Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nielson-Gammon Has Some Advice For Watts And McIntyre

Roger Pielke Sr. is no longer blogging, and has been travelling in Europe lately, so when I reached him by e-mail he was unaware of the latest twists and turns in Watts/McIntyre saga, in which they attempt to refute the AGW thesis by re-cutting GISSTEMP data in light of Watts survey of U.S. Surface Stations. Mr. Pielke declined to respond directly, explaining that this was "not his specialty", but was kind of enough to refer me to frequent co-authors Xiaomao Lin, Ken Hubbard, and John Nielsen-Gammon. Of these, Mr. Lin has promised to look at the CA work and attempt a response over the course of the next couple of weeks, and Mr. Nielson-Gammon has responded below with some concrete advice as to how Steve's squad of auditors ought to be proceeding.

Here is Mr. Nielson-Gammon's original e-mail:

I appreciate the attempt by Watts to classify stations on the basis of siting quality.

The impact of poorly-sited stations on the trends is not known ahead of time, despite people's expectations, and should be much more sensitive to changes in siting than to poor siting itself.

Given a sufficient number of stations, I would trust the trends from well-sited stations much more than from poorly-sited stations.

I am eager to see the results of screening the stations by siting quality. I do not know whether the well-sited stations will show more of a trend, or less of a trend.

Until the results are properly adjusted for variations in the geographical distribution of stations, it is not possible to draw any conclusions. I haven't seen anything posted online yet that does this.

- John

In response to this, I asked:

Well,

the first and second passes at the data after classifying about a third of the network (340 or so stations) into "good" and "bad" stations are here [links to CA].

In most cases the good and bad stations are pretty much in sync. Do you think 300 plus is still not enough?

To which Mr. Nielson Gammon responded:

The number is sufficient. At least, the error bars probably won't overwhelm any important difference in trends.

So there is no need, as McIntyre et al have done, to stop the analysis. In fact, a brief run through of CA comments here and here suggests that this work has been stopped in panic because it has not yielded the correct conclusion: the "good" and "bad" stations refuse to go out of sync. As Anthony Watts writes:

I do have the feeling though that comparing USHCN/GHCN data to GISS will yield similar curves no matter what, since the data has already been adjusted at the USHCN level, and that adjustment persists in the data through to GISS data.

Anyway, I wrote further to Mr. Nielson-Gammon:

They've been working on [adjusting for variations in the geographical distribution of stations]. Surfacestations has been slowly working its way into the U.S. Midwest. There's a map here.

And in response Mr. Nielson-Gammon suggested some concrete procedures for the CA crowd:

You don't need uniform coverage of quality estimates, you can do this with the data that's already available. You just need to bin the data by location, for example by computing the difference between good and bad stations within every 5 degree by 5 degree square over the US and average the results. Even better, if you're interested in the century-long trend impacts, compute the difference between the station trends and the smooth map of linear trends. Either approach would eliminate the confounding effect of spatial variations in the trends. Maybe someone will have this done within two weeks or so, it's not that hard, and it's fairly standard scientifically.

So get at it, lads (and you too KB the Denying Munchkin). There's no need to wait for more stations to be classified. You should be able to give a solid answer one way or another within the month.

Hopefully Mr. Lin will respond in the next little while. If so I will post his remarks. I have also e-mailed Mr. Hubbard and perhaps he shall reply as well.

Sorry for the long post, especially to my more politically inclined readers who probably don't give a shit..

33 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

Sorry for the long post, especially to my more politically inclined readers who probably don't give a shit...

Au contraire...this is riveting. Like listening to children proposing elaborate theories to explain how the cookie jar got emptied.

Anonymous said...

So get at it, lads (and you too KB the Denying Munchkin). There's no need to wait for more stations to be classified. You should be able to give a solid answer one way or another within the month."

Especially since choice of the stations that were photographed was not done randomly and it is clear that some were photographed because watts and freinds found them "interesting" -- with AC's, grills, etc.

If they can't make their case with these sites, then they ain't going to make it.

Sorry, Charlie (Or is it Tony?)

Anthony Watts said...

Irregardless of anyone's opinion, or even if we go down the path suggested and even if preliminary results show siting may not have large trend impacts, the project will go through towards completion.

Having a completed site database is a worthy cause no matter what, and many in the scientific community have appreaciated the effort, as indicated by Neilson-Gammon's positive comments about my effort. There may be a number of useful things it can help with.

But I'd caution you on jumping to conclusions, BCL, which is your habit. So far your track record as such related to my project has been 0 hits and 2 misses, such as the big hullabaloo you made on my blog that I had "misused" the rating method, or that I demanded NCDC expose private names and addresses of COOP observers.

It's a week later, and I'm still waiting for your threatened entry on my "misuse" of the rating system. Oh, wait.

Now you are embracing my site survey because you see a potential result that you like.

You are the ultimate cherry picker.

EliRabett said...

Didn't we already say this???

Ti-Guy said...

Wow...It's been a while since I heard the word "irregardless."

bigcitylib said...

Eli,

Its like fighting Kudzu isn't it? You kill some and it comes back.

Anthony, what's the difference between "irregardless" and "regardless"?

Anonymous said...

There's Mini Me with the first post again. How does one spell "sycophant"? ;)

Anthony, BCL does not jump to conclusions. BCL thoughts on your project are a foregone conclusion. There's no teaching this dog new tricks.

BCL comes from that peculiar type of lame socialism endemic to Toronto and therefore he must subscribe to every tokenism about AGW. He has no choice but to abjectly conform.

BCL claims there is no "solid" answer yet from the data, but John V's insightful analysis of the surfacestation data tentatively suggests that GISTEMP overreports historical warming in the US48 by approximately .2 degrees. That's a lot.

Unexplored so far is the divergence in the historical record between GISTEMP and NOAA records too.

Anthony Watt's project is useful in highlighting the inept oversight of the USHCN. That the climate professionals are unable to adhere to their own standards is an issue danced around by far too many.

Regards,
Paul S

Ti-Guy said...

BCL comes from that peculiar type of lame socialism endemic to Toronto

When you assert stunningly stupid things like this, how do expect anyone to take you seriously?

Anyway, I have to be the first one to post, otherwise, whatever wit BCL has injected into his post will get anti-climaxed by some miserable and humourless right-tard troll.

Anonymous said...

Is BCL patting you on the head as you type that Mini Me? ;)

Regards,
Paul S

900 ft Jesus said...

really good work, BCL. Don't cut back on the length, content is worth it. Besides, it'll help you lose most deniers about 1/4 of the way through so you'll only have to deal with the standard cut and paste jobs and the very clever "you left wing, moonbat, Gorebull idol worshiper" lines.

Steve Bloom said...

Looks like I've now suffered the fate of those who would dare to audit the auditors: Anthony Watts has banned me from his blog! I had caught him red-handed holding up as good science a 2002 Balling and Idso paper that relied on the UAH MSU and SONDE datasets to impute that there was an improper positive correction made to the USHCN data. I pointed out to him that both of those datasets had been found to be unreliable a couple of years later, and so B+I 2002 was itself no longer valid. Rather than making the correction like an honest auditor, he argued that the paper was still good science because subsequent unrelated work by his crowd had created a different basis for questioning the USHCN correction. When I pointed out that this argument made no sense, he banned me.

This is of a piece with AW's inability to admit that he's applying the CRN standards improperly.

As others have noted, Steve McIntyre has a similar problem eating his errors. OTOH AW did give me major credit for driving RP Sr. out of the blog business, so I got something worthwhile out of the experience.

Ti-Guy said...

Is BCL patting you on the head as you type that Mini Me? ;)

Regards,
Paul S


*shhh*...Adults talking.

boris said...

"John V's insightful analysis of the surfacestation data tentatively suggests that GISTEMP overreports historical warming in the US48 by approximately .2 degrees. That's a lot."

Yeah, right. I missed that post, and the ten thousand McSteve would have made if he thought it were true (or even that it could look true for a while).

Yeah, Watts was also touting the Neptune warming paper and had a post titled "It's the sun, stupid!" where he managed not to notice flat solar trends since 1950.

Anonymous said...

steve bloom said:

"This is of a piece with AW's inability to admit that he's applying the CRN standards improperly."

That' a bit rich considering climate professionals consistently violate their own standards in regards to the USHCN.

ti-guy said:
"*shhh*...Adults talking."

And you're what? An adult sock puppet?

boris said:
"Yeah, right. I missed that post."

I'm not surprised. ;)

Regards,
Paul S

Ti-Guy said...

*shh*....adults talking.

boris said...

Paul,

Aha, you've found the temp record in error, but you're keeping it secret. How clever!

Anonymous said...

It was NASA whose temperature error was a secret for 7 1/2 years boris. All the climate experts in the world couldn't find the glaring mistake until an amateur pointed it out to them.

Regards,
Paul S

boris said...

I thought we were talking about your supposed proof that the GISS record is .2 deg C too warm? Why on earth would you want to change the subject from that? Unless, that is, you are making it up.

Ti-Guy said...

Why on earth would you want to change the subject from that? Unless, that is, you are making it up.

Paul S. is a Conserva-liar. He is orthodox in his support for the Conservatives. He's queefing a few posts up about McGuinty and public funding for religious instruction, of all things.

How much more Tory cock can Paul S. get down his throat? Well, we'll see..

Anonymous said...

== boris said: ==
="I thought we were talking about your supposed proof that the GISS record is .2 deg C too warm?"=

I was, and since you were uninformed on the subject (and preferred to remain that way) I went on to NASA's recent error.

="Why on earth would you want to change the subject from that?"=

Why on earth not? Nothing left to say here on that subject.

="Unless, that is, you are making it up."=

Awwww! How did you know! Who TOLD you?

Nope. I don't make things up.

Regards,
Paul S

boris said...

I prefer to be informed. Go ahead, inform me. Perhaps at heart you know you are making some fundamental error?

Anonymous said...

A caveat boris, these results are all tentative; worthy of discussion nonetheless.

The link is:
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2061#comments

See posts #86, 87, 88.
Link to the code used in the analysis is post #142.

Regards,
Paul S

Anonymous said...

So, how has everybody here cut their GHG emissions by 40%? Since you're all believers, I'm sure you've even surpassed that figure, right?

Lazar said...

Paul S,

BCL claims there is no "solid" answer yet from the data, but John V's insightful analysis of the surfacestation data tentatively suggests that GISTEMP overreports historical warming in the US48 by approximately .2 degrees. That's a lot.

Looking at John V's analysis, specifically comment #88, the graph shows GISTEMP trend is 0.2 degrees cooler than the CRN 5 ('poor') station trend. It is about (eyeballing) 0.025 C warmer than the CRN1,2 ('good') station trend. What is the source for your claim GISTEMP overestimates by 0.2 C?

Anonymous said...

lazar, are we looking at the same graph? ;) I'm looking at CRN12 compared to GISTEMP over the last 110 years.

The GISTEMP data may underestimate the historical temperature in the earlier parts of the last century by about . 2 degrees. Meaning GISTEMP may be overstating the historical temperature increase in the US by approx. .2 degrees.

Regards,
Paul S

Anna Haynes said...

Question for Steve Bloom -
On a local denialist's blog I asked Anthony Watts if it was true that he'd banned you from his blog; he replied no,
"he's not banned... He just refuses to answer this question which was and is germain[sic] to the discussion:

"Why do the USHCN data adjustments add a positive bias to the surface temperature record."

I've told him that once he answers that question, I'll gladly post it and he can continue to post after that."


Steve, is this account accurate?

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