NASA's James Hansen's big cherry pick

From NASA:  Research Links Extreme Summer Heat Events to Global Warming

A new statistical analysis by NASA scientists has found that Earth’s land areas have become much more likely to experience an extreme summer heat wave than they were in the middle of the 20th century. The research was published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Earth’s Northern Hemisphere over the past 30 years has seen more “hot” (orange), “very hot” (red) and “extremely hot” (brown) summers, compared to a base period defined in this study from 1951 to 1980. This visualization shows how the area experiencing “extremely hot” summers grows from nearly nonexistent during the base period to cover 12 percent of land in the Northern Hemisphere by 2011. Watch for the 2010 heat waves in Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico, or the 2011 heat waves the Middle East, Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

› Download hi-res visualization

Anthony comments on the  NASA animation by Dr. James Hansen of surface temperature trends from 1955-1999:  

There are many issues with this presentation. It seems to be a big Cherry Picking exercise.

1. Note all of the missing southern hemisphere data.  There are operating weather stations during his time, but they are excluded from the analysis. Why?

2. The period chosen, 1955-1999 (in the bell curve animation) leaves out the warmer 1930’s and the cooler 2000’s. Why?

3. The period from 2000-present has no statistically significant warming. Leaving that period out (of the bell curve animation) biases the presentation.

4. The period chosen exhibits significant postwar growth, urbanization is not considered.

5. As for severe weather, Hansen ignores the fact that neither tornadoes nor hurricanes have shown any increase recently. Only smaller tornadoes show an increase, due to reporting bias thanks to easily affordable and accessible technology.  NOAA’s SPC  reports that July 2012 seems to be at a record low for tornadoes.

6. My latest results in Watts et al 2012 suggest surface station data may be biased warmer over the last 30 years.

The statistics show that the recent bouts of extremely warm summers, including the intense heat wave afflicting the U.S. Midwest this year, very likely are the consequence of global warming, according to lead author James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

“This summer people are seeing extreme heat and agricultural impacts,” Hansen says. “We’re asserting that this is causally connected to global warming, and in this paper we present the scientific evidence for that.”

Hansen and colleagues analyzed mean summer temperatures since 1951 and showed that the odds have increased in recent decades for what they define as “hot,” “very hot” and “extremely hot” summers.

The researchers detailed how “extremely hot” summers are becoming far more routine. “Extremely hot” is defined as a mean summer temperature experienced by less than one percent of Earth’s land area between 1951 and 1980, the base period for this study. But since 2006, about 10 percent of land area across the Northern Hemisphere has experienced these temperatures each summer.

James Hansen and colleagues use the bell curve to show the growing frequency of extreme summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere, compared to the 1951 to 1980 base period. The mean temperature for the base period is centered at the top of the green curve, while hotter than normal temperatures (red) are plotted to theright and colder than normal (blue) to the left. By 1981, the curve begins to shift noticeably to the right, showing how hotter summers are the new normal. The curve also widens, due to more frequent hot events. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

› Download hi-res visualization

Comments from Anthony:

This bell curve proves nothing, as it has the same problems with data as the surface temperature visualization above: cherry picking period, missing data, and contradictory severe weather statistics. This is nothing but a political ploy from a man who has abandoned any pretext of professionally  done science in favor of activism. However, in spite of this, it will be used as “proof” by non-thinking individuals like Bill McKibben to promote a political end. Prepare for a barrage of such stories trying to link any observed weather aberration to climate. They’ll use the same level of fact checking like we saw with the melting street lamps last week.

In 1988, Hansen first asserted that global warming would reach a point in the coming decades when the connection to extreme events would become more apparent. While some warming should coincide with a noticeable boost in extreme events, the natural variability in climate and weather can be so large as to disguise the trend.

To distinguish the trend from natural variability, Hansen and colleagues turned to statistics. In this study, the GISS team including Makiko Sato and Reto Ruedy did not focus on the causes of temperature change. Instead the researchers analyzed surface temperature data to establish the growing frequency of extreme heat events in the past 30 years, a period in which the temperature data show an overall warming trend.

NASA climatologists have long collected data on global temperature anomalies, which describe how much warming or cooling regions of the world have experienced when compared with the 1951 to 1980 base period. In this study, the researchers employ a bell curve to illustrate how those anomalies are changing.

A bell curve is a tool frequently used by statisticians and society. School teachers who grade “on the curve” use a bell curve to designate the mean score as a C, the top of the bell. The curve falls off equally to both sides, showing that fewer students receive B and D grades and even fewer receive A and F grades.

Hansen and colleagues found that a bell curve was a good fit to summertime temperature anomalies for the base period of relatively stable climate from 1951 to 1980. Mean temperature is centered at the top of the bell curve. Decreasing in frequency to the left of center are “cold,” “very cold” and “extremely cold” events. Decreasing in frequency to the right of center are “hot,” “very hot” and “extremely hot” events.

Plotting bell curves for the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, the team noticed the entire curve shifted to the right, meaning that more hot events are the new normal. The curve also flattened and widened, indicating a wider range of variability. Specifically, an average of 75 percent of land area across Earth experienced summers in the “hot” category during the past decade, compared to only 33 percent during the 1951 to 1980 base period. Widening of the curve also led to the designation of the new category of outlier events labeled “extremely hot,” which were almost nonexistent in the base period.

Hansen says this summer is shaping up to fall into the new extreme category. “Such anomalies were infrequent in the climate prior to the warming of the past 30 years, so statistics let us say with a high degree of confidence that we would not have had such an extreme anomaly this summer in the absence of global warming,” he says.

Other regions around the world also have felt the heat of global warming, according to the study. Global maps of temperature anomalies show that heat waves in Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico in 2011, and in the Middle East, Western Asia and Eastern Europe in 2010 fall into the new “extremely hot” category.

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oldseadog

This was covered at length today in The (Glasgow) Herald.
I wonder if tomorrow they will cover the paper from Edinburgh about expensive wind energy.
I’m not holding my breath.

Jim

Yeah, not hard to find a change when you compare recent years to the three coldest decades on record! I wonder if the Doctor’s results would be the same, if he included the 30s, 40s, and 50s?!?

What was the source of Hansen’s temperature data?
I don’t see it mentioned anywhere.
GISS, fully adjusted (and readjusted, and readjusted)?

Jim

I notice he also conveniently left out South America and Australia, where they’ve been having record cold temperatures.

Duncan B (UK)

I used to like cherries.
Duncan B (UK)

You know, there have been a spate of papers to prove the warming alarm via statistics.
It’s time to use the same technique to show that GISS and CRU adjustments are also far from what can be expected by normal, random, unbiased forces and thus their warming signal is conclusively “man-made”.

If it doesn’t fit, you must omit…
apologies to Johnny Cochrane.

David Ball

Waiting for James’ reply,……cue Jeopardy music. Great article Anthony. So sick of their “selective science”. How will Hansen be viewed by his peers in the future? Perhaps as one of the men who derailed science for political machinations (the cause).

“James E. Hansen: “When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.”
If global temperatures are increasing over a time interval, it is out of the methods of science to predict global temperatures for the future without the knowledge of the physical mechanism of increasing or decreasing global temperatures. Each disregard of this limit of physics is not a method of science and/or a fallacious argument, which includes in the case of an authority the fallacy Argumentum ad verecundiam (Appeal to authority). ‘The Appeal to Authority uses admiration of a famous person to try and win support for an assertion.’.
Independent from this argument it needs not much logic to conclude that with increased global temperatures the processes driven by a higher heat must change in its effects. It seems to be intelligent to take the consequences in the adaptability as humans ever have done.
A further disregard of the methods of science is to take the old fashion dept phantom, people have controlled by kings, religions, and governments for many millennia, and mix it into a prediction of an authority, without any valid scientific argument.
http://www.volker-doormann.org/images/agw_poll.jpg
In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.
To understand the nature of global temperatures it is necessary and possible to analyse the reconstructed and measured temperatures for the time interval of about 1 million years or for the time interval of about 10 ky to present. This is inalienable because a supposed linear increased temperature of 6 decades can be a phase of a oscillating function of centuries or millennia. From this it is not possible to extrapolate time interval of temperature into the future.
This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened.
No Sir. You do say two times a word on prediction and future.
Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change.
No Sir. Your analysis shows simple that you think there is an connection between high global temperatures and effects from that level. But that is not a new recognition. That’s what wrong is, that your analyse shell show that ‘global warming will increase’ something, because this suggests a knowledge about the future, but this is not analysed.
our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.
That is not the point in climate science. The point in climate science is to explain the cause for the analysable global temperature periods from many kiloyears to month. Periods which are well known since Bond have analysed the frequencies after Fourier’s method with an example of about 1 period per 1800 years. But it seems that there are 2 periods in 1800 years, and the temperature reconstruction from Zorita et al. fit with Bond’s data. There are 13 increasing temperature phases over 11.000 years but as you can see, there are also phases of decreasing temperatures after high global temperature levels
:
http://www.volker-doormann.org/images/bond_vs_zorita2.gif
This may show that an analysis of your chosen time interval of 6 decades with an increasing phase is not useful to make predictions to the future. You cannot rule out from the scientific point of view that the natural period of 1800 years, or better 900 years, occurs in a new decreasing phase of the global temperature.
To whom it may concern, analysed solar tides can be simulated from 3000 BC until 3000 CE. The pattern of some solar tide functions indicate, it fits with Bond et al. and Zorita et al. and lower temperatures in the next decades to 2040 CE..
http://www.volker-doormann.org/images/bond_vs_zorita3.gif
V.

Andreas

I’m a bit jealous of you over in North America with your excellent summer, over here in Scandinavia it’s the coldest and wettest summer in many many years. There is also a very interesting phenomenon occurring this year in that the northern parts of Scandinavia and areas 1000m above sea level will miss this summer completely, in meteorological terms that is (temperatures of more than 10 degrees C for more then five days).

perlcat99

[joke]I have an idea for where all this excess heat is coming from. It comes from Trofim Lysenko spinning in his grave at 3600 RPM at an abuse of science that makes his life’s work look trivial by comparison.[/joke]

DocMartyn

As anyone examined the barometric pressure record over the same time period?
This huge shift in temperature, if true, must also include an air pressure component.

JohnnyBoy

[Snip. Read the site Policy. ~dbs, mod.]

Pat Frank

Jim Hansen is assuming that 1951-1980 defines the full range of natural climate variability. That’s the same mistaken assumption he used in 1988 to assert his 99% certainty that human-caused global warming was already apparent.
Statistics can only tell one whether one set of numbers is like another, or not. It can’t say anything about whether some weather vagaries during historical period are within natural climate variability or not. That distinction takes a viable physical theory of climate. That theory does not exist.
Jim Hansen’s analysis and conclusion are entirely pseudoscience. I’m not surprised it was published in Ralph Ciccerone’s PNAS.

John Doe

I suppose one of his great many cherry picks must be the largest. That’s like trying to pick out the largest elephant in Africa though. There’s a lot of them and they’re all big.

Anything is possible

“It’s “science” Jim. but not as we know it”

For this kind of exercise to make sense either 1) The set of stations whose data they are looking at needs to be constant throughout the entire analysis period; or 2) The set of observations in each years needs to be an independent random sample out of all possible locations. I am pretty sure (1) is not true. I am also pretty sure (2) CANNOT be true (see )
As such, this pretty animation cannot show anything other than the fact that the distribution of temperatures at the stations whose data continue to make it into the data set shifted right.

TonyG

Guess I got you the story too late? I thought I’d finally scooped you on something 🙁

Ian of Fremantle Australia

Jim @10.27 am. Hansen did include the 1950s from 1955 on

gator69

This ‘statistical analysis’ reminds me of a Nicholson scene in ‘The Witches of Eastwick’…

Phil Clarke

The period chosen, 1955-1999 leaves out the warmer 1930’s and the cooler 2000’s. Why?
The period from 2000-present has no statistically significant warming. Leaving that period out biases the presentation.

Well, it might help if you actually watched the animation. It shows 1955, 1965, 1975 and then 1985-2011. The 1930s were warmer in the US, not the whole NH, and the 2000’s were by no stretch of the imagination ‘cooler’.
4. The period chosen exhibits significant postwar growth, urbanization is not considered.
No factors are ‘considered’ this is just a map of recorded temperatures. However according to Richard Muller “I think the conclusion that urban heat islands contribute essentially zero to the warming we see is on very solid ground.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/aug/03/scepticism-climate-study-richard-muller

Logically there would be a similar reduction in extremely cold winters. Is there any mention of this in Hansen’s paper?
Or is that a silly question?

David Ball

JohnnyBoy says:
August 6, 2012 at 10:55 am
Typical warmist. Complete opposite of the truth. I have seen only exponential growth in skeptic numbers. The delusion of the warmists is what is growing.

Gary Pearse

Hi Anthony. It is clear to me that your up-coming paper has been increasing the angst among the despairing CAGW moven mavens.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=moven

gator69

JohnnyBoy says:
“Anthony seems to react without thinking, no substance at all in his complaints. The “global warming denial church” is falling apart and the debate will soon be over.”
You forgot the sarc tag…

Jim

JohnnyBoy says:
August 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

Anthony seems to react without thinking, no substance at all in his complaints. The “global warming denial church” is falling apart and the debate will soon be over.

Hahahahahahahahahaha…… please tell me this is a joke. Nobody can be this dense, can they?

sinanunur

In my comment above, I had meant to link to my animation. See also Joanne Nova’s illustration of the main point: Not only is the set of thermometers that make it into the data set not constant over the years, the patterns inspire, shall we say, curiosity.

Owen

The propaganda/lies from the Climate Liars is becoming more outlandish and desperate each day. They’ve given up the pretext of even doing phoney science, now it’s science fiction science. The only reason this scam has gone on as long as it has is the lamestream media is fronting fools like Hansen/NASA. If MSM journailism has an ounce of integerity left, Hansen would be outted as the Kook he is within days, but since the MSM supports Hansen’s political agenda, the climate lies will continue ad nauseum until the next ice age.

Frank K.

Is there a link to the PNAS paper? There doesn’t appear to be anything at the NASA link except the uninformative news blurb…

Jim D

Obviously, he doesn’t leave out the 2000’s (Watts’ points 2 and 3 are not correct). The whole point is that the 2003 Europe, 2010 Russia and 2011 Texas show up well in this animation. Why would he leave those out when they make his main point for him? Read the captions.

Phil Clarke,
Please. Enough with the BEST nonsense.
And Hansen is continually making alarmist “adjustments” to the temperature record. Could Hansen/GISS be less honest?
click1
click2
click3
click4
click5
click6
click7

Kelvin Vaughan

That’s strange, I don’t remember any hot summers in the UK recently. 1976 was a good year and 2003 wasn’t bad.

JJ

Just another example of the Warm = Warming = Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming non-sequitur.
It is all we’ll get from them, because that is all they’ve got, because it isn’t warming and they know it.
They have a limited amount of time to try to get their political lock in place, before the lack of warming vs their models becomes untenable to the majority of scientists who are not personally invested in their oversold conjecture. They know that too, so expect the frequency and stridency of these opportunistic shenanigens increase.

Rattus Norvegicus

Anthony, if you read the paper you wouldn’t look like such a fool.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/07/30/1205276109.full.pdf

REPLY:
Well John Sully, if the press release can’t stand on its own, then it needs to be revised. I wonder if the writer of that read the paper, especially since there’s no link to it? That’s what the public sees, that’s what I’m reacting to. And I’m the one who looks like a fool?
See also; http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/08/u-s-surface-temperature-update-for-july-2012-1-11-deg-c/ -A

more soylent green!

Andreas says:
August 6, 2012 at 10:49 am
I’m a bit jealous of you over in North America with your excellent summer, over here in Scandinavia it’s the coldest and wettest summer in many many years. There is also a very interesting phenomenon occurring this year in that the northern parts of Scandinavia and areas 1000m above sea level will miss this summer completely, in meteorological terms that is (temperatures of more than 10 degrees C for more then five days).

Here in the MidWest this summer, we’re having heat like when I lived in Las Vegas. But the worst part is the accompanying drought.
Be careful what you wish for.

Both satellite temperature and sea surface temperature summer anomalies have increased while winter anomalies have decreased. The effect is large, more than half the warming in recent decades.
This is the opposite of what greenhouse gas warming predicts. It’s almost certainly due to decreased clouds/aerosols.
Hansen’s ‘global warming’ isn’t from greenhouse gases. He’s lying by omission.

Man Bearpig

Didn’t Hansen have some input on this paper back in the 70’s ?
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/173/3992/138.short
”Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. .. S. I. Rasool, S. H. Schneider

So it cant be Carbon Dioxide causing Hansen’s warming. If the logarithmic effects of CO2 are correct, (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/) then the rate of warming ass described in this new paper can not be CO2 and would have to be some other natural phenomena.

Cute, Jimmy. Take a well-known 66-year cycle, and look only at the latter half of the cycle. While you’re at it, why don’t you model a typical day by starting at noon and ending at midnight. You’ll conclude that it’s GETTING DARKER AND DARKER AND DARKER!!!!! WE’LL NEVER HAVE LIGHT AGAIN! IT’S ALL OUR FAULT! WE MUST ALL DIE!
I’ve decided that the only solution is to apply the same principle to funding. Extrapolate from a part to the whole. Climate science is crazy, therefore all science is crazy. Therefore we should stop funding ALL SCIENCE, including medical research.
That’s the only way we’ll get the honest scientists (if there are any, which I’m no longer sure about) to disown the climate criminals.

stumpy

They also assume that any trend in heat waves / extreme weather etc… is directly caused by co2 levels but provide no physical mechanism for this and exclude/ignore hundreds of other potential factors. Even is droughts were getting more frequent, it could be due another cuase, for example changes in ocean currents etc… cherry picked and extremely week, the AGW crowd will jump straight onto this, its their kind of science i.e. it reafirms their beliefs like a christian who finds a piece of wood in the desert confirming Noah was there

DaveG

Using Hanson scientific methods, calculations, cherry picking and models. NASA would never have landed on the moon or accomplished a brilliant Mars landing last night. Hanson and his warmist cabal are a disgrace to real world scientist’s and engineers. Witchcraft/voodoo so called climate experts does not come close to real world scientific professionals, they have to achieve workable and provable results or they are sent to the back or the bus.
Congratulations to the real NASA!
Now please fire Hanson so he can get a job a Greenpeace, stopping the Coal death trains -LOL

AnonyMoose

When you compare cold periods to warm periods, warm periods are warmer! It’s Science!
… particularly easy when you first adjust the temperature records.
Harder to do is the implication that an entity is the cause of the change. Is that science or religion?

It hasn’t been hot in England, at least not in July when I was there, and in the week that I’ve been home, according to my daughter who lives there.
And here it’s just a normal August so far. I say my anecdotal evidence trumps theirs. 🙂

Micky Mac

Have a look at the Geoengineering map here, I see no mention of possible manipulation in any of the topics above, perhaps we should also consider this as a factor in any figures.
http://www.etcgroup.org/content/world-geoengineering

MHG

Winter lows won’t count again of course.

JamesS

Back in my days in the creationist wars, I used to see probability arguments like this:

It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.

used as proof that God HAD to have created life on Earth.
Now I don’t mean to get that particular kerfuffle started in here; however I find it highly significant that climate science has reached the point of using probability as evidence.

In the paper, they say

One of the observational records employed in the GISS analysis is the
Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) data set for surface air temperature
at meteorological stations, which is maintained by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data
Center (NCDC). We use version 2 (GHCNv2) of this data record …

I am pretty sure the selective disappearance of thermometers from this data set has something to do with their results. Also, I don’t have time to check this right now, but it would be interesting to see if that thermometer a short distance away from Hansen’s office started reporting measurements again.

DEEBEE

Wonder if a similar analysis of the early 1900 warming would show or not the same “bell” movie. From the looks of GISS’ manipulated data seems lkely.

Jim

JamesS says:
August 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Back in my days in the creationist wars, I used to see probability arguments like this:
It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.
used as proof that God HAD to have created life on Earth.
Now I don’t mean to get that particular kerfuffle started in here; however I find it highly significant that climate science has reached the point of using probability as evidence.

Yep… a sure sign the warmists are getting increasingly desperate.

ChE

It was cooler in 1951-1980? Really, Jimbo?

Laurence Crossen

He’ll go down in history with Blondlot and his N-Rays… one of the greatest pseudoscientists in history.