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Surfacestations: NOAA Has Overestimated Land Surface Temperature Trends

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the climate-change-driven-by-hippies dept.

Science 474

New submitter BMOC writes "Anthony Watts of Surfacestations project (crowdsourced research) has finally yielded some discussion worthy results (PDF). He uses a siting classification system developed by Michel Leroy for Meteofrance in 1999 that was improved in 2010 to quantify the effect of heat sinks and sources within the thermometer viewshed by calculation of the area- weighted and distance-weighted impact of biasing elements to calculate both raw and gridded 30 year trends for each surveyed station, using temperature data from USHCNv2. His initial claims are that station siting is impacting the surface temperature record significantly, and NOAA adjustments are exacerbating that problem, not helping. Whether you agree with his results or not, recognize that this method of research is modern and worth your participation in the review. Poke holes in publicly sourced and presented research all you can, that's what makes this method useful."

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Not Published = Trash (1, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826385)

Who the heck would write a whole Slashdot article about un-peer-reviewed results? Geez...

Re:Not Published = Trash (4, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826531)

The Surfacestations web site was set up with the explicit aim of disproving global warming by showing that the observed warming in the temperature record is caused by poorly sited measuring stations. And now their results show exactly that. I will reserve judgement until if/when the paper passes review, but I suspect this may be a case of confirmation bias. [wikipedia.org] From the paper:

Comparisons demonstrate that NOAA adjustment processes fail to adjust poorly sited stations downward to match the well sited stations, but actually adjusts the well sited stations upwards to match the poorly sited stations. Well sited rural stations show a warming nearly three times greater after USHCNv2 adjustments are applied.

So they are claiming that a simple mistake has been made that has the effect of overestimated warming by three times, and that everyone doing this research previously has made this same mistake, and that, despite all of the arguments surrounding climate science and the instrumental temperature record, nobody noticed it yet? It is certainly not impossible, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Re:Not Published = Trash (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826599)

extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Of course, that only applies to one side of the debate.

Re:Not Published = Trash (5, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826663)

Nope. Applies to both sides. Guess which side has huge amounts of peer reviewed evidence.

Re:Not Published = Trash (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826827)

Problem there is that one side controls the "peers."

Re:Not Published = Trash (0, Flamebait)

aurispector (530273) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826909)

And that is the heart of the problem. "Global warming" has become so politically charged that it is impossible for any climate scientist to publish contradicting data.

All because al gore wanted a way to make money by taxing your air.

Re:Not Published = Trash (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826665)

The "other side" of this "debate" already has been collecting quite extraordinary results for decades over the entire planet, and had their own real debate about it before writing a report and putting it on President Johnson's desk.
The current pro and anti-science debate is really just truth versus advertising. Advertising can look very convincing is enough money is put in to do so but it falls over in contact with reality.

Re:Not Published = Trash (5, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826667)

extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Of course, that only applies to one side of the debate.

Which claim is extraordinary? The claim that CO2 is a greenhouse gas is not extraordinary. The claim that fossil fuels contain CO2 which is released into the atmosphere when burnt is not extraordinary. The claim that increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels in sufficient quantities will lead to an increased global mean temperature is not extraordinary. These claims have been known and investigated since the industrial revolution (Fourier in 1824 and Arrhenius in 1896) and are widely accepted.

Re:Not Published = Trash (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826853)

I believe you glossed over most of his statement. I believe he's referring to the claim (spoken or otherwise) that everybody who ever studied this stuff was looking at the data wrong.

Re:Not Published = Trash (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826855)

The fact that you try to reduce such a complicated system to a string of single dimensional cause and effect statements and presume that this is the truth is truely extraordinary,

Re:Not Published = Trash (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40827027)

Yep and here's NOAA's extrodinary evidence debunking Watts' extraordinary claims [noaa.gov] . It's a blindingly simple statistical experiment that you can do yourself. Here's the youtube video about it [youtube.com] that Watt's tried to take down with dubious DCMA notices. It's not a total loss though, it's true he has collected the best database on the condition of US weather stations (which NOAA used to debunk his claims in the pdf). Such a database sounds like it might be useful for improving the stations but the pdf above list several reasons as to why it might not be so useful.

An intellectually honest person (ie: an amateur scientist), would take those sort of criticisms seriously and either rebut them or withdraw the claim. Watts' behavior is little better than a youtube troll, I suspect he gets a buzz out of the attention.

The problem was noticed (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826669)

So they are claiming that a simple mistake has been made that has the effect of overestimated warming by three times, and that everyone doing this research previously has made this same mistake, and that, despite all of the arguments surrounding climate science and the instrumental temperature record, nobody noticed it yet?

For a long time people have been pointing out that ground based met. stations were showing much more warming than met. balloons and satellites. The urban heat island effect has also been well known.

The problem is that some people have willfully ignored the instrument problems because it suited their agenda.

Watts noticed the specific problem with station siting and he, along with many others, has been documenting it. That part is uncontroversial. Using the methods of Leroy 2010, Watts is attempting to quantify the problem. He isn't a scientist and isn't used to publishing. That may be a problem for him. On the other hand, he had help with this paper and I expect that his co-authors will improve its quality a lot. The paper is up on his web site and many scientists have made helpful comments. By the time it is finally submitted, it may actually be a good paper. ;-)

Re:Not Published = Trash (1, Flamebait)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826997)

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that surface temperatures are rising. Scientist knows it, Military knows it, farmers and fishermen know it. I'm surprised people are still trying to disprove things that are in plain sight for everyone to see.

How many cities in Antarctica? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40827055)

To explain the 'science'. The weather stations were cited randomly. They observed temperatures. Over the years those temperatures have increased. The anti-global warming lobby claims it's due to urban expansion: towns growing till they surround the temperature measuring stations causing localized Urban Heat Islands. UHI is the effect of citys being warming that countryside.
Thus they claim, it's not because the planet is getting warming, rather that the newly expanded city is warmer and affecting the weather stations.

How many UHI's are there in Antarctica that's causing the ice-sheets to melt?

Why is the temperature increasing in places where there are still no cities?

Why do satellite images show the warming over the whole planet?

This has been quantified and found to be minimal. But even a quick mental check, 'are glaciers melting/are there cities where there are glaciers' test reveals the bogus nature of the claim.

Re:Not Published = Trash (0)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826545)

Published or Unpublished is not a reliable indicator of quality or reliability. Google Andrew Wakefield for a great example of published rubbish.

On the other side, you'll find that there is much more to publishing than the quality of the research. Publishing is quite political, and journals are often reluctant to publish controversial findings. Further, larger / more prestigious journals are extraordinarily reluctant to publish a paper if the author hasn't already published enough in the past, again, regardless of the papers actual quality. Yes, that's actually the reason they'll give for rejecting a paper!

So fuck you and your bullshit reasons for rejecting the articles claims. Be honest and let the findings stand or fall on their own merit, not your opinion of the author or how he decided to make his findings available.

Re:Not Published = Trash (4, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826715)

Published or Unpublished is not a reliable indicator of quality or reliability. Google Andrew Wakefield for a great example of published rubbish.

Am I understanding you correctly here? "Because the foundation of the world's scientific knowledge has failed at times before, its worthless and we should trust random things written by people with no credentials that no experts in the field have reviewed as much as everything else"?

I just wrote on a napkin, "The world is flat". Clearly that's as good as peer-reviewed science because of Andrew Wakefield.

Re:Not Published = Trash (0)

KGIII (973947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826875)

Is the reverse true? Do you blindly accept the statements from the guys in lab coats even knowing that they've been wrong time and time again?

(No, I'm not advocating religion or disbelief in science. I do advocate learning and thinking for yourself though.)

Re:Not Published = Trash (1)

ghostdoc (1235612) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826893)

Patent clerk. No credentials. 'nuff said

Re:Not Published = Trash (4, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40827013)

No credentials like, say, a PhD in physics, multiple peer-reviewed publications in Annalen der Physik? You are not seriously comparing Watts to Einstein, no?

Re:Not Published = Trash (5, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826795)

Publishing is quite political, and journals are often reluctant to publish controversial findings.

Journals like controversial findings, for the same reason that newspapers up-play their headlines: it attracts attention. Furthermore, a shoddy paper with a controversial conclusion will often spur a slew of debate and comments, each citing the original paper, and thus raising the journals impact factor.

Further, larger / more prestigious journals are extraordinarily reluctant to publish a paper if the author hasn't already published enough in the past, again, regardless of the papers actual quality.

This would be relevant if the paper had been disregarded for not being in a prestigious journal. It wasn't, it was disregarded for not being in any journal. There is always a journal that will publish the paper, it is just a matter of trying until you find it and/or are lucky with the reviewers.

Be honest and let the findings stand or fall on their own merit, not your opinion of the author or how he decided to make his findings available.

The way the research is published often raises some question: If it is good enough to pass peer review, why hasn't it been tried? There is a reason why "science by press conference" is a derogative.

Re:Not Published = Trash (4, Insightful)

Troed (102527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826607)

The BEST study that made headlines all over the globe, including here on Slashdot just a few days ago, isn't peer reviewed yet either.

Both should thus be treated with the normal caveats for pre-prints.

Re:Not Published = Trash (3, Insightful)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826801)

Yes, well given that the report just showed basically the same trend as IPCC reports, the report was not really the story. The real story was that we had a big non-believer on AGW had a change of heart when he did the research himself and came to the same conclusion as IPCC.

It basically said that if you dont trust IPCC reports - do the research yourself and you will get the same results.

Re:Not Published = Trash (3, Insightful)

Troed (102527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826891)

The real story was that we had a big non-believer on AGW had a change of heart when he did the research himself and came to the same conclusion as IPCC.

That part has me confused. He's never been a non-believer in AGW [populartechnology.net] .

(and I'm not sure there is a conclusion to talk about yet since the paper isn't peer reviewed. It also seems his former paper was rejected in peer review [rossmckitrick.com] which doesn't bode well)

Re:Not Published = Trash (2, Interesting)

Purpendicular (528740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826851)

A few comments:

1 - He has published it, on the web, otherwise you would not be able to read it.
2 - Publishing something in a peer reviewed journal does not make something inherently better, or worse.

Peer review is not some kind of mystical spell that you cast on results to make them "scientific". Peer review simply means that peers, people working in the same fields as you, have gone over the results and agreed with them. Typically, two, to the author anonymous reviewers, go over the paper, after an editor has had a look to see that it is fit for the journal. You might be interested to know that neither Nature, nor Science practices such peer reviews. The editors of those journals accept or reject the papers themselves.

However, in any scientific field, there are only around 150 peers, Dunbar's number. When a field gets larger, it splits into several sub-disciplins. The big problem with the peer review system, both for results, and, very importantly for grant applications, is that all peers are in the same boat. So only results that generally agree with the field will be accepted. If a young brilliant scientist wants to publish results that show that the whole field is a dead loss, that there is no chance it will cure cancer and the like, he is unlikely to be published. He will not receive any grants for a proposal that sets out to prove that all of his peers should change profession, because the field is a dead end.

To fix the problems with peer review, we need competition. Independent funding from many different sources, and preferably none at all from governments. Terence Kealey discusses in a couple of books the empirical fact that for civilian research, for every dollar that the government provides, 1.25 dollars of private money disappears.

Re:Not Published = Trash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826953)

Wasn't there an article just the other day about BEST's Muller team, whose recent publicity is about exactly ... un-peered-reviewed results?

Re:Not Published = Trash (1)

Da_Biz (267075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826995)

I agree: this article is complete crap. Nice job, Slashdot (slow clap).

Jenny McCarthy: Vaccines Cause Autism (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826387)

Denier denies. Why is anyone surprised?

Oh dear... (3, Insightful)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826389)

He uses a siting classification system developed by Michel Leroy for Meteofrance in 1999 that was improved in 2010 to quantify the effect of heat sinks and sources within the thermometer viewshed by calculation of the area- weighted and distance-weighted impact of biasing elements to calculate both raw and gridded 30 year trends for each surveyed station, using temperature data from USHCNv2.

Had to read that a couple of times before my internal parser came back with an approximate translation into lay-English.

I fear that this will be ammunition for the climate change deniers, which if I understand correctly is not the intention here. The gentleman in question is merely pointing out possible bias and error and the open invitation is to critically analyse and see if his theory stands up. You know, like real scientific method! Still, I'll sit back now and watch the fireworks in what promises to be yet another pitched battle between the deeply entrenched sides in a war where actual fact is not nearly as important as name calling and idealogical strength of will.

And the insults start in 3.....2......1......

Re:Oh dear... (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826421)

No, he's a well known denier (probably *the* most well known among lay people). He's not a climatologist; he's a local meteorologist for a small Fox affiliate in southern California. And this is unpublished, and will almost certainly be ripped to shreds when it gets submitted, like most of the other trash he submits. He's funded by the Heartland Institute (a conservative organization that takes industry money and uses it to push various forms of denial of interest to them, including things like global warming denial (funded by Koch Industries), denial of the links between tobacco and cancer (funded by Philip-Morris), etc.)

Actual published, peer-reviewed work analyzing his "work" has reached precisely the opposite conclusion [noaa.gov] .

Re:Oh dear... (5, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826493)

he's a local meteorologist for a small Fox affiliate in southern California

A weatherman. In some countries, weather presenters are called meteorologists, but in general you need to have a graduate degree (heavy on math and physics) involving actual meteorological research to be called a meteorologist. Watts' highest completed education is high school, as far as anyone has been able to make out.

Re:Oh dear... (4, Insightful)

gatzke (2977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826563)

Attack the work, not the man or his (lack of) credentials.

AFAIK, the work is relatively simple statistical analysis of time series data. No advanced science required. I have not looked in detail, but they claim that the adjustments made to climate data are biased.

If this is an erroneous claim, it should be easy to demonstrate.

Re:Oh dear... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826643)

But he didn't attack the man. He merely pointed out that he's not a meteorologist. In my country when I see somebody on TV forecasting the weather that person is a meteorologist, they have spent years studying the weather and know a lot more about the climate than I do. In the US they're just an actor reading from a script.

The US does _have_ meterologists, who might know something about the climate, but this man is not one of them.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40827035)

Credentials aren't everything. Consider the MCSE, for example. But as a general rule, someone who has documented evidence of study and experience in a field is more credible than someone who doesn't.

Locally, our TV meteorologists are generally worth the title. They carried AMS certifications when it was the exception rather than the rule, and most of them have been here long enough to understand how the local weather patterns behave.

That doesn't mean that I'd blindly accept statistics from them, however. That's not their job, nor is it a requirement for AMA certification. When they need stats, they get them from the regional NOAA office at the airport.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826857)

Attacking the credibility of a witness can in fact be good science. It calls into question the reliability of the reported results.

I've seen some of his claims before: they're interesting. Unfortunately, they have a subtle bias themselves. If you put all the thermometers in cooler, more standard locations, then yes, many of them would read lower temperatures. But the lack of such cooler and more standard locations is itself a hint that urbanization itself is raising local temperatures significantly, and that in itself is strongly tied to the global warming problem..

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826887)

demonstrating bias in a statistical analysis is not as simple as it seems, particularly when the underlaying statistics is not of the kind taught in High School. Yes, it should be easy to demonstrate, however if the statistics is really very badly done, it might not be worth spending the effort - rather better to expend resources chasing the signal than the noise.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826941)

And this will be done rather quickly I expect, by people who are much more competent to judge it than me. It's not quite a simple time series analysis - you also need some domain specific information which I haven't, related to physics and even history (e.g. the introduction of electronic thermometers).

Also: some bloggers do go back to school, and get respected in their field of interest. Just not Watts.

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826595)

There's actually several authors named. Happy to inform since you seem to have missed it.

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826677)

You're welcome, Watts.

Re:Oh dear... (2, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826711)

Not that it'd even matter anyway, as meteorologists aren't climatologists, and actually deal with very different phenomena. It's the difference between a biologist and a paleontologist.

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826993)

Before "global warming" (now called climate change) there weren't climatoligists, they have really only sprung up since Al Gore made a big deal

Re:Oh dear... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826505)

Actual published, peer-reviewed work analyzing his "work" has reached precisely the opposite conclusion [noaa.gov] .

Ahh, that would be the peer-reviewed work that was "prematurely published", "using a subset of the site classifications that Anthony [Watts] has completed (and, moreover, the site classification data they used has not even gone through final quality assurance checks!)"--"They used only ~40% of the USHCN sites yet over 87% have actually been surveyed by Anthony’s volunteers." (http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/professional-discourtesy-by-the-national-climate-data-center/)

Odd when you consider how much whining (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826527)

Odd when you consider how much whining about how the data CRU et al had should be released NOW from you deniers.

Watts had said he would publish a preliminary paper when 60% complete. When 60% complete, Watts diodn't publish. NASA took the data WATTS had collected (you know, the "raw data") and did the work.

Showing that there was a slightly higher warming trend if you took Watts' "best sited" stations than if you included them all.

Which was why Watts had clammed up.

(PS Watts has had to massage the figures. He openly admits he made "corrections" which to every denier was "proof" the CRU/NASA et al were "cooking the books" on the data.)

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826615)

> No, he's a well known denier (probably *the* most well known among lay people). He's not a climatologist;

Would you be kind enough to define how you are using the term "climatologist"? I only ask because some people say anyone who agrees with AGW is a climatologist, and anyone who does not is not. Is that your position?

The paper you link to is dated 2010. I therefore doubt whether it debunks the paper in the story, which was published more recently. Arrow of time and all that.

Oh and as regards peer-review, this is an important part of he scientific process, but it is fallible because of the heavy human subjectivity aspect. In the case of climatology, as documented in the climate-gate emails, peer-reveiw has been effectively subverted by AGW supporters and can no longer be taken seriously. This is just one of several ways climatology has been debasing science.

Re:Oh dear... (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826745)

Would you be kind enough to define how you are using the term "climatologist"?

Do I really need to link wikipedia or a dictionary for you? It's not a vague term; it's a very specific term. A climatologist is a person who studies climate - aka, long-term changes in averages of weather (weather being short-term fluctuations in things like temperature, precipitation, etc). Climate is the signal, weather is the noise. The difference between a climatologist and a meteorologist is the difference between a paleontologist and a biologist.

The paper you link to is dated 2010. I therefore doubt whether it debunks the paper in the story

Correct, it debunks Watt's previous claims. Which is why he had to change them. And will almost certainly get debunked again. He's only ever had one paper published with his name on it, and it amusingly totally undercuts his own claims, arguing that there's no statistical difference in warming trends between good and poor sites and that if anything the global warming trend could be higher than the surface record.

Oh and as regards peer-review, this is an important part of he scientific process, but it is fallible because of the heavy human subjectivity aspect.

Because something is not perfect, it's irrelevant? Is that what you're trying to say? If I write something on a napkin, it's just as good as if experts in a field meticulously review all of the claims of a carefully constructed and controlled study?

In the case of climatology, as documented in the climate-gate emails, peer-reveiw has been effectively subverted by AGW supporters

That claim is absolute rubbish.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Purpendicular (528740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826927)

So, according to your definition, Watts is a climatologist, since he studies "long-term changes in averages of weather".

The kind of degree he has is a separate matter. Darwin did not have a PhD. Darwin did not publish his theory of evolution in a "peer reviewed journal". Darwin was self-financed and not employed by a reputable institution...

I guess these revelations prove that the theory of evolution is false..., But, hey, the Bible is not peer reviewed either. What to believe...

Re:Oh dear... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826625)

I have personally sent money to the surface station project (as have many others - it's crowd funded). In no way is he "funded" by the Heartland institute because of the one off unrelated project he's done with them. Why do you post lies, knowingly?

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826741)

If you don't call receiving nearly six figures "funding", then the term "funding" has no meaning.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

devleopard (317515) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826687)

Why do we celebrate college dropouts who form spectacularly successful Internet startups then?

Science is wonderful: not just the science that supports our world view. Articles on Slashdot frequently parade movements to challenge the science status quo (people making rockets in their garage, open source approaches to publication, etc. Perhaps his findings are garbage, but most of your post was nothing more than an ad hominem attack; your only reference to his research was a link to someone else's challenge, not any original thought of your own.

I don't care who he works for, his education level, or who may have sponsored him at any time. Plenty of lesser men is lesser circumstances have changed the world. Let's talk about his findings, and not cheat ourselves by using words like "trash" as if they carried any weight.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Purpendicular (528740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826951)

Hear, hear.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#40827017)

Spend some time on his site and you'll quickly learn just how much garbage he and his sycophants produce.

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826751)

Northern California. He was the weatherman in my hometown for quite awhile. He seems reasonably intelligent. He's been stuck on this idea for a long time and it has been shot down repeatedly by actual scientists. He has his hypothesis and conclusion and no amount of evidence will convince him otherwise.

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826843)

I dunno. The capsule summary I got from his work was that temperatures are increasing. You telling me NOAA says temperatures aren't increasing?

Re:Oh dear... (1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826487)

Well, that's where we are now. The actual science has been hopelessly muddied by trying to use this for political ends. The climate alarmists want to use the science to implement a wish list of leftist dreams that have been around forever (but THIS time, you have to do it because it's SCIENTIFIC) and the climate denialists want to use the science to support their side of the argument so they can continue polluting. It's the Kobiyashi Maru all over again.

Oh no! The "Deniers" !!! You idiot. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826543)

www.climatedepot.com

There is no such thing as 'man made global warming' - why did you call it 'climate change', by the way? The climate is ALWAYS changing.

Slashdot idiots.

Re:Oh no! The "Deniers" !!! You idiot. (2)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826617)

Of course the climate is always changing.

The issue is not *that* the climate is changing. It's the *rate* of change that's the issue. And sorry, but choosing between an AC posting a random website, and "the scientific process", I'm going to go with "the scientific process".

"climate always changes" become "we can't" how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826917)

If climate always changes, how does that mean we can't?

One reason climate chagnges is the solar constant changes.

The solar constant is lower than normal, but we're still hotter than normal, so it isn't the sun.

One reason climate changes is greenhouse gasses become more or less prevalent.

And we can change the concentration of greehouse gasses.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826569)

My friend, the instults started in your comment when you used the word "denier".

Those who test and question the veracity of the climate change science are practicing scepticism, and good science requires scepticism. It is of course your perogative to deny that you are making a holocaust reference - would that make you a holocaust-reference-denier?

It's one of those boxes that once you open it, there is no limit to how silly things can get.

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826623)

Who mentioned the holocaust?

You're denying something. That makes you a denier. Aka, a practicer of denialism [wikipedia.org] . It's a technical term; deal with it.

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826699)

Remind me, what did I deny?

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826735)

Whatever it is, I DENY it....

(Denial is ALWAYS the best policy..!)

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826739)

The science of climate change.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826865)

So does that make you a supporter? How about a promoter?

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Purpendicular (528740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826967)

The term denier is commonly associated with the holocaust. In French the translation of "denier" is négationniste, and you can go to jail for that (no first amendment to protect you).

5,4,3,2,1... (1)

Rufty (37223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826393)

Let the bunfight begin.

The gist of it (3, Informative)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826407)

The research has classified all the surface stations into 5 classes of relevance, from "reliably close to environment" to "poorly sited" in order to evaluate whether and how much the location of the thermometer and its proximity from airports, cities and so on would skew its measures over time. The end result is that there is a warming over time, but that warming is +0.155 C / decade using the best surfacestations, and twice that (+0.309C / decade) if you use them all.

Re:The gist of it (4, Informative)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826417)

No wait, I read that wrong. It says there is a +.155C warming/decade using the best (classes 1 & 2) stations, +.248C using the worse stations (classes 3, 4 and 5), and that, somehow, NOAA managed to get a +.309C / decade result out of them, by adjsuting upwards the bad stations in order to make up for their poor fidelity, and THEN adjusted upwards the good stations so they would match the poor, adjusted ones.

Who cares what it said? (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826443)

It's not peer-reviewed. Everything else he's submitted for peer review on the matter of climate change has been ripped to shreds; why should this be any different?

Re:Who cares what it said? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826477)

If it's public, then stop shouting and screaming and pointing fingers like little children and act like a proper scientist and show where it's flawed, if it is.

In the manner with which you're currently acting, you would have taken the odd FTL results from the Italian physicists to be true instead of pouring over it and finding what errors there were.

Science has checking and verifying results as a major part of itself. Leave your bias and presumptions at the door.

Re:Who cares what it said? (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826499)

If it's public, then stop shouting and screaming and pointing fingers like little children and act like a proper scientist and show where it's flawed, if it is.

Which is exactly what the peer-review process does. Which is why you never trust non-peer-reviewed work. I can write whatever I want about anything, make it look like a paper, and then send it out to the media. Which is precisely what happened here.

you would have taken the odd FTL results from the Italian physicists to be true

You're walking down precisely the opposite road. Even one peer-reviewed paper on "remarkable claims" isn't enough - that's just the start of a process that can only be confirmed by a series of followup studies, spawning a process that can lead to dozens or hundreds of papers before one can feel confident in the truth of the matter.

This here is *zero* published results.

Science has checking and verifying results as a major part of itself.

And the scientific process is the peer-review process, which this has not undergone, and will almost certainly fail like Watts' other "work". If he even bothers actually submitting it instead of just saying that he's going to.

Re:Who cares what it said? (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826589)

To elaborate on the problem, I started reading the "paper" and he's outright misleading right on the first page. He says that siting in peer-reviewed works showed an effect on minimum temperatures but no effect on the mean. The actual papers show a small increase in minimum temperatures, but a much larger *decrease* in maximum temperatures. I'm also noticing in the paper him mixing in peer-reviewed cites with non-peer-reviewed cites without even commenting on the fact that he's doing so, which is a huge no-no.

Basically, his previous work not having shown what he claimed it showed after the peer-reviewed process got ahold of it, he simply changed his formula until it showed a different result. Which will almost certainly get likewise ripped up.

Here's the reality of the situation. The many papers published on the subject of the land record and all of their reviewers are not idiots ignorant of Watts' rogue genius. The issues that he "raises" have been discussed and analyzed for ages. Because of these issues, nobody just takes the raw data and submits it as a result. There are all sorts of calculations to detect biases and compensate for them, and all of these adjustments are analyzed with higher-precision real-world data to see how well they work, as well as cross-correlated with totally different lines of measurement. One study, to pick a random example among many, broke the data down between windy days and calm days, as the urban heat island effect dramatically diminishes on windy days. The calm results were then compared with the windy results to see if they reached the same conclusion.

Of course, it should be obvious that Watts is wrong just by even a rudimentary look at the surface warming trends [nasa.gov] . Notice where they're strongest, generally? Sparsely populated areas. We're supposed to believe that the extreme warming of Siberian or Canadian tundra is due to a "urban heat island effect" not visible in, for example, New York, Tokyo, London or Los Angeles?

Needless to say, you don't just have to judge based on your eyes; this has been statistically analyzed and published as well.

Re:Who cares what it said? (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826649)

Of course, it should be obvious that Watts is wrong just by even a rudimentary look at the surface warming trends [nasa.gov] . Notice where they're strongest, generally? Sparsely populated areas. We're supposed to believe that the extreme warming of Siberian or Canadian tundra is due to a "urban heat island effect" not visible in, for example, New York, Tokyo, London or Los Angeles?

From the press release (didn't you say you read it?):


Other findings include, but are not limited to:

* Poorly sited station trends are adjusted sharply upward, and well sited stations are adjusted upward to match the already-adjusted poor stations.
* Well sited rural stations show a warming nearly three times greater after NOAA adjustment is applied.

Re:Who cares what it said? (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826733)

Which are, of course, un-reviewed claims, and totally distort the picture (the reason for the adjustments and how they're tested was just discussed in the post right above yours - to sum up, people looking at the GISS dataset aren't idiots and know about the various ways station data can be biased, and have automated algorithms to detect and correct for bias - algorithms which have been rigorously tested by peer-reviewed research, and it should be noted, actually yield a lower warming trend than the raw data, which also shows a greater rural warming trend than urban).

Re:Who cares what it said? (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826919)

I think the point of the paper is that using new information, Leroy 2010, the way adjustments should be made becomes different. You referencing algorithms that do not reflect the conclusions from Leroy does not in any way disprove that.

Why are you so hostile towards science?

Re:Who cares what it said? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826511)

It's not peer-reviewed. Everything else he's submitted for peer review on the matter of climate change has been ripped to shreds; why should this be any different?

"Everything"? I think you overlooked this one:

Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union.

Re:Who cares what it said? (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826693)

Wow, he managed to get one through in 2011? Totally missed that. Probably because it actually doesn't say what he's been claiming in non-peer-reviewed research [agu.org] :

Temperature trend estimates vary according to site classification, with poor siting leading to an overestimate of minimum temperature trends and an underestimate of maximum temperature trends, resulting in particular in a substantial difference in estimates of the diurnal temperature range trends. The opposite-signed differences of maximum and minimum temperature trends are similar in magnitude, so that the overall mean temperature trends are nearly identical across site classifications.

Which had already been determined. I'm amazed that Watts was willing to put his name on a paper that basically undercuts his entire premise and says the same thing as papers he's been railing against for ages. Check out the lead author's summary of the paper [wordpress.com] , in particular the Q and A section. Although my favorite quote is:

we found that the global average surface temperature may be higher than what has been reported by NCDC and others as a result in the bias in the landscape area where the observing sites are situated.

Wow, Watts, you sure shot things out of the park with that one!

Re:Who cares what it said? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826571)

Because, unfortunately even a broken clock displays the correct time twice a day. So once again a new submission requires impartiality and dispassionate objective scrutiny.

(Unless of course the clock is digital or has no dials left)

Re:Who cares what it said? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826575)

Peer-reviewed?
This is the new mantra of the new global warming religion.

Anything that disagrees with that religious dogma has been ripped to shreds - the "peers" doing the reviewing are the ones getting the grant money to study global warming.

What in the name of all that you hold dear makes you think that they would agree with anything that would interfere with their paychecks?
I guarantee that YOU don't call your boss an idiot, even if he is - would probably impact your paycheck significantly. You won't do something not in your best interests; what makes you think the "peers" would?

To quote another post: "somehow, NOAA managed to get a +.309C / decade result out of them, by adjusting upwards the bad stations in order to make up for their poor fidelity, and THEN adjusted upwards the good stations so they would match the poor, adjusted ones."

Just manipulate the data to agree with the result you want - "peer review" will find nothing wrong with it, as long as it doesn't negatively affect their income...

Re:Who cares what it said? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826697)

In the one paper Watts' name is on that's been published (see above), they actually reach the conclusion that there is no statistical difference in means between poor and good stations according to Watts' own dataset.

Re:Who cares what it said? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826657)

I'm still trying to figure out why he thinks that a systematic error in measurement (if I understand his claims correctly) negates trending data.

So, not "may have", but "has". Right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826423)

Tell me, is this entire thread merely trolling?

Re:So, not "may have", but "has". Right. (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826557)

Doesn't matter. What matters is that the deniers will now publish this as "scientific fact" on every possible news/media channel and the USA will get a tiny bit stupider as a result.

Re:So, not "may have", but "has". Right. (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826689)

I'm pretty sure the fox news watchers have reached maximum stupidity already. I think this is more of a get stupid people to vote thing.

application of basic lab science concepts... (-1, Troll)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826447)

This work represents a simple concept, a quality audit of instrument sites based on others criteria, and identifying diverse data sources' susceptibility to drift over the decades. Apparently this is more radical to some than Martin Luther's theses posted on the door.

That's precisely what CRU do. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826725)

But when THEY do it, it's all a fraud.

When Watts does it (as long as he doesn't make the mistake of "concluding" AGW is wrong), it's rigorous science. Yeah.

PS if this paper is right, the climate sensitivity to CO2 is 1.5C per doubling. Still far higher than his oft-repeated claim of 0.5 or even negative.

Do we need more power cuts?! (-1, Offtopic)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826517)

Right now some 600,000,000 are without electric current - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-19060279 [bbc.co.uk]

"Officials said the northern and eastern grids had both collapsed.[...] It was unclear why the grid collapsed but reports said some states may have been using more power than authorised. Power officials managed to restore the northern grid by Monday evening, but at 01:05pm (0735 GMT) on Tuesday, the grid collapsed again. The eastern grid failed around the same time, officials said. [...] The two grids together serve more than half of India's 1.2bn people."

Is this really the way to go?! Still, thank you India for showing us how it can be done, or?

Call me naïve, while global warming needs fast actions this Indian kind of action may well be too fast.

Which ones are the trolls? (-1, Troll)

barv (1382797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826519)

Is it the deniers or the alarmists?

Not that I give a stuff. Even if the world is warming because we use Carbon fuel, does anybody really think that alarmism will stop people from eating and breeding and driving motor cars and airplanes?

Of course what REALLY has the alarmists upset is FRACKING because it will delay PEAK OIL by a century or more.

So if the world warms up, I will turn up the a/c and grow food in glasshouses.

Re:Which ones are the trolls? (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826631)

Fracking produces natural gas, it will have only a marginal effect on peak oil production.

Of course we all know that using more capital letters makes your argument more valid.

Re:Which ones are the trolls? (0)

barv (1382797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826779)

Learn a bit of Engineering.

It costs a few hundred dollars to convert a Gasoline (petrol) engine to use natural gas. A car built for only natural gas would be cleaner and cheaper to run than a gasoline engine, and most probably cost the same and require less maintainence.

Oh sorry. Silly me. If you or any alarmists knew any Engineering you wouldn't be alarmists.

Average the measurements before you take them (5, Informative)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826601)

Disclaimer: I did work in atmospheric science for 15 years.

I understand all this talk about adjusting temperature results for urban sprawl around the measuring stations, but bear in mind that those stations are weather forecast stations, never intended as climatology primary source of inputs. So why don't we simply use a better designed system, such as a thermometer a couple of feet inside the ground: depending on the depth you can average out the daily thermal cycle (a few inches) or even the yearly cycles (a few feet). And there you have your reliable long therm^Hterm trends without any supercomputers or fancy models.

Re:Average the measurements before you take them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826755)

Or, as Watts suggests, leave the current stations in place and then properly site redundant stations nearby to quantify the magnitude of the bias. Instead, NOAA is just going to remove the stations altogether, which seems a little suspect to me.

NCDC was precisely that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826813)

Well, for the USA.

Watts, as usual, ignores them since they accord with the station record.

What's really weird is that if stations are left out, i'ts claimed fraud (see the Russian denier group who complained that their crappy data was being discarded), and if it's left in, it's claimed fraud (see this fluff piece).

Re:Average the measurements before you take them (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826817)

Indeed, that's why there is the (growing) Climate Reference Network [noaa.gov] . The USCRN is a smaller subset of stations which are carefully chosen in terms of siting and instrumentation and carefully monitored in a way that couldn't realistically be done with all stations. The results from the USCRN are then compared with the broader results in both localized and aggregate comparisons and used A) to help refine the adjustment algorithms used to detect and compensate for localization biases, and B) to determine the accuracy of the aggregate results.

Re:Average the measurements before you take them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40827021)

They are looking for historical trends. The reason they don't used buried thermocouple is that they weren't installed in the past.

Re:Average the measurements before you take them (3, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40827051)

Borehole reconstructions [noaa.gov] are routinely done and consistent with other proxies as well as with the instrumental surface record.

First Problem (3, Informative)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826651)

If siting were the problem, then temperature variance would track suburban sprawl and urbanization closely, as it would be a systematic error. It doesn't [noaa.gov] . Instead it tracks mountain regions with greatest snow cap loss, as would be predicted by AGW.

AGW wins again on the data.

Re:First Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826775)

The claim is that the data has been improperly adjusted. You can't use the adjusted data set to disprove that claim. See the part at the top about "observations have been adjusted..."?

History Contradicts You (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826931)

There are pre-industrialization periods in which the temperature of Earth was hotter than it is now. Explain the differences and then I might become a believer.

Anthony Watts is a well-known denier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826719)

No one should believe anything he says. It will all be wrong. He probably also believes in creationism.

The science is settled, and he should be charged with endangering the human race.

Surfacestation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826897)

Sounds like a good name for a Microsoft concept store where you can buy their rumored [slashdot.org] iPad killer.

A low point for Slashdot. (0)

djirk (763517) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826961)

An article about Anthony Watts? This is a low point for Slashdot.
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