[ExI] climategate again

Alfio Puglisi alfio.puglisi at gmail.com
Tue Dec 1 18:28:14 UTC 2009

On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 5:19 PM, Max More <max at maxmore.com> wrote:

> Alfio:
>  Folks, this is getting silly. Temperature series (including CRU, GISTEMP
>> etc.) are mostly based on public data fom the GHCN (Global Historical
>> Climate Network) and from the US Historical Climate Network. Link to ftp
>> files:
> I've been wondering about that. I haven't resolved the issue to my
> satisfaction yet, but here's a different view from yours:
> http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/30/pielke-senior-revkin-perpetuates-a-myth-about-surface-temperature-record/#more-13451
> Excerpt:
>  On the weblog <
>> http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/more-on-the-climate-files-and-climate-trends/>Dot
>> Earth today, there is text from Michael Schlesinger, a climatologist at the
>> University of Illinois, that presents analyses of long term surface
>>  temperature trends from NASA, NCDC and Japan as if these are from
>> independent sets of data from the analysis of CRU.  Andy Revkin is
>> perpetuating this myth in this write-up by not presenting the real fact that
>> these analyses draw from the same  original raw data.  While they may use
>> only a subset of this raw data, the overlap has been estimated as about
>> 90-95%.
>> The unresolved problems with this surface data (which, of course, applies
>> to all four locations) is reported in the peer reviewed paper
> Also:
> http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/further-comment-on-the-surface-temperature-data-used-in-the-cru-giss-and-ncdc-analyses/
Those pages are discussing the supposed independence of anlyses like CRU and
GISTEMP. Well, it's obvious that they aren't totally independent, since they
are using mostly the same input files. What they actually show is that they
arrive to very similar conclusion after different methods of interpolation
and correction. This tells us that the methods are robust.

Also, it seems to me that those blogs want to have it both ways: on one
hand, there is no raw data available because CRU deleted it. On the other
hand, GISTEMP is not independent because it uses the same data (that you can
download from ftp)! So is the raw data available or not? They need to make
up their mind.

> On top of this, I've yet to adequately verify or refute claims that 80% of
> the 0.6 C rise in global temps over the last century is actually due to
> highly dubious adjustments (a la CRU) to the raw data. For instance: not
> only ignoring the urban heat island effect, but adjusting it the opposite
> way from what makes sense. (That would be such a serious error that I have a
> hard time believing even the global catastrophists would do it.)
> I'm feeling pretty lonely on this issue. Just about everyone on all sides
> of the issue seem to be very certain of what's going on. Despite
> considerable reading of clashing sources (or because of it), I remain highly
> unsure.

I am no professional of the field, just have a basic understanding of
physics. I base my position on several things:

1) temperature is not the only relevant data. We have widespread glacier
retreat, sea level rise, arctic sea ice loss. Recent data point to ice mass
loss in both Greenland and Antarctica. Agricoltural records in temperate
climates show a lengthening of the growing season and a contraction of the
winter phase. These trends are not local, but found all over the world. All
this is consistent with global warming (whatever the cause), and with little

2) basic physics tells us that Earth's energy budget must balance. We can
easily measure the input (solar), and verify that it's approximately
constant. Since we are changing the properties of the output (greenhouse
gases will redirect part of the outgoing radiation downward), internal
temperature must rise to compensate. It's about as inevitable as putting a
coat on, and feeling warmer.

3) Attribution: there is now 30% more CO2 than before industrial times. We
know CO2 greenhouse gas properties. Any conjecture that rejects global
warming must show where the extra energy trapped by CO2 went. And it's no
easy task.

4) consideration of the opposite camp: leaving apart obvious cranks (like
one should also dismiss useless alarmism), I see no coherent opposition.
Some dispute the temperature record. Some others accept the records, but
dispute anthropogenic causes. Others negate CO2 role as a greenhouse gas, or
say that it's saturated, or reject feedbacks like water vapor, or point to
supposedly warmer periods in the middle ages, or say that 1998 invalidates
all warming trends. All those arguments can be shown false or highly
dubious, but people still use them and change subjects continously.
This lack of focus gives me the impression that skeptics (really unfortunate
word, that. Skepticism is a basic feature of science) are just trying to
find something, anything, to avoid confronting reality.

Reading blogs like wattsupwiththat actually reinforced my impressions: posts
like "it's snowing here so GW is false", obvious errors like comparing
different time series without realizing that they use different baseline
periods, talks of a "recent cool period"... When any criticism seems to be
valid, it's about some minor detail that would change nothing of the general

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