Saturday, December 12, 2009

Adjust this! 

There are undoubtedly those of you who wonder how the climate scientists have adjusted historical temperature data to take in to account variability in readings over time, and why those adjustments have -- post the CRU-documents hack -- become such a point of controversy. Well, it is because of adjustments like these.

Now, it remains possible that these adjustments are all scientifically valid and would be well-understood if properly explained. The problem is that it does not appear that each adjustment was documented and justified ex ante, as it should have been and needs to be if we are to use the output to restructure the global economy. Yes, each adjustment to the raw data should be accompanied by a written justification that is approved by a panel of scientists operating with complete transparency. That process, or one like it, would meet the standards we apply to similar experiments involving subjective judgments and complex systems (such as the interpretation of radiological images of the human body). Then, if we wanted to build political support for the adjustments rather than insist that voters take them on faith, the justifications should be put on the web and subjected to crowd-sourced vetting. Only if they survive scrutiny should the adjusted data be included in the official temperature record used to determine the extent to which temperatures have changed over time.

Frankly, I'd feel pretty good about that process, and if it led to the same conclusions that obtain today (and if climate models developed under process control continued to forecast disaster) it would be a lot easier to swallow the destruction to our standard of living proposed by the warmists.

MORE: A kid and his dad -- no, really, this is great -- take a hard look at the urban heat effect:

As Warren Meyer points out, "a kid and his dad manage to do the analysis that NASA, the EPA, the CRU, and the IPCC can’t be convinced to perform. Awesome." Indeed.


By Blogger John, at Sat Dec 12, 10:36:00 AM:

No doubt working for Exxon! And no climate code, just observation of past events. Heretics all.  

By Blogger Kinuachdrach, at Sat Dec 12, 11:40:00 AM:

An interesting point about the 'adjusted' data at Darwin showing a temperature rise which is not in the actual measured data -- Michael Crichton demonstrated the same point with real data in his novel (Novel!) "Climate of Fear", published back in 2004.

The games that the climate alarmists play have been an open book for years.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Dec 12, 12:30:00 PM:

Iowahawk, being serious for a moment since this sort of analysis is what he likes to do for weekend yucks, explains the statistical background behind the now infamous Mann "hockey stick" theory. It's a short introduction to the method of statistical analysis upon which much of the mechanical aspect of the argument rests, and very readable in typical Iowahawk fashion, so interested parties might want to,... uhh you know, read it.

Other background reading people might be interested in would include McIntyre on the subject, and this excellent historical background piece from WattsUpWithThat demonstrating one of the ways AGW proponents have tried to shape the record so as to support their claims, and this article, also from WattsUpWithThat, that puts the recent history into a YouTube video format for even easier comprehension.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Sat Dec 12, 01:06:00 PM:

No doubt working for Exxon!
Assuming that the video was done by Coyote Blog (Warren Meyer link),a safe assumption since the video is on his blog, he DID use to work for EXXON. He is currently an entrepreneur.

Coyote blog has had earlier postings on his son's science projects  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sat Dec 12, 01:48:00 PM:

Boludo, I don't think Warren did the video; he generally transparently takes credit (or blame) for the videos that he makes, but in this case implied it came from somebody else.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Sat Dec 12, 02:59:00 PM:

TH: Coyote posted on a science project of his son’s that dealt with urban heat islands, from nearly two years ago. There is a resemblance between the two sons in the posting and in the video.The link supports but does not completely prove my conjecture about the author of the video.  

By Blogger Brian, at Sat Dec 12, 03:58:00 PM:

Good gods, TH, still more of the Darwin station nonsense? The Economist took it apart for the nth time here:


Alon with the in-depth analysis is this quote about the math involved in statistical homogenization:

"I don't understand that formula. I don't have the math for it. The paper goes on to reject the Trewin formula for reasons which, again, I don't have the math to understand. This is academic-level statistics. You can't render judgment on it by plugging disparate data series into Excel and eyeballing the trend lines, as Mr Eschenbach does."

He goes on to say that this was a waste of two days' time for him, researching the nonsense, and that if skeptics want to be taken seriously, then publish in the peer-review literature. I'll wait for the father-son duo to do exactly that. I suppose I'm risking that a vast scientific conspiracy will keep them out of every science journal on the planet, but I don't think the risk is too high.  

By Blogger Brian, at Sat Dec 12, 04:01:00 PM:

Looks like Economist URL didn't fit. Try http://tinyurl.com/y9c9dwm instead.

I should learn to do the hotlinks....  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Dec 12, 04:56:00 PM:

God, you are desperate. That is no "in-depth analysis", that is a blog posting by a writer who admits he doesn't understand the subject but says he doesn't think Eshenbach does either. That's the sum total of the author's post.

What is with you, Brian, in trying these pathetic tosses of mud at every available wall? This obsessive argumentation makes a great example of why actual real science is so very much needed in this field, since all the heat has shed so little light. Trolling one dumb thing after another here isn't helping.

For more interesting analysis than the author's self-confessedly inadequate Economist post, check out the links above, from McIntyre (a statistician, by the way, who does understand the math and could have helped the Economist author), and the other WattsUp articles. If you do want to yourself do a little of the statistics, read Iowahawk and learn something.  

By Blogger John, at Sat Dec 12, 09:58:00 PM:

Don't bother with Brian, he has an "appeal to authority" complex. Scientists are so much smarter than him, that if they decree the sky to be green, then thats what it is, reality be damned. Brian cant be bothered to go and access the data himself, too complicated, too much math. Can't understand, cant think, just obey.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Dec 13, 10:10:00 AM:

Clearly there are people "cooking" the data to arrive at a predetermined ourcome.


I find it difficult to understand why this simple analysis was NOT done, at least as a starting point.

Another point...if we have concocted a "climate consensus" that is composed of tortured data, much of it now lost, that defies common sense and understanding of the majority of people...HOW DO WE MEASURE OUR SUCCESS????

Answer....the same people who have constructed this byzantine data monolith will TELL US.

This REALLY stinks to high heaven.  

By Blogger Brian, at Sun Dec 13, 11:36:00 AM:

Anon and John: I suggest you read the Economist post more closely. He refuted Eschenbach's reasons for relying on unadjusted pre-1941 temps. As for what the actual adjusted temps should be, that's where you need advanced stats. No, I don't have the skills for that, and I suspect not many people commenting here have them either, or if they do, they haven't done the research to see which techniques apply.

McIntyre, to his credit, has done one peer-reviewed publication related to climate. I don't believe it was well-received, but he should try to improve his work. I assume the stats journals aren't as enmeshed in the vast climate conspiracy as the rest of science, so he might have a shot at getting things published.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 13, 01:41:00 PM:

As for what the actual adjusted temps should be, that's where you need advanced stats.

'Advanced Stats' often means dozens of statistical techniques have been tried and this one produces the results which best fits my expectations.

Respect my authoritah!  

By Blogger Brian, at Mon Dec 14, 01:19:00 AM:

If you don't like their statistical analysis, go fight it out in the journals.

Pretty lines with Excel sheets aren't going to cut it.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Mon Dec 14, 04:01:00 AM:

"Pretty lines with Excel sheets aren't going to cut it."

But "hockey sticks" are irrefutable proof!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Dec 14, 09:36:00 AM:

Brian, I don't see any "refutation" at all. The writer clearly has a differing opinion, he makes that much clear.

We can both agree that climate changes constantly. Where we disagree is that the dynamics driving climate change are understood well enough to express any specific conclusions about the impact of one thing or another.

The "hockey stick" has been widely discredited, you will hopefully agree, and that single chart drove much of the current hysteria.

You will also hopefully agree that the MWP was considerably warmer than our present day (if nothing else the emergent Viking farmsteads in Greenland prove that to be true), so it should be also agreeable that despite higher levels of CO2 we are significantly cooler today than at that time.

Climate "models" have also proven themselves so inaccurate that you will hopefully agree they have proven useless on a macro level.

So where is the disagreement worthy of allowing government to seize control of our economy, how many children we have, how warm we keep our houses, what appliances we use and when we can use them, as well as the enormous list of other potential intrusions into personal liberty being justified on the backs of this controversy? All else aside, why exactly is warming even an issue?

This is a field worthy of lots more study. But politics and advocacy have polluted the existing science so entirely that the field really needs to quietly just start over, if that's possible.  

By Blogger Brian, at Mon Dec 14, 03:29:00 PM:

The polite Anon at 9:36 (sure wish you guys would give a name):

"The "hockey stick" has been widely discredited, you will hopefully agree"

No - it was supported by the National Academy of Sciences study
and multiple other proxy studies. Wegman had problems with the stats used in the 1998 version, but I'm not aware of him objecting to any more recent ones.

"You will also hopefully agree that the MWP was considerably warmer than our present day"

No - I don't think it's even proven that it occurred in the Southern Hemisphere. I believe the current state of the science says it likely wasn't as warm in the MWP - not a definitive statement, but certainly not your contrary position, either.

"the emergent Viking farmsteads in Greenland prove that to be true"

I don't know much about this and would welcome a citation. Anything that emerged recently, within the last twenty years, would be interesting. Still it's just one location and in the Northern Hemisphere.

""Climate "models" have also proven themselves so inaccurate that you will hopefully agree they have proven useless on a macro level."

No - Hansen used primitive models in 1988 and we've been following his middle-of-the-road scenario since then. And the models have only become better since.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Mon Dec 14, 07:49:00 PM:

"Hansen used primitive models in 1988 and we've been following his middle-of-the-road scenario since then. And the models have only become better since."

Hansen is a political animal and has the fat pockets to prove it.

If the models have become better, why the confusion, prevarication, data loss, lack of true peer review and massive controversy?????

IF somebody knocked on your door tonight and told you that it was a legal imperative that you take a pay cut, limit your family, sell your car, turn down your furnace and turn off your lights...wouldn't you want to see just a LITTLE CRYSTAL CLEAR EVIDENCE AS TO WHY????

...or would you just bend over say..."ok, sir...may I have another?"  

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