Raising Arizona

Eli (RTFR) Rabett, has a new defence of GISS adjustments, arguing that we should simply trust the clergy at GISS. Eli seems to be particularly prickly when it comes to anything that could be construed as criticism of GISS. (BTW Roger Pielke Jr and others have said that Eli is a pseudonym for Josh (RTFR) Halpern, who, among other things, administers summer fellowship applications for Goddard/GISS (http://sffp.gsfc.nasa.gov/faqs.html))

At least, in this case, Eli did not use the perverted persona that he assumed in his criticism of 15-year-old Kristen Byrnes (“Wanna see some pictures lil’ girl?” http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/07/wanna-see-some-pictures-lil-girl-ethon.html ). Kristen seems to be a modern girl and was rightfully unimpressed by Eli exposing his shortcomings (borrowing David Niven’s memorable phrase), but Eli’s choice of persona was very inappropriate and decidedly unfunny. Eli’s conclusion about GISS was that:

The bottom line is that the ONLY stations which contribute to the overall trend are the RURAL stations

To support this claim, Eli merely quoted several verses from one of Hansen’s epistles, but did not make any independent effort to ascertain how the GISS adjustments actually worked or to replicate GISS/USHCN adjustments or to verify whether it is true that the only rural stations contribute to the trend.

I’m not convinced that this claim is true. Today I’m going to compare adjustments from Tucson U of Arizona and Grand Canyon (an unlit site). It appears to me that the total adjustment process (including USHCN adjustments incorporated by GISS) result in “adjusted” stations becoming a type of blend of urban and rural stations, so that it is not actually correct to say that the overall trend results only from rural stations. At this point, to my knowledge, present methodological descriptions are insufficient to permit an operational replication of either USHCN or GISS adjustments and accordingly I do not have firm conclusions on the matter at the present time. However, as you will see, there is certainly strong evidence that urban trends are affecting USHCN-adjusted rural stations and thus GISS-adjusted values.

First of all, here is a comparison of two different versions of the two series – left, the USHCN TOBS (observation-time adjusted) version for Tucson and Grand Canyon and right, the GISS adjusted version. The USHCN TOBS series for Tucson shows a 4 deg C temperature increase during the 20th century with a pronounced upspike in the late 19th century (which could well be the product of inhomogeneity); on the other hand, the USHCN TOBS Grand Canyon (unlit) series has very elevated values in the 1930s, with recent temperature increases which do not reach levels of the 1930s.

In the GISS adjusted version, the 19th century Tucson upspike has been deleted (not adjusted); this deletion was not done in the USHCN adjustment stage. So even though GISS says that they use USHCN data as is, there is some procedure by which they decided to delete the 19th century upspike. At present, I am unaware of any description of this procedure (but I could have missed it and would welcome any direction to a description). The trend in the Tucson data has been somewhat attenuated, but still remains very strong. The net adjustments in the Grand Canyon series are the more striking: in the USHCN TOBS series, the 1930s are higher than recent values, whereas in the GISS adjusted version, recent values, especially since 2000, are strikingly higher than values in the 1930s. If the trend in GISS data comes from rural stations only and Grand Canyon (and not Tucson) is an unlit station (which I confirmed), how is this possible? I’ll explore the adjustments below.

 grand_12.gif  grand_15.gif

Arizona Adjustments

The two figures below illustrate the adjustment process for Grand Canyon (left) and Tucson parking lot (right). The top panel in each case plots selected versions (USHCN TOBS and adjusted; GISS “raw” and adjusted). GISS “raw” is a misnomer as GISS raw is often similar to USHCN adjusted (but is not necessarily identical.)

The second panel shows the difference between GISS adjusted and GISS “raw” for each series. The GISS adjustment for Tucson is about 1 deg C over the 20th century and is about 0.5 deg C for Grand Canyon – a “rural” site. What is the operational basis for these adjustments – we could, like Eli, mouth the words from the latest reading, but, at this stage, I am unaware of any information which permits an operational replication of these particular values. Also, and this is an important point, this particular adjustment, which does attenuate the Tucson increase, is NOT used in any other gridcell average (to my knowledge). It is my understanding that CRU uses GHCN/USHCN versions – perhaps the adjusted version, perhaps the TOBS version – no one knows. NOAA says that they use the unadjusted version, but I’m not certain that their readme is correct on this point.

The third panel compares the GISS raw to the USHCN adjusted version. As you can see, over most of the history in the two cases, the GISS Raw and USHCN Adjusted versions are virtually identical. This is very important because it means that, although the GISS adjustments do not describe the USHCN adjustments, these adjustments are built into GISS. It looks to me like the USHCN adjustment process feeds back trends from urban sites to adjust rural sites and this contradicts the claim that only rural sites are used in GISS trends. (I’m not 100% sure of this and at this stage am merely presenting graphics.)

There is one really interesting exception to the usual identity of USHCN adjusted and GISS raw series. After 2000, GISS raw takes a 0.5 upward step relative to USHCN adjusted. This is an effect that I’ve seen in other series: after 2000, GISS raw, for some inexplicable reason, appears to pick up USHCN values before TOB adjustment, while after 2000, GISS picks up the USHCN TOBS series. (If the same panel is drawn between GISS raw and USHCN pre-TOBS, there is a virtual identity after 2000.) I can’t think of any valid or even conceivable explanation for this GISS inconsistency – it looks like a programming error: perhaps here at last we have an actual Y2K problem. The impact of this error is not small – it’s a major factor in the jump-up of Grand Canyon values and, in scale, dwarfs any barbecue effect.

The bottom panel compares USHCN adjusted to USHCN TOBS values. Here Tucson has an opposite adjustment to Grand Canyon. These adjustments are supposed to adjust for station moves – the procedure is described in Karl and Williams 1988 [check], but, like so many climate recipes, is a complicated statistical procedure that is not based on statistical procedures known off the island. (That’s not to say that the procedures are necessarily wrong, just that the properties of the procedure are not known to statistical civilization.) When I see this particular outcome of the Karl methodology, my impression is that, net of the pea moving under the thimble, the Grand Canyon values are being blended up and the Tucson values are being blended down. So that while the methodology purports to adjust for station moves, I’m not convinced that the methodology can successfully estimate ex post the impact of numerous station moves and my guess is that it ends up constructing a kind of blended average.

The net impact of this is that, if Grand Canyon neighbors have urban trends, then the USHCN adjusted Grand Canyon version will also incorporate some amount of urban trend.

 grand_19.gif  grand_20.gif

For reference, here is a table summarizing location changes in the 20th century supposedly embodied in the above USHCN adjustments. with recent recorded station re-locations in 1956, 1967 and 1976. In the 1930s, the station is said to have been at a height of 6890 feet, while the present station (since 1976) is about 115 feet lower at 6785 feet. However, the higher station is adjusted lower by about 1.0 deg C, while the lower station is adjusted up by about 0.4 deg C. Perhaps there is something in the exposure of the stations that justifies this particular adjustment – but this differential USHCN adjustment of about 1.4 deg C to an unlit station is obviously not small.

Chg Before (ft) After (ft) Before (deg C adjustment) After (deg C adjustment)
1920 6880 6890 -0.7 -1.0
1957 6890 6965 -1.0 -0.6
1967 6965 6950 -0.6 -0.3
1976 6950 6785 -0.3 0.4

Here is a similar summary for Tucson (presently in a parking lot at the U of Arizona).

Chg Before (ft) After (ft) Before (deg C adjustment) After (deg C adjustment)
1954 2423 2423 0.5 1.2
1956 2423 2410 1.2 0.6
1961 2410 2430 0.6 0.8
1968 2430 2444 0.8 -0.2
1986 2444 2444 -0.2 -0.4
1992 2444 2435 -0.4 -0.2


  1. SteveSadlov
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Halpern really rubs me the wrong way. He reminds me of some of the more twisted personae I encountered at the outset of my career, when I still had illusions regarding pursuit of an academic career. There is a personality type, that is simultaneously lacking in confidence and yet egotistical in the extreme. This dude fits this to a T. I digress.

    I would love to see some semi real time debate between Halpern and some of the folks here. I’d like to see a debate regarding the above, as well as the now several spectral plots Halpern’s put up over the past month at his own blog.

  2. mjrod
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 9:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    You need to make the page name end in html, not htm.

  3. mjrod
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 9:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For Eli’s web page, you need to make the page name end in html, not htm.


  4. MarkW
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Putting on my best TCO mask.

    The spelling is “defense”, not “defence”. De fence is somethin you’ll find in the backyard.

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #4. Make that a goalie mask. I’m Canadian and there’s a difference between Canadian spelling here and American spelling. The Canadian spelling is “defence”.

  6. pk
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ll call your TCO and raise you one: If you’re going to say de fence then you should follow with de backyard.

  7. SteveSadlov
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 12:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I will colour my defence with a new centre ….. and by getting rid of a whinging goalie …. LOL! Was that a check or a cheque ….. ;)

    Steve: I think that you meant: was that a check or a cheque, eh?

  8. jcspe
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As long as we are covering semantics, I would point out that the opposite of “raw” data does not necessarily have to be “adjusted” data. Sometimes the opposite of “raw” is “cooked.”

  9. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    cookin’ da books

  10. MarkW
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 1:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is that “adjusting Arizona”, or “Raising Arizona”?

  11. SteveSadlov
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #7 – Steve: I think that you meant: was that a check or a cheque, eh?

    Ah, that’s right, there. You got me on that one, eh?

  12. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 2:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’d say that taking a rural station and adjusting it with urban adjustments rather turns it into an urban station. The other issue is that if a station is accurate and indicative, what needs to be adjusted for anyway.

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 3:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #10. Agreed

  14. TCO
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 4:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    1. The “little girl” reference is well off-topic and an ad hominem.

    2. Why are we wading through all this crap, when the project itself has not been well defined in terms of aims and hypothesis testing and when there is a HISTORY of skeptics taking potshots, publishing in process work, not finishing it, and not showing it prominently when initial accusatory hypotheses are not upheld?

    3. It’s been 2 years since GRL. Hundreds of blog posts later and thousands of comments and still Steve only has one real science paper. Where’s the beef?

  15. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 5:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    1. It’s an example of tone and persona. Of course it is both on topic and personal. Eli is defending the GISS adjustments and asking us to do blindly simply accepting what those with a personal stake (including to some degree, himself) in the matter say in their own material. It’s like saying you have to believe this book because book says it’s the truth. Obviously, Steve and Eli aren’t too happy with each other’s methods, and it comes out in their blogs. Some posts are personal you know.

    2. The hypothesis is a clear one. Are they introducing urban bias into the rural stations, even if it’s only rural stations being used. If the station is good, what are we adjusting and why, and if it’s not good, why are we using it. It might help if we knew what adjustments and why, but it seems as much as you were complaining about Steve’s lack of papers et al, you sure don’t seem to mind the others continuing to be totally untransparant about what they’re doing.

    3. I don’t know what that has to do with it.

  16. Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 5:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What is really freaky here is how Steve and co. seem to be trying to inject Conservative (Red State vs. Blue State) politics into what is supposed to be a discussion of climatology. Urban stations seem to infect rural ones, making them urban.


  17. TCO
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 5:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    1. Wrong. It is not on topic. General sins of Eli are NOT part of an examination of his argument on GISS adjustments. It’s a weaving, off-topic, throw in a related slam. Whether or not it is true, does NOTHING to justify or not justify the argument. I don’t care if he commits crimes (literal crimes). It’s just not relevant. Plus it’s whiney. Butt-whiney.

    2. Actually no. The hypothesis is not clear. For instance, how will said bias be proven in the negative (non bias). In addition, how have any of the potential problems been validated in terms of mathematical impact on the reconstructions. In addition, given past performance, it is incredibly likely that if the hypothesis does not prove out, that it will be abondonded instead of published. Will just slink off like Chefen or like Steve. Moving on to the next (non-published, blogged, pseudo-allegation of bias).

    3. The relationship is pretty tenuous (you are correct). But it is a general point related to any of the “content” threads (ones containing analysis). I will settle for a specific thread to address this issue though as the ghetto. Unthreaded is not sufficient.

  18. Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 5:49 PM | Permalink | Reply


    Steve has, I am sure, invoked the Red State/Blue State dynamic here previously. I am trying right
    now to find the post. (Something about U.S. temp changes mostly affecting the Blue States)

  19. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 5:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TCO, so are you giving Eli a hard time over there for him doing it also, but to a greater degree? Or is it that they have goals that are stated to be different? Or do you agree with him and not Steve?

    1. You’re correct, GISS adjustments and Eli , other than the initial subject was brought up by Eli and Steve is checking into the validity of them, no. Except for Eli’s the one that challenged Steve and mocked him, nothing at all to do with each other.

    2. If he never publishes them, why do you care? Regardless, if he can’t recreate them, how do we know what you’re asking? The folks with the reasons and data need to cough it up, then he wouldn’t have to guess.

    3. What does papers have to do with it? That’s not what this is for. I think you’re mistaking the purpose with what you think it is. Steve’s already made it clear he’s interested in mainstream work. The problem is, many won’t cooperate. Makes us think they’re hiding something.

    BCL, ah, yes. I would have used non-PC terms for those names, but you picked some good ones. Maybe I just would have just used hick stations and fancy-pants stations.

  20. Bill F
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Science people…its about science. Then again, I guess when somebody gets too close to pulling back the curtain and unveiling the little man working the controls (and making the temperature adjustments), its up to the wizard’s compatriots to do whatever they have to do to distract everybody’s attention so you aren’t looking as the curtain is pulled back.

  21. Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 6:18 PM | Permalink | Reply


    The post is here:


    Apparently only the Blue States suffer from global warming.

    Decoding will happen tomorrow.


  22. Mike
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 7:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Actually, TCO, you must think extremely highly of Steve. I mean, you believe he should be banging out a constant stream of papers, despite being unpaid, or despite facing constant obstruction. That’s an extraordinarily high standard; I doubt you meet it. Do you hold anyone else to that standard? And you believe everything time he writes a blog post, it should be an analysis that should be a totally complete, with every implication completely analyzed and proven. Are there any other blogs you hold to that standard? Or that Steve should be constantly polite and guarded in everything he says, despite the frustration of obstructionists. We already know you don’t meet that standard.

    So obviously you must think Steve is a herculean intellectual, to be able to live up to expectations so high most humans would never meet them. Because it’s not like you are just making unreasonable demands on Steve’s time and patience so you can feel, in your own mind, like you have discredited him in some way?

  23. Mike
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 7:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, I like that tactic. Discounting papers because you don’t like the journal they’re published in. All this time, I’ve been wasting my time with time-consuming consideration of the actual arguments advanced by papers, when all I really needed to do was dismiss the journal they were published in as ‘partisan’. That’s so much more better!

  24. Mike
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 7:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And I like the accusation that he ‘fears criticism’. Are you as quick in leveling that accusation against scientists who hide their data and methods? If so, maybe I’ll see you over at realclimate posting off-topic posts saying as much? Right?

  25. Mike
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 7:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #35 That did not answer my point.

  26. Sylvain
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 7:43 PM | Permalink | Reply


    Maybe if the paleoclimate community weren’t so affraid of the quality of their science and decided to post their methodology and data Steve could have produce some paper confirming that he was able to reproduce their result.

    Add to the fact that funding is never granted to anyone that proved that worked done by some high priest of the clergy was flawed. Leaving only funding from the devil (fossil fuel industries).

  27. Mike
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 7:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Like how MBH98 was exposed to ‘true criticism and validation’ by being published in nature? I take your childish insults to mean your argument is running out of steam already.

  28. Mike
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 7:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #34 Now you’re trying to change the topic. I’ll take that as a further confirmation that you can’t support your position.

  29. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 7:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TCO- please take a time out until tomorrow. Too many posts have crossed the line. I can’t be bothered sorting out abuse from venting.

  30. D. Patterson
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 8:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #32 Is that before or after global warming and increases in CO2 concentrations?

    Beware of ferocious Rabbets….

  31. Jan Pompe
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 10:34 PM | Permalink | Reply


    that was not semantics but a Canadian USA border skirmish.

  32. Jeff Norman
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 12:51 AM | Permalink | Reply


    I’m not convinced that this kind up adjustment for the Grand Canyon is totally illegitimate.

    The last time I visited there was a considerable haze over the whole area that was attributed to Las Vegas IIRC. I do not know whether this haze had a net positive or a net negative effect when it comes to comparative histothermology.

    I also don’t know whether this question was factored in to the adjustments you illustrate. It seems to me that the Grand Canyon area might be quite unique in that it is a rural area that is affected by urban emissions and therefore worthy of a (an?) unique adjustment. Of course for a unique adjustment one might expect a unique description of the unique methodology.

  33. Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 4:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    My analysis of the political symbolism at play in this thread and elsewhere on CA can be found


  34. James Lane
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 5:07 AM | Permalink | Reply


    Wow, you are completely nuts.

  35. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 6:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #33,34. I agree with James Lane. BCL’s post is complete rubbish. It’s amazing the fantasies that people can create. BTW in terms of personal preferences, I live in downtown Toronto, the same city as BCL. I’m within walking distance of the subway. Personally I like cities and have zero interest in living in a small town or rural area.

  36. MarkW
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 6:28 AM | Permalink | Reply


    you are seeing what you want to see.

  37. MarkW
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 6:35 AM | Permalink | Reply


    The term is projection. Look it up.

  38. JS
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 7:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    He’s not just grasping at straws, he’s grasping at make believe straws.

  39. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 9:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Personally I like cities and have zero interest in living in a small town or rural area.

    You mean, even after a brief visit to the paradise I call home, Colorado Springs? Sheesh, you’re nuts, too! ;)

    I should hope that a person’s political beliefs have nothing to do with the science they present. Of course, if you look hard enough in an attempt to find the devil, you will, with anything.


  40. MarkW
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve lived in big cities and small towns. I couldn’t wait to get back to a small town.
    I can respect the fact that other people will arrive at different conclusions.

    That said, BCL throws out another major piece of straw when he asks if AGW warming is only happening in urban areas.

    He is obviously trying to throw doubt on anyone who looks for differences between urban and rural sites, but he has, probably completely by accident, stumbled upon the truth of the matter.

    That being, AGW does seem to happening predominately in the cities. That is, urban sites are showing much more warming than are truely rural sites.

  41. SteveSadlov
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #35 – the two of you may well have been nearly back to back at your local favorite urbane bistro and not even known it!

  42. Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Reply


    What I am trying to get people to see is that this is less a “science” site than a “politics” site
    which employs graphs, spreadsheets, et al. The political coordinates of the skeptical community are pretty
    clear to anyone who is not part of that community, and if anything the post I wrote is deficient in
    that it states what will be bleeding obvious to most.

  43. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #29 That’s why I wrote “lol” and left it alone, no mood to deal with it.

    #38 Is he catching any of those make believe straws, that’s the question.

  44. MarkW
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Reply


    I am quite familiar with the habit of modern liberals to define science as anything they choose to believe today.
    You have not shown that this is a politics site, not a science site.

    All you have managed to show is that you don’t like the position of many of the people who post here.

  45. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #42, bigcity silly person

    What I am trying to get people to see is that this is less a “science” site than a “politics” site which employs graphs, spreadsheets, et al.

    You don’t understand the graphs and spreadsheets, do you ?

  46. John A
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #42 Bigcitylib

    No, its a science site. You see it as political because in your small world, the conclusions drawn have political importance depending on what your prior beliefs are about climate, the environment and the political and economic systems of the Western world.

    But its no more political than 2+2=4 is political. The science on multiproxy studies (of which the Mann Hockey Stick is a leading example) is very clear – the studies are indistinguishable from random noise. That is not a political statement, its a statement of scientific fact.

    Scientific consensuses are not scientific instruments, they are political statements made by (or on behalf of) scientists. But scientific consensuses have been overturned many times in the course of history, and usually that shift has not happened at once, but in the teeth of bitter opposition from a clear majority of scientists.

    If anthropogenic global warming is a) real b) substantial and c) a threat, then it should be testable by anyone regardless of their prior beliefs, political or otherwise. If multiproxy studies are able to unambiguously reproduce a temperature signal then the null hypothesis (no signal) should be differentiable from that result – but that has never happened. What has happened is not that experiments are statistically different from that of random noise, but that a coterie of scientists believes those experiments to be valid, regardless of the significance.

    A scientific result is a scientific result no matter what the politics of the experimenter may be. The keys are falsifiability of the hypothesis and reproducability of the result. The rest (Republican/Democrat, conservative/liberal, left/right) is irrelevant.

    A book was published in the 1930s attacking Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity in direct and personal terms. It was called “100 scientists against Einstein”. Einstein’s reaction was “one would have been enough – if I was wrong”. So much for scientific consensuses.

  47. Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 11:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    John A:

    “Scientific consensuses are not scientific instruments, they are political statements made by (or on behalf of) scientists. But scientific consensuses have been overturned many times in the course of history, and usually that shift has not happened at once, but in the teeth of bitter opposition from a clear majority of scientists.”

    This is clearly rubbish, and I have given an example of how consensus in one field works here:


    If you want other even more intuitively unlikely examples, I have heard talk of the “consensus” on certain mathematical questions (what is th consensus on the “continuum hypothesis”, I think).

    You should try getting your philosophy/history of Science from some source other than Chricton.

  48. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 11:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    BCL, perhaps you’d be pleased to know that the verb “turn” is also a synonym for “become” or “change state”. 1. become, go, get, change state, turn 2. become, turn, transform, transmute, metamorphose usage: undergo a change or development; “The water turned into ice”; “Her former friend became her worst enemy”; “He turned traitor”

    I do worry a bit about you when you first call this blog “Denialist” and then after complaining about its supposed political nature and the way you parsed my comment (which did make me laugh tho) you end your post with “throwing red meat to the bubbas” which isn’t exactly PC and makes me think you may think the residents of the US are a bunch of rednecks. Rather odd, given the nature of your post and its topic and the tenets of liberalism. And this confused me: “to scare of volunteers for the Surface Stations project.” Is that “scare off” or “scare up”?

    Good new tagline for me though: “I shall turn the rural stations to the dark side! They shall join me or die!”

  49. Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 11:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #5 Steve McIntyre,

    I’m a sceptic.

  50. MarkW
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Next BCL will take a poll to determine what the gravitational constant should be.

  51. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 47.


    this might be an interesting STARTING POINT for discussion.

    Confirmation bias will be a most interesting topic

    At some point we may get to discus Feyeraband

  52. Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #19 Sam Urbinto,

    How about rock stations, hip hop stations, and talk stations (as in all talk, no verified data).

    Fusion stations are really hot. Or cool as the case may be.

    Perhaps consulting Arbitron for the data would make the most sense.

  53. Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #50 Mark W.,

    My first mate assures me that the gravitational constant is high by at least 20%.

    She is also of the opinion that the spring constant in her scale is a variable that gets adversely adjusted on her approach to said instrument.

    I have no rational way at this point in time of differentiating between the two claims. I’m not going to look very hard into the matter either due to adverse social consequences. What ever data and explanation she is willing to provide I accept unconditionally.

  54. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Right, we could rename all the stations according the largest object in the area, or maybe even the biggest company nearby (“The Joe’s Rock Quarry station for weather and construction materials”) or maybe even find out how good the Tucson measurements are from Arbitron.

  55. VirgilM
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Reply


    Do you have access to the latest issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society? Roger Pielke Sr. and 14 other scientists documented issues with the correction process of the USHCN data sites.


    The last I checked, the AMS is not an arm of the Republican Party in the U.S.. Since this research is peer-reviewed, I can’t dismiss the argument until someone publishes compelling research that refutes it. Given the work presented by surfacestations.org and climate audit, I highly doubt there will be research that refutes it.

    It is my belief that EVERYONE in the AGW debate is involved in politics. After all scientists have to play politics to get funding. Al Gore’s Movie has political goals.

  56. Bill F
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Folks, BCL has successfully done it again. He has diverted the attention of everybody reading these comments completely away from the topic at hand (adjusting temperatures in Arizona) and towards the political side of science. Please understand…that is EXACTLY what BCL wants you to do. He doesn’t have the slightest interest in discussing science or debating whether GISS adjustments are valid or not. He simply wants to turn your discussion away from the science and into the politics. He wants to distract you from the little men at GISS hiding behind curtains and pulling levers to adjust the surface temperature record. He is a troll who comes into sites like ClimateAudit, throws verbal grenades, starts a political fight, and will never answer a question about science. So please…


  57. Tom C2
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Reply


    It’s worth it to follow the link supplied by BigCityLib in that his facility with the English language is once again displayed. He refers to “anthropomorphic global warming”. OK guys, have at it with what is suggested by this Mannian slip.

  58. D. Patterson
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #32. The bodies of air at the floor of the Grand Canyon are subject to adiabatic heating and confinement restricting convection and radiation.

  59. D. Patterson
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #57. Goracle cumuli….

  60. John A
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 2:14 PM | Permalink | Reply


    If you want other even more intuitively unlikely examples, I have heard talk of the “consensus” on certain mathematical questions (what is th consensus on the “continuum hypothesis”, I think).

    You should try getting your philosophy/history of Science from some source other than Chricton.

    I don’t get my source from Crichton. There are many, many occasions in the history of science when consensuses have been overturned by one researcher. Scientific consensuses are not scientific facts even if it was overwhelming. There still remains an area of doubt (especially about issues relating to the past) then there are usually majority and minority opinions. I don’t have to read Crichton to know about this, I just read about scientific revolutions that happened consistently in the teeth of claims of lack of rigour, bias, special pleading and of course scientific consensus, the last bastion of abuse of scientific authority.

    Don’t get me wrong about this – majorities and even strong majorities exist in science with which I agree, such as on evolution or quantum non-locality or the relativity of space and time. But to claim that “the science is settled” on the basis of such a majoritarian status is a political statement that has nothing to do with science. Science is never settled – it is always there to be disproved empirically.

    To quote Karl Popper:

    “It thus leads, almost by necessity, to the realisation that our attempts to see and to find the truth are not final, but open to improvement, our knowledge, our doctrine, is conjectural; that it consists of guesses, of hypothesis, rather than that of final and certain truths: and that criticism and critical discussion are our only means of getting nearer to the truth. It thus leads to the tradition of bold conjectures and of free criticism, the tradition that created the rational or scientific attitude, and with it our Western Civilisation, the only civilisation which is based upon science

    So please, spare us (and me in particular) this special pleading that AGW is settled, the results are in, the end is nigh, because it just isn’t so. The whole hypothesis of global warming being a dangerous deviation from the natural climate (whatever that is) is founded upon statements some of which have been shown to be untrue or unikely.

    What disturbs me is the constant reference to “the science is settled”, there is supposedly “an overwhelming scientific consensus” and that skeptics of these things, no matter how well qualified, are “deniers” or “paid shills of the fossil fuel industry”. That isn’t science – its Lysenkoism, a sort of scientific glove wrapped around a Stalinist fist of intolerance.

  61. John A
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 2:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh BCL, by the way, the Continuum Hypothesis is undecideable – it is therefore true, but cannot be proven to be true. That again is not a consensus statement – it is a mathematical statement.

  62. Dave Blair
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 2:43 PM | Permalink | Reply


    You need to read some Popper, Thomas Kuhn and re-visit your shrink.

  63. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 2:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Folks, please stop wasting this blog with discussion of BCL’s silliness. If you feel obliged to engage with him, please do so at his blog.

  64. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 3:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 63.

    Ok. But if you are going to give the C02 guys a thread of their own, can the Popper heads
    get their own thread as well? ( see what you started)

    Seriously, It might be interesting ( ok outside of your brand perhaps) to have a Philos. science thread.

    I appeal to your pride as a Toronto guy!

    Now I will shut up.

  65. Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John A(#61), that is not a correct account of the continuum hypothesis. Its truth value, and if it has one, is
    still up for grabs. I found the particular ref I was looking for. Its from the archives of the FOM list, from about 3 years ago, when someone asked:

    “Is there any general consensus amongst the mathematical/FOM community
    regarding the truth or falsity of CH?”

    …and a fairly long-winded discussion was initiated, with no consensus being reached.

    Also, the problems with this particular contention of Popper’s (in #60)–that we can approach but never
    achieve truth–were pointed out years ago (I think by Munz). For example, how can we know we are approaching truth if we can never know where truth is, just like: how can I know if I am closer or farther away from London if I can never, in principle, say I’ve reached London? Popperians have worked to resolve this issue, but when you reach the second generation types like Lakatos,alot of the old claims (like this one) aren’t really relevant anymore.

    And, David Blair, I did my masters on all these guys. Its probably the one area I have ANY claim to authority in. Believe me, none of what they’ve written should give any comfort to Deniers.

    PS. Steve, why is your comments box so crap? I can’t see what I’m writing off to the right of the page.

  66. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 5:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There’s problems with the margins with this theme. I liked the semi-fixed one better.

    Oh, well, that’s why there’s notepad.

  67. Thucydides
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 6:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As I remember it, the Continuum Hypothesis is the hyphothesis that Aleph-1, the next cardinality after Aleph-0, the cardinality of the natural numbers, is equal 2^Aleph-0, the cardinality of the real numbers, or the cardinality of the continuum. Alternatively, that there are no sets with cardinality greater than Aleph-0 and less than 2^Aleph-0. Paul Cantor showed, using his forcing proof-technique, that the Continuum Hypothesis is independent of the Zermelo-Fraenkel axiomation of Set Theory (ZF). In other words, there are models of ZF in which the Continuum Hypothesis is true, and there are models in which the Continuum Hypothesis is false. Since ZF is generally used in modern mathematics, we can say that the Continuum Hypothesis is independent in standard mathematics. Don’t confuse the Continuum Hypothesis with the Axiom of Choice. The Axiom of Choice, which says that for a set of sets there exists a choice function selecting one element from each set, is an axiom of ZF. The Axiom of Choice is widely assumed in mathematics, although it is rejected in constructive interpretations of mathematics.

  68. Thucydides
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 6:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, Paul Cohen, not Paul Cantor. You get the drift.

  69. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 1, 2007 at 6:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m going to delete any posts that do not relate to station adjustments. The continuum hypothesis is specifically proscribed on this thread.

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