Re: [asa] Data doesn't support global warming

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Tue Dec 15 2009 - 11:55:45 EST

  I think you're on the right path, doing what good scientists would and
should do. Whenever a complex primary analysis leads to a result with
significant impact, the first thing to do is a sanity check, or a "sniff
test" to see if the result holds true. In essence, you've done that for the
global warming case. Instead of taking all the data for all the earth and
all the time periods, you've done a sanity check on specific areas for
certain periods and found it didn't hold up.

When a sanity check of data isn't consistent with the primary analysis,
there is one more critical step that must be taken before conclusions can be
drawn. There are four logical possibilities:
a. The primary analysis is wrong
b. The sanity check is wrong
c. Both are wrong
d. Inconclusive--more investigation is needed.

The key point is that until the source of the discrepancy between the two
points is identified and verified, the answer is d. I have experienced many
situations of this kind and the story isn't over until the understanding of
why the two approaches differ has been confirmed. It doesn't matter how each
approach can have its strong advocates. There must be an explanation of the

You provide eloquent descriptions of why and how various subsets ought to be
a good substitute for the full blown analysis and I'm not arguing with any
of it. We still have a discrepancy to resolve. To do that, we have to try
all sorts of different approaches before the matter is settled. Until we
know the difference between the two techniques that leads to the different
results, we will remain inconclusive.

May I suggest an approach that could test some of the possible sources of
discrepancy? First, instead of tackling the full global trend, one might
focus on a more regional observation analyzed with the same techniques. So,
for example, the GISS data which was used for global trend analysis, was
also used for assessing the geographical distribution. Chart number 11 in
this presentation is
an example. Here we can see that their data indicates a 0.5 to 1.0C
difference (except for Texas) in temperature for the US during the period
2001-2007 compared with 1951-1980. This is a specific result for a specific
region. (By the way, that chart shows what I was referring to about
variations in geographical regions. As you point out, the variations in CO2
concentration are small, though not zero, and the physics is the same,
though the radiation intensity is different. However, several ocean and wind
circulation patterns with decadal oscillations can influence the analysis
for specific regions) For your analysis, to avoid any possibility of skewing
data by month, it should be possible to take all 12 months for the period
from 2001 to 2007 and derive the average anomaly, taking care to blend the
data from the various states by accounting for the geographical area
represented. If the error bars from that work have an overlap with the error
bars of the GISS data, then the discrepancy disappears for this particular
situation. The global piece would not be specifically addressed but would be
done with the same analysis. If the two approaches do not correspond and
there is a major gap between the two error bars, then we need to do further
work to understand why. There must be some reason for the differences. Once
we understand what that reason is, we can make progress in understanding
which is the correct understanding. Until then, no conclusion can be drawn.


From: "Glenn Morton" <>
Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2009 5:08 PM
To: "asa" <>
Subject: [asa] Data doesn't support global warming

> Probably to my regret, I have come back for a while. Randy's email
> intrigued me as I think it shows that he is ignoring the underlying
> physics of CO2 in the atmosphere.
>> Randy wrote:
>> I would be delighted if Glenn joined the discussion on this list. I have
>> high regard for him and like his focus on the data.
> Thank you for the kind words.
>> As for the data in the link you provide here, it is certainly impressive
>> to see the temperature trends of each state for the last 100 some years
>> in October. What are we to infer from the fact that less than a handful
>> show warming? Since warming cannot be detected in these states for
>> October, there is no global trend? That looking at less than 2% of the
>> global surface area for 8.5% of the time and failing to see a trend
>> invalidates the trend seen by considering 100% of the earth's surface for
>> 100% of the time? I think I'm missing something. Perhaps you can
>> enlighten me.
> This is quite fascinating to me given the physics of greenhouse gases
> which I think you ignore here.
> 1. The fact is that CO2 is evenly distributed throughout all the
> atmosphere.
> What are the implications of that? As an analogy let's consider you in
> your automobile in summer and in winter on two equally sunny days. Let's
> assume that it is 80 deg outside in the summer and 30 deg outside in the
> winter. Everyone knows that if you roll up the windows, the temperature in
> the car rises because infrared can't get out of the car and so the car
> must radiate at a higher temperature causing the peak frequency of the
> emitted spectrum to rise so that the requisite quantity of energy CAN get
> out of the car.
> Further let us assume that the same solar energy can enter the car in both
> winter and summer. This can be accomplished merely by adjusting the time
> of day so that the incident radiation on the vehicle is the same in both
> cases. We can also assume that we start with the windows down and the car
> equilibrated to the exterior temperature.
> Now, what do we expect when we roll up the windows? We expect that the
> temperature will rise at the same rate in both cases (barring minor
> conductive differences). The greenhouse effect is RADIATIVE. It works at
> the speed of light there is no lag time between when the windows are
> rolled up and when it begins to heat.
> But when it comes to CO2 in the atmosphere not only is it often claimed
> that there is a lag in time between the additon of the radiation-blocking
> CO2 but that it doesn't affect the world equally everywhere at every time.
> Yet I know of no car that wouldn't be affected similarly in any month of
> the year to the situation I describe.
> Randy claims:
>>That looking at less than 2% of the global surface area for 8.5% of the
>>time and failing to see a trend invalidates the trend seen by considering
>>100% of the earth's surface for 100% of the time? I think I'm missing
>>something. Perhaps you can enlighten me.
> Such an objection is like saying that 2% of the cars won't warm when their
> windows are rolled up on a sunny day. Randy, do you believe that you
> would be so cavalier if you got in a car on a hot sunny day, rolled up the
> windows and the car cooled? Would that event have no surprise for you?
> Your objection above is like what I suggest here--that you lack surprise
> at a violation of the physics of CO2 which blocks outgoing radiation no
> matter what month it is in the atmosphere.
> Would you not equally be surprised and dismayed, if I, who have been to
> Tibet, made the claim that in Tibet, cars never heat up if their windows
> are rolled up? Wouldn't you think me mad? Since you ask for
> enlightenment, I would like enlightenment as to why you find no October
> warming over the US for 100 years to be UNSURPRISING.
> If my logic is flawed, then please specifically show what assumption I
> make is wrong. Do you not think CO2 works all the time (i.e. works some
> months but doesn't work others)? Do you not think CO2 is spread evenly
> throughout the atmosphere? Do you think CO2 works differently in
> different geographic regions? While I don't think CO2 behaves this way,
> it is the only way I can see that you can logically dismiss the amazing
> fact that CO2 doesn't seem to work in October in the US and that makes my
> view of your dismissal of what you call an 'impressive' work, which seems
> not to have impressed you.
>> I think one of the common problems with arguments from both skeptics and
>> advocates of global warming is using a limited subset of space and/or
>> time of the global data.
> This is an interesting objection. Which of course raises an interesting
> set of questions. In order to believe the global warming conclusion, one
> must first one must assert that the data is accurate--i.e. can be
> replicated.. I contend that it can't. To attempt replication of the
> temperature I compare two towns a few miles apart. I take care to see that
> they are not elevationally different. I started this expecting that they
> will have quite similar temperatures, I found that they don't. I find
> seasonal variations which clearly can't be due to CO2 working in one town
> and not the other 20 miles away. In the picture linked here
> Note that each winter there is as much as a 20 degree F difference between
> the two towns. Guess what, Randy, this data is data used by the US
> historical Climate Network which is input to the IPCC milarky. Both towns
> are in Mississippi.
> Or consider these two towns.Montevideao and Milan Minnesota. There is
> both a bias and a systematic seasonal change throughout the year.
> In the above linked picture, I took 100 or so years of daily temperature
> data for the two towns. I subtracted each day's temperature, and then
> averaged Jan 1 for each year, jan 2 for each year, etc. There is a 3
> degree minimal difference between the two towns yet global warming is said
> to have only warmed the earth by 1.1 deg F. Yet, we can't measure
> temperature between two towns less than 16 miles apart with any greater
> precision than 3 degres F. The temperature changes with the
> seasons--probably due to heat sources near the thermometers.
> Now, I have compared temperatures from around the world, so my work is
> not of such a limited extent as your initial objection claims. Here is a
> picture of two nearby stations in China (most Chinese stations are about
> 80 miles apart. These are annual temperatures, not daily temperatures. I
> took care to be sure that these stations are in the eastern part of China
> where the elevation differences are minimal. Note that the data reported
> to the IPCC says that between two towns 87 miles apart there is a 15 deg C
> ANNUAL difference in temperature. This is about 300 miles south of
> Beijing. Note that station 131 says it had an average yearly temperature
> below freezing. This never happened in that part of China. One has to be
> in Tib et to see that kind of temperature.
> So Randy, please explain where I go wrong here. Why is the data I think is
> bad really good and useable for the IPCC???
> I would also point you to Russian yearly temperature records, which don't
> show the warming that the GISS shows for Siberia.
> Indeed, there seem to be fewer and fewer degree days above zero in Siberia
> as the years go buy.
> I know you might be tempted to say, well this is only the US and China and
> Russia, For Antarctica see
> there is no strong warming trend there either.
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Received on Tue Dec 15 12:02:21 2009

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