Interesting times

At last some news on the climate front, and JA has a nice posting on it. I’d say its a bit early to be expresssing an opinion. They have found something; quite how it affects the record needs chewing over.

Meanwhile, did you know that Singer has a Nobel Prize? No? Well it was news to me, and is yet another case of the septics puffing up their weak credentials with IPCC reviewer status. Found via skeptics in the pub whom S-said-Fred is due to address on June 24th. In fact he may have found his level: propped up on the bar, with a pint in his hand, grandly offering to explain away the worlds problems, is about where he belongs nowadays.

Meanwhile #2, the UK summer continues Wet, it being half-term week; with the children away I looked forward to some nice outings, which culminated tonight in rowing through a downpour. Lovely. We did at least row reasonably well through the rain.

16 thoughts on “Interesting times”

  1. First!

    It seems to me that McI is like a rooster claiming credit for the sun rising. Since it is not possible to trust his posts (he is well know for retroactivly editing them w/o giving notice of his changes) I have to doubt his claims.

    If I recall correctly, his complaint was with the Folland and Parker correction applied for temps from ’41 on. It appears that this correction was correct, since the British SST measurements basically stopped once most of their (your?) Navy was consigned to convoy duty and most US measurements were done via intake temps.

    It turns out the problem with the FP correction was that it needed to be backed out in ’45, once the war was over. Now StevieMac’s compliant was that there should be a phased in switch from buckets to intakes and presented data from 1970 on which showed that something like 60% of SST measurements were from an unknown method and made the assumption, not justified IMHO, that the unknown measurements were divided up proportionately. As one of his posters said at comment 26 here US Merchant Marine ships were using inlet temps exclusively by sometime in the 70’s (I know, it’s anecdotal, but it rings true). So it seems that his suggestion is wrong also.

    I would also point out that he was not the first to notice this anomaly, so it would seem that he is playing up his post a little bit too much.


  2. Dumb question…
    Are there any surviving records from the German navy?
    If German surface warships and U-boats took measurements, these would help bridge a bit of the gap…at least ’til the spring of 1945.


  3. This is very … uh … cool!

    I’m kicking myself right now, because I have over the last week or two been trying to explain in an online forum some aspects of warming (and recommending “Stoat” to people as well!). In particular, I was trying to explain how the sea tends to act a big like a big heat sink that generally gives a “damped” response to different forcings while the land responds more quickly. I have been plotting HacCRUT3v along with HadSST2 and CRUTEM3v to illustrate this. I did notice that 1945 failure to fit the pattern, but didn’t comment. Missed opportunity to appear a genius!

    I think Steve McIntyre deserves a bit of credit. He doesn’t always have a lot of perspective on the subject, but he does put in a lot of effort and he did find the problem with GISS and the data from US land stations. That was good work. And then with the sea surface discontinuity, although his particular interpretations of the matter don’t seem to have held up, he was talking about it. Sometimes the rest of us don’t mention the problems as clearly as we might (and I like Stoat precisely because William is a welcome exception to that trend).

    In the nature news Climate anomaly is an artefact, Susan Solomon is quoted as saying: “We couldn’t explain it, so we showed all the fingers, sore thumb and all”; in reference to the IPCC WG1 summary for policy makers. But actually, I don’t think they mention it explicitly. You can see it clearly in the graph of ocean anomalies, but not in the text. (If I’m wrong about that, however, then someone please give me the page number.)

    I’ll be interested to see the new HadCRUT dataset after this gets sorted.


  4. Difficult to seperate the dross from the gold in Mcs stuff. I mean, he still takes KristenB’s refutation of Gore and everyone else seriously. The thing is, it might have been his name on the paper if he had bothered to put the work into a paper. I don’t know why he thinks the peer review system should change for him, or that it ever will.

    Interesting too, in that a few climate scientists are, now that a problem for the aerosol theory has been removed, admitting that they weren’t particularly happy with how the aerosol theory explained the 1940s-1970s period in the first place.


  5. At last some news on the climate front

    Old news in fact. Head over to for the real source.

    yet another case of the septics puffing up their weak credentials with IPCC reviewer status

    Those very same septics [sic] pre-empted the “news on the climate front” over a year ago. But I wouldn’t let the truth bother you William. Please, carry on sneering.

    I particularly enjoyed this money-quote from Phil Jones:

    Climate scientists should think about data quality more often, says Jones, so that there is no opportunity for incorrect data to sow seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the reality of climate change.

    Note: climate scientists should not be interested in data quality because it is good science. That’s obviously irrelevant. Data quality is only important insofar as it serves a political purpose.

    Straight from the horse’s mouth.


  6. mugwump is unhappy because the old correction serves _his_ political ideology, while the new correction doesn’t.

    And who nominated Singer for the, um, Nobel Prize anyway? James Inhofe?


  7. The late actress, Tallulah Bankhead, describing a play she found elaborate but inconsequential, remarked, “There’s less to this than meets the eye.”

    An artefactual component to the 1940’s “dip” may be real but is probably exaggerated, as one can conclude by combining evidence from the Nature paper with IPCC AR4 WGI Chapter 3 and references. The early 1940’s saw a temperature spike, concurrent with extended El Nino conditions and the warm phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. When that peak started to subside naturally (around 1943), the return toward more normal conditions created the appearance of a dip. This is apparent in SST measurements, but also in marine air temperature (NMAT) measurements unaffected by SST measurement errors. Both the peak and the downward decline are present but very slight in land temperature records.

    The SST temperature dip exceeded the NMAT dip, and that excess may well have reflected measurement artefact, but it is only a small fraction of the total dip, and probably requires less correction than implied recently.

    When the SST record is corrected as suggested in the Nature paper (mainly immediately post-1945 with little change much later), the mid-century temperatures from SST, NMAT, and land measurements all exhibit a flat interval until the 1970s, consistent with aerosol masking of CO2-driven warming, and also consistent with model projections.

    It therefore appears that the mid-century aberrations are explainable on the basis of natural climate variation, with a slight added element of artefact, but less than the current discussions imply.


  8. Any new correction is likely to be small, and limited mainly to a brief interval from about 1945-1955, with minimal changes elsewhere. At all other points, the SST record matches the temperature record of marine air temperature (NMAT), which is not susceptible to bucket or engine intake artefacts. Within that one brief interval, both NMAT and SST show a dip, but the SST dip is slightly deeper. It is that excess depth, and not the entire dip, that might plausibly be considered artificial. Further corrections should not substantially influence other intervals in the climate record, nor estimates of aerosol effects or greenhouse gas forcing. (For a comparison of NMAT and SST, see IPCC AR4 WGI, Chapter 3 , p. 246, fig. 3.4a. Also see the text and references there for natural phenomena affecting temperature rises and falls in that interval, including El Nino and AMO).


  9. I once read a saying in military history like:

    “The first reports from the front area always wrong.”

    and it sounds like it applies to climate fronts as well.


  10. It is not that this particular correction is right or wrong.
    It is obvious that “corrections” can introduce or hide trends, but they can also have more subtitle effects like on variability which feed into the calculation of error bars. Basically, you can not predict the future climate if you can not measure the observable climate.

    Why a correction for the 1940’s now in 2008? Discussions about bucket types go back decades. Even assuming a historical blip down was not a major concern pre-IPCC, it clearly was an issue in the 1980s as the IPCC was formed in 1988. A simple mail shot in the 80’s of few a thousand letters to ships captains about what they had been doing over the last 30 years could have settled the issue. The countries logging the date could have helped with the translation. Antony Watts, were you born too late?

    It is the same issue as the surface stations – see the The same issue as the balloon data – see the RAOBCORE 1.2,1.3, 1.4.
    Same issue as the below surface measuring problems. For years the data is collected and then they notice they really are not sure at what depth the measurements were made.

    Poor traceability and general quality control on the raw data leads to endless disputable “corrections”. The really question is what do we need to do better now, so todays observations are stable. Are we sure current the Northern sea ice blip will not disappear in a correction only found in 2068?


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