New Computer Fund

Monday, February 13, 2017

Global at the expense of regional - Throwing out the baby with the bath water

When you interpolate, you average which can be called smearing if you are looking for detail.  I had a client show up with a brand new Kridged version of NOAA ocean bottom charts and wanted me to show him how to bottom fish.  My first advice was to throw that smoothed crap away and get a "real" chart, that shows all the warts, wrinkles and bottom "features."  The world and the ocean bottom isn't as smooth as a baby's butt.  Those "warts" are beauty marks to a bottom fisherman.

Climate products are the same deal Lucile.  California for example has paleo, observational and anecdotal evidence of century long variation in precipitation extremes.  The winter of 1861 and 1862 is known as the Great California Flood.  For a few months there was Lake San Joaquin and quite a few home owners abandoned their first floor and built on top.  Cities tried to increase their elevation by 15 feet or so, just in case.  Then there are decade long droughts that make the flood wary folks look stupid.  Nature is good at that, making people look stupid, often in very cruel ways.

Since "Global" Climate Change is the catastrophic cause of the day, smart people that nature tends to have an affinity for making look stupid, are putting all their eggs in the global basket while neglecting the mundane local and regional baskettes where people tend to live.  Using long range interpolation tends to make local and regional pictures of past climate look rosier that reality.

Think about this, "The Little Ice Age was a regional event."  Wonderful, "Globally" it didn't exist so all you morons with regional concerns are wasting your time worrying about that kind of stuff happening again, think Global!!  Ever wonder why there is a populist movement?

Now that there is a new administration in town, "Globalists" are going to have a lot of explaining to do.  I expect to see climate scientist types out there counter protesting natural gas pipelines that reduce emissions and are a bridge to those elusive energies of the future.  Perhaps a few fighting for sensational press releases of "it isn't as bad as we thought" research to calm the irritable masses.

Will we actually see any rational leaders emerge?  Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The War on Science!

The NOAA ERSST temperature product is still hot news.  John Bates, the NOAA whistle blower, has outed himself and contends that NOAA didn't follow procedure.  Procedure is pretty important in government service and since the NOAA historic ocean temperature product is liable to be around for another one to two hundred years, revising history can be a problem.

The Hadley Center in the UK also produces temperature products using different methodology, so theoretically, these are two independent temperature products.  As time goes by, more and different means of determining temperature "globally" come to be and if everything works out as planned, the new "history" will complement the "old" history unless there is some exceptional discovery of screw ups, accidental or intentional.  So maintaining an accurate archive of data and methods so that 23rd century scientists can use 21st century data which includes 19th century data can understand exactly what the hell went on is the noble goal.

Global tends to get the focus because of politics.  The polar regions with sparse data gets a lot of attention because sparse means uncertain, new products should reduce uncertainty in these poorly covered areas.  The tropics should be close to rock solid, so any new version should have very little impact on the historic record in the not sparsely cover areas like historic trade routes. 

Above is the difference between the new and improved ERSSTv4 and the formally cutting edge ERSSTv3b.  Something appears to be wrong when there is 0.4 C difference peak to valley reducing to near perfection at the point highlighted for political purposes, 1950 to 1999, pre-"pause" being compared to 2000 to 2015 post "pause."

In typical back patting and cover your ass fashion, defenders of the science steer the debate towards the most modern portion of the historic record and avoid discussion of the real issue of the integrity of the historic record as a whole.  "Fixing" part of the record to the detriment of the rest of the record without explaining or even recognizing the difference appears to be evasive.  Evasiveness in politics is normal, in science, not so much.

Asking what the fuck happened to the rest of the history isn't declaring a war on science, but evasiveness can lead to war. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Year new Stuff to Compare

 Out with the old ERSSTv3b and in with the new ERSSTv4.  These are ocean temperature products used by NOAA/NASA to determine the rate of "Global Warming."  Once upon a time, HADiSST (British) and ERSST ('Merican) ocean temperature products were pretty close except for the WWII interpretation and a little less warming after 2000. Now with new and improved finesse, ERSST takes the lead as the warmest ocean temperature product EVAH.  In addition to buckets versus engine intake versus satellites versus buoys, different types of measurements that have to be combined by the products, the new version tries to deal with masking (what's ocean versus what's land) and sea ice versus not sea ice issues because ocean isn't ocean all the time.  Many crusty engineering types try to avoid all that noise and focus on the portion of the ocean that actually remains ocean the majority of the time, 60S-60N.  Crusty engineering types are also hung up on actual temperature references and are not fond of temperature anomalies that can be fudged around for effect.  For the oceans, models and temperature products include real temperature estimates, land not so much.

Engineers, who can be sued should they screw up also tend to focus on the largest potential screw ups.  It is in our nature but some of the newer generation find looking for potential mistakes to be stressful and counter productive for career advancement besides, narrative is so much more fulfilling.

The biggest thing that jumps out and grabs an engineer is the area around 1910.  1910 and earlier could be part of the pre-industrial reference period used to determine just how bad human caused warming might be.  The difference between the new and improved ERSSTv4 with sparkles is half of a degree C @ 20 C degrees using the CMIP5 model reference.  CMIP5 is the latest model version of future climate projections.  The half degree temperature difference is approximately 2.85 Wm-2 energy difference or a substantial portion of the estimated human caused forcing related to CO2.

The next thing is the so called "pause".  The pause is the brain child of a British journalist that noted that UK MET (and the Hadley Center, the HAD in HADiSST) predictions of "children will never know snow", promises of barbecue summers and warmer temperatures made in the early 2000s were not being realized in 2014.  Pause isn't a scientific measure or term, it is a creation used for poking fun at failed predictions of world renown experts.  Basically, in the HADCRU product for global mean temperature anomaly there was a lack of warming.  Many in the scientific community noted something similar and called it the stand still, slow down or hiatus in warming.  If you look at the period from ~2000 to 2016 you can see that HADiSST doesn't increase as much as predicted.  For the ERSSTv4 product, the actual temperature of the ocean surface (tos or SST) never catches up with the predicted temperature for the 60S-60N portion of the oceans.

During the battle to eliminate the pause, slow down, stand still or hiatus, some scientists noted that the models of "surface temperature" didn't compare well with observed data used to create a combination of SST and "near surface" temperature measured over land that ranges from sea level to Mount Everest.  "Skeptics" had noticed the problem for some time and started using the area from 60 degrees south to 60 degrees north, because there were few and not very reliable measurements for the polar regions.  Since the ocean make up the majority of the surface, ocean temperature is a lot less variable than "near surface" temperature and the vast majority (~1000 times as much as air) of energy is contained in the oceans.  Using just 60S to 60N is a useful simplification.

Dr. Judith Curry has an interesting post on her blog ClimateEtc. entitled, "Skin in the Game."  The engineering types understand her point because they can be sued, have their licenses revoked and generally be forced out of the profession with a significant screw up.  Climate scientists, especially activists Climate scientists can screw up quite a bit without repercussions.  Possibly because of their lack of skin in the game, they have a tendency to over-sell their work a bit.  Temperature anomaly can be a useful over-selling tool.

 Using anomaly, warts like missing half of a degree and 2.85 Wm-2 for the majority of the Earth can be ignored and since the model anomaly was tuned to the period prior to 2007, the discrepancies before and after tuning doesn't attract much attention.  However, the climate system is driven by fluid and thermodynamics that require real, actual, temperatures in order to determine energy flow.  Anomalies are a useful tool in climate modeling, but can be abused by implying a greater sense of accuracy than can be realized, especially when combining temperature anomalies of different things measured different ways at different times.

Over-selling accuracy and under-selling uncertainty is a tactic to inspire policy and unite the masses around a common cause.  It gets good press essentially, that is dramatic and compelling.  Just like miracle cures and gadgets sold on late night TV, listing down sides tends to cut into sales.  You need that irritating Sham WOW! kind of presentation to make headlines in this internet age.

The biggest problem for the over-sellers is that climate science is evolving, so something you sold might end up being obsolete, then you have to un-sell.  Your demographic includes activists and radicals who are more cause oriented than most and can be extremely inflexible.  If you have over-sold the catastrophe of using ANY form of fossil fuel and suddenly find much cleaner natural gas that can alleviate human suffering with less environmental impact while searching for the ultimate "solution" you have screwed the pooh, to use colloquial NASA terminology.  Now you have to find some rational way to chill out people that aren't known for being rational or chillin'.  When you say things like the "the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity" there are some that will find that fits their favorite end of days theory.

However, life and nature have a way of leveling playing fields and hoards of end of days believers can create ways to get your skin in the game.  Be careful out there, hear?