Just an open discussion thread
I’ve had a request or two for a place to discuss the KUSI “Global Warming, The Other Side” shows. OK, here it is.
Please keep the discussion centered on the shows or issues they discuss.
Also, please note that I’ve not yet seen the second show. ( I know, I ought to, but I’ve just been a bit too busy. It takes more time to be IN a show than to watch it ;-) But I’ll get to it in a day or so. I do remember all of my interview, but don’t know how much of it made it to the air. Yet. (Then, a couple of my days this week were taken up by medical stuff. No, nothing bad, just a bunch of ‘delayed 10 years’ required inspections and maintenance visits :-).
My major point has simply been that much of the available data is not used. It is dropped on the floor. You can call it “deleted” or “dropped” or “ignored” or whatever. It is still NOT in the GHCN data set. The pattern of these “droppings” is that high latitude and high altitude stations are dropped, while low altitude and low latitude stations are kept (with an ever increasing percentage at warm heat islands of airports). There is a clear ‘survivor bias’ toward warmer stations (and with warming trends, like airports), with warmer winters, more heat islands, and lots of tarmac.
(I’ve preferred to call them “deletions from the record” but some folks have complained about that implying intent and active process. I’m not fond of the implications of “droppings” [ it reminds me of something chickens do… that farm background ] but I’m willing to use that as it is more passive in intent. In either case, a “high cold” thermometer that is in the baseline period is left out in the present. Thousands of them, in fact. That is horrific ‘survivor bias’.)
The major “defense” of the “droppings” has been from two directions.
First, that there is no person actively pruning thermometers. While the “spin” put on my position has tended to say there is active intentional removal of thermometers for malicious effect; I have gone out of my way to point out that I can not know any person’s intent, only the result. I’ve also said that it is possible, though increasingly remote as a possibility, that the thermometer drops are a passive action from accidental ignorance. I do hold to Hanlon’s Razor. (Roughly paraphrased as “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.) But “adequately explained” is becoming ever harder to accept… But in either case, I’m more interested in the FACT of the thermometer deletions (or drops) from the record and what that says about data bias; than about whether there has been a sin of omission or of commission. It’s a sin in either case. Was it murder or involuntary thermometer slaughter? In either case “It’s dead Jim”, and it’s wrong.
My favorite poster child for this is Bolivia (though there are several options) where no data are in GHCN for the last 20 years, yet CLIMAT reports are available at least since 2007 ( I’ve seen them online from that period). So something other than CLIMAT reports being “missing” must be the cause for the droppings. Whatever it is, other folks have no problem finding the temperature in Bolivia (or the omitted parts of Russia, Canada, etc.)
Second defense, that the “anomaly” process will prevent thermometer drops from having an impact. ( This is usually followed by a theoretical example of comparing a thermometer only to itself and showing that with perfect anomaly processing and an idealized unbroken record, there is no problem.) But the reality is that we don’t compare thermometers only to themselves and the records are horridly broken and with massive “fill in” with fantasy “data”. So we have “fantasy basket A” to “fantasy basket B” that change over time.
Well, thermometer change / drops / deletions DO have an impact. I’ve run a benchmark through the GIStemp code and using exactly the stations GISS dropped (from the USHCN data from 5/2007 to 11/2009 -when they put them back in, after some postings pointing out how to do it and that it was an ‘issue’… – perhaps just a coincidence…) and the anomaly map shows warming from those station being dropped. We can argue about the price of this streetwalker, but what it does is not in dispute.
The reason it fails to stop all survivor bias impact is two fold. One fixable, one less so.
First, it does not do the anomaly comparison “self to self” [ I call that “selfing” after the pollination process ] but rather “Basket A in time A” to “Basket B in time B”. And once the two things being used to create an “anomaly” are different from each other, you have opened the door for a variety of very subtile biases to change the result. This, too, is not in dispute. (Well, it is by some who are a bit slow to catch on, but it is not in dispute by the folks who wrote the code. One of the NASA FOIA emails admit to this problem and bias.)
The second reason is rather subtile, and it is one I’m “in discussions” about publishing; so I’ll not make it public until some decision is reached on that front. ( I may tire of the whole backbiting “peer reviewed publishing” process and just go for “public reviewed self published”. That is my leaning, but folks keep telling me it’s important to be “in the literature”… We’ll see.) Lets just say that it depends on some assumptions everyone makes that are wrong, and looking at what is ignored. It will impart survivor bias into the First Differences Method, and the Reference Station Method. I believe it will impart bias into the Climatology Anomaly Method as well, but the definition of that method might allow for an approach that would dampen the bias (i.e. “perfect” selfing and lifetime), so I have a bit more homework to do before asserting it as fact for all variations. Basically, for any system where the thermometers change over time, it allows for bias to show in the product. And that’s as far as I can go on that point right now. It is this property that, IMHO, lets the benchmark change for GIStemp.
The bottom line is that survivor bias from thermometer change matters, and there has been a heck fo a lot of biased thermometer change.
I’ve not seen other folks stuff yet (for part 2). I can guess that Anthony Watts covered the biases in station locations and poor maintenance. What surfacestations.org has turned up ought to call the whole temperature history quality into question. Thermometers over asphalt and under AC waste heat vents. On roofs covered with black tar. Near waste water treatment plants (always warm). And increasingly at airports (and even if low traffic locations, the tarmac and concrete runways stay year round). Heck, the lack of tree cover, and the snow removal, will cause several degrees of local heating at some times of the year.
I would further guess that the issues of “adjustment” and “homogenizing” were covered. Not only do we have sparse crappy data with too poor a temporal or geographic coverage, but then we fudge it out of all recognition and make up large chunks where we have gaps. Hardly inspiring trust and confidence.
What else? For now, other folks will have to provide those talking points. Once I’ve seen the show I can add something here.
Well, I’ve now seen parts 5 and 8 via the links here:
So far I like what I’m seeing ;-)
It is interesting to note that this time it looks like Coleman had so much to work with that individual interviews got cut down some to fit the time available. (You spend a half hour on camera in the studio and a couple of minutes make the show.) So the Bolivia reference was not in, but the Russia and Canada were. Probably the better choice. Lots of regular folks don’t really seem to care about Bolivia.
I also very much liked the segment with Dr. John Christy at UAH on the disconnect developing between the satellites and GIStemp. Part of “the game” in GIStemp looks to me like a rewrite of the (unverifiable by other means) old past of land data; then to anchor the land data in the present so it stays in sync with the verifiable period of time (since 1980 or so). But time passes. And that “anchored” segment is starting to be a millstone around the neck. Now there is either a drift downward of the early part of the verifiable segment (as it get re-written) OR you get a continually rising curve that does not match the satellite product.
It looks to me very much like a decision that has reached it’s ‘end of life’. It was workable for the 1980-1990 period of time, became a bit dodgy in the 1990’s but was saved by the 1998 warm spike, and has now had the wheels come off in the 2000’s as the satellite data drop away from the 1998 peak and GIStemp tries to flatten it (GIStemp tends to ‘iron out’ the past) and get “lift” recently (so the increasing divergence to the satellites will show). It will be fun to watch this verifiable period of time gnaw away at the GIStemp product over time. Especially now that the PDO flip has us lined up for 30 years of cooling. For the period from 1978 until now we have largely been using satellites to measure the warming phase of the PDO cycle. Now we have a cooling phase.
Yeah, it will take 20 years to get a reasonably complete satellite sample, but at least then we’ll have something decent to work with (not just a 30 year up slope of 1/2 the cycle). And yeah, there will be a couple of years of ‘lack of cooling’ as this anemic solar cycle sputters out a few sun spots. But we’re looking at about a 7 year cycle this time, so 3 years of ‘support’ at most. Then we’re back headed ‘off the cliff’ ( if prior Grand Minimum periods spot cycles are a guide).
I also enjoyed the fact that the “warming causes cooling” mantra is getting trounced. The ‘story’ that the snow this year is an ‘extreme event’ is not going to fly with anyone who is over 50 years old and remembers the 1970’s or 1960’s. (or even worse, someone who remembers history and either the Little Ice Age or even just the picture of Washington, crossing a frozen Delaware river, and the bitter snows his army faced.) Frankly, watching them take a bit of ridicule for a ridiculous position is a joy to behold. It will be far harder to re-write all that past history to put in warmth (so this cold period can be classed as ‘extreme’) than it was to re-write the recent past of the temperature data to put in extra cold to show us warming in comparison.
Basically, the “Warming Alarmists” have made a schizoid choice. To both warm the past, so the present is “an extreme cold event” and cool the past, so that our trend is warming today. “This dog won’t hunt.” The past is well attested outside of the temperature records, even by loads of folks who were alive then. The snows are present in photographs and paintings, and even works of literature. It’s now just too much history to re-write. That cold past “worked” with the warming slope mantra, and it is lethal to the “extreme cold event” mantra.
This cold weather period with snow all over the planet is NOT an extreme event. It is simply a return to the 1950’s weather patterns (and no where near the 1740-1840 period cold events – though add in one big volcano and we could be back at an 1816-1817 Year Without A Summer “Eighteen Hundred And Froze To Death” scenario). And trying to paint “Cold is Hot” and “Ordinary is Extreme” and even “Weather is cold but Climate is hot” is just going to cause an “Emperors Clothes” moment. Gotta love it.
More notes as I get time to watch the other segments.