Monday, August 27, 2007

A Climate of Uncertainty

The blogosphere has been abuzz over NASA quietly adjusting some climate data after a goof was discovered. What had the prophets of global warming, aka climate change, all in a lather was this adjustment by NASA moved several years that predate the accepted start of global warming as being among the top ten warmest years on record. Naturally this has aroused the ire of the followers of the Goracle as their pet world view, akin to the Ptolomean Terra-centric view of the Earth, has been threatened by facts, remember Copernicus and Galileo, that seek to overturn their 'conventional' wisdom. So riding to the rescue upon his newsprint horse is Andrew C. Revkin of the New York Times.

Alas Sir Revkin it seems forgot to fasten all the straps that hold the saddle upon his horse, so instead of riding high upon his horse he is being dragged in the dust.

Suddenly, 1934 appeared to vault ahead of 1998 as the warmest year on record (by a statistically meaningless 0.036 degrees Fahrenheit).

If the average temperature of 1934 is higher than the average temperature of 1998, then 1934 is the warmer year. Statistically meaningless it seems is just a throw away line intended to sabotage rebuttals.

Everyone appears also to agree that too much attention is paid to records, particularly given that the difference between 1934, 1998, and several other sets of years in the top 10 warmest list for the United States are so small as to be statistically meaningless.

I thought that by empirically measuring the temperatures was one way to scientifically measure such vital things as climate change? But apparently record setting years are again statistically meaningless.

Indeed, there is enough wiggle room in the numbers that the center has a different list of the 10 warmest years than those produced using NASA’s and Mr. McIntyre’s analyses. By the climate center’s reckoning, 1998 remains the warmest year for the 48 states (with 2006 second and 1934 third).

Well so much for how rock solid the measurements are if several different sets of 10 warmest years can be produced from the same dataset.

The National Academy of Sciences has repeatedly called for improvements in climate monitoring. An independent group of meteorologists and weather buffs is compiling its own gallery of American weather stations at http://www.surfacestations.org/, with photographs showing glaring problems, like thermometers placed next to asphalt runways and parking lots.

So we learn the data that makes up the datasets is not trustworthy and also the glaring problem with the recording stations. Surfaces that radiate heat or emit heat in close proximity to these stations will adversely affect the measurements, giving an artifically higher reading. Which calls into question the whole mantra of Hansen and others of a measurable broader warming trend that is called man-made global warming.

It seems Rivkin tried to write an article that minimized the damage this adjustment by McIntyre and NASA has caused to the global warming movement. Instead he has helped undermine the foundations to a house of cards with his writings. Thank you Mr. Rivkin.


dons_mind said...

and so slowly the global warming theories begin to unravel...

Anna said...

Unfortunately when it does unravel so will what little sanity that is left amongst the true believers will unravel. It might not be pretty as we see people running down the street shrieking it can't be true.