the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Tom Fuller’s Questions

Posted by Jeff Id on December 3, 2009

I don’t always agree with Tom Fuller (or anyone else πŸ™‚ ) but in my opinion he’s been as honest as any of us will ever meet on climate science.

Global warming–differences between questions asked and questions answered

Two weeks after Climategate broke and it certainly hasn’t helped the various sides communicate any better. I see with my own commenters here that anyone who is offended by the alleged actions of The Team of climate scientists who may variously have tried to evade FOIA requests, corrupt the peer review process, massage data presented to the public and covered up troublesome data in their reports is automatically a denialist and worse. It’s not much different in the wider media world, with people now yelling at the New York Times’ Andrew Revkin from both sides of the issue, and he’s not alone.

12 Responses to “Tom Fuller’s Questions”

  1. steven mosher said

    Tom’s a great guy. Just saying

  2. Tom Fuller said

    Okay, I’m blushing. Thanks for the link… FWIW, I think you’ve been way ahead of me on every aspect of this since day one, and that you’ve done a great job.

  3. TerryMN said

    It’s amazing what happens when people start with a conclusion and try to reverse engineer things (be they happenings, facts, arguments, opinions, and/or motives) from there.

    I lob that hunk-o-dung at those with petrified brains on both sides of the debate, btw.

  4. Layman Lurker said

    Keep up the good work Tom. As a democrat speaking out against this we all hope that you can help other open minded liberals to see this for what it is.

  5. Eric said

    Keep up the good work Tom. As a republican speaking out against this we all hope that you can help other open minded liberals (and open minded conservatives) see this for what it is.

    seriously though…

    Tom your blog is the best place to go for synthesis and analysis of the these issues. You are performing a very valuable service. (As is Jeff ID, but he is performing a different type of valuable service.) I hope that the commendations you receive on this particular blog don’t undermine your credibility on other blogs… that would be unmerited and unfortunate but such is the tragedy of this situation.

  6. curious said

    Agree that Tom is doing good stuff. I’m not a close follower but what I have seen is honest journalism which is sadly lacking elsewhere. Keep at it – the piece Jeff linked is spot on πŸ™‚

  7. Layman Lurker said

    I see my wording in #4 is garbled. Tom Fuller is the Democrat. Not me. πŸ™‚

  8. Arn Riewe said

    “Good on ya” to Tom Fuller. Unlike most in journalism, he actually investigated the information was willing to stand up for what he found.

    Two weeks since the release and still not a word from CBS, NBC or ABC. I’d like to think they are carefully analyzing the story so they come up with some fair and impartial reporting.

    I’d also like to think there really are unicorns.

  9. stan said

    Think of all the questions Tom can ask. He could ask Tom Karl, Tom Peterson, et al why they never checked the temperature monitoring sites. He could ask every prominent climate scientist why no one ever checked Mann’s work. The alarmists can throw up all manner of arguments about opinions or conclusions, but the undeniable truth is that the hockey stick completely overturned the scientific consensus on temperature history and NO ONE ever bothered to check his work. He could ask Andy Revkin why he never bothered to ask that question.

    There is no argument that IPCC rules require reviewer comments to be made available. There is also no argument that requests for those comments were stonewalled. Tom could ask a whole lot of people a whole lot of questions about that.

  10. DeWitt Payne said

    Peterson did check at least some sites. His Powerpoint presentation “proving” that UHI is a non-issue was what convinced me that weather stations were not, as they say in metrology, fit for purpose for climate studies. The corrections were about as large as the effect.

  11. Alan S. Blue said

    “The corrections were about as large as the effect.”

    I’m coming to the conclusion that the UHI corrections are applied in the wrong fashion.

    The value you’re trying to measure with the weather stations is “The local gridcell temperature.” If you’re in a gridcell that’s devoid of humans, there’s no “Urban Warming,” and you use the value directly without any adjustment. (Unless you have multiple measurements and you have the luxury of averaging.) The accuracy and precision of the actual instruments hasn’t changed all that dramatically.

    So a mercury thermometer in 1900 in a location that will become urban – but isn’t yet – is as accurate as any other gridcell temperature observation. Fast-forward to 2000. The same site has an urban environment – but (as is typical) the urban portion is still an insignificant fraction of the entire gridcell. Gridcells are large, cities seem large, but are 1% of the land area. I’m not really talking about large cities that might be significant fractions of their local gridcell.

    So the current measurement inside the urban area of anything from a minor village through a medium city is artificially high. That is, the argument isn’t about the accuracy or precision of the measurement of “the city’s temperature” – just that the temperature of the city is going to be skewed relative to the average gridcell temperature.

    But, in this case, the appropriate correction isn’t to lower the temperature of the past at all. The correct adjustment is to subtract the UHI from the current readings – not to depress the historical readings! If there’s two degrees of “Urban Heat Island” going on in a city in the year 2000, and zero degrees going on in 1900, you don’t depress the ancient values by two degrees to get the current gridcell values to accord with the current measurements.

    This sounds like a trivial issue. But both the temperature reconstructions and the satellite data end up be calibrated and compared with the available ground instruments… after adjustments.

  12. DeWitt Payne said

    The really bad thing is that apparently all these adjustments are thought to improve both the precision and accuracy of the reported numbers. An adjustment may correct for a known bias and improve the accuracy, but it always degrades the precision.

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