surfacetemperatures.org

surfacetemperatures.org/ is a bit odd – perhaps rather rushed. Braod aspects to be covered will be… suggests that they haven’t even had time to spell check it. That they don’t mention clearclimatecode.org/ makes me think this is going to be officious ponderous we-need-our-own-wheel stuff. Still, who knows? There is stuff in Nature too. Is this really just the reaction to the CRU email junk that it looks like? If so, it is pointless.

[Update: Peter Thorne comments, and you should be sure to read that -W]

Comments

  1. #1 carrot eater
    2010/05/16

    hmm. ccc doesn’t really overlap with this much.

    The biggest piece of this seems to be getting much more data into a well organised place. Not just monthly averages, but sub-daily. There already are a couple sub-monthly databases, but they are I think a bit patchy and not entirely user-friendly. But then you start having such immense amounts of data, it becomes difficult to handle.

    It’s good that the CRU doesn’t want to anymore use data that are bound by commercial non-disclosure. Instead of using closed-source data, everybody should put pressure on the host countries to just open up.

  2. #2 Steve Bloom
    2010/05/16

    This passage from the proposal appears to be the crux of things, and seems fair enough on the face of it:

    All existing surface temperature datasets are homogenized at the monthly resolution, and are therefore suitable for characterizing multi-decadal trends. These are adequate for answering the pressing 20th Century questions of whether climate is changing and if so how. But they are fundamentally ill-conditioned to answer 21st Century questions such as how extremes are changing and therefore what adaptation and mitigation decisions should be taken. Monthly resolution data cannot verify model projections of extremes in temperature which by definition are (sub-) daily resolution events.

    I would quibble with the assertion that mitigation decisions will be much informed by more detailed information about extremes. But maybe they mean it will strengthen arguments for mitigation? In any case, if that’s the goal it seems peculiar to limit the project to temperature to the exclusion of other factors, in particular the hydrological ones (precipitation, humidity and soil moisture).

  3. #3 Cthulhu
    2010/05/17

    so what about raw GHCN daily min-max? that’s not homogenized and it’s free to download.

  4. #4 Dunc
    2010/05/17

    Instead of using closed-source data, everybody should put pressure on the host countries to just open up.

    Communist! Why do you hate free enterprise? [/snark]

  5. #5 Nick Barnes
    2010/05/19

    Should CCC be doing something about this? We’re kinda busy, but this looks important.

    [I do wonder: you could drop them a mail and see if they are interested. To be bitter and cynical, my natural state, my guess would be that whatever this thing turns out to be, they want to be in charge of it. But how can they be in charge if a group of highly competent software engineers turn up, hav ing already done a fairly similar project rather well? -W]

  6. #6 Nick Barnes
    2010/05/19

    It looks like a good-faith attempt by the Met Office to lead a project for an ongoing high-quality sub-daily dataset. I have emailed Peter Thorne at the Met Office to ask whether CCC can contribute. I’m not expecting much as it will obviously be an establishment endeavour, and we in CCC don’t have the right professional affiliations, or letters after our names. Having said that, we might be getting into a much bigger CCC-related project in the near future, which will require buy-in from a lot of the climate science establishment, so this might be an interesting first contact.

    Thorne has been accused of poor professional ethics by Pielke Sr, so I don’t suppose he’s all bad.

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/e-mail-documentation-of-the-successful-attempt-by-thomas-karl-director-of-the-u-s-national-climate-data-center-to-suppress-biases-and-uncertainties-in-the-assessment-surface-temperature-trends/

  7. #7 Nick Barnes
    2010/05/19

    … and got a bounce from Peter Thorne’s email address indicating that he has left the Met Office….

    [Is there no contact on the website? If not, I can find you PT's email -W]

  8. #8 Boris
    2010/05/19

    Man, Pielke Sr. must have been a joy to work with.

  9. #9 Tony Sidaway
    2010/05/19

    They’ve learned something important from the CRU hacking. This wasn’t unknown, you understood, but it took the hacking to make the message reach the right level in the bureaucracy.

    The message? Only open methods and transparency are proof against theft and politically motivated lies.

    It absolutely doesn’t matter if some of this work is duplicated by other projects such as CCC. Indeed I’d argue that the existence and steady growth in number of multiple alternative, open, independently controlled data sources has been and will continue to be lethally harmful to the ongoing health of denialism.

  10. #10 Tony Sidaway
    2010/05/19

    Nick, the official Met Office press release of May 13 describes him as “Peter Thorne, now of the
    NOAA Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites in North Carolina, USA.” Hope this helps you to contact him. As of May 3, Thorne’s google account was still updating the project’s google site.

  11. #11 Tony Sidaway
    2010/05/19

    Boris, I believe the technical term within the field of climatology is “prat.” Some kind of acronym, I expect…

  12. #12 Peter Thorne
    2010/05/19

    1. It is not an institutional endeavour. If this is or becomes an institutional endeavour it fails, utterly. Hopefully the Nature piece made this clear. You understand the problem properly only when you have many eyes on the prize. Anyone with an interest and the time can hopefully take part regardless of if they have letters before, after or in the middle of their name. It doesn’t even matter if they are called rumpelstiltskin as far as I, personally, am concerned. If they have time and insight they are important participants and not bit part players or nobodies. End of.

    2. The site was put together in 60 minutes I had between 20 other high priority tasks on my last day at the office. It is only currently a holding page as it makes clear. When my feet are warm under my new desk I will make substantial efforts to improve it. Anyone who has tried to haul their family across continents in a three week window will concur its a 24/7 operation not conducive to spending time on anything else. I have corrected the typo.

    3. It is not a response to the CRU hack. If it were we’d be talking about re-doing HadCRUT3. We are not. Re-doing monthly is one component but if you believe monthly mean products at 5 degree res are truly useful to anyone beyond the number nerds then you too are probably a number nerd. What is useful to society is much more local and better temporally resolved data regardless of the causes of climate change.

    4. The one thing that could kill this stone dead is needless sarc and rumours perpetuating the blogosphere. In that regard the initial post by William is unhelpful. Give this thing a chance and support (that goes to everyone reading this) and if it doesn’t look like delivering anything useful in a couple of years time then by all means deploy sarc mode but doing so now is distinctly unhelpful.

    5. Please note that we are currently in pre-planning stage. There will be plenty of opportunity to comment before the planning meeting to be held in September and we will be looking for folks to engage pro-actively. You can only fit so many folks in a room, but there will be opportunity for those not present to input prior to the meeting and we will ensure their comments are taken on board. Once that meeting is completed a far firmer idea of the path ahead will be apparent. If you want your views to matter in resolving on a plan then it is incumbent upon you to engage pro-actively when materials are posted. Please do so.

    Peter

    [Thanks for your comment. I've added a nice prominent link to it on the post, so people will be sure to see it -W]

  13. #13 Nick Barnes
    2010/05/20

    To back up what Peter has said: I have been in touch with him by email and he is keen for CCC to be involved. We might do a white paper for them, and/or a presentation, and/or send someone to the kick-off meeting in September.

    [Sounds good, peace and harmony all round. I'll have to retract my cynicism -W]