the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Surface Stations Project Hits Paydirt

Posted by Jeff Id on July 30, 2012

It seems as always, I don’t have much time.   I have been waiting for this to break for a long time now, holding my tongue through a lot of critique from the usual advocate trolls.  This extraordinary moment in climate science is FAR to important not to call attention to and I will absolutely be writing an article putting the event in perspective tonight.   In my opinion this is a true scientific moment.   Anthony’s surface station project, which was widely touted as a bust only a year ago, has now struck at the heart of modeled and measured surface temperatures.   The implications of this project are widespread to say the least, the criticism from the advocate climate scientists will be severe.

Anthony Watts – Temperature Stations have Proven Bias.

Today though, we need to congratulate the surfacestations team effort led by a meteorologist Anthony Watts, and the monumental effort put into the project.   Consider the guts it takes to publish initially weak results followed by the fortitude to go back and discover what was wrong with the theory and republish.   As these results are verified, and I am certain they will be, an entire field of consensus has a lot of brand new work to do.

Climate science has a lesson to learn from this….

More to come tonight.

54 Responses to “Surface Stations Project Hits Paydirt”

  1. Brian H said

    “a lesson to learn”? Yeah, stop pretending to being doing anything other than pretending. Not going to happen.

    Here’s my personal “bottom line”:

    HAH! “… rural MMTS stations not situated at airports may have the best representivity of all stations in the USHCNv2.”

    I KNEW IT!

    Those stations report 0.034°/decade, or 0.34°/century! I’ve made myself damn near a pariah by insisting the “lukewarm skeptic consensus” of 1.2-1.9°C/century compromise baseline was almost certainly hogwash, and that the real number was in the 0 – 0.3° range.

    Gloat, gloat, double-gloat!”

    CO2 is a negligible, utterly insignificant factor in the Earth’s climate at anything close to current concentrations and temperatures.

  2. dfbaskwill said

    Only the messengers will be savaged. The science won’t be, because they know they don’t want to replicate it and confirm it themselves. The politics of personal destruction is their only avenue of recourse, and they will take it. Literally Trillions of dollars are at stake, and they want it that bad.

    • omanuel said

      They are not at fault for being greedy, and they are not alone.

      They are in the company of Nobel Prize winners and the heads of nations, scientific organizations, and the news media.

      For reasons given here (http://omanuel.wordpress.com/), we need to join forces with AGW promoters now to:

      a.) Restore constitutional limits on government, and
      b.) Re-establish Integrity in government-funded science.

      We cannot obtain (b), without first establishing (a).

      National governments have limits defined by national constitutions.

      The United Nations works – without limits – uniting nations together.

  3. NevenA said

    Consider the guts it takes

    Does it take guts, or does it take a dogmatic faith in libertarian free market ideology?

    I guess we will soon find out.

    • timetochooseagain said

      Neven, it’s nice to see you putting your own ideology on full display. But the belief in the case for liberty is not based on dogmatic faith but on the facts of thousands of years of human history. It is based on logic. It is the progressive case against liberty that is founded on dogmatic faith.

      Either way your comment is irrelevant since as far as I can tell, none of the authors is a political ideologue. Now if I had written something this would possibly be relevant-but would still serve mainly to expose your own left-wing political bent that skews your ability to assess scientific findings.

      Consider:

      Your immediate reaction to something that doesn’t fit with your political viewpoint is that is is probably wrong. My reaction to something that would presumably fit my political viewpoint? “Personally, I’m a little skeptical of this paper’s conclusions, as I tend to think that the US data is good relative to that in the rest of the world and has relatively little bias. Still, I think it contributes to the discussion of problems with surface temperature trends.”

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/#more-68286

      IIRC, your reaction to work that supports your political point of view is that it cannot possibly be wrong. If I’m wrong, please show me where you have excoriated the analyses of paleoclimate that have demonstrable biases produced by Mannian algorithms.

      • Duster said

        Re: timetochooseagain (Jul 30 17:51), Ah, I would argue that there is no “progressive” case against liberty. The case against liberty would be purely regressive, don’t ya think?

        • timetochooseagain said

          Those opposed to true human progress have always used labels to imply the opposite. The hijacking of the term “liberal” until recently served that purpose. “Progressive” is reversion of that change to the last term. Presumably they’ll call themselves “Populist” next, as their politics already resemble so greatly that of William Jennings Bryan. How I long Bourbons like that last great Democrat, Grover Cleveland! I can be sure that if I was around then I would have identified as Mugwump (note “progressive” Teddy Roosevelt supported Blaine!). But then that populist upstart took over. Note also the extreme irony that the founder of that great Leftist rag the Nation E. L. Godkin was arguably similar to the modern day leftist who read and write it only in his generally isolationist stance. Truly, left wing politics has turned so much the world upside down, all by it’s clever linguist trickery.

    • omanuel said

      Neven, this is not about economics or politics.

      It is about the misuse of science to control information and people, as George Orwell [1] and Vaclav Klaus [2] have shown earlier

      1. George Orwell, “1984″
      http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

      2. Vaclav Klaus, Blue Planet in Green Shackles (Competitive Enterprise Institute, first edition, 2007) 100 pages: http://tinyurl.com/5z4j6g

  4. omanuel said

    Thanks, Jeff, for the posting.

    I agree, Anthony Watts, Evan Jones, Stephen McIntyre, John R. Christy et al. are to be congratulated for proving bias in evidence selected to promote:

    a.) The AGW model of CO2-induced global warming.

    Their work and that cited below point to a much greater threat than climate change – tyrannical control of society [1], that flourished out-of-sight since 1946 by well-documented bias in evidence selected, hidden or ignored to promote:

    b.) Hideki Yukawa’s model [2] of the cores of atoms (Inconsistent with nuclear rest mass data [3])

    c.) Fred Hoyle’s model [4] of the cores of stars (Adopted without debate in 1946 [5]; Subsequently falsified by data from analysis of meteorites, planets, solar wind, solar flares, solar neutrinos, and neutron-capture cross-sections [3])

    Here’s a bird’s eye summary: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

    With kind regards,
    -Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    References:

    1. Vaclav Klaus, Blue Planet in Green Shackles (Competitive Enterprise Institute, first edition, 2007) 100 pages: http://tinyurl.com/5z4j6g

    2. Hideki Yukawa, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (1946); Introduction to the Theory of Elementary Particles (1948) http://www.nndb.com/people/759/000099462

    3. Oliver K. Manuel, “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012) http://tinyurl.com/7t5ojrn

    4. Fred Hoyle, “The chemical composition of the stars,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 255-59 (1946); “The synthesis of the elements from hydrogen,” ibid., 343-83 (1946).

    5.Fred Hoyle, Home Is Where the Wind Blows [University Science Books, 1994, 441 pages], pages 153-154

    • omanuel said

      If we can get past the irrefutable evidence of fraud in Climategate emails and documents, without retribution (an eye for an eye) for wrongs, . . .

      AGW proponents and skeptics may join forces to return our troubled corner to its proper place in God’s beautiful, bountiful universe: http://dingo.care2.com/cards/flash/5409/galaxy.swf

      And work together for our common goals:

      1. We all want world peace.
      2. An end to racism and nationalistic warfare.
      3. An end to the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation.
      4. Cooperative efforts to protect Earth’s environment and bounty.
      5. Governments controlled by the people being governed, including.
      6. Transparency and veracity (truth) of information given to the public.

      Oliver K. Manuel
      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

  5. w.w.wygart said

    Congratulations are certainly in order to Anthony and his whole team. This certainly should be racked up as a success for citizen science and science as a whole.

    It remains to be seen how well the paper will fare en route to publication or if it changes anyone’s opinion who doesn’t already see problems with our surface temp. record. Myself, I tend to be somewhat pessimistic, seeing Muller et al reverting to the scripts that certain people predicted when the BEST project was announced and watching his behavior over the last year certainly doesn’t increase my confidence.

    Time will tell.

  6. Gary said

    The most curious thing is that so many smart people who know temperatures are measured at a point and extraneous influences decrease rapidly with distance, didn’t figure this out long ago. We were Flatlanders unable to recognize a third dimension.

  7. Rob R said

    I must resupply with new popcorn. The arguments are going to be fun.

  8. page488 said

    WOW!!!

    So many heavy duty comments, yet I feel very lighthearted at reading this news.

    Can’t wait to see the full monty.

  9. “Anthony’s surface station project… has now struck at the heart of modeled and measured surface temperatures.”

    Jeff, could you quote a single proved result that has that effect? By proved I mean a numerical result with CI’s etc, or a statement of statistical significance. Ideally with data (eg station lists) made available, but we can’t be too fussy. Most of the claims in the paper don’t even say how many stations in each class they were considering.

    • Jeff Condon said

      I have not looked at significance yet and I can’t wait until there is time for it. Yes I understand that basic methods will have large CI, but when they are measuring the same thing I believe a reasonable case can be made for some tighter CI’s. What I expect a proper analysis of this paper’s sort to do is bring the ground temps in line with sat and radiosonde though so this is encouraging.

      What has always bothered me about this is that there is a known bias in cities and this new station quality measure demonstrates pretty convincing evidence that this bias is likely present in the data. Statistical separation of the trends will be interesting but the fact remains that this quality control method has produced a result which in every measure is what should be expected if UHI is indeed contaminating the record.

      A strong case is likely coming for satellite trends.

  10. Eli Rabett said

    TOBS bias. Sell the tickets to Stockholm

    • I looked at the BEST TMAX data for the USA.

      The most recent 5 year period is only .02C warmer than 1951-56 and only .06C warmer than 31-36.

      Where is this .309C / decade warming the NOAA claims exists?

      united-states
      Highest TMAX 5 year averages
      The current 5 year period is ranked No. 4 for united-states
      ===========================================================
      1 2001 – 2006 0.82
      2 1996 – 2001 0.66
      3 1986 – 1991 0.57
      4 2006 – 2011 0.43
      5 1951 – 1956 0.41
      6 1931 – 1936 0.37
      7 1936 – 1941 0.36
      8 1976 – 1981 0.2
      9 1941 – 1946 0.2
      10 1926 – 1931 0.07

  11. j ferguson said

    Jeff,
    Is it possible that Anthony has not (yet) released information, ie. data, methods, etc, sufficient for you to work with?

    • Jeff Condon said

      I haven’t even checked that, however, I do know that this study reached similar results several months ago and am confident that a lot of vetting was done before the release of a conclusion like this. When the data is finally released, I hope I have enough time to work with it.

  12. timetochooseagain said

    Based on year to year variability, it turns out over the US the surface probably should warm more than the atmosphere (I’ve compared using UAH data). The regression coefficient of 12 month running average anomalies (Y=Surface X=LT) is about 2.32 and detrended it’s about 2.23. This translates to a cooling relative to the adjusted to surface variability satellite data, although very little (less than .02 K per decade). Now, before fellow skeptics jump all over me, this same analysis done on global data would imply a warming bias in the surface data overall-a substantial one (something like .1 K per decade). But the US data seems to me to be basically okay, and the adjustments probably not as problematic as this analysis would seem to suggest.

    • timetochooseagain said

      Well, either that, or there are different processes determining lapse rates over the long term rather than the short term.

      • Jeff Condon said

        I don’t like direct regression for this comparison because there is more variance in the surface temps than the lower troposphere. I am a little confused as to which data you are using for the US and why you think it is basically ok.

        • timetochooseagain said

          Okay, let me elaborate a bit- I would also like to test variations of the method but I am not at home right now.

          US surface data is USHCN v2 from the “Climate at a glance” page. I calculate anomalies with respect to the average annual cycle for 1979-2011. I then did the same with UAH data for the lower 48. I am unsure how that is calculated but assume it covers the same area-if it doesn’t my analysis is not valid. Anyway, I did a twelve month moving average on both to remove seasonal effects, and detrended them. The correlation was pretty good (IIRC something like r^2 of .86, but don’t have the data on hand right now) so the variations are clearly reflecting common variability. I plotted them up to check this, sure enough the”wiggles all matched well, but had different magnitudes. The slope of the regression suggested as much- the surface varies more than twice as much, but in sync with the atmosphere. Adjusting the non-detrended satellite data by that multiplicative factor, I then subtracted that data from the non-detrended surface data, found a cooling trend in the difference. This was surprising to me, too. Christy seems to be assuming land amplification of about 1 everywhere on Earth, which would suggest a warming bias in the US. But the variance suggest less than 1 over the US.

    • j ferguson said

      …not as problematic as this analysis would seem to suggest.,

      This analysis being the new Watts paper?

      • timetochooseagain said

        Sorry for missing this: yes. It appears, to me, that there is relatively little bias of any kind in the US data. That being said, I can’t stress enough that if you accept that my analysis shows little bias in the US data, you must also accept that it shows significant, warm bias present in the surface data globally.

  13. j ferguson said

    Jeff and Andrew,
    It would seem that Watts has applied a sieve (Leroy 2010) to a station database. He says stations sieved are different from other stations – no surprise there. He hasn’t identified which ones, though, either in the paper or the figure pdfs. so without the list, I don’t see what anyone can do in terms of auditing or even appraising his work. I’m also sympathetic to a Nick Stokes observation to wit: that the sieve is applied at one point in time and may not develop any reliable insight into trends without confirmation that whatever is in the snapshot has a known history.

    There seems to be an assumption in the divination and quantification of trends that signal can be separated from noise and step changes by clever “automated” comparisons with neighboring station records. On top of this, there seems to be an assumption that using anomalies rather than raw, but QA’d, data will obviate other aberrations. I’m not so sure we are protected by these techniques from crummy thermometers. Are either of you?

    Watts needs to publish the list, the 779, if that’s the right number.

  14. Espen said

    J Ferguson said
    August 1, 2012 at 10:21 am
    I’m also sympathetic to a Nick Stokes observation to wit: that the sieve is applied at one point in time and may not develop any reliable insight into trends without confirmation that whatever is in the snapshot has a known history.

    Not so sure about that. The stations that have excellent siting now, most probably had it for a long time, while those that have bad siting now, may have degraded over time or abruptly (when e.g. a nearby lawn was paved). But you don’t really need to know when a station became a “bad station” as long as you leave it out and stick to the good stations.

    • j ferguson said

      Espen, generally you are likely right. But without knowing for sure? Suppose they moved the A/C condenser? Suppose 10 years ago they realized their site was problematic and fixed it? I don’t see how you can assume that if a station is good now, it always was.

      • Espen said

        I don’t think you can assume that categorically but my conjecture is that it’s quite probable.

        (what a mess weather data is, I just had a look at the July 2012 record for the main Norwegian airport, and discovered that there are significant differences between what the weather office says and what wunderground shows)

    • Anonymous said

      Maybe more elegantly, you don’t need to know when a bad station went bad, but you do need to know when a bad station went good.
      Wouldn’t you think this isn’t the same as far as Watts’ work?

      • j ferguson said

        oops. anonymous was me. changed OS for a second and forgot windows doesn’t know who i am – well, maybe noone else does either.

        j ferguson

  15. “As these results are verified, and I am certain they will be, ” says Mr. Condon. Oh, the arrogance of ignorance. Even McIntrye sees an crucial flaw in this paper (and how odd that a supposed co-author wasn’t aware of it before now…)

    “Watts’ failure to make certain adjustments to the raw data, as NOAA has done, is a serious flaw knowledgeable bloggers say. Specifically, Watts did not apply a time of observation bias correction according to Howard University chemistry professor Josh Halpern, who blogs under the pseudonym Eli Rabett. McIntyre also addressed this problem: “There is a confounding interaction with TOBS [time of observation] that needs to be allowed for, as has been quickly and correctly pointed out.””

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/more-evidence-attention-grabbing-climate-studies-prematurely-rushed-and-potentially-flawed/2012/07/31/gJQAYJkCNX_blog.html

    • Jeff Condon said

      SSully,

      “Even McIntyre”? These things are always found at skeptic blogs. Numerous problems have been spotted here in my own work in the past. The difference in openness and correction between advocates and skeptical scientists could not be more stark. Error found, admitted and corrected shortly. Conversely, advocates never admit error. Case in point – Steig 09 is still being cited in the IPCC right next to the correction.

      And you stomp around looking the fool.

  16. Andy said

    Oh you Antony did what Gergis et al did….oh no sorry he is bad and they are good…..silly me!

  17. Jeff

    I get the feeling that you may be well poised to do the statistical analysis of TOBs Including The Human Factor (timing readings differently to what people are supposed to do, or even claim to do) that is getting some kn*ckers in a twist. You know all about being out hunting when significant info comes in :)

    My gut feeling is that such analysis WILL show a tiny need for upward correction – but something so tiny that it is totally overwhelmed, in practice, by the station bias issues (and strange differences between min temp trend and max temp trend).

    imho this issue still needs statistical nailing, and you da man.

    • Jeff Condon said

      From my understanding of Tobs, there is no way to correct for it. The data is too messy and unreliable. They will make an estimate but I doubt it will adjust the difference between good and bad stations much, just the total trend.

      • Carrick said

        That’s my thought too. The mean trend you might get right (under certain assumptions that happen not to be rigorously true), but not the trend of individual stations.

        • Eli Rabett said

          FWIW, it would be more precise to call this a change in the time of observation bias. Obviously if the time changes each day there would be no way to correct for it short of a detailed examination of the observer’s notes. OTOH, if there is a step change, that should be fairly straight forward by comparison with neighboring stations and/or what BEST did. Since one is concerned with monthly or annual averages it could be done rigorously for individual stations.

          • Carrick said

            I agree with the first part, it can be viewed as a change in TOBS bias over time.

            xI’m still not sold on how west BEST can side-step TOBS corrections for individual stations. I know how to “sell it to myself” (assuming they’ve done it correctly) and how, were I a reviewer, I would ask them to sell it.

            Incidentally I’m on my way to AZ to deploy sensors. Naturally I’ll be using shake-away to keep those pesky rabbits away from my sensor cables. ;-)

          • j ferguson said

            O/T: Rabbits? I have experience with rats and automobile wiring harnesses – not good. I also was involved in a project in Miami with rats and their preference for German cable – they ate the insulation on the German low-voltage control cabling, everything else got left alone.

            At the time, some of us thought this hilarious. The German cable had been provided and installed by German equipment vendor after an unbelievable fight with the local building authority to get approval for use of cable not having a UL label.

            I could vaguely remember a story from WW2 where Russian rats liked the wiring in the new Panther Tanks when they showed up on the Eastern front. I have no idea what was done about it.

            The Miami affair was in 1998. We were never able to get a cable supplier to admit that there was anything in their cable to make it unpalatable to rodents, but some is.

            good luck with this.

          • Carrick said

            Yeah, rabbits. The western black-tail rabbit to be specific.

            We’ve been told that the PVC sheathing in the cable contains a hormone-like substance that attracts them to it (I believe it’s related to the catalyst used so it makes sense that some cable manufacturers would be affected differently).

            I have noticed less problems in deploying teflon cables (other than the people making the cables get really grumpy) as well as with “aged” pvc-based cables. Oddly the *color* seems to affect whether they get eaten or not. I’m guessing that they use different catalysts depending on the manufacturer and there is a “shaping behavior” responsible for the eventual choice of a relatively unpalatable cable (for local critters).

            Shake-away works great for short-term deployments btw.

      • Have you seen BillC’s comment at Lucia’s? http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/initial-thoughts-on-the-watts-et-al-draft/#comment-100884 with his correction at http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/initial-thoughts-on-the-watts-et-al-draft/#comment-100885 Jeff maybe on to something. I wonder as others have that they applies TOBS like they did the bucket adjustments? I hope Mosher and Zeke weigh in on this.

  18. Andy said

    Oh AndrewS, I suspect I would dislike you, if I gave you more than a moments thought. Read the post little man and guess who looks the fool for correcting…something not in need of correction.

    • AndrewS said

      Ahhh. You were being a smart-ar$e. It makes sense now!

      Clearly you have given me more than a moments thought – my own post, no less!

      And yes, you would dislike me.

      • steveta_uk said

        I would guess that AndrewS would feel quite disturbed if Andy didn’t dislike him – I know I would be.

  19. Andy said

    Two cheeks of the same arse perhaps?

  20. omanuel said

    Jeff, I want you to know that I deeply appreciate all that you have done and are doing to unravel the Climategate mystery.

    This type of work is tedious and depressing; The usual joy of discovery will be diminished if not completely destroyed by your finding.

    Having seen many honest scientists destroyed by the “system”, and being both old and calloused, I offer this summary of my findings: “The Seeds of Climategate Were Planted in the Ashes of Hiroshima”

    “Strange” official responses to 2009 emails and Climategate documents helped unravel pieces of the history of events in 1945-1947 that show:

    a.) The seeds of Climategate and post-normal consensus science were planted together in the ruins of Hiroshima in 1945, and

    b.) Kuroda, Hoyle or Yukawa probably warned George Orwell in ~1947 that Western science was being compromised and triggered him to write the futuristic novel in 1948, Nineteen Eighty-four (1984), that correctly describes Western governments today.

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-720

    - Oliver K. Manuel

    PS – Notice the validity of Orwell’s 1948 forecast in this link to 1984: http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

    • It now appears that many astute observers on the journey of life are on different paths to the same, frightening discovery:

      Fear and a deep sense of guilt for the “nuclear fires” that consumed Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 Aug 1945 and 9 Aug 1945 convinced world leaders to establish the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945 and to pay scientists to obscure information on the energy (E) stored as mass (m) in the cores of:

      a.) Heavy atoms like uranium and plutonium,
      b.) Ordinary stars like the Sun,
      c.) Ordinary galaxies, like our Milky Way, and
      d.) Some planets like Jupiter, Saturn, and perhaps Earth.

      The “fountain of energy” Copernicus discovered at the center of the solar system in 1543 to start the scientific revolution, and the Constitutional form of government we inherited at the birth of our nation in 1776 have both been purposely undercut since 1945 to build a one-world government in order to reduce nationalism and the threat of destruction by “nuclear fires.”

      That is why our battle to restore:

      a.) Integrity to government science, and
      b.) Constitutional limits on government

      Are one and the same battle!

      Summary: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-720

      Forbidden Energy: “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012) http://tinyurl.com/7t5ojrn

  21. omanuel said

    There were no Communists or Capitalists in the future that George Orwell so accurately forecast in 1948 for “1984″

    http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

    There is little or no difference between modern-day Communists and Capitalists – Rommney and Obama..

    The “Occupy Wall Street” and “The Teaparty Movement” were both correct from different perspectives.

    Our first priority is to restore these Constitutional limits on government !

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

    http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/BillOfRights.html

    Then, integrity will be automatically restored on government science.

    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo
    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-720

  22. Alaya said

    Thanks for news

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