Saturday silliness – the BEST adjustments of temperature

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Josh writes:

There has been much discussion recently about the adjustments made to past temperatures: see Paul Homewood’s excellent posts on ParaguayBolivia and around the world; also from Shub; Brandon at WUWT and on his own blog; and a very readable summary by James Delingpole. All very interesting.

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80 thoughts on “Saturday silliness – the BEST adjustments of temperature

  1. There will be no global cooling – ever. We have reached the climate optimum and will stay there. And to make sure that we stay there CO2 production will at minimum need to be taxed if it can’t be reduced. Adjustments cost real money.

    • I guess we should forget that the great periods when civilization advanced, the Minoan, the Roman, and the Medieval warm periods didn’t actually happen at temperatures higher than what we have today. The notion of a climate optimum is a local idea. It just depends upon where you live.

      • No, the medieval warm period has been documented on all seven continents by innumerable records, see the Medieval Warm Period Project to trash your lovely-sounding but completely false statement.

        The Roman Warm Period is less well documented for obvious reasons, but it too appears to be a global phenomenon. At the very least, there is no evidence to support a claim that it is only a regional effect.

      • Ben,

        I read somewhere that the Medieval Warm Period was limited to only the North Atlantic and Europe. Since then it has been determined that the North Atlantic and Europe were more globally distributed 1,000 years ago. For example, the Arctic Archipelago was near Iceland. the Antarctic Peninsula was close to Greenland. China was in Poland, New Zealand was near the Isle of Man and South Africa was like Spain.

      • @Paul Coppin: Some comments are so blatantantly sarcastic, a tag would insult the intelligence. [/obvious]

  2. Temperature “adjustments” always go in the warming direction. It’s all just one part of the giant memeplex that is the Climatist Industry. No conspiracy is required, no special effort, except the willingness to set aside any inconvenient and bothersome moral scruples.

    • The neat trick they employ, is to cool the past and leave the present more-or-less untouched, creating a positive trend and look – the current numbers are correct, so the past numbers must be too. Trust Us!

  3. From all appearances, BEST is simply a propaganda operation masquerading as science. There is no way to honestly say that they are simply guilty of observational bias. They are guilty of perverting science to support their political views.

    • I believe some here suggested such way back when BEST was first being discussed.

      They offered change that we could believe in, but then produced simply more of the same.

      Hmm… I believe I may have heard that before, somewhere, but I just can’t place it.

      /grin

    • What you say is possible about Mueller. It more likely he believed the IPCC, was offended by Mann’s hockey stick (see Youtube lecture) and decided to check the temp record himself.
      BEST has given that an honest go. The methods and assumptions are clear, algorithms and code are posted.There are IMO two subtle logical flaws in their methods, which also exist in all other homogenizarion algorithms as well.
      Where BEST has gone wrong is in attribution, where they have no skill.
      Their end result shows the pause. That now suffices to falsify CMIP5 and to lower sensitivity buy about half. See the Lewis and Curry or Lowhle papers.The BEST global synthesis is not strongly at variance from UAH and RSS from 1979 on for masked land. And BEST trends are more reasonable for places where, for example, NCDC GHCN or BOM ACORN have plainly fiddled inappropriately. For examples, spot check Reykjavik (Iceland), De Bilt (Netherlands), Sulina (Rumania), and Rutherglen (Australia) comparing BEST to GHCN. Both datasets are easy public access.

      • The problem with B.E.S.T. is that it extends the “chop, shift, and paste” homogenizing / adjusting to new extremes, when what is needed is to NOT chop, shift, and paste histories. Heck, I thought it was well understood that “splicing data series” was at best a high risk error prone behaviour and at worst flat out catastrophic. yet in “climate science” it is not just the norm, but taken to new heights of automation beyond anything any person could do.

        “Spliced data? Just say NO!” – E.M.Smith

      • While I agree that the manipulation of e. g. Reykjavik in GHCN is egregious the BEST algorithms are hardly better. I’ve checked them for a number of Swedish stations where I have access to additional metadata and they do not detect even major station moves while “chopping” the records at other places. Of course it can never be proven that something unrecorded didn’t happen at these points (Repainting? Nearby tree cut down?).
        Their “quality control” algorithm also consistently eliminates extreme but real and extensively documented cold excursions, in the case of Sweden particularly in the spring of 1869 and winter of 1941/42

      • Trends can change dramatically with just small adjustments or errors in the data. I can’t see what the point of using averages is if the trends are so small, the homogenization is so large and the sampling of the Earth’s surface is so poor.

        A little from left field but why not use the median of temperature change from month to month or year to year as an index of global temperature change? Any physical changes at a few stations makes a smaller difference to the median than the mean and you can’t use small grids (you need a large sample so you’re limited to looking at medians of large quarters of the globe) so a physical change at one station does not make a big difference.

        You’re assuming that the median are the stations where local effects are less than the global change. There could be a large error in individual years because of this assumption (especially as stations are not evenly spread) but you only analyse the trend and not the change in global temperature, ignoring outliers. You can sum the results to make a pretty plot but not to investigate how much of the climate change can be attributed to humans. It has to be better than calculating a global anomaly then fitting a linear trend (or any function) to it.

  4. 1/ A definitive study would be to count the number of stations wherein the temperature adjustments increase, decrease, or leave unchanged the slope of the temperature time series. If all the slopes increase, then that is evidence of a systematic bias in the data processing
    Then divide the set into two: rural and urban stations. Due to the UHI, one would expect the slopes at the urban stations to decrease. If they do not, then something is wrong.

    2/ These adjustments are a source of systematic error [bias] on the order of +/- 1C.
    It should be propagated and included in the final graph of the mean global temperature time series.
    If so, then why are the final errors quoted as being on the order of +/- 0.02C

    3/ The rationale for using a station in Paris to correct for a station in Ireland is that while the changes in absolute temperature are not correlated over large spatial distances, the changes in the temperature are correlated. This is another claim that has, to my knowledge, never been thoroughly investigated.

    • It can’t be investigated because it is ridiculous and impossible. All of this ‘planet is heating/cooling’ stuff based on local temperatures being ‘smeared’ thousands of miles is crazy. We can tell if it is colder or hotter on the entire planet by the levels of icing in the South Pole and North American continent in winter since both are the main areas most covered by glaciers during Ice Ages.

      And it is dreadfully cold this winter here in upstate NY.

    • Anthony published a very detailed study of the quality of the weather stations and the two highest quality categories of stations showed no warming I believe.

    • #3 is apparently based on a 1980’s paper by Hansen, the original data for which was never released. Even in the wretched graphics of the original paper (http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1987/1987_Hansen_Lebedeff_1.pdf) it is obvious that the scatter is huge and that the claim of average correlation = 0.5 or better out to 1200 km is only true for the Northern Hemisphere north of 45 degree lat. In the tropics (where stations are few and infillings huge) there is practically no correlation even at short distances.
      And, no, there doesn’t seem to be any later study supporting the correlation. GISS is still claiming Hansen & Lebedeff as the basis for their long-range corrections (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/)

  5. Somewhere, George Orwell is smiling, knowingly

    … but deeply disapointed that so few have seen this coming.

  6. The mullahs of the Global Warming Religion love to tell us that the rise in temperatures is especially severe at the poles – a tricksy way of duping the citizens who see no such warming where they live. “Citizen, don’t be parochial! You may not see it in your town, but the icecaps are in big trouble.”

    Here is evidence that GISS is fiddling the figures in the arctic as well as in the abovementioned Paraguay and Bolivia: http://endisnighnot.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-past-is-getting-colder.html

    • Nice posts, Brent. You show for the Arctic the same infilling using fiddled data that Paul Homewood showed for central South America. And show the progressively greater past cooling that is readily demonstrable in many locations. Your analysis deserves more exposure.

  7. They believe by faith and they labor to achieve a political outcome. It’s a religion to these folks.

    Our Gaia in heaven, hallowed be your name
    Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth, as it is in academia
    Give us this day our daily propaganda, and forgive us our setbacks,as we also have forgiven our comrades.
    And lead us not into science,but deliver us from data.

      • I should add, I’m not in a position to take a position, so to speak, on how much adjustments have been giving an incorrect ‘final answer’ in the time series of globally averaged temperature anomaly since 1860 or whenever. I’m very glad to see guys like Paul Homewood acknowledged though. Part of a David’s army that will win the day.

  8. Rather than asking for an “explanation” for the adjustments, we should demand the algorithm. That is, we should demand a high-level explanation of the algorithm, together with the code that takes in the raw data and any other necessary data, and outputs the adjusted data.

    Although I couldn’t examine this code myself, there are plenty of people who could. Without any code, the people who provide the “adjusted data” should not be taken seriously. If they don’t have any algorithm, it would at least be interesting to hear them admit it.

    • Also note that the “adjustments” are being moved up stream (closer to the actual source data) and sometimes applied several times in a row (i.e. GHCN gets some input from places that have ‘fixed’ their data, then ‘fixes’ the data some more and sends it to GISTemp, that ‘fixes’ it yet again via more homogenizing).

      The only answer is to start from unmollested original data (that Hadley has “lost”) and not fiddle it, then show the actual trends in the data. Then, and only then, can the effect of ‘fixing’ it be shown. That is not possible today.

      • Added to that the initial data then each and every change to that data should be documented and signed off by each person doing the change taking responsibility for the change and explaining why it was done. When a change causes a change in trend from the original data that should be flagged to draw attention to it. Homogenization may be a nice trick for a PhD thesis, but it should not be allowed to be applied as a blanket algorithm for something that is literally proving life or death and costing the world trillions. There are not that many reporting stations so document each one and explain every change. This is standard quality control that academic based climatology seems to be incapable of or unwilling to implement.

  9. When you think of all these papers that show something based on these temperatures, the scandal really grows out of proportion.

  10. I asked myself how long does GISS and NCDC think they can get away with this unethical manipulation of the temperature data sets?

    I realize that the answer is at least until January 21, 2017. Maybe longer if Hillary becomes President. There is a reason Obama advisor and econutter John Podesta is now her campaign manager.

    I’m also guessing guys like Gavin Schmidt are losing sleep over the prospect of a GOP President in 2017. Their little data manip games will be over if that happens and the price to pay will be their jobs and reputations.

    As an aside, understanding those temp adjustments in South America would explain the long-term sea ice trend in the Antarctic Southern Ocean.

  11. Lack of plausible explanation for the temperature adjustments is damning, especially for Paraguay. The explanations usually speculation without hard evidence as the station in Purto Casado. The reality is the only evidence used to make an adjustment is if there is a break or shift in temperature. If there is, the station is either removed and replaced with data from surrounding stations. Why is it so hard to admit that? Why all the “explanations” which get them into more hot water like adjustments for urban affect somehow causing station readings from late 20 century to be adjusted warmer instead of cooler.

    Maybe primarily because the great amount of adjusted station data reveals the paucity of reliable stations, reflecting poorly on actual station coverage. I do not know the reason for the obfuscation, but I do know it not only looks bad, it is bad.

    There is a doomsday scenario in our future, but it does not have to do with climate. It has to do with the public at large losing confidence in the integrity of science. Fortunately for now science is still held in high regard due to great advancements in medical treatment and computer science with it’s many applications such as cell phones, internet, and entertainment. But when climate science starts to more significantly and negatively impact standards of living and it is more widely realized the weakness of their claims, science in general is going to take a hit.

    • Maybe in the future we will have scientist jokes like: Do you know why they bury scientist 12 feet deep? Because deep down they are not so bad.

      • or…”…because deep enough down you can’t resurrect them with routine adjustments”. or… “that way, rising seas won’t float them back up…”…

  12. From article ‘How can we believe in ‘global warming’ when the temperature records providing the ‘evidence’ for that warming cannot be trusted?’ by James Delingpole30 Jan 2015 ( @ http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/01/30/forget-climategate-this-global-warming-scandal-is-much-bigger/ )

    “[. . .]

    Now the next thing the doubters among you will be thinking is: “Well these are reputable scientific institutions. They wouldn’t be making these [station temperature] adjustments without good reason.”
    And I’d agree with you. That’s certainly what one would reasonably hope and expect.
    But the odd thing is that no satisfactory explanation has been forthcoming from any of the institutions which have been making these adjustments. Not from NASA GISS. Nor from NOAA, which maintains the dataset known as the Global Historical Climate Network. Nor from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia which, with the Met Office, maintains the third of the world’s three surface data records, known as Hadcrut.

    [. . .]”

    What is the right question?

    I think the right question is: “Is what we see here an open and objectively explained scientific behavior / process by NASA GISS, NOAA (GHCN) and MET/UEA-CRU?”

    If the answer is clearly no, then the next right question in logical sequence would be: ”What caused them to be like that?”

    My understanding is that the answer to “Is what we see here an open and objectively explained scientific behavior / process by NASA GISS, NOAA (GHCN) and MET/UEA-CRU?” is clearly no.

    My understanding is that the answer to the follow-up question ”What caused them to be like that?” is they have implemented consciously a philosophy of science that causes subjective values be the principle basis of the outcome of their work product.

    John

  13. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology justification of its temperature adjustment technique viz. that it is ’world best practice’ is itself circular because it is so-called ’world best practice’ which is in question.

  14. A number of times I’ve copied the record highs and lows for my little spot on the globe in Excel.
    How temps have changed!
    For the year 1998 on the 2007 list there were 9 record highs set.
    For the year 1998 on the 2009 list there were 0 record highs set.
    Understandable if the records were broken but…
    For the year 1998 on the 2013 list there were 7 record highs set.
    And I don’t live in Paraguay.

  15. Around the turn of the 19th century in OZ two Irish brothers named Furphy started a business making horse drawn water carts. During the first world war these carts carried water to our troops.

    The water carriers were mobile around the troops and spread all the rumours, usually untrue, thus into our lexicon came the word furphies, meaning false rumours or information.

    The company had a motto cast into the iron ends of the water tanks. GOOD BETTER BEST NEVER LET IT REST UNTIL YOUR GOOD IS BETTER AND YOUR BETTER BEST.

    My conclusion about this BEST temperature series is that they are spreading FURPHIES.

  16. The Marie Antoinette Award, to be conferred at the Place de la Concorde in Paris later this year. Humanity should be so lucky that this vileness could start to end this soon.

  17. It’s a funny old game, isn’t it?

    The Warm-mongers, funded by billions/trillions of taxpayer/fossil fuel dollars can – and, as a rule, generally do – churn out tons and tons of “peer-reviewed” garbage every day.

    But the skeptics, usually working alone, and without funding, have to get it right. Every time.

  18. T Heller/Steven Goddard pointed out all this stuff way way back and I have to say that he was not particularly well supported by other skeptic sites,but of course this is all changing now…..as others (Homewood, Mahorasy ect), confirm his findings nearly everywhere.

  19. As noted above, readers may wish to see McIntyre’s website CA for his series of seven or eight threads on BEST, including a “Data Quality” review that is an excellent complement to what was and is being written here. Most recent in the series, is a very well-reasoned summary “Closing Thoughts” on Muller’s reconstructions, written in 2011.

    • This graph shows that gistemp has been adjusted down after for the years from 2000. The present being made cooler,,,

      Show this to those who claim that the present is always made warmer.

  20. I don’t think so rooter. Unless I’ve mistaken the point of the graph, none of the adjustments after 2000 have been adjusted down. They are all positive numbers. Hence, why they are in the red.

    • Don’t you see the adjustments up 1990-2005 is higher than the adjustments after that? The up-adjustments before 2005 is bigger.

      • rooter wrote:

        Don’t you see the adjustments up 1990-2005 is higher than the adjustments after that? The up-adjustments before 2005 is bigger.

        Yes, I do see that. But that’s not what you were arguing.

        This graph shows that gistemp has been adjusted down after for the years from 2000. The present being made cooler

        [my bold above]
        Once again, no. If the present was made cooler (“adjusted down”), then the recent years would be in the negative, in blue.

      • Adam B has trouble with seeing that the bars 1990 – 2005 are higher than after 2005.

        Higher is higher than lower Adam B.

        Btw: Change because of added data and change of sea surface dataset is not the same as adjustment. Would be very strange if adding data did not change the result.

  21. Rooter

    Ok, you lost me with your comment.
    I
    ‘m looking Steve Case’s graph (I think that’s what you’re referring to), and I don’t see downward adjustments (i.e. blue bars) for any year after 2000.

    What am I missing?

    • chip, Rooter is explaining that he can’t read/interpret a graph, that’s what you are missing.

      • Rooter seems suggesting that the amount by which the temps were adjusted upwards prior to 2000, (eg between say 1990 and 2000) are more than the amount by which the temps as from 2000 have been adjusted upwards. Just eyeballing prior to 2000 they were addjusting the tmps up by about 0.15 degC, whereas after 2000 they adjusted the temps up by only about 0.1degC.

        Rooter seems to be implying that less of an upwards adjustment is in effect the same as a downward adjustment. Less of more, is less!

        Of course, it is not a negative adjustment since it is not in blue, and Rooter appears to be incapable of correctly interpreting a plot.

      • When the so called adjustments are higher 1990 – 2005 are higher than after 2005, what will that do to the trend? Will it make the trend higher or lower?

  22. It will make the overall trend higher, because you continue to add to it. You’re just adding at a slower rate.

    If you put ten dollars in a jar every day for a month, and for then next months put 5 dollars in the jar, you aren’t taking away from the total in the jar, you are just adding less than you were before.

    The adjustments are still being made upwards, they are simply being made upwards at a lesser amount.

  23. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    Back to the Global Warming Conspiracy – If you read this post and its links you will either start questioning your faith in the official CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Warming), or “Climate Change” scenario, OR, please contribute a sensible argument against the claims being made here.
    No emotional rhetoric please, just factual evidence that disputes the claims.
    To me, the situation is clear-cut!
    There is no irrefutable evidence that global surface or atmospheric temperatures are warming as a result of man-made carbon pollution. Not even validated evidence of any significant human related global warming, other than human population and urban heat effects, if it comes to that!
    What is shown here is clear evidence of “cooking the temperature record books”. Clearly there is some deliberate dishonesty involved, by some scientists and many associated people.
    If, as is claimed here, there is/are deliberate selection of temperature recording sites and corrections/manipulation of data, it follows that a political agenda drives the whole movement.
    If the reader wishes to economize on spent time, the Delingpole link suffices. Only if you mistrust his work or motives need you verify the claims by reading the other papers.
    So, please refrain from branding clear-thinking serious people as “deniers” and learn about the facts that we rely on for our conclusions.

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