Warwick Hughes on SST Trends

Warwick Hughes has an interesting post here on SST trends.

38 Comments

  1. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Setting aside the concept of Warwick Hughes as a credible source for anything, you’re saying this is from SST data vetted by the consciously fraudulent Idsos and contrasted with the discredited UAH product? But you posted it, so I suppose you must think there’s something to it.

    Even taking this information at face value is there some reason to think that even accurate lower troposphere data would match up neatly with SSTs? One would expect major anomalies. A similar effect can be seen with temp measurements at every level, starting with ocean heat content (which has major anomalies between different depths and with the overlying SSTs).

    Anyway, do try to have some standards.

  2. Paul Linsay
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    #2; Steve Bloom. I’m not going to argue the science with you, but I would like to understand the sociology of the satellite versus ground based measurements. The MSU is a scientific instrument, calibrated against the three degree radiation of the Big Bang. It takes 30,000 measurements a day and covers virutually the entire earth’s surface every week. There have been some minor corrections to the UAH analysis and RSS comes up with a slightly warmer analysis. Compared to this, the ground based weather stations are a heterogeneous network of thermometers that cover maybe 15% of the earth’s surface and none of the oceans, and have all sorts of documented problems such as questionable siteing, poor maintenance, UHI, data irregularities, and on and on.

    In any other field of science the satellite measurements immediately become the primary measurements and any ground based data is relegated to secondary status and only used to answer very narrow questions. So why in climate science does the majority dismiss the satellite measurement of the atmosphere’s temperature? There are a lot of other satellite measurements of climate variables that are accepted without a problem, why is it so difficult to accept this one?

  3. Frank H. Scammell
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom- “Setting aside the concept of Warwick Hughes as a credible source for anything, you’re saying this is from SST data vetted by the consciously fraudulent Idsos and contrasted with the discredited UAH product?” So in your judgement, Warwick Hughes, the Idsos, and UAH are all incompetent ? How are we to judge your credibility ? Any references (especially peer reviewed):? Even if we are to set aside all that, I find the data interesting. If you live anywhere close to the ocean, a sea breeze can be mighty cool. The water has taken the heat, Q, out of the air. I would certainly trust the SST over Jones’ doctored land temperature. Does the wind blow off the land all the time where you live?

  4. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Setting aside the concept of Warwick Hughes as a credible source for anything

    More of your ad hom attacks based on nothing. That’s as far as I got with your post.

  5. Kevin
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #1: Steve B., what has been “discredited” about which MSU data?

  6. HANS KELP
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    “Setting aside the concept of Warwick Hughes as a credible source for anything, you’re saying this is from SST data vetted by the consciously fraudulent Idsos and contrasted with the discredited UAH product?”

    Steve Bloom, upon your written statements about certain named peoples credibility I want to ask you if that´s your own personal opinion, or have said persons been scientifically discredited and if that´s the case then by whom and when.

    Best

    Hans Kelp

  7. David Smith
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    Re #1 Steve B., since you mentioned the Idsos (“consciously fraudulent Idsos”), can you elaborate on their conscious fraud?

    (I do wonder what constitutes “unconscious fraud”, by the way.)

    Thanks

  8. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #1, how did the Idsos get into the discussion? I see nothing in Warwick’s page about the Idsos.

    Steve, here’s your chance. Either support your statements about fraud and discreditation or go away.

    By the way, Richard Lindzen has an interesting comment about “discredited”. He said “The word, discredited, has come to mean in the environmental literature that the reader should avoid considering such a possibility; it does not seem to mean that there is anything demonstrably wrong with the discredited result.” (From “UNDERSTANDING COMMON CLIMATE CLAIMS”)

    w.

    PS – since the difference between the supposedly “discredited” UAH analysis of the MSU data and the supposedly “credited” RSS analysis of the same data is only a few hundredths of a degree per decade … it would make no difference at all to Warwick’s point. His study is valid using either analysis.

  9. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    re: #1

    Steve B, you have every right to express what ever it was that you expressed in #1, but I would have to say I was anticipating some factual discussion of the link that Steve M referenced and, since you seem to have distracted attention from that, I have to say I am disappointed that you had to say whatever it was that you said.

  10. Tim Ball
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    Would Steve Bloom and the Sierra Club please work to get Mann to release the codes and Phil Jones to disclose how he calculated the increase in global mean temperature instead of besmirching other people. And while they’re at it, they can help the research by providing funding for an audit of the climate models. Oh and by the way don’t respond to this with an ad hominem attack.

  11. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Steve B,

    Setting aside the concept of Warwick Hughes as a credible source for anything

    Why are you using the fallacious logic of an ad hominem against Warwick Hughes?

  12. JMS
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    It wouldn’t be because Warwick Hughes is a crank on most any subject, is it?

    I mean if you look at his homepage: http://www.warwickhughes.com he seems to want to dipute just about anything. Water supply, air quality, ozone, road fatilities, species extinction… You can on and on, but he is a crank about everything. A truly classic crank.

  13. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    JMS

    By that definition, I assume we can also apply it to Timmy and discount what he says.

  14. Kevin
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 7:54 PM | Permalink

    Hughes seems like one of those nuts who denies that the earth is flat.

  15. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    The general credulousness of the regulars here when presented with something like this is really something to behold. I half-suspect that Steve M. posted it just to find out how foolish some of the regulars are.

    Re #2: Why use the UAH product at all given its record and the suspicion that there are remaining errors? As to your second paragraph, I think you have a misunderstanding about what the various data sets represent. For example, there are a number of different SST products, at least some of which are all satellite data (using infrared, I believe). The trick is that they’re *different satellites* from those that collect the MSU data, and the MSU data (M is for microwave, BTW) doesn’t include SST. Why then, you might ask, point with amazement to temperature anomalies between SSTs and air temps up in the troposphere? Why, indeed.

    Re #3: I guarantee that the Idsos and WH will never be refuted in a peer-reviewed publication, as their stuff does not rise to that level of credibility (differentiating here between Sherwood Idso’s peer-reviewed work of some years back and the more recent efforts of he and his sons on co2science.org in the last ten years or so)..

    UAH is a rather different story. Their peer-reviewed pie in the face was one of the most spectacular come-downs in the history of science. Don’t tell me you missed it? If so, everything you know must have come from skeptic/denialist sites, since those are the only sources that managed to ignore or downplay it. See this for the gory details with links.

    Re #5: See response to #3. In a few days, when I have time, I’ll dissect part of an Idso article that someone posted on another thread. Warwick’s stuff isn’t worth spending more time on, but if I recall correctly some time back William Connelley and I critiqued different parts of a Willis piece that Warwick posted. When I get a chance I’ll link that material.

    Re #6: See response to #3.

    Re #7: You’re right, “egregious” would have been a better word choice.

    Re #8: Good point in the PS, Willis. WH’s “study” (or more precisely the conclusion he drew from it) would have been equally fraudulent using the RSS product.

    Re #9: Ken, read the second paragraph. Then go have a look at the various layers of the temp data onion. Start with ocean temps at various depths, then SSTs, then the various atmospheric measurements. There’s something like eight layers available. Guess what? There are big differnces between the various layers, even adjacent ones. This is a fact that you can easily confirm yourself. What WH did was essentially an exercise in climate numerology.

  16. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    Steve B

    You do realize the fact you dislike him so much, and are so vocal about it, makes him all the more credible in others eyes.

  17. JMS
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    For all you doubters, you might want to look at this description of what the MSU data is. See anything about SST’s?

  18. David Smith
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    Steve B, you didn’t answer my question. What have the Idsos done that constitutes egregious fraud?

    Thanks

  19. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Jms

    It wouldn’t be because Warwick Hughes is a crank on most any subject, is it?

    What I objected to was Steve B’s use of fallacious logic, not Steve B. Using more fallacious logic to support Steve B benefits neither of your arguments.

  20. Kevin
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

    The MSU data have long been a severe inconvenience for the GW industry. Many visitors will be aware of the details but useful background on the most recent attempt to discredit the satelite data can be found at:

    http://blue.atmos.colostate.edu/publications/pdf/NR-143.pdf

    Who’s denying, Steve B?

  21. JMS
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    Brooks, I am just — as they say — impeaching the witness. No logic involved, just a lawery’s trick. It still remains that Warwick Hughes is a crank as can be seen from looking at his website. He may have a point or he may not, but you have to take whatever he says with a very large salt mine, not just a grain of salt.

    Also, it is kind of interesting that Pielke, Sr. is trashing a report which had Christy as one of the main contributors. Isn’t Christy one of *the* experts on the satellite data? I would think that the CCSP report, given the range of expertise and opinions on the panel, would basically represent a consensus on the data. Glancing at the first few pages of his report, Pielke seems to feel slighted by the majority of the committee. He is clearly unhappy because he is in a minority and felt ingnored. Oh well, I have been in that situation many times. Sometimes I am shown (and continue to be shown — something which sticks in my craw for the last 4 years) correct, and sometimes I have been incorrect. Just because someone dissents does not mean he is right. One other thing, Pielke, Sr.’s hobby horse is that more factors need to be taken into account than are presently looked at in climatology. I have sympathy for this view, but there are material problems with this position because of current limitations on computing resources. These are continually increasing and what is impossible today may well be commonplace in 5 or 10 years.

  22. Kevin
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    Re #21: You need to read ALL of Pielke’s Public Comment and ALL of the CCSP report, including the technical appendix, to get the full picture.

    (Why can’t we move on to something REALLY important, like Acid Rain or the Limits to Growth?)

  23. James Lane
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom,

    UAH is a rather different story. Their peer-reviewed pie in the face was one of the most spectacular come-downs in the history of science. Don’t tell me you missed it? If so, everything you know must have come from skeptic/denialist sites, since those are the only sources that managed to ignore or downplay it. See this for the gory details with links

    Leaving the hyperbole aside, I’m surprised you’d link to that realclimate thread as you come across as just as big a goose there as you do here.

    An error in S&C’s metholology was pointed out to them. They acknowldged the mistake and corrected it (unlike another climate scientist we might think of). This resulted in a small increase in their estimate temperature trend. But somehow the UAH product is “discredited”?

  24. Louis Hissink
    Posted Aug 12, 2006 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

    As I know Warwick Hughes personally for many years, anyone who calls him a ‘crank” is guilty of an ad hom. I can assure everyone that Warwick is no crank but a cynical competent geoscientist.

    His various topics on his site are countering the inanities government makes for various issues. And for the most part government in Australia at the State level are run by socialists and the looney left one commonly finds in NGO’s such as the Sierra Club.

  25. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    #21 — “but there are material problems with this position because of current limitations on computing resources.”

    Limitations on computing resources shouldn’t stop propagation of parameter uncertainties and measurement errors through a GCM temperature projection, however.

    But we never see true uncertainty bars on climate projections. All we get are “ensemble averages,” as though they set some important boundary condition. They don’t.

    I’d bet the true GCM uncertainty is >= 10x the projected temperature. But we don’t actually know, do we, because neither modelers nor the IPCC ever publish cumulated GCM uncertainties. Bottom line: There is no credible scientific basis for claiming AGW.

  26. Larry Huldén
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

    It is quite obvious that Warwick Hughes is much more credible than IPCC, Mann or Phil Jones. WH is not hiding data or methods. Hiding data on this level of science is to me comparable with falsifications.

  27. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Warwick has identified a fast warming spot in the South Pacific directly south from Alaska. Looking at the map, this appears to be Papeete in Tahiti.

    In 1977 Tahiti’s population was 77,781. In 2002, it was 127,635 for a net increase of 64%. The urban heat island is related to population by the log of the population, so an the expected urban heating for Papeete would be a about 1.5*log(127635/77781) = 0.32 C. Since GISS estimates temperature trends as being coherent with a scale length of 1200 km, any local urban heating in Papeete would appear to be spread out over a wide area.

    It would be interesting if Warwick would provide the excess warming for Papeete.

    It is also likely that the Papeete weather station is at or near the international airport.

  28. Barney Frank
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    I followed JMS’s suggestion at #12 and looked at warwickhughes.com. Rather than impeaching the witness it had the effect of impeaching the ad hominem insinuation that Mr hughes is a crank. There he makes the unremarkable and perfectly reasonable arguments that there is no particular correlation between average traffic speed and traffic fatalities, that air quality in the industrialized west is generally improving and that there is very little scientific data to back up the overheated claims of species extinction. Apparently a crank is anyone who does not agree with the current wisdom, no matter how reasonable his argument. Ad hominems are usually more dangerous to the issuer than the recipient.

  29. Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    Looking at the HadCRUT2 spots, I think that the difference is largely due to the urban heat island that probably affects HadCRUT2 more than MSU. Look at the places, like the East Asia, and think about all the industry that was added there, Hong Kong, Singapore, or whatever is there, together with Tahiti etc.

    This is just a guess, but even if HadCRUT2 were known to measure the urban heat, it does not mean that MSU isn’t affected by this effect. ;-) It just means that HadCRUT2 is, particularly at some places, affected more than MSU by the sum of the urban heat island effect and possibly other terms.

  30. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    THe first (speed) is actually well known, that the nanny types find very inconvinient, much like the sattelite record.

    We should all realize that air qulity is getting better, as is water quality in rivers and streams, as well as the oceans. These are the things that we can realy thank the enviornmental movement for and for the most part it was done in the correct way without scare mongering and bad science, it wasn’t needed.

    The species extinction numbers have been thrown around by the enviornmental movement for yeats, even they know it’s wrong, and will admit if pushed, and then use it in the next press release again.

    Yes your right A crank is one who disgrees with a believer, from what i”ve seen Warwick Hughes is an intelligent thinker who does not swallow any of the media pablum, and is good enough to be able to do his own reserch.

  31. David Smith
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    On topic, I agree with Steve B that there’s no particulr reason to expect a tight relationship between SST and MSU temperatures for (relatively) small regions. SST varies with changes in current, average wind speed, etc while atmospheric temperature varies with changing weather patterns, among other things.

    A more interesting question (to me) is whether the differences between MSU and the surface record are greater in regions where there are few surface observations (i.e., someone has to guess the surface temperature, hopefully in a reasonable way). When someone has to guess, however “scientific” their method, bias can creep in.

  32. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    Warwick isn’t comparing SST’s to MSU temperatures. He is comparing surface air temperatures that are measured on islands and coastlines and perhaps sometimes ships to mid-tropospheric temperatures measured by MSU.

  33. beng
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    RE 14: Steve_Bloom writes:

    The trick is that they’re *different satellites* from those that collect the MSU data, and the MSU data (M is for microwave, BTW) doesn’t include SST. Why then, you might ask, point with amazement to temperature anomalies between SSTs and air temps up in the troposphere?

    I’d have to ask the same question, w/o the wordiness. I’m trying to make a connection between sat SST & average tropospheric temp trends, and can’t think why they can’t differ somewhat in trends over relatively short periods. Remember, there’s even some questions about the slight differences between SSTs and air temps just above the water surface, let alone the whole average troposphere.

  34. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    On further examination, it may be SSTs after all, but it looks like contamination from wind blown dust may not be entirely removed. Perhaps there is also a faulty buoy near Papeeta.

    On time scales of decades, one would expect air and water temperatures to track each other fairly closely.

  35. beng
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    RE 34:

    Well, that’s different. That shows the same thing that’s been seen all along — the surface measurements have higher trends than the MSU sat data — contrary to standard GHG “theory”. In this case, it might be showing urban (island & coastline) contamination effects being extrapolated out (by Jone’s methods) into the surrounding adjacent ocean, tho I don’t see how shipboard measurements would be affected.

  36. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    If the hyperventilating and character portrayal has ceased sufficiently perhaps we can simmer down to a discussion of the questions posed by Warwick Hughes under his linked table from the article that Steve M cited.

    Why are these SST warm spots “going to water” when compared to satellite lower troposphere trends ?
    Is it unreasonable to expect greater agreement between lower troposphere satellite data and SST’s ?
    Are some of these anomalies due to SST’s being adjusted to better match land trends ?

    I am assuming that he is comparing the UAH Microwave Sounding Unit measurements of temperature of the lower troposphere to the HadCRUT2 sea surface temperatures. The differences he generates for comparison, I assume, are for a 27 year period of 1979 to 2005. There is lots of “averaging” at least in my mind that could happen over those 27 years.

    The simple first response, I would suppose, without all the characterization should be the second question posed by Hughes. I would not think that the past corrections that were necessary for the satellite measurements would put into disrepute the use of them in the comparison that Hughes made nor would the fact that he was comparing the lower troposphere to surface measurements. Is the variability sufficient over extended periods of time to make the differences noted not significant? That question cannot be answered by simple inspection, in my view, so to simply state that the anomalies (actually not anomalies if these data are part of the statistical distribution that would consider them not outside the area of significance) are not statistically significant is not sufficient in my opinion.

  37. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Apparently people are still having problems getting correct SST trends.

    From the abstract below: “Both TMI and the Reynolds and Smith analyses show temporal trends relative to in situ observations that differ in sign and amplitude.”

    Validation of Microwave Sea Surface Temperature Measurements for Climate Purposes
    Issn: 1520-0442 Journal: Journal of Climate Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Pages: 73-87
    Authors: Stammer, Detlef, Wentz, Frank, Gentemann, Chelle
    Article ID:10.1175/1520-0442(2003)0162.0.CO;2

    ABSTRACT

    A comparison is provided between recent SST observations obtained from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) with the commonly used Reynolds and Smith SST analysis and in situ data that highlights the significant value added by the microwave SST observations above what can be obtained from infrared technology. The largest benefit of the microwave technology clearly comes from the unprecedented near all-weather sampling of ocean phenomena that yields measurements of ocean SST without the heavy smoothing in space and time that is traditionally being applied to close data gaps resulting from clouds. This comparison of the TMI fields with the Reynolds and Smith analysis results in a mean offset of 0.18°C and a standard deviation (STD) difference of 0.54°C over the latitude range ±36°. Regionally STD differences are found between both SST fields that reach 1°C or more, a number that is significantly larger than the error specification of either dataset alone. STD differences are obtained between Reynolds and Smith and in situ data of 0.55°C as compared to only 0.45°C from the TMI fields. Moreover, those uncertainties are time dependent and spatially varying, revealing a clear seasonal cycle with amplitudes varying by 0.35°C in the Reynolds and Smith SST fields around 25° latitude on the annual cycle in both hemispheres. Both TMI and the Reynolds and Smith analyses show temporal trends relative to in situ observations that differ in sign and amplitude.

  38. John A
    Posted Aug 13, 2006 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    Actually I wonder if discussion of Warwick Hughes’ blog article should not be on Warwick Hughes’ blog. I’m sure that’s what Steve intended.

    Comments closed.

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