Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Real Report

Last post I critiqued a preliminary report and I now find the Real Report is available:

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/surface_temp.pdf

So lets abandon the preliminary report and focus on the real one. I will start again. Given the report is 111 pages long I don't expect to finish, but lets go with it anyway.

I'll note right away the acronym SPPI is all over this. We all know what that is or can google it, so lets not labor that point.

We start with a section titled "SUMMARY FOR POLICYMAKERS" which lists a load of their conclusions.

Are these guys so divorced from reality that they actually think policymakers would read (let alone take advice from) such a non-peer reviewed report which comprises of some observations by some bloggers? Perhaps not. Perhaps they just like playing Science, or rather making certain other people think they are doing science.

Lets start with their first stated conclusion. I will just note some immediate thoughts I have. I spot quite a few oddities in just one of their sentences. The rest of the report may clarify these issues. Or not. I suspect not. I am not confident that the report authors really thought how their own conclusions fit together.

"1. Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and unidirectionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century."

Summary For The Rational: The above statement is bullshit

  1. I have been told by skeptics on many occasions that of course they accept the earth has warmed, they just question the cause. Calling them "Global Warming Deniers" drives them mad, because denying the warming must be some kind of stupid thing to do. Except in this report here and now we have skeptics claiming "it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century."
  2. What happened to the denialist "recovery from the little ice age" meme? I guess that was just the excuse du jour until they could find a better one...and they sounded so sincere...
  3. I note boreholes, glacier decline, sea level rise, the oceans have warmed too, etc (oh even tree rings!). All of which make think it's highly unlikely that the Earth hasn't warmed significantly over the 20th century. 
  4. Oddly their conspiracy ends at the satellite era. That's a little suspicious for my liking. I wonder if they chose that date because they don't want to accuse their friends at UAH of fraud. Perhaps they'll justify such a strange cut off date in the rest of the report. Or perhaps not.
  5. How can they claim the tampering in the records is prior to the satellite record when they are known to be always harping on about Hansen tampering with recent years, etc? What about the whole Station Dropout allegations that EM Smith et al bang on about? The station dropouts were in the 90s and the psuedoskeptics bang on about it as if the removal of the stations to warmer areas creates biased warming. They also of course claim UHI isn't corrected for and microsite biases - Anthony Watt's has a whole load of photos of recently installed AC units (in the satellite era). So it's sheer bullshit for them to try and section off their conspiracy to before 1980. And I think they do this so they don't have to question the satellite record which shows roughly as much warming as the surface records since 1980.
  6. Even if their claims were true, and I hope to analyze the temperature record myself in regards to their claims, does any of this alter the fact that current scientific evidence shows the climate probably has high sensitivity and that doubling co2 is a very large forcing? Nope.

2. All terrestrial surface-temperature databases exhibit very serious problems that render them useless for determining accurate long-term temperature trends.

Yet on page 6 they say:

"Calculating the average temperatures this way would ensure that the mean global surface temperature for each month and year would show a false-positive temperature anomaly – a bogus warming. This method would also ensure that the trend in the temperature change would be enhanced beyond the natural 60-year climate cycles."

(emphasis mine). How can they claim 60 year cycles exist in temperature records which they claim are useless for determining accurate long-term temperature trends. Sure a cycle isn't a trend, but a 60 year cycle sure as hell is made up of the longterm trends they claim the records can't show. In other words I think the uncertainty they are trying to exaggerate precludes any knowledge about the existence of a 60 year cycle.

That's enough for now. More to come. I will hopefully also examine their technical claims in more detail with reference to GHCN, but it'll take me time to read the docs and process the data. For now read some work by others on this subject: 

http://moyhu.blogspot.com/2010/01/ghcn-stations-warming.html

http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2010/01/kusi-noaa-nasa/

http://moyhu.blogspot.com/2010/01/ghcn-station-selection.html#more


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