Lost at Sea

Thompson et al 2008, writing in Nature, assure their readers,

the data before ~1940 and after the mid-1960s are not expected to require further corrections for changes from uninsulated bucket to engine room intake measurements

Is there a shred of evidence to support this assertion? There is convincing evidence otherwise – evidence already reported here. While Thompson et al do confirm some Climate Audit observations, on essential points, their analysis is actually a step backwards from my 2007 posts.

The hypothesis of the original Hadley Center Windowed Marine De-trending program was that there was an approximate 0.3 deg C inhomogeneity between engine inlet SST measurements and canvas bucket measurements and that there was a drop-dead changeover on December 1941, a switch which continued in place to the present day. In earlier posts, I showed that there was strong documentary evidence against this assumption and hypothesized that there was a return to “business as usual” after the war. That’s not the only relevant information on the transition, as I’ll show below.

Thompson et al 2008 agree that there was a return to “business as usual” after the war, citing related but somewhat different evidence than presented here: they observed that wartime measurements were predominantly U.S., which they say were engine inlet, while U.K. measurements come back into play after the war, using a ~0.3 deg C estimate. They observe:

The Met Office Hadley Centre is currently assessing the adjustments required to compensate for the step in 1945 and subsequent changes in the SST observing network. The adjustments immediately after 1945 are expected to be as large as those made to the pre-war data (~0.3 deg C; Fig. 4).

This was also the conclusion in the prior Climate Audit post and is fair enough as a first estimate. They go on to say:

smaller adjustments are likely to be required in SSTs through at least the mid-1960s, by which time the observing fleet was relatively diverse and less susceptible to changes in the data supply from a single country of origin …

the data before ~1940 and after the mid-1960s are not expected to require further corrections for changes from uninsulated bucket to engine room intake measurements.

They’ve worded their comment on the early bucket adjustments carefully, as there’s lots of hair on these early adjustments and these adjustments need to be minutely scrutinized. But on the post-1960s period, they have completely lost their bearings and are, so to speak, lost at sea.

Thompson et al 2008 cited Kent et al 2007, an important discussion of metadata, but they completely failed to discuss or cite the most relevant graphic in Kent et al – a graphic previously reproduced at Climate Audit on a number of occasions – and reproduced one more time below. This graphic, based on a very comprehensive examination of metadata, showed the distribution of measurement type from 1970 to 2006.


Figure 2f from Kent et al 2007.

In 1970, as I observed last year, about 90% (this is a visual estimate from the graphic) of SST measurements, for which the type is known, were done by buckets. Because the proportion with metadata is a very large sample, it’s plausible to use this 90% estimate for the entire population, including the unknown population.

Between 1970 and 2006, the proportion of bucket and engine inlet measurements is more or less reversed, with about 90% of SST measurements in the 2000s being engine inlet or hull sensor, the latter by the way, being a further addition to the witches’ brew that the Nature boys didn’t mention at all. The starting point of all this was that there is about a ~0.3 deg C bias between engine inlet and buckets.

However, Thompson et al 2008 completely failed to grasp the significance of this graphic. The changeover to engine inlet measurements, previously attributed to a drop-dead date in 1941, actually took place AFTER 1970 (providing, of course, for a one-off WW2 adjustment ending in 1945). If the same ~0.3 deg C consistently used by Hadley Center is applied after 1970, as this information shows, this comes off the post-1970 SST trend (and has to be allocated much earlier, as proposed last year at Climate Audit, ) refuting the claims of Thompson et al that no substantial changes are required to the post-1965 record, a point that should be obvious to anyone thinking for 5 minutes about the problem.

Thompson et al 2008 observe that the 0.3 deg adjustment looms relatively large in 20th century terms. They observe:

thus the amplitude of the drop is roughly 40% as large as the 0.75 deg C rise in [global temperature] from 1900 to 2006,

If, as outlined here, this 0.3 deg C adjustment has to come off the post-1970 record, as implied by the information at hand, it is a very large proportion of the post-1970 temperature increase, which is much reduced and allocated earlier in the century. Because the effect is so large relative to observed changes, the knock-on impact for attribution and modeling will not be small – whatever way it goes.

One hopes that this will also lead to an end to CRU secrecy on their source code, algorithms and data versions.

[UPDATE (May 30):
A reader has contacted me to say that buckets in the 1970s were predominantly insulated buckets not uninsulated buckets and that the differential between insulated buckets and engine inlets is less than between uninsulated buckets and engine inlets (say 0.1 deg C, versus 0.25-0.3 deg C). So there may be a couple of things going on in bucket world - a change from buckets to engine inlets and a change from uninsulated buckets to insulated buckets. The latter possibility was not clearly articulated in Thompson et al, or for that matter in the predecessor articles, but may nonetheless be a real effect. IF such transition were complete by the 1970s, then this would contain adjustments in the 1980s to ones resulting from differences between insulated buckets and engine inlets, which would be less than between uninsulated buckets and engine inlets. I'll take a look at this. I'm going to look for discussion of the transition from uninsulated buckets now said to have been in use after WW2 to insulated buckets. This episode definitely confirms my very first point on these bucket adjustments: whenever the adjustments are as as large the effect being measured, then there needs to be a replicable description and careful assessment of all aspects of the adjustment process.]


References:

Folland, C. K., D. E. Parker, and F. E. Kates. 1984. Worldwide marine temperature fluctuations 1856–1981. Nature 310, no. 5979: 670-673.
Kent, E. C., S. D. Woodruff, and D. I. Berry. 2007. Metadata from WMO Publication No. 47 and an Assessment of Voluntary Observing Ship Observation Heights in ICOADS. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 24, no. 2: 214-234.
Parker, D. E., C. K. Folland, and M. Jackson. 1995. Marine surface temperature: Observed variations and data requirements. Climatic Change 31, no. 2: 559-600.

87 Comments

  1. Dean P
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 1:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    Thanks! A clear and concise explanation as to why the plots are different!

  2. Posted May 29, 2008 at 1:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, did you see R Pielke Jr’s article? He references you. I think his point is extraordinarily strong.
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/001445does_the_ipccs_main.html#comments

  3. Michael Jankowski
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 1:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thompson seems to contradict himself, doesn’t he?

    smaller adjustments are likely to be required in SSTs through at least the mid-1960s, by which time the observing fleet was relatively diverse and less susceptible to changes in the data supply from a single country of origin…

    …the data before ~1940 and after the mid-1960s are not expected to require further corrections

    Doesn’t saying “at least the mid-1960s” preclude him from making any certainly about “after the mid-1960s?”

    Steve:
    I don’t see that these points are per se contradictory. I think that they’re wrong, but not inconsistent.

  4. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 2:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #2. I saw that. One of his commenters argued – so what about the SST? No one questions the surface record. :)

  5. Craig Loehle
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 2:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One of the characteristics of science is supposed to be disinterestedness (objectivity) which is that you should follow the data where they lead without “hoping” to get a certain outcome. Let’s see if this result in Nature is followed out for all ramifications. It is also curious that Nature has published 2 bombshells in a month. How did these slip by?

  6. Posted May 29, 2008 at 3:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    FYI, In response to the comment on our blog that Steve refers to in #4 above, RP Sr. provides this helpful context on the role of SST observations in the global temperature record:

    ——————-
    See the 2007 CCSP report:

    [http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/default.htm]

    on this subject; e.g. Chapter 3 Sections 2.2 and 2.3 at

    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/sap1-1-final-chap3.pdf

    and also Section 1.1 in

    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/sap1-1-final-chap2.pdf.

    “Near-surface” air temperatures over the ocean (“Marine Air Temperatures” or MATs) are measured by ships and buoys at various heights from 2 to more than 25 meters, with poorer temporal and spatial coverage than over land (e.g., Rayner et al., 2003). To avoid the contamination of daytime solar heating of the ships’ surfaces that may affect the MAT, it is generally preferred to limit these to night MAT (NMAT)readings only. Observations of the water temperature near the ocean surface or “Sea Surface Temperatures” (SSTs) are widely used and are closely tied to MATs; ships and buoys measure SSTs within a few meters of the surface.”

    The near surface air temperature and the SST are used essentially interchangeably in constructing the ocean contribution to the global average. See the rest of the discussions on this temperature interpretation there.
    ————————————-

  7. Paul Linsay
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 3:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding marine surface temperatures, take a look at John Daly’s discussion of them (scroll down to find it). He describes a 10 C difference in measured temperature between two ships close to each other in the Red Sea. Don’t bet on the marine surface temperatures being any better than the ground stations.

  8. Pat Frank
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 5:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I hate to remind you of this Steve, but if you’d publish your work(!) more regularly, Nature wouldn’t have just now ‘discovered’ the error, Phil Jones would not have had the opportunity to get hypocritically pious about how science is tentative and open to changes, and Thompson in 2008 would not have had the temerity to write that SSTs don’t need correction.

    These days, even Nature (London) is a political poser. These people have no apparent shame. The only way to prevent them from skating opportunistically is to make the ground skid-resistent with a pavement of published factual analysis. Your factual analysis, Steve.

    Ideas and discovery are the currency of science. You deserve credit for yours. You’re upending the entire field with your work. Don’t let others steal from you. And you’d best believe they know exactly what they’re doing when no proper priority is given to you. They all know what’s on your blog. Virtually every one of the analyses you’ve posted here on CA has been publishable. Your blogged but unpublished analyses may even be mined by someone else for their research.

    Your only defense is to publish in the professional literature. You owe it to yourself, and the record of your accomplishments will be far better preserved in the print literature than in the wwwayback machine. Future scientists and historians will thank you for that.

  9. Jon
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 5:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You’re upending the entire field with your work. Don’t let others steal from you. And you’d best believe they know exactly what they’re doing when no proper priority is given to you.

    What field? Who is stealing? What are “they” “doing”?

  10. Pete
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I wonder if a survey of Navy veterans to help “bucketize” the “unknown method” SSTs would help (if it hasn’t already been done). WWII veterans are generally in their 80′s now including my father-in-law.He subscribes to “Tin Can Soldiers” newsletter, so perhaps they could publish a request for information.

    #9. I agree on a strictly logical basis, but I also wonder if we’re watching evolution in process….

  11. Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Pat Frank:
    Quite honestly, I think it’s the peer review system that is going to have to adapt.

    There are many good things about the peer review process. If you’d ever reviewed some of the worst things submitted, you’d understand what I mean.

    However, the idea that a discovery or finding doesn’t exist until it passes peer review has never been entirely logical. It’s a rather recent idea, and likely, science will revert to recognizing that scientists should get credit for self published material or findings. Lots of self published material is drek (but the same can be said of many peer reviewed articles.) But content is either worthy or drek in its own right. And self published material with innate worth is remains worthy whether published on a blog, in a book, or in a peer reviewed journal.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    CRU has produced the graphic (reported here) shown below on the impact of the error.

    For the reasons outlined above, this calculation is bilge. They’ve ignored the transition from buckets as at 1970 to engine inlets today. They are definitely gasping for air. Their analyses are pretty pathetic.

  13. Judith Curry
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re peer reviewed publishing. There is no guarantee that people will be aware of your paper once it is published. Scientists tend to pay attention to papers by people they know and that they see at scientific meetings (i learned this the hard way, when my first papers in the early 80′s fell into a black hole since i wasn’t on the conference circuit owing to family obligations); Wegman’s academic incest issue. While i suspect that many “mainstream” researchers from the hockey stick community regularly peruse climateaudit, i strongly suspect that thompson and wallace do not read this blog. I suspect that Steve is having a greater influence through the blog in actually making a difference, and getting his research noticed. On a timely highly relevant topic such as climate change, I think the blogging is a really good way to go, bypassing the lagtime and partisanship of the review process. Peer reviewed journal articles are necessary for people’s who employment and promotions depends on such, but Steve has the luxury of not depending on this. Anything important that Steve comes up with typically gets good media attention. On the SST bucket topic, Steve has documentation that he was “first” (for whatever that is worth). Steve has some strong arguments regarding the SST bucket issue, and if we end up using anything he has come up with in our analysis, we will figure out someway to reference the blog in the context of allowable journal reference procedures.

  14. Andrew
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    13 (Steve): Jeez, why must the Independent uses such loaded words? Oh right, its in the AGW advocate to English dictionary. Right next to “denialist” (I speak here of “discredited” of course). After all, doesn’t this study negatively effect a lot of work? Attribution studies, work on Hurricanes, etc. Not just some antiwarming arguments that are dismissed anyway.

    Also, any idea how they did the calculation, exactly? Did they give a justification for assuming that the errors don’t extend farther into the present?

    14 (Judith Curry): Usually you would just include a “thanks” to an individual for suggestions, or for encouraging the work to be done, etc. if you can’t give a reference. At least, that’s my experience, reading papers.

    Steve: Blogs are a form of public communication, not private communication, and should be cited if the material is used. People can figure out a way.

  15. Andrew
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Incidentally, just eyeballing here, but the corrections might actually improve some skeptical models.

  16. Sam Urbinto
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    My impression is twofold. Or more. Maybe some colaboration with Willis, Jean, Craig, Ross where Steve is one of the assisting authors (or whatever you call it) where the appropriate work (that’s hopefulle less time consuming :) is done by Steve.

    Papers might help to get more press on the pertinent issues (more awareness raising interviews?) and more clout, perhaps, with researchers, science magazines, the IPCC. I think Judith is right in mentioning the Wegman academic uh relationships. More pubs might mean more impact upon ‘the establishment’ in general.

    Another tack to take is that if Thompson (or anyone) needs to be archiving their work for a legacy (or a bigger difference, a testament to openness and integrity, whatever, then Steve should at least have some more exposure in “the mainstream”, and have things of his own out there.

    My only suggestion would be; get the tree ring data collected into a paper on it. Spend a few months as a contributor. Use the data.

    I would do it, but I hate trees.

  17. theduke
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 8:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Judith is saying let Steve be Steve. I concur.

    Thinking out loud:

    On the matter of papers, and forgive me if someone has suggested this before, perhaps ClimateAudit can become a repository for papers by some of the highly educated, industrious and seemingly brilliant (I’m not a qualified judge) posters who contribute to the blog on a regular or occasional basis.

    They could publish here, have it peer reviewed here by the washed and unwashed, and then have it reposited here for anyone to access.

    Isn’t that something akin to what Craig Loehle did?

  18. Raven
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 8:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    theduke says:

    On the matter of papers, and forgive me if someone has suggested this before, perhaps ClimateAudit can become a repository for papers by some of the highly educated, industrious and seemingly brilliant (I’m not a qualified judge) posters who contribute to the blog on a regular or occasional basis.

    I am curious how scientists decide which magazines can be considered official journals that can be used for citations vs. those that are just magazines. Is the field limited to journals that have been around for 50+ years or can upstarts join in an develop a reputation? If so then what’s stopping Climate Audit from becoming a citable publication?

  19. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re # 5 Craig Loehle

    How did these slip by (in publication)?

    How indeed? This is very poor science and it is being propped up by compliant, non-critical or ill-informed editing before publication. I sense a plot, like the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the hole in the dike (no reference to sexuality here). It’s amost as if the weakest science is being selected and stressed as correct. Don’t like it at all. Never did like note to Nature much.

  20. Craig Loehle
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: publishing on climate audit. If my experience is any measure, I’ll take plain old anonymous peer review any day. That way you only get rude comments from 2 or three people. I have pretty thick skin, but…
    I think CA could be fertile ground for collaboration, and I did find Hu to help me out. More of this could be done, but only by those willing to use their real names. If anyone has ideas for papers and wants to collaborate, I’m game. My E&E paper did benefit from reading CA before submission. I have a paper in review on the divergence problem which benefitted a lot from CA.

  21. KevinUK
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #13 Steve

    I think this extract from that Independent article gives away their motives

    “Professor Jones said that the study lends support to the idea that a period of global cooling occurred later during the mid-twentieth century as a result of sulphate aerosols being released during the 1950s with the rise of industrial output. These sulphates tended to cut sunlight, counteracting global warming caused by rising carbon dioxide.

    The 1940 to 1970s cooling has always been a problem for them (the modellers). Given the utter lack of any evidence of a warming trend so far in the 21st century, they (the Wizard of UEA et al) are now trying to play the ‘the real trend was actually masked by pollution’ card and so was much greater which along with their recent ‘the real warming trend is currently being masked by natural climate changes PDO, AMO etc) means that they will very shortly be re-claiming that we MUST ACT NOW. Our current ‘Emperor without any clothes’ Prime Minister Gordon Brown is about to use this ‘propaganda’ as a justification for building a new generation of nuclear power plant (NPP) in the UK with some of the new NPP being located on green field sites. ‘Not in my backyard’ (NIMBY) will no longer be able to be used as an reason for objecting to a NPP being built nex to your town because we MUST ACT NOW because the real (unprecented) warming trend is being masked.

    KevinUK

  22. Francois Ouellette
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Raven,

    New journals pop up every day. Scientific publishing is a multi-billion dollar business, and I mean business. Since scientists are rewarded by the amount of papers they publish, there’s no end to the number of journals that they will create, and publishers are all to happy to accomodate them, because in the end, the taxpayers pay for them, not the scientists. Publishers lure scientists by offering them editorial positions, which give them status and prestige. The price of scientific journals bears no relation with their costs, it has increased much faster than inflation.

    As a result, there are more than a million scientific papers published every year. More than 90% of them will never be cited by anyone, so they’re just useless junk. Welfare science, in a way: governments pay scientists just to exist, they produce absolutely nothing useful. It’s no wonder that we end up with climate science in its current state. They have to find a way to appear useful. They have created the myth of the world-saving scientist, and are hard at work to keep the myth alive.

    Science is said to be about truth. But that is another myth. In reality, it is a powerful social institution that seeks to self-perpetuate. Some useful knowledge comes out of it, but it is by far a very inefficient investment.

  23. Frank K.
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s an interesting paper on the topic of SST measurement reliability during WW II.

    http://www.oceanclimate.de/English/Atlantic_SST_1998.pdf

    The notable conclusion in the paper:

    “The assumed correlation between the sudden `jump` in SST at the end of 1941 with an abrupt switch from water buckets to engine inlet measurements may explain something but is not necessarily convincing. The low level of records during the first two war years may be due to “stress of crews” the later high level due to sufficient convoying and naval and air control in the Atlantic. After all, the data level in 1939 and 1946 was equal. What caused the “diversions” between these years is not yet answered. This actually prohibits the use of general correction figures presently. As long as there is not more clarification on SST taken during WWII any use of WWII SST data in climate change research may easily lead to wrong conclusions. Only with utmost caution should WWII marine data be used.”

  24. steven mosher
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 23. !!!

  25. Jaye Bass
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    On the SST bucket topic, Steve has documentation that he was “first” (for whatever that is worth).

    Uh…that would be “before” not “first”. Read his post again. Crank in a little opposite lock to counter act the spin.

  26. Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Raven:

    I am curious how scientists decide which magazines can be considered official journals that can be used for citations vs. those that are just magazines.

    Depending on the journal, and the reviewers, anything can be cited. Generally speaking, (but oddly, not always) reviewers want to be able to read the material themselves, so the material needs to be available. I once wrote an email to Clayton Crowe, he wanted to cite the contents. I consulted the librarian, as to how to make the informal thing available with the minimum fuss, twrote the material up as a short paper, got it cleared at PNNL, and issued it as some sort of “unpublished report” at PNNL. (There are also published reports that have to get cleared by an inside peer reviewer and get signed and sealed by a bajillion people.)

    I then made 10 copies, which the librarian kept on file at the library– just in case anyone wanted them. This was cited as a private communication, with its filed number so others could get it.

    The reality of citation rules is that, in the long run, everything must be citable. Newspaper articles, magazines, private letters, email etc. But reviewers and readers also want to make sure the citations exist and aren’t just made up.

    Climate Audit exists. Journals citations rules that are going to need to adapt. It’s going to take a little while.

    Judy brought up the issue of whether or not the authors of the Nature article knew of Steve’s work. I didn’t mean to imply that those authors should be criticized for not being aware of Steve. My intention was to comment on Pat Frank encouraging Steve to publish his work. I agree with Pat that Steve publishing in a peer reviewed forum might make it more difficult for those writing peer review articles to overlook his work. But on the other hand, those writing peer reviewed articles might still overlook it. All sorts of work gets overlooked all the time, and this happens in all fields.

    The reason I think magazines or journal like Nature are going to have to adapt is simply this: The fact that Steve discussed this extensively is not going to be overlooked by normal people. Normal people aren’t going to say: “Well, it wasn’t peer reviewed, so it doesn’t exist.”

    Steve is likely to blog more about this as the issue gets more attention. CA is sufficiently widely read the press is likely to notice Steve is blogging. (And the information will be picked up at other widely read blogs.)

    Because the mainline press is sure to notice the discussion, it will be embarrassing for Nature that they fail to notice the obvious precedence of works simply because it’s published using methods made available by the new technology. (That would be “the internet”, which as we all know, was invented by Al Gore. :) )

  27. Jaye Bass
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The issue is how to maintain independent pure research in a variety of fields – practical and arcane – without the institution losing its way.

  28. kim
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent point lucia. This exposes Nature; it has become a tardy medium.
    ===========================================

  29. AJ
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Prediction: Pre-1941 temperatures will be adjusted downward and the trend will be even steeper.

  30. stan
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 8:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The real issue is basic competence.

    The “scientists” in question have been exposed for substituting wild ass guesses for science. Those who reviewed their work have been exposed as incompetent reviewers.

    [snip - stop venting so much]

  31. Barney Frank
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 8:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 31;

    Forgive me if I’ve missed this discussion elsewhere but is there a changeover point from wooden to canvas buckets and is it reflected in the pre 1941 SST trend?
    Steve Mc made a small reference to this yesterday but I haven’t seen anything else on it and don’t klnow if it came up in previous threads.
    Did it happen and did it contribute to the SST downtrend from 1875-1915?

    Steve:
    Check through the Surface Record – SST category. There are some refs there.

  32. JamesG
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 8:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Another John Daly link, with the following quote from Fred Singer:
    “The satellite data and surface data diverge mostly at low latitudes. I suspect therefore that the sea surface data are in error…”
    http://www.john-daly.com/surftemp.htm#comment
    Written in Feb. 1998.
    It’s quite amazing just how many times the academic skeptics are eventually proven to be correct: Hurricanes, gulf-stream shifts, aerosol adjustments, model uncertainties, natural variability etc etc. Even more amazing is that the mainstream scientists claim these as their own “new” discoveries. Yet all they had to do was use the gray matter between their ears instead of being a bunch of nodding dogs. So far the scorecard strongly favours the minority view. Science was ever thus I suppose.

  33. JamesG
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 8:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Lucia
    We didn’t need that conservative canard at the end of your piece. Gore does deserve credit for the internet – as the real inventors will happily inform you.

  34. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #28. Whatever they are, blogs are not “private communication”; they are public. Every post is “published” in the sense that it is a public communication. Climate Audit is also pretty unique in that it’s a very big and well-known blog, so it’s not as though people don’t know about it. One of the obstacles to publishing in other venues is simply that the audience here is so big. HAving established this venue, I’m not prepared to take the three months off to write up long-overdue articles as an academic would do.

    At this point, I realize that there’s a lot of value added merely by collecting things from the diary form that I’ve got them in the blog to things that look more like articles – there would be value in doing this for some important topics whether I submitted the article for publication elsewhere or not. It didn’t take me very long to do this for my Ohio State presentation and doing something similar for Georgia Tech wouldn’t take long either.

    What always seems to happen is that when I start knuckling down to (say) writing up Almagre tree rings, as I started doing a few weeks ago, something like SST breaks out and off we go.

  35. Phil.
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #19

    I am curious how scientists decide which magazines can be considered official journals that can be used for citations vs. those that are just magazines. Is the field limited to journals that have been around for 50+ years or can upstarts join in an develop a reputation? If so then what’s stopping Climate Audit from becoming a citable publication?

    Archival journals are just that, hard copies are stored in archives and are available for consultation. CA would never make the grade because it isn’t stable, Steve changes posts at a whim without record so how would you know would be in that citation later?
    Someone referred to this as Steve’s notebook/scratchpad, well you don’t cite notebooks (especially ones with ‘magic erase’ capability).
    If Steve wants his notes to be taken as serious citations he’ll have to do it the old fashioned way like we all do, write a paper and submit it to a journal!

    Steve: Puh-leeze, Phil. I will sometimes edit posts in response to initial feedback, but they are stable after this feedback. I also note edits in comments. Authors submitting to journals modify their submissions after they receive review comments and this seemed appropriate for the form of publication here. After a first round of comments, I seldom re-visit old posts other than to occasionally link to subsequent discussions which is marked as an update. So please stop this canard. People who are totally unconcerned by the lack of archived data for studies relied upon by IPCC seem to worry about this. Right now I think that my approach makes sense, but I don’t want it to be used as an excuse by people like you either, so I may think about this.

    Whether and how blog postings should be cited is a different question. I didn’t demand a “serious citation”; I merely observed that the Nature “discovery” had been discussed here over a year earlier. James Annan agrees and acknowledges that “not everyone” had ignored the problem. As to citations, that’s a different issue. Let’s suppose that someone was writing an academic article about Dan Rather and the famous Bush letter. How could a scholar discuss this without citing the blog discussion that exposed it. So there has to be some logical way of citing relevant posts.

  36. Andrew
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    36 (Steve): I think that what I was saying in #15 is a little different than referencing a “personal communication”, and maybe lucia is talking about something different, to. What I’m thinking of is more like the “acknowledgements” category-for instance, you might thank those who supported you with funding or who helped with some calculations. But if you had a personal communication with someone, it would be a “reference” not an “acknowledgement”.

    More on topic, it occurs to me only now that the implications of this work are even more far reaching than my post above suggested. This impacts temperature reconstructions, it impacts a lot of the time series of various “variability indices” that are based off of ocean temperatures (AMO, PDO, ENSO, etc.). This is really far reaching. Boats are about to rocked. And as Leif says, nobody likes there boat rocked.

  37. yorick
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Refusal to see what is in retrospect so obvious, even when it is pointed out repeatedly, is a symptom of groupthink, just sayin’.

  38. Tolz
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Seems to me professional research in many different fields falls short if it fails to include visiting the best pertinent blogs–especially the ones that would tend to disagree with the particular hypothesis you’re testing–and learning how to effectively “Google”. There is a lot of garbage to sort through, but you learn how to do that, and if you don’t avail yourself of the incredible source of information that is, really, incredibly available on the internet, you’re missing the boat. It’s like having God for a roommate and not asking him what he thinks about some important matter.

  39. Pat Keating
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    35 JamesG

    You need to back up your ‘canard’ statement with some supporting facts. As a long-time research scientist and manager, I can assure you that it was used be scientists to communicate with each other for many years before Gore came on the scene.

    One might date the birth of the Internet to the 1970s, when Kahn and Cerf began research on the Internet Protocol, or the 1980s, when it came into widespread use. But as the timeline shows, the basic underlying ideas date back as far as the early 1960s.

    Clearly, then, if we take Gore literally at his word, he could not have “taken the initiative in creating the Internet.” As the ARPANET moved from research to deployment, Gore was finishing college and serving in the Army in Vietnam. From 1976 to 1985, Gore served in the House of Representatives. From 1985 to 1992, he served in the Senate. The record shows that his interest in national computer networking issues became acute during his years in the Senate – when the Internet clearly was fully in operation.

    So let us grant to Gore’s critics that he was in no position to “take the initiative in creating the Internet.”

    It is true that he did not claim to have “invented” it, but his claim to have “taken the initiative in creating it” is not so very different, and is clearly an exaggeration of his role in its creation.

  40. Andrew
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    41 (Pat Keating): I think you missed the sarcasm.

  41. Gord Richens
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #37: “CA would never make the grade because it isn’t stable, Steve changes posts at a whim without record so how would you know would be in that citation later?”

    Unlike authors in peer reviewed journals who so faithfully archieve their data.

  42. Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Law briefs and Law Journals have figured out how to cite blog comments. :)

    Source: Three Cheers for Commenter BruceM, whose comment was cited in a Fourth Circuit appellate brief a few months ago

    Obviously, these things can be cited. Whether or not any particular one should be cited in any particular circumstance is a separate question. (But this is equally true for peer reviewed articles. Many are never cited by anyone, anywhere. Many others are cited only by their authors or the authors graduate students.)

    Given concerns that posts can be unstable, the convention may ultimately be to cite both the post and the Way-Back machine archives. Or a convention may evolve where authors who wish to cite a blog post can submit that particular post to an archive similar to the Way-Back machine, so as to ensure “freezing”. The issue of instability is not insurmountable.

  43. Francois Ouellette
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Actually, Web pages are perfectly citable by scientific papers, as I’ve learned recently while taking a course at the University. The rule is that, apart from citing the whole address, you also cite the date at which you downloaded, or printed, the page. I guess it’s a good idea to either save it or print it, so that you actually have a proof that it existed. So you create your own archive.

    Repeating previous work while not citing it, when you’re aware of it, as Jones certainly was, has a name. It’s called plagiarism.

  44. BillBodell
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Could someone answer a question that I could find the answer to on my own if I looked hard enough (which I, obviously, would rather not do)?

    Was SST the primary source for the well known graphs (such as that shown in the CRU graphic above) showing a dip in global temperature after 1945? What about surface records? A combination of both?

    This seems like it could go either way for Thompson, Jones, et al. If they can smooth out the dip after 1945, they can get rid of the absurd aerosol proposition but, then they’d have to admit that all of their models are wrong. Carrying the adjustments too close to the present would reduce the temperature trend. I’m all for accuracy and this is an improvement of the record, but I wonder what problem they had that led them to go looking somewhere they hadn’t seen fit to look previously?

  45. Syl
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I have some confusion about the bucket data.

    Whenever adjustments are mentioned they are simply mentioned as ‘adjustments’. There is no indication as to sign. Temps from intake are about 0.3C warmer than from buckets. My assumption so far is that the temps from the intake are considered to be closer to reality. Is that correct?

    So if I have a temp measurement series that goes from A to B to C to D and I think at point B the measurement changed from buckets to intake, I would adjust the series from A to B up by 0.3C to make it match more with ‘reality’ and leave B to C to D alone because measurements from intake already ‘match’ ‘reality’ whereas prior measurements from buckets were too low.

    Then, if I find out later that intake was only used from B to C and buckets were again used from C to D, I would leave everything else alone and adjust the series from C to D up by 0.3C.

    But it looks like the original adjustment basically adjusted B to C down instead of A to B up.

    Obviously I’m very confused.

  46. yorick
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    A logical idea does not need peer review. If I say, for instance that warming would cause ocean water to become more dense up to 39C, for example, an idea that I saw in the comment threads here, and so might transport heat to the deep ocean, and a scientist with the training and means to persue this idea takes it and runs with it, and comes up with some kind of seminal paper, only churlishness would keep him or her from mentioning that the idea came from CA’s unthreaded (not my idea btw). Unless one believes that science is a guild, and only members of the guild are authorized to have ideas. However, one could not cite the blog comment as any kind of confirmation of the idea, or build on it as if it were established. The internet is full of ideas though, many duplicated many times over, and while a “hat tip” would be nice, the best one can hope for is the “honor system” for citing where ideas came from in the “blogoshpere”.

  47. Syl
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re #47 (me)

    Well, if prior to this adjustment, the entire series was adjusted up by 0.3C because they already presumed that buckets gave cooler temps then it would make sense to lower by that amount from B to C when the switch to intake was made I guess.

    But if that were the case it gets a bit more complicated to fix, no? Because we have to know what of the data still includes that prior adjustment. I mean how much of the data from C to D already has an upward bucket adjustment?

  48. Sleeper
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A peer reviewed scientist (Barnett) shows the dataset is bad in 1984. Peer reviewed scientists use the bad dataset for 24 years. In 2007, a non-peer reviewed scientist proves the dataset is bad. In 2008, peer reviewed scientists “discover” the dataset is bad. By all means Steve, get peer reviewed. Then you can be right and wrong at the same time.

  49. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 2:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve added this to the head post (and to the related post).

    [UPDATE (May 30): A reader has contacted me to say that buckets in the 1970s were predominantly insulated buckets not uninsulated buckets and that the differential between insulated buckets and engine inlets is less than between uninsulated buckets and engine inlets (say 0.1 deg C, versus 0.25-0.3 deg C). So there may be a couple of things going on in bucket world - a change from buckets to engine inlets and a change from uninsulated buckets to insulated buckets. The latter possibility was not clearly articulated in Thompson et al, or for that matter in the predecessor articles, but may nonetheless be a real effect. IF such transition were complete by the 1970s, then this would contain adjustments in the 1980s to ones resulting from differences between insulated buckets and engine inlets, which would be less than between uninsulated buckets and engine inlets. I'll take a look at this. I'm going to look for discussion of the transition from uninsulated buckets now said to have been in use after WW2 to insulated buckets. This episode definitely confirms my very first point on these bucket adjustments: whenever the adjustments are as as large the effect being measured, then there needs to be a replicable description and careful aassessment of all aspects of the adjustment process.]

  50. paminator
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re #45- Francois Ouellette:

    “Actually, Web pages are perfectly citable by scientific papers, as I’ve learned recently while taking a course at the University.”

    I agree. While I was a faculty member in Elect Eng’g in the late 1990′s, it was common practice and accepted for students to reference web pages, provided the date when the page was accessed was included in the reference. Of course, every journal has its own set of rules about what are acceptable references (articles, books, data sheets, brochures), what formats are required, whether “in press” or “private communication” are acceptable, etc.

    It would be interesting to see the submission timeline of the Nature paper and compare it with the Climateaudit thread. Anyone done this yet?

  51. paminator
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nature paper was received January 28, 2008. Climateaudit posts were in 2007? Hmmm….

  52. Sam Urbinto
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 5:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    On the citation thing and web pages and such. Most pages as originally put up are locateable as originally put up. Changing them doesn’t change that. “They can be changed” is a lame excuse.

    The Al Gore thing; If you’re going to discuss it, quote what he said, not the interpretation or paraphrasing or whatever. In fact, the full answer and some context is is order. (But yes, he really had nothing to do with starting ARPA or the ARPAnet or any of the stuff the guys at Intel, Texas Instruments, Xerox, Digital, and so on and so forth did)

    Let’s not spin this like we are alarmists, okay? :)

    Wolf Blitzer asked him how he was different from Bill Bradley. He said he worked on the Internet while he was in Congress as one of his initiatives. (No, he didn’t say it very well, he’s rambling. He’s a politican caught off guard (aka no speech handy!) But he did specify the time period he took whatever initiative he took:

    During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in…

    This should be sufficient, the entire thing, all gaffe’s included:

    BLITZER: I want to get to some of the substance of domestic and international issues in a minute, but let’s just wrap up a little bit of the politics right now. Why should Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination process, support you instead of Bill Bradley, a friend of yours, a former colleague in the Senate? What do you have to bring to this that he doesn’t necessarily bring to this process?

    GORE: Well, I will be offering – I’ll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be. But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system. During a quarter century of public service, including most of it long before I came into my current job, I have worked to try to improve the quality of life in our country and in our world. And what I’ve seen during that experience is an emerging future that’s very exciting, about which I’m very optimistic, and toward which I want to lead.

    Although as Bill Clinton said Boston Globe, March 28, 1999:

    “Al Gore invented the Internet. For the record, I, too, am an inventor. I invented George Stephanopoulos.”

  53. Sam Urbinto
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 5:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, sorry. Here’s from a floor debate in 1989. Sounds like taking initiative in Congress.

    Well, we could do more and we should be doing more. I’d take a slightly different view of this question. I agree totally with those who say, education is the key to it. But I genuinely believe that the creation of this nationwide network and the broader installation of lower capacity fiber optic cables to all parts of this country, will create an environment where work stations are common in homes and even small businesses with access to supercomputing capability being very, very widespread. It’s sort of like, once the interstate highway system existed, then a college student in California who lived in North Carolina would be more likely to buy a car, drive back and forth instead of taking the bus. Once that network for supercomputing is in place, you’re going to have a lot more people gaining access to the capability, developing an interest in it. That will lead to more people getting training and more purchases of machines.

    Or an NYT times story in 1988

    Legislation introduced in October by Senator Albert Gore, Democrat of Tennessee, included initial financing for development and construction of a National Research Network. Backers of the measure say that Federal financing for the project is necessary to develop the technology and convince industry that vastly speedier computer networks are commercially viable.

    Or his dad (who seems to be responsible for the phrase infromation superhighway)

    THREE YEARS AGO, ON THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM, I SPONSORED THE SUPERCOMPUTER NETWORK STUDY ACT TO EXPLORE A FIBER OPTIC NETWORK TO LINK THE NATION’S SUPERCOMPUTERS INTO ONE SYSTEM. HIGH-CAPACITY FIBER OPTIC NETWORKS WILL BE THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAYS OF TOMORROW.

    So this discussion is, well. Nonsense! He never said he invented it and he did take some initiative in Congress.

    (PS I’m really glad he never got elected president, but I am really not glad he ever made that stupid movie. I’d rather he’d been drawing water into ship buckets than either.)

  54. Andrew
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 5:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Not sure which of the several posts on this topic belongs, but there is an interesting post on John Nielsen-Gammon and Barry Lefer’s new blog on the recent changes to the SST record:
    http://www.chron.com/commons/readerblogs/atmosphere.html?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a54e0b21f-aaba-475d-87ab-1df5075ce621Post%3a47083c00-a776-4f89-b9dd-a2cb00a5dcb1&plckCommentSortOrder=TimeStampAscending

  55. Richard Lewis
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 5:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From:

    http://www.tc.gc.ca/marinesafety/bulletins/1989/08-eng.htm

    “It is common practice to provide a supply of low pressure steam or compressed air to maintain clear cooling water intakes. However, experience has shown that such arrangements will not maintain clear inlets on ships operating in anything but the lightest ice conditions.”

    Wooden buckets, canvas buckets, insulated buckets, engine inlet thermometers, engine inlets supplied with low pressure steam …..

    Good grief!

    And then we have Anthony Watt’s yeoman work on Stevenson screens, and surface station mal-locations ….

    The refusal of keepers of temperature data to release either data or adjustment algorithms ….

    The apparent fatal flaws in balloon radiosonde data ….

    Let’s get real … there isn’t a scientifically defensible global temperature record before 1979. Only with the advent of satellite MSU’s is there a truly global set of temperature data gathered with scientific, engineering and statistical rigor.

    (And, of course, we know there is even disagreement here, to wit, UAH v. RSS.)

    So let the climate change battles rage, but only over the post-1979 satellite temperature record. Pre-1979 … it’s just a pissing contest. “Wooden bucket or canvas, sir?”

  56. JohnB (another one)
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t see the problem, I’m sure I’ve seen Realclimate cited in some papers I’ve read.

    Of course, they’re “real scientists”, so it’s probably okay.;)

  57. Pat Frank
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 12:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #12 — Lucia, I’m not thinking of peer-review per se, but of the professional literature. Publication establishes priority. It establishes a kind of ownership of ideas. Whatever one thinks of peer review as such, and I agree it is far from perfect, publication in that literature has a standing in science that is unchallengeable.

    Blog analyses are fine, and they do serve their purpose. But anyone can publish anything that was on a blog and claim they didn’t read it there. Unless they’re stupid enough to directly plagiarize, there’s no ready way to demonstrate priority. And priority of ideas has high importance in science (and engineering).

    We all know Steve has done outstanding work. His relentless honesty, high competence, and attention to detail have opened one can of smelly worms after another in climate science. He deserves full credit for that. But here we have Nature interviewing Phil Jones and others in a story that Steve exposed a year ago. If Steve had published that work they’d not be able to ignore his priority, and they’d be interviewing him — even if it’s through gritted teeth — or else shaming themselves for turning their back on Steve’s published and official priority.

    Steve, you need to publish your work. All of it. As soon as possible. I’ve been a research scientist for more than 20 years and have seen how it works. You need to publish your work. All of it. As soon as you bloody well can do.

    And Kristin Byrnes, if you’re reading this, you should publish your work, too.

  58. Pat Frank
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 1:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #14 — Judith wrote, “Scientists tend to pay attention to papers by people they know and that they see at scientific meetings…”

    That’s not true and is a recipe for disaster, as it guarantees missing important work from unknown workers. These days, people use keyword searches to look for papers and theses published in their field. They also use SciSearch to see who has referenced their papers, and the papers of those doing similar work. In my experience, scientific meetings are mostly for shmoozing, and for graduate students and postdocs looking for jobs. They’re pretty inefficient for finding out whose work to follow, or for discovering what’s going on in your field. They’re also mostly useless for getting exposure, unless you’ve already published work important enough to gain you an invitation to speak.

    There are only three important things in academic science. The first is reliable publication. The other two are reliable publication, and more reliable publication. If you have important results, you get noticed, you get cited, and you get invited.

    And publication establishes priority. Don’t think for one minute that priority of good constructive ideas is anything less than the entire ball game. Experimental results that overturn a theory or illuminate a stubborn problem; a new theory that organizes a body of impenetrable results — these are the things that scientists all work to achieve, and that other scientists notice. Hot results bring you job offers, counter offers, bright graduate students and postdocs who will advance your program, honors, and consultancies.

    Steve has documentation that he was “first” (for whatever that is worth).

    Come on, Judith, you know it’s worth everything. Richard Smalley didn’t get the Nobel Prize in Chemistry because he was the second person to discover the structure of Buckyballs.

    In science, peer-reviewed published work is the standard of recognition. It is possible that some extraordinary result can get recognition through alternative channels, but that’s a rare event. Especially when a field is controversial, and many are vying for position, journal publication and journal submission dates are the gold standard of recognition (along with documentation in notebooks).

    In climate science these days, the vying for position has been made brutal by righteous moralism. It’s clear that many journal editors have been badly infected by this attitude. Under that circumstance, opportunities for less than fair play can be very attractive to those so infected. And so, under those circumstances, attention to the accepted discipline-legalisms of priority and credibility are triply important. Steve, if you and Ross hadn’t published in E&E and in GRL, do you honestly think you’d be getting any invitations to speak at universities and conferences? Your blog analyses wouldn’t do it.

    You need to publish, Steve. Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise.

  59. John A
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 4:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’d have to agree with Pat Frank. I think that the climate modellers are backpedalling into Steve’s work and claiming it as their own.

  60. welikerocks
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 7:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Pat Frank, I don’t know how you can stand posting on RC.
    Someone replied to you, with the point “how do you dare question the climate models” with these sweeping statements:

    “”Much of our concern with respect to man-made enhancement of the
    Earth’s greenhouse effect comes from the well-established understanding (independent of models) that CO2 (and methane and nitrous oxides and CFC’s) is a greenhouse gas, and the semi-empirical relationship (also essentially independent of models – from analysis of the Phanerozoic proxy temperature and CO2 records; from analysis of the temperature evolution during glacial cycles; from analysis of the IR absorption properties of CO2 and an estimation of its “contribution” to the greenhouse effect and so on…) that the Earth responds to enhancement of the greenhouse effect with a warming near 3 oC (+/- a bit) per doubling of atmospheric CO2.””

    And of course no inline comments from the powers that be to correct or “handle” that post because…

    “Phanerozoic proxy temperature and CO2 records” and “from analysis of the temperature evolution during glacial cycles” are NOT “”well-established understanding (independent of models)”” (of a vast amounts of time in the Earth’s past BTW- give me a break!) THEY ARE excuse me… MODELS!!!

    And that’s just one example.

    Just for fun from gavin :
    “Confidence is built from success in modelling real events – Pinatubo, mid-Holocene, response to ENSO etc. etc. – If your supposed error propagation was valid how do they do any of that? – gavin]

    He spells modeling wrong!

    And for all we know, there could be several people trying to post comments to explain or support what you are trying to say there but they are not being let through. Do you think this comment of mine would get through?

  61. Francois Ouellette
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 9:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #60 Pat,

    Yet in the end, attribution of priority only serves to get you a better position. It’s a scientist’s currency in the job market, something that Steve M. obviously doesn’t need. It’s still a mystery to me why scientists are so obsessed with priority. No other profession cares about it. Not that I think it shouldn’t be so, but I don’t understand the psychological mechanism behind it, because quite frankly, being a famous scientist doesn’t give you that much social status and rewards, as opposed to being, say, a famous rock star!…

    As for your comments on scientific meetings, they’re very true. Meetings are a perk to scientist, allowing them to travel for free to all sorts of exotic places like Baltimore and San Jose, eat expensive and disgusting sandwiches for lunch, spend entire afternoons sleeping in dark rooms, listening to monotonous talks by foreign scientists in approximate english. What an exciting life!

  62. Stan Palmer
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 62

    He spells modeling wrong!

    “Modelling” is the British spelling. The use of the single “l” in the participle as in “signaling” rather than “signalling” is now being enforced by Microsoft Word in my field always looks very strange to me.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/modelling

  63. welikerocks
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 64
    That’s interesting, Gavin’s bio on RC says he was educated abroad (from the USA); but doesn’t say anything about his personal background is he an American?

  64. MinerDave
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Actually I think the first time that the topic came up on CA was 23 April, 2005. But my main comment relates to the most modern measurements, and these (going from the Wikipedia post on Sea Surface Temperature), come increasingly from buoys. And, from the Independent article “A similar problem could be occurring now with the move from ship-borne measurements to those from unmanned buoys, which tend to produce slightly lower records. This could explain why global average temperatures in recent years have levelled off.”

    Or confirm that the use of use of intake temperatures gave overly high values.

  65. Andrew
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    62 (welikerocks): The real joke is that Gavin and that poster are wrong about sensitivity to doubling CO2 of 3 C being supported “semi-empirically” by Pinatubo, the glacial-interglacial swings, etc. Perhaps someone should offer to let them read any of the studies at:
    http://www.climateaudit.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=128

    (Recommend Douglass and Knox 2005, and Chylek and Lohmann 2008)

    The climate sensitivities they cling to no longer have any support at all, as I see it.

    But we’re drifting here.

  66. AnyMouse
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 8:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The following PPT says the switch to insulated buckets took place around WWII.
    http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/Dixon-25940-reynolds-Sea-Surface-Temperature-SST-Analyses-Climate-Introduction-Change-Detection-SSTs-El-Ni-o-La-as-Entertainment-ppt-powerpoint/

  67. AnyMouse
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 8:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, this is great. Real temp was warmer before 1941 change to insulated buckets. During WWII conditions were unusual (more here. As Casey 2001 mentions, another study finds fluctuations of about 0.6C in early 1900s.

    Here’s one data set with bucket corrections.

  68. Posted May 31, 2008 at 9:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I can’t wait to see what the adjusted HadCRUT (and GISSTEMP?) graphs look like. But it would be naïve to think that they will show anything seriously compromising the “consensus” view. James Annan seems very confident that the new adjustment will actually show “an even better agreement with models”. I’m afraid I agree with him. In addition to previous experiences with HadCRUT adjustments (one of them discussed on this blog quite recently), one must bear in mind that the professional career of some of these authors (the very ones that will be performing the adjustment) depends on CAGW being right.

    Also, the UK MET is already announcing that the implications of the “discovery” will be small from the ‘60s onward: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2008/pr20080528.html

    So it seems that the issue is whether the Kent et al 2007 conclusions on how measurements were taken as late as 1970 will be disregarded or not. It very much looks like they will be. They can easily get away with that. If they weren’t (and an adjustment similar to that proposed by Steve took place) the result would be quite dramatic for the IPCC and the models. They would have to revise everything: attribution, hindcasts, the importance of aerosols as an important climate forcing (the latest AR decided to upgrade their importance as a negative forcing),… If a smaller adjustment takes place, just smoothing the 1945 dip, they will surely claim that the models have been further vindicated. But in fact, even that would imply some problems with climate sensitivity. Same T variation, a somewhat smaller sulphate aerosols forcing = a smaller sensitivity to CO2. In any case, the sulphates explanation for the mid-century cooling has always defied logic, IMO.

  69. Pat Frank
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 9:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #62 — really, welikerocks, I had to defend myself there. The manuscript had been through 2 rounds of review, i.e., the volunteers (I’ll be grateful to these gentlemen and lady for the rest of my life), and those recruited by Skeptic. But that’s no guarantee that there are no hidden errors.

    No matter that RC would undoubtedly be a hostile venue, I figured if anyone would find an error, it would be those well-motivated folks. And they were attacking my work. So, I had to enter the ring. And besides, Jerry Browning expected it of me, and I couldn’t let him down. :-)

    Anyway, so far as I can see, they failed to find a relevant error. But I could be wrong. :-)

    The critical post you quoted was from someone named “Chris,” who apparently works on protein folding. My reply to him is here.

    It’s interesting to note, though, that while they are quick to note that as a chemist I’m not qualified to critically dispute GCMs, they as protein modelers, etc., are qualified to critically support them. Strange anti-Hermetian attitude, that. Robby the Robot needs a new warning cry: “Danger! Does not commute!”

  70. Posted May 31, 2008 at 9:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 69, paper by Arnd Bernaerts,

    He uses SSTs at the Faroes as a comparison to see if the ship sampling is anomalous: better would be to use a series of near-ocean land stations’ air temperature data — there’ll be a lot more of it and, though it will not be directly comparable, it will show if the naive picture of a sudden leap in temps at the start of WWII is correct.

    http://www.john-daly.com/stations/stations.htm has some.

    JF

  71. Pat Frank
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 10:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #63 — Francois, yes, it gets you all of that. But really, as scientists, our ideas are all we own as professionals. We sweat the experiments, and put creative efforts into our solutions. Finding a way through to understanding is very often a prolonged and frustrating effort, and at every stage a positive outcome is never guaranteed. Our professional output is our own and has the stamp of our mind and technical expertise as much as does the artistic corpus of a quality sculptor.

    To steal a scientist’s ideas and represent them as one’s own is as much a crime as copying an artist’s work and claiming it genuine and your own creation. This is true of any intellectual endeavor, really, and it’s true with Steve’s excellent work here at CA. Nature had no business ignoring it. As they are supposedly a premier science journal, it shames them to have done so.

    Priority is a way of recognizing the stamp of intellectual ownership. Scientists deserve that as much as artists and authors deserve recognition for their personal work. And so, really, priority is found in the guise of ownership in virtually every human technical and creative endeavor; even to a blacksmith who makes horseshoes of a special quality. Special effort merits particular recognition, and theft of that effort is a crime.

    It’s true that academic scientists don’t get the money or the recognition of rock stars (although I’ve read at CA that Lonnie Thompson is treated like a rock star at UA functions). But then industrial scientists don’t get that kind of money either, but even recognizing that I nevertheless don’t think we’ll be seeing you shaking your hair over a guitar any time soon. :-) You love doing what you do, lower expectations of recognition notwithstanding. That is the life of a scientist, of whatever stripe.

    Sorry about Baltimore and San Jose, although the latter has great CalMex food and you can get interesting Afghani fare in Fremont. I’ve gone to Osaka and Frascati (Italy), and had to turn down Lisbon. And I’m not even faculty. Maybe you should move over into inorganic biochemistry. :-)

  72. maksimovich
    Posted Jun 1, 2008 at 1:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As we also noted there is degree of arbitrariness in the measurement error process for SST reconstructions. Another is this.

    Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
    Article: pp. 476–486 Toward Estimating Climatic Trends in SST. Part II: Random Errors

    Elizabeth C. Kent and Peter G. Challenor

    ABSTRACT

    Random observational errors for sea surface temperature (SST) are estimated using merchant ship reports from the International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) for the period of 1970–97. A statistical technique, semivariogram analysis, is used to isolate the variance resulting from the observational error from that resulting from the spatial variability in a dataset of the differences of paired SST reports. The method is largely successful, although there is some evidence that in high-variability regions the separation of random and spatial error is not complete, which may have led to an overestimate of the random observational error in these regions. The error estimates are robust to changes in the details of the regression method used to estimate the spatial variability.

    The resulting error estimates are shown to vary with region, time, the quality control applied, the method of measurement, the recruiting country, and the source of the data. SST data measured using buckets typically contain smaller random errors than those measured using an engine-intake thermometer. Errors are larger in the 1970s, probably because of problems with data transmission in the early days of the Global Telecommunications System. The best estimate of the global average random error in ICOADS ship SST for the period of 1970–97 is 1.2°C if the estimates are weighted by ocean area and 1.3°C if the estimates are weighted by the number of observations.

  73. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 1, 2008 at 1:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re # 63 Francois Ouellette

    It’s still a mystery to me why scientists are so obsessed with priority. No other profession cares about it.

    Hey Francois, too much lumping here. Some of your best CA friends are scientists and some don’t care too much about priority. Some of us love to float a new idea and get max feedback for improving it. That’s what I can’t comprehend about some of the climate science mob. They’re not really scientists except by self-appellation, because they want to conceal their data. Odd. It’s like an artist doing a beautiful painting then telling nobody about it. To the average scientist, it does not matter if the painting subject has priority over others. It’s still a painting.

    It’s the quality of the content that matters, not the timing.

  74. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 1, 2008 at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #76 — “This young engineer’s thoughts on priority is that it’s all an ego thing. It’s less important who found the truth first than that it’s found as soon as possible…”

    Andrew, ask your patent attorneys what they think about that. :-)

    Though, philosophically, I’m in complete sympathy with your view.

  75. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jun 2, 2008 at 2:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding publishing, I was saddened by the failed experiment in online peer review of Juckes. However, the following seems possible:

    1. Declare the existence of a new online publication, “Climate Auditors Journal”. Subscription only, US$39.95/year.

    2. Set aside a part of the Climate Audit private space for the anonymous private publication of climate papers, at the discretion of the editors. Authors would be required to archive all datasets, spreadsheets, and computer programs used in their study.

    3. Each paper would have a comments thread, where invited anonymous reviewers could comment on the paper. Invite all the big names, cast a wide but elite net, give them passwords.

    4. The author would be allowed, after comments were made, to submit a new draft of the paper, taking the comments into consideration. The drafts would be numbered and retained, with the current draft replacing the old draft at the head of the thread.

    5. Finally, after a number of such drafts, when the author says “no more changes”, each reviewer would be asked to grade the study, giving a grade of A+ through F-, with an explanation.

    6. The paper, the earlier drafts, the reviewers comments, the reviewers names, and the author’s names would all be published, along with the final grades and the final explanations. All papers would be published.

    Seems to me this would solve a variety of problems. It is vital that both the author and the reviewers remain anonymous during the review, because only then will the ideas get considered and not the individual.

    It is just as important for the identities of both the reviewers and the author be eventually revealed. “Old-boy network” peer review is demonstrably not working. If someone signs off on the idea, we should know who it is.

    It is also important to distinguish between reasons for success and failure. A typical study involves theory, method, measurements, assumptions, refernces, conclusions, and more. Some of these may be good, or novel, or valuable in some way, even in a fatally flawed study. If a study got a “C” because of certain flaws, that knowledge advances science.

    It also turns the discussion into an interactive “Delphic Poll”. For those not familiar with the idea, a traditional Delphic Poll first asks a bunch of experts a certain question, e.g., “how many years until fusion energy is used, and why”. Their answers are circulated to the other experts, who read them. Then the same question is put to the group a second time, “how many years, and why”. The answers tend to converge, as the experts consider and assimilate and build upon each other’s insights.

    Finally, it is as important to publish unsuccessful ideas and shot-down theories as it is to publish successful ones. Let’s publicize the blind alleys as well as the good ideas, save ourselves wasted time.

    Now, we just need somebody to bell the cat … I’d subscribe to “Climate Auditor’s Journal” and pay the yearly subscription fee, no problem, just to watch the sport …

    w.

  76. Posted Jun 2, 2008 at 8:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    77 (Willis): I would also subscribe, but I do have some negative thoughts: The Journal could easily become just a mouthpiece for a specific viewpoint. Will Gavin, Amman, Mann et al. submit papers? If not, how do we get their side of the story?

  77. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 2, 2008 at 9:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: #78

    how do we get their side of the story?

    Competition. Once an open journal like Wills proposes is in operation and the kinks worked out, even those who aren’t real enamored with the idea will have to come up with something to counter it. Otherwise they’ll have another “Fox News Network” on their hands.

  78. joy
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 8:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Gavin is from the UK…I am ashamed to admit it.

  79. MarkW
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    snip – I can’t spend all day editing things. Maybe there’s some other post that should come down. If so, please direct me to it by # and ask for a deletion rather than engaging in political discussions that I ask people to avoid.

  80. welikerocks
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Willis has a great idea.

    re 78 and 79

    That’s really nice of you to think of them.
    Too bad the team doesn’t do that same thing.
    Journal of Climate
    Look at the editor lists. Mann and Schmidt present and accounted for. They have no problem AT ALL getting out their stories IMHO.

    #80 thanks for that information, though it pains you to give it.;)

  81. KevinUK
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #80

    joy

    know thine enemy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Schmidt

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/~gavin/

    Sadly Gavin is one of the Oxford enviro mafia (Oxford is renowned for the number of academic Greenies that live there) e.g. Martin Juckes.

    If you fancy seeing Gavin ‘in the flesh’ debating with Michael Crichton, Richard Lindzen and Philip Stott have a look at this YouTube video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6t2D74UcrY&feature=related

    KevinUK

  82. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    63 Francois

    as opposed to being, say, a famous rock star!

    Yeah, try schlepping, setting up, and taking down drums and playing for hours every night of the week until the early morning.

    As for your comments on scientific meetings, they’re very true. Meetings are a perk to scientist, allowing them to travel for free to all sorts of exotic places like Baltimore and San Jose, eat expensive and disgusting sandwiches for lunch, spend entire afternoons sleeping in dark rooms, listening to monotonous talks by foreign scientists in approximate english. What an exciting life!

    Oh, nevermind. :D

    lol, that’s a funny paragraph of yours, btw.

    65 welikerocks

    That’s interesting, Gavin’s bio on RC says he was educated abroad (from the USA); but doesn’t say anything about his personal background is he an American?

    Why is his last name German then? :D

    66 MinerDave

    Actually I think the first time that the topic came up on CA was 23 April, 2005.

    Actually it seems to be June 2005 in “Changing Adjustments to 19th Century SST” (topic #226) where the Parker et al (1995 paper) and Folland et al (1984 paper) and Folland et al (1995)are discussed. Somebody was aware of something 25 years ago, in other words. But I’d guess Steve was the first to bring it up publically.

    Here’s the CD ROM at the NASA FTP site.

    It seems you can just use the index page to browse it.
    ftp://podaac.jpl.nasa.gov/pub/sea_surface_temperature/buoy/gostaplus/hdf/index.htm

  83. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, sorry, misread that as August. But I didn’t see anything in April specifically related to SST.

  84. MarkW
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If so, please direct me to it by # and ask for a deletion rather than engaging in political discussions that I ask people to avoid.

    That’s an excellent way to make sure only the side of the argument that you agree with sees the light of day.

    Steve: Nope, I ask people not to engage in political discussions, period. I don’t want to spend time enforcing it. There are many places to discuss politics, so please don’t do it here.

  85. joy
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I note the IQ debate has not a link on the GISS page. If you’ve seen the debate you’ll know why. However a reference link to aGristmagazine refutation of a work of fiction is deemed necessary. Testament to The power of the IQ debate and The perceived potential of such a work of fiction as was “state of fear”. Has SteveM ever thought of writing a novel? I jest. As for the peer review argument,like the concensus one; it’s churlish. Truth does not need a vote, nor does clean/un fangled data need peer review. Audit is vital. and I am thankful that Steve M has chosen to do this work at all. I would think that CA reaches more people.

  86. fFreddy
    Posted Jun 4, 2008 at 2:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Gavin is from the UK…I am ashamed to admit it.

    You chaps over in the US are welcome to keep him, if you like …

  87. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 21, 2008 at 9:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This highly relevant letter on the accuracy of ship-board SST measurements from John Daly’s Website: http://www.john-daly.com/surftemp.htm

    Subject: Global Warming
    Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 10:05:59 -0400
    From: “J.WILLIAMS.” 100354.554@compuserve.com
    To: “J.Daly” daly@microtech.com.au

    Sir,

    I am a navigator in the Merchant Navy who has been involved in making meteorological observations from British and Australian merchant ships for over 35 years. I am an interested observer of this whole “Global Warming” issue via print and internet pages such as yours.

    It is clear to me that nobody could possibly constuct an historical record of oceanic air and sea temperatures to any kind of scientific standard of accuracy from ships’ meteorological and other log books.

    The standard Met. Office issue stevenson screen (sometimes two) enclosed issue wet and dry bulb thermometers were (and are) hung on bridge wings with more thought given to the convenience of the observer than anything else. It was (and is) known that temperatures should be taken from thermometers hung to windward in clear air. Half a gale of wind from the starboard side with cold rain at 0200 is a powerfull reason not to open the starboard wheelhouse door for anything at all! Also, with a relative wind from astern, the temperature must be affected by heat from the engine room, a very powerful heat source, among others. Some men were (few are) very conscientious in shifting the screen to windward; others were (most are) not. In any event there was and can be no standard position relative to ship structure and heat sources such as is possible in a shore installation.

    Even to pretend to read a thermometer to a precision of 0.1 on board ship is asking a very great deal under at least some circumstances. Personally, I would guess that more than 50 per cent of temperature observations as recorded in Met. logs are in error by more than 1 degree.

    Wet bulb temperatures I suspect will be worse. The water was commonly taken from the bridge kettle filled from the ships ordinary fresh water tanks. I have spent hours scraping hard white residues from the bulbs of these thermometers when changing the wicks. It was productive of much bad language to find, at observation time, that the water reservoir had dried up. With time pressing, it is problematical whether enough time was left for the newly filled thermometer to reach the proper reading.

    Everything on board ship is covered, more or less, with salt deposits. This must include the dry bulb thermometer. Salt is hygroscopic. Ergo, dry bulbs cannot have been completely dry. Does this mean that there could have been errors in dry bulb readings due to evaporation from the thermometers??

    Sea water temperatures were taken from samples obtained by means of a Met Office issue rubber “bucket” which looked like a short (about 300mm x 70mm dia.) length of very heavy duty rubber hose with a (I think) wooden plug in the bottom and a metal strop on top to take a length of line. Some had thermometers permanently fitted in a guide set in the bucket so that they couldn’t be removed. The breakage rate was considerable and any handy thermometer was used when this happened. Later buckets were not so fitted, the thermometer was removed while taking the water sample.

    The bucket was left on deck or hung up where it had last been used. It adjusted to ambient temperature. In sunlight in the tropics it could be bloody hot. It was thrown over the side and allowed to trail astern. How far aft it went depended on the ship’s draft and the length of the line but any sample must have been contaminated by heat from boundary layer friction from the ship’s passage and heat from the engine room. Where exactly in the water body the sample was taken from is not possible to say. Some men just threw the whole lot over, in which case the bucket sunk below the surface to some extent, while others paid out the line slowly and the bucket just skimmed and bounced along the surface. How long it was left there depended on the man, the weather and how much time pressure the man was under. (Call from Radio Officer :”You’d better hurry up, I’m off watch in five minutes…..”)

    Sea temperatures now are taken from engine cooling water intakes which is why in modern ships the Met. Office doesn’t get sea water temperatures at night since engine rooms are unmanned at night. Engine rooms can be very hot places and the sensors are set in steel pipework at some distance from the ship’s side. The draft of the ship changes and the ship rolls and pitches. Temperatures are taken from VDU screens calibrated to whole degrees. How accurate they are and how often they are calibrated I do not know. I suspect not very and not very often since a degree or two error is not of concern from an engineering point of view

    All in all, I would not place too much weight on Met. information from ships being of the standard of accuracy that seems to be required.

    John Williams.

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