Divergence Between GISS and UAH since 1980

Guest post by Steven Goddard

The GISS website shows the graph below, which indicates a steady, steep warming trend over the last 30 years.  The monthly average anomaly for 2008 (0.44) is 0.26 degrees warmer than the monthly average anomaly for 1980 (0.18.)  Data obtained from here: http://www.woodfortrees.org/data/gistemp/from:1980/plot/uah/from:1980

By contrast, the UAH monthly average anomaly for 2008 (0.05) is 0.04 degrees cooler than the UAH monthly average anomaly for 1980 (0.09.)  Again, data obtained from here: http://www.woodfortrees.org/data/uah/from:1980

This 1980-2008 discrepancy between GISS and UAH is important, as it is nearly equal to the claimed warming trend since 1980.

Taking this one step further, I made a graph of the difference between the GISS and UAH monthly anomalies since 1980.
As you can see below, the discrepancy has increased over time.  Using Google’s linest() function, the divergence between GISS and UAH is increasing at a rate of 0.32C/century.  (GISS uses a different baseline than UAH, but the slope of the difference should be zero, if the data sets correlated properly.)  The slope is not zero, which indicates an inconsistency between the data sets.

Click for larger image
Factoring in the baseline
Some readers will undoubtedly again point out that the GISS baseline (“normal”) temperature is lower than the UAH baseline.  This is true, but as I said above does not affect the slope calculation.  The difference between the GISS and UAH monthly baselines is a constant, which affects the relative position along the y-axis – but it does not affect the slope. Subtracting a monthly constant from each point in a graph does not alter the slope over a large set of years.  It only alters the y-offset.
The equation of a line is y = mx + b, where m is the slope and b is the y-offset.  m and b are completely independent.   The different baselines affect only b, not m.  If the UAH and GISS data were closely tracking each other, the slope (m) would be close to zero.  The fact that GISS shows 2008 temperatures much higher than 1980, and UAH shows 2008 temperatures lower than 1980, is also a clear indicator that the two data sets are divergent.
Steve McIntyre has coincidentally just done a similar comparison of NOAA USA yearly data vs. GISS USA yearly data, and came to the conclusion that the NOAA slope is even steeper than GISS, diverging from UAH by 0.39C/century.
This would imply that NOAA is diverging from UAH by an even larger amount than GISS is diverging from UAH.
Clearly, problems exist with both datasets.
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121 thoughts on “Divergence Between GISS and UAH since 1980

  1. Thanks Steven Goddard for another fine analysis. This is one of my favorite UAH graphs: click

    [For those new to this site, UAH = University of Alabama, Huntsville.]

  2. Nitpicking comment: The horizontal scale on the second graph looks to have a couple of typos. Seems to start at 1900, 1905, then 1990. 8’s turned to 0’s? The link below shows correct labels. Can we get a graph with the same time scale as GISS?

    Smarmy comment: Far be it from me to suggest that somebody ain’t tellin’ the truth.

    REPLY: That is an artifact of font style and for formatting the graph to fit in the blog column width, click on the link below it for a full sized image. – Anthony

  3. Wow, I am amazed at how hard they are trying to push this global warming thing. It appears that Obama is in, hook, line and sinker. Let’s see how the voters react when and if the utilities bills go through the roof sometime in the future. I want to see the reaction of a $.50 a gallon tax increase and CO2 taxes on generating plants. It’s been zero here for 2 days and people are laughing at the mention of global warming. Most people look at now, not the past and don’t care about the future.

  4. Mr. Goddard —

    Just for completeness…. but are these intended as US only or include ROW? I’m assuming (hoping) this is apples/apples but asking to be sure.

    Assuming all apples then this appears to say that the lower trop measurements from the sats are showing the actual values and the NOAA stuff is measuring land use. Land use changes ought to reflect in the sat based numbers as well, although this would make it appear as though the land measurements are skewed toward land use/UHI/etc moreso than as effective measurement of climate…

    …which I had taken was part of the entire point of surfacestations in a way, to see if this was having an effect. Looks to me like it does.

  5. Just going to mention that this difference has been discussed over on Lucia’s blog.

    It may be as simple as the difference in the effective altitude at which the measurements are taken. If the UAH measurements are from a higher altitudes, then this says that the ground temperatures are warming faster than higher altitudes in the troposhere.

    (Whether that is consistent with climate science is discussed by Lucia also.)

  6. An important point raised by John Christy before is that (UAH’s) lower troposphere temperatures should be rising 1.2 to 1.3 times faster than (GISS’s) surface temperature measurements according to global warming theory. The lower troposphere is supposed to be warming faster than the surface.

    The fact that it is rising at a lower rate (or not at all even) calls into question GISS’s surface temp data and/or some of the basic theories surrounding global warming.

  7. This divergence has been noted before. Perhaps not using this methodology, but noted nonetheless.

    The folks who work with GISS have produced two responses that I recall. The first is the one answered here – that the two use different base periods and therefore can’t be compared (the apples and oranges argument). The second response is that the MSU is inherently less accurate than actual ground-based instruments.

    I personally think that the second argument is less than weak. As Anthony has more than adequately shown, ground-based temperature has far more sources of error than a relatively stable, if somewhat flawed, satellite based sensor.

    Given what has been revealed over the last several years both here and over at Climate Audit, GISS is fundamentally flawed by instrument placement error, lack of coverage, UHI, and funky corrections. This leave the MSU satellite record as the most accurate standard and the twp reporting groups (MSS and UAH) as the only metrics for temperature worth using.

  8. OK – I’m sitting here with my mouth moving while I’m reading, trying to understand this. I know this is very basic, and you can ridicule me for being so ignorant, but work with me a minute. When you say: “The monthly average anomaly for 2008 (0.44) is 0.26 degrees warmer than the monthly average anomaly for 1980 (0.18.)” what does that mean [yes, I can read the graph, but I’m unsure of what the points on the graph represent]?
    The “anomaly” for 2008 is 0.44. Does that mean that the average monthly difference in temperature of the earth for 2008 is 0.44 above “normal” [I take it there is some difference of opinion between GISS and UAH as to what “normal” is]? And the average monthly difference in temperature of the earth in 1980 was 0.18 above “normal?”

    Additionally, you say that: “By contrast, the UAH monthly average anomaly for 2008 (0.05) is 0.04 degrees cooler than the UAH monthly average anomaly for 1980 (0.09.)”

    This would indicate to me that, somehow, the data being used by UAH and GISS to compute the average monthly difference in temperature of the earth is different [I think this is the point of your post – I told you, my mouth is moving while I read this]. How can this be?

    Aren’t “temperatures” “temperatures?” Isn’t it possible to review the data and figure out what’s up with that [to coin a phrase]? Is this a partial answer to my frustration and question in the comment section of the earlier post?

  9. Face it, this is politics, not climatology. As an English person, I can tell you that we’ve had more of this than America has had so far. A snow covered inauguration would be amusing but would it stop politicians spinning? I doubt it. They’ve got too much to lose.

    PS I like the US. I go there annually. For the first time, the Raiders won the game I went to see. Could this be climate change???

  10. Another Arctic adventure

    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/

    “Despite the technological advances of the 20th century, we still only have estimates of the thickness of the sea ice cover on the Arctic Ocean. Travelling across the sea ice, the Catlin Arctic Survey team will take precise measurements of its thickness and density. This will enable the programme’s Science Partners to determine, with a greater degree of accuracy, how long the ice cap will remain. Currently, its predicted meltdown date is anywhere between four and a hundred years from now.”

    And they’ll compare their measurements with what???????

  11. I just want to emphasize a key conceptual point here, which perhaps keeps things in perspective. The GISS graph shows 2008 much warmer than 1980. The UAH graph shows 2008 slightly cooler than 1980. Clearly the trends are divergent.

    Depending on which data set is more accurate, one might come up with a completely different approach to public policy. One might also note that the GISS warming trends are very heavily influenced by warm anomalies over central and northern Asia, and are not consistent around the globe.

  12. This shows one thing and implies another:

    1. The dropout of the stations from the NOAA data set that GISS uses didn’t cause a step change in temperatures. The divergence between the data sets remains constant during the dropout period. (shown)

    2. The increasing divergence could be due to a lack of rural stations after the dropout causing UHI impact to be greater in the NOAA data set given to GISS. This is not shown to be true but is one possible explanation for the increasing divergence.

  13. Re: Walter Cronanty (10:43:52)

    Welcome to the wonderful world of climate debate (no, it’s not settled).

    Your questions are not easy to answer in a short response, but here are a couple of quick answers:

    There 4 data sets used to measure global temp trends. Two are satellite based and 2 are land based. There’s and endless supply of arguments about comparisons between them. They are GISS, RSS, Hadley CRU and UAH.

    An anomaly refers to the difference between the current period being measured to a long term average. GISS has been the one with the largest anomalies in the recent past. The others tend to have better agreement.

    You seem like a curious fellow. The internet is full of information about all this, but it will take 3-6 months to read and absorb the important information. I’d recommend the old journalistic ethic (as opposed to today’s environmental reporters/advocates) “If your mother says she loves you, check it out”. There is a lot of nonsense out there. As you expand your knowledge, you’ll be able to sort it out.

    If you’re willing to look at the skeptical side, here’s a good website to provide an overview the most of the relevant issues:

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Curious.htm

    Good luck and keep learning.

  14. It might be even more interesting to find out who is making the Temp Sensors, and comparing models to see why there is so much discrpeancy.
    Contracts usually focus on a single manufacturer.
    Who is using what sensor model, and what are the pitfalls.

  15. Yeah, me again – the guy who takes the short bus to this website. From Mr. Goddard’s comment at 11:13:02 – “I just want to emphasize a key conceptual point here, which perhaps keeps things in perspective. The GISS graph shows 2008 much warmer than 1980. The UAH graph shows 2008 slightly cooler than 1980. Clearly the trends are divergent.” As an obvious non-scientist, I find this amazing.

    I read the post from “Climate Audit” to which “crosspatch” referred me in an earlier post [thank you]. If I am reading all of this correctly, there appears to be disagreements over the data of what the temperatures on earth actually are/were, or perhaps how to measure/adjust such temperatures for comparison’s sake [I don’t like massaged data, unless I am the masseur]. Indeed, based on the above quoted statement, there seems to be a disagreement over whether 2008 was warmer or slightly cooler than 1980 [after the massage]. If there is no “consensus” on this most basic, seemingly discernable point, how do we rationally discuss the subject whether AGW exists, if it does, its effects [not all would be bad – some would be markedly good], a cost /benefit analysis of ameliorating its effects, etc. ?

  16. If I remember correctly from a previous post the hinge point for GISS “homogenized” data is around 1980. Unfortunately the UAH data only goes back to 1979, so no way to compare pre hinge point data.

  17. Sorry but I wouldn’t call that an analysis.

    You have not even addressed the most basic issues of UAH data being “fictional” over the Antarctic, high mountain areas, the non-existence of polar data, the failure of the UAH trends to obey basic physics – the thermal wind equation – the unrealistic seasonal cycle in the UAH anomalies. Why – also – have you not used radiosonde data or RSS instead?

  18. >sing Google’s linest() function, the divergence between GISS and UAH is increasing at a rate of 0.32C/century. (GISS uses a different baseline than UAH, but the slope of the difference should be zero, if the data sets correlated properly.) The slope is not zero, which indicates an inconsistency between the data sets.

    Why did you not give the P value for this trend?

  19. The difference between the GISS and UAH monthly baselines is a constant, which affects the relative position along the y-axis – but it does not affect the slope. Subtracting a monthly constant from each point in a graph does not alter the slope over a large set of years. It only alters the y-offset.

    While this may be true for UAH, it may not be entirely true for GISS. As I understand it for GISS, this months temperature may materially affect temperature readings in the past, including in the reference period, so the ‘baseline’ for GISSTEMP could be jumping up and down like a yo-yo.

    I agree that for the purposes of this post, the difference between the baselines is a constant, but next month…?

  20. I actually think that the UAH graph by smokey (first comment) does a terrible disservice to other analyses on this and other sites (such as the main post by Steven Goddard). The trend line over the last few years in that posts looks very disingenuous. The first derivative on that trendline is far too steep, suggesting that the earth’s temperature is now destined to fall 0.15 degree/year forever (15 deg/century), which is clearly not that case. The second derivative on that trendline looks even worse, as if we are heading for runaway global cooling (i.e. maintain the second derivative on that trendline going forward, and the earth will soon be cooling >1.0 degree/yr, and then even faster).

    Compare the 2006-08 trendline (freefall) to the 1990-1992 trendline (slight positive slope), even though at the current point in time it is impossible to say that actual climate phenomenon in 06-08 is any different than what happened in 90-92. Although the “math” might support the trendline as drawn, it looks like the math is very much hand selected to get the right curve.

  21. One could say 1979-1997 (prior to 1998 El Nino) shows little or no warming at all in the UAH satellite data.

  22. DJ, who seems to have his knickers in a twist says:

    Sorry but I wouldn’t call that an analysis?

    You have not even addressed the most basic issues of UAH data being “fictional” over the Antarctic, high mountain areas, the non-existence of polar data, the failure of the UAH trends to obey basic physics – the thermal wind equation – the unrealistic seasonal cycle in the UAH anomalies. Why – also – have you not used radiosonde data or RSS instead?

    Aren’t you double dipping there by referring to both “fictional Antarctic data” and “non-existent polar data?”

    Also, could you tell us in what way UAH trends fail to obey basic physics and how you think all the things you mentioned bias the data.

  23. DJ,

    GISS data is fictional over arctic and antarctic yet that does not stop them from including the polar data in their results.

  24. CJA:

    The trend line over the last few years in that posts looks very disingenuous. The first derivative on that trendline is far too steep, suggesting that the earth’s temperature is now destined to fall 0.15 degree/year forever…

    I think you’re misreading the UAH chart, which is not intended to be a prediction. No trend goes on ‘forever.’

    The UAH chart simply shows two things very clearly: that the climate fluctuates, and that rising CO2 has little or nothing to do with global temperatures.

  25. Jeff Id has done several posts recently comparing trends between GISS, UAH, and RSS. He considers the hypothesized amplification factor between the surface and tropospheric data, comparison of short term variability between metrics, possible data errors, etc.

    links:
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/more-fun-with-giss-temps/
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/rss-uah-giss-comparison/
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/give-a-kid-a-toy/
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/1853/

  26. “If I am reading all of this correctly, there appears to be disagreements over the data of what the temperatures on earth actually are/were, or perhaps how to measure/adjust such temperatures for comparison’s sake [I don’t like massaged data, unless I am the masseur]. Indeed, based on the above quoted statement, there seems to be a disagreement over whether 2008 was warmer or slightly cooler than 1980 [after the massage].”

    Both GISS and NOAA adjust the data. They both use different adjustment mechanisms and they both reach different conclusions.

    There is, I believe, a new network under construction that will require no adjustments but it will be some years before we have enough data. People want “action” on the time scales of election cycles. We are talking warming one degree over a century. As we are currently not warming, it would seem reasonable to wait another 20 or 30 years to see what the trend from this new network shows but it has become a major political issue. People’s lifetime of research grants are at stake here if you are on the wrong “side” of the issue. You risk not getting published if you are on the wrong “side”. A scientist’s career is all about being published and cited by others.

    It is about money and politics and people covering their careers. The new President’s “climate czar” was until her appointment on the board of directors of one of the largest carbon credit trading firms. Her husband is a lobbyist on energy issues. Gore produces “carbon credits”. Too many proponents have direct monetary interest in furthering the notion. Far too many scientists and researchers are being professionally blackmailed into silence under threat from being ostracized or having their funding cut off or of being refused publication. Many wait until they are retired to finally voice their real opinions.

    To date have only evidence that CO2 is rising. We have no evidence that this rise will increase temperatures as models predict (in fact, the observations would indicate otherwise according to some). We have no indication that current temperatures are “unprecedented” or that rates of recent warming are “unprecedented”. We have no evidence that it is warming at all over the past 10 years.

    Even the models don’t say that CO2 will directly increase the temperatures that much. They rely on CO2 causing other things to happen such as increased evaporation and assume that water vapor would be a “positive” feedback and accelerate the warming because it is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. But observations indicate that water vapor is a negative feedback. When you increase moisture you increase clouds which reflect light back onto space before can be converted to heat. Also, water is a working fluid for a natural refrigeration system that uses evaporation at the surface and condensation at the top of the troposphere to move a huge amount of heat from surface to high above much of the atmospheric CO2.

    What we really have here are people using a “global warming” scenario to justify various regulation of energy production and industry. So they become extremely defensive when the underlying “hook” is threatened because it then threatens a greater agenda where billions of dollars and a lot of power is at stake.

    It isn’t at all about science as far as I can tell.

  27. Smokey,
    I understand that the trendline is not meant to be predictive, but it is still misleading (and I think intentionally so). There is no time period on that chart where the slope of the trendline is anywhere near as steep as in the last few years.

  28. This is an interesting way to look at it:

    GISS vs UAH divergence since 1980

    The (Excel) chart of the woodfortrees monthly data for each series is adjusted so that the linear trend lines diverge from zero in 1980. Moving year avg trend is also shown for each. This makes clear some interesting additional features. The UAH data is more variable and shows markedly less correlation with the linear trend. Also extreme years are much more extreme suggesting it is in fact more sensitive to annual temperature variations and the current downturn is much more extreme.

  29. Richard Sharpe (13:50:47) :

    “Also, could you tell us in what way UAH trends fail to obey basic physics and how you think all the things you mentioned bias the data.”

    Isn’t it obvious? Co2 has increased and from well known laws of consensus the temperature must rise. ;-)

  30. Steven Hill (09:57:23) :
    Wow, I am amazed at how hard they are trying to push this global warming thing. It appears that Obama is in, hook, line and sinker. Let’s see how the voters react when and if the utilities bills go through the roof sometime in the future. I want to see the reaction of a $.50 a gallon tax increase and CO2 taxes on generating plants.

    In the ex-Soviet Union, bread to the masses was subsidized (cost about 10 cents per loaf, when available). “Bad” things were discouraged with artificially high prices (like grain to feed pigs). Pig farmers in the ex-USSR were found to be buying bread and feeding it to pigs, since it was cheaper than buying (sometimes unavailable) pig feed. (When found out they were, um, er, made into good citizens…) As we are now a Lange Type Socialist system, we will have similar dislocations.

    I expect that consumption of fuel based energy will be discouraged, but food will be subsidized. I’m ready and able to ferment sugars, grains, and yes, even bread, and use the resultant alcohols for my heating, lighting, and driving needs… My car already runs on vegetable oil (new or used) so when they tax Diesel to death and subsidize food oils, I’m set. Just don’t get caught… I understand reeducation camps are hell on people who have working brains…

    Vegetable oil, via biodiesel, can be run in oil heaters. Woodgas in modified gas burners… Lawn clippings anyone?

    For a good time, google “wood gas generator” or “gasogene”. There are really fun things people do to make their car go…

    http://www.gengas.nu/byggbes/index.shtml
    http://www.woodgas.net/
    http://www.woodgas.com/

    And a couple of more, um, amusing ones…

    http://freeweb.deltha.hu/zastava.in.hu/wood-gas.htm
    http://ww2.whidbey.net/jameslux/woodgas.htm (I knew I could work Nazi’s in somehow ;-)

    (No, I don’t think we will really end up there, Obama’s too smart for that. At the first sign that the public is turning against ‘the movement’, he will have a cabinet / minister reshuffle, probably with some world event as pretext… Sort of a “Due to recent Russian actions wrt Europe, we must temporarily shift our emphasis to domestic coal while we work out the problems they are causing for the world.” This is just all in good fun and because I like having options for fantasy time – just after nap time ;-) But if I had a real full sized farm… )

  31. Richard M,

    You are absolutely correct that increased CO2 has a tendency to increase temperature. But the story is much more complicated than that.

    There is no controversy that a doubling in CO2 would lead to a direct increase of about 1.2C. The theory of catastrophic warming is based on cumulative “feedbacks” which are calculated in climate models. Climate models are not simple by any stretch of the imagination.

    Also consider that during the 1960s and 1970s, temperatures dropped so much that many people were worried about an ice age. Yet CO2 increased steadily during that period.

    The simple cause and effect you are looking for is perhaps not so simple.

  32. “In the ex-Soviet Union …”

    I’ve invented a brief neologism, which is also self-explanatory, to avoid that lengthy phrase: XSSR.

  33. Based on this: Manna from Heaven (err, Washington)

    In describing the legislation, Congressional supporters seem to be somewhat self-consciously describing the proposed research funds as economic drivers. A news release from the House Appropriations Committee describes proposed NASA funds as “$400 million to put more scientists to work doing climate change research” and $1.5 billion in funds for the National Institutes of Health as “expanding good jobs in biomedical research.” The legislation does not specify whether those funds should be used for research grants, fellowship support or other purposes.

    I don’t think we can expect NASA to change.

  34. cce, there is a recent paper by Douglass and Christy as I recall which has an appendix discussing the differences and their reasons for preferring the UAH numbers.

  35. Ya’ll may be missing something.

    The most significant point on the difference chart is the huge drop in 1998. Why?

    For a black helicopter/conspiratorial skeptic (not me), the answer is obvious. The boss at GISS is no dummy. He is trying to avoid the “Beaman” effect.

    In the 1968 Olympics, Bob Beaman went 29.2 feet, breaking the old long-jump record not by inches, but by more than 2 feet. It took 20+ years for that record to be broken.

    To show Global Warming effectively, you need to continually break records, even if by only a little (it grabs the same headline). A huge spike like 1998 would make it impossible, so he adjusted (homogenized) the numbers down as low as would still be a record high, but leave room for future headlines.

    A successful strategy. By renewing his spread, he was able to get 2 more records and one near record before the current freeze hit and made the tactic unsupportable. Here’s a chart of the four temp data sets, gleaned from somewhere on WUWT in the past.

    Note that the 1998 temp is reduced even below the RSS value. Clearly an effort to avoid the “Beaman” effect.

    Clearly, that is, if you’re the conspiratorial type, and not like me.

  36. Mike, if you look at my chart (comment at 15:47:48) you can see it isn’t just the 1998 peak that is lower – all the fluctuations are smaller in GISS than in UAH. So the smoothing effect is not a one-off but consistent.

  37. ccm,

    cce (16:18:07) :
    I double dog dare this site to create a post on The Divergence Between RSS and UAH.

    Excellent idea. I will take you up on that.

  38. Steven Goddard (15:37:12) :

    “Richard M,

    The simple cause and effect you are looking for is perhaps not so simple.”

    No argument here. It appears you missed the wink.

  39. This is interesting – use Paul Clark’s excellent site to plot the slopes of UAH, RSS, Hadley and GISS together and it is clear that it is UAH that is the ‘odd man out’. Perhaps one would have expected the two satellite estimates to diverge from the surface analyses, but no – it seems it is Messrs Christy and Spencer who have the explaining to do ….

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1979/trend/offset:-0.199/plot/rss/trend/offset:0.03/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/trend/offset:-0.128

  40. Mike McMillan

    I’m sold re the Beamon effect (I think he spells it with an ‘o’). I saw his jump on tv in 68.

    We always must remember it is all about the perception, the politics, and selling the goods.

    We in California have only a few more months to head this thing off, as the details of AB 32 get hammered out into binding regulations. 33 percent renewable-generated power, whereas a utility system begins to creak at around 20 percent; 37 mpg vehicles on average; low carbon fuel standard (bio-fuel of every sort); housing and commercial development in a vertical mode so less transportation required; cap-and-trade on carbon so our goods will cost more than anywhere in the world; the list goes on and on.

    And the AGW’s have the recent weather in their favor out here…we are having a heat wave — it was 81 degrees at 3 pm this afternoon at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). Sorry Anthony, as you do not like airport temperature measurements, and with good reason (miles of concrete runway for one thing). That short-term memory thing is hurting us out here due to the warmth.

    The good news for California is there are several lawsuits filed by various parties to stop portions of the AB 32 requirements — automobile companies over the mpg issue; and an oil company sued over the bio-fuel issue, among others. These could delay things at least until the cooling is in full swing.

    Maybe it is not such a good idea to “first, shoot all the lawyers.” ;-)

    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  41. Steven Goddard (15:37:12) :

    Also consider that during the 1960s and 1970s, temperatures dropped so much that many people were worried about an ice age. Yet CO2 increased steadily during that period.

    The simple cause and effect you are looking for is perhaps not so simple.

    The Al Gore and MM disciples have a response for that. “A natural cooling trend was masking the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming which was taking place at the time.” :)

    A unique phenomena which can occur whenever a valid scientific explanation is not available. I fully expect in future years that an ‘adjustment’ to the data will make the inconvenient cooling of the 70s to disappear.

  42. I didn’t read all the comments, but if two data sets are fairly similar and going in the same direction and they both use similar methods, but the third data set that uses a conversion of some other data as a proxy for temperature (from what limited knowledge I have of satellite data) how can we trust the rogue data set over the first two?

  43. Just so nobody is misled, – the graph Smokey linked to uses UAH data, however the graph itself and the fitted curve are the work of Andrew Barr, graphic artist at the National Post, not the University.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/10/20/lorne-gunter-thirty-years-of-warmer-temperatures-go-poof.aspx

    It appears to be a sixth order polynomial, with the last part hand drawn. I am not aware of any sixth order processes in the climate so the statistical legitimacy seems approximately nil (it may be just a coincidence that a 6th order polynomial is the highest order available in Excel who – knows?) To demonstrate this, here is the same graph with red lines showing what the same fit would have produced had it been performed in 1998 or 2006. Scary!

  44. First, thanks to Arn Riewe for the link – I’ve been noodling around over there for awhile. Also, thanks to crosspatch, who seems to be saying that politics is playing a very important role in this debate, which, I’m afraid, I already knew but was trying my hardest to deny. Politics I can understand [got “clean for Gene” in ’68 – I would say I’ve grown up, others would say I’ve regressed]. My hopes, dare I say expectations, that science would somehow be above politics have apparently been dashed.
    For a totally gross generalization, it seems to me that many fervent believers in AGW come from the left of the political spectrum. With that in mind, I will give you my only possible contribution to this discussion. The new energy czar, Carol Browner, is a former Commissioner of the Socialist International, with the website scrubbing her name. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,480025,00.html [this is certainly neither the first nor the only internet article on this subject]. I don’t think this bodes well for those, like me, who would hope that this discussion would be non-partisan, or that the effects of any policy would take seriously into consideration the (relatively) free-market economic philosophy that has allowed this Country to feed, clothe and provide medical care for many in this world. While I doubt that I will ever comprehend the “science” of global warming as well as those who “live” here, I think I know politics as well or better than most. And what I know about that does not make me optimistic.

  45. I am interested in why the analysis starts in 1980, given that both datasets have complete figures for 1979?

    The 1979(1980) numbers are UAH: -0,08 (+0.08). NASA 0.09(0.18).

    So the effect of starting a year after the data starts is to give a larger divergence, start in 1979 and both deltas are positive at 0.16 and 0.35C respectively. I don’t set much store by single year comparisons, but I am just interested why 1980 was chosen – a nice round number?

    JP

  46. Alan Wilkinson (16:55:55) :

    Mike, if you look at my chart (comment at 15:47:48) you can see it isn’t just the 1998 peak that is lower – all the fluctuations are smaller in GISS than in UAH. So the smoothing effect is not a one-off but consistent.

    Looking at the difference chart at the top of this post, 1998 hangs down like an icicle off a melting glacier. The conspiracist would say that’s because the whole global warming movement would be in trouble (no record high healdines) for decades if they didn’t severely damp the 1998 peak. If I may repeat posting this chart –

    the consistent floating of GISS above everyone is apparent, but the damping of 1998 shows up quite clearly.

    On your chart,

    one thing I noticed were the GISS temp spikes recurring every few years after 1990, each just a bit above the previous spike. Were I a conspiracist myself, I’d bet the linear trend of these peaks alone matches the official govt warming rate.

    But as I’m more sun guy than conspiracist, I believe Hansen’s next spike might be a very long way off.

  47. Re the UAH/RSS divergence, here is another Excel version:

    which shows the data and it is clear that there is a one-off step function between RSS and USS in mid 1993 which is what Douglass and Christy discuss in the paper I referenced:

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0809.0581v1

  48. One problem with GISS is that it is based on data from mostly problematic surface stations.

    Another problem is, that nobody really understands what the corrections do with the data.

    Another problem is, that nobody can reproduce the data.

    Another problem is, that nobody can write down, what the corrections are supposed to do.

    It is obvious therefore, that nobody can explain or will be able to explain, why GISS shows an increase of 0.32 deg/century over UAH. GISS is just garbage that is good for nothing and shouldn’t be used anywhere, particularly not in real science.

  49. Just for completeness, here is the chart from 1979 instead of 1980. It doesn’t make much difference except the GISS slope increases a tad above RSS.

  50. I did a standard deviation analysis of UAH and GISS which confirms John Christy’s 1.23 times multiplier for GISS to the lower troposphere. The difference is from models and sonde data and from what I can tell it is correct

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/more-fun-with-giss-temps/

    Before you take the difference you really need to divide the sat data by 1.23. This makes the trend much worse. This is the reason the blue line dipped so low in 1998. I haven’t heard a good explanation for the trend being so different yet except for the obvious one.

    I also got a raw slope for 30 year giss of 0.183 and 0.128 for UAH for uncorrected data. No adjustment for days of the month.

  51. JP can you explain your numbers? I don’t see much effect from including 1979 at all.

    Also, the author gave the links where he got his numbers from. Neither files don’t extend to prior to 1980, which is obviously why he stopped there.

    Also, the RSS publishes the following trends:

    Channel TLT 1979 2008-12 29 0.157 K/decade (temp. lower troposphere)
    Channel TMT 1979 2008-12 29 0.092 K/decade (temp. middle trop.)
    Channel TTS 1987 2008-12 21 -0.029 K/decade (temp upper trop.)
    Channel TLS 1979 2008-12 29 -0.334 K/decade (emp lower stratosphere)

    Based on this, it would appear that UAH is measuring somewhere towards the uppper end of the TMT. Assuming that what it is measuring is an accurately calibrated temperature of course.

  52. Some of the most questionable trend lines I’ve seen come from Had-Crut

    Look at the Southern Hemisphere for the last six years. Temperatures have been dropping at an accelerating rate, yet the trend currently has an upwards curvature. Similar for the other plots. The southern hemisphere trend in particular should be tailing off fairly steeply now, but it isn’t.

  53. I commiserate with Walter Cronanty, as I am also not a scientist and I too have difficulty understanding some of the presentations here. (However, Al Gore is not a scientist either, so I feel he is no more competent than I.) But I am not surprised that science has not risen above politics in this debate.

    I am a retired litigation attorney with 30 years experience. I often sought assistance from scientific experts to introduce evidence and to critique testimony of the other side’s experts. Thousands of lawyer do this every week in the USA. With this assistance as well as their own study, trial lawyers learn to analyze scientific evidence as to whether the material appears logical, complete, unbiased and depends on accurate data.

    The first point to keep in mind is that scientists who testify are not super-human and they are subject to human imperfections. Most scientific expert witnesses are competent, thorough, knowledgeable, and straightforward. It is not unusual, however, for some expert scientific witnesses to display stubbornness, arrogance, insecurity, sloppiness, inaccuracy, and vulnerability to financial incentives.

    Not long ago, I began paying attention to the AGW issue, and noticed advocates making mutually contradictory claims. The general news media is no help. So to get to the bottom, I decided to review the materials as if preparing for a trial and see if I could reach a conclusion.

    As I began reading I started to have the same “cold feeling on the back of neck” that I felt in trials when listening to opposing expert witnesses testify: there is something wrong here. My judgment, after studying hundreds of pages of articles, reports, blog entries and graphs, is that AGW is a hoax. I would love to be able to cross-examine some of these people as if at trial where they would be under oath and could not obfuscate or avoid directly answering the questions.

  54. Those who understand these data know that the trend lines in the UAH, RSS, GISS, UAH, NCDC, and UKMO radiosondes products are statistically indistinguishable and all show a statistically significant positive trend.

    Why haven’t we seen a P value?

  55. Re: Walter Cronanty (12:19:58) :

    Exactly….. It proves that the Proponents of AGW, champion it’s cause, not from a science perspective, but rather from a political perspective.

    The Environmentalists and the Neo Socialists, usually in the guise of Social democrats, are making funding available to the field of Climate science in order to influence the findings and thus, use that to justify their policies.

    It has nothing to do with Climate and everything to do with Socialist politics…..

    There. I’ve said it…….

    Well how else do you explain how an obscure hypothesis, has become a 50 billion dollar industry in twenty years, with designs on changing human society, economics and energy policy….. How? What? Why? Because the science is good, the observations concure and the methodology is impeccable???….. Pffft.

    Political meddling coupled with unskilled or politically motivated scientists. That’s how.

  56. Steve uses Woodfortrees as his data source, which does have UAH data from 1979:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/data/uah

    so the question of why 1979 was excluded is still of interest.

    [ BTW:Woodfortrees is a secondary source, which imports its data from the primary sources which you can find here

    UAH http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt
    NASA: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    I’ve never found an error in the WoodforTrees treatment, but primary data is always best. ]

    I am reminded of a piece along the same lines that Mr Goddard wrote for the Register in which he points out that According to Hadley’s data, the earth is not much warmer now than it was than it was in 1878 or 1941. … By contrast, NASA data shows worldwide temperatures increasing at a record pace – and nearly a full degree warmer than 1880.

    Do you see what he did there? – different start dates for the different series, It just so happens that 1880 was >0.2C cooler than 1878 in the Hadley data giving him a bigger delta. Most of the rest of the difference was accounted for by the fact that the 2008 figure was a YTD figure which is distorted by the unusually cool (La Nina) Feb 08 – I doubt that a climate auditor would be impressed.

    I am not doubting that UAH does indeed diverge from GISS and the other two major global series, and the reasons may well turn out to be interesting. One would not expect an exact correlation between GISS and UAH as they are measuring different quauntites, the surface temperature and the temperature in the lower troposhere (which is more sensitive to ENSO peturbations)respectively. Actually the satellite transponders measure ‘brightness’ which must be then converted to temperature, a non trivial process. RSS and UAH use the same raw data and apply different treatments, so the divergence between them is probably an artifact of the different algorithms. There is an unfortunate precendent, for many years there was a flaw in the UAH analysis (an incorrect sign in an arithmetical term amongst other things), that caused them to under-report the trend substantially. Let us hope all is well now.

    JP.

  57. Walter Cronanty (18:10:02) :

    If you think Carol M. Browner’s record is amazing, check out Holdren’s or Chu’s. I personally tipped off Steven Milloy (author of the Foxnews article) to Browner’s socialist leadership position on Jan 1, 09 at JunkScience.com and he broke the story within an hour or so of my email (I’ve never seen the page change during the day like that). He wrote me later saying “thanks to you…” with the link to the Washington Times article…! One small victory for me.

    The case for catastrophic AGW is entirely political in my opinion. The scientific basis for it is extremely weak. Even the IPCC has to base their summaries on only a few papers purporting extreme positive feedbacks to support their case, feedbacks which, I might add, have never been observed in nature, and are shown by other studies to be negative. And even their conclusions are written by a small group who overstates the certainty, or have even changed the conclusions in direct conflict with the panel’s opinions (Ben Santer)… This is why I often call the IPCC “a consensus of one”

    If you ignore enough variables, or assign them weak enough coefficients, then, I would agree, there isn’t much left but CO2. But why would you do that? Assign them proper coefficients (like those that a statistical analysis reveals), and CO2 might still be a factor, but isn’t even remotely in the same league as ocean cycles, solar, etc. You can leave it out completely and explain upwards of 88% of temperature variation. Adding it doesn’t change that figure by much.

    Emergency indeed… for whom? and for what?

  58. JP: Yes, for the record, I would also recommend anyone who wants to do their own analyses to go to the original sources, not re-use WFT data. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with my intepretation, of course, but the fewer stages in the pipeline the better.

    BTW, if people are finding it tricky to read the many and various formats, you can just fetch the original files and use the underlying ‘analyse’ tool to parse them (“use the source, Luke”).

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/downloads/analyse-0.7.2.tgz

    Incidentally, I didn’t mention it above, but the OLS trend differences of 0.16K/decade – 0.13K/decade = 0.03K/decade = 0.3K/century, which corresponds more or less to Stephen’s estimate in the original article.

    Data from: http://www.woodfortrees.org/data/gistemp/from:1979/trend/plot/uah/trend

    This is quite significant, of course, but not nearly so significant as the difference between either of these and the 3K or 6K/century being bandied about at the more alarmist end of the spectrum. The sign and magnitude of the feedbacks are what’s really critical.

  59. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the info, and obviously I value your site quite a bit! Looking at your examples, I don’t see how to do a difference between two plots, say GISS minus UAH, which was the exercise in this article. Also, I like using your raw data because you record the month as an absolute decimal, which allows a minimum of pain in spreadsheet computations.

    DJ,

    Please feel free to report on the results of any further any statistical calculations you feel are appropriate. My data sources and calculations are all listed in the article.

    I’m doing another analysis of just the last six years – which the divergence between GISS and satellites is quite large.

  60. “I want to see the reaction of a $.50 a gallon tax increase and CO2 taxes on generating plants. It’s been zero here for 2 days and people are laughing at the mention of global warming. Most people look at now, not the past and don’t care about the future.”

    One of the issues is that things will be done slowly, and on a well-crafted scale, such that people don’t see the individual changes as being problematic. 10yrs later, people will be looking around saying “How the heck did we get HERE???”, but it will be too late. Look at banking regulations and the economy.

    JimB

  61. From above:

    “The Al Gore and MM disciples have a response for that. “A natural cooling trend was masking the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming which was taking place at the time.” :)

    A unique phenomena which can occur whenever a valid scientific explanation is not available. I fully expect in future years that an ‘adjustment’ to the data will make the inconvenient cooling of the 70s to disappear.”

    —-

    Er, uhm, well, you see, they already made that inconvenient adjustment.

    ANOTHER peak decade which has ALREADY conveniently “disappeared” from the GISS data is the 1932 – 1942 peak.

    In the “original” GISS graphs in 1998, 1932-1942 peaked at .4 degree above baseline, then temperatures declined over the next 30 years into the artificial “0.0 baseline” of 1972, then began climbing again from 1972 through 1998.

    Today’s GISS graphics?

    Well, (magically) somehow the temperatures in the 1930’s and 1940’s have decreased significantly – until they are just a bump crushed under the AGW’s political bandwagon.

  62. The difference in the various series from 1979 to 2008 is small but very, very significant when extrapolated over the 250 years we are talking about for global warming’s impact.

    The UAH trend indicates global warming will not be a problem at all.

    The RSS trend indicates global warming will not be a problem at all.

    The GISS and Hadley Centre data since 1979 and since 1880 indicates global warming will only be about half of that predicted.

    The satellite-derived temperatures since 1979 also point to a conclusion that the pre-1979 temperatures from GISS and the Hadley Centre were probably manipulated – artificially increasing the trend since 1880 by about 0.3C or so.

    When you extrapolate that over the 250 years of global warming in question here – it also indicates that global warming will not be a problem at all.

    These small differences are important.

  63. JP,

    The reason I picked 1980 as the start year rather than 1979, was because it was an interesting year in that it was warmer than 2008 in the UAH record, but much cooler than 2008 in the GISS record. The delta between GISS and UAH in 1979 was larger than in 1980, and would have made the divergence even larger, had I used it.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1978/plot/gistemp/from:1978

    There were also quite a few other years between 1979 and 1997 which were warmer than 2008.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1978/plot/gistemp/from:1978

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1978/plot/rss/from:1978

  64. As John Philip has pointed out, the comparison of the individual years 1980 and 2008 is essentially meaningless since the difference you get depends strongly on which exact year you use. I should emphasize further that UAH and GISS measure temperatures in a somewhat different part of the atmosphere…and it is in fact expected that the temperature that the UAH measures will vary more strongly with ENSO (El Nino – La Nina) fluctuations. Hence, since 2008 was a pretty strong La Nina year and it looks like 1980 was an El Nino year, we would expect to see exactly what you saw…that the temperature difference between 2008 and 1980 is considerably more negative for UAH than for GISS.

    The difference in the full trend over the period is a little more relevant, however:

    (1) It is a lot smaller (0.03 C per decade), with both showing a significant warming trend.

    (2) There is no corresponding attempt to do error analysis of the trends to see if it is actually statistically significant.

    (3) There is again the fact that they measure somewhat different things.

    (4) As John Philip has noted, when you look at UAH, RSS, GISS, and HADCRUT, it is UAH that is the “odd” man out in the trends…with a trend about 20% lower than the other three.

    Steve Goddard says:

    I just want to emphasize a key conceptual point here, which perhaps keeps things in perspective. The GISS graph shows 2008 much warmer than 1980. The UAH graph shows 2008 slightly cooler than 1980. Clearly the trends are divergent.

    Depending on which data set is more accurate, one might come up with a completely different approach to public policy.

    I don’t think this keeps things in perspective at all. Rather, it completely blows things out of proportion. In fact, the difference between whether the trend is 0.13 C/decade or 0.16 C/decade has only a very small implication for public policy.

    And, your fact about the behavior in the individual years of 1980 and 2008 has no implications for public policy and no direct implications concerning the trends.

  65. ‘Carrick (10:06:46) :

    Just going to mention that this difference has been discussed over on Lucia’s blog.’

    Thanks Carrick, by discussed I think you mean thrashed to within an inch of its life. I lost four hours out of my life reading it, but couldn’t drag myself away. It should be cautionary reading for anyone thinking of starting a climate blog.
    The horror, the horror…

  66. LOL. I just want to emphasize a key conceptual point here, which perhaps keeps things in perspective. The GISS graph shows 2008 warmer than 1979 by 0.35C. The UAH graph shows 2008 slightly less warmer than 1979 by 0.16C, Clearly the trends are marginally divergent, unsurprising when you consider the measurement uncertainties and the fact that they measure different physical quantities.

    REPLY: Also unsurprising when there is a plethora of adjustments that start with NOAA/NCDC such as TOBS, FILNET, SHAP, and then there is the GISS homgenization, all of which tend to add amplitude to the surface temperature signal. UAH has no such post facto adjustments once the base data is derived.

    See image below. – Anthony

  67. JP, Joel,

    2008 is not an outlier to be cast out. RSS shows a decline of 3.6C/century over the last six years, and even more interesting is that RSS is steadily diverging from GISS at 2.64C/century over the last six years.
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pj0h2MODqj3ixuEoxE5xBVw&oid=3&output=image

    If the GISS graph showed the same trend as satellites over the last six years, the appearance would be quite different. The entire steep period from 1980-2002 would be reversed.

  68. It would be interesting to compare UKMet (HadCRU3) with GISS, since they are both land based. Also both are run by individuals who believe in anthropogenic glabal warming, but HadCRU is widely regarded as having some integrity whereas GISS is not.

  69. Steve,
    I also wonder why you have excluded 1979. That the UAH monthly average anomaly for 2008 (0.05) is 0.12 degrees warmer than the UAH monthly average anomaly for 1979 (-0.072) is not important at all. What is important is the trend of the difference between the GISS and UAH monthly anomalies since 1979.
    The slope of this trend is indeed embarrassing. The question is: for which institution is it embarrassing? For GISS or for UAH? It is to expect that the same analysis comparing RSS and GISS gives a much lower slope. So, we have three institutions from which the figures have to be compared.

    At this phase in the investigation, I trust UAH: “Ours is the only dataset that has been compared to non-satellite data,” said Christy. “This gives us confidence in its results. Several different radiosonde-based products have been compared to the satellite data and the results of those studies have been published.” (http://www.uah.edu/News/climatebackground.php) And since the year 1998, RSS and UAH have an almost equal trend in the temperature data.
    Is it justifiable to suspect GISS of distributing improper data? It is clear that the last thing we should expect is that the cited difference between the GISS and UAH monthly anomalies would be growing! Of course, the GISS baseline temperature is lower than the UAH baseline. This can explain a difference of about 0.2526 degrees (average difference from 1979 to 2007). But we see some months with a difference of more than 0.4 degrees! I find 31 months with a difference of 0.40 to 0.49, 7 with a difference of 0.50 to 0.59 and two months with a difference above 0.6, viz. 0.637 and 0.666. I also detect that in 2008, there were 6 months with a difference above 0.4! This makes 2008 the year with the largest average difference that is registered since 1979. How can we explain this growing discrepancy? The answer can, in my opinion, not only be the result of “the different patterns of temperature variance at the surface and in the lower troposphere”( http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/jclim96/)
    “A recent analysis of the surface and satellite datasets hints that the apparent disagreement might have as much to do with coverage as with differing trends at different altitudes.”, according Christy in the same UAH article. “In areas where you have high resolution, well-maintained scientific collection of temperature data, the satellites and the surface data show a high degree of agreement,” said Christy. “Over North America, Europe, Russia, China and Australia, the agreement is basically one-to-one.” “The greatest disagreement between the surface and satellite datasets is in the tropics, which includes regions where weather stations are sparse (including central Africa and South America), and the three-fourths of the tropics that are covered by oceans, where proxy information such as sea surface temperatures has been used in lieu of actual atmospheric temperature data.”
    We can see the sparse implantation of weather stations in some areas: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/features/temptracker/global_weather_stations_map_532.gif
    When the missing areas are cold, according to “Bonzo” , it is understandable that the averages of NASA are on the high side. This could explain differences but not growing differences. See (http://groups.google.com/group/sci.geo.meteorology/msg/5e621ec65ed0a480)
    I cannot understand that a research centre as Goddard Institute of Space Studies with a budget of more than $ 1 billion, should not be able to supply reliable figures concerning the temperature of earth. Time has come to GISS to provide us the answers on the questions why there is a growing divergence between UAH and GISS and if it is true that the GISS warming trends are not consistent around the globe. If they cannot afford these arguments, that means they have lost their credibility.

  70. UAH has no such post facto adjustments once the base data is derived.

    See image below. – Anthony

    Really? What then do you make of this UAH read me file:

    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/readme.03Jan2008

    A random example –

    Update 12 July 2007 *****************************

    We are still relying on NOAA-15 for the current MT and LT products. We
    have not instituted a diurnal correction on these, so they are likely
    running a little on the warm side as NOAA-15 is “backing” into a warmer
    period of the diurnal cycle. Regarding the long term trend, this will have
    a very small impact. When the new MSU diurnal corrections as well as the AMSU
    diurnal corrections are applied, we suspect the resulting trend will be
    almost identical to the current trend, though there will be some changes
    in the interannual variations.

    Of course UAH makes post facto adjustments – the most notable having been the adjustments made in 2005 after their huge error in miscorrecting for diurnal drift was pointed out to them:

    Update 7 Aug 2005 ****************************

    An artifact of the diurnal correction applied to LT
    has been discovered by Carl Mears and Frank Wentz
    (Remote Sensing Systems). This artifact contributed an
    error term in certain types of diurnal cycles, most
    noteably in the tropics. We have applied a new diurnal
    correction based on 3 AMSU instruments and call the dataset
    v5.2.

    An entirely reworked data set sounds like a post facto adjustment to me!

  71. Steven Talbot,

    There is no comparison between the satellite adjustments and the USHCN adjustments. The TOBS adjustment alone requires USHCN to go back and try to figure out for each thermometer on each date what time of day the max/min values were read and reset, not to mention all their other adjustments and problems with thermometers in parking lots, etc. which Anthony has been documenting.

    By contrast, the UAH adjustments are relatively minor and consistent, having to do with well documented and understood issues like satellite roll.

  72. If I’m correct, google LINEST uses ordinary least squares (it does in excel). OLS assumes no autocorrelation. If you want to properly estimate the best linear unbiased estimate, you need to correct for autocorrleation. It won’t change things much, but it will be statistically better.

  73. Steven Goddard,

    By contrast, the UAH adjustments are relatively minor and consistent, having to do with well documented and understood issues like satellite roll.

    As memory serves, the 2005 correction to the UAH record resulted in a 40% increase in the warming trend recorded (may have been more, so by all means correct me). You call that minor?

    The fact is that the satellite data is processed just as the land-based data is processed. The differences between UAH, RSS and other satellite records, despite using the same raw information, make it wholly obvious that this is so. It is entirely bizarre to suggest that ‘human judgment’ is only a concern with USHCN. Is this wholly satisfactory? Of course not – but let us at least be genuinely ‘sceptical’ of all such records rather than making out that the satellite records are somehow rock solid. The sheer scale of their past corrections makes it entirely obvious that this is not so.

  74. RSS is steadily diverging from GISS at 2.64C/century over the last six years.

    I fear you may be disappearing down a statistical rabbithole in pursuit of a fault in GISS, while losing sight of the physics. As Joel and I have stated the satellites (indirectly) measure the lower troposphere temperature which responds more to ENSO events – ie it warms more than the surface in al El Nino and cools more in a La Nina, in a six year period with a La Nina towards the end the divergence between the satellite based RSS and GISS is probably attributable largely to this effect. There was a similar divergence in the six years to 1998, only in the opposite direction, with RSS warming faster than GISS.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1993/to:1999/trend/plot/rss/from:1993/to:1999/trend

    Of course this period has an El Nino rather than a La Nina towards the end, which just goes to show the limited significance of such a short trend.

    The rationale behind the various adjustments, with supporting papers is given on this NOAA page. But if, as implied, it is the adjustments that are introducing an incorrect warming bias and that explains why GISS rises more than UAH since 1980, we still have to explain the similar divergence between UAH and RSS, which also has no adjustments…

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1979/mean:12/offset:-0.206/plot/gistemp/from:1979/trend:12/offset:-0.206/plot/uah/mean:12/plot/uah/trend/plot/rss/mean:12/offset:0.02783/plot/rss/trend/offset:0.02783

  75. “By contrast, the UAH adjustments are relatively minor and consistent, having to do with well documented and understood issues like satellite roll.”

    The 2005 UAH adjustments increased their lower troposphere temperature trend from 0.086 to 0.12 deg/decade.

    That’s an increase of 40% – hardly “minor”.

    And the lower troposphere temperature trends between RSS and UAH still differ by about 0.05 deg/decade (despite the fact that they use exactly the same raw satellite data) so it is obvious that all of the “issues” with the satellite data are not completely understood.

    One of the biggest difficulties with the satellite data is cross-calibrating between different satellites. Something like a dozen different satellites have been used since 1979, and every time a new satellite comes on line, it has to be calibrated against the existing ones.

    It’s something like the calibration that takes place when a surface temperature station is moved- except the satellite calibration doesn’t just effect one of hundreds of temperature stations, it effects the data for the whole world! So even a tiny calibration error can have a big effect on the calculated temperature trends.

    The raw satellite readings also have to be corrected for reflections and emisions from the satellite itself, from the antenae, from space, from the moon, orbital drift and decay…and more.

    Then you have to remember that the lower trosphere readings are derived from measurements made of the same area from two different viewing angles, so all those potential errors are doubled.

    In short, the adjustments/corrections made to the satellite readings are immensely more complicated than those applied to the surface temperature measurements. And any error in those adjustments effects not just a single temperature station, but readings for the entire earth.

  76. Steve Goddard says:

    2008 is not an outlier to be cast out. RSS shows a decline of 3.6C/century over the last six years, and even more interesting is that RSS is steadily diverging from GISS at 2.64C/century over the last six years.
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pj0h2MODqj3ixuEoxE5xBVw&oid=3&output=image

    Steve,

    First of all, noone is saying that 2008 should be cast out; however, one should not do an analysis in a way that is completely not robust to the exact years that you look at, which is what your simple comparison of 1980 to 2008 is.

    Your comparison of trends between 1980 and 2008 is a more reasonably thing to do, but then the resulting differences turn out not to be very dramatic, do they, especially when one considers that the satellite and surface data are not measuring exactly the same thing…and the fact that a more complete analysis with the HadCrut and RSS datasets shows that UAH is the outlier, with the HadCrut, RSS, and GISS trends all extremely close?

    Now, you are desperately trying to look over shorter time intervals in an attempt to rescue the sort of conclusion that you want from your analysis. Sure, over short enough periods, the different data sets (particularly the ones that measure different things) will be quite divergent. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    If the GISS graph showed the same trend as satellites over the last six years, the appearance would be quite different. The entire steep period from 1980-2002 would be reversed.

    This statement is just bizarre to me. If the GISS graph showed the same trend as the satellites from 1980 to 2008, then the trend would be 0.13 rather than 0.16, a rather small difference…That is what your original trend analysis showed. I have no idea what you are trying to do now…cobble together a piece of this graph and a piece of that graph to somehow put together a different conclusion!?! You seem to desperately want to rescue something from your analysis despite the fact that it has showed that the difference in trend between the GISS and UAH datasets of the full length of the satellite datasets is small (and the difference between GISS and RSS over that length is positively tiny).

  77. “By contrast, the UAH adjustments are relatively minor and consistent, having to do with well documented and understood issues like satellite roll.”

    The 2005 UAH adjustments increased their lower troposphere temperature trend from 0.086 to 0.12 deg/decade.

    That’s an increase of 40% – hardly “minor”.

    And the lower troposphere temperature trends between RSS and UAH still differ by about 0.05 deg/decade (despite the fact that they use exactly the same raw satellite data) so it is obvious that all of the “issues” with the satellite data are not completely understood.

    One of the biggest difficulties with the satellite data is cross-calibrating between different satellites. Something like a dozen different satellites have been used since 1979, and every time a new satellite comes on line, it has to be calibrated against the existing ones.

    It’s something like the calibration that takes place when a surface temperature station is moved- except the satellite calibration doesn’t just effect one of hundreds of temperature stations, it effects the data for the whole world! So even a tiny calibration error can have a big effect on the calculated temperature trends.

    The raw satellite readings also have to be corrected for reflections and emissions from the satellite itself, from the antenae, from space, from the moon, for orbital drift and decay…and more.

    Then you have to remember that the lower troposphere readings are derived from measurements made of the same area from two different viewing angles, so all those potential errors are doubled.

    In short, the adjustments/corrections made to the satellite readings are immensely more complicated than those applied to the surface temperature measurements. And any error in those adjustments effects not just a single temperature station, but readings for the entire earth.

  78. By contrast, the UAH adjustments are relatively minor and consistent, having to do with well documented and understood issues like satellite roll.

    These adjustments over the years have been so “minor” that in fact for many years, before the appropriate corrections were made, the satellite record was touted as showing that there was a cooling trend…i.e., they didn’t even have the freakin’ sign right!!! (Part of this may have also been due to the shorter record available at that time…although I don’t think that was the main effect and could easily be investigated by fitting trends over the current UAH satellite record starting at its beginning and ending in various years.)

    And, while the issues in the satellite record may be “well documented and understood” now (although that isn’t entirely clear, particularly given the remaining significant divergence of the UAH and RSS records in the tropics), they were not for quite some time…which is why Spencer and Christy were the darlings of the skeptics for many years for supposedly demonstrating that we were cooling rather than warming.

  79. 17-01-2009
    DR (13:55:44) :

    Has anyone seen David Archibald’s prediction for UAH data through May 2009?
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/oftheMay2009UAHMSUGlobalTemperatureResult12thJanuary2009.pdf

    Whoa, he’s really sticking his neck out. It is 180 deg out of phase with Hansen and Met O, and most likely other govt. funded institutions.

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

    I recall that I made a similar prediction, probably recently somewhere here on wattsup, but I can’t find it. Usually trusty Google has failed me…

    Could also be on climateaudit, but less likely.

    I think my “guess” was somewhere in the -0.2C to -0.4C range for May or June 2009, based on similar logic to David (for the UAH LT anomaly).

    I am sure we came up with this prediction independently – but we coud both be wrong – time will tell.

    If someone happens to find my post please help me out by posting the url on this page.

    Thanks in advance, Allan

  80. Still no P value?

    This site is moving from scepticism to denial.

    REPLY: That is uncalled for, you are making an assumption that he has seen the request and discarded it. Your assertion is a jump to conclusions based on your own personal bias and an apology is in order. I’ll email him to make sure he has seen the request in the nearly 100 comments posted. In the meantime, perhaps you missed “Calculations done here.” Good manners are welcomed here, even if we disagree with the content, assumptions and subsequent denigration such as the one you just made are not welcome. – Anthony

    REPLY2:
    I did indeed get in touch with Mr. Goddard via email, and he posted a response on this new thread, which is the follow up post to this one, but for the benefit of all on this thread, I am repeating his response here:

    DJ,

    The spreadsheet linked in the article shows the standard deviation for the GISS minus RSS plot = 0.09. The trend line for the graph shows 1.6 standard deviations, across the six year period. Reasonably good statistical significance.

    If you want to make any further calculations, please feel free to make your own copy the spreadsheet, and report back any findings you feel are important. That would be a constructive way to get involved in the conversation.

    Thank you very much
    Steven Goddard

  81. We have a 40% correction in UAH trend because UAH operates completely on the table, accessible to independent review of all sides in the debate.

    That is not the case with the institutions that measure surface, though, regarding their adjustment methods.

    USHCN-1 at least gave the amounts of each step of adjustment (if not the methodology). But the USHCN-2 adjustment page doesn’t even do that. Just a bunch of more-or-less meaningless words.

    (Come to think of it, a 1.3 vs. 1.6 trend is itself a > 20% difference. I’m not sure that’s insignificant.)

  82. Chris V,

    You wrote: “The 2005 UAH adjustments increased their lower troposphere temperature trend from 0.086 to 0.12 deg/decade.Thats an increase of 40% – hardly minor.

    A change of 0.034K is a change of less than 0.01% when measuring temperatures at 260K, which is what the satellites measure. Nice try.

    The USHCN adjustments are based largely on WAG data. No one really knows what time of day some thermometer in Kansas was read on December 12, 1904, so many times they just take a guess. Do you think that is accurate within 0.034K? Do you think they have enough information about that thermometer to calculate trends with a hundredth of a degree?

    With satellites, the information can be calculated. By contrast, USHCN simply does not have enough information to make the calculations, which would be of near infinite complexity due to an unimaginably large number of degrees of freedom.

  83. Joel Shore (11:32:10) : writes

    I don’t think this keeps things in perspective at all. Rather, it completely blows things out of proportion. In fact, the difference between whether the trend is 0.13 C/decade or 0.16 C/decade has only a very small implication for public policy.

    I agree things are getting blown out of proportion particularly when we consider that the GISS record shows a 30 year trend (1915-44) of ~0.14 deg C/decade. And the early part of the 1915-1944 period didn’t have the ‘benefit’ of 2 volcanic eruptions to amplify the trend.

    Remind me again what did cause the early 20th century warming?

  84. Steven Goddard (10:19:21) :

    By contrast, the UAH adjustments are relatively minor and consistent, having to do with well documented and understood issues like satellite roll.

    That’s a rather astonishing statement. If the UAH adjustments were made in reference to “well understood issues”, one wonders how its compilers were unable to identify these “well understood issues” over a period of 15 years, and repeatedly had to have these “well understood issues” pointed out to them!

    The UAH interpreters of MSU satellite data presented their first analysis in 1990 with a paper in which they suggested that their analysis produced a precise analysis of tropospheric temperature:

    Spencer RW, Christy JR (1990) Precise Monitoring Of Global Temperature Trends From Satellites. Science 247, 1558-1562

    We know that these analysis were anything but precise, and in fact have been confounded by a long series of errors and misanalyses that were repeatedly pointed out in the scientific literature. So already in 1991 it was pointed out that the statistical analysis of the data was flawed and that the absence of a temperature trend claimed by Spencer and Christy (SC) was unjustified:

    B.J. Gary and S. J. Keihm (1991) Microwave Sounding Units and Global Warming Science 251, 316

    In 1997 it was pointed out that the methods used to average the different satellite records introduced a spurious cooling trend:

    J. W. Hurrell & .K E. Trenberth (1997) Spurious trends in satellite MSU temperatures from merging different satellite record. Nature 386, 164 – 167.

    In 1998 it was pointed out that the failure by Spencer and Christy to properly consider satellite orbital decay introduced another spurious cooling trend in the UAH analysis:

    F. J. Wentz and M. Schabel (1998) Effects of orbital decay on satellite-derived lower-tropospheric temperature trends. Nature 394, 661-664.

    In 2004 it was pointed out that MSU-2 showed a spurious cooling trend due to spillover of stratospheric cooling into the tropospheric temperature signal:

    Q. Fu et al. (2004) Contribution of stratospheric cooling to satellite-inferred tropospheric temperature trends Nature 429, 55-58.

    And a little later still it was pointed out that the diurnal correction applied by Christy and Spencer was of the wrong sign and gave yet another spurious cooling trend:

    .A. Mears and F. J. Wentz (2005) The Effect of Diurnal Correction on Satellite-Derived Lower Tropospheric Temperature, Science 1548-1551

    Considering that the UAH compliers have consistently introduced spurious cooling contributions to their analyses for 15 years, and have only corrected these when these have been highlighted by more competent analyses, it seems entirely appropriate to question the accuracy of the UAH data…I would consider the RSS analysis to be more reliable based on the fact that it was the RSS group that identified some of the rather blatant errors in UAH.

    In general the idea the satellite tropospheric temperature data is more accurate than the surface data is questionable. The satellite microwave sounding units (MSU) doesn’t actually measure temperature, which has to be constructed from tropospheric radiance. Second order effects of tropospheric warming such as increased water vapour, results in decreased atmospheric “brightness” which makes the troposphere appear cooler, and has to be corrected for. As time passes satellites undergo orbital decay (see above), and of course eventually fail and are replaced by new satellites. The data from the different satellites have to be independently calibrated and merged. Unfortunately there isn’t a completely objective means of doing this. And the potentially independent means of determining tropospheric temperature from radiosondes (weather balloons) for calibrating MSU temperature data doesn’t work since the radiosondes have their own serious artefacts:

    Sherwood, S. C. et al (2005). “Radiosonde Daytime Biases and Late-20th Century Warming”. Science 309, 1556–1559

  85. Steven Goddard (12:56:37) :

    It’s the temperature TREND that’s important- that’s why all the temperature data sets show temperature ANOMALIES, and not ABSOLUTE temperatures.

    “With satellites, the information can be calculated.”

    But are the calculations correct?? If the satellite adjustments were well understood, then UAH and RSS would get the same results.

    But the difference between UAH and RSS trends is about the same as the difference between UAH and GISSTemp trends.

  86. John Philip

    Just so nobody is misled, – the graph Smokey linked to uses UAH data, however the graph itself and the fitted curve are the work of Andrew Barr, graphic artist at the National Post, not the University.

    John, you clever sleuth. I bet you dug up that graph info from the lower right hand reference on the chart.

    But if that graph isn’t your cup of tea, how about this one: click1 or this one: click2

    Notice who is out of step? See Manfred’s explanation @ 18:58:41 for the answer.

    DJ:

    Those who understand these data know that the trend lines in the UAH, RSS, GISS, UAH, NCDC, and UKMO radiosondes products are statistically indistinguishable and all show a statistically significant positive trend.

    See the ‘click2’ chart linked above, and rethink.

  87. foinavon,

    Thanks for the timeline. I sounds like you have documented the improvement of knowledge in the science of satellite temperature measurement. All sciences go through a similar learning process.

    Now compare that to the USHCN adjustments, where they have a huge, incomplete database with many degrees of freedom, and huge amounts of missing information. Imagine having to adjust a station temperature, not knowing what time of day the max/min thermometer was reset, not knowing what the error in the thermometer was, not knowing anything about the surroundings, and attempting to adjust to some modern standard within a tenth of a degree. That is an impossible problem.

  88. DJ says:

    See the ‘click2′ chart linked above, and rethink.

    All that chart shows is that if you choose a short enough period of time then you find that the errors on the trendlines are large and those trendlines can then not be statistically different from zero…but also are not statistically significant from a large positive trend.

  89. Joel Shore,

    Reading comprehension, me boy, that’s what it’s all about. I made the ‘click2’ comment, not DJ.

    I’ll post my charts, you can post yours… oh, I see. You didn’t post any charts, just an opinion.

    No matter. What does matter is whether the “A” in AGW has any validity at all. We’re emerging from the LIA, and as a result there has been natural, normal warming, in addition to natural, normal fluctuations. No one seriously disputes this; it’s that “A” that is disputed. There is no measurable “A”.

    Without resorting to any self-serving, always inaccurate, GIGO computer models, show us some solid real world evidence of that frightening “A”. Keep in mind that it is the purveyors of the relatively new [and falsified] hypothesis of the “A” in AGW who have the burden of proof. Assuming, of course, that we agree that there is such a thing as the Scientific Method.

  90. Chris V.:

    It’s the temperature TREND that’s important…

    Actually, it’s the CAUSE that’s important. See my post above.

    If the cause is natural [ie, not measurably brought about by human activity] then there is no AGW. There is just routine, natural GW.

    But if the cause is rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels… then prove it.

  91. foinavon,

    I think you’re framing the argument the wrong way.

    Every measurement method has errors. The goal of science is to work to constantly minimize errors. This requires transparency and cooperation. Like an asymptotic curve, you’re never going to achieve a 100% error-free result.

    To re-frame the argument: The central problem is not that each method has errors. The problem is the discrepancy between the open and accessible satellite data and methodology, and the grudgingly provided data — sometimes including outright stonewalling and non-cooperation, along with unexplained massaging of the temperature record — by those with custody of the surface station data.

    As a result of transparency and cooperation, the MSU accuracy is steadily improving, and it will continue to improve. But because others discourage transparency, their results are necessarily less accurate than the satellite measurements.

  92. I’m curious about apparent discrepancies between two graphic representations which are supposedly based upon the same data.

    At the website junkscience.com, there is a graphic presentation of data which is supposedly from UAH’s MSU: http://junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/UAHMSUglobe.html . This presentation suggests that 2008 was cooler than 2002 and 2003, and that 1998 was substantially warmer than 2008.

    However, at the UAH website http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/ it is possible to generate a graphic representation (using chLT) that shows 2008 as warmer than both 2002 an 2003, and even the second half of 1998. 1999 also appears consistently cooler than 2008 on the UAH site but not on the junkscience site.

    Can anyone shed any light on this? Are these really the same datasets?

  93. Jan 18 – foinavon (14:31:17) :

    I think you are writing nonsense re Spencer and Christy’s UAH LT measurements.

    Rather than just quoting all these papers, you should quote the magnitude of the corrections involved.

    I think you will find the corrections are practically insignificant.

    For plot of UAH LT global temperature anomalies in 2002, see Figure 1 in
    http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

    For a 2008 plot, see

    I cannot see any material difference – can you?

    Also, UAH and RSS LT temperatures seem to be converging, and the corrections are not all at UAH – many are at RSS.

    Please quote the actual numbers if you wish to make a valid point.

    Regards, Allan

  94. Allan M R MacRae (12:17:52) :

    17-01-2009
    DR (13:55:44) :

    Has anyone seen David Archibald’s prediction for UAH data through May 2009?
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/oftheMay2009UAHMSUGlobalTemperatureResult12thJanuary2009.pdf

    Whoa, he’s really sticking his neck out. It is 180 deg out of phase with Hansen and Met O, and most likely other govt. funded institutions.

    I wouldn’t take David Archibald’s comments seriously. He says that “Another large La Nina formed in late 2008.” This is totally incorrect as ENSO conditions remain neutral and with equatorial Pacific areas starting to show signs of warming a return to La Nina is looking increasingly unlikely at this late stage. What is much more probable is an El Nino later this year, the initial signs are becoming clearer in the South Pacific.http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.1.15.2009.gif.
    Notice also, as I predicted in September, the PDO is starting to switch off its -ive phase and is now virtually neutral. So much for the 30 years of cold!

  95. Mary Hinge (01:52:02) :

    I wouldn’t take David Archibald’s comments seriously. He says that “Another large La Nina formed in late 2008.” This is totally incorrect as ENSO conditions remain neutral and with equatorial Pacific areas starting to show signs of warming a return to La Nina is looking increasingly unlikely at this late stage. What is much more probable is an El Nino later this year, the initial signs are becoming clearer in the South Pacific.http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.1.15.2009.gif.
    Notice also, as I predicted in September, the PDO is starting to switch off its -ive phase and is now virtually neutral. So much for the 30 years of cold!

    ________________________________________________________

    Hi Mary,

    Little time to look at your work, but here is the 2008 data I have on the PDO,
    from
    http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/PDO.latest

    2008** -1.00 -0.77 -0.71 -1.52 -1.37 -1.34 -1.67 -1.70 -1.55 -1.76 -1.25 -0.87

    2008 average is -1.29 – there have only been three lower years: 1950, 1955 and 1956, since 1900.

    Not virtually neutral, imo…

    Wish you were right though – I’m getting tired of this cold.

    Regards, Allan

  96. Hi Allan,
    thanks for the link. It does show a rapid rise in values in the last few months of 2008 so would estimate it being in +ive territory either in March or April….but then I suppose it might surprise us!

  97. Hi Mary,
    PDO bounces around quite a bit.
    Here are annual averages.
    The Standard Deviation of this population is 0.77
    Regards, Allan

    PDO
    1900 0.45
    1901 -0.13
    1902 0.77
    1903 0.16
    1904 -0.25
    1905 0.64
    1906 0.49
    1907 0.12
    1908 0.38
    1909 -0.12
    1910 -0.08
    1911 -0.16
    1912 0.15
    1913 0.57
    1914 0.16
    1915 0.18
    1916 -0.51
    1917 -0.43
    1918 -0.14
    1919 -0.10
    1920 -0.91
    1921 -0.10
    1922 -0.20
    1923 0.48
    1924 0.14
    1925 0.19
    1926 1.16
    1927 0.14
    1928 0.16
    1929 0.40
    1930 -0.10
    1931 0.74
    1932 -0.02
    1933 -0.68
    1934 1.18
    1935 0.80
    1936 1.73
    1937 0.32
    1938 0.16
    1939 0.07
    1940 1.77
    1941 1.99
    1942 0.47
    1943 0.11
    1944 -0.13
    1945 -0.19
    1946 -0.58
    1947 0.50
    1948 -0.87
    1949 -1.23
    1950 -1.81
    1951 -0.77
    1952 -0.87
    1953 -0.16
    1954 -0.29
    1955 -1.95
    1956 -1.80
    1957 0.23
    1958 0.64
    1959 -0.03
    1960 0.06
    1961 -0.82
    1962 -1.16
    1963 -0.69
    1964 -0.77
    1965 -0.31
    1966 -0.46
    1967 -0.73
    1968 -0.40
    1969 -0.10
    1970 -0.40
    1971 -1.29
    1972 -0.92
    1973 -0.80
    1974 -0.34
    1975 -1.10
    1976 0.01
    1977 0.23
    1978 0.24
    1979 0.34
    1980 0.60
    1981 0.92
    1982 0.11
    1983 1.65
    1984 0.84
    1985 0.45
    1986 1.24
    1987 1.82
    1988 0.53
    1989 -0.18
    1990 -0.36
    1991 -0.42
    1992 0.93
    1993 1.42
    1994 -0.15
    1995 0.64
    1996 0.64
    1997 1.46
    1998 0.25
    1999 -1.06
    2000 -0.59
    2001 -0.56
    2002 0.22
    2003 0.97
    2004 0.35
    2005 0.38
    2006 0.19
    2007 -0.20
    2008 -1.29

  98. Roger Sowell (17:42:34) :
    Maybe it is not such a good idea to “first, shoot all the lawyers.” ;-)

    I thought it was “First shoot all their lawyers. ;-)

  99. I am not a scientist, however at work we are having many heated debates about these climate issues as well as others. When I gave this web site to a gentlemen who is so opposed to human created co2, he responded with this web site. Here is his quote. Would welcome any suggestions regarding the comparisons between these two web sites. Thank you

    I give you the web site that refute most of your arguments.

    http://www.realclimate.org/

  100. Yo, Matt,

    You say your pal would “welcome any suggestions regarding the comparisons between these two web sites”?

    OK, give this comparison to your pal at work: click

    Report back. Thanx.

  101. Good one Smokey…

    The graph that shows the amount of adjustments made each year here:

    is missing . Anyone know where it went?

  102. RichardB (23:17:15) :

    “As I began reading I started to have the same “cold feeling on the back of neck” that I felt in trials when listening to opposing expert witnesses testify: there is something wrong here. My judgment, after studying hundreds of pages of articles, reports, blog entries and graphs, is that AGW is a hoax. I would love to be able to cross-examine some of these people as if at trial where they would be under oath and could not obfuscate or avoid directly answering the questions.”

    As an attorney and engineer, I concur most heartily. When the opposition’s expert is lying or otherwise inconsistent, cross-examination can be fun, I suspect you would agree?

  103. Roger Sowell (20:23:41) : Actually, I botched the line. I gave the ‘cowboy’ version, I suppose.

    That’s fine. I speak cowboy… with an accent…

    Shakespeare’s line is:

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

    OK, then my snide repost becomes: I thought it was “The first thing we do, let’s kill all their lawyers.” ;-)

    I always like it better when the other guy finds himself in a gun fight without a gun… hired or otherwise.

    Interesting blog entry on the matter:
    http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2004/03/01/shakespeare-and-lawyers/

    Fascinating…

  104. In defense of lawyers…

    After working on international projects including four years in the Former Soviet Union, I came to realize why they are so poor and we are so rich.

    It is primarily due to the Rule of Law – rich countries have it, poor countries do not.

    Granted, our legal system is ponderous, expensive and self-serving – but in the absence of Law and Order we would soon have nothing – witness Zimbabwe.

    Regards, Allan MacRae, P.Eng.

  105. Allan M. R. MacRae, re lawyers.

    Hear, Hear!

    I worked as a chemical engineer for 20 years before going to law school. Now having seen both sides, engineering and law, many things are much clearer, at least to me!

    So many people who complain or denigrate our legal system (the U.S. system) have little to no idea what other countries have, and why ours is preferable.

    The list is long and I won’t recite it all here, but for just a few examples:

    Right to Speedy Trial
    Right to an attorney
    Right to Trial by Jury
    Presumption of Innocence
    Proof of Guilt beyond a Reasonable Doubt to Convict
    Right to Appeal (but government does NOT have that right in a criminal case)
    No Ex-Post Facto Laws
    No Self Incrimination
    No Unreasonable Search and Seizure
    Right to Confront Witnesses against you
    Right to Free Speech
    Right to Petition the Government
    Hearsay Evidence prohibited at trial
    Liberal Discovery
    Prosecution must share all evidence against accused

    and the list goes on and on and on…

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