Steve McIntyre found an error in the GISS temperature data for the US. The GISTEMP page says:

USHCN station records up to 1999 were replaced by a version of USHCN data with further corrections after an adjustment computed by comparing the common 1990-1999 period of the two data sets. (We wish to thank Stephen McIntyre for bringing to our attention that such an adjustment is necessary to prevent creating an artificial jump in year 2000.)

How much difference did the adjustment make to the US temperature series? Well, it changed this:

i-4c2bced67bf8018e653c78a3f2fd4553-gissusold.png

to this:

i-2c65826a3e6c732f35375023de42ebd2-gissusnew.png

Not much difference. The right hand end of the red curve has moved down a little bit, but this decade is still the warmest ever recorded in the US. The change to the global temperature series is imperceptible.

Of course, if you’re Steve McIntyre, you want to make this seem like a big deal. So what do you do?

Well, it’s hard to see from the graph, but 1998 went from being 0.01 degrees warmer than 1934 in the US, to being 0.02 degrees cooler, so he was able to present this as OMG! 1998 NO LONGER THE HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD, NOW IT’S 1934. Right wing blogs started foaming at their mouths. Examples:

Noel Sheppard

it suggests that a government agency is actually participating in a fraud against the American people by withholding information crucial to a major policy issue now facing the nation.

Ace

Fire [James Hansen]. Immediately.

The Ace (This is a different person from “Ace” — I think we should pop “Ace” and “The Ace” into Thunderdome.)

leftist hero James Hansen is behind this deliberate fraud. He should be frog-marched out of his office.

Rush Limbaugh:

And the bottom line is, that 1998 is no longer — you can say NASA made a reporting error or did they make a reporting error? Did they do this on purpose? How long have they known that it was erroneous and haven’t corrected it? But the bottom line of this is that 1998 is no longer the hottest year on record. … Well, when 1934 was the hottest year on record, and NASA may know about it and doesn’t correct the data, and when a guy named James Hansen involved in all this, who is a political activist, then you have to figure there is a reason why they want 1998 continue to be reported as the warmest year on record.

I’ll let Nexus explain this one for Mr Limbaugh.

Also busy exaggerating is good old Roger Pielke Sr:

The hard work of of Steve McIntyre (Climate Audit) and Anthony Watts (www.surfacestations.org) has resulted in the identification of a significant error in the assessment of the rankings of what have been the warmest years in the United States as identified by GISS. The current warmest year is 1934.

1998 and 1934 went from being in a virtual tie, to being in a virtual tie. This is not a significant change. You would have hoped that Pielke Sr would have been aware of this, but I guess not.

Oh, and I didn’t link to Climate Audit, because It’s gone down because of all the traffic from Limbaugh and the like. The paranoids there reckon it’s a DOS attack from the eevil warmers.

Update: More from RealClimate.

Comments

  1. #1 ben
    August 10, 2007

    Yeah, but what about the claim that five of the ten warmest years of this century are now pre-WWII?

    I don’t believe all the blather about the public being deliberately misleading, but I do find these results to be interesting.

  2. #2 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    I don’t believe all the blather about the public being deliberately misleading, but I do find these results to be interesting.

    It’s only interested if you think virtual statistical ties were significant before McIntyre’s discovery, and are significant now.

    Of course, “pre-Mac” the denialists were screaming “but, but, it’s all within the error bars!!!!!”

    Now they’re saying … “look! look! 1934′s the warmest year!”

    And of course, 1998 is still the warmest year on record according to the global record. The 1930s were the dustbowl years in the US, long droughts, warm and dry years, the years of “The Grapes of Wrath” and all those WPA photos of emaciated families on the plains losing their farms.

    The fact that 1934 was 0.02C warmer than 1998 (+/- error bars) is hardly comforting considering how harsh the weather was then.

    And as was pointed out elsewhere, you do know what the “G” in “AGW” stands for, right?

    An interesting prediction on my part: denialists are now going to claim over and over that the surface station data in the lower 48 is dead-accurate now that they’re being confronted with the artic icepack being at its minimum, ever, etc etc etc.

  3. #3 Tim Lambert
    August 10, 2007

    ben, in the old data set, four of the warmest years were pre WW2. There has not been a significant change. And this is for the US only. Globally, 2005 is the warmest year in the GISS data.

  4. #4 Lance
    August 10, 2007

    C’mon Tim,

    You are quite aware of all the “hottest year in _______!”(you pick it) hype. To try and “ho hum” this development is a bit silly.

    It reminds me of the false nonchalance of Martin Short’s twitchy, sweaty lipped tobacco industry lawyer “You think I didn’t know that? Of course I knew that! How could you think I didn’t know that?”

    I’m not claiming it destroys all of AGW theory, nor is Steve McIntyre, but it certainly sticks a pin in more than one hot air headline.

    At least admit that. It really wouldn’t kill you. Would it?

  5. #5 ben
    August 10, 2007

    “It’s only interested if you think virtual statistical ties were significant before McIntyre’s discovery, and are significant now.”

    Right, but I’m with that. In the past the media has gone on and on about how years in this decade and last were the warmest on record, OMG! when really it was not such a big deal because of the statistical dead heat. I’m just happy that I won’t be hearing those dumb media reports for at least a week now.

  6. #6 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    You are quite aware of all the “hottest year in _!”(you pick it) hype. To try and “ho hum” this development is a bit silly.

    Well, 1998 and 2005 are STILL the warmest years in the global record.

    Tough titties for the tough denialist Lance, who STILL has yet to answer any SPECIFIC reasons why his “studying” of climate science claims has led him to believe that the entire field is bogus.

    Except now, of course, Lance is among those convinced the lower-48 surface temp record is accurate, ’cause of that MASSIVE shift in “warmest years” records.

  7. #7 Tim Lambert
    August 10, 2007

    Err guys, is the denialists who have been hyping 1998 as the warmest year so they can say that it cooled since then.

    And Lance, if you think that you should look at single years rather than multi-year averages, you should be kicked out of you PhD program.

  8. #8 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    In the past the media has gone on and on about how years in this decade and last were the warmest on record, OMG! when really it was not such a big deal because of the statistical dead heat. I’m just happy that I won’t be hearing those dumb media reports for at least a week now.

    Ben, Ben, Ben dear boy … that hype is about GLOBAL temperatures, and 1998 and 2005 *are* the two warmest years on record.

    As my french girlfriend is fond of telling me, as I sit here on her balcony in Madrid … the US is NOT the world.

    Keep that in mind. The lower 48 is a small fraction of the earth’s surface. We’re not the world, we’re not the “G” in “AGW”.

    Meanwhile, this cool photo at RC is sobering:

    http://www.realclimate.org/images/arctic_aug907.jpg

    Though I’m sure Lance will claim that the purple is open ocean, the black ice or somesuch shit.

  9. #9 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    Err guys, is the denialists who have been hyping 1998 as the warmest year so they can say that it cooled since then.

    Well, they like to have their data both ways, don’t they?

  10. #10 bigcitylib
    August 10, 2007

    Tim,

    However, the GISSTEMP website does have some prominently placed graphics trumpeting the old U.S. yearly rankings. They’ll probably have to be changed, and certain “talking points” in the debate dropped. Gore may have to alter a slide or two.

  11. #11 Lance
    August 10, 2007

    BCL,

    Kudos for acknowledging an obvious point when others pretend there is none to cede. It didn’t hurt that much did it.

    I have also noticed that you allow quite a bit of lee way at your blog for what I consider to be rude AGW detractors.

    You just went up a bit more in my estimation. Maybe there is hope for rational discussion of this topic yet.

  12. #12 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    Kudos for acknowledging an obvious point when others pretend there is none to cede. It didn’t hurt that much did it.

    1998 and 2005 are the two warmest years on record.

    Now, what exactly is there to cede?

    The straws you folks grasp are the thinnest imaginable.

    Now, speaking of rational discussion of this topic, when are you going to provide some SPECIFIC debunking of the basic physics underlying the AGW hypothesis?

    Thus far, you’re still stuck on the argument from personal incredulity.

  13. #13 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    You know, Lance, if you’re really, really convinced that you can single-handedly turn the entire field of climate science on its head and disprove the underlying physical principles upon which the field rests…

    That’s a pretty smooth ride to a PhD in physics. Probably a hell of a lot easier than the work you’re engaged in.

    So, c’mon. Give it to us. You claim that your denialism is based on scientific disagreements, let’s see the specifics.

    No extra credit for continued cut-and-paste of tired denialist shit that’s been debunked a decade ago.

  14. #14 Lance
    August 10, 2007

    dhogaza,

    You know darn well, as BCL has acknowledge, that the “warmest year on record” headlines and talking points were referenced to US GISS data. What the global average temperatures were, while perhaps salient to the validity of AGW theory over all, is not the point. To put your fingers in your ears and chant “LALALALA” is not helping your credibility any.

  15. #16 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    I assume Lance was every bit as diligent when he studied the physical assumptions underlying climate science and decided that the entire field is bunk as he did when he studied the media coverage of global temperature records.

  16. #17 Lance
    August 10, 2007

    dhogaza,

    OK, you got me. I can’t, on the fly, refute the underlying physical arguments for AGW. First of all there is no “one” cogent physical argument.

    Can I prove that CO2 is NOT a greenhouse gas? No.
    Can I prove that GCM’s are completely wrong? No.
    Can I prove that the past centuries 0.6-0.8C increase in temps are NOT 1) a valid data set and/or 2) anomalous? No.

    Of course even if all of the above are true it by no means validates the conclusion that we face catastrophic warming over the next hundred years.

    It is required of those MAKING the extraordinary claims to provide the strong evidence.

    The more you examine the evidence the more holes appear. Mr. McIntyre, with no specific climate science training, has now punched two fairly significant ones in two of the most ballyhooed sacred cows of the AGW faithful.

    First Mann’s “Hockey Stick” and now the alleged “hottest year” totem. You talk pretty loud for a guy standing on a creaking limb. Of course bluster is a natural defense mechanism for many cornered and outmatched animals.

    So far your bark is not backed up by much bite.

  17. #18 Lee
    August 10, 2007

    Lance-
    5-year running mean for US temp. The last decade is still the hottest US decade. You’ve been called on this several times now, and have not that Ive seen addressed this point other than to keep repeating “no longer the hottest eyar!!!’.

    GLOBAL temperature records. 1998 is still the hottest year. You have been informed of this several times now, and have not that I’ve seen addressed it.

  18. #19 Lee
    August 10, 2007

    Lance, are you seriously claiming that there is not strong evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas? Just for starters?

  19. #20 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    First Mann’s “Hockey Stick”

    Which is still alive and well, and vindicated by the NAS.

    You don’t get out much, do you? Don’t read beyond CA?

    Can I prove that CO2 is NOT a greenhouse gas? No.

    That’s a very odd statement for a physicist to say, since the IR absorbtion information on CO2 has been shown in the lab and has been known for 100+ years.

    Unless you’re totally dishonest or ignorant of your field of study, you KNOW CO2 *IS* a greenhouse gas.

    That’s even *potentially* a point of contention.

  20. #21 nanny_govt_sucks
    August 10, 2007

    1998 and 1934 went from being in a virtual tie, to being in a virtual tie.

    When was this ever called a virtual tie prior to this week?

  21. #22 cce
    August 10, 2007

    Let’s put the denial of facts in even starker terms.

    Mercury is about 58 million km from the sun. It’s average temperature is 440 degrees kelvin. It does not have much of an atmosphere.

    Venus is about 108 million km from the sun. It’s average temperature is 737 degrees kelvin. Venus’ atmosphere is over 96% CO2.

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas. No one even remotely knowledgeable about these issues would question this basic fact.

    Also, you would think that a group of people who placed all faith in the satellite records since they (mistakenly) showed “no warming” OVER THE ENTIRE GLOBE would use a bit of self reflection when it comes to this correction. It’s clear from posts all over the blogosphere that the distinction between the US and the world was immediately lost (assuming people ever understood the difference).

  22. #23 Lee
    August 10, 2007

    Here in the US, for too many people, there is no significant distinction between the US and the rest of the world.

  23. #24 saurabh
    August 10, 2007

    >However, the GISSTEMP website does have some prominently placed graphics trumpeting the old U.S. yearly rankings.

    Where? The only thing I can find is this, which talks about global averages (from back in Feb 07).

  24. #25 saurabh
    August 10, 2007

    Wups, forgot to close that tag. Also, the URL:
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20070208/

  25. #26 cce
    August 10, 2007

    I might be blind, but I can’t find any graphics on the GISTEMP site talking about the US, other than the temperature anomaly graph.

    Also, I can’t find (although I might not be looking in the right place) any statement from GISS saying that 1998 was the record year for the US. There are two papers from 1999 and 2001, both saying that 1998 was (barely) cooler than 1934. If it was made hotter since 2001 due to a correction, the latest correction reversed this. In the 2001 paper, Hansen says that, because of the uncertainty, it would require a .1 degree margin to formally declare a new record.

    Based on this, 1934 (1.25), 1998 (1.23), and 1921 (1.15) are statistically in the running for “hottest year in the US.”

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2001/2001_Hansen_etal.pdf
    “The U.S. annual (January-December) mean temperature is slightly warmer in 1934 than in 1998 in the
    GISS analysis (Plate 6). This contrasts with the USHCN data, which has 1998 as the warmest year in the century.
    In both cases the difference between 1934 and 1998 mean temperatures is a few hundredths of a degree. The main
    reason that 1998 is relatively cooler in the GISS analysis is its larger adjustment for urban warming. In comparing
    temperatures of years separated by 60 or 70 years the uncertainties in various adjustments (urban warming, station
    history adjustments, etc.) lead to an uncertainty of at least 0.1°C. Thus it is not possible to declare a record U.S. temperature with confidence until a result is obtained that exceeds the temperature of 1934 by more than 0.1°C.”

  26. #27 oconnellc
    August 10, 2007

    Seems hard to believe that someone like Mc, known to lie, with no training as a climate scientist, could find an error in the work done by NASA. Makes you wonder if that was the only error in that work, doesn’t it? I wonder if expressing a thought like that out loud automatically makes me a denialist?

  27. #28 dhogaza
    August 10, 2007

    Seems hard to believe that someone like Mc, known to lie, with no training as a climate scientist, could find an error in the work done by NASA. Makes you wonder if that was the only error in that work, doesn’t it? I wonder if expressing a thought like that out loud automatically makes me a denialist?

    Liars aren’t always wrong, this is news to you?

    He caught an error that has no real significance whatsoever except in the right-wing blogosphere.

    And now he’s lying about the significance of the find, wetting his pants in his belief that NOW, FINALLY, global warming has been proven false.

    It reminds me of an incident a few weeks ago where someone in the creationist community caught an evolutionary biologist accidently quoting the wrong paper, then spent the next couple of week trumpeting “see! all of evolutionary biology is false!”

    Too bad your level of analysis is so lame, oconnellc. But, oh, I almost forgot for a moment that you’ve admitted that your sole knowledge of climate science comes from CA, not from any science site, or textbook, etc.

  28. #29 nanny_govt_sucks
    August 10, 2007

    Makes you wonder if that was the only error in that work, doesn’t it?

    Well, there are the reverse-UHI adjustments to Orland, CA that seem quite mystifying. An error? Oversight? Some justification or source code would be a big help in resolving this.

  29. #30 bigcitylib
    August 10, 2007

    saurabh,cce,

    You might be right. I may have mistaken the charts discussing global temperatures for U.S. temperatures, or I might have been looking at other websites referencing U.S. temp data and thinking I was still at the GISSTEMP site.

    My point is, that a few arguments will have to be rearranged, a few examples changed, etc. From the science side, this is insignificant. Looking at it from a PR/political angle, McIntyre has probably scored a point or two.

  30. #31 Karl Voliene
    August 10, 2007

    He did not say it was not a greenhouse gas.

    He said he couldn’t prove it wasn’t one.

  31. #32 cce
    August 10, 2007

    “Even if the above is true” would seem to be hypothetical assumption that CO2 is a greenhouse has, even though we know for a fact that it is.

  32. #33 oconnellc
    August 10, 2007

    dhogaza, why can’t you just discuss something for a change instead of shouting at everyone and misrepresenting them. I never said I have no knowledge of science from any source except CA. You stated that I must have been parroting a specific group of people and I told you what blogs I was reading. You know, you could just lay out your points and then address the points that other people make. Its like we are addressing operational efficiency of the DoA all over again…

    Hanson made a mistake. That means he is human. If a bunch of people who you expect to overreact about something decide to overreact, then why does it inspire such a large reaction. Guess what, some guys made a mistake in how they interpreted satellite data. They might still be making other mistakes. Now a different guy makes a mistake in calculating temperatures. He might still be making other mistakes. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find out if there are other mistakes or not and how important they might be.

    This is a crazily politicized debate. Sure, single data points don’t matter. So do us a favor and tell us how many times this page from NASA includes the phrase “warmest year”? http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20070208/

  33. #34 Lee
    August 10, 2007

    oconnellc,

    while yore counting occurances of ‘warmest year’ on that page, you might also count the number of times is says it may not be the warmest year, and the number of times is places that fact into a context of multi-year trends. Don’t forget the graphics while you’re at it.

  34. #35 Lance
    August 10, 2007

    Karl,

    I see that you understood my argument. I suspect that dhogaza and the others did as well. I am amazed at the energy they expend throwing up red herrings rather than just answering my arguments directly.

    Many of them seem to be more interested in humiliating their “opponent” than engaging in discussion, BCL and Jeff not withstanding.

    I must be shown to be a dimwitted “denialist”. The level of discourse has truly sunk to an abysmal low. I guess it has bled over from threads like ” electricity news from Iraq”.

    I make no pretense of being pure and free from political predispositions, but I try to be a little open to other points of view, especially when scientific issues are being discussed.

  35. #36 Nick
    August 10, 2007

    It is a big deal. All the models are wrong, because they take these temperatures as inputs. All the proxies need recalibrating.

  36. #37 Dano
    August 10, 2007

    GISS CHANGE:

    Flypaper for envirohate.

    Best,

    D

  37. #38 Lee
    August 10, 2007

    Nick,

    it is an 0.3% change to world temp anomaly results after 2000.

    0.003C.

    The error was only in data for the lower 48 states, and was 0.15C for that data. The lower 48 is 2% of the earth’s surface.
    0.15 x .02 = 0.003C

    Global temp change over the last century is 0.8 – 1.1C depending on method. .003C out of 1C (in the range and easy to calculate) is 0.3%

    0.003C, 0.3% is not going to require a recalibration of diddly-squat.

  38. #39 cce
    August 10, 2007

    Sometimes the words don’t flow from my keyboard. My last post should be:

    “Even if the above is true” would seem to be only a hypothetical assumption that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, even though we know for a fact that it is.

  39. #41 Ben Kalafut
    August 10, 2007

    Oops, I meant commenter #1. Sorry!

  40. #42 Mike C.
    August 10, 2007

    Err guys, is the denialists who have been hyping 1998 as the warmest year so they can say that it cooled since then.

    Al Gore: Global Warming Denialist

    July 1998 was the hottest month on the planet since credible statistics began being kept in 1880, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) figures released by the White House yesterday.

    “Every month this year has set a new record for average global temperature for that month and July was the hottest of any month in nearly 120 years,” said Vice- President Al Gore in releasing the figures.

  41. #43 Jen
    August 10, 2007

    July 1998 was the hottest month on the planet

    Planet != US

  42. #44 John Cross
    August 10, 2007

    Lance: a quick question, how long have you been interested in / following the climate change issue?

    Regards,
    John

  43. #45 Chris O'Neill
    August 10, 2007

    “it certainly sticks a pin in more than one hot air headline”

    I’m not aware of any US hot air headlines but then I don’t usually read US newspapers. I guess this must matter to USAians and their sychophants who have an inflated sense of their own importance.

  44. #46 TCO
    August 10, 2007

    Steve (or JohnA or Anthony) is censoring my comments. Made the following post, which was initially displayed but now is being hidden:

    “For all the people coming here from conservative land, you should know that Steve has not written much in the way of published science. That he prefers putting his message out in a mdeium that he controls. That he avoids admitting when he is wrong. Also that he overemnphasizes rhetoric “flaws” versus math quantification of flaws. And (while alloiwing some debate, still censors criticism more than support.) And that’s coming from a scientist a lot more conservative than Steve.

    But he was spot on with detecting the error in NASA temps and deserves the accolades for finding it.

    Just think that it’s important that you new onlookers know this to take some of the stuff that Steve puts out with a grain of salt. What matters is truth. Not right or left or warmer or denier.”

    My post was in the Unthreaded thread, which is the place for general comments. While, I’m sure he does not agree with my description, it is my honest opinion and is important to state. And should be allowed to be seen. I didn’t have any of the silliness in there, that I have sometimes (jokes and such).

  45. #47 Steve Bloom
    August 11, 2007

    Per Nanny’s request, I did a search for 1934 1998 “warmest year” temperature and it turns out all the talk about U.S. record years can be traced to NOAA rather than NASA. (Using “virtual tie” rather than “warmest year” gave too many baseball hits, but in any case there wasn’t anything on the first few pages that was ascribable to NASA.)

    But what of NOAA (and more precisely NCDC)? It turns out they say that 1934 is 3rd warmest after 1998 and 2006. 2006 would have been warmest, but a small adjustment made early this year bumped it back into 2nd after 1998. Just in case anyone’s wondering, there’s no indication of the type of error that GISS made (using NCDC’s data).

  46. #48 Ian Gould
    August 11, 2007

    “Err guys, is the denialists who have been hyping 1998 as the warmest year so they can say that it cooled since then.”

    Hey, if we cherry-pick 1934 and 1998 and draw a line between those two data points we get a 64 year cooling trend.

    Tim C. can use it to support his theory about how high levels of anthropogenic CO2 emissions are utterly essential to prevent a new ice age.

  47. #49 Ian Gould
    August 11, 2007

    So the same people who insist that the US domestic record is totally unreliable (see the surfasestations discussion) also believe its reliable enough to tell us that 1934 was several hundreds of a degree warmer than 1998.

    Repeat after me: Oceania is at war with Eastasia….

  48. #50 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    Lee, I counted and it says “warmest year” 4 times. There is also a graphic that lists the 5 warmest years in order. I didn’t see the words ‘virtual tie’ anywhere. I notice it is mentioned many times on this page, though.

    I looked for discussions of trends. It did mention absolute temperature changes since 1950. I guess I was expecting a discussion of temperature trends to include information about rates of change. Perhaps a comparison of the rate of change between 1970 and now the rate of change from 1910 to 1940?

    That page is certainly about graphics… It is obvious that this page is all about the one in the upper right hand corner that lists 5 data points. It does include a graphic showing the temperatures over the past 100 years or so, but I don’t see anything about rates of change.

    It does state that some years are not the warmest year. It goes to trouble to place each of those that are not the warmest into the correct position in the top 5. It also indicates that other climate researchers may list those 5 data points in a different order.

    In general this page is devoted to the analysis done by the folks at GISS. I wonder if it is possible that those researchers could have made some mistake with the worldwide data. Perhaps similar to the mistake that was made with US data. Or a different kind of mistake.

    In any case, this page doesn’t seem to be making any attempt to let people know that trends are really what matters or that these years are actually in virtual ties with each other.

    I’m a bit surprised to hear about virtual ties at this point. Tim sure has weird timing. The graphs that he displays are also a bit incongruous. I remember a post of his where he mocked Crighton for displaying a graph with cleverly chosen scale on the Y axis. Tim then chooses to display a graph of his own with a y-axis spread of 3 degrees in order to show how tough it is to eyeball a change of what Gavin Schmidt referred to as a .15 degree change. Even GISS shows this type of graph with with a ~1.1degree spread. Tims sense of fairness prompted him to show the change with a spread almost triple what NASA uses. Nice work Tim, you are certainly showing that only the denialists have any hype.

    Can’t anyone see that it is stupid stuff like this that causes some people to question? Tim certainly could have proved his point with a different graph, one that might have looked a bit more fair. I have seen several people talk on this and other posts here about how it is the trend that matters. Well, looking at this NASA page, one finds that hard to believe. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t the G in AGW that we are questioning. Perhaps it is the A. If you have all the evidence on your side, then why all this gradeschool stuff?

  49. #51 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    Ian, what about those of us who just thought things should be looked at because there might be an error in there somewhere?

  50. #52 Ian Gould
    August 11, 2007

    Oconnell – you don’t think that this shows that the normal error-checking and correction mechanisms are working?

  51. #53 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    Ian, no. Mc is a Canadian with a background in mining and a college degree in math who looks at this stuff (depending on who you believe) either for fun or because he is a paid shill for the oil/carbon industry. At least, the folks at RC who work for NASA are crediting Mc with bringing it to their attention (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/1934-and-all-that/). How can you look at this and think this is part of the normal error-checking and correction mechanism?

  52. #54 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    If a bunch of people who you expect to overreact about something decide to overreact, then why does it inspire such a large reaction

    Because they are reacting in a way calculated to undermine science in the public eye.

    Short form – they’re lying, and using their lies to try to convince people that global warming is not real.

    I know you don’t like the fact that I react strongly to liars and lies. I find it interesting that your response to liars and lies is “what’s the big deal?”

    I mean … it’s only science and the future of mankind that they’re lying about it. Who would ever get upset about that?

  53. #55 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    How can you look at this and think this is part of the normal error-checking and correction mechanism?

    You’re right. It’s not.

    On the other hand, it’s insignificant. It doesn’t change anything in a meaningful way. Not exactly the scale of error that give people sleepless nights when they’re working on a large variety of climate-related projects.

    On the other hand, if you’re looking for *any* error, no matter how trivial, in order to politically undermine the consequences of scientific knowledge, it’s a big deal.

  54. #56 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    Lee, I counted and it says “warmest year” 4 times. There is also a graphic that lists the 5 warmest years in order. I didn’t see the words ‘virtual tie’ anywhere. I notice it is mentioned many times on this page, though.

    Of course you did, they’re discussing the GLOBAL temperature average, not the contiguous lower-48 temperature average.

    Here’s the headline:

    2006 Was Earth’s Fifth Warmest Year

    Once again, the United States is not the earth. How many times do you right wing turkeys need to be told this? It’s getting tiresome.

    When looking at global temperatures, there is no statistical tie with 1934.

    WHY DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO SAY SOMETHING THAT’S NOT TRUE, THEN?

    As they say:

    The five warmest years since the late 1880s, according to NASA scientists, are in descending order 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2006.

    They also mention other researchers around the world rank them a bit differently. However 1934 isn’t on anyone’s list. It was an exceptionally warm year in the United States, but not worldwide.

  55. #57 cce
    August 11, 2007

    oconnellc writes:
    “Lee, I counted and it says “warmest year” 4 times. There is also a graphic that lists the 5 warmest years in order. I didn’t see the words ‘virtual tie’ anywhere.”

    On the page in question, you are looking at global temperatures. Every year since the mid ’90s has been unambiguously warmer than any year prior to the mid ’90s. 1998 and 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006 are all very similar to each other and within GISS’ margin of error. 2005 is the “warmest year” by definition — it is the biggest temeprature anomaly. All of these have occured in the past 10 years. They all blow away anything else in the instrument record.

    Globally, 1934 is not in a virtual tie with any year since 1977. 1934 was not particularly warm worldwide. The warmest year prior to the 1980s was 1944. The last time global temperatures were lower than that was in 1993 due to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

    These observations can be gleaned by looking at this chart:
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20070208/2006_temp_anom.gif

    You can also see that the rate and amount of temperature rise since the late ’70s is steeper and longer than that from 1907 to 1944.

  56. #58 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    Well, looking at this NASA page, one finds that hard to believe. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t the G in AGW that we are questioning. Perhaps it is the A. If you have all the evidence on your side, then why all this gradeschool stuff?

    This isn’t the only NASA page on the subject.

    It’s a announcement of an event, not a primer. In fact, it’s an announcement of findings of one group within NASA.

    So … if a medical researcher finds out something interesting about cancer and his university publishes a PR, you’ll question all of academic medicine because that PR doesn’t contain textbook-level explanations of everything that’s known about cancer?

    This is essentially the level of your complaint.

  57. #59 cce
    August 11, 2007

    Sorry, that should be just “steeper” not “steeper and longer.”

  58. #60 Tim Lambert
    August 11, 2007

    oconnellc, you cannot be trusted. The spread on my graph, 3 degrees, is exactly the same as on the NASA version.

    Can you find anyone, anywhere, ever, writing that GISS showed that 1998 was the warmest year in the US?

  59. #61 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    I see that you understood my argument. I suspect that dhogaza and the others did as well. I am amazed at the energy they expend throwing up red herrings rather than just answering my arguments directly.

    You’ve stated several times that you’ve studied climate science on your own, and using your training as a physicist have come to the conclusion that it’s bogus.

    You’ve been asked for specifics, and haven’t provided any beyond a handwaving argument from personal incredulity.

    Your response earlier, that you can’t PROVE CO2 is not a global warming gas, in now way implies that you accept the fact that it is. It’s a statement tinged with doubt. Two of us read it to mean “I don’t believe it, but can’t prove it”. Seems a fair reading to me.

    Here:

    Can I prove that CO2 is NOT a greenhouse gas? No.

    So, do you or do you not agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?

    Simple question, simple answer.

    Can I prove that GCM’s are completely wrong? No.

    Yet in an earlier post, you gave a long list of reasons you believe they ARE completely, or at least mostly, wrong. Those reasons boiled down to your saying “I don’t believe them because it’s a hard problem”, i.e. personal incredulity.

    See, given that … it’s easy to read your comment about CO2 as being one of disbelief that CO2 is a global warming gas, even though you do say you can’t prove it’s not.

    Can I prove that the past centuries 0.6-0.8C increase in temps are NOT 1) a valid data set and/or 2) anomalous? No.

    So you can’t prove climatologists wrong, yet earlier you said that you’d investigated the science and, in essence, decided it was bogus. Using your training as a physicist to reach that conclusion.

    Harumph. I always thought physics was a fairly rigorous field…

    Of course even if all of the above are true

    EVEN IF – in other words, “I don’t really believe they are”.

    CO2 as global warming gas is on your list of “even if trues”.

    Don’t sit here pretending that you didn’t express doubt about CO2 being a global warming gas. You did, clear as day.

    it by no means validates the conclusion that we face catastrophic warming over the next hundred years.

    So? That wasn’t your original claim. You said that you’d disproven climate science to your personal satisfaction, using your training as a physicist.

    Are you going to back up your claim with some specifics? Show us, for instance, that CO2 is not a global warming gas?

    Or, alternatively, admit that you don’t believe in AGW for some other reason having nothing to do with your training as a physicist.

    C’mon, Lance. If you’ve shown the science to be wrong, share it. If you’re just arguing from personal incredulity, admit it.

  60. #62 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    Tim, you said something about ‘the NASA version’ of the graph. However, there is a NASA version of temp anomolies where the ‘low’ value of the Y-axis is about -.4 and the high value is about .7 That looks like a spread of about 1.1. It also seems reasonable since values go from about -.4 to about .6 you can find that version here: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20070208/

    There is another one here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/ and it uses a y axis spread of -.4 to .6

    Granted, NASA does have a graph of US temp anomolies that uses the same spread that you show. However, you use the graph to try to compare A and B (before and after comparison). You are trying to compare a change of .15 and you use graphs with a y axis spread of 3 degrees to do so. Why couldn’t you have picked a graph with a spread of 1 degree? Or .5 degrees? Perhaps because that graph wouldn’t have had the impact you were looking for?

  61. #63 Mike C.
    August 11, 2007

    Planet != USM

    Yeah, I take a lot of jabs at Al Gore, but it is mostly in good humor. Let me give the man credit for being a strong immigration restrictionist. He seems to be one of the few liberals who understands that it is a contradiction to whine about the amount of resources Americans and other First World nationals consume while supporting the only mechanism that is increasing those populations: high fertility Third World immigration. As it is, the United States is on track for a population of 400-500 million by 2050. That will be an environmental disaster in so many ways. Even though I’m a conservative, if Al Gore jumped in the race and promised to remain a staunch immigration restrictionist, I would seriously consider voting for the guy.

  62. #64 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    cce, maybe you could explain for me when it is appropriate to compare individual data points and when the trend is what is appropriate? I don’t see anything on that NASA page that shows appropriate error bars for comparing years, so I can’t tell what the rates of change for those period are and if they are statistically different. Shouldn’t that page have that info? Otherwise, isn’t this page just more hype? The difference being that this thread appears to be directed at the hype of private bloggers and this page is put out by a publicly funded scientific organization.

  63. #65 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    dhogaza, you wrote: ++It’s a announcement of an event, not a primer. In fact, it’s an announcement of findings of one group within NASA.++

    First, you are correct. NASA basically put out a press release about its own findings. But, from what I can tell here, it is really an announcement about the wrong thing. Isn’t this just an announcement trumpeting 5 data points? Why not make an announcement about the important thing? Isn’t this thread about hype and the people putting it out?

    ++So … if a medical researcher finds out something interesting about cancer and his university publishes a PR, you’ll question all of academic medicine because that PR doesn’t contain textbook-level explanations of everything that’s known about cancer?

    This is essentially the level of your complaint.++

    No. Why don’t you just address what I say, instead of taking it to the furthest possible conclusion that common sense must tell you that I don’t mean? To follow your metaphor, no, I wouldn’t question all academic medicine. My goodness, how can you really think that is what I meant? I would be honest enough to admit that there is hype being thrown by that university and I wouldn’t base my judgement of it on whether it fits a preconceived notion or not. Hype is hype. Hypocracy is finding fault with something one group does and excusing it from another.

  64. #66 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    cce, this link doesn’t go anywhere: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20070208/2006tempanom.gif

    maybe you could just share the numbers you use for calculating the slope of the temperature trends (since they aren’t mentioned anywhere on that page) and your results and the error bounds you use to determine that one is steeper than the other.

  65. #67 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    Otherwise, isn’t this page just more hype?

    Well, it’s a press release. So, yes, it is “more hype”.

    Journalists typically wouldn’t understand phrases like “statistical significance”, “error bars”, etc in the first place.

    In fact, it’s possible the dude writing the PR wouldn’t, either.

    Don’t judge the state of science by the content of a press release. Sheesh.

  66. #68 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    But, from what I can tell here, it is really an announcement about the wrong thing. Isn’t this just an announcement trumpeting 5 data points? Why not make an announcement about the important thing?

    The fact that the five warmest years on record all happened in a timeframe of about a decade actually *is* an important thing. It indicates that we might be seeing the acceleration in warming that’s predicted to happen “soon” (with some uncertainty). It’s evidence that this might happen “sooner” rather than “less soon”.

    You’re arguing a silly point, though. The fact that you might think that this PR isn’t announcing something important doesn’t indicate that NASA *never* announces information on (for instance) trend data.

    NASA makes a lot of PR announcements regarding research results. It’s important that they do, IMO, regardless of how crucial such results might seem to you. You aren’t arguing that the public shouldn’t only be informed of “significant” research that results from the spending of their tax dollars, are you???

  67. #69 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    > The fact that the five warmest years on record all happened in a timeframe of about a decade actually is an important thing. It indicates that we might be seeing the acceleration in warming that’s predicted to happen “soon” (with some uncertainty). It’s evidence that this might happen “sooner” rather than “less soon”.

    I don’t see where that follows. What I have been reading on this site is that the trend, which I interpret as the rate of change of temperature (correct me if I am wrong there) is what is important. If the trend of temperature change is constant, then eventually the odds are pretty good that each year will constitute a new record high. If the temperature has been constantly rising for the last 400 years, then the fact that the five warmest years on record happened in the last decade wouldn’t be anything exciting. It would be expected.

    This press release is hype. And it is hype from NASA. Not hype from a political blogger.

  68. #70 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    Hype is hype. Hypocracy is finding fault with something one group does and excusing it from another.

    I don’t see how pointing out that the warmest five years on record have all taken place in the last decade or so qualifies as “hype”. That’s significant data. From the point of view of the climatologists it’s a bit lean for making definite statements like “we are certainly seeing the accelerating trend we are predicting will take place in the first half of the 21st century”, etc etc. However it is consistent with such predictions, and very importantly shows that current data in now way *contradicts* such predictions.

    So, no, it’s not hype. It’s important data.

    This is what qualifies in my mind as hype:

    1. NASA says 1998 is warmer than 1934 by 0.01C. HOWEVER, NASA also says that the uncertainty is 0.1C and that the ordering is not significant (Hansen, NASA, 2001). You are correct that they didn’t say “statistical tie”, they used slightly more sophisticated language, but still, plain as day, they say that the difference is only 1/10th as much as is needed to overcome uncertainty in the record.

    2. CA finds an error that changes that estimate by 0.03C. That’s 30 (THIRTY) percent of the 0.1C uncertainty earlier cited by NASA. The result is that the statistically insignificant ordering of 1998 as being warmer than 1934 is flipped to the statistically insignificant ordering as 1934 being the warmest year.

    The hype?

    3. Claiming that this in any way undermines the AGW hypothesis.

    Actually I’d use the word “lie”, not “hype”. Here, in this very thread, we have a self-proclaimed physicist (Lance) claiming that a sub-significant change in data is extremely important, undermines climate science, credibility, etc etc. SUB-SIGNIFICANT! A self-proclaimed physicist! He *has* to know this is bullshit. McIntyre et al are making the same claims. McIntyre understands statistical significance, too, even though he is playing dumb at the moment. How is that not “hype”, and indeed how is that not outright dishonesty?

  69. #71 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    > Don’t judge the state of science by the content of a press release. Sheesh.

    Hmmm… There appears to be a lot of excitement that people are judging science by the noise generated by internet blogs. Shouldn’t we be more worried about people judging science from a press release on the NASA website, including quotes from Hanson, then about people reading a blog by Noel Sheppard?

    But, I am glad that you agree that this is hype from NASA and we can then get Tim to start quoting NASA along with Sheppard and Ace and others who are hyping AGW.

    > Well, it’s a press release. So, yes, it is “more hype”.

  70. #72 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    What I have been reading on this site is that the trend, which I interpret as the rate of change of temperature (correct me if I am wrong there) is what is important. If the trend of temperature change is constant, then eventually the odds are pretty good that each year will constitute a new record high. If the temperature has been constantly rising for the last 400 years, then the fact that the five warmest years on record happened in the last decade wouldn’t be anything exciting. It would be expected.

    This press release is hype.

    You are ignoring – intentionally? – the widely-publicized claims by denialists that the 400 year trend does not exist.

    Publicizing the fact that new data supports scientific predictions and undermine denialist claims that have been used the past 20 years to block action on CO2 emissions doesn’t fall under my definition of “hype”.

    The evidence that this also tends to confirm predictions of an accelerating trend lies in the fact that it’s consistent with AGW starting to overwhelm the inherent variability in the earth’s climate. 1998 was an ENSO year, expected to be warm. The fact that we’re seeing temps begin to exceed that year WITHOUT the ENSO effect is scientifically interesting, and is consistent with an accelerating trend.

    So, no, I don’t think any scientist familiar with climate science is likely to call this “hype”.

  71. #73 drscroogemcduck
    August 11, 2007

    i think the significance of this event is that the public is going to become aware of the cowboy science that is going on. this is a big wake up call to the climate science community. making errors is part of the process but making errors and not being transparent will get you in trouble.

  72. #74 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    > However it is consistent with such predictions, and very importantly shows that current data in now way contradicts such predictions.

    My point is that those 5 data points are also consistent with a theory that says there is really no “A” in “GW”. If the temperature has just been slowly rising for the last 400 years, then we would also see that record highs would be seen more and more frequently. The problem I have is that to gather those 5 data points, NASA also has all the data they need to actually make the real argument. They are NASA, the people we pay to be the experts. So, if they have the data to make the real argument, then make it. What is the trend and how is it changing? When NASA sinks to the level of hype, it is worse than when Noel Sheppard does it.

    And as far as Lance goes, you can certainly point out facts to him. I have done the same thing. But when the crazy guy on the corner shouts out that the thunderstorm on the horizon is proof the world is coming to an end, I usually just ignore him. I certainly don’t waste time trying to convince everyone at Starbucks that he is wrong.

    I tried to hit CA earlier on Friday and couldn’t, so I don’t know what he is claiming about this. But I have read him in the past, and I know you won’t like it, but I have read him write that he thinks that climate science needs a good auditing and that a lot of what he reads is shoddy. Today at least, it is difficult to argue with that. If he caught this, then I’m guessing that it shouldn’t have been hard for some grad student or intern to have also caught this. His credentials have been mocked many, many times. The worse he was made to look, the worse this whole thing looks.

    And please, how long will this continue?

    > You aren’t arguing that the public shouldn’t only be informed of “significant” research that results from the spending of their tax dollars, are you???

  73. #75 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    > You are ignoring – intentionally? – the widely-publicized claims by denialists that the 400 year trend does not exist.

    Actually, I have read a few places that denialists tend to believe in the MWP and the LIA and that we have been coming out of the LIA since some time in the 1600′s. Perhaps we have been reading different denialists? I’m not going to defend myself from arguments made by the crazies.

    > The evidence that this also tends to confirm predictions of an accelerating trend lies in the fact that it’s consistent with AGW starting to overwhelm the inherent variability in the earth’s climate. 1998 was an ENSO year, expected to be warm. The fact that we’re seeing temps begin to exceed that year WITHOUT the ENSO effect is scientifically interesting, and is consistent with an accelerating trend.

    You keep saying the magic word, but not addressing it. TREND. What is the trend? If the trend is a constant .15degrees/decade, then eventually we will be getting record temps every few years. Maybe climate variability is such that it has 1000 year cycles? Weather variability would prevent the record every year. Climate variability would keep the trend of records every few years, though.

    This press release should be shouting out the trend. That is the important bit. Record temps are consistent with more than one theory. Changes in trend are consistent only with one. I still say that that press release is hype. There seems a lot of agreement on what is important. The press release didn’t touch it.

  74. #76 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    > I’m not going to defend myself from arguments made by the crazies.

    Just wanted to clarify. I wasn’t saying here that you were one of the crazies. I was saying that people who refuse to acknowledge that the planet might be warming are the crazies. I’m not one of them and you can’t use arguments to prove them wrong against me.

  75. #77 cce
    August 11, 2007

    oconnellc,

    Go the page that you have been reading from. Look at the graphic of global temperature anomalies. GISS apparently does not allow to link to the picture directly.

    You don’t have to compute the trend. The current warming trend is noticeably steeper than that of the early 20th century. Look at the red line.

    The uncertainty is from the 2001 paper I previously linked and talked about. “There are inherent uncertainties in the long-term temperature change at least of the order of 0.1°C for both the U.S. mean and the global mean.” So that same uncertainty applies to either the global numbers or the US numbers.

    However, reading that again makes me think that he means the uncertainty is 0.1 degrees over the entire time period. i.e. the uncertainty has built up to 0.1 degree. Whatever the case, he specifically says that (for the US) you’d have to have a year at least 0.1 degree hotter than 1934 in order to unambiguously become the new record.

    Globally, the most recent years are around 0.5-0.6 higher than the 30s.

  76. #78 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    cce, I figured I would try to calculate the slope (trend) for the two time periods and see what I could come up with. As I look at the graph, I think the year you choose is pretty important. I didn’t see where the actual data for that graph came from, so I eyeballed it. I will include my numbers so you can correct either the year or the value I chose for that year.

    1910 -0.35
    1940 0.08
    trend — .0143 degrees/year

    1965 -0.06
    2004 0.55
    trend — .0156 degrees/year

    I have no idea about the error in the temps at each endpoint, so you will have to determine for yourself if you think that the difference between the two is statistically significant. I’m acknowledging that this will be very sensitive to your endpoints, and we don’t have any good reason for choosing one endpoint over another. It appears arbitrary for this discussion.

    So, I was finally able to find this. It is a chart of the climate forcings for the past 100 years. It seems to me that if we understand the forcings correctly, then there should be a good correlation between the forcings and the temperature trend. Here is the graph of the forcings: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/

    Just looking at this, this seems wrong. There is a lot of variability with wide swings, but that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that from 1910 to 1940, the net forcings are tiny compared to the net forcings from 1970 (or so) to now. I haven’t found anything on the net that can explain this to me, so if someone has a reference, I would love to see it. But, shouldn’t the temp trend for the end of the 20th century be considerably larger than the temp trend for the beginning of the 20th century? The forcings seem to be many times larger. And once we start to get positive feedback from albedo changes etc, shouldn’t the temp trends be even more different?

  77. #79 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    Actually, I have read a few places that denialists tend to believe in the MWP and the LIA and that we have been coming out of the LIA since some time in the 1600′s. Perhaps we have been reading different denialists?

    Well, the same denialists have a very bad habit of saying things at different times, changing their arguments at will.

    This temperature record kerpuffl is a great example.

    Until two days ago, the US temp record couldn’t be trusted and global warming was just an artifact due to bad data.

    Now, today, it’s not only reliable, but proves global warming is just a myth.

    Same people saying different shit on different days.

  78. #80 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    There appears to be a lot of excitement that people are judging science by the noise generated by internet blogs.

    That’s not the problem, and I can’t believe you’re unaware of it.

    McIntyre had the ear of important politicians, journalists, etc on the Right, and his earlier attacks on the “hockey stick” led to (among other things) the National Academy of Sciences having to convene a panel to study the data (concluding McIntyre’s full of shit), and full support from two Chairs of House Committees while the Republicans had control.

    McIntyre and denialists STILL scream that “the hockey stick is a fraud”, despite the NAS panel supporting Mann (though not in a 100% unqualified way).

    Now, I’ve mentioned a couple of times earlier that the importance of McIntyre’s trying to build up his uncovering of a STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT mistake in six years of data analysis in one part of the world as undermining climate science as being POLITICAL.

    It’s not scientifically significant, but it is of great political importance because you can bet your sweet bippy that conservatives in the US, at least, will be quoting McIntyre on this for the next couple of decades. Using it to argue against mitigation.

    Shouldn’t we be more worried about people judging science from a press release

    Only if the science is wrong. The statement that the five warmest years on record are from the last decade or so is a true statement.

    In regard to the US record, his 2001 statement that “1998 is calculated to by 0.01C warmer than 1934, but it’s not stasticially significant (it takes 0.1C to be significant)” was also true.

    So he we are, oconnellc saying we should be more worried about TRUTHFUL STATEMENTS in NASA PR releases than we should be about lies from the right used to influence the political process.

    Strange POV you’ve got there.

  79. #81 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    You keep saying the magic word, but not addressing it. TREND. What is the trend?

    Why would you expect to see it in a press release announcing the analysis of the previous year’s temperature record?

    As I mentioned above, NASA has other documents online.

    I didn’t realize you were asking me to type “nasa temperature trends global 2007″ for you, but apparently I must.

    So:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2005/

    “Global Temperature Trends: 2005 Summation”

    There, see, a whole summary of NASA work on trend data, which you could’ve easily have found yourself.

  80. #82 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    Damn, global warming disproved again! I typed “2007″ into google and got back a document for 2005 …

    Shit, those scientists are CLEVER, aren’t they? Even Google’s in on the conspiracy!

  81. #83 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    And once we start to get positive feedback from albedo changes etc, shouldn’t the temp trends be even more different?

    The big change will come when the ocean catches up to what’s been happening. It will cease to be a CO2 sink, and indeed at that point, with further warming, it will become a source.

  82. #84 Tim Lambert
    August 11, 2007

    oconnellc, you are being deceitful. The NASA graphs with a spread of 1.1 are graphs of the global temperature anomaly. If you want to graph the US anomaly, you need a spread of 3 degrees, otherwise you will be leaving data out. But you knew that.

  83. #85 James
    August 11, 2007

    I think McIntyre is being misrepresented in this thread. He never claimed this disproved AGW. In fact, in his original post on Hansen’s error, he was at pains to point out that the 2000s were warm regardless, and that correction of the error would make little difference to global trends (as CA is down, I can’t link to this, but it will be evident when service is restored).

    Detection of the error was as a direct result of Anthony Watts much-ridiculed Surface Station audit and McIntyre’s “scraping” of the GISS site, characterised by Tim Lambert as a “DOS attack” (or was that Rabbet?). In fact, these efforts have resulted in detection of an error which GISS have acknowledged.

    The real point is that despite guarantees expressed about the quality of the surface measurement and the processing by GISS and CRU, an error has been exposed by outsiders. There is now no excuse for GISS and CRU not to disclose the code for their calculations and adjustments. Maybe the GISS error is exceptional, but who knows? The comment on the GISS website is totally insufficient, as it doesn’t even explain the provenance of the data used for “GISS adjusted”

    I’d like to hear from people on this thread as to why Hansen and Jones shouldn’t simply publish their code. I can’t think of a reason why this wouldn’t be appropriate, or even mandatory given the significance of the AGW issue.

  84. #86 ChrisC
    August 11, 2007

    The crowd from surfacestations.org have continually posted the the GISS data set suffers from large errors due to microsite contamination, and continually deride efforts to improve the data set quality by post processing.

    The methods for the collection and processing of data have improved out of sight in the last 30 years (in particular). As such, the data for the last 30 years is likely to be of much higher quality than that collected during the 1900-1970 period.

    However, it seems that people who until last week, dismissed the entire surface record based on a few photographs (and no quantitative data) now have full faith in their accuracy down to 1/100th of a degree.

    It is the trend that matters. The global trend has barely changed.

  85. #87 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    > The big change will come when the ocean catches up to what’s been happening. It will cease to be a CO2 sink, and indeed at that point, with further warming, it will become a source.

    Why? Why not now? The relative size of the forcings between the two periods are obvious. Is there something that makes the forcings not really forcings? What else needs to happen for the forcings to take affect?

  86. #88 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    > Why would you expect to see it in a press release announcing the analysis of the previous year’s temperature record?

    You know I had a couple of lengthy posts explaining why a press release of a previous year temperature record is noise. I would expect that NASA not make press releases about that. I would expect them to make press releases about the things that really show climate change. If you are about to state that record temperatures show climate change, please at least address the posts I have already made.

  87. #89 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    Tim, the point was that you showed a graph with a scale 200 times the difference you were trying to highlight. If only a small portion of the graph changed, why show all that extra data? Couldn’t you have showed just the data that changed with a total range of 1 degree? I think you could. But you weren’t interested in that. The similarity between this and the example you made of Creighton is almost funny. Heck, why stop at 3 degrees to highlight a change of .15, why not show it on a scale of 10 degrees? Or 20? Then the while thing just becomes a little horizontal squiggle. That is what you were after, right? I even conceded that you could have made your point in another way. Why didn’t you? This gave you the biggest impact and that is what you were looking for.

  88. #90 Boris
    August 11, 2007

    What bothers me is that from 1910 to 1940, the net forcings are tiny compared to the net forcings from 1970 (or so) to now.

    Forcing from well-mixed GHGs has gone up and accounts for the increase. The recent net forcings are greater compared to 1910-1940 because they are greater.

    I guess I don’t understand your confusion.

  89. #91 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    > Only if the science is wrong. The statement that the five warmest years on record are from the last decade or so is a true statement.

    You know, for a brief period I thought we were going to just discuss my actual arguments. I don’t know how many times I argued that that was irrelevant, based on points from this blog. Press releases like this are used by politicians. Personally, I don’t care what party they are from if they are going to be influenced by noise. How much political opinion was swayed by all of those big announcements about record temps and warmest years?

    If it is just noise, it doesn’t belong. I don’t care who it comes from.

  90. #92 oconnellc
    August 11, 2007

    By the way, that ‘trend’ page didn’t actually calculate or show the trend in a meaningful way. I was looking for a number of degrees/year or degrees/decade and a comparison of that with values from earlier in the century. I couldn’t find that. Could you show me where it was on that page?

  91. #93 Tim Lambert
    August 11, 2007

    oconnellc, this is my blog so I don’t have to put up with your dishonesty. You are banned for 24 hours.

  92. #94 Boris
    August 11, 2007

    How much political opinion was swayed by all of those big announcements about record temps and warmest years?

    I have no problem with NASA or anyone else touting warmest year records to raise public awareness of an issue. The population in general either does not understand trends or tunes them out. But they do respond to records and extremes. First, the records are true and you would expect more records to occur when the tmeperature trends accelerate. Second, the information is used to reveal a truth–that the planet is warming, and to further reveal a truth that humans are primarily repsonsible.

    There is nothing dishonest or deceptive about such a practice. Hansen basically made this argument when he said that speaking out about AGW was part of NASA’s mission–you remember “to understanbd and protect our home planet.” A mission phrase that was removed for purely political reasons–and political reasons that aim at falsehoods–the myth that AGW is not a problem. I ask you, what is more honest, using truth to spread the message about truth or quietly altering mission statements to conceal what scientists know to be happening?

    If necesasary, I can point out many instances where denialists have used falsehoods and truths to spread falsehoods, but no one who questions AGW ever wants to talk about the lies. This is hardly surprising.

  93. #95 TCO
    August 11, 2007

    Tim Lambert: Your “banning for dishonesty” is very Steve McIntyrian. It’s bullshit. Ban me for joking and cursing and farting. Don’t ban someone who argues a point with you. (Even if he’s wrong.) The reason is that maybe he isn’t wrong.

  94. #96 Lee
    August 11, 2007

    TCO, I agree with yor basic point – ifcourse.

    It also bears pointing out that the graphs Lambert is being bashed for, show data scatter from about -1 to about +1.2 or 1.3, with a trend overlain. oconnellc is repeatedly bashing Lambert on the choice of scale, accusing Lambert of trying to hide the size of the change, accusing him of being dishonest in choice of scale, because the scale runs from -1.5 to +1.5.

    That choice of scale is just sufficient to show the data scatter plot, shows the trend clearly, and is the same for both the before and after graphs, and oconnellc is IMO simply being a dishonest prick himself on this isue.

  95. #97 Chris O'Neill
    August 11, 2007

    “How much political opinion was swayed by all of those big announcements about record temps and warmest years?”

    If there were any big announcements about record 2006 US temperatures (I didn’t hear any because I don’t live in the US) then the only opinion swayed by them would be that of morons because GLOBAL warming policy should be based on the temperature of the whole GLOBE, not just the US. Oh, of course, the US is run by a moron. Now I see.

  96. #98 TCO
    August 11, 2007

    Lee: I haven’t even kept track of the y axis scale argument. Have no idea who is right. Am just reacting to the banning. It reminds me of McIntyre stopping me from continuing to argue the point that he conflates centering/decentering with standard deviation dividing (correlation versus covariance). He does so for rhetorical reasons, in the process covering up the small level of effect of the admitted (by just about everyone except for recalcitrant Mike) decentering for the larger (but very ambiguous and not agreed) standardixation issue. He also tries to hide from viewers that when he talks as if it is a single switch being changed (Mannian PCA versus covariance), it is really TWO factors in the formula that are being changed.

    The problem is that people want to use blogs as personal mouthpeices. And when the commenters debate points too persistently, then the owner doesn’t like it. This happens even with very sober posters. RC is really bad about this. But Steve does it some too. And Tim also.

    I hate it.

  97. #99 Tim Curtin
    August 11, 2007

    Hi Chris O’Noall, I have been travelling. So if we agree that rising atmospheric CO2 causes warming, presumably we also agree that falling causes cooling. Given that the rise is around 0.005% pa, and that CO2 emissions are rising by around 1.01228% pa, it can be shown that terrestrial and oceanic uptake must have been increasing since 1994 by more than 1.0159% pa. If we then reduce the emissions by around 2.7% pa from 2012 (ie in Kyoto 2)we quite rapidly reduce atmos CO2 to the pre-Industrial era level of 280 by the 2080s. Anyone for skating on the Thames?

  98. #100 dhogaza
    August 11, 2007

    “Lassie, lassie, what’s wrong? Is Timmie in trouble”

    (wag wag bark bark doggie code for …)

    “Yes, Timmie’s back from vacation and STILL doesn’t have a clue regarding why CO2 uptake has increased and is posting is laughable crap AGAIN!”

    TimmieC, of course, not the host of this blog …

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