Monday, July 23, 2012

BOMs new data set, ACORN, so bad it's funny

What would YOU make of a data set that showed minimum temperatures larger than the maximum temperatures? BOM is the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Australia's authority on global warming (Don't laugh!)

When independent auditors found errors, gaps and deep questions about the HQ (High Quality) dataset for the official record of Australian temperatures, the BOM responded by producing a completely new set called ACORN in March 2012. But this set is also plagued with errors. One of the independent auditors, Ed Thurstan writes to me to explain that though the BOM says it aimed for the “best possible data set” and specified that they check internal consistency of data (one such check is to make sure that the maximum on any given day is larger than the minimum) when Thurstan double checked ACORN he found nearly 1000 instances where the max temperatures were lower than the minimums recorded the same day.

This raises serious questions about the quality control of the Australian data that are so serious, Thurstan asks whether the whole set should be withdrawn.

Why are basic checks like these left to unpaid volunteers, while Australian citizens pay $10 billion a year to reduce a warming trend recorded in a data set so poor that it’s not possible to draw any conclusions about the real current trend we are supposedly so concerned about.

The BOM goes to great lengths to assure us it’s high quality, peer reviewed, and rigorously checked, but with a days work, independent audits find major flaws

Errors in ACORN_SAT Data

Ever since the documentation for ACORN-SAT was released, I have had doubts about the ability of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to honour their published intention to release all software that generated the ACORN-SAT data. ( I might amplify that thought later.)

In March 2012 the BOM released the report

“Techniques involved in developing the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) dataset CAWCR Technical Report No. 049  Blair Trewin

This specifies in great detail both the background to the development of the database, and the checks applied to the data. As Blair Trewin writes in the Abstract of this report:

“The purpose of this data set is to provide the best possible data set to underlie analyses of variability and change of temperature in Australia, including both analyses of annual and seasonal mean temperatures, and of extremes of temperature and other information derived from daily temperatures.”

I decided to take that document as a Program Specification, and write code to perform those data checks.

The very first check specified in section 6.1 of the above report is

“1.   Internal consistency of daily maximum and minimum temperature

 Since the temperature recorded at the time of observation (09:00 under current practice) is an upper bound for minimum temperature on both the day of observation and the following day (i.e. Tnd ≤ T0900,d and Tnd+1 ≤ T0900,d), and a lower bound for maximum temperature on both the day of observation and the preceding day (i.e. Txd ≥ T0900,d and Txd-1 ≥ T0900,d), daily maximum and minimum temperatures must satisfy the relationships:

Txd ≥ Tnd

Txd ≥ Tnd+1

If one or both of these relationships was violated, both maximum and minimum temperatures were flagged as suspect unless there was strong evidence that any error was confined to one of the two observations.”

In testing my code for the first of the two conditions specified above (which says simply that the maximum temperature recorded on any day must be greater than the minimum temperature recorded for that day), I found violations of this condition in the BOM data.

The following are extracts from the full violation log. The errors occur in many different sites and are spread across many decades:

In total, the ACORN-SAT database released in March displays about 1,000 (one thousand) violations of that simple rule that for any day

The Maximum Temperature must be greater than the Minimum Temperature.

This is a blindingly obvious type of error which should not have escaped quality control. It throws serious doubt on the whole ACORN-SAT project. In my opinion, these violations indicate that the entire ACORN-SAT database is suspect, and should be withdrawn for further testing.

Ed Thurstan

thurstan AT

July 16, 2012


Americans Produce More Regulatory Compliance Paperwork than Manufactured Goods

Yes ma'am. You heard that 'torectly as they say (sometimes) in the South.

Americans spent enough time and effort complying with government regulations to total $1.8 trillion of our roughly $15 trillion national GDP. (Source: Small Business Administration). During the same year, the entire American manufacturing industry made $1.7 trillion worth of: airplanes, cars, furniture, clothes, upholstery, widgets, gadgets, wingnuts and Sidewinder missiles. Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Industry Economic Accounts (2009)

This is why this current 'debate' (mid-slinging) by the Obama Administration over 'out-sourcing' and 'Bain Capital' is so maddening, mind-numbing and quite honestly, 'dishonest'.

If you have ever wondered why so many US corporations have fled to set up shop overseas over these past 30 years, look no further than this astounding fact:

$1.8 trillion in regulatory costs > the entire $1.7 trillion in total manufactured goods produced in America today.

We have become #1 in the World in passing more regulations and legislation! Wonder if there is an Olympic Gold Medal in London for 'Shooting Your Nose Off to Spite Your Face'? The United States of America will lead the gold medal count hands-down.

Once American businessmen and women figured out that they could make products overseas and ship them back here for far less than it costs to make them domestically, the scene was set for a massive exportation of jobs overseas in the 1990's and early 21st century. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimates that, totally aside from lower wage differentials overseas vis-a-vis the US, the excessive cost of regulation and government intervention in American free enterprise amounts to about 20% in extra costs.

20% is the difference between many American businesses shutting down their overseas operations and moving operations back to the States, even with a lower wage advantage in some Asian and South American countries. Wouldn't you like to see business and jobs return to the US, particularly in the hard-hit Textile Belt where 250,000 textile jobs have just simply vanished over the past 15 years from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia? Here's just one small regulatory issue on particulate matter that has driven cotton ginners and manufacturers particularly batty over the past decade as they are attempting to rebuild the textile industry in the South.

Do you understand all the math in this study? Imagine you are a cotton farmer or ginner and all you want to do is grow great Southern cotton again here in the States and you have to deal with these sorts of regulations that really govern how much 'dust' can be expelled from the cotton gin factory. They could shoot a beachball-sized load of cotton dust high into the air in these rural counties and the dust wouldn't fall on anything but the rabbits and chipmunks who live around their fields.

Millions of jobs aren't going to come back from overseas if President Obama has his way as he continues to issue executive order after executive order and continues to load up the private sector with more taxes and regulations. Plus his unbridled disdain for the American entrepreneur and business owner and operator is frustrating the very people who want to expand their business and hire more people. What is so difficult to understand about that connection between the desire to make a profit and reasonable return on investment and job creation and growth?


Enough with the Malthusian miserablism

An expanding UK population is not a problem, but the scepticism towards economic growth most definitely is

The latest release of data from the 2011 UK Census suggests that the population of England and Wales rose by seven per cent since 2001. The news has brought forth much anguished commentary about how overcrowded the UK is and how we will soon be unable to afford to teach the growing numbers of children, pay pensions or treat the sick.

The rise over the past decade is the biggest on record, from 52.4million to 56.1million. In proportional terms, however, that's not very different from the rises seen between the 1901 and 1911 censuses (when population rose from 32.6million to 36.1million) and between 1951 and 1961 (a rise from 43.8million to 46.9million). The twist is that a substantial part of the rise is from net immigration, both from countries that have recently joined the EU and from outside the EU.

`With the exception of tiny Malta, England is now the most crowded country in Europe, with 407 people for every square kilometre', declared the Daily Mail before blaming this fact on `record immigration'. The Mail quoted Conservative immigration minister Damian Green: `These figures are firm evidence that Labour let immigration run out of control.'

The chairman of Migration Watch UK, Sir Andrew Green, warned that population would run out of control if immigration were not quelled: `The latest projections show that immigration will account for two thirds of our population increase in the next 15 years. That is five million people and is the equivalent of the combined populations of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol. Nobody wants to see the population grow at this rate.'

Simon Ross, of neo-Malthusian lobby group Population Matters, demanded that we think of the planet: `England faces unsustainable pressure on housing, roads and public transport and green spaces.' For Ross, the problem is too much demand - in other words, too many people. `The response from many is often to increase the supply - to demand more building, more roads and more infrastructure. What we need instead to do is limit the demand - to say that prospects for our prosperity and quality of life in Britain do not improve with ever more people.'

In reality, the UK is more than capable of coping with, and benefiting from, the arrival of more people. Those who do come are usually of working age, boosting the workforce at a time when average ages are rising. The UK's `problem' of a rising population would seem to be a far better one to have than that which faces many other countries, where population is both ageing and falling. If people do want to come to the UK, that is a product of relative economic wealth. And those immigrants - very often the most dynamic sections of the societies that they come from - should help to generate even more wealth.

Talk of overcrowding is nonsense. The Mail selectively talks about England, but Monday's figures cover England and Wales. Overall, they show a population density of 371 people per square kilometre - still below that of the Netherlands. In any event, as BBC home editor Mark Easton and numerous others have pointed out, England is only about 10 per cent urban area and Wales is just 4.1 per cent urbanised. When you take into account city greenspace - like parks, allotments, playing fields and gardens - the built-on area of relatively urbanised England is just 2.27 per cent.

Yes, London is densely populated - apparently 16 times more densely populated than the national average - but it is clearly still enormously popular, its population having increased by 850,000 between 2001 and 2011. But even then, London still enjoys large open spaces like Regent's Park, Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath in close proximity to its centre. The eight royal parks alone cover nearly 20 square kilometres. There's still plenty of room to breathe.

Nonetheless, it would be wrong to be glib about a rapidly changing population because it does bring into relief some significant problems. For example, there is a desperate housing shortage in London, with houses too expensive for many people to buy and rents shooting upwards. There are simply not enough homes being built to supply the capital's rising population. But the answer is not in reducing the numbers moving in but in tackling the barriers to supplying those homes - like the ring of `green belt' land that surrounds London which should be made available for new developments.

The real question is this: how can we see a way forward to a prosperous future? Put like that, the answer is to produce more wealth and not, as Simon Ross cluelessly believes, to try to divide our existing, stagnating wealth among fewer people. We need economic growth, and that means the UK must become more productive. That, in turn, requires a mixture of investment in infrastructure, education and training, the creation of a better environment for wealth-creating businesses and a fairly ruthless assault on relatively unproductive sectors of the economy.

Unfortunately, we have a political class that seems incapable of driving that process forward, and a culture in which the idea of economic growth is regarded in influential quarters as, at best, a mixed blessing and at worst a selfish, materialistic and planet-wrecking addiction.

There is no `right' number of people for the UK or anywhere else. We should certainly welcome more freedom of movement so that people can make the most of the opportunities open to them. Blaming immigration - or fecund immigrant families, for that matter - for the UK's problems is wrong-headed. Instead of scapegoating the newest and often poorest members of our society, we need to tackle the low-growth outlook at the top.


Climate refugees fleeing Alaskan cooling

After a record-breaking winter, we are now headed for one of the coldest months of July on record. And it has some Alaskans thinking it may be time to leave the great land.

By Alaska summer standards, it's been a pretty cool and gloomy start to the beginning of July. The temps may be setting records, but it's not the first summer that's been less than sunny - and some people say they've had enough.

But while Alaskans are donning sweaters in July, people in the Lower 48 are sweltering in the heat.

Anchorage has averaged 53 degrees for the beginning of July, when the normal temperature is closer to 65 - but the National Weather Service says that may soon change.

In fact there is every reason to be optimistic. If those temperatures do come, you may want to get out and enjoy them now, because August is traditionally our rainy month, and there's a good chance it could be a wet one.



by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

This is meant to be just a heads up that we have submitted a paper to Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) which I think is quite significant. We used a 1D forcing-feedback-diffusion model of ocean temperature change to 2,000 meters depth to explain ocean temperature variations measured since 1955.

We ask the question: What combination of (1) forcings, (2) feedback (climate sensitivity), and (3) ocean diffusion (vertical mixing) best explain the Levitus global-average ocean temperature trends since 1955? These are the three main processes which control global-average surface temperatures on longer time scales (a point which has also been made by NASA's James Hansen).

The 1D model has the advantage that it conserves energy, which apparently is still a problem with the IPCC 3D models which exhibit spurious temperature trends (peer reviewed paper here). Our own analysis has shown that at least 3 of the IPCC models actually produce net (full-depth) ocean cooling despite positive radiative forcing over the 2nd half of the 20th Century.

After all, if a climate model can't even satisfy the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, and global warming is fundamentally a conservation of energy process (net accumulation of energy leads to warming), how then can 3D models be used to explain or predict climate change? I don't see how the IPCC scientific community continues to avoid mass cognitive dissonance.

The primary forcing used in our model is basically the same as that used in the new CMIP5 experiments, the largest components of which are anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols, and volcanic aerosols. Using these traditional forcings alone in our 1D model gives a climate sensitivity in the range of what the IPCC models produce.

But an important additional component of our model is the observed history of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as a pseudo-forcing, both through changes in ocean mixing across the thermocline (ENSO's primary influence), and through potential changes in global albedo preceding ENSO temperature changes. These pseudo-forcings are included only to the extent they help to explain the Levitus ocean temperature data, as well as explain the satellite-observed relationship between radiative flux variations and sea surface temperature.

The results are, shall we say, not as supportive of the IPCC view of the climate system as the IPCC might like; more frequent El Ninos since the late 1970s do impact our interpretation of climate sensitivity and the causes of climate change. The paper also serves as a response to Andy Dessler's published criticisms of our feedback work.

A shorter version of the paper was first submitted to Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) a few weeks ago, and was rejected outright by the editor as not being appropriate for GRL (!), a claim which seems quite strange indeed. I suspect the editor was trying to avoid the kind of controversy which led to the resignation of the editor of the journal Remote Sensing after publication of a previous paper of ours.

Now we shall see whether it is possible for JGR to provide an unbiased peer review. If our paper is rejected there as well, we might post the paper here so anyone can judge for themselves whether the study has merit.


Football and Hockey

Mark Steyn

In the wake of Louis Freeh's report on Penn State's complicity in serial rape, Rand Simberg writes of Unhappy Valley's other scandal:

"I'm referring to another cover up and whitewash that occurred there two years ago, before we learned how rotten and corrupt the culture at the university was. But now that we know how bad it was, perhaps it's time that we revisit the Michael Mann affair, particularly given how much we've also learned about his and others' hockey-stick deceptions since. Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet."

Not sure I'd have extended that metaphor all the way into the locker-room showers with quite the zeal Mr Simberg does, but he has a point. Michael Mann was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change "hockey-stick" graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus. And, when the East Anglia emails came out, Penn State felt obliged to "investigate" Professor Mann. Graham Spanier, the Penn State president forced to resign over Sandusky, was the same cove who investigated Mann. And, as with Sandusky and Paterno, the college declined to find one of its star names guilty of any wrongdoing.

If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won't it cover up? Whether or not he's "the Jerry Sandusky of climate change", he remains the Michael Mann of climate change, in part because his "investigation" by a deeply corrupt administration was a joke.


More huffing and puffing from Michael Mann

John O'Sullivan

Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University today (July 21, 2012) announced his intention to pursue legal action against The National Review Online (NRO) and popular right-wing writer, Mark Steyn over their article `Football and Hockey.' [above]

On his Facebook page an irate Mann proclaims, "I have formally demanded a retraction of, and apology for, this defamatory piece about me by National Review. I have retained counsel to pursue my legal rights." Mann's attorney, John B Williams of Cozen & O'Connor (Washington D.C.) asserts on the first page of his "take down" notice that NRO "know" that there is "no evidence of any academic fraud" by Mann. Page Two of the notice lists those whitewash official investigations that cleared Mann. However, Williams appears unaware that the official investigations did not examine Mann's still hidden "dirty laundry" - his metadata - nor did they address other adverse evidence or interview witnesses against Mann.

"Fair Comment" Rule Applies for Media Reporting

Independent lawyers who have examined the article believe it is not libelous because it merely expresses Styen's opinion on another commentary by Rand Simberg from the website. Steyn can be seen to have fairly quoted Simberg and then declares his own belief that he wouldn't have gone as far as Simberg's comments. Steyn then concludes his piece by merely asking the question: "If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won't it cover up?"

The Steyn article is one of many following in the wake of the publication last week of the damning report of former FBI Director Judge Freeh into PSU's appalling conduct during the Sandusky scandal. My legal analysis on the damning report identifies stark similarities in the way PSU appeared to cover up for both Sandusky and for Mann in their respective internal investigations.

Ineptly, Mann has drawn further attention to the Steyn article by inserting a link to it. Thus millions of web users can apprise themselves of why there is a groundswell of opinion that Mann's employers, Pennsylvania State University (PSU) may well have covered up Mann's crimes in the Climategate scandal - just as the Freeh Report suggests they did for PSU football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The world's leading science blog, WUWT was quick to see the irony in Mann's blunder in linking Steyn's article to his Facebook announcement. WUWT owner, Anthony Watts observes that Mann had made himself a victim of the "Streisand Effect" - primarily an online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely.

Mann Losing Confidence in his Canadian Legal Team?

In this instance, Mann is doing without the expensive Canadian libel expert, Roger McConchie who Mann has been using to pursue a separate libel claim against popular Canadian climate scientist, Dr. Tim Ball. That case isn't going well for Mann because he appears to be stalling about complying with a court motion to hand over his hidden "dirty laundry" metadata to courtroom scrutiny. The British Columbia Supreme Court, where the case is currently being heard, has the right to order Mann to reveal all such withheld data. If Mann persists in failing to comply the court may find him in contempt and dismiss his case and award substantial damages in favor of Ball.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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