Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Man made Global Warming

Chez linked me to this piece today refuting global warming data derived from surface measurements.

The assertion in this article is essentially that global warming is man made, not through emissions of greenhouse gasses, but through manipulation of data. He argues that:
1. The data is being collected poorly
2. The data is being altered by people in such a way as to augment their biases.

It is interesting, and I don't necessarily disagree that what he is saying is possible. I just think it is important to point out that the examples he uses in his article IN NO WAY PROVE either one of his criticisms of global warming science are true. Perhaps with further analysis he would be vindicated, but what is there does not prove anything.

I can't help but wonder who this author is. He mentions reviewing PhD theses twice, not in direct reference to himself, which I find amusing, but in a more general way. It leads the reader towards credibility without actually establishing any. (I wouldn't even think of this as part of any kind of scientific review, except he himself went out of the way to critique the use of the words "high quality" as being somehow misleading. I can't help but question this whole I'm gonna mention PhDs a lot as part of a similar tactic.)

His identity comes into question for the most part because there are a major flaws in his analysis as presented. It is possible he preformed a more detailed analysis of the data beyond what is presented here, and if so I would like to see the results of that. As it stands however, the analysis is extremely flawed.

For instance the first two charts charts he uses as data in his proof that global warming is "man made" are not comparable. The claim he is making with them is as follows:
The satellite record continues to show little or no change while the surface
record shows what s alleged to be a continued rising trend.

Unfortunately the charts given, are at best questionable in proving this point. There is no clear statement of what the charts actually show, year over year change, change from average, overall temperature? But if we are simply comparing the charts, assuming they show the same thing we still run into problems.

The first chart he presents is satellite data, but it does not tell us exactly what the measure is. (Average temp by month, week, year day, etc.) Nor does it display the metric. All it tells us is that it is satellite data for the last 28 years. I would be interested to see this data, and possibly to examine the annual averages and a rolling average. The seasonal variation has not been removed from this chart, and while there do seem to be some apparent trends it is not entirely clear how large or small they are on an annual basis.

The second chart represents temperature measure X by year going back to 1880. So here we are comparing, what I think is a monthly data chart (possibly weekly) to an annual chart. And it is also important that one only look at the last 28 years or so, despite the amount of data displayed.

In addition to the issues of how the charts themselves vary, there is the issue of the areas being measured. The satellite data looks at Northern hemisphere v. Southern, the surface data looks at ocean versus land. This means that the segmented charts are not comparable for obvious reasons.

Interestingly, if one examines the "Global" satellite chart as compared to the "Land and Ocean chart" One will see an approximate overall increase of .5 degrees C in the Land and Ocean Chart and .4 degrees C (estimated due to lack of averages) in the Global chart, at or around the end of 2005. What this actually shows us is that the two measurements are fairly close. Without more information I cannot tell you if any of this is statistically significant.

On to more topics, he mentions the placement of temperature stations which I am inclined to completely agree with the writer, that needs to be closely monitored and maintained.

From there we move to data processing, and examining the chart provided one would be inclined to be outraged at how we are being bamboozled by USHCN. I do question somewhat the apparently exponential growth of the adjustments made to the data.

However, the latest adjustment made was in 2005, and it was an average increase of .55 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the annual chart in 2005 there was an increase of 1 degree Fahrenheit. That still leaves .45 degrees unaccounted for by the data adjustment.

Essentially this analysis leaves me with more questions:
1. Is there a true discrepancy between global surface monitoring temp data and global satellite temp data. (That is are we seeing patterns in one that are not visible in the other.)
2. How are the data adjustments being conducted, and what accounts for the exponentially increasing pace of adjustment.
3. What is up with the temperature monitors being by AC units. Is this a common occurrence or just a few outliers?
4. If global climate change is not indicated via temperature change, to what can we attribute weather changes, the reduction of the ice caps, and the gradually increasing sea levels. (Or are these more data issues.)

2 comments:

DED said...

Statistical analysis aside, it boggles my mind that there are people who believe that the 6+ billion humans on this planet wouldn't have some sort of measurable impact upon it. With the hundreds of millions of automobiles and tens of thousands of power plants all generating megatons of CO2 for several decades, you'd have to be pretty dense to believe that their impact would be insignificant.

Not Convinced said...

To DED:

I need to ask, why does it boggle your mind? Why do you assume that just because there are 6 billion people in the world that there should be some kind of significant impact? 6 billion is not that much when you consider the size of the earth. The surface area of our planet is estimated to be 510 million square kilometers, while 148 million of those are on land. thats one person per 11.76 square kilometers of land, or one person per 2906 acres of land.

Furthermore, CO2 only makes up 0.038% of he total atmosphere (meaning that 99.962% is not CO2). If we're pumping "megatons of CO2 for several decades" why isn't it that CO2 makes up more of the atmosphere? perhaps it's because 6 billion people isn't that many people compared to the size of the earth.

It boggles my mind that people would blindley listen to some scientists and blindley ignore the growing number of others who discredit global warming. do some research on the other side sometime - uncover the lies, and stop fighting for a cause that is insignificant.

Numbers obtained from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth