Guest post : Skeptics demand adjustments

This is a guest post from Steven Mosher, who is part of the Berkeley Earth (BEST) team. It’s motivated largely by the recent resurgence of claims of tampering with the temperature records, that I’ve discussed earlier. I won’t say anymore, and Steven’s post starts now:

Christopher Booker win’s the irony of the year award with his piece on adjustments to the temperature record. That’s quite a feat considering it’s only February. His complaint overlooks the clear historical fact that skeptics, above all others, have made the loudest case for the need to adjust the temperature series. Over the years, it’s been skeptics, who have made a vocal case for adjustments . More disturbing is the claim that these adjustments are somehow criminal. We dealt with these type of claims before and completely debunked them.

What is an adjustment? Let’s use a simple example: Social Security COLA. In 2015 the payments people receive from social security will be adjusted to account for the effect of inflation.

“The purpose of the COLA is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is not eroded by inflation. It is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a COLA was determined to the third quarter of the current year. If there is no increase, there can be no COLA.”

The amount of money you expect to receive will be adjusted upward based on the inflation rate to correct for the distortion that inflation would produce in your purchasing power.

Closer to science we have other examples of adjustments and corrections. Here I select an example from Reagan’s StarWars: Adaptive optics. In 1991 this technology was declassified– thanks to colonel Worden –and today these technologies, like corrections for wavefront distortion, are used to find exo-planets. Ironically, one of the methods used to correct for distortion was developed by climate science skeptics Will Happer and Dyson.

And even a more pedestrian example would be eyeglasses, where we actually distort the “raw data” that enters our eye in order to compensate for and correct our bad vision. Adjustments help us see things clearly.

Adjustments aim at correcting measured data, raw data, in order to improve its quality. In the context of temperature series for land we can break the problem down logically. A temperature observation consists of a temperature measured by a sensor at time and a location. The skeptical concern over the years has been focused on bias or distortion corrupting this raw data: Bias in sensors , bias in observation time and biases that arise due to location.

Sensor Bias:
Climate science skeptics have challenged the legitimacy of sensors in several ways. One example, interesting for historical purposes, is Anthony Watts concern over the changing protocol for painting sensor enclosures. His concern was that changing paints from whitewash to latex may have introduced a bias in the temperature record. It’s picked up by Steve Mcintyre here. And again here, and here. As always the comments are interesting, and here we see a concern that relates to a shift in temperatures that introduce a cooling bias: the switch to the MMTS sensors.

One last example of the skeptics pointing out the need for corrections or adjustments is found here at climate audit (here). In this particular case the issue would appear to be skeptics complaining that an adjustment hasn’t been made.

The case is fairly clear. Skeptics have been raising issues about the biases caused by changing sensors for quite some time. It follows, of course, that a blanket recommendation to ‘just use the raw data” would not be supported by the very arguments skeptics have raised over the years. Skeptics demonstrate that blindly trusting raw data can lead you to use data that is biased high, or data that is biased low.

Time of Observation Bias:
A sensor reading is taken at particular times during the day. Some sites collect temperature data at very short intervals, seconds in some cases. Other sites collect data on the minute; some on the hour; some 4 times a day, and still others only once a day. Changing the time of observation is a potential source of bias. This bias is well documented in the literature. However, here I want to focus on the skeptics awareness of the problem. A post on climate audit was dedicated to this problem here. More importantly as I found out at that time, commenter JerryB had done a study for the late great skeptic John Daly. His study, circa 2005, is found here. JerryB’s approach was to actually look at the data.

JerryB’s study clearly demonstrated that changing the time of observation will distort the record. Skeptics who have downloaded the actual data have confirmed this for themselves. Finally Nick Stokes has written on this issue here.

Location Changes:
A measurement is taken at a time and place. If you change the place or location, then basic principles suggest that you need to examine or control for changes in the location. This is no news to skeptics who have argued that changes in location may be biasing the record. In fact the entire surface stations project is dedicated to the idea that location matters. It matters when a station moves. It matters when the features of the location change around the sensor. As Watts argues here:

According to NCDC’s MMS database, the Lampasas climate station has been at this location since 10-01-2000. Previous location was an observer residence, which appears to have been a park-like location according to MMS location map. The sensor was apparently converted to the MMTS style seen in the photo in 1986, so the move did not include an equipment change. See the complete survey album here.

But the big surprise of just how bad this location is came from the GISS plot of temperature. It clearly showed the results of the move to this location, causing a jump in temperature almost off the current graph scale. Note that before the move, the temperature trend of Lampasas was nearly flat from 1980-2000.

Summary:
In both science and everyday life, we routinely identify and correct distortions in data. Over the years, in the climate debate, skeptics (and scientists themselves) have pointed out several potential sources of bias and distortion in the temperature record that demand correction. In temperature series, one example of how to start to go about this is detailed by a noteworthy skeptic:

The idea behind the homogenization technique is to identify points in time in each station’s record at which a change of some sort occurred. These are called segment break points. A single station may have a number of segment break points so that its entire record becomes a set of segments each of which requires some adjustment to make a homogeneous time series. Initially, segment break points were identified in every case when one of the following situations occurred: (i) a station move, (ii) a change in time of observation, and (iii) a clear indication of instrument change.

That skeptic was John Christy. He essentially describes the first step of the Berkeley Earth adjustment process.

Given that both skeptics and the mainstream scientists agree that changes in sensors, changes in time of observation and changes in location can bias the record, the question is. What do you do?

  • Attempt to adjust the data.
  • Only use “good” data.
  • Use the raw data only.

Before we even debate that decision, however, we can start by looking at whether the question really matters. Here, for example, is a comparison of BerkeleyEarth with No adjustments, BerkeleyEarth with metadata adjustments only, and BerkeleyEarth will all adjustments
BEST

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237 Responses to Guest post : Skeptics demand adjustments

  1. Steven, thanks for the post. The interesting thing – for me at least – is just how far back some of this goes. It seems as though much of this was discussed and essentially resolved many years ago, and yet it still gets rolled out today, despite many quite high-profile skeptics (okay, I probably mean people who I might not regard as genuined skeptics, but I’m trying to be polite 🙂 ) having accepted that these adjustments are necessary.

  2. Yvan Dutil says:

    You should check the present discussion at Energy Matter about homogenization.

  3. A link might be nice. Of course, if it’s bollocks, I might delete it, but you could always try.

  4. Jim Hunt says:

    Thanks Steven – Most interesting!

    What do you make of (high-profile skeptic?) James Delingpole’s recent criticism of Arctic temperature “adjustments” in general, and Cowtan & Way in particular ? Archive here:

    https://archive.today/4iLI5

  5. dhogaza says:

    ATTP:

    The post pointed to by Yvan Dutil (found by Googling) ends by saying:

    “As to the second and potentially more troublesome question of why such obviously flawed [homogenization] adjustments are being applied, I will leave that up to the judgment of the reader.”

    From this we can see that the blogger believes homogenization algorithms are flawed and show false warming, and while he leaves the motive up to the judgement of the reader, I think his implication is clear.

    However, in the comments, Yvan is challenging the blogger in support of the scientists working with the data. His post above may be a plea for help over there …

  6. Steven Mosher, thank you for this clear article. That was one I had on my list of articles to be written.

    That scientists would not be allowed to remove artefacts from measurements to see the effect you are interested in is simply bizarre. Science is there to understand our world as well as possible, you do not do that by ignoring problems in the data.

    To be honest, I am sure we would not have this discussion if the adjustments happen to reduce the trend bias. For this reason most mitigation sceptics have not been told that the sea surface temperature is adjusted to make the trend smaller. That does not fit in their war on science to prevent mitigation.

    What do you do?
    Only use “good” data.

    That unfortunately does not work. On average a temperature dataset has one non-climatic break every 15 to 20 years. There are hardly any stations that do not have non-climatic changes. The datasets do contain such stations, but that is normally because there are no good neighbouring stations to detect the non-climatic changes.

    Use the raw data only.

    Science is not in the business of not trying to understand the world or making uncertainties larger than necessary.

    Attempt to adjust the data.

    We have to. It would be nice if people would constructively contribute to the difficult question how to do that best.

  7. R. Gates says:

    Excellent post Steven. Your perspective and experience dealing with these issues are most valuable. I would like to see Judith at least mention this post as most CE readers would get some benefit by reading it.

  8. Steven Mosher says:

    Jim I haven’t looked at Delingpole/Homewood.

    On the Arctic I know that Kevin and Robert did some detailed comparisons between BEST and GHCN. In general as the chart above shows the adjustments we made to data are immaterial
    on a global level.

    However, you will find differences at the local level between various algorithms. These algorithms are trying to identify inconsistencies and correct them or rather they try to move the entire record toward the truth. We know these algorithms do that because we have tested them ( blindly) on synthetic data. They can differ in how and where they make adjustments.

    Looking at some maps I have of the arctic It looks to me like we “cool” the arctic. That is but for
    out adjustments the raw data would show a warmer arctic. I’ll try to check that in detail.

    The Homewood approach ( and by extension Delingpole and Booker) is pretty simple.
    Look for stations that are warmed and complain. Of course, he fails to look at the entire picture, fails to look at the large parts of Africa (20% of the globe) that our algorithm “cools”

    Further since there are 40000 stations you can bet the algorithm will present cases that are “wrong” ( different from a different algorithm) or hard to explain ( a site might be compared to 100’s of neighbors). Its always going to be possible to find these cases.What do you conclude from finding 5, 10, 15, 500, cases that we warm? Nothing if you are skeptical.

    When a “skeptic” finds one these cases, its instructive to watch what they do.
    They immediately draw a conclusion. The conclusion is “the whole is untrustworthy”
    That’s not skepticism. By looking at the whole we know that the scientifically interesting result
    ( the world is getting warmer) STANDS. it stands with adjustments. It stands with no adjustments. Any local detail that may be wrong or questionable is not material to this conclusion.

    the local detail questions are interesting on a technical level to researchers like victor. or to guys like robert way who are focused on particular regions.In these cases I would suggest that folks might want to redo the local detail. Robert’s got some interesting work brewing, I’ll just leave it at that.

  9. Victor,

    Ironically enough, the net effect of adjustments on global temperatures (not land-only) is to reduce the trend bias, as the pre-1940 upward adjustments to SST are larger than the (mostly pre-1940s) downward adjustment of land temperatures from homogenization. I really need to get around to putting together an adjusted vs. raw land/ocean figure at some point…

  10. Steve Bloom says:

    “It seems as though much of this was discussed and essentially resolved many years ago”

    Indeed. I recall that years ago when RP Sr. first started flogging this stuff, before Watts had done anything with it, I looked up the literature and found that it was all hot air. But of course those people have to talk about *something*.

  11. Steven Mosher says:

    Victor thanks.

    I’m having Zeke double check some work I did but I think we actually DO decrease the trends from 1979 to today ( by a tiny bit )

    Here are the moves that people will make.

    A) demand that only good stations be used.

    As you point out finding long ‘good” stations is hard. And people will conclude.. “ah we know nothing” no good stations, therefore, we dont really know.. we should start collecting data now.
    There is also a debate over what is “good” and how do we know its good? More on that later.

    B) all adjustments should be reviewed.. you cant trust an algorithm.

    C) your raw data is corrupt

    D) what about UHI and microsite.

    Personally, I’m ok with the debate moving to these issues. But first people have to take the “fraud” charges off the table. we can have a discussion about “good” stations or UHI when folks of good will recognize that the adjustments people do are good ( but not perfect) science

  12. Zeke, that would be a good plot to show the people undeservingly calling themselves “sceptics”.

    The ocean is big. Those adjustments downward are important.

    Still I am sure we will see many more blog posts and similar quality newspaper articles on a few stations being adjusted upwards and being a clear sign of a conspiracy against humanity. There is nothing to stop people who do not care about their intellectual reputation.

  13. all adjustments should be reviewed.. you cant trust an algorithm.

    And when the adjustments are made by hand like that, they will complain that that is subjective and that the person doing this wants to create a global warming scare.

    Like mitigation sceptics claiming that most of the temperature increase since 1900 is natural variability, but that the minor deviation in the last decade cannot be natural variability and thus shows the models wrong.

    Like mitigation sceptics continually complaining about the quality of climate observations, but when there is a difference between observations and models, the models are wrong.

    There is nothing scientists can do to pacify these people. We should just do our work as well as we can and in our work ignore them.

  14. Mosher,

    Yep, Berkeley reduces the trend slightly post-1960 (and post-1979) in the breakpoint homogenized data vs. the non-homogenized data.

  15. Steven Mosher says:

    Attp
    Yes it goes back a long ways. And I was on the other side of the debate before I actually looked at data and did the work that I suggested or demanded that others do.

    Once I did the work myself it was just me and the mirror.
    My doubts looked well founded in a few examples but once you did the work it was clear. However sincere the doubt was in the beginning, by the end it was clear that there was no justifiable way to maintain it.

  16. Steven Mosher says:

    R gates. Thanks.

    Judith has a post in her inbox covering the adjusted versus non adjusted in detail. Maybe up by tomorrow. I can hope that she will hold the delingpole Booker morano crowd to account.

    Oh my view there is only one good argument left.
    Microsite and uhi. See some of the stuff Victor linked to on village uhi.. All other skeptical arguments are a total bust.

  17. Brandon Gates says:

    Steven Mosher,

    Thank you for this post. Especially interesting is the plot at the end of the post showing what the global anomaly would look like with and without various breakpoint adjustments. You say about it something I would like to comment on: “Before we even debate that decision, however, we can start by looking at whether the question really matters.”

    I think that’s a potentially hazardous argument. I immediately asked, “then why do the adjustments at all?” I know there are reasonable answers to this, many which you touched on in your article. But I know that not all who read such arguments are reasonable, and to them that statement will surely look like a contradiction. I’d be pleased if you’d expand on what “really matters” really means to you in this context.

  18. Joshua says:

    ==> “…as most CE readers would get some benefit by reading it.”

    I’m dubious.

  19. Steven Mosher says:

    “all adjustments should be reviewed.. you cant trust an algorithm.

    And when the adjustments are made by hand like that, they will complain that that is subjective and that the person doing this wants to create a global warming scare.”

    There is another fun post where Anthony actually does his own “by hand” adjustment.
    I dont want to get too far down in the weeds to show how we recover the data that he says should be tossed ( we cooled it ) . Also, another fun post would be to go back to Tim Ball’s dissertation which is an attempt to form the record for hudson bay, and compare our “blind” approach with his
    human judgement.

    Or to go back to Christy’s work on Alabama.

    Or SNOTEL which Anthony recently criticized for being too warm.

    All of these would be interesting from a scoring points perspective. but I’m at the stage where I’d rather do publishable work and focus on things like the village question which I left half finished.

  20. Brandon Gates,

    While the impact of land adjustments globally is relatively small, the same is not true for specific regions. The U.S. is a case-in-point, where the net effect of homogenization is to effectively double the century-scale warming trend, with the majority of the adjustments responding to two major systemic cooling biases: time-of-observation changes and the transition from liquid-in-glass to MMTS thermometers.

  21. Steven Mosher says:

    “I think that’s a potentially hazardous argument. I immediately asked, “then why do the adjustments at all?” I know there are reasonable answers to this, many which you touched on in your article. But I know that not all who read such arguments are reasonable, and to them that statement will surely look like a contradiction. I’d be pleased if you’d expand on what “really matters” really means to you in this context.”

    I suppose one does the adjustments to eliminate the possibility that there is some bias in your answer that would cascade into questions that really matter. So what do I mean y really matter.

    1. There is nothing in the adjustments that will change the record in such a way as to influence our confidence in AGW. That is, with or without adjustments our confidence remains the same.
    2. There is nothing in the adjustments ( use them or not) that will cascade into climate reconstructions in such a way as to change our perceptions of say the LIA or the MWP in any
    significant way.
    3. There is nothing in the adjustments (use them or not) that will modify in any material way the consensus position on attribution.
    4. Nothing important about sensitivity that will change. For example, doing or not doing them will
    not change the envelop of uncertainty in any material way.
    5. Nothing in the adjustments ( use them or not ) will materially effect ones view of how well GCMs
    hindcast or forecast.

    So one might, for example, use an unadjusted series and adjusted series in say ‘Curry and Lewis”
    My take is this. That paper wasnt a paradigm shifter before, and it would not be a paradigm shifter after. Numbers might squish around a bit, but you are not going to find out that Lindzen was right on sensitivity. because he was not .

    so you might paraphrase what I mean by materiality as the following: some important core position . To put it starkly, C02 will warm the planet regardless of what I do to the temperature series. we knew it would warm the planet before anyone compiled a series and we know regardless of what anyone does to it.

    I suppose one could argue that the temperature series has some temporary leverage into core beliefs because of the muting of trends in recent years.

  22. Willard says:

    > You should check the present discussion at Energy Matter about homogenization.

    Why?

    Is this the one:

    http://euanmearns.com/how-hemispheric-homogenization-hikes-global-warming/

    ?

  23. Joseph says:

    I’m ok with the debate moving to these issues. But first people have to take the “fraud” charges off the table.

    Right, if what these people are saying is correct you would either have to conclude it is gross incompetence or a conspiracy. And considering how a number of groups and people you have working in the field (i.e. measuring surface temperatures), it’s hard to believe that they are all so incompetent that no one can see the problem.

  24. Seems like an interesting discussion, which is good. I, however, managed to spill coffee on my laptop and it turns out that that is not a good thing. Will do my best to try and keep up with things but may find it tricky and blogging may be light (which will probably be good for everyone 😆). Hopefully no real need for moderation, but Rachel is better at that than me anyway.

  25. Paul Williams says:

    Why do the breakpoints adjustment vary through time. Cooling in the 1800s and early 1900s, then a sudden switch in 1944 the other way. Shouldn’t a breakpoint detection mthod be more random than that?

  26. Michael 2 says:

    Steven Mosher says: “1. There is nothing in the adjustments that will change the record in such a way as to influence our confidence in AGW.”

    So why adjust?

  27. > Over the years, it’s been skeptics, who have made a vocal case for adjustments

    That’s bullshit.

  28. (assuming, of course, that when you wrote skeptics you meant fake-sketpics, i.e. “skeptics” i.e. septics. If by skeptics you mean genuine-not-fake-skeptics, i.e. scientists, then your sentences don’t really make sense. I’d have rather hoped that you’d been in this debate long enough to know that the S-word, unclarified, is bad)

  29. w11mil says:

    Dear Sir, I would gratefully appreciate a link to any paper on the subject that describe (in an experimental part) how the good data were discriminated from bad ones and how were they adjusted

  30. Steven Mosher says:

    “Why do the breakpoints adjustment vary through time. Cooling in the 1800s and early 1900s, then a sudden switch in 1944 the other way. Shouldn’t a breakpoint detection mthod be more random than that?”

    Good question. Long ago when I started to work on adjustments I went in with this kind of prior belief. All biases should sum to zero. all adjustments should occur uniformaly in space in time.

    my prior got abused by data. ouch. I hate when that happens

    In a bit I’ll post up ( at Judiths ) a break down by some major continents ( Africa, US and Europe )
    and then folks will
    A) want to see iceland, korea, australia, their moms place in florida
    B) wonder why continents are different.

    However. the belief that adjusting is a fraud or hoax is busted. Agreed?
    However. the belief that adjustments, breakpoints, etc should be temporaly
    or spatially homogenuous is just a prior. Been there done that, opps,
    why did I think that?

  31. That is right, the “skeptics” have been vocal, the scientists have done the work.

    Paul Williams, the temperatures you see are anomalies. The absolute level is not important. It does not matter that the values look higher in the end and look lower in the beginning. What you are seeing is simply a stronger trend.

    There are several reasons why older measurements were warmer and are thus made colder by removing these non-climatic effects, which produces a stronger trend.

    My latest two posts are about two reasons.

    Temperature bias from the village heat island

    Changes in screen design leading to temperature trend biases

    I hope to write a third post with more reasons, which are harder to quantify.

  32. Steven Mosher says:

    “(assuming, of course, that when you wrote skeptics you meant fake-sketpics, i.e. “skeptics” i.e. septics. If by skeptics you mean genuine-not-fake-skeptics, i.e. scientists, then your sentences don’t really make sense. I’d have rather hoped that you’d been in this debate long enough to know that the S-word, unclarified, is bad)”

    you are 100% correct.
    my bad. as I said on the other thread I want a better label. I failed miserably in this post

  33. w11mil says: “Dear Sir, I would gratefully appreciate a link to any paper on the subject that describe (in an experimental part) how the good data were discriminated from bad ones and how were they adjusted”

    The papers you have in mind may be these:

    http://surfacetemperatures.blogspot.de/2012/01/benchmarking-and-assessment-applied-to.html

    http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-article-benchmarking-homogenization.html

  34. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven Mosher says: “1. There is nothing in the adjustments that will change the record in such a way as to influence our confidence in AGW.”

    So why adjust?”

    ##################

    pretty simple.

    1. There are some users ( guys who do forestry, Air resources board, industry ) who
    want the best estimate we can give.
    2. the “people william connelly objects to calling skeptics ” argued that folks like CRU, GISS, NOAA, had their thumb on the scale and were artifically warming the record. We wanted to put that issue to rest.
    3. We still supply the raw data. you dont like adjustments… use that.

  35. To answer w11mil’s question, a very discrete example is in Vose et al: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/papers/vose-etal2003.pdf

  36. Mike M. says:

    Paul Williams asked “Shouldn’t a breakpoint detection mthod be more random than that?”

    I think that is a good question. When you filter out the noise from the idiots screaming “fraud” no matter what is done, it seems that there are some valid criticisms of the adjustments. For example, consider the case of a site that is initially in a rural area. Then a town grows up around it and the temperatures drift upward due to urban heat island effects. The site is then relocated to a still rural area, producing a downward breakpoint in the data. There are now two sources of artificial variability in the record: the slow upward bias and the downward breakpoint, In the raw data, the errors may nearly cancel, but when you remove the breakpoint, the upward bias remains. The sawtooth is turned into and upward trend.
    Some things I’d like to see on this topic:
    (1) A discussion of possible bias caused by breakpoint corrections applied to sawtooth errors.
    (2) An answer to Paul Williams’ question.
    (3) A comparison of the station data to satellites. I’ve read that the satellites give a lower trend; is that true?
    (4) Is the near zero-net-effect of corrections, as cited by Mosher, due to a cancellation of an upward trend correction over land and a downward trend correction for the sea surface?
    (5) Is there a good explanation for the trend over land being something like 70% greater than the trend for the sea surface?

  37. w11mil says:

    Sorry to bother you but I have in mind a paper on temperature trends that contains the experimental part with the description of data adjustment and discrimination

  38. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP: “having accepted that these adjustments are necessary.”

    I suggest useful, not perhaps necessary as Steven Mosher explains. His confidence in AGW does not depend on these adjustments, but that’s binary thinking not universally present.

    Being able to quantify the various components of climate change seems useful.

  39. Yvan,
    Sorry if my response was a bit curt. Spilling coffee all over my laptop lead to a rather frustrating day 🙂

  40. Take note. Proving the conspiracy wrong is sure to be taken as proof you’re part of the conspiracy.

    It would be interesting to track, but I somehow doubt the number of “skeptic” posts with accusations of fraud is going to change. And I think this is merely because the source of the “skepticism” isn’t rooted in true scientific skepticism. It’s formed on an ideological basis. So, asking them to accept the data as correct is the same, from their standpoint, as asking them to change their ideology.

  41. Mike M. says: There are now two sources of artificial variability in the record: the slow upward bias and the downward breakpoint, In the raw data, the errors may nearly cancel, but when you remove the breakpoint, the upward bias remains. The sawtooth is turned into and upward trend.

    You do not only remove the breakpoints, you remove all non-climatic changes, also the gradual ones. Most methods remove gradual inhomogeneities by inserting multiple breaks all going in the same direction. In practise, due to the presence of weather noise, it is almost impossible to tell whether a non-climatic change is gradual or whether multiple breaks just happen to be in the same direction.

  42. Steven Mosher says:

    “(1) A discussion of possible bias caused by breakpoint corrections applied to sawtooth errors.

    it is always possible to construct hypothetical cases as you do that might challenge a breakpoint
    approach. Since Christy used this approach, perhaps you can give him the busy work. hehe.
    I know willis raised this potential issue ( after he argued for this approach before seeing the results ) one thing I would challenge in your example is the notion that slow creeping drifts
    upward due to UHI are possible or prevalent. Every thing I’ve seen on UHI suggests a strong
    seasonal bias. That is, you get UHI during certain seasons and during certain synoptic conditions.
    That’s just the data. In other words I think its a urban legend (haha) that UHI can evolve slowly
    uniformly in time. I haven’t see anything like that. I’ve seen in in certain months. Seen it on week days as opposed to weekends. Seen it only on sunny windless days.. everywhere I’ve seen it its been the opposite of a slowly uniformly evolving thing. On the other hand somewhere there is station with a slowly growing tree that has uniformly cooled a station over time.. somewhere.
    All that said I suppose if you want to test your theory about sawtooth you can do it.
    the SVN is open. get the code. Cobble up some fake station data and see how the algorithm handles the case. gradual drift looks like a tough problem. (Victor may assist ) However, my contention would be that one rarely sees a gradual drift problem in the wild.

    (2) An answer to Paul Williams’ question.
    Paul’s question is this. Why does the data conflict with his assumption of uniformity ( random over time ) Simple answer, his assumption was based on no data. Non expert priors are often found wanting. Put another way. he had a theory: breakpoints should be uniform in time. Well, what’s the data say? NOT. Why was his theory or expectation wrong? I dunno, I’m not responsible for his theory. I suspect I could explain it, but the ‘reason’ would be very space and time specfic.

    (3) A comparison of the station data to satellites. I’ve read that the satellites give a lower trend; is that true?
    I’ve done that before. Depends on which satillite you look at. also, they measure different things.
    and in general the adjustments, estimates, and errors in satillite data are greater than the land
    record. If one could use the land record to correct the satillite record there might be a point to it.
    but you can’t.
    (4) Is the near zero-net-effect of corrections, as cited by Mosher, due to a cancellation of an upward trend correction over land and a downward trend correction for the sea surface?
    We are looking at land only. Adjustments to SST are COOLING. So here is what you have to believe. Scientists took 70% of the world and conspired to cool it. Then they looked at the other 30% and conspired to warm it. Diabolical.

    (5) Is there a good explanation for the trend over land being something like 70% greater than the trend for the sea surface?
    ATTP

  43. Steven,
    I think the answer to your question 5 is simply heat capacity. The well mixed layer of the ocean (maybe 100m deep) has a much greater heat capacity than the thin layer of the land that is warming, and so just warms more slowly. I think, given enough time, it would all equilibrate.

  44. Steven Mosher says:

    Victor
    ‘That is right, the “skeptics” have been vocal, the scientists have done the work.”

    this is generally true. Although many of them think that raising objections is work.
    for me I thought raising questions was work. I really did think that. well it was sort of work. actually slogging through data and code, cured me of.. manageritis.. i was a manager for too many years and you get into a habit of thinking that giving other people problems to solve is the hardest job. Opps. my bad.

  45. Steven Mosher says:

    Steven,
    I think the answer to your question 5 is simply heat capacity.

    Thanks, that comports with what Rohde has explained to me a dozen times or so.

  46. Mike M. says: (1) A discussion of possible bias caused by breakpoint corrections applied to sawtooth errors.

    As explained in my previous comment, no bias expected because all non-climatic changes are corrected, both abrupt changes and gradual changes. The caveat is that it would be a problem if many stations had such a pattern. Then you can probably only delete the data for such a region.

    (2) An answer to Paul Williams’ question.

    Two answers were already given above.

    (3) A comparison of the station data to satellites. I’ve read that the satellites give a lower trend; is that true?

    No, that is not true. Satellite estimates of the trend of the atmospheric temperature (around 4km high) are about the same as the trend in the global mean temperature.

    This is still interesting, because one would expect that the atmospheric temperature would rise faster, especially in the tropics. It is not clear at the moment whether this “topical hotspot” should really be there or whether the satellite estimates are inaccurate. Given the unreliability of satellite data, I would bet against them, but we will have to see.

    (4) Is the near zero-net-effect of corrections, as cited by Mosher, due to a cancellation of an upward trend correction over land and a downward trend correction for the sea surface?

    Answers was already given above.

    (5) Is there a good explanation for the trend over land being something like 70% greater than the trend for the sea surface?

    The trend in the sea surface temperature is a little less than the land surface temperature trend.

    One would expect that these trends are almost the same. Thus this is an indication that one of the datasets has some problems.

    They correct for two known biasing problems. In the past the sea water was lifted onto the deck with a bucket. Different types of buckets have a different cooling bias due to evaporation. And modern temperature measurements are made at the water inlet of the ships. This is expected to lead to a warm bias because of the heat of the engine.

    They do not use statistical homogenization methods (comparison with neighbours) for the sea surface temperature datasets. This means that it is possible that there are reasons for biases they did not think of (like for the satellite data).

  47. Victor,
    Interesting, you’re suggesting that the difference between the land and ocean surface trends is a data problem not because of the different heat capacities?

  48. Brandon Gates says:

    Mosher,

    so you might paraphrase what I mean by materiality as the following: some important core position. To put it starkly, C02 will warm the planet regardless of what I do to the temperature series.

    Or as you note in the balance of your response, for coming up with an ECS estimate it’s not likely to make much difference. At the same time we don’t want to just assume, so we go through the work of detecting inhomogeneities out of due scientific diligence. Adjusting then makes sense because we did all the work to find them, it might make a difference for a user of a gridded product … it’s our inclination to have the highest quality data we can. So I’m good, thank you for your detailed reply.

    And now, right on cue …

    Michael 2,

    So why adjust?

    Please tell me I’m not imagining the invisible sarc tags ….

  49. Heat capacity can explain a somewhat smaller trend, but the difference is probably larger than that.

    I still have to read the 2 articles, but the IPCC writes in AR 5 on ocean and land trends: Nevertheless, the ratio between the simulated change in temperature over land and over the ocean (Figure 9.11c) is rather similar in different models, resulting mainly from simulation of the hydrological cycle over land and ocean (Sutton et al., 2007; Laine et al., 2009).

    Laine, A., M. Kageyama, P. Braconnot, and R. Alkama, 2009: Impact of greenhouse gas concentration changes on surface energetics in IPSL-CM4: Regional warming patterns, land-sea warming ratios, and glacial-interglacial differences. J. Clim., 22, 4621–4635.

    Sutton, R. T., B. W. Dong, and J. M. Gregory, 2007: Land/sea warming ratio in response to climate change: IPCC AR4 model results and comparison with observations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L02701

  50. w11mil says:

    As to
    http://arstechnica.com/staff/2015/02/temperature-data-is-not-the-biggest-scientific-scandal-ever/
    where the non-processed data “were indistinguishable from the normal analysis”:
    It is not the case in Puerto casda were the “normal analysis” -1.37o C per century was adjusted to +1.36o C . From
    the https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/puerto-casado/
    we learn that some data were rejected because “quality control failed” (not “discontinuities”)

  51. Interesting, you’re suggesting that the difference between the land and ocean surface trends is a data problem not because of the different heat capacities?

    Maybe I should add that one person working on SST I asked about this did not see any problem with the smaller trend. He was probably thinking of the heat capacity as reason. Thus it is also possible that the climate models simulations are wrong. Or my understanding. I really have to study this better before making any stronger claims. But it is “interesting”.

  52. w11mil says: “It is not the case in Puerto casda”

    I am already sorry I answered you before.

    The Ars article and the above post clearly state that in the global average there are no large changes in the trend and that regionally the differences are larger.

    Should we reply the nonsense of Puerto Casda with a region where the trend were adjusted down a lot? I am sorry, I won’t, I still have some self-respect left.

  53. Steven Mosher says:

    ‘Or as you note in the balance of your response, for coming up with an ECS estimate it’s not likely to make much difference. At the same time we don’t want to just assume, so we go through the work of detecting inhomogeneities out of due scientific diligence. Adjusting then makes sense because we did all the work to find them, it might make a difference for a user of a gridded product … it’s our inclination to have the highest quality data we can. So I’m good, thank you for your detailed reply.”

    Thanks.

  54. [Mod: I should really post this comment because it is remarkable (and that shouldn’t be seen as a compliment) but you really do need to back up your claim that I’ve said, encouraged, or condoned offensive comments aimed at Matt Ridley and/or David Rose. I’m just going to delete any further comments until you do so.]

  55. Mike M. says:

    So a couple of the questions I raised remain unanswered.

    (2) An answer to Paul Williams’ question.
    “Because that’s the way it is” is not an answer. When I see something in data that is contrary to expectation, then either my expectation is wrong or there is a problem with the data. I am not satisfied until I figure out which it is. That requires figuring out why there is a discrepancy. Now I might eventually just resort to “I dunno” if I am really confident in the data, but I will never regard that as good enough if the discrepancy is introduced by data processing.

    (5) Is there a good explanation for the trend over land being something like 70% greater than the trend for the sea surface?

    I do not think heat capacity can account for this. Thermal inertia will damp a periodic variation, but with a trend it should produce a lag. So the slope should only be different if the slope is changing significantly on the time scale of the lag. That does not seem to be the case.

    Thanks to Victor for the references; they may shed some light on the issue. I would think that if models have heat redistribution remotely right, they should get the correct relative trends over land and sea.

  56. Steve Bloom says:

    Anders, you could be said to be encouraging such comments simply by pointing out the intellectually toxic emissions of Rose and Ridley. Of course suggesting you cease doing so because of comments you have no control over and don’t condone is a very dull form of victim bullying by proxy.

  57. pinroot says:

    His complaint overlooks the clear historical fact that skeptics, above all others, have made the loudest case for the need to adjust the temperature series.

    Could you provide some links supporting this? Also, what types of adjustments have skeptics called for? I’ve missed the calls for pre–1960’s temps to be adjusted down while adjusting post- 1960’s temps upwards.

  58. Steve,
    Well, yes, I’m sure that’s an argument some might try to make. However arguing that I’m somehow responsible for something I didn’t say and that was said somewhere where I have no control or involvement would be rather pathetic. As I said, though, that won’t stop this argument from being made.

  59. Steven Mosher says:

    pinroot

    “Could you provide some links supporting this? Also, what types of adjustments have skeptics called for? I’ve missed the calls for pre–1960’s temps to be adjusted down while adjusting post- 1960’s temps upwards.

    Sensor change Adjustments ( see the climate audit post I linked to )
    TOBS change adjustments see the john daly post I linked to.
    location change adjustments see the lampass post I linked to.

    For a whole paper see Christy on Alabama.

    But you want just raw data? OK, our raw data from 1960 on is actually warmer.!
    that more global warming!

    Next
    ” I’ve missed the calls for pre–1960’s temps to be adjusted down while adjusting post- 1960’s temps upwards.”

    you are a bad skeptic. Can you find stations where the past is cooled and present warmed?
    YUP. The algorithm estimates the smallest change required to minimize the error of prediction.
    This diabolical piece of code sometimes cools the present. sometimes cools the past. sometimes warms the present. sometimes warms the past. You read a blog that focused on a few cases.
    Bad skeptic. you should have asked him if he looked at them all.

    A) if he did look at all of them, then he cherry picked and fooled you. OUCH
    B) if he didnt look at all of them, then he’s lazy and he fooled you. Double OUCH.

    Did you know the algorithm cools large portions of Africa? the algorithm must have missed the secret memo to warm the world

  60. Jim Hunt says:

    The latest “Shock News!!!” from the Twittosphere:

    Any chance of a “retweet” or three?

  61. Lubos Motl says:

    Dear Steve, I agree with you, adjustments are surely a great invention and to treat every adjustment as a crime is a sign of someone’s complete misunderstanding of and disrespect for science and technology. And I do think that you have dealt with many adjustments pretty cleverly at BEST. Some more comments:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2015/02/if-done-right-temperature-adjustments.html?m=1

  62. snarkrates says:

    Michael 2 asks “So why adjust?”
    For the same reason I wear glasses–to get a clearer picture. People often forget that the discipline of climate science encompasses, but is not encompassed by the study of climate change.

  63. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: You state:

    “Being able to quantify the various components of climate change seems useful.”

    Please elaborate on what you mean?

  64. Steven Mosher says:

    “Dear Steve, I agree with you, adjustments are surely a great invention and to treat every adjustment as a crime is a sign of someone’s complete misunderstanding of and disrespect for science and technology.”

    Thanks Lubos.

  65. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: You state:

    “Being able to quantify the various components of climate change seems useful.”

    Please elaborate on what you mean. i certainly do not want to misinterperet your rather cryptic statement.

  66. How about a retweet or two?

  67. GSR says:

    Any chance of a paraphrased version of Tol’s comment (minus his malicious accusations)?

  68. Joshua says:

    ==> “Any chance of a paraphrased version of Tol’s comment (minus his malicious accusations)?”

    Just go to a junior high school lunchroom and eavesdrop on some kids arguing. You’ll get the gist of it.

  69. Brandon Gates says:

    Victor,

    Do you know where that plot comes from? I mean, it looks like GISS L-OTI, but that I have to think about it … Also, I have a strong suspicion that it doesn’t show the adjustments NCDC does to station data prior to GISS getting it.

    It’s also possible I’ve been reading too much WUWT. But something feels off here.

  70. Brandon Gates, you have been reading too much WUWT. 🙂

    It sounds like even many scientists are surprised. Not many seem to have known about the adjustments to the sea surface temperature. And being land creatures you need to think to realise how big the ocean is.

    It is GHCNv3 (NCDC, NOAA, USA), raw and adjusted and HadSST3 (Hadley Centre, MetOffice, UK), raw and adjusted.

    (The additional (downward) adjustments for UHI of GISS are very small, GISS is very similar to GHCN).

    The plots of the separate datasets is also nice:

  71. DocMartyn says:

    It is quite clear that the line-shapes of all the reconstructions, independent of how they are performed, have similar line-shapes.
    I have no problem with the line-shape. I have a problem with the calibration and the use of synthetic data to test the robustness of the algorithm used.
    My biggest problem is due to missing the human factor, and missing how people interact with the data, in ways the reconstructionists have missed.
    Stations do not move. They are not migratory. Stations position and station sensors are changed by people for people based reasons. If you do not address why stations have been moved, and what effect so motives that underlay why stations have been moved, then you could miss a systemic bias.
    My personal view is that somestations are chased away places with little in the way of local temperature artifacts, by the land price monster, and that series in a local follow a saw-toothed pattern of temperature, whereby encroaching human stuff artificially warms the station site at the same time the land occupied rises in value until the station is moved to a less encroached and cheaper site.
    Even a few such movements could screw up BEST or homogenization, but this type of bias has not been modeled.

  72. Yep, its just a combination of GHCNv3 and HadSST3. As Victor mentioned, the additional UHI correction that GISS does is pretty small, and any other differences are just spatial interpolation approaches unrelated to homogenization or adjustments.

  73. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    Regarding the Land/Ocean trend difference, there is another factor. Massively greater evaporation from the ocean so localized cooling. And increased evaporation with warming should increase that cooling effect, compensating partly for the trend.

  74. Victor,

    If I, as an evil climate scientist, wanted to emphasize an acceleration of global warming in recent decades and let my confirmation bias fully play out why would I want to make any adjustments to the land data? I would like the raw data much better. 😉

  75. Jan,

    To be fair, adjustments increase temperatures a little bit (~3%?) in the last few decades in GHCN; they slightly decrease them in Berkeley. Either way, big impacts are pre-1980s globally.

  76. Brandon Gates says:

    Victor,

    … you have been reading too much WUWT. 🙂

    Tim Ball’s latest, “Thanks To The IPCC, the Public Doesn’t Know Water Vapor Is Most Important Greenhouse Gas” deserves some nasty comments. This paragraph really got me:

    Their mandate is limited to determining only “human causes of climate change”. Why are “Changes in solar irradiance” included? How do humans influence it?

    [sigh] Sorry Tim, you are the poster child for ignorance of climate science and it’s definitely not for lack of the IPCC trying to educate you. /rant

    It sounds like even many scientists are surprised. Not many seem to have known about the adjustments to the sea surface temperature. And being land creatures you need to think to realise how big the ocean is.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one. The lightbulb finally went on … we really do hear too much about land stations and note that the land adjustments are positive slope as I was expecting. All is right with the world again, and better because I didn’t realize the ocean adjustments went the other way. I would suggest those plots be updated with data sources. And then yes, shout from the rooftops. Thank you for sharing them.

  77. John says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27.

  78. anoilman says:

    I believe there is a comparison of unmodified global temperature trends and modified. The net result isn’t significant enough to question the measurements.

  79. Mike M. says:

    It turns out that the land-sea difference is trend is reproduced by the models and is definitely not a heat capacity effect. It is mainly associated with increase evaporation over the oceans resulting in increased latent heat transfer to land, but seems to be more involved than just heat transfer. Cool.

    D. Dommenget, “The Ocean’s Role in Continental Climate Variability and Change”, J. Climate, 22, 4939, (2009).

  80. Morbeau says:

    Tim Ball, as quoted by Brandon G.:
    [the IPCC’s] mandate is limited to determining only “human causes of climate change”. Why are “Changes in solar irradiance” included? How do humans influence it?

    This is an angle that’s often promoted by some of Tim’s friends here in Calgary. It’s like the whole issue would just disappear if only we were pedantic enough.

  81. matt says:

    @ ATTP,

    Update putting VVs figures into the post? The “scientists cooking the books” types will appreciate it.

  82. Marco says:

    ATTP, you may need to remove some more posts by Richard Tol:
    http://rabett.blogspot.dk/2015/02/tolgate.html

  83. Hmmm, thanks, I’ll do that.

  84. Eli Rabett says:

    FWIW, trees and bushes growing up near a station could impose a negative sawtooth, if not from shade, then from the jungle A/C effect, or simply acting as a wind break.

    As implied here, but perhaps not clearly stated, the principle use of adjusted data would be local and regional planning.

  85. Jim Hunt says:

    Re: Steven Mosher says: February 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks very much for your comprehensive reply Steven.

    “But for our adjustments the raw data would show a warmer Arctic. I’ll try to check that in detail”. I’d be most grateful if you can manage to dig out more detailed confirmation of that.

    Re Delingpole, Booker, Ridley et. al., I take it that in your view “the case for a fraud trial against the climate data record gatekeepers” would get laughed out of any court “in the real world” rather than one replete with kangaroos located in the rapidly cooling fantasy land in which the aforementioned contrarians/(pseudo)skeptics/persons in denial evidently reside?

    Perhaps a fraud trial in the real world with those guys in the dock does in actual fact make much more sense?

  86. Andrew Dodds says:

    @aom.

    Yes.. if these adjustments were changing the shape of the curves dramatically, or changing the sign of the trend, then we’d want to look at the adjustments with extreme skepticism, naturally.

    But it’s clear that all this is second-order stuff. The shape of the line is basically unchanged and the sign and magnitude of the trend remain the same..

  87. Steven Mosher says:

    Yes Eli.

    If somebody has a local question my suggestion would be take the raw data and do a local
    estimation taking into account everything you know. but if you want a global record that handles these issues in a consistent global manner, then feed it to an algorithm.

    There is an interesting issue about the accuracy of “local knowledge” adjustments versus gloablly consistent approaches..

    of interest to technicians

  88. Steven Mosher says: “If somebody has a local question my suggestion would be take the raw data and do a local estimation taking into account everything you know.”

    Fully agree. It should also be remembered that homogenization is performed to get better large-scale trend estimates. Homogenized data is not better for every purpose. After homogenization the errors (in the station trends) are spatially and temporally correlated. That makes analysing the spatial and temporal variability and relationships between variables harder; it becomes easy to overestimate statistical significance, if you do not take this into account. In the raw data you would underestimate the statistical significance of your relationships, but given that science prefers to err on the side of least drama, that may well be preferred.

  89. Joshua says:

    Just in case someone reading here thinks that Richard Tol has credibility:

    Richard Tol (@RichardTol) | February 10, 2015 at 1:51 am | Reply
    Robert, Zeke, Steve:
    Thanks for this.

    The question is not whether homogenization is necessary. It is.

    The question is whether homogenization is done correctly, a question that is hard to answer, and I would worry about the impact it has on the correlation structure.

    A more important question is perhaps why the public lost so much faith in climate science that they prefer to believe Booker over you guys. The Telegraph suggests that 90% of 110,000 readers are with Booker.

    I would hypothesize that the constant stream of climate nonsense — it’s five for twelve, kids will not know what snow is, we’re all gonna die, last chance to save the planet, climate change is coming to blow over your house and eat your dog — has made people rather suspicious of anything climate “scientists” say.

    If my hypothesis is correct, instead of arguing with Booker about the details of homogenization, you should call out the alarmists.

    So based on no actual evidence that “the public” believes Booker more than those guys (only a tiny % knows who either Booker or “those guys” is or know what their different views are, and polls consistently show that “the public” generally turns to climate scientists and the organizations that “adjust” data as do Mosher and Zeke as the must trusted sources of information about climate change), Richard draws up a “hypothesis” that is in direct contradiction to reality.

    This is a scientist writing. A scientist who is concerned about “alarmism.”

  90. Joshua,
    Where did that come from?

  91. Joshua says:

    Judith’s

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/02/09/berkeley-earth-raw-versus-adjusted-temperature-data/#comment-672957

    I even pulled out a “Wow, just wow.”

    Been a while since I used that one… Richard deserves some credit.

  92. Interesting. That’s essentially the comment that I wouldn’t let him post here. So much for censorship. Seems I can’t stop people from saying what I won’t let them say here, somewhere else. Who’d a thunk it! I’m quite sure how to describe Richard’s comment. Well, I do know, but Rachel would just moderate it and people would whine about my lack of civility (“he said he was civil, what a liar!”).

  93. Jim Hunt says:

    Joshua – Have you ever imagined Christopher Booker clad only in a polar bear suit? We have!

    Richard Tol indicated that he would like to dye his suit orange:

  94. Rachel M says:

    … but Rachel would just moderate it

    You poor thing! My heart bleeds for you 🙂

  95. Joshua says:

    ==> “Seems I can’t stop people from saying what I won’t let them say here, somewhere else. ”

    Really? I thought that if you won’t let someone post a comment here, their “free speech” has been infringed. Well whudaya know!

    Actually, Richard’s contribution at Judith’s is more evidence for why I don’t agree with moderating comments.

    That post of Richard’s, where he uses the Telegraph article to test a “hypothesis” about what the public thinks, and why, is useful information for evaluating the veracity of Richard’s application of the scientific method.

    That he would even use the word “hypothesis” to describe what he was doing is a work of art.

    It’s hard for me to imagine a more cogent and concise argument to make about Richard’s quality of analysis than that comment that he wrote at Judith’s. Moderating it out might deprive someone like miker from having all the information he needs to evaluate the economics of climate change.

    All I can say is thanks god that Judith still gave Richard the opportunity to exercise his free speech rights.

  96. Rachel,
    You’re saving me from myself 🙂

    Joshua,
    Well, yes, there is that. It is useful that some are willing to post that. I, however, not only dislike being accused of things that people can’t back up, but would also prefer to not post complete garbage here. Of course, YMMV.

  97. Brandon Gates says:

    Morbeau,

    So, the argument’s made the rounds before. How dismal. Some bright bulb tossed this my way:

    …to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change …

    It’s “undeniable” he says. Pedantry is but one of the levers on the reality ejection seat.

  98. Joshua says:

    Well, now I’m in moderation at Judith’s for laughing at Richard, so there is a kind of symmetry here.

    Anyway, it’s your blog and your mileage is what counts, not mine. I’m really commenting on the issue of moderation more generally rather than criticizing your moderation of Richard. His accusation was pretty lame.

  99. Pingback: Climate Denial Empire Strikes Back with Bogus Temperature Story | Climate Denial Crock of the Week

  100. Joshua says:

    need to retract the moderation at Judith’s statement. (not that it really matters to anyone anyway). I posted the comment “test” and it went into moderation, and then popped back out. Weird.

    Anyway, I see that Paul Matthews is tweeting about that Telegraph “poll” also. I think this one might have legs. “Skeptics” tend to be very good at staying on message – kind of like Republicans. Prepare for the meme that 90% of the public trust Booker more than climate scientists.

  101. Joshua,
    I don’t know what to make of that. Booker’s article is clearly nonsense and that 90% of those who took the poll trust Booker more than climate scientists, doesn’t make it not nonsense. You’d think educated academics would rather people were properly informed, rather than misled.

  102. Joseph says:

    I would honestly like to know who these “alarmists” are that Richard and others in the GWPF are complaining about and what is it that makes them “alarmists.” Maybe Richard could tell me if he is following.

  103. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Consider that if there were an article that said that scientists are conspiring to lie when they say that turtles can’t speak Portuguese accompanied by an article that citizen scientists uncovered evidence to prove that turtles can speak Porguguese, you’d get a fairly high number of poll respondents to say that they agree with the citizen scientists.

    Empirically gathered polling data is pretty clear. Strong majorities look to the institutions that are “adjusting” the temperature data as the most reliable sources for information about climate science.

    What does it tell you that Richard and Paul seem to think those Telegraph poll data have any value w/r/t testing a “hypothesis?” It’s hard to imagine a less scientific way to gather representative data.

  104. Joshua,
    All I can think is that if John Cook or Stephan Lewandowsky had done the survey there’d be accusations of fraud and misconduct being thrown about.

    It’s hard to imagine a less scientific way to gather representative data.

    Indeed, but – hey – if the result seems right, it’s probably fine.

  105. Steven Mosher says:

    “I even pulled out a “Wow, just wow.”

    to me it’s even Funnier. err ironic

  106. Steven,
    After two years of putting up with that sort of crap, the amusement becomes rather strained.

  107. Joshua says:

    It gets weirder still.

    First my comments went into moderation.

    Then they got passed through moderation.

    Now Judith Zambonied my comments ridiculing Richard’s “hypothesis” testing?

    Geez. Talk about tribalism!

    So “skeptics” can complain ’till the cows come home about “realists” bastardizing the scientific process, but pointing out that Richard Tol was trying to use unrepresentative online poll data for “hypothesis” testing is beyond the pale?

  108. Sam Taylor says:

    Regarding the energy matters blog, as mentioned earlier, they’ve got two recent entries on homogenization:

    http://euanmearns.com/the-horrors-of-homogenization/
    http://euanmearns.com/how-hemispheric-homogenization-hikes-global-warming/

    While it’s mostly a blog centring on energy/peak oil (the author was one of the lead editors on the oil drum back in it’s heyday), it has recently been moving it’s focus more towards issues of climate change. I disagree with a lot of what’s written there on climate (I think Anthony Watts et al has quite a strong influence on the author) and to be honest think the analysis on most of the climate stuff is pretty low-level, but the energy analysis is pretty good.

  109. Yvan Dutil says:

    @…and Then There’s Physics

    No offence, my written English is much less clear than my French.

    I have a PhD in astrophysics. Personally, I have absolutely no issue with homogenization. In astro, you don’t even see the signal most of the time before the data reduction.

    Climatologist are using very nice tools to manage these messy data. I eager to learn a few new tricks from them.

    The problem is that in many fields of science, there is no such thing as data processing. Instrument provide you with the right number. They are also used to control all parameter of the experiment. Hence, they have difficult time to understand that some research field can be science too.

  110. Yvan,
    Thanks.

    In astro, you don’t even see the signal most of the time before the data reduction.

    Exactly, hence my surprise when people complain about adjustments to raw temperature data.

    The problem is that in many fields of science, there is no such thing as data processing. Instrument provide you with the right number. They are also used to control all parameter of the experiment. Hence, they have difficult time to understand that some research field can be science too.

    I suspect that this is because some don’t understand the difference between an experimental science (where you can have almost complete control over your data) and an observational science (where you have to work with what you have). As you say, astronomy is like this. If you telescope is on the ground, then the atmosphere gets in the way.

    Another example for Steven Mosher’s list is maybe Lucky Imaging. As I understand this, you basically throw away a large fraction of the CCD images on the basis of making a noise estimate (with the noise assumed to come from the atmosphere). You can therefore produce a much sharper image without needing to use adaptive optics (which is another way of adjusting data). All of these are simply methods for trying to make your data better represent what you’re trying to study/measure.

  111. Yvan Dutil says:

    @Sam Taylor Energy Matters is a good blog on anything related to oil Otherwise, it is not very strong. Still I am under the impression there is some potential for a decent communication.

  112. verytallguy says:

    Joshua,

    a request (I may have made this before too)

    Judith’s comments threads are utter dreck. If you want to spend time there, that’s up to you but unless there’s an absolute imperative, spare us the meta analysis here.

    Please?

  113. Yvan Dutil says:

    @…and Then There’s Physics

    Stricktly speaking, Lucky imaging is more like a quality control than bias correction.

    I remember that accusation of data manipulation has been made a few years ago against Milikan. Following the original claim of fraud someone turn back to the original paper to find out that Milikan simply did some QA on his data.

  114. Yvan,

    Stricktly speaking, Lucky imaging is more like a quality control than bias correction.

    True, but if it was a contentious topic and people discovered that 70% of the data was being thrown away, there’d be an outcry 🙂

  115. Sam Taylor says:

    Yvan,

    I agree, Euan is not closed minded and it’s possible to have a reasoned discussion with him on the matter, which is all you can ask for.

    As an exploration geophysicist I’m also very familiar with various data processing tools and techniques to remove noise and systemic bias, and think that homogenization makes perfect sense. I find it quite strange that people want to use all this messy noise without first cleaning it up a bit.

    I often wonder what climate skeptics position is on a subject like cosmology, where there’s only one universe to be measured, it’s very noisy and computer models do a lot of the heavy lifting.

  116. Robert Way says:

    Here’s a good paper on time of observation bias in a Canada-wide study:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2009JAMC2191.1

    and how it could be detected in spatial interpolations of Canada-wide temperatures/precipitation
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2011JAMC2684.1

  117. Robert Way says:

    From the first of those two studies:

    “…On 1 July 1961, the climatological day was redefined to end at 0600 UTC (coordinated universal time) at all synoptic (airport) stations in Canada. Prior to that, the climatological day ended at 1200 UTC for maximum temperature and 0000 UTC for minimum temperature. This study shows that the redefinition of the climatological day in 1961 has created a cold bias in the annual and seasonal means of daily minimum temperatures across the country while the means of daily maximum temperatures were not affected. Hourly temperatures taken at 121 stations for 1953–2007 are used to determine the magnitude of the bias and its spatial variation…”

  118. As for “censorship”. Sunday evening and Monday morning, I commented to assertions by Paul Homewood about the temperature adjustments, at his own blog under a couple of posts. It didn’t take 24 hours before comments by me stopped appearing at his blog when I submitted them.

    Shortly after my comments had stopped appearing he put up another post, “Spot The Sea Ice Years”, which he starts with a quote from one of my comments, not without falsifying it and misrepresenting of what I said.

    My comments must have been too inconvenient for Homewood at his own blog.

    It’s a recurrent pattern with the fake skeptics. How pathetic are these people?

  119. Yvan Dutil says:

    @Sam Taylor

    There is cosmology skeptics, that are the equivalent of climate skeptics. Actually, there is an half dozen scientific “debate” going around. They have all the same structural construct and almost all the same point are used by anti-vax, anti-ogm, anti-CC, anti-radiowave, anti-big bang, etc.

    Accusation of data hidding/doctoring, group thinking, vested corporate interest, etc.

    Left or right only change the topic not the discussion structure,

  120. I don’t understand how the Berkley study of temperature adjustments removed upward bias from heat island effects? If they tracked the temps from a station that was subsequently moved to a more optimal location and the previous location may have added some amount of warming, say .2 degrees for 2 decades as an example, if they simply used the 2 stations separately, one before moving and one after, how is the heat island warming it may have been subjected to removed?

  121. John Hartz says:

    ATTP & Rachel: Kudos. Your OP is being citred in the MSM…

    Yup. The planet’s warming up, and pretty much just as the other scientists had said. You can read more about this in an excellent article by Neville Nicholls, who is an expert in how meteorological measurements need to be adjusted in this way. There’s more at “…and then there’s Physics” blog and at Real Sceptic, and Skeptical Science has an article debunking this as well.

    No, Adjusting Temperature Measurements Is Not a Scandal by Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy, Slate, Feb 10, 2015

  122. Rachel M says:

    John Hartz,

    I think you mean kudos to ATTP & Steven. I really had nothing to do with it.

  123. John Hartz says:

    Rachel: You are technically correct. My kudo was really menat for the website gaiining more widespread exposure. My initial sentence wasn’t worded as well as it could have been.

    Kudos to Steen Mosher for wring the OP and to ATTP fpr posting it.

  124. Eli Rabett says:

    Yvan it was not so much that Milikan did quality control on his data it was more that he practiced till he thought he had the technique. Anybunny who has ever done the oil drop experiment knows how important technique is in the damn thing. OTOH he did screw up the viscosity of air which led to a small mistake in his value of the electron charge.

  125. John Anderson says: “I don’t understand how the Berkley study of temperature adjustments removed upward bias from heat island effects? ”

    I guess Steven Mosher (or Zeke Hausfather) can answer this better, but they down-weight the segments that do not fit to the regional signal. Due to urbanization such a segment would fit less well.

    And they performed a separate study on urbanization where they did not find an effect.

    Whether a station has problems with urbanization does not depend on the strength of the urban heat island effect but on the difference in this strength between the first location and the current location. Urban stations are frequently relocated to new locations with better siting.

  126. Just published a post on the downward adjustment of the global mean temperature:

    Evil Nazi-communist world-government climatologists have manipulated data to REDUCE global warming

    With apologies to Joshua for the identity aggression. I am so fed up with these I-have-found-a-few-stations-that-were-adjusted-upwards posts.

  127. Victor,

    To be fair, the separate study that Berkeley did was on homogenized data, so a lack of detectable UHI mainly just indicates that it was effectively removed.

    In general, homogenization can remove UHI biases by detecting it as a series of breakpoints relative to the record of nearby stations and removing it. The Reno station is a good example of this: http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/stations/173102

    I wrote a paper with the NCDC folks that looked at how well homogenization does at removing UHI in the U.S. record. We looked at various definitions of urbanity based on things like lights visible at night from space, population density, population growth, and impermeable surfaces. We also ran the homogenization algorithm both with all stations and with only rural stations used to detect breakpoints, to avoid any risk of falsely adjusting rural stations upwards. We found that there is a sizable UHI signal in the raw data, and that most of it is effectively removed by homogenization even when only rural stations are used to homogenize, across all the different urbanity definitions examined. ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/papers/hausfather-etal2013.pdf

    As Victor mentioned, Berkeley has some additional homogenization built into the kriging process, where divergent trends are downweighted.

  128. Steven Mosher says:

    No problem Rachel, hmm and there’s a bonus.. to lesson your moderation burden I promise not to fight so much with Willard, Joshua and Steve B.. merry christmas. I may white knight for Tol, just to stay in practice..however,

  129. John Hartz says:

    If you are looking for a more detailed examination of the issues being discussed on this thread, see:

    Of Averages and Anomalies – Part 1A. A Primer on how to measure surface temperature change by Glenn Tamblyn, Skeptical Science, May 29, 2011

    Of Averages and Anomalies – Part 1B. How the Surface Temperature records are built by Glenn Tamblyn, Skeptical Science, May 30, 2011

    Of Averages & Anomalies – Part 2A. Why Surface Temperature records are more robust than we thinkby Glenn Tamblyn, Skeptical Science, June 4, 2011

    Of Averages & Anomalies – Part 2B. More on why Surface Temperature records are more robust than we think by Glenn Tamblyn, Skeptical Science, June 5, 2011

  130. Pingback: No, climate scientists are not manipulating their data | Grist

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  132. John Hartz, that series is only partially about homogenization, 🙂 it is mainly about computing the global mean temperature anomaly. But the series you link to is highly recommended. A very clear exposure of the various steps and why they need to be made.

  133. John Hartz says:

    Victor Venema: Thanks for the clarification.

    I’ve alerted my colleagues on the SkS all-volunteer author team about your excellent post.

    I’m also puttiing together a special SKS News Bulletin inventorying the rebuttal articles and blog posts that have been been generated in response to Booker’s propaganda piece.

  134. Joshua says:

    [Very Tall’s earlier request has merit. -W]

  135. John Hartz says:

    Here’s another excellent resource article about the issues being addressed on this thread:

    Why scientists adjust temperature records, and how you can too by Neville Nicholls, The Conversation US Pilot, Jan 27, 2015

  136. Pingback: The yellow press and climate change | Doug Craig

  137. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    You can therefore produce a much sharper image without needing to use adaptive optics (which is another way of adjusting data).

    A very sharp analogy that I would love to steal, though I note that cosmologists are getting some bad press in places where the local fauna confuse astronomy with astrolgy so it might not play well. Oh who am I kidding, by virtue of it being a good argument it wouldn’t play well.

  138. Brandon Gates says:

    Zeke,

    The U.S. is a case-in-point, where the net effect of homogenization is to effectively double the century-scale warming trend, with the majority of the adjustments responding to two major systemic cooling biases: time-of-observation changes and the transition from liquid-in-glass to MMTS thermometers.

    I missed your reply earlier and wish I hadn’t. My knee-jerk “wait a minute this isn’t right” reaction to your plots is largely due to how steeped I am in WUWT propaganda and their fixation on the USHCN’s parking lots. It was not in fact clear to me that TOB and equipment adjustments were more an issue for US stations relative to othe places in the world. And as I mentioned to Victor, I had no idea that SST adjustments are in the down direction on balance, and that those adjustments downward have the larger influence on global land/ocean temperature anomaly indices. I can’t thank you enough for setting me straight, nor you, Mosh and the rest of the BEST team for all your contributions.

  139. John Hartz says: “I’ve alerted my colleagues on the SkS all-volunteer author team about your excellent post.”

    I have seen it in the URL referrers. Really amazing how a small closed forum can produce as much readers as a link on the biggest blogs of the mitigation sceptics. They really make an effort not the be confronted with information that may cause cognitive dissonance.

    For all the other, here is the post: Climatologists have manipulated data to REDUCE global warming.

    Theoretically that would end the conspiracy theories, at least around the temperature series. Theoretically.

    Enjoy.

  140. John Hartz says:

    Victor: We do like to assimilate. 🙂

  141. Pingback: Scientific civility and the climate wars | …and Then There's Physics

  142. miker613 says:

    Cross-posted from another ATTP post:
    Steven, what do you think of climate authors who refuse to release their data and methods “because you insulted them”?

  143. Eli Rabett says:

    John H? Assimilate the Lom Borg?

  144. pbjamm says:

    miker613 I can not speak for anyone but myself but if someone wants a favor from me then insults are a very poor choice. Engage like a professional and get assistance, be a jerk and work it out on your own from the published material.

  145. miker613 says:

    pbjamm, basically I agree with you: insults were a poor choice. But this goes beyond insults. If a scientist refuses to divulge his method and codes, as far as I can see he has retracted his work. He is not standing behind it. Showing one’s work when asked is (I feel) a basic part of the trust that scientists normally deserve.

  146. Mikes,
    But if a scientist has published a paper and if all that is necessary to reproduce their work is available, then that is all that is necessary. They can’t be expected to respond to any random person who happens to want to check their work.

  147. miker613 says:

    ATTP, these days a scientist can post his work in a trivial way. He doesn’t need to respond to random people, copying his notes with a stenograph. He just archives his data and code along with his paper – done.
    Again, this was required just to turn in a homework in my classes (i.e., we turned in turnkey R scripts), and the professors made it clear that they were just teaching us proper technique. I don’t know why Nature should have lower standards. With RStudio, for instance, it is trivial to keep a complete reproducible record of your work.

  148. chris says:

    “If a scientist refuses to divulge his method and codes, as far as I can see he has retracted his work.”

    Wishful thinking…if only life was so simple that your personal proscriptions and prejudices could be made manifest in the real world!

    Happily the Mann et al work was essentially repeatedly reproduced in the standard scientific manner by other scientists using related methods so that a full range of outputs consistent with the growing proxy data sets was attained.

    I’m trying to remember the first time I was able to submit data as supplementary info in a journal paper – don’t think it was before around 2004. Of course with the revolution in data storage and the massive trend towards “big” data, a huge amount more data is archived – but this is now and that was then!


  149. Again, this was required just to turn in a homework in my classes (i.e., we turned in turnkey R scripts)

    What year did you graduate? I am guessing it was within the last 5 years.

  150. deminthon says:

    Thanks Lubos.

    I wouldn’t be too hasty, Steven. From his blog post:

    The skeptics who contradict the last two principles are approximately as blinded and as biased as the climate alarmists who have really managed to spuriously increase warming trends by a selective application of would-be clever “adjustments” to the datasets. Well, while they’re equally blinded, they don’t want us to waste trillions of dollars, unlike the alarmists! 😉

  151. deminthon says:

    Steven, what do you think of climate authors who refuse to release their data and methods “because you insulted them”?

    Who are you quoting? Yourself? Whoever it is, that’s not an accurate or complete description of motives.

    If a scientist refuses to divulge his method and codes, as far as I can see he has retracted his work.

    Then you need to look further.

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  153. miker613 says:

    “because you insulted them” “Whoever it is, that’s not an accurate or complete description of motives.” Perhaps not, deminthon. But I’m quoting three different commenters here, one of them ATTP himself, who gave that as their reason. I agree with you that it’s a terrible reason.

  154. miker613 says:

    “What year did you graduate? I am guessing it was within the last 5 years.” Indeed, WHT, those classes were a couple of years ago. I actually graduated in 1987, these were online classes for fun. But yeah, I quite understand that when I did graduate, fulfilling this kind of request might have been a big deal. It isn’t today.

  155. deminthon says:

    But I’m quoting three different commenters here

    I don’t believe that’s true. Perhaps you should learn the difference between a quote and your own personal interpretation of what someone else has said.

  156. deminthon says:

    I agree with you that it’s a terrible reason.

    I offered no judgment about it as a reason. You really should sharpen your comprehension skills.

  157. chris,

    “I’m trying to remember the first time I was able to submit data as supplementary info in a journal paper”

    It’s still a problem, if the paper is based on terrabytes of data. Try to submit that with the supplementary material. 🙂

  158. Eli Rabett says:

    Yeah, well almost all of the data for the MBH papers was in a paleo data bank and McIntyre hounded Mann for the pieces of paper on which Mann had written the downloaded data so he could “audit them”. Same with hounding Briffa for the Yamal data which had already been sent to McIntyre by the Russians who owned it.

  159. miker613,

    He doesn’t need to respond to random people, copying his notes with a stenograph. He just archives his data and code along with his paper – done.

    You make it sound easy, but it isn’t necessarily the case. Proper archiving takes effort and costs money. So, you have to decide what is archived and what isn’t. Everything, or only what is really needed to reproduce the work? If the former, what does that even mean. If the latter, what happens when people disagree and want more than you deposited in the archive. I don’t think this is quite the simple issue that you seem to think that it is.

  160. Pingback: Fiddling with global warming conspiracy theories while Rome burns – The GuardianUK DAILY NEWS | UK DAILY NEWS

  161. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Climate science deniers such as miker613* cannot have it both ways. i.e., reduce climate science funding and increase transparency and archiving.

    *Probably Michael2 as well.

  162. John Hartz says:

    Yet another example of how the ATTP website’s stature is growing in the blogosphere…

    It’s also important if a station is moved, explains Steven Mosher on the And Then there’s Physics blog.

    Scientists dismiss claims of “fiddling” global temperature data by Roz Pidcock, The Carbon Brief, Feb 10, 2015

  163. Rocky Rex says:

    When 2014 was declared the warmest year in the modern record, I saw several comments saying “Soon another allegation will appear, saying there has been data tampering.”

    The “warmest year” report produced this ‘urban myth’ in about three weeks this time.

    Is that a record?

    Someone should keep that data … but would it be tampered with?

    When a year is NOT a new record we hear …

    “Records show there’s been no warming for XX years.”

    When a year is a new record, those same records are ‘unreliable’.

    The purposes of these things are simple.

    To spread doubt, to sound informed and to confuse.

    Most people can’t understand the complexities, and simply see the headlines.

  164. Michael Lloyd says:

    aTTP, you wrote in reply to miker613

    “Proper archiving takes effort and costs money. So, you have to decide what is archived and what isn’t. Everything, or only what is really needed to reproduce the work? If the former, what does that even mean. If the latter, what happens when people disagree and want more than you deposited in the archive. I don’t think this is quite the simple issue that you seem to think that it is.”

    Agreed. But so does poor or zero archiving cost (just ask CRU!). I also have a couple of horror stories regarding poorly archived data. No way of getting round it, the job has to be done properly.

  165. Michael,

    Agreed. But so does poor or zero archiving cost

    Yes, but that was partly my point; doing it properly costs money and effort. You can’t simly dump data and codes on some drive and say “carry on”. Your codes need to be commented and documented, and your data has to have proper metadata and proper documentation too. It’s non-trivial. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against it, but it’s not as easy as miker613 seems to think.

  166. Joshua says:

    Let’s summarize:

    The data can’t be trusted but they show a pause.

    The data have been adjusted to scare people about warming even though the adjustments to the data don’t show warming relative to the raw data

    The data can’t show a precise measurement. Who cares that if you’re comparing changes over time, the problems with precision would be consistent over time (assuming adjustment for changing precision in methodology, of course) and thus wouldn’t change the analysis of trends. The data don’t show a precise measurement.
    .
    There’s no such thing as global warming but we don’t doubt that the globe is warming.
    There’s a bunch of people getting together to corrupt the data to pursue an agenda, but I am nota conspiracy theorist.

    We don’t doubt that adding ACO2 to the atmosphere causes warming but we don’t believe that any of the measurements that show warming are valid.

    We don’t doubt that ACO2 causes warming but even though we’ve been emitting ACO2 global warming has stopped.

    Scientists are saying that the science of temperature trends is settled even though they present error bars and CIs, but they’re weasels because when they discuss limitations of their analyses.

  167. Michael Lloyd says:

    aTTP,

    Totally agree with you that it not as easy as miker613 thinks. You’ve indicated some of the required steps.
    My point is that archiving of research material is not optional, it is necessary and should be done properly. Can I presume that it is taught as part of research methodology for research students these days?

  168. Joshua says:

    I forgot one:

    FOIA is a tool for truth, justice, and the American way when in the hands of “skeptics” questioning public sector climate scientists, but an affront to open scientific inquiry when in the hands of libruls and the Green Blob questioning public sector scientists studying biotechnology/GMOs..

  169. Michael,
    In my specific area, we have a full-time team based where I work who archive data for almost the entire research area. Most people are using data that requires proper archiving and requires that data pipelines be developed for extracting information from the data. As far as simulation codes go, it varies, but most are using codes that are publicly available and so they don’t need to archive the code specifically, since they’ve extracted it from an existing archive themselves.

    The more interesting question is whether or not you should then archive the output from a code that is publicly available. My personal view is, no. Firstly, others can reproduce it anyway since the codes are publicly available and, secondly, the way computing advances, you can often do this quickly and so there’s not much point. Where it would he different is if you were doing something that required so much computing power, that this would be unreasonable. In this case, then data should be archived, and often is. A classic example is the Millenium simulation, that was a high-resolution simulation of the formation of the universe.

  170. Michael Lloyd says:

    aTTP,

    Thank you for your reply. Rather than pass comment on the issue of archiving output from a code, I’ll leave this discussion here. It has already strayed some way OT.

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  172. miker613 says:

    ‘ATTP: Climate science deniers such as miker613* cannot have it both ways. i.e., reduce climate science funding and increase transparency and archiving.’
    Thanks much, John Hartz, but I can have it both ways. Here’s how: Increase transparency and archiving, and increase climate science funding. Does it make any difference that half of your statement made an entirely unwarranted assumption about me?
    Nor do you have any business calling me a denier. Do those here who object to some insults mind this kind of thing?

  173. miker613 says:

    ATTP, some journals require archiving. I had thought that Nature was among them, but perhaps not. Or perhaps they aren’t that careful about enforcement. In any case, it can be done, because you gotta do it for some journals.

    Anyhow, I’m willing to acknowledge that sometimes it’s harder than others. What about in the Nic Lewis/M&F case? Nic Lewis has already mentioned that it’s really hard to track down the data that would be needed; it’s not all in one place, each model has its own format and stuff and requires searching around in a couple of dozen places and mashing it all together. If M&F did some good detective work compiling the raw data they used for their calculations, I don’t see how it makes sense to send Lewis off to try to do it again. Especially so, if people are expecting a response from him or McIntyre etc. in a timely fashion, and especially if they have lives. And if they did do it, and made different decisions than M&F at various points along the way, they may be starting with very different data sets. None of this makes much sense.

    Deminthon seems to doubt that three different commenters suggested refusing Lewis et al the data and codes “because he insulted them”. Well, pbjamm is one of them, slightly above my comment: https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/guest-post-skeptics-demand-adjustments/#comment-47967 “insults are a very poor choice. Engage like a professional and get assistance, be a jerk and work it out on your own from the published material.”
    ATTP can speak for himself; I believe he said exactly the same thing somewhere, but he can object if I’m wrong. I forget who the third one was, maybe at the other post, something about “__ you and the horse you rode in on.” Joshua, maybe?

  174. miker613 says:

    “Can I presume that it is taught as part of research methodology for research students these days?” Michael Lloyd, it certainly was in my recent classes. As I said, it was required for turning in a homework, and they made it clear that they were just teaching us proper methodology.

  175. verytallguy says:

    “__ you and the horse you rode in on.”

    Would that be your high horse, mikeR?

    ” it certainly was in my recent classes”

    Priceless once more. Please continue

  176. Nor do you have any business calling me a denier. Do those here who object to some insults mind this kind of thing?

    I’m not a fan of this, but unless you plan to kick up a fuss, I plan to let JH own it.

    As far as the rest of your comment goes, I think Nic Lewis’ behaviour has been appalling. If I was M&F I would give him the bare minimum. No one is obliged to interact with someone just because they want to, and no one has the right to insist that they do. Anyone who starts with “good grief, these people are idiots” (paraphrasing) should quite rightly get short shrift when they ask for help.

  177. miker613 says:

    ATTP, I don’t generally kick up a fuss about this. I’m just not sure why Nic Lewis’s poor behavior is worse than a number of commenters here who claim to be appalled by it. That comment was just an example, as is vtg’s apparent contempt that I recently took some classes.
    “If I was M&F I would give him the bare minimum”. Well, I think the model output data that they started with would be a reasonable try at a bare minimum, correct?

  178. miker613,
    The difference is that no one here is about to ask Nic Lewis for help. I’m not against bad behaviour. I’m pointing out that if someone wants to be taken seriously by others and to maybe ask for some help, they shouldn’t start by implying that they’re idiots. Plus, I fail to see how pointing out someone else’s bad behaviour qualifies as bad behaviour.

  179. pbjamm says:

    miker613 : Presumably all the required data and methods were in the paper or supplemental materials. I was suggesting that if someone wants more above and beyond what is required by the rules of publishing then insulting the person you are requesting help from is a stupid plan. Apparently you think this is unprofessional but are willing to excuse the rude and insulting behavior that is the real issue here.

  180. miker613 says:

    “Presumably all the required data and methods were in the paper or supplemental materials.” Apparently it wasn’t. Why do you presume that? That’s what they’re asking for.

    “are willing to excuse the rude and insulting behavior that is the real issue here.” I deny that I have excused it in any way. I have spoken against it. I am against rude and insulting behavior, whether it is by Nic Lewis or VeryTallGuy.

    @ATTP “Plus, I fail to see how pointing out someone else’s bad behaviour qualifies as bad behaviour.” Well, it doesn’t. Bad behavior qualifies as bad behavior. The only way your comment would be relevant would be if my taking an online class is also bad behavior.

  181. BBD says:

    As above, so below.

    In both cases, we see unacceptable behaviour met first with tolerance and then with increasing irritation. In both cases, we see those behaving unacceptably complaining about the effects of their own behaviour on others.

    I’m going to have a glass of wine.

  182. miker613 says:

    I agree with BBD. His comparison between Nic Lewis and himself is on the mark.
    “unacceptable behaviour met first with tolerance and then with increasing irritation.” I’m not sure that I’m irritated, but I am pointing it out. And I’m not sure that anyone here was tolerant of Nic Lewis’s behavior.
    “those behaving unacceptably complaining about the effects of their own behaviour on others.” Exactly – that’s what his comment is doing. Very perceptive.

  183. Miker613,
    This is getting tedious, so maybe we can just stop it.

  184. miker613 says:

    “maybe we can just stop it.” Deal.

  185. verytallguy says:

    I am against rude and insulting behavior, whether it is by Nic Lewis or VeryTallGuy.

    citation needed, MikeR.

    I’m just not sure why Nic Lewis’s poor behavior is worse than a number of commenters here

    An therein lies your problem, MikeR. We spelled this out for you yesterday, remember?

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/models-dont-over-estimate-warming/#comment-47845

    As concluded then, we really do have different personal values, you and I.

  186. verytallguy says:

    Sorry ATTP, crossed with your 6.55.

    I hereby faithfully promise to post no more tonight, but enjoy convival company instead. Have a good weekend.

  187. Joshua says:

    miker –

    ==> “Deminthon seems to doubt that three different commenters suggested refusing Lewis et al the data and codes “because he insulted them”. … I forget who the third one was, maybe at the other post, something about “__ you and the horse you rode in on.” Joshua, maybe?”

    That’s beautiful bro.

    So I write a post criticizing Steve Bloom’s simplistic characterization of RB’s perspective on using “denier” (that things would be fine if we were just nice to them) – pointing out that Steve’s argument reminds me of what I often see from “skeptics” — and sure enough, you come along to illustrate the point about simplistic arguments from “skeptics” by basically making the same argument as Steve’s (that I was saying that what matter’s is that Nic wasn’t nice).

    Go back and read my posts again. You will see me saying that I don’t care about Nic’s insults. It isn’t the insults themselves that matter, IMO. It’s the tribalism and poor reasoning reflected in how he included ill-reasoning and gratuitous, nasty, and pointless nonsense in with his scientific analysis. It makes it clear that Nic was leveraging the science to launch a juvenile broadside in the climate wars – to pursue a partisan agenda. If I were in M&F’s position, I would say to him that since he felt that he had enough data to conclude that they I was incompetent and that my paper had no merit whatsoever, then I would see no reason to give him more data.

    On the other hand, I I were in their position, and Nic came to me prior to writing a tribalistic and ill-reasoned post, and said that he felt there were some flaws in my paper and he’d like to discuss them with me, or even get some data so he could check his theory out and get back to me, then I would see no reason not to work with him.

    Or even if Nic stepped up to be accountable or his tribalism after the fact (hey, we all do it), I would see reason to work with him. But baring that, I would suggest that he and the horse he road in on go ahead and share a particular experience.

    I would see no reason to participate with Nic in his tribalism. I would be more than happy to participate with him in advancing the science.

    Steve – take note.

    Does that qualify as chillin’? Hmmm.

  188. Steve Bloom says:

    Joshua, your arguments, as usual, are pretty full of holes. D-K at work, apparently. I’ll leave it at that per Anders’ request.

  189. BBD says:

    Chillin’

    🙂

  190. pbjamm says:

    Steve Bloom & miker613: I will disagree with you completely here, Joshua makes perfect sense. If Lewis had enough data to decide that the M&F paper was nonsense then what other data did he need? To me that is the core of the issue. If he did not have enough data to come to a conclusion then he should not have taken such a strong stance on the topic.

    ATTP I am sorry if this is perpetuating a discussion you would prefer end so feel free to delete all this. It is your blog after all.

  191. jsam says:

    +1 pbjamm and Joshua.

  192. Steve Bloom says:

    pbjamm, TBC I was reacting to the paragraph starting “So I write a post,” which was a continuation of a more-or-less unrelated prior discussion. I have no particular disagreement with the rest, other than having no idea what he thinks I should be taking note of. The post he refers to was in a different thread.

  193. John Hartz says:

    miker613: Two questions…

    If you do not favor reducing funding for climate science research, do you support keeping it the same, or increasing it?

    1f you are not a “climate science denier”, how would you characterize what you are attempting to accomplish by particpating in the comment threads of this website?

  194. Joshua says:

    JH –

    I’m curious what you’re attempting to accomplish here.

  195. John Hartz says:

    Joshua:

    Stay tuned.

  196. BBD says:

    Turn on, drop out.

  197. Joshua,
    Sarcasm seldom works.

  198. Pekka,
    Possibly, but I sometimes think it has its place 🙂

  199. aTTP,
    At least those who were not the target (or in the target group) may often enjoy it.

  200. Pekka,
    Yes, true. It’s not something one should use if you want to actually have dialogue. Although, I’m not quite sure why you pointed it out though. I can’t quite find where Joshua was being sarcastic.

  201. I didn’t interpret Joshua’s latest comment to refer to what we might expect from Miker613.

  202. Pekka,
    I think what Joshua said in that comment was essentially my position that miker isn’t getting. It’s not about being insulting, we can all do that. It’s why you chose to be insulting in the first place, and what you do if it turns out your insult wasn’t warranted. I don’t really care that Nic Lewis chose to write an insulting post about the work of two experienced researchers, what I care about is that he is given a lot of credit for doing actual research and can’t be bothered to return the favour and treat others with some respect when commenting on their work. I care about the fact that when it turns out that his insults may not have been warranted, instead of owning them, he keeps going and tries to insist that he’s right. You’ve presumably read RomanM’s recent comment that Nic Lewis thinks is relevant. As far as I can tell, it just illustrates that statisticians should really learn some physics before making strong statements about an analysis in a paper, the topic of which they appear not to understand.

  203. aTTP,
    Joshua may tell, if he thinks that he should tell. My interpretation was, however, that the target was John Hartz, and only he.

    This discussion is related to the discussion at SoD. I just wrote there on my way of thinking. perhaps I just give the link rather than copy it here although it might fit as well here.

  204. Pekka,
    Ahhh, okay, I may looked at the wrong comment. I looked at his last response to miker, not to JH.

  205. Concerning what RomanM has written, I think that he does not understand what it means that the model is not purely statistical, but based on physical arguments. At the same I have also the feeling that you overstate that as the model has also connections to statistics, because the connection to physics is so crude. It’s somewhere in between the two worlds. Overemphasizing either one leads to misjudgements. I have been struggling to figure out the correct role of both aspects of the model.

  206. Pekka,
    I might suggest that you read what I write a little more carefully. I’ve never stated that it has no connection to statistics, I’ve simply been trying to point out that one can’t ignore the physics that – assuming climate models conserve energy and that climate sensitivity is time-independent – largely removes the circularity and allows one to address the question being addressed in M&F in the way that they have. As far as I can see, RomanM’s suggested changes don’t even make much mathematical sense as he is suggesting leaving a model value on the RHS and I can’t see how that is a standard way in which to do linear regression.

  207. Eli Rabett says:

    Pekka and Eli have had this agreement before. The issue really is that statistics in no way limits the parameter space, it merely tells you about the part of parameter space that has been explored. Physics, OTOH, tells you what part of the parameter space is available. In a deterministic system, physics tells you exactly the path of the system through the parameter space. In a chaotic system, physics tells you nothing about the path, but can, with statistics tell you the probability of finding the system at any point in the space.

    Thus those who only use statistics find underdetermined answers.

  208. aTTP,
    I don’t claim that you have not admitted any contact to statistics. I my view you have, however, presented in the discussion several arguments that belittle the statistical issues. We exchanged some comments on that kind of issues here at an early state of the discussion, but my view is similar also concerning some of your comments at CLB. I didn’t consider it necessary to comment much on that there. I have written there one or two comments that are related, but not addressed directly as responses to your comments.

    All my grievances are related on the influence of the crudeness of the regression model and the uncertainties in determination of its coefficients.

  209. Eli,

    I have no disagreement on what you write. Real cases are however not always easy to put into that framework.

    This case is an example of that. The actual model that is used in the analysis is a linear regression model, while the dependence of ΔT on the other variables in the CMIP5 ensemble is not likely to be even approximately linear over the range of variables that is considered (the original equations involve an inverse behavior, The original equations tell also that the dependencies on the variables cannot be separated. Thus the model is not really physical, but a form is chosen for methodological reasons. An additional complication is in the determination of ΔF (the point that Nic has overblown, but that’s real anyway also according to the authors). There are even more reasons to question the suitability of the formula.

    This kind of issues make it important consider also on the statistical side to make sure that the chosen statistical methods do not make the situation still much worse.

  210. Pekka,
    Yes, I know you’ve told me off before, but I’m a physicist and am unapologetically going to make physically motivated argument whether or not you like it.

  211. aTTP,

    You know that I’m also basically a physicist, thus the difference of views is not explained by that. Right now I think that’s enough to just observe that our views differ on some details, while we also agree on much on this issue.

  212. Pekka,
    Firstly, I suspect our views are less different that you seem to think. I suspect you’re interpreting what I’m saying in ways that I’m not intending and failing to recognise that when I point it out. Just because I’m not always making the argument you would have made, does not mean that it isn’t
    an argument worth making.

  213. aTTP,
    If the question is about misunderstandings that must apply also to what some others have written, because in some cases at CLB I have agreed essentially on statements, that you don’t accept. On some other issues our disagreements have certainly been due to different interpretations of what someone else has written.

  214. Pekka,
    I’m not sure we do have to agree about everything.

  215. aTTP,

    That’s what I meant, when I wrote that we may just observe that there’s some disagreement.

    (I think we essentially agree in our latest comments at CLB, at least I wrote my comment to expand on yours, not to counter it.)

  216. Steve Bloom says:

    Pekka, strictly speaking that was an attempt at irony, although the distinction is subtle. Were I to point out that no one thought it worth their while to direct the same question toward Joshua, that would be sarcastic.

  217. Pekka,
    Yes, I saw that you’d commented and, I agree, we do seem to be largely in agreement now. It’s getting there that matters, not necessarily how one does so 🙂

  218. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: “The journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step.” 🙂

  219. Willard says:

    Joshua has every reason to wonder if JH’s loaded questions can lead anywhere.

    The first presumes the opposite of what MikeR agreed earlier: “Increase transparency and archiving, and increase climate science funding”. Asking “If you do not favor reducing funding for climate science research, do you support keeping it the same, or increasing it?” triggers MikeR’s reading comprehension thesis.

    The second shifts JH’s burden to substantiate his accusation. It is of the form “If you’re not a witch, then tell me what you’re trying to do” and in this case looks a lot like “if you don’t show me Carte Blanche, I reserve the right to call you whatever I want without substantiating it.” This reverses the burden of proof, at the very least.

    So Joshua’s question (which mirrors one of JH’s) can be answered: if we’re to believe that JH asked his questions willingly, JH was creating a strawman and was shifting the burden of proof by targeting MikeR’s mind.

    Also note JH’s non response to Joshua’s question. Even limited to the rationale of asking loaded questions and not his overall contributions here, JH refused to answer. MikeR’s silence on JH’s questions tells us little more than JH’s own silence, perhaps less.

    Joshua’s “you go first” is a bit more expedient than this kind of analysis, which JH has ignored in the past.

  220. Eli Rabett says:

    Allow Eli to point out that if the climate system has moved so far out of the region of the parameter space the the dependence of ΔT on other variables is no longer linear the Earth is so far from the Holocene equilibrium that we are all, excuse the English, fucked no end.

    Ni[c] and Roman, should Eli be so informal,, cannot simultaneously claim small climate sensitivity and large non linear dependence of ΔT, nor for that matter can Pekka. It’s real red Queen territory.

  221. Eli,

    Nick and Roman, should Eli be so informal,mcannot simultaneously claim small climate sensitivity and large non linear dependence of ΔT, nor for that matter can Pekka.

    Yes, I think I may have made a similar point elsewhere. Nic appears to be using arguments against M&F that could equally be applied to his own energy balance work, that he appears to have suggested is the most robust of all possible methods.

  222. aTTP,
    The latest interchange with Roman might have been explicit enough to have some influence.

    We’ll see.

  223. Pekka,
    Yes, it will be interesting to see. In fact, I would personally be quite impressed if it did have some influence.

  224. John Hartz says:

    Willard: As Frank Sinatra was wont to sing, I’ll do it my way.

  225. Steve Bloom says:

    Good for you, John. Willard never lacks for balls, but no one else needs to play.

  226. Pingback: Here’s the Latest Climate Science “Scandal” Andrew Bolts denier Christopher Booker is Patently wrong | olddogthoughts

  227. Jim Hunt says:

    I’m not sure if this is an accurate reflection of ATTP’s stature, but I have quoted Mosher@ATTP in my official complaint to The Telegraph about Booker:

    http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2015/02/a-letter-to-the-editor-of-the-sunday-telegraph/

    I hope that’s OK with you guys? A commenter on Twitter objects:

    But BEST isn’t GISS!!!

    I’m studiously ignoring them.

  228. Pingback: 2015 blog summary | …and Then There's Physics

  229. Pingback: A Letter to the Editor of the Sunday Telegraph | The Great White Con

  230. Pingback: Guest post: Surface and Satellite Discrepancy | …and Then There's Physics

  231. Fool where angels fear to tread alert (exaggeration).

    Great stuff, though I can only follow a bit of it. Remarkably well explained, thank you.

    It’s worth the extra typing to indicate “skeptic” or better yet unskeptical “skeptic” in my opinion. And a complete waste of time to engage with or about Delingpole, except to chortle over “intellectual rape” by the Nurse.

    Also off topic: I haven’t removed what an elderly friend would call “bad word bathroom” and “bad word sex”.

    “I did ban you and here’s why. This blog is not a public space, it’s my living room. People are there to be entertained, and if I’m lucky, occasionally learn something. But in this case, you barged into my living room and started being a big fucking asshole. [Saying nasty things] … to describe a person’s writing in the comments section of their own blog. What kind of idiot does that? Do you talk to people in real life like that?”

  232. Susan,
    That pretty much describes my standard moderation policy 🙂

  233. Pingback: Three years! | …and Then There's Physics

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