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

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Wed Dec 16 2009 - 01:23:56 EST


I appreciate your efforts here.

You wrote: "I learned that if you want to measure some quantity X you don't mess with the observed values when you average up all your measurments."

In at least two previous posts on this list I explained that there's often a need to apply adjustments to geoscience data in order to make a satisfactory interpretation. This need generally arises from unknown variations encountered during recording, and as a rule the recording can't be repeated to get a handle on the reason(s) for the variations. Data that you know from physical principles should be coherent frequently turn out instead to be incoherent, so you can't interpret without making adjustments. An example of a common kind of adjustment: in reflection seismology we always apply static corrections to land data; this process is done automatically with special-purpose computer programs. The programmer has built into these programs assumptions about many things, and there are usually several parameters the user can vary, depending on the level of sophistication. (I'm not telling you anything you don't know.) So oil company geophysicists also must "mess with the observed values" before they can interpret, and the way they do the messing can affect the interpretation.

The need for such adjustments of geoscience data sometimes gives the interpreter flexibility to make the outcome go in a desired direction without being unethical about it. So, although I've not "engaged with the climate data," I was sure that climate scientists were making such adjustments, and I have felt that, because their biases are so obvious, some of the adjustments they've made are sure to have moved their interpretations in the direction of their biases. You're effectively arguing that much of the effect they want to see is in fact not in the data but comes from their "homogeneity adjustments." Partly because of this expectation I made "a modest proposal" a week or two ago that a different set of geoscientists, such as oil company geophysicists, with a different set of biases, should completely reinterpret all the climate data to see whether different conclusions might be plausible from the same data. Before the world spends trillions on a possible goose chase it might be good to get a second opinion.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Glenn Morton<>
  Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 7:12 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Data doesn't support global warming

  Replies for Rich Blinne, Michael Roberts, Rich Blinne again, Murray Hogg,
  Randy Isaac, Murray Hogg again, Michael Roberts again, and Gordon Brown.
  A comment on the 4 post limit. What difference does it make if one posts 29
  small emails or 1 big one? Answer, doing the former gets you chastised on
  the ASA, doing the latter doesn't.

  Rich Blinne wrote:

  Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Arctic isn't warming. This just shows you have zero
  credibility. <<<<

  I would like everyone sane on this list to note that Rich just ducked
  dealing with the monthly raw data and refused to engage with the data. His
  "scientific" reason for not paying attention to the discrepancy is "yeah
  yeah yeah the arctic isn't warming". This is so laughably not engaging with
  the data.

>>>>TIKSI, Russia - Freed by warming, waters once locked beneath ice are
>>>>gnawing at coastal settlements around the Arctic Circle.
  In Bykovsky, a village of 457 on Russia's northeast coast, the shoreline is
  collapsing, creeping closer and closer to houses and tanks of heating oil,
  at a rate of 15 to 18 feet a year. Eventually, homes will be lost, and maybe
  all of Bykovsky, too, under ever-longer periods of assault by open water.
  "It is eating up the land," said Innokenty Koryakin, a member of the Evenk
  tribe and the captain of a fishing boat. "You cannot do anything about

  And Have you considered that part of this might be, gasp, SUBSIDENCE? Of the
  Timan-Pechora basin in which Tiksi lies, it is written
  "The active rift stage of the West Siberian Basin terminated in the Late
  Triassic and was followed by tectonic subsidence and deposition of
  predominantly siliciclastic sedimentary rocks of Jurassic to Quaternary
  age." Mann et al, "Tectonic Setting of the World's Giant Oil and Gas
  Fields," in Michael T. Halbouty, Giant Oil and Gas Fields of the Decade,
  1990-1999, Tulsa: AAPG, p. 48
  Not all subsidence is caused by Global WARMING, Rich. Are you going to try
  to prove that this subsidence is, or are you like the above going to say,
  Yeah yeah yeah Tiksi isn't sinking because of subsidence... blah blah

>>>Coastal erosion is a problem in Alaska as well, forcing the United States
>>>to prepare to relocate several Inuit villages at a projected cost of $100
>>>million or more for each one.
  Across the Arctic, indigenous tribes with traditions shaped by centuries of
  living in extremes of cold and ice are noticing changes in weather and
  wildlife. They are trying to adapt, but it can be confounding.<<<<

  I want everyone to note how Rich has ducked, dodged and evaded the questions
  I asked him about why the monthly raw data doesn't show siberian warmth, how
  one can correct the output of a thermometer next to an air conditioner, why
  the satellite data has a step function in the middle of it, and why are
  modern thermometers made to read warmer than those of 1900. So far in this
  'reply' of his, he is ignoring those questions. I will keep asking him to
  Rich claims to be the expert on AGW here on this list but he can't or won't
  answer a simple question about how a particular station is to be corrected
  if it has a heat source next to it.

  Now, since I will deal with issues, Building modern energy intensive
  cities, even small ones, on top of permafrost, will melt the permafrost
  below and cause them to sink into the ice. I used to work for ARCO and we
  had this problem at Prudhoe Bay. So, once again you can't prove that your
  sinking is due to warming from CO2. it might be because the huts now are not
  igloos but homes with heaters emitting too much heat for the permafrost
  below to remain solid.
>>>Take the Inuit word for June, qiqsuqqaqtuq. It refers to snow conditions,
>>>a strong crust at night. Only those traits now appear in May. Shari
>>>Gearheard, a climate researcher from Harvard, recalled the appeal of an
>>>Inuit hunter, James Qillaq, for a new word at a recent meeting in

  Let's see, most AGW folk would now claim 'anecdotal'. Is this the best you
  can do??
>>>One sentence stayed in her mind: "June isn't really June any more."<<<


>>>Even in this funny little island we have lost our winters in the last 15
>>>years . That I know from winter climbing. Before then you could guarantee
>>>some good snow and ice climbing in the mountains of England and Wales,
>>>and get many good days in. Today you are lucky to get one or two.<<<

  Maybe you should look out the window at your country, Michael. Scotland's
  Cairngorm ski resort has opened early. The article says it is an early

  Rich Blinne wrote again:

>>>>Not only that but what about "cooling" Darwin? The following is from the
>>>>October 2009 NCDC global report:

  Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia experienced warmer-than-average
  temperatures during October 2009. The capital city recorded an average
  maximum temperature of 34.8°C (94.6°F) on October 2009, the highest on
  record for any month (Source: Australia's Bureau of Meteorology).

  I guess the people at the Darwin Airport were firing up their air
  conditioners. :-)<<<

  Actually Rich, that wasn't what I asked you. I asked you to explain how one
  could correct the bias in the temperature record caused by heat sources next
  to air conditioners. Here is another picture.<>
  Rich, both the house and the air conditioner are heat sources. Siting
  requirements say that the mmts should be 10 m away from a house. Do you
  think that above picture fulfills that requirement? Don't duck weave and
  evade this question.

  And yes, if it was warm, and the Australians have air conditioners next to
  thermometers, that will warm them. Do you deny that blowing hot air
  conditioner exhaust on a thermometer will actually warm the thermometer?

  Murray Hogg wrote:

>>>I suggest you relocate them away from the air-conditioner.<<<

  I want everyone to note how cavalier these people are when there are
  problems with measurments of the data upon which they depend. This is
  certainly not a scientific attitude--it is an attitude of a politician who
  doesn't really care about truth. Scientists are supposed to care about
  truth--in the case of the thermometers, what is the TRUE temperature.

  Frankly I want to cry when I see such abysmal sloppiness excused and
  tolerated by people who are interested in science.

  Christine Smith, I have a question for you. Do you think Murray's cavalier
  uncaring attitude is what scientists should do?

  Randy Isaac wrote:

>>>>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.<<<<

  Thank you Randy, you don't know how much I appreciate your attitude. It
  seems that few on this list care to do a sniff test on the data (look at the
  shameful answers and evasions above).

>>>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.<<<

  Agreed. I would make one observation, Randy, I have probably downloaded more
  raw data here than anyone else on this list, yet almost none of them care to
  follow your sense checks. Of course my data could be wrong, but one isn't
  going to show my data wrong by saying " Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Arctic isn't
  warming. This just shows you have zero credibility" as Rich says. To show
  how I might be wrong, one must repeat my work and show where I made the
  error. Unthinking parroting of GISS sites is merely an excersise in mantra
  spouting. Thus I really really appreciate your attitude. At least you are
  willing to look at the data and possible problems

>>>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

  That is fine, more investigation is always needed. But I will tell you from
  my experience in debating YECs that they too will say more investigation is
  needed and then ignore the problems presented. Some go so far as to say we
  should draw no conclusions until all knowledge is known. So, since I don't
  think you are a person like that, what exactly would convince you that
  global warming is false. Please be specific about what steps one should
  take. And then assure me that if I did that herculean task (which I am not
  sure I can do whatever it is) that it would actually change your mind. I
  have met far too many people in this world who say they will change in the
  face of evidence but who never will. Which kind are you Randy?

>>>You provide eloquent descriptions of why and how various subsets ought to
  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.<<<<

  Let me ask this. If that trend shown in the above slide 11 is to be
  believed, don't you think that the monthly temperature record should show
  it? Do you think the RAW temperature should show SOME rise in temperature?
  Answer this question before we continue along this path.

>>>>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. <<<<

  Given that the atmosphere is so thoroughly mixed that in every breath we
  take we inhale molecules that had been in the lungs of every famous
  historical person, I would challenge the idea that a stationary deficit of
  CO2 can hang around Texas or any other location for a long time (or hover
  over Brookhaven MS). So please provide a reference to a scientific paper
  saying that the CO2 content can vary for decades over a given spot. I would
  be very interested in learning that I am wrong about my view in that regard.

>>>>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. <<<<

  How about I do it for the 18 cities I have spread from one end of Siberia to
  the other since you all seem to be fixated on Siberia and I see no warming

  Murray Hogg wrote:

>>>>That the homogeneity adjustments (i.e. "editing") are responsible for
>>>>the difference between the raw and adjusted data is quite clear. The
>>>>real question is whether those adjustments are reliable.<<<<

  I would agree with you. I would point out that when I learned my physics
  (something Michael Roberts did not learn and isn't qualified to comment on),
  I learned that if you want to measure some quantity X you don't mess with
  the observed values when you average up all your measurments. If I am
  measuring the speed of light, I must measure the distance, and I must
  measure the time, and I might also have to measure rotation of a toothed
  wheel etc. Now, all those measurements have error in them. If I know that
  the previously measured speed of light is 299,792,458 m per second, and I
  adjust my distance measurement to make my result come out to match the
  previous value, you could rightly accuse me of cheating, of scientific

  But, somehow that doesn't seem to apply when we are trying to measure the
  TREND of the temperature. Remember, we want to observe the TREND. The
  MEASURE. And when you change the trend at hundreds of stations, the average
  trend output by this process is not an observed trend but something else.
  That is why the homogeneity filter is so bad.

  Here for the benefit of the lurkers are some examples, all taken from data
  downloaded at<>

  Note that the above is a NOAA site. I am merely reporting what they have
  Here are some examples of changing the trend, the very thing we are trying
  to MEASURE.<><><>

  I have verified these but a friend did the work and he deserves the credit.
  These pictures are from<><><><>,+FL.png<,+FL.png><><><>

>>>>As you are no doubt aware, there is an extensive literature addressing
>>>>that question, and the Peterson article from which you derived the graph
>>>>is a part of that literature.

  Now, I regret that this particular subject is so far outside my area of
  expertise such that there is doubtless an enormous amount of background
  knowledge one needs in order to make sense of Peterson's article. But I will
  venture on the following brief observation; <<<

  Yes, but there are lots of people who think the homogeneity issue is where
  the fraud is perpetrated. I am one of those. Scientifically one should not
  alter the measurement of what one wants to determine.

>>>Peterson's methodology is essentially to compare the trends of adjusted
>>>data (for stations with known siting issues) and non-adjusted data (for
>>>stations with no known siting issues) by way of running a cross-check on
>>>the adjustments.<<<

  It is a subjective judgement that the cooling stations in his study are the
  badly sited stations. I looked into those stations and the cooling stations
  looked better sited according to the rules but he thought they needed to be

>>>I short, am I not correct in thinking that Peterson's evaluation of the
>>>reliability of homogenity adjustments on data from poorly sited stations
>>>is somewhat at odds with your own?<<<

  Darn tootin' I differ from Peterson. I have tried to engage climatologists
  on the issue of stations next to air conditioners and they are all quite
  blaise about them. That is not consistent with a group of people who care
  about getting the data right, so I am not ashamed to go against Peterson on
  his changing the trend. Truth is determined by data, nothing else.

>>>I wonder if you have taken the time to bring your analysis to Peterson's
>>>attention, and what his response (if any) may have been?<<

  I have brought it to the attention of others. they all say what I am doing
  is well known and not newsworthy!!! Gordon Simons was witness to two of
  these instances if anyone wants to ask him for verification.


>>>There are more than two options. There are those who don't want GW to be
>>>true and throw up red herrings, those who are just bloody-minded for a

  How scientific of you Michael. Yep, that is a grand scientific reason.
  Anyone who has an ounce of skepticism is just bloody minded. Christine
  Smith, is this the kind of answer you think is a good one?


>>>It is not true that trees don't live in permafrost. Much of the boreal
  is located on permafrost. The lower elevations of Alaska's interior are
  not tundra. However the trees' roots cannot go deep because they encounter
  permafrost. I recall once that a tour guide pointed out an area of forest
  he called a "drunken forest" in which the trees did not stand up straight
  to the permafrost underneath them. The existence of forest in these
  is apparently determined by whether the average summer temperatures are high

  Gordon Brown (ASA member)<<<

  Not so fast Gordon. Tree roots in permanently (as in year round) frozen
  ground can't take up water. Permanentely frozen ground is the definition of
  permafrost--the perma short for permanent. Trees live ABOVE permafrost, not
  IN permafrost. Please acknowledge that I am correct on this.

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Received on Wed Dec 16 01:25:34 2009

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