“Report Reconciles Atmospheric Temperature Trends”

Yes, the CCSP report is now out (thanks het for the link), and it looks like the story has a happy ending after all: there is no longer a discrepancy in the rate of global average temperature increase for the surface compared with higher levels in the atmosphere. This discrepancy had previously been used to challenge the validity of climate models used to detect and attribute the causes of observed climate change. This is an important revision to and update of the conclusions of earlier reports from the U.S. National Research Council and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Jolly good. Though if thats all there is to it, you might as well say “read the Aug 11 Science from 2005 and the associated RC articles…”. Presumably there is more in the full report. Maybe I’ll read it one day.

Wait, there is more from the press release [this report] corrects errors that have been identified in the satellite data and other temperature observations [does it? must read that bit. When I last looked, errors had been noted but not really corrected in the radiation biases in the sondes -W]. These and other analyses have increased confidence in the understanding of observed climatic changes and their causes. The published report also states that research to detect climate change and attribute its causes using patterns of observed temperature change in space and time shows clear evidence of human influences on the climate system due to changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols, and stratospheric ozone. Also, the observed patterns of change over the past 50 years cannot be explained by natural processes alone, nor by the effects of short-lived atmospheric constituents such as aerosols and tropospheric ozone alone.

Also The publication of S&A Product 1.1 signals a tremendous accomplishment… they say of themselves. It is, apparently, the first of 21 synthesis reports. Where will they find the strength of will to bother with all 21, and will anyone be listening?

9 thoughts on ““Report Reconciles Atmospheric Temperature Trends””

  1. The process is underway for the others (the schedule’s contained in this letter. As far as I can tell, all of them are in process and are scheduled for completion by early 2008. I’ve been proposed as one of 27 lead authors for one of them (Product 3.3). Obviously, there are some logisitical issues involved here. With 20 more reports to go, it stretches the human resources pretty hard, assuming there are similar numbers of authors for the others. The second big problem is dealing with the “Information Quality Act” provisions that make the federal employees jump through hoops if anything involves policy or economic impact.

    [Um, so, how will all of this avoid simply duplicating the IPCC reports? Or is that the point (from the view of the Prez, not you, of course)? Who is going to bother read 21 spearate US reports instead of one IPCC report? -W]


  2. I’m much less likely to read your blog now that you’re putting moving ads on top of it….

    [That funny moving cyclone thing? Its rubbish, isn’t it. Don’t blame me, though I do apologise for it. Tell you what, I’ll go whinge in the support forums -W]


  3. On the minus side, of course the entire purpose of this 21-part exercise was to see Bush nicely out of office without having to do anything of substance on global warming. OTOH, if this report is any indication, the whole set will serve the unintended (by Bush) purpose of blunting the expected attacks on the credibility of the AR4 and helping keep AGW on the front burner during the upcoming presidential campaign.

    Regarding the “tremendous accomplishment,” of course none of the science is new, but I would submit that the spectacle of the metaphorically trussed and gagged Spencer and Christie, reminiscent of Caesar’s triumphal parading of Vercengentorix through Rome, has quite a bit to be said for it accomplishment-wise. S+C can be thankful that unlike V they won’t be quietly strangled afterwards, much though some might feel the impulse to do so.


  4. Steve – Spencer may deserve to be sent to the lions, but I don’t think I would put Christy in that category. He seems less the agitator and more the scientist, and it was pretty important that somebody look into those discrepancies.


  5. I like the hurricane that occassionally flies over the screen, but I understand that the enemies of technology, capitalism, mankind, and civilization must be pretty irrirated by this high-tech achievement.

    Pig’s attack on Spencer is purely political. Spencer is objectively at least as good a scientist as Christy (or several others). He’s just not convenient enough for the Al Gore stalinist movement.

    This kind of error they had can occur – and similar errors that occur on the alarmist side are never really corrected. These guys clearly admit the error, correct it, and continue to do their best. It’s a very different approach.

    [Not really, no. AFAIK S+C have never admitted it was a simple sign error, they obscure what went wrong. Since we’re on the subject, why do you think the “audit” folk have never shown the least interest in auditing this particular geophysical time series? It was of high political interest, it has a a somewhat murky code history (I don’t think anyone to this day has seen S+C’s code), it has a history of corrections… I wonder why people aren’t interested? -W]


  6. Lubos, possibly you should read Spencer’s TCS columns, in particular the one endorsing ID. I wouldn’t think you’d want to associate yourself with *that* crowd.

    “Al Gore stalinist” — I love this stuff. Lubos, do you have any idea how odd such phrases seem to native Emglish speakers, even ones with politics similar to yours?

    BTW, it’s a tornado.


  7. William, in regards to the audit people looking into the satellite records, I believe that when the last correction broke they (or at least Steve) did. I seem to recall that they put it all down to an autocorrelation artifact. I can did up the reference if you like.

    [Put what down to autocorr? The sign error? Sounds odd… if you have a ref, do please post it! -W]


  8. [Roy Spencer is] just not convenient enough for the Al Gore stalinist movement.


    I know when I see a commenter using marginalization and FUD phrases, they have nothing but wishes. I think, Lubos, the best thing you can contribute to this discussion is the keystroke sequence to make the swoosh over the ‘s’ in your name.

    And Wm, I also wonder why the audit amateurs don’t get on the Infrared Iris data as well. They should be looking into that. And the surface temp record. And the ice core data.




  9. William, my comment about autocorrelation was inspired by the following quote from the link below (300), however the discussion began with (298).

    The obvious question is: does this data set show any statistically significant trend at all? It’s not the issue that people are discussing. The appropriate comparison is to ARMA models, as shown here. I’m not familiar with satellite literature and perhaps this ARMA modeling is old hat to them, but it’s sure not at the tip of their tongues (both sides) or we would be seeing quite different discussions about “trends”.



    [Hi John. Thanks for that. But that shows them doing their best to evade the question: which is: why do these different methods of analysing the same dataset yield different values? part of the answer we now know: S+C f*ck*d up. But what explains the rest? More errors in S+C? Is there some intrinsic methodological difference? There are lots of questions that a keen audit-er could follow up, and its interesting that they are working hard to look the other way – W]


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