the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Archive for November, 2011

A little context and a Poll

Posted by Jeff Id on November 22, 2011

I’ve been asked to give context to some of the emails.   So far, I have read only a few.   This is one though which should have particular resonance with long time Air Vent or Climate Audit readers.  It was started by a subversive climate denier – Jeff Severinghaus – who happens to have been an Associate professor at the University of California when he asked the exact same questions that we so often ask in “skeptic” blogland.   As you can see, Lord Mann nipped it in the bud as hard as a rabid dog could.

This chain is in reverse order.  I’ve bolded the important bits.  What caught my attention about this email set is that Jeff makes the same arguments that we evil skeptics make about paleo reconstructions.  Non-linearity, loss of sensitivity and the fact that if proxies aren’t tracking temp in the modern era, how can we assume they track historic temps?

All very good quesitons, don’t you think?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Climategate 2.0

Posted by Jeff Id on November 22, 2011

Files can be downloaded here.

h/t – kurthbemis  Mirror up at: http://dump.kurthbemis.com/climategate2/

—-

 

UEA Responds – And it’s the expected BS.   Out of context before we put them in context.  I suppose that if you aren’t a certified UEA climatologist, you can’t read.   I guess I’m probably not welcome at climate school there.  Thanks to WUWT again for the link.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011

While we have had only a limited opportunity to look at this latest post of 5,000 emails, we have no evidence of a recent breach of our systems.

If genuine, (the sheer volume of material makes it impossible to confirm at present that they are all genuine) these emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks.

This appears to be a carefully-timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change when that science has been vindicated by three separate independent inquiries and number of studies – including, most recently, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group.

As in 2009, extracts from emails have been taken completely out of context. Following the previous release of emails scientists highlighted by the controversy have been vindicated by independent review, and claims that their science cannot or should not be trusted are entirely unsupported. They, the University and the wider research community have stood by the science throughout, and continue to do so.

———

From WUWT

UPDATE3: 9:25 AM PST – Having read a number of emails, and seeing this quote from Mike Mann in the Guardian:

When asked if they were genuine, he said: “Well, they look like mine but I hardly see anything that appears damning at all, despite them having been taken out of context. I guess they had very little left to work with, having culled in the first round the emails that could most easily be taken out of context to try to make me look bad.”

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It happened again.  I woke up to find a link from FOIA.org on a thread.   Thousands of emails unlocked with 220,000 more hidden behind a password.  Despite the smaller size of the Air Vent due to my lack of time, there were twenty five downloads before I saw it once.  As before, there are some  very nice quotes and clarifications from the consensus.  Below is a guest post in the form of a readme file from the FOIA.org group. – Jeff

/// FOIA 2011 — Background and Context ///

“Over 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day.”

“Every day nearly 16.000 children die from hunger and related causes.”

“One dollar can save a life” — the opposite must also be true.

“Poverty is a death sentence.”

“Nations must invest $37 trillion in energy technologies by 2030 to stabilize
greenhouse gas emissions at sustainable levels.”

Today’s decisions should be based on all the information we can get, not on
hiding the decline.

This archive contains some 5.000 emails picked from keyword searches.  A few
remarks and redactions are marked with triple brackets.

The rest, some 220.000, are encrypted for various reasons.  We are not planning
to publicly release the passphrase.

We could not read every one, but tried to cover the most relevant topics such
as…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Great White Hunter

Posted by Jeff Id on November 21, 2011

Well the air is ice cold and the animals are hard to find in Michigan’s upper peninsula.  That doesn’t mean that the company isn’t great and the effort isn’t there.   For all our efforts, the camp saw dozens of doe a few bucks and some good fun.  I’ve been asked if we drank the time away.  While there is some alcohol at our camp, the atmosphere is more serious than that.   Stands, scents, methods, and long periods of very quiet time in the woods.  The trip consists of, walking until you are tired, moving firewood, showering outdoors, clearing spaces for blinds, hiking followed by black-capped chickadees landing on your equipment, snowy owls, partridge, squirrels, cyotes etc.

I would recommend that everyone spend several days in the cold weather watching wilderness by themselves every year. Self discovery, separation from our modern life and time spent in a different mode of existence are seriously undervalued in today’s world. My hunting skills rival those of most engineer basketball players (I don’t intentionally play basketball) but it is a good time full of learning.  It is amazingly difficult to sit still on a painfully cold morning and hope you don’t make too much noise for the wildlife.  When you get it right, your immediate neighbors are numerous.  A good snow/rain and the silence becomes incredible.

In all, the weather variations were tremendous.  T-shirt weather followed two days later by 8 inches of snow.

I like to tell my wife how bad the food was but one night we had salmon on a cedar plan(c)k. on another we had beef steaks, so it kind of messes up my story.  Perhaps honesty is a bad policy in this case.

By the time I went home I had seen a lot of un-shootable dear, eaten a lot of food and was very ready to get back to work.   Still, there is this unshakable sense that the incredible stupidity of the modern world can’t get me down.

I saw no shootable deer but a ten point walked shamelessly through camp the day before season started.  My dad was talking with Mark (another hunter) who was explaining that in the past two weeks he had seen not one deer.  They were talking outside when a huge beast walked by.  “There’s a deer”, dad said.  Mark tore down the road with a bow in his hand and came close  to a shot when the deer crossed the road but no dice.

Later I asked if the deer walked through camp with its tongue out but deer with an attitude don’t normally live to grow 10 points in the UP of Michigan.

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Problems With Berkeley Weighted Jackknife Method

Posted by Jeff Id on November 20, 2011

Well I’ve heard nothing from the Berkeley temperature team (BEST) on my critique of the CI calculation method. As promised, I waited a couple of weeks before starting to publish any demonstrations of the problem. Like Mannian statistics, this one stuck out to me like a sore thumb. They used a neat method to estimate the confidence interval through the algorithm but in the process accidentally violated the main assumptions of the method they used.  It is described below in the image grabbed from the methods paper.

As I have written before, Equation 36 is based on the premise that the last term is truly 7/8 of the data. Having no response yet to my critique, I thought it would be worthwhile to make a simple example of the problem for demonstration here. The BEST algorithm works by weighting data closer to the mean greater than data far from the mean. The intent is to weight the better quality stations ahead of the rest. The result, however, may be quite a bit different than the intent.

Read the rest of this entry »

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In Case You Were Wondering

Posted by Jeff Id on November 11, 2011

It is all about money.   Every action in the world is about motivations and where money is involved, the gold is usually king.  Sure you are motivated to play with your children, that’s not money but when you get up to go to work and it’s still dark out, you may love your job but it’s typically about money.  Feed the kids, keep the lights on – capitalism is rampant even in the most communist countries.

Well Penn state, which famously ignored its own employee’s role in climategate, has been caught pretending another situation didn’t exist. This time the situation was so horrific on an individual level that the comparison to previous indiscretions is nearly impossible but the amount of Penn State money involved was so much greater that it can legitimately be made.  Recently Penn State President Graham Spanier  was forcibly retired from office.   This is not proof or even evidence that the president was directly involved or even had any knowledge of the insane sexual behavior by PSU employees which appear to have been deliberately ignored by senior management, but firing was the right thing to do.   PSU has an illness in the form of a culture in management which ignores even hideous error in favor of business-as-usual cash flow.  Morality at PSU has taken a back seat to gold.

Steve McIntyre wrote a post on it recently which has this quote on Climategate:

Clive Crook of the Atlantic Monthly mercilessly criticized Penn State for their fatuous findings that success in bringing revenue to the university and accolades from peers necessarily meant that misconduct was precluded:

The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann — the paleoclimatologist who came up with “the hockey stick” — would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for “lack of credible evidence”, it will not even investigate them. …

You think I exaggerate?

This level of success in proposing research, and obtaining funding to conduct it, clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession for proposing research…

Had Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions…

Clearly, Dr. Mann’s reporting of his research has been successful and judged to be outstanding by his peers. This would have been impossible had his activities in reporting his work been outside of accepted practices in his field.

In short, the case for the prosecution is never heard. Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one of them) are true, and says no.

When the Penn state climategate reviews came out, the typical media’s uncritical acceptance of nonsense words out of Penn State was stunning.  It revealed to all who were paying attention just how deeply invested the university and media are in insuring that the global warming message and money flow not be reduced by even the most blatantly false actions.  The result was that Penn State has been successful in maintaining its public scientific reputation (and cash flow) in the same pre-climategate mode and the enviro-team has continued down their paths undaunted and likely re-invigorated that they are untouchable.  The only thing I can do is write about it here on my blog and make a personal guarantee to Penn State University that when my sons go to college (which they will), not one dollar will intentionally come from our family to this corrupt, and truly disgusting institution.  Don’t think for a moment that these messages are not being unintentionally communicated to Penn State students as thousands were idiotically rioting in the streets over the football coach’s firing.

It was all about the gold in both cases.  Hopefully they are capable of shame because no group deserves more of that today than PSU.  They can change as all institutions can but the first step is admission and from what I can see, they have a big hill to climb to even recognize that.  They can relax and be thankful that I am not boss as a few token firings are not impressive.  A top down investigation and re-training of all professors and management regarding the written code of ethics is absolutely required along with a TRUE focus on maintaining that culture.  Done right, that would reverse things over years of time.   Unfortunately, some serious pruning is likely required to get the job done right because this culture has apparently been bred over decades.  If your organization doesn’t have the moral center to cut out the worst offenders, what value do you have as an organization.

Anyway, that’s the memo for today.   I’ll be gone for the next week on my annual climategate hunting trip looking for invisible deers in a woods so deep that without a compass, you might not return.   If someone would like a guest post to run during that time, send something to my email on the left.  After Saturday, I’m gone to a quieter place where crazy and immoral people are not allowed.

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IEA Solves Climatechange – Guardian

Posted by Jeff Id on November 10, 2011

Fantastic news.  We don’t have to worry about blogging on climate anymore.  It turns out that in 5 years we can’t do anything anyway.

The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be “lost for ever”, according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.

Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this “lock-in” effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world’s foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.

“The door is closing,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.”

They don’t know that they are nuts do they? We’ll just shut down those evil money-making factories and save the earth from warming.  Haha.  Everyone who volunteers for unemployed starvation, raise your hands now.  All that to prevent what looks ever-more like very minimal warming through CO2.   One point made by Steve McIntyre at CA is that the BEST data already shows 2C of warming.  It seems to me that this created a net ZERO detectable change in weather patterns.    But for the next degree C we should shut down everything NOW!!

Well, maybe later guys.

If current trends continue, and we go on building high-carbon energy generation, then by 2015 at least 90% of the available “carbon budget” will be swallowed up by our energy and industrial infrastructure. By 2017, there will be no room for manoeuvre at all – the whole of the carbon budget will be spoken for, according to the IEA’s calculations.

Those must be some very interesting calculations.   Since the claim is that carbon stays in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years, how is it that our current production doesn’t exceed the “budget”?   Still, all of it doesn’t matter because we will cross the threshold in  5 years and everyone “sane” knows we will still be doing the same thing in five years.  Therefore the best answer is to disband the IPCC, UN, WMO etc.  so that we can save the cash for air conditioners and tunnel diggers to survive the doom to follow.

Thank god for the enlightened writers at the Guardian to get the message out for the IEA.

There is a maximum line for extreme and when the enlightened leaders  cross it, the answer to the shrill cries becomes pretty clear.  Stop listening because we can’t solve that problem anyway.

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Global Temperature Reconstruction Comparisons

Posted by Jeff Id on November 5, 2011

Zeke has a nice comparison of various global ground temperature reconstructions at the blackboard.  It’s worth checking out.

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

Considered Critique of Berkeley Temp Series

Posted by Jeff Id on November 3, 2011

I will leave this alone for another week or two while I wait for a reply to my emails to the BEST group, but there are three primary problems with the Berkley temperature trends which must be addressed if the result is to be taken seriously.  Now by seriously, I don’t mean by the IPCC which takes all alarmist information seriously, but by the thinking person.

1 – Chopping of data is excessive.   They detect steps in the data, chop the series at the steps and reassemble them.   These steps wouldn’t  be so problematic if we weren’t worrying about detecting hundredths of a degree of temperature change per year. Considering that a balanced elimination of up and down steps in any algorithm I know of would always detect more steps in the opposite direction of trend, it seems impossible that they haven’t added an additional amount of trend to the result through these methods. Steve McIntyre discusses this here. At the very least, an examination of the bias this process could have on the result is required.

2 – UHI effect.  The Berkeley study not only failed to determine the magnitude of UHI, a known effect on city temperatures that even kids can detect, it failed to detect UHI at all.  Instead of treating their own methods with skepticism, they simply claimed that UHI was not detectable using MODIS and therefore not a relevent effect.

This is not statistically consistent with prior estimates, but it does verify that the effect is very small, and almost insignificant on the scale of the observed warming (1.9 ± 0.1 °C/100yr since 1950 in the land average from figure 5A).

This is in direct opposition to Anthony Watts surfacestation project which through greater detail was very much able to detect the ‘insignificant’ effect.

Summary and Discussion
The classification of 82.5% of USHCNv2 stations based on CRN criteria provides a unique opportunity for investigating the impacts of different types of station exposure on temperature trends, allowing us to extend the work initiated in Watts [2009] and Menne et al. [2010].
The comparison of time series of annual temperature records from good and poor exposure sites shows that differences do exist between temperatures and trends calculated from USHCNv2 stations with different exposure characteristics. 550 Unlike Menne et al. [2010], who grouped all USHCNv2 stations into two classes and found that “the unadjusted CONUS minimum temperature trend from good and poor exposure sites … show only slight differences in the unadjusted data”, we found the raw (unadjusted) minimum temperature trend to be significantly larger when estimated from the sites with the poorest exposure sites relative to the sites with the best exposure. These trend differences were present over both the recent NARR overlap period (1979-2008) and the period of record (1895-2009). We find that the partial cancellation Menne et al. [2010] reported between the effects of time of observation bias adjustment and other adjustments on minimum temperature trends is present in CRN 3 and CRN 4 stations but not CRN 5 stations. Conversely, and in agreement with Menne et al. [2010], maximum temperature trends were lower with poor exposure sites than with good exposure sites, and the differences in
trends compared to CRN 1&2 stations were statistically significant for all groups of poorly sited stations except for the CRN 5 stations alone. The magnitudes of the significant trend differences exceeded 0.1°C/decade for the period 1979-2008 and, for minimum temperatures, 0.7°C per century for the period 1895-2009.

The non-detection of UHI by Berkley is NOT a sign of a good quality result considering the amazing detail that went into Surfacestations by so many people. A skeptical scientist would be naturally concerned by this and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to say the least that the authors aren’t more concerned with the Berkley methods. Either surfacestations very detailed, very public results are flat wrong or Berkeley’s black box literal “characterization from space” results are.  Someone needs to show me the middle ground here because I can’t find it.

I sent this in an email to Dr. Curry:

Non-detection of UHI is a sign of problems in method. If I had the time, I would compare the urban/rural BEST sorting with the completed surfacestations project. My guess is that the comparison of methods would result in a non-significant relationship.

3 – Confidence intervals.

The confidence intervals were calculated in this method by eliminating a portion of the temperature stations and looking at the noise that the elimination created. Lubos Motl described the method accurately as intentionally ‘damaging’ the dataset.  It is a clever method to identify the sensitivity of the method and result to noise.  The problem is that the amount of damage assumed is equal to the percentage of temperature stations which were eliminated. Unfortunately the high variance stations are de-weighted by intent in the processes such that the elimination of 1/8 of the stations is absolutely no guarantee of damaging 1/8 of the noise. The ratio of eliminated noise to change in final result is assumed to be 1/8 and despite some vague discussion of monte-carlo verifications, no discussion of this non-linearity was even attempted in the paper.

Prayer to the AGW gods.

All that said, I don’t believe that warming is undetectable or that temperatures haven’t risen this century. I believe that CO2 helps warming along as the most basic physics proves. My objection has always been to the magnitude caused by man, the danger and the literally crazy “solutions”. Despite all of that, this temperature series is statistically speaking, the least impressive on the market. Hopefully, the group will address my confidence interval critiques, McIntyre’s valid breakpoint detection issues and a more in depth UHI study.

Holding of breath is not advised.

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More BEST Confidence Interval Discussion

Posted by Jeff Id on November 1, 2011

Well, I’ve written to Richard Muller yesterday on this as well as Judith Curry, Richard has yet to acknowledge my email.  We have seen that my previous explanations of the problems in the confidence intervals of the BEST temperature series were confusing for some pretty smart people.  I’m hoping the authors can figure out what I mean but today I wanted to delve a little deeper. The methods paper is here.

On page 17 they are discussing the error calculation methods.  It is a bunch of complex stuff which breaks down to weighting stations that have best correlation to the mean value higher.  Limits were placed on how much a station can be deweighted and upweighted.   The typical error of a point was assigned value ‘e’ as a constant.

The scale of the typical measurement error (𝑒 ≈ 0.55 C)

This is a screen grab of the station weighting section on pages 17 and 18:

Equation 31 limits the weights between 1/13 and 2.

My reasoning for looking deeper into this is because I have yet to receive any reply on the issues of weighting and their effect on the Jackknife calculation. I’ve become more convinced than ever that the problem is real and it will absolutely require a re-write of the CI portion of the paper. I was going to attempt to improve my explanation and started digging deeper into the equations presented.

The way I read the weighting section now, stations are estimated measured for variance from the weighted mean. Weights are re-calculated from this variance and the mean is recomputed from the weighted data. The process is repeated until some convergence threshold is met or the number of iterations is met. The claim by the paper is that the average station weight should be near 1 according to their definition but the actual result after iteration may be a bit different. There appears to be more room for deweighting stations by the equations than for overweighting. Read the rest of this entry »

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