Hansen's Arrested Development

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

James Hansen has taken time off between being arrested to produce another in the list of his publications. It’s called “Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications“. This one is listed as “submitted” …

Normally these days I prefer to only deal with scientific papers, which of course leaves activist pleadings like Hansen’s stuff off the list. But in this case I’ll make an exception. Here’s my sole reason for bringing this up. Hansen’s paper says the following (emphasis mine):

The precision achieved by the most advanced generation of radiation budget satellites is indicated by the planetary energy imbalance measured by the ongoing CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System) instrument (Loeb et al., 2009), which finds a measured 5-year-mean imbalance of 6.5 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009). Because this result is implausible, instrumentation calibration factors were introduced to reduce the imbalance to the imbalance suggested by climate models, 0.85 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009).

I bring it up because it is climate science at its finest. Since the observations were not of the expected range, rather than figure out why the results might be wrong, they just twisted the dials to “reduce the imbalance to the imbalance suggested by climate models.” 

And curiously, the “imbalance suggested by climate models”, of some 0.85 W/m2, was actually from Hansen’s previous paper. That earlier paper of his, by coincidence called “Earth’s energy imbalance: Confirmation and implications“, gave that 0.85 W/m2 figure as a result from Hansen’s own GISS climate model … but all this incestuous back-slapping is probably just another coincidence.

Of course, you know what all this means. Soon, the modelers will be claiming that the CERES satellite results verify that the GISS and other climate models are accurately duplicating observations …

You can see why Hansen’s “science” gets left off my list of things to read.

w.

PS—Upon further research I find that according to Loeb et al., 2009, they didn’t just tweak the dials on the CERES observations to get the answer they wanted, as I had foolishly stated above.

No, they didn’t do that at all. Instead, they used…

an objective constrainment algorithm to adjust SW and LW TOA fluxes within their range of uncertainty to remove the inconsistency between average global net TOA flux and heat storage in the earth–atmosphere system.

I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that it wasn’t just twisting dials, they actually used an objective constrainment algorithm to adjust their Procrustean Bed …

UPDATE:  Some commenters have noted that my article implies that Hansen used those CERES satellite results in the study in question. Hansen did not use them, stating correctly that the uncertainties were too great for his purposes.  —w.

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cbone

It is indeed curious that when the observational data doesn’t match the model, the observations must be wrong. “Cause we all know the models are NEVER wrong.

crosspatch

Hansen does stuff like that all the time. It is my understanding, and correct me please if it is not the case, that GISTEMP where it is missing data for large portions of the surface of the Earth (particularly places like the Arctic) simply plugs in the values from the models. So we get a GISS map that comes into closer agreement with the models because the temperatures the models produce for certain areas are simply plugged into GISTEMP

Sean

The real problem is that his first choice of experiment, measuring the total ocean heat content, did not yield the warming he predicted. in reality, the Argo buoy network to measure heat content is a great scientific experiment. Dr. Hansen made a prediction of how much heat would build in the oceans, they deployed a well dispersed system of buoys to accurately measure the top 700 meters of depth in the oceans covering 70% of the globe and since you are looking at heat rather than just temperature, it integrates over long time spans so you get pretty accurate results. The problem is the very good measurements from a very good experiment is off by an order of magnitude. Does Dr. Hansen’s book examine the discrepancies in the total ocean heat content? Relying on satellites that can measure the earths albedo to a best 1% to obtain a measure of an energy imbalance that is likely less than 0.1% will never lead to any meaningful conclusions.

William McClenney

“…resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours.” -The Borg

Ah, the cultivation of insider code words and vocabulary. How good can you make, “We fudged it to suit our preferences” sound?

William McClenney

Or alternatively, James, oh James:
“I should warn you that your fly buttons are undone and your mind is hanging out” Wilbur Smith

Yeah well I had to (yet again) look up something in Willis’ post to understand what it means.
A veritable education booth in the Climate Expo full of charlatans selling their wares.
And I thank Willis (and Anthony) for it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procrustes

Michael Palmer

Check out the the name of the arresting officer on that picture.

Leon Brozyna

The raw data doesn’t agree with the sacred models, so we’ll just adjust the data. Gee, where have we heard of that happeneing before, I wonder.
Another eye-roller moment. Time for the good stuff … a good stiff shot of whiskey to soothe those bouncy eyes.

markx

Classic.
Using model data to adjust satellite data to match model data.
Tadaah! Proven!

Willis, thanks and I understand your point very well. As i understand it, energy can neither be created nor destroyed only transformed. Thus in energy, terms the earth energy budget, must be in balance all the time.. So where does the “imbalance” come from that he bases his “paper” on?

Jeremy

1 REM Objective Constrainment Algorithm
2 REM Copyright Climate Science
10 Load “data”
20 Load “model”
30 If model =/= data then data=model
40 Print “Data agrees with model.”
50 end

Dennis Nikols, P. Geo

“I bring it up because it is climate science at its finest.” In this you are as wrong as Hansen. Hansen’s writings and the quoted statement is not science in the first place. It may make reference to empirical data, science and engineering but it is not science. You are therefore incorrect it is not climate or any other kind of science. It is misinformation, it is foolishness, it is ideology and it a host of things science is not one of them. As a scientist myself I object to anyone using the name of my profession in vain.
That said thanks for sharing since I probably would not have progressed beyond his first paragraph.

crosspatch

The source of my above comment is various discussions concerning GISS “extrapolating” estimated temperatures where it has no data and at least one posting I read, can’t remember which blog but it might have been CA some time ago, that said the estimate came from Hansen’s models.

I don’t know which is the most incredible: that he would fiddle the data to match his model or that he has the gall to say that’s what he did.

Brian

Heh. I just realized Hanson is being arrested by “Officer Green” in the above photo.

Graeme

I wonder if I can get Hanson to do my taxes – and will the taxation department believe them?
“Yes sir, by this algorithm, I can show that my income was not $150K for the year – it was only $15K, which is inline with the financial model that I made last year. So my taxes will only be $1500 instead of $35000”.

@graeme
“adjusted” taxes often don’t pass IRS peer review, Hansenization is not recommended

DaveR

“COME ON!” <—Arrested Development lingo.

Neo

jiggered past participle, past tense of jig·ger
Verb:
Rearrange or tamper with: “jiggering with the controls was a mistake”. An objective constrainment algorithm.

John F. Hultquist

an objective constrainment algorithm
The above sounded very familiar.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whac-A-Mole
Whac-A-Mole . . . (has) five holes in its top and a large, soft, black mallet. Each hole contains a single plastic mole and the machinery necessary to move it up and down. Once the game starts, the moles will begin to pop up from their holes at random. The object of the game is to force the individual moles back into their holes by hitting them directly on the head with the mallet, . . .
It is so obvious I won’t bother translating.

@Dennis Nikols, Willis is being sarcastic

Cementafriend

Wilis, does Hansen’s concept of missing heat include the difference between the Trenberth’s radiation window of 26 w/m2 ie 66 w/m2 (as admiited in an email to Dr Noor Van Andel) and 40w/m2 in his papers K&T 1997 and T F K 2009?

Isn’t this what science is all about? Fitting the data to the curve?
/sarc

It’s amazing how many people read “Hansen” and see “Hanson”.

@Jeff Alberts – yes I’ve noticed that as well, gave up correcting Hanson > Hansen – just too many – Anthony

Willis,
The context is that Hansen is describing the current limitations of the instrumentation. And he is describing what Loeb did, not what he did. The quote you gave from Hansen continues:

The problems being addressed with this tuning probably involve the high variability and changes of the angular distribution functions for outgoing radiation and the very limited sampling of the radiation field that is possible from an orbiting satellite, as well as, perhaps, detector calibration. There can be no credible expectation that this tuning/calibration procedure can reduce the error by two orders of magnitude as required to measure changes of Earth’s energy balance to an accuracy of 0.1 W/m2.
These difficulties do not imply that attempts to extract the Earth’s radiation imbalance from satellite measurements should not be continued and improved as much as possible

David Ball

The atmosphere perfectly models the computer, ……

A C of Adelaide

I’m gonna re-calibrate my thermometer to get temperatures in the range predicted by the models.

john wootton

Once one piece of data is suspect, everything is suspect until proved otherwise!
Who checked the instruments on the satellite? Who checked the checker? Was the instrument against which the satellite instrument was checked, calibrated?

Interstellar Bill

Grey lensman
“energy can neither be created nor destroyed only transformed”
You forget that it can be ‘adjusted’,
out of existence if necessary.

davidmhoffer

instrumentation calibration factors were introduced to reduce the imbalance to the imbalance suggested by climate models, 0.85 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009).>>>
Caller: There’s a fire in the building across the street!
Fire Department: What floor is the fire on?
Caller: I don’t know, 50th or so…give or take 10…
Fire Department: Or records show that building is only 20 stories tall.
Caller: Well I’m looking at it and….
Fire Department: Could give or take 10 really be give or take 30? 50 minus 30 would be 20.
Caller: No, I’m pretty sure its at least the 40th floor, probably higher….
Fire Department: So… you’re saying there is a fire burning in thin air, 20 stories or more above the top of the building?
Caller: No! I’m saying that the building is way taller than what your records show!
Fire Department: That’s not possible sir. Are you aware that there is a substantive fine for calling in a false alarm?
Caller: What!? Are you kidding me? I can SEE the damn fire! Are you guys coming or not?
Fire Department: Since the fire you are reporting is impossible, we see no reason to attend. We have however dispatched a police cruiser to your location….

Michael Palmer said:
December 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm
Check out the the name of the arresting officer on that picture.
————————————
Hah! The green police! 🙂

ChE

Now there’s no more travesty.

markus

Borne, Born Jiggered, jiggling, – Phew
That Cop in the capturing Hanson is not the only police around today. The spelling police are out in force.

jorgekafkazar

Sean says: “…Relying on satellites that can measure the earths albedo to a best 1% to obtain a measure of an energy imbalance that is likely less than 0.1% will never lead to any meaningful conclusions.”
True. I get a putative imbalance of about 0.24%, but your conclusion still applies. I doubt very much that we know the effective albedo of the earth within 0.24%. The supposed imbalance is only about 5% of the estimated upward convective heat transfer rate. We don’t know that within 5%, either. Too much guesswork going on in a field that has huge economic consequences. Charlatans, pseudoscientists, Lysenkoists, phrenologists and witch doctors are running the show, and the media look on fondly.

crosspatch

Should be easy enough for figure out the albedo of the Earth if you have an observation station on the moon. Look at the Earth, measure the brightness. Done.
Satellites are probably too close unless they are in geosync orbit.

old construction worker

“Grey lensman says:
December 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm
Willis, thanks and I understand your point very well. As i understand it, energy can neither be created nor destroyed only transformed. Thus in energy, terms the earth energy budget, must be in balance all the time.. So where does the “imbalance” come from that he bases his “paper” on?”
I don’t know where the energy “imbalance” comes from, but I can tell you who has a direct link to it. My grandchildren. They wear me out.

Steve C

Yet more proof (if proof were needed) that climate science is not as other science. If he tried this sort of shenanigan in real science, say, electronics, at least the rest of us would get regular laughs when his circuitry went bang and let the magic smoke out.

Louis

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
— Arthur Conan Doyle (“Sherlock Holmes”)
We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don’t, it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.
— Jessamyn West

kwik

This does not look good. Next is some press releases from The Ministry of Truth; The world is Doomed, because CERES says so. And that means; Science says so.

Willis Eschenbach

Nick Stokes says:
December 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Willis,
The context is that Hansen is describing the current limitations of the instrumentation. And he is describing what Loeb did, not what he did. The quote you gave from Hansen continues:

The problems being addressed with this tuning probably involve the high variability and changes of the angular distribution functions for outgoing radiation and the very limited sampling of the radiation field that is possible from an orbiting satellite, as well as, perhaps, detector calibration. There can be no credible expectation that this tuning/calibration procedure can reduce the error by two orders of magnitude as required to measure changes of Earth’s energy balance to an accuracy of 0.1 W/m

Thanks, Nick. I was aware of that. However, my point still stands, which was that the idea of simply adjusting the satellite results to fit the output from Hansen’s previous model runs is a joke. Hansen doesn’t even begin to address that issue.
w.

Willis Eschenbach

crosspatch says:
December 20, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Should be easy enough for figure out the albedo of the Earth if you have an observation station on the moon. Look at the Earth, measure the brightness. Done.

You’d think so at first blush, but it’s nowhere near that easy. The problem is that from any single point in space (either the moon or a satellite) you can only measure the amount of sunshine reflected back to your observation point. But there’s lots and lots of other light that is reflected in a host of other directions away from your observation point. To measure them accurately, you’d need a swarm of satellites surrounding the earth so they could all measure the reflected light at once.
Since we don’t have that flock of satellites, you have to do some plain and fancy footwork to convert the brightness readings to total albedo. Of course, the position of the observation with regards to the location of the sun is one of the largest factors in the conversion, but there are a number of others. Typically the image of the planet is broken into gridcells and analyzed, and the cloud type and land type and distribution is taken into account in the calculation of what’s going on in each gridcell. Then these are further adjusted and then a weighted sum is calculated of all gridcells, with adjustments for sun angle, for the final answer.
w.

goldie

The f factor is a well known factor whereby the result you obtained is multiplied by factor f in order to derive the result you expected. Factor f is of course the fudge factor (in case anybody was thinking of another f word).

davidmhoffer

Since we don’t have that flock of satellites, you have to do some plain and fancy footwork to convert the brightness readings to total albedo.>>>
Wouldn’t it be easier to use a large number of surface weather stations over a long period of time to see if the surface temperature is rising or falling and from that extrapolate the energy balance? Oh…they did that? And it matches the models? Oh…. it matches the models after adjustments.
OK, so we’re back to square one again.
I know! How about we take temperature readins from the oceans at various depths and all over the world? From that we could determine changes in ocean heat content and that in turn would allow us to extrapolate energy balance. Oh… they did that? And it matches the models? Oh…. it matches the models after adjustments are made to the temperature of the ocean in places where it can’t be measured.
There’s a pattern here….

Blade

Hansen :: “… which finds a measured 5-year-mean imbalance of 6.5 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009). Because this result is implausible, instrumentation calibration factors were introduced to reduce the imbalance to the imbalance suggested by climate models, 0.85 W/m2 …”

Willis, that is quite a large adjustment there. How large is it? According to Hansen it is almost half the amount needed for a LIA! I’ll let Hansen explain it himself. Almost exactly one year ago …

“Therefore, it is foolish to demand that policy makers reduce CO2 to 280 ppm. Indeed, if, with a magic wand, we reduced CO2 from today’s 389 ppm to 280 ppm that change would increase Earth’s heat radiation to space by almost 2 watts (per square meter). The planet would rapidly move toward a colder climate, probably colder than the Little Ice Age. Whoever wielded the magic wand might receive a Middle Ages punishment, such as being drawn and quartered.” – James Hansen, from ‘Conversation with Bill McKibben‘ dated December 12, 2010. [see: PDF from Columbia.edu], [also see: Discussion at WUWT].

R.S.Brown

Jim Hansen > Jim Hanson ?
Because in the public’s mind, the name Jim Hansen properly belongs to the
man who created many of the beings populating Sesame Street.
The conflation comes from both men being involved in fantasy and sock muppets.

dp

That means, of course, that the satellites are adding nothing to the game. They’ve been calibrated to agree with the machinations of the modelers. Imagine if the calibration has been left to the Monty Python troupe. Now that would be interesting and every bit as useful. As it is, it isn’t even funny.
I wonder why no platoon of constabulary in the US has called upon Hansen to better understand where his nonsense issues from.

crosspatch: Should be easy enough for figure out the albedo of the Earth if you have an observation station on the moon. Look at the Earth, measure the brightness. Done.
Willis: You’d think so at first blush, but it’s nowhere near that easy …

Indeed. Nothing in climate science is that easy. This should make it one of the most exciting areas of human intellectual endeavour to work in. Instead, the politics appears to intrude into every calculation, as this ‘fitting’ of CERES-measured real-world energy imbalance down to 13% of its original value to agree with unverified climate models again shows. How dire that must be, driving out the good and honest researcher, leaving the field to the charlatans.

crosspatch

One and one is two, and two and two is four, and five will get you ten if you know how to work it.
–Mae West
One thing I have a problem with is using Mauna Loa as our CO2 monitoring station. This location leads to the same sort of problem we see here with Hansen.
Imagine CO2 levels were to take a drop because of global cooling. The problem with Mauna Loa is that it sits on top of an active (though currently dormant) volcano.
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/programs/esrl/volcanicco2/Estimating%20Volcanic%20CO2%20Emission%20Rates%20from%20Atmospheric%20Measurements%20on%20the%20Slope%20of%20Mauna%20Loa%20%282001%29.pdf
The current Mauna Loa station must constantly adjust to remove the CO2 from the volcano from the amount reported as atmospheric. Should we take a sudden drop, they might conclude that isn’t “plausible” and jigger the adjustment. We should be taking atmospheric CO2 measurements from a place a long way away from volcanic CO2 emissions. Pikes Peak, CO or Mt. Washington NH might be better places to measure atmospheric CO2.
I don’t trust measurements taken for atmospheric CO2 that must be adjusted by removing local CO2 generated by a volcano. There is too much temptation to adjust the adjustment to keep the “signal” the same.

crosspatch

You’d think so at first blush, but it’s nowhere near that easy. The problem is that from any single point in space (either the moon or a satellite) you can only measure the amount of sunshine reflected back to your observation point. But there’s lots and lots of other light that is reflected in a host of other directions away from your observation point. To measure them accurately, you’d need a swarm of satellites surrounding the earth so they could all measure the reflected light at once.

If I were interested in knowing the exact value of albedo, that is true. If I am looking for a trend, that is not true. If I have a station near the center of the moon and I take a brightness of the Earth and compensate for known variations such as phase of the Earth, distance to the Earth, and distance to the Sun, all I am looking for is the signal, not the absolute value.
So say I come up with a value of 10 units. Over a period of 10 years, I see that the number is gradually increasing or decreasing. I don’t need to know what the total exact number is. For example, I don’t need to know the exact candlepower of a lamp in order to know if it is getting brighter or dimmer over time.
You’re putting too fine a point on it.