Archive for January, 2010

Still no Accelerating Warming

January 30, 2010

In 2009, I examined temperature trends over two thirty one year periods in the twentieth century using HadCrut data and determined that there was no difference in the rates of warming from 1911-1941 and 1978-2008. I have now updated this to 2009-this time I used monthly data but the difference shouldn’t matter. I will compare 1911-1941 with 1979-2009. The result is once again indistinguishable trends.

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Not So Open To Novel Ideas

January 29, 2010

One of the things which is great about science is that any hypothesis is supposed to get consideration as long as it cannot be eliminated by observed results. In other words, a hypothesis is not dismissed unless it is impossible. So we are open to any explanation that can work, which means that there should be no possibility that the true explanation is excluded a priori. Of course, when ideas are rejected it must be because they cannot be reconciled with experiments. This is of course only one of the good things about science. But it distinguishes science from, say, religion, wherein explanations of phenomena must be reconcilable with beliefs rather than facts in order to be considered valid hypotheses. It is similarly important in science that no explanation be excepted unless every concievable alternative has been eliminated.

To put this in simple terms, science is open to anything that can work, and all possible hypotheses are equal unless 1. one is contradicted by the evidence or 2. one is less plausible. Thus, if we have two equally plausible hypotheses which are both consistent with the observations, we must conclude that either could be correct. Most importantly we must consider them equal so that we can test both to determine which is incorrect and so we do not undly favor one hypothesis and thus try to show it to be correct and ignore contrary evidence in favor of the alternative.

Unfortunately, it appears that the IPCC Lead Authors are unreceptive to considering alternative hypotheses to their own. John Christy recently argued before a group of them that alternative views should be given consideration if evidence can be presented that they are valid. He had such evidence. However, their reaction was “cold“-not one of them welcomed the idea of such consideration of alternative views. From the perspective of the Lead Authors, hypotheses are not created equal, and alternatives should not be given consideration but rejected out of hand. This is bad for science, because science thrives on the testing of all valid hypotheses because any could be correct. Effectively they have decided that only one set of hypotheses can be correct. And they are willing to distort the evidence in favor of those if necessary.

GISSifying That US Index

January 23, 2010

I’ve done some posts lately about the recent evolution of US temps according to NOAA’s NCDC.

Now, being a Right Wing Extremist, I would rather not trust the data that comes from the Commerce Department. I also think that GISS’s method for UHI adjustment makes more sense-mainly because they have one, rather than relying on change point detection to pick it up (which is laughable).

But I am endlessly frustrated with GISS over one teensy fact-I can find annual data for the US, but I can’t find monthly data. Which makes it impossible to follow the prospects for the final year ahead of time. So, for my own edification, I really just want to see what my 12 month moving average US temps would look like if it was GISS data. Well, sort of. Basically I created a quasi-12 month moving average GISS data set (AFTER re-baselining it to 1895-2009 and  converting it to F with a 1.8 factor and adding the value of that black line I had as the long term average for NCDC, of course) and subtracted that from my running mean index. The result was a noisy mess but a positive underlying trend. So I calculated that trend and removed it from my running mean index. The result wasn’t a huge change in the NCDC data, but it was certainly interesting.

The same as before, but now with the warming relative to GISS removed.

The Warmest Decade (151 months without warming)

January 22, 2010

Given recent announcements by surface temperature groups that the most recent decade (2000-2009) was warmer than the 1990’s, there are many (including James Hansen) that are claim this somehow “proves” global warming hasn’t “stopped”. Let’s start off by showing why this is erroneous in theory, and then I’ll go on to note what the present satellite situation is with regard to trends.

In theory, it is entirely possible for one ten average to be higher than the next even if the latter period has no trend. Consider the following series of numbers

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9

9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9

The mean of the first series is 5.4, the mean of the second is 9. Clearly series to is the highest on record. Clearly global counting continues unabated. Wait. No it doesn’t. The last twelve numbers have been 9’s, were as the previous eight were steadily increasing.

Now let’s look at the last 151 months from UAH. I’ve picked this arbitrarily because this is the longest non positive trend there is. So, yes, I cherry picked. But I cherry picked a remarkably long period of over twelve and a half years.

Fix the Pause…

January 21, 2010

Roger Pielke Sr has brought attention to a recent claim which is being made that the HadCrut data is underestimating warming. As regular blog readers here must know, HadCrut doesn’t show warming in the last twelve years. Naturally this is becoming problematic for people who claim that climate model predictions of accelerating warming are coming true. They could generally point to James Hansen’s GISS data or NCDC’s data as showing warming over this period. However, it now appears that HadCrut is about to receive the UAH treatment. If you read the article that Roger points to, you will learn that, among other things, climate models prove HadCrut is wrong, and that climate scientists have completely neglected to account for biases in SST until now.

How Did 2009 Shape Up?

January 18, 2010

On November 10th of last year, I speculated about how the annual Average Temperature of the lower 48 States would shape up that year. I think I was cautious about stating anything too confidently, but never the less I did make something of a noncommittal prediction:

The black dots represent the average of 2008’s twelve months, and the most recent twelve (November 2008-October 2009) and they are almost indistinguishable. However, the last few months have seen the moving average drop a little so it is not out of the realm of possibility for 2009 to be cooler than 2008 and exactly average for the US!

Now, I didn’t say that would happen. But let’s check back in on it now that the data have all come in. The following graph is like the one in my previous post, but with a line representing the long term average. As you can see, 2009 did turn out close to average. But it was not quite as low as I thought it could go.

USAverageTemp

A Lively Sea Level Debate

January 11, 2010

Even scientists who generally agree with the so called “consensus” on global warming can disagree it seems. According to the (London) Times, controversy has publicly ignited over claims of sea level rise that scientists see in the future. The IPCC has generally predicted small rises of about a foot for the next century, based on their climate predictions and limited ice sheet modeling. That would ordinarily be the best information we have. However, Hockey Team member Stefan Rhamstorf did not find this alarming enough. So he sought to ground his need for apocalyptic conclusions in science, and publish a paper which said that the data pointed to six feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. Of course, this has drawn strong criticism of the method. Unfotunately, there is clearly no hope for consensus on this matter any time soon. The reason is that the beliefs of scientists on each “side” of the debate are diverging rather than converging. While Rhamstorfs critics say that his method is predicting way too high of rises, he is retorting that he believes he has underestimated just how much rise will occur! This is a sorry state of affairs.

Let It Snow!-Or Snowli Cannoli!

January 6, 2010

There was quite a lot of snow cover last month in the Northern Hemisphere. This poses an interesting question, I’m sure many of you are asking-what relationship might this bear to Global Warming? We’ll find out later today how snow cover relates to temperatures. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: As expected, there is more snowcover when the land in the Northern Hemisphere is cold than when it is warm-not just in a seasonal cycle but in the anomalies, too. However the relationship is very weak. Why might that be? Hard to say, but it means that there can be plenty of snow when it is relatively warm and a deficit of snow when it is cool. Now, there could easily be serious problems with the temperature data. That’s a reasonable objection. However, no change I could concieve of would improve the relationship between these two variables. If that’s the case, then it is hard to say how changes in temperatures will effect the snowcover.

But what else is new?