather and climate are a whole lot more complex than can be represented on a simple graph like GISStemp.
    George

  27. Moptop (11:08:57) :
    I do not understand your comment. John V has done the logical next step in the surface station project — perhaps prematurely in the view of some people, but he does have a statistically valid sample size. I would describe the GISS procedure as bizarre, obtuse, non-reproducible, and counter intuitive. (Almost half of time, GISS adds a warming trend to a station’s data record because of a calculated cooling bias.) However, regardless of these appearances, John V has showed that the trend produced by GISS’s machination is the same trend as inherent in the highest-quality domestic weather stations. Now, there is validity to questions about geographical dispersion and perhaps foreign stations have issues that diverge from domestic stations, but according to available information, the GISS adjustment process is not introducing a spurious warming trend, despite appearances. Furthermore, for years, GISS trends have matched the independent trends of satellite data.
    Or am I missing something?
    (I do note that GISS and satellite trends seem to be drifting farther apart in the last few months — time will tell on that issue.)

  28. moptop:
    The CRN12R stations are *rural* stations that have been classified as being (relatively) free of micro-site bias. They are the best stations available. Their signal is free of UHI and micro-site issues. The trend from the CRN12R stations is IMO the best estimate available of the true trend in the USA48.
    GISTEMP very closely matches the trend from the CRN12R stations.
    The CRN5 stations obviously have issues. The trend from the CRN5 stations is significantly different than the trend from the CRN12R stations or from GISTEMP. The analysis strongly suggests that for the USA lower-48, GISTEMP is not affected by the issues in the CRN5 stations. That’s good news. Right?
    Anyways, I don’t want to hijack this thread. I only answered helvio because I’ve seen the same question asked quite a few times here. Perhaps our host would like to host a thread for comparing GISTEMP to the historical temperatures from the best stations. Anthony?
    REPLY: When I’m ready for that I’ll certainly let you know. – Anthony

  29. What a mess, and world decisions are made on such? It just goes to show you that man contunes to think that he is in control. Control of what is the real question.
    Steve

  30. re Les Johnson (11:19:11)
    I dashed off to take the survey.
    It is solidly built on the assumption that CO2 is the cause, but does admit that efforts can be spent on adaptation as well as mitigation. You need to supply a name, organization, and email address to submit the survey. I was honest so I have no idea if any of the identifying information is validated. I did not time the effort but the survey claims it takes about 20 minutes. There is a progress bar to give some indication of how far you are toward completion. You can leave portions blank, but there are some strange requirements to fill in some lines labeled “other” with a blank space.

  31. An Inquirer,
    Think about it this way.
    Given that:
    – The earliest point in the bad stations that JohnV is graphing the difference between that point and his moving average.
    – Over thirty years, if there is a pronounced UHI trend in the bad stations that is missing from the good stations, the difference between the earliest point in the graph and the average is increasing. How could it be otherwise?
    One can conclude that the earliest part of the graph for the bad stations has been pushed down by the UHI trend during the normalization period like a thumb on the scale.
    – The GISSTEMP line takes a middle position between the good and bad stations in the early part of the graph.
    Once could infer that the GISSTEMP likely overstates the coolness of those early days, or the warming today.
    I don’t know of a better way to explain it than that. I think that JohnV’s approach is naiive.

  32. Les Johnson (11:19:11)
    Take the survey 🙂
    Youn can see from it what they are planning for at the next COP. Preparing for a shift to adaptation, away from mitigation, I reckon. Any excuse to ponce around the world for free.

  33. “GISTEMP is not affected by the issues in the CRN5 stations. That’s good news. Right?” – JohnV
    I clearly don’t think you have shown that over the entire time domain of the chart. I think there is likely less warming on the century scale than GISTEMP shows.

  34. John V-
    Are you saying the CRN12R stations’ temperature trends closely match GISTEMP trends for the U.S. only or globally? Obviously, those CRN12R stations only represent temperature trends in the U.S….which has not seen as much warming as the whole globe, according to several temperature sources.

  35. Robert/Chuck: Of course, the survey is biased towards “the science is settled”.
    I used the “other” boxes and filled the blanks with lines like “Its a high priority to determine if the current cooling is persistent.”
    Yes, they are least leaning away from mitigation. They also asked about including all countries, which is a no-brainer.
    For the last question, about determining success of COP 14; I said that COP 14 will declare itself a success, because they all agreed to meet again, and only agreed on meeting…..and in someplace warm.

  36. Gentlemen! Gentlemen!
    CRN will answer our questions. (Assuming it is as advertised.)
    John V may be right. He may be wrong. He has, however, convinced me that he is honest.

  37. “Climate” is NOT the average or mean of “Weather”; it IS the Integral of weather.
    What happens tomorrow, is todays state plus the influence of all the physics and chemistry that takes place from now.
    All we can say about tomorrow, is that it will be incrementally different from today. Since we have no information of what will take place between now and tomorrow; or subsequently, we have no means of saying what it will be at any future time.

  38. Les Johnson (14:07:16) :
    I did to.
    “What can your organization do to reduce energy usage, ….”
    Go bankrupt.
    “What is the major obstacle to blah blah bla…”
    Lack of man made global warming.
    I also tried to answer seriously, so nuclear power was right up there; and research etc. Much fun

  39. Thanks for the input and corrections George,
    So raw data is passed from outlying weather stations covering a given grid to regional centres to be passed on to a central point, this is basic raw data that is then put through a computer process at GISS to highlight possible climate anomalies/variation/trends which is then used by organisations like the IPCC to formulate models which then influence policy makers, is that a fair basic summary?
    The fancy computer cartoons so beloved of NGOs/MSM/governments are actually all derived from thousands of individual weather stations recording actual weather characteristics measured by non standard and unverified equipment with unknown people with unknown qualifications that are not checked or screened by the GISS which takes these readings as gospel and distributes the NASA GISS processed conclusions to AGW/MMCC supporting institutions in the form of climate anomaly maps which they then use to inform the masses of the urgent need for draconian laws limiting human behaviour?
    Forgive my slowness in grasping the bigger picture BUT does the above complicated process seem reliable? Is it likely that errors can creep in unoticed giving unreliable readings? From heat islands to poor siting to old badly maintained/non standard equipment to unknown and unchecked data contributers doesnt it seem likely that the GISS cartoons are as reliable a guide to climate as the whacky races are to formula one?
    So in fact daily weather reports compiled over time is a guide to climate variation? If so, the tens of thousands of Royal/Merchant navy logs going back centuries would be a goldmine to any climatologist wouldnt it? after all, the great oceans seem to be poorly represented in the GISS cartoons.

  40. Wow I’m famous!
    Happy to be recognised as first to post about the errors.
    However, can I say for the record that I realise by the time I’d noticed them, the process of investigating and reporting them appears to have been already underway at both CA and WUWT, and in any event without the dedication of Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts in maintaining thoughtful, probing and credible websites, someone like myself would not have been in a position to make such a post in the first place.
    I can imagine the derision of some RC posters at my use of the words “thoughtful, probing and credible” above. Well, it’s not a zero sum game. RC is a thoughtful, probing and credible website as well, and is the best at what it does, just as CA and WUWT are good at their own distinctive specialities. My perception is that RC is diminished by its attitude towards Steve McIntyre, amongst other things, but I guess that’s between certain people and for them to thrash out between themselves.

  41. Les Johnson (14:07:16)
    I did it as well. If they spent some of the money wasted on that survey working on gathering and reporting temperatures properly now that would make a difference. Shocking how our tax dollars are spent. And we voted for more!

  42. Anthony,
    I just noticed your inline comment above. It’s true that there were very few stations with CRN ratings of 1 or 2. However, when I extended the analysis to the approximately 50 rural stations with CRN ratings of 1, 2, or 3 the results were virtually unchanged.
    I do not claim that my analysis is definitive. It is certainly much more robust than many of the negative claims made about GISTEMP around here.

    jared:
    My analysis was restricted to the USA lower-48 since that is the only region that has station ratings that I am aware of. Credit to Surface Stations for doing the ratings.

    moptop:
    You are mis-reading the graphs. Simple as that. There is very little difference between the CRN12R and GISTEMP trends.

  43. If someone could be off assistance:
    I’m trying to look at the difference between UAH located at http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2 and GISTEMP located at http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt.
    1. Are these the best sources to use?
    2. It is my understanding that the base period for UAH is 1979 thru 1998 and GISTEMP is 1951 thru 1980. Is that correct?
    3. In converting GISTEMP to base period 1979 thru 1998 I averaged to two ranges using GISTEMP numbers and subtracted the difference (0.238) from the GISTEMP anomaly. Does that make sense?
    4. Doesn’t GISTEMP change their history on a regular basis?
    What I want to see is a trend line on the difference between GISTEMP and UAH.
    I’m sure it has been done many times before but it’s fun to get one’s keyboard dirty.

  44. Re Steve McIntyre’s complaint about Gavin Scmidt —

    Instead, Gavin now makes the following gratuitous insult:
    McIntyre’s intervention sometime that morning is neither here nor there. Possibly he should consider that he is not the only person in the world with email, nor is he the only person that can read.

    Sheesh, could McIntyre get any more petty? This is the state of climate science and debate? McIntyre would do well examine his own blog for gratuitous insults before whining about any tossed his way.

  45. Gavin (07:56:17) :
    Your title is incorrect. I have no connection to GISTEMP other than the fact they work out of the same building.
    From the April 2, 2006 New York Times: Dr. Schmidt runs a global climate model, called ModelE, out of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
    I wonder whether Dr. Schmidt corrected the Times?

  46. “Sheesh, could McIntyre get any more petty?”
    The only pettiness I see is that of Schmidt. Mcintyre was trying to help a public servant to better do his job. I suppose McIntyre should have known that there is no help for this organization.

  47. Harold Ambler (16:38:56) I think he means he’s not formally or organizationally directly connected to GIStemp. His reply is disingenuous, though, as Anthony demonstrates, and he’s certainly more connected to GIStemp than am I.
    ===============================

  48. Well, okay, okay, guys, not to be petty or nothin’, but since GS and SM are present and have actually posted, we should not go too far in our personal commentary.
    We would be better served by limiting ourselves to criticism rather than characterization.
    Besides, I will snip you!
    ~ Evan

  49. Agreed, Evan. Delete my last post, please. It crossed the border.
    [REPLY – Done. Well spoken. And hats off. I wouldn’t have otherwise. I considered it teetering on the edge. (I even agreed with some of the points.) But best to maintain our decorum. ~ Evan]

  50. Actually, I for one, am quite pleased Dr. Schmidt has ventured over here. Maybe this could be the start of a thaw in the bitter relations between the two camps.
    That said, it would be nice if he could refrain from classifying everyone not in his camp as “deniers”. Many (most) of us don’t deny CO2 is a greenhouse gas, or that it has a effect on the climate. The main disagreements are either on the magnitude of the effect, or on the lack of openness of the methodologies.
    We are skeptics. Yes, sometimes we err, but as is shown with this recent episode, so do the folks on the RC side of the fence.
    Mike “sonicfrog” Alexander.
    (geology school drop-out)

  51. @Bill M,
    I would be a tad snarky too – if I had to spend my professional life defending a pile of rotten garbage.

  52. Yes.
    And I would also highly encourage Dr. Schmidt to allow Anthony to post over on RC without getting zapped. It’s not as if he doesn’t have a tremendous amount to contribute.
    He’s such a good man. He’s been so fair, impartial, and reasonable for such a long time, and he gets such poor return for it. Makes me mad.

  53. As I an effective member of the peanut gallery. I can say that their vacancy is assured.
    I’m an idiot.
    Mr Gavin, we are equal.
    Nobody can be so arrogant.
    FM
    [REPLY – Brace up. We’ll win the day on the merits. ~ Evan]

  54. I probably should not have been sarcastic. Direct, in the blogosphere and everywhere else, is typically better.
    That said, Dr. Schmidt, whose salary is paid by American tax dollars, has written extensively at Real Climate, fluently commenting on GISS and GISTEMP as though they were part of one larger entity, which they are. The statement “I have no connection to GISTEMP” is a surprising one.
    For background on Dr. Schmidt’s own conflation of the two when it served his purposes, see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/1934-and-all-that/
    In terms of what the two have in common, GISS and GISTEMP, the list is short but important: Both funded by U.S. taxpayers, both run by James Hansen, both part of NASA, both in New York City, both in same building. Dr. Schmidt’s comments on Real Climate make it clear that the people at GISTEMP are no strangers to him.
    All that said, Anthony’s headline change makes sense.

  55. There is no way even this corrected data is correct. It is way, way off.
    Look at the GISS Zonal temp anomaly map. The south pole has an anomaly of -0.5 and the north pole has an anomaly of +3.5C with a general gradient going up as one moves from south to north.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/NMAPS/tmp_GHCN_GISS_1200km_Anom10_2008_2008_1951_1980/GHCN_GISS_1200km_Anom10_2008_2008_1951_1980_zonal.gif
    UAH sat data only has a 0.17C difference between the hemispheres whereas GISS would be 1.25C or so.

  56. JohnV
    Does your graph take into account the fact that NOAA’s “QC” has located and corrected many stations in “cool pools” while missing the one next to a burn barrel and the other 70 percent (so far) poorly sighted stations. (see NOAA’s website for QC reference)

  57. evanjones (17:31:30) : Yes.
    BUT I would also highly encourage Dr. Schmidt to allow Anthony to post over on RC without getting zapped.
    I agree with you Evan. furthering science is all about debating points and getting to the evidence, not covering ones own point of view based on what one believes. In science, everyone is a skeptic 😉
    [REPLY – So true. ~ Evan]

  58. Evan, If you feel I have crossed the line feel free to remove or snip as you wish.
    Mike Bryant
    [REPLY – Better so. I feel your pain, and I hate to do in your prose. But . . . better so. It speaks well of you that you are so decent about it. ~ Evan]

  59. “”Cassandra King (14:35:46) :
    Thanks for the input and corrections George, “”
    Cassandra, one of the problems here is that a lot of us don’t know who on earth we all are, so it is easy to talk down (or up) to somebody else. For all I know, you may have four PhDs in Astrophysics; Thermodynamics, Molecular Spectroscoipy, and Cosmic Radiation; well I don’t have any of those just a BSc in Physics and Maths plus 48 years as a practising physicist in industry.
    But back to the GISStemp. Clearly the original data is some sort of thermometer reading/s from some set of formal measuring stations; all of which I know nowt about; but Anthony has been snooping in on some of these places, and some are like gold rush town horseshoe foundries.
    But suppose you measure a temperature (of the ground) somewhere; bearing in mind, that 73% of the ground is actually the ocean. According to physical theory, every body at a temperature above absolute zero, radiates electromagnetic radiation energy, which will result in cooling that body. That radiation is limited by a theoretical absolute maximum radiation of a type known as “Black Body Radiation”, which I can tell you has nothing to do with Eartha Kitt. BB radiation is one of the miracles of modern Physics, and the first correct calculations of its properties was the very start of the era of quantum mechanics and quantum physics.
    It turns out that a good deal of the earth, particularly the oceans actually radiate relatively closely to the Black body limit. What we know about BB radiation is that the Total energy radiated per second, is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature (Kelvins).
    So here we have the very first problem with GISStemp. We measure a temperature; say on your front doorstep; but the heat energy being lost to the rest of the universe from that step depends on the 4th power of that temperature; not on the temperature itself. So what purpose is served by averaging temperatures.
    Now the so-called mean Global temperature is about 15 C or about 288K, and we know that the BB radiation at that temperature is about 390 Watts per square meter. The coldest earth temperatures, at Vostock Station in Antarctica get down to -90C which is 183 K, so the maximum radiation rate can only be (183/288)^4 x 390 or 63.6 Watts per square meter. At the other end, in tropical hot deserts, the air temperatures can get to about +60C, and the ground even hotter, and that is 343 K, so the radiation rate can get up to (343/288)^4 x 390 or 784.6 Watts per square meter. So that is a range of 12.3 times from coldest to hottest temperature locations. Clearly the very hottest places on earth are actually cooling the planet fastest, and the polar regions are doing very little to cool the earth, and the hot deserts can be cooling the earth at double the rate corresponding to the global mean temperature.
    So you can see that averaging all the points on earth to get an average temperature is not very useful for determining whether we are heating up or cooling down.
    When it comes to the influence of Green House Gases such as CO2, the problem gets a lot more complicated.
    Not only does the theroy of Black Body Radiation specify the total radiation being emitted from an ideal black body, but it completely specifies the spectrum of wavelengths that are emitted. I should add that a “Black body” in this sense is a body that completely absorbs ALL EM radiation that falls on it, from the longest wavelength radio waves to the shortest wavelength gamma rays and even cosmic radiation. We can make a laboratory gizmo that very closely approximates a black body; they typically are very well thermally insulated cavities that optically trap radiation that enters their “aperture”. At a particular temperature, that aperture emits a radiation pattern which we can completely describe with very high precision.
    The deep oceans, because they absorb virtually all the radiation that strikes them, are fairly good approximations to a black body.
    The other wonderful property of a BB, is that the spectrum of the emitted radiation is completely and very accurately described by Max Planck’s BB radiation law; it is one of the most accurate physics theories we have, and the wavelength at which the emission is maximum is inversely proportional to the absolute temperature.
    So the sun at about 6000 K emits a spectrum that peaks at about 0.5 microns wavelength in the green region. At 300 K, which is close to the earth temperature (288), the emitted spectrum peaks at 20 times that for the sun or 10 microns, and it is about 10.1 microns at 288 K, and that is the mystery Infra Red radiation that GHG warming is all about.
    Well at 343K (60C) the peak wavelength is about 3000/343 or 8.75 microns, while at 183K it peaks at 3000/183 or 16.4 microns.
    Well CO2 does its thing at about 14 microns or so, and actually absorbs well from about 13.5 to 16.5 microns, so CO2 is more effective in the polar regions than in the tropics. On the other hand Ozone absorbs at 9-10 microns so it slams even tropical IR emissions, but CO2 is much less effective. This spectral peak shift is called the Wien’s displacement law, and the other important point is that the value of the radiation rate at the spectral peak actually varies as the 5th power of the absolute temperature, whereas the total radiation varies as the 4th power.
    Then you have to consider that over the oceans, you get evaporation, vertical convection in the ocean water, conduction between water and air, and vertical convection of the heated air, a swell as the thermal radiation. Over a hot dry desert you dont’ get any of the evaporative cooling effects, so the relation between temperature and heat energy emission is quite different than for the ocean, and different again over a tropical rain forest or alpine meadow.
    So you see, the temperature tells you nothing much of value and the average temperature tells you even less.
    And if all of this is what you wrote your PhD thesis on; please accept my humble apologies; hopefully it is useful for somebody else who may be lurking here.
    But that is why I am not too anamoured with GISStemp. And there are other problems with it which are almost too gory to talk about.
    George

  60. Anthony,
    Thanks for putting this blog together. I’ve alerted my brother to its existence and he will be doing a couple of station surveys for you during the holidays when he heads to Alice, Texas. I look forward to seeing his results on your surfacestations.org page.

  61. ‘Many (most) of us don’t deny CO2 is a greenhouse gas, or that it has a effect on the climate.’
    Really? One wouldn’t think so reading the articles and comments on this blog, which I do regularly. In fact, many times it leads me to believe that mainstream climate science is one big lie. I find it hard to believe that so many smart people are completely wrong about AGW, but then again I find it hard to believe as well that people are more worried about billions of dollars and millions of lives potentially wasted due to AGW-policy, when billions of dollars and millions of lives are being wasted as we speak in places such as Iraq or Afghanistan.
    This blog has more influence than people think. The bigger the influence, the greater the responsibility. I truly hope AGW is non-existent but if it isn’t I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of a Mr Watts or McIntyre, ethically speaking.

  62. davidcobb:
    I did not “take into account” anything about GISTEMP. I took the published GISTEMP data for the USA lower-48 and compared it to a temperature trend created using only the best rural stations (CRN12R). The comparison was very good. It’s that simple.
    Since there were not very many stations with the best CRN rating, I did a similar analysis including stations with a CRN rating of 3. If I remember correctly (it’s been about a year), there were about 50 stations in this category.
    Here’s a quick graph of the comparison:
    http://opentemp.org/_results/20071011_CRN123R/crn123r_gistemp_5yr.png

  63. George, thanks for that great explanation. I fall short on scientific credentials, I’m just a regular guy trying to make my way in a complex world. Over the past few years I’ve dug into everything I can possibly find to educate myself on climate science and the above is one of those posts I’ll keep with me.
    [REPLY – Yes, George, excellent. ~ Evan]

  64. Please bear in mind that what Steve McIntyre does is point out statistical problems. What Anthony Watts does is photodocument site quality and coordinate the documentation of others.
    Yes, they are responsible for doing this in a fair manner. That is their ethical challenge. They are NOT, however, responsible for whether the CO2-induced AGW theory ultimately turns out to be correct or not.
    On this site, the Rev has continually said that in science the chips fall where the chips fall. (He also lives a very “green” lifestyle. Solar panels, electric cars, etc.)
    The blame–if any–must be directed at those responsible for the poor statistical practice and serious site violations that have contributed to the doubt surrounding said theory. Even if they are right the damage is self-inflicted.

  65. Global warming/climate change are normal cycles of the Nature of Earth. Argue until you are “blue-in-the-face,” about the occurence of the above cycles, but until you prove that anthropogenic CO2 is not the cause, you are going to pay for the Algore/UN/IPCC/Hansen lies.
    Ruling: Coal Plants Must Limit C02
    In a move that signals the start of the our clean energy future, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) ruled today EPA had no valid reason for refusing to limit from new coal-fired power plants the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. The decision means that all new and proposed coal plants nationwide must go back and address their carbon dioxide emissions.
    “Today’s decision opens the way for meaningful action to fight global warming and is a major step in bringing about a clean energy economy,” said Joanne Spalding, Sierra Club Senior Attorney who argued the case. “This is one more sign that we must begin repowering, refueling and rebuilding America.”
    http://action.sierraclub.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=78902.0

  66. I truly hope AGW is non-existent but if it isn’t I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of a Mr Watts or McIntyre, ethically speaking.
    Pardon me? These blogs are about science, not politics. We will never know if AGW is non-existent unless the science is rigorously tested.
    Ethically speaking, that is exactly what these gentlemen are attempting.
    Of course people who “know” things without doing science may justify themselves with whatever ethics they choose and many do. But that is politics, not science, and is far more dangerous to humanity.

  67. George Smith writes: “Clearly the very hottest places on earth are actually cooling the planet fastest, and the polar regions are doing very little to cool the earth, and the hot deserts can be cooling the earth at double the rate corresponding to the global mean temperature.”
    Hi George. Your scientific pedigree is higher than mine, just for the record. And yet … I think talking about the Earth in terms of the black body model that you have gone into is not entirely helpful.
    Not only do the great ocean currents carry vast quantities of heat toward the poles, but storms — everything from Nor’easters to hurricanes — do the same. Staying on the subject of the ocean currents just for a second: The Gulf Stream alone transports more water than all the rivers of the planet combined. I won’t name all of them, but picture this great volume of water — the Nile, the Mississippi, and the Amazon plus, say, a hundred other major rivers brimming with heat taken on in the tropics — moving slowly but inexorably northward. And this is just a single current!
    Add to that powerful pole-ward moving currents in the southern Pacific Ocean, the Southern Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean and you’ve got a lot of heat headed away from the equator.
    Now add 60 or 80 tropical cyclones a year and another hundred powerful non-tropical cyclones to the warmth departing the tropics for the poles.
    Plenty of other atmospheric dynamics are in play, everything from prevailing winds, to cloud formation, to precipitation — among others!
    So far as I know, the atmosphere over the equator and the rest of the tropics is far thicker than over the poles, which is among the reasons for the great warmth at the equator.
    So, to sum up with my layman’s best, I think you may find that the conventional wisdom — that the poles are the Earth’s air conditioner — is about right. In stasis, it might be otherwise, but stasis is not what we’ve got.
    Presumably, someone else will have written far more clearly on this than I as I struggled to lay this out.

  68. ‘They are NOT, however, responsible for whether the CO2-induced AGW theory ultimately turns out to be correct or not.’
    Of course they aren’t. But if the AGW theory turns out to be correct with possibly dire consequences for a lot of people they have made a considerable contribution – in my view – to delaying action that could have lessened those consequences.
    This blog even more so than the one run by Mr McIntyre (which is mostly a crusade against the hockey stick I believe) because a) practically anything that goes against the AGW-grain will be placed here as an article, no matter how far-fetched; for instance I’ve noticed quite a few times different articles on the front page that are contradicting each other quite blatantly, and b) because any comment that goes against the AGW-grain will pass unmoderated or unchallenged, no matter the level of parrotted ignorance.
    Now I don’t consider myself an intelligent man, I find most of the science is hard to follow, but 50% of the comments here are a constant reiteration of arguments that even I see don’t hold up. Now if this were my blog I would leave a reply at those comments along the lines of ‘What you say has been proven to be incorrect, this or that is a much better argument against X’, or I’d delete them. The reason I’d do so is I wouldn’t want other readers to be confused by this clutter of persistent misunderstandings, and I wouldn’t want people to think that I endorse every single view uttered as a comment on my article. Because that’s what’s implied if I do absolutely nothing about them. This sometimes gives me the feeling that this blog is mainly about ‘the more confusion, the better’.
    To be fair, a thing I find very good about WUWT (and the reason I keep coming here to read up, even though I’m on the alarmed side) is that occasionaly there is room for articles such as the Q&As with Dr Meier from NSIDC, and some of the commenters (such as Leif Svalgaard and Chris, if he’s the same Chris as on RC) are very interesting to read.
    It would be nice however – although I’m sure he’s done that already – if Mr Watts would now and then share his views on the AGW-theory a bit more in his articles. Like, does he believe the Earth is gradually warming? If so, will it continue to do so over the long term? Is CO2 emitted by human activities the cause, or only partially so? I would venture to say he’s more or less in agreement with these points, considering the fact that he’s leading a very green lifestyle (for American standards), but perhaps he doesn’t feel there’s a catastrophe on our doorstep, or the science could be conducted in a better way (which are fine opinions IMO). The content of his blog and the toleration of above mentioned comments would suggest however that the AGW-theory is a 100% scam.
    This in my view, again, could prove to be a very irresponsible message to disseminate. There are a lot of people who love this blog because it confirms them in their wish to not do anything or change anything they do. If the AGW-theory turns out to be true these people will have been misled, but everybody will have to bear the consequences.
    You see what I mean? If AGW turns out to be happening this blog has indirectly harmed me, my children and all the other people I care about. If this weren’t so I would not be saying any of this. People are free to choose and believe whatever they want but their freedom stops where the freedom of others begin. That’s what makes AGW so interesting.

  69. In terms of the effort to record the Earth’s “average temperature,” this has become a shorthand, albeit an ugly one full of complicated problems, for people to discuss climate trends.
    For those of us who see ocean cycles, such as the PDO, as significant in terms of climate change, it’s of some use to know what the world’s “average temperature” was before during and after the super El Nino of 1998, for instance. It’s of some use to know what happened to the “average temperature” during the last negative PDO and the positive PDO just ended.
    As Hansen specifically and NASA more generally have more or less backed those who do not accept their positions in regard to anthropogenic global warming into a corner, we are reduced to speaking to those who have the media and the public’s attention in their own language to some extent, it is true.
    Fortunately, the solar minimum and negative PDO are likely to produce news that not even NASA can manipulate.

  70. Hi Nevan,
    Regarding smart people and AGW.
    (1) To quote Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. (i.e when your livelihood depends on it…)
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” (Ref http://www.online-literature.com/upton_sinclair/)
    (2) Cognitive Dissonance. I.e Smart people can become emotionally invested in their beliefs just the same as less smart people. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance)
    (3) Smart people can be dishonest conmen, charlatans and frauds. Ref “Snakes in Suits” at http://www.amazon.com/Snakes-Suits-When-Psychopaths-Work/dp/0061147893/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226630032&sr=1-1
    (4) And as a variant on (3) Smart people can have a Political Agenda that goes something like “I’m doing this for the betterment of humanity and/or saving the planet (Noble Cause) hence any means (such as lying) is justified to achieve the realisation of this Noble Cause.”
    I think that number 4 has a lot of buyin for the lower ranks of the AGW movement (and some of the higher ups) as it can provide a strong sense of life purpose.
    It’s just unfortuate that the means of CO2 abatement are inherently destructive to human civilisation (eliminate cheap and reliable sources of energy) and the general welfare of the planet (impoverished societies have a poor track record of environmental conservation).
    So that instead of saving the planet and bettering humanity the opposite is more likely.

  71. Neven,
    Allow me to address your post.
    1) “If AGW turns out to be happening this blog has indirectly harmed me, my children and all the other people I care about.”
    This appears to me to be a plea to follow the ‘precautionary principle’. This is to take action to avoid ‘dire consequences’ even if we don’t know for sure that the theory claiming the ‘dire’ consequences is actually true. While the logic of the precautionary principle is appealing, it works both ways. Have you considered the opposite proposition. That being the harm taking the actions recommended by the proponents of AGW will cause to you, your wife, your children if AGW theory is incorrect? By AGW Theory this I mean that the human contribution to warming is overwhelmingly the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere – you have to be careful because ‘AGW Theory’ means different things to different people. The harm could be severe in economic and health terms if we follow through. Also, I think there is an implicit assumption in your belief that you may or may not be aware of. This is the assumption that we know what would happen to the climate if we did take the actions AGW proponents are proposing. What if we are wrong and our actions cause a disastrous spiral into an unstable climate or an ice age? Can anyone tell you (and prove) that we can terraform the planet to our liking and that actions intended to do this will not result in unintended consequences? The climate is a complex, non-linear, chaotic system (agreed to by the IPCC). This means to me at least that we can’t predict the effects of any attempt to manipulate the system. It is provable mathematically that you cannot predict the state of a chaotic system unless you know the beginning state of all the variables and processes that affect it to an extraordinary degree of accuracy. Can you honestly say that we have that state of knowledge of the earth’s climate? I don’t.
    I personally want to wean civilization from oil because, by doing this we will clean the air (and CO2 is NOT a pollutant) of all manner of unhealthy byproducts of that energy production. To my mind this focus and expecditure of massive amounts of money on AGW is impeding that effort, with a continuing harmful effect on me, my family, and those I care about. Thus, the people pushing the AGW theory ARE doing what you hint we may be doing.
    As far as Anthony ‘censoring’ his blog to only allow posts that agree with his positions. I don’t quite know what to say about that. why on earth would he do such a thing? If he wants to only hear things that he agrees with a better position would be to simply not allow posts to his blog, then he could simply post HIS beliefs and read them. I think he intends this blog to be an open exchange of views and does not want to impose his idea of ‘right thought’. He allows people would vehemently disagree with him to freely post (unless they are rude or insulting personally). the consequences of this are that you will have people post the same thing repeatedly, you will have people post nonsensical things. Personally, I’ve learned a great deal from the posters, many of whom are far smarter and far better educated than I am.
    I can’t speak for Anthony, but my personal opinion about ‘human induced warming’ is more in line with Dr Peilke at climatesci.org. Yes, people are affecting the the climate, but CO2 is a minor role player in that. the primary affect is regional, not global and is a result of land use change and ‘real’ pollution, like the Asian ‘brown cloud’.

  72. Moptop (13:54:59) :
    The choice of baseline does not make any difference to the shape of the graph, or the temperature trends. Using a different baseline only shifts the entire graph up or down.
    I get the impression that you think the baseline is actually some sort of trend line, with a slope to it?
    It is not. The baseline is a simple arithmetic average over an arbitrary period of time. Higher than that average plots as a positive anomaly, less than that average plots as a negative anomaly.
    REPLY: The choice of baseline matters in the presentation of an anomaly graph. In the case of GISS, using the 1951-1980 baseline tends to make the graph more visually compelling than say one of UAH data that uses a more recent baseline. Hence the rub. Since the GISS graph is the most often cited one, it “look” displays a greater sense of urgency. I view the choice not to use the more recent baselines as one of PR value, not science. – Anthony

  73. Pingback: STAY WARM, WORLD… Roger Carr « Stay Warm, World…

  74. Smokey (20:42:40) :
    If Harlod Ambler thinks that this is a parochial issue limited to this site, it would be educational for him to review Climate Audit, too.
    Prior to receiving your prompt, I had looked at Climate Audit 5 times today. Did I say something to suggest parochialism?
    If you scooted around a little more on this site, you might see that I took some pains to defend Steve McIntyre today.
    Apart from that, you’re right on the money!

  75. Nevan, how would a warmer climate harm you, your children, and those you care about? Warmer means longer growing seasons, more CO2 for plants, increased food production in spite of the use of plants for biofuels, and increased rain to soak into those fields bursting with food. Will the weather get worse? Doubt it. It has now been conclusively determined that tornadoes and hurricanes are not getting worse or more frequent. If anything, flooding could return to the days prior to the whiteman invasion of North America. That’s why the soil is so rich. All that silt and loam washed into floodplains and created just the right soil mix for farming. Will it snow more? Maybe. The upper levels of the mountain peaks would still be cold enough for precip to fall as snow in the winter, and since warmer means wetter, we could get tons of snowpack. So I am searching for the harm. Please chime in with the negative stuff (just don’t bring in the wizard of oz stuff).
    A case in point. Have you ever been to Jamaica? I have. While it is no where near the equator, relatively speaking, it is very warm there. And very wet. The wild but edible vegetation grows right up to the roadbed so thick that constant mowing is necessary to keep the growth from covering the road.
    I live in Oregon and it would be really nice if we could grow mangoes and coconuts along the side of the road. And the high desert could stop sucking up water from the Columbia because along with the warm weather, deserts would become self-watering entities in our state. And if you are thinking that CO2 warms oceans (it doesn’t but I can dream can’t I), it would be nice to be able to actually SWIM in the ocean off the Oregon coast.
    What harm?

  76. Thank you for responding, Bill. There are some points we obviously agree upon.
    ‘I personally want to wean civilization from oil because, by doing this we will clean the air (and CO2 is NOT a pollutant) of all manner of unhealthy byproducts of that energy production. To my mind this focus and expecditure of massive amounts of money on AGW is impeding that effort, with a continuing harmful effect on me, my family, and those I care about. Thus, the people pushing the AGW theory ARE doing what you hint we may be doing.’
    Don’t you think that weaning civilization from oil and reducing the emission of CO2 through efficiency and use of alternative energies amount more or less to the same thing?
    I think what you refer to is things like cap-and-trade, carbon storage technologies or people exploiting the AGW-hype. These are subjects that can all be discussed separately, but let’s say for argument’s sake they’re all intrinsically bad. It’s the nature of hypes (which I dislike and mistrust personally, as I’m allergic to masses) that people try to exploit them for their own benefit or that they make people honestly think they do the right when the opposite is true. The whole biofuel-disaster is a great example.
    I think this is inevitable. A great Dutch football player, Johan Cruijff, once said: ‘Every advantage has its disadvantage’. A hype can get something going and gradually transform the collective mind, but it also entails popular delusions and outright charlatanism. However, if the AGW-theory would turn out to be a scam, people would find something else to profit from, governments would find other ways to tax the money out of your pocket. In fact, this is happening right now. Wars for instance are hypes that are mainly there to profit from and push agendas. Like I said earlier, the war in Iraq is already costing billions of tax dollars and millions of lives (lost or seriously affected). It’s a huge waste – in my opinion – of money and resources.
    Even if I would believe that AGW is a hoax, I’d still be way more worried about the military-industrial complex hoax, or the overconsumption-is-good-for-everyone hoax. I would find the AGW-hype bothersome but not entirely pernicious (because of its speeding up the transition to energy-independence, less pollution (which CO2 isn’t of course) and the creation of jobs etc) and focus mainly on hypes that are damaging big time, right here, right now.
    It’s all about hypotheses. What if AGW is happening? What if AGW is a hoax? In general: If it is happening, some form of action must be taken and discussed. If it’s a scam or not happening, some of the huge amounts of money will be well spent on weaning off the dependence on oil, some of it will be wasted. But huge amounts of money will always be wasted, be it on wars, be it on socialist utopias, be it on extravagant consumerism. That’s the nature of the game.
    On a personal level: If AGW is happening, I have to try and change my lifestyle without resorting to asceticism, find that balance between personal well-being and group well-being. Going solar, buying locally grown food, building smart, these are in my view intrinsically good things to do, given the state of the world today. If AGW isn’t happening, I wasted a lot of time but at least I’m living in a low energy house with solar panels and efficient water use etc, which is a good thing, given the state of the world today, regardless of AGW.
    On a blog-level: If AGW is happening and my site is about promoting mainstream climate science I contribute to raising awareness so people take action that possibly mitigate the consequences of AGW. If AGW isn’t happening I’m wasting people’s time, I humbly apologize for being misguided but at least there will be no increased frequency of (heavier) storms, droughts, sea level rise etc.
    If AGW isn’t happening and my site promotes whatever goes against the grain of mainstream climate science I rightly and intrepidly convince people to not waste time and money on something that isn’t real. If AGW is happening I can apologize all I want but I’m responsible, however marginally, for the inaction that excluded mitigation of consequences that cost huge amounts of money and inflict human misery on a global scale.
    Now where does WUWT stand exactly? Does it only highlight alleged flaws in the mainstream science surrounding AGW but deliberately keep silent about alleged flaws in the science coming from the ‘contrarian’ side? Is everything wrong concerning the mainstream AGW-theory, or are there some legitimate points most people more or less agree upon? Do we only get an article in a few months’ time about the Arctic never seeing so much ice in January but then hear nothing when by accident the summer melt is quite heavy again?
    And are ‘nonsensical’ comments (such as the recent ‘how can the Arctic freeze up so fast with those high air temperatures?’) being left untouched deliberately in order to stimulate people not to act upon the AGW-hype and do nothing, under the guise of ‘an open exchange of views’? This would be an irresponsible thing to do IMO, because there is a chance that AGW isn’t a scam, isn’t completely riddled with mistakes and fallacies, is going to have consequences that could be dire. I personally wouldn’t want to take that risk.
    And it begs the question: Is Mr Watts naive or is he getting something out of this that makes him potentially irresponsible? I don’t think he’s sponsored by Exxon or anything but I do think website traffic can be addictive and flattering your vanity. Many people, on both sides, myself included, are in it for the ego-thing, I believe . But I’m not running a blog to promote action or inaction. I only have the responsibility of my personal actions to consider. Mr Watts is running a (popular) blog, and as long as he keeps the ‘exchange of views’ limited mainly to whatever view is opposing (part of) the AGW-theory and as long as he tolerates ‘nonsensical’ comments that confuse and distort, he’s running the risk of being partially responsible for something I’m not sure anyone wants to be partially responsible for. There’s a huge difference between being wrong and wasting time and money, and being wrong and end up adapting to consequences that are way too late to mitigate.

  77. Pascal’s wager does not apply. The “safe” way out is not without cost. The cost (according to Stern) is a third or more of GWP growth per year. Kyoto costs (according to Molinari Inst.) even more, and a greater percentage falls on the UDCs (more dependent on coal, even with more lenient targets).
    Such cost is not merely burdensome to the developed world; the heaviest penalty falls on the undeveloped world — paid in human life.
    And because neither Pascal nor Dr. Precaution is on this case, we had better be a damn lot surer of our diagnosis than we are. The way the science stands now, it all rests on the single pedestal of positive CO2-induced feedback loops. Without that, CO2 AGW theory cannot stand.
    Feedback loops have been called into extremely serious question by the recent data from the Aqua Satellite. I read the NASA paper. From what I could gather, it just goes back and forth and says nothing. Spencer seems quite convinced, however, that extra water is not going into ambient vapor or cirrus clouds, but to low-level cloud cover.
    Therefore, instead of positive feedback loops from water vapor, we are seeing albedo increase – negative feedback from low-lying clouds. Flatline global climate trend over the last decade would seem to be consistent with Spencer’s take.
    It’s also consistent with the multidecadal cycles. From 1979-2001, the Big Six flipped warm. Then all are on warm till last year. And now the PDO turns cold, and possibly the AO and NAO to follow on. Do we see a pattern?
    On top of this, last year’s downturn and the possibility of a solar grand minimum would augur that we are not anywhere near a “tipping point”.
    Therefore we badly need to take a very close look at the positive feedback theory. The data is still new. But it seems to me we have a moral imperative to straighten this one out before we take action which will take life.
    We need to look — far more carefully than we have done — before we leap, because once we do, there will be no turning back, mark my words. No to do so would be . . . sinful.
    Hey, farmer, farmer,
    Put away that DDT.
    You may spoil some apples
    But gimme the birds and the bees,
    PLEEEEASE . . .

    //Insert emoticon indicating mordant irony//

  78. Neven, I will also address why the precautionary principle does not work in regard to fighting Global Warming.
    A) Due to the increase in CO2 from China and India, even the most draconian restrictions placed on Western civilization will only delay the 1C warming by five to ten years.
    B) Those drastic restrictions on CO2 emissions will decimate the economy. Don’t believe me, this is confirmed by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    C) Man, and many creatures in the biosphere, can adapt to the changes that will occur in the next one hundred years. Some in the biosphere won’t, but the changes we are capable of making will only delay their demise by ten years (see A).
    D) If Pachauri is right (and I don’t doubt him, he is the head of the IPCC after all), then the measures you would impose would stifle world economic growth. This means less money to invest in world saving ventures. In economics, there is a principle called opportunity cost. Any amount of money, effort (whatever) spent on one thing, cannot be applied to something else; resources are finite. The Money spent trying to fight Global Warming, a long term potential threat to future generations, will not be available to alleviate current immediate problems, such as disease (AIDS prevention), hunger, lack of potable water, genocide, pollution…. you get the picture. By siphoning off money to combat the immediate needs of the living, you would sacrifice millions of current world citizens in order to combat a problem we can adjust to.
    Am I saying we should do nothing? No. The world is already moving in a green direction. But the solutions recommended buy those junk science peddlers, such as Robert Kennedy Jr. and Al Gore,, are dangerous to the population of the world TODAY.

  79. Neven
    It is true that people can believe whatever they want. I am a Christian, my beliefs are not falsifiable, they are beliefs. Science is not about ones beliefs but about sensing what is going on in the world, refining observations, subjecting those observations and the conclusions drawn from them to scrutiny so that it is possible to convince others, fair and square, that those observations and conclusions are (provisionally at least) accurate.
    It would seem that you are comfortable with the moderator of this blog simplifying arguments by dismissing a post with a simple “this has been proven false.” He wields the electrons around here so he is authorized to curtail an argument if he deems it wrong? The problem with that is: you never know.
    All the world knew for a very long time that Newton had perfectly described the rules of the physical world. Einstein, a single man, in the face of the most perfect consensus about the rules of the universe would not accept that he should just shut up and go along with the consensus. This is just a very gaudy example of conventional wisdom being overthrown. The woods are thick with them.
    When I was a kid it was going to be a new ice age that killed us. I remember people (don’t remember who they were, it was just Time Magazine after all) were suggesting that soot be spread over the icecaps to absorb more heat from the Sun causing them to melt. Well, if we really are in a time of catastophic global warming what a nasty head start it would have gotten if some governmental process would have decided to do that.
    Neven, many of us have children and we want the best for them. Few who post here do not think the Earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age. We have all seen paintings of people skating on the Thames. Cold then, warmer now. What I do not want is that my child lives in the cold and the dark with little to eat because some rent seeking autocrat calls carbon dioxide a poison. Is it really warmer now than it has been in a million, thousand, whatever, years? Enquiring minds want to know. Really.
    What if it is you who are wrong. Let me ask you this. Was your post deleted or edited? It will not be here or at Climate Audit. Real Climate does not even know Steve McIntyre’s name to say it out loud let alone let him post there. Everything that Anthony and Steve do is done in the wide open. The same cannot be said for Real Climate, and sadly, neither can it be said for NASA in this case. Deven, in your experience is truth found… well, that may be going a bit much, truth and all, but… where there is transparancy or obfuscation?

  80. Cassandra King wrote:
    The question that springs to mind is what if there are previous ‘misreadings’ that are small enough to pass unoticed into the GISTEMP climate record but still support a positive warming trend and have already been passed on to policy makers and organisations like the IPCC
    Consider this one:
    Sydney’s historic weather station
    While the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has excluded it from “climatic studies,” it’s still part of the GISTEMP database.

  81. Pamela, like I said: ‘Every advantage has its disadvantage’. So while you would be eating coconuts (if AGW is happening I don’t expect it to be that fast) and taking dips in your lovely ocean I would probably lose most of my income because I live south of the Alps and my income is partially derived from the skiing industry, which has already been suffering from bad winters the past few years, although this winter all the Ninas, PDOs, AOs, solar spots (please ignore my ignorance, Leif, if you read this) etcetera look to be working in our favor.
    But how about people who live in areas where water scarcity is an issue (Spain, California)? If things turn out really bad due to positive feedbacks which accidentally do exist these people would probably have no choice but to die or migrate. Where would they move to? Oregon perhaps? South of the Alps?
    Let alone all those people in developing nations who live so far outside of our Monkeysphere, such as India and the Ganges Delta, or Egypt, or parts of China that are already suffering from desertification due to land mismanagement which would probably be intensified by AGW.
    Or the people who built their cities on permafrost? Or close to the sea? Venice, Amsterdam?
    So you see, one woman’s coconuts is another man’s desert. Or like the French expression runs: If someone is laughing on one side of the planet, someone is probably crying on the other side. I would like to prevent that lottery as much as possible.

  82. Now where does WUWT stand exactly? Does it only highlight alleged flaws in the mainstream science surrounding AGW but deliberately keep silent about alleged flaws in the science coming from the ‘contrarian’ side?
    No, Anthony is not like that. He’s interested in what is. If new evidence of AGW arises, he will surely adduce it. And we have a number non-skeptic posters here who will promptly jump in to keep the rest of us on our toes.
    We are skeptical. But we try not to be close-minded. Anthony has the soul of a true scientist, he’s no a mere advocate – except for due diligence and high standards. He’s a true liberal, in the (all too seldom used) dictionary sense of the word.

  83. If AGW isn’t happening and my site promotes whatever goes against the grain of mainstream climate science I rightly and intrepidly convince people to not waste time and money on something that isn’t real. If AGW is happening I can apologize all I want but I’m responsible, however marginally, for the inaction that excluded mitigation of consequences that cost huge amounts of money and inflict human misery on a global scale.

    So, I take away from this paragraph the following: “You should always do what you’re told by whatever authority tells you to do it, regardless of the evidence, or lack thereof.”
    Baaaa

  84. Neven,
    water scarcity was a topic here a few weeks ago. According to the IPCC research documents there will be a huge net benefit from higher temperatures.
    By the way, also the sahara desert has been shrinking (as it was always properous, when climate was warmer.)

  85. Neven wrote:
    So you see, one woman’s coconuts is another man’s desert. Or like the French expression runs: If someone is laughing on one side of the planet, someone is probably crying on the other side. I would like to prevent that lottery as much as possible.

    Here’s a simpler breakdown of that “lottery” you mentioned, from How Is Global Warming Changing Mortality in Practice?:
    “Lack of daily statistics has prevented accurate assessment of this kind for some regions, but outside the tropics, it indicates that rises in temperature over the next few years would increase heat-related deaths less than they decrease cold-related deaths. For example, on this assumption, the rise in temperature of 3.6°F expected over the next 50 years would increase heat-related deaths in Britain by about 2,000, but reduce cold-related deaths by about 20,000.” Emphasis added. That means 18,000 more people survive, given the 3.6°F projected increase in temperatures.
    Here’s a nice graphic to help illustrate the difference in mortality rates. It’s Figure 3 from the above article. They attribute the reduced mortality in North America to the greater availability of central heating compared to Europe–the advantage of adaptation, as opposed to mitigation.
    “A surprising finding is that the heat-related mortality rate has stabilized or fallen, despite rising temperatures. Air conditioning has been a major factor in the United States.” You can bet that when electricity costs go up due to carbon mitigation, those mortality rates will also go up.
    “Britain and the rest of northern Europe still have little air conditioning, and the heat-related mortality rate in London has not fallen. Nor has it risen, however, despite a 3.6°F rise in summer temperature since 1971. ” Emphasis added.

  86. Gavin Schmidt, it is people “who can read”, & not “that can read”. They are living, breathing (hopefully), flesh & blood, not inanimate objects!
    Never mind. The WUWT website proves its worth in any case many-fold over!

  87. I think we should give the AGW’ers a rest after all they really believe what they are doing is correct (re earth warming) so their intentions are not harmful. I think once they understand that C02 ain’t the culprit ( and it seems that this is beginning to occur), the money will be better spent on population control, waste ect. Also I believe like Pielke and co that there may be a local warming effect due to land changes (ie cement in cities) after all we all agree on the UHI effect dont we?. On the other hand… they need to be constantly audited until the CO2 madness is over

  88. Re the precautionary principle:
    The onus of proof is on those who wish to spend $45 trillion of other people’s money on CO2 mitigation over the next 40 years.
    There is a difference between questioning and promoting:
    “Promoting whatever goes against mainstream climate science” constitutes questioning.
    Campaigning to spend other people’s money constitutes promoting.
    Science is about questioning. Politics is about promoting.

  89. Alan the Brit (23:45:51) :
    Gavin Schmidt, it is people “who can read”, & not “that can read”. They are living, breathing (hopefully), flesh & blood, not inanimate objects!
    Caesar:
    Let me have men about me that are fat,
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
    He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
    From Caesar, Act I, Scene 2 by William Shakespeare

  90. George E Smith,
    Thankyou for taking the time to reply to my post, I can honestly say I meant no disrespect to or imply any sort of ignorance on your part, far from it, your post was very informative, interesting and not at all intimidating, patronising or condescending.
    I have no scientific qualifications, like others here I simply wish to understand the basic simplicity that underlies most issues. Did my very simplistic and basic evaluation of GISS/GISTEMP have any value? I deduce rightly or wrongly from your very helpful and informative post that the anomaly maps have no real value in measuring overall climate variations due to the complex nature of planetary thermodynamics and if this is the case then the IPCC computer models also have no real value other than to convince laypersons/polititians of the need for ‘urgent’ legislative action to curb industrial activity and classify industrial carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
    I have no doubt that your explanation regarding BBR(as far as I can understand it) has great merit and your understanding of scientific theory is obviously far better than my own and possibly better than most posters but I hope you can see the value of opinions and assessments from the widest spectrum of academic knowledge and expertise.
    Many thanks CK.

  91. Evanjones: “The cost (according to Stern) is a third or more of GWP growth per year.”
    The Stern Review estimates a cost of 1 percent of global GDP (ie total GDP) by 2050.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/30_10_06_exec_sum.pdf
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6098362.stm
    Total GDP is not the same as GDP growth. Assume a world economy worth $100 with a growth rate of 3 percent. At the end of the first year, the value of the world economy would have risen to $103. Assume a deadweight annual AGW cost of 1 percent of the $100 GDP. At the end of the first year, at the same rate of growth, the value of the economy would have risen to $102.97 ($99@3%).
    The difference in growth is 0.01 percent. This is a great deal less than a third of the 3 percent GDP growth, and it would take 30 years at the same rate of growth before the cost hit a third of the original year’s GDP growth.
    As for poor countries, Stern says special provision should be made to help these countries adjust to climate change.
    “From 1979-2001, the Big Six flipped warm…Do we see a pattern?”
    The only pattern I see is this mantra you keep repeating about the “Big Six” flipping to cold. I have yet to see an explanation as to whether or not this flipping will make any difference to the amount of heat energy within the atmospheric system.

  92. But how about people who live in areas where water scarcity is an issue (Spain, California)? If things turn out really bad due to positive feedbacks which accidentally do exist these people would probably have no choice but to die or migrate. Where would they move to? Oregon perhaps? South of the Alps?
    Things are already bad. I am one of those people living in Central California. Let me fill you in on a few facts about water scarcity in this state.
    Our climate type is known as a Mediterranean environment. Our rain season comes in the winter, with virtually none for the entire summer season. We rely on the winter rains and the melt from the Sierra Nevada snow pack, to fill our aquifers and dams and supply our water needs for the rest of the year. We are in the midst of a severe water shortage. But it’s not caused by global warming, nor even the current drought, which are, every few years, a natural phenomenon in this type of climate. Our water shortage is man made. Because of environmental rules in this state, they haven’t built or improved water storage to meet the needs of the growing population in more than forty years.
    Los Angeles gets much more rain than we do here in Fresno, but where do they get much of their water from? Our Sierra Nevada snow pack. They won’t build a dam, why, because the extremely powerful environmental lobby will not allow it and have blocked attempts to do so in the courts. Instead of catching their local rain and using it to supply their needs, which would be the wise thing to do, the rain water simply flows across the landscape and runs out to the sea. So they ship water from here via canal to supply their needs, at our expense. To make matters worse, The Sierra Club successfully sued the state to try and bring back a population of Salmon to the San Joaquin River. The problem is that the river has been semi-dry for forty years due to Milerton Dam, and this reservoir stores and provides water to many of the Central Valley cities and it’s farmers, and me. No one, even the environmentalists know if the fish will ever come back, but because of this stupid environmental policy, the river must flow, and there will be EVEN LESS water available to cities and farmers.
    This year many farmers, some who have farmed the land for generations, have had to fold up and abandon their farms because their wells have dried up. Small rural communities have had to survive for portions of the summer on bottled water.
    Do not use California as an example of the possible dire consequences that MIGHT happen in a hundred years. It’s happening NOW, because for forty years concerned citizens, such as yourself, who mean well and are trying to save the planet, have had the ear of the state politicians, and have brought real hardship to it’s people, Here, Now.
    I’m not against environmental policy. I’m all for breathing cleaner air and having less pollution (another huge problem in this state, due in part to geography). and I am for cleaner drinking water, when we have water at all. I’m against STUPID environmental policy. And basing that policy on either a fish that may or may not come back, or global changes that may or may not happen in a hundred years, is STUPID environmental policy.
    BTW, according to most projections, California would actually get MORE rainfall if global warming does happen. as predicted.

  93. Neven,
    A lot of the misconceptions involving global warming stem from the grandstanding that occurs when people are passionate about their work. People often cite warming as the cause for any disaster, however tenuous, such as the devastating earthquake a few years back. Nobody knows what will happen to local conditions as the world heats and cools. The process is far too complex to model. All we can do at this point is look at the past record and try to make deductions.
    If a computer model indicates that raising temperatures will cause expanding deserts, then the AGW folks jump all over that and predict doom and gloom. In the 70’s, theoretical models of cooling and its effect caused a similar furor. Doom was predicted for every degree drop in temperature.
    So, how does one make judgment?
    Nobody should take what I and others claim on this site as face value. Instead, we should try to find reliable scientific sources with no agenda to push. There are many geologists and (historical) climatologists working on this very subject, and they are very skilled and clever folk. They also have a good agreement on what the effects of warming and cooling mean for broad areas of the Earth.
    If you are looking for sources, I would suggest “Frozen Earth” by MacDougall. He is a geologist who explains step by step how we have learned about past ice-ages, how we infer the temperature of the past, and the reasoning behind many of the theories used to explain these trends.
    Works like his are most illuminating. They should be required reading for anyone who is concerned about AGW or responsible for environmental policy.
    I will not play spoiler here, just let me say that it is truly amazing how different a picture is painted by those who model the future and those who study Earth’s past.

  94. Difference is that now Homo Sapiens is pumping, per 2007 figures, 9.34 million GT into the atmosphere and that there is a major disconnect of the GHG in the atmosphere and the past glacial cycles. Only around 50% of the 12CO2 from fossil fuel burning is absorbed by the planet, so given time, the temperatures will catch up as the joules stored in the oceans continue to build… hold on to year seats for the next El Nino.
    I have no agenda, but sure as heck am I seeing and experiencing climate change.
    So, try this reading: http://forecast.uchicago.edu/samples.html
    Global Warming, Understanding The Forecast.
    Dont limit the reading to what you like. Read all information, than connect the dots.

  95. I’ve just rearranged a few words:
    If AGW is happening and my site promotes whatever goes with the grain of mainstream climate science I rightly and intrepidly convince people to spend time and money on something that is real. If AGW is not happening I can apologize all I want but I’m responsible, however marginally, for the unnecessary action which included mitigation of nonexistent consequences that cost huge amounts of money and inflict human misery on a global scale.
    Spot the difference?

  96. Nevin,
    I haven’t read yet the comments between your 19:28:25 post and this yet, but feel compelled to comment. The biggest problem I have with your logic is that it’s one sided. You try to lay a guilt trip on those who disagree with you, but don’t consider your own ethical position if you are wrong. It is far more likely in today’s political climate that we will indeed spend vast amounts of resources and money trying to mitigate AGW than not. It may be less than you want, but I don’t see how it will be less than substantial. Removing our childrens’ resources removes their ability to respond to “other” man induced climate changes due to changed land use and so on. It also reduces their resources to respond to natural disasters and natural climate change. If the world cools then history tells us that we can expect more variable weather, reduced crop yields, increased deaths due to the cold, and spread of tropical diseases (presumably because people are clustered together more and can spread them easier). If CO2 were to decrease (presumably in response to the cooling) then you’d also expect lower crop yields from that as well as increased crop diseases and crop pests as crops are stressed and their resistance drops. I haven’t even mentioned other episodic super-disasters.
    Would you feel the slightest bit guilty if any of this happens? If the influence of yourself and all your friends has led to this? I don’t know you, but will guess anyways. If you are wrong, you will say “I had good intentions” so therefore am not responsible for what happened.
    You need to understand that we too are trying to protect the children of the world. We too are trying to protect the environment. But we are trying to protect these from human greed and exploitation, which I at least believe to be a greater danger than CO2.

  97. Neven
    Lots of people want to have a “clean” science that tells them “the truth”. But they don’t want to try to understand the workings of the science. It’s too much. And, horror of horrors, it suggests that knowledge itself carries responsibility.
    You’ve got to look in your conscience for this. Nobody can tell you what is “right”. Watts Up provides a platform for people to discuss science – and our human reactions to the science – openly. This openness, that belongs to Magna Carta and everything that matters for freedom, is lacking at RealClimate. Without such openness, we cannot develop real science. The development of science is not a clean process even if the results look bright and clean in the end. Most great discoveries were denounced by “consensus” long before they were accepted – and we do not know how much more important science got lost because of this. As Michael Crichton said, “consensus is the first refuge of scoundrels”… it is not science.
    People realize our planet is fragile and under pressure from many factors. But what can solve this is truly open science, science that is open to the human (and the spiritual) factors, not alarmist authoritarianism that cannot even do economic comparisons.
    IMHO our real responsibility is to become better scientists and not depend on “authority” outside ourselves that we cannot check – because this is where the conmen start, with ten thousand shades of colour in this spectrum.

  98. We could discuss at great length various aspects of the (gradually warming) climate and in which regions this warming would initially have beneficial effect and in which regions not, but I do not feel inclined to do so. First of all, these points have been discussed, are being rediscussed and will continue to be discussed, until such time that the AGW-hypothesis is sufficiently proven or disproven. This will take quite some more time I believe.
    Second of all and more importantly I don’t feel I’m qualified to be discussing most of the aspects of AGW, especially not the scientific ones. Of course I have my opinions, hunches and beliefs but spouting them would be of no use at all I fear. In fact I think 99% of the people on most blogs are not qualified and their comments or references to all kinds of researches and papers do not further the discussion or make for any real progress.
    However, I do enjoy keeping an eye on climate-blogs and the comments can be quite instructive or stimulating. From a psychological point of view it’s interesting to see the impatient and frustrated tones of a Gavin Schmidt or a Tamino, the pedantic pitbull-like McIntyre or the relentless Watts proudly presenting his web traffic every month to his following. It’s interesting to think about their motivation to do what they do and the way they do it. Add to that the hypotheses I was talking about (AGW happening or not happening) and there’s a lot to think about.
    If a Gavin Schmidt for instance is completely wrong about AGW, I think he’d have a hard time dealing with the disgrace and the fact that all of his work was for nothing. He’s a proud man, not very strategic when it comes to his tone when rebutting contrarian views, but he’s far from stupid. Gathering from his articles on RC I think he’s a man who’s well-read, writes well and even if the AGW-theory is a conspiracy, it’s not that easy to get where he is professionaly. This makes me conclude that he’d be happy to accept disgrace in order for AGW and its consequences not happening.
    Now the past few months I’ve been coming to WUWT on a frequent basis because I like to read up on both sides of the story (even if that means a lot of careful reading and sifting). I admit I’m alarmed by the potential of AGW but I always like to think that everything is possible and WUWT is one of the best sites if I may say so for reading up on ‘contrarian’ or skeptic views.
    An even bigger reason for me to come here is because I’m intrigued by Anthony Watts. What is his motivation for his guerilla against the mainstream AGW-theory? How would he react if AGW turned out to be a real event? Would he feel responsible for the inaction he promoted? Would he put more solar panels on his roof? Or would he justify himself by saying everyone’s responsible for their own actions, like those companies do that sell cigaretts or unhealthy food? Of course I cannot force him to be more specific about what he thinks is and isn’t taking place (warming for instance) or force him to make his site really objective by refusing some of the contrarian views that have been disproven and trying to describe some of that common ground on which we can all stand.
    I don’t believe he’s a ‘denier’ or that he’s paid to run this blog by the fossil fuel industry or some intermediary think tank. But there clearly are reasons for him to present his blog the way he does, and I think wanting to promote ‘open discussion’ or ‘an exchange of views’ does not quite fit the bill. The blog is a bit too onesided for that IMO. I guess I’ll just have to keep observing him and his writings carefully (as I do with other figureheads in the climate change blogosphere). Maybe if I read enough between the lines I can something definite about Mr Watts’ motivation for this blog.
    REPLY: Neven, one of my principles is that I beleive that people whom foster opinions should stand behind their words with their name. This is why I’ll always have more respect for people like Gavin, McIntyre, Pielke, and yes even Hansen, than I do for intellectual cowards like Tamino and Eli Rabbet that hurl invective from behind monikers. You’ve written well, and asked probative questions, but I’ll be frank: I don’t trust the motivations of someone who wants specifics about me who can’t even use their complete name when asking such questions. Surely if a stranger called you at home, identified himself only as “Bob”, and then asked you to tell him details of your life and your views on the world you would not oblige would you? Most people would tell them to bug off, never call again, and hang up. You want details on me, but offer nothing. For all I know you are just another internet phantom that is playing nice now but has some other motive. So, knowing nothing about you, I’ll politely say “bug off”. – Anthony

  99. ‘I think we should give the AGW’ers a rest after all they really believe what they are doing is correct (re earth warming) so their intentions are not harmful.’
    What is the Highway to Hell proverbially paved with?

  100. If I were involved with selling a huge idea, and concerned about the impact of that ideas implications, I would want to make sure that the data inputs for my big idea were valid.
    By placing modelers in charge of the climate issue, we have people who are in effect constantly polishing their picture of the apple instead of checking on the apple.
    The satellite data is allegedly recalibrated on a regular basis.
    It is obvious the same is not done for ground data.
    I think it would be wise of the AGW industry to take some time and acknowledge that the ground station data, worldwide, needs to be audited and where indicated, corrected in the field.
    Massaging the in house analytical algorithms to ‘compensate’ for ‘assumed’ problems is not going to work.
    The question raised is clear: How much of the past data used to declare the apocalypse is GIGO?
    And now that there are strategic financial reasons for some countries to overstate warming- to induce the West to impose severe carbon restrictions- accuracy is not merely academic grandstanding.
    Models are not data, and models that use garbage data are not even good models.

  101. Anthony-
    Re the baseline, GISSTemp uses 1950-1980 because Hansen started generating his temperature anomaly graphs in the early 80’s.
    Is GISSTemp supposed to change their baseline every time a new temp anomaly series is produced (Hadcru, UAH, RSS…)? It seems to me that changing the baseline would only cause confusion in all the published literature that references GISSTemp.
    REPLY: Well perhaps, but NOAA publishes climate summaries based on a 30 year window, so moving the “normals” with the window is standard practice for them. – Anthony

  102. “You are mis-reading the graphs. Simple as that.” – JohnV
    So that is how you respond to criticism? I have seen no evidence whatsoever that you understand my point. Let me try one more time. I know it is kind of subtle.
    Imagine one data set is normally distrbuted around an average. Let us say that this represents a stable climate with weather.
    The second data set has an upward trend added to the normally distributed noise. Lets say it is a stable climate with weather and a growing UHI trend.
    Now imagine where the center point is going to be in the first data set, it will be in the “middle” of the data, like a beam balanced at the center.
    In the second data set, the center point will be shifted to the right by the trend, in this case UHI. The balance point of the beam will be shifted because the data cannot be said to be normally distributed.
    Does that make sense to you? Yes or no?
    If that makes sense, and it should, then why wouldn’t the distance between the center line on the left be exagerated for the graph with the trend, and lessened on the right for the graph with the trend?
    Do you have any other reasonable explanation for why the the good sites and bad sites diverge so on the left of the graph? As I said before, the probablity of this being due to random chance, assuming that both the good sites and bad sites are geographically diverse, is somewhere around zero.
    I would think that you would be intrested in an explanation of the divergence at the left side of your graph between the three data sets at least to the point of trying to understand my argument, rather than rejecting it without consideration.
    I would be more prone to suggest using the earliest data as the baseline, since it is likely the least infected by UHI. Unscrambling this egg is a nightmare, and I think that Anthony’s approach is the best we can do. I am not arguing about current GISTEMP measurements either. I have no opinion yet, since the work is not yet complete, I am arguing about that cool period early on, which is used by alarmists to exagerate climate sensitivity to CO2.

  103. “I can’t speak for Anthony, but my personal opinion about ‘human induced warming’ is more in line with Dr Peilke at climatesci.org. Yes, people are affecting the the climate, but CO2 is a minor role player in that. the primary affect is regional, not global and is a result of land use change and ‘real’ pollution, like the Asian ‘brown cloud’.”….
    I’m with Bill Marsh on this one.

  104. JohnV,
    BTW, I agree with Anthony as well that the issue is largely rhetorical, and it is the rhetorical aspect of your graph that I take issue with. IMHO that CRN5 line should be aligned on the leftmost with the CRN1-2 data, on the assumption that the factors affecting these sites today, airports, asphalt parking lots, etc, were not factors then. This would leave the CRN5 line with the same shape, but floating over the top of the other lines. The same would be true, but to a lesser extent, with GISTEMP with respect to CRN12. So, when you say “I’ve seen this question asked a number of times at WUWT. Anthony is aware of the results of the comparison between GISTEMP and the best stations.” you seem to imply that your graph settles the issue, where it clearly does not. You are the one misreading your own graph, IMHO.

  105. JohnV (14:52:36) :
    I do not claim that my analysis is definitive. It is certainly much more robust than many of the negative claims made about GISTEMP around here.
    JohnV (18:12:12) :
    I did not “take into account” anything about GISTEMP. I took the published GISTEMP data for the USA lower-48 and compared it to a temperature trend created using only the best rural stations (CRN12R). The comparison was very good. It’s that simple.
    So your hypothesis is that all stations are similarly skewed based on mathematically (unpublished methodology) massaged data.

  106. Warmer is wetter, warmer is wetter. Colder is dryer, colder is dryer. If temps drop from their holding pattern, California will indeed go up in flames.
    Re: dam building. To encase and redirect water flow into big rivers by cutting off open irrigation ditches and remove small dams is now a questionable practice. Ground water depends on percolation. Dams help but only if they are spread out into multiple smaller dams, not one big one, and then only if they’re located above ground water source areas so that they can feed ground water that collects in valleys as well water. Another way to keep ground water high is to keep unlined irrigation ditches running. If you want to reduce evaporation, fine, then cap them, but allow them to percolate. Don’t pipe this water through PVC and don’t cut the ditches off after two months, thinking it will help keep water running in rivers. The environmentalists and Indian tribes were wrong on this one. Research is beginning to shed new light on the harm that has been done in capturing and encasing runoff back into large rivers without dams, where they flow so fast no percolation happens, and cutting off water to old porous irrigation ditches. If you look back in history, rivers spread naturally when full, reducing water flow speed. They pooled if you will. All on their own. Dams controlled this pooling so that the water could be diverted where we wanted it. Irrigation ditches also diverted natural side streams to pastures, where they continued to then percolate the water into the ground. These ditches also served as spawning grounds, just like the small streams did. Before our free-flowing ditches were taken away from us, we would have to walk our ditches every few days to flip out the occasional large salmon blocking the flow and eroding the ditch. Then they put up fish screens and finally gates to shut the water off. Spawning grounds dried up in the interest of “environmentalism”.
    The tribes in the northwest are beginning to understand the negative effects of past environmental wrong-headed thinking and are now developing a way to once again spread river water that used to spread on its own, back over broad areas (read: flood irrigation) so that it can percolate back into ground water. Like it used to.
    In several cases (but certainly not all), environmental policies have made things worse, not better. If liberals (and I am one of them) were so miffed that Bush failed to collect “correct and accurate” data on Iraq before the invasion (and yes I was certainly miffed), why are they so loosy goosy about climate data before invading our own soil?????

  107. Vincent Guerrini Jr:

    I think we should give the AGW’ers a rest after all they really believe what they are doing is correct (re earth warming) so their intentions are not harmful….

    Regarding the followers, I generally agree with you, but not about the leaders. They are fully aware of what they’re doing. Some have explicitly said their goal is to de-industrialize the west, and to prevent third world growth. For example: The WWF has a current ad running telling us that Polar Bears will be extinct within our childrens’ lifetimes, due to “climate change”. There’s not an ounce of proof to back up that claim, yet they’re allowed to say it on national television as if it were absolute truth. With no equally public challenge to this assertion, it spreads through the public, again, as absolute truth. This is where the real harm is caused.
    Sorry, but I can’t give these people a break.

  108. Neven said:

    Pamela, like I said: ‘Every advantage has its disadvantage’. So while you would be eating coconuts (if AGW is happening I don’t expect it to be that fast) and taking dips in your lovely ocean I would probably lose most of my income because I live south of the Alps and my income is partially derived from the skiing industry, which has already been suffering from bad winters the past few years, although this winter all the Ninas, PDOs, AOs, solar spots (please ignore my ignorance, Leif, if you read this) etcetera look to be working in our favor.

    So, if you believe in AGW, how can you support an industry that requires massive transportation to get people to your resorts? Aren’t you part of the problem? And in case you haven’t noticed, lots more snow this year, eh?

  109. The difference in growth is 0.01 percent.
    Two reasons why that doesn’t equate. First, it is a straight-out 1% loss. You need – more – than 1% “growth” just to break even. You never subtracted the 1%. Second, the very industries getting socked in the teeth are responsible for a great deal of the growth. So it’s not merely a flesh wound, it’s a knee-shot.

  110. Nevin – Please consider that the International Energy Agency (IEA) puts the cost of cutting CO2 at $45 Trillion. But that is not the total being called for by those who just “want to do something.”
    “IF” CO2 is the dominant driver of world temps (which the science continues to show is highly unlikely, imo), then the $45 Trillion only “buys” a cut of 50% of outputs. The goal being pushed is actually an 80% cut. History shows that progressive efforts to change man’s outputs get more expensive as time goes on, because the easy items and less expensive items get done first. Thus the totals may be double or triple the $45 Trillion, maybe more. Nobody knows.
    If science does not support the cause and effect behind those horrifically high costs, then that is a tremendous drain on resources that can be much better used to help mankind in other areas. I refer you to http://www.lomborg.com/, where world conferences have discussed the needs of mankind in more depth and how resources could be much better prioritized and spent, with much bigger impact at far less cost. Your concerns for mankind’s well-being may be much better served via other options. That is for you to decide, of course.
    Finally, please consider this quote, which deals with the concerns of political efforts that try to censor scientific investigations that we rely on to improve the lives of mankind:
    “In the end, science offers us the only way out of politics.
    And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost.
    We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages,
    an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices,
    transmitted to people who don’t know any better.
    That’s not a good future for the human race.”
    Dr. Michael Crichton – September 15, 2003

    Regards…

  111. Neven wrote:
    >I think [Gavin’s] a man who’s well-read, writes well and even if the AGW-theory is a conspiracy, it’s not that easy to get where he is professionaly. This makes me conclude that he’d be happy to accept disgrace in order for AGW and its consequences not happening.
    He hasn’t shown the ability to do so regarding small errors, so I would not expect him to do so for larger ones.

  112. Moptop:
    I am not sure of the point you are trying to make. Let me go through a couple of possibilities:
    1. Are you saying that the difference between between CRN5 and CRN12R implies that the CRN5 trend has issues? I agree. The CRN5 stations are affected by both UHI and micro-site issues.
    2. Are you saying that the difference between CRN5 and GISTEMP implies that GISTEMP has issues? I disagree. If GISTEMP does a good job of correcting for the issues of the CRN5 stations, then GISTEMP should be different than the CRN5 trend.
    Do you agree that the CRN12R trend is minimally affected by UHI (since the stations are rural) and micro-site issues (since the stations have been highly rated by Surface Stations)? If so, do you agree that the CRN12R trend is our best estimate of the true temperate history in the USA lower-48? Do you agree that the GISTEMP and CRN12R trends are very close? What does the close match between GISTEMP and CRN12R imply?
    I agree that the choice of reference period can affect how a graph is interpreted. I believe that aligning the trends at the start or end of the graph gives the clearest indication of the differences between the trends. I chose to align at the end, but the conclusions would be the same if I aligned at the beginning. Here’s the graph you requested:
    http://opentemp.org/_results/20071002_CRN12R_CRN5_TOBS/temp5yr_1900_1920.png
    CRN5 shows more warming than CRN12R or GISTEMP, primarily starting in the mid-1960s. CRN12R and GISTEMP are very close.
    An even better option is to calculate and show the trends directly:
    http://opentemp.org/_results/20071002_CRN12R_CRN5_TOBS/keytrends.png
    Note that the CRN5 stations show consistently more warming than CRN12R or GISTEMP (as we both expect). For the periods after 1935, GISTEMP and CRN12R are quite close.
    Note: There are of course uncertainties in the trends. If I was re-doing the analysis today I would estimate and include them in the graphs.
    I’m not saying that the stations are all good. I’m not saying that UHI isn’t real. I’m just trying to put a little context around the station quality and how it affects GISTEMP. I’ve been encouraging Anthony to do the same and I’ve offered to help.

  113. Neven
    I trust this site a heck of a lot more than RC. I seem to be barred from posting on there.
    I don’t know why this is so as I just try, politely, to get people to look at the logic of their positions.
    For instance, leaving aside the truth of CO2 driven AGW, why does nearly everyone assume that man has only a malign influence on the planet rather than benign sometimes?
    Mankind has become more successful as he has gained the ability to manipulate his environment rather just respond to it unlike lesser animals. You correspond now because Mankind has been very active in manipulating the environment in the last few thousand years.
    There are only three answers to the issue of Mankind having some influence on the planets future climate, assuming that he does.
    1. The changes will be significant and harmful to Mankind and or the Planet.
    2. The changes will be significant and helpful to Mankind and or the Planet.
    3. The changes will be insignificant and not impact greatly Mankind and or the Planet.
    What logic drives you to presuppose the first and not the second? Any examples of a warmer and more CO2 saturated Planet would be useful.
    If you come from the kind of oddball environmentalist position, often expressed or inferred, that all Mans interference with the normal progress of the Planets environmental conditions must be considered harmful, ask yourself this.
    If Mankind really does have the ability to significantly alter climatic conditions should he seek to prevent the next ice age?
    If not why not? If so on what grounds would you justify it?
    Also would you try to undo Mankinds past environmental manipulations that have so far been beneficial in the extreme to Mankind when taken as a whole?
    Alan

  114. Sekerob (05:39:07)
    “I have no agenda, but sure as heck am I seeing and experiencing climate change”
    Sorry but I don’t buy it. The world’s temperature has gone up a miniscule amount in the last 30 years. It is far too small for you to notice without being told that it exists. Just because there is a dry, wet, warm or cold spell somewhere does not mean climate change. The world was almost half a degree warmer in 1998 then in 1997 and almost half a degree cooler in 1999 then in 1998. That is a natural fluctuation not climate change. You may not think you have an agenda but you have been schooled by those that do, to look for verification in the normal goings on around you.
    In December 2007 NY City supposedly had its first snow free year since record keeping began (I don’t buy that either, I grew up there) and it was blamed on climate change. January 2008 had the most snow since record keeping began and it too was blamed on climate change. Somehow that doesn’t make sense to me.

  115. John V-
    I don’t believe you ever answered my question about your comparison of GISTEMP to CRN12R. You are simply comparing trends for the U.S., not global, correct? Something key to consider is that GISTEMP shows a much greater rise in temperatures for other parts of the world than the U.S. The U.S. is the most thoroughly covered large country (with weather stations). So even if GISTEMP agrees with trends from “good” stations in the U.S., what about the data from all over the world?

  116. Just wanted to pass on my outrage that some commenters at various blogs are upset that people seem to be happy that Gavin and co have egg on their faces. They are upset that some “deniers” are mean and snarky.
    Hansen has called for “deniers” to be put in jail. Skeptical scientists are routinely slandered by alarmists as corrupt. Alarmists are demanding that governments enact the most draconian imposition of taxes and regulations in the history of the world.
    But that’s no reason to get snarky.

  117. “but the conclusions would be the same if I aligned at the beginning. Here’s the graph you requested:” – JohnV
    Does it bother you, even in the slightest, that there seems to be a systematic warm bias in the CRN12 stations in the sample at the beginning of the last century? Before the introduction of the automobile? Maybe we don’t have enough stations yet, as has been pointed out repeatedly, so small anomolies tend to distort the data. Does it bother you in the slightest that you are making arguments regarding large and complex physical systems based on moving curves up and down on a multiline chart in what can only be described as an arbitrary fashion? Do you wonder if the answer may not be discernable with a temp history of CRN12 that only goes back 110 years?
    The only conlcusion that can be drawn from your work is that the GISTEMP at this stage of the project, seems to follow the sign of the the currently identified CRN1and 2 stations over time. Please don’t try to imply otherwise. I can wait until the project is complete to draw any conclusions myself.
    This whole argument jumps the gun. I am done with it.

  118. Jared:
    I did answer you above. Yes, my analysis was only for the USA lower-48. And yes, the USA lower-48 had a warm period in the 1930s that is not seen in the global temperature trend.
    You say that “that GISTEMP shows a much greater rise in temperatures for other parts of the world than the U.S”. That’s not entirely true. There is one period of substantial disagreement between the global and USA48 temperatures. That period is the 1930s.
    For the last 30-40 years I am not aware of any substantial difference between the USA lower-48 and global trends. Both show significant warming. GISTEMP and the “best-station” trends for the USA lower-48 are very close over this time period.

  119. Neven
    “You see what I mean? If AGW turns out to be happening this blog has indirectly harmed me, my children and all the other people I care about. If this weren’t so I would not be saying any of this. People are free to choose and believe whatever they want but their freedom stops where the freedom of others begin. That’s what makes AGW so interesting.”
    The “fatal conceit:” The idea that “man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes.”
    Ever since the beginning of modern science, the best minds have recognized that “the range of acknowledged ignorance will grow with the advance of science.” Unfortunately, the popular effect of this scientific advance has been a belief, seemingly shared by many scientists, that the range of our ignorance is steadily diminishing and that we can therefore aim at more comprehensive and deliberate control of all human activities. It is for this reason that those intoxicated by the advance of knowledge so often become the enemies of freedom.” – F. A. Hayek
    Mr. Neven, you use the big “IF.” to accuse others of indirectly harming you, your children and all the other people you care about. IF I am harmed, my children are harmed, my grand children are harmed, my great grand children are harmed and all the other people I care about are harmed by a theory, offered with no scientific proof, only supposition, then I say provide the necessary proof of an unproven theory, because the freedom of the alarmists stops where the freedom of the skeptics begins.
    The whole of the Algore/UN/IPCC effort started with the precept that man-made CO2 is causing global warming, which evolved into global warming/climate change. Climate change is a constant occurrence in Nature, irrelevant to man’s presence.
    The alarmist thinking now is that the truth of the theory does not matter, it is the imagined consequence of inaction that requires action, however futile that action may be and at whatever the cost might be.
    IF you find AGW so interesting, provide the proof that man-made global warming is valid.

  120. Moptop:
    There were indeed very few CRN12R stations at the beginning of the last century. The differences between GISTEMP and CRN12R between 1900 and 1910 do not particularly concern me with respect to AGW. (Does the bias in the opposite direction from 1910 to 1920 bother you?)
    Focus your attention on the latter part of the graph. This is where there are more stations available. This is where AGW became an important driver of temperature. Compare CRN12R to GISTEMP. Based on this preliminary analysis, does GISTEMP match the “best station” trend? Yes, yes it does.
    The low number of CRN12R stations is a concern. That’s why I also did an analysis using the stations with a CRN rating of 3. I refer you back to the graph I posted above:
    http://opentemp.org/_results/20071011_CRN123R/crn123r_gistemp_5yr.png
    More rural stations. Station quality is not quite as good. GISTEMP matches.
    You can fall back on the coincidence argument if that comforts you. It certainly is *possible* that it’s a coincidence that GISTEMP matches the trend from the best stations. It’s *possible* that the best stations (as rated by Surface Stations) are wrong for some other reason besides UHI or micro-site issues.

  121. John V-
    I’m afraid you are mistaken about the 1930s…yes, it was warmer in the U.S., but there was a similar trend globally (many of the warmest years from before the 1990s were in the late 1930s/early 1940s). In addition, anecdotal evidence about sea ice and other things indicates that the 1935-45 period was probably not much cooler than the last ten years.
    The U.S. trends are significantly different than the global trends overall.
    http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/nebraska/year2005-us-temperature-graph.gif
    http://heartspring.net/images/global_temperature_land_oce.gif
    I don’t question GISS data from the U.S. nearly as much as their data from around the rest of the world – especially sparsely populated places like Siberia.

  122. Additionally, significant increases in UHI have occurred since the 1930s, and there is no evidence that GISS has properly compensated for that.

  123. In common with earlier posters, I too found George’s exposition (13/11/08 18:07:46) compelling and convincing. So may I ask his (and anybody else’s) opinion on the following (no doubt naive) layman’s observations?
    (1) The oceans are “thermally sluggish” (ie slow to heat or cool compared to the land) and are also flat (ie devoid of mountains). I think this means that most sorts of clouds are generally less likely to form over the ocean than the land. (Obviously not all because of different types of cloud formation, caused by colliding air masses perhaps).
    (2) Generally, hot countries outside the equatorial zone seem to be pretty much cloud-free (Saudi Arabia etc). So they will be able to radiate heat away to space very rapidly (high temperatures allied to absence of cloud).
    (3) The whole theory of AGW seems to be about trace amounts of CO2 enlisting water vapour to provide a positive feedback effect. (I’m not sure whether it matters whether this water vapour is condensed out into clouds or not. Certainly clear nights even with high relative humidity seem to me much colder than similar cloudy ones).
    While I’m quite sure that all this doesn’t affect the physics and certainty of the expert view of AGW, I’d still like to be able to understand in simple and sympathetic terms how the effect of clouds is accommodated within the current orthodoxy. Hence this appeal for further explanation to George particularly.

  124. significant increases in UHI have occurred since the 1930s, and there is no evidence that GISS has properly compensated for that.

    I agree that UHI is an issue. I suspect that a substantial part of the difference between my CRN5 and rural CRN12 (or CRN123R) results is due to UHI. However, GISTEMP agrees with the rural CRN12 and CRN123 results. To me this is is evidence that GISTEMP does a good job of correcting for UHI (at least for the USA lower-48).
    Thanks for the links to global and USA48 temperature histories. Here’s a single graph with both trends to the same scale:
    http://opentemp.org/_results/20071018_CRN123R_TRI/usa48_world.png

  125. To Cassandra King.
    Do not worry that in any way your comments were viewed by me as any sort of put down; In fact, I can’t discern any such, now that you mention it. And all that guff about PhDs was not any toss at you either; I had no way to foretell what your background was. The fact that you found something useful there just makes me happy that I took the time to write it.
    Believe me; I come here to learn; and I learn as much from other posters as perhaps some get from my chicken scratchings; and that’s why this site performs such a great service.
    “”Harold Ambler (19:18:57) :
    George Smith writes: “Clearly the very hottest places on earth are actually cooling the planet fastest, and the polar regions are doing very little to cool the earth, and the hot deserts can be cooling the earth at double the rate corresponding to the global mean temperature.”
    Hi George. Your scientific pedigree is higher than mine, just for the record. And yet … I think talking about the Earth in terms of the black body model that you have gone into is not entirely helpful. “”
    Harold; you won’t get any disagreement from me, about the vast transfers of thermal energy from the tropics towards the poles via ocean currents and air currents; if those processes did not occur, then the tropics would really cook.
    The problem addressed by my note, was simply the ultimate question of how does the energy finally get off this planet to outer space, and despite the complex and chaotic transfers of energy both across the surface and up the atmospheric column, in the final analysis, Electromagnetic Radiation is really the only significant mechanism of energy loss finally to space.
    Your comments about the polar transfers of energy really point out, that but for those pehenomena, the poles would be even colder, and the tropics even hotter.
    The final situation though is that the bulk of the finally radiated energy to space is emitted from the hottest tropical regions, and not from the colder polar regions.
    The surface water convection that sends energy north and south from the tropics, is of course why the sea ice, and the Antarctic ice shelves melt in the first place, because that latent heat to melt the ice, most assuredly comes from the surrounding water, and not from the atmosphere.
    A simple mental exercise will convince: Apparatus required one thermometer, and one stop watch; a brandy flask is optional.
    Find a nice Minnesota lake on a cold night with no wind and zero air temperature, with floating ice on the waters of the lake. Use the thermometer to check that the air and water temperature are both about zero. No wind chill factor and no extraneous heat sources (night time).
    Part 1. Take off all your clothes, and start the stop watch, and time how long it takes to freeze to death; or give up and head for the brandy flask.
    Part 2 of the experiment; repeat as in part one, but before starting the watch, go Jump in the lake !
    Report back here on which method results in the shortest freezing time.
    By the way; the very phenomena you mention, the massive lateral transfers of energy across the globe, demonstrates exactly why GISStemp doesn’t have any real scientific value; it conveys not a hint of such processes; but a real climate model of this planet, most certainly would.
    George

  126. “First, it is a straight-out 1% loss. You need – more – than 1% “growth” just to break even.”
    No. The difference in my example is 0.01 percent growth. Your original claim is: “The cost (according to Stern) is a third or more of GWP growth per
    year.” But the cost (according to Stern) is: “…likely to be around 1% of global GDP by 2050.”
    “Global GDP” is a total and is not the same as GDP growth. You are confusing the two, which leads you to assume that the global economy would need an additional 1 percent growth in order to break even. But this would not be the case, since there would not be a 1 percent loss in GDP growth, as my simplified calculations show.
    “Second, the very industries getting socked in the teeth are responsible for a great deal of the growth. So it’s not merely a flesh wound, it’s a knee-shot.”
    Again you are assuming that Stern’s 1 percent refers to growth rather than total GDP. You are also assuming a static economy. A rise in the cost of CO2-emitting processes would encourage a shift towards alternative technologies and this activity would contribute to economic growth. So it’s bit alarmist to be talking about “knee-shots”.

  127. George E. Smith (18:07:46) :
    GISSTemp doesn’t plot average temperature; it plots temperature anomalies-the difference from a somewhat arbitrary baseline.
    The GISSTemp baseline is a 30-year, area-weighted average of temperatures measured at various weather stations 5 feet or so above the ground.
    Assuming you live in the northern hemishere, is August warmer than December? How do you know this?

  128. “”Simon Abingdon (12:36:45) :
    …….deletions……
    While I’m quite sure that all this doesn’t affect the physics and certainty of the expert view of AGW, I’d still like to be able to understand in simple and sympathetic terms how the effect of clouds is accommodated within the current orthodoxy. Hence this appeal for further explanation to George particularly. “”
    Simon, you have hit on a key element, an one which I think is the crux of the whole problem.
    For the record; I am NOT a climatologist; have never worked in the field; I have no links to any energy or other resource companies, and I depend on no grants either public or private, for my living. I work for a profitmaking high tech company (double spinoff from Hewlett Packard); and I have no axe to grind. I just want to see them get the science correct; and hopefully before we do real damage to this planet, both ecologically and economically.
    I’m on public record as having stated that so long as we have the oceans, we cannot change the temperature of this planet; either up or down, even if we wanted to. I’m also NOT a skeptic. I’m firmly convinced that the 150 year old Arhennius thesis of CO2 caused global warming is quite wrong, and I believe that the current state of experimental climate science clearly proves that.
    Has this planet warmed up over much of the last 50 years? absolutely yes. Has atmospheric CO2 level increased over that time; certainly. Does Infrared absorption by CO2 and other GHG tend to cause surface warming; once again yes. Is that a serious problem ABSOLUTLEY NOT !
    At the risk of incurring Anthony’s wrath for using up his space; I’ll try to address some of the issues.
    First of all this isn’t rocket science; any ordinarily intelligent person can easily understand what’s going on if it is explained to him/er; even an 8th grade science student can understand the issues.
    First lets deal with the incoming solar spectrum, which is where we get our “renewable green energy”, our life’s blood
    The sun radiates very closely like a “Black Body” as mentioned above at a temperature of about 6000K. At the top of our atmosphere, we receive that energy at a rate of about 1368 Watts per square meter (about 10 square feet).
    25% of that radiation comes in at wavelengths shorter than the peak wavelength of that spectrum, which is at about 0.5 microns in the green color region. Less than 1% of that total is at wavenegths less than 50% of the peak which is 250 nm in the Ultraviolet (UV). 99% of the solar total is at wavelengths less than 8 times the peak, or 4 microns in the infrared, and half of the total is at shorter than 1.5 times the peak or 0.75 microns.
    By the time that radiation passes through the clear atmosphere some has been absorbed by various things in the atmosphere including both water vapor and CO2, and about 1000 Watts per square meter reaches the ground maximum. 73% of the ground is actually the oceans, and about 97% of what hits the oceans gets absorbed. 3% of the total is reflected off the water surface due to what is called Fresnel reflection; which is the ordinary reflection you see off glass or water.
    As the sunlight proceeds down in the ocean, the shorter, and longer wavelengths get peeled off and absorbed in the water. Scuba divers will tell you that reds go first, then orange, yellows; you don’t notice the UV and violet go missing too. The very brightest sunlight which contains most of the energy is green blue and it goes deepest; several hundred feet; but it all eventually gets absorbed and most of it turns into heating of the water. Photosynthesis by phytoplankton will capture some. The warmed water is going to expand, and tend to float towards the surface (convection) which will very slowly tend to bring that heat energy back to the surface. But conduction is also going to cause some of it to leak downwards to the cooler ocean depths. So we end up with a temperature gradient, where the surface waters are warmest, and the temperature slowly drops down to the “thermocline” where it tends to stop, and then proceed to cool deeper but at a slower rate. Local turbulences and tides etc can stir things up and confuse all this but in calm conditions that’s what you get. So the vast majority of the incoming solar energy goes into the oceans and warms at least the surface layers, with a slower transport to the cooler depths. So the oceans are a pretty good approximation to a true black body,a nd if we didn’t have the blue scattering atmosphere the oceans would look black from outer space.
    Now the surfaces all over the earth, at temperatures between -90 and +60 or thereabouts will radiate some sort of thermal radiation in the infrared region, less than 1% of it will be below about 4 microns, and 99% of it will be below about 100 microns, but the peak is in the 10.1 micron region for most of the earth. This radiation is primarily what causes the planet to cool off. The total spherical surface is four times the earth disk area which is intercepting the sunlight, so on average it only has to emit about 1/4 of the rate of absorption. NOAA says that number is about 390 Watts per square meter. If we didn’t have the atmosphere the whole thing would settle out at a temperature that is below zero (C) maybe -15 C, and we would all freeze.
    Green house gases, primarily water vapor (about 1% of the atmosphere) and CO2 (385 ppm) absorb some of this emitted infrared, radiation, which excites various kinds of “molecular vibrations” in different gases that contain at least two atoms; but it is mostly water and CO2 that absorb most. In the case of CO2 we get what is called a resonance absorption, which selctively grabs radiation at around 15 microns wavelength, and that energy capture by the molecule causes the normally straight O=C-O CO2 molecule to bend in the middle back and forth, and also up and down; that single minus sign is actually a double equals sign edge on, because the four cabon bonds form a tetrahedral arrangement, so you get two pairs at right angles. So we call this a degenerate mode of vibration since there are two different yet identical versions.
    If the CO2 molecule were isolated, this absorption would be very sharp, like tuning a radio to a particular station; but CO2 molecules in the atmosphere are isolated from each other by N2, O2, and those snooty loner A guys that are about 1% of the air. A CO2 molecule has to look past about 13-14 other molecules before it ever sees another CO2, because they are only 385 ppm of the air. So the CO2 can only interract with the ordinary nitrogen and oxygen atmospheric gases; they can’t gang up on anybody. (I have just put the water of other GHG aside since they do similar things).
    The molecules bang into each other, and the average velocity of collision depends on the square root of the average temperature of the atmosphere. This movement velocity creates a Doppler effect, just like a passing train whistle,so the actual frequency (or wavelength) that gets absorbed by the CO2 varies over a range around 15 due to this Doppler shift which we call temperature broadening. The atmospheric density determines how often the CO2 will crash into another molecule, which will cause it to spill its extra infrared energy, and stop vibrating. the more dense the air, the more often the collisions, and the more the absorption band spreads out in “pressure ” broadening. So temperature and pressure broadening of the 15 micron CO2 “line” spreads it out int a band from about 13.5 microns to about 16.5 microns, and this is the piece of the outgoing emission from the earth that gets intercepted by the GHG.
    It is NOT trapped; because it will get re-emitted by the CO2 as soon as it hits another molecule, or even spontaneously before it hits anything. The emission results in a further spreading of the spectrum, and the emitted photon can go in any direction so about half of it goes up towards outer space, and about half goes down towards the ground. The upward re-emission tends to escape more easily, becuase the temperature is dropping, and the atmospheric pressure is dropping with altitude, so the CO2 absorption band is getting narrower with altitude, so less of the spectrum gets re-absorbed. The ozone absorption band is from 9-10 microns, narrower than CO2 because it is at high altitude, less dense and colder, so less broadening.
    The downward radiation might get re-absorbed, but eventually most of it will reach the ground.
    This process results in delaying the escape of the surface IR, while the sun keeps on pouring more energy in, so the delay, results in the surface temperature getting hotter. You can claim if you like, that the returning IR warms the surface; but in reality it is the extra solar energy that arrives during the escape delay, that is actually warming the surface; and this is the so-called Greenhouse effect.
    Now remember that 73% of the surface is ocean, and even the soil and land surfaces contain a lot of moisture, so much of the re-absorbed IR form the GHG gets absorbed back in the water/oceans.
    Water is the most opaque known liquid for long wavelength infra red radiation, and all of this infrared gets stopped in about the top 10 microns of water thickness, so it abnormally warms the water surface compared to the deep diving incoming solar radiation; and that leads in turn to prompt evaporation of the more energetic surface water molecules.
    So sunlight cause sluggish and slow surface warming and evaporation, but returning IR gives prompt warming and evaporation.
    Now water vapor is a GHG; the most powerful, so more evaporation causes more ir capture by water, and a positive feedback warming effect occurs.
    But remember that the ocean doesn’t need warming from CO2 emissions to create evaporation, the water vapor in the atmsopehre is perfectly capable of starting that process itself; so I believe that the CO2 amplification by water feedback is a myth; the water can do it all by itself.
    Well now comes the punch line !
    Water is the ONLY GHG in the atmosphere that exists in the atmosphere in all three phases, vapor, liquid, and solid.
    As a vapor, water is a positive feedback GHG warming influence; BUT as a liquid or solid, water forms CLOUDS; and clouds are invariably a NEGATIVE FEEDBACK COOLING influence (over climate time scales).
    Nobody EVER observed it to warm up due to a cloud passing between them and the sun; it ALWAYS cools down; and for very good reasons optically and otherwise.
    First off, the cloud tops are highly reflecting of solar radiation so they reflect more sunlight back out into space (albedo effect). NOTE; albedo effect is always solar spectrum radiation; maybe slightly spectrally altered by non constant reflectivity.
    The other effect of some clouds, is to absorb additional incoming solar radiation, and stop it from reaching the ground. This is specially true of precipitating clouds that are going to cause rain or snow or what have you.
    Now globally, total global evaporation must always equal total global preciptiation; if that wasn’t true, pretty soon the oceans would be over our heads.
    So more evaporation due to GHG returned IR radiation, ultimately results in an increase in total global precipitable cloud cover, and that extra cloud cover blocks more sunlight and cools the place down.
    If you can access SCIENCE for July 2007, a paper by Wentz et al; “How much more rain will global warming Bring?”
    They showed from satellite data, that a one degree C increase in mean surface temperature, results in a 7% increase in global evaporation, a 7% increase in total atmospheric water content, and a 7% increase in total global precipitation; from which one might infer, about a 7% increase in global precipitable clouds; and there is the negative feedback that stops the temperature from climbing too high.
    The ocean warming, evaporation, cloud formation, precipitation cycle adjusts the mean global cloud cover (about 50%) so it doesn’t get too hot.
    If surface temperatures get too high, you get more evaporation, more cloud formation, more rain clouds, and more sunlight blocking to oppose the warming. If it gets too cold, you get a lot of rain and snow, whcih removes a lot of clouds, and more sunlight comes in and warms the place back up again.
    Anything that enhances cloud formation, such as a volcanic eruption dust, or solar and cosmic charged particle showers, menas you don’t need as high a temperature to get the right amount of cloud, so it cools down. It is not sunlight scatter or blocking by volcanic ash that causes cooling, it is the resultant cloud formation.
    If we clean up the air and don’t get a lot of cosmic rays, clouds don’t form as easily and the temperature rises to get more water vapor up there to make it easier to form clouds.
    The whole place is a giant swamp cooler, and the oceans/clouds are in total control of the mean surface temperatures; CO2 and other GHGs have almost nothing to do with it; although it certainly is true that they try to warm the surface. All they end up doing is lowering the equilibrium amount of cloud cover required to maintain the global surface temperature.
    Now there’s a whole lot more things going on as well, but you get the picture. It’s not that difficult a problem; but it is going to take a lot of studies to get data to quantify these effects, and some of the ways these interractions happen I don’t know anything about; but we will gradually learn them.
    But anyway, if you had control of the temperature knob, what temperature would you set it to; and why; and would you want that responsibility.
    The various machinations that the sun and its spots and shockwave shield have been up to over the last half century since IGY in 1957/58 have had a great effect on cloud formation via the solar wind and cosmic ray link that are affected by sunspot magnetic fields; but now we have a sleepy sun sans spots, that doesn’t look like it is in any hurry to wake up, and that is why we are likely to be looking at a cooler future.
    Finally; I know a hell of a lot about feedback amplifiers, and such things always have a delay between the cause (input) and the effect (output), and if that delay is significant, the net result is that the amplifier oscillates wildly, from + limit to -limit, and if any such feedbacks were responding to CO2, we would see those wild oscillations. And in feedback systems the cause (input) ALWAYS happens before the effect (output), and every ice core data set, shows that rising or falling surface temperatures lead to rising or falling CO2 in the atmosphere, sometimes with a delay of about 800 years.
    When I went to school, having the cause happen 800 years after the effect would be a statutory bar to such a thesis; and even in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, his graphs on page 66/67 clearly show that the CO2 doesn’t change till after the temperature; and we know why, because CO2 is more soluble in colder water, so warming the oceans cause CO2 outgassing, and slower CO2 uptake.
    George

  129. “”Chris V. (17:20:22) :
    George E. Smith (18:07:46) :
    GISSTemp doesn’t plot average temperature; it plots temperature anomalies-the difference from a somewhat arbitrary baseline.
    The GISSTemp baseline is a 30-year, area-weighted average of temperatures measured at various weather stations 5 feet or so above the ground.
    Assuming you live in the northern hemishere, is August warmer than December? How do you know this? “”
    That’s fairly simple Chris: August is in the summertime, while December is late autmun to early winter; so I know that August is likely to be warmer than December; from hundreds of years of recorded history.
    I’m sure you are correct in what you describe GISStemp to be. But globally, five feet above the ground, can range from from many hundreds of feet below sea level to over 29.000 feet above sea level; is that the ground or the upper troposphere or what ?
    Anyone who is familiar with the Nyquist sampling theorem, or the general theory of sampled data systems, can easily prove that GISStemp in no way represents the mean global surface temperature; the violation of the Nyquist criterion is so vast that aliassing noise has to completely conceal the true mean surface temperature; which for all practical purposes is quite unmeasurable.
    George

  130. George E. Smith (18:28:36) :
    ???
    As I said before, GISSTemp plots the global average temperature ANOMALY, not the average global temperature. It shows the change in temperature close to the surface; the satellite show temperature changes at different levels higher up in the atmosphere.
    The GISSTemp surface anomalies and the satellite lower troposphere anomalies (which provide essentially continuous coverage- no interpolating between measurement points) match very closely. That shows that the surface station anomalies plotted by GISSTemp are a good “proxy” for the lower atmosphere as a whole.

  131. Hi George. Let’s pretend that, instead of being me on or near the frozen Minnesotan lake you describe, I am a humble joule of long-wave infrared heat leaving Earth after arriving here on, say, May 6 of this year, while the Sun was shining. Now, if I happen to have been ultraviolet radiation on my way in and happen to have hit the planet at the midsection, then I am going to struggle to get out, all things being equal. I will struggle not so much because of C02, although it is not impossible that I will be caught by a molecule of same for a period of time, but because of water vapor and the other gases mixed together in the impressively high atmosphere above me. I try to escape but get absorbed and re-emitted several times by any number of gases in this region of the planet, over the course of several days, possibly weeks, possibly months, and possibly, in the odd rare case, years.
    Again, the “blanket” is thick here. Now, as time elapses, it becomes increasingly likely that I will get caught up in some feature of weather. In fact, with the passage of enough time, it becomes nigh on impossible that I will not get caught up in a local precipitation event, and be carried to the ocean, where I am carried directly by a major current or where I evaporate and am transferred poleward by a storm.
    OK. So, now I’m in the Atlantic, say, off the coast of Iceland. I may still get caught up in a current that extends into the Arctic basin itself. Or I may get involved with some local weather. Somehow, though, inexorably, I keep moving north, as though it was my destiny. Now, one day, minding my own business, I get caught up in the evaporation of the sea and wind up in the troposphere. After a couple of more shenanigans I wind up getting released during a snowstorm at 87 degrees north one October morning.
    I’m nearing freedom now! Why? Because the atmosphere here is only one-third the thickness, or height if you prefer, that it was when I was stuck for all that time at the equator. My chances of a successful jailbreak from this planet and all the arguments here about climate are much, much better now. And — finally — away I go, taken for granted by the somewhat chilly expanse of our solar system.
    I do not mean to suggest that none of my fellow joules make their way off the planet at the equator. Some do, but they are the lottery winners, so to speak. Most of us have to work, and wait, before we get out of here.
    I think that neither of us is likely to be able to prove, or disprove, your statement that more heat is sent into space at the equator than at the poles, however.
    My education, such as it is, and intuition, such as it is, tells me that the action is at the poles. However, and it’s a big however, you have taught me plenty with your comments. And you’re quite gracious. If you would like to be interviewed for a book on climate I’m researching, feel free to look up my e-mail through one of my music websites, http://www.haroldambler.com or http://www.myspace.com/haroldambler (some people find one or the other more easily accessible). All the best, H.
    P.S. I see that I stayed with your largely land-based initial discussion in terms of initial IR release at the Earth’s surface and that you have progressed to a more robust investigation of the ocean. No matter, it’s all grist for the mill. Thanks again.

  132. George Smith
    People are noticing you’ve done some wonderful expositions here. In particular, you get things in proportion, and not just what boffins behind computer screens in air-conditioned offices think of.
    I think this is really important: re-empower people with the basic climate science they can feel, touch, shiver, sweat, see, taste, compute with human-scale maths, and get excited over – then conmen lose their hold.
    Would you like to consider doing these posts as proper educational web pages? Completing them with nice pics would help greatly, since “a picture is worth 1000 words.” If you don’t have a website I’d be happy to host them on ours – even as they stand.
    I think your posts are potential seeds for what I believe we need eventually – a wiki for a really transparent Climate Science – when we can implement adequate standards that are still fun, and don’t get so highfalutin scientific that ordinary folk and kids cannot understand – the sort of thing you’d like to find in a Science Museum, attractive, human-scale, hands-on, tells the story, etc.

  133. Oh my God, does all this wrangling mean that over two months of erroneous data that AGW is now not happening at all? The thermometers have been wrong or the automated reporting have been wrong and that GHGs do not cause AGW. We can all continue to develop coal, oil and gas then. Forget the sustainable sources of energy, the new low latency transmission systems we need, the efficiency gains we need to politically encorage. Phew, AGW must be a fallacy based on a single or two months of erroneous data.
    🙂

  134. George E. Smith, I found your posts above to be educational and fascinating. You tie things together well, providing a good explanation and overview of climate mechanics.
    Lucy Skywalker has a great little climate site [just click on her name above one of her posts]. As she suggests, maybe you could do a little collaboration.

  135. George, that was T-riffic. I could never have written anything on this topic that cuts so brilliantly to the chase. With your permission (or without if I get impatient) I would love to post your comment on my blog – sonicfrog.net.

  136. George,
    I wonder about a couple of things.
    One: Is using the term feedback, and thus appealing to amplifier terminology wrong? That is, in the sense that in an amplifier, feedback changes the gain of an amplifier, and as long as the power supply can supply power (energy) we can crank up the power delivered if the feedback is positive. However, in the atmosphere, the energy input is constant, and various parts of the system seem to only change the residence time of portions of energy in the system.
    Two: since the amount of H2O in the atmosphere is almost two orders of magnitude greater than CO2, and H2O is better at absorbing EM energy in the range of frequencies that it is available at, and H2O readily undergoes phase changes that cause it to dump large amounts of the energy it is carrying, I tend to agree with your narrative that H2O is the regulating element in control of the temperature on the planet … it would seem to easily compensate for any relatively minuscule increase in energy uptake in the atmosphere caused by CO2 increases from 385 ppm to even 500 ppm.

  137. George E. Smith (18:12:44) :
    You “infer” that increasing evaporation will increase cloud cover; I don’t think this has been demonstrated. Are there any studies that show that cloud cover is greater in the summer than the winter? I don’t believe so (though I may be wrong).
    Also, the effect of clouds is not as straight forward as you seem to think. Clouds that form over warm ground tend to be higher, thinner, and less reflective. Also, clouds produce their own “greenhouse effect” at night. That’s why clear winter nights tend to be colder than cloudy winter nights.
    In short, their are still many unanswered questions about the effect of global warming on cloud cover, and the overall effects of clouds themselves. Right now, I think most scientists believe them to be a slight negative (cooling) feedback, but that conclusion is still very uncertain.

  138. RE: Neven (19:28:25) : “Of course they aren’t. But if the AGW theory turns out to be correct with possibly dire consequences for a lot of people they have made a considerable contribution – in my view – to delaying action that could have lessened those consequences.”
    Neven, you need to get out more. The idea that this website and others like it are delaying actions that could have lessened consequences is ridiculous and naive. This website and others such as CA are simply pointing out in many cases gross inconsistencies in the positions taken by the AGW / IPCC “industrial complex”. Proponents of AGW don’t like that, they want to steamroll over any opposition, irrespective of the numerous holes in their position. My personal view is that they know their position is bogus, but they are exploiting the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) Principle to use AGW as an excuse for imposing their desired big government regulatory / taxation / control structure over the people. Granted some of the posts on sceptical websites are over the top, but so are many claims of the other side, the infamous “Hockey Stick”, for one. Practically everything bad has been linked by someone to AGW. So don’t be the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. If anything, you should thank Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre and others like them for holding back the torrent of government programs that will literally suck the hard-earned money out of your wallet while accomplishing no good, whatsoever.
    If you haven’t read any sceptical books, you should do so.
    You should read the books by Bjorn Lomborg, in particular, “Cool It”. Here is a link to his website: http://www.lomborg.com. I don’t speak for Lomborg, but he takes the viewpoint that even if AGW is true, attempting to reverse it reducing CO2 emissions is fundamentally flawed and economically destructive.
    You should read the blog “Global Warming Politics” by Emeritus Professor Philip Stott. Here is a link to an excellent piece about Bjorn Lomborg which highlights the failure of the UK’s renewables policy: http://web.mac.com/sinfonia1/Global_Warming_Politics/A_Hot_Topic_Blog/Entries/2008/9/30_UK_%E2%80%98Renewables%E2%80%99_Policy_Laid_Waste.html.
    You should also read the book by Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick, “Taken By Storm”. Here is a link to their website: http://www.takenbystorm.info. It’s an excellent book that exposes many of the fallacies in the AGW position.

  139. George E. Smith (18:12:44) :
    I like this too and saved the text on a file. Your description of what happens when a CO2 molecule absorbs a photon fills in a significant gap in my understanding about how that behaves. More details on molecular collision times and re-radiation times would be appreciated.
    If you’d like, I can turn that into a page off my http://wermenh.com/climate/ page.
    If you want, contact me via http://wermenh.com/contact.html
    One very minor error – “those snooty loner A guys” should refer to “Ar guys” of course. BTW, I’m an ex-HP person too, except they laid me off as part of the end-of-life phase of the product I worked on.

  140. We can’t presume so. Bear in mind that there were speculations that:
    1.) Steve Goddard is actually Steve McIntyre, and,
    2.) I am actually Steve Goddard.
    3.) It’s all a malign El Reg conspiracy.
    Come to think of it, no one has ever seen us in the same room . . .

  141. One very minor error – “those snooty loner A guys” should refer to “Ar guys” of course. BTW, I’m an ex-HP person too, except they laid me off as part of the end-of-life phase of the product I worked on.
    That could be a great epitaph!!!!!

  142. “”Richard Sharpe (10:31:31) :
    George,
    I wonder about a couple of things.
    One: Is using the term feedback, and thus appealing to amplifier terminology wrong? “”
    Absolutely not. The assumptions in an electronic feedback amplifier system, are that you have an input signal, and an as yet undefined “feedback” signal that are vector summed, and fed into the “amplifier” which is simply a device that produces some response to the input signal, most often proportional to that signal, and mostly more powerful. If the feedback signal that is summed with the original is in fact obtained as a function of the amplifier output, then you will get a modified overall result that in electronic systems is made to depend on the feedback function rather than the amplifier system.
    The exact sem result can be obtained in any physical system, so the electronig analog is quite an accurate description. And therein lies the rub; in feedback amolifiers of the electronic kind; THE TIME RESPONSE OF THE AMPLIFIER AND FEEDBACK is of paramount importance as far as stability of the system.
    When was the last time you saw a climate paper, that talks about greenhouse gas feedbacks, that even mentions the time response of the system. Quite often the delays in climate systems are such, that if the feedbacks were real, the system would oscillate wildly.
    The fact that they seldom do, suggests that either the claimed feedback is much weaker than suggested, or else there is some other influence that overpowers that feedback; like a different mechanism that is also acting.
    But absolutely the mathematics applicable to electronic feedback systems is applicable to any physical system with multiple signal loops.

  143. Here we go again! NOAA GHCN have released a statement that October, 2008, was the second hottest month recorded – NOT SO FAST!
    A number of science bloggers have concluded through research that October, 2008, was the tenth hottest.
    It has become evident that NOAA, GISS, GISTEMP and GHCN are adjusting their temperature datasets skewed toward the high end. Could this be deliberate?

  144. You can always find the UK Daily Telegraoh (right wing deniers newspaper) and Fox news (right wing deniers outlet as well) to try and show that CA and here to be right about climate change when they aint got a single peer reviewed article or theory of the warming between all the posters here.
    They must be right though of course……….not.

  145. The STATS blog gets the significance of this
    A colder than usual fall does not mean that global warming is not happening, nor does one or more errant sets of data suggest that it’s all a bunch of hooey; but the admission that there isn’t “proper quality control” over how this data is collected should be seen as alarming – as should the failure to spot the anomalous findings until critics began speaking up.
    What it suggests is a bad case of confirmation bias: Goddard’s researchers are so focused on confirming that global warming is getting worse that they were overly disposed to accepting data which confirmed their worst fears and under disposed to double check its veracity. This is how science gets skewed.
    http://thestatsblog.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/when-confirmation-bias-affects-global-warming-analysis/

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