by Judith Curry
This proposal by John Bates of NOAA NCDC nails what is needed in terms of climate data records.
The material discussed here is from a ppt presentation dated April 2011, by John Bates, entitled Assessing Climate Data Record Transparency and Maturity. Excerpts from the text:
- Climate variability and change are having profound effects on society
- Society deserves full and open access to the data and methods used to produce climate products
- Scientists often use nomenclature and methods that are difficult for non‐ specialists, and sometimes even specialists, to understand
- •Scientists must do a better job in standardizing their nomenclature and methods, and more clearly communicate with the public
What is at stake?
History shows that weather observations did not become useful for society until a lexicon was agreed to
- The Beaufort scale did this for wind climatology and maritime commerce in the 19th century
For The Climate Service to benefit society, it must adopt a lexicon that sets expectations for openness, process and transparency that are accessible to the public
- How might we define a climate record lexicon useful to both scientists and the general public in the 21st century?
Climate Observation Business Practices
What common preservation information do we need and how do we capture and communicate this?
- Reference information: where can products be easily found?
- Provenance information: what original observations were used in the product?
- Context information: what methods were used to create the product?
- Fixity information: how do we ensure the authenticity of the product?
Let’s define a Maturity Matrix (1=low; 6=high) that sets expectations and assesses progress in the following areas:
- Collection methods: how was the data collected, sensors, surveys, etc.?
- Algorithm stability: are algorithms under configuration management and how mature?
- Metadata and QA: how full and complete are the metadata and quality assessment?
- Documentation: is the operational algorithm description full, complete, and peer reviewed?
- Validation: how complete is the validation?
- Public release: are the data, algorithms, and software open and available to the public?
- Science & applications: how extensive is the peer reviewed literature and how varied are the applications?
What is the role of IT?
- The Maturity Matrix sets expectations, but needs enabling information technology to be broadly useful
- Climate Services, to be relevant to society, needs to be accessible to both expert and non‐expert communities
- We need what has been dubbed ‘Knowledge provenance’* – that is, for the content of the Maturity
- Matrix to be truly useful it must be enriched with semantics and semantically-aware tools
JC comments: I look forward to seeing this more fleshed out. I wish John Bates well in getting this implemented, it is certainly what is needed for climate data records.
More information can be found at the NOAA CDR web site.
Thank you, Professor Curry, for your persistence!
Thanks to a few brave souls like you,
All is well,
Once before in the painful history of mankind, the Lasker Award was given for a discovery that is, in my opinion, based on the merger of science and spirituality:
“a great venture in social pioneering which forged a new instrument for social action; a new therapy based on the kinship of common suffering; one having a vast potential for the myriad other ills of mankind.”
I strongly suspect that a merger of science and spirituality may offer a solution to the current demise of our society.
Again, I thank Drs. Curry and Bates for having the courage to frankly address the issues.
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
The Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Karl Jung is sometimes given credit for having suggested that awakening to reality can be like a spiritual experience.**
Several decades later in a discussion of “Scientific Tunnel Vision” in the book “The Road Less Traveled” [Simon & Schuster, 1978] the American psychiatrist Dr. M. Scott Peck wrote:
“This beginning possibility of unification of religion and science is the most significant and exciting happening in our intellectual life today” (p. 228).
Later on page 289, Dr. M. Scott Peck explains how mental illness blocks our ability to see reality:
“We live our lives in a real world. To live them well it is necessary that we come to understand the reality of the world as best we can.”
1. “Mental health is DEDICATION TO REALITY at all costs.” (Caps inserted for emphasis)
2. “Mental illness occurs when the conscious will of the individual substantially deviates from the will of God, which is his or her own unconscious will.”
**That description fits our finding in 2000 that a previously unknown nuclear force (neutron repulsion) powers the Sun, controls our climate, and sustains life on Earth.
John, just tell the public why temperature data were misrepresented to the public by scientists receiving public funds.
Another layer of bureaucratic double-talk, the new Maturity Matrix, is not the answer.
Bravo Dr. Bates. This is an initiative that deserves all the support it can get.
Dr. Bates document is well-written, but fails to address the core problem:
Temperature data have been misrepresented to the public by scientists receiving public funds. Why?
Good. Science will benefit. However, one shouldn’t forget why there’s no transparency and maturity in climate science. It’s because of the CO2GW paradigm – it wouldn’t stand a chance of surviving with climate data record transparency and maturity.
Or in the words of Phil Jones:
“Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”
I think most of them know (subconsciously) that there is something wrong with it.
It never occurs to people that when Phil Jones says “your aim is to find something wrong with it” he may have been thinking of a hunt for irrelevant nitpicks to be blown out of proportion and smear him, rather than a search for substantial errors that advance the science.
No. given that those words were written to a published scientist, I think Jones was not afraid of nit picking. The issues went to heart of Jones seminal paper
mosh – the China UHI thing?
Just for the record, I think you’re right.
Of all the emails, even the ones taken out of context [which is most of them], this is the least problematic – even though very superficially it looks damning.
It’s just the tiniest outburst from someone very pissed off – perhaps for good reason. Intemperate? Slightly. Implying something untoward? Not unless you’re paranoid.
That’s not for him to decide what’s relevant or not. You never know in advance where the substantial errors and biases are. If scientists hide their science, with time, it increases their chance of being smeared, because the truth will out. Like Feynman said, “you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, but you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work.”
Given the degree to which we have seen arguments that what you’re referring to absolutely proves something untoward – let alone is evidence in support – how much paranoia have you seen among “skeptics?”
Is paranoia directly related to “alarmism” or likely to incline someone towards “doom-saying?”
Yes Warwick Hughes. He has a website.
In 2004 Phil Jones wrote in an email: “I’m not that inclined to release it to Hughes (who Mike knows and maybe Tom). All he wants to do is to show how I’ve made some mistake or used some incorrect data for some stations.”
That very much looks to me Phil Jones is talking about inconsequential errors, not substantial game changing ones. And the guy has a website. Perhaps Phil Jones had been put off by a previous incident where “typos” had been overblown.
“That’s not for him to decide what’s relevant or not. You never know in advance where the substantial errors and biases are.”
Well hang on maybe I can appeal to human nature. You know people don’t like being smeared for the equivalent of typos.
I could even, if I were mean, blame the skeptics. Inevitably if skeptic blogs are going to insinuate that scientists are frauds just because they made an inconsequential error in one part of their work it’s going to cause some scientists to not want to cooperate with such skeptics.
lolwot, I know human nature and I understand Phil Jones, as a fellow human. I also feel sorry for him. The problem is, most people don’t know about the influence of human nature on scientific findings. You think it’s about nitpicking, typos or something like that. I think it’s about the heart of science. That’s how we got here. Nitpick by nitpick, we get substantial errors and a laughable theory (CO2, the knob).
I agree Edim. If I was running CRU or any other research unit I would make it policy to release absolutely everything. I feel part of the problem at CRU is being caught up being straddled between the pre-and-post internet age.
yes he runs a website and is published
For a list of publications.
For the record, He and others ended up being right. Jones 1990 UHI work is officially in the dust bin. all to the good and science improves. there was nothing to be gained by holding data back from a gadfly like Warwick. Nothing to gain and everything to lose. Stop defending stupidty simply because you agree with AGW. I agree with AGW and have no issue saying that Jones acted like a dope. the two are unconnected.
“Of all the emails, even the ones taken out of context [which is most of them], this is the least problematic – even though very superficially it looks damning.
It’s just the tiniest outburst from someone very pissed off – perhaps for good reason. Intemperate? Slightly. Implying something untoward? Not unless you’re paranoid.”
And thus Phil Jones is absolved of making a career out of stonewalling, losing data, hiding emails, encouraging others to hide emails, conspiring to rig the peer review process, trying to get other scientists canned or shunned, etc. The Climategate emails are not out of context, they are the context. A candid look into the inner workings of the alarmist climate science cabal. The STOLEN emails are largely the reason why the public don’t trust climate science, period. I guess they just don’t care how the facts of climate conspiracy and buffoonery came to light.
Now give me a 600 word dissertation on how I am paranoid, and I have no evidence, I am a smoker, and I believe in Creationism and Santa Claus. Get josh to help you. The two of you should be able to keep this thread going until at least Wednesday. Of course, you will have to switch positions from time to time.
This blog has just become a venue for interminable circular arguments about a few issues that were beaten to death long ago: tribalism, integrity, uncertainty, transparency, Skydragons, and that old standby communication.
No offense, Judith. I admire your courage to do this, but you don’t seem to be moving forward. Too many topics, too many revisitations of old topics. Thankfully, there was no part II, III, IV etc. of whatever it was DocMartyn was talking about. You do not engage enough in the discussion, which usually wanders aimlessly. And you allow far too much foolishness here.
I will help you with some of that, by leaving. You should encourage several others to take a hike. A lot of them are just here to dog a famous climate scientist, who has betrayed the cause. We all know who they are. I will check back in next year and see if the same cast of characters is still here. I have a learned from some of you. You know who you are.
Agreeing with AGW?
But thee, me and Joshua three,
see through different AGW eyes!
three who agree on AGW and disagree on a host of ‘related’ issues.
if these were private mails we could agree on a public stance to take, or agree to remain silent on issues we disagree about.
critical thinking at its best.
Anteros wrote: Of all the emails, even the ones taken out of context [which is most of them], this is the least problematic – even though very superficially it looks damning.
Just for the record, I think that most of the comments that sound bad when taken out of context sound even worse when the context is supplied.
If Phil Jones had followed up by making the data available for serious analysis, we could write his remarks off to just temporary intemperance. Since he didn’t, we can and should assume that he didn’t want to take the chance that problematic (for his arguments) errors might be found.
“Good. Science will benefit. However, one shouldn’t forget why there’s no transparency and maturity in climate science. It’s because of the CO2GW paradigm”
Nonsense. But nice attempt at a typical denier narrative.
If the “the CO2GW paradigm” prevented transparency and maturity how come Hansen’s GISTEMP is one of the most transparent pieces of science in the world, while Roy Spencer’s UAH satellite record still has the source code locked away?
Dr Curry quoted today by UK newspaper.
this is being discussed on the week in review thread.
We have satellites now. The Arctic is open and it is snowing and the Ice Albedo is increasing. We can watch this happen. There are other forcings that do drive temperature, but the only forcing with a set point that could explain the stable temperature cycle of the past ten thousand years is ice and water. When the Arctic Sea Ice is melted it snows like crazy and increases Albedo and that cools the earth. When the Arctic Sea Ice is frozen, it snows a lot less and the sun melts the ice and Albedo decreases and that warms the earth.
Take the flawed carbon feedbacks out of the climate models and put this Ice Albedo in properly and you will get results that better match what earth temperature does.
Temperature has been regulated to within plus or minus two degrees C for ten thousand years. Temperature was within plus or minus one degree C for most of that time.
A powerful forcing, with a set point and with quick response that is always in the right direction is necessary to accomplish this task.
There is only one. Arctic Sea Ice has a set point. When the Arctic is open it always snows much more. When Arctic Sea Ice is frozen, it always snows much less.
This overcomes all the other forcing.
If you drive temperature around a set point using Arctic sea ice your can easily explain ten thousand years of a stable regulated temperature cycle, always within plus or minus two degrees C and mostly within plus or minus one degree.
If you drive temperature with CO2, you don’t have a set point.
If you drive temperature with Solar cycles, you don’t have a tightly regulated set point and you don’t match the cycles.
If you drive temperatures with orbit parameters, you don’t have a regulated set point and you don’t match the cycles.
Think about it. Earth has a set point with powerful negative feedback that can overcome all the other forcings. Ice and Water is the only one with a set point.
Arctic Sea Ice is the Thermostat of Earth.
Hi Judy – Also specifically added to the requirements should be the photographic documentation of the observation sites as we started in our paper
Davey, C.A., and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2005: Microclimate exposures of surface-based weather stations – implications for the assessment of long-term temperature trends. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Vol. 86, No. 4, 497–504. http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/files/2009/10/r-274.pdf
and continued by Anthony Watts at http://www.surfacestations.org. The value of this metadata analysis is shown in the paper
Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D14120, doi:10.1029/2010JD015146.Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/r-367.pdf
Such documentation should be a prerequisite for inclusion in the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN), but so far Tom Karl and Tom Peterson at NCDC, Jim Hansen at GISS and Phil Jones at CRU have not implemented this much needed requirement.
Such an obvious, reasonable and (quite) important requirement. And in terms of logistics and billions of dollars to implement, not such a big deal. My question would be why not the universal enthusiasm for such a suggestion?
To be fair, I’d also ask if Karl, Peterson,Hansen etc have given any reasons not to do such a thing apart from “yes, but we can’t do everything and we have a top ten list of priorities” which would also be reasonable.
Perhaps the cost, relative to the entire effort to examine trends in global temperatures, would be relatively small, and admittedly, I’m not very bright and I need to take that into account in such situations, but I fail to see why a photographic database of weather stations would be an obvious, reasonable, and (quite) important requirement. Could you explain?
“Perhaps the cost, relative to the entire effort to examine trends in global temperatures, would be relatively small”
Id have thought that funding to regularly photograph the stations would probably dwarf the funding of the GISTEMPs and HadCRUTs.
I think Peterson is clear on the need for Photographs in this gudiance document he was co author on.
I really wish that people like Joshua and Louise would do a bit more study.
Hi Roger, in addition to that, some historical information of changes to the local environment of the weather stations is also needed, but getting historical info of this nature would not be simple.
How would one go about understanind the impact of this information? Visual inspection of data (i.e. drawing pretty graphs) is not analysis. I’m genuinly interested in just how photographs of weather stations can be used to improve the quality of the data in any meaningful and robust way.
Louise, would a photograph of glacier national park in 1920 compared to a photograph in 2010 be evidence, scientific or other wise?
capt. dallas – probably not. A photograph of one instance in time cannot be used (by either side) to show any trend, just as two data points separated by 90 years cannot.
However, If there was a photograph in say 200 years time that showed no ice at all in the arctic then I’d probaly say that compared to a photograph today, it does indicate something. That’s why I say ‘probably not’ in my response.
Please help me understand how photographs of weather stations could be used to improve the analysis of the data? We are talking tens (and eventually hundreds) of thousands of weather stations here.
Is the primary reason for gathering the photographic data essentially to be used in a cherry-picked, propagandistic fashion, as we might find at WUWT, or is there some other, specific, and scientific reason?
Bates’ initiative seems very well-intended. I hope that some “skeptics” aren’t going to sully this effort by turning it into ammunition to be wasted in tribalistic skirmishes.
What does photographs of national parks have to do with photographs of weather stations?
She is not going to answer you, joshy.She doesn’t like petulant little stalkers. And it is a lame accusation, not a question.
Louise and Joshua, They are both evidence of change with time. The science is in determining the cause and effect of that change with time. All data is incorrect, but all data is useful. That is one of the biggest issues for the skeptics or whatever, selective use and simplistic interpretation of the data.
Even Tonyb’s the long slow thaw is valuable data if properly interpreted.
Say that you have digitized statistical data to evaluate weather stations, and a photographic database. Which are you going to use to analyze the influence of one variable or another on the data the stations have assembled?
You’re going to go through the photographs, one by one, to do some comparative analysis – the angle, type of camera, specific photographic settings, etc., for each photograph?
Or would you use the photographs in some back-up fashion. Say that you saw something in the digitized data that you wanted to examine further – how might the photographic data help you to clarify something?
More data are better – I’m just trying to understand why this particular type of database would be useful. Should we also have a database of artistic renderings of the weather stations? How about poems people write about their feelings about the weather stations?
Joshua – my point exactly. I just don’t know how these photographs could be analysed in any sort of meaningful or robust manner.
Joshua, some of the digitized data is just noise. Some of the stories would be just noise. A tale of the Norse building a burial mount in 1013 would be valuable if there was paleodata collected by that mound. Varve sediments in a lake could be influence by the habits of the local population that may be recorded somewhat in their folk lore.
In Tonyb’s The Long Slow Thaw, there are stories of the wicked winter of ought 3 and 4, In the Taymyr tree rings proxies there is a dip in the series in ought 3 and 4, meaningless right?
It is a puzzle, Joshua, lots of pieces :)
Ok. More data are better. Chief fancies himself a poet. Maybe he’ll start a project to write poems for each weather station. Maybe kim can kick in a database of haikus.
I’d be happy to kick in $10 to help fund the project.
Joshua – this is not you at your best. Cap is right. Joshua and Louise, it’s all in how you handle it. Joshua – artistic rendering and poems would have less value, in that order, than photos, but non-zero, whether and how it could be incorporated is a different story. Think, unquantifiable health benefits in a cost-benefit analysis of air pollution. You list them anyway even if you can’t sum them.
The photo Cap describes would be useful if it showed for example, the extent of glaciers. That’s a long term phenomenon, and thus a 90-year comparison of 2 photos could yield interesting data. And image processing software gets better all the time.
I’m not questioning the value of photographs of national parks (or photos that quantify the extent of glaciers – although I suspect their would be more useful metrics for that purpose), my question is what that has to do with photographing weather stations.
How would photographing weather stations be particularly useful?
Joshua, That sounds like a challenge. I’ll see what I can do with folk songs :) Since I am looking into Russian wheat production since 1800, perhaps the Volga Boatman song :)
and billc –
I hope you realize that I’m making a rhetorical point here. I have seen, at WUWT, much emphasis placed on photographic data of poor weather siting. It has quite an impact in undermining the validity of station data, and in that way serves a very useful function in undermining the credibility of scientists who use those data.
However, when I looked into the situation in more depth, I found that those said scientists has already quantified and controlled for station quality variables that were relevant to their analysis.
I think that questioning how well they controlled for those variables is very much fair game. But I think that it shouldn’t be done in a facile manner – and in my experience, photographic evidence was used in a non-scientific manner, IMO.
It would be similar to the oft’ made claim about photographs of polar bears. Now it seems to me that what’s bad for the goose is also bad for the gander.
“I suspect their would be more useful metrics for that purpose” – yes, if they coincided and were broad enough in scale. If the alternative metric is a survey with but a few points in space describing the extent of the glacier, well the photo would fill in the missing spatial detail nicely, these things can be indexed, computers are cool.
“How would photographing weather stations be particularly useful?”
For warmer or for cooler, you could identify trends which aren’t noticeable from the primary measurements. Quantifying them would be tough, but see the thing about glaciers. Similar. Lots of weather stations, lots of ways to play with correlations. I’m sure RPSr can explain this better. Anyway, I’m not saying “this would disprove AGW” or anything like it.
And as far as you not being at your best, “Is the primary reason for gathering the photographic data essentially to be used in a cherry-picked, propagandistic fashion, as we might find at WUWT, or is there some other, specific, and scientific reason?” Come on. What are you trying to start a feeding frenzy? When did RPSr become a hated denier?
Please see this comment of mine in reaction to Gary’s comment:
Great comparison. Photos of polar bears who died as a result of a storm, being falsely represented as having drowned because of the disappearance of sea ice due to “global warming” is analogous to photographs accurately depicting weather stations sitings.
How is showing with photographic evidence that a weather station classified as rural is in fact in a developed setting, with asphalt and an air conditioner within a few meters, facile?
That’s the equivalent of saying – You stop telling the truth about me, and I’ll stop lying about you.
I haven’t seen that occur. But I have seen Watts use photographic evidence on weather stations in a way that I feel served a tribalistic end.
So what I’m asking for here is an explanation – and I find the explanation of more data are better, or photos of national parks are useful as not being particularly on point. Anyone can answer my question – it doesn’t have to be RP Sr. People seem to be assuming that the photographic data are useful without being able to provide an explanation that to me seems particularly valid. If we simply disagree on the validity of the explanations provided, that’s OK.. I’ll take that into consideration. As I’ve said before, I use your position on these issues as a calibration.
The issue with siting is why local temperature is changing and how to interpret the impact local land use change and noise/bias from microscale issues like laying down a parking lot.
Joshua, “It would be similar to the oft’ made claim about photographs of polar bears. Now it seems to me that what’s bad for the goose is also bad for the gander.”
Now Joshua, that is a no smilies penalty. Keep that up and it’s no bacon for you :)
Let’s see, http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/01/history-of-modern-agriculture-and.html
Now say I dig up a picture of Igor Sr. in the forest by his humble home. Then I get a picture of Igor Jr. by the same home, but he is standing in his wheat field. Igor Sr. was the daily temperature writer downer guy and his son followed in dad’s foot steps. Would I expect a change in the temperature record that increases with the farm productivity?
Oh, there is a polar bear skin on the barn in the picture :)
photos would be useful in my opinion. Just being able to see what is in the surroundings at specific dates over time is useful information and I am sure it could be put to use. You could perhaps build a kind of urban/rural heuristic based on the amount of green pixels in the site photos.
Sure. We can all speculate about potential uses. (of course, in the situation you described you’d have to control for variables like time of year, time of day, camera settings, type of processing of photos, etc.).
But I am asking if anyone has a specific rationale in mind other than “all data are useful,” and/or “photos of national parks and glaciers are useful.” I haven’t seen one yet, and I’m beginning to question whether I’ll get one. But maybe the answers provided are sufficient. They just don’t seem that way to me – especially given that photographic evidence has been used, IMO, in a facile manner in the tribal front lines.
I think you have a point. In order to get funding for photos you’d probably need to explicitly state what they would be used for and when and why that objective cannot be achieved today using other cheaper means.
For example statistical analysis of the data for detecting micro-site bias is effectively free and arguably wouldn’t be enhanced significantly by having photos to hand.
As for using photos to assess changes over time, if we have to wait to 2050 say for the series of photographs to be sufficiently long enough to analyze for purpose, it’s going to become a moot point. I expect by 2050 the implications of what global temperature is doing will be clear, and no amount of UHI/microsite talk will matter.
The value of photographs is pretty simple. They are required to aid in the objective classification of the site type. Its basic science that has been required but not completed. or in some cases completed but not properly cataloged.
Start with this: google stewart and oke LCZ
This will help you understand how photographs can be helpful.
And yes, some people will misuse photographs.
Here Joshua start with this
In order to properly classify a station as urban or rural you really need to understand the last 100 meters. that is, the 100 meters surrounding the site. and one of the factors you need to understand is the skyview factor
which you can estimate from a photo. The other factor you can determine is the surface roughness. These features and others are expensive to get from satellite data ( those pictures cost 1000s, )
Its a simple matter. All stations should be visited for calibration. take a camera. take pictures.
re: 12:16 post.
That first link in itself shows how photographs in a systematic approach would be useful – and in ways that are clearly of more value than poems or folk songs.
Do you see such initiatives as being synergistic with citizen-based photographic evidence like that Judith mentions elsewhere in this thread, overlapping, relying upon, etc.?
From the methods section in the first link in your 12:16 post:
So they help, but need to be validated for a more “objective and reproducible outcome.”
The biggest issue I see with photographs and citizen photographs is the potential ( and actual) mis use of them to support a story that isnt true.
To be useful for classifying the photos should be taken according to set protocol. The concern I would have is people with an agenda taking photos or focusing only on the problem stations.
The bottom line is that most of the standards required for site selection and site maintence require photos. They either have been taken and are not properly cataloged or people are not following their own standards.
from this civil engineer’s perspective, a photo and a survey beats the crap out of just a survey.
You are misreading the text.
“So they help, but need to be validated for a more “objective and reproducible outcome.”
Stewart is talking about the entire classification system. Look at the various measurands. You will see that some of the factors can ONLY be assessed and documented using a photograph ( or lidar I suppose )
1. Skyview factor. I need either 3D geometry or pictures
2. H/W ratios: again physical geometry.
3. roughness: physical geomtry
4. percent impervious surface
You and Louise started this discussion by foolishly questioning the need for photographs. Perhaps you questioned that because of the person asking for them. I dont know your motiviation for asking the question.
I’ve satisfied your curiousity, if that was your motivation.
1. existing standards require it
2. photos are useful in classifying sites. In some cases they are the
And now you want to point out the limitations of photos. Well, Duh.
Can I suggest that you spend a fraction of your time studying the problem before you ask another question.
If you want to understand siting requirements, and metadata requirements, you can start here.
And be sure to read all the references. after that, I have another 150 papers for you to read.
Steven Mosher said, “Personally, I would spend the time to process the data if I had volunteers to help. Also, there are classification tools that could help if I could get folks to release their code.”
Not releasing the code is in itself an indication that the situation does not justify desperate action. How can you take someone crying wolf seriously if they won’t tell you where they saw the wolf?
when the wolf is a russian missile it’s classified
Thank you for another of your classic posts.
There is nothing “foolish” about questioning the need for photographs. This is what skepticism is about. “Skepticism” comes into play when people don’t accept answers that show their skepticism isn’t supported by the evidence – as you provided in this case.
I don’t think it is “foolish” to wonder about things that don’t hold up under scrutiny; not even when the questioning is based on some mistaken assumptions, as was true in this case to some degree.
But the fact that people voiced a strong opinion on the need for the photographs without knowing why it was important, or how they would be used in a valid way, is also instructive here. As were answers which basically indicated that photos were important because more data are good, or because photos of national parks are useful.
And there were aspects of my rhetorical point which stand regardless of the evidence that you provided.
When you grow up some, steven, you will see that that is not all about you proving whether you’re smarter than I am. You’ve already proven many times that you much smarter than I. The interesting point for me is why you’re still so fixated on that question.
and steven –
Since you have spoken here about your training and experience in interpreting motivations from text (strangely at odds, I might add, with your abject horror when you incorrectly think that I am questioning Judith’s motivations) – I think I should point out that you erred in your assessment of my motivations here (as you have many times in the past, including in your little flight of fantasy about how you can look through “windows into [my] soul.”)
My point in excerpting that quote from the methods section you linked was to note the importance of the inter-relationship between the different sorts of data – not to focus attention on the limitations of the photographic data.
You might want to update the algorithms you use to you interpret my motivations from the text of my comments (have you updated the one you use to determine that my intent is to “hi-jack”: threads, yet?)
“I don’t think it is “foolish” to wonder about things that don’t hold up under scrutiny; not even when the questioning is based on some mistaken assumptions, as was true in this case to some degree.”
No Joshua your question was foolish. I will tell you what was told to me when I asked foolish questions on real climate and climate audit.
Mosher–Do a little reading before you ask a question.
Seemed like good advice so I took it.
“But the fact that people voiced a strong opinion on the need for the photographs without knowing why it was important, or how they would be used in a valid way, is also instructive here. As were answers which basically indicated that photos were important because more data are good, or because photos of national parks are useful.”
Who did this? Not me, not Captn. We didn’t give you the kind of detail that Mosher did, because he knows more than we do about the exact process used to catalogue statements. Now, I’m not personally offended, but I think my logic is just fine. Take a station with no photos. You may have all kinds of detail in terms of sketches, measurements, logs whatever – but photos enhance all those kinds of data in various specific ways, which Steve showed. The Glacier national park thing is still relevant, though less directly so than Steve’s info.
“statements” er, “stations”
thought i should correct that one.
A misplace response – hopefully I’ll get it right this time:
And btw – I’m glad that no offense was taken, as there was none intended. Also, I don’t feel picked on.
Now I asked a question, and you showed up to point to out to me where I’d find the answer. I still don’t know why that would be deemed foolish.
I can understand the notion that my question was foolish because it implied incorrect assumptions. But I don’t think that verifying assumptions is a foolish thing to do – even when they turn out to be incorrect.
It’s pretty simple Joshua. You have a publication predating watts involvement that argues for the importance of photos. The first thing I did when the whole surface stations thing hit was research. not question, but research so I could ask smart questions that added to the discussion. I didnt question anthony’s motives. I read NCDC documents. First. When it was clear that the proceedures required photos, I read the rationale. That led me to read more documents on UHI. Ya, I read the science. It was hard, but hey, it was fun.
Then, once I’d finished the core reading i could not only ask good questions i could also recognize and answer stupid questions.
Dont feel too stupid, eli Rabett also made the stupid mistake of questioning the value of photos before fully considering and understanding his opponents argument. Attack first and think later is no way to go through life. I know this from experience.
so when somebody says something about El nino, I know there are a bunch of questions I can ask that will tie things up, divert the discusion.tricks of the trade. I can also throw in motive hunting.
or I can shut up and read the science
CAGW activists just can’t understand why having photographs (and historical data on changes in environment as Dr. Curry suggests) of weather stations might be important in determining the reliability of their temperature records.
That’s like Dan Rather saying he doesn’t understand all the fuss about basing his reporting on a potentially forged document. It doesn’t matter whether the individual record we are basing our analysis on is accurate or not, we already know the story is true.
The question isn’t whether the photographs (and historical data) depict temperature, they are to show that the stations were placed in accord with the rules established by NOAA itself to make their measurements as accurate as possible. (Dr. Curry advised keeping historical data on environmental changes, not climate. Like…I don’t know, paving a new asphalt parking lot right next to the site after it is installed.)
But then, they already knew that.
The real reason CAGWers don’t want accurate documentation of the surroundings of weather stations is the same reason progressives don’t want to require photo IDs to be required to vote in US elections. Their cherished belief benefits from the sloppiness of placement of weather stations.
Ever seen a photograph that shows a station sited so as to produce an inadvertently reduced temperature reading? How many stations have been situated in areas that experienced de-urbanization?
Bingo. This was, exactly my point.
I’m trying to understand why, other than to support conspiracy theories, there is some particular reason to assemble a database of photographs of stations?
If it is just under the general heading of “More data are good,” then it seems to me that there should be a calibrated analysis of the costs/benefits for prioritizing which data should be collected first, second, third, etc.
Gary – since I am picking on Joshua I have to pick on you.
“The real reason CAGWers don’t want accurate documentation of the surroundings of weather stations is the same reason progressives don’t want to require photo IDs to be required to vote in US elections.”
I dunno, I am a liberal (I don’t know what progressive means any more), but I kinda like the ID idea. BUT – many of the poor don’t drive, so they don’t have licenses, etc. etc., so the argument is that the requirement becomes a stumbling block. Believe the argument or not you may (channeling Yoda) but the fact that it includes individual citizens is IMHO a stronger argument than any for the lack of photos of weather stations.
“it seems to me that there should be a calibrated analysis of the costs/benefits for prioritizing which data should be collected first, second, third, etc”
I agree, but I have a gut feeling (unscientific!) that getting the photos would be cheap as f*** and so it would rank high.
Actually, those poor who don’t drive, for the most part collect food stamps and apply for medicaid. Both of which require photo ID to obtain. Don’t believe everything you read. The government doesn’t hesitate to require a valid photo ID when it doles out some of its (our) money, but the progressives who run the government want to stay in power, photo IDs become an unbearable burden, even where the state pays for them itself.
The argument is that requiring a photo ID “becomes a stumbling block,” but even the activists know it isn’t really true.
Same with documenting station sitings. I doubt there was any intentionally poor siting, but so much of it tends to increase reported temperature data, the CAGWers aren’t willing to risk anything that undermines from the dogma. Joshua’s most recent comments being a case in point.
I must say I find the situational frugality of CAGW activists entertaining. We should spend literally trillions of dollars on global decarbonization based on admittedly flawed data (admittedly flawed because it is constantly adjusted and readjusted – and somehow always warmer, WUWT?). But when it comes to verifying the accuracy of some of the most important data used to justify decarbonization….well slow down there hoss, we have to worry about the cost.
It isn’t the issue of cost that is my concern. I am asking why people who are so concerned about the money being spent on the study of the climate are interested in collecting these data.
Should we also collect poems and folk songs about weather stations?
I have an idea – let’s fire states’ Attorney Generals for not prosecuting election fraud in situations where their preliminary investigations indicated that there weren’t sufficient evidence to bring a finding, even as we talk, constantly, about waste in government.
Makes sense, right?
“I’m trying to understand why, other than to support conspiracy theories, there is some particular reason to assemble a database of photographs of stations?”
1. because it is an actual requirement that is currently not being met.
2. because NCDC publications themselves ( the ‘science’) says that the
nearest 100 meters around the site are critical to the values being recorded.
Basically Joshua long before controversies over bad sites were raised by skeptics the scientists working in the field recognized the importance of documenting the location where observations are made. However, they didnt always follow through or keep good records.
“the same reason progressives don’t want to require photo IDs to be required to vote in US elections.”
It’s funny how the left/right divide falls on some issues so arbitrarily.
I could easily imagine a world where it was right wingers that were most opposed to a centralized government issuing them all with photo IDs and demanding they be used in order to vote.
Well, that looks like a sort-of answer.
How do the NCDC publications explain how photographic data will be used in a systematic way to assess the nearest 100 meters around weather station sites?
Taking photographs and documenting the site around a weather station is something that is easily crowd sourced (Watts already demonstrated this), so it doesn’t need to cost much at all (a web site that archives the photographs).
lolwot – there is no right to privacy – fail.
only problem i have is when the cops are unnecessarily tough on me because I left my ID at home. or when they swipe my expired one forcing me to pay extra money for a new one when it would have been free if I could bring in my old expired one.
You cannot simply use the photograph to asses the temperature.
The photograph can be used to help classify the site type.
Site type then is used to understand the importance of different factors.
Did you know the vast majority of papers on urban/rural distinctions did not use an objective criteria to differentiate between the two? That was the motivation behind stewarts classification system (LCZ)
And more on the value of photos
“Using Sakakibara and Matsui’s (2005) radius of 250 metres, we parameterized the “circles of influence” for the
Nagano sites by the general properties of the local climate zones. We then selected local climate zones that best
match the measured (or estimated) parameters of each field site. Photographs alone can substantiate a
reasonably accurate match between field site and local climate zone, but a direct relation between the measured
parameters and the zone datasheets ultimately supports a more objective and reproducible outcome. The most
important parameters to consider in this process are sky view factor, built fraction, and soil moisture. ”
The other thing is that high resolution satellite photos exist of all these locations. The trick is somebody has to take the time to find the needle in the haystack.
Personally, I would spend the time to process the data if I had volunteers to help. Also, there are classification tools that could help if I could get folks to release their code.
That the true beleivers are the ones arguing against gathering more and better data about temperature stations really says rather eloquently everything that needs to be said about the believer perspective.
The generic metric of “photos” is not particularly relevant. Photos of the shed that holds the instrumenation, as one example? A couple of such photos would be useful if you wanted to study and classify how different types of sheds affect the data collection and you had data that described how all the other sheds were or were not similar – but photos of each shed at every station?
As the paper that steven linked showed, photos that are directly relevant to analysis of station siting are useful in that they can be considered as primary data for evaluating siting. You could have plenty o’ photos that might not enhance the data in ways that are particularly meaningful. There is a particular type of photos that are useful, and they are useful only in that they are quantified carefully to calibrate in a very specific way with other metrics.
You applied your experiences as a civil engineer to validate the usefulness of photos to go along with survey data – but that is for a certain type of purpose and may or may not be directly useful to questions of how photos may or may not be particularly useful for climate scientists evaluating weather station data. Please note that I kept asking why the photos were “particularly” useful and I kept getting generic responses.
OK, though – I think this question has been beaten into the ground enough. Question asked and question answered. You said earlier that you thought the answers given validated the question of need for photos in a particular way, and I said that in my view they didn’t. In my view, however, steven provided the explanation in the evidence he provided, and I still feel that way.
At this point the substance of questioning the need for photos – to the extent that there was any – has been settled. I’m fine with that. I note that you consider my suggestion of an illogic on your part isn’t well-founded.
I should note that photos of each shed at each station may or may not be relevant. I could imagine where they might be as verification of the other data that quantify shed construction. They might be useful at some point down the line if there were an aspect of shed construction that wasn’t considered meaningful at an earlier point (and so data wasn’t collected to measure that issue initially) but that could be assessed by a photo (say the shape of the shed rather than the composition of the material used to build it).
Anyway – as I said, enough on this issue. Question asked and question answered.
Okay Joshua, take the critical reasoning thing off your resume. Since most of the “skeptics” are aware of the procedure used to photo document surface stations, we left a bit for your imagination. surfacestations.org See if you can make sense of the procedure to convince yourself if is a waste of time and the nearly zero money it cost.
I go a little further than the basic use of the photo documentation. The background in the photos is also useful. Being a redneck, I know if I see planted pines, about how old they are and what they would look like after harvesting, which is about the same as they looked at planting. Since the GPS location of the site is part of the documentation, I can GoogleEarth to see the land use in the vicinity.
A picture is truly worth a 1000 data points :)
If I really wanted to be scientific, I could set up a Cotton shelter with a liquid in glass max/min thermometer near a suspect site to see just how bad the digital values compare to the true historic values. But, as far as I am concerned the temperature data is close enough, it is the land use changes that interest me. That is where the pictures can come in the handiest, for a guy like me that is. I think Eli Rabett called it the Suburban effect, land use changes impacting what should be rural sites, a real impact that is anthropogenic, just not primarily GHG related.
Sorry, J. SITE photos. Meaning as RPSr says below “We still need, of course, photographs at each GHCN site looking not only at the instrument site, but in each direction looking outward”. I guess I wasn’t as specific as I should have been.
Now let’s look and see what we can find upthread, shall we?
Oh, here it is.
So – evidence of change over time? Is that why RP Sr.wants the photos? Or does he want the photos for site classification? If it’s for site classification, does that have anything to do with photos of national parks?
With my limited reasoning abilities I just can’t figure that one out. Must be because I went to school.
Joshua, “change with time?” What kind of change would you think? A picture taken now would of course be only one “time”. It would need something from another time to compare. Let’s say a building. When was it built, what was there before it was built. A paved road, when was it paved?
The National Park was just an example of how a photograph can be evidence, Joshua. Do you have an imagination? How might someone use image comparison in problem solving?
You want to teach critical thinking or critical reasoning, what will your students do with what you teach them? Teach critical thinking or solve problems?
“A couple of such photos would be useful if you wanted to study and classify how different types of sheds affect the data collection and you had data that described how all the other sheds were or were not similar – but photos of each shed at every station”
That is actually what the 2003 guidelines for WMO suggest.
Unlike my rabid friends who believe that the data is junk unless the standards are followed, I think that data is high enough quality for the purposes it is used for. And I think its worthwhile to move toward getting the data collection system into full compliance. The scientist working on this established a standard for metadata. Historically we know this hasnt been followed. heck, GAO looked at this in 1998 ( if my memory is correct)
Rather than fight this losing battle, my suggestion is to lobby for more money for proper data collection. Skeptics will always say the data is junk. Until they want to use the data to support a crank theory. its a stupid pet trick.
Thank you for those unpaywalled links, in particular the r-367.pdf file
I find it beyond belief that the upthread “discussion” following your post squabbles about perceived value for metadata without any single poster even acknowledging your published analysis, let alone reading it. You provide hard evidence which is subsequently ignored in the weltered indulgence of moral vanity
Please don’t just give up posting here in the face of their monumental stupidity
The cost for better documentation of weather stations is a tiny amount compared to the trillions it would cost to reduce CO2. Do it!
Hmm, well, it might be interesting, but we all know that Watts set out to prove that the increase in temperature observed is an artifact of either poor siting or changing siting conditions, and what was found, in his own words, was, “the overall mean temperature trends are nearly identical across site classifications.”
In other words, he failed to find what he was looking for. So, if he failed to find any difference in trend, and he had lots of people help him look, what makes anyone think that anyone else will either?
Taking the message to the UK should help shift the cosy political/scientific establishment consensus here. From a leading climatologist, the ‘science is settled’ mantra receives its biggest challenge yet.
It’s a good step, but I find the continued emphasis on “communication with the public” to be stuck up and unhealthy. The bigger problems with climate science are not about communication, but about coverups, fudged data, and wildly overstated results.
Many working scientists seem to feel that just because they are working as scientists, they have some special access to the truth. It is more like priesthood than science. Instead of the facts speaking for themselves, the public is supposed to accept information just because of who it comes from.
Many religions soon establish a ‘priesthood’ who reserve for themselves the arduous (and profitable) task of interpreting God’s Will, or the sheep’s entrails or the floods of the Nile or whatever the dickens it is that they believe in. And they also reserve the right to chastise and punish those who fail to think in the correct and approved (by them) way. See, for example, the Inquisition, Heresy, the Reformation and Cults various throughout history.
The catastrophic AGW movement has all the same characteristics. But the priesthood aren’t in total control of everybody they and get very very very peeved when some of the hoi polloi, unconvinced by the tenets of the cult dare to venture such opinions in public.
AGW in a nutshell: your death will not cause ‘profound effects on society’ but your living does.
I think it is more than a little pertinent that the overview begins with a statement that is categorical, almost universally accepted amongst alarmists and utterly false.
What degree of unreality has to be swallowed before this sort of statement can be written with by a sane person let alone read, unremarked upon, by one?
To take the two false assertions separately, what part of which society is being profoundly affected by climate change? Even if you remove the absurd adverb and just insert noticeably where is the evidence? Surely the only grounds for even having as debate about climate is because there is some worry about future climate change? Does the impact of climate change register in the top 1000 features of the 20th century? Does it register at all?
The first assertion – that climate variability is having a profound affect on society – is equally nonsensical. If the effect is profound, how does it compare to other periods in the history of humanity? Surely it is almost self-evident that climate variability is having much less effect than at any other time in the past. Development, prosperity, infrastructure and adaptability have all made the variability of the climate less and less and less of an importance. You can surely find societies that are still greatly at the mercy of the variable climate but they become fewer over time and they correlate almost perfectly with poverty.
What is profound is the transformations over the last 200 years which have made societies dramatically less affected by changes in climate.
Which leads me to the barely understood but important observation that people are much less vulnerable to climate change [if they are vulnerable to it at all] than they are vulnerable to climate. If they are poor, that is.
The statement at the top of this post could only have been made by someone without the faintest idea of the history of human civilisation.
A – you bang on and on about this, but what is the difference between vulnerability to climate change and vulnerability to climate? At what point does the “climate is average weather” definition melt away? On a timescale along the lines of a human life? It seems likely that numerous historical civilizations faced ruinous climate change, if you determined that to mean changes on a time scale long enough to be beyond the memory of any living people – Anasazi, Mayans, etc. What about the Dust Bowl in the USA? What is your point, that you don’t see evidence of any of this happening, anywhere in the world, right now? Warming or cooling, anthropogenic or natural?
My point is entirely that changes in climate are today miniscule in their impact relative to the impact of climate per se.
Take the 20th century – how many lives affected/ lost to climatic factors? How many affected/lost to climate change? And to the second of the assertions – how has the 20th century seen the change in degree of impact? It’s is dramatic – and a lessening of impact.
My contention is that this ratio – however many thousands to one – has always been the case, but is very much true today and into the projected future. Historical civilisations may have been vulnerable to climate change in ways that we are definitely not. There were most certainly always vulnerable to climate.
you can always dig around and find an example where the change in climate was an issue [particularly in the distant past] but for each example I would say that there would be innumerable examples where the issue was merely the climate.
Judith’s example of the El Nino/La Nina is tenuous at best. Over the 20th century? Definitively? Or is that another thing that may be relevant – and possibly problematic – in the future.
“the large teleconnection modes”
Anteros, I like your answer, and I think it still matters. I think ENSO/AMO stuff has significantly affected lives and fortunes in Africa, however that may have been exacerbated by bad government, bad planning, bad actors, bad weather forecast, bad whatever.
Again at a gut level I feel like you are taking a strongly developed-world viewpoint “it’s OK”. Now, to the issue of how and whether developed countries should pay for assistance with this stuff in lesser-developed countries, separate issue.
If sea level rises, for whatever reason, it’s bad for Bangladesh, right? They don’t have the same sort of ability to abandon their coastal cities as Londoners.
You are spot on.
Wealth acts as a firewall against weather disasters. As long as poverty continues to diminish around the world (assuming the AGW crowd allow it to) then better and more robust housing, transport, infrastructure, emergency services, warning systems, etc,etc) will cause the number of deaths from disasters to fall.
Dr. Curry cites “Haiti, Myanmar, Pakistan”, which are some of the poorest places on the planet. The earthquake in Haiti killed up to a quarter of a million, and there were no roads for emergency relief. The Japanese earthquake & tsunumi killed 20,000, and the roads were repaired in under a week.
Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts – the story is the same
The costs to the insurance industry in the US from natural disasters after adjusting for inflation seem to be roughly the same as 30 years ago.
Meanwhile, no-one has *proved* rather than asserted a link between GW and extreme weather events.
So far as is known, the death toll from global warming is zero.
It may appear that I’m taking a developed world perspective. Odd ‘cos I feel I’m doing the opposite. I’m saying it is indeed OK for us – problem solved. Climate is so far down our list of priorities it barely gets a mention.
Underdeveloped countries and regions still have large vulnerabilities to climate. Less than they did – to the extent that they have developed, have infrastructure, abilities to move food and people around etc.
But what is the really important variable here? It isn’t climate. It certainlyisn’t climate change. It is poverty It is lack of development, and infrastructure and prosperity, and adaptive capabability and half-decent governance.
I don’t know where you live, but are you as vulnerable to climatic events in the way people were 200 years ago, in the same place? I assume not – by orders of magnitude.
If peoples fundamental vulnerability tom climatic events were reduced, it would automatically reduce their vulnerability to climate change. To me that’s a no-brainer.
But leaving those easily reduced vulnerabilities as they are, and attempting to influence the nature of the climate itself is a approach that is crying out for the attention of Jonathan Swift or Voltaire.
hehe. Swift – A Modest Proposal.
Save the climate: don’t burn coal – burn Greenpeace activists instead. :-)
for example, climate variability (el nino vs la nina) makes the difference between floods vs drought in many locations. little ice age vs medieval warm period – huge societal impacts
Dr. Curry, couldn’t you just as easily state that “weather variability” has huge societal impacts? Where’s the concern with that?
Weather variability has huge societal impacts, that vary with state of the climate system, particularly the large teleconnection modes.
Would the change from LIA to MWP have the same impact today? I think not – by orders of magnitude.
So, changes in climate have a profoundly less effect than they once did – and that process is ongoing.
Your point about changes in El Nino v La Nina is relevant – but compared to the past? And already definitively changing? – We’re back to projections about the future, rather than categorical [profound] effects consuming us today.
Is it not true that vulnerability to climate is dramatically decreasing over time? If so, it seems bizarre to claim that societies are being profoundly affected by both climate and climate change – implying that this is an increasing problem, rather than the reverse.
talk the insurance industry and humanitarian agencies and defense agencies. Because of population and wealth increases, the losses are increasing as a result of weather disasters. no claim was made as to whether or not this was an increasing problem (depends on the magnitude of the event, plus socioeconomic factors in the particular region). To claim that climate variability isn’t of socioeconomic importance is very strange, I didn’t think anyone disputed this.
“Climate variability and change are having profound effects on society”
What has already had a profound impact on society is CAGW alarmism, which causes many countries to waste enormous resorces on useless, harmful projects. (like eg. ethanol from corn which raised food prices).
It’s not climate variability that had a profound impact – we are still debating if there is any variability at all that is beyond the natural variability.
But CAGW alarmism surely had a big impact.
“I didn’t think anyone disputed this.”
Someone needs to come down from Big Rock Candy Mountain.
i’m not blaming climate variability on AGW in this argument (i’m not blaming it on anything in this argument). floods and droughts and hurricanes show documented variability with things like ENSO, AMO. Weather disasters are responsible for annual losses in the billions, not to mention lives lost.
Something seemingly unexplored is the extent to which this crashing of financial green expectations is contributing to the worldwide financial crisis.
How many solar, wind, and battery businesses have gone bankrupt in the last few months? I believe that nine have in the US, all recipients of very generous, not to say massive, stimulus funds from the present administration. I’m not particularly sure of this number and allegation, but would welcome the kind of research which would prove me wrong, because it would certainly open a few vistas in what seems to be the heart of darkness.
Desperately wasteful. Perhaps it can be considered a tax on our success. And now that we’ve tithed may we be relieved of our guilt and get on with our success?
I don’t see Anteros questioning the importance of climate variability in what he wrote. I tried to find that, I really did – but on closer examination realized that isn’t what he was saying.
Of course. But that sort of hides the fact that their impact is diminishing. In the all the possible ways that can be understood. Also the number of things that cause loss of life and the loss of billions of dollars are vast.
It’s a relative versus absolute perspective – the overview started with an implication that was surely false.
It could have said “despite climatic variability being nowhere near as significant as it was for our forebears, it is still important”
The claim about climate change I don’t think can be rescued in the same way. If it is currently having profound effects [bearing in mind a historical comparison] I’ve yet to see convincing evidence.
No, their impact is not diminishing. Talk to the people in Haiti, Myanmar, Pakistan, etc. with growing populations, which are frequently devastated by these events. The developed world is better able to recover from the adverse impacts, but talk the insurance companies about your ideas of “diminishing impacts”, doesn’t look like that from their perspective
And finally, it is at least possible that climate change would REDUCE the frequency and/or magnitude of some weather disasters. Shouldn’t we have the information to document this so that we can take advantage of this information if it were true? And then vice versa (if the frequency and/or magnitude worsens)?
Sorry there, a&j, to step on this wonderful conversation, but I had to kneejerk on Jacob’s critical point.
Perhaps one way to look at what you two are talking about would be to consider the places of weather disasters to be increasingly fragile, but the surrounding society to be increasingly durable.
Anteros, climate change and climate variability – on a human timescale – tomato, tomato?
Don’t forget to mention that the durability you mention has an uncanny correlation with access to sources of energy.
Baffling but true.
and anteros and Judith, it seems to me that if AGW slows down the THC, and poleward heat transport is increased in the atmosphere and diminished in the oceans, we wouldn’t get as many huracanes ;)
actually, the pole/equator temperature gradient and heat transport doesn’t seem to be a factor re hurricanes; hurricanes form in the summer hemisphere (not the winter hemisphere)
With respect, I think that the insurance co’s perspective is a red herring. As a proportion of GDP, weather disasters are diminishing their impact.
I absolutely agree that more information is useful, and I’m glad you mention that some changes may reduce the impacts to vulnerable societies. Of course.
My issue is simply with the first line of the overview [and probably the fact that it is so prominent and categorical] because it creates a false picture.
Again, it is possible to still find vulnerable societies. But they also are diminishing on number. I don’t mean to deny their existence – but in all the developed countries of the world, we’re hugely less vulnerable than we were – in the same way we are no longer profoundly affected by hunger, or TB.
Graph of “Number of Disasters per Year. Trends in number of reported disasters. Much of the increase in the number of hazardous events reported is probably due to significant improvements in information access and also to population growth, but the number of floods and cyclones reported is still rising compared to earthquakes. Is global warming affecting the frequency of natural hazards?”
I believe that lesser difference in temperature poles to equator translates to less extremeness of storms, but also believe that is controversial and perhaps unpredictable. Perhaps we can permanently assuage our guilt by riding to the rescue of disasters. That’s something we can all love, something in which the US military already leads the world, and something in which China might come to love to co-operate with. Kumbayah!
disaster relief – the new chinese colonialism
want some water? sign here, just need a few mineral rights
with apologies to chinese and brits everywhere, this comment is probably going to get snipped
I’m not comparing climate variability to climate change. It is climate that I’m comparing to climate change. Big difference.
The colony in Greenland fell foul of climate change but they were in an extreme position in a barely tenable situation and the normal climate was annually close to killing them all off. During the period of their existence, millions of people starved, drowned or otherwise met their ends through the effects of the climate – weather, if you like, elsewhere. Late frosts, wet Septembers, dry springs. All these and more knocked people down like ninepins. In very undeveloped parts of the world they still do but the number of these places is diminishing
However, in England for instance, we are effectively immune to the vagaries of either the climate or climate change. For instance, nobody has starved to death involuntarily in England through poverty for 150 years. We’ve cracked it. Floods? As many people die being struck by lightening or falling off ladders [‘profoundly dangerous, ladders..]
So, we’re nit vulnerable to climate change – because we’re not vulnerable to the climate. Simples!
Louise said, ” Is global warming affecting the frequency of natural hazards?”
Possibly. The trend much more closely matches population change than climate change though. Wild fires and floods are not disasters unless someone lives there. There is no real indication that the recent tornado outbreak in the US was any greater than decades ago. Hurricane accumulated energy has decreased, is that do to global warming or natural climate cycles? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Hope for the best and plan for the worst doesn’t mean there is one silver bullet. Controlling CO2 does not mean controlling climate. Trying to control one factor can contribute to other factors. Quick fixes generally lead to more fixes. I am out of cliches :) So wanting to know more about the options, especially, when things are not tracking predictions all that well, is not a sign of lack of intelligence. The opposite actually.
@Judith, I think I meant something more subtle but I’m certainly not sure, I was thinking that hurricane strength (not necessarily frequency) would be influenced primarily by the difference between tropical/subtropical ocean temps and tropical/subtropical atmospheric temps, such that if the difference between those tended smaller, which I believe is the case with GW theory, the intensity would go down, and not up due to “more energy loose in the system”, but this probably has nothing to do with the THC specifically so that was a red herring.
The Texan drought can certainly be used as an example of how we are still vulnerable to climatic effects [I don’t know if you wish to attribute it to climate change]
But a quick comparison to the dust bowl years of the thirties seems to me to show a diminishing vulnerability to climate.
Anteros – a more detailed examination of the US dust bowl of the 30s will show you that its effects were partly caused by ploughing up the natural grasslands rather that just an exceptionally hot/drought period.
Louise has a link to the dust bowl in the US. Agriculture does impact climate, regionally at least, globally possibly.
Agriculture is part of the anthropocentric side. It has a better correlation with global warming that CO2. It has a bigger impact on flooding than CO2. It has a bigger impact on tornado intensity than CO2. Is warming due to agriculture bad?
I’m very aware of the agricultural practices that exacerbated the drought conditions in the 30’s. I’m not sure of the relevance of that to the fact that 80 years ago, Americans were vastly more vulnerable to climatic effects than they are today.
Are Texan food store empty with a third of the population starving? Of course not.
I don’t want to diminish the difficulties of the Texan drought, merely to observe that farmers from the 30’s would have begged for such circumstances. It is all relative.
Which goes back to the original point [see JT’s analysis below] that the first statement of the overview was unforgivably misleading.
However, in England for instance, we are effectively immune to the vagaries of either the climate or climate change. For instance, nobody has starved to death involuntarily in England through poverty for 150 years. We’ve cracked it. Floods? As many people die being struck by lightening or falling off ladders [‘profoundly dangerous, ladders..]
What an appallingly crass statement. Why don’t you ask people who have actually fallen victim to the floods in recent years if they feel they are “immune to the vagaries of either the climate or climate change”.
It appears that you have fallen into the logic trap of attributing the climate (or changes in climate) that have resulted in the ” floods in recent years” to ANTHROPOGENIC factors.
There is no empirical evidence to support this “leap of faith”, andrew,
I said nothing about the causes of the floods. My point was that they had a pretty devastating effect on people’s lives.
“Weather disasters are responsible for annual losses in the billions”
Wasteful and useless “renewables” are responsible for losses in the hundreds of billions – 250 billion worldwide in 2010 alone to be more precise. (and commitments to feed-in tarifs for the next 20 years, at least).
climate variability makes the difference between floods vs drought in many locations. little ice age vs medieval warm period – huge societal impacts
Change happens during warming and cooling cycles. Change forces people to move or adapt.
This can be used for or against any theory on any side of our debates.
Bad farming practices did contribute to the dust bowl.
Bad farming practices can and do cause problems.
I was raised on a farm. We had a severe flood that washed out the county road. It was caused by a large corn field uphill from the road.
They plowed and planted 160 acres of corn. if they had left strips of land that was not plowed in between strips of corn, the flooding would have not been bad. They did not do that again. We did not have that much land to plant in one crop, but we always left strips of hay that was not plowed in between our strips of corn.
Slightly off topic: Miller, G. H., et al. (2012), Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L02708, doi:10.1029/2011GL050168. Abstract:
It’s behind a paywall> :>(
The ‘profound effect of climate change’ is primarily to move a shedload of taxpayer’s money into the pockets of the AGW industry practitioners, advocates and hangers-on. And to feed more ‘renewable energy’ scams than you can shake a stick at.
An unintended consequence has been to provide China with opportunities in solar PV, windmills and Rare Earth mining. Effectively the western nations subsidise Chinese economic expansion directly by cash and indirectly by hobbling many of our own industries with compulsory and expensive worship of Mother Gaia.
We might just as well p**s it up against the wall for all the good any of it does. And it’d be more fun than being daily lectured by rabid doom mongers.
– in a sweetly shaped nutshell. Well said.
I’d add that it is very encouraging that the willingness of governments and their people to continue along the Gaian road to economic ruin at their own expense is decreasing almost everywhere one looks.
Apart from the lack of any actual specially bad weather things happening in the last 30 years, the people coming to political power now have spent all their formative years being propagandised by the ‘old guard’ of eco-catastrophists. And, like all new generations, they are profoundly unimpressed by the shibolleths of their parents.
The cutting edge of radical youthful dynamism is not interested in whether the temperature goes up 1/2 a degree F in 25 years or whatever it is. They have seen the huge effort that went into agreeing Kyoto…and its total failure to achieve anything practical. If they have any sense they will keep away from anything similar again like the plague.
And if they want to stay in power it is an easy call to make. As Clinton (I think) wisely opined ‘Its the economy stupid’. No savvy poltician will sacrifice votes from today’s voters by impoverishing them for the (possible though unproven) benefit of unborn great great great great grandchildren who may or may not find a slightly warmer climate (if such indeed occurs) more or less congenial than our own.
‘Climate change’ is rapidly becoming a topic of interest only to middle-aged and retired academics and what could otherwise be described as ‘boring old farts’. As sexy as last week’s cold porrridge and about as attractive.
The Sun “is having profound effects” on everything we know and what should society do about that? That is the real question.
“Scientists know that what occurs on the Sun can be described as a pattern for change and that these patterns determine the interactions within the Sun-Earth connection.
• In something that consists of many parts, the parts usually influence one another.
• Thinking about things as systems means looking for how every part relates to others.”
“In something that consists of many parts, the parts usually influence one another.”
Really? The Earth influences the Sun? Parody fail.
I think I see what you mean–e.g., this blog could have an effect on you but your effect on the blog shows your impotence, right?
“For The Climate Service to benefit society” you have to assume that their predictions will someday have more gravity than earthquake predictions.
–> ■ Validation: how complete is the validation?
Shouldn’t we insist on validation as a precondition for the use of public funds? Otherwise, it’s just public-funded silly science.
Realistically, what can be implemented that will assure the integrity of the climate data record when someone like John Bates is unable to address the problem of a lack of accountability for climate fraud?
“Climate variability and change are having profound effects on society”
When a witness is sworn to give evidence in some courts he promises to tell “The Truth, The Whole Truth, and nothing but The Truth”. The statement above alludes to “a part of the truth”, while denying much else that is true by means of the rhetorical effect of selective omission. Firstly, by speaking only in the present tense, “are having”, it implies by silent omission that “climate variability and change” did not, in the past, also have profound effects on society. The rhetorical effect of the sentence is to insinuate that “climate variability and change” are something new and different in human experience. Secondly, by using the word “profound” as an absolute adjectival qualifier of “effects”, in conjunction with the present tense discussed above, it begs the central question of the debate which is as to the relative “profundity” of present effects as compared with past effects. Thirdly, by denoting the object affected as “society” it invokes the uncritical emotional allegiances of those for whom “society” is a secular universal conceived in the image of god, albeit an occasionally morally imperfect and vulnerable one, humanities duty to which is to perfect and protect. In short, that sentence is pure spin. With that much rhetoric embedded in the first sentence one may wish to read all the remaining sentences with an eye for similar devices.
Ageed–it paints an entirely different picture from the reality that we all are more like fleas on a turd floating in a toilet bowl just waiting for the next flush.
Excellent dissection, JT. This is an example of a comment that’s better than mine. ;)
I tried to say something similar upthread.
I think the sentence is just as bad as you say – I called it false but it’s probably more pernicious than that.
Mainly, it creates a strong but dishonest picture that in some way the effects are relevant because they are worse than in the past. Clearly they are not.
Perhaps also the fact that two effects are thrown in together (climate change and climate variability) obscures the fact that neither are true. Arriving close together to the party, in a rush, they disguise each others nakedness. Turning up alone I think they’d be more obviously in need of ridicule.
I just can’t resist adding an even better comment (and It is not even mine)!
In one section of his new book, Australian Professor Plimer lists some “simple questions.” Here’s one of them:
“If we have dangerous warming and the global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since the Little Ice Age, does this mean that the ideal temperature for life on Earth is that of the Little Ice Age?
During the Little Ice Age, people died like flies and it was really not a good time to be on Earth. Besides the cold, there were crop failures, famine, cannibalism and disease. As a child, you might have been on the menu. It was certainly not an ideal temperature then.”
Weather Station sites were really not needed to see what the Little Ice Age was like. A sampling of the Great Master painters’ works in the 16th & 17th centuries gives you a taste!
If we have dangerous warming and the global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since the Little Ice Age, does this mean that the ideal temperature for life on Earth is that of the Little Ice Age?
No. Glad to have cleared that up.
Is the ideal temperature what we have today then? If so, how do we know? If not, when was it/will it be? And how do we know that?
This conversation has gotten a bit off-topic here, but you are on a slippery slope.
The temperature during the LIA (estimated 0.8C lower than today) was more problematic for humankind than today’s average temperature (as both you and Ian Plimer agree).
Yet you appear deeply concerned about (if not traumatically afraid of) a temperature that is warmer than today’s.
This raises a question: what do you believe the ideal “Goldilocks just right” temperature of our planet should be?
We start off with a problem here: the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature” itself.
This is an artificial construct. If we live in a temperate zone, our ambient temperature may reach this level for a few hours during a few days or nights in one or another season.
In other words, diurnal and seasonal variations (which we will feel) will bounce all around this arbitrary number (which we will only encounter rarely). So it really doesn’t mean too much to us in actual fact.
But let’s forget about this problem for now.
Let me suggest this answer (taken from several sources): 23°C is close to the optimum ambient temperature for humans, 6°C is close to the coldest the planet has gotten naturally, 35°C is close to the highest natural temperature and 15°C is close to the current global temperature (so we are somewhere below the middle of the natural range and slightly below the optimum ambient temperature for humans today).
5 million years ago (prior to the emergence of humans) the average temperature is believed to have been around 5°C warmer than today, or 20°C.
During the last Glacial Maximum (when our ancestors had established themselves in many parts of the world), it is believed that the global average temperature was as much as 6°C colder than today, or 9°C.
Physical evidence, such as carbon-dated tree remains found under receding glacier, show that there have been several periods over the past 10,000 years, which were a bit warmer than today, most recently the Roman and Medieval Optima. These records show that the alpine glaciers reached a 10,000-year maximum extent around 1850, around the time that modern glacier measurements (and the modern HadCRUT3 temperature record) started.
According to IPCC, the temperature now would be around 14°C if there had been no human influence (back-calculated using IPCC estimates of CO2 impact and checks with older records). This was just as the planet was coming out of a colder period called the Little Ice Age.
Is this the “Goldilocks Ideal Global Temperature” (GIGT) for our planet?
Obviously, you and Ian Plimer do not think so.
Or is it the temperature we had in the record warm year, 1998 (15.3°C)? Or maybe the one in 2008 (15.1°C)? How about 1988 (14.9°C)?
Or should one go even further back to year 1938 (14.8°C), 1900 (14.7°C) or even 1888 (14.5°C)?
Or maybe one would like the “average” temperature over the 20th century (14.6°C)?
Is there a scientifically validated estimate of the “just right” GIGT our planet should have?
If one has no idea what the GIGT should be, then how can one worry about an increase of a degree or even three?
Maybe the GIGT is actually 18°C. Or 20°C.
As pointed out, climate history tells us that this temperature has moved up and down in natural cycles even before humans started emitting CO2.
In my opinion, it is very unlikely that the GIGT is at the so-called “pre-industrial” level of around 14°C or even less. Periods of extreme cold, such as those seen during the late 16th and early 17th century, were accompanied by crop loss, famine, plagues and war, as Plimer and history have pointed out. So it appears that “warmer is better”.
So maybe we should be happy and hope it continues to warm a bit before cooling off again.
I don’t know if there is such thing as an “ideal temperature” but the temps over most of the period since the LIA have been pretty comfortable for the human race in general.
But just because today’s temperatures are preferable to the LIA it doesn’t logically follow that a similar temperature increase from today’s levels would be desirable.
‘But just because today’s temperatures are preferable to the LIA it doesn’t logically follow that a similar temperature increase from today’s levels would be desirable’
Nor that it would not be desirable. It says nothing about it.
You seem to assume that any temperature change whatsoever will ipso facto bring a disaster upon us. And that we will be completely incapable of adapting to that change if and when it should happen.. Just another example of warmism’s innate and deep rooted conservatism.
Nor that it would not be desirable. It says nothing about it.
Indeed. And as we are heading for conditions which have not existed in the history of human civilisation (if we are not there already) it’s not as if we have any historical record to fall back on to tell us how we might fare in such conditions. I don’t think one has to be innately conservative to consider that prospect worrying in itself given how vulnerable many people are to extremes of climate, existing strains on resources (particularly fresh water), and environmental threats caused by human activities other than the burning of fossil fuels.
Of course that still doesn’t necessarily mean that the consequences will be dire, but it strikes me as odd that some people don’t even see that this is a legitimate and reasonable concern. Or that they feel able to fall back on platitudes about human adaptability when extreme weather events still cause an immense amount of damage and suffering now. And the fact that none of us has a crystal ball or a time machine does not mean that we have no useful knowledge of how our climate works and how at least some parts of the world might be impacted by higher temperatures.
Actually, I would add a question of my own. Assuming Plimer’s account of how bad things were during the LIA is correct (and I would never take any statement of his at face value given his record) and temperatures were only 0.8C different from today, does that not prove that relatively small differences in temperature can make a big difference and doesn’t that suggest that if, as seems likely, we see temperature changes of even greater magnitude over the rest of the century that could have pretty drastic effects?
That’s why we should do everything we can to stave off another LIA. If burning a bit of carbon helps, we should make sure to do as much as we can as quick as we can.
It was the Cold of the LIA that caused the problem. Not the Warmth.Things die when it’s cold. Go look at Antarctica and compare with the Tropics for biodiversity and natural abundance.
It “proves” nothing, andrew, but it “suggests drastic effects” only if the projection is that it will be more than 0.8C COLDER than today.
Summary: Colder = bad (based on history)
How about a rapid shift to hotter, drier continents? Would that be bad or good? Perhaps we need to think about this possibility more, since it has been suggested it could happen.
A lot of things have been “suggested”.
Warmer temperatures from added (model-estimated CO2) forcing.
Colder temperatures from a (projected) extended continuation of the current shift in solar activity.
We just do not know enough to be able to guess what is more likely for the next several decades: a continuation or acceleration of the current slight cooling trend (since 2000) or a resumption of the previous warming trend (of the 1980s and 1990s).
Until we know more we will just have to live with (and adapt to) any climate that nature (or anyone else) throws at us, Jim.
Whether warmer is better than colder depends on how much warmer, how warm it is at the moment and where you happen to live. I doubt inhabitants of Texas were thanking their lucky stars for this summer’s exceptionally warm weather.
As for another LIA, I will worry about that when there is some reason to think we will be heading for one.
According to Plimer 0.8C warming from the LIA caused drastic changes to our climate. Why shouldn’t 0.8C (or even more) further warming also cause drastic changes?
‘I doubt inhabitants of Texas were thanking their lucky stars for this summer’s exceptionally warm weather’
Possibly not. No more were inhabitants of Southern England giving thanks for last winter’s exceptionally cold and snowy spell.
And until you can provide some better proof than that unusual events happen somewhere sometime quite often, your argument is pretty thin. You might as well imagine that a comet (unusual event in the sky) is a harbinger of doom like the ancients did.
Thanks for the post Judy.
For the most recent 10 years, we are using high resolution satellite data to capture and monitor the land surface around the CRN sites. This could/should be expanded to the early 80s using Landsat data. That would help RP Sr better capture influences of land use changes, but only for the recent period.
Information on weather and climate is a public asset and the idea of the maturity matrix is to ensure all data and methods are fully open. This is so folks, like many of the folks I’ve seen in your comments, can do their own analysis if they want. To do that, we need something more like engineering standards that are fully traceable and reproducible. Research quality simply doesn’t fully comply with engineering standards.
Hi John, thanks very much for stopping by.
Thanks for stopping by John.
I’d love to volunteer time to test the useability of your system and to share my experiences working with sat data and surface stations. Mat menne and Claude have my email. Drop me a note and I’ll do what I can
“we need something more like engineering standards that are fully traceable and reproducible. Research quality simply doesn’t fully comply with engineering standards.”
I endorse upgrading “climate science” data and models to “engineering standards.” – Especially after email evidence that “The Team” can’t find or reproduce its models.
Engineer Burt Rutan provides
a pragmatic engineer’s perspective on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, reviewing the overall evidence, and providing prudent recommendations on what to do about it:
Having signed the WSJ editorial “No Need to Panic About Global Warming “, Rutan responds to an alarmist e.g.
“To do that, we need something more like engineering standards that are fully traceable and reproducible. Research quality simply doesn’t fully comply with engineering standards.”
Thank your for making that point. Hey Joshua, photos of station sites also can be used for ‘traceability’.
I agree with JT at 29Jan12 12:39pm and FWIW I think the use of the term “Maturity Matrix” is misleading. It implies that the issues will naturally be resolved with the passage of time. IMO this is a quality issue and I think technically trained people working on quality related issues know that “time” is not the driving variable for improvement. The driving variable for improvement is focussed and evaluated process management. Ok implementing quality improvement takes time, but time itself does nothing – as evidenced by the pathetic data management incumbent at CRU.
“I agree with JT at 29Jan12 12:39pm and FWIW I think the use of the term “Maturity Matrix” is misleading. It implies that the issues will naturally be resolved with the passage of time. IMO this is a quality issue and I think technically trained people working on quality related issues know that “time” is not the driving variable for improvement.”
JT read a lot into that first sentence to rationalize his POV IMO and it did him a disservice. Don’t do the same thing here. What I find curious is how you feel the name ‘Maturity Matrix’ is misleading. The content of the matrix is essentially what you suggest… they are questions related to improving the ‘quality’ of record keeping. The use of ‘continuous improvement’ is at work within the matrix. If a score of 1 to 6 is assigned to each question, it rates that area with how ‘mature’ it is to being what we want in the end. It is a crude pareto analysis. By making such an analysis, one can then determine where the most help is needed and where you will get the most bang for your buck in improving the ‘quality’ of the data record. In essence it sets up a priority list of what to do to make the greatest improvements. Would this explanation change your thinking about what the ‘Maturity Matrix’ is all about?
John – thanks for the comments but I think we will differ on this. My objection is borne of frustration from having followed the climate debate for some while now. I’m an engineer by training and amongst other things have worked in corporate IT. From the start I was looking for reliable traceable metrics and data, which led me to blogs such as CA. It was immediately evident that I was not the only person looking for this info. Given the level of international emphasis on climate measures, inc. the massive policy responses being demanded, I find it inexcusable to be so many years down the road and for these matters not to have been addressed in a systematic manner at root and branch levels. Perhaps my comment appeared sharp but it was in the context of Paul Homewood’s recent post at WUWT regarding the Icelandic temperature records where it is clear that adjustment algorithms are in use which are replacing accurate data in order to produce an in name “Quality Adjusted Product”. My opinion remains – “maturity” has nothing to do with this. Competence and will are the issues. Your comment indicates you understand quality management issues – the nub of my complaint is that this presentation of April 2011 is 10? 15? 20? years too late.
Paul Homewood’s thread is here – read his comments along with those from people with local knowledge of Icelandic climate:
Curious, I feel your pain. However I am not a bit surprised after all this time there is no system for proper data documentation and full disclosure of collection, analysis and ‘adjustments’ methods as part of overall record keeping. We’re dealing with a global hodge podge of academics over several climate science disciplines with almost no training in quality measures. Bates recognizes this problem and, though he does not explicitly state it in the presentation, he understands the lack of good record keeping standardized methods and procedures eats away at the credibility of the science as a whole. I think Bates speaks your language.
I am not sure how he assigned the ‘maturity’ levels to the different areas of concern, but none are ‘mature’. The documentation, metadata and validation areas are all at the ‘provisional’ level of maturity. Climate science is a fledgling endeavor compared to other scientific disciplines and we, you and I and other engineering/scientist types, who operate in a world of accountability need to press those pushing agendas for the full monty. When someone within that community recognizes one of the problems we see as obvious, then we need to encourage that behavior.
lolwot it is because they have no arguments to counter the skeptic, and also all this hand-wringing is a wast of time, follow the money.
Judith, Real climate has a new post by Schmidt on your uncertainty monster paper. It actually seems to be free of the usual condescending attitude and name calling and reasonably fair, in my opinion, while disagreeing with your conclusions. Of course, the peanut gallery will make sure the usual insults are hurled.
The Berlin wall of AGW may fall but the seekers of liberal utopianism who fascilitated the erection of the the wall are all around.
Society deserves full and open access to the data and methods used to produce climate products
That’s a start. He did not limit it to funding sources, exact code vs algorithm and pseudo-code, raw vs refined data, “deserving” members of society vs. hoi polloi, “honest” people vs nit-pickers and “mrechants of doubt.”
Society deserves full and open access to the data and methods used to produce climate products
That’s a good start.
I am indeed grateful, for having a voice here. Thank you.
Look beyond the oceans, for there you will see, your brother, for they are yee.
The presentation by John Bates is excellent and (hopefully) NOAA will adopt his suggestions.
Very few would disagree that climate science must ”set expectations for openness, process and transparency that are accessible to the public” (following Steve Mosher’s plea).
Under the “how to?” Bates suggests a “maturity matrix” covering all aspects from data collection to validation and peer review, which will set expectations and assess progress transparently.
He also suggests the use of clearer semantics (i.e. a common vocabulary) to enable greater data transparency.
There is nodoubt in my mind that these suggestions by an insider could help in restoring the public’s lost confidence in the claims coming from climate scientists. But will it be enough?
According to a Rasmussen poll, close to 70% of all US respondents have concluded that climate scientists have falsified their data.
To resolve this problem there will be more required than the operational improvements suggested by Bates.
Climate science has to move away from “agenda driven science” responding to the needs of a political IPCC “consensus process” (i.e. the need for finding the “proof” to support the IPCC message rather than finding the “truth” about what makes our climate behave as it does.).
Until this is achieved, the suggestions by Bates, as sound as they are, will simply be cosmetic IMO.
Anteros – There has been no reason given why they cannot make these photographs a requirement. With digital cameras, it is very easy to do. I suspect they do not want to do this as it will show major problems with their siting, as Anthony Watts and his volunteers found for the USHCN. This must be the reason they are ignoring this issue.
Relying on data gathered at the site of an active volcano but it’s a keeper of the AGW torch leaves a lot to be desired if you care about the accuracy of atmospheric CO2 estimates.
Roger, I don’t think NOAA is explicitly ignoring this issue. When I served on the NOAA Climate WOrking Group, they were concerned about this issue, if for no other reason than all the negative PR for them associated with Watts effort. The issue is too many things to take care of, and apparently this hasn’t bubbled up to top priority. The land sat image analysis may ultimately be more useful
Is climatology the only field of scientific endeavour where assuring the highest standards of raw data collection is NOT a top priority.
Especially when it has almost no other experimental content and is no more than an exercise in applied statistics.
Seems to me that if the raw data is suspect the so are all the conclusions drawn from it. And it shouldn’t take thirty years of vast expenditure on other things before some clever guy points out what should have been obvious to any real scientist at the outset
Garbage In, Garbage Out does not only apply in IT. Seems that climatology has been suffering from this failure for many years too. You guys must really really think that the general public are too stupid to notice.
Judith land sat is only as good as the location information for the sites.
WMO has made a start on this, but with accurate site locations ( sub 100 meters) and hi res sat data we could go a long way to classifying sites.
its a big task but a huge portion of the data is out there. time and money.
for example, it took me a week to get the terabyte of modis albedo downloaded and organized. whew.
Good point, professor, and I would add, in addition to the time constraint issue, the possibility of a budgetary issue offering some sort of impediment.
I think NOAA is reluctant to photograph all sites for the same reason Jones was unwilling to share data and code. Why should they provide objective, unadjusted data, to those who are not interested in supporting their CAGW position?
If you start from an assumption that the station siting descriptions on file at NOAA are accurate, at best any photographic evidence could just confirm current assumptions. But at worst, you have a potential PR debacle ala surfacestations.org.
If you’re a “scientist” in the mythical sense of an independent, objective observer of reality, then photographically documenting the surroundings of the weather stations is a low cost no brainer.
But if you’re a bureaucrat whose funding depends on keeping the CAGW dream alive, or a scientist/advocate already deeply invested in the CAGW consensus…where is the benefit?
Hi Judy – I agree we also need the historical context, and that this is more challenging. However, the documentation with photographs should start sometime, and now is a good time.
This visual siting information will inform us if the location is spatially representative of the region. NCDC has gince lip-service to the need for photographs on occasions, but have taken little action in this direction.
John Bates’s proposal is an encouraging endeavour, and one which so far everyone on this thread supports. Since social science takes a lot of stick here, let me point out that large-scale survey projects associated with the Institute of Social Research in Ann Arbor (‘mother church’ in this field) are fully documented by the Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political Research. All data, questionnaires, sampling papers and other relevant information are then available to all users, whether or not their intention is to nitpick. Scores of later researchers then have the capacity to use the data and find new meaning there.
This was the case in the late 1960s, when I undertook my own work in this field. Why is something equivalent still not the rule in climate science?
Louise and Joshua – For the quantitative value of site photographs, please see
Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D14120, doi:10.1029/2010JD015146.Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/r-367.pdf
Anthony Watts and his colleagues are continuing to further extend our knowledge of the role of siting quality on long term trends and anomalies. This assessment of the data should have been completed by NCDC, but Tom Karl and Tom Peterson failed to puruse it. This is why Anthony appropriately took the initiative.
Again, “…the overall mean temperature trends are nearly identical across site classifications.”, from that very same paper.
Hi John [Bates] – Thank you for the update. The analyses you mention in your comment is an important new addition. We still need, of course, photographs at each GHCN site looking not only at the instrument site, but in each direction looking outward. Roger
For Dr. Curry’s attention
or anyone else who has a link (or a file, email is on the graph’s link below) for the NOAA’s Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which would help to evaluate the ‘Atlantic Hurricane probability index’. Currently the ‘probability index’ is only indicative and if evaluation is positive it may be of some value.
Done, thank you, see:
“GISSTEMP is one of the most open and transparent data sets in all of science”. Are the algorithms, code, and rationale used for “adjustments” publicly available? Sorry, but I can’t help but be a little suspicious when every new temperature product decreases pre-1960s temps and increases post 1970s temps (a la HadCrut 4), presumably by applying adjustments. It seems highly improbable that there has been no bias in this process. It may have been unconscious and not intended to deceive, but it would be remarkable if “improvements” in adjustments always yielded results known to be favored by those in charge of the groups making the adjustments. The Harry Read-Me file further decreases confidence in the quality of the temperature record. It is easy to see how this could occur without any intention to be sloppy or careless, but this is not an excuse for having less than completely reliable temperature records. The only way this can be addressed is to make all adjustments, algorithms used to make them, computer code, and rationale for the adjustments publicly available. If they already are, please provide the URLs or references.
harry read me has NOTHING to do with this temperature record. it is related to an entirely different dataset. GISS adjustments are not an issue. You dont understand the dataflow or the algorithms. I’ll suggest that if you havent read the giss code or looked at the data that you should do so before commenting
There is a reason why all Official thermometers thermometers are located at French airports instead of in the French countryside: the ends justify the means.
All this talk of bad thermometers, what for? Bad thermometers have not caused the melting of glaciers, the earlier onset of spring, the poleward shift of species, the decline in ice mass in both polar regions, expansion of Hadley cells, etc. These are observations in the real world that agree that there is more heat in the system. Yeah, the temperature record isn’t perfect; that doesn’t change the reality of the situation.
You all are just grasping at straws.
Yes, grasping @ the attributed strawman, FrankenCO2.
So tell us – why is that happening, and is it not normal? Is it unprecedented? Show your work. You will be graded on neatness.
If this was the first time ever these events had ocurred we should be worried. However we have much evidence of earlier springs, of glacier advance and retreat (the current phase dating from around 1750, arctic ice has come and gone etc.
I continually cite such examples but there are many people who prefer theoretical modeldotal evidence rather than observed anecdotal evidence.
Check your measurements again.
You are wrong.
Nomenclature exists for very good reason: without it communication is orders of magnitude more voluminous.
This suggestion needs a careful rethink:
“Scientists often use nomenclature and methods that are difficult for non‐ specialists, and sometimes even specialists, to understand”
“Scientists often use nomenclature and methods that are difficult for non‐ specialists, and sometimes even specialists, to understand”
Methods that the public understands aren’t necessary the right ones for the job.
“Scientists must do a better job in standardizing their nomenclature and methods, and more clearly communicate with the public”
How about scientists focus on doing the immensely difficult science? – and leave the cosmetics to less talented others whose time isn’t so precious?
It’s a rare combination of raw talent, cross-disciplinary knowledge, experience, resources, & time free of purely-essential competing obligations that can overcome the most challenging problems.
Efficient division of labor should be the very highest ranking priority.
There are 1000s who can shovel the communication dirt, but those who can make scientific breakthroughs are extraordinarily rare. Divide the labor wisely. And leave something for science journalists to do so the research money isn’t wasted on communication spin.
” Collection methods: how was the data collected, sensors, surveys, etc.?
Algorithm stability: are algorithms under configuration management and how mature?
Metadata and QA: how full and complete are the metadata and quality assessment?
Documentation: is the operational algorithm description full, complete, and peer reviewed?
Validation: how complete is the validation?
Public release: are the data, algorithms, and software open and available to the public?
Science & applications: how extensive is the peer reviewed literature and how varied are the applications?
Most of this is purely administrative in orientation.
Sensible, capable judges need little:
Just make the data available along with any log notes essential for judicious interpretation (plain text webpage is best).
Don’t give the admins yet further reason to suck the bulk of the money & resources away from the raw scientific research. Let’s not advocate yet more backwardness, motivated by fear of loss of bureaucratic control.
If we’re going to spend resources on something other than the raw science, let’s provide our citizens with education reform that delivers orders of magnitude better functional numeracy. That’s the root of the real problem. Nevermind all this fluffy administrative BS.
“enriched with semantics and semantically-aware tools”
Too much luxurious focus on cosmetic fluff.
More focus on essential logic advised.
According to the NOAA’s assessment the Atlantic hurricane activity is directly related to the Equatorial Atlantic’s SST; neither of which is predictable.
However that not may be the case.
Comparing the NOAA’s Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index with the ‘Atlantic Hurricane probability index’ based on the North Atlantic other historical data (also available from the NOAA) it could be concluded that the hurricane activity will (on average) stay just above the normal for at least a decade.
I have a draft post on decadal scale hurricane projections, I’ll post this in april or so when people are starting to think about hurricanes. I agree with Vukcevic’s prediction
“When people are starting to think about hurricanes?” :) Some people never stop thinking about them., TC iggy? Can we get Lenny and Squiggy added to the North Atlantic name list?
Thanks, I would be more than happy to email further details regarding the data used (source Dr. Adam Phillips, UCAR) and simple calculation employed; you might wish have a good look and perhaps make a more critical assessment.
How is normal calculated? Looking at the graph I see no reason for the prediction, but I assume there is a lot more to it. What I would really like to see is a study of the degree of unpredictability, not the degree of predictability.
Let me put it this way. Given contradictory probabilistic decadal forecasts, how many decades before we should choose one of these statistical methods? 5? 10? We will all be dead.
probabilistic, statistical not in my domain, far simpler than that.
Chaos theory would suggest that a hurricane may be initialised by flap of butterflies wings of the west cost of Africa. It is more likely that cause could be a whale exhaling air explosively through their blowhole somewhere in the Nordic seas. My view (firmly held) it is: the enraged Poseidon (Neptune) throwing trident at his consort Gea (Terra).
Chaos theory suggests no such thing. The butterfly is a metaphor, not a cause. In any case the question is how does one falsify a probabilistic forecast based on a statistical pattern? This is a very hard problem.
For example, the weather forecast for today is a 30% chance of rain. Neither rain nor no rain falsifies this forecast, because it is actually a forecast about a series of days, which series is not specified.
If your forecast cannot be falsified it is not science. What would falsify it?
David, I am emailing (later this afternoon) all data etc. to Dr. Curry, in confidence (since she did not question credibility of my post). If she is happy with it, I shall write a short article in due course.
Sunspots are not likely to be the only cause of the natural 60 year and ~1,000 year cycles which are readily observed in the data and which are the only factors affecting climate, seeing that anthropogenic contributions are negligible and backradiation has no effect.
Sunspots may be just indicative of an independent cause for both solar activity and Earth climate. Remember that the last long-term maximum in sunspots was nearly 50 years before the 1998 temperature maximum, so correlation is far from perfect.
The ~1,000 year cycle is still increasing and its rate of increase only reduced from about 0.06 deg.C/decade to about 0.05 deg.C/decade in the last 80 years or so. If we are approaching a maximum in a roughly sinusoidal trend for that, we should see such a maximum in that trend by about 2200, roughly 1,000 years after the MWP and 500 years after the LIA. The previous two cycles, however, were a little longer, so the periodicity may be reducing, indicating a possible maximum closer to 2100, though this is not supported by the rate of decrease in the gradient.
Either way, that maximum in the ~1,000 year cycle should only be about 0.5 to 0.8 deg.C higher than present temperatures for the trend itself, with additional variations for the superimposed 60 year cycle. The latter is expected to rise again between 2028 and 2058 and the cooling since 1998 is just the start of a slight decline in that 60 year cycle until about 2028. After the long-term maximum the world can expect about 500 years of cooling, the next Little Ice Age not coming until then.
“Sunspots are not likely to be the only cause of the natural 60 year and ~1,000 year cycles which are readily observed in the data and which are the only factors affecting climate, seeing that anthropogenic contributions are negligible significant and backradiation has no an amplifying effect on other factors which appears to be limited to the Northern Hemisphere.
Rats! My strike through didn’t work :)
The article loses it on the first assumption.
The only great impact the climate is having already is that hyping climate has grown into a substantial industry. Except for the damaging increase in insurance premiums and the waste of money on things like windmills and solar cell scams, the damage of this hype is limited to degrading science and wasting tax payer resources.
So far. We have dodged some big bullets. None of the extremist AGW demands have actually been imposed. So far, AGW is just a parasitic cost.
it seems to be implicit in a number of the comments here that temperature can be averaged in some kind of meaningful scientific way. My understanding is that the starting point is that temperature cannot be averaged.
The mean temperature of the tropics is apples. The mean temperature of the polar regions is oranges. Every data recording station is a slightly different fruit. Not only that but the fruits change from minute to minute, day to day, week to week, season to season, decade to decade etc etc etc.
So when it is claimed that the earth has warmed by 0.8c in the last 150 years based on the average of this ever-changing fruit cocktail you will understand why this particular sceptic is and remains sceptical.
Where are the GISS algorithms, code, and annotations giving rationale for their adjustments located? Are they publicly available?
WOW, reading through this thread just took a lot of time. There is absolutely no way that I (or any person in the ‘public’) can attest to any change of world average temperature. It could be the average is absolutely understood by the scientists, but — how could I possibly know?
I have been seriously studying this phenomonon since IPCC’s AR4 and have been swamped by the spin from all sides (there are more than just two sides). To even get the attention of the average person there must be a consistent on-going specific message that is believable. The AGW crowd has been at this for what? – over 40 years! And we are still debating the merits of the thermometer record! I mean, really!
And, the whole affort has been seriously sidelined over a bunch of emails! I mean, not because of the science, but because of the apparent motives of the scientists involved. Good science must dictate. Start with an explanation of why the average temperature has stopped rising in the past 12 years, or so.
Sounds like all too much political discourse to me….let’s get back to the science and try to understand this very complex system.
Let’s start with open communications and reasoned interpretations. I would love to attend some debates of the science. We need to understand this to a much deeper level before we spent $trillions to try to change the outcome.
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