Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

19 August 2009

Global Surface Temperature Data Lost

NASA has a surface temperature data set maintained by James Hanson's GISS, but it tends to be loaded with readings which are thought by many critics to be too high and it has been caught in some serious mistakes. The most commonly cited surface temperature data set is maintained by the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia, Great Britain. For years scientists have requested the raw data to check to see if such adjustments made to it for urban heat island effects and grid averages are valid. The CRU has refused to make the data available, despite its being public data collected with government monies. Now, in response to a determined Freedom of Information Act request, Prof. Phil Jones, an activist-scientist, who controls the data says that the raw data no longer exists.

So, most of the developed countries of the world are restricting the use of economical fossil fuels and paying huge subsidies for alternative, non-competitive energy sources, based on a cock-a-Mamie theory of catastrophic man-made global warming which is based mostly on the surface temperature data sets of CRU and NASA, neither of which can be relied upon. These data sets have long indicated more global warming in the late 20th Century than did satellite measurements or many buoys measuring the ocean water temperatures. Temperature data sets of the entire atmosphere and the oceans that cover 70% of the Earth's surface have been largely ignored in favor of the land surface measurements which are most likely to be affected by artifacts such as the urban heat island effects. This makes no scientific sense, but it does fulfill the agenda of socialist political goals.

Another reason to worry about the quality of the surface temperature data sets is that over the last 20 - 30 years, 5000 of the world's 6,000 weather stations have been abandoned or ignored. Despite the huge increases in climate research monies, these have not been replaced or upgraded with modern technology. Many of the abandoned stations are in more remote areas where it is important to have high quality surface temperature measurements. Of course, those remote area measurements are subject to less data manipulation, so if one has an agenda that causes one to want exaggerated global warming, it is easier to get that from surface temperature measurements made near cities or towns with heat island effects.


Ian Forrester said...

WOW, someone had better tell the Arctic ice, the receding glaciers, the birds and insects which are migrating further north and the flowers which are blooming much earlier that they are confused since temperatures are not really increasing and that it is only a devious conspiracy by climate scientists.

Anonymous said...

Temps are measured... next to burn barrels.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Actually, the arctic ice has been quite normal of late. The northern temperatures have generally been slowly cooling. Perhaps you are talking about the time from about 1975 to 1998, rather than now. There was a general broad warming from about 1850 to 1998, then a few flat years, then the onset of cooling. The physics of the Sun indicates that cooling is more likely than not to continue for some time.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

All sorts of problems exist with many of the surface weather stations. Some are sited on blacktop parking lots, some are massive enough to themselves retain heat, some hang near grills, some are near the heat outputs of air-conditioning systems, and many more problems have been documented. It is impossible to correct these problems in the data. They need to be avoided in the first place.

The extent of Arctic ice is only very partially a function of temperature. It is very much influenced by wind patterns and also by precipitation. So, for global warming indications, it is not a very useful tool. It has not been very extensive in the last few years, but this is mostly due to wind issues. Its small decrease in extent is slightly counteracting the solar-induced cooling, but so far, the solar-induced cooling is the greater effect and it is likely to remain so. The arctic ice extent is then likely to respond to the continued global warming by expanding and that will speed the rate of cooling.

Of course, we shall have to wait and see if this happens. It is not the case that we thoroughly understand the climate. Those who say it should be much warmer than it is due to the continued increase in atmospheric CO2, should be the first to admit that they do not well understand the forces that control the Earth's climate. Those who say that the CO2 contributions by man to global warming have been greatly exaggerated, generally do admit that there is still much to learn about how natural forces change the Earth's climate. This is a complex business and it is important to recognize it as such.

Ian Forrester said...

Solar induced cooling? What evidence do you have of that nonsense. Please try and behave like a scientist if you are claiming to be one.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Ian Forrester,

First you want me to talk to ice, birds, insects, and confused flowers. Now you are amazed to learn that cycles of the sun are the major driver of the Earth's climate. With this as background, you then choose to question my scientific judgment.

For summaries of the physics of the sun and its effects upon the climate of the Earth, you might see blog entries I wrote on 16, 15, 13, and 10 August 2009 and one of 22 July 2009. Or, you might read Chapter 3, The Sun, of Ian Plimer's excellent book Heaven and Earth, global warming, the missing science. Since you have so much passion for the catastrophic AGW hypothesis, the investment in reading Ian Plimer's book should be very worth the effort for you.

Ian Forrester said...

You don't really have a Ph D do you? How anyone who has a real Ph D would refer to Plimer's book as "excellent" just shows what little knowledge of science you have.

Why do you treat real science and real scientists in such a derogatory fashion?

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Ian Forrester,

So, you are not familiar with solar cycles and the cooling and heating cycles that result, but you feel qualified to suggest that I do not have a Ph.D. in physics? You are a strange bird indeed. But then many religiously fanatic environmentalists are just that.

At no time have you addressed any of my scientific points. This is not surprising to me. As I said in my submission to the Senate Minority Report:

[W]hen people do bad science, they tend to become very angry when they are challenged. I have seen this effect time and time again. Observe which side resorts to the most vociferous name-calling and you are likely to have identified the side with the weaker argument and they know it.

If you can find fault with Ian Plimer's book on a scientific basis, why do you not do so?

There are a great many Ph.D. scientists coming out and saying, "Hey, wait a minute, I am not convinced that we are seeing or are likely to see catastrophic man-made global warming caused by man's emissions of CO2." A great many climatologists, physicists, meteorologists, chemists, geologists, and astronomers have declared themselves either unconvinced or opposed to catastrophic AGW. I suppose your response is to question if any of them have a Ph.D.

You religious fanatics are going to have to deal with the fact that real scientists are neither easily intimidated nor convinced by any argument which is not presented to them in sound scientific terms. If your hypothesis is right, then make the scientific argument for it. I have looked for a convincing scientific argument in favor of the hypothesis that man-generated CO2 is going to cause disastrous temperature increases, but I have not found any such argument. In the absence of such an argument and given that much is known about natural forces that do a better job of explaining the actually observed climate conditions of the past, I am convinced that these natural forces are still the dominant forces which are and will control our climate for quite some time to come.

Anonymous said...

I think that many people are not understanding the uncertainty associated with the GCMs themselves. They have this religious belief in them. I am an electrical engineer that has returned to school to get an MS in Geophysics, and hopefully a PhD. There are many problems with the system models that beg questions. First of all, I have modeled electrical, and control systems, and it must be realized that models are just that, and people that use them should not get trapped into the model versus reality trap that says that the model is reality. I have been there and know that it takes effort to remove ones self from the precious model is reality funk.

Secondly, control systems that interface with reality must make continuous measurements of reality to remain locked onto the target otherwise the target will be lost. I feel that this effect is going on in the GCMs. The feedback and measurement process is missing when the GCMs extrapolate into the future. This leads too unconstrained error propagation and growth as time progresses during model execution. The further away (in time) from the last known climate state, the higher the error in prediction becomes.

What do you think?

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

I think you are correct. I have also done computer modeling in support of materials analysis and learned the same lessons.

Real systems are often very complex and the climate is clearly one of mind-boggling complexity. Getting a program to work properly which deals with such complex systems, even when all the physics is known, is a feat. A tremendous effort is needed to compare model results with simple extreme cases and with known reality. Frankly, in the case of the climate, much of the physics is still not known. This makes the entire business of making models useful only if you are trying to develop a model which can produce the result of many conditions known to have occurred in the past. In other words, the principal effort should be on trying to figure out the missing science by seeing how the models fail in predicting known past events. When the science is filled in, then the time is right to use the models to try to predict the future climate.

So, the big warning sign here is that the models are not being used primarily to find the missing scientific knowledge or to at least gain insight as to something of its nature. Instead they are being used to make attention-gaining dire predictions of the future when any prudent-minded scientist is aware that much of the necessary scientific input simply is not yet adequately understood. The complete GCM business is highly unscientific and is clearly motivated by programmers delighted to be paid to be programmers, people seeking attention from the media, religiously fanatic environmentalists, and power-hungry politicians.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

I just noticed an error in the middle paragraph of my second comment above. The last sentence reads:

The arctic ice extent is then likely to respond to the continued global warming by expanding and that will speed the rate of cooling.

I had intended it to be:

The arctic ice extent is then likely to respond to the continued global cooling by expanding and that will speed the rate of cooling.

I have written the phase "global warming' so often that the word warming almost automatically seems to follow the word global. I shall have to get used to writing global cooling, now that that is more and more the likely topic of the future.