Sabine's excuse for using modeled data over real data? – 'earlier data is not of "sufficient quality."'

WUWT reader Peter Gadiel writes:

After reading of the critique of Sabine’s exclusion of the historical data on ocean acidification I emailed him. I thought his response might be of interest to you at WUWT. He says the earlier data is not of “sufficient quality.”

My question to him:

As a taxpayer who is helping to pay your salary I’d like to know why you are refusing to include all the data on ocean acidification that is available.

Sabine’s response:

Chris Sabine – NOAA Federal

12:31 AM (11 hours ago)

As a public servant that must stick to the rigor of the scientific method and only present data that is of sufficient quality to address the question, I am obliged to report the best evaluation of ocean chemistry changes available. This is what you pay me to do and I am working very hard to give you the best value for your tax dollar every day. I hope you are having a good holiday season.


The question that immediately comes to mind is:

Who determined that the directly measured ocean pH data was not of “sufficient quality” and if it wasn’t, why then did NOAA make the data available on their website as part of other ocean data in their World Ocean Database without a caveat?

My search on NOAA’s NODC database for ocean pH data showed plenty of data and no caveats on use:

NOAA-pH

NOAA-world-pH-map

So was Sabine’s decision arbitrary and without basis in fact? Inquiring minds want to know.

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380 thoughts on “Sabine's excuse for using modeled data over real data? – 'earlier data is not of "sufficient quality."'

    • As a public servant that must stick to the rigor of the scientific method and only present data that is of sufficient quality to address the question, I am obliged to report the best evaluation of ocean chemistry changes available.
      =============
      Nowhere does the scientific method require that a scientists “only present data that is of sufficient quality to address the question”. Quite the opposite. The scientific method requires that you present all the evidence.
      Imagine that someone was on trial for murder, and the jury was only presented some of the evidence. A low quality fingerprint on the murder weapon was omitted from the evidence. A fingerprint that told a different story than was told the jury.
      When data is deliberately omitted, that must be noted in the report. When data is of poor quality, you add error bars to the results. You cannot make a scientific report more accurate by excluding data.
      If the data is of poor quality, then stating this on the report tells us that more research and investigation is required. Omitting this from the report gives the false impression that the science is more certain than it is.
      This suggests that Sabine was intending to paint a false picture, that the science on ocean pH is more certain than in fact it really is.

      • Noble cause corruption…he is doing the best job (in propagating the party line) he can.
        ferdberple….It sounds like you know more about science than Sabine does.
        Your quote…
        “When data is deliberately omitted, that must be noted in the report. When data is of poor quality, you add error bars to the results. You cannot make a scientific report more accurate by excluding data.
        If the data is of poor quality, then stating this on the report tells us that more research and investigation is required. Omitting this from the report gives the false impression that the science is more certain than it is.”
        is more in line with a man of great scientific integrity Richard Feynman wrote.
        Searching on WUWT for Feynman produces this quote…
        Richard Feynman idealized the good scientist as someone who displays “a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.”

      • ferdberple:
        This should be interesting because Englebeen has often referred to “millions of pH readings from ships” in making some of his claims regarding ocean pH, while at other times referring to the theorecally derived ocean pH data from Bermuda and Hawaii.

      • @ferdberple, remember that 80 years ago, nobody was smart enough to read a thermometer properly. That’s why GISS has to fix the data. Likewise with glass electrode pH meters.
        I took a look at Michael Wallace’s page www dot abeqas dot com. On the face of it he seems to be a sane, level-headed, industrious and professional hydroclimatologist with no ax to grind either way in the climate debate. If he managed to make sense out of the historical database, a responsible scientist should also have been able to.

      • Ferdberple,
        Do you accuse Keeling of fraud, because he didn’t use any historical CO2 data before Mauna Loa was established with much better measurement methods?
        Do you accuse Dr. Spencer of fraud, because he didn’t use any historical ground based temperature data when he used the more accurate satellite data?
        The pre-1984 pH data from glass electrode measurements are simply worthless to show any trend at all, except if based on calculations and repeated measurements over the same track in the same seasons.

      • The jury is only presented some of the evidence, that is why we have rules of evidence and the lawyers can’t present everything they can think of, they can’t for example present hearsay, or other questionable evidence,or even good evidence acquired by illegal means. In your example if there was disagreement about which set of fingerprints to present to the jury, the lawyers would argue it out in front of the judge and he would decide.

      • Engelbeen
        “Sabine didn’t use any model…”
        Sabine email to Wallace
        “The rest of the curve you are trying to reproduce is from a modeling study that Dr. Feely has already provided and referenced in the publication.”
        Engelbeen
        “Joe, the model used by Sabine and Feely … It is a theoretical model …”
        Apparent inconsistency. There must be something that I am missing.

      • Sabine only showed the pH data from Hawaii from the 1980’s on. These are from direct measurements and calculated data derived from direct measurements. The same “model” can be used (and was used by Feely) to back calculate the theoretical decrease of pH for the observed (ice cores, Mauna Loa) CO2 increase in the atmosphere since humans emitted extra CO2 in the atmosphere.
        Thus while the data after 1984 are based on direct (or calculated) measurements, the curve before 1984 is based on CO2 increases in the atmosphere, not on direct measurements in the oceans, using the same set of calculations.
        The “model” used is based on ocean carbon/buffer chemistry and was established some 80 years ago and used in thousands of calculations. Modern colorimetric pH measurements do confirm the results.

    • Mark, that’s right. He (Peter Gadiel) should not have used the phrase in his email to Sabine. It doesn’t matter how you think of it, or which side of the fence you are on, when the oceans move a TINY bit away from the average pH, it is NOT ‘acidification’ – simply isn’t.

      • Acidification is a reasonable Chemistry term to use to describe lowering the PH of a liquid (in this case the ocean), even if the end result is still alkaline (basic). When mixing acid with a solution to neutralise it, we were always told we were acidifying the solution, even though the final PH was neutral (7) – neither acid nor alkaline.

      • Eric Worrell. You were taught some poor chemistry! When titrating a basic solution with acid you are neutralising a proportion of the basic solution. At no time are you acidifying the solution unless you neutralise all the basic component and move the pH to less than 7. The use of the word scidification is a simple scare term and is scientific nonsensr

      • Whether it’s a scientific term or not is not the point. These career activists calling themselves public servants of science, are deliberately addressing their message at the public gallery, over the heads of the real scientific community (what’s left of it). The word “acidification” in the public’s mind conveys a message of seawater being acidic – pH <7 – and becoming more so. The public servants like Sabine know this. For them it's "job done". The public has been deceived and all with correct "scientific" terminology.

      • Eric, sorry, but as I have pointed out before, it’s just plain bad English. If you have a bucket of salt water, and you add a grain of sugar, have you sweetened it? NO! There is simply no logic to using ‘acidifying’ – I don’t care whether you were told that or not. You should know that not all teachers are very bright. Eric, if you really think you have sweetened that bucket of water, then you need to re-think things. Any anyway, what you describe from your teaching is NOT what is going on when atmospheric CO2 is absorbed into the oceans. The oceans are still alkaline, NOT neutral. Please stop using the term, Eric – it is incorrect.

      • Eric, it doesn’t matter what chemists call it, this is a political and public policy issue, and the term stirs up all kinds of odd imagery for the general public. That’s been the problem in many public policy debates lately. The so-called “experts” hide behind their jargon, the legislators, (many who really aren’t that capable of critical thinking), swoon, and we all get screwed.

      • I understand something acidic will have a positive charge due to an excess of ionised Hyrdogen (Hyrdogen without an electron) and something Alkaline to have a negative charge due to an excess of Hydroxide ions (‘Water’ without a Hydrogen proton and with an extra electron). Therefore [1] the oceans are still negatively charged as there are no excess Hydrogen ions; [2] the oceans are not becoming more acidic because they have to be in that state first. You can’t have more of something that’s not there.
        Why is there a persistence in wanting to describe the chemical characteristics of the Oceans in this way as it seems pedantic and misleading? I can understand that if the Oceans lose their negative charge or have less Hydroxide ions this is a change in the chemistry. But lets talk about it in this way as this would provide a better focus for what is going on and would give us all a fighting chance of conversing clearly and working out whether things are bad and need fixing or not.
        I was forwarded this table which shows not just the pH scale but also the pOH scale.
        https://www.dropbox.com/s/hrfip1928nglts1/500px-PH_%26_pOH_misc.jpg?dl=0

      • Saying “Acidification is a reasonable Chemistry term ” is not acceptable. Acidic/alkaline have specific meanings in chemistry. Conflating going up or down the PH scale with levels of acidity is misleading and dishonest. What is reasonable is to state that in any foreseeable future the oceans have as much chance of becoming acidic as zebras growing wings and getting a comedy sitcom on cable TV. Scientists can knock themselves out calling oceans less alkaline if they so choose, too bad if they get less media coverage for being honest.

      • Eric,
        I believe this is incorrect. If I have an alkaline solution and add acid but not enough to make the Ph neutral or acidic, then I have not ‘acidified’ the solution, I have made it less alkaline, but it is still alkaline. Saying that I have ‘acidified’ the solution could also be described as making the solution ‘more neutral’ as well and that would be just as misleading and inexact as saying I had ‘acidified’ the solution. Saying either implies that you have made the solution either acidic or neutral, neither of which is an accurate description.

      • Eric Worrell needs some basic instruction in vocabulary and word meaning. “Acidify” means to make acid. If you change the pH of a solution from neutral or basic to acid, then you have _acidified_the solution and you can call such a process “acidification”. If you only alter the pH from say, 7.9 to 7.8, that is not “acidification” because the solution remains basic.
        Nor is it “alkalinization” if you alter the pH of a solution from, say, 6.2 to 6.3, because the solution remains acid.
        There are many in science, and some of them teach, who use incorrect terminology. Those who have had incorrect instruction can remedy that simply by correcting themselves.

      • It is sometimes useful to remind persons in public employ that they are accountable to the taxpayer.
        There are many in public employ that need such a reminder, and indeed, some would dispute such a principle.
        Someone like Sabine, who falsifies data, deserves the worst. Why kiss his ass?
        Let me reiterate that I consider Sabine’s methods a type of fabrication. Referring to a “model” is simply a means of covering up the fabrication. Someone like Mosher would swallow such an explanation. Not me.

      • Eric if you have any guts you will prove your assertion by providing many examples of the term acidification used in context of lowering the PH of a solution towards 7 when not talking about “ocean acidification”
        Good luck.

      • If I add NaHCO3 to a solution with a pH of 5, am I making it more basic or less acidic? (Several commenters use “PH” which is incorrect.)

      • Adding some acid to a basic solution doesn’t neutralize the solution if the pH remains above 7.
        That is a corollary of the contention that “acidify” can only mean “render acidic”.
        Of course, the specter of catastrophe is evoked with the term “acidification” but the same is true of “warming” and “heating”. 15C is not warm or hot but it’s not cold, either.
        IMO it’s a shame that every thread on ocean pH unravels into this trivial cavil.

      • Stephen Skinner
        The ocean is not electrically charged, whether acidic or alkaline. All ions in solution have a counter-balancing ion..

      • I agreed with Eric Worrall, and was about to weigh in, but first of course I needed to check. Cambridge dictionary – no entry. Merriam-Webster – 1. To make acid. 2. To convert into an acid. So although Eric Worrall may well be correct in a strictly scientific context, in this ‘general public’ context the term “acidification” is incorrect.

      • Gadiel was exactly right since he was certainly referring directly to the 13 references to “ocean acidification” in the Feely paper. The antecedent was established and he was correct in referencing it in his email. There are more important nits to pick than this one.

      • Katio1505 December 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm
        Stephen Skinner
        “The ocean is not electrically charged, whether acidic or alkaline. All ions in solution have a counter-balancing ion.”
        That sounds like neutral?

      • Though this entire discussion of the use of the term “acidification” is really picking at flyshit, let me add a small spec: Dictionary Quote
        a·cid·i·fy
         (ə-sĭd′ə-fī′)
        tr. & intr.v. a·cid·i·fied, a·cid·i·fy·ing, a·cid·i·fies
        To make or become acid.
        a·cid′i·fi′a·ble adj.
        a·cid′i·fi·ca′tion (-fĭ-kā′shən) n.
        a·cid′i·fi′er n.
        Noun
        acidification – the process of becoming acid or being converted into an acid

      • Thus, the correct name for adding acid to base is “neutralization”, not acidification, so long as the final result is not acidic.
        CO2 is neutralizing the oceans.

      • Agreed. If I add enough acid to a pH 8.0 solution to reduce it to a pH of 7.0, is the resulting solution acidified?

      • This rhetorical situation is ripe for a “Man on the Street” question:
        “Efforts to fight Climate Change should result in
        a) Acidizing the World’s Oceans
        b) Neutralizing the Worlds Oceans
        c) Alkalizing the Worlds Oceans.”
        Everyone reading here knows that a) and b) are essentially the same under present circumstances. But the Man on the Street answer will be hands down “Neutralizing”.
        Acidizing or Acidification are terms not as scientifically accurate and Neutralizing, but are much better marketing terms.

      • If describing the ocean as becoming more acidic is the proper term to use and is not misleading then it should also be proper to describe the oceans as becoming less caustic.

    • pH values above 7 are commonly referred to as “basic” (or “alkaline”).
      These common terms engender confusion, because a pH value does not directly reflect a quantitative measure of the concentration of bases in the solution, nor do high pH values constitute a measure of alkalinity. What is expressed by pH values >7 is still the acidity of a solution, it’s just that the acidity (H+ concentration) is very, very low (less than 10-7 (or 0.0000001) moles per liter, to be specific). To determine the alkalinity of a solution (which is related to the concentration of bases), a separate, detailed laboratory analysis must be run on the solution, so it is incorrect to characterize the change in hydrogen ion concentration as a decrease in alkalinity.
      Calling this phenomenon “ocean acidification” when surface seawater will remain “basic” under future emissions scenarios is alarmist

      http://pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/A+primer+on+pH

      • I think you misinterpreted that NOAA bit. They are posing a question then answering it. In reality they allege it is acidifying the ocean (I disagree), and as it is NOAA you should have been more careful. From the link you provided.
        ***************************************************************************
        Calling this phenomenon “ocean acidification” when surface seawater will remain “basic” under future emissions scenarios is alarmist
        Just as we describe an increase in temperature from -40°F to -20°F as warming, even though neither the starting nor the ending temperature is “warm,” the term “acidification” describes a direction of change (i.e. increase) in the level of acidity in the global oceans, not an absolute end point. When CO2 is added to seawater, it reacts with water to form carbonic acid (H2CO3); [b]hence acid is being added to seawater, thereby acidifying it[/b]. Similarly, in the example about human blood, a drop in pH is referred to as acidosis, even though the point where acidemia begins (7.35) is still above 7.”

  1. Why be provocative? If I were a public servant nothing could get my back up faster than a missive opening with “As a taxpayer who is helping pay your salary….” Forget government employees, how would someone in a private industry respond to “As a customer who helps pay your salary….” be taken? I’d give you the most sarcastic reply I could get away with.
    What’s wrong with a polite request denoting interest in the topic and asking for clarification? A simple “What was wrong with the older data? Help me to understand.”

    • how would someone in a private industry respond

      UK/US: “The customer is always right”.
      France: “le client n’a jamais tort” – the customer is never wrong.
      Germany: “der Kunde ist König” – the customer is King.
      In private industry it is recognised that without customers you do not have a job so you always reply to the customer with politeness and respect and to the best of your ability no matter what your personal feeling are.
      Purely as a matter of interest, do you work in the public or private sector and do you interact with customers?

      • If the employer was in the process of auditing and had found suspect paperwork which the employee had clearly tried to hide from the auditor, then the employer would be quite justified in asking a rather pointed question. The response would be considered telling – as it might be here.
        If I was auditing (I am a quality auditor among other things) I would expect a better answer than this, or indeed than any of the answers given through this whole scandal. I would expect at least a brief explanation of the basis on which the determination had been made in the quality of the data.

      • Yes indeed. The old adage ”the customer is always right” is a bit dated now. Respect is a two way thing.
        All that aside, Sabine’s response is very unconvincing. It’s more of the ” lets make this up as we go” coz, we haven’t got a clue really.
        Eamon.

      • Wasn’t it Sabine who told Wallace he would not last long in his career in response to Wallace asking him for the data not the modeling output?

      • This is no way for an employer to address an employee.

        Anthony is not Sabine’s employer. He can not direct how Sabine works or either reward or punish him for the work he does.
        Your criticism doesn’t apply to this situation.

    • The simple answer is “To provoke a reply”. The difference is that you, at least, would be calculating the waspishness that you could survive careerwise. I suspect that there are enough hostages to fortune in the reply for Mr Sabine to come to regret them at some point.
      ‘Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.’

    • The customer is always right. Is how private industry would respond.
      “The taxpayer is always right” is not exactly the motto of public servants.

      • That is because the salary of the public servant is not tied to the fiscal success of the government department for which they work. And as anyone who has owned a business knows, if you don’t keep customers satisfied, you won’t have any customers.

      • In private industry the customer has a choice, they can always shop elsewhere. In public service, even if you vote out the politicians, the bureaucrats remain the same.
        That is why it is so dangerous to allow monopolies to provide services to the public. The public cannot vote with their feet, no matter how inefficient and corrupt the monopoly becomes, until the system finally collapses and must be rebuilt from the ground up at great expense to the public.

      • “The customer is always right. Is how private industry would respond.”
        No, this is not true, private industry does things all the time that upset their customers.Take a simple example, where a software company stops providing support for an old product, such as Microsoft did when they dropped support for Windows XP. Lots of customers were not happy with this, Microsoft still went ahead.

    • “I’d give you the most sarcastic reply I could get away with.” I am guessing you don’t own a business or at least not a business in a competitive environment. There are always bad customers, unreasonable, irrational or a bottomless well of unhappiness whose business is worth sacrificing, in the most polite manner as possible. Bad word of mouth is bad for business, even if it is coming from a jerk.
      However that is not the case here, he works for the public, he does not get to chooses his customers. Reasonable requests were made of Sabine and his response failed to shed any light on the question asked. I cannot read Sabine’s mind and so don’t know if his response, “proving best value per tax dollar…” was genuine or mocking, however I do know this and other actions show stonewalling and a “because I said so” type of mentality.

    • JohnB,
      I don’t think that’s really a fair analogy.
      The analogy SHOULD be from management of your company, asking “Since I/we are paying your salary…”
      We directly pay the salary of government employees. We may have little or nothing to do with paying the salary of someone employed by private industry.
      Just my $.02

    • Many replies all speaking to “customer” but this is a case of “client”. Clients are not “right” and that is why a client hires a consultant, the consultant presumably knows what the client does not.
      This creates an obvious problem — how does the client know the consultant is right (correct)? By itself it is impossible; that is why you validate the consultant’s consultation; by second opinions, by doing some self-research. Some industries have certifications by which a client can have more faith in a consultant.
      In this instant the consultant’s consultation appears not to withstand much scrutiny. In science, the customer (the public) is not “right” but no guarantee about the consultant, either.

      • I disagree. We are the customer, not the client. The Federal Government is the client.
        Let’s say someone’s involved in a vehicular accident. The motorist who needs their car repaired is the body shop’s customer. But the insurance company is the body shop’s client. Whoa be the car owners when the body shop is working, not for them, but for the insurance company – shoddy, low cost repair. (In the same manner, whoa be the patient if their doctor is the putting the best interests of the insurance company ahead of that patient.) And that certainly seems to be what’s happening. And, that being the case, the customer (the taxpayer) has every right to vociferously remind the servicer that, in the end, the money originated from the taxpayer (or customer), and not from the client (the Federal Government). Respect the one who ultimately butters the bread, or – and it may take a long time, but – that bread will cease to be buttered.

    • The difference being that tax dollars are taken against the will of the people under the pretext of being of public necessity. A consumer getting services from a private enterprise has a choice to take his business elsewhere. Public servants need to remember that the public is not only their customers but also their employer. Every use of public money should be eagerly supported with transparency and a steadfast desire to demonstrate necessity of purpose.

    • ‘Forget government employees, how would someone in a private industry respond to “As a customer who helps pay your salary….” be taken? I’d give you the most sarcastic reply I could get away with.’
      Where I worked I don’t think I’d like it either if a customer said that to me. But, I can guarantee you, if I gave that customer “the most sarcastic reply I could get away with” I’d be out of a job rather quickly unless I understood that no sarcastic reply was the only reply I could get away with. And, of even greater importance is that the money customers gave our company was freely given, and not forcibly extracted as a tax. And furthermore, the customer always had the free choice to accept or reject our product rather than having that product rammed down their throats and set to generate even greater costs from them down the road.

    • At a social gathering I was arguing with the CEO of a very large listed company. He asked somewhat aggressively “Do you work for me?” and (as the holder of a few shares) I had the great pleasure of replying “No, you work for me”.

      • Amazing how many replies about how the customer is always right and asserting same as an excuse and not one addressed the question in my first sentence. “Why be provocative?” It serves zero purpose except to inform the recipient that you are looking for confirmation of whatever opinion you happen to hold and aren’t interested in a factual answer.
        Sorry, but it’s the old “Do you know who I am?” BS in a new wrapper. It’s not about getting information but simply establishing prominence. “Do you know who I am? I’m the customer and I am always right. Therefore I’m far more important than you are.” Retailers have a name for people like this, “Wankers”. Because no matter what you say or do will appease them.
        So why not ask politely? It makes a world of difference. 😉

  2. What are the required quality standards that have to be met by the data?
    Who defines these standards?
    Are there any at all?
    Or is it just spoofing again?

    • Good point. If data was excluded, as it appears it was, under what standard was it excluded?
      Government employees can’t simply make things up as they go along. If data was excluded there would have to be a regulation covering the exclusion. What is the specific regulation under which it was excluded?

  3. Do you notice that he didn’t point what the question was? You know the answer, but you don’t know the question. Let me present the question: What data can we find in support of the beliefs of the cult (as in cargo cult science)? Now the mystery reveals itself: data is of ‘sufficient quality’ if it supports the beliefs. If it doesn’t, it is not of ‘sufficient quality’. The same goes for models, so now you know how come they know that the model that replaced real data is of ‘sufficient quality’.

  4. I don’t have too much trouble with the claim that the old data is probably patchy and potentially unreliable. That does not, however, excuse making up your own ‘data’ using modelling to replace it.

    • More the point, if you don’t think the measured data is of sufficient quality then you very specifically spell out why and why you will use modelled data instead. Feynman would have torn him and his faux science to shreds.

      • Even if one is tuning your model to present day data (which you consider is of sufficient quality), how do you actually test/validify your model? How do your know that its hindcasting is accurate?
        Surely, to satisfy yourself that the model is working properly within required parameters, it would have to be checked against historical records, patchy as those may be? At the very least, this would give you some insight into error bounds that one should subscribe to the model.

      • I think you know the answer, Richard. And I think that’s why these details were missed from the paper. Undefendable “science”. Sometimes we simply can’t answer scientific questions with the knowledge we have….but that doesn’t stop people from doing so.

      • @richard verney,
        The criteria by which Sabines deemed the early data of insufficient quality is lacking in his reply. That being so, I feel free to hypothesize why he discarded the early measured data.
        H0: It didn’t agree with the hindcast of his model.
        I await the data that will falsify that hypothesis.

    • I don’t know how many mails Sabine and Feely have received about the question of the pH drop in the past, anyway I should have made a “standard” answer like this:
      We are looking at a trend of -0.1 pH unit in over hundred of years since the start of the industrial revolution.
      Most measurements before 1985 were done with glass electrodes with an accuracy of +/- 0.1 pH unit.
      If not taken at the same place and over all seasons, any such trend will be invisible in the large noise of seasonal and latitudinal differences. Therefore we use a theoretical model which is confirmed by modern instruments on fixed places since 1985. The pre-1985 theoretical data are by far within the largely spread older measurements.
      All older data are available, but can’t show the real pH trend of the ocean surface layer.

      • Actually, I don’t have much trouble with your response.
        My main problem is, if the older data is too unreliable, then change the title of your paper to reflect what data you actually used. If your data only covers say 1985-2000, you can’t say “20th Century Trends”.
        I think this is the basis for what a lot of people are expressing. Time frame indicated is much longer than what the “real” data represents.

      • Jim, I haven’t found a title like that. On the NOAA web site it is “Carbon dioxide and our ocean legacy” at Quest it is “Ocean Acidification and Marine Life”. They only show the real, measured pH and pCO2 data from 1988 on and the atmospheric CO2 data from Mauna Loa.
        You can back calculate the pH of earlier years, because that is known CO2/buffer chemistry, if you have sufficient data over a sufficient period (which is the case), but they only give some general remarks on that point.

      • Ferd, the measurements prior to 1985 have a much wider swing than that (+/- 0.1), so it makes little difference

      • any such trend will be invisible in the large noise
        =================
        but this is simply incorrect. old style thermometers were at best accurate to 1/2 a degree, yet climate science calculates global mean temperature to an accuracy of at least 1/10 of a degree using statistical techniques.
        you can’t have it both was. What works for temperature must also work for pH. If it doesn’t work for temperature, then just about the entire body of climate science would need to be thrown out.

      • Latitude, the pH swings at Hawaii are +/- 0.5 pH unit, at Bermuda they are double that. That are seasonal variations which more or less level off after a full cycle. The real variability after a full seasonal cycle is around +/- 0.03 pH unit.
        Wallace’s compilation shows a “global” pH change of +/- 0.2 pH units from one year to the next, not even counting the extreme outliers. That simply is impossible. There is no mechanism on earth that can change the average pH of the oceans surface that fast back and forth. It only shows the unreliability of the measurements: either accuracy, time of the year or place of sampling or a mix of all three.
        So, if Wallace reads this: show the variability of the yearly data (and the number of samples for each year)…

      • ferdberple, I have my doubts about the “average” temperature too, but in the case of pH measurements it is much worse:
        The sporadic pH measurements were at different places and different seasons. It is like trying to make a trend from temperatures during a few months in Norway in winter and adding the readings of Rome in summer over a few months, etc…
        It is exactly the same problem as compiling historical CO2 measurements: accuracy, short data period, different places, local contamination,…

      • Ferd, what nonsense are you trying to argue? There’s not 10 measurements that all read 0.1 too high, or 0.1 to low…..it all averages out…..The only thing that Wallace showed is there’s a normal pH swing from about 7.9 to 8.2, centered on about 8.05….
        ….and that Sabine and Feely cherry picked their start date to show a perfectly normal decline…and tried to claim it wasn’t normal
        https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/mwacompilationofglobalocean_phjan82014.jpg

      • Latitude,
        As Wallace hasn’t (yet) shown the variability of all the measurements within the same year (and their distribution in latitude and seasons), you may have 90% measurements in summer at high latitudes and 10% near the equator or reverse. That makes a difference of near 1 pH unit when averaged…
        There is no mechanism on earth that can change the full ocean surface pH with more than 0.01 pH unit per year. Not even (undersea) volcanoes or temperature changes…
        Sabine, Feely and Bates only show direct pH measurements of a few places (Hawaii and Bermuda) over all seasons and several years. These show a real trend in pH, pCO2, DIC,… all consistent with increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

      • Once again, Ferdinand gets it right. The older data are not sufficient to show the very small expected pH trend. The errors in the data are much larger than the change that has occurred.
        The accuracy pf measurements of this type depend on both the accuracy of the instruments and the representativeness of the sampling. Both are much better for temperature than for pH. Since pre-industrial times, the average pH change is calculated to be about 0.1 pH unit, similar to measurement accuracy unless great care is taken in the measurements. The temperature change has been about 0.8 K, much larger than routine instrumental accuracy. Sampling is also an issue since pH, like temperature, varies with time and place. But the temperature has been measured continuously at a very large number of locations for a long time. Such systematic measurements of pH are not available, at least not until recently. The situation for pH is much more like ocean heat content than surface temperature.
        Many people commenting on this site doubt the reliability of the long term temperature trends. There is some justification for that. But the pH data are far less reliable. So why would reasonable skeptics be willing to trust that data?
        Mike M.

      • ..and Sabine etc have not shown that they didn’t cherry pick a start date at an abnormal high….
        and Wallace did

      • it’s better to say they hid the data and committed phraud.
        then when you find the data wasnt hidden, its better to say.
        LOOK they show their data, but dont provide clear enough warnings about not using it.

      • Most measurements before 1985 were done with glass electrodes with an accuracy of +/- 0.1 pH unit.
        If not taken at the same place and over all seasons, any such trend will be invisible in the large noise of seasonal and latitudinal differences. Therefore we use a theoretical model which is confirmed by modern instruments on fixed places since 1985. The pre-1985 theoretical data are by far within the largely spread older measurements.

        The graph presented by Latitude is really interesting. It shows a dramatic decline in pH after 1985. Isn’t that when they started to change the way they measure pH? Hmmm.

      • Latitude:
        ..and Sabine etc. have not shown that they didn’t cherry pick a start date at an abnormal high…
        They didn’t cherry pick, they started the trend when more accurate measurements were established at a few fixed stations with frequent sampling.
        That is like saying that Keeling Sr. “cherry picked” his CO2 data starting in 1958, when the accurate readings at the South Pole and Mauna Loa started…
        Or that Dr. Spencer “cherry picked” his temperature data when the satellites started to measure them (indirectly) in 1979…

      • Fred said: “They only show the real, measured pH and pCO2 data from 1988 on…..”
        Ferd, was the pH higher or lower 50 years before 1988?

      • commieBob,
        Indeed the graph is interesting: Walker’s graph, reproduced by Latitude, shows a trend of near 0.3 pH units in the period 1985-currrent, based on glass electrode pH measurements.
        The theoretical drop in pH by the increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere, confirmed by modern, accurate equipment at a few places on earth over the same period is 0.04 pH units, that is the red line on the same graph…
        Another proof that the compilation by Walker has no value at all for current or historical “global” pH trends…

      • Latitude
        Ferd, was the pH higher or lower 50 years before 1988?
        Highly probable higher. Theoretically sure, but practically impossible to confirm from direct measurements. Maybe calculated pH values (which were anyway more reliable in early days) can confirm the early modeled values, or some non-coastal proxy (coasts are influenced by runoff and upwelling…).

      • Then we agree….all they did was cherry pick a time to show a linear trend between the rise in CO2..and the fall in pH
        …and if you extend that trend backwards you end up with a pH that is higher than the buffer

      • Latitude:
        …and if you extend that trend backwards you end up with a pH that is higher than the buffer
        Have a better look at the graph of Wallace: the reproduce” trend from the theoretical pH from Feely e.a, is not linear, it gets near flat in the past…

      • Ferd, reducing pH with CO2 is not linear or proportional…or anything like Feely’s stupid chart
        Feelys chart just screams his ignorance about buffers and reducing pH with CO2…
        …and the same for anyone that falls for it
        You can not reduce pH until you deplete the buffers…
        …once you deplete all the buffer in solution…the pH crashes
        Bang
        What is showing up on those charts is the high end of ocean pH…..which is driven biologically…and by deep water upwellings
        8.12 is the high end…….

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
        December 26, 2014 at 11:12 am
        You haven’t addressed my observation that a sharp drop in pH happened at the same time that measurement technology was changing. You are, after all, the one who drew my attention to it.

      • Ferdinand – while I’m swayed by most of your arguments, I’m automatically suspicious of any modelled output that is “flat in the past”. The models are unable to replicate past temperatures and can only portray past temperature as having been flat (as in the hockeystick too). Therefore anything else that they portray as flat in the past – such as pH- is equally unreliable.

      • Commiebob.
        There is no sharp decline in pH after 1984, that is only what the compilation of Wallace shows. That still is based on glass electrodes only, not on any new measurement method. I doubt that glass electrodes performed better in the most recent period.
        Anyway the data at fixed places show a steady decline of only 0.04 pH unit over the same period. My impression is that the glass electrode pH data compiled by Wallace comes from different places in different seasons…

      • Mike Jonas, the flat past in this case is simply the reaction of the seawater buffer capacity to any increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. If there is no increase, there is no influence…
        Which doesn’t imply that the there were no changes, as the model only shows the influence of CO2, which is confirmed by direct measurements in the past 30 years.
        On the other side, C chemistry in the oceans is quite predictable: with only two measured items and temperature, one can calculate all other variables…

      • Mike Jonas,
        The model is flat in the past, as the model only takes into account the influence of increased CO2 in the atmosphere on the pH of the ocean surface. In the beginning there was no extra CO2, thus no influence…
        Which doesn’t imply that there weren’t other influences at work. But the model anyway is validated over the past 30 years at several places.
        On the other side, carbon chemistry in the oceans reacts quite straightforward: by measuring only two items (like Total Alkalinity and DIC) plus temperature one can calculate all other items, including pH…

      • But the theoretical model you postulate can’t be verified by current data because that will have been needed to train it – any theoretical model of ocean chemistry will be far too complex to simply set parameters by theory, so parameters WILL have been adjusted to match the available recent data.
        You absolutely, without exception, CANNOT validate a model against the same data as it was trained by. So that only leaves either past (which they say is unreliable) or future (which doesn’t exist) data to validate against.
        Which, eiter way, means that they’re presenting an unvalidated model without (as far as I can see, by reading either the NOAA article or the congressional testimony) giving any indication whatsoever that it’s unvalidated.
        If that’s considered acceptable practice in the AGW world then, honestly, they need to hand back their Doctorates and look for jobs as road sweepers.

      • Ferdinand

        Most measurements before 1985 were done with glass electrodes …
        … we use a theoretical model which is confirmed by modern instruments on fixed places since 1985.

        You seem to say that ‘modern instruments’ were introduced starting in 1985.
        Anyway, here’s a link to a paper that describes the introduction of spectrophotometric instruments starting in the 1980s. The NOAA data set shows a rapid decrease in pH starting at the same time that newer instruments started replacing the older ones.

      • Latitude writes “There’s not 10 measurements that all read 0.1 too high, or 0.1 to low…..it all averages out”
        That’s an assumption that would need to be justified. There seems to be a general assumption for measurements that the errors are symmetrical around a mean. But that entirely depends on the source of the error.

      • “””””…..
        Mike M.
        December 26, 2014 at 9:29 am
        Once again, Ferdinand gets it right. The older data are not sufficient to show the very small expected pH trend. The errors in the data are much larger than the change that has occurred.
        The accuracy pf measurements of this type depend on both the accuracy of the instruments and the representativeness of the sampling. …..”””””
        Mike,
        just what do you mean by “the representativenessof the sampling ?
        Sampling of varying data; regardless of what the independent variable(s) is(are), is a very rigorous discipline of information theory, and the samples that must be taken, are not “representative” of anything.
        The whole of our modern information (data) communication systems, are totally dependent on rigorous compliance with the Nyquist Sampling Theorem.
        You either sample correctly (adequately), or your “samples” represent contaminated false information, and once improperly sampled, the original information is not recoverable by any known process. (from the improper samples).
        As far as I am aware, there is no worldwide system of global temperature sampling, or ocean pH sampling, that comes even close to satisfying the Nyquist criterion. At least in the case of temperature, you have both spatial and temporal sampling requirements, and neither one is Nyquist valid.
        A single core boring sample of a living tree, can’t tell you anything about the tree’s growth conditions history, except for its age.

      • I agree with Lat. You have to exhaust the ocean’s buffering capability before the pH drops at all. I can recall having great difficulty in lowering the pH of a 30 gallon aquarium. I would add some acidic solution, and test the pH and noticed the decrease. A few minutes later it would be right back up where it started. It was simply going back to a stable equilibrium.

      • Joe, the model used by Sabine and Feely is based on well known ocean buffer chemistry, measured in laboratories and confirmed by real world data from better instruments since 1984.
        It is a theoretical model, based on established kinetics between the different forms of carbon in the oceans and other influences like borate ions and total salt content, temperature, etc.

      • commieBob,
        The data provided by Sabine and Feely are exclusively based on the new, accurate instruments since 1984 at fixed places, so that the influence of seasonal changes (temperature, biolife) can be taken into account. That shows a small pH drop of 0.04 pH unit over the past decades.
        The data compilation provided by Wallace is exclusively based on glass electrode measurements with unknown accuracy, taken at unknown places in an unknown time frame. That shows a drop of 0.3 pH units over the same time frame, which is theoretically and physically impossible.
        Rather than accusing Sabine and Feely of “cherry picking”, Wallace should give the metadata of the sampling and the error bars involved…
        About cherry picking: besides glass electrode pH measurements, the pH of seawater can be calculated from other variables which are far easier to measure (total alkalinity, total carbon) and do give more accurate results than direct pH measurements by glass electrodes.

      • Ferdinand, it’s fine to say that it’s a theoretical model that’s “based on well known ocean buffer chemistry” but are you seriously suggesting that model was developed entirely to completion without ANY requirement to alter a SINGLE parameter in order to match current observations?
        Was every single constant, effect and feedback (both chemical and biological) resolved to its final form from first principles, in isolation from observations, before being compared to observations and found to be correct [i]on the first attempt[/i]?
        Because, if not, if a single parameter has been adjusted to matc the model results with reality, then the model has been tuned to the data and that data becomes unacceptable for validation. So, are the theorists [i]really, hand-on-heart,[/i] THAT good?
        Note that only one answer allows you to retain credibility at this point…..

      • Ferdinand:
        Ca+ and Mg+ are not alkalis at all. It is the carbonates, silicates, and phosphates in the ocean that give the buffering capability. And it is huge. Get a tank of seawater and try lowering the pH yourself. Even if you use very strong acids like HCl or H2SO4, you will find it very difficult.

      • Joe, carbon chemistry of the oceans was researched and calculations developed at least 50 years ago and probably much longer before, based on the chemical equilibrium reactions. There were some discussions about the dissociation constants in the early years and there was one mayor problem encountered in the early results: borate ions did interfere with the buffer capacity. After taking that into account, the chemistry was and is fixed and you can find a lot of calculation sites on the Internet where changing two items is sufficient to calculate all the other parameters of the ocean surface.
        So the theoretical calculation was not correct at the first attempt, but with the addition of the borate ions and fine tuning of the resp. dissociation constants with real world data, the carbon chemistry is now fixed for over about 50 years. A good overview is here:
        http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/154468/
        I made a mistake by assuming that the Bermuda station (BATS) used direct pH measurements (Hawaii did use a mix of direct and calculated measurements which give practically the same result). BATS used only calculated pH, based on TA, DIC, salinity and temperature. The standard deviation of the calculated pH was in average 0.02 pH unit. The trend 1984-2012 was about 0.04 pH unit…

      • James McCown
        Of course, you are right about the buffering (too long ago for me!)…
        But you need to make a distinction between the ocean surface (~1000 GtC against ~800 GtC in the atmosphere) and the deep oceans (~38,000 GtC). Any change of CO2 in the atmosphere equilibrates within 1-3 years with the ocean surface at 10% of the change in the atmosphere.

      • “So the theoretical calculation was not correct at the first attempt, but with the addition of the borate ions and fine tuning of the resp. dissociation constants with real world data, the carbon chemistry is now fixed for over about 50 years.”
        —————————————————————————————————-
        But, hang on, this whole sub-thread started with the assertion that the real world data before about 1989 wasn’t reliable. Yet you now say that the models were validated against real world data by the 1960s or so.
        Much as i’ve enjoyed this, in all honesty when the other person starts shuffling thimbles like that it’s time to walk away from the table and let other mugs lose their money!

      • Ferdinand, re “the model anyway is validated over the past 30 years”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t ease my suspicion, because the models were built on a 30-year period and it wasn’t enough. The models now think that the linear trend of those 30 years is going to continue for ever, and nature is right now in the process of demonstrating that they are disastrously wrong.

      • Joe
        But, hang on, this whole sub-thread started with the assertion that the real world data before about 1989 wasn’t reliable.
        The real world data measured by glass electrodes of any time, including current times, as compiled by Wallace, are not reliable. That is the point of discussion. The measurements are accurate to 0.1 pH unit, so far that is a relative small problem to show a trend of 0.1 pH unit over 160 years. A much larger problem is the distribution of measurements over places and seasons, as that may give differences of near 1 pH unit.
        The accuracy may be enhanced by using only the historical calculated values, based on TA and DIC, but Wallace didn’t use them at all.
        The distribution in place and time can be partly solved by comparing repeated measurements at the same place and same season years later. But that is a hell of a job to sort out.
        Wallace lumped all glass electrode measurements together, no matter how they were distributed over place and time, which gives a yearly average of complete different places and periods for one year to the next year. Such a “trend” doesn’t tell anything about the real trend in pH…
        The more I look at the ocean carbon chemistry “model”, the farther it goes back in time: already established over 80 years back and validated with the techniques of that time. Of course refining over the years when more data and better analytical techniques are getting in.
        The calculated pH used in Bermuda has a an error margin of +/- 0.02 pH unit, showing a trend of 0.04 pH unit. The latest colorimetric techniques are reaching 0.001 pH unit, even difficult to confirm as the results are within the +/- 0.004 pH unit accuracy of the buffer solution used…
        But as said before, the main problem is place and time of sampling: one need longer series on fixed places (or repeated measurements over the same ocean tracks and seasons) to have a better idea of the trends. Currently there are seven such places, widely distributed over the oceans, which all show similar pH trends:
        http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/27-1_bates.pdf

      • Mike Jonas
        Ferdinand, re “the model anyway is validated over the past 30 years”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t ease my suspicion, because the models were built on a 30-year period and it wasn’t enough.
        The “model”, the calculation itself of carbon chemistry in the oceans, is already validated over the past (at least) 80 years. It is also validated over the past 30 years for the influence of increased CO2 in the atmosphere on the pH of the ocean surface.
        They can be used to (back) calculate the theoretical pH from the past and the future, based on the same chemistry rules, but of course that depends of the future CO2 emissions.
        Fortunately carbon chemistry “models” aren’t climate models and are as rigorous as chemical models may be after many thousands of calculations…

      • Ferdinand
        Did you note that this declaration did not actually state that the old data (either whole or in part) was not collected in the same places or over seasons. As it is written, your quote in bold is deceptive.
        ALSO
        Just because a theoretical model is calibrated to fixed places since 1985, does not mean it will accurately reflect data pre-1985.
        ALSO
        Even if we assumed some of the old data is invalid, there are several million records. These records could be filtered accordingly.
        ALSO
        There are other ways to filter noise from raw data.
        Regards

  5. hmm Sabine may have opened a can of worms. If the empirical data is not of good enough quality and only modeled results are good enough, then what is the point of the measurements? Is this not a waste of money?
    Also, how would any such model be calibrated if the raw data is not of good enough quality in the first place ? and, how can any current or future changes in pH be verified if the historic data is questionable?
    If Sabine’s fantasy model world is taken as fact, then the amount of ‘Acidification’ can only be what he says it is.

    • Also, how would any such model be calibrated if the raw data is not of good enough quality in the first place ? and, how can any current or future changes in pH be verified if the historic data is questionable?
      ——————-
      I’ve been asking similar questions about the highly questionable historical temperature records (US 1880) for the past 10+ years and no one wants to talk about or discuss them.

    • Sorry MBP, the models give the theoretical value for known chemical/buffer reactions of CO2 in seawater. The glass electrode measurements of the past are not accurate enough to validate the data, but modern instruments in use since 1985 (Bermuda) and 1990 (Hawaii) and more places since then confirm the theoretical model. Thus quite logical that they use only the most recent data and use the model for the pre-1985 levels…

      • Sorry MBP, the models give the theoretical value for known chemical/buffer reactions of CO2 in seawater.
        =============
        that doesn’t consider ocean vertical circulation. it is established fact that ocean pH is not uniform. It varies by depth. Thus what may be observed can be explained by changes in the vertical circulation of the oceans.
        Thus, one cannot rely on a theoretical model to calculate surface pH, without knowing the vertical mixing rate of the oceans. What modern ocean pH may be measuring is simply the current phase of the 65 year quasi cyclical ocean oscillations.

      • Fred, you are right for upwelling places (as is the case for many coastal places), but upwelling and downwelling is at about 5% of the total ocean surface each. For most of the oceans there is very little exchange between the ocean surface and the deep oceans…

      • Most excellent point, Fred Be role.
        I would make the additional point that this ocean pH matter is part of climate science and climate science is theory based on a string of unverified assumptions. From comments by Engelbeen, I sense that we are getting more of the same in the ocean pH matter: Engelbeen comes and spins theory without ever hinting that there is any doubt about the matter.

      • mpainter, I see a lot of jumping to conclusions here when the story is hitting the AGW meme, without questioning the data or the story. In this case again: why should one use unreliable data from the past which can’t show the (theoretical 0.1 pH unit over more than a century) trend one is looking for? Only because you like the result, even if that is complete nonsense?
        Sorry, but I am as critical for such stories from the warmist camp as from the skeptical side. In this case it is a non-story, be it that the reaction of Sabine is not very helpful, but I don’t know the evolution in style of questioning him on this topic…
        I see a lot of similarities with the historical CO2 data: some still believe that these were correct and that there were large swings in the past. These large swings magically disappeared once more accurate measurements at uncontaminated places were performed…

      • Ferdinand, the subject is ocean pH not CO2.
        My take on you is that theorectical partial pressure of atm. CO2 is the motivator in your science and therefore ocean pH MUST be increasing. Observations for supporting this are hard to come by so you rely on more theory to support your science- this time theoretical calculations of ocean pH.

      • mpainter, there are lots more pCO2 and DIC measurements done in the oceans than pH measurements. As these measurements are far more reliable than GEpH measurements, it is far easier to reach the conclusion that CO2 in the oceans everywhere is increasing and that the average flux is from the atmosphere into the oceans, not reverse.
        If the average flux was from the oceans to the atmosphere, DIC should decrease due to higher temperatures or lower pH (undersea volcanoes…). If more CO2 enters the oceans from the atmosphere, DIC will increase and cause a lower pH. That is what is observed.

  6. The pH measurements of the brackish Baltic sea cannot be completely false. The Northern rivers run off from peat swamps surrounded with pine forests – both have an acidifying effect.
    On the other hand, in the Southern regions of the Baltic Sea shore the ground has significantly more limestone and salt pulses from the Atlantic, which both buffer the pH.
    In Finland the groundwater is far softer than in the Northern Germany, say Hamburg for example. A bit astonishing to see the sea pH to be the same in these two areas.

  7. That the coverage this problematic is not an unexpected issue , for it is in many areas of this ‘settled’ science, not that that has ever stopped them making great claims on the back of this problematic data when it suits them.
    However , I think the issue hear is that you need to define what ‘better data ‘ is , on one hand you could call it that which has greater accuracy on the other that which supports what you are trying to achieve. In this case your can look at the authors own history to gain an insight into which approach would be taken and consider which approach is more likley lead to further grant cheques , the nice scary claim or the one that reflects reality but fails to match what the authors wanted to ‘achieve ‘
    Although to be fair to the authors they are merely following the ‘rules ‘ of climate ‘science’ , in this case rule one , which is when reality and models differ in value its reality which is wrong .

  8. I wonder if Sabine would be so kind as to provide the calibration certificate for one or more of their pH probes ?
    He may have a problem doing this, as I suspect there are none available.

  9. Whatever the quality of the data, either they are better than the model output or both are meaningless.
    If you don’t know, you don’t know. You may suspect that the figures are unreliable (but if so you have a responsibility to say why you think they are unrelliable) but that is never a justification for applying guesswork and saying “these are the facts”.

  10. Didn’t “Harry” Harris say something along the same lines, didn’t know what was going on so “I just made it up” !
    I could pull out the text file and get it exact and in context, but you know what I mean.
    They call this “science” ??

      • those rules are for a static solution in a beaker. nothing like the oceans.
        they do not allow for the fact that the oceans are full of life which consumes and releases CO2, has rain water added regularly. is twice daily stirred by the tides, and has long term mixing and overturning on scales of decades and centuries. and is contained in a porous rock container which are part of the buffering mechanism, with a flame burning on the bottom.

      • Ferdberple
        Right again. CO2 is a nutrient for plant life, including phytoplankton. The pH of the oceans is dynamic. Increase atm. CO2, and you will increase the availability of CO2 to phytoplankton.
        No wonder scientists like Sabine and Feely have to rely on models to show increasing pH of the oceans. But it is the same as fabrication, by my standards.

      • ferdberple,
        If you measure pH at the same place at high frequency, you measure all influences on pH from every side, including summer/winter temperature and biolife. That is what Feely and Sabine did report. They didn’t report the theoretical pH decline, but allude on that decline as if you back calculate the average decline at Bermuda and Hawaii (and meanwhile several other places), you find the theoretical decline caused by the increase in CO2 over the past 160 years.
        The decline is for the surface layer only (average 200 m depth), not for the deep oceans, which exchanges with the atmosphere are much slower and buffering capacity is enormous.

    • Hello Eric.
      It is obviuos that Sabine simply made it up.
      At least he did resolve to “cherry picking”, as many others before and after him have done, in the quest to prove or support a given point in the climate change subject.
      As far as that goes he is not more or less “guilty”, so to speak, than most who were so persuaded to commit “fraud” in their line of work.
      But in the case of Sabine, the “fraud” is more sinister and damaging.
      For example, in the case of M. Mann hockey stick, we have some one trying to exagerate, dramatize and create a lot of noise with the intent to effect and affect a point of view and the belief in a given subject.
      While M. Mann through his fraudulent work was trying to effect a perception, in the case of Sabine, his pH “HOCKEY STICK” is an attempt to prove a perception.
      So if M. Mann can be seen as someone who is trying to manipulate the facts and the data in an attempt to persuade and effect a jury verdict by exagerating and dramatazing the line of the story, Sabine actually is manifacturing proves of “guilt” by manipulating the facts and the data with the intent to force a jury verdict.
      Simply put……..while M. Mann’s hockey stick does not acually prove or disproves AGW or even the case of a GW caused due to CO2 emissions, the Sabine’s hockey stick is actually a proof of AGW, if it happends to be true, which as the case is, it seems to have no chance.
      And Sabine knew very well what he was doing, as in the case of M. Mann, but by being more careful at it.
      Apart from the point that we are guilty of destroying the oceans, so to speak, the Sabine’s work is more significant in proving the AGW. Is one and the only served proof up to now that the GW is caused by CO2 emissions, and the sharpness of the pH drop proves beyond doubt that we are in a very certain AGW path.
      Now if that happends to be constracted and distilled through manipulation and intricate methods (as it seems) then it becomes a case of manifacturing a false proof with intent. Far much worse than in M. Mann case.
      The best question that Sabine must be subjected to it will be, i think:
      “If the reality is very much different and contrary to what your work tries to show and imply (the oceanic pH drop) , will you then accept that AGW (or the GW caused by CO2 emissions) stand a very very high chance of been only a myth?”
      cheers

  11. The data cannot possibly be of sufficient quality: they do not fit the model!
    Remember, in post-normal science if the real-world data do not fit the expectations of the model then they are wrong. If there is disagreement between model and reality then reality should not be taken as representative.

  12. Using model outputs as data saves a lot of time and uncertainty and you get the answer that you want every time. The results are also a lot more robust and pass peer review. Also if you have to make ‘adjustments’ to the data, you can just tweak the model and run it again.

  13. AGW activists use increasingly the same tactics as 6 day creationists. One is to question all historic and especially palaeo geological data, and call it unreliable. This is the creationist argument Sabine is using.
    Another is what is called the “Gish gallop” after a certain over-enthusiastic creationist, and it means the practice of trying to overwhelm a debate with a deluge of “micro-points” – numerous argument of mixed quality which the opponent has no time to refute. The famous example is “101 reasons for a young earth”.
    The activist media and scientific journals are the new exponents of the Gish gallop, with the constant drumbeat of alarmist articles about one disaster after another due to global warming, amounting to “101 reasons to act now on CO2 emission”.
    (FWIW I don’t consider evolution and a 13 billion year old universe incompatible with Christian faith.)

    • This comment is nonsense. Soft tissues found in dinosaur fossil bones is a data point that doesn’t fit the old earth model, but what is the response? Ignore the data and stick with the model. Ignorance is bliss.

    • When Dr. Duane Gish was debated on the question of evolution vs. creation it was assumed that it would be a debate of science versus belief. When Dr. Gish presented copious scientific evidence supporting creation his opponents were unable to refute his data during those debates, or after. The time limit of the debates was not the determining factor, it was the irrefutability of the evidence. Dr. Eugenie Scott coined the phrase “Gish Gallop” because she had no scientific counter arguments. Instead, she presented the consensus among scientists that evolution was true and resorted to ad hominem attacks on Dr. Gish.
      The AGW activists are using her tactics: reliance on a consensus and ad hominem attacks on those who offer counter evidence.
      The 6 day creationists use the same tactic as CAGW sceptics: sharing evidences contrary to a consensus.
      Phlogiston, did Dr. Gish ever present “101 reasons for a young earth” during a debate? Or do you mean “101 evidences for a young age for the earth and the universe” published by Don Batten June 4, 2009?
      SR

  14. “rigor of the scientific method” – that will be a first, at least he has a sense of humour although I do not find this funny
    Doesn’t this remind people of paleoclimatology where the workers exclude data that they do not like (i.e. gives the wrong answer).
    Is there any part of climate “science” which is worth the money taxpayers have to contribute.

  15. “As a public servant that must stick to the funding of the scientific method and only cherrypick data that is of sufficient quality to address the question”
    Fixed

  16. Saline writes “As a public servant that must stick to the rigor of the scientific method and only present data that is of sufficient quality to address the question, I am obliged to report the best evaluation of ocean chemistry changes available. ”
    You are mistaken, as a scientist you are obliged to disclose all assumptions, all uncertainty and all the reasons you might be wrong so that the scientific community can decide what weighting to place on the result. In your case that turns out to be none due to the obvious bias you’ve introduced.

  17. One is often tempted to say, ‘You just can’t make this stuff up!” It is a reference to those situations which border on the fantastical.
    In reply to ‘can’t make this stuff up’ we are hearing, “Well, yes you can!”
    We have a model output which uses as input “data” the output of a model that disagrees with readings taken in the oceans.
    Criticism the ‘quality’ of the measurements requires clarification. Is any individual measurement of poor quality? Was the instrument not calibrated correctly. Too few readings?
    Methinks the mental model of “what should happen” is where the defects lie, not in the real oceans. Two misconceptions that prevail are that ocean pH must drop if the atmospheric CO2 rises and that the oceans are not the major source of atmospheric CO2.
    If the oceans are warming then the CO2 should be departing them and the pH should be dropping, yes? What are the observations telling us?
    It seems to me the ocean pH guys should be talking to the ocean heat guys. Both cannot be right.
    As for Sabine, it’s models all the way down. In principle I am OK with that but only when the reference is real measurements.

    • Crispin. the oceans were warming, which increases the pCO2 of the oceans (~6 μatm) and thus the possibility of increased outflux. But the CO2 increase in the atmosphere is much higher (~110 μatm) than the pCO2 increase in the oceans. Thus increasing quantities of CO2 are pushed into the oceans…

      • That is a theoretical result. You cannot build a model based on the theoretical result and then claim the model verifies the theory, except in the land of climate science. It is a circular argument.
        You need observations to confirm the result. Observations over a time scale large enough to confirm what you are measuring is not simply short term fluctuation due to ocean cycles.

      • Ferdberple,
        No matter if the result is “theoretical”, the difference in pCO2 increase due to a temperature increase is so small compared to the measured increase, that you need over 12°C warming of the ocean surface to reach the same pCO2 in the atmosphere as is observed. That is as good the case for a static as for a dynamic ocean. Here for the dynamic oceans (assuming some 40 GtC/year exchange between deep oceans and atmosphere):
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/upwelling_temp.jpg
        Further, at the same stations (buoys, sea ships) as where pH was measured, far more frequently pCO2 and DIC (total inorganic carbon) is measured. That shows an increase of DIC (and pCO2), which follows the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. That shows that the increased ocean surface carbon content is caused by the atmosphere, not reverse.
        The increase in the ocean surface is about 10% of the increase in the atmosphere, due to the Revelle/buffer factor of chemical equilibria in seawater.

      • Hello Ferdinand.
        “…the oceans were warming….”
        ——————
        That actually what Sabine tried to prove…the assumption that the oceans were warming……to an extent that supports the AGW.
        The extent of pH drop shown by the Sabine work proves that the oceans were warming since the start and during most of the period of (what we call) the GW.
        That will prove that the atmosphere has contributed a significant amount of energy towards that oceanic warming, therefore the atmospheric warming was caused by CO2 emissions.
        But strangely enough, the expected pH drop, which actually may be considered now as the missing pH drop suggests the opposite…… that the oceans have being in a cooling trend for most of the GW period, therefor the oceans seem to have being contributing significantly to the GW, THE ATMOSPHERIC WARMING.
        Simply….with such little oceanic pH drop (as per the linear trend), during GW, in a period of very high CO2 emissions, the cause of that GW could be anything but not the CO2 emissions, so to speak.
        No observation of the expected pH drop, is equal to the not observed expected warming of the last 14 years.
        Is another expected effect of AGW, clearly missing.
        Missing heat…..missing pH drop…..missing AGW.

      • Whiten,
        You have it rather upside down…
        If the oceans warm, CO2 escapes (if the atmosphere started at equilibrium) into the atmosphere. That makes that total carbon (DIC) decreases and the pH increases.
        If more CO2 is pushed into the oceans (as the atmospheric CO2 is far above equilibrium), total carbon in the oceans increases and the pH drops.
        That is what is observed, even during the past 18 years where the ocean surface temperature didn’t change at all…

      • Thus increasing quantities of CO2 are pushed into the oceans…
        —————-
        Yup, and those increasing quantities of CO2 that are pushed into the oceans ….. exacerbates horrendous amounts of algae and phytoplankton “blooms” in the surface waters of all the world’s oceans …… thus decreasing and sequestering those aforesaid increased quantities of CO2.
        And how much CO2 is being sequestered by the above?
        Who knows, ……. but I’m sure they have an “estimate” that perfectly fits their “model”.
        .

      • Yes, Samuel, those pestiferous phytoplankton eat up the CO2 and that us why they have to invent data in order to find the “signal” because it is the “signal” that fetches the loot.
        Englebeen is just pushing the usual type of climate science although he tries had to hide the fact.

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen
        December 27, 2014 at 11:06 am
        Hello Ferdinand.
        You say:
        “You have it rather upside down…”
        ——————–
        Of course what you say could be very probable, but for the sake of the argument lets just get a bit farther.
        You also say:
        If the oceans warm, CO2 escapes (if the atmosphere started at equilibrium) into the atmosphere. That makes that total carbon (DIC) decreases and the pH increases.
        —————————-
        Is very hard to argue with that yes………….but you see the short period that Sabine cherrypicked as to present a rather longer period of pH drop (the GW period), shows a significant pH drop for that period but not good enough as to show an observable pH drop for the whole GW period as the period in question not long enough ,………… that was the trick.
        But the beauty of it is that actually most of that pH period is associated with the missing heat in the atmosphere and an observable oceanic warming. Is a period during which the atmosphere has being contributing to the oceans warming
        So contrary to what you say the warming oceans for that period have being absorbing CO2 instead of outgassing it.
        Another point will be, when considering what you say above, that actually Sabine work was showing that GW was not due to the CO2 emissions and he simply did what he did, just for the sake of showing that our CO2 emissions are damaging the oceans and in the way he did not care that he was debunking the AGW.
        I have a very hard time to beleive that.
        Besides there is a graph far up above which clearly shows that from 1990 to present there is a very clearly observable and significant pH drop…..and that is the period of the oceans warming, a warming that the likes of M. Mann lately are using it to support AGW through that glob’s warming new theory, the Hiroshimas going in to it and all that….if you know what I mean………..one of the reasons why and where the missing heat.
        From this point of view, for me it becomes more clear the error of your aproach while considering what you say next:
        “If more CO2 is pushed into the oceans (as the atmospheric CO2 is far above equilibrium), total carbon in the oceans increases and the pH drops.
        That is what is observed, even during the past 18 years where the ocean surface temperature didn’t change at all…”
        ——————-
        Now everything suggest that while considering the Atmosphere/oceanic equilibrium and the atmospheric missing heat for almost the whole last 18 years then the oceans have being through a warming trend, sinking heat (energy) from the atmosphere, as explained above.
        So from this point of view the warming or cooling of the oceans is related to the Atmosphere /oceanic budget balance, meaning that when the balace is off in the favor of oceans being warmer than supposed in accordance to the atmosphere warming, then the oceans will be contributing heat (energy) to atmosphere and outgas also.
        As far as I can tell the energy direction points to the CO2 direction, as being one and the same direction. In that case the direction of the oceanic trend will be that of cooling till it gets to the acquired Atmosphere/oceanic balance or equilibrium.
        Maybe wrong, but the atmospheric CO2 being far above equilibrium while it may favor and impose a higher possible pH drop is not that significant while compared to the energy transfer between atmosphere and oceans as due to the atmosphere/oceanic energy equilibrium.
        That far above equilibrium CO2, has a much less effect and role in the oceanic pH drop than the actual energy direction in the oceanic/atmosphere coupling
        Besides unless AGW considered the nature is still in a fair enough equilibrium even while the CO2 considered.
        After all this, I still would not argue that you are definitely or considerably wrong when you say that I have it rather upside down. That still is very probable.
        Thanks for your reply.
        Sorry that your reply can not change my mind, at least not yet, but never the less appreciated, honestly, thanks.:-)
        cheers

      • @Witten 1:35pm
        Maybe wrong, but the atmospheric CO2 being far above equilibrium
        Say again? Wouldn’t “equilibrium” [CO2] be at least 22% and [O2] essentially zero?
        We have photosynthetic live to thank for our disequilibrium.

      • @ mpainter: December 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm
        …. those pestiferous phytoplankton
        ———-
        T’was good I wasn’t taking a slurp of coffee when I read that. :) 🙂

      • mpainter
        December 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm ….”Yes, Samuel, those pestiferous phytoplankton eat up the CO2………..”
        pH = buffer = calcium carbonate = CO2 + phytoplankton/cyano

      • Samuel C Cogar,
        The amounts of CO2 removed by the algal blooms (several per year recorded in spring at Bermuda) should (at least temporarily) reduce the amount of dissolved carbon (DIC) in the ocean surface, which is noticed in a strong spring reduction. But it seems that the exchange of CO2 with the atmosphere is fast enough to replenish that in other seasons, so that the average DIC increases over the years…

  18. Sabine’s excuse for using modeled data over real data? – ‘earlier data is not of “sufficient quality.”‘
    What a headline! It is a perfect definition of modern science in general and climate science in particular. Don’t like measured data? Then record whatever you want to record and claim anything that goes against your beliefs is “bad data”. Yes! You can toss out whatever data you don’t like now! Decades ago when I was going though university that was called cheating. Now it is science! The kids must be making much better grades now.
    Now the sad part is that the general public tends to believe this sort of nonsense.

    • The title in this case is a false accusation by the writer: Sabine only reported real, measured data since 1984. That is all. He didn’t use older data, because these are proven unreliable to measure the theoretical trend. He is not obliged to use unreliable data from the past (which still are available), as good as Keeling was not obliged to use the pre-Mauna Loa data or Dr. Spencer to use pre-satellite data…

      • @ Ferdinand:
        Sabine only reported real, measured data since 1984. That is all.
        ——————
        Now Ferdinand, everyone knows that was an untruth ….. so quit trying to defend the indefensible ….. because “the proof is in the pudding/”, …. to wit:
        Excerpted from: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/23/touchy-feely-science-one-chart-suggests-theres-a-phraud-in-omitting-ocean-acidification-data-in-congressional-testimony/
        Feely’s four-page report: Carbon Dioxide and Our Ocean Legacy, offered on the NOAA website, contains a similar chart. This chart, titled “Historical & Projected pH & Dissolved Co2,” begins at 1850. Feely testified before Congress in 2010—using the same data that shows a decline in seawater pH (making it more acidic) that appears to coincide with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
        (snip)
        And, as Wallace determined, there is real world data. Feely, and his coauthor Dr. Christopher L. Sabine, PMEL Director, omitted 80 years of data, which incorporate more than 2 million records of ocean pH levels.

        ———————
        Ferdinand, iffen Sabine was coauthor of “Feely’s four-page report” …. then he (Sabine) sure as hell was …. reporting on historic ocean pH data dating back to 1850.

      • Samuel,
        Feely and Sabine should have made it clear that the whole curve in the NOAA writing were based on a calculated pH, based on the CO2 emissions since 1850, not measured ones, and CO2 emission estimates for the future. But that has nothing to do with “hiding the data” or any form of “ph”raud, as that is better defendable on theoretical grounds than what Wallace has done.
        The compilation of Wallace can’t prove or disprove the earlier part of the theoretical curve for the simple reason that the glass electrode pH measurements have an accuracy of 0.1 pH unit for a theoretical 0.1 unit pH drop since 1850 to current of which near halve the change since 1984, when the fixed stations started their more accurate measurements.
        Moreover, Wallace did lump all glass electrode measurements together (while more accurate calculated pH measurements were available), no matter the place and season when the sample was taken. As place and season can make a difference of up to 1 pH unit, his whole compilation is worthless. That he didn’t show the spread of the measurements for each year is a red flag.
        Bates does show a spread of 0.02 pH unit for the (calculated) measurements at Bermuda. What is the spread of the glass electrode measurements?
        While there are large seasonal changes at all fixed stations, the year to year variation in general is very small, in the order of a few hundredth of a pH unit.
        Wallace’s compilation shows frequent drops and rises of 0.2 pH unit from one year to the next, including a 0.3 pH unit drop during the overlapping period since 1984, where all fixed stations show a drop of around 0.04 pH unit.
        The large drops and rises from one year to the next as compiled by Wallace are chemically and physically impossible, as that needs enormous quantities of acid (CO2) or base (or CO2 release( to cause such swings in 200 meter of ocean surface waters (about 200 ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere back and forth within a year…).
        Thus in my informed opinion, before accusing Feely and Sabine of fraud, one should ask Wallace for the spread in glass electrode measurements and the weight of sampling towards seasons and latitude…

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen: December 28, 2014 at 11:18 am
        Feely and Sabine should have ………
        ———————
        Yes, Ferdinand,
        Feely and Sabine should have, ….. could have, …. would have ….. but they didn’t.
        Ferdinand, … testify, ….. testify, ….. by telling us why you are such an avid opponent against the use of those questionable ocean pH records that were recorded between 1850 and 1984 ….. but an avid proponent for the use of those highly questionable surface temperature records that were recorded between 1880 and 1984
        Ferdinand, are you simply choosing to support the use of the highly questionable surface temperature data because your claims and assertions are “root” based therein/on said data ……….. while at the same time simply choosing NOT to support the use of the questionable ocean pH data because it might/would prove contrary to/for your claims and assertions?
        Something funny with your science when you approve the use of the “highly questionable data” but not the ”questionable data”.

      • Samuel, I take all historical data with a grain of salt: temperature, CO2 (lots of salt needed) and pH alike… As far as I remember, I never defended the accuracy of the surface temperature data.
        Temperature data had the advantage of being taken at fixed places, but even time of the day for reading out, moving and new instruments all give a lot of problems…
        pH data as compiled by Wallace are much worse: he lumped all GEpH data of one year together, regardless of sampled areas or seasons. That is as worse as averaging the temperature records with the weight of the number of samples above 60N in one year and the next year the weight of the stations between 30S and 30N. You seem that gives a warming “trend”.
        Have a look at the spatial distribution of the cruises in the different decades, as compiled by Richard Telfort:
        https://quantpalaeo.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/not-phraud-but-phoolishness/
        And have a look at the seasonal distribution too…
        And that doesn’t affect the “trend” of Wallace’s compilation?
        For the Southern Oceans, there was a compilation of all pH data over different cruises:
        http://scholar.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1456&context=honr_theses
        That shows a pH decline of -0.03 +/- 0.03 pH unit in the period 1972-2011, based on pH measurements: 31700 glass electrode, 41800 calculated from other measurements.
        There are more calculated pH data (which are effectively more accurate) in that ocean than directly measured ones. Should we accuse Wallace now of fraud, because he is hiding more than halve the pH data and mainly the better ones?

  19. Good work, Peter Gadiel
    In my view data produced in this fashion is tantamount to fabrication. Science has been corrupted by government in this country.

  20. It is entirely possible that the data was not of “sufficient quality”‘ because of equipment failure or some other innocent “whoops” event. Now if that is the case, the ocean pH is, well, unknown.

  21. This post badly needs some clarity.
    “using modeled data over real data”
    When and where did Sabine use modeled data over real data?
    “refusing to include all the data on ocean acidification that is available”
    What does that refer to? All I see is a plot where he shows an annual average post-1988. And hydrologist Wallace says, but there were readings taken in various places before 1988.
    Well, yes. But did they have the coverage (in any one year) to get a reliable global average? I haven’t seen anyone look at that at all. Now you can compute some sort of average – Wallace has done that. Well, that’s Wallace’s estimate. Sabine is under no obligation to accept it, at least until Wallace explains how he calculated the average, and inbvestigated the adequacy of the global coverage.

      • Ferdinand
        Do you yourself accept oceanic pH data that is “theoretically” derived? I seem to recall your saying so recently with respect to Bermuda and Hawaii, claiming that it is more accurate than direct measurement.

      • mpainter, if some calculated pH value, based on other, more accurate, measurements is better defined than pH measurements themselves, then there is no reason to not prefer the calculated values over the direct measurements.
        In the case of pH, both are used and overlap each other in the past decades (but less in the past before that…). As more accurate (colorimetric) methods are getting in, that can change the future data sampling again to direct measurements.
        What one shouldn’t do, but Wallace did, is totally rely on inaccurate historical pH readings by glass electrodes, as these can’t show a trend of -0.1 pH unit over 100+ years in the large latitudinal and seasonal variability.

      • in the large latitudinal and seasonal variability.
        =================
        Ah, and here we have it. pH shows large natural variability. yet we are to believe that minute changes in this natural variability are not happening. that what we are seeing must be caused by humans. and we have a model to prove it.
        the large natural variability in pH tells us that small changes in pH are entirely possible and nothing to be feared or alarmed about. it is like worrying about a 1 C change in temperature over 100 years, when the daily change in temperature is 10C and the seasonal change is 30C.

      • Ferdinand,
        Your claim that theoretical calcutions are to preferred over measured pH is suspect. How is this theoretical data verified or confirmed if not by measurement? By more theory?

      • ferdberple,
        Yes and here we are at the crux of the matter, because by relying on the right theory one can dispense with all that bothersome “seasonal and latitudinal variation” . Good spot.

      • Ferdberple, the problem is adequate sampling.
        One can average temperature measurements from a lot of fixed stations which measure temperature continuously or at high frequency over years. But one can not average temperatures from one station in winter up in Norway with a few months of data from the midst of Rome in summer and the next year reverse and then insist that the average temperature did drop…
        That is what happened with pH sampling of the oceans: too few samples at the same place over all seasons. That was getting better with the start of a few fixed stations in 1985, including better equipment for pH measurements.

      • mpainter
        Your claim that theoretical calculations are to preferred over measured pH is suspect.
        The calculations are based on known chemical equilibria of the CO2-bicarbonate-carbonate system in seawater, including salt/borate, pressure and temperature influences. Proven at laboratory scale over 80 years ago…
        Here an online calculation:
        http://biocycle.atmos.colostate.edu/shiny/carbonate/
        You only need two titrations and the temperature to calculate the rest of the parameters…
        Of course, one can’t prove or disprove an alternative method with a method of worse performance…

      • @ Nick Stokes & Ferdinand Engelbeen
        Well, that’s Wallace’s estimate. Sabine is under no obligation to accept it, at least until Wallace explains how he …. etc.,
        ————–
        That was typical rhetoric that one expects to hear from the proponents of CAGW whereby they are always claiming that ….. “you have to provide evidence that my “junk science” claims are wrong before I have to provide evidence that they are correct”.
        In other words, ….. you first have to prove that Flying Spaghetti Monsters don’t exist …… before the aforesaid proponents have to prove their claim that a Flying Spaghetti Monster caused ‘the problem’.

      • Samuel,
        Sabine only did show the real, measured/calculated pH data after 1984. That shows a drop of 0.04 pH unit since then. Wallace did show a compilation which shows a drop of 0.3 pH unit since 1984, which is theoretically, chemically and physically impossible (except if there was a 300+ ppmv rise of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1984).
        Feely (and Sabine) did show the theoretical decrease in pH since 1850 and till the future, based on CO2 levels in the past and CO2 emissions estimated for the future. He doesn’t need to defend them, as that are calculations based on established carbon chemistry of the oceans. He only should have explicitly said that this were theoretical pH values for the pre-1984 past and past 2014 future.
        In contrast, the compilation of Wallace shows impossible variability for the whole period and a large deviation from far more accurate fixed station results since 1984. Thus it is Wallace who should defend his figures…

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen: December 28, 2014 at 11:37 am
        Feely (and Sabine) did show the theoretical decrease in pH since 1850 and till the future, based on CO2 levels in the past and CO2 emissions estimated for the future.
        ———————
        Yes, Ferdinand,
        But I was conversing with the Flying Spaghetti Monster and he told me those theoretical decreases in pH, ….. the interpolations of past CO2 levels …..and thu guesstimated estimations of future CO2 levels posited by Feely and Sabine were definitely an exaggeration of their percentageations with a 75% error factor.
        To me, science is …. black or white ….. and there are no “shades of gray” for one to use to CTA. And I detest half-truths, un-truths and excuses consisting of little more than piffle & tripe verbiage.

  22. So….he cherry picked a high point in pH……..1988…..to show a decline
    ….just like temp where they cherry picked to show an increase
    Should be the first thing you look for……..

      • Did you thunk that up all by yourself?
        Just how was it possible for Keeling Sr. to have cherry picked a low value in 1958 ….. given the fact he didn’t have a clue what the 1957 value had been …. or what the 1959 value was going to be?

      • Samuel, there were lots (900,000) of CO2 measurements in the atmosphere by chemical means before 1958, with results all over the scale, just like the pre-1984 pH values by Wallace. Keeling did make a lot of measurements already in the begin 1950’s, which did show to him that he needed to find a place where there was little CO2 contamination from the environment and that he needed more accurate, maintenance free equipment.
        Feely, Bates and Sabine did make a lot of ocean measurements pre-1984 too and compiled a lot of data from research ships, but realized that they needed fixed places to have an impression of the seasonal variability, which is far larger than any theoretical trend.

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen: December 28, 2014 at 11:50 am
        Keeling did make a lot of measurements already in the begin 1950’s, which did show to him that …….. yada, yada, yada
        ———————
        But Keeling didn’t interpolate his “stable baseline level of CO2 ppm” back to the year 1880.
        Ferdinand, tell me something I don’t already know, to wit:
        Excerpted years ago from: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm
        A Scandinavian group accordingly set up a network of 15 measuring stations in their countries. Their only finding, however, was a high noise level. Their measurements apparently fluctuated from day to day as different air masses passed through, with differences between stations as high as a factor of two.
        Charles David (Dave) Keeling held a different view. As he pursued local measurements of the gas in California, he saw that it might be possible to hunt down and remove the sources of noise. Taking advantage of that, however, would require many costly and exceedingly meticulous measurements, carried out someplace far from disturbances.
        Keeling did much better than that with his new instruments. With painstaking series of measurements in the pristine air of Antarctica and high atop the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, he nailed down precisely a stable baseline level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

        ———————
        Ferdinand, do you comprehend what “as different air masses passed through” …. actually means?

      • Samuel:
        But Keeling didn’t interpolate his “stable baseline level of CO2 ppm” back to the year 1880.
        He could have done that without problems: the CO2 sinks are a linear function of CO2 pressure (ppmv) in the atmosphere and the pCO2 of the oceans, which is a function of its temperature. If you back calculate with the estimates of human emissions, you get about 300 ppmv in 1850…
        as different air masses passed through
        If the different air masses show different CO2 levels, they can’t be used for “bulk” CO2 measurements, only to estimate local in/out CO2 fluxes. As good as pH measurements at upwelling places make no sense to show a trend in pH, but may of high interest for oyster hatcheries…

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen: December 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm
        He could have done that without problems: the CO2 sinks are a linear function of CO2 pressure (ppmv) in the atmosphere and the pCO2 of the oceans, which is a function of its temperature. If you back calculate with the estimates of human emissions, you get about 300 ppmv in 1850…
        ————————
        Ferdinand, that was pure BS with an extra raunchy smell …. as you well should know it was.
        First of all, you are mimicking Henry’s Law, which, if I remember correctly, you once told me that Henry’s Law was not applicable to my claim that the seasonal temperature change in the surface waters of the oceans in the Southern Hemisphere was the “driver” of the average 6 ppm bi-yearly cycling of atmospheric CO2 … nor to my claim concerning the average 2 ppm yearly increase in atmospheric CO2.
        Are you now agreeing with me, …… or what? Obfuscating maybe?
        Secondly, Keeling didn’t have a clue, let alone any estimations, as to what human emissions of CO2 were or was. And iffen the facts be known, neither do you, ESPECIALLY for the pre-1958 emissions. And your post-1958 estimations are probably off by a minimum of 30%.
        And thirdly, iffen Keeling had not established his “CO2 baseline” for 1958 then he would not have been able to determine said “average 2 ppm/year increase …. nor the average 6 ppm bi-yearly cycle” in atmospheric CO2 via his measurements for year 1959, 60, 61, 62, etc. DUH, that 2 ppm yearly increase and/or the 6 ppm bi-yearly cycle don’t reveal themselves in individual years, …. but requires multiple sequential years for conformation.
        And fourthly, Ferdinand, without that 1958 ppm baseline and that 2/6 ppm/year variance, there is no way in ell anyone could have performed their “reverse mathematic” trick to calculate their REQUIRED estimate of human emissions that were needed to support their claims about CAGW.
        They first had to know how many gigatons/year the atmospheric CO2 was increasing ……. before they could estimate how many gigatons/year of CO2 that humans were emitting. Thus they converted said 2 ppm/year to 10 gigatons/year, to establish their estimated baseline for human emissions of CO2. T’was then when they “back calculated” via use of said human emission estimates and their questionable average temperature increases to establish their baseline for atmospheric CO2 in 1880 at 280 ppm.
        Then everything jived. Human CO2 emissions increased each year, … atmospheric CO2 ppm increases tracked right behind the human emissions …… and the average temperature increases tracked right behind the atmospheric CO2 ppm increases.
        And everything was great in La La Land ……. until “the pause” occurred. T’was then when the average temperatures “jumped track” and stalled out on a siding and is still resting there.

  23. I put Sabine’s responses into a number of computer models and have forecast a future Sabine quote, “We are eliminating all direct observation since it is too hard and too expensive and in the spirit of saving tax payer dollars are only using modeled data. Thank you in advance for your support.”

  24. There is an old saying in industrial process control instrumentation. Close counts in pH and horseshoes. This is a very hard parameter to measure accurately especially in a continuous process application. (can we all agree the earth’s oceans are a continuous process?) Absolute precision in this area is the pursuit of the foolish, Those who massage the data (which will always be questionable) to fit their conclusions forget the first rule of data. You have to take the dogs with the cats.

  25. Why in this day and age, when you have incredible graphics capabilities, do they insist on showing things on mercator style maps? Perhaps its a convenient way to display(and stretch) dodgy data.

    • All projections distort the map-image in one way or another. The mercator is probably useful, because you can plot lat and longs accurately – that is the whole readon it was invented.
      Ralph

      • the mercator projection preserves compass bearings, which was/is important for navigation. it also preserves longitude, which can be used to measure distance.
        the mercator projection does not preserve latitude, which can be a source of error when using it to calculate distance.

      • Sorry, Berp, the Mercator preserves lat and long, which is why you can use it for accurate plotting. The fact that the scale between longitudes changes, is allowed for by using the lattitude scalar markers to calculate the distance.
        No 2-dimensional map can preserve all the original features.

  26. I see that some have gotten their shorts in a knot over use of the word “acidification”. but it is simply misplaced pedantry. The phrase “acid rain” for example was coined in 1872 by Robert Angus Smith, even though clean rain, with a pH of about 5.7 is already an acid. If we want to blame someone for an abuse of the english language, I suppose we could blame him. Later, the words “acidify” and “acidification” were used in soil biology, to describe lowering the pH. So, like it or not, it is now an accepted use, and instead of throwing a tanty about it, we should move on to what really matters, which is the bad science surrounding “ocean acidification”.

    • imprecise language is the difference between science and politics.
      ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    • On the WUWT 2014/12/23/touchy-feely-science post this same sort of acid commenting was going on. My comment to Eric Worrall (see his 1st comment at 6:57) derived from having a discussion with my Blueberry plants. They claimed when they said they wanted me to acidify the soil, I had not done so. I put various things in and on the soil. Tough, they said. Either acidify it or we’re leaving. Word games are fine but you cannot fool Blueberry plants.

    • Acidification does not have a misleading denotation, but it has a misleading connotation. What to do? Put “acidification” inside quotation marks.

  27. ‘earlier data is not of “sufficient quality.”‘
    So, instead, let us use modelled “data” based on the insufficiency of that early data.
    Huh?

    • Please have a look at the data: Sabine, Bates and Feely only published really measured data after 1985, which are of sufficient quality to show a trend.
      They have a model which back calculates the theoretical pH value before 1985 based on basic theories of CO2 buffering in seawater, confirmed by the data after 1985, which is largely in between the large error band of the early measurements.
      The model is not based on the older data…

  28. To paraphrase Feynman: “A scientist is obliged not only to say what was done, but also what was considered to be done and then decided against.” I am willing to wager that Mr. Sabine ran the trends with the data before deciding it was not of “sufficient quality”.

    • How do you know a trend of -0.1 pH unit over 100 years with glass electrodes accurate to +/- 0.1 pH unit in oceans which changing pH of over 0.5 pH unit for different latitudes and seasons?

      • Ferdinand,
        Excellent question. The answer is that they cannot know the pH trend. It’s not just hard; it’s impossible.
        Yet they make assertions that the ocean is ‘acidifying’ — based on computer models that were programmed to produce that outcome.

      • yet we claim to be able to calculate a 0.7C trend over 100 years, with glass thermometers accurate to +/-0.5C, in an atmosphere with changing temperatures of 150C for different latitude and seasons.
        you can’t have it both ways. if the ocean data isn’t good enough, they for sure the thermometer data isn’t good enough.

      • Sabine’s pH figures represent his hypothesis, observational data, only, can come to confirm its validity.

      • Sorry boys, but that only is the case for glass electrodes used as sole measurements by Wallace (while there are more accurate calculated values available).
        There are better direct measurement techniques available now and used since 1984 at Bermuda and later at Hawaii and other fixed places.
        That is what Sabine and Feely published. These short (30 year and less) series fit the theory. If back calculated to 1850, the theoretical data are largely within the high variability of the glass electrode data.

  29. “As a public servant that must stick to the rigor of the scientific method and only present data that is of sufficient quality to address the question, I am obliged to report the best evaluation of ocean chemistry changes available.”
    My experience in giving presentations or interacting with management, one must present the entire story including conflicting data or experience when trying to convince an organization to make an investment or to take steps to correct a problem. Failure to present the entire picture ends in the loss of credibility when someone else in the room raises such a question even if the conflicting data can legitimately explained away. Having conflicting or missing information later can be fatal for your career.
    Mr Sabine’s omissions of important data without an explanation and he subsequent attitude when caught leaves him in a position that no real scientist will ever trust or believe any of his works.
    As a government employee he owes us much more.

  30. Wow! The core of the scientific method is verification of results. His response is the opposite. “Trust me. I’m a scientist. So you don’t need to verify anything. “

  31. The explanation is so simple, you silly’s.
    Any data which show that the Ph of the Oceans is dropping (ie, moving towards the magical 7.0 marker) is of “sufficient quality”.
    Any data which do not Support the Narrative are NOT of “sufficient quality”.
    That’s really all that there is to it – and note the very nicely planned built in defense – if you, or any scientist, re-analyzes the situation with the missing data, well, he can be discounted because that will just be a shoddy study based on data of “insufficient quality”. They’ve already neutralized any competing opinions before they’ve even been rendered. This isn’t just cherry picking, this cherry is on top of a big pile of whipped cream with chocolate sprinkles!

  32. Here’s how you keep money flowing in your direction:
    1) Note acidic trend starting in 1988
    2) Even though this is probably cyclic, pH should go down for quite a few more years (Still plenty of years of funding while trend continues)
    3) Leave out the data before 1988 and claim that it is not of “sufficient quality”. You could, say, reference some new pH instrument or method that happened to come out around 1988. That way, you technically aren’t telling a lie, even though the pre-1988 data is still accurate enough for your study. If someone asks you why just say “I’m a scientist who studies and believes in global warming! How dare you question me! You must want children/animals/everything to die because you don’t agree with me!”
    4) If another scientist questions you answer in vague and nonspecific emails. Don’t give any details
    5) If you continue to be asked questions by that scientist and start to get nervous be sure to bring up his imaginary relationship to the Koch brothers
    6) Ride trend until it reverses, then move on to another truncated trend curve
    7) Repeat steps one through six until you retire on a fat NOAA pension

  33. Another example of post-normal climate “science” :
    If the data does not fit your theory, the data is “not of sufficient quality.”

  34. Will Sabine admit he knew that including the earlier data would contradict his work and show no “acidification trend”?
    He had to know it . Many others too.
    Moreover, when he saw the WUWT reaction, here, to the omission why didn’t he offer more of an explanation?
    Why would’t someone “working hard for us” provide a more rigorous justification for omitting what contradicts his thesis?
    IMO, his apparent pretending as though the earlier data has no impact on his work and that there is nothing more to say is a tell tale sign of wishful thinking from a guy who know’s he’s effectively busted.
    Perhaps he is collaborating with others on how to better spin how the earlier data was rotten?

    • Sabine is taking a legal stance, not a scientific stance. He will seek to justify his fabrication as scientifically and professionally correct, however. Remember, he conned the wife of the John Kerry out of $100 grand and so he cannot correct himself without incurring all sorts of liabilities.

    • because climate scientists have elevated Peer Review….to final qualification
      They can control the peer review process…but not the qualification….so they are trying to eliminate it

    • Sometimes it helps if one asks politely to explain why they didn’t use the old data. The way you ask it makes a hell of a difference in the kind of answer you may receive. I asked Dr. Tans for the detailed minute measurements of CO2 at Mauna Loa and the calculation methods used. I was promptly served with several days of data, so that I could recalculate the published hourly averages and spread…
      In this case, Sabine answered the question: the old (and modern) glass electrode pH data are simply too unreliable to be used for the trend we are looking for. But its seems that that doesn’t satisfy people who call themselves “skeptics”, but are never skeptical if they like the story told, even if it is only a story based on bad data…

      • If the historical data does not/ cannot reveal “the trend we are looking for”, then one must turn to other means, right Ferdinand? And that other means? Is it theoretical calculations based on sea water chemistry which varies seasonally and latitudinally and which may have the same problems of reliability?

      • All what Sabine and Feely have done is using the best available data, which show since 1984 that the theoretical trend is right, even in a large variability over the seasons (at Bermuda). They have no proof that the theoretical trend is right for the years before 1984, but (Feely) only indicated a possible trend in the past and future, based on the theory and the fit of the theoretical trend over the past 30 years with real life data.
        On the other side we have Wallace, who lumped all available glass electrode pH data together, without any warning for the (lack of) accuracy of the measurement, the place and date of sampling. Without any error bars (which are probably very huge). Even if more calculated pH’s were performed with better accuracy than direct measurements.
        The weight of scientific evidence is against Wallace.

  35. They get exactly the data and results they want from their models, why should they want to use actual real world data ?

  36. Sabine may have done a valuable thing here. He has rejected readings taken from pH meters produced before modern, more accurate technology. If he named his chart “Ocean pH since 1988, but before that we have no idea!” it would represent his opinion.
    If temperature specialists said the same thing we would be free of so much nonsense. Yes I am talking to you BESTies. No self-respecting “Scientist” ever publishes any data without error bars, and all scientists know this. Wallace’s chart does not have them either but does show a spread of readings. Clearly accuracy improved sometime around 1960.
    But Sabine didn’t name his chart this way. He shows a close correlation between atmospheric CO2, oceanic CO2, and ocean pH. He does this by neglecting decades of data, at least 28 years of which shows good accuracy. For shame, “Cherry Pick of the Year!” New award I just invented.
    Concerning the use of the word “acidification” who cares? People who studied enough chemistry to understand the pH scale know what is going on. People who didn’t will react to the scare word “acid.” Can’t be helped, and banging on about it here will not change MSM policies.

    • Michael, Sabine’s chart shows the years of good data and nothing else. He is not obliged to use data which are certainly not good enough to show any trend as small as the measurement error, let it be the huge sampling error due to latitude and seasonality.
      Wallace only used glass electrode pH measurements. I doubt if there was much improvement in that type of measurement over time. But more important, there is no information over sampling places and dates in his compilation, where these two points have an enormous influence on pH…

      • Engelbeen, are you an apologist? This information has not been presented to show reality. Easy, big fella, just say it, you know it’s true, “Yes he is trying to make a normal situation look dire by taking advantage of a short trend and new sensors.” We all know already.

      • Come on Michael, I only look where the best data are. I am not interested in alleged motives, neither by Feely and Sabine, nor by Wallace.
        Glass electrode pH data don’t perform good enough to show a trend of 0.1 pH unit over hundred en more years and sampling frequency and place is a huge point if pH has a huge seasonal and latitudinal component. Both are underestimated in Wallace’s compilation, as the overlap over the common period 1984-current show.
        The CO2 increase in the atmosphere 1984-current is about 55 ppmv, that is as much as the increase between 1850 and 1984. As the exchange with the ocean surface is very fast and the increase in the ocean surface is directly proportional to the increase in the atmosphere, half of the CO2 increase in the ocean surface is in the past decades.
        The influence on the pH drop is even more than halve the total drop since 1850, as the buffer capacity gets more exhausted with increasing neutralization.
        Thus the shortage of the trend is of no interest here…

  37. It has been claimed that the primary reason why “ocean acidification” due to higher CO2 levels will cause mass-extinctions of the oceanic biospheric in the near future, though it didn’t during past climates (when CO2 levels were 2,000 ppm or more), is because the 20th/21st century increase in CO2 concentration (from 300 ppm to 400 ppm) is “unprecedentedly” rapid. Corals, for example, just can’t handle so fast an increase (100 ppm in 100 years) in CO2 levels. But yet, according to these papers (below), when corals were assessed for response to exponentially increasing concentrations of CO2 (from 285 ppm to 4,568 ppm) over a 4 week period in one study, and from 430 ppm to 3,247 ppm in a 6 month period in another, the authors found that “growth and calcification did not stop in any of the concentrations of pCO2,” and “the life cycle of living assemblages varied markedly during the experimental period, but was largely unaffected by the pCO2 treatments applied.” The authors could therefore conclude that corals “could still survive well in mid-term ocean acidification conditions expected by the end of this century.”
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00338-014-1241-3
    This study investigated the response of the gorgonian coral Eunicea fusca to a range of CO2 concentrations from 285 to 4,568 ppm (pH range 8.1–7.1) over a 4-week period. Gorgonian growth and calcification were measured at each level of CO2 as linear extension rate and percent change in buoyant weight and calcein incorporation in individual sclerites, respectively. In general, growth and calcification did not stop in any of the concentrations of pCO2… These results highlight the susceptibility of the gorgonian coral E. fusca to elevated levels of carbon dioxide but suggest that E. fusca could still survive well in mid-term ocean acidification conditions expected by the end of this century, which provides important information on the effects of ocean acidification on the dynamics of coral reef communities.
    http://www.biogeosciences.net/11/1581/2014/bg-11-1581-2014.html
    Calcifying foraminifera are expected to be endangered by ocean acidification; however, the response of a complete community kept in natural sediment and over multiple generations under controlled laboratory conditions has not been constrained to date. During 6 months of incubation, foraminiferal assemblages were kept and treated in natural sediment with pCO2-enriched seawater of 430, 907, 1865 and 3247 [ppm] μatm pCO2. The fauna was dominated by Ammonia aomoriensis and Elphidium species, whereas agglutinated species were rare. After 6 months of incubation, pore water alkalinity was much higher in comparison to the overlying seawater. Consequently, the saturation state of Ωcalc was much higher in the sediment than in the water column in nearly all pCO2 treatments and remained close to saturation. As a result, the life cycle (population density, growth and reproduction) of living assemblages varied markedly during the experimental period, but was largely unaffected by the [ppm] pCO2 treatments applied.
    http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/v6/n9/full/ismej201219a.html
    We found that pH did not have a significant impact on the composition of associated microbial communities in both coral species. In contrast to some earlier studies, we found that corals present at the lower pH sites exhibited only minor physiological changes and no microbial pathogens were detected. Together, these results provide new insights into the impact of ocean acidification on the coral holobiont.

  38. “If temperature specialists said the same thing we would be free of so much nonsense. ”
    My first thought as well. I would love to see GISS use the same standard of quality in the surface temperature data!

      • To quote Mosher: “Raw data is crap data.”
        Pretty much all you need to know on that.
        The BEST paper, after an extensive PR campaign, ended up being published in a pay-for-play Indian web-based, start up “Science” journal.

  39. I sense there might be some confusion between “modeling” and “statistical constructs,” i.e. “curve fitting” and “data smoothing.” Taking three significant figure raw data +/- 1% uncertainty and mathematically creating five significant figures w/ +/- 0% uncertainty.

  40. “As a public servant that must stick to the rigor of the scientific method and only present data that is of sufficient quality to address the question, I am obliged to report the best evaluation of ocean chemistry changes available.”
    LOL! His response was a perfect rendition of a cool-aid bender complete with red mustache and morning sugar hang over. This has to be boiler plate prose lifted right out of talking points. Substitute “ocean chemistry” for any other climate change metric and you have a pat, repeatable, on-message response good for any and all inquiries.

    • He is “obliged”? That is so rich. What an abuse of the concept of obligation.
      Why didn’t he feel obligated to reveal his omissions and subject his rationale for doing so to critiquing?
      I’ll suggest he did feel that obligation but dispensed with it in favor of the more useful report without it.
      The omission of integrity is the decider.

    • “[we]only present data that is of sufficient quality to address the question”
      And ‘we’ thought up the question of ‘ocean acidification’ so naturally only ‘we’ are qualified enough to determine what is quality data and what aint in order to answer our question stoopids!

  41. Countdown till NOAA removes the data:
    ” …. why then did NOAA make the data available on their website as part of other ocean data in their World Ocean Database without a caveat?”

  42. Just think of the thousands of scientists in the past who have dutifully, with some personal risk and hardship, made all these measurements. Not just Ocean ph, but Antarctic temperatures, very remote weather stations, conflict areas etc.
    The modern climate scientists just throw out all that data. It is not something that should be condoned or considered honorable.

    • Climate scientists are in the habit of disregarding previous work. Too much of it contradicts their claims (and assumptions)

    • It seems that most of the data (ice extent, pH, temperatures, etc.) that are thrown out and/or are “processed,” go against the climate change/global warming narrative.

    • “The modern climate scientists just throw out all that data.”
      Nonsense. They decided there wasn’t enough good data to compile a global average in those years. In fact, modern scientists have gone to a lot of trouble to organise that data in WOD etc. So folk here can get a million or so data points with a few clicks.
      GISS starts its surface temperature index in 1880. But there are measured temperatures back to 1700 or so. Are they being thrown away? No, GISS doesn’t think that they are enough for a global index. That doesn’t seem controversial.

  43. OK, I checked the NOAA database, to see how much pH data there was between 1885 and 1985. How much got thrown away? 3.5 million readings. Results are as follows:
    Fri Dec 26 17:47:33 2014
    COPY OF YOUR DATABASE SEARCH CRITERIA:
    OBSERVATION DATES: Year from 1885 to 1985
    DATASET: OSD,CTD,XBT,MBT,PFL,DRB,MRB,APB,UOR,SUR,GLD
    MEASURED VARIABLES (extract): pH
    3522718 TOTAL casts
    Full (expanded) file size estimate (6520.3 MB)
    Gzipped file size estimate (1553.9 MB)
    NOTE: the file size estimates are for the WOD native format
    Data extractions will take approximately 11 hour(s)

  44. slightly different search, still lots of data (3.4 million observations) were thrown away:
    Fri Dec 26 17:54:34 2014
    OBSERVATION DATES: Year from 1800 to 1984
    3395454 TOTAL casts
    Full (expanded) file size estimate (6086.2 MB)
    Gzipped file size estimate (1446.5 MB)
    NOTE: the file size estimates are for the WOD native format
    Data extractions will take approximately 11 hour(s)

  45. “Who determined that the directly measured ocean pH data was not of “sufficient quality” and if it wasn’t, why then did NOAA make the data available on their website as part of other ocean data in their World Ocean Database without a caveat?”
    read harder.
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/WOD05/docwod05.html
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/WOD/pr_wod.html
    “NODC is in the process of transforming operations to improve public access to archived oceanographic data and environmental information. A comprehensive understanding of user/customer requirements for oceanographic data and products will greatly assist the NODC Team in achieving success to meet their mission. Please take a moment to provide comments which will support NODC’s endeavor to optimize services. Thank you.
    Sincerely, NODC”
    One of the problems with providing open access to the general public is the general public ( folks who have never worked with the data before) generally requires a huge amount of hand holding to walk through the maze of quality control procedures.
    So, if you provide the data quickly without this hand holding, then you get criticized for not providing instructions, caveats, etc. Think of it like this. Here at WUWT you post articles and let the crowd
    “peer review it” And of course you get criticized for not exerting editorial control.
    On the other hand if you only present fully QC’d data, you get blamed for “hiding stuff”
    I find the same thing with satellite data. Tons of data but very complicated and detailed instructions on how to use it.. in some cases… and in other cases its buyer beware.

    • One of the problems with providing open access to the general public is the general public ( folks who have never worked with the data before) generally requires a huge amount of hand holding to walk through the maze of quality control procedures.
      No, You are confusing data and results. The eyes from outside issue here is exactly the same as the temperature adjustments where older direct readings with calibrated instruments are adjusted down to accommodate modern theories of UHI. It makes me sad to think of all those people going out day after day for years even decades taking direct readings only to have someone 80 years later decide that they saw 33°F but it was really 31°F and they were just stupid hicks from the 1930s.
      This time it is pH direct measurements that suffer at the hands of the “adjustors.”
      The outside eyes aren’t asking to be trained as climate scientists to produce publicatons or congressional testimony. all the outside eyes are asking is why are you throwing away what appears to be perfectly useable data?

    • “On the other hand if you only present fully QC’d data, you get blamed for “hiding stuff””
      Also, NODC is here explicitly acting as an aggregator. In their introduction, they say:
      “WOD13 is a product based on data submitted to NODC/WDC by individual scientists and scientific teams as well as institutional, national, and regional data centers. A major contribution of NODC/WDC to the field of oceanography has been to provide centralized databases where all data and metadata are in the same format.”

    • Mosher does the same thing with temperature data in BEST. If he doesn’t like the data, he replaces it with theoretically derived data. He uses models to achieve this.
      Now do you understand Mosher?

      • But you never say where. Neither you above nor anyone else answered my earlier question – where in fact does Sabine “use modeled data over real data” as the title claims? What are we talking about?

    • “Absolute precision in this area is the pursuit of the foolish, Those who massage the data (which will always be questionable) to fit their conclusions forget the first rule of data. You have to take the dogs with the cats.”
      Ernest H. Wright for Leader!!!

  46. I actually see what the “public servant” is talking about. Any data real, simulated, or otherwise that doesn’t advance the narrative is deemed to be of insufficient quality. So it actually makes sense in the totally corrupt world of “climate science”.

  47. Sabine isn’t going to have many friends now that he is busy having all their publictions removed now that he’s proven they used bad data.

  48. So basically all the peers have wasted tax dollars for like a hundred years by never delivering data of sufficient quality until recently. Nice back-stabbing there…

  49. I am no scientist.
    But I am an historian
    And I know that the Pesians lost to the Macedonians and one of the reasons was they did not have machine guns.
    But the historical data is not that accurate
    Therefore
    The Macedonians had machine guns

  50. If the excluded data had shown that the oceans were more alkaline in the past, would it have been excluded?
    To ask the question is to know the answer.

    • cyanobacteria + CO2 = supersaturation
      You can’t change pH without decreasing buffer first…it’s been constant

  51. Was it Chris Sabine who said … ‘I was raised to be charming not sincere’
    … or was it Chris Pine as Prince Charming ?

  52. There must be published criteria for determining which data is of sufficient quality to use.
    Has any of these folks done mathematical modelling of the real world when you can actually test your predictions against reality? Even in a simple situation like industrial chemical production, or horticulture or agriculture, you do not extrapolate beyond your data. Mathematical models are built to allow predictions of outcomes only within the boundaries of your dataset. Doesn’t everybody know this?

  53. While Ferdinand’s explanation convinces me that Wallace’s treatment of the data is without merit, it does not follow that within all the records available, that there isn’t some sub set that is stationary and of sufficient timeline to draw a trend line from. Include the error bars of course, the result may well not be useful. I just find it rather surprising that there is nothing in terms of data prior to the 80’s that any useful information can be extracted from.

    • David, I look at it this way…
      They are trying to pass off 20 years of a cycle as proof that it’s been doing the same thing for 150 years…
      …when we know the Nino/Nina cycles are more than that

    • David, there were several repeated research ships measurements over time following the same tracks, including pCO2, DIC,… and pH measurements. They may be used to give some impression of the change over time. Here for a cruise in 1994 and a repeated cruise in 2007/2008, be it not exactly in the same winter months:
      http://cdiac.ornl.gov/oceans/woce_p18n.html
      but I suppose that more of them can be found. If they are accurate enough (measured, calculated) to see a change in pH remains a good question… The change in pCO2 and DIC anyway was established that way.

  54. “As a public servant that must stick to the rigor of the scientific method”…
    Wait – I thought it was SCIENTISTS who were supposed to stick to the scientific method. So, he’s a public servant first, then, maybe a scientist, who, to his way of thinking wouldn’t have to stick to “the rigor of the scientific method”. Oh, the agony of being a “public servant”.
    So now the question is, if being a public servant requires him to stick to the rigor of the scientific method, when is he going to do so?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  55. I guess the other choice would have been to subject the data to 6 levels of adjustments. Naturally, the final answer would have been the same.

  56. One other thought …. isn’t is possible Sabine was simply being realistic within his work environment. IOW, no other result would have been acceptable to management and any attempt by Wallace or anyone to come up with another answer truly would be career threatening. Some of these people may not have a choice in the politically driven environment within our current administration.

  57. Could it be that the operative definition of “quality” is nothing other than a cheap Lysenkoist perversion of that concept?

  58. “requires a huge amount of hand holding to walk through the maze of quality control procedures” (Mosher)
    IE all the adjustments needed to make the original data show what we want to make them show to “prove” we are correct!!!

    • Mosher’s point was the same as always: the public should almost never be allowed to see the raw data. After all, what do you think this is? Science?
      If measured, raw data supports the team’s agenda, then shout it from the rooftops. If the measured, raw data does not support the team’s agenda then toss it out, “adjust it”, homogenize it, or just make crap up. After all, this is much like the comment that it does not matter who votes, only who counts the votes. (h/t to Stalin of the USSR)

  59. “I am obliged to report the best evaluation of ocean chemistry changes available.”

    Sabine prepended modeled ocean PH values to the observed values to hide the decline in observed PH readings prior to 1985. How is that different from what Michael Mann did with his hockey stick when he appended observed temperature records to his tree-ring temperatures to get the desired results?
    Who determines what “evaluation of ocean chemistry changes” is the best. And what accepted scientific standard is used to make that determination? The PH chart shows a drop in PH for about 15 years after 1985, then it rises for about 10 years before dropping again. That does not follow the steady rise in CO2 over the same time period. So, how can they even assume to estimate the PH of the oceans prior to 1985 if they don’t understand what caused the fluctuations in PH after 1985? Ocean temperatures have cycles. ENSO has cycles. So, why wouldn’t ocean PH values have cycles. Periodic upwelling of deep ocean water could have an effect on PH, just like it does on ocean surface temperatures. It seems to me that less than 30 years of ocean PH data is not long enough to account for possible cycles in ocean PH that could be longer than 30 years.

    • Sorry Louis,
      Sabine used real far more precise measurements for the period after 1984, here for Bermuda(fig 5):
      http://www.biogeosciences.net/9/2509/2012/bg-9-2509-2012.pdf
      That is what the red line in Wallace’s graph shows after 1984: a drop of 0.04 pH unit.
      The red line before 1984 is the theoretical pH for the amount of extra CO2 dissolved in the ocean’s surface.
      The faint blue line is the pH drop of 0.3 units according to glass electrode pH measurements. But these are simply unreliable due to measurement error and sampling. There is no such a dip and recovery and dip again in the period since 1984, only a steady decline in ratio to the CO2 increase in the atmosphere.
      Ocean cycles (temperature) have little influence in this case…

      • a drop of 0.04 pH unit. and the error margins are what ?
        Its become far to common to see claims of high levels of precision being made when in fact the actual ability to measure to these levels simple is not there .

      • ferdberple,
        The main influence from ocean cycles (including ENSO) is temperature and the related change in biolife. Both influence the pCO2 and pH over the seasons and on longer term for temperature trends.
        In Bermuda, the seasonal variability is twice the variability in Hawaii:
        http://www.biogeosciences.net/9/2509/2012/bg-9-2509-2012.pdf
        Temperature change over the seasons: average 8°C
        pH change over the seasons: average 0.09 pH unit
        DIC change over the seasons: average 1.5% due to increased biolife
        pCO2 increases from 320 to 400 μatm in summer mainly from increased temperature, minus DIC decrease.
        Any change from ocean currents is in the order of less than 1°C, should have an influence of about 0.01 pH unit.
        Something similar for Hawaii:
        http://www.pnas.org/content/106/30/12235.full.pdf
        3°C change over the seasons
        0.03 pH unit change over the seasons
        40 μatm pCO2 change over the seasons

      • There are fewer than 500 measurements *in total* at Bermuda.
        That’s fewer than I’d take in a year in my back garden for max/min temperature.
        Would it be reasonable to extrapolate from my readings to infer global trends? If so I predict that we’ll see powerful warming for the next six months……..

  60. Here I stand, hat in hand, a humble taxpayer who depends on your superior expertise, sir. Is it true that the oceans are becoming less caustic?

  61. “Sabine’s excuse for using modeled data over real data?
    There is no such thing as “modeled data”. Model outputs are not data.

    • But we all know there is such a thing as a “modeled guess”. The problem enters in when the “guess” is treated as an observation and the observation dismissed because it diverges from the “guess”.

  62. It’s quite possible that what he means is that historical measurements don’t fit with the theoretical calculations and therefore are immediately suspect. I’ve seen quite a few scientists get confused this way. The other alternative is, of course, that the theoretical calculations fail to take into account all of the factors affecting pH. This is just a lengthy way of saying that if the measurements don’t fit the model then the measurements must be wrong.

    • Goldie, it is the other way out:
      The theoretical measurements fit widely within the bad performing pH measurements. Even in the period since 1984, the real pH drop by the better (not modeled) measurements give a drop of 0.04 pH unit, while the glass electrode measurements show a drop of 0.3 pH unit. Thus Wallace is wrong to accuse Feely and Sabine of omitting valuable measurements of the past, as the GE measurements have no value at all.

      • so what was the magic event in 84 that suddenly made poor measurement good?
        And what affect does included rather excluding these ‘poor’ measurements .
        But in one way your right there simple is not enough measurement to give a Value for ocean pH worth a dam and there never has been , the trouble is ‘models ‘ cannot create them either not matter how well those models give you the results ‘you want ‘

      • Why wouldn’t the 80 years of GE measurements have value on what was occurring during and over the 80 year span of GE measurements?
        Why didn’t Sabine ponder and report his assessment of all those years?
        Why do defenders of such cherry picking omission insist on obfuscating for Sabine?
        These are the chronic cherry picking alarmists who scold skeptics for cherry picking and attribute every weather event to AGW while accusing skeptics of confusing weather with climate.
        And so on……

      • Using Feely’s model, what was the pH of the oceans when CO2 was 280 ppm, 185 ppm and 4,700 ppm, 12,000 ppm and let’s say 100,000 ppm in the early Earth?

      • as the GE measurements have no value at all.
        =============
        you haven’t established that. I did a sport check on some data from 1910 and they have pH recorded to 1/100’s pf a decimal place, which would appear to demonstrate you really don’t know what you are talking about with regard to accuracy.
        8.25
        8.23
        8.21
        8.21
        8.14
        8.09
        8.09
        8.12
        8.12

      • Engelbeen,
        With all due respect, as the comedian once said, “It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.” You reject 3 million measurements at your peril, as they may have been not sufficiently random nor well enough distributed? Well were they or were they not?
        You are up on your high horse, American expression, but why?
        Yes some group may have taken 3 million measurements which are now “Proven” to be useless, but they are not so proven, and who could imagine that they were and are useless?
        Reject the data that we DO have, subject yourself to urgent questioning, good luck with all that. Contrarian, fine, but be a better one…

      • Glass electrodes produce a potential difference in response to cation strength. Glass can be made selective, for H+ etc. But measuring 10^-8M H+ in the presence of 0.4M Na+ is a challenge which was never easy to meet.

      • knr
        so what was the magic event in 84 that suddenly made poor measurement good?
        The introduction of colorimetric pH measurements in the begin 80ies, for the first time used in fixed stations. The less performing measurements were still taken, but gradually replaced.
        And what affect does included rather excluding these ‘poor’ measurements
        A drop of 0.04 pH unit in the period as measured in fixed stations
        A drop of 0.3 pH unit as measured by glass electrodes over the same time frame, mainly due to bad sampling.
        Measurements at fixed stations in open ocean give a better idea about the pH drop everywhere (as ocean chemistry is the same everywhere in the bulk of the ocean surface), as good as measurements of CO2 at a few fixed stations far away from other influences give a good idea about the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere…

      • Steve Oregon,
        You are accusing the wrong person: Sabine did use the best available data, which are all after 1984. Wallace used unreliable data from a method that can’t show the trend due to accuracy (while more accurate calculated values were available) and lumped all samples together without taking into account place and seasonality. So, who is cherry picking here?

      • ferdberple,
        CO2 values at Mauna Loa are published with 2 figures after the decimal point, even if the accuracy of the method is not better than 0.2 ppmv (they publish the average of 1 hour of sampling and they give the stdev of all samples over that hour).
        The pH device may give 2 figures after the point, but that doesn’t say anything about the accuracy. Only if they give the calibration figures of repeated measurements, one can have some idea… There were also calculated pH values, based on TA and DIC, these show better repeatability and accuracy. I don’t know if these are clearly distinguished from direct pH measurements.
        My very long time (40 years) ago experience with glass electrode pH measurements was that these were not better than 0.1 pH unit. In seawater it seems even far more difficult…

      • Fernando writes “as ocean chemistry is the same everywhere in the bulk of the ocean surface”
        Any chemistry is the same anywhere but that seems irrelevant since pH can be impacted by a great many varying factors so knowing the pH at a few locations and assuming that gives you good global averages capable of measuring trends is poor science imo.

      • TimTheToolMan,
        The impact of more CO2 in the atmosphere can be calculated for every point in the (bulk) oceans, except for huge variability from upwelling and estuaries. That is established chemistry.
        If you look at the pH decline over now 7 stations in different places over the oceans: (fig. 7):
        http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/27-1_bates.pdf
        all stations show an increase in DIC (total carbon), pCO2 and a pH decline. All the result of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere…

      • That is awful reasoning Ferdinand. There is much more going on in the oceans than just CO2 impacting their pH.

  63. Sabine needs to be reminded that as a public servant, his job is to collect and present, not judge. As a scientist, to be 100% impartial, not partisan.

  64. I bet if we gave Sabine money to certify the historical data he’d take take the money even though he’s already concluded it is wrong. Confirmation bias again.

  65. A half decent scientist would:
    a) determine which data is reliable enough to be used to support the claims being made.
    b) reject the data that does not meet the criteria that is established in a).
    c) if the data is unreliable prior to a given date, note this in any conclusions that are drawn from the data.
    d) if they decide to use a model to extrapolate into time periods that precedes their reliable data set, they must acknowledge that they are using a model.
    e) Recognize that use of a model means that any conclusions that are drawn about the extrapolated time period(s) in question should be taking with a large grain of salt.

    • Ian, Sabine did exactly what you describe a) to c): he only published the data after 1984 as that were the only data of sufficient quality.
      Now he is accused by Wallace of omitting the data pre-1984, while these have no value at all to establish the trend in the period 1850-1984.
      That is the same as accusing Dr. Spencer of not using the ground based temperature data in his satellite data…

      • knr, the development of colorimetric pH measurements instead of glass electrodes and the use of fixed stations besides ship’s surveys. The latter is important to establish the large variations over the seasons, the former to have data which are fine enough to show a trend of 0.05 pH unit over 100+ years…
        Before 1984, there were calculated pH measurements, based on other, more accurate measurements (total alkalinity and total carbon). But neither Sabine nor Wallace have used these data…

  66. this question is like asking a natural health therapist why they recommend a super-multivitamin over a regular multivitamin to cure cancer.
    the people involved in the field (climate science/environmentalists) are just drifting further away from real science with every paper released.
    let them go. if people are not smart enough to understand the problems with the way they conduct their ”science”, then they have no hope of understanding the actual content of the ”science”, so it is pointless pointing out how wrong the ”science” is. they will only see the window dressing (media consensus) and defend that to the death. if it is to be that the world is past its critical thinking phase (enlightenment) completely, then it wont matter how many objections are made.

  67. Good God. Has Sabine never studied Theories of Science? Is it possible that Sabine never understood Mathematic Statistic? The words ‘earlier data is not of “sufficient quality.”‘ is something one would expected from 7th graders, not from anyone who studied beyond College.
    Start by reading: Theories of Science, Basic Knowledge
    Where has all the money gone, from where did You get it?
    Follow the money and what will we find? Something they, the CO2-believer’s leaders, never expected?

  68. “You cannot make a scientific report more accurate by excluding data.”
    No, but you damned sure can make it support your crackpot hypothesis by excluding data 😉

      • First define what is ‘bad data ‘ ,is it data which likes accuracy , in which case much of climate ‘science’ is filled with bad data or that which is bad because it does not support what your trying to prove.

      • In this case it is clearly data which aren’t accurate enough to show the trend which you want to look for and under sampling in time and place. You can’t see a (theoretical) trend of 0.05 pH unit where your measurement is accurate to 0.1 pH unit and the spatial and seasonal changes can go up to 1 pH unit difference…
        Therefore you need fixed stations to establish sufficient sampling to show the seasonal variations at different places on earth to show the spatial differences…

  69. Re:
    “Frank Kotler December 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm
    Here I stand, hat in hand, a humble taxpayer who depends on your superior expertise, sir. Is it true that the oceans are becoming less caustic?”
    This will be my take away for future discussions with my AGW friends. Well done.

  70. “Riding the global cycles
    Diatoms fix as much carbon dioxide as all the rainforests of the world combined, and they may very well have been the main architects of our current, moderately cool climate situation. The rise of the diatoms began in a much warmer climate than ours, with no ice caps on the poles. The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was much higher than today. In the Cretaceous, around 100 million years ago, when diatoms began to become widespread and developed great diversity, the carbon dioxide level was fivefold higher than today, and oxygen was lower. Remarkably, diatoms managed to thrive and expand during a period of extreme climate change, and they also seem to have come through the mass extinction that saw off the dinosaurs without too many problems. The opening of the Drake Passage around 40 million years ago, which created the continent of Antarctica, was particularly beneficial for the diatoms because they began to proliferate dramatically in the cold turbulent waters of the Southern Ocean.
    As diatoms evolved thicker and denser cell walls and spread across the oceans, it became more likely that dead diatoms might sink to the ocean floor and thus sequester their carbon.”
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982212008664
    “Shells – Carbon Transport Down to the Deep
    Shell-building organisms such as coral, oysters, lobsters, pteropods, sea urchins, and some species of phytoplankton use calcium carbonate ions to build their shells, plates and inner skeletons. The carbon that is incorporated into the shells of these organisms can end up in deep ocean sediments as these organisms die and sink. Although some of the shells dissolve before reaching the seafloor sediments, shells slowly build up on the sea floor storing the carbon for millions of years.
    Coccolithophores
    Coccolithophores[reuse info] Phytoplankton bloom Key of Biscaye france
    [reuse info] Coccolithophores perhaps have had the biggest impact on the carbon cycle over time. These microscopic phytoplankton remove carbonate ions and calcium ions from seawater to build their calcium carbonate (CaCO3) plates – called coccoliths. When there is plenty of sunlight and nutrients, these tiny phytoplankton will explosively reproduce, producing a “bloom” of trillions of coccolithophores floating in the surface of the ocean. Satellites can see these blooms from space, such as the very large bloom above that appeared off the coast of Norway in the Barents Sea. In just a few days, coccolithophores gobble up the available nutrients and start to die. The trillions of coccolith plates slowly sink down to the bottom of the ocean taking the calcium carbonate in their plates with them.
    The calcium carbonate in these sediments are actually chalk – the same type of chalk used to write on blackboards. Sometimes slow tectonic movements will force these chalky sediments above sea level. The White Cliffs of Dover are in England are perhaps the best known example of this. To find out more, read about Coccolithophores and White Cliffs of Dover and then play the video “Chalk Dust.”
    http://serc.carleton.edu/eslabs/carbon/6a.html
    “The ratio between the concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and silicate in particular areas of the ocean dictates competitive dominance within phytoplankton communities. Each ratio essentially tips the odds in favor of either diatoms or more other groups of phytoplankton, such as coccolithophores. A low silicate to nitrogen and phosphorus ratio allows coccolithophores to outcompete other phytoplankton species; however, when silicate to phosphorus to nitrogen ratios are high coccolithophores are outcompeted by diatoms. The increase in agricultural processes lead to eutrophication of waters and thus, coccolithophore blooms in these high nitrogen and phosphorus, low silicate environments.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccolithophore

  71. “Mission scientists believe 80 percent of eruptive activity on Earth takes place in the ocean, and most volcanoes are in the deep ocean. Until this discovery, NOAA and NSF had sponsored research on submarine volcanoes for 25 years without observing a deep-ocean eruption. Scientists believe further study of active deep-ocean eruptions will provide a better understanding of oceanic cycles of carbon dioxide and sulfur gases, how heat and matter are transferred from the interior of the Earth to its surface, and how life adapts to some of the harshest conditions on Earth.”
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20091217_volcano2.html

  72. Michael Moon
    You reject 3 million measurements at your peril, as they may have been not sufficiently random nor well enough distributed? Well were they or were they not?
    Glass electrode pH measurements are of no value at all to measure a theoretical trend (based on established ocean chemistry) of 0.05 pH unit over the period 1850-1984. That is clear.
    Some of the historical measurements done still may be of value if the more precise calculated pH values are used and can be compared for repeated cruises over the same stretch and seasons. But that is a lot of research work.
    You are up on your high horse, American expression, but why?
    I had a similar discussion with the late Ernst Beck about his compilation of the 900,000 historical wet chemical CO2 measurements: bad accuracy, wrong place of sampling, etc.
    His compilation did show a CO2 “peak” of 80 ppmv around 1942, the equivalent of burning down 1/3rd of all land vegetation and regrowth in a few years time. That doesn’t show up in any high resolution ice core or any other proxy (including stomata data, beloved by some here…). The “peak” was simply because of questionable accuracy and mainly because of high variability at contaminated places for sampling.
    See: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html
    If one is accusing Sabine and Feely of fraud, based on bad data, then skeptics are shooting in their own foot, only strengthening the believe of warmistas that all skeptics are conspiracy theorists…

      • Michael, the glass electrode measurements show variations of 0.2 pH unit from one year to the next (even excluding the extremes). To reach such a drop of pH in all oceans at the same time, you need a change of 200 ppmv CO2 extra in the atmosphere within a year for lowering pH and -200 ppmv for one-year changes in the opposite direction. Or changes of +/- 16°C to have the same effect from temperature changes. Other possible sources like (undersea) volcanoes are one-direction and may cause a fast drop in pH, but no rapid rise in pH, as the glass electrode data show…
        Thus the glass electrode pH measurements simply are too unreliable to draw any conclusion of them…

      • Engelbeen, ocean chemistry is complex. The oceans are not well-mixed. There is significant variation in pH from place to place, season to season. Nevertheless decades of pH measurements have been recorded. You suggest they are Useless? I suggest that your contention is absurd. Newer more accurate instruments having been developed, do we now throw out decades of recorded data? Not where I come from, we don’t…

      • Michael,
        There are lots of data from the past which still are valuable like pCO2, DIC, TA,… If they have measured total alkalinity and total carbon, it is possible to calculate the pH of that moment at the place of sampling. If one can combine that with repeated measurements at the same place around the same period of the year, then one can calculate the difference over the years. But I am afraid that this is a lot of work nobody likes to do…
        As said, I have had a similar discussion about historical CO2 measurements: Most of the 900,000 historical measurements are only good to be discarded: in the middle of Paris, forests, below growing crops, etc. There were a few thousand done over the oceans and coastal with wind from the sea: these are usable and all show values around the ice core average CO2 levels…

  73. When you bin data and exclude it from the analysis you should document your quality test so that others can validate that the data quality test was done correctly and is repeatable. The method and reasoning for data binning can also then be debated and challenged. If the binned data when included changes the result then you better have a water tight case for excluding it.

  74. Well speaking of using calculated values rather than measured data, the graph of arctic temperatures at http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php seems to be based on models and calculations rather than actual data. At least that’s what I understand from reading the notes that accompany the data. If I’m mistaken I hope someone will correct me.

  75. From DMI: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/documentation/arctic_mean_temp_data_explanation_newest.pdf: “An NWP analysis is based on vastly more information than available from any single observing system. Data from ground, aircraft, bouys, ship, satellites, radiosondes, etc. are all combined to adjust the first guess field. As a consequence the quality of an analysis is much better than what can be obtained from gridding, or treating in other ways, data from a single or a few observing systems.

  76. It seems that if there is any “pHraud” here it is in the WUWT articles (this one and the original at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/23/touchy-feely-science-one-chart-suggests-theres-a-phraud-in-omitting-ocean-acidification-data-in-congressional-testimony/).
    I can find no replacing of modeled data with real data. The original graph at http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/file/Hawaii+Carbon+Dioxide+Time-Series is labelled “Hawaii Carbon Dioxide Time-Series” with no claim about global applicability. It shows only actual high-quality times series data for Hawaii: the atmospheric CO2 data from Mauna Loa beginning in the 50’s and the ocean data for Station Aloha established in the 80’s. To that extent the figure is completely consistent with best scientific practice. The only deficiencies I see is that it is not clear if the lines through the data are curve fits or modeling results and that, so far as I can tell, “R.A. Feely, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2008” does not exist. But both of those are issues with NOAA’s presentation of the graph and may not be Feely’s fault.
    While I am at it, at the Qwest link http://science.kqed.org/quest/2014/12/12/ocean-acidification-and-marine-life/ states that “The acidity of a solution is often reported in terms of pH. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A value below 7 is acidic and a value above 7 is basic. The more acidic a solution, the higher the concentration of hydrogen ions and the lower the pH” and “It’s important to note that the pH of the ocean is still basic (around a pH of 8), but scientists use the term ocean acidification to indicate the increase in hydrogen ions in the ocean, which lowers the ocean’s pH”; all of which is perfectly correct and seems to be taking care to not mislead.
    Generally, Anthony Watts does a commendable job. He seems to have blown this one.
    Sorry about url’s rather than proper links. I could not figure out how to do the latter here.

    • Anything titled “ocean acidification” quite naturally will define it incorrectly. Acidification means making something acid.
      Altering the pH down dies not make a basic solution acid unless it lowers it below 7.
      Why is that so hard to understand?

      • It is so hard to understand because it is wrong. Lowering the pH of a solution is making it more acidic. It does not matter if the pH is greater than or less than 7. pH 8 is more acidic than pH 9, even though both are basic. It is the same as saying that -20 C is warmer than -30 C even though both are cold.
        I have been a chemist for nearly 40 years and a chemistry professor for more than half that time. The above is standard usage in chemistry.

      • You are a confused fellow when you say pH 8 is more acidic than pH 9.
        Properly, you should say pH8 is less basic.

  77. As there is an extended chemical equilibrium going from CO2 to carbonic acid to bicarbonate to carbonate to calcium carbonate, if more CO2 is added, the equilibrium is pushed to the product side, more calcium carbonate. And, notably, any protons released in this process cannot alter this equilibrium.
    An equilibrium CANNOT influence itself. But, that is exactly what the global warmists are trying to foist on the public. Only an outside source of protons could have the effects they claim.
    Furthermore, organisms have physiological power such that they can handle and control the CO2 and/or carbonate they let into their cells and have intimate control of what they do with it. As calcium carbonate is less soluble in warm water than cold, warm waters are basically saturated with calcium carbonate, which is why coral reefs tend to concrete together.
    The bottom line is that higher CO2 and warmer waters is heaven for corals. They thrive everywhere; the world’s corals are growing 30–50% faster now than they were 50 years ago.

    • Highley7, make a saturated solution of soda or baking soda and add some vinegar: a lot of CO2 is bubbling up.
      If you add CO2 to the oceans, that pushes the equilibria to the carbonate side, but also releases H+ ions, which push the equilibria back to the CO2 side. The net effect is less carbonate and more bicarbonate and a slightly lower pH…
      But if that will have much effect on sea life is questionable, as most calcifying organisms (corals, coccoliths) were thriving in much higher CO2 levels of the atmosphere.

    • higley7 wrote “if more CO2 is added, the equilibrium is pushed to the product side, more calcium carbonate”. That is wrong. One way to look at it is the way Ferdinand describes. A simpler way to look at it is to recognize that CO2 is an acid and carbonate is a base, so what happens is that they react with each other:
      CO2 + CO3– + H2O = 2HCO3-
      higly7 wrote “Only an outside source of protons could have the effects they claim”. That is true. The outside source of protons is CO2 added to the hydrosphere. CO2 is an acid (technically, a Lewis acid but not a Bronstead acid). It reacts with water to form carbonic acid:
      CO2 + H2O = H2CO3
      which dissociate to provide hydrogen ions
      H2CO3 = H+ + HCO3-
      higly7 wrote “Furthermore, organisms have physiological power such that they can handle and control the CO2 and/or carbonate they let into their cells and have intimate control of what they do with it”. That is true. They may have to work a bit harder to get the carbonate they need for their hard parts, but they will find it easier to get the carbon needed for photosynthesis. Near future levels of CO2 will likely not be any great problem, but if CO2 gets high enough (probably around triple CO2) to exhaust the buffering capacity of the ocean, things get worrisome.

      • Mike M,
        “CO2 + CO3– + H2O = 2HCO3-“
        or, to extend further, the reaction of real concern is
        “CO2 + CaCO3 + H2O = Ca++ + 2HCO3-“
        And H+ does not appear. That’s why I think fussing about accuracy of pH measurement is pointless. The direct measures of progress of the reaction are DIC and TA. These are just measured by quantitative chemistry on abundant species. If you really do want to use pH as a measure, it is better to infer it from the things you really want to know about than mess with more direct but unreliable methods.

      • Nick Stokes wrote: “The direct measures of progress of the reaction are DIC and TA. These are just measured by quantitative chemistry on abundant species. If you really do want to use pH as a measure, it is better to infer it from the things you really want to know about than mess with more direct but unreliable methods.”
        That may well be true, It seems to me that you want to measure Dissolved Inorganic Carbon, Total Alkalinity, pH, temperature, and salinity and make sure that everything is internally consistent. I tool a quick look at the Station Aloha web site and it seems that all those things are measured, but I did not look at how the data are processed.
        http://hahana.soest.hawaii.edu/hot/methods/results.html

  78. The post has generated a lot of discussion and I was impressed by , and to be honest a little sceptical of, the accuracy claimed by Ferdinand Engelbeen for colorimetric methods of pH assay . Certainly the glass electrode has been responsible for many attacks of frustrated anger by practising chemists and is not well loved , but I did not think that a test based on the customary indicator dyes (such as those used in test strips) could ever give better than +/- 0.2pH. Not , that is, until I came across the following open access paper for a dye based home built LED photometer with a claimed accuracy of 0.01pH units in the seawater range
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304420314000061
    Just how practical it is in the field or whether it is capable of automation for a sensor array in practical marine situations I do not know , but it is an improvement on the glass electrode IMO and deserves our support.

    • He Mike, most more accurate pH data since 1984 (and before) were obtained by calculation derived from Total Alkalinity and total carbon (DIC) which are far easier to obtain. Bates claims better than 0.2 % for both for the Bermuda series, giving a result for the pH reproducibility of better than 0.02 pH unit.
      Therefore, claiming “fraud” for not using pH data accurate (with a lot of effort) to not better than 0.1 pH unit looks a little premature…
      But indeed, there are already steps ahead of that:
      The latest colorimetric techniques are reaching 0.001 pH unit accuracy…
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003267013006570

  79. NOAA agree that the oceans are being acidified, which is hogwash. Well it is NOAA. LOL
    ******************************
    Calling this phenomenon “ocean acidification” when surface seawater will remain “basic” under future emissions scenarios is alarmist
    Just as we describe an increase in temperature from -40°F to -20°F as warming, even though neither the starting nor the ending temperature is “warm,” the term “acidification” describes a direction of change (i.e. increase) in the level of acidity in the global oceans, not an absolute end point. When CO2 is added to seawater, it reacts with water to form carbonic acid (H2CO3); hence acid is being added to seawater, thereby acidifying it. Similarly, in the example about human blood, a drop in pH is referred to as acidosis, even though the point where acidemia begins (7.35) is still above 7.

    • As I said upthread, acidification does not have a misleading denotation (formal definition), but it has a misleading connotation (associated implications). What to do? Put “acidification” inside quotation marks.

    • ocean acidification is used not because scientific value but becasue in this most politicized area of ‘science’ it has a significant impact and so a real marketing value . Not usual has climate ‘science’ amongst its others horrible approaches, has long practised science by press release and to be fair to climate ‘scientists’ many have got rather good at knowing what line to feed the press to get the rights results , no matter how actually poor the a papers contents .

  80. NOAA … a US government agency … involved in temperature data manipulation and fraud … so why would it not be the same when it comes to the pH of oceans????

  81. Same reason given by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology when they were caught red handed changing historical data with an algorithm that converted the trend from cooling to warming. Temp data from cold places is also deleted (giving a warmer average) by certain officials to give hottest year ever warcries and the excuse given is that the data was unreliable.

  82. Here, “insufficient quality” means “incapable of supporting an obviously true hypothesis,” the proof being that it contradicts the hypothesis, thus demonstrating its unsuitability, sort of like what those guys did in excluding all but one tree in a dataset so that an obviously true hypothesis would not be falsified.

  83. What gets me is they become so concerned about the quality of data when it doesn’t support AGW but they have no problem with it when it does. Example, they ignore the direct atmospheric chemical CO2 measurements compiled by Ernst Beck as unreliable but accept ice core samples from Antarctica as accurate. Another would be they reject corroborating balloon and satellite data from 4 different studies that show troposphere humidity declining as unreliable but accept computer models showing the contrary. It’s nothing to do with science, the banks and politicians want carbon taxes and they’ll keep right on throwing the same debunked crud against the wall until enough of it sticks.

    • Chris, I had years of direct discussions with the late Ernst Beck about his compilation of the early CO2 measurements. Most of them were taken nearby huge sources and sinks of CO2: the middle of Paris, forests, over, in between and below growing crops, etc. These data are even worse than many of the pH data used by Wallace. Despite that (and some very rough instruments: accuracy +/- 150 ppmv!), Ernst did lump them all together, which makes his compilation worthless.
      If you look only at the historical data sampled over the oceans and coastal with wind from the sea, the CO2 levels all are around the ice core data. The latter are accurate to +/- 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma) for one core and within 5 ppmv between different ice cores, be it averaged over 10 to 600 years, depending of the snow accumulation rate. See further:
      http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html
      Wallace made a similar error by lumping all glass electrode data together, no matter accuracy, place and season. That doesn’t give any reliable trend…

      • How much more reliable is the results of models runs when in reality you have not got a good understanding of what should be included or excluded from them , no matter how good an understand of what you need the results from them to be?
        The issues around data are many fold in this area , but much of them are self induced , either by denying its poor data when the data they get suits ‘the cause ‘ or claiming that modelling data is ‘better’ then reality when it suits ‘the cause’ or simply smearing data from one location across vast areas when it suits ‘the cause ‘
        The reality is they know saying the data is poor but at least its ‘better than nothing ‘ is not going to get the grant cheques flowing in and certainly not going to get the type of political movement they want . So it seems only when the data fails to produce the ‘right results ‘ do they call ‘poor data’
        Let the data speak for itself , seems to have been long abandon in climate ‘science’ where what really matters is that the data ‘sings the right song ‘

      • knr, ocean carbon chemistry is known for over 80 years. Many, if not all, influences on pH are known and can be calculated. The main problems were accuracy, seasonal variability (temperature and bio-life) and spatial diversity.
        In the case of Wallace’s compilation all three problems are involved and render his compilation essentially worthless. In the case of the Sabine data, none of the three problems are involved for the data after 1984. The theoretical back calculation of Feely for the period 1850-1984 is more valid than the compilation Wallace did make…

  84. As a final note, have a look at the comment of Richard Telfort at not pHraud but pHoolishness. That includes charts about the spatial and seasonal distribution of the pH measurements done over time.
    It is quite simple: the whole exercise by Wallace is just showing the average of a pile of garbage, without any hint of a “global” ocean surface pH trend over time.
    Sorry but this all is just food for the AGW folks that are sure that all skeptics are conspiracy nuts…

    • Ed, compiling data scattered over seasons and latitudes where the pH changes are in the order of 1 unit and looking for a “trend” of 0.1 unit over 160 years that is just foolishness…

  85. What most of the posters here imply, but do not specify is that NOAA has been reduced to a Political Organization, as has NASA. The top Administrators are ALL Political Appointees of the Obama Administration and have bought into the AGW notion that Models trump Live Data. The rational is that REAL DATA does not fit the “Approved” Models and is hence “Unreliable”. This follows necessarily that since not even one Model can accept Historical Data and accurately predict what actually occurred, Real Data must be inherently “Unreliable”. Unfortunately for the AGW Cult Members, I trust ACTUAL DATA rather than “Models”. When Models FAIL, it is they that are inherently UNRELIABLE, not the Data that cannot fit into said Model.

    • Sz939, within NASA and NOAA there are lots of people who are only interested in providing the best available data: satellite temperature and CO2 data, precipitation, ice cover/thickness and the best ocean data: temperature, salinity, pH, pCO2, DIC, total alkalinity, bio-life,… you name it.
      Ocean pH can be measured and can be calculated from other measurements. The original glass electrode measurements were accurate to 0.1 pH unit. The calculated ones (based on other, better defined measurements) performed and perform better than the glass electrodes. But the coverage in place and season also is extremely important as that gives changes which are 10 times the trend one is looking for.
      The theoretical trend is about 0.1 pH unit over 160 years, of which 0.04 pH unit over the past 30 years. That is from a “model” that is based on established ocean carbon chemistry already over 80 years and used in many thousands of calculations. The results can’t be verified by glass electrode measurements, as these are simply not accurate enough to show such small changes.
      Since about 1984 NOAA and others have established fixed stations to cover pH data with better accuracy than the glass electrode pH measurements over all seasons (both calculated and colorimetric). That besides regular cruises over the same trajectories in the same seasons. All the real, accurate measured data since 1984 show a drop of around 0.04 pH unit since 1984. That confirms the theoretical model.
      Now, Wallace makes a compilation of all available glass electrode pH measurements, no matter the season or place where is measured and lumped all data together. Then he shouts “fraud”, based on a compilation of a method that can’t show the trend…
      Simply said, no matter how some at NASA and NOAA think about climate, alarmist or luke-warmer, the pH decline is real and what Wallace has compiled is good to be thrown into the bin: it has no value at all.
      Not what you or me or many here like to hear, but it is the truth…
      That is about the measurements, but that doesn’t say anything about the impact of such small changes on bio-life, which in my opinion is nothing compared to what bio-life can have without harm, now and in the foreseeable future.

  86. I believe a follow up reply should have went something like , ” Thank you for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. I appreciate your honesty ,but your response leaves me with more questions than answers.Can you do me a favor and go into detail regarding what you consider “data of sufficient quality ” ? And why your “choice” of data isn’t noted in poster?

  87. I think it is time to send an apology to Dr. Sabine for accusing him of fraud, while there was no fraud at all.
    If WUWT want to maintain any credibility, it should follow the evidence of the data.
    The compilation of glass electrode measurements by Wallace has not the slightest scientific value. Not only because the data of the glass electrodes are not accurate enough to show the theoretical pH trend from the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (0.1 pH unit over 160 years), but the “trend” in his compilation only shows the average result of the random measurements of each year, with huge changes in place and time, which all have more influence on the local pH than the real pH change for each place in the ocean surface over time. The latter is measured/calculated in seven fixed places over the past 30 years and several ships cruises over the same track in the same seasons over the years. All such highly accurate measurements for any open ocean location over time show a similar drop in pH, which confirms the theoretical influence of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere.
    While it is tempting to jump on any calculation from anyone that may show a flaw in the AGW meme, it gives all skeptics a bad name if that is based on a bad interpretation of the available evidence…

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