Free Markets, Free People

“Global” Warming?

I was reading through a piece over at the American Thinker where Bruce Thompson takes a run at trying to describe why the computer climate models are pretty bad.  And while I’ll admit to not really following all his points concerning modeling and the math, there was a graphic which just blew me away.  It was a plotting, world wide, of all the temperature substations available to the modelers and from which they took the temperatures from which they claimed a “global” phenomenon was taking place.

Remember, these are the same people that continue to claim the Medeival Warm Period was a “regional” event. 

Take a look at this map of the 7008 weather stations from which the data was taken prepared by Dr. Roy Spencer:

As you can see, the Southern Hemisphere is essentially ignored.  Thompson says:

Note that for practical purposes the continents of South America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica are missing. And we haven’t even touched on the 70% of the earth’s surface covered by oceans.

Forget the fact that they only used about 6,000 of them and futher culled that down to 1,200. The lower right quadrant of that map, fully one quarter of the world, has 15 reporting stations by my count (there are some light yellow spots which are hard to see on the map I’ve copied). Forget that their models are crummy and the programming stinks.

Simple question: How do you claim something is a “global” phenomenon when your data essentially ignores 50% of the world, 70% of the oceans of the world and both poles?

~McQ

[ad] Empty ad slot (#1)!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

33 Responses to “Global” Warming?

  • And if you want to continue your reading with something a bit more red-meatish, then enjoy Lord Monckton ripping a new one for the editors of Nature:

    No doubt most climate scientists are not criminals. However, some are. Many of the two dozen Climategate emailers, who have for years driven the IPCC process, tampered with peer review in the learned journals, and fabricated, altered, concealed, or destroyed scientific data are criminals. Whether they or Nature like it or not, they will eventually stand trial, and deservedly so.

    • However, some are. Many of the two dozen Climategate emailers, who have for years driven the IPCC process, tampered with peer review in the learned journals, and fabricated, altered, concealed, or destroyed scientific data are criminals. Whether they or Nature like it or not, they will eventually stand trial, and deservedly so.

      >>> And I hope they’re hung in public afterwards.

  • Statistical modeling regularly ignores huge parts of a population, and corrects for missing data via significance tests.  So it’s possible the data collected, even ignoring a great deal of the planet is meaningful and statistically significant.
    That said, you would need to be prepared to show that there were not other possible explanations for the variances… statistical significance is not the same as causation.

    • It would be reasonable to come up with a model based upon a smaller data set, but that data set should not be essentially restricted to one region. It is like polling San Francisco on Obamacare and extrapolating the result to the US as a whole.

      • This hits near the point. If, as the AGW crowd claims, the Medieval Warm Period was a regional climate event, then to claim what is happening now is “global” the data set should be global and its results should support the theory. 15 stations in a quarter of the world (stations we’re not even sure where included) located mostly near the equator most likely will not provide the amount of data necessary to support the “global” assertion of their premise.

        • Correct.

          Another thing is that their claim is based upon tree ring proxies, most of which seem to be from places like Siberia. What proxie evidence do they really have that actually shows that the MWP was regional? If they had consistent proxie results from different locations that showed a MWP in Europe and no MWP elsewhere, then they would have at least something to use as an argument. As far as I can tell it is just an convienient argument with no real evidence.

          And Jones has basically admitted as much.

  • “Statistical modeling regularly ignores huge parts of a population”

    That may well be, but the underlying assumption is that the ignored part is more or less identical to the measured part, and there are limits on the proportion of unsampled parts. I have only taken a few statistics classes, but I doubt that any statistician would do anything but laugh at this. I look forward to hearing what the consensus of statisticians, not ‘climate scientists’ , says.

  • Statistics require a representative  sample that is randomly selected. If you don’t do that your conclusions can be incorrect, such as only polling those with phones in 1932 to find out who will win the presidency.
    Now maybe there are advanced ways to avoid these problems, and maybe north and south are close enough to each other, but I have to wonder because the warmists keep saying that cold weather in such and such a place is only a local phenomena offset elsewhere. If that is the case, then you cannot say the northern and southern hemisphere are close enough to each other to work as approximations.

  • In the modeling world, two of the biggies are neural networks and genetic algorithms.
    Both have been used for all sorts of things but like everything else the modelers follow the money which means a lot of this stuff has been channeled into the financial world for big institutions as well as “day traders.”
    There was a story a while back about how one company had modeled the market for Apple Computer stock.  On one day it said buy .. buy .. buy and the payoff was there in a matter of a few days.
    The odd, or sort of odd, part of this stuff is that the way the models are built is based solely on the data you give them, and frankly, nobody really knows why the model says what it says.  It’s just based on the “training data.”
    That gets us back to “climate science.”  This is such a new branch of science that they really don’t even know what they don’t know.  This fact alone should be enough to give pause to “policy makers” but it also leaves lots of room for mischief.

  • The amount of global recording stations really isn’t the issue.  It is relative to each stations individual history.  There is clearly more carbon in the atmosphere, land, and sea now than ever before.  Carbon holds heat and energy.  Period.   Whether that is attributable to man is a different issue.

    • It certainly does matter as to the number and location – especially when you’re claiming the problem to be a global one..

      And there clearly isn’t more carbon in the atmosphere than “ever” before. We’ve had many other periods in which CO2 was much higher than now.

      • Statistical sampling has never relied on a “global” premise.  If you dispute that, then you dispute the entirety of statistical use. 

        If you claim that there are greater periods in which carbon levels were higher, I would like to see the data.

        I am not vouching for the hypothesis that the excess levels of carbon are attributable to man.  I think that is a classic post hoc ergo propter hoc argument, and it lacks climatalogical backing.  However, we have a limited recorded history, and that recorded history shows more carbon now than ever before.  Whether there is cooked meteorological data is a different story.

        • We’re not talking about “statistical sampling” – we’re talking about data collection where a global premise is involved.

          There are many periods where carbon levels were significantly higher than today.

        • Statistical sampling of the Northern Hemisphere can only show that the Northern Hemisphere is getting cooler or hotter.

          Note that the alarmists claim that the MWP was regional in scope. They do this because the evidence of the MWP suggests that it was warmer then than now. 

          Likewise, the alarmists dismiss the cooling in the US and Europe as regional weather. 

          Yet their weather stations are all regional.

          You can’t have it both ways. It is clear that they are, in fact, trying to have it both ways.  

    • Of course, there was the satellite data that showed the US pumping out much less CO2 than parts of Africa, India and China.

    • Climate-change expert Dr James Lovelock says the greenhouse gases that have warmed the planet are likely to prevent a big freeze that could last millions of years.

      Here an “alarmist” says that the extra “heat” might be a good idea.

    • “The amount of global recording stations really isn’t the issue.  It is relative to each stations individual history. ”

      So the recent US record cold isn’t “weather” but climate? 

      “There is clearly more carbon in the atmosphere, land, and sea now than ever before.”

      Clearly? That is hardly clear. 
       
      “Carbon holds heat and energy.  Period.   Whether that is attributable to man is a different issue.”

      The standard alarmist fallback. Where is the evidence of GW? Where is the evidence this is unprecedented warming?

      • ““The amount of global recording stations really isn’t the issue.  It is relative to each stations individual history. ”
        So the recent US record cold isn’t “weather” but climate? ”
        Weather is part of the climate – climate is roughly put a long term average of the weather.
        ““There is clearly more carbon in the atmosphere, land, and sea now than ever before.”
        Clearly? That is hardly clear.”
        True, the has of course been more CO2 in the air at periods in the past, and it is wrong for TW to say so. Then again, such remote geologi periods as the Precambrian are hardly relevant to the climate and climate change of today.
        ““Carbon holds heat and energy.  Period.   Whether that is attributable to man is a different issue.”
        The standard alarmist fallback. Where is the evidence of GW? Where is the evidence this is unprecedented warming?””
        Unprecedented on what timescale and in what extent?
        The warming in absolute terms is certainly not unprecedented, but the speed of which it is occurring (the last 150 years or so) is – the warming experienced in geologic time has always happened much slower than is the case now (at time scaled 10 times or more than what we are wtinessing), and that is the point.

        • So what is the evidence that modern “warming” has been faster than ever before?

          The claims have been that this is “the hottest year on record”. That’s what they have been saying, and it does not match my experience.

          Now you are saying something else, but I have seen no evidence for it. I have seen lots of evidence of data cherry picking, questionable proxie data, and dubious adjustments to raw data that shows COOLING.

          At this point they need to trash the crap they created, and start over with new, untainted scientists. They won’t, of course, because they KNOW that they don’t have anything that strongly suggests we need to take the measures they want to take, so they are going to lie, double down, and try to push their agenda before opinion polls get to the point where over 75% of the population thinks they are FOS.

          • >So what is the evidence that modern “warming” has been faster than ever before?
            The usual data sources – ice cores, deep-ocean sediments.
            >The claims have been that this is “the hottest year on record”. That’s what they have been saying, and it does not match my experience.
            Quite possibly wrong, but if its the media spouting it off, well… (scientific community != media)
            >Now you are saying something else, but I have seen no evidence for it.
            I’m not.
            >I have seen lots of evidence of data cherry picking, questionable proxie data, and dubious adjustments to raw data that shows COOLING.
            Data can always be cooked; data showing cooling typically uses the 1997-98 El Nino event as the zero point.

    • “Carbon holds heat and energy.  Period”

      Carbon is not the issue. Warming is the issue.

      Try again.

  • The individual history of the ice cores clearly show that the the MWP was warmer than today, without the use of fossil fuels.

    ” Carbon holds heat and energy.  Period.”
    The have been numerous times in Earth’s past when temperatures went down while carbon levels were still rising. It isn’t necessay to lower carbon levels to stop global warming.
    Whether the recent rise in CO2 levels has been caused by humans is the least relevent question of the entire debate.
    Statistical sampling relies on a representative sampling of the entire population in question. You can’t take zero samples from groups that represent more than 70% of the population. That’s the equivalent of taking a poll of US citizens that includes only African-Americans and hispanics and claiming it represents the entire country. When your popluation is the globe, you need representation from each part of the globe that would react differently, not just Northern landmasses.

    • Those ice cores showed that CO2 lagged the changes in temperature by about 800-900 years.
      That means at times the CO2 went up and the temperature went up followed by the temperature going down while the CO2 continuing upward for another 800+ years then CO2 beginning to go down.

    • Water can  hold CO2 in solution.  The Oceans hold some CO2 and as their temperatures increase, their ability to hold CO2 decreases, releasing it to the atmosphere.  Hence a valid explanation why the CO2 level is caused by warming and not the other way around.

  • A note of caution about reading too much into Spencer’s map.  He is using a different set of data than that used by NCDC and UEA in their global monthly statistics.  Each WMO recognized weather station is requested to transmit synoptic observations (present weather) at least 4 times per day.  In addition they are asked to transmit, at the end of a Greenwich day, their maximum, minimum and/or average temperature for each day.  The latter is what is used by NCDC and UEA to compute monthly average values, after of course applying a variety of “fixes” to the data.  Many stations, especially in the Third World, do not transmit with any regularity, and the data centers do not compute a monthly value if approximately 8 days are missing for the month…leading to the infamous extrapolation issue from nearby stations.  Global coverage of these transmitted daily/calculated monthly data, though, is still better than shown on Spencer’s map, due to his specific application.

    Dr Spencer is a primary developer of the UAH satellite derived global tropopheric monthly data set with data since 1979.  Its obvious advantage is global coverage vs the NCDC and UEA data sets with many 5 degree latitude/longitude boxes with no or very few surface reporting stations.  Its disadvantage is that is a layer average from 15,000 to 25,000 feet, and not where people live.  Dr Spencer is developing a new satellite derived data set that will provide a  truely global surface temperature data set from 2002 to the present,  to compare with the NCDC/UEA derived data.   In order to calibrate the sensor readings to various land forms, he required actual hourly reports from surface weather stations to compare with satellite readings at the same reprting times, and obtained from NCDC the data set with the coverage shown on his map.  This data set is minimally quality controlled and has no “adjusments”.  Note that he required at least 4 observations per day and the international transmission system being what it is,  many parts of the globe did not meet his 4+ observations per day requirement.

    Interestingly, and just for fun, Dr Spencer obtained data back to 1986, instead of 2002 (for his satellite comparison).  He used the 4 observations (with no adjustments) to determine a daily average, gridded the Northern Hemisphere data and compared his temperature anomalies to UEA’s and found a surprisingly similar trend.  He now plans on extending it back to at least 1973 to see if that similarity holds.

    • “A note of caution about reading too much into Spencer’s map.”

      Caution as to what? Are you saying there were more reporting stations than his map shows? Are you saying that the number of reporting stations is irrelevant?  Just what, exactly, different sets of data on the number reporting stations are you talking about? Where is your map and supporting data?

    • You accurately stated

      “Each WMO recognized weather station is requested to transmit synoptic observations (present weather) at least 4 times per day.  In addition they are asked to transmit, at the end of a Greenwich day, their maximum, minimum and/or average temperature for each day. The latter is what is used by NCDC and UEA to compute monthly average values, after of course applying a variety of “fixes” to the data.”

      Using a single average temperature of the high and low temperatures measured in whole degrees introduces error. Any day with one extreme being an even number and the other an odd one produces an average ending in 0.5. Rounding that off to the same least significant digit (a whole number) totally overwhelms any change that can be represented as one degree C for the Twentieth Century.

      Most people do not know that the emissive power is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature (Stefan-Boltzmann Law). So the emitted power from a surface at 16 deg C (289 K) is 1.4% greater than that at 15 deg C (288 K). The power at 288.5 K is 0.7% higher than that at 288 K. Averaging high and low guarantees errors.

      An interesting aside is that an accurate temperature profile every minute over the 24 hour day would yield two points that are the daily minimum and the daily maximum. At those points the local climate is in a state of equilibrium between heat input and heat output.  Movement of the minima/maxima relative to Local Apparent Noon would be a better indicator of whether the atmosphere’s insulating effect were changing. If the greenhouse effect were increasing, the daily maximum temperature would take place later in the afternoon. That is a measureable variable. 

  • Say… Doesn’t the majority of the world’s population live in the Northern Hemisphere?  Hasn’t that population skyrocketted in the past century?  Aren’t the almost all of the largest cities (urban / industrial areas) also located in the NH?  Mightn’t these things, rather than CO2, cause the hemisphere to be rather warmer?

    The issue of the surface monitoring stations is one that needs considerably more scrutiny.  We know that some stations are located in areas that are subject to local environmental conditions (I’ve seen a photo of one, at ASU if I recall correctly, in the middle of a friggin’ parking lot).  How many stations are reporting skewed data because they are near an airport, on top of a large building in the middle of a city, under a shady tree, or otherwise not sited properly?  How many, especially in lesser-developed countries, are maintained properly?  What is the accuracy and precision of their instruments?  How often and by what system are they calibrated?  How are their data reported?  What happens if they go off-line for some reason?  Are the stations reporting today exactly the same as they were ten, fifty, or a hundred years ago?

    I believe it was covered here, but there was a pretty remarkable finding about the data coming from a station at Darwin: reconstruction of the data showed huge step-change corrections being applied for no good reason, with the result that the “homogenized” station data showed warming while the raw data did not.

    Those who argue that we’ve got global warming are doing so on the basis of data that are suspect at best, and clearly altered at worst.  As Don says, the climatologists need to toss all the data they have and start over, but they won’t because they at least suspect that doing so will expose them as alarmists, charlatans, or credulous fools who no more deserve the title “scientist” than I deserve the title of “Mr. Congeniality”.

  • Given that Erb is posting here again, I find it odd he hasn’t posted in this thread.