Hansen and the “Destruction of Creation”

Hansen has followed up his “Lights Out Upstairs” outburst with another outburst dismissing critics as “court jesters” with whom he will have no truck. (Lights Out is now cited on the NASA website.) His new jeremiad re-iterated the position of NASA spokesman Gavin Schmidt that U.S. errors “didn’t matter” because the U.S. was only 2% of the earth’s surface. Today I’ll take a look back at Hansen et al 1999 and, especially Hansen et al 2001, the latter entitled “A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change” and being entirely devoted to coaxing a few-tenths of temperature change out of the U.S. record, a matter now said to be unimportant. Hansen also linked interest in the NASA computer programming errors to somehow acquiescing in the “destruction of Creation”.


Hansen’s Recent Jeremiads
Hansen has a collection of his recent jeremiads online here. On August 10, 2007, shortly after NASA had changed their online data for over 1200 US HCN stations and for their U.S. temperature history, Hansen sent an email to reporters and others saying:

Sorry to send another e-mail so soon. No need to read further unless you are interested in temperature changes to a tenth of a degree over the U.S. … My apologies if the quick response that I sent to Andy Revkin and several other journalists, including the suggestion that it was a tempest inside somebody’s teapot dome, and that perhaps a light was not on upstairs, was immoderate. It was not ad hominem, though.

As I will show below, Hansen himself thought otherwise in Hansen et al 2001 – an article which is devoted to nothing but this topic. Update Aug 21 9 am: At its webpage on Hansen’s temperature index, NASA has added the following comment linking directly to Hansen’s outburst – I wonder if it’s covered by the Data Quality Act:

*** What’s New ***
Please see “A Light On Upstairs?” for discussions regarding the changes made on August 7, 2007 for 2000-2006 annual mean, U.S. mean temperatures.

Hansen’s most recent epistle is well worth reading. The proximate occasion of this latest letter is Hansen’s “Y2K” error. He says in the letter (but not at the NASA website) that the flaw affected temperatures in the U.S. “by about 0.15 deg C… only in 2000 and later” and that they patched the program, “thanked the fellow who pointed it out and thought that was the end of it.”

Hansen says that he will not “joust” with his critics, who he regards as mere “court jesters”, since “Creation” itself is at stake:

if we, in effect, destroy Creation, passing on to our children, grandchildren, and the unborn a situation out of their control, the contrarians who work to deny and confuse will not be the principal culprits. The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters. There is no point to joust with court jesters. They will always be present. They will continue to entertain even if the Titanic begins to take on water. Their role and consequence is only as a diversion from what is important.

It’s as though Hansen, who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, has a Jor-El complex: Jor-El being familiar to young boys of a certain age as Superman’s father who (per Wikipedia):

“was a highly respected scientist on the planet Krypton before its destruction. He foresaw the planet’s fate, but was unable to convince his colleagues in time to save their race. Jor-El was, however, able to save his infant son, Kal-El, sending him in a homemade rocketship to the planet Earth just moments before Krypton’s demise.

Look, there are lots of reasons to believe that climate change is a serious issue: I think that it’s a serious issue. Personally I think that it’s prudent on a number of grounds to generate electricity from nuclear rather than coal or oil – a policy advocated by Hansen here. Even if Hansen is right about all of the proximate effects of increased CO2, no one before him had projected that this would cause the destruction of “Creation” – and, to my knowledge, no such projections are included in even most pessimistic IPCC scenario.

Although Hansen does not specifically mention the “fellow” who brought the error to his attention, he then proceeds into a variety of accusations against his critics:

What we have here is a case of dogged contrarians who present results in ways intended to deceive the public into believing that the changes have greater significance than reality. They aim to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I believe that these people are not stupid, instead they seek to create a brouhaha and muddy the waters in the climate change story. They seem to know exactly what they are doing and believe they can get away with it, because the public does not have the time, inclination, and training to discern what is a significant change with regard to the global warming issue.

The proclamations of the contrarians are a deceit, … The characters in the main drama are big fish, really big fish. But before we get to that matter, I need to expose how the deceit works. Instead of showing the impact of the flaw in our analysis program via a graph such as Figure 1, as a scientist would do (and as would immediately reveal how significant the flaw was), they instead discuss ranking of temperature in different years, including many false statements. We have thus been besieged by journalists saying “they say that correcting your error caused the warmest year to become 1934 rather than a recent year, is that right!?”
The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters. There is no point to joust with court jesters. … Court jesters serve as a distraction, a distraction from usufruct. Usufruct is the matter that the captains wish to deny, the matter that they do not want their children to know about.

In less hysterical tones over at realclimate, Hansen’s colleague and NASA spokesman, Gavin Schmidt, has also minimized the error:

Another week, another ado over nothing.

Sum total of this change? A couple of hundredths of degrees in the US rankings …

NASA spokesman Schmidt also went to the trouble of misrepresenting my role in identifying the specific error. Both at the blog and in my email to Hansen, I specifically identified the error as probably coming from use of one USHCN version prior to 2000 and another version for 2000 and later – a diagnosis confirmed by NASA. Unwilling to even concede me this gruel, Schmidt denied that I even “speculated” as to the cause of the error”

Steve M pointed out where the error came from in his blog posts and his email notifying GISS of the problem. The GISS people simply confirmed that he was correct.

[Response: Not so. He saw the jump but did not speculate as to the cause. - gavin]

Hansen et al 1999, 2001
The principal argument at realclimate and in Hansen’s jeremiads against the materiality of the U.S. errors is that the U.S. is only 2% of the earth’s surface. Hansen also argued that in 2001, he stated that 1934 was slightly warmer than 1998; so that, even though NASA online figures as of July 2007 showed that 1998 was warmer than 1934, Hansen claimed that he was for 1934 before he was against it, a claim that I do not dispute.

One of the realclimate posters picked up this trivialization of an interest in U.S. history as follows:

Again, if somebody is really interested in improving worldwide data, spending most of their effort chasing 2% USA Lower-48 is very weird. Reasonable, well-informed people can and do disagree about good procedures, but much of this thread seems right out of the Philip Morris GEP or Data Quality Act playbooks, and it does not help good science…

It is interesting to contrast their present view on the immateriality of U.S. temperature history with their position in Hansen et al 1999 and Hansen et al 2001. The two figures are shown on a common scale in the re-plot below (courtesy of digitization by Hans Erren). As you see immediately, in 1999, Hansen reported that 1934 was 0.6 deg C warmer than 1998. Further, there was actually a negative trend in U.S. temperatures since the 1920s. However, this negative trend for the period since the 1920s had been replaced by a flat trend in the 2001 figures. For the period since 1880, the earlier report had a flat trend, the later report a temperature trend of about 0.32 deg C per century (with, as noted above, a flat trend since the 1920s.)

hans_k2.gif
Figure 1. Digitized version of U.S. temperature history from Hansen et al 1999 Figure 6 (left) and Hansen et al 2001 page 22 (right). 1934 and 1998 values highlighted.

While Hansen and Schmidt now decry the immateriality of U.S. temperature history, this was definitely not the position of Hansen et al 2001. The entire purpose of Hansen et al 2001 was to provide a re-statement of U.S. temperature history, eliminating the inconvenient negative trend since the 1920s in the earlier publication. The heavy lifting for this re-statement had been done by co-author Tom Karl at NOAA, whose adjustments for time-of-observation and “station history” led to the re-statement of U.S. results reported by Hansen et al. The first sentence of the abstract stated:

The purpose of the present paper is to document the changes that have been made in the GISS analysis of surface temperature change subsequent to the documentation of Hansen et al. [1999] and to use this new analysis for a closer look at the United States and global temperature change.

In the running text, they observe ( a quote cited by a poster at realclimate):

Although the contiguous U.S. represents only about 2% of the world area, it is important that the analyzed temperature change there be quantitatively accurate for several reasons. Analyses of climate change with global climate models are beginning to try to simulate the patterns of climate change, including the cooling in the southeastern U.S. [Hansen et al., 2000]. Also, perceptions of the reality and significance of greenhouse warming by the public and public officials are influenced by reports of climate change within the United States.

Another reason is, of course, that there are far more temperature histories reaching back to the 1930s from the U.S. than anywhere else (more on this on another occasion). The adjustments did not include allowance for HO-83 thermometers known to have a positive bias on readings for a number of stations in the 1990s.

In any event, a few years ago, Hansen et al thought that a re-statement of U.S. results, amounting only to an upward re-statement of about 0.32 deg C per century was worth publishing. However, it seems that an error amounting to a downward step of 0.15 deg C is immaterial. I’m sure that Jor-El’s engineering was more precise than this.

“Error Bars”

Here’s another interesting graphic showing the difference between Hansen 2001 and Hansen 1999 (from the digitized versions – I’ll try to get original versions to ensure that the comparison here has not been affected by digitization artifacts: however the graphics is a vector graphic and Hans Erren’s digitization is probably pretty good.)

There are several very interesting aspects to this graphic. The total increase in the smoothed version is 0.35 deg C: thus whatever trend exists in U.S. temperature since the 1930s exists entirely because of Karl’s adjustments, adopted here by Hansen (Karl) et al. Second, aside from this inserted trend, look at the size of the differences for individual years: the 95% range in differences is -0.38 deg C to +0.39 deg C.

If the U.S. temperature history of Hansen et al 1999 is regarded as an estimate of the history in Hansen et al 2001, it is obviously not a very good estimate: despite having histories from over 1200 stations, the 2-sigma confidence was only about plus-minus 0.38 deg C. It’s worth pondering what type of error distribution for 1200 stations would give rise to such high error. Any i.i.d. assumption for errors in the 1999 estimates would give a pretty tight error interval. Since the “true” errors were much higher than such estimates would have been, this would show that the actual error distribution in 1999 was tremendously far from i.i.d. Indeed, this serves as rather a pretty illustration of non-i.i.d. errors in a pretty simple situation.

Note (Tuesday): Gavin Schmidt emailed me last night observing that Hansen et al Figure 6 shows U.S. temperature history on a meteorological year basis (DN) while Hansen et al 2001 page 22 shows US temperature history on a calendar year basis and that there is a more precise comparandum in Hansen et al 1999 Plate A2. I’ve asked Hans Erren to digitize this figure and will re-issue the Figure below when I obtain that data.

hans_k1.gif
Figure 2. US Temperature History: Hansen 2001 minus Hansen 1999. 1934 and 1998 values highlighted. Npte comment above.

Hansen, J.E., R. Ruedy, Mki. Sato, M. Imhoff, W. Lawrence, D. Easterling, T. Peterson, and T. Karl, 2001: A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change. J. Geophys. Res., 106, 23947-23963, doi:10.1029/2001JD000354.
A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2001/2001_Hansen_etal.pdf

252 Comments

  1. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    As a Canadian, you may or may not appreciate how absurd Hansen’s misconstruel of Thomas Jefferson’s writing (and his mangling of the legal doctrine of “usufruct”) is, but it’s pretty bad. This is one seriously deranged rant.

    Lubos (a Czech!) did a pretty good job of picking it apart on a political philosophical level. It seems Lubos understands American civics a lot better than Hansen does.

  2. paul graham
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    WOW hansen manages to come across as a nut job; lets hope he’s not buying up on nappies as be after you.

  3. MarkW
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    I find Hansen’s choice of words interesting. “tempest in a teapot dome”.

    As most students of American History are aware, the “teapot dome” is a reference to a major political scandal early in the last century.
    It involved bribes and kickbacks and went pretty high up into the executive branch. I believe “teapot dome” itself was a geological formation that held oil.

    Is Hansen trying to imply that those who disagree with him were bribed to do so?

  4. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    3, I would venture to guess that that was the “big fish” that he was alluding to. I just wish he would just come out and say it, instead of speaking in riddles.

  5. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    So let’s get this straight. +.32 deserves an entire paper, but -.15 is dismissed.

    Why am I unsurprised.

  6. Rick Ballard
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    Teapot Dome was an oil scandal in a Republican administration (Harding) in 1921. “Empty Dome” Hansen needs to get his rear launched out of NASA and back into Al Gore’s pocket.

    More on topic – is there a standard definition for inhomogeneity? It appears that a number of stations in Brazil were booted because of it but the “it” part isn’t defined.

  7. Frank K.
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    It’s very sad and unfortunate that Dr. Hansen has chosen to write such a polemic and, frankly, somewhat psychotic rant. He brings disgrace not only to himself but to the GISS as well. I wonder how many of the hard working, honest NASA folks are embarrassed by this?

  8. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    And his entire premise hinges on those “tipping points” that we’ve been 5-10 years away from for the last 30 years…

  9. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    #4,

    If you say exactly what you mean, then people can hold you to your words. By alluding to, talking around, making vague reference to, and other obsfucatory statements, you can claim anything you want and not be held accountable.

  10. Ian McLeod
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    Let me take a different tack. Forget Hansen’s rant for a moment and focus on the graphs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but figure 2 represents subtracting Hansen (2001) from his earlier paper Hansen (1999). Looking closely at the two graphs in figure 1, I’m having difficulty understanding how you get a hyperbolic trend line (figure 2) by subtracting newly adjusted data (2001) from not quite as newly adjusted data (1999), and let us not forget it is supposed to be the same data. Maybe I do not understand the statistics. If I misread the explanation, please clarify.

    To smooth out the negative trend from the 30s to the 70s (the so-called irrefutable evidence that an ice age was imminent) one might expect that type of shape (hyperbolic) necessary in order to produce a hockey stick.

    I understand why some data should be adjusted when comparing different elevations, coastal versus non-coastal, urban versus rural, and so forth. Nevertheless, is appears there is a deliberate attempt to massage the data in order to produce a desirable shape.

    Ian

  11. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    “If you say exactly what you mean, then people can hold you to your words. By alluding to, talking around, making vague reference to, and other obsfucatory statements, you can claim anything you want and not be held accountable.”

    Isn’t that rather the approach taken with archiving of data and algorithms? I suppose we must be pleased that he is at least consistent in his approach…

  12. L Nettles
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    I feel sorry for Robert Goddard, a hero of my youth, the association of his name with this is shameful.

  13. jim w
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    There is a very intellegent & well written critique of Hansen’s testimony to Congress at co2science.org.

    Go down to “Major Report”
    Then click on
    Carbon Dioxide and Global Change: Separating Scientific Fact from Personal Opinion
    Then on the next screen
    Click on the 2nd item (362 KB)

    You’ll get a very good commentary.

  14. MattN
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    You know you’ve had an effect when they sart refering to you as a “court jester”. They simply have nothing left in their arsenal but ad hominem attacks.

  15. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    Post 530 (49084) over at the 1934 thing at RC might interest someone.

    The last paragraph is

    So I think you’re strategy is the right one. If you release the code, you’ll be spending your time in endless arguments about such things as whether rounding errors in the least significant digit can build up. Describe the algorithms in English, and if anybody thinks that you screwed them up badly enough to make a difference, let them recalculate the averages and show that they get meaningfully different numbers.

  16. James Erlandson
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    Re 10 Ian Mcleod:
    You have it backwards. It is (2001) minus (1999).

  17. bernie
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    Steve:
    I am not sure I understand how you derived “The total increase in the smoothed version is 0.35 deg C”. You graphic makes it look closer to zero. Am I reading something wrong?

    Second, what strikes me is the actual oscillation of the difference scores, like a pendulum almost. In fact I bet a sign test w (+ to -) would be significant. It seems very strange. Almost as if something is out of phase.

    Others with more knowledge of time series analysis can perhaps draw parallels to other phenomena with similar patterns.

  18. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    Since gavin had remonstrated me to to RTFR ( RTFM in my world) I’m kinda
    curious about hansen 87..

    Esnips would be cool

  19. Ian McLeod
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    James #16

    Okay, sloppy of me, it was my central premise that I was looking for comments.

  20. John F. Pittman
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I think there is another point to this though. I would bet that these differences (2001-1999) when compared to the time period that Hansen and others are using for the calibration of the anomalies more than makes a .32C difference in the absolute measurement sense. It helps get rid of that pesky warm period around the 1930s, it makes the cooling period of 1940 to 1970 more linear (warmer to match CO2 better), and it helps make a hockey stick at the end of the century (and CO2 again). There appears to be quite a lot that it does. In fact, I would wager it makes the sunspots’ correlation less as well. Quite a lot of mileage for something so small.

  21. Tom C2
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters. There is no point to joust with court jesters. They will always be present. They will continue to entertain even if the Titanic begins to take on water.

    What a morass of mixed metaphors.

  22. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    Maybe you should play the “Eve of Destruction” while thinking about Hansen youtube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39ESOKkU1ho . Or for a more pleasing change of pace, the videos by Eve at the same location.

  23. Bob Meyer
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Hansen is looking less and less like a scientist and more like the leader of a cult. All those outside the cult are either ignoramuses or intellectual assassins hired by predatory businesses to sow misinformation, dissension and confusion among the masses.

    A rational man who believes that the end of world is near will be thrilled to find out that he may have a few additional years to make his case to the people and prevent the apocalypse. But instead of feeling some relief we see Hansen become almost unhinged.

  24. bernie
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    John: #20

    It would be better if they just showed what they actually did. At this point it is as likely to be sloppiness as any type of manipulation. On the other hand these adjustments may be entirely legitimate — but who knows.

  25. jb914
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    Hansen is on “tilt”

  26. Professor1942
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    Has he perhaps reached his own personal “tipping point”?

  27. Rick Ballard
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    “Hansen is looking less and less like a scientist and more like the leader of a cult.”

    Perhaps. Perhaps more like the Wizard of Oz as the curtain is pulled away, though. In reading the papers on Brazil I was struck very hard about the small nature of the circle of scientists involved regarding references. It was a matter of circular citation and reinforcement. I have no science background and only minimal statistics so I may be stating something that’s tediously obvious but it sure wouldn’t take much to “move” statistical means through exclusion.

    That’s why I asked about [in]homogeneity – is there an accepted definition that is a ‘standard’?

  28. Magnus
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    I’m no expert, but I in a comment (#184 in RealClimate’s “1934 and all that” thread) I asked what adjustments that cause the difference in Hansens 1999 and 2001 records.

    Gavin: “The answers are in the papers! Basically, it is because of the corrections due to Time of Observation biases and calibrations for known station moves and the like”.

    Oh, maybe subjective station selection? (But what feature is “time of observation baiases”? I’m no expert.)

    When people has asked for code, two links of source code was been given. Only modelling code though.

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/modeling/

    One time Gavin posted a code link, he comment: “The GISS Climate model code is available: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE , the issue with the GISS urban adjustment is orders of magnitude simpler. – gavin”

    Oh yes! It’s so much simplier, so no problem here! We can live with subjectively removed stations and all that! But a heavy pressure for the release of source code now (thanks to McIntyre, of course!). Sooner or later…

  29. bernie
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    A psychologist might have fun with this one also: Hansen’s Declaration of Stewardship

  30. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    I have a similar post on the subject of Hansen’s deceitful use of graphs in representing the change as much ado about nothing.

    If climate change ‘deniers’ made the same sort of mistake then the press from New York to Liberia would be making a big deal out of it.

  31. John Baltutis
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    Here’s another critique of Hansen’s polemic attack: NASA’s Hansen Quotes Thomas Jefferson to Incite Global Warming Hysteria.

  32. John A
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    I wonder if we have a psychiatrist reading this, because this does not sound like a scientist at all. He sounds like an Old Testament prophet scrying minute changes in temperature into great and fearful tipping points of God’s Wrath poured out on all Creation.

    I mean seriously…

  33. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Where else but the internet would be revealed the inner most fears, anxieties, emotions and prejudices of a prominent scientist like Hansen. I can remember when Hollywood stars were isolated by their studios to protect their public images and we never realized (although many suspected) just how imperfect those people were.

    Hansen here uses a lot of “theys” in attempting to portray those with contrary views as a monolithic threat, and all, in his mind, with evidently the same views, to not only present society but to untold generations of the unborn. Hansen, the scientist surely must realize that a reasonable approach here would be point to specific instances and individuals in making his point. Hansen the politician versus Hansen the scientist is one thing, but this outburst appears to go beyond Hansen, the politician and allows one a view of a Hansen seemingly in a fight against a great conspiracy of corporate executives. That to me is the most disconcerting part of his exposé. The part about the contrarians as court jesters in the control of evil corporate interests is well within the realm of Hansen, the politician, and a well know political tactic used to minimize one’s detractors without resorting to phrases like jerks and total idiots.

    I have heard similar statements from other climate scientists like Judith Curry (and very incorrectly and naively in my judgment) who talk about the fossil fuel special interests and their influences on the contrarians/skeptics. To blame your ineffectiveness in getting the AGW mitigation message out on a special interest group and not the more vanilla contrarians, or better yet avoiding any criticisms of the voting public, has political appeal.

    Like the Hollywood stars of the past, I had my suspicions of this side of Hansen, but probably would have preferred simply knowing Hansen, the scientist. Damn you, internet and blogging for showing me the rest of the story.

  34. Bill F
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Well the US may represent 2% of the land area, but 0.15% is ~12% of the previous GISS 2006 temperature anomaly. If somebody had told anybody they could single handedly bring about a 12% reduction in warming over the US, the press would have been all over it. Now that they have found out that you can accomplish it simply by using the correct dataset, there seems to be considerably less interest.

  35. Bill F
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Well the US may represent 2% of the land area, but 0.15C is ~12% of the previous GISS 2006 temperature anomaly. If somebody had told anybody they could single handedly bring about a 12% reduction in warming over the US, the press would have been all over it. Now that they have found out that you can accomplish it simply by using the correct dataset, there seems to be considerably less interest.

  36. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    15, that seems to be the NASA culture. They didn’t particularly like amateurs like Richard Feynman nosing around after the Challenger disaster, questioning such orthodoxy as a crack 1/3 of the way through the O-ring means a 200% safety factor, or the consensus among NASA management that there was a 1 in 100,000 chance of a disaster like the Challenger.

    It seems like they have a history of consensus based on bad numbers.

  37. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    23, “almost” unhinged?

  38. Rick Ballard
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    I wonder if Steve can apply for a payment from the UN Carbon Credit Fund?

    Say, Steve – that might be the ticket – sell guaranteed warming reduction credits. You get to do what you enjoy doing and the global temperature keeps dropping! Who could argue with that?

  39. Stan Palmer
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Anger
    Denial
    Bargaining
    Acceptance

    It seems that certain people are still in the first two stages of this challenge to their egos.

  40. John Lang
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    I can understand adjusting the historic numbers (time-of-observation mainly) but why are the current temperatures adjusted UP?

    I would have thought today’s temps should remain the same and older records adjusted accordingly.

    Would 2001’s measurement techniques really have produced an increase in 1998’s temp of 0.3C ?

  41. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    In regard to #36, here is a link to the report by Nobel-prize winning physicist (and all-around genius) Richard Feynman in the Challenger accident:

    http://www.uky.edu/~holler/msc/roles/feynrept.html

    This snip sounds a lot like the GISS folks:

    Official management, on the other hand, claims to believe the probability of failure is a thousand times less. One reason for this may be an attempt to assure the government of NASA perfection and success in order to ensure the supply of funds. The other may be that they sincerely believed it to be true, demonstrating an almost incredible lack of communication between themselves and their working engineers.

    And this is the final paragraph:

    For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

    Same S***, different day…

  42. Robert Wood
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    So many corrections and recorrections of data.

    This is not credible.

    My opinion is that Hansen deliberately falsifies data for political reasons.

    Robert Wood
    Ottawa, Canada.

  43. SteveSadlov
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    I would add to his clause regarding sequestration, the proviso that sequestration should be via passive biological methods and shall result in the production of bio fuel constituents. Anything besides growing more corn!

  44. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    #36 Oh, that’s rather obvious, don’t you think? :)

    I thought I didn’t have anything to say in #15 about the post, but basicially it’s about the “media frenzy” for the minor error, lord forbid if they find something wrong. Like rounding errors. The comment of “Look at how horrible your code is!” might be brought up is the fear also, when it’s already been established it’s a mess. (Rather a counter to “It’s so simple”, wouldn’t you think?)

    In any case, I thought this bit from wiki appropriate to answer those questions:

    “In mathematics, computing, linguistics, and related disciplines, an algorithm is a finite list of well-defined instructions for accomplishing some task that, given an initial state, will terminate in a defined end-state.”

    You can’t “describe algorithms in Engish” I suppose is what I’d say. I would post it there, but why bother.

  45. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    Steve Mc,

    How many different people/scientists have access to the basic data compared with how many have simply relied on hansen’s data?

    Cheers
    AG

  46. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    Boolos and Jeffrey (1974, 1999):

    “No human being can write fast enough, or long enough, or small enough to list all members of an enumerably infinite set by writing out their names, one after another, in some notation. But humans can do something equally useful, in the case of certain enumerably infinite sets: They can give explicit instructions for determining the nth member of the set, for arbitrary finite n. Such instructions are to be given quite explicitly, in a form in which they could be followed by a computing machine, or by a human who is capable of carrying out only very elementary operations on symbols” (p. 19).

    Again from wiki

    Algorithms can be expressed in many kinds of notation, including natural languages, pseudocode, flowcharts, and programming languages. Natural language expressions of algorithms tend to be verbose and ambiguous, and are rarely used for complex or technical algorithms. Pseudocode and flowcharts are structured ways to express algorithms that avoid many of the ambiguities common in natural language statements, while remaining independent of a particular implementation language. Programming languages are primarily intended for expressing algorithms in a form that can be executed by a computer, but are often used as a way to define or document algorithms.

    The verbose ambiguousness is one reason, but even if not, I’d say this is pretty technical, and it also seems more complex than made out to be.

  47. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    44, you can’t describe algorithms in English? I do it all of the time. Control software can be specified just like hardware. And no, I don’t need flowcharts.

    How do you write a spec for any machine that has a control sequence? They’ve been doing that for longer than computers have been around.

  48. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    Paraphrasing Hansen (The changes are in italics): ‘What we have here is a case of dogged AGW alarmists who present results in ways intended to deceive the public into believing that CO2 has a greater effect on global climate than can be supported by physical theory. They aim to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I believe that these people are not stupid, instead they seek to create a brouhaha and muddy the waters in the climate change story. They seem to know exactly what they are doing and believe they can get away with it, because the public does not have the time, inclination, and training to discern what is a significant change with regard to the global warming issue.’

    It reads just as well, and has the advantage of actually being true with respect to physical climate theory.

  49. David Smith
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Regarding United States temperature trends, this paper ( link ) is worth a 20-minute perusal. The paper is from the September, 1933 Monthly Weather Review and is titled, “Is Our Climate Changing? A Study of Long-Term Temperature Trends”.

    The paper has annual temperature data for a cross-section of American cities and some outside the US (including Toronto), with some data stretching back to 1800.

    My eyeball impression is that the data in this 1933 paper does not show the 1880s to be as cool as GISS currently reports. I plan to plot up some examples to compare this original data versus today’s adjusted versions.

    The trends show greater warming in winter than in summer, similar to the pattern we’ve seen in recent decades. There is also a paragraph or two analyzing the data for a 1930s type urban heat island effect (they found none).

    Interesting reading.

  50. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    Well of course you CAN (depending on what it is). Poor word choice.

    “Can’t” meaning “can if you want the complex or technical ones to be verbose and ambiguous.” :)

    Or “Can’t” as in if you’re trying to develop a “finite list of well-defined instructions for accomplishing some task” Plain language isn’t really suited for that for all but the least trivial matters. If it takes a published multiple page paper to describe something, not exactly my idea of being able to, not what I’d call “Can”. (May do it but can’t do it?)

    Psuedocode at least, please!

  51. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Here at the cottage I am reading Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe”. The jester (or fool), in this case named Wamba, plays a role that in the present context would be most welcome. Since kings, princes and lords had such total power in those times, their courtiers were often afraid to speak plainly to them. Recognizing the need to have at least one person who would speak truthfully, the fool was given absolute license to say whatever he wanted to the king, prince, etc. So the fool freely cracked jokes at his Lord’s expense, but also spoke plainly when the need arose, safe in the understanding that he alone could not be punished for impertinence. If others had news or counsel that they dared not say themselves, they would sometimes ask the fool to say it for them. Hansen is afflicted with jesters? If only.

  52. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    RE 33
    (Repost from WU)
    The Real Deal: Usufruct & the Gorilla Deconstructed
    (first draft edited)

    Para #1

    The vast right wing conspiracy is beating me senseless over my stubborn refusal to hand over my (potentially deeply flawed) data dinking and subsequent analysis of temperature data, using a slight oversight made just lately as a club.

    Para #2

    We fixed our errors of late. We’ve ‘splained things before and wish these folks would give up trying to fathom our Oracular pronouncements and just move along.

    Para #3

    This is no big deal and we should all just move along. Look at my heavily biased graphical presentation that proves we should just move along.

    Para #4

    D@/\/\ /\/ these folks who just won’t move along! Just because we have all sorts of past press releases that are intended to incite the common folks, doesn’t mean the VRWC has a right to try using our time tested methods. It’s not fair.

    Para #5

    These bozos are lying and also want to steal my childen’s inheritance. They are minions of the Devil himself.

    Para #6

    As proof, they haven’t supplied any properly biased graphical demonstrations as I have. They have created a mass hysteria in the media opposite to that that I’ve carefully cultivated lo these many years. They’re making my previous press releases look bad.

    Para #7

    Journalists are dumb and sheep like. We need to keep driving them in the same direction rather than try to confuse them with where we are taking them.

    Para #8

    We were right before we were wrong, but now we’re right. So we’ve been right all along.

    Para #9

    This stuff is hard and we work real hard, just like Clinton and W and Tony Blair.

    Para #10 & 11

    We’re much smarter than you, but sometimes we can’t figure out when it was REALLY hot, but it’s been hot alot. And it’s gonna get hotter, you just wait and see. You’ll be sorry.

    Para #12

    Look at these precise plots of spurious data. Our mistake not only made no difference, we’ve been right all along.

    Para #13 & 14

    WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! We’ve said it before and it is STILL TRUE!

    Para #15 & #16

    I discovered a new word that is rarely used these days and, when peppered throughout this and future publications, will show that not only that I am a Rocket Scientist because I work at a place named for a famous Rocket Scientist, but also that I’m a Man of Letters. Quit trying to steal my children’s inheritance, you jokers, minions of the Devil.

    Para #17 through #20

    Not only am I a Rocket Scientist and Man of Letters, but I’m likely also the savior of mankind. Though I’m only a high priest (and head of the seminary – Al Gore’s the Pope) of this Church, I can tell you that if the Devil is not stopped by our political will, you’ll all burn in HE-Double-Hockey-Stick pdq.

    Para #21 though the end

    Y’all are a bunch of heretic non-believers. We have similar backgrounds and I’d welcome you into the Church. If you continue to support the Devil, you’ll all have to be sequestered. Dat Debil be a trickster, and you must repent his ways. The end is neigh! Give up your physical, emotional and philosophical baggage and come down here to be SAVED!

  53. Curtis
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    Ive only been reading your blog for a few days, but I have a few questions.

    1) thermal islands and election results. If they can predict the winner of an election with only 2% – 4% of the ballots counted, (except in Florida) could a small number of non-standard weather stations have a significant impact to the weather data of a nation? If these stations exist in the United States, wouldnt one also expect them to exist elsewhere in the world? Also add in the urban ‘heat islands’ (I was unaware of this until nova (PBS) did a show on the topic a few years ago) wouldnt the factors of inconsistent data, inconsistent measurement and inconsistent conditions dramatically reduce the pace that global warming is occurring? (IF a data set could be built that had none of these factors affecting it. – I think a data set would be preferable, because you can never be sure that mathematically adjusted observations are correct – you see this in economic figures all the time.)

    2) tipping points. One of Hansen’s tipping points is the Gulf Stream stopping. Wouldnt this trigger an mini ice age? Nothing cures global warming little a little ice age? Without the currents in the ocean to spread the heat the poles would get colder – while the equator keeps its heat, and uses that heat to generate hurricanes?

    3) trends. The global Cooling trend from 1945-1968-ish. Had lots of people worried about a possible ice age in the 1970s, that trend also stopped. Isnt it also possible that the warming trend of the 1980s – present will also stop? Doesnt this trend point to the possibility that CO2 is irrelevant or has a minor role in climate?

    4) news marketing. When I was a kid, the weather was about the weather today, this week and the weekend. Now we also get the weather history of the day. The hottest day on this date was such and such, the coldest, wettest… Other than trivia, who cares?

    5) snowball earth. Long ago, the earth was covered in ice. Completely covered in ice. Some places upto a mile thick. There wasnt a drop of water vapour in the atmosphere nor free standing water anywhere. It was all frozen solid. Over millions of years, volcanoes released enough gasses to cause the earth to warm up, and within a few decades the ice had retreated back to the poles and as the ice retreated, it started to rain, and it rained everywhere for 100s of years… My question is what where the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere at the end of the snowball? and after the rains had cleaned the atmosphere of CO2 (and SO2 etc) what where the levels then? How much further do we have to go, to match these levels? Iam sure the global warming people would know this – as it is the only time (that Iam aware of anyway) that CO2 has had a major role in earth’s climate.

    Anyhow those are my questions.

    Keep their feet to the fire, and make them prove it.

    Thanks

    Curtis

  54. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

    50, that’s how it’s done. I’ve had to write bid specs for software, and as long as if fits on 8.5×11, it’s game. Sometimes pseudocode is the best way to get something across. But as a bid spec, it’s a legally binding contract, and has to be rigorous. I haven’t found anything yet that can’t be put in that format. But you’re right, it’s not prose.

  55. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

    Trust but verify will become the public’s attitudes towards science once the dust clears.

    This is all to the good. Hansen is just assisting the process.

  56. Al
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    It might be interesting to throw “GISS 2007″ (aka after the last little change) into the mix.

    Just looking at the shift ‘June 2007′ to ‘August 2007′, it looked like the trend (_ignoring_ the actual .15C error) had a trend too.

  57. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    51, actually, Hansen’s claiming that the court is afflicted with jesters. And he’s the one holding his finger in the dike (or whatever other metaphor he wants to use).

  58. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    #52 ROTFL. OK now that you have Hansen’s attention it might be possible to do some serious work on UHI signal in that data.

  59. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Methinks Hansen has reached his tipping point…

  60. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    53,

    1) thermal islands and election results. If they can predict the winner of an election with only 2% – 4% of the ballots counted, (except in Florida) could a small number of non-standard weather stations have a significant impact to the weather data of a nation?

    You’re really trying to push Gore’s buttons, aren’t you?

  61. PaddikJ
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    Deniers, be of good cheer – Hansen’s card-castle is quaking in the breeze. His increasingly strident rhetoric – veering close to un-hinged, in fact (loath as I am to use a Malkin-ism) – confirms this almost as well as Steve’s patient auditing (disregarding cause & effect for the moment).

    Until the last several weeks, I thought I had Jimbo pretty well pegged as the Master Politician; made the Goracle look like an rank amateur, in fact. My personal fave was his invocation of Feynman’s famous cargo-cult science speech – Cultists go through the motions w/out the slightest idea of why, while Hansen goes through the motions with full, cynical awareness of why.

    But more and more, he’s looking like a combination revival tent fire-and-brimstone bible-thumper, and John Muir/Rachael Carson/”This is my Green Cathedral” eco-evangelist. Must be tough when 15-year-olds start taking you to task.

    Aside from the usual Arguments from Authority (what else has he got?), he seems to have dropped the science posturing almost completely. Will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

    Keep the audits coming, Steve, and as always,

    Thank You.

  62. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    Pseudo code vs English

    Pseudo code is easier to debug. This has value.

  63. bernie
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    Steve:
    I hate to be persistent, but I still do not understand where the 0.35C came from.

  64. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

    RE 47. Yes Larry you can decribe them in ENGLISH, however.

    The QUESTION IS.

    1. what does the code actually implement.
    2. What does the compiler actually output
    3. What does the Processor actually process.

    You tell me that you divide X by Y.

    There are loads of implementation details I want to know.

  65. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    #33 Ken, you make a good point about the misdirection of blaming special interest for the lack of traction in AGW alarm. When I talk to ordinary people about AGW, which is very rarely, but there response is often “global warming? bring it on!”. That is, the commoners quite like the idea of warmer winters. This must be a big factor in the lack of traction. I don’t see “big oil” doing much of anything actually. Why should theu, they are hardly threatened. Australia probably produces more carbon than anyone else, but because it exports it to China, is not penalized under carbon schemes, and China is not being penalized either. So why should big carbon producers do anything? A person who blames special interests is just stating their age and political leaning IMO, nothing more.

  66. windansea
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    this paper was posted in another thread, and drew no comments

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/Conf2007/Archibald2007.pdf

    I wonder why? It’s about as contrarian as you can get, and the graphs are excellent, taking you further and further back in time.

    The conclusion is astounding, so read the whole thing.

  67. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

    64, I agree that in this case, the spec isn’t enough, because the implementation details need to be audited. The spec is for performance only, and additional arbitrary choices are made by the programmer. That means that you can always go from the code to the spec, but not the other way around. One spec determines many codes.

  68. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    RE: Time of Observation Bias

    As I understand it, the bias results from either a low or high from the previous day being recorded as the current days high or low. Obviously in Spring or Autumn when preceding days are statistically colder/warmer, this will bias the min/max temperature of the day in question. So I see why they would need to introduce an adjustment to get the correct min/max for a particular day and why USHCN adjusts the monthly mean to remove this bias.

    What I don’t see is why TOB would have any effect on long term annual averages, which it apparently does.

    Applying the Time of Observation adjustment (black line) resulted in approximately a 0.3F warming from the late 1960’s to the 1990’s.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn/ushcn.html

    Can the statisticians explain this?

    A detailed description of TOB here,

    http://www.john-daly.com/tob/TOBSUMC.HTM

  69. jae
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    Desperate people do desperate things. Once you get out so far on a rotten limb, as Hansen and Gore have done, there’s no alternative but to fight (of course, the limb is so rotten that they end up falling, anyway). It’s the “cornered rat predicament.”

  70. Kevin
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    “Also, perceptions of the reality and significance of greenhouse warming by the public and public officials are influenced by reports of climate change within the United States.”

    I think that sentence alone really sums up the ideological bias inherent in Hansen and his confederates’ approach. Their stated, explicit goal is to influence perception apparently in favor of AGW, a pointed departure from an objective investigation into the case.

  71. Paul Penrose
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    As a software engineer I can honestly say that accurately expressing a complex algorithm in english is very, very difficult. Even with liberal use of ERDs, Sequence Diagrams, and Psuedocode it still ends up being incomplete and ambiguous. If I want to get an idea of what some piece of software does, I look at the SDD (Software Design Document), but if I want to know exactly what it is doing, I’ll pull up the code.

    And here’s a clue: when you see the words “subjective decision” in the description of the algorithm, throw it out – it’s worse than useless.

  72. Earle Williams
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

    Re #63

    bernie,

    I assumed it was the range of the 5-year average in the 2001-1999 curve. Which is pretty much what Steve says. The max value is about .22 C in 1999 and the min value is about -.13 C circa 1941. (max – min) = .35 C

  73. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

    David,

    Re #58,

    The UHI signal may not be separable from the data of ~1200 stations, much less the ROTW.

    If the point is to estimate the total heat in the air in a band from 5 to 6 ft above the earth’s surface (this is what everyone is so concerned about, right?), wouldn’t the heat in the cities count too? Why try to subtract it. It seems to me that we need to make more measurements in heavily forested places, cornfields, new construction, freshly burned Rain Forest, over the ~70% watered surface area, etc. and properly weight them.

    Plot that against the CO2 measured at appropriate sites and times.

    Climate seems to be so much more than one number per year, especially one with so much uncertainty.

  74. bernie
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

    #72 Earle
    Thanks – I was looking at the full curve and, of course, the most recent adjustmentis a net .35C. However, what do you make of the rapid pendulum-like oscillation around the trend line?

  75. AJD
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    I’m currently reading Thomas E. Ricks’ excellent “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq.” Fundamental to the whole tragedy was the mentality of the hawks who, whilst well-intentioned, were wilfully negligent in their closed-minded refusal to countenance anything which contradicted their prejudices and misguided planning assumptions.
    The atmosphere of stifling intolerance they created was responsible for the shutting down of the full and honest examination the issue demanded.

    Needless to say, whilst reading, the parallels with AGW’s cheerleaders are striking: the false claim to have overwhelming evidence, the disregarding of inconvenient facts, the cynical dismissal of doubters, the self-serving politicians and media; even the tactic of declaring the time for debate to be over.
    The whole warming issue is like a Swiftian satire of the Iraq war (perhaps with AGW hawks Gore as the hubristic Rumsfeld, and Hansen the myopic academic Wolfowitz who paints himself into a corner.)

  76. Rick Ballard
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

    So that would make Steve = Petraeus putting the ball back accross the net using tactics which required “tried and true” methods from the “old days” to achieve stated objectives? That makes sense. if you allow the time element required to bring Iraqi security forces to the “hold” level, it makes a lot of sense.

    Even total idiots can make sense every now and then, I suppose.

  77. L.K.
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    First there was his blatant lie that the Bush administration was trying to “silence” him – even though he managed to conduct 15 media interviews that same month and over 1400 media interviews in the preceding few years (according to Congressman Darrell Issa). Not to mention the fact that all NASA scientists are required to obtain official permission before speaking to the press. Something which he ignored and the administration overlooked.

    And now this ? His academic error in making the mistake in the first place is mostly forgivable, but his reaction is disgraceful.

    He abides by no scientific ethics and principals and has become a political activist. He is an embarrassment to NASA and to the scientific community.

    NASA should sack him immediately.

  78. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

    It seems the model used as the basis for the TOB adjustments is available.

    Reference Karl, et al. (1986): “A model to estimate the time of observation bias associated with monthly mean maximum, minimum, and mean temperatures for the United States” (Thomas R. Karl, Claude N. Williams, Jr., and Pamela J. Young, National Climatic Data Center, and Wayne M. Wendland, Illinois State Water Survey, Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology, January 1986, American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA). The time of observation bias model which can be used for the maximum, minimum, and mean monthly temperature at any location in the contiguous U.S. [program NCC*F11SRC (OBTBIAS Code) and NCC*F11REL (OBTBIAS)], is available from the NCDC.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/onlineprod/drought/readme.html

  79. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

    Re #66 & #74

    Conclusions from referenced presentation:

    **************************************************************
    Summary

    1. The Sun drives climate change and it will be colder next
    decade by 2.0 degrees centigrade.

    2. The anthropogenic carbon dioxide effect is real, minuscule
    and too small to be measured.

    3. Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will boost
    agricultural production.

    4. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is wholly beneficial

    **************************************************************

    Forget about measuring the CO2. Sorry I brought it up.

  80. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    Philip_B (#68) does not understand why Time of Observation Bias might effect long-term trends.

    In fact, any time of day for observation will “work” and will not create a spurious temperature trend. However, a change in the time of day of observation will make a change (a step up or down) in all subsequent temperatures (until the next change in the time of day of observation).

    (Suppose that you check and reset the max/min thermometers every day near the time of the high, such as 3:00 PM. If today is cold, but yesterday was hot through 3:01 PM, the thermometer will effectively show yesterday’s high again in today’s reading. But if you check and reset the max/min thermometers every day near the time of the low (say, 6:00 AM), this hot-day double-counting will essentially never happen; each afternoon’s high will only be credited once. Instead, a very cold morning will be counted a second time, even if the next morning never got cold. So average temperatures will decline with a morning reading relative to an afternoon reading. If a site used to have afternoon readings but now has morning readings, you do have to adjust older temp readings down (or current ones up), in order to have consistent data. The proper amount of adjustment will be a complex question, varying with different times and sites.)

  81. Curtis
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    “You’re really trying to push Gore’s buttons, aren’t you?”

    I know where they all are, I was working overtime at the robot-factory the day they where installed.

    I was just pointing out that the statistical analysis to predict election results, could be similar to the math used here. (but maybe not, Iam not familiar with either application of math)

    I was thinking that wouldnt it be something – if the bad weather stations where built in the 1970’s (Iam thinking of the one with the light bulb in the thermal housing for example) we’re designed to end the hysteria over global cooling. The government was just trying to reassure the public that another ice wasnt coming…but instead kicked off the whole global warming hysteria… Just a little comedy…

  82. BarryW
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    Re #81

    So if the Time of Observation is not near the high or low of the day there will be no double counting and therefore the need for the correction goes away?

  83. Rick Ballard
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    DWPitelli,

    Do you know howmeasurements within time zones are handled? Tallahassee, TN and Pecos, TX measure temps at 12PM Central – but it isn’t the same “time”. I suppose it wouldn’t make a difference – unless a sample set were loaded “west”. That would tend to make the T-min a little lower but my guess is that the T-max would more than cover the shift.

  84. Rick Ballard
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    That would be “Nashville” rather than Tallahassee.

  85. Follow the Money
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    # 51 Ross,

    Re: jesters, exactly. They are traditionally the only ones who speak the truth in noble courts. Interestingly, Mr. Hansen projects himself as an unheeding king.

    He also has a freudian slip,

    “was a tempest inside somebody’s teapot dome,”

    Dome? Interesting allusion to another energy-related scandal, the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920’s.

  86. Warwick
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

    #83 + #83

    I am thinking of the one with the light bulb in the thermal housing for example.

    I have not heard of this one before….more anyone?

  87. matt
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    #78 I’m not clear on why TOB adjustments are needed. I understand that without them, it’s possible that the previous day’s high temp wouldn’t be reported until the next-day’s high temp. But if you are looking at a station in isolation, that seems it’d be OK.

    It’s only when you want to compare a bunch of stations (or build a grided data set) that it is important you are comparing highs from the same day, right?

    But a single station with TOB adjustments should have a yearly average high (or low) that is nearly the same to the same station without TOB adjustments, right? The only difference would be if you had a very hot or cold day at the beginning or end of the year that slid out of the window due to when it was read.

  88. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 9:35 PM | Permalink

    I have not heard of this one before….more anyone?

    see Redding, at SurfaceStations.org: http://gallery.surfacestations.org/main.php?g2_itemId=682

  89. Larry
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Having a light bulb in the housing with a switch isn’t an unreasonable thing. But some fool will be too lazy to turn the light off, when you have an array of volunteer stations like that.

    More serious are the ones (there was some talk about this as surfacestations) where they don’t want to pay for the electricity, so they disconnect the fan.

  90. Steve Moore
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

    RE #29:

    …but it is necessary to assess intentions and loyalties.

    I’m old enough to remember McCarthy and Loyalty Oaths.
    This is downright scary.

  91. Steve Moore
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    RE: “Teapot Dome”

    Interesting that Hansen would reference Teapot Dome, considering Al Gore’s role in the “Modern teapot Dome”…

    For most of the 20th century, oil companies have tried unsuccessfully to obtain control of two oil fields owned and operated by the federal government: the Teapot Dome field in Casper, Wyoming, and the Elk Hills field in Bakersfield, California. Despite his public reputation as a staunch environmentalist, Gore recommended that the president approve giving oil companies access to this publicly owned land. It is land that the U.S. Navy has held as emergency reserves since 1912. In October, 1997, the Energy Department announced that the government would sell 47,000 acres of the Elk Hills reserve to Occidental

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/Columbia/Gore+Oxy.html

  92. Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    He abides by no scientific ethics and principals and has become a political activist. He is an embarrassment to NASA and to the scientific community. NASA should sack him immediately.

    No, that would just add to his legend-in-his-own-mind stature and give him even more confidence in his self anointed martyrdom. Plus they will just say that this is the Bush administration trying to silence the truth. I’m no fan of this administration when it concerns science, but firing Hansen would be a mistake. “The administration continues to try and silence me!” he would proclaim. Keep him at NASA, where we can most easily expose his politicization of science.

  93. PaddikJ
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

    As a follow-on to my post No. 61, I just finally read the complete texts of Hansen’s recent jeremiads, and good grief, the man has become unhinged, clearly:

    Tribal wisdom of the Ancients, shaky grasp of American History, unto-the-7th-generation stewardship, cluelessly unflattering self-appraisals (hey Jimbo, you really do need a good court jester right now). He did miss the Deep Ecology stuff, tho; maybe future posts on his musings page will have him in a loin-cloth and beads.

    Perhaps he does have some remnant self-awareness, and figures “Oh, well; thrown away my scientific creds. Nothing for it but to brazen it out on some new frontiers.”

  94. snrjon
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    As a Houstonian, proud of the HQ of NASA, Hansen is just an embarrassment, and would get short shrift in this city if he ever came away from Goddard to preach his sermons. Perhaps he needs to get some even cooler air by going north and joining his Canadian “twin” David Suzuki?

  95. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    In fig 2 at the start of this thread, the temperature from 1880-2000 shows some 15 small peaks, fairly regular, which means they average 8 years apart. I have no idea what causes them. Does anyone know if it is Nature or Mathematics?

    I notice as well that this type of noise is carried forward in IPCC future graphs, where I waould use a single straight line written with a soft pencil with an eraser on the other end.

    What causes this microstructure?

    BTW, the Teapot Dome scandal reached as high as President Harding. If the allusion to the teapot dome is what I think it is, then W is being fingered.

  96. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

    RE # I understand the rationale for adjusting daily and monthly data for TOB. It’s the apparent multi-decade increase in TOB adjustments that baffles me. Since 1950, The TOB adjustment has increased by over 0.2C. I don’t see why TOB would occur at all in temperature averages over long periods because as #87 points out it has to result from the day prior to the start of the measurement period and any bias would reduce to almost nothing when averaged over a large number of days. Nor do I see why TOB would progressively increase over decades requiring an increasing adjustment.

    Maybe there is a legitimate reason for this adjustment but the reason isn’t obvious and the TOB adjustment is large relative to the temperature trend.

  97. Earle Williams
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

    Re #95

    Geoff Sherrington,

    In Fig 2, the baseline temperature has been removed, and what you have left is one set of adjustments minus another set of adjustments. There is no physical process explaining these fluctuations. They are the artifacts of the ‘improvements’ or GISS 2001 minus the ‘improvements’ of GISS 1999. The fact that there is a swing of up to 0.7 C over a few years suggests that the GISS adjustments are ad hoc and really do meet live up to the term a dog’s breakfast.

    The cause of the micostructure is clearly explained by the way. Just ask Gavin. It’s in the papers! :)

  98. Hansen=Wizard of Oz
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

    Only Ian has mentioned this, but isn’t Figure 2 the smoking gun?

    Time of observation and station move adjustments just happened to yield a massive warming every decade since 1940?

    Did Hansen not think he would be found out?

  99. Mike
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

    #95, It certainly looks like the root cause of Hansen’s descent into unscientific ranting is a dire case of Bush Derangement Syndrome. That would explain a lot.

  100. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

    Sorry that should have been Re #80

    And rereading the post you seem to be suggesting that a general shift in measuring times (presumably towards the colder part of the day) has caused a progressively increasing downward bias in recorded temperatures (over a large number of stations) and requires the upward TOB adjustment.

    I guess my point is, it would be nice to have an explanation in terms of cause and effect, rather than an explanation that says the model told us to do it.

  101. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

    re # 80 DWPittelli

    Time of day adjustments TOB.

    Many recording sites historically used revolving graph paper and a trace that showed just when max and min temps happened. No need for TOB corrections.

    Many early recording sites had thermometers that “fixed” the magnitude of the high/low by mechanical means (such as a metal peg in the tube of a mercury in glass). With these, there is a non-negligible probability that a temperature for one day could be recorded on the next if the temperature was taken close in time to a max or min. But such happenings should be rare because the people who took the temperatures were not stupid and would surely work out a time to minimise such carry-over.

    Modern instruments should make many readings a day so that there should be no reason to correct for time of observation.

    I am very much in the dark about the rationale for TOB adjustment and at first blush agree that over many stations in many places the averaged effect should not require a correction. Can anyone point me to more references that justify it please?

    There is a country complication with time of day. In some Arab countries, time used to be defined by where you were when the sun was directly overhead. So what does 8 am mean for that country? Also, there was a time when the whole of China was on one time zone. So if you correct observation times to 8 am, it is after sunrise in the East and still dark in the West.

    I am rather worried as well by trends in surface sea temps. The SST used to be measured by hauling a bucket of water to the deck of a ship and sticking a thermometer in it. Then reliance came to be placed on the intake temperature of cooling water for the engines of ships. Seems to me that bigger ships might draw from deeper down, so the near-surface temp gradient of the sea comes into the equation.

    Then AGW experts say that the sea is warming. Is there warming in the deepest trenches? They say not. Is there warming n00 metres down? Yes and no. Is there warming of the top decimeter? Possibly yes. Why is this important? Because (a) if sea level is to rise by thermal expansion, as a first approximation the AVERAGE temperature of ALL sea must rise (unless landlocked like the Mediterranean) and (b) when one compares SST with adjacent land temps over the years, just what SST is defined and used?

    As I have said about n+m times, the solution is not to try to second-guess effects and to apply corrections. The best method is to do contemporary micro experiments, like looking at the intake temps of a fleet of navy ships in formation, some big ones and some little ones. These micro experiments do not figure much in the literature compared with the voluminous post-hoc corrections, presumably because the author has to get up from the computer desk and actually go into the field. Like some scientists do.

    I wonder if anyone is data mining the records kept by aircraft as they ascend and descend? There must be a wealth of info over the years, to be corrected for TOB.

    Now, if you want a really wild card, consider this. The efficiency of the Carnot cycle as applied to car engines etc improves with the difference between intake temperature and combustion temp. If we have global warming going on everywhere, engines by the millions will consume more fuel and make more CO2. Positive feedback. Have not quantified it, but my speciality is stupid qualitative mind exercises.

    I learn the techniques from AGW papers.

    And from that Monty Python song “Worried, worried, worried.”

  102. MarkR
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 1:39 AM | Permalink

    In case it wasn’t just me who didn’t know:

    i.i.d

    Independent and identically-distributed random variables

    the 2-sigma confidence

    “68.3 percent of all readings of an ideal distribution scatter with 1 sigma, 95.4 percent with 2 sigma and 99.7 percent with 3 sigma around the mean. These values are important since they are used as standards for most statistical statements. It is thus important for a practitioner to measure and to incorporate his own readings critically so that they can refer to such an ideal distribution”

  103. Dodo
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 1:42 AM | Permalink

    In his artice “Scientific reticence and sea level rise” (2007) Hansen writes that while he was being questioned by a lawyer from the auto industry, he had to concede that he is no glaciologist. And to boot, he also had to admit that he doesn’t know a single glaciologist who would agree that sea level was likely to rise more than a meter this century in the business as usual –scenario.

    “Name one”, asked the lawyer. “I could not, instantly”, Hansen remembers. Now, one would expect that he names the names later in the article – but no, he mostly quotes himself, and spins into philosophical musings about the “reticence” of everybody else. This must be somewhat embarrassing for the scientists at GISS. Or maybe not.

  104. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    And one other thing, if changes to time of observation is introducing a cooling bias, surely that could only be for part of the year (spring or autumn depending on whether the change is to earlier or later in the day) and there would be a more or less equal and opposite warming bias for the other part of the year (i.e. in autumn if the cooling bias was in spring). Except in the tropics of course, where it is hard to see why a TOB would occur in the first place.

  105. VK Partha
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    I see that NASA has linked to Hansen’s diatribe “Lights Out” on an official Web page:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

    Hansen posts his diatribes on Columbia’s www server so as not to reflect official views, but the link would seem to cross the line of personal/official, no?

  106. Vernon
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

    This was a discussion over on RC and I think Gavin lays out pretty plainly the alarmist position:

    Why surfacestations.org is bad for this site:
    Hansen says in Hansen et al, (2001)

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2001/2001_Hansen_etal.pdf

    The GISS urban adjustment is dependent upon the accuracy of the temperature records of the unlit stations, so if the station history records and homogeneity adjustments for these stations are inaccurate or incomplete, this could alter the inferred urban warming.

    Well, now we have proof that Hansen’s lights=0 methodology does not work without actually checking the stations for asphalt, concrete, air conditioners, etc.

    [Response: "could" != "does". The latter requires a demonstration that the microsite issues actually add up to something. That has not been demonstrated in the slightest. - gavin]

    Comment by Vernon — 20 August 2007 @ 3:03 PM
    #

    Gavin, you show me proof that Hansen’s methodology which depends, per Hansen on ‘the accuracy of the temperature records of the unlit stations’ works when the accuracy is cast in doubt by the failure to follow NOAA and WMO siting standards is valid. The burden is on Hansen to show that his methodology is valid, not on anyone else. As you say Hansen could be right != Hansen was right. The latter requires a demonstration that the microsite issues do not add up to anything!

    [Response: You have it backwards. An analysis is done using the imperfect data that is available. A question is raised about an effect that was not specifically addressed but no quantitative assessment of its importance is made. Then you demand that this effect be proven to be zero. How do you think that could happen? (Remember you can't prove a negative). If however, you think there is a problem, quantify it! Do an analysis only using stations you think are good and see if it is the same as if you use all of them. That would be interesting. Conventional wisdom (which is not necessarily true of course) is that microsite issues mostly cancel out in the mean. The high correlation of nearby stations with each other, and the concurrence of plenty of other signs of warming, including the satellite data, all suggest that this is a reasonable assumption. The burden of proof that it isn't is on you. - gavin]

    Comment by Vernon — 20 August 2007 @ 5:40 PM
    #

    Gavin, you are making statements which you have no proof of. If you do please cite the study that proves your position. The burden of proof is on the person that did the study. What is showing is that Hansen’s methodology for UHI is questionable and no it is not on me to prove he is wrong, it on him to prove he is right and surfacestations.org is showing that for Hansen’s study, there is no proof the data is accurate. I am not the one making the claim, that would be Hansen. I am not basing my model on data that is under contention and not willing to admit it.

    [Response: Hansen's 2001 study was to try and remove the effect of UHI, not microsite effects. In that study, they found the average US trend of urban stations to be 0.3 deg C/century greater than the trend of the rural stations (and then adjusted for it so that it didn't affect the final graphs). What claim do you think I or Hansen are making without proof? - gavin]

    Comment by Vernon — 20 August 2007 @ 8:20 PM

    I really cannot see how any scientist can take Gavin’s position. But in lite of Hansen’s rants, I am beginning to think we are no longer dealing with scientist, but rather high priests of the new religion.

  107. MarkW
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

    Looks like Gavin doesn’t understand what rounding errors are, and how they can devastate repeated calculations if you don’t handle them properly.

  108. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 5:14 AM | Permalink

    Re# 108

    And that in a nutshell is climate modeling.

  109. MarkW
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    Recent science has shown that the Gulf stream has very little impact on the climate of Europe.
    Case in point. London’s climate is very similar to that of Seattle, both on on the ocean at almost the same latitude. There’s no Gulf Stream equivalent in the Pacific.

  110. Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I have read Hansen’s paper, speach or whatever in Iowa that you linked, but couldn’t find any specific reference to nuclear energy. Maybe you speculate on the basis that he says using the renewables will not be sufficient?

  111. MarkW
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    Even a 60W bulb puts out a fair bit of heat. As long as your reading is not taken near the high or low for the day, it shouldn’t matter, unless the bulb is left on. But if the reading is taken a few minutes before the high or the low, then the residual heat from the bulb, even if it was only on for a minute or two, would be enough to affect the next days reading.

  112. MarkW
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

    Keep Hansen at Nasa, but give him an assistant to handle the complicated things, like storing his data and methods.

  113. bernie
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 6:22 AM | Permalink

    #96 Philip
    That is an intriguing chart. I agree with you that the more recent upward TOB adjustments are hard to fathom. I would have thought the newer equipment would have seriously mitigated the need for such adjustments and why would they be upwards – doesn’t that assume that the time of observations is at the coldest part of the day? Do the Karl papers have examples at the station level?

  114. Carter
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    Hansen’s rant makes me think more of Kevin Bacon’s character Chip Diller at the end of Animal House, except Hansen’s mantra is “All is not well! All is not well!” If your science, especially the data supporting your science, is sound, it will stand up to criticism. If your data is corrupt, the science will crash down around you like an avalanche of beakers containing cold fusion reactions.
    As soon as scientists begin to massage the data, they have to be very careful not to impart their own biases into the analysis. That’s where peer review comes in, to backstop the analysis and resulting conclusions. BASIC science. To say that Hansen has a vested interest (and resulting conflict of interest) is obvious. As long as he plays the petulant child and won’t let anyone else play with his toys (prove that your algorithms are valid, son!), his conclusions remain suspect.

  115. Stan Palmer
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    ftom 106

    Conventional wisdom (which is not necessarily true of course) is that microsite issues mostly cancel out in the mean. The high correlation of nearby stations with each other, and the concurrence of plenty of other signs of warming, including the satellite data, all suggest that this is a reasonable assumption. The burden of proof that it isn’t is on you. – gavin]

    I’ll be the one to point this out. Gavin relies on the worth of “conventional wisdom” in climate science.

    “Conventional wisdom” in climate science did not notice that there was a fundamental error in surface station measurements for 6 years. Six years of press releases about new findings using the data and no one thought to check it. The worth of climate science “conventional wisdom” has sharply decreased in the last few weeks.

  116. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    I particularly like Hansen’s brief slip into candor when he says:

    I believe that these people are not stupid, instead they seek to create a brouhaha and muddy the waters in the climate change story.

    Might this be a Freudian slip in that he inadvertantly admitted that he is telling a “story?” It really is quite a good story to hear Hansen tell it. It has the heros: Hansen and his friends. It also has a group of villians who dare to dissagree with the heros. The heros in this story act a bit out of character since most storybook heros do not resort to ad hominem arguments.

  117. Frank K.
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    Re: 105

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

    Wow! I had to see this to believe it:

    “*** What’s New ***
    Please see “A Light On Upstairs?” for discussions regarding the changes made on August 7, 2007 for 2000-2006 annual mean, U.S. mean temperatures.”

    This is the way NASA/GISS “discusses” modifications to its temperature histories?! I think they’ve finally reached the tipping point over there…

  118. MarkW
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

    Since most microsite issues result in hotter readings, it’s hard to believe that they will cancel out if you just use enough sites.
    Secondly, the fact that there is a correlation between sites could also mean that both sites have equivalent microsite issues.

    Gavin is as usual, grasping at straws and using the fact that he controls who is allowed to respond to help cover this up.

  119. MarkW
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

    #117,

    This reminds me of a reporter commenting on the Duke rape fiasco.

    “The narrative was right, we just had some of the facts wrong.”

  120. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

    Gavin Schmidt emailed me last night observing that Hansen et al Figure 6 shows U.S. temperature history on a meteorological year basis (DN) while Hansen et al 2001 page 22 shows US temperature history on a calendar year basis and that there is a more precise comparandum in Hansen et al 1999 Plate A2. I’ve asked Hans Erren to digitize this figure and will re-issue the Figure showing the differences when I obtain that data. I’ve also asked Gavin to provide me with direct digital versions.

    I also asked Gavin for his recommendation for a clear derivation of 2.5 deg C from doubled CO2.

  121. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

    RE 112.

    I can’t believe they didn’t do checks before or after reading the data in,especially
    since they are ingesting data from NOAA.

    Every once in a while comparing records from two sites I’ve seen nice correlations
    that appear to be time shifted, like one was a month off or a year off.. looked like
    a one-off error, but without code it’s just a speculation. wasnt systematic.

    Done properly we’d start with USHCN records and work frm the bottom up.

  122. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    RE 122.

    SteveMc.

    Stupid question time.

    Hansen 1999 writes:

    “A first quality check was to flag all monthly data that differed more than five standard
    deviations (5sig) from the long-term mean for that month, unless one of the nearest five neighboring
    stations had an anomaly of the same sign for the same month that was at least half as large. Data
    were also flagged if the record had a jump discontinuity, specifically if the means for two 10 year
    periods differed by more than 3sig. ”

    Why didnt this proceedure catch the problem?

    Can’t this approach be easily simulated and tested. In order words take the “bad data”
    before the fix, and run it through this simple test.

    if the test catches the bad data, then something is mesed up with GISSTEMP code.
    if the test doesnt catch the bad data, then the test is too liberal

    I can’t believe they didn’t do checks before or after reading the data in,especially
    since they are ingesting data from NOAA.

    Every once in a while comparing records from two sites I’ve seen nice correlations
    that appear to be time shifted, like one was a month off or a year off.. looked like
    a one-off error, but without code it’s just a speculation. wasnt systematic.

    Done properly we’d start with USHCN records and work frm the bottom up.

  123. BarryW
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    I understand how TOB would affect temps if taken near a max or min, but wouldn’t this only affect the dailies or the monthly average? Absolute max and min for the month would still be the same reguardless of double counting.

  124. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    The daily max and min enter into the monthly averages; it’s not the monthly max and monthly min.

  125. Jeff
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    Hansen perhaps shouldn’t be fired, I agree that would aid his matrydom. But he should be replaced as the head of his department, and relegated to a lesser role. make him quit if he can’t deal with it. After all, he’s made major mistakes, he should be penalized for poor job performance.

  126. Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    Re #122

    I’d suggest that some protocols be proposed and those interested select a few USHCN stations of their interest to take a good look at the available data and put it in the surfacestations.org data base both graphically and in spreadsheet and original formats. SS.org has some links to state x state, station x station data from NOAA (corrected in some fashion, I believe). When the better/best protocols are Id’d, adopt a more common approach and get ‘er done.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/r3d/ushcn/statemean.html

  127. BarryW
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    Re 124

    I’m not sure I made myself clear. What I was trying to say is that if you had the raw daily max and min values for the whole month you could plot the highest and lowest values (the extremes not max and min averages), these would not be affected by the TOB (i.e. double counting would have no effect). I’m not sure what a plot like that would tell you (assuming you could get that data), but wouldn’t they show the same trends as the average? Assuming the distrbutions are the same.

  128. Bob KC
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Re. 106

    I really cannot see how any scientist can take Gavin’s position.

    I agree. I saw these comments at RC. I was not too suprised, but I was very disappointed.

    If a skeptic were using these sites to create a global temperature trend that minimized warming, Gavin would be all over the microsite issues.

  129. Vernon
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    I finally understand why it is not possible to discuss the science or lack of, IRT climate change. These are from RC where Gavin seems to always have a reply to anything that does not support CO2 AGW, so logically, he must support these views:

    Luckily for lost, confused souls such as myself, James Hansen (who is a great guru not only among scientists but also among philosophers) has done a fine job, in my humble opinion.

    The more I read, the more I reach the conclusion that Hansen has an agenda and is not letting science get in his way, sort of like Mann, Jones, etc.

    Then I said, forget all the computer models. They are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the argument of global warming. They are important for understanding things and predictive quality but it’s getting warm outside. Everyone feels it. Everyone says hey this weather seems quite different than when I was young.

    I believe this under scores the issue… it is no longer about science. It is about feelings. It is no longer the scientific method. It is about religious dogma.

    It would appear that scientific discourse is not going to resolve this issue.

  130. Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    RE: #130

    Referring to Teapot Dome just reminds me that Occidental (long a Gore Family connection) got it’s hands on at least part of the Elk Hills reserve while ManBearPig was VP.

  131. Peter Hartley
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    Re quote in #129

    The other critical phrase here is “this weather seems quite different than when I was young.” He is speaking here to the baby-boomers who have the reins of power right now — not just in governments but also in corporations. Of course the weather is different than when they were young. They were young in the late 1960s and early 1970s — at the trough of the mid-century global cooling. Talking about climate change rings true to these people because it fits with their experience — just like the people who speak with Inuit in northern Canada can readily have them recall how things have changed “over their adult lifetimes” ie. in the last 30+ years. If you speak with people (like my father) who were alive in the 1930s, however, they will confirm that the 1930s were hotter than the end of the twentieth century — and this is not just in the US — my father is from Australia.

  132. windansea
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    “we have to get rid of the medieval warming period”

    and they have, I can’t find a graph at GISS NASA going back further than 1880

  133. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    105, the last version of that had the two charts (with significantly different Y-axis) side-by-side. Now, one’s on top of the other. They were called on the different Y axis, and refused to change it. I think it was too obvious when they were side-by-side that they were comparing apples and oranges, so they pulled this shenanigan.

    C’mon, Jim. You yourself said we’re not stupid. Enough with the cheap tricks, ok?

  134. Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    Stephen, Please contact me at my email address. I’m intrigued by your findings and as a reporter, I’d like to do a brief five minute interview with you on the subject.
    Thanks.

  135. Bob Meyer
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    RE: 105

    Hansen posts his diatribes on Columbia’s www server so as not to reflect official views, but the link would seem to cross the line of personal/official, no?

    There can be no distinction between official and personal because like Louis XIV Hansen believes “Le NASA c’est moi”.

  136. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    119, it reminds me of Dan Rather’s famous “fake, but accurate”. Same idea. Don’t confuse me with the facts, because the conclusions are right.

  137. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    120, I can tell right now what his answer is going to be, if he gives you an answer about the doubling of CO2. 2.5 is in the middle of the IPCC range. It can’t be rigorously calculated, it involved a WAG of the feedback effect.

  138. Gunnar
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    >> it is no longer about science. It is about feelings. It is no longer the scientific method. It is about religious dogma.

    You’re just realizing this now? The scientific method was never part of this. There will always be charlatans trying to scam people. You can’t really blame them. But when large groups of people assume they are acting in good faith, do not demand a working hypothesis, nor demand the scientific method, and concede logical points 1-20, and start arguing the details about point 21, declaring everything about 1-20 as “settled science”, and “off-topic”, and “all educated people agree on that”, I wonder who the bigger fools are?

  139. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    129, those are Schmidt’s words (first quote) and Hansen’s words (second quote)?

  140. Vernon
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    RE: 141 Neither Larry, they are words from RC’s new thread. Since Gavin is quick to slap down anything he does not agree with, I can only assume he agrees with these views.

  141. Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    Re 106:

    Hansen is paid to do research by NASA, it is his responsibility, not those doing the “peer” review identifying potential sources of error in his methodology.

    Now if NASA would like to fund surfacestations.org…? Rather than lights, night-time thermal imaging might be more telling, after all we’re talking about more heat than light (seems what this whole subject generates).

    Hansen reminds me of Allan Sandage (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Sandage) who spent his career trying to prove the Hubble constant is 42 (yes there is a “hitchikers guide to the galaxy” pun there) because 42 gives what Sandage feels is a ripe old age to the universe — 20 billion years — time enough for everything to happen (makes the physics easier). Sandage spent a lot effort pointing out biases in other’s work (work that has led to the current estimate of the Hubble constant now hovering closer to 80) to try and bring their results back down closer to 42 — not as much looking for biases in his own work that would briing his estimate up.

    By doing diligent peer review, from his personal intellectual biased position, Sandage stimulates others to better research. And that is what it’s all about, science is (by my lights) “adversarial”, not concensual — much like law — in the pursuit of “truth”.

    So Hansen and Gavin need to go back and re-read Karl Popper and James Madison.

  142. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    132, There may be a slightly noticable difference in climate, but when they say that it “feels” warmer, and we know that the average has only come up by a fraction of a degree, what I think is really happening is a variation on the placebo effect. If you tell a bunch of boomers that it’s warmer now than 30 years ago, they’ll subconsciously adjust their memories to remember that. It’s easy to make climate hypochondriacs out of people who have a penchant for drama.

  143. bernie
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    Steve (#120)
    It was nice of Gavin to offer a clarification — but besides the appropriate standardizing of the charts, how on earth would the shift change the position of the two red dots and, ergo, the main point.
    I await the explanation of the 2.5C number.

  144. Magnus
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    Re#95 Geoff Sherrington: “In fig 2 at the start of this thread … 15 small peaks … average 8 years apart … Nature or Mathematics?”

    This repeated fluctuation should be due to the solar cycles and are notable in other charts. They are between 9 and 13 years (meassure the spikes more in detail). Math – a transparent tool – shall not reflect biases or spikes apart from the data (nature …and adjustments?), and not even Hansen can create these spikes, I think. Eh… but in this thread Hansen can, of course!

    Some explanation and graphs on the solar cycles in this document, posted by windsansea #66:

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/Conf2007/Archibald2007.pdf

    Re#79 O2converter: My thoughts on this document:
    “1. The Sun drives climate”. At least a lot, yes. “[I]t will be colder next decade by 2.0 degrees”. We can’t say it’s gonna be 2.0 degrees colder. A guess was based on best guess from an experienced scientist. Other scientists in the field think the best prediction for solar cycle 24 is slightly below medium. When cycle 24 starts matters; if early a stronger cycle, and vice versa. Cycle 24 is predicted to start between May 2007 and May 2009, best guess May 2008 (Lundstedt et al). But even if we knew we can’t say what the temperature result will be. Ocean currents, brown clouds and other things affect temperature as well. But sun activity I believe is one of the major climate force.

    2. “carbon dioxide effect … too small to be measured.” Here only +0.2 C from double concentration CO2, but Lindzén say +1.1 C and Stephen Schwartz say 0.6 C (see http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/08/stephen-schwartz-brookhaven-climate.html) and so forth. (In IPCC’s trashy models positive feedbacks plays a major role, but many pshysicists are sceptical to these.)

    Point 3 and 4 I think are very accurate. Hopefully we’ll have good crops and less starvation. (Not even a creation destruction?)

  145. windansea
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    interesting

    wikipedia lists 17 scientific papers proving that the MWP happened with one dissenting cite…NOAA, which cites the Mann hockey stick as proof it didn’t happen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period#_note-15

  146. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

    more TOBS stuff

    http://www.tc.cornell.edu/research/compag/IJOC041012.pdf

  147. Fred
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    Hansen is explained very easily

    He uses AlGoreIthms.

  148. windansea
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    Magnus at #146

    The charts by Archibald on sunspot correlations to hot and cold periods are quite good, if he is right about the length of current cycle #23 being a pre cursor to cooling (as #20 caused 70s cooling scare, and previous longer term cycles causing the little ice age) then a lot of AGWers will have some egg on their faces.

  149. Vernon
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    I do not understand TOBS adjustments. If the actual temperature does not matter and they are only using the trends, then what does it matter when the reading is taken, other than it be taken consistently?

    If the TOBS changes for the station, then just treat the station is new.

    It just seems like this is an excuse to adjust the data to meet some agenda.

  150. Magnus
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    windansea: Yes :) The “some below medium”-prediction for solar cycle 24 (from most scientists) implies that solar cycle 25 will be even weaker. So if solar cycle 24 don’t starts before May 2008 a smell of rotten egg can be expected, or?

  151. Dodo
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    Over at RC’s long temperature thread, Gavin Schmidt writes (in item 483) about possible cooling biases at individual meteorological stations:

    [Response: Think about this. If a tree grows, or a station is moved from the south side to the north side of a building, if you go from a city centre to an airport, if you ‘do the right thing’ and get rid of the asphalt etc… all of these will have the add a cooling artifact to the record. Assumptions that all siting issues are of one sign is simply incorrect. - gavin]

    OK, let’s think. If a tree grows and casts a shadow, it may cool the soil at the thermometer site. (The sensor itself is behind a screen anyway.) But this does not apply for the arctic and semi-arctic winters, when growing trees could be warming due to reduced wind and albedo effects.

    Then, if a station is moved from the south side of a building to the north side, a grave error is made. Schmidt should know by now that the only decent thing would be to move the thermometer at least 100 feet AWAY from buildings. The fact that he speculates on the possibility of someone actually moving a station to the other “side” of a building shows how climate modelling specialists have been alienated from actual fieldwork. (This is no surprise; I once talked to a climate modeller who was unable to identify a rain gauge on the roof of the institute he works at.)

    And about the airport: GS thinks that moving a station from the city center to the airport also brings about a “cooling artefact”. Well, this may well be, depending on the center and the airport. I happen to live in a city where the central weather station is in a big park in the center, and it shows consistently lower temperatures than the one at the airport.

    Last point, getting rid of the asphalt, would of course be the right thing to do. But would that really amount to “adding a cooling artefact”, or shouldn’t we rather say that, it just removes a warming bias. As to GS’ concluding sentence, it presents a false dichotomy. The point is that more station histories are likely to include warming instead of cooling artefacts.

  152. Bill
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    #1: Hansen’s reference to usufruct seems less related to Jeffersonian legal doctrine than to the medieval monasterial or Biblical concepts of sharing the fruits of… as in “all of the creatures of creation” share in the fruits of the earth. The creeping juxtaposition of environmentalist and religious rhetoric is something our host obviously notes with “Jermiad” and it is worth watching. Hansen derides solar explanations of temperature spikes:

    There is a well-oiled Senator from Alaska, a state that is beginning to melt, who cannot deny the warming, but he invokes pseudoscience and says that it is all due to the sun, the sun is flickering! (Aug. 5 rally in Iowa to re-energize the envireligious base).

    The constant sun is as old as religious fears of the “extermination of species”, catastrophic rains and floods, and “end of Creation”. And the more placative “stewardship for the Earth and all Creation” language resonates deeply – if you’re willing to suspend all disbelief. It’s astonishing. When have we ever seen such ham-handed attempts to wed science with religion?

  153. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    This whole frukus reminds me of this oldie but goodie:

  154. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    And Jimmy – here’s your tempest in a teapot dome:

  155. Stan Palmer
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    [Response: Think about this. If a tree grows, or a station is moved from the south side to the north side of a building, if you go from a city centre to an airport, if you ‘do the right thing’ and get rid of the asphalt etc… all of these will have the add a cooling artifact to the record. Assumptions that all siting issues are of one sign is simply incorrect. - gavin]

    In engineering, there is a technical term for this form of reasoning. It is called “arm waving” — i.e. reasoning without benefit of empirical data, or mathematical or logical formalism

    However to be more precise, this is, in reality, a specialized form of “arm waving” called “tap dancing.” When one’s favorite results is shown to have been based on six years use of incorrect data that was not detected internally but by an outsider, then one does not want to admit a mistake then one can “tap dance.”

  156. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    156, more to the point, what he’s saying boils down to something like “there are so many things wrong, that the errors have to be as negative as positive, so they all cancel out”.

    I wish instrumentation was that simple. Take an instrument that isn’t worth poop, take lots of readings, average them, and you get high accuracy and precision. Pretty cool, huh? Why spend money on good instruments when you can get perfect readings by averaging readings from cheap ones?

  157. C_G_K
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    Hansen seems to have forgotten one of the most important lessons about science. That is, we often learn more from dissenters and contrary evidence than we ever could from the consensus. By turning this into a crusade to “save creation”, he is leaving the realm of science and entering the world of politics and activism.

  158. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    I’m not saying you may not write out an algorithm in plain language, yes, you may. For some things it works and is helpful (“can”) and for some things it doesn’t work or it’s not helpful (“can’t”). There’s always various ways to do things. The point is that if we need a full blown paper to describe a process in English, and there’s all sorts of bits of undocumented code, it’s a case of “can’t”. I’m not trying to argue how things are done or not, just that in this case, it doesn’t appear simple enough to write it in plain language as steps. Remember, it’s “a finite list of well-defined instructions for accomplishing some task.” If it’s not well-defined instructions, it’s not an algorithm.

    But that’s not even the issue anyway so it doesn’t matter what it is or how it is. Creating a method from the description is not the goal, auditing the code to see if it is doing what’s described is the goal.

    We don’t know what’s actually in the routines, just how it’s said to work. Two different things.

    Sure, the code is “probably” a lot of bits and pieces of undocumented messy bits as somebody’s mentioned in another topic, and Gavin has indeed said it is. It’s a case (if I understand it correctly) of working scientists coding on the fly informally, not programmers with a project. The issue is that whatever shape it’s in, Steve’s willing to take it and verify it from his area of expertise and they refuse to give it to him.

    I’ve seen it mentioned that Steve might complain “it’s messy” (already a non-issue) or there might be something majorly wrong (the point) or something minor will be found and taken by the media and used as if it’s something huge again (a possibility but not an excuse), or that this will start endless bickering (you mean like the ones already happening?). That insignficiant rounding errors, numbers of significant digits, margins of error, which of 5 choices is the proper way to do something, and the like, will lead to endless arguments (no need to argue about it).

    Or maybe Steve will turn it into documented out of the box code in the process for them. Who knows.

    I can only think of one real reason to not give it out: Those that have it understand Steve finds things that are wrong all the time. And they don’t want that to happen. My opinion.

    As I mentioned in the other topic, these are basicially the excuses, excuse me, reasons that have been given for why no code:

    We give out a lot of other stuff, so we’re not giving McIntyre the code. People always want more so we’re not giving McIntyre the code. The papers describing what we do are enough, so we’re not giving McIntyre the code. The dumps are impenetrable and undocumented, so we’re not giving McIntyre the code. Algorithms not in code or pseudocode but described are more valuable, so we’re not giving McIntyre the code.

    What I hear is “We don’t want McIntyre to audit the code, so we’re not giving it to him.”

  159. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    The code may very well be messy. One more reason for it to be audited. If crappy spaghetti code is open to the public, maybe a few of these AGW alarmist computer nerd types might be persuaded that NASA doesn’t walk on water and that Hansen isn’t a holy prophet. And if they were forced to tidy their code for publication, maybe they’d be a little more careful of what it contains.

    Of course, they don’t want to do it. Too much like work.

  160. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    re: #144 Larry,

    I think is really happening is a variation on the placebo effect.

    There’s probably some of that, but I think it’s more a variety of UHI effect. The difference in temperature readings between cities and small towns and rural areas can easily be several degrees and be easily noticed. When your realize that most people in modern societies have either moved from rural to urban areas or live in areas which have changed from being rural or suburban to urban, then most people will now be in areas which are, on average, several degrees warmer. So it’s primarily a statistical bias, not a emotive one.

  161. Sam
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    This entire TOB conversation is a demonstration of how fallacious the entire concept of determining a global mean temperature really is. If the high temperature is only achieved for a short time, say less than half an hour, and then the temperature drops significantly to where the vast majority of a day is at the lower level, the average doesn’ denote at all what the actual temperature is. To be more accurate, and more truly descriptive of what temperature is doing, a continuous scale of hundreds of readings throughout the day that are then averaged, would be required.

    The min/max average currently being used regardless of the TOB issue, is completely meaningless and if anything only misleading.

  162. Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    re 152:

    Gavin assertion about cooling biases assumes that there are as many cooling biases as there are warming biase — that the biases are symmetrical. This is an assertion — where is the evidence? The philosophical underpinning of AGW that anything man does warms the climate argues against Gavin holding the contrary position on biases. The mere fact of measuring something (like temperture) implies a non-symmetric bias because any energy consuming man made activity gives off waste heat (I have yet to see waste cooling). therfore the biases will always be to the warming side.

    Just look at the white shelter that contains the thermometers … bias the readings to warm by restricting air flow, so to fix that aspirators are added (motors), and light bulbs so you can read the thermometer in the shelter, and of course it’s best to have it near a habitation, smothering it in waste heat from the air conditioning, and the cars parked near by.

    All biases errors are not symmertic. It is up to Gavin to prove his assertion that there are as many man-made cooling biases as warming biases.

    In astronomy it is well known that biases are not symmetric, because it’s easier to see brighter galaxies than fainter ones, so fainter ones are typically undercounted. Its called Malmquist bias, astronomers spend a lot of effort to correct for it (see prior referenct to Allan Sandage, it was one of his favorite sticks for beating the Hubble Constant down to 42).

  163. Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    I find it incredible that scientists such as Mann, Jones and now Hansen can produce results and findings based on data that they refuse to release. It should not be for blogs such as Climateaudit to seek the release of this data but the governments, universities and organisations who have a moral duty to ensure that science is replicatable. Without their voices being heard in a deafening noise which insists that science must be replicatable those governments, universities and organisations are supporting the return of faith as a basis for our beliefs. That the world seems quiet on these issues is the biggest threat to mankind not AGW.

  164. Stan Palmer
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    http://sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=7153D5DF-E7F2-99DF-37924C99716751C4&sc=WR_20070821

    Hansen may regard this as the destruction of creation but the “Scientific American” (not the old distinguished magazine but the new dumbed-down version) notes that it came from “Climate data dabbler” Steve McIntyre retired mining executive and that NASA brushed it off.

    Destruction of creation or something that can be brushed off — even NASA is confused.

  165. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    Re: #65

    When I talk to ordinary people about AGW, which is very rarely, but there response is often “global warming? bring it on!”. That is, the commoners quite like the idea of warmer winters. This must be a big factor in the lack of traction. I don’t see “big oil” doing much of anything actually.

    Here in the Chicago land we had our local meteorologist point out one day not long ago that the number of over 90 degree days was declining over the past several decades. A day later a local newspaper pointed out the significant warming trends we have experienced over the past few decades in the Chicago land. A day after the newspaper statement I heard a radio sports jockey point out what he saw (simplistically) as a contradiction in these 2 revelations. It was not a contradiction. Our extreme temperature summer days are going down while warmer winter days are increasing sufficiently to give a relatively large overall warming trend. Not many Chicagoans (in their right minds) are going to complain about this warming situation.

    It is dealing with this local experience that I think baffles some climate scientists and their spokespersons. They tend to think in terms of a global average temperature anomaly increasing and the adverse conditions that they attempt to attach to that such as more frequent and intense hurricanes, droughts and extreme weather in general.

    Beyond the local experiences, I think that selling a real mitigation of suspected AGW becomes even more difficult when the voting public understands and/or feels the price to be paid. I would judge that eventually they will demand more certain evidence and assurances that the pill is not worse than the disease.

    I think that the IPCC’s more recent approach acknowledges that a demonstration of extreme climate events is needed to get past the “talking the talk without walking the walk” stage of climate mitigation. Getting past the voting public’s inhibition for spending money for the benefit of future generations without some detailed explanation of need will be the next road block and a roadblock, I think anticipated by some of the climate scientists/spoke persons in their attempts to divert the attack from the voting public (a political no no) to the more susceptible “greedy and profits for the moment” business persons. I do not think in the end this tactic will or can prevail, but in the meantime we have a prominent scientist, like Hansen, evidently willing and desperate enough to come off as a bit of a McCarthyite in attempts to use this diversion.

  166. SteveSadlov
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    RE: #105 – I once received one of those “political” chain emails. Within the email thread, were expressions of treasonous and criminal notions, written by people with NASA email addresses.

  167. SteveSadlov
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    RE: #143 – For the past few years, we have done quite a bit of skiing in the Spring at various California ski resorts. During the last couple of months of each season, they are clearly struggling due to lack of patronage. The public at large imagine bare rock and grass in March. They don’t think to even check the resorts’ web sites or look at weather reports for the areas beyond urban coastal California, because they expect “killer AGW” to have taken its course …. it is here, it is now, etc. The saddest thing was the winter of 2004 – 05 where they closed with 5 feet of snow left.

  168. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    Sam, Leon, Kenneth, that’s exactly it. 30 minutes at 100 and 6 hours at 30, or the # cooling biases = # warming biases assumption. How in depth does anyone look at either, and how can we check it? Do the numbers alone tell us that the hot days are getting colder less than the cold days are getting warmer? Or if both are going up or down? Some things need to be quantified.

    Paul it’s not the data they aren’t releasing, it’s a copy of what they currently use to process it.

  169. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    Here is what I think has happened with the TOB adjustment.

    The model used to estimate the TOB uses a sample of actual data and finds a real TOB in the sample. This not hard to understand if the sample is sufficiently small or uses data from only one part of the year.

    As far as I can determine the model (used to determine TOB) uses only data for January in a small number of years.

    The time of observation was determined at each station within a climate division during January of the years 1931, 1941, 1951, 1965, 1975, and 1984 for the states of California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, and Washington.

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/USclimate/Data/

    Any given month of the year will likely have a consistent and real TOB, which would be absent from the average of all months in the year, as a consistent time of observation will result in more or less equal warming and cooling biases over the year.

    It seems they have taken the bias they found in a sample of Januaries and applied it to the whole year (inappropriately IMO).

    This explains where the adjustment has come from, but not why it has progressively increased since 1950.

  170. PeterS
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    James Hansen – A Modern-day Don Quixote? (a Sermon for a Mole Hill)

    Hansen’s document “The Real Deal: Usufruct & the Gorilla” is a remarkable response to the flaws discovered in the GISS temperature graphs and one which could well become something of a literary classic among the Saved children, grandchildren, and unborn who might, one-day, look back at it’s contents in bemusement. In it, Hansen quickly focuses in on the “dogged contrarians” who’s aim it is – he tells us – to “make a mountain out of a mole hill”.

    As mountains go, of course, mole hills don’t make very good ones. Hansen’s plea to the public NOT to make a mountain out of the mole hill of the adjusted temperature figures is all very well… until we realise that it is Steve McIntyre’s thorough statistical analysis that is actually making mole hills out of Hansen’s mountains. Anyone setting out to save “Creation” needs his mountains intact – if his heroic task is in reducing them to mole hills. If science and Steve McIntyre is already achieving this, then our gallant Knight will have been robbed… not only of his mountains, but also of his pre-destined place in history.

    Further along the adventure, Hansen fails to notice that his frequently mentioned “jesters” are, of course, more normally associated not with “jousting” but with “joking” (unless poking-fun can be described as a good joust). Any curious reader of his document may be left wondering if Hansen’s over-concern with the presence of jesters in his “story” may be less to do with fighting jousts and more to do with a fear of WHO might end up as the butt of their jokes. As Don Quixote discovered, saving a world in fear is far more self-aggrandising than saving a world in fits of laughter – and when it comes to quixotic delusions, setting off to do battle with a collection of captains, gorillas and large mountains is not a very promising start.

  171. PaddikJ
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    RE: 129 & subsequents:

    Everyone feels it. Everyone says hey this weather seems quite different than when I was young.

    This is astonishing; not just because Hansen wrote it, but because it is almost a word-for-word replica of a convenient, sardonic straw-man that I’ve used on friends and family members who’ve been gulled by the AGW Crusade. I tell them something like “So – since it’s warmer in [insert geo-region here] than when we were kids, that means there is a serious, long-term, and dangerous global warming underway, and humans are to blame?”

    Curiously, I’ve yet to hear a “Well, gee, when you look at it that way . . .”, but instead get responses more along the lines of “Are you crazy!? All of the responsible scientists agree – we’re all gonna fry!”

    And now I learn that Hansen has uttered in perfect seriousness what I’ve been using because it’s the flimsiest straw-man I could concoct.

    I need a scotch.

  172. Larry
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    173, that wasn’t Hansen who said that, but no one at RC commented, either.

  173. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

    Re: #169

    Sam, Leon, Kenneth, that’s exactly it. 30 minutes at 100 and 6 hours at 30, or the # cooling biases = # warming biases assumption. How in depth does anyone look at either, and how can we check it? Do the numbers alone tell us that the hot days are getting colder less than the cold days are getting warmer? Or if both are going up or down? Some things need to be quantified.

    Sam U, your point also leads us, for full appreciation of local climate change and not some distance and unfathomable global anomaly, to need to know local temperatures accurately and precisely and not in terms of an adjustment that makes regional and global averaging better.

  174. John M.
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    Re: 171 & 172

    You do realize that the recent adjustments made by NASA do not fundamentally invalidate the underlying premise of the AGW crowd that more CO2 in the atmosphere leads to a warmer climate don’t you?

  175. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 21, 2007 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    Re #170 My understanding has changed.

    The January samples are used to estimate Time of Observation, which is then used to calculate TOB for each month at each station. Which is fair enough if your objective is to remove TOB from monthly data, because monthly biases could be significant. Removal of monthly biases seems to have been the clear purpose of the technique.

    Reference Karl, et al. (1986): “A model to estimate the time of observation bias associated with monthly mean maximum, minimum, and mean temperatures for the United States”

    The problem is that the method is being used to adjust annual temps (whether directly or indirectly by averaging the adjusted monthly values). As discussed previously, over a year or multiple years TOB should be very small, for practical purposes zero. So if the TOB calculated by the method over a year or several years averages to a non-zero value, is this because of bias/noise in the estimating method rather than cumulative time of observation bias? Unless someone can explain how cumulative TOBs can occur in the real world, I have to conclude the TOB adjustments to annual data results from bias/noise in the estimating method.

  176. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 2:01 AM | Permalink

    Re # 145 Magnus

    Bumps in the data of temp vers year, fig 2 at start.

    Thank you for your response. I have played around with sunspot patterns before and I raised these bumps in the graph because they did NOT seem to be 11-year or so rhythms. Had they been 11-12 years I would not have commented. They look more like 8 years to me. Any more theories?
    Geoff

  177. Vernon
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 2:23 AM | Permalink

    RE: 175 No what it means is that while I totally agree there is warming. I do not agree that it is accelerating. The only thing that shows accelerated warming is the instrumented readings and these three facts:

    -Hansen’s lights = 0 methodology does not detect rural
    -The GISS process does not detect and correct station errors
    -The US surface stations are not sited IAW WMO/NOAA/NWS standards

    Cast doubts on Hansen’ UHI off-set. The instrumented reading’s accelerated warming could just be artifact of Hansen’s error. Further, what other errors are not being detected or corrected by GISS?

    This could go a long way to answering some of the divergence issue which even the IPCC in chapter six of the TAR 4 (2007) admit exists.

  178. Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:33 AM | Permalink

    Re #120,

    Steve, I had a similar question to Gavin Schmidt:

    Is there any period in history which can prove that different forcings have the same sensitivity of 0.75 K/W/m2? All I can see is that in most periods, including ice ages/interglacials, there is a huge overlap of forcings, where CO2 in the past was a feedback of temperature changes. And the above sensitivity is based mainly on solar/insolation changes (at least initially). Which isn’t necessarely similar for CO2 or other greenhouse gases.

    To which Gavin responded:

    [Response: Effectively yes. The response to volcanic eruptions has been used to determine sensitivity - that is relatively clean, volcanic+solar was used by Crowley (2000) and Hegerl et al (2006), the transient effects of GHGs+ ice sheets was looked at in Hansen’s latest. The PETM CO2+CH4 estimates and response were looked at by in a paper of mine (though you get a reasonable match, that isn’t as good a constraint). All of these are consistent with efficacies close to unity. - gavin]

    There are several problems with that answer:

    Volcanic eruptions have their main effect in the stratosphere by absorbing/scattering sunlight and are not directly comparable for effect with man-made aerosols, which are released in the lower troposphere. Stratospheric changes (solar/volcanic) influence the jet stream position and cloud/rain patterns more than tropospheric changes… Further, cloud feedback seems to be slightly negative (while models mostly implement positive feedbacks), see Forster and Gregory.

    Crowley 2000 was based on MBH99 and Crowley and Lowery, both with very small pre-industrial temperature variations. Hegerl ea. 2006 was based on different proxy reconstructions again with relative small pre-industrial variations (be it larger than MBH and Crowley). Anyway, large natural variability (mainly solar) in the past (like in Moberg 2005) results in higher sensitivity for solar/volcanic and lower sensitivity for GHGs/aerosols in order to fit the past temperature trend…

    Hansen used the full temperature change between ice ages and interglacials to calculate a general climate sensitivity for forcings, there we have mostly an overlap of forcings (CO2 follows temperature changes), but in the Eemian-LGM-Holocene period there is no measurable influence of CO2 changes (at the end of the Eemian), neither a measurable feedback of CO2 changes in the LGM-Holocene transition.

    Last but not least, Pagani ea. found extreme high sensitivity values for the PETM transition. The PETM was at least partially caused by a huge outburst of methane (from methane hydrates). What caused that outburst still is unknown. Methane is transformed into water and CO2 due to oxidation in the atmosphere, but that has a limited capacity (see Schmidt and Shindell who found “normal” sensitivities for methane/CO2). Thus large quantities of methane lasted a long time in the atmosphere. More important, water is formed in the higher troposphere/lower atmosphere where normally very low amounts of water exist. This enhances the warming effect of methane/CO2 itself. Moreover the extra amount of water at very high levels may introduce more cirrus clouds, which also have a warming effect. Again not comparable to the current increase of CO2 (and the leveled increase of methane) in the industrial period…

    All together the real sensitivity for 2xCO2 still is an open question…

  179. MarkW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

    [Response: Think about this. If a tree grows, or a station is moved from the south side to the north side of a building, if you go from a city centre to an airport, if you ‘do the right thing’ and get rid of the asphalt etc… all of these will have the add a cooling artifact to the record. Assumptions that all siting issues are of one sign is simply incorrect. - gavin]

    Does Gavin have any evidence that any of these potential negative influences are actually happening? We have plenty of evidence for many positive influences.

  180. MarkW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

    Another point, depending on where the tree is in relation to the sensor, a growing tree can be either a positive or a negative influence.

  181. MarkW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    Larry,

    It’s also that children tend not to notice, or at least not remember both hot and cold extremes. I’ve seen my children both dripping with sweat, or so bundled up that they can barely move, but still asking to play outside for another hour. These same individuals, as adults, will complain bitterly about much smaller temperature swings, when they grow up.

  182. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    [Response: Think about this. If a tree grows, or a station is moved from the south side to the north side of a building, if you go from a city centre to an airport, if you ‘do the right thing’ and get rid of the asphalt etc… all of these will have the add a cooling artifact to the record. Assumptions that all siting issues are of one sign is simply incorrect. - gavin]

    While Gavin is correct that there are some possible site alterations that will cool the record down, I don’t know of anyone (except Gavin) seriously saying that “all siting issues are of one sign”. This is a straw man to conceal the real question, which is what is the average effect of siting changes?

    For example, since the total amount of asphalt worldwide is growing every year, I seriously doubt if the number of sites where they have gotten “rid of the asphalt” exceeds those where the amount of asphalt has increased. My SWAG (scientific wild assed guess) is that the changes on average will be warming rather than cooling … but clearly, more study is required.

    w.

  183. MarkW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    What is it with those defending the AGW camp these days? There’s a strong tendency for making absolutist statements about what others believe and say.

    Regarding Gavin’s comment. I can’t recall a single person declaring that every single microsite issue results in a positive bias. I along with many others have pointed out that the majority, perhaps even vast majority of the issues found to date will cause a positive bias.

    Others claim that we skeptics believe that CO2 has no affect on the climate. I’ve seen precious few people who take that position. The vast majority agree that more CO2 will result in a warming world. It’s just that we question how much the world will warm? From a low of a few tenths of a degree (my position) to a high of 10 to C. Yes, I’ve seen projections running that high.

    One of the first things required in an HONEST debate, is to accurately portray the other sides position. Making up strawmen is not something REAL scientists do.

  184. MarkW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 5:17 AM | Permalink

    #160, Larry,

    Or more likely, since they already know what the right answer is, the fact that their code agrees with the right answer is all the proof that they need that the code is good. Going over the code looking for problems is just a waste of time to them. They have already proven to themselves that there are no problemss.

  185. MarkW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    And John M. number 175 comes along to prove my point.

  186. PeterS
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know if this has been covered – or has any relevance, but does anyone know about the heat-retaining qualities of concrete? It seems to me that concrete has been the most significant addition to any urban area over the past few decades – with nearly all of it pre-stressed by huge quantities of embedded webs of steel. If either of these two materials can hold and release significant amounts of heat (particularly in conjunction with each other), would than not impact UHI effect?

  187. Boris
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    Hey court jesters :),

    Don’t you think Hansen has a point? I cruised the intertubes after the correction and could not find a right wing source that did not confuse U.S. temp rankings with world temp rankings. The message seemed to be, “don’t worry about global warming, it’s a y2k bug!”

  188. jae
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

    188: I know this media hype is wrong and misleading, but it’s kinda fun to see it happen to the AGW crowd once. We agnostics and lukewarmers are used to the media going the other way and constantly talking about “the consensus.”

  189. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    re 187.

    Check the varius UHI threads arund here, you’ll find discussions on concrete
    asphalt etc

  190. Pete
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    #184

    Others claim that we skeptics believe that CO2 has no affect on the climate. I’ve seen precious few people who take that position. The vast majority agree that more CO2 will result in a warming world.

    Didn’t, John A, the recently-departed co-host of this site, make exactly that claim?

  191. Bob B.
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    Boris,

    As an Engineer and skeptic I believe the world will warm slightly with increased CO2. From the basics of transmission, reflection, and absorption this makes sense. What I do not believe in is catastrophic global warming. As I understand it the present climate models rely on positive feedbacks which are not straight forward and from present literature appear to be negative feedbacks.
    I applaud the work Steve is doing and in my opinion it makes a huge difference to know that the US has not warmed at all compared to 1934. The audit work by Steve and others may very well show Hansen and others have cooked the global books and there are errors from UHI etc which may show the world has not warmed at as much as the present consensus shows. It should be interesting in the near future to see what happens when the GISS lock box is eventually opened for all to see. That I believe now is inevitable.

  192. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    RE 120.

    SteveMc. I asked gavin the same Questin a while back.

    He refered me here.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-plus-a-change/

  193. Vernon
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    Anyone else notice that over on RC they do not want to talk about that fact that this recent GISS error disproves the argument they make that findings from surfacestations.org do not matter because error are detected and corrected.

    Talk about bad timing for RC.

  194. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    Pete, #191
    I am one of those people.

    Gosh I just think CO2 isn’t that important to the climate as it is fasion to think so now-and I think that fasion is a political thing only (my husband is an earth scientist and thinks so too.) Earthquakes and tsunamis kill more people and are a bigger threat to humanity right now. CO2 may be interesting to look at, and we should look at it, but there’s alot more to look at in the geological record.

    CO2 concentrations have been higher on Earth in the past compared to right now and it still got very cold. And they have been lower in the past, and it still got very warm. (There’s that pesky lag in the ice cores, then the Medival Warm Period, and the Little Ice Age thing too) Methane maybe more important to climate or volcanos and gas vents or plumes under the sea might be more important, the sun could more important to climate (ya think?), land, rocks, mountains, wind and water is important to climate, even the moon matters to the climate and its moving away from the earth every day, and the Earth’s wobble is also very important to climate (the Indonesian tsunami and earthquake even changed that wobble)…its a wild and dangerous planet always, no matter if we humans are doing something or not. Also, the months and the seasons they “should” be in or “like” are a manmade thing too…lots of stuff to consider besides all the hype on evil CO2, not to mention all the fudgy science attached to anything that connects it to AGW theories.

    Cheers!

  195. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    RE 120.

    Not sure if this
    fits the bill

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/GRL_sensitivity.pdf

  196. brent
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    Re-Energize Iowa: An Opportunity to Lead the Nation in Stewardship of the Earth and Creation
    Jim Hansen, 5 August 2007

    A price on carbon emissions is needed to stretch oil and gas supplies as we develop technologies needed for the world ‘beyond petroleum’. The carbon price will drive efficiency and low-carbon or no-carbon energy sources. If instead we continue business-as-usual, addicted to more and more fossil fuel use, as oil begins to run out we will be unprepared,

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/Iowa_70805.pdf

  197. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    Hansen was so infatuated with the term “jester” in his recent Real Deal jeremiad that he used it no less than 8 times, leaving no doubt that scientific royalty did not deign to “joust with jesters”. including such memorable phrases as:

    Court jesters serve as a distraction, a distraction from usufruct. … They realize that if there is no ‘gorilla’, then usufruct is not an important issue for them. So, with the help of jesters, they deny the existence of the gorilla.

    Take a look at the icon that Hansen used in his url for the article. NASA websites usually have a little “NASA” logo as an icon on the left of the URL; Hansen has a crown. As a reader has observed, the crown is the logo of Columbia University but it is amusingly Freudian in the context of Hansen’s post and one that nicely demonstrates Hansen’s disdain for criticism by “jesters”.

  198. PeterS
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    # 198
    Steve – still think my Don Quixote comparison (# 171) fits the psychological bill best in terms of Freudian perspectives.

  199. MarkW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    #197,

    Such a pricing system already exists. It’s called supply and demand. As something gets scarcer, it gets more expensive.
    No need for govt to step in and set the politically correct price.

  200. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    #197

    Seems like Hansen the scientist has become Hansen the High Priest.

    [snip - please do not discuss the economics of policy issues here.]

  201. Pablo
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    I can’t take Hansen seriously until issues his edicts with proper King’s attire:

    http://www.starcostumes.com/items/Kings_Robe_Costume_Adult_Purple.aspx

  202. kim
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    The King is dead, long live the King.
    ===================================

  203. Larry
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    Shouldn’t be “ursufuct and the polar bears”?

  204. John M.
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    All this highly personal animosity does not reflect well on people on both sides of this particular argument. In my opinion, this latest adjustment by NASA and the earlier revelations about the hockey stick only prove at best that some of the scientists who believe in AGW may well see it as a serious enough problem that they may have been willing to cut some corners in terms of the scientific process so that politicians take imminent and drastic action.

    If people are cutting corners like that they may wind up doing their cause more harm than good as when their possible misdemeanours are detected like this people who want to have their hope or viewpoint that AGW is not happening validated see it as some sort of victory and ignore the bigger picture and the core of the issue, which is not the historical temperature record, but the IR spectroscopy of atmospheric CO2 and water vapour.

  205. EW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    #202
    Not purple, though. Deep Green is The Color.

  206. EW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    And btw, what’s “usufruct”? I looked at wiki definition, but I’m still at sea…

  207. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Re #205, John M.

    some of the scientists who believe in AGW may well see it as a serious enough problem that they may have been willing to cut some corners in terms of the scientific process

    At which point, they are no longer scientists, and their work product is not science.

  208. Barney Frank
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    –In my opinion, this latest adjustment by NASA and the earlier revelations about the hockey stick only prove at best that some of the scientists who believe in AGW may wellsee it as a serious enough problem that they may have been willing to cut some corners in terms of the scientific process so that politicians take imminent and drastic action–.

    Well, others may reasonably ask what other, unknown, corners are being cut, especially in light of the continued reluctance on the part of some to release data and code.

    –the bigger picture and the core of the issue, which is not the historical temperature record, but the IR spectroscopy of atmospheric CO2 and water vapour–.

    The argument is advanced by the AGW crowd AND skeptics, and it seems a plausible one, that the historical temperature record should presumably reflect in some measurable way the changes in CO2 that have already occurred. That argument may be incorrect but it is certainly worth pursuing. Temperatures are after all how we measure what constitutes warming or cooling. And the assumption as to what the core of the issue is seems to assume facts not in evidence. The core of the issue may very well be that the IR spectroscopy of CO2 and water vapor are wholly subsumed by the many other factors involved in shaping our climate. Seems to me the core of the issue is how the heck does the climate actually work not something as narrow and demonstrable in a laboratory as the isolated greenhouse behavior of two atmospheric gases.

  209. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    Personal attacks on Hansen are a diversion. He is playing a part. Fight
    fuming about his frames or fictions.

    The issue Hansen raised is Intergenerational transfers of cost and benefit.
    are you as a life form obligated, in any moral sense, to sacrifice
    for the benefit of future life forms? Tough question that. And an issue with
    naturalistic based ethics. Simply, why be moral?

    Hansen raised the issue of Intergeneratinal transfers in an emotional fashion.
    Ross M. can probably address the issue in a more rigorous way.

    But since Hurricane DEAN is in the headlines, lets frame a question this way.

    1. STIPULATED. Global warming will bring CAT 5s out of the hat like Dr Suess
    never imagined.
    2. STIPULATED. There is Global warming IN THE PIPE. This means action we take
    today, sees no measurable impact for YEARS. Turn the wheel the damn boat
    won’t turn for YEARS.

    3. QUESTION. what decisions can we make today to DIMINISH the impact in the next
    30 years? Warming is in the pipeline. Hurricanes will increase.

    Fight global warming ( impact decades from now)? OR
    Change our coastal development polcies tday.

    In concrete terms. You beleive in AGW. You believe in Heating in the pipe
    ( that AGW 101). IT WILL GET HOTTER. You believe that Hotter equals
    WORSER Hurricanes.

    So, Simple question.

    Rebuild a city below sea level ( new Orleans) or not?

  210. Vince Causey
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    John M #205; If I understand your position correctly, you are claiming that CO2 and water vapour forcings are completely known in the real world from theoretical considerations, and therefore the historical temperature record is irrelevant. I beg to differ. The IR spectroscopy of GHG’s is known from laboratory experiments, where gas is held in tubes for analysis, but this misses the point. I do not think anyone argues that in the laboratory CO2 doesn’t have the forcings claimed. However, the controversy arises from the claims of models that predict elevated forcings above these levels due to positive feedbacks. The modellers use the temperature historical record to validate that the models have predictive skill. Yet, if they are validating against an inaccurate historical temperature record, this bodes ill for the accuracy of the models. It may turn out in the end that these feedbacks have been overstated.

  211. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    RE 207. USUFRUCT. which differs from URSAFUCT in substantial ways.

    “USUFRUCT – The right of enjoying a thing, the property of which is vested in another,
    and to draw from the same all the profit, utility and advantage which it may produce,
    provided it be without altering the substance of the thing.”

    Essentially Hansen is arguing that Future generations OWN the planet and we are
    borrwing it from them. Essentially illogical since the future generations don’t own
    it as they are subject to Usufruct. At its base, an argument against private property.

    FURTHER:

    “The obligation of not altering the substance of the thing, however,
    takes place only in the case of a complete usufruct.

    “Usufructs are of two kinds; perfect and imperfect. Perfect usufruct,
    which is of things which the usufructuary can enjoy without altering their substance,
    though their substance may be diminished or deteriorated naturally by time or by the use
    to which they are applied; as a house, a piece of land, animals, furniture and other
    movable effects. ”

    The issue is are we usufructuaries “naturally” diminishing the substance of the Usufructs?
    In a world view were man is “not natural”, such a distinction makes sense.
    Hansen’s appeal to Usufructs is an appeal to a conception of man that is
    non naturalistic..

    “USUFRUCTUARY – One who has the right and enjoyment of an usufruct.

    The duties of the usufructuary are, 1. To make an inventory of the things subject to the usu-fruct,
    in the presence of those having an interest in them. 2. To give secur-ity for their restitution;
    when the usufruct shall be at an end. 3. To take good care of the things subject to the usufruct.
    4. To pay all taxes, and claims which arise while the thing is in his possession, as a ground-rent.
    5. To keep the thing in repair at his own expense. ”

    So, Item 1. I cannot make an inventory of the USU-FRUCT in the presence of people living
    in 2100. ..

    hansen has a nice metaphor. But metaphor is not science and it is not law and it is
    not morality. It is a trope. a frame. a diversion.

  212. Pablo
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Mosher,

    Global warming -> less hurricanes

    http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/pressreleases/20070417-wind.html

    Even if I accept the global warming theories as put forth by James Hansen (which I do not), it is ridiculous to assume that only disaster will ensue. Warmer might be better.

  213. Vince Causey
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    Imagine you have just tuned into the latest reality tv show. You watch as a family are paid a visit by a team of eco-thugs who explain in no uncertain terms that their carbon footprint is 5 times the average. “How do you feel about this [crime]?” they ask, before being transported away to the “house of correction”. There they are subject to a regime of shaming, verbal abuse and humiliation while being made to cook from gathered wood, use urine as ferilizer on the garden and store electricity from a flimsy wind turbine. Near the end of the broadcast, you watch as they return home, where the washing machine is rigged to run from a bicycle, and the computer connected to a wind turbine. One of the parents is shamed enough to get rid of one of their two cars. Eventually the eco-thugs declare themselves “satisfied” that the family have been “turned around” and the broadcast ends.
    Only this is not 2025, it is now. August 2007 to be precise, and it represents the latest offering by the BBC in their continuing saga to “educate” the people on the wickedness of their ways. It has gone that far already, and it will go further. I don’t think this supertanker can ever be turned around, it’s momentum is too great.

  214. John M.
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    Vince Causey #212, What I am saying is that it is only over the last 50 years or so that anthrogenic CO2 has become a major factor in the atmosphere. Over that timespan there is no question that there has been global warming. Nobody disputes that as far as I’m aware. An examination of the historical record further back in time whether relative to 1934 or the MWP only deals with the issue of whether that warming has been unprecedented relative to natural variations.

    Mann’s hockey stick and this latest Y2K problem helped to provide the sort of soundbites on that sort of basis that politicians like Al Gore know exactly how to exploit when trying to galvanize public opinion. Disproving their veracity does not deal directly with the core issue of whether AGW actually is the main cause of global warming in recent decades and how more CO2 will effect climate in the decades ahead, however.

    I am of the opinion that a future scenario in which hotter surface temperatures = more water evaporation = more cloud cover = increased albedo = strong negative feedback to AGW is intuitive enough that I find some of the wilder catastrophic scenarios that are being peddled by environmentalists very difficult to accept at face value. That clearly makes me a skeptic but I’m completely open-minded on this issue and tend to think that measures along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol are actually sensible for reasons that have nothing to do with climate change given that fossil fuels are a finite resource.

  215. Vince Causey
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    John #216, I understand you position I think; global warming is a reality but some of the predictions are overstated. I agree with that statement as far as it goes, but I would add that we can’t be sure how much is anthropogenic. Part of the prominence of the hockey stick was that it supposedly “proved” that current temperature anomalies was unprecendented, but we can now be fairly sure that is not the case. You position on the Kyoto protocol as a mechanism to generate necessary price signals to cut back on fossil fuels is interesting. Do you not think that capitalism has its own remedy? Namely that as the commodity prices rise it will generate further investment in alternative energy.

  216. cytochrome_sea
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    I’m reminded of this.

  217. Larry
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    218, OMG, that’s perfect!

  218. Larry
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    218, Did you notice that Hansen signed that thing? It’s right there on page 2. Bigger than ****. Hansen is a [snip]

  219. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    The definition of “usufruct” is interesting as noted above:

    USUFRUCT – The right of enjoying a thing, the property of which is vested in another,
    and to draw from the same all the profit, utility and advantage which it may produce,
    provided it be without altering the substance of the thing.”

    In the controversy over Mann’s source code, I observed that the source code was almost certainly the property of the University of Massachusetts or the University of Virginia – Mann’s employers. Mann had the usufruct of the source code. I suggested in an ironic post that, when Mann told the House Energy and Commerce Committtee that the code was his personal property as opposed to the property of the university (over which he had what we can now put the term usufruct), this was an act of tortious conversion – a rather amusing incident of conversion, but one which met the legal definitions of the tort.

    Presumably the present code is NASA’s property and Hansen merely has usufruct over it so I guess my further inquiries should be directed to NASA administration.

  220. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Re 213.

    Pablo. Accept my apologies. My post was sarcastic. Let me be straight forward.

    The AGW crowd have proposed an expected observation set that will always
    be confirmed.

    we will see more storms, OR more stronger, or more landfalling OR earlier OR
    OR OR OR OR OR.

    that way ALL observations fit the theory. If you have a year with no storms
    THEN, next year will be huge. Two years without storms? the 3rd year will be
    huge. They resist disconfirmation of their belief system. At some point
    this resistance equals FAITH. ( I’m not saying they reached this point yet)

    So, my comment was a parody.

    Ask around. I do sarcasm very effectively and sometimes fool myself. Sorry if
    it confused you

  221. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    Re #219, Larry

    218, Did you notice that Hansen signed that thing? It’s right there on page 2.

    Right next to Judith Curry. Bah.

  222. BarryW
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    Re #215

    I don’t agree. That CO2 has increased may be true but whether it is a major factor is certainly open for dispute. Even Hadley agrees that CO2 rises have historically followed temperature rises (although they contend that anthrogenic CO2 is different). Correlation is not causation. Land use changes, solar changes and the exit from an ice age are alternate explanations.

  223. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    Re 220.

    I would hope that hansen would learn the lesson of Robert Frost. who wrote

    “unless you are at home in the metaphor, unless you have had your proper poetical educa­
    tion in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere. Because you are not at ease with figurative
    values: you don’t know the metaphor in its strength and its weakness. You don’t know how
    far you may expect to ride it and when it may break down with you. You are not safe in science;
    you are not safe in history”

    His Jester comment was a metaphor. But he was ignorant of the jester’s role.
    Here too with Usufruct he misses the implications of his trope. Usufruct is grounded
    in a religious framework of stewardship. Absent that religious underpinning it is a jackson
    Pollack version of morality. Words on a page.

  224. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    re 220.

    SteveMC. did you see Dr. Curry’s discussion about organizing a thread
    around a Georgia Tech class on HckeyStick and proxies?

    It’s in Unthreaded. Dr. Curry takes some heat here, but has always been
    considerate in my mind. Roman and Willis agree and think it a laudable
    idea.

    For your consideration.

  225. John M.
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    BarryW #215, the historical temperature record is clearly only the sympton rather than the root cause of climate change so all the historical record can really show is whether the changes over the last few decades that have coincided with the unprecedented increases in anthrogenic CO2 are also unprecedented relative to the natural pre-industrial climate variations.

    The AGW people have a major PR problem that way given the fact that solar activity is currently at a level unprecedented for at least 8000 years:-

    http://cc.oulu.fi/%7Eusoskin/personal/nature02995.pdf

    That means that minimizing the temperature impact of the 1934 dust bowl and the medieval warm period greatly helps them in convincing people that anthrogenic CO2 is the major cause of recent temperature changes as opposed to some natural solar cycle and that drastic measures need to be implemented quickly where fossil fuel use is concerned on that basis.

    My point is that even if the recent changes are not as unprecedented as the Mann hockey stick made it appear the AGW crowd still could be right that AGW will be a major problem over the next century. To convincingly refute AGW as a theory you really have to go after how atmospheric CO2 and H2O affect the mechanism of how heat is radiated out from the planet’s surface into space. The root cause rather than the sympton in other words.

  226. Larry
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    226, but that subject is verboten here. The blog owner makes the rules. Whether or not you or I agree is irrelevant. You’ve simply come to the wrong place to discuss that. I’d suggest Lubos Motl’s blog if you want to talk physics of IR absorption and feedback effects, etc.

  227. John M
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    No big deal, but John M (me, without a period) and John M. (with a period) are not the same person. There was also a JohnM (no space) a while back.

    As they like to say at RC: “si-i-i-gh”.

    Maybe I’ll change my moniker to “courtjestor”.

    Whatya think?

  228. John M.
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    Don’t think I am discussing that, Larry #227. I am merely trying to put the Y2K problem and hockey stick sagas into perspective in response to people who seem to think they are of much greater significance than I personally do. Steve McIntyre has said he will get around to the IR absorption and feedback questions eventually. I fully respect that and I am holding off on discussing the actual mechanics of it in any kind of depth until he does.

  229. Larry
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    230, I understand your perspective, but statisticians audit statistics. The theory-based models are a different kettle of fish. Probably the longest thread over at Motls (almost 500 comments) was over the theoretical basis of the greenhouse effect, and how a guest columnist at RC mangled the physics (or at least mangled the verbal description of it).

    You go over that thread, and you begin to realize that defining the problem, even conceptually, is a lot more elusive than it seems. Trying to second-guess what the IPCC does, without source code, is hopeless. It wasn’t even clear if there was an agreement on conceptually how you would go about it. A lot of people have some funny ideas about how [t-word] interacts with [g-word].

    Despite that, there’s not that much difference in opinion over the basic [g-word] effect. The controversy is over the feedback. That’s where all the handwaving and WAGing comes in. That’s the pivotal part of all of this that needs to be put under the proverbial microscope.

  230. SteveSadlov
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    Besides the surface record as depicted by the climate science orthodoxy, another truism is the depicted record of Arctic sea ice extent. Why do I have a funny feeling that the standard depictions are things that really need to be audited yesterday? Something interesting from NASA (oh, and yes, this is “old” …. clearly, it’s worthless, we’ve moved on, etc /sarc):

    Severe technical challenges with trying to turn passive microwave data into sea ice extent

    I have a funny feeling that any so called “solutions” to these issues have been low quality band aids, kludges and hacks. I beg to be proven wrong.

  231. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 22, 2007 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Re 232.

    S.sadlov.

    I’ve noted this many places. Challenge the land record they run for the ICE

    Now, I’m not just being cute. ( ok I am) I find this a consistent pattern. Part of it is
    the common sense appeal of ice melts when it gets warm, but they all
    run for the ice story. The first appeal is not to SST data for example.
    The first line of defense is the land record. The second line is ICE.

    Makes perfect sense from a rhetrical standpoint of grounding the pitch
    in the lived reality of the subject.

    more later. Hey. are we gunna have a hot fall in Norcal? after a cool
    summer, things are starting to stink in the Bay area.

  232. EW
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

    Thanks to Steven Mosher and SteveM for explaining me “usufruct”. No wonder I didn’t get the Hansen’s use. I never thought about living on the Earth as usufructing it.

  233. alex verlinden
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    paddikJ – 61 …

    thanks for the reference to Feynman’s speech on “cargo cult science” … that speech should be compulsary reading for all stock analysts and meteorologists who are both vying to be the biggest charlatans of our time … :-)

  234. Larry
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Feynman was brilliant in more ways than just physics. Everywhere he had to audit anything, whether it was science books in LA, or NASA management, he was able to walk in, ask a few questions, and put his finger right on the crucial issue. We need 100 Richard Feynmans looking all over this climate issue.

  235. BarryW
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    Would that Feynman were around and would look at this mess. He embarrassed NASA bureaucrats who were trying to snow everyone durning the Challenger inquiry with a piece of booster gasket and a a glass of ice water! Talk about an elegant experiment.

  236. Anthony Watts
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    To me, this all seems “usufruct up”…lets get on with the surveying, auditing, and analysis and stop worrying about Hansen’s world view.

  237. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    Re: #237

    He [Feynman]embarrassed NASA bureaucrats who were trying to snow everyone during the Challenger inquiry with a piece of booster gasket and a a glass of ice water!

    Not to take anything away from Professor Feynman, but he had a chapter on the Challenger investigation in one of his books. I can’t find my copy right now, but I’m pretty sure he credited most of what he said to what he was told by NASA engineers, even the o-ring in the ice water, IIRC. I don’t think that the glass transition temperature of the o-ring material was something he would or could have known a priori. I was in the class of 1965 at Caltech and so had the privilege of listening to Professor Feynman deliver the lectures for my Freshman and Sophomore physics courses.

  238. Larry
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    But it takes a certain amount of sense and discernment to even go out among the engineers and solicit this kind of information. I know many, if not most corporate managers would never talk directly to the grunts, they’d just get the varnished version from middle management, and be on their way.

  239. BarryW
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    Re #239

    Your right about the NASA engineer cluing him into the gasket/temperature problem. I should have mentioned that. It shows you what respect that that engineer had that he was willing to risk going to Feynman with the truth when NASA was in full CYA mode. It was Feynman’s ability to cut right to the chase and SHOW everyone what the problem was instead of going on about transition temps or thermal properties that I was refering to.

    Re #238

    I agree. Let’s do the analysis and auditing and let Hansen be Hansen. It’s our government and we have a right to review the quality of their work even if he doesn’t think so.

  240. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 23, 2007 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    RE 238.

    Anthny is right. Hansen is a diversion. While you are pissed, you are not
    thinking.

  241. Posted Aug 24, 2007 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

    steven mosher August 23rd, 2007 at 5:13 pm ,

    While you are pissed, you are not thinking.

    I guess that would explain a lot about Hansen.

    He seems very pissed. Judging by his words.

  242. alex verlinden
    Posted Aug 24, 2007 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

    The absolute last thing I want to do is interfere with what is going on here, and we all have to move on sometime, but to me, Feynman, as have done others, here illustrates the essence of the debate on global warming.

    There’s science and there’s “science” …

    The one science claims that if you apply a direct voltage of 10 volt over a 5 ohm resistance, the ensuing current will be 2 amperes. Or that Christmass in the year 2050 will be on 25th December.

    The other science will state that next October, or next autumn will be the hottest ever (and let us for simplicity just assume that “ever” means the last 100 years or so … :-) ). Or will state that the Dow will end 2007 at 14500.

    Both sciences are based on the past, on calculations, on computer models, on theories, on arguments, on smart people …

    But there’s clearly a difference, and a difference that, as Feynman says, lots of people don’t see, don’t want to see, ignore and so on …

    Does anyone want to bet against applying a double voltage over the same resistance yielding a double current ? I hope not.

    On the other hand, everyone can invite me to make some bet on the hottest autumn ever, or the 14500 Dow. Would these outcomes be possible ? Well of course they can! No law prohibits the DOW to arrive at 14500 by year end. And there’s no reason why next autumn could not be the hottest “ever”, and still that result would not mean that one can predict the temperature a few months in advance. Because before it can become real science, it has to predict the correct answer not once, not once every two times, not once every 10 times, but all the time, just as Ohm’s law does with voltage, resistance and current.

    That difference between science and “cargo cult science” is a fundamental one, that quite some people tend to forget …

    (but I shouldn’t post all that here, I suppose … better do that on the other side’s blogs … :-) )

  243. PaddikJ
    Posted Aug 24, 2007 at 3:27 AM | Permalink

    Please allow me a couple more Feynmanisms; I think they’re relevant:

    The low-temperature o-ring brittleness demonstration was suggested to him not by NASA engineers (although they made other contributions); it was suggested by his “co-pilot,” Air Force General Donald Kutyna, and via Kutyna’s talking to Feynman while working on the carburetor of his car one chilly day and grumbling about the stiffness of the air filter seal. Feynman was quite bemused that he got full credit when it was Kutyna’s idea.

    And this vintage Feynmanism, which has almost become my personal mantra:

    “What is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth.”

    Thanks; you may now resume your auditing.

    PJ

  244. scp
    Posted Aug 25, 2007 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    From Hansen et al, 2001 and also this post…

    …Analyses of climate change with global climate models are beginning to try to simulate the patterns of climate change, including the cooling in the southeastern U.S. [Hansen et al., 2000]. …

    Reading between the lines is dangerous, but I do it anyway sometimes. Does anyone know what happened to the southeastern U.S. temperatures in between 1999 and 2001?

  245. Larry
    Posted Aug 26, 2007 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    Paddik >> “What is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth.”

    Try to tell a 9/11 truther that.

  246. Jack
    Posted Aug 27, 2007 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    There’s anothr one here, where Hanson calls for a law to stop using coal!

    http://www.worldchanging.com/archives//006997.html

  247. Rubicon
    Posted Aug 31, 2007 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    Most amusing to me is that Hansen’s use of words like “court” and “jesters,” presumes “he” & his ilk are lords on high holding court.
    CO2 is demonstrated in every study I have seen, to “follow” temperature. I think it is fair to say there will be a greater concentration in the next few decades. But based on some of the studies & data I’ve seen, it sure looks like our next generations will be facing cooler days. In the meantime, plant life on earth will have momentarily (in terms of decades), benefited from the increased CO2.
    My question is, “if the 1998 temperature & those around it, were so incredibly important & proved so much when promoting the ‘its getting hotter’ theory, why is the fact the temperature was wrong & the last few years have not been the hottest, no longer important to the promoters?”
    Revelations uncovering flaws, errors, and totally wrong assumptions on GW, are now starting to come out in increasing numbers.
    In the end, and based on the historic political action & beliefs of original promoters & those who have taken up the baton since, I feel history will reveal the GW agenda as purely political. And, the intentions of those folks may turn out to have been despotic, in the least!

  248. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

    Stop the Press from The Onion

    EARTH—Former vice president Al Gore—who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save—launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.

    Previously the Jor-El complex had been only attributed to James Hansen, see New York Times here , which ranks below two CA posts in a google of “hansen jor-el”, this one and here, this post presumably originating the NY Times reference.

    And to think that some people thought my remark snarky, instead of foresighted.

  249. Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 3:09 AM | Permalink

    Just a test

  250. Calvin Ball
    Posted Sep 15, 2009 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    Question for the group: the Hansen letter about destroying creation that he signed with a few dozen religious leaders seems to have vanished from Google (and several of his more unhinged rants seem to have vanished from the Columbia server). Does anyone have a link or a copy of that letter? IIRC, it was from several years ago, and is different from the one to Obama from last year.

  251. Bill Felk
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    Al Gore lives here and Nashville and he nevers seems to be around but it is his legal residence. He was at a book signing in the Cool Springs Galleria once and I shook his hand. Seemed like a nice guy but I’m not sure how much he really knows about climate change.

    Bill

11 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Hansen and the “Destruction of Creation” [...]

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  3. By OpenMarket.org » Discouraging Data on Aug 27, 2007 at 12:14 PM

    [...] Jim Hansen and his colleagues serially discuss individual years and rank them. Perhaps it takes a Court Jester to point that out. Filed in: Sanctimony, Global Warming | No comments yet [...]

  4. By OpenMarket.org » Apologism on Aug 27, 2007 at 4:59 PM

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  5. By Blue Crab Boulevard » Running Hot And Cold on Sep 23, 2007 at 8:04 AM

    [...] – because they were wrong – responded by attacking anyone who questioned his findings as "court jesters." He then dismissed the importance of the corrections because the US data only accounts for 2% [...]

  6. [...] If you really want to dig into this, read a follow up written by McIntyre on August 20th “Hansen & the Destruction of Creation.”  It is a frightening expose of how biased and ideological many members of the scientific [...]

  7. [...] If you really want to dig into this, read a follow up written by McIntyre on August 20th “Hansen & the Destruction of Creation.” It is a frightening expose of how biased and ideological many members of the scientific [...]

  8. [...] clip of his recent appearance on the David Letterman show. Apparently Dr. Hansen does “joust with jesters” after [...]

  9. [...] a Youtube clip of his recent appearance on the David Letterman show. Apparently Dr. Hansen does “joust with jesters” after [...]

  10. [...] a Youtube clip of his recent appearance on the David Letterman show. Apparently Dr. Hansen does “joust with jesters” after [...]

  11. [...] Hansen and the “Destruction of Creation” [...]

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