Spreading Peanut Butter

NASA’s GISS claims to have a statistical methodology to identify and remove urban biases.  After dealving into the numbers, it looks more like they are not removing urban biases, but spreading their effect around multiple stations like peanut butter.  My kids have a theory that I will not notice the fact they have not eaten their [fill in the blank] food if they spread it around the plant in a thin layer rather than leaving it in a single pile.  This seems to be NASA’s theory on urban measurement biases.  In addition, the GISS statistical methodology seems to be finding an unusual number of stations with a cooling bias, meaning that for some reason the instruments are actually less urbanized than say 50 years ago.

Steve McIntyre digs into some of these issues:

In my previous post, I calculated the total number of positive and negative NASA adjustments. Based on present information, I see no basis on which anything other than a very small proportion of negative urban adjustments can be assigned to anything other than “false local adjustments”. Perhaps there are a few incidents of vegetative cooling resulting in a true physically-based urban cooling event, but surely this would need to be proved by NASA, if that’s their position. Right now, as a first cut, let’s estimate that 95% of all negative urban adjustments in the ROW are not due to “true urban” effects i.e. about 1052 out of 1108 are due to “false local adjustments”….

If the purpose of NASA adjustments was to do station history homogenizations (a la USHCN), then this wouldn’t matter. But the purpose of the NASA adjustments was to adjust for the “true urban” effect”. On this basis, one can only conclude that the NASA adjustment method is likely to be completely ineffective in achieving its stated goal. As other readers have observed (and anticipated), it appears highly likely that, instead of accomplishing an adjustment for the “true urban effect”, in many, if not most cases, the NASA adjustment does little except coerce the results of one poorly documented station to results from other equally poorly documented stations, with negligible improvement to the quality of whatever “signal” may be in the data.

This does not imply that the NASA adjustment introduces trends into the data – it doesn’t. The criticism is more that any expectation of using this methodology to adjust for urban effect appears to be compromised by the overwhelming noise in station histories. Needless to say, the problems are exacerbated by what appears to be poor craftsmanship on NASA’s part – pervasive use of obsolete station versions, many of which have not been updated since 1989 or 1990(!), and use of population data that is obsolete (perhaps 1980 vintage) and known to be inaccurate.

This is the second part of this post, where Mcintyre first quantified the number of the "nreverse" urban bias adjustments:

negative urban adjustments are not an exotic situation. In the ROW, there are almost the same number of negative adjustments as positive adjustments. In the U.S., there are about 50% more positive adjustments as negative adjustments – again a noticeable difference to the ROW. Some commenters on my Peruvian post seemed to think that negative urban adjustments were an oddball and very anomalous situation. In fact, that’s not the case, negative adjustments are nearly as common as positive adjustments.

20 thoughts on “Spreading Peanut Butter

  1. Scientist

    Given that the satellite record and the ground based record are independent measures, and given that they closely agree, don’t you think that provides some validation of the surface record?

  2. morganovich

    in pattern, yes, but in magnitude, no. look at GISS vs UAH or RSS. GISS is currently reading about 0.2 degrees warmer even if rescaled to a common baseline. this is a reasonable attempt to explain why. or is 1/3 of a the estimated warming of century not a big enough difference for you to consider it relevant?

    “scientist” when are you going to be honest and change your name to “troll”?

    your inability to grasp basic data, refusal to rebut science and focus instead on mindless vitriol and empty rhetoric, and dogged determination to post on topics you clearly do not understand pretty much meets every definition of chat board troll that i am familiar with.

    why do you keep ducking me every time i give you a scientific rebuttal? you want to talk facts, we’re happy to do it. but until you do, i call you a charlatan and a troll and again i challenge you: prove me wrong about that…

  3. Raven

    “Given that the satellite record and the ground based record are independent measures, and given that they closely agree, don’t you think that provides some validation of the surface record?”

    Satellite records start in 1979 and provide no validation for data prior to that. The people who look after the surface record have come up with quite a number of ‘adjustments’ which they use to lower temps prior to 1979. This means the warming trend is exaggerated even if there is a match with the satellite record in later years.

  4. morganovich

    again with the pickyune nonsense to avoid the mean of the discussion oh troll scientist of charlatanry? gee, i wonder what the unit could be? degrees celsius perhaps? yes, that was it. it’s an obscure measure, to be sure, but perhaps you have come across it in your vast research?

    and given that you mentioned that they converge, i presumed you were familiar with their values. or did you just make that up like you do the rest of your comments.

    so: here they are

    http://climate-skeptic.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/03/06/gisshaduahrss_global_anomaly_refto_.png

    or, in non normalized terms:

    http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Look.html

    as you can see, the surface data is reading warm relative to the sat data, by about a third of a theoretical century. (0.6 degrees C warming trend per IPCC)

    any other nits you want to pick to try to avoid the meat of the matter?

    and honestly, you should be hoping that the ground based measurement IS vastly overstated as that would at least make a greenhouse based warming scenario plausible. as it is, with the surface warming more than the part of the atmosphere where the GH effect takes place (i gave you multiple cites on this yesterday, did you look at them?), it would seem that a greenhouse argument is difficult to support.

    if the surface is warming more than the 9000m level in the atmosphere (300 pascals) then only two conclusions are possible:

    the warming is being caused by something other than the greenhouse effect as we currently understand it

    or

    the surface data is overstated.

    of course, both may be true…

  5. Scientist

    The numbers quoted at ‘junk science’ are not normalised to a common reference period. Look at the picture you linked to, you moron! It shows that satellite and surface records agree. How stupid can you get?

  6. morganovich

    um, no it doesn’t you utter clown. look where the red line ends. that’s giss. now follow the lines for the rss (blue) and uah (green). see where they end? see the gap of about .2 C averaging RSS and UAH? is the problem with your eyes as well as your mental capacity? wanna nitpick and call it .17 or something, go ahead, but it makes no substantive difference to the discussion. GISS still reading warmer than sat or the other surface measure (had) by a significant margin. do you have to work to spout such nonsense, or does it just come naturally? have fun trolling.

  7. Scientist

    Ha ha ha ha ha. Your stupidity really knows no bounds. Did you look at the link I gave to the data the graph was produced from? Here’s where the lines end:

    2008.08 -0.19747851 -0.191558739 -0.109730659 -0.159340974 -0.164527221

    The columns are: year, GISS, HadCRUT, UAH, MSU, average.

    You see which one actually gives the lowest temperature? You see which one actually gives the highest?

    You really are spectacularly dense.

  8. morganovich

    ok, but you are still missing the point. can you really not understand the difference between “anomaly” reporting and temperature reporting. the whole point here is that GISS data reads hotter.

    let me see if i can give you a simple example:

    if GISS used to read 12 degrees over the baseline period, and now reads 12.5, it would show .5 variance.
    if RSS used to read 11.5 degrees over the baseline period and now reads 12, that is also .5 variance.

    but the underlying temperatures are different. THAT is the point here. it makes sense that the anomalies move together. it’s the same climate. but the absolute levels differ . running the baseline on something that systematically runs hot does not take away the systemic effect. the raw data shows this clearly.

    it’s like two equations:

    t= x
    and
    t=x+1

    what we’re trying to explain here is the +1…

  9. morganovich

    ps.

    if you admit that temps are all so low vs a 1979-90 benchmark, why are you worried about global warming?

  10. Scientist

    No, we are not talking about the +1 and the GISS data does not ‘read hotter’. Do some basic research if you have the mental capacity. GISS analysis concerns only temperature anomalies, not absolute temperature.

    As for your second question – looks like your dire lack of intelligence is making you think that a single month’s temperature anomaly could tell us anything about decadal trends in climate. Do you understand the difference between climate and weather?

  11. morganovich

    “scientist”-

    um, yes, we are. urban heat island effect since 1990 benchmark end is not going to be nearly what it would be in 100 years of data. so, if we use just anomaly, we are canceling it out over a short term. the argument here is about long term HI effect data.

    and if you look at the data you linked, where is the trend for the last 7-8 years? the warming stopped? cooling on balance? huh. i realize 7-8 years does not a climate make, but it’s a start. obviously SOMETHING is cooling the world. it’s certainly not a reduction in co2. odd how that is natural and a rise is man made. can’t have it both ways. if co2 and the models predict warming and we get cooling, doesn’t it seem likely they may be in error?

    particularly in light of the low long term correlation of co2 to climate:

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/US_Temperatures_and_Climate_Factors_since_1895.pdf

    of course, if you want to look at really long term climate, we’re still in an ice age (though in an intergalcial)… ( this is in the paleoclimate sense, not the colloquial sense)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Phanerozoic_Climate_Change.png

    the ice at both poles is a dead giveaway…

    ice at both poles pretty much guarantees you are in the coldest 10% of climate in the last billion years.

    so how do you want to define climate? what is the correct timeframe, you tell me? starting to measure from the bitter cold little ice age of the 1800’s seems a poor benchmark. no surprise to see warming from that given the tendency of temperature to revert to the mean. but if 7 years is too short, then 30 is almost certainly too short as well. that does not even cover a full cycle of the PDO/ADO to say nothing of solar cycles.

    2000 years? nothing special going on now in comparison to that.

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2008/02/11/a-2000-year-global-temperature-record/

    when does weather become climate then?

  12. Scientist

    Are you really so dense as to not understand that the absolute temperature is irrelevant and that it’s the trends that are interesting?

    obviously SOMETHING is cooling the world – no. Obviously, you genuinely don’t understand the difference between weather and climate. tendency of temperature to revert to the mean – ha ha ha, yet more classic thickness from you. A 7 year ‘cooling’ must be SOMETHING but just a couple of sentences later the climate is moving about all on its own. Amazing!

    Ah yes, and there’s a display of an extreme lack of scientific judgement to go with the general stupidity. Trust the result published in joke journal Energy and Environment in preference to the multitude of results published in things like Science and Nature. Shall I explain to you why that’s the wrong thing to do?

  13. morganovich

    can you be so willfully ignorant as to need this spelled out again? the issue is that GISS marks up recent tempos and reduces past ones. thus, their variance is increased, particularly when compared to a long ago baseline. the fact that it nets out over a very short period does not prove it is not an issue. can you really be missing this?

    and if you think absolute temp does not matter, then you are mad. an increase in temperature from a low historical level is different from an increase from a high historical level. perhaps you can get that through your head? a degree of warming just coming out of a glaciation is not the same as one late in an interglacial in terms of whether we ought to be worried about it. wouldn’t you agree that all of the “unprecedented” damage postulated from global warming might need to be rethought if it could be shown it has been warmer that now several times in the last 2000 years with no ill effect?

    and how on earth can you deny a tendency of temperature on earth to revert to a mean? for a billion years, temperature on this planet as a whole has varied less than the temperature of manhattan summer to winter. that is a VERY TIGHT RANGE. co2 levels have varied massively over that time and have been at levels 25x those currently prevailing. yet global temperature has staying in a tight range and never run away. so, there is a tendency to revert toward a norm. there is a small range from which we have not deviated for hundreds of million of years. that is reversion. it is also nearly proof positive that climate is dominated by positive feedback. how could such a system be so stable in the presence of positive feedbacks and such variable inputs?

    do you understand climate at all?

    your lack of logic on timeframe continues to concern me. so you say 7 years or 10 years is not climate. OK. so what is? you never answer the question. and your reading comprehension leaves a great deal to be desired. my point was: the warming has stopped for 7 years. co2 has gone up that whole time. why? if co2 is the prime driver of climate, then why isn’t it working? why did the US cool steadily from 1930 to 1979? (per the NOAA) co2 rose all the while. us temps were dropping .24 deg f/decade over the period. is 50 years climate yet or still weather? why in the face of this do you feel there is manmade warming? why do you attribute warming to man yet it’s absence to “fluke 7 year weather”? will you claim fluke 50 year weather?

    NOAA charting – test it yourself 1930-1979 make sure you set it to annual.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

    half a century of consistent downtrend during massive industrialization. then oddly, it turns when the ocean currents do. huh. the PDO looks to be shifting into it’s cold pattern again. that generally lasts 20-30 years. ADO due to do so in the next several years as well. both will drop temps, just like they did last time. is THAT climate?

    the loehl piece cites 18 other peer reviewed studies (all those available that do not use tree rings) it’s pretty comprehensive.

    here they are: care to refute?

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2393

    and rather than attack a publication (like nature that published the do badly distorted and flawed mann hockey stick which i know you believe in, but that multiple impartial judges at numerous universities have all dismissed) how about looking at the data? you don’t get off with just impugning a source. science and nature have pretty significant editorial slant. the editors are in print saying so themselves.

    but data is data. like you, lots of the AGW crowd does not want to review it as it raises issues with their current positions.

  14. morganovich

    i have recalled an old lesson today.

    “don’t roll in the mud with pigs. you both get all dirty and the pig just likes it.”

    i just spend the day flaming a troll.

    my apologies to the rest of the community.

    my bad.

  15. TCO

    CS: the issue of an overlay of random results on top of the adjustments (and the need for some counterintuitive negatives to compensate for over positives) has already been well discussed. Please desist from your lofty isolation and address this. I’m getting worried about your thinking processes. And it really bums me out if my side is stupid or dishonest. Makes me question my skepticism when I see such hackishness.

  16. Scientist

    Your stupidity carries on. You still think GISS is ‘showing greater variance’ even when given data that shows it’s not. You showed that you couldn’t even read the graph, which led you to claim a 0.2°C discrepancy where none existed, and now you’re claiming other discrepancies which don’t exist. Do you know what the average difference in anomaly between GISS and HadCRUT is since 1979? It’s zero. And the average difference between GISS and RSS? And between GISS and UAH? I’ll leave that as an exercise for you but you might be able to guess it.

    And if you think absolute temperature matters, then you don’t even understand the data that these people even publish. GISS analysis doesn’t even include an absolute temperature. And contrary to what you seem to think, a half degree increase in temperature is still a half degree increase in temperature, whether the original temperature is 10°C or 100°C.

    Reverting to a mean… come on, you must know that’s meaningless bullshit. In the current glacial/interglacial cycle, what is the mean? And stability? No runaways? You must not even have the remotest clue about the temperature record. Do you know what happens at the end of an ice age?

    if co2 is the prime driver of climate, then why isn’t it working? – you thick fuck. Seven years is not long enough to see climate changes. What’s long enough? A time period over which the random weather variations don’t dominate the climate trend. Got that?

    ADO due to do so – oh, you can predict this, can you?

    And will deniers never learn that the US is not the whole world? With the generally poor educational standards over there, and extreme cultural insularity, it’s no surprise that some people get confused. Why those people think they are even remotely qualified to understand complex physics, I don’t know. I think they’re just too stupid to understand how stupid they are.

  17. Samuel Pickwick

    Warren,

    Can you remove posts that contain offensive obscene language?
    Or maybe you want to leave them there as an indication of the quality of debate employed by some people. It’s your blog.

    There are 2 very simple answers to the point about satellite and ground observations agreeing.
    (a) Until recently they did not agree at all, see
    http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/essd06oct97_1.htm
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast21jul_1m.htm
    Then, some ‘corrections’ and ‘adjustments’ were made to the satellite measurements (does that sound familiar, guys?) and after that, hey, they agree. Amazing.
    (b) They shouldn’t agree anyway, as they are measuring different things. According to the models, the troposphere should be warming faster than the surface, but it isn’t. So there is still an inconsistency between the surface record, the ‘corrected’ satellite data and the GCMs. Quote “In all cases UAH and RSS satellite trends are inconsistent” from Douglass et al,
    http://www.uah.edu/News/pdf/climatemodel.pdf

  18. TCO

    No he can’t. He’s a fucking free speech lover. And a salty dog. And a non comment replier pussy.

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