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Climate Change/Mass Extinction Megathread

Started by Syt, November 17, 2015, 05:50:30 AM

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Syt

It appears we don't have a climate change megathread yet, so here is one.

http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/11/congressman-continues-pressuring-noaa-for-scientists-e-mails/

QuoteCongressman continues pressuring NOAA for scientists' e-mails

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) remains in the crosshairs of Congressman Lamar Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The issue is that Rep. Smith did not like the most recent update to NOAA's global surface temperature dataset, because it resulted in a larger warming trend since 1998—a time period that those who reject the conclusions of climate science are fond of claiming has seen no warming.

When last we checked in, the American Meteorological Society was weighing in with concern about Rep. Smith's subpoena seeking internal communications of NOAA scientists about this update. And Smith was asserting that it was done for political, rather than scientific reasons.

Updates like this one, which add in data or revise corrections for non-climatic factors like differences between measurement techniques, are common. And, after the changes, NOAA's dataset looks about the same as all the others. Although the data and methods he requested are publicly available, and NOAA scientists have provided explanations regarding the latest update, Rep. Smith wants to comb through their e-mails in order to uncover the political influence he assumes must exist.

NOAA has taken the position, as other scientific organizations have in the past, that deliberative communications between scientists should be protected from fishing expeditions, and has so far refused to comply.

After NOAA refused, Rep. Smith sent a letter reiterating the demand and making a few additional requests, including that four individuals from NOAA—two scientists, NOAA Chief of Staff Renee Stone, and Communications Director Ciaran Clayton—appear for closed-door interviews before the full House Committee. An aide for the committee told Ars that the transcripts of such interviews are generally not released and would not be released in this case. The rules also dictate that the committee members of one party cannot release transcripts without the permission of the other party. Whatever questions Rep. Smith wants to ask about the transparency of NOAA science will remain confidential.

But the public battle is continuing. On Friday, Rep. Smith sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker asking her to direct NOAA to comply with his subpoena for internal communications. The letter states that "Congressional oversight need not, indeed should not, begin only when evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, or other wrongdoing is unveiled."

The letter also complains that NOAA has apparently not yet scheduled the interviews with the two non-scientists and emphasizes that "the Committee's request for information and communications includes not just NOAA scientists but also NOAA policy and political staff." It adds that "NOAA's response appears to be targeted at manipulating the Committee's requests to lend support to the false narrative being promoted by outside organizations that the Committee is attempting to target and intimidate scientists."

As an example, Rep. Smith seems peeved that NOAA put out a press release about the study published in Science describing the update (which we covered). The letter continues, "NOAA also used Twitter to spread the news about the Karl study, tweeting 'NOAA study refutes notion of 'hiatus' in rate of #globalwarming in recent yrs.' This type of public relations effort seems better suited to an advertising campaign than a federal agency's sober report on the findings of a publicly-funded study."

NOAA routinely produces press releases for reports or newly published studies, and its Twitter account exists primarily to share links to those releases.


On the study mentioned in the penultimate paragraph:
http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/06/updated-noaa-temperature-record-shows-little-global-warming-slowdown/

QuoteUpdated NOAA temperature record shows little global warming slowdown



Creating and maintaining a record of surface temperatures around the world isn't as easy as it sounds, even if you rightly don't think that sounds easy. Lots of work goes into combining different kinds of measurements in the most accurate way possible. When new studies provide slightly better accounting for some of the complications involved, the records need to get updated.

An update to the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's temperature record is out this week, and the researchers behind it say it has an impact on discussions about the slower rise of global average surface temperatures in recent years. That is, it doesn't look much slower.

In this case, the update was spurred by two efforts. The first was simply a new database of weather stations on land that more than doubles the number available by folding in many smaller collections. The second was research into sources of sea surface temperature measurements. A large number of buoys are now dedicated to making these measurements, but commercial ships have also been a major source of data. Those ships haven't always used the same methods, though, so researchers have to be careful to account for differences between the data those methods produce.

For a long time, the standard method was to pull up a bucket of water and drop a thermometer in it. But over time—and especially around World War II—this was increasingly abandoned for measurements made of water in the engine room intake pipe. Intake pipes give you a slightly warmer temperature than the buckets, and so a correction has to be applied to make the two comparable.

Scientists hadn't used those corrections for data after World War II, but recent research discovered that the bucket method didn't completely go away. As a result, the sea surface temperature database now includes a correction to deal with this up to the present day. This makes a non-trivial difference.

The researchers also developed an improved correction for systematic differences between buoy measurements and ship measurements by examining measurements made by ships while they were near buoys. The buoy measurements averaged 0.12 degrees Celsius cooler, necessitating an adjustment, but the measurements are also higher quality and come with a smaller margin of error.

Because buoys are becoming more prevalent, the effects of these adjustments were stronger in recent years, bringing average temperatures up a tick compared to years previous.

Incorporating these changes results in small shifts in the global average surface temperature estimates. Some years moved upward a bit; some years moved downward. The change over the entire record, which extends back to 1880, is miniscule. But over short time periods, this wiggling can alter trends a bit.

This paper focuses on the period after the anomalously warm El Niño year of 1998, a starting point that has inspired some politicians to claim that the Earth hasn't warmed since. That already wasn't true, but the updated numbers make that even more obvious. In the previous version of the dataset, the average trend from 1998 to 2014 was 0.059±0.063 degrees Celsius warming per decade. Now, however, it is 0.106±0.058 degrees Celsius per decade.

(Of course, given that 1998 was warmer than surrounding years, that start date gives you the smallest trend. The trend over 2000 to 2014, for example, increases to 0.116 degrees Celsius per decade. Such is the danger of cherry-picking endpoints over short periods.)

Specifically, the paper revisits a statement from the most recent IPCC report, which was first published in 2013. The report compared the most recent trend to the trend going back to 1950, noting that the trend between 1998 and 2012 was half to one-third the trend between 1951 and 2012. That statement was based on the old NOAA numbers, which yielded trends of 0.039 degrees Celsius per decade and 0.117 degrees Celsius per decade, respectively. Using the updated numbers, that gap closes considerably: 0.086 degrees Celsius per decade (1998-2012) compared to 0.129 degrees Celsius per decade (1951-2012).

As a result, the researchers write that the IPCC's description of a much slower trend after 1998 is "no longer valid." For example, the new 2000 to 2014 trend is actually very slightly greater than the 1950 to 1999 trend.



Of course, NOAA isn't the only game in town, and a couple of other datasets—like NASA's—estimated higher temperatures for the last few years. We covered a 2013 analysis that used satellite data to fill in around the sparse weather stations in the Arctic, calculating even warmer global averages than NASA. NOAA's Huai-Min Zhang told Ars that the 2000 to 2014 trend in their updated dataset is comparable to that analysis, making it a little steeper than NASA's.

However, NASA uses the same land station and sea surface temperature databases as NOAA—when they incorporate these updates (which NASA's Reto Ruedy told Ars will eventually happen after careful testing), the NASA record will likely experience similar shifts. That would probably move NASA's numbers for recent years back on top. (The two groups handle the sparse sampling of the Arctic differently, and NASA's method of filling in between stations rather than leaving out the blanks gives the rapidly warming Arctic a little more weight in the global average.)

Got all that? Basically, it seems that the recent slowdown in surface warming has been exaggerated by our imperfect records. But while the researchers write that "newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from [NOAA] do not support the notion of a global warming 'hiatus,'" we also know that ocean patterns have held down surface temperatures in recent years. And we know that we have to account for those ocean patterns, as well as solar and volcanic activity, in order to bring recent temperatures up to the average trend of climate model projections.

Of course, there will be predictable accusations of "fudging data" made by those who invariably reject the results of climate science. For that reason, it's worth remembering that the net result of all the adjustments climate scientists make to these records is less warming over the last century.

Getting this exactly right isn't easy, and scientists have to cross every "t" they can find to produce accurate estimates of the fever Earth's climate system is running. If you're curious enough about the details, t-crossing can be pretty interesting—but if you take a few steps back, the big picture will look nearly the same. And yes, the big picture shows that the Earth didn't miraculously stop warming in 1998.
If we want to prevent catastrophic economic and societal change we will have to radically change our climate system.

Proud owner of 42 Zoupa Points.

Valmy

What kind of idiot do you have to be to put Lamar Smith in charge of a House Committee? Man you people never learn about Texas politicians.
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."

mongers

Quote from: Valmy on November 17, 2015, 09:28:38 AM
What kind of idiot do you have to be to put Lamar Smith in charge of a House Committee? Man you people never learn about Texas politicians.

Are politicians ignorant of some Texas politicians' wilfully ignorance?
"We have it in our power to begin the world over again"

Hansmeister

Since the actual measurements of global temperature didn't show any actual warming the climate fraudsters had to "adjust" the data to comport with their climate models.  Now that people are wondering how the fuck they came up with this very convenient adjustment they are clamming up and refusing to release the process that led to this conclusion, even though they are legally obligated to do so since this is publicly funded.

Well, the actually measured change of temperature is shown below:




Admiral Yi

The OP article claims the data and methodology are publicly available.  Presumably when you say "process" you are referring to something.

Also not sure the graph you provided proves unadjusted temperatures are not rising.

lustindarkness

Is that the Boston Marathon course elevation profile? Looks brutal.
Grand Duke of Lurkdom

Hansmeister

Quote from: Admiral Yi on November 17, 2015, 06:27:28 PM
The OP article claims the data and methodology are publicly available.  Presumably when you say "process" you are referring to something.

Also not sure the graph you provided proves unadjusted temperatures are not rising.

The problem is that they cherry pick their data (in this case ocean buoys) and make some very specific adjustments to bring it in line with their alarmist claims while ignoring all data that contradicts it.  Why don't satellite weather data, by far the most complete and accurate measurement of global climate since 1977 show any global warming.

In the scientific method you establish a theory and then set out to disprove it.  Only if you cannot disprove it have you proven your theory. Climate change "scientists" do not use the scientific method, routinely ignore facts and cherry pick data (or outright Doctor it) to reach their conclusion.

Razgovory

I've given it serious thought. I must scorn the ways of my family, and seek a Japanese woman to yield me my progeny. He shall live in the lands of the east, and be well tutored in his sacred trust to weave the best traditions of Japan and the Sacred South together, until such time as he (or, indeed his house, which will periodically require infusion of both Southern and Japanese bloodlines of note) can deliver to the South it's independence, either in this world or in space.  -Lettow April of 2011

Raz is right. -MadImmortalMan March of 2017

Admiral Yi

Quote from: Hansmeister on November 17, 2015, 06:39:33 PM
The problem is that they cherry pick their data (in this case ocean buoys) and make some very specific adjustments to bring it in line with their alarmist claims while ignoring all data that contradicts it.  Why don't satellite weather data, by far the most complete and accurate measurement of global climate since 1977 show any global warming.

Have you read their publicly available methodology and come to these conclusions yourself?

I have not, nor do I have the scientific expertise to evaluate it, and can't refute anything you say (or anything the other side says) on the merits, though I do understand the argument for adjusting observed temperatures to account for things like urban heat islands.


Hansmeister

Quote from: Admiral Yi on November 17, 2015, 06:51:12 PM
Quote from: Hansmeister on November 17, 2015, 06:39:33 PM
The problem is that they cherry pick their data (in this case ocean buoys) and make some very specific adjustments to bring it in line with their alarmist claims while ignoring all data that contradicts it.  Why don't satellite weather data, by far the most complete and accurate measurement of global climate since 1977 show any global warming.

Have you read their publicly available methodology and come to these conclusions yourself?

I have not, nor do I have the scientific expertise to evaluate it, and can't refute anything you say (or anything the other side says) on the merits, though I do understand the argument for adjusting observed temperatures to account for things like urban heat islands.

Yes I have, they've adjusted water temperatures to fit their models based on differences from ship vs buoy measurements, which doesn't explain the lack of global warming in the satellite data.  Particularly since their models had predicted higher temperature growth in the troposphere vs ground level.  It is again an effort to fit the data to their model, not consistent with the scientific method.  Every year it is the same circus as they are proven wrong over and over again and continuously have to make "adjustments" to the data to fit it into their narrative.  It's like jehovah witness trying to scientifically explain away they dinosaurs carbon dating.

Starting with your conclusion and then cherry pick your data is not scientific, hence, they aren't engaged in since but anti-science.

Razgovory

I've given it serious thought. I must scorn the ways of my family, and seek a Japanese woman to yield me my progeny. He shall live in the lands of the east, and be well tutored in his sacred trust to weave the best traditions of Japan and the Sacred South together, until such time as he (or, indeed his house, which will periodically require infusion of both Southern and Japanese bloodlines of note) can deliver to the South it's independence, either in this world or in space.  -Lettow April of 2011

Raz is right. -MadImmortalMan March of 2017

Admiral Yi

The basic problem as I see it Hans, is that you are asking us to believe that tens of thousands of scientists are engaged in a massive conspiracy to mislead the public (for what? their salaries? for laughs?) and that you and a handful of brave souls, most or all of whom appear to share the same ideological space on the right end of the spectrum, are the only ones willing to tell the truth.


Monoriu

I have zero expertise to challenge Han's graphs, or the environmentalists' graphs.  So it comes down to who to trust.  The way I see it is that there seems no practical gain for those who are screaming that temperatures are rising. 

Plus I can feel it too.  It is November in Hong Kong, but I still feel it is like late summer here.  It wasn't like that when I was a kid. 

Hansmeister

Quote from: Admiral Yi on November 17, 2015, 07:20:54 PM
The basic problem as I see it Hans, is that you are asking us to believe that tens of thousands of scientists are engaged in a massive conspiracy to mislead the public (for what? their salaries? for laughs?) and that you and a handful of brave souls, most or all of whom appear to share the same ideological space on the right end of the spectrum, are the only ones willing to tell the truth.

More like hundreds of scientists, who have a very vested interest in advocating for this, to the tune of billions of dollars.  And the same thing happened with the eugenics movement a hundred years ago, even their thuggish methodology is identical.

Climate science has been completely politicized with little to no actual science taking taking place.  Over the last 20 years the field has been hijacked by political activists to the degree that there are hardly any scientists left in the field.

The reality is that we know relatively little about how the climate actually works, which is why real scientists in the field mostly roll their eyes when these hacks make these declarative statements; however, they also know to shut up to not be subject to a witch hunt.

See, I don't have much faith in declarative statements by much of the scientific recourse that tries to tell us how we should live, because so much of it is bullshit.  Just look at the various nutrition guidance a developed over the last 50 years, most of which have been utter bunk.  I love that they're now suddenly saying that whole milk might be healthier than low fat milk.

Hansmeister

Quote from: Monoriu on November 17, 2015, 08:01:41 PM
I have zero expertise to challenge Han's graphs, or the environmentalists' graphs.  So it comes down to who to trust.  The way I see it is that there seems no practical gain for those who are screaming that temperatures are rising. 

Plus I can feel it too.  It is November in Hong Kong, but I still feel it is like late summer here.  It wasn't like that when I was a kid.

That graph is from NASA and contains the raw satellite data, unaltered, unlike the NOAA data set.