Friday, February 26, 2010

Who Can We Trust?

I'm not ready to pull it all together yet, because there is another topic I need to cover first.

When I first started looking at AGW my conclusion was that although it's warming, I didn't find enough evidence to conclude it was due to man. There were just too many holes in the AGW theory. Now however, it is beginning to look as if we may not even be warming.

There is serious hanky panky going on with the people who keep track of the temperature data.

First you have the decrease in reporting stations over the past 20 years. We have gone from 6000 stations to 1500 stations and the decrease has changed the make up of the global reporting picture. This change affords a lot of opportunity to make mischief. Far more rural stations have been eliminated than urban stations. This by itself would give you a warming bias because of other steps that have been taken as well.

Back in the early 1990s Professor Phil Jones and a colleague, Professor Wei-Chyung Wang of the State University of New York at Albany suggested in an influential paper in the journal Nature that the urban heat island effect was minimal – and cited as supporting evidence a long series of temperature measurements from Chinese weather stations, half in the countryside and half in cities, supplied by Professor Wei-Chyung. The Nature paper became a key reference source for the conclusions of succeeding reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – including a chapter in the 2007 one co-authored by Jones. It said that globally "the urbanisation influence … is, at most, an order of magnitude less than the warming seen on a century timescale". In other words, it is tiny.

And when, in 2007, Jones finally released what location data he had, British amateur climate analyst and former City banker Doug Keenan accused Jones and Wang of fraud.

He pointed out that the data showed that 49 of the Chinese meteorological stations had no histories of their location or other details. These mysterious stations included 40 of the 42 rural stations. Of the rest, 18 had certainly been moved during the story period, perhaps invalidating their data.

Those concerns were most cogently expressed to Jones by his ex-boss, and former head of the CRU, Dr Tom Wigley. In August 2007, Wigley warned Jones by email: "It seems to me that Keenan has a valid point. The statements in the papers that he quotes seem to be incorrect statements, and that someone (W-C W at the very least) must have known at the time that they were incorrect."

Wang's defence explains that the colleague had lost her notes on many station locations during a series of office moves. Nonetheless, "based on her recollections", she could provide information on 41 of the 49 stations.

In all, that meant that no fewer than 51 of the 84 stations had been moved during the 30-year study period, 25 had not moved, and eight she could not recollect.

Wang, however, maintained to the university that the 1990 paper's claim that "few, if any" stations had moved was true. The inquiry apparently agreed.

This paper has been used by NCDC to eliminate any adjustment to the temperature of urban settings due to the UHIE (urban heat island effect). Now this goes against common sense. If you've ever seen a lizard or a snake in the summer time you will see them sunning themselves on a rock. The rock warms them up. When humans urbanize they build roads, buildings, etc. and bring in machines that warm the atmosphere. This study said, that these activities do not warm the local climate.

Here is an intersting article that shows what the temperature custodians are doing with the data.

A Pending American Temperaturegate

The values in the table show that the NCDC's rate of increase of temperature, 0.69oC/century, is based on an over-selection of stations with urban locations.

Station Set
oC/Century, 11-Year Average Based on the Use of

Raw Data
Adjusted Data

Rural (48)

Urban (48)

Rural + Urban (96)

Now looking at these numbers we see no adjustment in urban temperatures for the UHIE. But in this case they have adjusted the rural temperatures up! This defies logic. The rural temperatures should be left alone and the urban temperature should be adjust down. The NCDC's treatment has forced the rural value to look more like that of the urban. This adjustment has increase the rural temperatures by a factor of 5.

If you are looking to capture the influence of CO2 on the warming of the planet, you would want to eliminate the warming due to other influences. Evidently this is not the aim of James Hansen, Phil Jones, Michael Mann, etc.

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) Working Group 2 (WG2) lead author Stephen Schneider disclosed several tricks of the trade to Discover magazine in 1989. He said:

"To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest." It appears honesty may have fallen along with temperatures in the past 10 years.

I don't trust the temperature data we are getting from NASA. And with this conclusion, you can't really say if it is getting warmer, much warmer, colder or much colder. It appears to me that in an attempt to gin up the alarmism, the AGW proponents have destroyed their credibility. They have indeed become the movement that cried wolf.

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