Dr. Curry Warms the Southern Ocean

UPDATE: 8/18 10:30AM I spoke with Dr. Judith Curry by telephone today, and she graciously offered the link to the full paper here, and has added this graphic to help clarify the discussion. I have reformatted it to fit this presentation format (side by side rather than top-bottom) While this is a controversial issue, I ask you please treat Dr. Curry with respect in discussions since she is bending over backwards to be accommodating. – Anthony

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[Update] My thanks to Dr. Curry for showing the graphic above, as well as for her comment below and her general honesty and willingness to engage on these and other issues. She should be a role model for AGW supporters. I agree totally with Anthony’s call for respect and politeness in our dealings with her (as well as with all other honest scientists who are brave enough to debate their ideas in the blogosphere). I also commend the other author of the study, Jiping Liu, for his comments below.

However, as my Figure 2 below clearly shows, any analysis of the HadISST data going back to 1950 is meaningless for the higher Southern latitudes. The HadISST data before about 1980 is nonexistent or badly corrupted for all latitude bands from 40°S to 70°S. As a result, although the HAdISST graphic above looks authoritative, it is just a pretty picture. There are five decades in the study (1950-1999). The first three of the decades contain badly corrupted or nonexistent data. You can’t make claims about overall trends and present authoritative looking graphics when the first three-fifths of your data is missing or useless. – willis

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Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Anthony has posted here on a new paper co-authored by Judith Curry of Georgia Tech, entitled “Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice”. The Georgia Tech press release is here. Having obtained the paper courtesy of my undersea conduit (h/t to WS once again), I can now comment on the study. My first comment is, “show us the data”. Instead of data, here’s what they start with:

Kinda looks like temperature data, doesn’t it? But it is not. It is the first Empirical Orthogonal Function of the temperature data … the original caption from the paper says:

Figure 1. Spatial patterns of the first EOF mode of the area-weighted annual mean SST south of 40 °S. Observations: (A) HadISST and (B) ERSST for the period 1950–1999. Simulations of CCSM3 (Left) and GFDL-CM2.1 (Right): (C, D) 50-year PIcntrl experiment (natural forcing only),

Given the title of “Accelerated warming”, one would be forgiven for assuming that (A) represents an actual measurement of a warming Southern Ocean. I mean, most of (A) is in colors of pink, orange, or red. What’s not to like?

When I look at something like this, I first look at the data itself. Not the first EOF. The data. The paper says they are using the Hadley Centre Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperature (HadISST) data. Here’s what that data looks like, by 5° latitude band:

Figure 2. HadISST temperature record for the Southern Ocean, by 5° latitude band. Data Source.

My first conclusion after looking at that data is that it is mostly useless prior to about 1978. Before that, the data simply doesn’t exist in much of the Southern Ocean, it has just been shown as a single representative value.

So if I had been a referee on the paper my first question would be, why do the authors think that any analysis based on that HadISST data from 1950 to 1999 has any meaning at all?

Next, where is the advertised “Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean”? If we look at the period from 1978 onwards (the only time period with reasonable data over the entire Southern Ocean), there is a slight cooling trend nearest Antarctica, and no trend in the rest of the Southern Ocean. In other words, no warming, accelerated or otherwise.

Finally, I haven’t even touched on the other part of the equation, the precipitation. If you think temperature data is lacking over the Southern Ocean, precipitation data is much worse. The various satellite products (TRMM, SSM/i, GPCC) give widely varying numbers for precipitation in that region, with no significant correlation between any pair (maximum pairwise r^2 is 0.06).

My conclusion? There is nowhere near enough Southern Ocean data on either side of the temperature/precipitation equation to draw any conclusions. In particular, we can say nothing about the period pre-1978, and various precipitation datasets are very contradictory after 1978. Garbage in, you know what comes out …

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August 17, 2010 8:20 pm

The climate science community is in spectacular denial about what is actually occurring in Antarctica. It is a classic case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
They pile the BS on deeper and deeper with every new theory. Ozone, Grace, blue maps turning magically red, penguins drowning, ice sheets collapsing. It is a three ring circus.

Karl
August 17, 2010 8:31 pm

I’ve got to question the journalist’s assertion that future precipitiation would fall as rain. In Antarctica? Do the authors of the paper really believe that? If they do, maybe they’re expecting rain around the continent where the ice forms. But still, that’s going to take quite a warm up to lead to rain as the predominant precipitation type.

trbixler
August 17, 2010 8:34 pm

A veritable Cirque du Soleil of contortions on a minimalist data set. But why oh why do these people engage in such diversions, maybe for the grants?

e_por
August 17, 2010 8:36 pm

Sigh…
It is increasingly frustrating to see where climate science has degraded to.
BTW, I do not accept the assumption that higher water temp is bad either. If any, it should be beneficial to life there, but lets not quarrel about minor details.

August 17, 2010 8:36 pm

Here’s the 1870 dataset…a wonderful old map that shows summer and winter freezing points, icebergs sitings dating from 177os and ocean currents.
http://www.nla.gov.au/apps/cdview?pi=nla.map-rm1658-v

Leon Brozyna
August 17, 2010 8:37 pm

Tsk, tsk … there you go again … letting facts get in the way of a good story.

James Sexton
August 17, 2010 8:44 pm

So, more ice around the Antarctic means warmer southern oceans. Heck, I didn’t need them to do a study for me to know their position. ‘Its colder now, but the trend, we’ll invent one and ……..blah, blah, blah’. Dr. Curry remains a mystery to me. At times, her statements seem to be wavering towards being skeptical. Then she puts a study such as this in.
Willis raises the point, “So if I had been a referee on the paper my first question would be, why do the authors think that any analysis based on that HadISST data from 1950 to 1999 has any meaning at all?”
Looking at Figure 2, 1979-1999 certainly doesn’t have any meaning relating to 1870-1978 and especially at the 60-70 parallels. How someone can contrive any special meaning contextualizing in this manner is puzzling to me.
Surely there was something of more substance than this in the paper?

Cassandra King
August 17, 2010 8:50 pm

Denial of reality, a retreat from an actual reality that undermines or destroys a deeply held belief.
A cautionary tale in the making for future generations of scientists? I wonder at the determination of so many supposedly learned people to hold onto their belief in AGW regardless of the growing wave of contradictory evidence, the inability to modify a deeply held belief system.
The supporters of the AGW theory are trying to hide from this contradictory evidence or they try to hide it from the wider population, the MSM by and large has enacted a news blackout on the Antarctic with no coverage whatsoever of the sea ice and almost no coverage of the bitter southern hemisphere winter.
It takes a big man to see and admit and correct his own mistakes, it seems that there is a dire shortage of big men in climate science today.

Bernie
August 17, 2010 8:56 pm

Willis:
Have you shared this with Judy? It seems so blindingly obvious she must have some reason for spending time on the paper. It sure doesn’t explain the paradox of growing Antarctic sea ice to me.

Rob R
August 17, 2010 9:02 pm

The top two lines on the SST graph (40-45S & 45-50S) are interesting. Just eyeballing here but the SST pattern seems to have the same shape and trend as my Temperature Index for the South Island of New Zealand (contains results from around 180 surface stations, some of which admittedly have only fragmentary data). The land data comes from the NIWA cliflo database. There are also remarkable similarities with the temp trends from Scott Base and Campbell Island.

Evan Jones
Editor
August 17, 2010 9:04 pm

What the hell happened in 1940? Godzilla’s evil Stepchangefather?
(And does the answer include the word “bucket”?)

peterhodges
August 17, 2010 9:10 pm


it seems that there is a dire shortage of big men in climate science today.

that’s because “climate science” is simply a marketing machine for the global warming industry

August 17, 2010 9:11 pm

If the Southern ocean is warming [raw data, please], then we can look forward to more beneficial CO2. More is better. Right, Judith?

Brian Eglinton
August 17, 2010 9:30 pm

Willis,
Just an initial impression without having read the paper – but the first 4 diagrams include 2 model simulations.
The implication seems to be that the models mimicking purely natural forcings predicted cooling whereas the actual measurements where roughly zero to very slight warming.
Hence the idea that something other than nature has “increased” the temperature in recent times [ie prevented the decrease that aught to have occurred].
A huge amount of current science seems to hang on these models – as if they are real data.

ZZZ
August 17, 2010 9:30 pm

All the data sets in Fig. 2 show a sharp “step up” in temperature during the early 1940’s. Sure, it’s possible that, in our general ignorance about how climate operates, the temperatures would change rapidly as a result of natural processes, but what are the chances that such rapid and almost discontinuous temperature change would “just happen” to coincide with WWII this way? Does climate pay attention to massive changes in the human world order? It’s more likely that, with the rapid spread of new technologies and government bureaucracies during and after WWII, there was a significant and rapid change in the way temperature was measured in this part of the world.

anna v
August 17, 2010 9:34 pm

I have the impression that all those National these that and the other that are controlled directly by government have gotten a directive of : ” show up the heat” otherwise the money will run out?
In Greece we have a National Meteorological Office , and a National Observatory of Athens. They are independent in their measurements and the latter is academically controlled. The observatory predictions for the Athens region are two to three degrees lower than the Meteorological Office, but it is the latter that is reported on television.
Example: yesterday they were predicting in Athens temperatures up to 41 degrees and national measures were taken with directions for public air conditioned locations for the indigent. Well, one can go and look at the 24 hour direct measurements of the Observatory, at http://www.meteo.gr/Gmap.asp , and it nowhere went over 38 even right in the center. Maybe they are predicting car temperatures sitting in the sun.
The 40 was reached in Larissa only, as far as I checked, an inland town in the middle of a fertile plain, which cools nicely at night too.
It is evident that the people controlling information want to make the public believe it is hotter than it is.
Maybe it is the same all over the world.

TomRude
August 17, 2010 9:35 pm

At least Judith Curry is someone who can take the heat and shows up to defend her work even if there is plenty to argue on such paper.

Gnomish
August 17, 2010 9:42 pm

So this is what J. Curry does in her spare time. It’s wonderful how a warmist can unhinge his brain to swallow a contradiction larger than his head.

James Sexton
August 17, 2010 9:47 pm

anna v says:
August 17, 2010 at 9:34 pm
“It is evident that the people controlling information want to make the public believe it is hotter than it is.
Maybe it is the same all over the world.”
For most of the world, it is.

nevket240
August 17, 2010 9:55 pm

AGW, not Climate Change, always was and always will be a Government sponsored fraud. The term Climate Change is a bob both ways.
I would be asking JC to show us both hands. Me thinks there will be a little finger missing. This ‘paper’ appears to be a ‘sorry’ note. As in an apology.
regards

Editor
August 17, 2010 9:59 pm

> Garbage in, you know what comes out …
Gospel!

chris1958
August 17, 2010 10:11 pm

Hey, you could be nicer to Judith Curry – she’s one scientist who tries to engage courteously with the community, sceptics and warmers alike, in a civil fashion.
GIGO seems far too dismissive a conclusion – perhaps a question to Judith inviting her to explain might be in order.

August 17, 2010 10:12 pm

No discussion about her 2060s’ scenario?
That’s the part that really got me.

AlanG
August 17, 2010 10:15 pm

Tortured data confesses. Read all about it! Whoever said that climate was a Cinderella science which was taken up by second rate scientists (like James H) got it about right. Present company excepted of course.

Tom
August 17, 2010 10:28 pm

Why is it that decreasing ice is global warming but increasing ice is a paradox. I suppose it makes sense if: A, facts should never be more believable than theory or models and B, You are determined to not believe your lying eyes.

August 17, 2010 10:29 pm

I can’t make any sense of this without reading the full paper. It just does not look right as Willis had pointed out. I think it fair to say the EOF mode has some problems, not the lest of which is a lack of data. These models often look straight forward but like all these thing the devil is in the details. I think one needs to be paying very close attention to the currents in the area too. When you try and relate two different fluid dynamic systems, neither of which is fully understood, together the results can be anything but accurate.

rbateman
August 17, 2010 10:29 pm

Actually, there may be a rather simplistic behavior trait lying right in front of us, which explains the steadfast reluctance to stop falling headlong into yet another warming model:
Computer games are intensely addictive.
Check out the kids (even adults) …they can’t stop. Just one more bonus point, one more spell, one more data tweak, and I’ll be victorious.
Until the next game comes out.

rbateman
August 17, 2010 10:39 pm

chris1958 says:
August 17, 2010 at 10:11 pm
Then Dr. Curry should respond by showing a cooling model, and it’s hindcast/forecast.
The problem is, nobody wants to look at the other possibility, i.e. – global cooling causes cooling.
Reminds me way too much of the economic bubbles: so few were daring enough to challenge, so many were swept away in the frenzy of the day.
Where are the cooling models?

JPeden
August 17, 2010 10:41 pm

“It takes a big man to see and admit and correct his own mistakes, it seems that there is a dire shortage of big men in climate science today.”
And not only in Climate Science, it’s a freaking “Low T” epidemic!

Layne Blanchard
August 17, 2010 10:45 pm

I think it would be courteous to ask her first.
Responding to:
trbixler says:
August 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm
Judith has been more open minded than many others. But the underlying motive many have for defending AGW has most often seemed to be ideological, either political (collectivist/socialist/communist) or religious (~Pantheism) or both. But there are rent seekers as well. Missing is objectivity, critical to scientific discovery.

Oakden Wolf
August 17, 2010 10:52 pm

Willis, excellent summary of the paper. Can you comment on this study with regard to the following references?
Gille, 2002: Warming of the Southern Ocean Since the 1950s. Science, Vol. 295. no. 5558, pp. 1275 – 1277
Gille, 2008: Decadal-Scale Temperature Trends in the Southern Hemisphere Ocean. J. Climate, 21, 4749-4765
Jacobs, 2006: Observations of change in the Southern Ocean. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A Vol. 364 no. 1844 1657-1681
Fyfe et al. 2007: The Role of Poleward-Intensifying Winds on Southern Ocean Warming. J. Climate, 20, 5391-5400
Gille 2008 is cited in the new paper you commented on; the others are not. The reason I’m asking is that I was under the impression that increasing wind speeds over the Southern Ocean were due to warming Southern Ocean SSTs (or at least there was a relationship between the two), but I’m not an expert, that’s just something I read.

hunter
August 17, 2010 10:57 pm

I look forward to the mechanism that turns precipitation into sea ice.

kwik
August 17, 2010 11:01 pm

Temperatures in Antarctica varies between -40 deg Celcius (hottest) to -70 deg Celcius.
Right? Or am I wrong on this?
So in order to get rain, one would need a temperature increase of at least 40 degrees?
I don’t understand.
Do they really expect 40 degrees increase in tempeature in Antarctic?

pat
August 17, 2010 11:10 pm

I had hope for Curry, but this is just stupid. Both poles have gotten colder in the last 5 years. The Antarctic for the last 15, albeit very slowly. A mere degree F. It is true the ice extent in the Arctic has substantially decreased. But given the temperature, it means the decrease is caused by something other than warming…..like tides or wind. It is not like the outer ice is much to begin with.

Richard
August 17, 2010 11:33 pm

They just had the NZ weather news tried to be broadcast from Scott Base Antarctica. The poor woman had to stop it was too cold.. somewhere around -36 with wind chill taking it to -55

richard telford
August 17, 2010 11:36 pm

RE: rain.
There is some confusion here about the rain. The paper isn’t proposing that it will rain at the South Pole, but that more rain will occur over Antarctic sea ice.

UK Sceptic
August 18, 2010 12:01 am

Dr Curry, bringing a climate vindaloo to a Southern Ocean data table near you.
:0/

Tenuc
August 18, 2010 1:05 am

Dennis Nikols, P. Geol. says:
August 17, 2010 at 10:29 pm
“…I think it fair to say the EOF mode has some problems, not the lest of which is a lack of data. These models often look straight forward but like all these thing the devil is in the details. I think one needs to be paying very close attention to the currents in the area too. When you try and relate two different fluid dynamic systems, neither of which is fully understood, together the results can be anything but accurate.”
You are right Dennis, but it’s worst than that. The sea surface is a turbulent system, driven by the wind above and the currents below. It does not have an homogeneous temperature over large areas, rather it is fractal with pockets of warm water in areas of cooler water at all scales. Many many temperature measurements are needed to even get within an accuracy of +/-1K, which clearly we have not got.
Much of the cargo cult science behind CAGW depends on ignoring deterministic chaos and using meaningless linear trends which are cherry picked to provide the expected result.
As this paper from Dr. Curry shows, confirmation bias and the need for continuing government financial support, provides some amazingly wrong conclusions/results.

richard telford
August 18, 2010 1:06 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 18, 2010 at 12:16 am
Does anyone truly think that we can estimate the temperature of that huge swath of ocean to a ±0.06°C accuracy by taking a couple of temperature readings per month over thirty million square miles of ocean, bunched in the summer months, with each reading being taken in a very different place all around Antarctica?
—————-
Why don’t you test your hypothesis rather than arguing from incredulity? Download some model output, sample the model temperatures at an equivalent sampling rate to the observational data, then test how well you can reconstruct the model mean temperatures from your pseudo-observations.
Its an easy analysis to do, probably less than 50 lines of R code, and could prove your point. But perhaps you prefer to wallow in your logical fallacy.

August 18, 2010 1:21 am

have a look at the source data from which the first EOF is constructed
Bob Tisdale can probably help you

August 18, 2010 1:31 am

Willis Eschenbach: August 18, 2010 at 12:16 am
Does anyone truly think that we can estimate the temperature of that huge swath of ocean to a ±0.06°C accuracy by taking a couple of temperature readings per month over thirty million square miles of ocean, bunched in the summer months, with each reading being taken in a very different place all around Antarctica?
Figure 1 (b)
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol295/issue5558/images/large/se0720194001.jpeg
shows almost no shipboard readings in the area between NZ and Chile, and the majority of the readings from the ’60s and ’70s are concentrated off the east coast of Australia, Argentina, and the Cape of Good Hope. Trying to construct an accurate picture of temperature over the entire area using those scattershot data points would seem to be — *frustrating*…

maksimovich
August 18, 2010 1:39 am

CIASTO AND THOMPSON2009
In the EN3 dataset, each individual month contains
profiles of temperature for a given location (latitude/longitude) and depth (in meters). The quantity and positions of the profiles varies from month to month, and neither
the locations of the profiles nor the depths at which temperatures are measured are regularly spaced. For example, January 1990 contains 9646 profiles of temperatures,
but not all profiles are sampled at the same depths: the profile at 30N, 22W contains 141 temperature values at irregularly spaced depths from 0 to 2000m,
the profile at 61S, 57W contains 79 temperature value sat irregularly spaced depths from 0 to 300 m, and so on.
Figure 1 shows the number of available vertical temperature profiles for the period 1990–2006 for the extratropical South Pacific. In actuality, the EN3 archive extends
back to January 1950, but there are virtually no profile data in the SH prior to 1990. After 1990, temperature profiles are concentrated in the following three regions: 1) off the southeast coast of Australia, 2) to the north of New Zealand, and 3) to the south of Tasmania

August 18, 2010 1:41 am

richard telford: August 18, 2010 at 1:06 am
Its an easy analysis to do, probably less than 50 lines of R code, and could prove your point. But perhaps you prefer to wallow in your logical fallacy.
Where is the logical fallacy in saying you can’t accurately estimate the temperature of thirty million square miles of ocean to ± 0.06°C when you have measurements for less than half the area, and most of those were taken during the summertime?

Mac
August 18, 2010 1:42 am

Judith Curry won’t be pleased.
Once again in climate science we see that actual data is inversely proportional to certainty, i.e. the less data there is around the more certain the climate scientists are with their conclusions.
We have seen this before with Steig and co, where they had to invent data to conclude that Antarctica was both warming and cooling at the same time.

richard telford
August 18, 2010 2:01 am

Finally, I am not arguing from incredulity. I am applying the reasonableness test.
——–
A rose by any other name …

phlogiston
August 18, 2010 2:01 am

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings.”
Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

p.solar
August 18, 2010 2:12 am

thompson Denis et al 2009 GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 36, L20704, doi:10.1029/2009GL040104, 2009
This (paywalled) paper also pretends to find warming in Antarctica. The main line is that Gomez dome at the base of the antarctic peninsula shows similar temp rise to a station at the tip of the peninsula where climate is clearly determined by surrounding ocean (so they report it is continental temp rise) .
The principal components extracted from this data shows a 20th c. warming that has already peaked around yr 2000. Thus far the science seems reasonable although they do not even mention the fact the rise appears to have peaked.
They then venture in the computer model fairly land. They compare the rise they find with computer simulations for an earlier period where no data is available and conclude the because the _selected_ 50 year periods do not show similar trends in the models the rise is UNPRECEDENTED and there is a need for more research .
There is no analysis of whether differently selected 50y periods show a rise or, more importantly, whether the models they used AGREED with their core samples for the period where they do have data.
Liz Thompson of BAS is a competent scientist and on the face of it the core data analysis seems sound. However, it seems that they seem to think they have to put the “unprecedented” spin in the conclusion and abstract to get it published in GRL and get funding for next year.
Of course this paper has already been cited by Met office as proof that the warming has been recorded on all continents of the world including Antarctica.
This, plus the Curry paper, will be used in the next IPCC report to “prove” continued unprecedented warming.
Maybe we are witnessing the emergence of womann-made GW.

p.solar
August 18, 2010 2:22 am

apologies: Dr Liz Thomas (not Thompson)

Peter Foster
August 18, 2010 2:40 am

I notice on the lattitude band graph, that all lattitudes show a upward blip post 1940. So is this raw data or homogenised, ie has it had the “GISS correction” applied to it as they did with other temperature data, if so it looks like it created a blip where none actually existed.
I also agree with Willis re quantity of data, not much happened down that way prior to the IGY in 1957 and even then shipping only went south in summer months so what periods of the year were covered and what was the quality /quantity of data that was relied on for this study?

David
August 18, 2010 3:24 am

It is certainly reasonable to question the accuracy of SST temperature readings over the entire dataset. Yet, even forgetting that, there appears to be a high in temperature readings around 1985. So that would give 25 years of southern ocean cooling during the peek rise of CO2. Where is the heat to assume an increase, or am I looking at the graphic all wrong?

Gaylon
August 18, 2010 3:26 am

richard telford says:
August 18, 2010 at 1:06 am
“Its an easy analysis to do, probably less than 50 lines of R code, and could prove your point. But perhaps you prefer to wallow in your logical fallacy.”
Hey Dick,
I am a layman at here, interested in learning and hearing the truth about the climate. These guys, Steve, Willis, Steven et al come across to me as genuinely facinated and curious about the climate. They also come across as courteous, always willing to explain things to those of us without the technical training.
You don’t come across the same way, why is that? You got some bone to pick here? I’m curious if you’ll take Willis up and do the analysis. Please post it here so everyone can marvel at your prowess.
Everyone here was enjoying the comments on this, apparently lacking, study that was done by a person that, it seems to me, most have respect for here. Then you showed up.
“…thirty million square miles of ocean, with two samples per month … sure, the stated error bounds of ±0.06° may well be the statistical error of their calculations.” I have to go with Willis on this one bonehead.
Please don’t come back with some tripe about how you didn’t mean to offend (as I have just done to you) with some condescending, “I was truly curious…blah, blahblawaaa”, nonsense. On my block [snip].
Sorry Willis, I know you don’t need me to defend you. People like this just…are too many. I just got off work so I’m cranky, I was enjoying catching up on the latest and this guy shows up.

richard verney
August 18, 2010 3:36 am

Willis:
I believe that it does us no favours to name call or otherwise insult/belittle those that hold views contrary to our own. It takes maturity to rise above this. Arguments are always best kept cold and dispassionate and such stance assists analysis of the issues raised.
Several people have suggested that Judith should be asked to comment upon the points raised by you and to set out her interpretation on the data sets you refer to and to explain the reasons behind her interpretation. I concur with this.
Willis you say that you hope that Judith will “turn up” and comment. I consider that it would be much better to provide her with your comments and data set and request her comments. If she either refuses or simply decides not to avail herself of the opportunity, this would speak volumes. It would enable you to say that I have raised these points but she has been unwilling or unable to explain her position thereby inferring that she has no good answer to the points raised.
I consider that the best way forward in this ‘battle’ is to engage in a courteous and constructive manner with ‘opponents’ and I would ask you to consider contacting Judith in a courteous manner specifically asking her for her comments and further thoughts etc.
I consider that peer review should always contain the comments of those who hold a contrarian view so that always both sides of the argument are present thereby assisting the reader to make up thier own mind what merit there may be in any study/paper.

Mac
August 18, 2010 3:37 am

Lest Ms Curry forgets.
Discover Interview: It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: The Big Battle Over Climate Science
(Two eminent climatologists share much different views: Michael Mann—whose private emails were hacked—points a finger at skeptics. Judith Curry believes humans are warming the planet but criticizes her colleagues for taking shortcuts. )
Discover Interviewer, “Where do you come down on the whole subject of uncertainty in the climate science?”
Judith Curry, “I’m very concerned about the way uncertainty is being treated. The IPCC [the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] took a shortcut on the actual scientific uncertainty analysis on a lot of the issues, particularly the temperature records.”
Discover Interviewer, “Don’t individual studies do uncertainty analysis? ”
Judith Curry, “Not as much as they should. It’s a weakness. When you have two data sets that disagree, often nobody digs in to figure out all the different sources of uncertainty in the different analysis. Once you do that, you can identify mistakes or determine how significant a certain data set is.”
The phrase, “Hoist by your own petard” certainly comes to mind.

Oldshedite
August 18, 2010 4:01 am

Interesting paper released by the Australian Academy of Science leaves little room for doubt – perhaps they should have read some of the comments above(?)
http://www.science.org.au/policy/climatechange2010/index.html

David Holliday
August 18, 2010 4:10 am

So in the North, warmer ocean temperatures are causing the Arctic ice extent to shrink (even though DMI temperatures are below average and freezing) while in the South warmer ocean temperatures are causing the Antarctic ice extent to expand. Not my conclusion, just restating what some other posters have argued.
I guess it’s because everything is upside down there. It must work opposite to up here. Or maybe it’s because when you have a foregone conclusion, all your arguments support it, whether they are consistent or not.

Oldseadog
August 18, 2010 4:42 am

Willis,
Agreed that not many cargo vessels go to the Souther Ocean, but up to the mid 1960s there was a large whaling fleet down there and many of them were weather reporting vessels, according to some of my friends who served with the Salvesen fleet.

Oldseadog
August 18, 2010 4:43 am

Can’t spell – Southern Ocean.

August 18, 2010 4:45 am

richard telford: August 18, 2010 at 2:01 am
“Finally, I am not arguing from incredulity. I am applying the reasonableness test.”
——–
A rose by any other name …

So tell us, richard,
1 how can one *reasonably* claim to get a ± 0.06°C accuracy from an instrument (a water-temperature gauge in a ship’s boiler intake line) that can only be read to the nearest .5°C and may have an instrument error of another whole degree C, and
2. how can one *reasonably* claim to have measured the decadal temperature change in a standard 5° x 5° grid *at all* without ever having taken one single measurement in it?

Tim Williams
August 18, 2010 4:47 am

Judith just loves being the citizen scientist, so I’m sure she’ll be along any moment now to clarify any issues you may have with her work and allay your fears that her efforts to find out what is happening to our climate are not totally a pile of BS*.
(*Copyright Goddard )

Bernie
August 18, 2010 4:56 am

Willis:
Judy has been very courteous and has responded to any email I have sent her. I fear that we are so used to the discourteousness and dismissiveness of folks at RC that we sometimes forget ourselves. You now have an established track record of finding interesting issues so I would think that academics like Judy would be more than willing to discuss and clarify.

richard telford
August 18, 2010 4:58 am

Gaylon says:
August 18, 2010 at 3:26 am
“I am a layman at here, interested in learning and hearing the truth about the climate.”
————
An excellent choice, but only if you’re interested in learning sophistry.
[snip. You get your wish. ~dbs, mod.]

Ken Harvey
August 18, 2010 5:00 am

Kwik said “I don’t understand.
Do they really expect 40 degrees increase in tempeature in Antarctic?”
Sure they do. There on the southern peninsular. Right next to the runway and the furnace outlet. And right next to the thermometers.

Ian W
August 18, 2010 5:00 am

Climate science is the subject of choice for those who find sociology too rigorous.

rbateman
August 18, 2010 5:05 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 17, 2010 at 11:02 pm
I see your point about the southern oceans manifested in an SST temp series. They are mostly copied according to specific day/mo/ from one year to the next. Only near S. America, Australia and Africa do they change. For most of the Antarctic extent, they do not change as well. A vast area of Earth either does not have any temperature data, or is remarkably stable over decade time frames.

August 18, 2010 5:12 am

richard verney: August 18, 2010 at 3:36 am
Willis you say that you hope that Judith will “turn up” and comment. I consider that it would be much better to provide her with your comments and data set and request her comments.
Dr. Curry isn’t timid.

Bob H.
August 18, 2010 5:41 am

Looking at the temperature data, for several of the bands the 2010 temperature is nearly the same as the 1870 temperature. Even if all of the temperature data were valid, where is the warming, accelerated or not?

Slabadang
August 18, 2010 5:44 am

Willis!
Your our hero! Bringing knowledge in to the democracies.Your letter and response to J. Curry sums it up: “lack of substance”. You’ve by three words audited the whole of climate science.
Thanks Willis!

Pascvaks
August 18, 2010 5:48 am

We’ve failed to take these matters up with Dr Jiping Liu, the individual that perhaps should be asked to respond to our questions and Willis’ comments first. Ever since the news broke of this GT study we’ve been addressing Dr Curry, however, Dr Liu would seem to be first chair on this study.
From his website –
_____________________
http://shadow.eas.gatech.edu/~jliu/v0/jliu_research.html
Climate Modeling
Model Development
“Recently, the implementation of a sea ice component that accurately simulates sea ice mass balance, ice extent, interfacial fluxes, and associated feedbacks with the atmosphere and the ocean into coupled global climate models (CGCMs) has received considerable attention in the global climate modeling community. One factor motivating such improvements is the enhanced climate sensitivity at high-latitudes, typical CGCM projections of future climate change. Another factor is the increasing observational evidence of significant recent changes in various aspects of polar climate, which require mechanistic understanding and appropriate representation in climate simulations.”
“I have been collaborating with Gavin Schmidt, David Rind, Douglas Martinson and Gary Russell to improve the NASA GISS CGCM. I have incorporated more realistic sea ice dynamics (viscous-plastic rheology) and thermodynamics (snow/ice albedo, penetration of solar radiation in sea ice, sea ice salinity budget and ice-ocean boundary formulation) and subgrid scale ocean processes (Gent & McWilliams mesoscale eddy isopycnal mixing with Visbeck scaling mixing coefficients and Wajsowicz viscosity diffusion) in the NASA GISS CGCM, leading to improved sea ice and ocean simulations.”
Model Evaluation
“I evaluated the extent to which CGCM (GISS, NCAR and GFDL) can capture observed polar-global climate teleconnections. The results have been guiding me to improve atmosphere-sea ice-ocean interactions in CGCMs and to design follow-up experiments to deduce the underlying mechanisms responsible for the polar-global climate teleconnections.”
“I have been participating into the Arctic Regional Climate Model Intercomparison Project (ARCMIP) and collaborating with Judith Curry to analyze, compare and evaluate the modeled cloud and radiation fields from different models utilizing in-situ measurements (i.e., SHEBA) and satellite-based products (i.e., ISCCP/FD and CASPR)”

Edouard
August 18, 2010 5:52 am

Publishing a comment about Judith Curry without contacting her is very unfair. She is one among hundreds of climate scientists who was nice to us sceptical laymen. Why do you do this?
Very very bad manners folks!

Tom_R
August 18, 2010 5:53 am

Good analysis Willis.
I raised my doubts about the quantity and quality of the pre-satellite SST data in the original thread. While your analysis can only speak of the quantity, I doubt that a sailor taking temperature measurements would have been overly concerned about getting them exact to the nearest degree when facing freezing winds while the ship swayed 30 degrees in the storms around Cape Horn.
I also questioned the pre-Argo salinity data. (‘to depths of more than 1000 meters’ !) I would have looked deeper into that source, but the reference paper is behind a pay wall.

Tom_R
August 18, 2010 5:55 am

>> Ian W says:
August 18, 2010 at 5:00 am
Climate science is the subject of choice for those who find sociology too rigorous. <<
ROFLMAO

Tom_R
August 18, 2010 6:00 am

>> David Holliday says:
August 18, 2010 at 4:10 am
So in the North, warmer ocean temperatures are causing the Arctic ice extent to shrink (even though DMI temperatures are below average and freezing) while in the South warmer ocean temperatures are causing the Antarctic ice extent to expand. Not my conclusion, just restating what some other posters have argued.
I guess it’s because everything is upside down there. It must work opposite to up here. Or maybe it’s because when you have a foregone conclusion, all your arguments support it, whether they are consistent or not. <<
Cold always sinks to the bottom. What's the problem?
/sarc

Shevva
August 18, 2010 6:05 am

nevket240 says:
August 17, 2010 at 9:55 pm
AGW, not Climate Change, always was and always will be a Government sponsored fraud. The term Climate Change is a bob both ways.
I would be asking JC to show us both hands. Me thinks there will be a little finger missing. This ‘paper’ appears to be a ‘sorry’ note. As in an apology.
regards
——————————-
Nail/head, grant money’s disappearing from her and she needs something that will prove she still believes the titanic can be saved and is still playing with the rest of the band on the deck, lucky with my double GCSE in science I did a quick check on the ship before boarding and am now happily watching from shore as they all run around on deck trying to save their grants.

Enneagram
August 18, 2010 6:08 am

Hey Dr.Curry, WE NEED THAT WARMTH OF YOURS DOWN HERE, PLEASE, IF YOU FIND IT, SEND IT RIGHT AWAY!

Jason
August 18, 2010 6:11 am

In light of Dr Curry’s stance on climate science, I am stunned at this paper. She called out the models and the data accuracy. Now she uses said stuff to produce this paper.
Why?

WillR
August 18, 2010 6:14 am

The study was published.
I don’t see any comment that Willis was sent a pre-publication copy for approval, and I doubt that his opinion mattered to them. He does not have a union card. That might change — but I doubt it.
I don’t see how it can be rude to comment publicly on a public (published) document.
Perhaps the issue is that he has now gained some prominence in “auditing” the validity of the numerical and logical analysis. When people become concerned about what he might have to say then they will send him courtesy copies in advance of publication and solicit his comments. To do so, however, would recognize his membership in the club or on “The Team” as it were.
Think about it. 🙂

Enneagram
August 18, 2010 6:15 am

BTW, everyday we can see the temperatures of the antarctic penninsula at the chilean international TV station TVN, at 23:59 GMT (end of their news program) and :
http://tvn.cl/tvtiempo/

ZZZ
August 18, 2010 6:27 am

I like the phrase argument from incredulity, because that’s my first reaction to almost everything that the alarmist climatologists claim to have measured. How can anyone believe that what alarmists claim to be true can be estimated accurately with scattered local measurements at a few convenient spots? The most believable number they have is probably the amount of CO2 produced by fossil fuels, and that only because it comes from economic statistics. But even there, just because something’s been successfully sold doesn’t mean it’s been successfully burned — a very poorly known fraction of the stuff is spilled or allowed to evaporate, and what person or organization is likes to confess to being sloppy and wasteful? Everything else is randomly (in the sense that we cannot mathematically predict where it must be) and fractally distributed over the earth’s surface. Take, as just one example, the estimates of how much CO2 enters and leaves the earth’s atmosphere over the course of a year. Start with CO2 absorption by living organisms. You have smallish areas where relatively large amounts of absorption per acre occurs (e.g. jungles) and very large areas where relatively little absorption per acre occurs (e.g. blue-water sea surface). Can you, for that latter type of surface, multiply that very large area in acres by the small and inaccurately known average absorption per acre and get any sort of trustworthy estimate of the total CO2 absorption? Remember, that small and hard to measure average CO2 absorption per acre has to be well known for a very large area before the small and large numbers can be multiplied together to get an answer worth taking seriously. And of course the CO2 metabolism of living organisms changes with the weather, among many other things, so the fractal distribution is changing fractally with time — and that source of uncertainty exists everywhere living organisms grow. The amount of CO2 absorbed or released by the earth’s oceans through gas exchange is supposed to be known because we know the composition of sea water and the relevant temperatures. Really? Can calm beakers of sea water in a scientist’s laboratory, held at a steady temperature, be used to predict the gas-exchange behavior of the earth’s oceans — oceans that heat up non-uniformly during the day and cool non-uniformly during the night, oceans that are criss-crossed by everlasting wind and waves and at irregular intervals are whipped to a froth by passing storms? Rain falls from clouds, picking up CO2 on the way down and depositing it, dissolved, into the ocean. Can you imagine trying to estimate accurately the amount of rain falling into the earth’s oceans? Please don’t make me laugh! The amount of CO2 produced by natural sources (e.g. volcanos above and below the sea) is also randomly and fractally distributed in a way that changes randomly and fractally with time. It’s a good thing we have such accurate knowledge about all the sources of vulcanism under the earth’s oceans. Oh, you don’t thing so? Neither do I. It is no accident that Steve McIntyre led the charge against bogus climate science. With his background in mining he knows from case study after case study how difficult it is to determine the true distribution of an economically valuable mineral before actually constructing the mine. Mining companies routinely drill hundreds of small, narrow, relatively cheap boreholes in the land they intend to mine, then look at the concentrations of the mineral of interest inside the boreholes, and from that try to decide whether the proposed mine makes economic sense. This is over areas of only a few hundred to a few thousand acres as opposed to the entire surface of the earth. The borehole sampling would be analogous to surface measurements of CO2 absorption or temperature by little local gas-meters or thermometers — if the CO2 absorption or the temperature, like the minerals under the ground, were not changing with time. And yet these mining companies, with all the economic incentive they have to get the answer right, time and again are surprised when they go ahead and build the mine, finding much more or much less than expected. The random, fractal nature of the mineral distribution defeats their best efforts to discover through little, local measurements the true amount of the mineral present under those few hundred or few thousand acres. Climatologists never do the equivalent of constructing a mine to check out their estimates and, as mentioned, what they try to estimate often changes randomly, rapidly, and fractally with time. Yes, I am incredulous that alarmist climatologists know with any significant accuracy what they claim to have estimated.

August 18, 2010 6:42 am

The AGW crowd has a new ploy, baseline color shifting. See weather channel for details.

Jiping Liu
August 18, 2010 6:45 am

Southern Ocean Warming Issue
In this study, we only examined the dominant SST variability in the Southern Ocean using the Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analysis. We performed the EOF analysis on the area-weighted annual-mean observed SST south of 40 °S for 1950–1999. The leading EOF modes of HadISST and ERSST show positive values extending from middle to high latitudes of the Southern Ocean, and negative values in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic zones. The corresponding principle components (time series) show a substantial upward trend (statistically significant at the 99% confidence level). Thus, the observed SST pattern in the Southern Ocean during the second half of the 20th century is dominated by a broad-scale warming that accounts for one third of the total variance (28% for HadISST and 29% for ERSST).

JDN
August 18, 2010 6:56 am

Everyone mentions that she’s doing it for grant money. That may be so, but, what grants does she have? I only know how to search for NIH grants.
Can someone look that up so that we know if this paper is of her own recent volition or if she committed to studying it a while back and therefore must produce what she promised.

Jiping Liu
August 18, 2010 7:00 am

The leading SST EOF modes show that the strongest warming is in the middle latitudes of the Southern Ocean, and the warming is reduced poleward.

August 18, 2010 7:06 am

WillR says:
August 18, 2010 at 6:14 am
The study was published.
I don’t see any comment that Willis was sent a pre-publication copy for approval, and I doubt that his opinion mattered to them. He does not have a union card. That might change — but I doubt it.
I don’t see how it can be rude to comment publicly on a public (published) document.
===========================================
Anyone that knows anything about the current state of AGW/Skeptics should know that any published study will get publicly reviewed at MANY.MANY, sites like this. Not to hard to have “Google alerts” and the such !!

Jiping Liu
August 18, 2010 7:12 am

We confine the analysis to the period 1950–1999 due to large uncertainty associated with sparse in situ SST samplings in the Southern Hemisphere for the first half of the 20th century (Smith TM, Reynolds RW, 2003). Also, in this study, we identify the dominant coupled pattern between the ERA40’s precipitation minus evaporation(which starts from 1950s) and HadISST SST south of 40 °S.

August 18, 2010 7:12 am

When they start outputting Rohrschach blots and call them maps I quit. Somehow they think that because their computer can draw these blots the reader should be impressed. Well, I am not, and I resent paying taxes so that they have supercomputer time to make pretty pictures.

p.solar
August 18, 2010 7:21 am

Yes, I also noted the rather unusual colour sequence in the orthogonal whats-it plots.
The pink of light red would not nomally be between blue and yellow. This inversion has the effect of making the contour closest to zero (0-0.1) look “slightly hot” and lots of pink in southern ocean in plots A and esp B .
Since the tones do not look very continuous even on the legend strip , they won’t give a correct visual on the plots.
Odd choice. But since nearly all latt. bands seem to be cooling anyway this seems like a stack of smoke and mirrors to arrive at accelerated warming.

Jiping Liu
August 18, 2010 7:24 am

Model issue
To increase confidence in the interpretation of simulated SST variability, we restrict our analysis to two IPCC AR4 models (NCAR CCSM3 and GFDL CM2.1) that perform well in simulating the Southern Ocean climate as compared to other models, i.e., NCAR CCSM3 well simulates the observed Antarctic Oscillation and sea ice variability (Raphael M, Holland M, 2006). GFDL CM2.1 has peak winds close to the observed latitude and a reasonable wind stress over the Southern Ocean, fed with the right amount and properties of the North Atlantic Deep Water, resulting in near-observed ACC transport (Russell JL, Souffer RJ, Dixon KW, 2006).

richard telford
August 18, 2010 7:30 am

Bill Tuttle says:
August 18, 2010 at 4:45 am
So tell us, richard,
1 how can one *reasonably* claim to get a ± 0.06°C accuracy from an instrument (a water-temperature gauge in a ship’s boiler intake line) that can only be read to the nearest .5°C and may have an instrument error of another whole degree C, and
2. how can one *reasonably* claim to have measured the decadal temperature change in a standard 5° x 5° grid *at all* without ever having taken one single measurement in it?
————–
Since no demonstration I make against the creed would ever be accepted by the true believers here, I instead offer a simple way that Eschenbach could try to falsify the claims made in the paper instead of relying on incredulity. He appears to prefer his incredulity, perhaps his readers do to, than risk finding out that his test of reasonableness is little more useful that extispicy. The other reason for not attempting the analysis myself is that Eschenbach finds so many thinks incredulous that there is not time in the day to test them all.
I will however point out that the average of several measurements is much more precise that that of the original measurements.

Gail Combs
August 18, 2010 7:30 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 18, 2010 at 12:16 am
…. Gille, 2002: Warming of the Southern Ocean Since the 1950s. Science, Vol. 295. no. 5558, pp. 1275 – 1277
In fact, worse, because these were mid-depth temperature readings from 700 to 1,100 metres, which were undoubtedly much less common than surface temperatures….
… so that’s less than two thirds of a sample per month in that critical part of the Southern Ocean nearest Antarctica. They claim an accuracy of ± 0.06° C for their 1950 results …
This type of huge underestimation of the true error in various estimations of temperatures, temperature trends, proxy calculations, and other climate measurements is a recurring problem in climate science.
_____________________________________________________________
Truer words were never spoken.
It has been my main reason for being cynical of anything published by these so called “scientists”… They seemed to have missed the course work on significant figures not to mention statistics.
[I reserve the word skeptical for work that is actually science, I used the word cynical for propaganda dressed up to resemble science.]

Tom_R
August 18, 2010 7:47 am

>> Jiping Liu says:
August 18, 2010 at 6:45 am
Southern Ocean Warming Issue
We performed the EOF analysis on the area-weighted annual-mean observed SST south of 40 °S for 1950–1999. <<
You still haven't addressed the principal criticisms:
1. SST measurements before 1979 (pre-satellite) are almost nonexistent which means they poorly represent what's going on in the Southern Ocean.
2. SST before 1979 also have questionable accuracy.
3. The ice area measurements are also only meaningful post-1979.
4. The salinity measurements are only accurate since Argo (2003?), or do you really believe that salinity measurements were made 'to below 1000 meters' to any significant amount before Argo?
If you limit the study to known valid measurements from 1979 to now, the SST are colder and the ice extent is greater, so there's NO PARADOX.

Jack Maloney
August 18, 2010 7:52 am

It is unfortunate that Judith Curry is both attacked and defended here. Dr. Curry has shown admirable openness, courage and honesty in the AGW debate, for which she should be applauded. But in discussing her paper here, she herself should be neither attacked nor defended. The best thing about WUWT is that it’s about the science, not the personalities.

Mac
August 18, 2010 8:00 am

HOCKEY STICK ALERT
Jiping Liu, “The corresponding principle components (time series) show a substantial upward trend”
“We have got you covered …………… move away from the methodology, slowly, with your hands up “

August 18, 2010 8:11 am

richard telford says:
August 18, 2010 at 1:06 am
Willis Eschenbach says:
August 18, 2010 at 12:16 am
Does anyone truly think that we can estimate the temperature of that huge swath of ocean to a ±0.06°C accuracy by taking a couple of temperature readings per month over thirty million square miles of ocean, bunched in the summer months, with each reading being taken in a very different place all around Antarctica?
—————-
Why don’t you test your hypothesis rather than arguing from incredulity? Download some model output, sample the model temperatures at an equivalent sampling rate to the observational data, then test how well you can reconstruct the model mean temperatures from your pseudo-observations.
Its an easy analysis to do, probably less than 50 lines of R code, and could prove your point. But perhaps you prefer to wallow in your logical fallacy.
I love how folks want me to do their investigation for them. But please, be my guest, don’t let me stop you … in any case, in that study I was discussing in that particular comment, there isn’t a word about model results, only observations, so I haven’t a clue what you are talking about.
Finally, I am not arguing from incredulity. I am applying the reasonableness test. Like I said, thirty million square miles of ocean, with two samples per month … sure, the stated error bounds of ±0.06° may well be the statistical error of their calculations. But if you believe that two temperature measurements per month, usually in widely separated locations, with few repeat measurements, are enough to tell us the average temperature of mid-depth ocean water over 15% of the surface of the earth to within ±0.06°C, I’m not sure what I can tell you.
But like I said, report back with your findings, if you’re right it shouldn’t take you long …
Interesting “urination match”. Misses an interesting point. Where is “Dr.” Curry’s data? Where is HER code?
Note the “completeness” of the Statistical Analysis paper at the top of WUWT…Science the way SCIENCE should be done.
I struggle with this all the time, i.e. the “old dinasour” approach of “limited information space”.
Get over it! Every DOCUMENT GENERATED, every bit of SCIENTIFIC WORK PERFORMED in 1945 could be put on ONE PC.
Likewise the CODING and the DATA for almost every analysis (except the “repeditive error adding stuff” of the “superduper monster money computers”…) can also be shared, distributed easily these days.
Dr. Curry, alas, is acting as A PERSON EDUCATED IN THE ’70’s, Phd’d in the ’80’s…and established in the ’90’s. Let’s see, 5 MB hard drives, 50 MB Hard drives and 500 MB hard drives.
Currently I have a terabyte drive on my primary machine. Hum, it can handle a fair amount of data.
Max

August 18, 2010 8:13 am

I browsed comments and saw that no one had yet commented on the use of an “orthogonal” model. I have not read the paper, but I want to highlight how the use of an “orthogonal” model, as I understand the term, should be close to a fatal flaw.
The paper attempts to take a few data sets – the “empirical” aspect – and develop a model: how much to weight each of the sources of data when using them to predict some outcome. So, ultimately, the method has the same intention as a linear regression: figure out how to best weight two predictors to predict values of a third.
By using an “orthogonal” model, the calculations will not compensate for covariance (with a lower-case “c” so maybe I should say “covariation,” or “co-mingling” ) in the predictors. In contrast, an “oblique” model has the assumption that the various predictors are co-dependent.
For weather and climate phenomena, the various empirical sources of data have to be assumed to be inter-related, no? Temp relates to rainfall, barometric pressure relates to rainfall, and so no? No?
I know this from factor analysis in behavioral and social sciences – we might try to predict some behavior based on related predictors such as using both annual income and years of education. We know these two predictors are dependent upon each other to some degree, so we would simply develop any “factor analysis” with a model that allows the predictors to be oblique, to have some common variance.
Here is the problem – and I have read Mann 1998, and I have not yet analyzed it enough to determine how orthogonal or oblique they allowed their principle components analysis to be – but this could be an issue in Mann 1998 as well- —
With orthogonality, you force the weighting to be done with the aspects of these inter-related variables that are unique, thus magnifying the influence of a modest portion of the variance of any predictor / not taking advantage of the full variance available to predict.
I believe that, mathematically, this will end up necessarily with a result that excessively amplifies at least one predictor / contributing “empirical” variable.
These models are developed to predict the future. Just as it is a small issue to be 3 degrees off-course on a short trip but it is a huge problem on a long trip, the prediction will incerasingly be “off” as we use an erroneous model to predict the future: predict temp, rainfall, ice, whatever.
Do I have this use of the term “orthogonal” correct?
Can anyone else put this issue into clear language? I have tried to be clear, but it is not easy.

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 8:18 am

Please be patient. We are working on a plot of SST anomalies (on the same scale as the EOF plot) that will clarify the issue that Willis raises.
The funding for the project is acknowledged in the paper, it is funded partly by two grants, one NASA and one NSF. The funding pays Liu’s salary and also supports graduate students. Georgia Tech pays 100% of my salary, i don’t need grants to support my own salary.
With regards to my concerns about the quality of the SST data, I have only been digging into that the last several months. The concerns are greatest for the period prior to 1950, and there is relatively little data in some parts of the Southern Ocean prior to the satellite era. The general pattern of warming in the mid latitudes and slight cooling in the high latitudes is the key issue with regards to SST. We explore how the atmospheric hydrological cycle, ocean temperatures and sea ice extent interact. We then do a “what if” experiment with scenarios of 21st century warming to consider how this interaction would change in a perturbed environment.
Our paper compares model simulations with available observations (we consider two different data sets) in an effort to unravel the physical mechanisms that determine Antarctic sea ice extent in response to climate variability and change.
We have identified a plausible physical mechanism that seems to make sense. Science is about trying understand how things work.
We have made no extravagant claims in either the paper or the press release. I would not label this as a “warmist” paper. It talks about the increase of Antarctic sea ice, which is hardly a talking point for alarmists.
Yes, climate models are imperfect and there are deficiencies in SST data sets particularly in the first two decades of the period that we examine. So we have imperfect tools to test our hypothesis. Others will examine this problem from different angles. Eventually we will have better data sets and better models to work with. That is how science works.
This paper raises an issue that climate researchers should pay more attention to. Since the climate model simulations of antarctic sea ice generally agreed with observations, climate researchers would say “consistent with” without really understanding the mechanism. And we definitely need more and better data in the Southern Ocean.
With regards to the behavior of WUWT in all this. Anthony sent me an email yesterday informing me of the post, which I appreciated. Willis raised an issue that needs to be addressed in terms of the SST data, and he did this in a professional manner. With regards to comments on the previous thread, they were generally a disgrace to WUWT. The comments are being discussed by other blogs e.g. http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/curry-curries-no-favour/
They do not reflect well on WUWT, and my recommendation to Anthony and the moderators is that they should reconsider what kind of comments they want here.
If this exchange becomes one big rant, I won’t bother. Please keep your rants to the other thread, and lets try to have a serious discussion on this thread. But please be patient, as this is a very busy week for us.

August 18, 2010 8:19 am

As an occasional guest poster here, I’m hoping things tone down here a bit. I think a lot of criticism is coming from people who haven’t read the paper and is based on the use of the phrase ‘future global warming.’
I have no doubt Judith will be along to join her colleagues in speaking with us in the comments section here. But until she does, remember a few things.
Some global warming has occurred. It may indeed continue. If it does, it will affect oceans as well as land. It’s a very legitimate area of study.
Willis was first out of the gate with strong criticism. Rather than piling on, shall we wait for a response to Willis? I’m certainly curious.
As one who was in the Navy in the 70s and involved in experiments involving temperature measurements the old-fashioned way, I’m acutely aware of the possibility of measurement error. But so is Judith.
Let’s wait a bit, shall we?

Enneagram
August 18, 2010 8:50 am

Arno Arrak says:
August 18, 2010 at 7:12 am
When they start outputting Rohrschach blots and call them maps I quit. Somehow they think that because their computer can draw these blots the reader should be impressed…

Precisely, that’s the deal. That’s is what Prof.Khabbibulo Abdusamatof calls “Hollywood Science”
due to the theoretical freedom that the top physicists would seem to have—is actually quite rigid and dogmatic. There are certain things you do and certain things you do not do. Superstring theory is prestigious. Looking at basic algebra is not. Looking into the distant future is progressive. Looking at old dusty papers is not. Tying esoteric theory to time travel and science fiction and Star Trek and the Dalai Lama is au courant and cool
http://milesmathis.com/pre.html

August 18, 2010 8:54 am

richard telford: August 18, 2010 at 7:30 am
Since no demonstration I make against the creed would ever be accepted by the true believers here, I instead offer a simple way that Eschenbach could try to falsify the claims made in the paper instead of relying on incredulity.
In other words, you can’t address my questions without looking foolish.
He appears to prefer his incredulity, perhaps his readers do to, than risk finding out that his test of reasonableness is little more useful that extispicy. The other reason for not attempting the analysis myself is that Eschenbach finds so many thinks incredulous that there is not time in the day to test them all.
Take a deep breath and try again. Your typos preclude understanding your point.
I will however point out that the average of several measurements is much more precise that that of the original measurements.
I will however point out that your statement is not invariably correct, particularly when those measurements are spread so widely apart in both time and distance, and when instrument and calibration error combined are 250% greater than your claimed accuracy.

Colin from Mission B.C.
August 18, 2010 9:03 am

ZZZ says:
August 18, 2010 at 6:27 am
I began reading your post with genuine interest, but about 5 or 6 sentences in, my eyes began to bleed. Walls of text on web forums are extremely bad form. Please, in future, make use of paragraphs to better organize your virtual thoughts.
~~~~~~~
On topic, thanks to Willis for this analysis. It’s disappointing to see such a paper from Ms. Curry. I have respected her willingness to courteously engage skeptics in the past. But, this paper reeks of severe AGW overstretch placing her firmly in the camp of other odious figures in the AGW debate (Mann, et. al.).

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 9:28 am

“”” For the last half of the 20th Century, as the atmosphere warmed, the hydrological cycle accelerated and there was more precipitation in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduced the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice. In addition, snow has a tendency to reflect atmospheric heat away from the sea ice, which reduced melting from above. “””
Well the above was C&P directly from the Georgia Tech page.
So I read it; ten times actually; and it forms a picture in my brain. In this picture I have the Southern Ocean which is a favorite place for round the world sailors; and it consists of salty water and other stuff. So there are clouds above this salty water; and if it is cold at times it snows over the Southern Ocean and the snow falls in the salty water; and being fresh water the snow floats on the salty water. Funny thing is I have never heard of any round the world sailor who ever mentioned finding snow on the water while down there in the Southern Ocean; but I’ll Take Dr Curry’s word for it if she says there is snow on the water.
Now this snow is sitting like a blanket on top of the cold top salty water; and below that there is this warmer deeper salty water.
Suddenly out of nowhere we have some sea ice and the hot salty water down below it can’t get to the bottom of the sea ice to melt it because of the snow that is floating on top of the salty water.
Maybe I have it all wrong; perhaps the snow is on top of the sea ice rather than the salty water; and the hot ocean salty water is below the sea ice, but can’t get heat to the bottom of the sea ice to melt it, because of the snow sitting on top of the sea ice.
I’m going to go and get a cup of Capuchino; and then I’m going to come back and read that paragraph from Georgia Tech for the eleventh time; because I know there’s a trick in there somewhere !

Pamela Gray
August 18, 2010 9:31 am

Tom Fuller, global warming will affect oceans and land? That is an interesting statement. If made to say that the flora and fauna IN the oceans and on land will be affected by global warming, I would not disagree. We certainly know that oceanic temperature oscillations have direct and predicable affects on sea life.
However, it you mean to say that anthropogenic global warming will affect oceans and land in terms of their temperature, I cannot go there with you. The ONLY way oceans can anthropogenically warm at the depths typically measured for ENSO purposes is through longwave radiation, since greenhouse gasses do not absorb and emit shortwave. However, the equation for longwave heating of ocean bodies down to about a meter (while LW is generally considered a surface only penetrating energy source, ocean mixing could theoretically send some small fraction of it down below the water’s surface) results in warming that will not be enough to change the temperature outside the normal 1/2 degree bands. Thus AGW cannot affect oceans.
http://www.ce.utexas.edu/prof/hodges/site2006/documents/thermodynamics.pdf

Pascvaks
August 18, 2010 9:33 am

Dr Curry and Dr Liu – Many thanks to both of you for coming to the forum, rolling up your sleves, and sitting down with the WUWT Crowd. It is perhaps a very disturbing initial experience but one that offers so much in return. There are very few places where you are welcomed with open minds, arms, and hearts and challanged and torn apart for what you say at the same time -quite like your own immediate families. Be assured that we hold great respect for each of you. Rest assured we will challange everything you say. What’s the benefit to you? Let’s call it an educational experience that very few have the guts to even think of attempting. I assure you that you will be the better for it. In giving so much of yourself you will gain so much in return.
PS: When dealing with the WUWT Crowd you will no doubt meet a few you’ll wish you hadn’t. They too teach.

BBD
August 18, 2010 9:37 am

Please, everyone, read Judith Curry’s and Tom Fuller’s comments above and think a little before weighing in.
Let’s try and bear in mind what Judith Curry has been trying to do recently and demonstrate that we get the point here. Rational, constructive debate is the way forward.
I have lurked here for a long time but never post (I hear best when not talking), but this has prompted me to break silence.
Dominic

PhilJourdan
August 18, 2010 9:38 am

Judith Curry says:
August 18, 2010 at 8:18 am

Dr. Curry, you have always been open minded and fair in your work and published papers. While some here have been derogatory towards you in light of the Eschenbach critique, many have also defended you. Anthony has a very open policy in regards to comments, so both will appear.
I hope you take into consideration that not all commenters are Anthony or Willis, and that some are going to be more ascerbic than others in their comments, but your commenting is always a welcome addition to the posts.
Thank you for clarifying your paper, and for commenting. I look forward to your posts as they seldom (if ever) seem to be defensive, and mostly are explanatory.

BBD
August 18, 2010 9:44 am

And another thing – manners. Dr Liu is kind enough to drop in and provide more info about this paper and gets dealt with rather snappily. I think someone should have the courtesy to say: ‘thanks for taking the time to contribute to this thread Dr Liu. Much appreciated. Now, about the potential drawbacks of an orthogonal modeling approach with such sparse SST data… etc’
There, not so hard.
Dominic

oeman50
August 18, 2010 9:47 am

I can’t resist commenting on this, even though I have seen some reference to it in Anthony’s original thread:
From the GT Press Release:
“This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduced the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice. In addition, snow has a tendency to reflect atmospheric heat away from the sea ice, which reduced melting from above.”
This just does not make sense to me. Does snow behave differently in Anarctica than it does in the US? In my experience, when snow falls on water, even water at 0 degrees C, the water absorbes into the snow crystal, making it ice and water, the whiteness of the snow and thus its reflective properties are nulified. Snow’s insulative properties are at least partly due to the air incorporated into the structure it forms when packed, which again gets nulified when it fills with water.

Cassandra King
August 18, 2010 9:47 am

I note the worthy defence of Judith Curry by some posters who claim that because she is amenable to communicating with sceptics she should be somehow immune from criticism and her work should be immune from comment. This response is I feel mistaken and does not take into account the nature of this site.
The obvious flaws in this paper are so obvious that they really do merit comment, I mean an accuracy of +- 0.06 oC on the back of such sparse data does seem on the face of it a ridiculous claim does it not?
If the layman and interested amateur can pick up the flaws so easily and quickly then it has to said that in laymans terms the paper ‘aint all that’ is it? Here I think we see the inherent beauty of this site in operation, we have interested ordinary people able to access and view and dissect scientific papers and learn from others as they do, this is no dusty boring ivory tower where the new climate science high priests can discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or churn out half arsed or ill thought out work without fear of criticism. This site is real and immediate and wholly accessible to ordinary people very keen to understand what is happening in climate science today.
The simple fact is that climate science has been able to influence society via a largely tame media while the actual climate science ‘product’ has largely been immune from harsh criticism and any sort of quality control and this has produced a field of endeavour wholly unable to accept or learn from or respond to critical analysis from within the ranks of science at large let alone from the ordinary people so greatly affected by the work of the climate science community.
Lets face some facts shall we? Climate science has grown too fast,become too rich and been able to access and control the MSM channel to the population at large and in the headlong rush to present a (un)scientific consensus it has produced some very poorly researched and produced work reliant in large measure on computer models and statistical manipulation of raw data.
Climate science is being forced to confront its own deeply ingrained flaws and failings and it is being exposed not by a compliant media or others in the climate science community, it is being forced to confront these inerrant failings by ordinary people and amateurs and outsiders who have no stake in the cosy and insular world of climate science.
I can understand the reluctance to address ones own failings and flaws and shortcomings, few enjoy the experience of having their work criticised by peers let alone ordinary people, yet this cold shower is exactly what climate science needs whether they realise it or not!
The more I learn the more I realise how little I truly know which instills in me the desire to learn more, I have no wish to destroy others but I will not stand by and say nothing if I see fault and error in others.

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 9:54 am

“”” Bill Tuttle says:
August 18, 2010 at 8:54 am
richard telford: August 18, 2010 at 7:30 am
Since no demonstration I make against the creed would ever be accepted by the true believers here, I instead offer a simple way that Eschenbach could try to falsify the claims made in the paper instead of relying on incredulity.
………………….
…………………..
(Richard)
I will however point out that the average of several measurements is much more precise that that of the original measurements.
(Bill)
I will however point out that your statement is not invariably correct, particularly when those measurements are spread so widely apart in both time and distance, and when instrument and calibration error combined are 250% greater than your claimed accuracy.
Well an average is just that; an average. Unless the quantity being measured is stationary; meaning that it’s real value is presumably not changing; then one would expect the value of that quantity to change from time to time, and hence from measurement to measurement. So each of those measurements if they had infinite precision would be expected to have different values. and those real quantities could be represented with high precision by the measured values, if the measurement method is accurate enough. There’s no reason to expect the average of several readings of a variable quantity to be more correct than each of those readings was at the time it was taken.
We can say; due to an argument by Galileo Galilei, that at some time between the first measurement, and the last measurement, there must be an occurrence of any possible value that lies between the extreme high and low values that were observed; and hence there must be a point at which the variable quantity had a value that exactly equals the average of the measured values.
But unfortunately; we have no idea when that occurred; so the most we can say is that at some point the value will equal the average; but there’s no reason to believe that is a better number to use, than the actual observed values were at the time they were measured.
If the quantity being measured is not a variable but some fixed value such as Boltzmann’s Constant for example; then perhaps the average of a number of measures of it could be more precise; well unless our measurement system had some systematic error that we were not aware of. But I would hardly say the average was much more precise, since if the errors were randomly distributed; then at best we would expect the error of the average to diminish by the square root of the number of measurements; assuming of course that nothing changes during that number of observations.
Statistics can give you a different answer from what you measured; it isn’t automatically a better answer.

Steve Keohane
August 18, 2010 9:56 am

George E. Smith says: August 18, 2010 at 9:28 am
George, I think you are on to something here. Every time I have put snow on water, the snow gets wet. It’s the darndest thing! On the occasions when the water was of a temperature such that the snow did not melt, the snow acted like an iceberg with a small fraction above the surface of the water. But that which was above the water was still wet. And to think for the past fifty years I thought the insulating capacity of snow was the air between the flakes. Boy, did I have my head screwed on wrong!

Gary
August 18, 2010 9:57 am

Regardless of the paper’s insights and ultimate research value, it is legitimate to complain about the title – “Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice” – in light of Dr. Curry’s comments:

With regards to my concerns about the quality of the SST data, I have only been digging into that the last several months. The concerns are greatest for the period prior to 1950, and there is relatively little data in some parts of the Southern Ocean prior to the satellite era. The general pattern of warming in the mid latitudes and slight cooling in the high latitudes is the key issue with regards to SST. We explore how the atmospheric hydrological cycle, ocean temperatures and sea ice extent interact. We then do a “what if” experiment with scenarios of 21st century warming to consider how this interaction would change in a perturbed environment.

The two don’t match up in at least a couple of ways:
1. Differential warming, maybe; “Accelerated” warming is unproven until the data are sufficiently tested for reliability and uncertainty.
2. It should be “modeled impacts”, not just “impacts” which implies actual measurements over time rather than computer-generated “what-ifs”.
We should be patient to hear a defense of the paper, but frankly, it looks like it came out of the oven undercooked with the nutritional values improperly labeled.

MattN
August 18, 2010 9:59 am

These people are absolutely desparate to show warming in Antarctica. Explain to me how warming water leads to the highest ice extent on record? Like Steve said, a complete 3 ring circus, and PT Barnum was right all along…

August 18, 2010 10:07 am

Jiping Liu: Thanks for stopping by.
You wrote, “The corresponding principle components (time series) show a substantial upward trend (statistically significant at the 99% confidence level). Thus, the observed SST pattern in the Southern Ocean during the second half of the 20th century is dominated by a broad-scale warming that accounts for one third of the total variance (28% for HadISST and 29% for ERSST).”
That may be true, but the SST anomalies of the mid-to-high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere (90S-40S), the Southern Ocean in you paper, have been declining since the mid 1990s.
http://i36.tinypic.com/am83mb.jpg
Also, since the vast majority of the Southern Ocean data is manufactured by NCDC and Hadley Centre, aren’t you really performing PC analyses on data that was created using similar statistical methods? A quick look at the spatial coverage of ICOADS data reveals that almost all of the data prior to the satellite era was manufactured. And since the ERSST.v2 dataset does not use satellite data, the NCDC is still infilling most of the data.
http://i37.tinypic.com/t8x4ox.jpg

BBD
August 18, 2010 10:17 am

Bob Tisdale, thanks as ever for providing cogent data analysis. I was rather hoping you would have something to say about this.
Dominic

Chuck L
August 18, 2010 10:20 am

I think we should mind our manners lest this thread degenerate into the insults, name-calling, vitriol, ad homs, etc. of RC, CP and OM. I, for, one, appreciate the willingness of Dr. Curry and Dr. Liu to make their work available and contribute to this blog. There are certainly points in the paper that need to be discussed/explained but this should be done in a civil, collegial,and objective manner.

Sun Spot
August 18, 2010 10:20 am

This has to be a deliberate [snip] by Judith Curry to see if the MSM/BBC etc. will adopt this news and run with it with NO Critical thought. She must have known it would get a critical review here !

August 18, 2010 10:20 am

Judith Curry: You wrote, “With regards to my concerns about the quality of the SST data, I have only been digging into that the last several months.”
In my comment above to Jiping Liu, I linked maps of ICOADS observations from 1950 to 2000 for the Southern Oceans, south of 40S, for Januarys in 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000. The source data is basically nonexistent:
http://i37.tinypic.com/t8x4ox.jpg

Pamela Gray
August 18, 2010 10:25 am

If the “what if” experiment is a model, I would think that it should be reviewed by a University level statistician prior to publication. Just sayin.

August 18, 2010 10:27 am

Judith Curry and Jiping Liu,
Thanks for joining the discussion. I am sure that you have developed a sufficiently thick skin to deal with the less pleasant comments.
The press release is misleading. There is no “paradox” – your own data shown above and in fig 3a of the paper shows cooling near the poles, and the land data shows no warming except on the peninsula. So there is no need for contorted arguments about how warming can produce more ice!
The title of your paper is also misleading. There is no ‘acceleration’. Again, your own data, fig 2a and fig 3c in the paper, show that the warming is DEcelerating – in fact virtually flat in the last decade. The only acceleration is in the computer models that merely reflect the beliefs and assumptions of the climate scientists who designed them.
Then there is the central issue that Willis raises. Why do your graphs show warming when his, directly taken from the data, show no warming? Why is it that climate scientists are so reluctant to present the raw primary data, preferring instead to put it through some mangle like EOF, SVD or PCs? If there are holes in the data, fine, show this. It is almost as if you are deliberately trying to arouse suspicion. When will climate scientists learn that is their own behaviour that is primarily responsible for increasing levels of skepticism?

richard telford
August 18, 2010 10:29 am

oeman50 says:
August 18, 2010 at 9:47 am
I can’t resist commenting on this, even though I have seen some reference to it in Anthony’s original thread:
From the GT Press Release:
“This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduced the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice. In addition, snow has a tendency to reflect atmospheric heat away from the sea ice, which reduced melting from above.”
This just does not make sense to me. Does snow behave differently in Anarctica than it does in the US? In my experience, when snow falls on water, even water at 0 degrees C, the water absorbes into the snow crystal, making it ice and water, the whiteness of the snow and thus its reflective properties are nulified. Snow’s insulative properties are at least partly due to the air incorporated into the structure it forms when packed, which again gets nulified when it fills with water.
——————–
The paragraph you quote is perhaps not quite sufficient to explain what is going on. The argument concerns not the insulative properties of snow, but the effect of snow on salinity. Precipitation (either snow or rain) falling into the ocean will reduce the salinity at the surface, making it less dense than the bulk of the ocean below. This salinity gradient will inhibit water column mixing, and the thin fresher layer is easily cooled. So the sea ice is bathed in relatively cold water, which insulates it from the relatively warmer more saline water below.
The second effect of snow is that snow falling on the sea ice it increases the albedo of the sea ice.

Coalsoffire
August 18, 2010 10:29 am

George E. Smith says:
August 18, 2010 at 9:28 am
Maybe I have it all wrong; perhaps the snow is on top of the sea ice rather than the salty water; and the hot ocean salty water is below the sea ice, but can’t get heat to the bottom of the sea ice to melt it, because of the snow sitting on top of the sea ice.
I’m going to go and get a cup of Capuchino; and then I’m going to come back and read that paragraph from Georgia Tech for the eleventh time; because I know there’s a trick in there somewhere !
______________
How about a sea ice sandwich with snow underneath to insulate from the hot water and snow on top to reflect the sun? Where the ice comes from in this scenario is a mystery. But life is like that – full of mysteries. I don’t think rereading the paragraph will help, but I could be wrong. Life is like that too.

Tom_R
August 18, 2010 10:43 am

>> George E. Smith says:
August 18, 2010 at 9:28 am
Maybe I have it all wrong; perhaps the snow is on top of the sea ice rather than the salty water; and the hot ocean salty water is below the sea ice, but can’t get heat to the bottom of the sea ice to melt it, because of the snow sitting on top of the sea ice. <<
Clearly you misunderstood the paragraph. The snow landed on top of the sea ice and quantum-mechanically tunneled to the bottom so it could insulate the ice from the boiling sea water surrounding Antarctica.
And we know this has happened because of comprehensive reports from all of the billions of sailors taking daily temperature and salinity readings (scuba divers going 'down below 1000 meters') in that part of the globe.
Sarcasm aside, My impression about this paper is that Dr. Judith Curry graciously lent her name and assistance so that Dr Jiping Liu could salvage SOMETHING from the money given to him by NASA and NSF and thereby justify future funding (and his salary). There is clearly nothing there unless one twists and tortures the data and claims the pre-satellite data to be far more meaningful than anyone with common sense would concede.

August 18, 2010 10:44 am

Thank you, Dr. Curry for coming by and please know that many of us appreciate any clarification you can offer. It’s IMPERATIVE to the discussion such critique/defense. I strongly urge patience on your part and polite civility on the part of our commenters.
This isn’t yahoo.
Mark

Pamela Gray
August 18, 2010 10:51 am

The Antarctic is beset with many oceanic and atmospheric teleconnections without considering AGW. One of my favorite papers on Antarctic sea ice anomalies is this one: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/oce/pubs/04pubs_files/ms_holland_jcl-5157revised.pdf
I haven’t read your paper yet but am interested in your take on this one.

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 10:54 am

Thanks Dr Curry for letting us have the whole paper. I hope you don’t mind that I have saved it in my Climate Folder; I’m rather choosy as to what I save in that. I also printed it out; since I like to have actual dead tree to scribble notes on. But rest assured that it won’t propagate anywhere else from me; and If I mention anything from it, I will give proper credit.
Also I liked the Abstract more than I liked the Georgia Tech Page statement; which seemed like gobbledegook to me.
I’m not overjoyed to learn that much of the paper is computer simulations; but at least I can read what you actually are presenting rather than some newspeak rendition.
And again; thank you for accommodating us in this way.
George

Jim
August 18, 2010 10:55 am

It seems the first question to be settled before spending tax payer money is if there is adequate (real) data so that the potential exists to get meaningful results. It seems too often climate scientists try to tease something meaningful from a thimble full of data and end up publishing incredible results. It seems the very first step would be to ask if there exists adequate data to possible achieve a statistically meaningful result. If not, why waste the time and money in the first place?

Michael Larkin
August 18, 2010 10:56 am

“…first Empirical Orthogonal Function of the temperature data…”
I get the force of Willis’ argument, but can anyone enlighten me what “EOF” means in layman’s terms?

Oldjim
August 18, 2010 10:58 am

I am sorry but I must be totally missing something.
The pictures submitted by Dr. Curry basically show a neutral trend (about +/- 0.1deg C per decade from 1950 – 1999) over the southern ocean but the paper states
Abstract
The observed sea surface temperature (SST) in the Southern Ocean shows a substantial warming trend for the second half of the 20th century.
I am completely unable to reconcile these.

Dave Springer
August 18, 2010 10:59 am

Sounds like ocean current “weather” to me. Without knowing the heat distribution of the global ocean from bottom to top it’s difficult to say much about what’s going on system-wide.
Unless precision sea-level measurements are showing an accelerating thermal expansion then any extra warming in one volume of water must be offset by cooling in a different volume. This is really the only way we have of measuring total heat content of the global ocean.

AndyW
August 18, 2010 11:00 am

At this point I am guessing that Willis Eschenbach’s laymans analysis is not worthy of reply.
Andy
REPLY: Dr. Curry seems to think so, and has offered a new graph. See top of story. – Anthony

BarryW
August 18, 2010 11:02 am

Anthony/moderators!
I think you should consider some major snipping. Dr Curry has been courteous to those who frequent your blog and the snarkyness and name calling is inappropriate. Even the use of the term garbage WRT the data is bad form. What do people think this is: Real Climate?
REPLY: I agree, and unfortunately there have been some whom have spoiled the debate here and I have not been able to moderate as much as I’d like due to other obligations. And, unfortunately it is a catch22 post facto, going forward however, I will aggressively remove such comments or portions thereof, from both sides, that don’t advance the discussion in a courteous way. – Anthony

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 11:04 am

Tom,
I think I have seen this movie somewhere before. The bad guys are coming at me, shrieking and yelling with their spears and swords out, and cursing about my mother cowering under the verandah; and there you are back inside the house yelling; “Don’t worry George, I’ve got your back ! ”
What ever happened to the old idea of simply installing the insulation BETWEEN the source of heat, and the stuff to be protected from that heat ? I must not have paid my dues this month or something !
To me The Southern Ocean is salt water; we Kiwis know all about sailing, and we do not sail on either snow or ice; just salt water. So I discriminate between the Southern Ocean, and the Antarctic Sea Ice.
But now that we do have Dr Curry et al’s full paper it’s time to get serious.

August 18, 2010 11:17 am

Now this seems like a new approach 🙂
1) Model the “natural internal variability” with a computer model.
2) Capture the actual variability as “calculated” by CRU Hadley Centre.
3) Subtract 1) from 2) and hey presto you get AGW.
So now they are proving AGW by hind casting.
Sure beats rolling the dice to make a forecast that can be shown to be wrong.
100% AGW guaranteed in every packet of AGW Pops
Try new formulae AGW Pops so you are not left out in the cold!
Coming to your favourite MSM outlet soon!

David
August 18, 2010 11:19 am

I still do not get the warming. The HadISST graphic covering Southern ocean laditudes show a peak or near peak for all laditudes around 1985. Since then all laditudes show a decline. Am I incorrect in seeing this?????
Also Why did the study apparently only use data to 1999? “Jiping Liu says:
“We performed the EOF analysis on the area-weighted annual-mean observed SST south of 40 °S for 1950–1999.”

Dave Springer
August 18, 2010 11:20 am

@Willis
There’s a positive one degree step change in the raw data that happened between 1940 and 1945 then basically no change or, if anything, very slight cooling since then.
What’s up with that?
Large step changes like that are often artifacts of changes in the way data is collected and/or collated. It seems very unlikely that a billion cubic miles of water heated up by 1 degree over the course of a few years. There’s something rotten in the state of that raw data for sure.

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 11:24 am

“”” Steve Keohane says:
August 18, 2010 at 9:56 am
George E. Smith says: August 18, 2010 at 9:28 am
George, I think you are on to something here. Every time I have put snow on water, the snow gets wet. It’s the darndest thing! On the occasions when the water was of a temperature such that the snow did not melt, the snow acted like an iceberg with a small fraction above the surface of the water. But that which was above the water was still wet. And to think for the past fifty years I thought the insulating capacity of snow was the air between the flakes. Boy, did I have my head screwed on wrong! “””
Steve, Only in Hollywood, does snow come down as six feet of “partly cloudy”. Everywhere else it comes down in small clumps of ice crystals that have accummulated enough mass to fall to the surface. Now the Southern Ocean could be below zero C and may be that tiny puff of snow would stay frozen; but I’ve never ever heard of snow persisting if it falls on water. I’ll accept that snow falling on frozen sea ice will change the character of the thermal processes at the air interface; fresh snow has a much higher reflectance that ice; but it doesn’t remain that way for very long in the presence of sunlight; because the multi-crystalline nature of snow acts very much like an optical anechoic surface; and the light can penetrate deep into the snow; and once it refracts into the crystals, it gets largely trapped by Total Internal Reflection and heats the snow to melting point. That is why the reflectance of snow drops radically after only a few hours.
But then there will be snow lower down that has not melted, and will be much air pocketed so have pretty good insulating properties.
But I’ve always believed that most melting of sea ice is from warmer water below (that came down from more tropical places a la Gulf Stream).

oeman50
August 18, 2010 11:34 am

1. richard telford says:
August 18, 2010 at 10:29 am
1. oeman50 says:
August 18, 2010 at 9:47 am
I can’t resist commenting on this, even though I have seen some reference to it in Anthony’s original thread:
From the GT Press Release:
“This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduced the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice. In addition, snow has a tendency to reflect atmospheric heat away from the sea ice, which reduced melting from above.”
This just does not make sense to me. Does snow behave differently in Antarctica than it does in the US? In my experience, when snow falls on water, even water at 0 degrees C, the water absorbs into the snow crystal, making it ice and water, the whiteness of the snow and thus its reflective properties are nullified. Snow’s insulative properties are at least partly due to the air incorporated into the structure it forms when packed, which again gets nullified when it fills with water.
——————–
The paragraph you quote is perhaps not quite sufficient to explain what is going on. The argument concerns not the insulative properties of snow, but the effect of snow on salinity. Precipitation (either snow or rain) falling into the ocean will reduce the salinity at the surface, making it less dense than the bulk of the ocean below. This salinity gradient will inhibit water column mixing, and the thin fresher layer is easily cooled. So the sea ice is bathed in relatively cold water, which insulates it from the relatively warmer more saline water below.
The second effect of snow is that snow falling on the sea ice it increases the albedo of the sea ice.
——————–
I can understand the effect of snow on the albedo of ice, but that is not the issue. It is the effect of warmer water sea ice is floating on. I have looked up the thermal conductivity of pure water (0.561 W/mK) and of seawater (0.563 W/mK). This small difference in no way makes fresh water an “insulator” from sea water or makes it easier to cool, in fact it appears to be the opposite.

Dave Springer
August 18, 2010 11:35 am

@willis (con’d)
My educated guess about the 1940 step change in the southern ocean is that prior to 1940 temperature soundings of that ocean are as rare as hen’s teeth and somebody filled in the blanks from just a few hardly representative measurements. Then in 1940 there was a massive increase in shipping across the southern ocean related to the second world war and especially farther south off the normal trade routes to avoid cargo ships getting sunk by the enemy lying in wait over normal shipping routes. The wider coverage at that time gave a more representative picture of the whole southern ocean. Prior to 1940 if there’d been a representative sampling the whole southern ocean would have been measured at about the same temperature it is today.

Dave Springer
August 18, 2010 11:45 am

I think Willis hit the nail on the head saying the older raw data is worthless in regards to being representative of the entire southern ocean while the more recent, reliable raw data shows a cooling trend if any trend at all.
[snip]

Pamela Gray
August 18, 2010 11:45 am

I get the idea of snow and sea ice leading to fresh(er) water on top. Ocean water in frozen form eliminates much of its salt content when freezing thus becoming a source, along with melting snow off the ice tops, of low salt top layer in the Antarctic ocean. This happens in the Arctic as well. But I believe there are much stronger naturally occurring oceanic and atmospheric oscillations than simply a warming Antarctic (AGW assumed) causing more snow to occur. The null hypothesis must ALWAYS be naturally occurring oscillations in Earth’s weather systems before any other forcing can be studied. Which leads me to my bone of contention. If the natural oscillations are not well understood, and not well modeled, why are you spending considerable talent, time, and money studying other forcings in your models? Judith, I think we need the likes of you to help fine tune the null hypothesis natural oscillations models.

Cassandra King
August 18, 2010 11:46 am

I have read and re read the comments form top to bottom several times and cannot see any comments that could be termed unacceptable or rude or beyond what could be termed reasonable comment.
I have seen numerous comments thanking Judith Curry for her participation and I have seen many extremely valuable posts examining her paper, I myself have tried to keep my comments within reasonable limits as have many others.
Am I missing something here?
I see a genuine and interesting dialogue between interesting and intelligent people holding to a rational and on the whole polite discourse, if someone can can show me just what comments are rude or unacceptable or hurtful then I would be grateful.
This particular thread is IMHO one of the best I have read for some time with so many valid and interesting posts, if I were a scientist then I myself would be happy to submit my work to this kind of forum.
Many thanks to all the posters on this thread, I believe it is your participation that makes a large contribution to the popularity of this wonderful site.

Dave Springer
August 18, 2010 11:53 am

BarryW says:
August 18, 2010 at 11:02 am
“Even the use of the term garbage WRT the data is bad form.”
Hey! I resemble that remark.
Garbage is the commonly used term in the computer trade to describe bad data. It even has a four letter acronym that many people in the industry will recognize: GIGO – which stands for Garbage In, Garbage Out.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_In,_Garbage_Out
Now if I’d wanted to be snarky I’d have said Garbage In, Gospel Out. But I bit my tongue even though that is the more apt expression.

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 12:06 pm

I have an hour to try to catch up on this, it is difficult to find the signal amidst the noise here. Please see the plot at the top of the thread, spatial trends of SST in the Southern Ocean for the period 1950-1999. As described in the paper, there is warming in the midlatitudes, with slight cooling in the higher latitudes. Willis’ plot is on a scale where you can’t eyeball anything. But I’m glad Willis raised this issue, since the actual SST data (not just the EOF) is needed for this discussion.
oeman50 says:
“This just does not make sense to me. Does snow behave differently in Anarctica than it does in the US? In my experience, when snow falls on water, even water at 0 degrees C, the water absorbes into the snow crystal, making it ice and water, the whiteness of the snow and thus its reflective properties are nulified. Snow’s insulative properties are at least partly due to the air incorporated into the structure it forms when packed, which again gets nulified when it fills with water.”
Snow in the high southern latitudes can fall on the open water, on sea ice, and on the glacier; its fate is different in each case. When it falls on water, it immediately melts.
When it falls on the glacier, it accumulates and undergoes various metamorphic processes that increases its density, and it sticks around unless it melts during the summer. The snow that falls on sea ice will accumulate as on the glacier (or on land), but melt as part of the seasonal cycle. The more snow on the ice, the slower it is to melt.
Precipitation in the Southern Ocean can be either liquid (rain) or solid (snow). At colder temperatures, the precip is more likely to be snow than rain; as temperatures warm there is a greater likelihood of rain. The snow versus rain is seasonal, snow in the cold season and rain in the warm season, with the warm season lengthening in a warmer climate.
When precip falls on the open ocean, it doesn’t matter too much whether it is rain or snow (there is a small latent heat of melting the snow), both have the same freshening effect on ocean, which reduces the density of the upper ocean, and stabilizes so the heat below doesn’t reach the surface. Note, the antarctic sea ice is patchy, you have a bunch of ice floes surrounded by open water, with an overall ice concentration typically of 80%. When precip falls on the sea ice itself, it does matter substantially whether it is snow or rain. Snow raises the reflectivity of the ice, so it is harder for the sun to warm the sea ice. Rain falling on snow covered sea ice will actually accelerate the melting owing to increasing the density of the snow which reduces its reflectivity.

August 18, 2010 12:12 pm

Reading this thread has been a surreal experience for me.
Everyone at their worst, in different ways. Which I shall spell out below, together with suggestions for “how can we do better next time” – but right away, IMHO the first thing to do better next time is to thank Judith Curry and Jiping Liu for contributing to the discussion – and perhaps thank them in anticipation and mighty quick after they’ve appeared. Mods, perhaps you can help with this, in a situation where there are twenty posts in the queue?
Next, the amount of criticism and repetition. What Steve Mc calls “piling on” and snips mercilessly – thank God – perhaps a similar tactic is needed here, now we have so many responders and such long queues. Is that possible, moderators?
Next, Willis. I totally support your guts feeling, as a lifetime sailor as well as a climate skeptic, that something is seriously out of kilter here – and I support your right to say this even without all the facts. But just a little more facts, clarity, and layman’s explanations would have helped me. It would have helped me understand the paper from Judith’s point of view – and thus help prevent us talking ACROSS each other. I want to know what EOF means. And I think Mosher has a point, well, perhaps I just cannot read, but surely you cannot produce the map (A) from your graphs of data at different latitudes. Surely you need longitude data as well. And surely such data must exist for the map to have been produced – however much rubbish it may be. As to Oakden Wolf’s praise for your “excellent summary of the paper” I am totally bemused because that is very much what I cannot see. But perhaps I’m being dense.
Willis, you know I respect your work immensely, but to me you come across here as a little brash – and the trouble is, any hint of brashness in the title piece will get magnified in the replies.

richard telford
August 18, 2010 12:15 pm

oeman50 says:
August 18, 2010 at 11:34 am
I can understand the effect of snow on the albedo of ice, but that is not the issue. It is the effect of warmer water sea ice is floating on. I have looked up the thermal conductivity of pure water (0.561 W/mK) and of seawater (0.563 W/mK). This small difference in no way makes fresh water an “insulator” from sea water or makes it easier to cool, in fact it appears to be the opposite.
—————
Conduction is slow – convection is more important. The density gradient introduced by the freshwater stabilises the water column and reduces convection.

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 12:16 pm

Pamela Gray, I am with you 100% on the need to better understand the natural oscillations. Jiping Liu and I have written several papers on natural variability in the Arctic and Antarctic, see below:
Liu, J.P., J.A. Curry, Y.J. Dai, et al., 2007: Causes of the northern high-latitude land surface winter climate change. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34 (14): Art. No. L14702.
http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Liu_GRT34.pdf
Liu, J.P., J.A. Curry and Y.Y. Hu, 2004: Recent Arctic sea ice variability: connections to the Arctic Oscillation and the ENSO. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L09211.
http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Liu_GRL31A.pdf
Liu, J.P., J.A. Curry, and D.G. Martinson, 2004: Interpretation of recent Antarctic sea ice variability. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, Art. No. L02205.
http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Liu_GRL31.pdf
The rationale for considering “what if” scenarios of future climates is to test our understanding of these processes in a different parameter space. The climate model scenarios are “what if” scenarios of the future, they are possible scenarios of a future world. I have stated many times all over the blogosphere that climate models do not have any predictive capability on decade to century time scales. Such predictive capability would require knowledge of future natural and human forcing (which we don’t have), not to mention much better climate models. Nevertheless, the models are useful tools for trying to understand how the climate system works.

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 12:20 pm

With regards to data quality in the Southern Ocean. There is very little before 1950, which is why we did not attempt to discuss the period prior to 1950. During the satellite era, the data is relatively good, although there are still problems. Data during the 1950’s and 1960’s is relatively sparse. There are several efforts underway to get more ship data (which exists in the form of handwritten logs) into the climate data bases. Jiping Liu is working with Chinese scientists to get Chinese ship data into the archives. So I think there is hope for improving the data situation in the near future, but the Southern Ocean is definitely a data sparse region.

August 18, 2010 12:21 pm

You can’t make claims and present authoritative looking graphics when the first three-fifths of your data is missing or useless. – willis
Sure you can, just like ummm, (self snip) the Benedict Arnold’s: Senator John Kerry (Mass), Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT), Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) presentations discussing the issue of asthma rates in the NE. Missing data for the claim, they sound just like the EPA. They fail to mention that two thirds of the volcanoes on this planet are in the northern hemisphere.
http://www.epa.gov/NE/asthma/index.html
Asthma is a chronic condition in which the narrowing of the bronchial tubes in the lungs leads to wheezing and difficulty breathing. Environmental factors – such as mold, mildew, pet dander, environmental tobacco smoke, cockroaches, dust mites, vehicle exhaust and industrial and power plant emissions – can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
But what about living in the ash fallout zone of the most active volcanic regions of planet Earth? No data on ash fall in New England?
http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/find_regions.cfm
Iceland and Arctic Ocean
Kamchatka and Mainland Asia
Kuril Islands
Alaska
But New Englander’s can produce volcanic studies of climate effect, but no link to asthma?
THE EXPLOSIVE VOLCANIC ERUPTION SIGNAL IN NORTHERN HEMISPHERE …
http://www.geo.umass.edu/faculty/bradley/bradley1988.pdf
The state of climate science is now so predictible, this must be what I would imagine doing time feels like.

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 12:26 pm

The 1940 period is very interesting. Globally there is a bump in surface temperatures that peaks in 1940 (land and oceans, both hemispheres). There have been attempts to explain this away by aerosol forcing, which is mostly a bogus argument IMO, particularly for the southern hemisphere. If you want to read more about challenges associated with the sea surface temperature data sets, read this summary by Rayner et al. https://abstracts.congrex.com/scripts/jmevent/abstracts/FCXNL-09A02a-1662927-1-Rayneretal_OceanObs09_draft4.pdf

David
August 18, 2010 12:29 pm

Anyone willing to help me understand this????
Thanks in advance.
David says:
August 18, 2010 at 11:19 am
I still do not get the warming. The HadISST graphic Willis shows covering Southern ocean laditudes show a peak or near peak SST for all laditudes (except one) around 1985. Since then ALL laditudes show a decline. Am I incorrect in seeing this?????
Also Why did the study apparently only use data to 1999? “Jiping Liu says:
“We performed the EOF analysis on the area-weighted annual-mean observed SST south of 40 °S for 1950–1999.”

Michael Larkin
August 18, 2010 12:38 pm

I just want to echo the sentiment that we should be polite and respectful to Drs. Curry and Liu. Some of us might have reservations about this paper, but there’s no reason why we can’t be civilised about it.
Oh, and I’d still love to know, like Lucy Skywalker, what “EOF” means. I’ll bet we aren’t the only ones, and not knowing that may well be impeding the best quality discussion here. So TIA to anyone who can put me out of my misery! 🙂

August 18, 2010 12:51 pm

From a newspaper article in 1933…
Ice in the Weddell Sea. TABULAR icebergs of 20 miles or more in length have been noted from time to time by various antarctic expeditions, but in recent years their number seems to have increased in the Weddell Sea and the South Atlantic, especially the Scotia Sea. In an article in the “Geographical Journal” for May Mr. J. M. Wordie and Dr. Stanley Kemp discuss recent records of these bergs and their significance.
Messrs. Wordie and Kemp suggest that these bergs come from that coast, and indicate extensive changes in that region and the loss of thousands of square miles of barrier ice. These changes may have considerably improved the chances of penetrating that unknown quarter.
Complete article at http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/23271006

August 18, 2010 12:52 pm

Empirical Orthogonal Functions
In statistics and signal processing, the method of empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis is a decomposition of a signal or data set in terms of orthogonal basis functions which are determined from the data. It is the same as performing a principal components analysis on the data, except that the EOF method finds both time series and spatial patterns. The term is also interchangeable with the geographically weighted PCAs in geophysics.
see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical_orthogonal_functions

August 18, 2010 12:56 pm

Lucy Skywalker says: August 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm
Reading this thread has been a surreal experience for me…

That was just before the update appeared. Wow, this completely changes my take. Plus several more sound comments, esp. George E Smith, Bob Tisdale, Cassandra King, PaulM.
This fast update in response to valid criticism, and apology, is what I love at WUWT, and its absence is what I detest miss at RC etc.

Jiping Liu
August 18, 2010 12:57 pm

The EOF mode identifies regions that are closely related and with strong gradient (spatial variability), and the PC indicates the amplitude of EOF as it varies through
time (temporal variability). More detailed information can be found at andvari.vedur.is/~folk/halldor/PICKUP/eof.ps.gz

August 18, 2010 1:08 pm

The Article discussing icebergs in the Weddell Sea is:
Observations on Certain Antarctic Icebergs J. M. Wordie and Stanley Kemp
The Geographical Journal, Vol. 81, No. 5 (May, 1933), pp. 428-434
Paper concludes “If, as we conclude, these large bergs have their origin west of the Filchner barrier, the geographical change staking place in that region must be of exceptional extent and importance. In the aggregate thousands of square miles of barrier have been removed and, the recession of the ice edge must be extremely rapid. “

Coalsoffire
August 18, 2010 1:13 pm

BarryW says:
August 18, 2010 at 11:02 am
Anthony/moderators!
I think you should consider some major snipping. Dr Curry has been courteous to those who frequent your blog and the snarkyness and name calling is inappropriate. Even the use of the term garbage WRT the data is bad form. What do people think this is: Real Climate?
REPLY: I agree, and unfortunately there have been some whom have spoiled the debate here and I have not been able to moderate as much as I’d like due to other obligations. And, unfortunately it is a catch22 post facto, going forward however, I will aggressively remove such comments or portions thereof, from both sides, that don’t advance the discussion in a courteous way. – Anthony
____________________
There is great irony in this exchange. Major snipping would, in fact, make this exchange MORE like Real Climate. What, do we have to be reverential if a real climate science might be listening in? It’s high time the academics who have fostered the CAGW came forward and defended their work in the trenches. Most of us are eager to learn, eager even to be taught. But that requires a transparent and free exchange of ideas. It’s the allowance of divergent points of view that make this blog worthwhile. Take that allowance away and you have nothing.
Oddly, the only comment that seems close to inflammatory that I’ve seen on this thread is the title. It infers rather warmly that Dr. Curry cooked the books. Anything said after that has to be seen in the context of that. But even that is a worthwhile point of view and I’m sure Willis and everyone else is willing to accept persuasive alternative explanations.
I should add that for the colour challenged (8% of males) that all those coloured figures and charts are meaningless. They are plague among us.
Also for my part I’m wondering if the M&W2010 statistical analysis is applicable here, since the data points are so sparse is it not possible that nothing can really be made of them? And has a proper statistical testing been done to rule out that possibility?

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 1:26 pm

I wish there was a simple way to explain EOFs (empirical orthogonal functions). Here are some links, and if somebody has an intuitive way to explain this, please pipe in!
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical_orthogonal_functions
ppt from iges ftp://www.iges.org/pub/straus/CLIM_753/EOF.pdf
Notes from Eugenia Kalnay at U. MD http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~ekalnay/notes3.pdf
Notes from David Randall at Colo. State Univ
http://kiwi.atmos.colostate.edu/group/dave/pdf/EOFs.pdf

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 1:29 pm

With regards to the moderation, this thread is fine, it is the comments on the previous thread (Paradox of Antarctic Sea Ice) that were inappropriate. Thanks to Anthony for addressing the situation, particularly the latter half of this thread is good.

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 1:31 pm

David, we chose 1999 as the end date because that is the end date of the 20th century climate model simulations. Again, the main point of this paper was not so much to document the temperature trend, but rather interpret the behavior of the sea ice in the context of surface temperatures, precipitation, and evaporation.

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 1:39 pm

“”” Malaga View says:
August 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm
Empirical Orthogonal Functions
In statistics and signal processing, the method of empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis is a decomposition of a signal or data set in terms of orthogonal basis functions which are determined from the data. It is the same as performing a principal components analysis on the data, except that the EOF method finds both time series and spatial patterns. The term is also interchangeable with the geographically weighted PCAs in geophysics. “””
Izzat a ten sill-abble word for Fourier Analysis; or its equivalent. I’m fully aware of the procedure of representing some continuous function as a sum of orthogonal or ortho-normal functions; such as Sinusoids or Legendre Polynomials; Bessel Functions and the like. Is that basically what you are referring to or is this EOF something different.
It seems obvious to me that a function of multiple variables such as time and space (how about the global temperature map) can be represented by a “spectrum” of “frequencies” in each of those variables. And of course the theory of Sampled Data Systems, requires specific rules be followed to represent such continuous functions properly by a series of discrete samples ; specifically the Nyquist Criterion.
But other than these considerations; what is it that EOF has to offer; if anything. I dunno; which is why I am asking ?
George

sandyinderby
August 18, 2010 1:41 pm

I don’t pretend to understand the science and models but this this makes sense to me:

Judith Curry says:
August 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Nevertheless, the models are useful tools for trying to understand how the climate system works.
—-
I think that this is a good position for all climate scientists to take. Dr Curry has risen in my estimation for this single statement.

slow to follow
August 18, 2010 1:42 pm

Willis, Judith, Jiping – thanks for having the courage to hold an honest, real world related “warts and all” discussion on a public blog. IMO progress comes from such things! 🙂

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 1:45 pm

Dr Curry,
I don’t quite get the “empirical” part of your EOF, although I am quite familiar with the expansion of arbitrary continuous functions in terms of Orthogonal or ortho-normal functions as I just penned above. The “empirical” part throws me though.
Can you say more specifically what sort of Orthogonal functions you use for this representation; and possibly why that specific choice ?
George

Tenuc
August 18, 2010 1:53 pm

Too many assumptions, along with the use of poor quality data and the fiction of computer climate models, make this paper less than convincing.
Nothing new about recent temperatures seen in the Antarctica either, as can be seen from the graph here:-
http://a.imageshack.us/img807/8771/jones7990n.jpg
As with climate everywhere, temperature in the Antarctic oscillates up and down over the years, and was doing so long before mankind started burning significant quantities of coal and oil.

Michael Larkin
August 18, 2010 1:55 pm

Jiping Liu says:
August 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm
“The EOF mode identifies regions that are closely related and with strong gradient (spatial variability), and the PC indicates the amplitude of EOF as it varies through time (temporal variability).”
Thank you for taking the time to explain, Dr. Liu. However, and this isn’t your fault, that doesn’t quite do it for me because I lack the mathematical/statistical awareness to *fully* understand it.
Over the past months, I have learnt a great deal at WUWT and am continually striving to learn more. I’m gradually getting the confidence to ask what are probably naive questions, the answers to which are something I can then build on.
So – can anyone put this in layman’s language? Maybe an analogy, even? Once I get that, I may be able to map it to, and absorb for future reference, the meaning of the terminology.
The central point of Willis’ that comes across, regardless of my lack of understanding of some of the finer points, is that the paucity of data over much of the period of study renders its conclusions unwarranted. I’m quite prepared to accept to the contrary if evidence is produced that that is not the case. I look forward to convivial discussion.

Tamara
August 18, 2010 1:55 pm

I have read the paper and I have some problems:
The paper states:
“As shown in Fig. 4b, SST under sea ice in the 2090s is a few tenths degree warmer than that in the 2000s,”
Most of the sea ice lies at >65 degrees S lat. According to Willis’s graph of actual temperatures, this area is at -1 to 0dC. Looking at figure 4b, it does not seem that a “few tenths” translates into “enough tenths to put us above freezing.”
Also, according to NOAA: “Multi-year ice is less common in the Antarctic than the Arctic, and is usually confined to the western Weddell Sea and isolated embayments at other locations around the coast. Ocean currents and the atmospheric circulation result in a net divergence of sea ice around the continent, causing most of the ice to melt in the summer as it drifts into warmer waters, or as the upper ocean heats up as the open water areas within the pack absorb solar radiation…
The ablation season of Antarctic sea ice is rarely associated with the presence of melt water on the surface of the ice.”
So an increase in rainy precipitation is going to have very little effect on the sea ice, since there won’t be much sea ice. The average summer temperature in Antarctica is -6dC. Even on the balmy Peninsula, the temp is around 2dC in the summer. So, there will have to be quite a bit of warming to bring rain past the coastline. It will still be cold enough during the winter for the precipitation to fall as snow (that whole absent-sun-thing). So there will be plenty of snow insulation in the ice-growth season.
The increase in Antarctic sea ice is occuring during the SH winter. There is very little change in the sea ice extent during the melt season. see: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.area.antarctic.png
In fact, if you look at only the last two years, minimum extent does not seem to predict maximum extent.
I also have a big problem with the snow-insulating-water idea. Unless this just got mangled in the press release. The sea ice forms from freezing sea water, not congealed snow. In the summer, it is melting ice that cools the water. Snow is not nearly dense enough to come close to the heat transfer of ice. Even rain falling in those latitudes would be PRETTY COLD WATER. And, since rain drops are also more dense than snow, I’m guessing there wouldn’t be much difference in the effect on SST.

BarryW
August 18, 2010 2:04 pm

Coalsoffire says:
August 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm
Hopefully much of the ad hom ect. have been snipped already (I know you have a full plate already, Anthony). That is what I was complaining about. Critiquing the paper is what this entry should be about and I hope this exchange is useful to Drs. Curry and Lui and I appreciate their time here. It has been interesting to read whether or not I wind up agreeing with them. Exchange of ideas is what Real Climate does not seem to be about, and I hope people see that piling on is not useful, though we’re all guilty of it a one time or another (myself included).

max
August 18, 2010 2:12 pm

Bill Tuttle
1 how can one *reasonably* claim to get a ± 0.06°C accuracy from an instrument (a water-temperature gauge in a ship’s boiler intake line) that can only be read to the nearest .5°C and may have an instrument error of another whole degree C,
assuming the errors are randomly distributed (which is reasonable for the problems you posit) they will balance out with more measurements and the more measurements you use the less likely the error of any individual measurement has to distort the cumulative value. a fair coin has a 100% “error rate” when tossed once (will only get within 50% of the actual random distribution of heads-tails in coin-tosses of a fair coin and will never produce that distribution on a single toss), however a trial of 10 coin flips has an “error rate” of about 15%, flip the coin a million times and the variation from the 50% heads-tails ratio is so small as to be not worth worryiong about – the coin none-the-less has a 100% error rate on one toss. this does require that the errors be randomly distributed, but that is a reasonable assumption in the case of thermometers. whether or not you can actually get a ± 0.06°C accuracy from the measurements in this paper is a different issue ( i have difficulty accepting that claim although not worth my time to test it), but trials using measurements with randomly distributed errors have smaller errors as more and more of measurements accumulate.

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 2:20 pm

Well let me cast my self adrift on the thin ice (Southern Ocean style) where only fools (like me) don’t fear to tread.
For those non mathematicians who have no idea what Orthogonal Functions are; here’s my stick on a sandy beach explanation.
Everybody understands the function y = sin(x) which goes from 0 to +/-1 back and forth as (x) goes from zero to 2.pi.
Draw yourself a sin “wave” and you can immediately see that the total area for a complete cycle is exactly zero.
OK; now we could aslo have a function y = sin(2x), or y =sin (3x) and so on ad infinitum.
This set of functions; y = sin (nx) (for n = zero to infinity) is a set of orthogonal functions.
What the heck does that mean ?
If I take any one of these functions (y = sin(7x)) and multiply it by itself to get y = sin^2 (7x), and now plot a graph of that, I will discover that the total area included in one complete cycle of x = zero to 2pi is not zero but has a definite non zero value.
If I take any two different ones of these functions and multiply them; y = sin(7x).sin(13x) and integrate that, I find that the area is still zero so long as the two functions are different.
So that is the general property of “Orthogoanal Functions” The integral of the product of any two different functions of the set over some svery specific interval (0 to 2pi for the sin function), is zero, but the integral of the square of any one function of the set is finite; over that same interval of course.
There are a whole slew of mathematical functions that have this property; and any such set can be used to synthesize ANY continuous function over some interval.
The most common form of this of course is the Fourier analysis of cyclic functions into a series of “harmonics” ;but Bessel Functions, and Chebychev Polynomials (special case of sinusoids) LaGuerre Polynomials and on and on; have all been use to synthesize other functions. I’m not going to go into exactly how you figure out the correct sequence to use; but the common method relies on that orthogonal property, because I can multiply every term in my series by one of the functions and do the integrations; and every darn one of them is going to disappear, except for the one I used as my multiplier; and that will get me the correct coefficient for that term.
People who calculate fields in electron Optics and such like make a lot of use of Orthogoanl Functions. Ortho-Normal simply means that the integral comes out to something nice like 1.0 for example.
But empirical has me bamboozled so you are on your own out there now so be careful !

Paul Vaughan
August 18, 2010 2:25 pm

Laughed out loud (literally – & involuntarily) when I read this:
“[…] just an illusion […]”
http://news.discovery.com/earth/antarctic-sea-ice-growth.html
Perhaps the writer is being overzealous in misrepresenting what Drs. Curry & Liu are saying.

David A. Evans
August 18, 2010 2:39 pm

I respect Dr. Curry.
I don’t agree with her but I respect her.
She’s probably taken more crap from the CAGW cognoscenti than from the “World is warming but we don’t have the answers” crew.
I have much less respect respect for people like Richard Telford, telling Willis to download “the outputs of models”!
Isn’t that what got us into this crap in the first place?
Dave.

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 2:55 pm

Tamara,
The sea surface temperature undergoes an annual cycle (warmer during the summer). During the winter, the surface temperature of the water between the ice floes stays very close to the freezing point of sea water (about -1.7C). During the summer, the ocean warms to slightly above freezing, particularly after the ice has melted (much of the energy goes into melting the ice). In a warmer climate, the winter temperatures remain the same, but the melt season is longer (and the sea surface temperatures get somewhat warmer during the summer).
Snow that falls on sea ice accumulates on the surface of the sea ice. If the snow gets very heavy, it can weight down the flow and the snow can get wet and form snow/ice. But mostly the snow sits on top of the sea ice until the snow melts in the summer. The more snow on top of the sea ice, the slower the ice will melt. Nearly all of the Antarctic sea ice melts each summer, except for that which gets trapped in various embayments.
The rainfall doesn’t do all that much to the sea ice (other than speed up the summer melt), it is mainly the absence of snow accumulation that speeds up the ice melting.

Tom_R
August 18, 2010 3:00 pm

Dr. Curry, I guess Willis’ analysis boils down to two questions:
1. Given that data before 1980 is questionable at best, wouldn’t this paper and its conclusions have been strengthened by using 1980-2000 as the study limits (or 1980-2010) rather than starting it in 1950? Why was 1950 chosen as the start date instead of 1980?
2. In a similar vein, why was the study extended as far North as 40 deg S? How do the SSTs 20 degrees from the edge of the ice have an effect on the ice extent?
Thank you for the time spent answering our questions.

August 18, 2010 3:03 pm

Dr Curry,
why didn’t you investigate the impact on the deep water upwelling by an increase of the wind stress?
You state that the anular mode circulation around Antarctica is stronger now than in the past. But you failed to analyse which impact that atmospheric circulation change could have on sea temperature and salinity, And this analysis is a pre-requirement before to look for some P-E change.

NicL_UK
August 18, 2010 3:05 pm

p.solar says:
August 18, 2010 at 2:12 am
“thompson Denis et al 2009 GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 36, L20704, doi:10.1029/2009GL040104, 2009
This (paywalled) paper also pretends to find warming in Antarctica. The main line is that Gomez dome at the base of the antarctic peninsula shows similar temp rise to a station at the tip of the peninsula where climate is clearly determined by surrounding ocean (so they report it is continental temp rise) . ”
I analysed the Gomez ice core data, kindly provided to me by Dr Dennis, soon after this study was published. The Gomez data shows insignificant correlation with any of the nearby cloudmasked AVHRR satellite 1982-2006 ground temperature data used by Steig et al in their 2009 Nature paper on Antarctic temperatures.
The Gomez study quotes a high correlation with temperatures at Faraday station (nearer the tip of the Antarctic peninsula). However, whilst there is a strong correlation with Faraday during the 30 years 1947-1977 (R-squared 0.361) there is a negligible correlation during the subsequent 29 years (R-squared 0.06).
This evidence implies that the dO18-temperature relationship is not stable over time and/or that the data reflects temperatures that occurred far away from Gomez and/or that the latest few decades of ice-core data is not reliable. I invited Dr Dennis to comment on these findings, but he never did so.

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 3:05 pm

Willis, I don’t disagree that there are issues with the Southern Ocean data, although there is arguably sufficient data in the midlatitudes of the Southern Ocean, which is where the warming is observed. Also, climate models have been simulating a decrease in Arctic sea ice and no decrease in Antarctic sea ice for the latter half of the 20th century, in general agreement with observations.
Is this paper the “last word” on this subject? Of course not. I hope it stimulates more data set building and hypothesis testing, using data and models. This is a topic that deserves more attention.

Editor
August 18, 2010 3:11 pm

Willis your 2.37
Can we make the other obvious points that as well as there being very little data from which to extrapolate, the amount of water being sampled when there IS data is an absurdly small proportion of the Ocean AND water of different temperatures do not mix very well.
This afternoon I took three readings in a fifty yard stretch of the English Channel 400 yards from my door and they varied by 3.5C.
To believe we can parse the very sparse information available to a tiny fraction of a degree and come up with anything meaningful is not credible.
Sorry Dr Curry as I admire the way you speak your mind and try to build bridges but the study has little practical merit.
tonyb

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 3:18 pm

In looking at the first two so-polar pictures, I see that the horizon seems to be in the middle of New Zealand; which would put it at about 40 deg S. I know that Wanganui is about 36-37 deg S.
And the color chart says that the “trend” is about 0-0.1 deg C per decade.
So that tells me that these plots are not SSTs; but some sort of “anomaly”
And there’s the rub.
It’s impossible to tell from anomalies, whether the snow should melt when it lands in the ocean or not.
So I guess we have to look elsewhere for SSTs to find out where the freeze line is or was.
I’m also curious; now that everyone wants to know what EOFs are what has been written as to the validity of EOF analysis; if the sampling rules for sampled data systems are violated.
It seems to me that the entire HADCrut or GISSTemp data is corrupted by aliassing noise due to gross undersampling both in time; but especially in the spatial sampling; so the Arctic, and Antarctic are not renowned for their surplus of sampling stations.
So I’m curious as to the validity of whatever EOFs purport to deduce in the Antarctic ?

rbateman
August 18, 2010 3:39 pm

Dr. Curry:
It would be easy to suggest, from you paper, that increased preciptitation would slow down the Southern Sea Ice Melt, as the time spent in Antarctic Day/Night remains fixed. As the jets move more poleward, they are also taking very cold air back northward, and as the mositure mixes with that frigid air, it will deposit yet more snow, yes? You mentioned a circulation pattern called the ACC. Also, recent data suggests that weak solar activity is also involved in moving jets. So, that’s 2 causes of jet shift.
If the Antarctic Sea Ice defies the model simulation and continues to expand and melt less each year, is the ACC then subject to interruption?
This is what I mean by exploring the alternatives. With models only showing a single facet of climate change, the other possibilities go unresearched.

dddave
August 18, 2010 3:51 pm

Total layman here.
“With regards to my concerns about the quality of the SST data, I have only been digging into that the last several months.”
But we published and drew conclusions anyway.
I thought we were talking science here?
And if you can’t support your paper here, get out of the kitchen dears, we have CO2 listed as a hazardous here in the USA for God’s sake, and cap and tax legislation using studies like these as the “facts”. Folks here have been more than generous.

John Whitman
August 18, 2010 3:59 pm

Anthony,
I respect completely, on your blog, that you have decided to exercise (what appears to me) some special case of commenting style/restraint for the post of Judith Curry & Jiping Liu as opposed to many other posters who took a full spectrum of style/unrestraint commenting without complaint and with good grace.
I am confident you have your well thought-out reasons. Though, honestly, I do not understand why you do so.
I am sorry if it may be inappropriate to ask whether you will use this special approach to all future WUWT posts going forward?
Again, I appreciate the open and fair venue you have provided here.
John
REPLY: It simply got out of hand on the other thread http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/16/georgia-tech-on-resolving-the-paradox-of-the-antarctic-sea-ice/
…which I’ve closed comments on, and redirected commenters here, now that we have the full paper and additional supplemental data. Sometimes it simply pays to remind people to be courteous in the heat of the moment. – Anthony

Pompous Git
August 18, 2010 4:02 pm

EM Smith wrote:
“Well the above was C&P directly from the Georgia Tech page.
So I read it; ten times actually; and it forms a picture in my brain. In this picture I have the Southern Ocean which is a favorite place for round the world sailors; and it consists of salty water and other stuff. So there are clouds above this salty water; and if it is cold at times it snows over the Southern Ocean and the snow falls in the salty water; and being fresh water the snow floats on the salty water. Funny thing is I have never heard of any round the world sailor who ever mentioned finding snow on the water while down there in the Southern Ocean; but I’ll Take Dr Curry’s word for it if she says there is snow on the water.”
As it happens, the Southern Ocean is more, or less my backyard. I’m not much of a sailor, so I do not often sail on those waters though I have from time to time. Mostly, the water has not been horizontal enough for the snow to settle on it. Right now there’s a patch just north of Casey with wave heights between 10 and 15 metres, wind speed between 48 and 64 knots.
I have no intention of investigating whether the snow is settling on that “hot”, salty water. I shall maintain my incredulity concerning the reported phenomenon over a cup of black, unsweetened Italian coffee. I make no doubt that I might believe it if I substituted opium, or ganja for the coffee. But that’s not likely to happen. Gits prefer sipping sauvignon blanc next to a warm fire while contemplating the prospect of more snow in the coming week 😉

Paul Vaughan
August 18, 2010 4:06 pm

Judith Curry wrote:
“[…] midlatitudes of the Southern Ocean […]”
Dear Dr. Curry,
This could be a source of important misunderstanding, so please quantify “mid” (as used in the preceding context) as precisely as possible. Thanks if you can clarify.
Sincerely,
Paul Vaughan, M.Sc.

A note to “nonalarmists” who [humorously] seem alarmed by the paper:
Drawing attention to the Southern Ocean is the way to go. I wish Drs. Curry & Liu much success in raising the profile of this important neglected region. I wish Dr. Liu far more stable personal income.

Willis, You make several good points, but I would advise against going so far as suggesting that Southern Ocean data is “nonexistent” before the satellite era. It is, however, fair to laugh heartily at the pre-satellite HADISST “data” for 60-90S. Those folks would be well-advised to take out some of their garbage.

August 18, 2010 4:24 pm

Myself, I find it somewhat hard to follow that we can reliably extrapolate temperature over any sizable distance in a constantly changing (and maybe evolving) climate system.
It’s one thing to have say a closed largely static system (like a tank of water or a solid mass) and being able to extrapolate the temperature of the whole from sparse samples. Its something else completely different in a highly dynamic system – you need to get to a point of sufficient coverage to ‘capture’ the underlying temperature behavior, otherwise the error bars go off the scale and the exercise becomes pointless.
The other thing I find odd with the extrapolations I’ve seen is that they assume consistent ‘validity’ across all of the globe. There are well known and described climate ‘sub systems’ (gulf streams, etc) that ‘skew’ the temperatures in certain areas due to their effects – extrapolating across these effects must be highly dangerous to accuracy.

BarryW
August 18, 2010 4:29 pm

Dr. Curry,
With respect to a previous question I asked: I understand your arguments relative to winter antarctic ice, however the summer ice minima has risen aproximately 1.5 million sq km since 1980 from CyrosphereToday. While the area has not gone up as much, it too is showing a noticeable rise which means the ice is not melting back as your theory assumes?

August 18, 2010 4:51 pm

Willis Eschenbach says: “Mosh, from what the study says, what I show is the source data from which the first EOF shown in Fig. 1 (a) is constructed … what am I missing here?”
Sorry. I’ve been out of touch today. First thing this morning I got started on a complementary post to this, but never got it finished.
ICOADS is the source dataset for ship and buoy readings used in the Hadley Centre and NCDC SST data. The NCDC and Hadley Centre then infill the remainder of the data. I provided a link above to maps I created that show the limited observations for Januarys spaced a decade apart from 1950 to 2000. There’s nothing special about January, other than it occurs during the Southern Hemisphere summer, so one might expect some traffic occassionally at high latitudes. There is, as you can see, very little source data for the latitudes included in Liu and Curry. Here’s the link to the maps:
http://i37.tinypic.com/t8x4ox.jpg
Regards

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 5:01 pm

“”” Pompous Git says:
August 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm
EM Smith wrote:
“Well the above was C&P directly from the Georgia Tech page.
So I read it; ten times actually; and it forms a picture in my brain. In this picture I have the Southern Ocean which is a favorite place for round the world sailors; and it consists of salty water and other stuff. So there are clouds above this salty water; and if it is cold at times it snows over the Southern Ocean and the snow falls in the salty water; and being fresh water the snow floats on the salty water. Funny thing is I have never heard of any round the world sailor who ever mentioned finding snow on the water while down there in the Southern Ocean; but I’ll Take Dr Curry’s word for it if she says there is snow on the water.” “””
Well that is totally amazing.
I could sware that I wrote those exact words just a few minutes ago; and lo and behold E.M. Smith goes and posts the exact same thing; that is truly amazing.
I think I should go out and buy a lottery ticket.

August 18, 2010 5:05 pm

As a long time lurker who rarely posts, many thanks are in order for this thread. Especially to Anthony Watts for maintaining this site, which allows so may to explore these issues in an open & thoughtful manner.
And thanks to Judith Curry. For having the insight to engage in the manner she has, & for being wide open to discussion. Even though at times highly critical.
As one that has excoriated Dr. Curry once right here at WUWT, on a thread she had engaged on, I’ve come to appreciate she has qualities many of her contemporaries don’t possess. Among those, most importantly, is courage.
Thanks also go out to Willis Eschenbach, Jiping Liu, Steven Mosher, George E. Smith, Bob Tisdale & a handful of others that have brought this issue forward, or added depth into this discussion.
Within the valuable context so thoughtfully provided by so many above, these issues are becoming much more rich & have much more value now, than most of the belligerent close minded pap that we’ve seen so much of in the past.
To save space, I’ll end by saying I find many interesting points, & agree with much of the above. But in the general sense, the thoughtful comments made by Cassandra King truly are exceptional. She’s summed my overall thinking to such a near perfect degree, I wonder now if somehow I have a mind clone?

August 18, 2010 5:19 pm

Bill Tuttle, richard telford, George E. Smith, Max:
As I just noted to Willis above…
*************
ICOADS is the source dataset for ship and buoy readings used in the Hadley Centre and NCDC SST data. The NCDC and Hadley Centre then infill the remainder of the data. I provided a link above to maps I created that show the limited observations for Januarys spaced a decade apart from 1950 to 2000. There’s nothing special about January, other than it occurs during the Southern Hemisphere summer, so one might expect some traffic occassionally at high latitudes. There is, as you can see, very little source data for the latitudes included in Liu and Curry. Here’s the link to the maps:
http://i37.tinypic.com/t8x4ox.jpg
*********
So it’s not a matter of averaging 50% of the grids. You’d be lucky if you could find data in 10% of the grids on a good month.
http://i48.tinypic.com/2i7spwy.png
And I’ll add another note, since 1982, the Hadley Centre has also used satellite data which has much better coverage from 90S-40S. But the NCDC still relies in ship and buoy data. They included satellite data in their ERSST.v3 data then deleted it a few months later due to, assumedly, political pressure, because the satellite data lowered the Global SST readings by about 0.03 deg C and changed the order of record years. More on this in my post detailing the SST datasets:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/07/overview-of-sea-surface-temperature.html
Regards

Judith Curry
August 18, 2010 5:29 pm

Willis, read the papers regarding how the missing ocean data is filled in. The method seems reasonably robust for the period since 1950. But the point of our paper does not rest on the detailed accuracy of the observed surface temperatures.
We pose a hypothesis about how the upper ocean, sea ice, and hydrological cycle interaction in the Southern Ocean. There are many ways that hypotheses can arise: inferences from observations, identification of patterns, imagination, etc. You then test the hypothesis with available information. In this case it is observations and model simulations. The evidence that is available supports our hypothesis. If say the SST has greater uncertainty than we think it does, well then there is less support for our hypothesis.
When you say garbage in garbage out, you are not understanding the scientific process. We posed a hypothesis, we tested it using data and model simulations, which support the hypothesis. If the data are bad and the model is wrong, that doesn’t falsify the hypothesis, it reduces the support for the hypothesis. So it doesn’t make any sense to say that our hypothesis is incorrect because there are holes in the sea surface temperature data set.

pouncer
August 18, 2010 5:50 pm

I will thank Jiping Liu and Ms Curry for showing up to defend their work.
I will also suggest that the major “Southern Ocean Currents” around Antarctica are famously apt to eddy, spin off independent “rings” of warmer (or even colder) current, and generally mess up the temperature at any given location. Five degrees C for the season, five more for the present current ( the current, at the present moment, I mean) and even 3 or so degrees from the north edge to the south of the same current. I’d think it very odd to attribute temperature anomalies to climate before the currents were accounted for. And I think the current is not at all easy to model.
But it’d be handy. Ben Franklin would be proud of y’all.

WillR
August 18, 2010 5:57 pm

I think that should be the final word on the debate:
When you say garbage in garbage out, you are not understanding the scientific process. We posed a hypothesis, we tested it using data and model simulations, which support the hypothesis. If the data are bad and the model is wrong, that doesn’t falsify the hypothesis, it reduces the support for the hypothesis. So it doesn’t make any sense to say that our hypothesis is incorrect because there are holes in the sea surface temperature data set.
I know I can’t think of an answer to that.

latitude
August 18, 2010 6:26 pm

Judith Curry says:
August 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm
We posed a hypothesis, we tested it using data and model simulations, which support the hypothesis. If the data are bad and the model is wrong, that doesn’t falsify the hypothesis, it reduces the support for the hypothesis
=====================================================
Judith, why would you form a hypothesis based on what would happen if it got warmer in the southern ocean? and then title it “Accelerated warming”, when it’s not?

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 6:38 pm

“”” Bob Tisdale says:
August 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm
Bill Tuttle, richard telford, George E. Smith, Max: “””
Bob, Not quite sure why you included me in this comment. I haven’t actually got much into the data in the paper yet; other than to register my disappointment that the SST stuff was actually anomalies or trends; which I guess are one step removed from anomalies in understanding what the SST is.
I don’t have a good mental picture of what sea water temperatures typically run in the Southern Ocean so I was a bit bamboozled by whether snow landing on the water could persist.
But now that I have a better picture of the situation; that we are dealing with snow on top of already ice.
In which case I would caution that if the sun is up, then snow becomes a whole lot less reflective PDQ; as in just a few hours.
If the sun is not up (inside the Antarctic Circle) then I imagine the snow reflectance could persist at high values for some time.
And if the sun does not get up outside the Antarctic circle; then run like hell for some high ground !

john b
August 18, 2010 6:50 pm

If the data are bad and the model is wrong, that doesn’t falsify the hypothesis, it reduces the support for the hypothesis. So it doesn’t make any sense to say that our hypothesis is incorrect because there are holes in the sea surface temperature data set.
I find this statement baffling. As I understand it the problem with the hypothesis is that the observations and data show the area is cooling and the ice is growing. Is this not contrary to the hypothesis and therefore falsifies it.
Forgive me if I misunderstand. I am not a scientist and any understanding I have of science comes from reading Karl Popper when I was a student.

latitude
August 18, 2010 7:05 pm

john b says:
August 18, 2010 at 6:50 pm
=============================
John, I’m going to propose a hypothesis that if sheep laid eggs (model) one out of every ten sheep eggs would have a dog in it (data).
Just because I’ve never found any sheep eggs, or sheep eggs with dogs in them, does not falsify the hypothesis, it reduces the support for the hypothesis

August 18, 2010 7:13 pm

Judith Curry: You wrote, “So it doesn’t make any sense to say that our hypothesis is incorrect because there are holes in the sea surface temperature data set.”
Just a clarification: It’s not that there are small holes in the data. The vast majority of the SST data used in your study is infilled by Hadley Centre and NCDC. Refer to the following maps created by NCAR. They illustrate the ICOADS data availability for the period of your study. They show that less than 10% of the months and grids have data available.
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/coads.sst.f2.html
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/coads.sst.f3.html
And I’ll agree, the methods used by NCDC and Hadley Centre are reasonable. But since the SST data is so sparse south of 40S…
http://i37.tinypic.com/t8x4ox.jpg
…aren’t you really performing an EOF analysis of the statistical methods NCDC and Hadley used to infill the data. In other words, if you use HADSST2 data, which does not infill all of that missing data, would you get the same results?

George E. Smith
August 18, 2010 7:14 pm

OK Bob, I think I found the handle. Thanks for posting that. There’s a whole lot of holes out there in that Southern Ocean. I never quite realized just how far flung New Zealand actually was.
I’m becoming increasingly puzzled that the General Theory of Sampled Data Systems is not a part of the orientation lecture for Climate Science 101.
First we have Dr Mann boring a hole in a tree; to get a one dimensional sample of a three dimensional object; and presuming to be able to conclude what the Temperature was as represented by that hole in one.
I paid $75 to get a legal 8 x 10 black and white drawing of a very famous Larsen “Far Side” Panel.
I believe its official title is “What’s in My Yard.” The punch line (in part) says…. “Say Emily, could you go to your window and describe what’s in my front yard ?”
In the panel, Gladys is on the phone in her front living room; and her front window is entirely blocked out with an enormous eye jammed up against the glass looking in at her.
Ever since I first saw that panel, I have considered it the very best illustration of the failure to observe the Nyquist Criterion, when dealing with sampled data.
Unfortunately it is never legal under any circumstance no matter what, to use any “Far Side” panel in a lecture, or slide presentation or on the web; so I can’t post it here. Gary Larson simply does not allow ANY usage of his works; but you can legally buy any one of his products and get a legal print of any panel for your own personal gratification.
I believe there is some sort of general theorem of Pattern Recognition; which essentially says that pattern recognition is impossible. More specifically it says something like:- Given any finite number of (n-1) dimensional projections of an (n) dimensional object; it is always possible to construct a counterfeit ( n-dimensional) object which is different from the subject object; but which can project the exact same set of (n-1) dimensional views.
So for example if you have the plan, front, and side elevation drawings of a house; you can always design a different house that has the exact same three views. Obviously the more views you have, the faster the probability of misidentification drops.
That problem is what created the myth of “the face on Mars” which is a three dimensional picture of a four dimensional object. (the thrree geometrical dimensions plus the particular illumination source that created the image.)
It’s a problem of great interest to people who get involved in camouflaging things to disguise them as something else.
Well we need to get the Camo off the southern ocean so we can see what it really looks like.

Brian H
August 18, 2010 7:39 pm

richard telford says:
August 18, 2010 at 7:30 am

I will however point out that the average of several measurements is much more precise that that of the original measurements.
Say what? You can divide a total by a count and come to an “average” with any number of digits. Thus “more precise”. But not accurate. The ACCURACY is limited by the original data. Moreover, by the LEAST ACCURATE of the original data. So “0.06°C” is nonsense right out of the box.
You can’t reduce errors by averaging them, without really grotesque assumptions about the distribution of errors (as many upside as downside, by equal amounts, etc., etc.)
The ocean measurements, and their differences, are ACCURATE to a couple of degrees C. That’s all you get, however many digits you extend your total/count long division exercise to.

Brian H
August 18, 2010 7:44 pm

George Smith;
You earlier said you doubted the “dryness” of Antarctica, given the ice sheet buildup. Nonetheless, it has very little snowfall. But what there is remains. (Some areas are actually barren frozen rock, that get no snow. ) What Antarctica lacks is melting. There isn’t even much sublimation, due to the coldness of the air and its very low dewpoint. (There are actual frost-falls sometimes, right out of the clear sky and air.)

orkneygal
August 18, 2010 7:50 pm

The biggest thing I find troubling about this paper is the somewhat arbitrary 1999 cut-off date.
There are very few months of un-contested, accurate SST data.
The more months the better in this case.
An alternative approach in this case might be to stop in 1999 and then forecast the model to today and check the degree to which the model forecasts that period.

Brian H
August 18, 2010 7:51 pm

sandyinderby says:
August 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm
I don’t pretend to understand the science and models but this this makes sense to me:

Judith Curry says:
August 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Nevertheless, the models are useful tools for trying to understand how the climate system works.
—-
I think that this is a good position for all climate scientists to take. Dr Curry has risen in my estimation for this single statement.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sandy;
If and Only If — you’re reel, reeeel careful making your models, and are very open and transparent about where you’re using straight lines and guesses to approximate curves and missing information.
And there’s the rub. These “scenario” models are incredibly clumsy. You wouldn’t believe. Average sun all day all night on a flat earth with evenly spread average temperature with evenly spread CO2 and water vapor, etc., etc. I call them “Tinkertoy models”. Gerlich and Tscheuschner, German radiative physicists, call them “computer video games”. The only things they “explore” are the preconceptions and imaginations of their designers and programmers.

Brian Eglinton
August 18, 2010 7:58 pm

What I find intriguing about this thread is the way it is highlighting current scientific methodology.
This is probably true in much wider spheres than climate science but it appears to be something like this.
Climate is extremely complex. The best tools we have for describing something complex are intricate computer models that attempt to mimic that complexity.
So we build models and compare them with measurements. [In the case above – 2 models were picked because they weren’t bad in a couple of their predictions, but the implication is that there were many aspects in which they were out or had no useful outputs. ]
The data we use may be wrong and the model may be missing important components or have incorrectly structured interactions, but it is the best we have, so we report progress on these endeavours. We do this in the sure belief that over time the models will improve and with them our understanding of how the whole thing works.
I actually don’t have a problem with this – as long as it remains in a lab or amongst the peer group fiddling with this. And until recently, that is how the scientists working on these problems would have felt things worked.
But now – as one of the posts above has shown – the media makes a big message about the “science” telling us what will actually happen. Not only is this method exposed to public media filtering and imaginative phrasing, but it is picked up in a cause to save the earth.
People like Willis then come along and try to apply the real world common sense tests to it and feel that it is shooting way past its ability to actually say anything at all about what will happen.
The dilema for todays computer modelled science is how to present its own ignorance clearly & realistically.
For those areas of research outside of the public policy area, life goes on as normal and slow improvements might be made.
Perhaps the lesson is to begin prominantly displaying the ignorance in the headings of such papers rather than allowing headings or summaries that suggest they have predictive value.
But perhaps the other problem is that modern man is so proud of his abilities, that he does not really see just how much he doesn’t know. The lesson from history is that we can have things completely wrong for very long periods of time, but we always believe that our generation does not suffer from such faults and inadequacies like our forebears did.

August 18, 2010 8:20 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 18, 2010 at 7:48 pm
Bob Tisdale says:
August 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm
Willis,
Bob did a post on his blog about each of the datasets with links to them here:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/07/overview-of-sea-surface-temperature.html
In it you will find the link to ICOADS website, but I went through and got the direct page to the data, however it is in netCDF files only that I can see:
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/gridded/data.coads.ltm.html#plot

Wayne Delbeke
August 18, 2010 8:52 pm

richard telford says:
August 18, 2010 at 7:30 am
Bill Tuttle says:
August 18, 2010 at 4:45 am
So tell us, richard,
1 how can one *reasonably* claim to get a ± 0.06°C accuracy from an instrument (a water-temperature gauge in a ship’s boiler intake line) that can only be read to the nearest .5°C and may have an instrument error of another whole degree C, and
I will however point out that the average of several measurements is much more precise that that of the original measurements.
_________________________________________________
As an engineer, I fought the “PRECISION” versus “ACCURACY” issue my entire career. You can make measurements very “precisely” and still be very “inaccurate”.
You can measure something “precisely” to three decimal points, but if the object has high variability, the “precision” is meaningless since it is “inaccurate”. The hole a bullet makes in gelatin is precisely the size of the bullet. But if it hit the wrong gelatin pack then the shot was not very accurate. Averaging 20 readings taken to no decimal places and taking the result to three decimal places gives you a “precise” answer … unfortunately it is not “accurate” since the original measurements were not done to the same level of precision.
The o.o6 degrees C referenced in this study implies a 0.005 degree confidence interval. I doubt it.
(I know how y’all hate Wikipedia but here is a simple definition of accuracy and precision: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision

MikeC
August 18, 2010 9:07 pm

Judith Curry’s hypothesis does not fail with lousy data or computer models which lack resolution. Instead, her hypothesis fails due to simple meteorology and wind blown snow.
Those great big icicles which develop into shelves are not deposited from above as much as they come from inland. The reason for this is simple offshore flow. Since the water around Antarctica is usually warmer than the near water land surface, air over the water rises then descends over the land causing wind to blow off shore. The resulting wind blows snow out to sea (kind of like when snow is blown from Montana to Nebraska, for anyone who has lived there). Some of the snow stays on the shelf while some of it lands on open water and increases sea ice or simply melts.
In the event that the water becomes warmer, the offshore flow increases in strength and causes more snow to build up along the coast and develop more sea ice. This will not likely to be the case in the area of the horn due to it’s geography.
So, in the case of warming, more sea ice should be expected around Antarctica in times of ocean warming.
Hypothesis fails.

Glenn
August 18, 2010 9:12 pm

Judith Curry says:
August 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm
“I have an hour to try to catch up on this, it is difficult to find the signal amidst the noise here. Please see the plot at the top of the thread, spatial trends of SST in the Southern Ocean for the period 1950-1999. As described in the paper, there is warming in the midlatitudes, with slight cooling in the higher latitudes. Willis’ plot is on a scale where you can’t eyeball anything. But I’m glad Willis raised this issue, since the actual SST data (not just the EOF) is needed for this discussion.”
I can eyeball a difference of 2 degrees easily, which your paper shows and Willis’ plot does not. The actual data is needed, does your contention of scale mean you distrust Willis’ plot? This should be a no-brainer, either there has been substantial and accelerated warming in the Southern Ocean or not. Models are useful in real world applications, but they can’t turn data that goes one way into data that goes the other way.

Jaye
August 18, 2010 9:20 pm

precision = variance
accuracy = bias

Oakden Wolf
August 18, 2010 9:28 pm

Three quick questions for Wayne Delbeke:
What is the “law of large numbers”?
What is the “central limit theorem”?
How is radar satellite altimetry performed to produce accurate values for sea level rise in the millimeter range?
An article on this theme: How can annual average temperatures be so precise?

J. Knight
August 18, 2010 9:40 pm

Dr. Curry, thank you for taking your time to answer the questions posed by many on this blog, including the author of this post, and for clarifying your positions with respect to your study. My question, if you have time to answer is this:
Why or how did you decide on this specific hypothesis to address the growth of sea ice in the Antarctic? Did you look at other mechanisms that might explain it, and if so, why were they ruled out in favor of the hypothesis used in your study?
And what I’ve seen in the last half of this thread has been very inspiring. Thank you all! Especially Anthony for the best blog on the web, bar none.

P.G. Sharrow
August 18, 2010 9:40 pm

Dr Curry says that the model was designed to find warming. I guess that they found it. No surprise there. An Old friend of mine that was chief engineer for a very important physics research lab said that scientists would come to him with a grant to prove a theory. He would design the “experiment” to get the needed proofs, never failed. How many proofs sited in physics were created by experiments that could not fail?
How many proofs of AGW are based on bad or “adjusted” data? Solid long term unadjusted temperature records show no long term warming, even cooling.
If Dr Curry wants my respect she needs to work toward a solid temperature set that reflects reality. Then we can look to see if there are human caused changes other then UHI.

Brian H
August 18, 2010 9:49 pm

O. Wolf;
If the numbers were large, you’d have a case. But they are few, and biased-selected, and just generally low quality. FAIL.
Brian E.;
If the CRU-Crew used competent professional modelers and forecasters and statisticians, there’d be some hope of gradually increasing quality of result. But they don’t. They are a DIY bunch whose amateurish kluges are regularly condemned and dissed by people who know better.

Oakden Wolf
August 18, 2010 9:57 pm

Defending my own position, and wishing that Willis would look at the other references, I did some digging (15 minutes with Google, actually), and found some more Southern Ocean temperature data — in zones where Willis says there is hardly any, covering the period when Willis says there is hardly any; and supporting Southern Ocean warming where the plots added to the thread by Dr. Curry show there is Southern Ocean warming. Since I’ve got links to all the papers I found (well, abstracts at least), I suggest reading them isn’t that difficult.
Meredith, M. P., and J. C. King (2005), Rapid climate change in the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula during the second half of the 20th century, Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L19604, 10.1029/2005GL024042.
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2005/2005GL024042.shtml
Abstract:
The climate of the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is the most rapidly changing in the Southern Hemisphere, with a rise in atmospheric temperature of nearly 3°C since 1951 and associated cryospheric impacts. We demonstrate here, for the first time, that the adjacent ocean showed profound coincident changes, with surface summer temperatures rising more than 1°C and a strong upper-layer salinification. Initially driven by atmospheric warming and reduced rates of sea ice production, these changes constitute positive feedbacks that will contribute significantly to the continued climate change. Marine species in this region have extreme sensitivities to their environment, with population and species removal predicted in response to very small increases in ocean temperature. The WAP region is an important breeding and nursery ground for Antarctic krill, a key species in the Southern Ocean foodweb with a known dependence on the physical environment. The changes observed thus have significant ecological implications.
M.J. Whitehouse, M.P. Meredith, P. Rothery, A. Atkinson, P. Ward, R.E. Korb, 2008: Rapid warming of the ocean around South Georgia, Southern Ocean, during the 20th century: Forcings, characteristics and implications for lower trophic levels, Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, Vol. 55, no. 10, Pages 1218-1228, ISSN 0967-0637, DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2008.06.002.
http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/6188/
Abstract (sorry for the length):
The Southern Ocean is known to have warmed considerably during the second half of the 20th century but there are few locations with data before the 1950s. In addition, assessments of change in this region are hampered by the strong seasonal bias in sampling, with the vast majority of data collected during the austral summer. However, oceanographic measurements near South Georgia span most of the last century, and we here consider almost year-round data from this location over an 81-year period (1925–2006). We observe significant warming between the early and late 20th century, with differential warming between summer and winter months and an indication that late 20th century summer temperatures peaked ~6 days earlier. To quantify the long-term warming trend in this highly variable data, a mixed model utilising a Residual Maximum Likelihood (REML) method was used. Over the 81-year period, a mean increase of ~0.9 °C in January and ~2.3 °C in August was evident in the top 100 m of the water column. Warming diminished below 100 m and approached 0 at 200 m. Thus the long-term warming around South Georgia is substantial—more so than documented previously for the circumpolar warming of the Southern Ocean. We examine potential causal effects of this trend, including local atmospheric and cryospheric change, the influence of upstream waters and the role of coupled modes of climate variability such as El Niño/Southern Oscillation and the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). It is likely that all of these play a part in the observed temperature increase. However, the role of the SAM is strongly indicated, via its likely role in the circumpolar warming trend in the Southern Ocean, and also by the atypical response of the South Georgia region to changes in heat fluxes associated with the SAM. Furthermore, the combination of a regional decline in ice extent and strong upstream warming likely explains a significant part of the strong seasonal variation apparent in the warming trend. In addition, we consider the implications that long-term warming has for South Georgia’s lower trophic levels. For Euphausia superba, at their northern limit, we find a significant negative relationship between summer South Georgia water temperatures and mean summer density of E. superba across the southwest Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Simple abundance and growth rate relationships with our long-term temperature data appear to show declining habitat suitability for E. superba. In contrast, the warming trend is likely to favour other macro- and mesozooplankton species that occupy the more northerly parts of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and it is likely to promote phytoplankton growth.
(South Georgia Island is located right at 55 S. The Antarctic Peninsula is located considerably further south. Interestingly, the HADISST plot appears to be somewhat in conflict with the South Georgia vicinity data described above. )
On my own blog (findable with Google), I’m about to post a link to a freely available online copy of Levitus, Antonov and Boyer 2005: “Warming of the World Ocean, 1955-2003”. Perhaps worthy of reading, too.

Cassandra King
August 18, 2010 10:00 pm

A note of thanks to Just Tex for the kind and supportive words which were simply a direct reflection of the thoughts and experiences of many posters on this thread and this funnily enough highlights yet another wonderful aspect of WUWT, the illumination of thoughts and ideas and the transmission of those thoughts and ideas to a wide and varied community.
The human mind ingests and correlates information as an individual entity but rarely and interestingly a medium appears that seems to bring people together in a shared learning experience, a sense of identification in a shared quest if you will.
I see it as a meme crossroads or nexus if you will, an intersection of peoples thoughts stimulated by a subject matter that is of great interest and fed by the drought of real genuine information out there in the traditional media. We have suffered a drought of the knowledge we crave for so long that now we find a genuine stream of information and dialogue we may quench our thirst, its only to be expected therefore that a little excitement is in order?
May I second the description of Judith Curry as courageous and brave, whatever I may think of her current work, my admiration of her actions here is very high indeed.

Oakden Wolf
August 18, 2010 10:03 pm

Brian H bespoke:
“If the numbers were large, you’d have a case. But they are few, and biased-selected, and just generally low quality. FAIL.”
My response to Mr. Delbeke did not concern the amount of available Southern Ocean data. My response addressed the general questions of precision and accuracy and how large numbers of measurements tend toward the true mean, even despite large uncertainty in individual measurements.
Had you read the thread and figured out for yourself how this issue arose, you probably could have figured this out for yourself!

anna v
August 18, 2010 10:09 pm

Brian Eglinton says:
August 18, 2010 at 7:58 pm
Well said.
It is, as you say, the use politics makes of the scientific result that introduces gross distortions on the value placed by scientists themselves. But also there exists a positive feedback: if the politicians like the exaggerations, they feed the scientists producing them with money, the ego of the young and not so young scientists is inflated, and they start to believe in their speculations.
That is why I periodically harp that decisions on the financing of research should be left to the individual institutes. They should be given a lump sum of money, preferably on a five year plan, according to their number of academics and statistics in publications, and the institute themselves should decide how to distribute it to the individual scientists. This was the usual way up to some decades ago, and it would again introduce a buffer between politics and academe, allowing different schools of research to flourish competitively.

August 18, 2010 10:32 pm

For those that want to take a look at just how much data there is for SST’s, Bob Tisdale put up links on his site to NCAR that shows how muh there is and isn’t. Here is the links to NCAR so you can see for yourself:
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/coads.sst.f1.html
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/coads.sst.f2.html
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/coads.sst.f3.html
According to NCAR for the period 1961-80 there is less then 50% data just south of Australia, Africa and the 2/3rds point (going from north to south) of South America. The closer you get to Antarctica the less there is until basically there is no data. The period 1981-97 is not much better looking at it.
There just isn’t much data to be had for Southern Ocean SST’s.

Oliver Ramsay
August 18, 2010 10:49 pm

Where there might have been a little trash-talking going on before, a certain reverential tone has insinuated itself into this thread, that I find equally 0ff-putting.
While it is much to be appreciated that an author will discuss their paper on a (somewhat) hostile blog, it’s noted that it isn’t a one-way street and that that author has their own reasons for electing to do so.
It’s unlikely that we’re going to see a flood of prominent scientists, politicians, etc. following suit. Which blog would they choose? How much time could they really devote to it? There are only so many responses one can make when many are clamouring for attention.
It’s interesting to me what questions actually have been addressed here and in what depth. There were several time-outs for commenting on the comportment of the audience. Was there just a hint of supercilious condescension?
This thread is, above all, a testament to the significance of this blog rather than the stature of the esteemed guest.

rbateman
August 18, 2010 10:51 pm

Judith Curry says:
August 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm
I agree that the missing data does not falsify the hypothesis, but neither does it prove it.
We are then left with warming models for the Southern Ocean, and no competing models following the cooling to neutral routes.
That leaves shut the way to ruling out or whittling down the forces that are at work.
30 years ago, one would probably find only cooling models, if it were today.
Climate Science may therefore be observed to be cyclic itself.

1DandyTroll
August 18, 2010 11:38 pm

Ah, the old paradox trick. Hilarious way to get more grants.
Is it also a paradox that it rains in the rain forests? What with global warming was supposed to have turned everything to bone dry dust from all the heat waves.

Wayne Delbeke
August 18, 2010 11:59 pm

Oakden Wolf says:
August 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm
Three quick questions for Wayne Delbeke:
What is the “law of large numbers”?
What is the “central limit theorem”?
How is radar satellite altimetry performed to produce accurate values for sea level rise in the millimeter range?
An article on this theme: How can annual average temperatures be so precise?
____________________________________________________
I am sorry, I read the article you referenced (How can annual average temperatures be so precise?) and it is exactly the sort of article that drives engineers like me mad. It uses a statistical analysis to develop a number to several decimal places by repeating it many, many times then doing a calculated result. What about confidence limits? If I test a beam of certain configuration and material one thousand times and the average failure is at 1200.4355 kilograms with the maximum at 2000 kg and the minimum at 800 kg then I will actually use a design weight of 400 kg (safety factor of two). No way would I use the 1200.4355 figure as I clearly could be using a beam that could be over stressed by 50%. Unless I know why some beams failed at the lower number I MUST use the conservative number. I guess it doesn’t matter in climate science. But it sure matters when you drive a semi over a bridge.
As for “the Law of Large Numbers” you don’t have large numbers nor do you have similar conditions in measuring or the material being measured so I would suspect you have very weak correlations. It would kind of like measuring the properties of steel in Kansas versus Inuvik in Winter. Quite different – low temperature steel is required in Inuvik as regular steel shatters in the winter. I don’t think these widely different ocean temperatures are properly correlated … they have hugely different properties.
Central Limit Theorem – since you brought it up – it appears to me that it does not apply to this situation due to the limits that the theorem requires to be valid. I am not a mathematician so I am probably not qualified to comment, but I can read the limitations listed for applying the theorem and I would guess it isn’t applicable.
You can’t make bad data of low precision into good data with high precision by applying mathematical formulae. If the original data is sparse or questionable, the results can be nothing more than conjecture. Reasonable conjecture perhaps, but conjecture non the less. I can build a bridge with reasonable conjecture … but the safety factor must be huge. Unfortunately, in climate science, there appears to be a lot of conjecture and a lack of statement of the possible variances. How hard is it to turn a plus number into a negative number given the accuracy of the data?
I used to write economic forecasts tailored to several hundred individuals doing revenue forecasts using historical performance to predict future performance. There were many instances of creating negative numbers out of positive data. They were pretty simple algorithms that projected revenues and profits out 12 months every three months. Real life determination of accuracy and precision. My company’s survival and return on investment and paying the bank and employees depended on it. I would not like to have had to depend on the paucity of uncorrelated information that this study uses as a basis to predict the survival of my company.
But, again, I am not a mathematician.
And as for the satellites being able to “produce accurate values for sea level rise in the millimeter range” … that is still an open debate.
From the “hockeyschtick” ( and there are many more including some on this site):
“As stated above “Since the difference series at separate time gauge locations have been shown to be nearly statistically independent (Mitchum, 1998), the final drift series has a variance much smaller than any of the individual series that go into it. Because of the relatively large number of degrees of freedom, this method outperforms calibrations from dedicated calibration sites, although it is only a relative calibration, meaning that it cannot determine any absolute bias.” Looking at the individual GPS-corrected tide gauges in the two graphs above compared to the satellite altimetric measurement at the corresponding location shows very large divergences of up to 25mm at a given point in time. Yes, if you sum all the anomalies from the carefully selected subset of tide gauges compared to the satellite records it is statistically insignificant from zero, but the large variances on individual records suggests much more doubt in the accuracy of satellite altimetry and/or GPS-corrected tide gauges than is commonly held. ”
If you read some studies on how satellite data is adjusted (yup – I said adjusted.) you will find that the signal amplitude is up to 300 mm (one foot for US readers) along with satellite drift. The satellites have to be constantly correlated with properly installed physical tide guages and appropriate algorithms applied to CALCULATE (not measure) what sea level amongst all those waves actually might be. Remember what you are measuring. A beam bouncing off a moving undulating surface from a satellite in a varying orbit both laterally and vertically with appropriate allowances for Doppler effect etc. etc. And we accept an accuracy of less than a millimetre? Not me. I worked too long with electronic distance measuring equipment on terra firma using instruments bolted to concrete foundations (which actually move quite a bit) to believe sub-millimetre accuracy from a satellite to a water surface.
(rant off)

nevket240
August 19, 2010 12:08 am

JC- Eventually we will have better data sets and better models to work with. That is how science works. ))
There in lies the issue. Can you not see why people find the claims of the Cult to be fraudulent??? At present we are not seeing science being done for anything other than political activism,( & high moral purpose :-(). Until the ‘models’ are 100% accurate, and audited openly, no Government should be making policy decisions based on what looks like pure propaganda.
regards.
(any chance of a pic of your hands???)

Glenn
August 19, 2010 12:37 am

WillR says:
August 18, 2010 at 5:57 pm
I think that should be the final word on the debate:
When you say garbage in garbage out, you are not understanding the scientific process. We posed a hypothesis, we tested it using data and model simulations, which support the hypothesis. If the data are bad and the model is wrong, that doesn’t falsify the hypothesis, it reduces the support for the hypothesis. So it doesn’t make any sense to say that our hypothesis is incorrect because there are holes in the sea surface temperature data set.
“I know I can’t think of an answer to that.”
Perhaps by explaining that hypotheses are attempts to explain data, not the other way around.

August 19, 2010 1:24 am

Wayne Delbeke: August 18, 2010 at 8:52 pm
You can measure something “precisely” to three decimal points, but if the object has high variability, the “precision” is meaningless since it is “inaccurate”.
Your comment accurately described the precise point I was making.
Ummmm — trying to make.

Stephen Wilde
August 19, 2010 1:46 am

I seem to be still waiting for Dr. Curry’s response concerning my question about her apparent acceptance that the hydrological cycle can vary in speed.
If one extrapolates that capability globally and if one recalls that more convection can arise from more evaporation without a temperature rise and that more evaporation is caused by extra downward IR then one has a mechanism whereby the warming effect of more CO2 can be negated without an observable temperature rise because the extra energy in the system all goes to latent heat.

August 19, 2010 1:55 am

boballab: August 18, 2010 at 10:32 pm
For those that want to take a look at just how much data there is for SST’s, Bob Tisdale put up links on his site to NCAR that shows how much there is and isn’t.
Bob’s post got me to poking through my copy of HadCRUT3. Section 3.1 gave me what I was looking for:
“The marine data are point measurements from moving ships, moored buoys, and drifting buoys, so the anomalies for any one grid box come in general from a different set of sources each month. This means that marine data have no equivalent of station errors or homogenization adjustments. The marine equivalent of the station errors form part of the measurement and sampling error, and adjustments for inhomogeneities are done by large scale bias corrections.
A bias correction is applied to remove the effect of these changes on the SSTs. This correction depends on estimates of the mix of measuring methods in use at any one time, and of parameters such as the speed of the ships making the measurements. An uncertainty has been estimated for the correction; again, details are in [Rayner et al., 2006].
“As with the land data, the uncertainty estimates cannot be definitive: where there are known sources of uncertainty, estimates of the size of those uncertainties have been made. There may be additional sources of uncertainty as yet unquantified (see section 6.3).” [My emphases — plural.]
“Estimates,” “uncertainties,” “cannot be definitive,” “may be additional sources of uncertainty.”
So, in addition to a paucity of actual surface temperature measurements in the Southern Ocean, the ones that were made have been adjusted pretty much by “educated guesswork.”

Michael Larkin
August 19, 2010 1:58 am

George E. Smith says:
August 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm
“Well let me cast my self adrift on the thin ice (Southern Ocean style) where only fools (like me) don’t fear to tread.
For those non mathematicians who have no idea what Orthogonal Functions are; here’s my stick on a sandy beach explanation.”
Many thanks for this, George. It advances my understanding that little bit further.

Michael Larkin
August 19, 2010 1:59 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm
“What does that do to your hypothesis and your paradox? My understanding of the scientific process says that in this case, it’s more than a minor reduction of support. It seems to my understanding of science that since the Southern Ocean sea and the air are cooling, increasing sea ice is no paradox at all, so your hypothesis is explaining a problem that doesn’t exist …”
Willis, I was struggling in my own mind to articulate what the problem was for me, but your post did so perfectly – far better than I ever could have. The thing is, the very hypothesis itself appears to be moot if not pointless.
I would like to know whether Dr. Curry actually accepts your point that cooling is occurring. If she doesn’t, and has firm evidence for that, fair enough. If not, well, I’m at a loss to see any foundation for this particular study, regardless of the quantity or quality of data available.

August 19, 2010 1:59 am

Willis: You asked, “What is the source for your ICOADS data and graphs?” with respect to these maps:
http://i37.tinypic.com/t8x4ox.jpg
I created the maps at the KNMI Climate Explorer. Select “1800-2007: 2° COADS SST” as the field on the “Monthly Obsevations” page. On the right-hand side of the page are a number of menus. Under “Investigate this field”, the first option is “Plot this field”. That allows you to make maps and Hovmuller plots. For those maps of the ICOADS data I also shifted the contour levels out of the range of the data variability so that it printed the maps of reading locations with basically only one color.

TomVonk
August 19, 2010 2:20 am

The reason for this is simple offshore flow. Since the water around Antarctica is usually warmer than the near water land surface, air over the water rises then descends over the land causing wind to blow off shore.
Very correct comment . The data I accumulated during my stay in Antarctic (only summer) completely supports that .
a) The prevailing winds come from the continent
b) the air temperatures at/near shore are always colder (actually subzero) when the winds come from the continent
c) It cannot rain when temperatures are sub zero but it snows instead what is the case most of the time both in winter and in summer .
d) The Antarctic Peninsula , especially its northernmost tip is a very special atypical case . Its temperatures in summer are anomalously high with regard to 99,99% of Antarctic and have always been . Both the absolute values and trends do not represent the Antarctic . Of special note is that the Peninsula is the place which has the highest density of data sources .

Mac
August 19, 2010 2:22 am

Quote, Judith Curry, “What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values”
Circumstance would suggest that this paper is a continuance and re-affirmation of past behaviour thru its invention of data.
Measure our disappointment against the promise to do better.

August 19, 2010 2:31 am

Summary of some of the ways in which the paper is misleading:
1. Patchiness of data in the post-1950 period is glossed over by the use of EOFs creating a misleading impression of smooth continuous data.
2. Title says accelerated warming. Paper shows decelerating warming.
In fact the HADSST data in the paper (fig2A) and shown in Willis’s graph shows no warming at all since about 1980. (and the post-1980 period is where the data is most reliable).
3. Paper says “warming is reduced poleward”. In fact the warming reduces so much poleward that it becomes cooling!
4. Abstract claims observations show ‘substantial warming’. But they dont – most of the graph is either blue or pink, slight warming or slight cooling.
5. Paper talks of “paradox”. Press release headlines “paradox” of increasing ice in a warming climate, but paper shows cooling near the poles – there is no paradox.

Editor
August 19, 2010 2:41 am

Willis, Bob Tisdale
This is the familiar plot for CET
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jdrake/Questioning_Climate/_sgg/m2_1.htm
It took approximately 800,000 bits of data to produce a temperature record covering a small part of the UK, which in itself is a miniscule part of the globe.
The accuracy is probably no more than half a degree or so, but fortunately we have numerous written records and observations the data can be checked against.
Land- unlike currents- doesn’t move or vary in thickness, and air temperatures vary much more than sea temperatures. So appreciating we are comparing apples with oranges can anyone give me some idea of just how many bits of actual verifiable data points have gone to make up the study which Willis is examining and how accurately that can depict a vast moving mass of a liquid which isn’t at all well mixed?
Tonyb

rbateman
August 19, 2010 2:48 am

1DandyTroll says:
August 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm
Here is another paradox:
Find someone who does not wear sunglasses.
Ask them to describe how bright the sunlight is these days.

hunter
August 19, 2010 3:23 am

Dr. Curry,
Thank you for posting here and elsewhere. Your attempts at civil constructive discourse are welcome.
If I understand your mechanism, increased temperatures have increased regional precipitation in the SO. The increased precip acts as an insulator which permits sea ice to extend out farther.
Some questions come to mind, if you don’t mind:
1) how much precipitation is required to insulate an area the size impacted by sea ice?
2) do you have available records of precipitation in the SO?
3) the records of temperature in SO seem to indicate rather trivial warming, mostly long before what is generally recognized as a significant CO2 could have taken place. How do you reconcile this in your modeling work?
5) You contrast this with the Arctic where you say a lot melting has occurred. How does this reconcile with studies that show sea currents and wind patterns- both which
many people believe the evidence shows are highly variable- are responsible for recent declines in Arctic sea ice. How does your model take into account the idea that wind pattern and current fluctuations could in fact be responsible fluctuations in sea ice in the Antarctic region of the SO as well as the Arctic?

Judith Curry
August 19, 2010 3:44 am

Willis, the “accelerated warming” does not refer specifically to observations in the 20th century. Yes, there is warming in the mid latitudes based upon the data we have available to us. The accelerated warming refers to how our hypothesis regarding antarctic sea ice, the hydrological cycle, and upper ocean temperatures responds in a warmer climate scenario.

Judith Curry
August 19, 2010 3:45 am

Pamela Gray, thank you for pointing out the paper by Marika Holland, this is one I haven’t read. In commenting on this one I have to declare my bias: I was Marika Holland’s Ph.D. advisor at the University of Colorado in the 1990’s. I think that she does terrific work.

Judith Curry
August 19, 2010 3:50 am

Steven Wilde, I am not exactly sure what your question is. But the hydrological cycle relates surface evaporation, precipitation, and the storage of water in the atmosphere both as humidity (water vapor) and also cloud water (liquid and ice). Whereas some people talk about the acceleration of hydrological cycle globally, it makes more sense to me to talk about it regionally. As an example, look at the Sahel. It has undergone periods of drought and then relative abundance of rainfall. This reflects a different strength of the local hydrological cycle. In terms of the global hydrological cycle, as the atmosphere and ocean surfaces warm, the ocean can evaporate more water and atmosphere has the capacity to “hold” more water, even as the atmospheric relative humidity remains the same. The basic physics behind this is the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics, that explains the saturation vapor pressure.

Judith Curry
August 19, 2010 3:58 am

I certainly look forward to better data sets in the future. Because the models represent an internally consistent and complete set data (albeit not observations), the models were used to actually understand and test the physical mechanism. We selected the models that do the best job of simulating the Antarctic atmosphere and ocean circulations and the sea ice. Hence the physical mechanism does not depend on the detailed history of the observations of Antarctic sea ice. To further understand the mechanism, we looked at a warming scenario that the climate models had simulated. I agree that it would be very interesting to see what a cooling scenario would like like and how our mechanism would perform in such a scenario. There may be some paleoclimate simulations that would be interesting to consider in this regard.

August 19, 2010 4:01 am

Willis, I just finished my post on Liu and Curry:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/08/on-liu-and-curry-2010-accelerated.html
Regards

Jason
August 19, 2010 4:45 am

“If the data are bad and the model is wrong, that doesn’t falsify the hypothesis, it reduces the support for the hypothesis.”
So if, as you have stated elsewhere, you think the data are incomplete and methodology for constructing the data is not totally sound, why produce this paper and mention “accelerated warming”.
This is the exact reason why “sceptics” get upset. To me, releasing this paper is more about grants and politics than hypotheses.

Dave Springer
August 19, 2010 5:10 am

Judith Curry writes:
“When precip falls on the open ocean, it doesn’t matter too much whether it is rain or snow (there is a small latent heat of melting the snow),”
A small latent heat? The latent heat of fusion of water is 144BTU/pound. That’s what’s required to turn a pound of water at 32F into a pound of ice at 32F. It is 144 times that required to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree. In other words if you put a half pound of ice at 32F into a half pound of liquid water at 176F you will end up with one pound of water at 32F.

August 19, 2010 5:11 am

tonyb asked: “So appreciating we are comparing apples with oranges can anyone give me some idea of just how many bits of actual verifiable data points have gone to make up the study which Willis is examining and how accurately that can depict a vast moving mass of a liquid which isn’t at all well mixed?”
ICOADS is the source data for the buoy- and ship-based readings used by Hadley and NCDC. The KNMI Climate Explorer…
http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere
…gives the option of plotting the number of observations but I’m not sure about the units. The gentleman who runs the Climate Explorer is on vacation till the end of the month so I can’t verify it right now.
The other option would be to go directly to the ICOADS website—and—downloading the data—and—sorting through it.
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/gridded/data.coads.2deg.html

August 19, 2010 5:20 am

@rbateman says:
‘August 19, 2010 at 2:48 am
1DandyTroll says:
August 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm
Here is another paradox:
Find someone who does not wear sunglasses.
Ask them to describe how bright the sunlight is these days.’
I did, but now the doctor says I prolly need a new cornea. He said I was lucky it’s somewhat cloudy. I said really I can’t see no clouds? +_-

Judith Curry
August 19, 2010 5:21 am

Bob Tisdale, just checked out your post, looks good. The reason we we considered the period 1950-1999 was to optimize the match between the period when the data has some credibility (1950-present) and the 20th century climate model simulations (1900-1999), hence the period 1950-1999 that was selected for our analysis.

AllenC
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