Sunday, August 03, 2008

Surface stations and data modelling

Just because I was perusing—the project to take pictures and assess the suitability of NASA GISS land temperature stations, which has now covered 43.73% of the network—I thought that I would bring you this comparison of two sites.

I would particularly like you to consider the siting of these temperature stations and then observe the temperature graphs associated with the stations.
Here is a well maintained and well sited USHCN station:

Graph is from NASA GISS - see it full size

Click [here and here] for complete site surveys of these stations

Here is a not-so-well maintained or well sited USHCN station:

Graph is from NASA GISS - see it full size

This site in Marysville, CA has been around for about the same amount of time, but has been encroached upon by growth in a most serious way by micro-site effects.

Let us remind ourselves that it is primarily these stations that NASA GISS, led by James Hansen, is using to justify stultifying our civilisation and from which the predications of doom are being extrapolated.

Here are a couple more stations that are on the GISS network. This first is from Lampasas, Texas, and was drawn to my attention by Climate Skeptic.
Via Anthony Watt is this temperature station in Lampassas, Texas, part of the USHCN and GISS data bases (meaning it is part of the official global warming record).

The temperature instrument is in the white louvred cylinder in the center. This installation is wrong in so many ways: in the middle of a urban heat island, near asphalt, next to a building, near car radiators, near airconditiong unit exhausts. Could we possibly expect this unit to read correctly? Well, here is the temperature plot:

The USHCN data base says that this station moved here in the year 2000. Hmmm, do you think that the temperature spike after 2000 is due to this site, or global warming. By the way, the GISS calls it global warming.

Hmmm. Now, surely these clever scientists have corrected for these problems, right? I mean, they would never use what is quite obviously erroneous data without correcting it, right? Because trillions of dollars rest on the advice that James Hansen and his merry men give. Er...
But James Hansen and others at the GISS defend this station and others to the death. In fact, the GISS extrapolates temperature trends not only for Lampasas but for hundreds of kilometers around this location from this one station. Hansen has opposed Anthony Watt's efforts to do a photo-survey of these stations, saying that his sophisticated statistical models can correct for such station biases without even seeing the station. OK, let's see how the adjust this station. Their adjustment is in red:

According to the GISS, the temperatures since 2000 have been just fine and without any bias that needs correcting. However, they seem to think that the temperature measurement in Lampasas in the 1920's and1930's (when Lampasas was a one horse town with no urbanization) was biased upwards somehow. Why? Well, we don't know, but based on this adjustment, the GISS thinks this site has LESS urbanization today in this picture than in 1900. The GISS adjustments have INCREASED the warming seen at this site. Uh, right.

I think there is some bias that needs correcting, and the place to start may be in the GISS management.

OK, does any one of you think that the adjustments that GISS has made here are right? Do you really think that this station has been utterly unaffected since its positioning here in 2000? Does anyone out there really, truly and honestly think that all of the years before 2000 need to be adjusted downward but that the records after 2000 need no adjustment at all? Oh, and anyone think that I am in the pay of the oil industry for showing you these figures?

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

And yet these are the numbers that GISS is using to predict this runaway global warming: no wonder that they are the only agency to maintain that there has been a warming trend over the last ten years. It would be a joke if it wasn't so fucking serious.

I know that there are some people out there who still don't get it, so let's keep on piling on the pain; here is a station in Miami that Climate Skeptic surveyed personally.
For #2, [my son] has posted two USHCN temperature measurement site surveys here and here. The fun part for him is that his survey of the Miami, AZ site has already led to a post in response at Climate Audit. It turns out his survey adds data to an ongoing discussion there about GISS temperature "corrections."

Out-of-the-mouth-of-babes moment: My son says, "gee, dad, doesn't that metal building reflect a lot of heat on the thermometer-thing." You can bet it does. This is so obvious even a 14-year-old can see it, but don't tell the RealClimate folks who continue to argue that they can adjust the data for station quality without ever seeing the station.

Of course, they can: these scientists are fucking geniuses, y'know—they can do anything. Hey! I've got a good game—do you wanna guess what the temperature record is like? Yeah?
Update: Here is the temperature history from this station, which moved from a more remote location away from buildings about 10 years ago. I am sure the recent uptick in temperatures has nothing to do with the nearby building and asphalt/black rock ground cover. It must be global warming.

Once again, I would like to remind you that this station is part of the official GISS temperature measurement record. I want you to bear that in mind as you observe the corrections, as supplied, from GISS data, by Climate Audit (which is, incidntally, written by Steve McIntyre, one of the men who kicked the shit out of the Mann et al. "hockey-stick" graph).

Notice that after the GISS homogeneity adjustment, the past temperatures go down, with the present acting as a hinge point, thus making the slope of the temperature trend rise. The new slope is purely artificial, and appears to be an artifact of data adjustment by NASA GISS on this rural station. This is the second instance of this happening, the first being seen in the GISS Lamapasas, TX data adjustment for homogeneity.

In both cases, the abnormal spike coinciding with a station move near the present time remains in the record, and that is what the homogeneity adjustment is supposed to catch and remove as I understand it.

Now, there is, apparently, an explanation for this. And you're going to love it...
In a comment on the subject, Steve Mosher offers an explanation:
In Hansen 2001 Hansen says he uses nightlights to determine if a station is Rural in the US and population everywhere else. Miles city population is less than 10K which makes it rural, BUT, nightlights ( satellite imagery taken in 1995) indicates a brightness factor for Miles of 26! effectively making it urban.

I concur, there appears to be a flaw in the GISS nightlight methodology and adjustment algorithm. I look forward to seeing GISS investigate, and if this problem is indeed verified, a dataset correction.

Yeah, right. Anyone seen those corrections yet?

So, now that everyone's had a look at the pretty pictures, here are a few points to consider: the first is that the "scientists" at GISS are either utterly incompetent or they are lying. In either case, they are not people that we should be taking seriously in any way whatsoever. And yet James Hansen is listened to very seriously—and not just by that great, big charlatan, Al Gore.

The second point to consider—and it's a pretty fucking major one—is that the climate is a complicated—no, very complicated—system and we barely understand all of the interactions as it is; this fact on its own makes all of these climate models pretty suspect.

If you feed false data into those models—and we can see that GISS, at the very least, have been doing so—then those models are absolutely worthless.

And let us further remind ourselves that it is on the outcomes... no, that's too precise, for even the IPCC only calls them "projections"... it is on the projections of these models that we are all getting so very worried about catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

Now, I'm no scientist and nor am I a statistician, but I can see stupidity and duplicity in the examples that I have posted above: these fuckers are lying and they are stupid to think that they can get away with it (although, of course, ten years ago—before the advent of easy publishing on the web—they would have done so. Indeed, they did do so and they are still trying it on).

Now, can we carry on making our lives better, letting the poor get richer and, in this small nation, forming a sensible policy to ensure that the lights don't go out?


Budgie said...

With you all the way on this, DK.

DC said...

Good post - although I don't think they are lying - I just think they 'believe' and shape the argument the same way that many religious people do.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Good post - although I don't think they are lying - I just think they 'believe' and shape the argument the same way that many religious people do."

Although, of course, I would still call that lying...


LillyMunster (twitter) said...

Look DK, this IS the new religion and you just gotta have faith in it dear. You are supposed to feel guilty and buy indulgen...I mean carbon credits, not post these heretical photos. LOL

Lovin' your excellent blog and tweets, over here in SoCal aka Nannyland.

Al said...

Seeing this post has reminded me of one thing that I think is often forgotten about - air conditioning.

Pretty much every building in every city is cooled. Now, as any fool should know, if you make something colder, you do this by moving the heat elsewhere.

Every building is belching out massive amounts of heat these days. Sure, many buildings use water to cool it again (often in the shape of water features) but in dense cities, especially those in the US, you are constantly being bombarded by hot air from buildings.

A big part of the temperature statistics? I think so. I wonder if we could get statistics about the take-up of air conditioning... and in particular, if that happens to match up with certain temperature stats - including the slowdown a few years ago?

Devil's Kitchen said...


If you visit, you will find that a number of the stations are situated close to the heat exhausts of air conditioners, e.g. Miami and Sacaton.


TheFatBigot said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Climate models are like sausage machines. If you pour condemned meat into the hopper at one end you cannot extract an edible sausage from the other.

Occasionally I dip my metaphorical toe into into the alarmist waters and am absolutely staggered by what I read. To many in that camp the latest IPCC report is like the Bible to a fundamentalist Baptist from Alabama. If you question the data or the models the answer is "you need to read the good book". So you respond "I have read the good book and I doubt Section X because ..." They press the burn-the-heretic button. It really is quite scary.

There is nothing surprising about this, of course. All they are doing is what the likes of Tony Benn do. Whatever question is put, his answer is "we need more socialism". There is no arguing with religious fanatics.

Interestingly, all those I have talked to on this issue, from High Court Judges to bin men, have responded the same way - "it all seems a bit far-fetched to me".

Zenobia said...

Hmmm Any one remember Y2K? The similarity is quite amazing.

John A said...

Get a copy of any "computer model" reported by IPCC.

Feed it as much data as you can, but stop at 1946. Nothing later.

Then have it model weather 1950-2000.

Show it to the modelers and stand back quickly so as to avoid the excreta of male bovines rapidly filling the room.

If any modeler survives, point out that modern Chaos Theory was developed by a Dr. Lorenz - a climate researcher who showed computer modeling as known (then or now, despite progression of "power" in computers) CANNOT handle weather.

If there are still survivors, congratulations: you have found True Believers of the type who, if they thought cars assembled themselves, would go on believing after touring a Mitsubishi factory.

Pogo said...

DK.. You may not consider yourself a "scientist" or "statistician", but, having been a reader of your blog for some considerable while, I can assure you that you're far more qualified than the vast majority of "environmental correspondents" in the MSM!

Umbongo said...

Actually you don't have to be a scientist to do "science". For instance, Roger Harrabin - the climate analyst of the BBC - has a degree in English. This should be sufficient for him to read and understand the point that this thread - and Steve MacIntyre - is making: that some of the data on which the IPCC and Hansen are basing their projections are probably faulty and that if some of the data are faulty then maybe the whole construct developed by Hansen and friends might be, well, a tad uncertain. This is the minimum that the AGW sceptics are claiming. It is enlightening that the warmists are rarely, if ever, prepared to admit that there may be weaknesses in the basic data (as demonstrated in this post's quotes). But, there again, if the scientific consensus is that AGW (or ACC) is real - and reversible - why bother to look at the data underlying the consensus?

dirty dingus said...

I wrote an essay recently that takes this basis and then points out that it isn't just the data that is flawed. The whole scheme has holes in it from data to proposed remdies

Budgie said...

As reported by the BBC:
- first it was global warming caused by man made CO2;
- then it was climate change caused by man made CO2;
- then it was climate change caused by man made greenhouse gases.

In a few years time old Aunty will catch up and actually consider natural phenomena like sunspots.

dearieme said...

What would you call a trend whereby a bunch of "scientists", who to begin with were perhaps only remarkably inept, eventually resorted to full-scale fabrication to defend their careers?

Global Vermining?

Thank goodness it couldn't happen.

Anonymous said...

What is this supposed to prove? A couple of surface stations in the US do not impact at all on global temperature calculations. Did you miss that glaring hole in your insightful analysis?

Devil's Kitchen said...


If you knew anything at all about this, you would know that it does matter.

The temperature readings for these stations will impact over the whole area and, indeed, the whole reading set for the US.

Further, had you bothered to check then you would have seen that these are just two examples in a significant proportion of badly-sighted stations.


Anonymous said...


You are linking to a site that encourages the public to rate surface stations. Therefore, the ones that are close to the public will be rated first. These will be the "worst" ones under their rating systems, as they are in easily accessible urban areas.

Secondly, although the each station itslef has imperfections, as a whole, the dataset can recognise and account for these flaws, by the sheer number of the stations there are. This is for two reasons. The stations around about a malfunctioning station will highlight one that is in grevious error. Ie. you might have one several degrees higher than 5 in close proximity - therefore you know that it is faulty, or should at least be checked out. Secondly, the errors aren't biased in one direction. Some may be anomalously hot, others will be anomalously cool. The errors balance each other out.

Therefore as a point of fact you aren't correct. The temperature readings do not impact over a whole area, they are contained. The temperature of northern america does not dictate the warming trend seen - where is your proof that it does?

Evan Jones said...


1.) "Therefore" fishfeathers.

I have personally surveyed either by direct ground photographs or virtual means (via satellite-plus interviews with the curators) over 150 stations.

I have been actively pursuing a "rural bias", making sure that a large (disproportionate) majority of my surveys are rural.

The fact is that rural stations are hardly any better sited than urban. You simply have no idea what you are talking about. This is not your fault, and easily remedied. (Do so.)

Over 70% of the network has been surveyed. My surveys have not changed the ratings percentages one whit (except maybe make them a little worse).

2.) The vast majority of the bias (over 95% at a generous guess) is warming bias. The errors balance each other out, my foot.

Therefore, as a point in fact, you are simply not up to speed. This is not your fault, of course, and easily remedied. (Ramp it up.)

Evan Jones said...

Note that there are Urban heat Island issues that are not related to microsite violations. A well sited station in a city is not likely to yield accurate data.

But neither is a badly sited rural station.

Only 11% of all stations are well sited (i.e., have a warming bias of under 1ºC).

Pointing out a bad station is not cherrypicking.

Pointing out a good station is.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with what you are saying- I think "Climate Change" is a scam and Hansen, Gore, Mann and co. are opportunistic charlatans.
However I also think that your peppering of your argument with F-words demeans the values what you are saying.

Kon Deeler