Envisat's satellite failure launches mysteries

I’ve been watching with interest and concern some of Steve Goddard’s postings on Envisat on the abrupt changes in their recent sea level data. To me, something didn’t seem quite right, and I expressed concerns privately along those lines that I didn’t know the causes of what appear to be recent unexplained “adjustments” in the recent data. It seems ENVISAT has given up the ghost. So, it is possible it has been sending faulty data and they have not noticed. Here, he shows this graph which seems quite problematic:

PaintImage4527 Was Envisat Hit By An Asteroid?

This is like what has happened with the AQUA AMSRE failure and the failure that we had to point out to NSIDC (where Dr. Walt Meier famously exclaimed it “wasn’t worth blogging about” only to have to later issue corrections themselves) that the DMSP satellite they were using had issues.  Whether this is permanent or not remains to be seen. After 10 years of service, Envisat has stopped sending data to Earth. ESA’s mission control is working to re-establish contact with the satellite.

Via our friend Ecotretas :

I read in the news today that connections have been lost with the Envisat satellite. ESA has already confirmed it too, but reading the latest Mission Operations News, it seems it would be predicted for a satellite that had only been planned for a five year mission.

So I ran to see how the sea level graphs had finished, and to my biggest surprise, the graph from AVISO had changed dramatically! I recall seeing it about a week ago, with totally different values! From an historical perspective, several older graphs can be seen in a post 9 months ago (in Portuguese), or compared with other satellite measurements in this WUWT post. Please compare the graph 9 months ago on the left, and the more recent one on the right (click to zoom):

Notice that the slope has gone up from 0.76 mm/year to 2.33 mm/year! This manipulation, which has no other name, has been justified by Aviso with the following notes:

  • Envisat time series extended before 2004 starting from May 2002.
  • Envisat V2.1 GDR reprocessed data used. The new standards are also detailed in the table “Processing and corrections”.
  • Instrumental correction sign corrected (impact of around +2mm/year). The error detection and impact on data is detailed in:
    • Envisat 2011 yearly report, A. Ollivier & M. Guibbaud, soon on the Aviso website
    • Envisat Reprocessing impact on ocean data, A.Ollivier & M. Guibbaud, soon on the Aviso website
    • A.Ollivier et al. 2012, Envisat ocean altimeter becoming relevant for mean sea level long term studies? (submitted in Marine Geodesy)
  • new NetCDF CF format in the products and images selection interface

Now, this looks like a small part of the Envisat mystery. Please check that the older graph starts in 2004, but the newer graph starts in mid 2002! Notice that in the newer graph, the 2002 and 2003 values were much higher that those of 2004, and that the highest values of 2003 were not surprassed till late 2008. Now imagine why they were not there in the older graphs, and how being there would create a trend probably very near to ZERO!

The last image, the above one on the right, that’s on the AVISO site is dated “Tue, 10 Apr 2012 09:14:03 GMT”, so clearly has been put there after the satellite failed, which occurred last Sunday. No doubt that the hiding the decline was already planned, but probably was executed swiftly after the fail. Strangely, the last color image taken by the satellite was above Portugal, which is obviously a coincidence. But it looks like it’s mysteries have only started…

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Robert

The name says it all…

jono1066

Does it need another 49 scientists/astronauts to write a short concise letter pointing out that they shouldn`t do this ?
Perhaps people will start comparing the effects of Climate Change to the effects of Nitrous Oxide.

TimiBoy

The older portion adjusted down, the newer up. That’s Post Modern Science, what’s the problem?

Perhaps we should stop taking as “data” results that come out of satellites that use revolutionary cutting edge technology, and as such are bound to see their figures corrected again and again. Plus we all know which way the corrections always go, for climate stuff.

Eimear

Seawatergate.
This manipulation of data is disgusting.

wilt

Talking about missing satellite data: has anyone a clue why Arctic sea ice levels – Nansen – have not been updated during the last seven days?

Latitude

Should we really trust a satellite measurement….that can only get it’s measurements through adjustments?
First 22 passes, Envisat said sea levels were falling..they didn’t believe it…so they tuned it to Jason…then when they drifted again….they tuned Jason to Envisat….
….each time to show more sea level rise of course
I would think a satellite would fall out of orbit….which would mean adjusting in the other direction….

NoAstronomer

“Envisat V2.1 GDR reprocessed data used.”
So they re-processed it because they didn’t like the results of the first processing? Is it like re-fried beans? How do know the reprocessing worked? Maybe we should re-re-process the data?

JohnG

Rio approaches
Your links don’t appear to work foe me, I get error 404

Zac

Look. I can assure you that sea level around these parts has not risen since the 70’s when I first came here, unless these parts are a rising land mass.
Sometimes with a spring tide and a south wester we get levels above the predicted and at other times we get levels below the predicted but on the whole the local wharf costructed in the 19th centuary is not under any pressure.

Anything is possible

360 000 000 km^2 of ocean in constant motion due to tides, winds and currents, and they claim to be able to measure mean sea level to an accuracy of 1/1000mm
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/2012_rel1/sl_ns_global.txt
Total BS.

What do you expect – this is climatology: ‘we lost the raw data in an office move’ can get you a couple of PhDs, a part share in a Nobel prize, and the undying admiration of corrupt politicians.

John from CA

The new standards are also detailed in the table “Processing and corrections”. The link shows a 404 error message.
The Navy and U of Colorado charts don’t appear to agree with the new Envisat data.

Follow the Money

Reprocessing is to adjusting as
Climate change is to global warming as
Carbon is to carbon dioxide as …
Certainly contrived by the brilliant, and very expensive, minds at Oglivy or some other pr message messaging machine!

Andrew30

For an aligned comparison overlay of the two parallel histories:
http://www.real-science.com/sea-level-data-corruption-worse-than-it-seems

Ally E.

When the governement changes – and it will, all over the world – and we get some sensible people in power, let’s make sure they take a look at these government organizations and CLEAN OUT THE TRASH. Extemists have not only infiltrated these organizations but have risen high in them. That is where they will remain hiding, waiting, plotting, and spitting out more of this nonsense in the bid for another catastrophe. We have to get these destructive people OUT.

Affizzyfist

Wilt: probably because ice levels are rising again. Basicall AGW CANNOT under any conditions have NH ice normal or above normal its been (the theoretical melting), the star of AGW After years of monitoring CT, DMI, and the rest I’ve notice long pauses with ice data when it tends to reach or go above normal. Just be on the watch for more manipulations down.

PaulM

See the blog at Suyts Space, “Sea Level Rises To New Lows” from a couple of days ago, for more about the sudden Envisat adjustments.

I’ve always suspected that the satellite data would turn out to be manipulated. The warmists didn’t disappoint my low expectations of them.

Jeff

Doesn’t AVISO mean warning? Global warning? As in someone’s
been cooking the climate books again? How can a satellite be
dodgy for almost four years and no one notice it? (Sorry if I
misread the graphs, but the output for the top graph seems to
go very wrong in 2008 – sort of an aquatic hockey stick….),,,
Makes me think of the movie Space Cowboys….time to clean
out NASA and get some real scientists back there (or clean up
the environment there so the real scientists are not throttled
by the politicians)…sad…current lot couldn’t get us to the moon
and back if they had to…

coldlynx

Envisat measured higher and higher sea level until it probably hit the big surf. That is really high sea level. It is worse than we thought….

John from CA

Steven Goddard’s comments, “i.e. they adjusted Jason upwards a few weeks ago, assumed that Envisat was wrong, and then adjusted Envisat upwards to match Jason’s upwards adjusted numbers”.
NOAA’s tide gauge readings confirm Envisat original readings of approximately 0.76mm/year so the satellite records are now fubar.
Looks like they decided to wipe out the La Nina? Funny how climate events keep disappearing.

Mike Smith

Looks like business as usual to me.The headline trend exceeds the the uncertainty and magin of error by a very considerable margin. Sad.
Methinks we need a new definition of climate science:
The extraction of catastrophic predictions from (corrected and adjusted) noise.
The “team” doesn’t seem to be coming up with much else.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Currently the only Google News result for “envisat fail”:
http://www.examiner.com/science-for-everyday-life-in-national/envisat-fails-to-phone-home-after-ten-year-reliable-mission

Scientists say that Envisat also brought good news: a recent study of the Antarctic ozone hole showed the hole closing. Mission managers said that the improvement in the hole proved the value of government regulation of flurocarbons.

Uh-oh. It gave evidence that further government control was not required. Now it’s gone. And the evidence can be “disappeared” as unreliable due to Envisat’s failing health.

A new series of environmental satellites, called Sentinels, are intended to replace Envisat. However, the first of them will launch no earlier than 2013.

Thus we have one of the greatest naming blunders in science that I hope gets corrected soon. As a recovering former long-term reader of Marvel Comics, I know I am far from alone in finding it unsettling that government entities will be launching Sentinels into space to monitor the Earth.

“The interruption of the Envisat service shows that the launch of the GMES Sentinel satellites, which are planned to replace Envisat, becomes urgent,” said Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes.

Translation: Send the money now! Or else!

polistra

If you don’t even know WHEN an instrument stopped working, the only correct action is to throw out every bit of data from that instrument.

onlyme

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/11/bering_sea_ice_cover/
‘The amount of floating ice in the Arctic’s Bering Sea – which had long been expected to retreat disastrously by climate-Cassandra organisations such as Greenpeace – reached all-time record high levels last month, according to US researchers monitoring the area using satellites.
The US National Snow and Ice Data Center announced last week that ice extent in the Bering for the month of March has now been collated and compared, and is the highest seen since records began.

The NSIDC boffins add, however that overall the Arctic ice – while up on recent years – is below the average seen since records began in 1979. In fact, according to the Cryosphere Today website run by the Polar Research group at Illinois uni, it’s down by 443,000 square km. However the sea ice around the Antarctic coasts is above average by 452,000 km2, so overall the planet’s sea ice is at the moment slightly above average in extent – and in the Bering Sea, the walruses, seals and polar bears can quite literally chill out in comfort. ®’

Kev-in-UK

All satellite data has to be ‘processed’ – that’s a given, I presume? – but wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have at least two or three independent teams doing the ‘processing’ ? Do they do this? I don’t know – but the bottom line is that he who controls the satellite and data processing, surely controls the ‘findings’. Note, I am not a conspiracy theorist as such – but when stuff like temp data adjustments, station losses, etc, etc and now this – it doesn’t command much faith!

Cooked to order. How do you like your books? Well Done? We recommend Rare.

John from CA

TomRude says:
April 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm
==========
Thanks but why didn’t they include NOAA tide gauge data to check the recalibration? They’ve adjusted sea level up by 1.8mm/year without any confirmation? Hopefully I’m missing something important.

u.k.(us)

Am I the only one losing faith in “all” our satellite data ?
If, for no other reason, that it is so short term and must constantly be adjusted to real world observations.
Just say’n 🙁

I wouldn’t put it past them to have shot down the messenger (satellite) so they could rewrite the data to better fit their models. Wasn’t there a mysterious burning object recently that was identified as space junk on re-entry?

Both hotlinks “Envisat V2.1 GDR reprocessed data used. The new standards are also detailed in the table “Processing and corrections”.” give a 404 error. It just seems strange that it takes all this time to prpoerly calibrate a not inexpensive system like this. My guess is this adjustment has a greater error then what it is they are attmepting to correct.

TerryC

Could someone with the appropriate computer skills resize and align the two graphs so the changes are easier to compare. Steve’s graph from the first link seems to have been resized but for some reason he chose to only align the horizontal axis.
Also, while the changes are dramatic and the typical lack of clear explanation frustrating, an eyeball look at the Colorado data would suggest that since 2002, this new interpretation of the Envirosat data is actually much closer then it was before the adjustments.
Terry

Malcolm Miller

I just love the expression “reprocessed data”!!! The perfect solution when the measurements or data don’t fit the theory! No doubt ‘Reprocessing Data 101″ will be included in future graduate courses.

Mike

Perhaps there is a travesty in there somewhere. It might be worth a PHD to find it.

kramer

I’ve read a number of articles that attributed the drop in ocean levels to heavy rains. So does this still hold?
And if Envisat data doesn’t agree with NASA’s data, I wonder if NASA is going to ‘tamper’ with their ocean level data so it somewhat matches Envisat?

John from CA

This is really bad if true, did they also adjust (muck about with) the tidal gauge data? 1981 2009 sea level readings for the 3 gauges Suyts was looking at showed a drop in sea level until additional data was added 1.5 years after the fact.
http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/canadian-west-coast-tidal-gauge-measurements/
This says it all:
http://youtu.be/pzHdxhpDq6A

Kitefreak

Makes me think of the movie Space Cowboys…
—————————————————————–
Made me think of the Steve Miller version
“Same old story with a new set of words” (really).

Even if there was some kind of drift in the readings it is hard to see how this could introduce any kind of significant error. Weren’t the constantly calibrating sea levels to their measured land elevations? What else would they be calibrating to? And if they were calibrating to the land then any drift would be compensated for in real time, whether it came from orbital decay or from sensor drift.
What am I missing? This kind of major reanalysis would seem to be well outside the bounds of any reasonable adjustment unless they are saying that they had their whole calculational scheme was way off from the beginning. I see no way that it could be a legitimate compensation for any kind of decay. It would have to be a decay that affected measurements over the sea but not the land. Is that even possible?

AnonyMoose

Robert says:
April 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm
The name says it all…

Are you calling the sea level data “Bob”?

onlyme

Pardon me, but why is my comment still awaiting moderation after so long a time, nearly an hour?
“onlyme says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
April 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/11/bering_sea_ice_cover/
‘The amount of floating ice in the Arctic’s Bering Sea – which had long been expected to retreat disastrously by climate-Cassandra organisations such as Greenpeace – reached all-time record high levels last month, according to US researchers monitoring the area using satellites.
The US National Snow and Ice Data Center announced last week that ice extent in the Bering for the month of March has now been collated and compared, and is the highest seen since records began.

The NSIDC boffins add, however that overall the Arctic ice – while up on recent years – is below the average seen since records began in 1979. In fact, according to the Cryosphere Today website run by the Polar Research group at Illinois uni, it’s down by 443,000 square km. However the sea ice around the Antarctic coasts is above average by 452,000 km2, so overall the planet’s sea ice is at the moment slightly above average in extent – and in the Bering Sea, the walruses, seals and polar bears can quite literally chill out in comfort. ®’ ”
Have i violated a policy or something?
[REPLY – Sounds like a clear case of violating the policy of only posting when a moderator is checking. ~ Evan]
[Reply #2: Your comment has now been posted twice. Sometimes WordPress will assign a comment to the Spam folder if it even has one link. We don’t check the Spam folder nearly as often as we approve comments. ~dbs, mod.]

John Robertson

Going to archive.org shows someminor changes in the way they read the slope. In 2008 they started the list at 1997 at about 2cm, the current one starts at zero. The slope is much the same at 3.052 vs 3.17. I don’t have time to look further, but if anyone is interested here is the link

onlyme

Sorry, never mind, evidently a wordpress/opera/operator error glitch. I had to ctrl/f5 refresh to see the comment posted.

I had posted on the lack of updates to the satellites just 4 days prior to Steve showing the “new” data. If you want to see a before and after go here….. http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/sea-level-rises-to-new-lows/
I didn’t overlay it like Steve did, but sometimes its easier to see. The ones I generated didn’t have any of the idiotic corrections in there including the seasonal adjustment so the sine waves are easier to see.
Anthony, you’re more than welcome if you wish to use them as well.
@ TomRude
Yes, it is an intriging read. They are clearly obsessed with coming in line with Jason I , after they adjusted Jason. We also see Jason 2 has been quiet since Jan 25 and had it already shows some incredulous trending.
@ John from CA…….
Yes, I still have all of the original data sets I downloaded from PSMSL on two separate PCs. I went back and check both.
Like Anthony, I usually attribute stuff like this to incompetence….. but this is too much. I think Steve is correct. This is done in preparation to the IPCC 5.

Taphonomic

Let us hoist a toast to dear, departed Tuvalu. With all of this sea-level rise over the past few days, they have to be underwater now.

LazyTeenager

This manipulation, which has no other name,
——–
It does have another name. It’s called a correction.

LazyTeenager

Now imagine why they were not there in the older graphs, and how being there would create a trend probably very near to ZERO!
———-
Ahh. Well that’s the result we want do it must be the truth.

LazyTeenager says:
April 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm:
“It’s called a correction.”
Then explain why all corrections, whether sea level, temperature history, or current temperatures, seem to go in the most alarming direction.

Kitefreak

LazyTeenager says:
April 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm
This manipulation, which has no other name,
——–
It does have another name. It’s called a correction.
—————————————————————————-
Who is authorised to make corrections?