the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Archive for April, 2009

Digital Diatribes is Back

Posted by Jeff Id on April 17, 2009

Joe at Digital Diatribes is back and posting.   Finally, I know what the temp is again.  I mean that too.  Joe isn’t one to overstate things.  His site is very well written and just reports the temp data, no frills no bias in reporting.  He maintains his honesty by a format of presentation, something he may regret if the doom and gloom comes true but for him it is what it is.  For instance, where else can we learn this.

This is the fifth consecutive month where the anomaly is higher over the previous year.

It’s not my favorite news but its ‘real’ news, last year it read differently.  We are warmer than we were last year by some amount.  On other sites we see cooler or hotter and whatever one site or another wants to show us.  Diatribes reports the temp trends the same way with the same formats.

April 2009 Update on Global Temperature – UAH

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EPA Sets the Ball on the Tee

Posted by Jeff Id on April 17, 2009

E.P.A. to Clear the Way for Regulation of Warming Gases

By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday formally declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare, setting in motion a process that for the first time in the United States will regulate the gases blamed for global warming.

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No Peninsula RegEM

Posted by Jeff Id on April 17, 2009

Well the Red Wings won, they got their crap together and played at least twice as good as they have for the past 5 months. It’s good to see guys who want to win.

In the meantime I ran a little RegEM 3PC reconstruction based on the raw satellite data but this time it’s without the peninsula.

The first concern is to create the mask, to decide what a reasonable mask is. Anthony Watt’s linked to this plot (Figure 1) of temperatures in the Antarctic. Before I show the plot, I have to remark that those of us who work in anomaly for too long really lose sight of the temperature gradient in the anomaly.

Anyway, I think the plot of ‘acutal’ temperature of the antarctic is more telling than the anomaly in this case. This is what Anthony Watts left as a comment on my area based antarctic reconstruction.

There has been some discussion that the Aleutian peninsula might be better served if newly classified as EM (Maritime Polar) This would separate relatively mild marine locations such as Ushuaia, Argentina and the outer Aleutian Islands like Unalaska The climate of Unalaska from the colder, continental climates. The mean annual temperature for Unalaska is about 38 °F (3.4 °C), being about 30°F (−1.1°C) in January and about 52°F (11.1°C) in August. With about 250 rainy days a year,

Contrast that to interior Alaska temperatures which are not moderated by the presence of the sea. Fairbanks for example has an mean annual temperature for Fairbanks is 26.9°F (-2.8°C) and with 106 rainy days.

Using the Unalaska to Fairbanks comparison, the Antarctic peninsula would be a candidate for this new “Maritime Polar” (EM) classification IMHO.

In support of that, here is a seasonal temperature map submitted to Wikipedia by Stoat’s William Connelly

Figure 1

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The Mystery of the Secret Libel

Posted by Jeff Id on April 15, 2009

Blogland is often entertaining

Blogland is often frusterating.

Blogland is often confusing.

Good thing it isn’t real.

thinker.jpg The Thinker image by xandyland

Laymen Lurker’s query about the accusation of possible libel and Deep’s reply.

DC, this is your house. I don’t have any problem with you responding to Jeff any way you see fit except for one thing: either something is libelous or it is not.

[DC: It’s not that clear cut, actually. But I agree that “borderline libel” is not the correct phrase and I’ve amended it to “potential libel”. See my next comment below for more on this …]

H/T to those that Lurk. Next, the big comment from the Deep……(my bold)

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Maintaining the Consensus

Posted by Jeff Id on April 15, 2009

agree.jpg agree image by banditmistress

I’ve been thrown out of better for less.

It has been an odd week for me. I’ve been tossed from two more pro AGW internet sites in the last day. First there was the Huffington Post’s online comment where the um … reporter Michael Coniff was blasting conservatives for not looking at the data. Now I admit I was a little strong worded in my reply but only to the point where I was direct, no swearing or misleading statements.

Michael Conniff is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Post Time Media Inc., the leading community blogging company; the editor-at-large of Aspen Peak magazine; and the host of “Con Games,” the #1-rated radio talk show in Aspen and Vail.

Here’s a few of the comments he gets paid to make.

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Warming the Raw Sat Data

Posted by Jeff Id on April 14, 2009

Laymen Lurker has been after me to verify my heretofore unsubstantiated claim that the slope of temperature stations vs satellite measurements is poorly related to correlation of temperature stations vs satellite. It’s a reasonable request and one which I said I would do but it shows that a healthy skeptic is always a skeptic no matter the source.

Rather than go through all 5509 series, I made this post by locating the nearest satellite grid point for each temperature station. This gives us 42 points of comparison. I limited all surface station slopes to +/- 0.1 C/year which eliminated a couple of hugely out of whack values which do nothing but confuse the issue while also verifying my claim.

Figure 1 is the post 1982 surface station values compared to the 3 pc steig reconstruction values. The reconstruction values are from the final 3 pc reconstruction after 1982 used to generate the pretty picture on the Nature cover.


Figure 1

A good slope match should result in a slope of 1 and little scatter for the curve fit presented in the left graph. Instead the fit is so bad the slope is negative. In the meantime all but one of the correlations is strongly positive.

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Counter’s Response – I’m wrong again.

Posted by Jeff Id on April 13, 2009

I’ve been pretty hard on Counter. I need to stop talking about politics, it’s not good for my blood pressure. Counter is a liberal climatology student with a strong ideology who has taken the time to reply to my recent post on Gavin’s accusations of advocacy.

Ten Replies to Gavin – Advocacy vs Science

Well Counter’s (Daniel’s) blog apparently gets about 5 hits on an average day and since he took the time to reply, perhaps some of you would care to check it out. Laymen Lurker has already been there once.

Ten Replies to Ten Replies about Advocacy vs Science

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Closest Station Antarctic Reconstruction

Posted by Jeff Id on April 12, 2009

Update down below:


In my last alternate reconstruction of Antarctic temperature I used the covariance of satellite information to weight surface stations. While the reconstruction is reasonable I found that it distributed the trends too far from the stations. This prompted me to think of a way to weight stations by area as best as I can. The algorithm I employed uses only surface station data laid on the 5509 grid cell locations of the Steig satellite reconstruction.

This new reconstruction was designed to provide as good a correlation vs distance as possible and the best possible area weighting of trend, it can’t make a good looking picture though but for the first time we can see the spatial limitations of the data. The idea was to manipulate the data as little as possible to make where the trend comes from as clear, simple and properly weighted as possible.

The algorithm I came up with works like this.

Calculate the distance from each of 42 surface stations to 5509 satellite points store them in a matrix 42 x 5509.

For each of 5509 points find the closest station and copy the data to that location. If there are missing values infill those from the next closest station looking farther and farther until all NA’s are infilled.

This is what the spatial distribution of trends looks like.


Figure 1

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Carbon Credit’s Called Out – Repost from WUWT

Posted by Jeff Id on April 10, 2009

This is an absolutely fantastic essay at Watts Up With That which clearly demonstrates why red state farmers are not as easily fooled as the big city/inner city folks would like to think.

A farmer’s view on carbon credits

10 04 2009

This short personal essay from “farmer Steve” in North Dakota appeared as a comment on WUWT here. I thought it was a succinct and clear message based on personal experience and values, and thus worth sharing. I’ve made some formatting changes to make it easier to read, otherwise it is exactly as he posted his comment. For background on the North Dakota carbon credit program extended to farmers and ranchers, see this, this, and the program home page. Anyone who wishes to repost this essay has my permission to do so. – Anthony

Above: not farmer Steve, but what I imagine he might look like

Above: not farmer Steve, but what I imagine he might look like. Image from the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

Carbon Credits

I have changed my mind about participating in the carbon credit program. And have resolved to give the money I received to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Here is why.

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How Fast is Arctic Sea Ice Declining?

Posted by Jeff Id on April 10, 2009

A guest post by Jonathan Drake who runs a well named site Questioning Climate

Jonathan, has done an enormous amount of investigation into ice level measurement and has found some interesting details. Jonathan sent me this well referenced post which I’m sure I will use down the road for it’s links to data sources. He has said he will be available for questions as much as he can. I think you’ll find his open style similar to my own, but this is his post so please direct questions to him.

The copying process was very difficult requiring me to screen grab the graphics and add back the bolds. I did my best to keep the graphics reasonable sized and recopy the post. Let me know if there are problems.


Day after day we are bombarded with images of polar bears on ice bergs and collapses of ice sheet into the ocean with apocalyptic headlines that the Arctic ice will vanish within a few years. It is of particular interest that, according to Dr. Vicky Pope, head of Climate Change at the UK Met Office, “Recent headlines have proclaimed that Arctic summer sea ice has decreased so much in the past few years that it has reached a tipping point and will disappear very quickly. The truth is that there is little evidence to support this. Indeed, the record-breaking losses in the past couple of years could easily be due to natural fluctuations in the weather, with summer sea ice increasing again over the next few years.”

So, on that basis, what is going on? Could there be some kind of misinterpretation of the data? Might someone have made a wild extrapolation? With these questions in mind the Arctic sea ice records are examined to see what, if anything can be learnt. The two commonly cited measures for sea ice are extent and area. Many people are unaware that there are two different measures, let alone a difference or what it is and so a simplified definition would seem useful. Both are presently derived from satellite and calculated from images. Each pixel of the image is assigned an area.

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The Antarctic, an engineers reconstruction.

Posted by Jeff Id on April 9, 2009

I’ve been gone for the last couple of days, there are a number of interesting comments that I will get to soon but I’ve been thinking about a different kind of reconstruction math using the same data. Several people have suggested different methods for reweighting surface station data. Several of these methods are in my opinion superior to RegEM. The big problem I have with Dr. Steig’s paper is the complete lack of verification. There is absolutely NO attempt to verify if long term trends are copied in a sensible fashion. Of course a primary assumption of the reconstruction is that high correlation signals must have the same long term trend. I’ve done some preliminary analysis which demonstrates that the long term and short term correlation of the satellite and ground signals do not match.

In addition, Jeff C and Ryan O have found very real reasons to question the trends in the satellite data HERE, HERE and HERE. There are apparent trends and steps which occur between different satellites and instrument packages. Although it isn’t proven yet, my belief is that the satellite data is likely unusable for reasonable trend analysis. This doesn’t mean the data doesn’t have a use though because the higher frequency monthly temperatures are still available and still show high correlation to individual temperature stations HERE.

So a potential (and likely) problem in Steig09 is the exclusive use of satellite data in the reconstruction post 1982. There are several other problems with RegEM as well including the fact that negatively correlated (unrelated) reconstruction points actually receive a negative trend rather than a zero trend. So peninsula stations which have a strong negative correlation to other parts of the continent are definitely smeared, but they are smeared in a negative sense (Figure 1).


Figure 1

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Updated Flow Chart for Antarctic Paper

Posted by Jeff Id on April 6, 2009

This is the updated flow chart by Jeff C which represents the best guess as to how processing occured for the data in the Antarctic paper. The entire chart represents software code of which the only part which has been released is the little circle at the end representing RegEM.

Dr. Steig should have hired Jeff C for this work but I doubt he could afford Jeff’s rates.


RegEM Estimated Data Flow Chart 4-6-09

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Chairman Chu – Rationalzing false rationing

Posted by Jeff Id on April 6, 2009

Steven Chu

Stephen Chu, US Energy Secretary

The energy crunch is back and in full force.  Despite promises to follow science, ex-leading scientist Chu is leading the way to the false promise land of biofuels.  Despite previous support for workable energy such as nuclear, Chu is out in public peddling Obama’s biofuels and wind as a method for powering our economies.  The same biofuels which after an afternoon on a spreadsheet I can quite clearly show cannot come close to getting the job done.  Chu is seemingly oblivious as the American (and world) public to the fact that it simply doesn’t work.  There isn’t enough energy capture even in the most efficient biofuels in the best circumstances to do the job.  Ain’t there.  But in these times where the opposite of common sense seems to rule government decision making, this one fits right in.

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Steig AVHRR Reconstruction from Satellite Data

Posted by Jeff Id on April 5, 2009

There’s a lot of math here but I have been able to recreate the Steig 3PC satellite reconstruction to a fair degree of accuracy. The satellite data consists of 5509 columns of 300 values which according to Jeff C RegEM chokes on. Fortunately, we don’t have to use all 5509 columns. The satellite reconstruction as presented by Steig09 can be recreated from the three principal components as shown at this link. Since Steig refuses to provide code for processing to the point of denying that it even exists, much of the process was developed by several different people through guessing and testing. I have included the some of the presently recreated yet non-existent code in this post.

Satellite Temperature Trend Also Halved by Simple Regridding

This is done by calculating the principal components of the satellite data and using RegEM to allocate station trends according to the high frequency covariance (a subject which needs more time). Anyway thanks to SteveM and about a dozen papers and articles I’ve learned a great deal about principal components. The first step then is to do a PC analysis of the well processed raw AVHRR satellite data. Below is a graph of the 3 PCs from the raw data and those of the Reconstruction data presented by Steig09.


Figure 1

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Here we go again.

Posted by Jeff Id on April 5, 2009

This picture shows part of the WIlkins ice shelf as it began to break apart. Jim Elliott/British Antarctic Survey/AP

Wilkins ice shelf breaks apart in Antarctic

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