A Few Things Ill Considered

Oh boy, get out the tinfoil. Here’s one the conspiracy nuts will howl over.

The temperature record that has been showing the lowest anomaly in the recent decades, HadCRU, the dataset managed by the UK’s Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU), is about to be revised upwards.

Met Office scientists have reviewed the whole sea surface temperature data set between 1850 and 2006 to take account of this bias. A paper has been submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research which looks in more detail at all the biases in sea-surface temperature measurements from ships and buoys between 1850 and 2006

Apparently, the steadily increasing number of in-situ bouy measurements relative to ship measurements has been introducing a cooling bias. Ship measurements are on average .15oC higher than bouy measurements of the same part of the ocean, so as more buoys are deployed, as has been going on since the 1980’s, the warming trend has been artificially depressed by perhaps as much as .03oC/decade.

From the article:

The problem seems to be related to the way that some ships measure the temperature of the water which leads to the average temperature measured by ships being higher than the average sea surface temperature measured by a thermometer on a buoy. “On average the difference ranges between 0.13C and 0.18C,” Kennedy told Reporting Climate Science .Com. The scale of this difference across the globe and over the years is sufficient to add a warming of 0.03C per decade to the HadCRUT surface temperature record.

Also prepare your irony meters as the WUWT crowd complains about a nefarious “data adjustment” that actually brings this record more in line with the satellite record. You know, the record that was the cat’s thermal underware (if I may topically adapt a common expression) when it was showing a cooling trend. This is the record of Spencer and Christy, darlings of the denialists, so surely there’s no “hiding the decline” going on there, right?

To wit:

Satellite data has reported a bigger increase in sea surface temperatures than in situ data from buoys and ships, according to Met Office scientist John Kennedy. “We suspect that there has been this difference for quite a while. And when we make a correction for the data from buoys we find that the trend from in situ data is much closer to the trend observed by the satellites,” explained Kennedy.

“One more nail in that coffin…” right?

Comments

  1. #1 Global Warming Is A Scam
    November 28, 2010

    What is the optimal temperature of the planet?

  2. #2 coby
    November 28, 2010

    The planet doesn’t care. The optimal temperature for human civilization and all the lifeforms adapted to the pre-industrial temperature is the pre-industrial temperature.

    A range of a half degree higher and lower, or maybe even two degrees is likely not a very disruptive change. A larger change over many centuries rather than one is also probably something the bioshpere and human civilization can adapt to.

  3. #3 adelady
    November 28, 2010

    GW – try a simple renaming exercise. If we were to call the prevailing climate of the last few thousand years not the Holocene, but the Agricene. If not that then some other expression to indicate just how much it has supported and maintained life as we know it, we might think twice.

    The planet will hurtle round the sun regardless of whether it’s a snowball or a searing hell of lifeless oceans.

    What makes the difference to us is whether the conditions support mammalian life and, more particularly, the grasses and productive trees and myriad other organisms that make up the biosphere that makes our lives possible. The Agricene is that system. We mess with it at our peril.

  4. #4 pough
    November 28, 2010

    What is the optimal temperature of the planet?

    The optimal temperature of the planet is the best one.

  5. #5 'Tis Himself
    November 28, 2010

    GWIAS has been asking the same inane question for years as though it was a crushing rebuttal of AGW.

    My major objection to GWIAS is his major objection to global warming is socio-economic, yet he pretends it’s scientific. He doesn’t want to give up his present life style so he thinks if global warming just goes away then everything will be fine. He refuses to accept the truth of Philip K. Dick’s statement:

    Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

  6. #6 llewelly
    November 28, 2010

    GWAIS has asked that question many times in many different forums. He’s received many good answers, and he’s remained in denial. GWAIS does not engage in sincere discussion, or sincere effort to learn anything. He is disingenuous, and dishonest.

  7. #7 Ian Forrester
    November 28, 2010

    llewelly said:

    GWAIS does not engage in sincere discussion, or sincere effort to learn anything. He is disingenuous, and dishonest.

    Mmm remind anyone of another denier who acts this way (Hint check out the thread with close to 400 posts).

  8. #8 Global Warming Is A Scam
    November 28, 2010

    Posted by: [edit] | November 28, 2010 8:13 AM

    GWIAS has been asking the same inane question for years as though it was a crushing rebuttal of AGW.

    And I note that you have never answered it, PH. Is that because you don’t know the answer, or because you don’t like the answer?

    My major objection to GWIAS is his major objection to global warming is socio-economic, yet he pretends it’s scientific. He doesn’t want to give up his present life style so he thinks if global warming just goes away then everything will be fine.

    Your major reason for supporting global warmism is religious, yet you pretend it’s scientific. You don’t want to admit that you have been worshipping a non-existent god for the past few decades, so you think that if you just go with the flow everything will be fine.

    Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away

    You mean, like the fact that the planet has been cooling since 1998?

    Posted by: llewelly | November 28, 2010 9:19 AM

    GWAIS has asked that question many times in many different forums. He’s received many good answers, and he’s remained in denial. GWAIS does not engage in sincere discussion, or sincere effort to learn anything. He is disingenuous, and dishonest.

    [snipped gratuitous insults]

  9. #9 Global Warming Is A Scam
    November 28, 2010

    Mmm remind anyone of another denier who acts this way

    Ian’s definition of “denier”:

    Anyone who does not fellate Herr Führer Hansen on command.

  10. #10 Just Sayin'
    November 28, 2010

    GWIAS is a troll who has been banned at Pharyngula, among other places. He simply repeats the same talking points/assertions over and over, and when challenged, accuses others of “projection”, or of being gay Nazis or something. Don’t expect intelligent argumentation.

  11. #11 Hank Roberts
    November 28, 2010

    Hmmmm. Click on GWIAS and the link goes to WTFU.
    Does he claim they’re related in some way?

  12. #12 Steve L
    November 28, 2010

    GWAIS gives trolls a bad name. If you’re going to be off-topic, you should at least be challenging and interesting. Rather than just a spaz.
    Back to the topic — it’s a shame that ocean temperatures are so hard to measure. I thought they were going to use sound to solve some of these issues but I only hear about ARGO.

  13. #13 Juice
    November 28, 2010

    Will they do another “; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!” ?

  14. #14 wagdog
    November 28, 2010

    Juice: “; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!”

    It is indeed troubling that ideology can make even gifted programmers blind to what the source code is actually doing.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/quote_mining_code.php

  15. #15 coby
    November 28, 2010

    As many of you know, I really prefer to avoid deleting comments even from trolls. The best approach to GWIAS is to ignore his comments unless and until there is something of substance there. (As people are rightly doing so far, thanks!)

  16. #16 mandas
    November 28, 2010

    hi coby

    At post #2, you suggested the following, and I would like to take issue with it:

    “…..A range of a half degree higher and lower, or maybe even two degrees is likely not a very disruptive change….”

    It has become almost the ‘gold standard’ of efforts to limit climate change, that we can restrict any change to ‘only’ 2 degrees C. Unfortunately, even a change of that magnitude is going to have devastating consequences for a whole range of important aspects of our ecosystem and climate, that we really need to start to think about these things a little more. Let me show you an important example.

    The following link is to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website showing the annual mean temperatures for Australia:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/temp/index.jsp?colour=colour&time=latest&step=0&map=meanave&period=12month&area=nat

    Now overlay that map with the maps on this page, which shows the locations where wheat is grown:

    http://www.awb.com.au/customers/australianwheat/

    Note how virtually all significant production takes place in a relatively minor climatic band, where the mean temperature is between 15 – 19 degrees C. Now imagine what would happen if the annual mean temperature was to increase by just 2 – 3 degrees. In effect, it would squeeze the ‘ideal’ wheat growing climate to a fairly narrow area in the SE of the continent. And unfortunately, that area contains mountains and the vast majority of the population. In effect, the area suitable for wheat agriculture would be virtually wiped out.

    Now I realise the whole issue is a little more complicated that that, but it doesn’t take much imagination to realise how even minor climate change will have a significant impact on our way of life, and we will have to adapt – at significant cost – the way we do virtually everything.

  17. #17 coby
    November 28, 2010

    Originally I had written 1oC not 2oC, I only decided to go with 2 as it is, as you say, the accepted political talking point and did not wish to distract GWIAS. But I agree wholeheartedly that 2oC is not likely to be a “shrug” situation.

    Another thing commonly overlooked is that the 2oC figure is an average and it would mean much larger changes in the high lattitudes, maybe in the wheat belt too.

  18. #18 Gord
    November 28, 2010

    Just working my way through the book, “A Vast Machine” by Paul N. Edwards.

    My respect for climate data, its collection, preservation and such has increased many fold. It’s a huge endeavor.

    The book is a major read but the end result is a great insight into climate data and the models that are constructed to make sense of it all. The book speaks directly to the topic post.

    Regards from The Ravina Project.

  19. #19 mandas
    November 28, 2010

    Gord

    I reckon you could have an interesting conversation with the Dick on the other thread!

  20. #20 Byron Smith
    November 29, 2010

    The Agricene, I like it.

    Today is also known as the Anthropocene amongst amongst many geologists, given the huge impacts that our species is having at even a geological level. Our activity will be visible for eons, preserved in the rocks.

  21. #21 Wow
    November 30, 2010

    > What is the optimal temperature of the planet?

    What is the point? Your query is like “what is the optimal size of an animal?”.

    The question isn’t about the planet, it’s about our survival.

    1Ton may be a great weight for a Polar Bear, but it will kill a human to be that heavy.

    And for the temperature of the earth to be much out of 13-17C average will be disasterous for our civilisation.

    Since that is all that enables 6+billion people to survive, failure of civilisation will kill billions.

    Stalin gets vilified for killing merely million…

  22. #22 adelady
    November 30, 2010

    Byron, I like the notion of an “Agricene” era. It neatly encapsulates the climate which enables human, food producing society on the scale we currently enjoy.

    Once the Anthropocene fully sets in I have a feeling that the ‘Agricene’ will become part of humanity’s legendary past Golden Ages. I’ve always thought that the utopian notions of a past golden age in many instances of religious and philosophical thought (and some truly awful imaginary anthropology, think Rousseau’s Emile) were just wishful thinking.

    In this case, it won’t be an imaginary past of peace, plenty and harmony between people and animals, it will be a truly lost past of abundant fisheries and relatively straightforward agriculture.

  23. #23 sikiş
    December 2, 2010

    I reckon you could have an interesting conversation with the Dick on the other thread!

  24. #24 PaulinMI
    December 22, 2010

    Wow,

    What is the optimal population of the planet?

    Above 6 billion?, or below 6 billion?

    Is 6 billion sustainable at any temperature?

    As the earth’s temperature has risen, has life expectancy gone up or down?

    As the earth’s temperature has risen, has the population gone up or down?

    Is there a difference between active extermination and a future approaching faster than we can affect it??

    Is it reasonable to question the optimal temperature of the planet?

    When we are able to adjust the temperature of the planet, should it be set to maximize the human population? Or something else?

    Who should decide?

  25. #25 mandas
    December 22, 2010

    paul

    All good questions. But the simple answer is that there is no right answer and no ‘optimal’ temperature and / or biomass. But……

    Life on earth – as it exists right now – is adapted to the way the environment is right now. Change the environment, and life has to either be able to adapt to the new environment or it dies. That’s such a statement of the obvious that it shouldn’t need to be said.

    Some speces – and humans are among them – are flexible and are able to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. Others are not, and are so specialised that even small changes in the environment can have catastrophic consequences. Once again, all pretty obvious really.

    The problem for humans is twofold. Firstly, even though we can adapt to different circumstances there are costs associated with doing so. Secondly, we rely on a lot of other species, and if they are unable to adapt, we have to deal with the consequences of doing without them.

    There will obviously be winners and losers because of climate change. Life itself will still go on, but the structure of the ecosystem will be different to what it is now. Human adaption to those changes will come at a cost – and it could be a lot higher than you imagine. One obvious cost is to our food supply, which is already under a lot of stress in some areas (over-fishing, loss of soil fertility, reduction in agricultural land, etc). If you want to know the answers to your questions, how about you do a little system analysis and try to determine them yourself.

  26. #26 PaulinMI
    December 22, 2010

    mandas,

    I wouldn’t pretend to know how to accurately predict the outcome. I think that is the point.