the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Thumb (and foot) on the Scale

Posted by Jeff Id on December 8, 2009

Well at WUWT a bit of a surprise this morning to say the least.Take a look at the post by the almost always understated Willis Eschenbach. How do we know global warming is exaggerated – this is how.

Now how could a station all by itself require a 1C adjustment since 1960?

31 Responses to “Thumb (and foot) on the Scale”

  1. timetochooseagain said

    These are really implausible looking adjustments. Notice that the data was apparently perfect or nearly so before 1920. And notice how the steps are clearly associated with discontinuities in the adjusted data. Adjustments are supposed to remove those, not create them!

  2. AJStrata said

    I added some more context to that excellent work. They are completely plausible, if the real data indicates that the IPCC climate models would force the conclusion there is no AGW.

    BTW, on of my readers found another example of Phil Jones possibly hiding the decline:

  3. Joel said

    Come on Jeff, although my attention is sometimes “loose”, I will try not to “lose” it altogether.

  4. Jeff Id said

    #3 I’m just grumpy this morning for other reasons. I changed the post.

  5. Jeff Id said

    It’s one of the strongest posts I’ve seen in blogland. Willis really hit it out of the park.

  6. Retired Engineer said

    “Never let a good crisis go to waste”

    And if you don’t have one, create it.

    At some point, this has to justify a major lawsuit.

  7. ed_finnerty said

    let the backpeddling begin – just like in New Zealand

    This might be the post that finally knocks this thing out of the park

    outstanding work by Willis

  8. stevemcintyre said

    HEre’s a somewhat related post that I did on an Australian station a couple of years ago

  9. boballab said

    Well it gets better take a look at tthis the ICECAP had by a Dr. Richard Keen of the University of Colorado. It shows the same problem in GHCN in Alaska as Willis found in Darwin:

  10. boballab said

    Forgot to put this in:

    You got Willis finding shennanigans in Darwin.

    Dr. Keene finding Shennanigans in Alaska.

    Saw that AJ Strata found the same problem Willis did in South America (Raw flat or decreasing, “adjusted” turn on the AC temp rise)

    and Steve has something too.

    There is an old saying:
    First time is an accident, second is a coincidence and the third time is enemy action. With the same problem showing up in 3 different continents, you can’t just say its all a small mistake anymore.

  11. John said

    Jeff et al. I wonder if y’all could help clarify a question that has been kicking around in my head for the last couple of days.

    So we’ve got 5 major temperature records…
    UAH (satellite)
    RSS (satellite)

    GISS and HadCruT get most of their raw data from GHCN and all three are then adjusted (lets ignore the adjusting issues for a moment) in various ways but all manage to look pretty much the same.

    Weren’t the surface temperature records used to calibrate how were are recording/extrapolating the temperature record for the RSS and UAH data sets?

    Is it really acceptable to say that these 5 temperature records are independent without being ignorant of the true situation or just bald face lying?

    So wouldn’t the apparent willingness to commit fraud at CRU call into question every major temperature record?

    If none of the temperature records are trustworthy, how can any study (regardless of the level of intellectual honesty of the scientists that developed the study) based on any of those records being considered valid anymore?

  12. Jeff Id said

    #11, I believe that radiosonde data is the primary method of step correction between satellites. I’m not certain of that though. The primary ground datasets are not independent and it is one of the big lies of climate science.

    The different sets do look similar because our eyes catch the short term variance, however they are not similar. This post is from way back when tAV used to be a science blog three weeks ago.

    It shows a statistically significant yet small difference inbetween even the different ground datasets.

    Same thing between satellite data.

    Note the trends between the satellite and ground plots, they are clearly not the same.

    And if you’re interested in some of the detail of satellite data.

  13. Alan S. Blue said

    What you can say about the ground-to-satellite comparison is: There hasn’t been a systematic effort to calibrate the ground measurements to the satellites -either-.

    The ground sites are “Weather Stations” that have been commandeered into the job of determining climate. That means you can pretty much guarantee any individual weather station is -not- sitting on the precise spot necessary to have a “representative sample” of the gridcell it is going to represent in the regional averages.

    From the satellite’s areal coverage, you can directly calculate the gridcell’s representative temperature. The discrepancy between the ground measurement and the gridcell’s satellite average should at least then provide a solid basis for knowing the offset of one’s ground based instrument.

  14. stan said

    Does anyone have the link to the finding that 79% of the stations show no warming? I think it was on ChiefIO’s site, but negotiating around his site isn’t easy to find a particular post. He needs to do a short, sweet post with 10 or 20 of the most interesting findings and links there to. For example:
    1. Oldest, best quality stations show little warming trend (link)
    2. Warming is due to recent stations added to database (link)
    3. No warming evident in summer (link)

  15. stan said

    see also

  16. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Willis E makes some good points besides giving an example where the adjustments made to a station and region would appear on the face of it to be large and puzzling as to rationale. I often hear the AGW consensus people referring to independent temperature series which if they truly think that would appear to be naively uninformed and if that is not the case would appear to be disingenuous. I am going with uninformed as I think there is a lot more of that going around then would be confessed by a group that, I think, wants that consensus to be considered an informed one.

    Interesting also that we do not know what versions of GHCN data is used by CRU. I do know for a fact that the newest GHCN (USHCN) version of the US temperature (lower 48 states) series from 1920 forward is statistically different than the latest GISS version, indicating one or the other or both sets are wrong. It is time for me to do some digging.

  17. AJStrata said

    Alan S Blue in 13. I agree whole heartedly. The satellites have the benefit of consistency across the globe, not a hodge-podge of ground sensors of varying accuracy, sensor errors, reading/recording errors, siting problems and degradation profiles.

    Satellites have errors and biases and degradation – but it is consistent across their global measurements, only changing when you go from one satellite to the next. To detect a global signal it will show up clearer from these sources than the myriad of systemic noise the land sensors impose.

    I do believe sats are calibrated with radiosonde, but you could do a regional test on any station buy comparing ground based measurements from a family of nearby stations and comparing the offsets from satellites. Then you can compare clusters to a common reference (the sat) and also to each other.

    This is not much different from how you can use clock ensembles to resolve errors and increase accuracy.

    The problem is the alarmists have this all bassackwards. To them the almighty treemometer has the ability to determine temperature to tenths of a degree!

    Anyone who believes that should read tea leaves to predict the future climate.

  18. FrancisT said

    FWIW The released data from the UK met office seems so far (I’ve not done an exhaustive examination) to not be as wildly adjusted as some others. At least my plot of DARWIN from this set looks like the unadjusted GHCN data in Willis’ graph 7 in the Darwin post linked above

  19. Ryan O said

    See? It all comes down to GHCN.

  20. stan said

    “After looking at long-term weather stations (in Qld, NSW, Vic), and comparing 1914 temperatures against 2008, about 75% of the stations were warmer in 1914.”

  21. Nick Stokes said

    Following FrancisT #18, here’s my plot of CRU data vs GISS raw. They match almost exactly in the overlap region. No big adjustments there. Nor is there in GISS homogeneity-adjusted. It seems Willis’ plot of GHCN (NOAA) adjusted is the outlier. It will be interesting to find out why.

  22. boballab said


    Nick I don’t know if you will see this first here or on WUWT but I asked if the record you pulled from the Met office was labled as the Raw data or Adjusted or not at all. The reason I’m asking is that not all of the records that the Met released are Raw and they say so themselves in their FAQ:

    “The data that we are providing is the database used to produce the global temperature series. Some of these data are the original underlying observations and some are observations adjusted to account for non climatic influences, for example changes in observations methods.”

  23. Robert L said

    An odd question occurred to me:

    When the satellite data was calibrated, what was it calibrated against?

    When a new satellite is launched, what is it calibrated against?

    If the answer is GISS / HadCRU, then how can we say that the satellites are “independent” of the ground temperature network?

  24. Jeff Id said

    #23 there is a lot of information on this on line. Search for RSS or UAH satellite temperature records. I believe satellites are calibrated against weather balloon data as they are more suited to the LTL sensitivity. However the radiosondes (balloons) are susceptible to their own steps due to instrument improvement.

  25. Nick Stokes said

    Boballab #22
    You can check the MetOffice site. They say
    The data downloadable from this page are a subset of the full HadCRUT3 record of global temperatures, which is one of the global temperature records that have underpinned IPCC assessment reports and numerous scientific studies.
    And you get what I plotted. Basically a long set of the GHCN raw data, without noticeable adjustment at all. And according to the website, that’s what goes into Hadcrut3.

  26. Jay said

    Hi Jeff – don’t know if you have read this – but one of the best articles I’ve read concerning skeptism over Global Warming and what we are doing about it. My apologies if this has been posted before.

  27. NokTang said

    On another blog someone posted this about the Darwin files:

    “Five minutes of searching using google shows the answer. Until 1941 there was no station at Darwin Airport, the data was gathered in other locations (possibly the botanical gardens). Then in 1941 a station was set up at the airport and data was gathered from there.
    The change in station location occurs at exactly the same time as a sudden drop in temperature occurs in the record presented in the link (The Smoking Gun At Darwin Zero Watts Up With That?). Therefore it’s pretty obvious that the move of the station has something to do with the temperature drop.

    So, this wattsupwiththat website appears to have completely missed the actual error in order to focus on these cheating scientists. What they should be complaining about is that fact that two stations have been merged into one (which should NOT be done).”

    Willis or others care to comment on that?

  28. Jeff Id said

    #27, I completely agree that if the station moved at that time and there is a step, it must be corrected. What is the excuse for the 1930,1950,1962, and 1980 corrections?

    The answer has nothing to do with station moves.

  29. P Gosselin said

    at HotAir!

  30. Kenneth Fritsch said

    For those of you who are looking for a complete refutation of global warming, I will disappoint. My point in this whole exercise is more subtle. I wanted to determine whether we could compare temperature series for regions of the globe and over certain time periods where the temperature difference would show statistically significant differences. As far as we know these temperature series are constructed using much of the same raw and perhaps adjusted data. These series, while used separately, like to advertise the fact that they closely follow one on another. I would think that to show statistically significant differences between sets would place uncertainty on all sets as we do not have an independent and absolute standard for comparison. Even smallish differences would place doubts.

    To that end, I compared the data sets described below and measured the normalized differences over several global regions and mainly two time periods. I used CRUTEM3+HadSST2 and GISS 1200 km and GISS 250 km for temperature data sets of land and sea for comparisons from the link:

    That link is very useful for extracting zonal temperatures from the globe. I used the globe, and the zones (around the globe longitudinally): 0-20N, 0-20S, 20N-40N, 20S-40S, 40N-60N, 40S-60S, 60N-80N and 60S-80S. Unfortunately when comparing polar regions, the CRU data set did not have sufficient data points to do a reasonable comparison. Why the GISS data sets had more data points (filled in?) I do not know at this time.

    The results are listed below and a graph is linked here:

    For the time period 1900-2008 for the globe we get the following statistical results:
    The trend is from a linear regression of data set differences versus time and is in degrees C per century. The adjusted R^2 has its usual meaning. The probability that the trend could happen by chance is given by p carried only to 3 decimal places. The lower and upper trend values at the 95% CIs are listed.

    Trend = 0.07; Adj R^2 = 0.26; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.05; Up95% = 0.09

    Trend = 0.02; Adj R^2 = 0.00; p = 0.265; Low95% = NA; Up95% = NA

    There is nothing very different about these data sets except that the CRU-GISS1200 is significantly different – but not by much. However, when the difference time series are viewed as, by example in the linked graph above, an apparent step is noted around the mid 1940s. A trend from 1945-2008 yields some very significant differences for the globe as noted below:

    Trend = 0.14; Adj R^2 = 0.34; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.09; Up95% = 0.19

    Trend = 0.17; Adj R^2 = 0.34; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.11 ; Up95% = 0.23

    Using these same methods the results below show the differences for the time period 1900-2008 (except where noted) and 1945-2008 for global zonal regions. Results are shown only for CRU-GISS1200. The differences between CRU-GISS250 while different were of the same magnitude.

    0-20N for 1900-2008:
    Trend = 0.05; Adj R^2 = 0.11; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.02; Up95% = 0.08

    0-20S for 1900-2008:
    Trend = 0.15; Adj R^2 = 0.47; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.12; Up95% = 0.18

    20N-40N for 1900-2008:
    Trend = 0.02; Adj R^2 = 0.01; p = 0.192; Low95% = NA; Up95% = NA

    20S-40S for 1900-2008:
    Trend = 0.17; Adj R^2 = 0.44; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.13; Up95% = 0.21

    40N-60N for 1900-2008:
    Trend = 0.01; Adj R^2 = 0.00; p = 0.405; Low95% = NA; Up95% = NA

    40S-60S for 1956-2008:
    Trend = 0.44; Adj R^2 = 0.31; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.26; Up95% = 0.62

    0-20N for 1945-2008:
    Trend = 0.16; Adj R^2 = 0.49; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.12; Up95% = 0.20

    0-20S for 1945-2008:
    Trend = 0.20; Adj R^2 = 0.58; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.16; Up95% = 0.24

    20N-40N for 1945-2008:
    Trend = 0.08; Adj R^2 = 0.23; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.05; Up95% = 0.12

    20S-40S for 1945-2008:
    Trend = 0.43; Adj R^2 = 0.82; p = 0.000; Low95% = 0.37; Up95% = 0.48

    40N-60N for 1945-2008:
    Trend = -0.09; Adj R^2 = 0.13; p = 0.002; Low95% = -0.15; Up95% = -0.03

    60N-80N for 1945-2008:
    Trend = -0.24; Adj R^2 = 0.08; p = 0.015; Low95% = -0.43; Up95% = -0.05

  31. stan said

    Brisbane — 0.6 cooler adjusted to 0.6 hotter

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