Monday, August 02, 2010

An embarrassing Washington Post global warming editorial. Shady NOAA daily fodder should have been checked...

Yes, we will check and double check the claims that predict our doom. As it happens, we paid for most of the 'research,' too. So we will check it again. No offense. (Paraphrasing Marc Sheppard).
Climatologist Roger Pielke Sr. notes words of Nobel Prize winner Phil Jones opposing those of the Washington Post. By now it is widely known that there is no evidence of use of independent sets of raw land surface temperature data accepted and used by NOAA, the UN, the UK, or the EPA. They have all used the same government generated raw data (reference report at end of this post by Marc Sheppard of American Thinker.** Or, "American Stinker" as a ClimateGate emailer refers to it (10/5/09). And the data was obtained from increasingly fewer station sites and subject to adjustments made by government employees.
  • (In the case Mr. Pielke cites, it's not a matter of understanding science. It's promoting sensational material issued on a day to day basis without researching it a little):
"There is an editorial today in the Washington Post titled “The truth about global warming” which illustrates the failure of the author of this editorial to properly investigate claims in the NOAA report regarding the climate system.
The article writes

If the land surface records were systematically flawed

  • then it would be almost impossible to explain the concurrent changes in this
  • wide range of indicators produced

With respect to the land surface temperature record [which is the primary metric used to diagnose global warming by NOAA],

We have reported on this in peer-reviewed papers (e.g. see) and on this weblog (e.g. see and see).

As Phil Jones himself has reported (see Section 7)

The raw surface temperature data from which all of the different global surface temperature trend analyses are derived

  • are essentially the same.
  • The best estimate that has been reported is that 90–95% of the raw data in each of the analyses
  • is the same (P. Jones, personal communication, 2003).”

It is widely agreed that there has been warming of the climate system, as is more appropriately monitored by the changes in upper ocean heat content (see, see and see).

  • However, the quantitative value of this warming as measured by the global and land surface temperature trends from different groups
  • are NOT independent from each other.

Indeed, there is peer reviewed research that indicates an overstatement of the magnitude of the warming as a result of a

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841.

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2010: Correction to: “An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841″, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D1, doi:10.1029/2009JD013655

The NOAA report is in error in their claim and the Washington Post

  • without a proper investigation of its validity.

I will have a post on the other claims in the NOAA report in an upcoming post." ****

  • My notes on the Washington Post's endless entanglement with profits and politics of so-called global warming:

Married to the mob, the Washington Post's 'environmental' "reporter" Juliet Eilperin is married to

whose work at CAP's Global Climate Network is patronized by UN climate boss/lobbyist/steamy romance novelist, Rajendra Pachauri.

"Scientists must promote their ideas to politicians and the public in order to create a world that is "ecologically sound, economically feasible and socially just," she (Pew fellow Lubchenco*) argued." (italics mine, ed.)
  • *Jane Lubchenco promoted by Obama to head of NOAA:
12/18/08, "Lubchenco will helm National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration," Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin 7/13/10, "Lawyer cites ethics issues with NOAA Counsel funds," Gloucester Times, Richard Gainesfrom Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, 1/22/10:
  • "NOAA – Data In / Garbage Out

"Although satellite temperature measurements have been available since 1978, most global temperature analyses still rely on data captured from land-based thermometers, scattered more or less about the planet. It is that data which NOAA receives and disseminates – although not before performing some sleight-of-hand on it.

  • Smith has done much of the heavy lifting involved in analyzing the NOAA/GISS data and software, and he chronicles his often frustrating experiences at his fascinating website. There, detail-seekers will find plenty to satisfy, divided into easily-navigated sections — some designed specifically for us “geeks,” but most readily approachable to readers of all technical strata.

Perhaps the key point discovered by Smith was that by 1990, NOAA had deleted from its datasets all but 1,500 of the 6,000 thermometers in service around the globe.
Now, 75% represents quite a drop in sampling population, particularly considering that these stations provide the readings used to compile both the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) and United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) datasets. These are the same datasets, incidentally, which serve as primary sources of temperature data not only for climate researchers and universities worldwide, but also for the many international agencies using the data to create analytical temperature anomaly maps and charts.

  • Yet as disturbing as the number of dropped stations was, it is the nature of NOAA’s “selection bias” that Smith found infinitely more troubling.

It seems that stations placed in historically cooler, rural areas of higher latitude and elevation were scrapped from the data series in favor of more urban locales at lower latitudes and elevations. Consequently, post-1990 readings have been biased to the warm side not only by selective geographic location, but also by the anthropogenic heating influence of a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI).

  • For example, Canada’s reporting stations dropped from 496 in 1989 to 44 in 1991, with the percentage of stations at lower elevations tripling while the numbers of those at higher elevations dropped to one. That’s right: As Smith wrote in his blog, they left “one thermometer for everything north of LAT 65.” And that one resides in a place called Eureka, which has been described as “The Garden Spot of the Arctic” due to its unusually moderate summers.

Smith also discovered that in California, only four stations remain – one in San Francisco and three in Southern L.A. near the beach – and he rightly observed that

It is certainly impossible to compare it with the past record that had thermometers in the snowy mountains. So we can have no idea if California is warming or cooling by looking at the USHCN data set or the GHCN data set.

That’s because the baseline temperatures to which current readings are compared were a true averaging of both warmer and cooler locations. And comparing these historic true averages to contemporary false averages – which have had the lower end of their numbers intentionally stripped out –
  • will always yield a warming trend, even when temperatures have actually dropped.
Overall, U.S. online stations have dropped from a peak of 1,850 in 1963 to a low of 136 as of 2007. In his blog, Smith wittily observed that “the Thermometer Langoliers have eaten 9/10 of the thermometers in the USA[,] including all the cold ones in California.” But he was deadly serious after comparing current to previous versions of USHCN data and discovering that this
  • “selection bias” creates a +0.6°C warming in U.S. temperature history.
And no wonder — imagine the accuracy of campaign tracking polls were Gallup to include only the replies of Democrats in their statistics. But it gets worse.

adjust for time of day heat variance, and “homogenize” stations with their neighbors in order to compensate for discontinuities. This last one, they state, is accomplished by essentially adjusting each to jive closely with the mean of its five closest “neighbors.”

  • But given the plummeting number of stations, and the likely disregard for the latitude, elevation, or UHI of such neighbors,

it’s no surprise that such “homogenizing” seems to always result in warmer readings."...

We would be nuts "to surrender our freedoms, our economic growth, and even our simplest comforts to duplicitous zealots before checking and
  • via ClimateDepot



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