NASA blows hole in global warming alarmism

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by Trebuchet, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. Trebuchet

    Trebuchet Senior Member

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    Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    *Moderator Note: Duplicate threads merged--take that into consideration as you read.

    :eek: New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism :fear:​

    New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism - Yahoo! News

    Any suggestions? :noidea:
     
  2. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    Back in the 1990s, there was a scientist who made simple algebra mistakes in the analysis of the satellite data he was in charge of, and as a consequence, estimated that the earth was not warming at all. Rather than check his arithmetic, for the better part of a decade, he issued press releases and was the toast of denial-dom. In fact, NASA had to get another contractor, who was competently examining the same data (Remote Sensing Systems), to go over this scientist's code and point out his math errors. And when this scientist finally fixed his mistakes, lo and behold, his temperature data matched everybody else's. But he got a decade's worth of denying that the globe was warming, using NASA data, before the errors were publicly corrected.

    That guy is the principal author of this latest piece. So maybe the first question one should ask is, why would I trust any calculation this guy has done, using NASA data to argue that global warming isn't a problem?

    And if you've followed the evolution of this new piece of work, the second piece of evidence for framing your trust in this is that this scientist has several times concluded that climate sensitivity must be low, but the reason why it must be low keeps morphing. It kind of has something to do with clouds and confusing forcing from feedback. Previously it was ocean heat diffusion and confusing forcings with feedbacks. What, exactly, the argument has been has changed over time. But the conclusions never vary.

    That's never a good sign, when you are looking for accurate information. It's one thing to be a stopped clock, it's in an entirely different ballpark to have N different variations on being a stopped clock.

    So I'll just point out a few things about this, other than the use of "alarmist" about a bazillion times in the Forbes writeup, and the author's track record.

    1) This isn't new. Yeah, this publication is new, but Spencer had an essentially similar scholarly article, in a much better journal, making the same arguments, with the same data, back in 2008. http://www.drroyspencer.com/Spencer-and-Braswell-08.pdf And the same arguments appear in his popular-press book (Great Global Warming Blunder). The Forbes author appears to have been unaware of this when touting this newest exposition.

    So, this result and similar results have been in circulation for quite a while. Yet they don't seem to be having much of an influence. Perhaps one could reasonably ask, why not?

    2) One reason is that if climate sensitivity truly were as low as Dr. Spencer suggests, you could not explain (e.g.) ice ages and/or we'd still be locked into the last ice age. So a very low sensitivity is inconsistent with the paleological data. Here's a place with a nice overview of all the other pieces of evidence.

    Roy Spencer on Climate Sensitivity - Again

    2b) I'll also point out that there is other evidence pointing to C02, beyond the average surface temperature that Spencer uses. In particular, the upper atmosphere is cooling while the lower atmosphere is warming. That's consistent with the physics-based model calculations of the impact of C02, but not with Spencer's "natural variability" argument (that, hey, the world is just warming, and we've confused that with AGW).

    3) Spencer has been trying to make some-form-of-this-argument for years. Read his article, read his website, read his prior articles. In the past, he tried putting numbers on his estimates, but was shown to have done that incorrectly. So now, the stunning conclusion to the abstract is just this:

    "It is concluded that atmospheric feedback diagnosis of the climate system remains an unsolved problem, due primarily to the inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in satellite radiative budget observations."

    So whatever he is doing, it is not detailed enough or substantive enough to allow him to generate his own estimate of climate sensitivity. He just knows that everybody else's must be wrong. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but certainly is a less strong argument than being able to say "I understand this well enough to show you the correct estimate."

    4) As I said, he's been on this kick for years. His schtick is that scientists -- essentially all other scientists working in this field -- have confused cause and effect. His popular press book that makes that argument is reviewed here, with an explanation of the issues:

    RealClimate: Review of Spencer’s ‘Great Global Warming Blunder’

    If you distill that, Spencer basically is saying that all the findings that C02 warms the earth are just one great-big-old mistake, because in fact, it's natural long- and short-term variation in cloud cover that's doing it. That's the mixup between cause and effect.

    5) Go ahead and read the paper. It's freely available, referenced in the Forbes article. You may notice that Spencer didn't actually do any physics, didn't provide any direct evidence of what causes this confounding feedback. All he did was estimate the correlation, at varying time lags, between ground temperature and a) what the models say ought to have been the top-of-atmosphere outgoing radiation and b) outgoing radiation as measured by satellites.

    As a worker in the social sciences, where we always face these issues about causality, I can tell you that if you took some complex data, ran some simple lagged correlations, then claimed that you knew something about the direction and magnitude of causality versus feedback, you wouldn't get very far. Why this passes muster in the physical sciences, I couldn't tell you.

    6) Before jumping to the conclusion that this is a major advance, be aware that a) other researchers have looked at the same data in a far more rigorous fashion and reached a different conclusion, and b) that Spencer's earlier paper on the subject was shown to have generated its main result due to the use of a simple model that could create essentially any result you wanted (and Spencer then plugged in the parameter values that generated the desired result of low climate sensitivity). So, within this topic area, we've already had a replay of the "no warming via algebra error" scenario that we saw with the satellite temperature data. Roy Spencer’s Great Blunder, Part 1 « Anti-Climate Change Extremism in Utah

    7) My conclusion is that a) there probably is something interesting here, b) you'd be crazy to trust Spencer to figure out what it actually is, and c) there is substantial other evidence to rule out the extremely low climate sensitivity that Spencer has argued for in various ways.
     
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  3. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    Don't feed the TREB,,ER Troll!
     
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  4. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    More HOT air?
     
  5. Trebuchet

    Trebuchet Senior Member

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    So for a decade simple algebraic mistakes eluded the entire cadre and the best of climate scientism, the ipcc, epa, nasa and wikipedia! :fear:

    I'm gonna head out to the store and fill my house full of $50 light bulbs. :wave:


    BTW: plz reread the last paragraph in the OP, K? :nod:
     
  6. priuscritter

    priuscritter I am the Stig.

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    New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism - Yahoo! News

    The basic gist of this article is that there is a lot more heat coming out of the atmosphere than was originally thought.

    Only the conspiracy theorist would say that maybe one reason the white house is shutting down the shuttle program is because they don't like hearing facts that contradict their agenda on global warming.

    I am not such a theorist.
     
  7. drees

    drees Senior Member

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    I do believe that chogan addressed your last paragraph multiple times in his reply - perhaps it's you that should do the re-reading?
     
  8. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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  9. priuscritter

    priuscritter I am the Stig.

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  10. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    It didn't elude " the entire cadre and the best of climate scientism, the ipcc, epa, nasa ". Mainstream researchers either dismissed Spencer's data as wrong or were, at best, puzzled by the anomaly. If you take your sentence, replace "the entire cadre and the best of climate scientism, the ipcc, epa, nasa" with "the author of this new paper that is being cited", then you'll have the facts correct.


    I read the last paragraph, but it's just blather by somebody who clearly doesn't understand the alarmist science and is an alarmist poor alarmist writer to alarmist boot.

    Edit: Although maybe not as bad as the writer for Fox News, who starts off his story with this howler: "Has a central tenant of global warming just collapsed?", accompanied by a graph that has nothing to do with the story.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/07/29/data-cooling-on-global-warming/

    Whoever that tenant is, I hope they get him or her to the hospital in time. At least we now know they didn't collapse from heat stroke.

    There are a lot of odd things about this work, and I'd cheerfully bet $1000 that it does not stand the test of time.

    Here's my first question. Roy Spencer spent his career trashing the ground-based temperature data and saying that the satellite temperature data was superior. He in fact creates one of the satellite temperature series of record. He clearly owns that and has it handy. And so, for this analysis, he ... ignores his own data and uses the (worst of the) ground-based temperature data. Hmm.

    Here's another odd thing. So, he has satellite data on radiative flux, on the imbalance between energy entering and leaving the top of the atmosphere. Then why doesn't he just take a simple average, compare that to the imbalance predicted by the models (around 3W/sq m., I think), and show us simply that the models overstate heat retention. I mean, if the atmosphere really is leaking heat faster than the models predict, then why not just show that? I'm pretty sure the answer is that he can't, because the satellite data are not useful outside the tropics. At least that's what the NASA website implies, and that's the story I've heard before. I've never seen it used outside of analysis of the tropics ... other than here.

    Third, the data are clearly serially correlated (if June is hot, it's likely July is also). If you run a lagged regression model, you can't make head or tail out of the coefficients unless you deal with the "autoregressive error term." And what did Dr. Spencer do to adjust for that difficult statistical issue. Appears to be nothing.

    Off the top of my head, I could give two reasonable interpretations of the findings. The first is that the correlation between two sets of actual observations is likely to be higher than the correlation between observations and a set of model predictions. That's certainly true enough in most examples I know of, and that may or may not have significant implications for how well the models do at projecting long-term temperature trends. Alternatively, the point may be that no simple-minded analysis of satellite heat flux data can give an accurate estimate of climate sensitivity. If that's the point, I'm pretty sure I agree with that. But before I accepted either of those, I'd like to see somebody do this properly, at least dealing with the serial correlation issue. I mean, as it stands, since he didn't provide any error bars, you don't even know if the differences in the lagged correlations are in fact statistically significant.
     
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  11. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    But it is worth the extra post. :)
     
  12. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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  13. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    Good to hear you're not a conspiracy theorist on this, since the shuttle has been slated for closure since Bush's term (an earlier ending was also considered), and this was generally in line with the original intended lifespan of the shuttles. In fact, we added an extra flight this year.

    Also, the manned-flight program is totally separate from their weather satellites and geoscience section. Saving money on the shuttle should give them more money for the other areas.
     
  14. Stev0

    Stev0 Honorary Hong Kong Cavalier

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    Oooh, an article from Forbes by somebody from the conservative Heartland Institute!

    Nope, no agenda there, nosiree bob!
     
  15. priuscritter

    priuscritter I am the Stig.

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    right. i just don't see anyone jumping to the gun on replacing the shuttle to keep us moving in space. but i digress...
     
  16. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    Agenda? do you need an agenda to shed light on liberal media conspiracy?? :welcome:
     
  17. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    I always thought that the shuttle program while marvelous from engineering point of view was big waste of resources and money. Soviets built their own shuttle Buran (Buran (spacecraft) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), flew it once in unman and it never flew again. One of them still operates as a restaurant in Moscow.

    Turned out it was cheaper to build and launch a dozen disposable capsules, for what after-flight repairs on one shuttle were.

    And it does not make any sense to put humans and cargo together as there is a limit to how many G human body can take. Ascending at higher rates allows to put higher payload on orbit.
     
  18. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    I mentioned that in the other thread where this article was posted. It's a HUGE red flag when the author is from one of those organizations and then add in the fact that it is based on Spenser's "data" and the whole thing smells rotten.
     
  19. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    Re: Oh dear me! I think we're headed for another name change!

    what is really puzzling is the rage those guys fighting windmills with.

    They call themselves patriots and yet they are all for our economy dependency on countries with unstable and oppressive regimes. They are conservatives yet they are against conservation.. You get impression they leave in 1984.

    The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth
    Who controls the past,controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.
     
  20. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Dr. Spencer has a link to the Dessler paper that treats the same data and comes to a different conclusion:

    Our Refutation of Dessler (2010) is Accepted for Publication « Roy Spencer, Ph. D.

    For me the problem with comparing them is that I am not enough of an atmospheric physicist. But take a peek if you like. Otherwise, the chances seem high that some sort of meaningful discussion will ensue, either in the journals or the websites that specialize in the area. If I see any I'll link them here. Others please do the same.

    More generally it seems clear to me that any journal articles 'going against the concensus' on this issue get wide media coverage. That's fine by me. It would seem to oppose the notion that such work gets buried somehow. I think we've read that claim from time to time.
     
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