the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Archive for May, 2009

Dr. Weinstein’s Experience With Peer Review

Posted by Jeff Id on May 31, 2009

I always prefer to put up articles which show actual experience rather than a hearsay report. Dr. Weinstein has taken the time to describe his own first hand experiences with peer review and confirmation bias in a far less politicized field. It is IMO one of the primary issues in play in AGW, as the Santer issue discussed at Climate Audit demonstrates. I definitely plan to discuss that one more, after SteveM’s correct and reasonable rebuttal paper is accepted by some journal.

Dr. Weinstein’s discussion has to do with the reduction of airfoil drag by manipulations of the boundary layer. – Something I also have experience in 😉


Some Limitations of the Peer Review Process and Its Effect on the AGW Issue

Leonard Weinstein, ScD

May 29, 2009

Monographs, books, technical papers, white papers, and other forms of published material that are to be widely disseminated should ideally be examined by independent reviewers (generally called peer reviewers) with reasonable knowledge of the subject area. The reviewer may or may not be as expert in the details of the subject as the author, but should be at least generally expert in a broader overlapping field. Frequently papers have material that covers more than one subject area and people within a narrow field may do poorly reviewing the broader subject. It is frequently best to have some reviewers that are knowledgeable people but not as close to the narrow field as the author, for a more independent and broader coverage.

The reviews, possibly resulting in suggested changes, do not assure the final material is correct. The lack of a review also does not mean the results are not correct and clear. It just increases the chance for errors to slip through.

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Turbulent Arctic Ice NSIDC – Complete Video

Posted by Jeff Id on May 30, 2009

I find the Arctic sea ice to be amazingly dynamic. Honestly, I used to think of it as something static and stationary, the same region meltinig and re-freezing for dozens or even hundreds of years – not that I put much thought into it either way. Shows you what I know.

This post is another set of Arctic ice plots and an amazing high speed video. The NSIDC NasaTeam data is presented in gridded binary matrices in downloadable form HERE.

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Air Vent Makes a Splash

Posted by Jeff Id on May 29, 2009

Ryan’s latest got some attention around the internet world. Thanks in large part to Climate Audit, Watts Up With That and The Blackboard. Here are some of the bigger incoming links.………………

I have to say thanks to everyone, it’s good to see hard work like this be recognized.

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Arctic Sea Ice Video

Posted by Jeff Id on May 29, 2009

I’ve put together a 40MB video of the Arctic ice for 2007-present from the NSIDC gridded ice data. This is the data I used to make the northern hemisphere ice trend plot which looks like this.

Arctic Ice NasaTeam Bootstrap

Arctic Ice NasaTeam Method

The data for this simple plot is massive 1.2Gb over 30 years. The only way to view it is by video which I’ve attached after the “read the rest” line so that people who stop by don’t get hit with a 40 MB download. It’s an awesome video though, you can see the cloud’s affect on the data as well as the flowing/shifting of the ice back and forth.

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Verification of the Improved High PC Reconstruction

Posted by Jeff Id on May 28, 2009

There is always something going on around here.

Up until now all the work which has been done on the antarctic reconstruction has been done without statistical verification. We believed that they are better from correlation vs distance plots, the visual comparison to station trends and of course the better approximation of simple area weighted reconstructions using surface station data.

The authors of Steig et al. have not been queried by myself or anyone else that I’m aware of regarding the quality of the higher PC reconstructions. And the team has largely ignored what has been going on over on the Air Vent. This post however demonstrates strongly improved verification statistics which should send chills down their collective backs.

Ryan was generous in giving credit to others with his wording, he has put together this amazing piece of work himself using bits of code and knowledge gained from the numerous other posts by himself and others on the subject. He’s done a top notch job again, through a Herculean effort in code and debugging.

If you didn’t read Ryan’s other post which led to this work the link is:

Antarctic Coup de Grace



Fig. 1: 1957-2006 trends; our reconstruction (left); Steig reconstruction (right)


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Posted by Jeff Id on May 28, 2009

Chairman Chu is at it again.   I really shouldn’t look at the news.

Steven Chu: Obama's green guru calls for white roofs
U.S. energy secretary, Steven Chu Photo: BLOOMBERG

Speaking at Cambridge University this week, Dr Chu suggested we paint the roofs and pavements of our towns and cities white, as it will help the planet reflect, rather than retain, heat from the sun. “You change the albedo of the Earth,” he explained. “The sunlight comes down and it actually goes back up. There is no greenhouse effect.”

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When the Correction Becomes the Signal

Posted by Jeff Id on May 28, 2009

SteveM has a post up right now which should make any sane person in a bad mood. Those in charge have corrected another dataset to match models which are corrected to match the dataset.

He doesn’t want any piling on there but if you’re wondering about the quality of science check it out. I’m pissed.

“Worse than We Thought”

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The Truth About Arctic and Greenland Ice

Posted by Jeff Id on May 27, 2009

I’ve been working on another post on ice area last night. In the meantime Dr. Weinstein has another one for us.

The Truth About Arctic and Greenland Ice

Leonard Weinstein, ScD

May 21, 2009

There is an interesting story going around that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is resulting in unusual melting of the polar and near polar ice caps, especially the Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice cap, and this is going to contribute to the Earth’s problems in a big way (flooding, feedback temperature increase, etc.). In order to understand the issue, a few simple facts and recent observations need to be shown. The following discussion is restricted to the Arctic and Greenland, since these are the main regions of contention. It should be noted that the Antarctic is presently cooling (and has been for several years) and sea ice extent is expanding.

We first need to examine the external energy balance for the Arctic. Due to the axial tilt of the Earth, the Arctic is in full dark about half of the year, and in partial to full Sunlight about half of the year. The maximum Sun angle at the North Pole is about 24 degrees above the horizon. This angle only occurs for a relatively short time, and smaller angles occur most of the daylight time. The maximum Solar insolation from this (due to the angle and atmospheric absorption) is about 400 W/m2. The high reflectivity of clean snow (always present on ice) results in only about 40 W/m2 being absorbed into the ice. The maximum air temperature near the surface is just a small amount above freezing, so the maximum thermal heat transfer from air to ice is generally just a few 10’s of W/m2. The ice (or snow) gray-body emissivity (about 0.9) is much higher than the low absorption (about 0.1) at the short wavelengths of Sunlight, so the reemitted long wavelength radiation is about 280 W/m2. The result is that solid ice cannot normally melt from Solar radiation plus air warming from the top, even at peak summer. The rest of the year has even less energy input, so ice is strongly cooled all year long.

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Boulders on Hills

Posted by Jeff Id on May 25, 2009

Another guest post by Dr. Weinstein, I found this one to be interesting as well. He makes a good point about the possibility of strong positive feedbacks. Before we get into his post, there is a subtlety of positive feedbacks which is often missed on blogs. Positive feedback does not guarantee instability. You can have some positive feedback in a stable complex system as long as the net positive is less than 1. If the net feedback is greater than 1 then the system becomes unstable and jumps to extremes. As you approach 1 the system becomes gradually less stable and would exhibit stronger variations in response to everyday weather disturbances.

Personally I think it is unlikely that strong feedbacks of the nature the IPCC requires could exist, Dr. Weinstein points out some of the logic problems with a strong positive feedback climate below. I don’t believe his post precludes a weaker yet positive response which would not cross the threshold to create an unstable climate. IMHO, I’m still putting my $4 on a negative response, it explains why our temps are as stable as they are.

I read a quote from someone on AGW who’s name I can’t remember right now. It was in reference to the stability of our current climate and I think it is appropriate.

You don’t find round boulders perched on the sides of steep hills.


Debunking the CO2 Positive Feedback Myth

Leonard Weinstein, ScD

May 11, 2009


The climate models used in the IPCC reports have made predictions of increases in global temperature of 2C to 6C over present levels by 2100. These predictions were based on two assumptions:

  1. The atmospheric CO2 level would go from 290ppm in about 1850 to at least 580ppm in 2100.
  2. The increase in CO2 would have both a direct greenhouse gas effect, and trigger a positive feedback effect. The result would be a small direct increase in temperature from the CO2, but the increased temperature would also result in an increase in water evaporation. The water vapor is the major greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and its increase would further increase temperature, resulting in a positive feedback until the process self-limited at a significantly higher level.

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Disproving The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Problem

Posted by Jeff Id on May 21, 2009

Another interesting guest post by Dr. Weinstien.  The last one was picked up on several blogs and received a lot of internet attention.  There are some interesting links here as well.


Disproving The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Problem

Leonard Weinstein, ScD

April 25, 2009

A theory has been proposed that human activity over about the last 150 years has caused a significant rise in Earth’s average temperature. The mechanism claimed is based on an increased greenhouse effect caused by anthropogenic increases in CO2 from burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, cement manufacture, and also from increases in CH4 from farm animals and other causes. The present versions of the theory also include a positive feedback effect due to the increased temperature causing an increase in water vapor, which amplifies the effect. The combined result are used to claim that unless the anthropogenic increases of CO2 are slowed down or even made to decrease, there will be a continuing rapid increase in global temperature, massive melting of ice caps, flooding, pestilence, etc.

In order to support a theory, specific predictions need to be made that are based on the claims of the theory, and the predictions then need to happen. While the occurrence of the predicted events is not proof positive of a theory, they increase the believability of the claims. However, if the predictions are not observed, this tends to indicate the theory is flawed or even wrong. Some predictions are absolute in nature. Einstein’s prediction of the bending of light by the Sun is such a case. It either would or would not bend, and this was considered a critical test of the validity of his theory of general relativity. It did bend the predicted amount, and supported his theory.

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Antarctic Coup de Grace

Posted by Jeff Id on May 20, 2009

I was going to hold off on this post because Dr. Weinstein’s post is getting a lot of attention right now it has been picked up on several blogs and even translated into different languages but this is too good not to post.

Ryan has done something amazing here, no joking. He’s recalibrated the satellite data used in Steig’s Antarctic paper correcting offsets and trends, determined a reasonable number of PC’s for the reconstruction and actually calculated a reasonable trend for the Antarctic with proper cooling and warming distributions – He basically fixed Steig et al. by addressing the very concern I had that AVHRR vs surface station temperature(SST) trends and AVHRR station vs SST correlation were not well related in the Steig paper.

Not only that he demonstrated with a substantial blow the ‘robustness’ of the Steig/Mann method at the same time.

If you’ve followed this discussion whatsoever you’ve got to read this post.

RegEM for this post was originally transported to R by Steve McIntyre, certain versions used are truncated PC by Steve M as well as modified code by Ryan.


Ryan O – Guest post.

I’m certain that all of the discussion about the Steig paper will eventually become stale unless we begin drawing some concrete conclusions. Does the Steig reconstruction accurately (or even semi-accurately) reflect the 50-year temperature history of Antarctica?

Probably not – and this time, I would like to present proof.

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No Warming Trend for Over 12 Years – May 2009 Update on current temps – RSS

Posted by Jeff Id on May 20, 2009


Posted by The Diatribe Guy on May 19, 2009

Yes, it’s true. We’re now at 12+ years and running with a flat trend line. We’ve discussed the viability of statistics like these before. Let me reiterate, because two things will happen with this: (1) pro-AGW theorists will immediately discredit the trend line as “too short” to be statistically viable, and some will actually bizarrely claim that the trend line isn’t factual and they can “prove it” through, for example, an ARMA analysis. (2) Those skeptical of AGW will proclaim warming to be dead.

Addressing the first point, the trend line is what it is. It is certainly within the bounds of good statistics to talk about how there can certainly be flat periods like this within an overall warming trend. Where the argument usually breaks down, though, is that those who point this out consider this an argument for continued warming. It is not. It is an argument for some probability of continued warming, and some probability of a flat line, and some probability of a reversal. These probabilities change over time for both the near term and the long term. The AGW proponents rightfully look at month-to-month changes as not dramatically changing the probability of the long term trends, but they often do so in ways that make you scratch your head. The trend line is a best-fit line. That’s all it is. The r-squared is low. Yep. That means that you could probably tilt the line up or down, without too much difference in the error term. It’s a valid point. What is implied is that the way you’d tip the line is up. But it could go either way. In this debate, I find a lot of valid points being made that are then applied dishonestly to come to a conclusion that is not in line with all the facts. Quite simply, the longer the trend goes where there is no warming, the higher the probability that we are wrong about runaway global warming. But it doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility.

As for the argument that warming has stopped, that’s in the eye of the beholder. Again, there can, in all probability be periods of a lull within a larger trend. Also, a best fit trend line only shows the trend over a particular period of time. In fact, while the 12-year trend is negative, the 10-year trend is positive. That’s because there was a little dip in anomalies between the 10-12 year mark in history that drives the front of the line down. The 10-year line is sure to decrease and go negative by the end of the year (unless anomalies shift pward considerably), but things like that can happen. So, we have a situation where we can say that the trend is negative over the last 12 years, but someone can accurately counter that the trend line is positive over the last 10 years.

For the graphs and the rest of the article, click the link.

No Warming Trend for Over 12 Years – May 2009 Update on current temps – RSS

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Limitations on Anthropogenic Global Warming

Posted by Jeff Id on May 19, 2009

I was going to work on replicating the EIV reconstruction for Mann08 but ended up watching a hockey game at someone elses place so Mann gets another days repreive. Tonight I have a guest post by Dr. Leonard Weinstein senior research scientist from Nasa.

Dr. Weinstein left a link on one of my threads and I asked if he minded if I call attention to his work. He replied with a request for a few posts he’s done which look critically at the heart of AGW science.


Limitations on Anthropogenic Global Warming

Leonard Weinstein, ScD

March 1, 2009

It is not obvious what the ideal temperature and CO2 level should be for mankind. We tend to assume that the average of whatever has occurred in the recent past is the ideal level, since we have adjusted to that level, and changes from that level can cause disruptions in living conditions and activities. Significant temperature and CO2 increases in recent years have raised the issue of whether these were possibly related and were due to human activity, and whether this is a potentially significant problem.

Earth’s temperature has only been directly measured at enough locations to give a reasonably accurate global average for about the last 150 years, with the greatest accuracy (from satellites) only going back about 30 years. The “reliable” CO2 background level has only been directly continuously measured at one location (Mauna Loa) for about 50 years, and at a much larger number of locations for about 30 years. Some other direct and indirect CO2 measurements were made prior to 50 years ago, and the measurements thought to be most reliable were used to extend the CO2 curve back to 1850.

Figure 1 is a commonly used figure to show smoothed global variations of the temperature and CO2 concentration data from 1850 through 2000 AD. This data indicates the Earth’s surface has warmed about 0.7OC (1.3 OF) and the atmospheric CO2 appears to have increased by over 30%. These two pieces of information are the basis for the present “Anthropogenic Global Warming issue”.

Figure 1. Variation of global average temperature and CO2 concentration over last 150 years

(Sources for temperature and CO2: )

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Why Replicate

Posted by Jeff Id on May 19, 2009

An article on the pitfalls of ‘peer review’ was linked to here thanks to Adam Gallon.

The scientific fraudster who dazzled the world of physics

The article is quite interesting. There were several pertinent points which have AGW corrilaries.

Schön’s fraud was the largest ever exposed in physics; he ended up without a job, and was forced to leave America in disgrace. But the ease with which his fraudulent findings and grotesque errors were accepted by his peers raises troubling questions about the way in which scientists assess each other’s work, and whether there might be other such cases out there.

The ease of which the papers were accepted by the club is understandable. Once you have a reputation it’s easy to be accepted or rejected by your peers. McIntyre’s latest attempt at publication of the same math Santer used on the same datasets is a good example of the opposite effect. The name and opposite conclusion preventing publication of the exact same calculations.

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Posted by Jeff Id on May 17, 2009

The New York Times is at it again, their socialist leanings couldn’t be more apparent.  This time its China they are holding in high esteem. I have a nearly impossible time reading their propaganda when it’s free but somehow people still pay money for it.

China Outpaces U.S. in Cleaner Coal-Fired Plants

You have got to have your head so deep in the sand to even write this title it’s amazing, but that is exactly what the NYT’s KEITH BRADSHER wrote.

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