I finally got GIStemp source code loaded into the Qemu SPARC emulator, unpacked it, and did a preliminary assessment.
First off, it is way out of date. It looks like it is a 2011 release from just prior to a major revision. So no source code for 1/3 of a decade or so AND a major revision. Not exactly caring about that whole ‘currency’ thing…
Next up, in looking at the things that did change, I noticed some things. First off, it points to a link for the Antarctic data that no longer works. Did it work in 2011? Who knows. But now it has a nice glitzy interactive web site that lets you download bits and pieces and look at bits and pieces… but not grab the data sets that are used as input to GIStemp. This means that either they have a very different way of getting the Antarctic data, or they just don’t bother to use it any more.
In this download, the same source is used as in the older version described here:
Except that site now has a user friendly interface, not somewhere that you can download the data as a file.
So look around at the interface on those pages. You can ‘hunt and peck’ for a station detail, on a point in time basis. Download the data set? Not so much… Then again, notice on the ‘temperatures’ page linked above; the last update date:
“Last modified : Friday 6 February 2009″
So… just what Antarctic data ARE used by GIStemp? Data, we don’t need no stieenking data! (A reference to a movie with the line “Badges? Badges! We don’t need no steenking badges!” give by some Mexican banditos pretending to be Federal agents.) Now this isn’t as bad as it looks ( or maybe it is worse…) since most of those stations don’t have any modern data anyway. Click on a few. Couple of decades for many. Often from disjoint moments in time. So again: Just what Antarctic data are used in GIStemp? Say, from this millennium?
A screen capture of the listing of the input_files directory where the Antarctic data is bundled in with GIStemp sources is somewhat revealing.
Notice that the Antarctic data included in the download are from ‘about’ the same vintage as the source code. 2011 is when I think they last updated. Some of the antarc data files are 2011, some 2010, some 2009… though the 2009 is marked ‘old’. So when did the Antarctic site break the download? Has there been any update since? Does GIStemp even use any Antarctic data anymore? Who knows.
But wait, there’s more…
Since GIStemp smears data via ‘homogenizing’ to places where it has no data, from places where it does have data, and since those places can be up to 1200 km away (though it does this smear in three different steps, so really might be ‘smearing a smear’ from up to 3600 km away) it can just fill in the temp data using ‘nearby’ stations. In the final steps GIStemp adds in the Hadley Sea Surface Temperature. So what is wrong with using cold temps from near the ice to fill in over the ice? Well… How about if you decide to just not use temperatures from places where the water is near the ice?
Remember that you can click on the images to make them larger and easier to read. This is an interesting bit of code. It is in STEP4 and the whole listing (minus the added bit described in a panel below) is in this posting:
In looking at the date stamps in STEP4_5, I noticed that it had changed. Why? I wondered. It isn’t a USHCN related step, and doesn’t depend on USHCN.V1 vs V2 changes (like the rest of the changed files).
Notice that this program is the only one with a 2011 date stamp. Everything else is quite old. So what changed? First off, to get oriented, let’s look at this part from the top of the code. (I downloaded this copy of the sources today, so this is as ‘fresh’ as it gets). In particular, we are looking for the meaning of three variables that are used in a very small fragment of code that was inserted into this program in 2011. They are I, J, and M. Look at the comments about lines 9, 10. They state that I is longitude and J is latitude. (You can also see where they are dimensioned and I gets 1-360 while J gets 1-180 – so 360 degrees of longitude and from -90 to +90 mapped onto 1 to 180). M gets the temperature for that location for any given month.
Why focus on those variables? Because this code was added. It says to mark any cell that is anywhere in longitude ( from 1 to 360 degrees around the globe ) that are in the range near the pole, with ‘bad’, meaning to toss out the data. Just don’t use it. Notice the comment.
Yes, you read that right. The comment says:
“Skip some regions where SST is impacted by nearby ice floats”
That 166 to 180 loop says that anything from 76 N to 90 N is to have the data tossed out.
I found a description of which way the arrays run. I’d assumed N to S, but they run S to N, so the above line has been changed from 76 S to 76 N. So it is the N. Pole (where there is more water data anyway) that has the SST data tossed.
The output GRID is rectangular (i:West to East, j:South to North),
where the pole boxes might be of a different latitudinal size than
the other boxes (but North and South pole boxes having the same size).
if offI=0, Western edges of i=1 boxes lie on the international date line;
if offI=-.5, centers of i=1 boxes lie on the international date line;
if dlat=180./JM, all boxes have the same latitudinal extent;
if dlat=180./(JM-1), pole boxes are half boxes.
Though notice that there are some selections possible.
So any Arctic water temperatures can only come from places closer to the equator, and the Antarctic itself has very few currently reporting stations; and that data may or may not actually be making it into GIStemp.
This is the May to October period, so when it is cold at the South Pole. BTW, I have a series of sea surface graphs from that period, all showing cold water anomalies. Nowhere to be seen in GIStemp. But that is for another day to sort out. IMHO, this image is showing GISTemp having a Jump The Shark moment.
I’ve got some more on GIStemp, but that will wait for another posting. The big lumps are just that the source code is out of date, the data looks like it is missing a chunk from ‘down south’, and in 2011 the code was modified to avoid water temps from near ice. One can only wonder what possible rationalization could exist for that change. IMHO, it is totally unwarranted by any means. Might as well just start dropping any thermometers in cold places…