the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Archive for August, 2009

NAS Provides Recommendations for Public Data Access

Posted by Jeff Id on August 20, 2009

The National Academy of Sciences has released a pre-publication copy of a government funded project titled – Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age. This is a quote from the executive summary.

The report recommends that all researchers receive appropriate training in the management of research data, and calls on researchers to make all research data, methods, and other information underlying results publicly accessible in a timely manner.

Of course it is a government program so the recommendation for adding personnel for training of all researchers fails to mention cost and becomes an automatic self expanding department like QC departments have become in manufacturing. Still, this article recognizes the key aspect of what Steve McIntyre has spent years now working on HERE as an example, access to the data and code behind research projects. Others may agree with NAS recommendations in general but in my opinion they go overboard adding layers of time and effort which could be otherwise better spent doing research when all they needed to do was insist that data and code with turnkey level instructions be archived and published with sources listed.

It reminds me of the International Space Station, if you’ve ever seen the nasa feed on that you may have noticed that the astronauts spend hours every day inventorying and cataloging the tools, foods and equipment by reading ten-ish digit hyphenated numbers on package labels back to ground control. It drives me nuts to think how much it just cost to inventory a set of pliers. Why not just barcode the damn things, or at least everything possible as any warehouse on earth would but that’s not the point. The point here is layers of work for researcher’s who are naturally disinclined to do such labor.

There are eleven recommendations in the summary, the free online format for the entire book is in png which is a non-vector graphic. If you want infinitely expandable graphics you can buy the pdf form. I had to expand the graphics in processing software to make them legible.

Image1This is a key item of course. If data integrety is not maintained or software is not appropriately commented and archived the amount of knowledge gained from certain forms of research is quite limited.

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Some Other Area Weighted Reconstrucions

Posted by Jeff Id on August 18, 2009

As we’re nearing completion of the improvements to Steig et al. Ryan has been working hard on getting the final details of the best reconstructions possble, Nic has found a couple dozen reference papers and I’m working on the relatively mundane verifications which as a side item include area weighted reconstrucions. In engineering, when you make a calculation and there is no text full of answers to go by, you need something as a backup, some kind of check to insure that you’re not using meters instead of feet or not missing some simple factor in the complexities of a powerful math calculations. R is wonderful in it’s open source nature, however it is hideously bad for verification of highly complex functions.

If you’re a programmer, imagine not being able to stop a complex calculation part way to see the contents of a variable. Imagine the debugging required to insure that things are working when you can’t see the status of the loop. R is a nightmare that way. Where R succeeds is in the same areas as MatLab, vector and array math are fast and easy. For example, you can have two enormous matrices and you can multiply them by typing A %*% B, there are libraries in C but there is also a lot of time. That’s very powerful when working with math, however MatLab still smokes R for its more standard debugging tools, yet MatLab is expensive and R is free. That makes it possible for nearly anyone to verify R code without additional costs or hurdles .

In Ryan’s work, he determined that the appropriate stations to use for the Antarctic were those inside the satellite AVHRR grid so no islands at all. To that end we’ve reduced the list of appropriate manned surface stations to 28 and appropriate ground stations with manned to a total of 63. There were no automatic weather stations (AWS) until after 1982 and much of their data is questionable due to snow burial, instrument failure, and other issues but their influence on the reconstruction is useful. This is similar to my previous area weighted reconstruction which used the closest available surface data to infill the satellite grid points. A Voroni diagram.

Where the again very clever methods of Steig, Mann and company can improve on an area weighted diagram is in the distribution of the information of each station according to measured covariance rather than by closest station. Still the results should be VERY similar.

Without presenting all the detail, Ryan has been successful at producing an Antarctic map using 28 PC’s of antarctic AVHRR data with NO overfitting. He used a method of regularized least squares which is more common than many of the techniques in climatology but better than that it is working. I’ll save the verification stats for later, after all the publishers need something to talk about.

The following was created by me using Ryan’s code and data.

Ryan rls 28pc

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Posted by Jeff Id on August 17, 2009

Before I start this fantastic guest post. a note on boreholes. In case you didn’t know.

As I’ve gotten more familiar with the source data for reconstructions, there are certain things which are NOT temperature proxies. One of them is borehole data. Boreholes are drilled in water filled ground and temps are taken. An exceptioinally goofy and unverified calculation is done and a curve is generated which assumes a lot of very bad things which are also unverified (standard for climatology) and worse don’t make a damn bit of sense. I mean really, does anyone really, honestly, truly believe that waterflow over a thousand years MIGHT not change the temperature of the rock???!

Boreholes are only good for the affixing of public toilet seats. I had to mention that before we got started.

Today we have a distinguished guest and representative of the consensus, you may have heard of him Dr. Heinlick Asburger. Dr. Asburger has done a critical review of Loehle and McCulloch article which should give us perspective on the consensus, after all what fun is a blog that only presents one side of an issue.


Guest post by Dr. Heinlick Asburger:

An offizial review of ze alleged Loehlen McCulloch reconstruczion of temprature by za conzensus.

Zank you Mr. Id,

Zis is a uniquely flawed temperature reconstruction computed by Dr’s. Loehle and McCulloch which employed 18 prokzes around the globe. Zis paper fails in zo many ways, only zome of which I will now detail for you today. First, zee this ridiculous equation used for the azembly of zese pre-calibrated temperature proxzes!

Image1Apparently they foolishly believe that adding up the proxzes and diviting by ze number of proxzy values for each year is a typical paleoclimatology process. Zis is WRONG! Dumkoff! Shmitenshtein. Zey even used a funny name called — mean. Zere iz nothing mean about it. You can NOT even amplify ze calibration range vit dat!! , My score for zem Dee minus! .

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Too Funny

Posted by Jeff Id on August 17, 2009

Jeff, it’s high time you took climate scientists seriously.


Could chicken poop reduce global warming?

UNDATED – With scientists looking for ways to curb global warming and climate change, chicken poop could come to the rescue.

Ancient farmers along the Amazon River added a mixture of charred organic materials to their soil. When they did so, they created fertile farmlands.

Biochar is created when organic matter, such as chicken poop, dead trees and corn husks, is burned in a low oxygen environment. The combustion doesn’t create carbon dioxide. Instead, it traps the carbon inside. Biochar helps the soil hold nutrients and moisture.

Scientists say more research is needed before they’ll fully embrace the idea, but it has been presented at a conference in Denver.

It’s just too funny to pass up.  It’s like climate science has a poop fetish. Here’s Ben Santer. Climatologist and poop promoter in his YouTube premier.

These are serious people Jeff, you’re anti-science.

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Noise on RC

Posted by Jeff Id on August 16, 2009

Great, I get to blog about crap one more time. I hope this ends soon because it has been as much fun as a trip to the dentist – which i’ll be making on Monday.

So Dr. Steig made a post the other day which pissed me off.  We’ve been trying to work it out offline.

Resolving technical issues in science

In it several strong comments were made about CA and in general the nature of other scientific blogs which I took issue with. At the time we were having reasonable discussions off line and being the grumpy engineer I am I made this post:

Tiny Little Keyholes

The post discussed a lot of the problems I had with the seeming impossibility of non-recognition of Dr. McCulloch’s emails. Before noticing my post there were some comments back and forth between our group and Doc Steig which showed a willingness to have normal human relations which is something I vastly prefer. This possiblility was trashed after these two posts. So we explained our perspectives and tried to move on. At tAV I closed the thread explaining my position and received no less than 8 emails for doing so. All but one was ticked off at me.

I’ve got a thick skin which you will need if you start blogging so it doesn’t matter but I’ve got to address some of the Shit on RC let go by the moderators. There is a difference between the moderation here where almost everything is let through and RC where only a few make the cut.

Eventually, even with thick skin people will wear you down though. Here are the comments at RC.

First mine

I would like to add that it was clearly reasonable for Dr. McCulloch to believe some of his 6 emails were received in a timely manner. He has accepted as I have explanations for why this was not the case.

Since Dr. McCulloch was apparently fast and professional in retracting his letter to the editor, perhaps the authors should consider a mention of his contribution after the fact at Nature.

dhogaza says:

And, Jeff Id, while being polite here, as usual accuses Eric et al of lying over at his blog.

To which my reply was:


You are right that I said that. The code was not released. However, yesterday Dr. Steig has explained his reasons for not releasing the code as well and I’ve accepted that too.


They edited the funny part but I was impressed that they allowed me to mention the code wasn’t presented. It is a step forward for RC which wasn’t unappreciated.

Since Dhog needs a prod the ‘appropriately’ clipped part was.

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Antarctic Land Ice Thinning?

Posted by Jeff Id on August 15, 2009

I considered complaining about Dhog’s idiocy at RC but ran into an improbable news story.The Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica

This is an unusual post for the summer. Rather than the Arctic ice doom stories, we’re hearing about Antarctic ice doom and what’s more, it isn’t attributed to global warming, although they want it to be. Well doom is doom so we should find out what Hollywood is going to base next years movies on.

Antarctic Glacier Thinning At Alarming Rate

ScienceDaily (Aug. 15, 2009) — The thinning of a gigantic glacier in Antarctica is accelerating, scientists report. The Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica, which is around twice the size of Scotland, is losing ice four times as fast as it was a decade years ago.

Twice the size of Scotland is loosing ice four times as fast as a decade ago!! Wow.  All that and the temperatures haven’t warmed.

“Accelerated thinning of the Pine Island Glacier represents perhaps the greatest imbalance in the cryosphere today, and yet we would not have known about it if it weren’t for a succession of satellite instruments,” says Professor Andrew Shepherd, a co-author of the research from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds.

It’s odd that the glacier is going away so fast considering how far below freezing the whole area is. It must be a lack of snowfall cause everything’s too cold on Antarctic land to melt.

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Tiny Little Keyholes

Posted by Jeff Id on August 14, 2009



I’m particularly irritated this morning by a post at Real Climate addressing the potential plagiarism by the Steig et al team in a correction first mentioned at a Climate Audit post authored by Dr. Hu McCulloch.  Before beginning Hu is a professor of Economics and Finance at Ohio State University who of all the regular commentators at CA is in my opinion the least critical of RC scientists.  In fact for someone who clearly has a hot head like myself, his calmness in the face of idiocy in science can be well… a little frustrating.  Dr. McCulloch’s web page is located here where he demonstrates his very powerful statistical knowledge in relation to climatology in his own publications.

Recently when Steig et al published a Corrigendum on their recent paper widely discussed in blogland, it was noted here Significance and then elsewhere that the corrections were the same values Hu had calculated and with great politeness emailed to the authors back in February this year.

Here is the email from February which is typical of Dr. McCulloch’s tone.

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 15:51:44 -0500

To: steig, dschneid, srutherford,mann, josefino.c.comiso,Drew.T.Shindell

From: Hu McCulloch

Subject: Comment on serial correlation in Steig et al 2009

Dear Dr. Steig and co-authors,

FYI, I have recently posted a comment on your 2009 paper in Nature

on Climate Audit, at .

While I was able to replicate or virtually replicate the 1957-2006 trends you report

on p 460 for the three regions and the continent as a whole, the 95% Confidence

Intervals you report appear to have taken no account of serial correlation

in the regression errors. When this is done, the CI’s are substantially wider

than you report.

Any reactions, by comments there or by e-mail, would be welcome!

— Hu McCulloch

J. Huston McCulloch

Economics Dept. voice (614) 292-0382

Ohio State Univ. FAX (614) 292-3906, attn. J.H. McCulloch

1945 N. High St.

Columbus, OH 43210


And HERE is the link to Dr. McCulloch’s presentation including code and all details for the reader to verify the correctness of my statements.  After the corregendum was published, Hu was somewhat offended to notice that he had not been credited with the changes and wrote Nature to request corrections.  We all know the habit of RC to not recognize anyone who posts at CA apparently that also extends to highly respected and too polite professors in other fields.

Now this is the Air Vent, and here we don’t like to mince words too much.  Recently RC actually took the time to report this blog to the editor of nature in reply to a request for data, accusing me of making false claims about data availability.  I’m not happy about that as it is to my knowledge dishonest.  In fact we still have not been given access to the data or code for several aspects of this paper but the point is to show the extreme lack of class RC proprietors can demonstrate in any attempt to save a bad paper.

Therefore I’m already ticked and this morning I decided to check RC for the first time in two weeks to see what was going on and I read this:

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Roger Peilke Jr. On Mann09

Posted by Jeff Id on August 13, 2009

Roger PeilkeJr  has an interesting post on Mann09 where he points out yet another contradiction of the Hurricane paper in relation to previous Mann publications.

It’s worth a read, the links are worth checking out as well.

Changing Perilous Assumptions to Suit the Analysis

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Mann Discovers MWP

Posted by Jeff Id on August 13, 2009

I received an emial from someone whom deserves a hat tip for bringing my attention to the latest Mann paper.  Of course it was by email so I’m hesitant to say whom but thanks anyway.  He linked to an article in Science Now describing Mann’s latest hurricane reconstruction by proxy  and made the point that the MWP apparently does exist and what’s more, the hurricanes were as bad as the past decade.

Of course I’m skeptical, it’s Michael Mann and as someone pointed out last night, scientists have well earned reputations.  Still, let’s not make any claims which are unsupported by the data (or I’ll snip em — hehe).  RC contributor Dean was right on the other thread and the dogs got carried away.  We can leave any criticism on detail we don’t actually know alone.

Don’t worry though, I have a great deal of confidence we will find some magic in this paper.  I say that because it’s another proxy paper which means it will have the same sorting calibration issues never yet solved and regularly ignored in paleoclimatology so its an easy assumption to doubt the signal is of correct scale, however that also is an unknown.

Here is the abstract from Nature:

Atlantic tropical cyclone activity, as measured by annual storm counts, reached anomalous levels over the past decade1. The short nature of the historical record and potential issues with its reliability in earlier decades, however, has prompted an ongoing debate regarding the reality and significance of the recent rise2, 3, 4, 5. Here we place recent activity in a longer-term context by comparing two independent estimates of tropical cyclone activity over the past 1,500 years. The first estimate is based on a composite of regional sedimentary evidence of landfalling hurricanes, while the second estimate uses a previously published statistical model of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity driven by proxy reconstructions of past climate changes. Both approaches yield consistent evidence of a peak in Atlantic tropical cyclone activity during medieval times (around ad 1000) followed by a subsequent lull in activity. The statistical model indicates that the medieval peak, which rivals or even exceeds (within uncertainties) recent levels of activity, results from the reinforcing effects of La-Niña-like climate conditions and relative tropical Atlantic warmth.

Mann 08 presented this for a northern hemisphere temperature reconstruction.

mann 09 recons full length

Mann 08 Recons, Click to expand

You have to wonder when only one of his reconstructions (EIV Land Only) crossed the zero line at any time prior to 1000 AD and all the rest are below, Where exactly is this tropical Atlantic warmth coming from?  After all the Land plus ocean seems to drag the curves down even further than the land only.

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Posted by Jeff Id on August 13, 2009

This is an unusual post for the Air Vent but it represents my mood tonight. If you’re ever going to start a blog the one simple thing I can say is be honest about yourself.
Today I’ve had an odd discussion with an RC moderator who doesn’t seem to get math, a strange conversation with a man from another country, emails accusing me of things I didn’t do and another amazing peer reviewed paper. It’s just been a strange day.
If serious climate science wasn’t so funny, what would we do.


Global warming causing birds to shrink

Global warming is making birds smaller, according to new research from the Australian National University.

Climate change is being blamed because varieties of the same birds tend to be smaller near the equator and larger closer to the poles to help them conserve heat more efficiently.

A study of museum specimens found eight Australian species have reduced in size by between two and four percent over the past century.

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Century to Decade Climate Change Created by Planetary Motion

Posted by Jeff Id on August 11, 2009

This video presentation and associated PDF file discuss the issues of solar forcing, TSI datasets, proxies and long term trends. I believe it is one of the better posts here on the Air Vent and it deserves a lot of attention. The presentation is quite exciting from my perspective as it is full of information which would take a long time to uncover but also because it has a unique conclusion which looks like an improvement in temperature signal analysis. It’s also a good skeptic’s presentation.

The video is from a link given in a few short communications with Dr. Scafetta by email regarding his recent disagreement with Benestad and Schmidt. The video is a seminar on Feb 26, of 09 regarding a great number of issues with the IPCC on climate change. If you are at all serious about understanding the detail of climate change or if you are a climatologist I suspect you will find this video informative as it highlights some what I believe are unique and in some cases unpublished (for the next 2 weeks) results of planetary orbits and their effects on climate change. If I’m right, this paper will be very interesting when it comes out.

If you’re just a casual reader, this probably isn’t for you, the video is long and at times technical. However, if you really want to know what the (non-existent because it’s a consensus) debate is about, watch the following video. There is a great deal of detail which is understandable to the serious AGW reader and will likely be misunderstood by the casual observer. Several points were made which went unsaid or incompletely explained which require an understanding of satellite orbits, instrument quality, data steps, general data collection and solar proxies.  If you get it, the points are quite interesting and compelling.

The most important issues mentioned are beyond my own experience, at least to the point where it’s new information to me. What happened is Dr. Scafetta has noticed a coherence between measured climate data and the sun’s gravity center velocity which is difficult for me to discount. I’m no climatologist and not a solar physicist but this seems from my reading to be unique to the discussion of solar forcing. In particular look at this plot of the power spectrum of global temps in relation to the plot of the sun’s linear velocity relative to the gravitational center of the solar system.

power spec

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Games Without Frontiers

Posted by Jeff Id on August 11, 2009

HadCrut responded to most if not all of the FOI requests from CA readers on confidentiality agreements for the temp data.

CRU Responds

Apparently, the dog ate the agreements.

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Dr. Weinstein on Montel

Posted by Jeff Id on August 11, 2009

I received an email from Dr. Leonard Weinstein this morning with a link to an audio file. He was apparently invited to speak on Montel Across America show on the subject of global warming. Don’t expect much thought from Montel, you won’t get it. In the first half he interviews another political extremist like himself, Liz Perrera a representative of the union for leftist scientists. It’s a complete love fest so Dr. Weinstein is basically thrown to the wolves.

Be warned, the interview with Liz starts out by claiming that fossil fuel industry is funding skepticism which as we know is untrue. The reason I bring it up is because Liz presents one political viewpoint which is consistently focused on spreading disinformation to the public all the while stating that others are guilty of the same thing. It’s enough to make an engineer crazy listening to the slow witted Montel eat it up but it demonstrates the tone of the first half of this interview.

Some people are so slow.

Anyway, Dr. Weinstein did a good job with what he was allowed to say so give it a listen and feel free to leave your thoughts.

Dr. Weinstein on Montel

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Posted by Jeff Id on August 10, 2009

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the Air Vent. None of this was planned and had I realized the work level it takes to run a blog, I don’t know if tAV would have been started. Either way, I’m happy with what we’ve done here and offer my heartfelt thanks to all those who have contributed and commented as you are the ones who keep me going. Blogs are 100% comment powered. To some degree, it’s surprising how worthwhile it feels to do a post and have myself and others learn from it. It’s also invaluable to have a venue for another individual to describe some aspect of AGW not everyone has considered.

The Air vent has had some effect on individuals and scientists. This project revealed to me the underground network of highly skilled professionals who work behind the scenes as true scientific skeptics, many of whom are supportive yet fear for their careers to take a public position. I have concerns about that myself, despite what some advocates seem to think, family IS more important than a few C of global warming.

This past year revealed to me a small group of technically skilled blogs and scientific discussion which on the skeptic side is unmatched for quality of science and integrity in blogland. The whole experience has given me a comfort and understanding that individuals do exist who understand and can counter some of the more extreme claims of climate science and more importantly have the inherent willingness to let the data take them where it does.

From these connections, we’ve seen examples of peer review being used to fight back good papers which demonstrate clear evidence to the contrary of extremist global warming and accept bad papers in support. Fortunately, the outlet for some of this work has shifted to blogland where the damage to the journals and credibility of peer review is creating a negative feedback which, if it hasn’t already, will eventually influence the process for the better.

So for the 430,000 views and 7,200 comments left, thank you. The rookie season has ended and we’re on to bigger and better things.

This weekend was spent buried in stats again in relation to the Antarctic Reconstructions and hope to have some new posts on that soon but it takes time. In the meantime, I keep reading the news to see whats going on, as reported by our now state run media. Don’t worry, no political venting coming, I’m so disgusted with politics, it feels like there may be months before the nausea settles and anything else comes up.

This morning, I read a report by the Chicago Tribune which was reporting on the heartland institiute’s Chicago get together of AGW individuals who wish to promote the view that AGW is false or highly questionable science.

Global warming skeptics gather to share disbelief

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Too Lazy to Blog

Posted by Jeff Id on August 9, 2009

We finally got a bit of global warming in Chicago this summer.  I’ve been calculating Antarctic stats all morning from Ryan’s work and I think the rest of the day will be spent drinking on the river.  Any future posts by myself today need to be thoroughly questioned for validity and thoroughness as they will likely be made by a somewhat drunk engineer.

Hope you’re having fun too.

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