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« Teacher training | Main | Question Time »
Saturday
Jan292011

Booker wades in

Booker aims a few punches at the BBC and, in particular, Horizon (what else?). In a little addendum though, comes this:

Dr Benny Peiser and Dr David Whitehouse, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), have written to John Hirst, chief executive of the beleaguered Met Office, asking for an explanation of a press release issued by his organisation on January 20 and headed “2010 – a near record year”. This won headlines by claiming that last year was hotter than any other in the past decade.

When the two men examined the original data from which this claim was derived – compiled by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and the Met Office’s Hadley Centre – it clearly showed 2010 as having been cooler than 2005 (and 1998) and equal to 2003. It emerged that, for the purposes of the press release, the data had been significantly adjusted.

Comparing the actual data for each year, from 2001 to 2010, with that given in the press release shows that for four years the original figure has been adjusted downwards. Only for 2010 was the data revised upwards, by the largest adjustment of all, allowing the Met Office to claim that 2010 was the hottest year of the decade.

I asked the Met Office to comment on what seems like yet another embarrassing example of juggling with the figures. It denied the charge and I shall report on its lengthily evasive reply, once the GWPF has had a more considered response from Mr Hirst.

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  • Response
    Via Bishop Hill; When the two men examined the original data from which this claim was derived ? compiled by the University of East Anglia?s Climatic Research Unit and the Met Office?s Hadley Centre ? it clearly showed 2010 as...

Reader Comments (63)

wow

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Has the Met office a death wish? I am astounded!

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Hanwell

Booker seems to be supported by the various measures of global average temperature (GAT).

Take a look here, noting the peaks.

The strong La Nina cooling post 1998 is clear, as is the La Nina cooling in 2008. The spike in temperature is the El Nino of 2009/2010. The current La Nina is lowering GAT.

There is a trend of ~ 0.09C since 1998 for UAH, ~0.05C from RSS and ~0.02C for HADCRUT3. GISTEMP is higher at ~0.17C, but that’s an effect of GISTEMP’s interpolation (estimation) of Arctic temperatures.

With the exception of GISTEMP, these trends are effectively zero post 1998.

Obvious champs like 1998 aside, subsequent ‘record’ years are source-dependent rather than universally agreed.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Poor old Met Office. Once a decent if dull sort of place. Now simultaneously a temple for computer-based revelations of doom, and a platform for political leverage. Who would have guessed that, out of the mundane world of weather forecasting, such machinations would emerge? Machiavelli, Gramsci, le Carré, McCarthy - would any of them have spotted the opportunity? Fact is truly stranger than fiction!

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

When Baghdad Bob looks good in comparison ... the MET is no more.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Obvious I know... but, If this is what it superficially appears to be - it would be interesting to have the process and individual participants thoroughly exposed.

What were they thinking?

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom

Interesting that Boris Johnson, while superficially supporting the GW concensus, wrote that article comparing the Met Office unfavourably with some less well-funded prognosticators.
Boris will be the first to jump when Captain Cameron goes down with the good ship 'CAGW'.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:52 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Interesting that Boris Johnson, while superficially supporting the GW concensus, wrote that article comparing the Met Office unfavourably with some less well-funded prognosticators.
Boris will be the first to jump when Captain Cameron goes down with the good ship 'CAGW'.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

We do not know what the actual numbers are that GWPF are questioning, time will tell.

However I wonder, CRU show 2010 HadCrut3 anomaly at +0.475C

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3gl.txt

The Met Office say 2010 HadCRUT3 +0.50C

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2011/2010-global-temperature

Whilst on the following page, the annual data shows +0.498C but the monthly data adds up to +0.475C?

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/science/monitoring/hadcrut3.html

I suppose there is a perfectly reasonable answer, including me getting it wrong?

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Green Sand

Odd, isn't it?

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Both Booker and JD seem to have attracted some particularly vitriolic trolls of late. Curiously the trolls often use identical arguments and more or less identical phraseology.

Similar comments are even appearing on unrelated blogs from hit and run trolls, where someone has dared raise a sceptical eyebrow.

Coupled with renewed assaults from the BBC and other of the 'usual suspects' I can't help wondering whether we are seeing a concerted, even co-ordinated, process.

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterGCooper

GCooper

I think you are probably right. How much is reaction vs organised response isn't clear.

I suspect a bit of both, but predominantly reaction. It looks more organised than it is.

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

GCooper. If you've visited 'komment mach frei' to-day there is an amazing poster called 'Breton778' who is demolishing all the 'warmist' posts like a cane toad in a rat's nest.
This, coupled with the paucity of the Grauniad's blogs generally, could be why the former Monbiot catamites have migrated to Booker and Delingpole

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

'Tis still the pantomine season...
'Well children - 2010 was the hottest year ever..
Oooooh, yes it was...'
'Oooooh, no it wasn't...'

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

'Tis still the pantomine season...
'Well children - 2010 was the hottest year ever..
Oooooh, yes it was...'
'Oooooh, no it wasn't...'

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

GCooper. If you've visited 'komment mach frei' to-day there is an amazing poster called 'Breton778' who is demolishing all the 'warmist' posts like a cane toad in a rat's nest.
This, coupled with the paucity of the Grauniad's blogs generally, could be why the former Monbiot catamites have migrated to Booker and Delingpole

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

BBD

The real odd thing for me is the number of times that I go back to online databases only to find out that the data has changed. We all know that climate is a special forever moving and changing phenomenon explaining why it is so difficult to forecast. But why does it exhibit such a poor memory?

Getting a handle on it is a bit like plaiting sawdust.

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Uh, Oh, we're having to verify twice, then both posts appear.

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

GCooper

Yup, quite a few cages have been rattled today. It has been very interesting to watch the reactions.

We live in interesting times.

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Is there really no systematic justification whatever for revisiting and readjusting past data? None?

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

j ferguson

I think your comment is re my previous about changing data. I have to admit that I have sometimes found "systematic justification" but only occasionally has it been where you would expect it. As in “before you access this data please note the following”.

Quite often I find the changes and then have go searching for the justification and lose the will to live before I get there. I may be expecting too much, but for systems that are supposed to be monitoring the “greatest ever challenge to mankind” I am far from impressed.

However I do see some changes for the better, especially with the presentation of the satellite data, however I still can’t reconcile UAH anomaly, but I will keep trying.

Jan 29, 2011 at 11:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

>I asked the Met Office to comment on what seems like yet another embarrassing example of juggling with the figures. It denied the charge and I shall report on its lengthily evasive reply, once the GWPF has had a more considered response from Mr Hirst.<

You've given the "Met" a get of jail here - why should they supply "a more considered response" ? Clearly, on you own statement above, if they now simply stonewall, you audience will never see this "lengthily evasive reply"

Censorship from any protagonist in a debate is simply a moral vanity. Please do not use Queensbury Rules as a defence ... far too insipid

Jan 29, 2011 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

toad Jan 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Took a peek at the Guardian and see what you mean. But I saw the following shocker

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/25/case-study-climate-science-integrity?showallcomments=true

Its by a certain Dana Nuccitelli, for Skeptical Science. After a while, I twigged where I had seen that name before. It was on the US Amazon reviews for the Hockey Stick Illusion, someone of identical name had given it a one star rating, here

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2HPOYRMFE85MY/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1906768358&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=#wasThisHelpful

and if you go down the comment thread to james west July 24, 2010 3:58 AM PDT, and the immediately following post, you will find a caught red-handed corker.

Jan 30, 2011 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

She's billed as writing for John Cook's "Sceptical Science" blog - but Nuccitelli also pops up as an employee of a large environmental consultancy group Tetra Tech

http://www.tetratech.com/

Follow the money

Jan 30, 2011 at 12:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

The MET "adjusting" data is what water boarding is to interrogation.

Jan 30, 2011 at 12:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterFred from Canuckistan

"James, I don't need to read the book, I've already read McIntyre's case against the 'hockey stick'. I'm not going to reward the author for peddling misinformation by buying his book just like I'm not going to buy Ian Pilmer or Glenn Beck's books. The facts are what they are. If the book makes false statements, buying it and reading it doesn't make them any less false. You seem to think that because you read the book, that makes the statements it contains true".

-Dana

Jan 30, 2011 at 1:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Actually, it must be caused by that dodgy old computer we force the Met Office to use. Losing bits all over the place and stuffing them into other places,'tis. 'Tis no wonder there is such a bollix. We should all chip in and buy them a brand new shinny computer, we should.

Or perhaps we could hire Michael Gallagher and have him send his forecasts over on the evening post.

Jan 30, 2011 at 2:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Dana goes on to dig the hole even deeper: "Dana A. Nuccitelli says: 'How convenient to dismiss a debunking of your beliefs because it's presented to you secondhand.' "

In other words, Dana apparently thinks that writing a review without actually reading the book is perfectly ethical, she need only regurgitate someone else's (warmist) opinion and that makes it all okay. Convenient, indeed. The shameless irrationality of warmist cant has increased lately. I wonder why.

Jan 30, 2011 at 2:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

"Jan 29, 2011 at 9:35 PM | BBD
There is a trend of ~ 0.09C since 1998 for UAH, ~0.05C from RSS and ~0.02C for HADCRUT3. GISTEMP is higher at ~0.17C, but that’s an effect of GISTEMP’s interpolation (estimation) of Arctic temperatures.
With the exception of GISTEMP, these trends are effectively zero post 1998."

I have posted here :
http://climateandstuff.blogspot.com/2011/01/more-constructions-of-temperature.html
an explanation why there could be no significant GW for 22 years (Until 2023).

There are 2 main cycles 60 years and 100 years to the HADCRUT record. These add and subtract from the ambient temperature of the time but add no trend.

The trend giving best fit to the measured temperature is:
temp anom = 2.40389E-07(date)^3 - 1.34093E-03(date)^2 + 2.49320E+00(date) - 1.545547E+03
I offer no explanation for this trend - it could be GHGs or yobba rays from the sun ( http://www.wilding.net/ld/index.html ).

Using the trend, the 100 and the 60 year cycles gives a good approximation to the temperature record.
Adding in other frequencies provides a good match to the wiggles in the record. The match holds good from 1850 to present. If this is then extended to the future one can see that the 60/100 years cycles are in a negative going phase until 2023.
This therefore negates the trend - but the trend obviously continues upwards. From 2023 the trend and 60/100 year cycles will add!!

All this assumes that the trend is valid as it has been since the 60s

Mike

Jan 30, 2011 at 4:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterthefordprefect

David Whitehouse (ex BBC science correspondent) knows what he is talking about. I trust his findings about data adjustments. I await to see the data and the Met Office squirmings. I wait for the BBC headlines "Met Office lied". I have great patience.

Jan 30, 2011 at 7:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@Phillip Bratby

>I have great patience.<

But insufficient longevity, I fear :)

This was also the point behind my post at 2:11am above - which BH has graciously stooped to ignore

Most Govt officials, politicians, tenured academics and quango types do not at all mind looking silly, but they really dislike losing. Result ? Staying stum is infinitely preferable to actually supplying information that will lose one the case

BH, who wrote a good book, has shown no evidence he grasps this fundamental truth

Jan 30, 2011 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Ford, I'm no expert, so correct away, but in subtracting out apparently well-fitted sinusoids, you've assumed that the hypothesised cyclical effects are additive and, more to the point, of constant amplitude over the period of observation and extrapolation (for example, the TSI is not of constant amplitude, as you show in your own graphs, yet it is obviously cyclical). You've then accounted for the residual by fitting a third order polynomial with a positive coefficient in the dominant power and extrapolated out about 45 years into the future.

The identification of cyclical effects does looks interesting but the extrapolation is unjustified, both in the residuals you have chosen to fit against and the arbitrary polynomial form used.

Worst of all, you say "I DO NOT CLAIM THIS IS ACCURATE!!!!" and then claim to have produced "... an explanation why there could be no significant GW for 22 years". If you can't justify your extrapolation, your claim to a possibly explanation for a delayed AGW signal is more than a little mealy-mouthed.

Jan 30, 2011 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

Trolling of sceptical articles is organised by Monbiot’s Campaign against Climate Change here:
http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384
There’s an interesting historical parallel. It’s well known that the Daily Mail under Lord Rothermere’s proprietorship supported fascism in the thirties. It's less well known that Rothermere ended his support when he found out that the British Union of Fascists was organising “write in” campaigns to the paper, ostensibly from ordinary members of the public.

Jan 30, 2011 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

"All this assumes that the trend is valid as it has been since the 60s

Mike"

Jan 30, 2011 at 4:47 AM | thefordprefect

Is this confirmation that troll "thefordprefect" is the same as troll "mike"?

I wonder....

Jan 30, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

According to hadcrut3
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3gl.txt
the temperature-anomaly averages were: 0.548 for 1998, 0.475 for 2010
The warmest month were: February 1998 with 0.756, March 2010 with 0.580
So 2010 was (not statistically significant) cooler than 1998.

Jan 30, 2011 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexej Buergin

Also according to CRU - http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

According to the method of calculation used by CRU, the year 2010 was the equal third warmest on record (with 2003), exceeded by 1998 and 2005. The years 2003, 2005 and 2010 are only distinguishable in the third decimal place... Phil Jones

On this occasion the spin comes from elsewhere.

Jan 30, 2011 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnockJohn

@ianl8888

"BH, who wrote a good book, has shown no evidence he grasps this fundamental truth"

And you're not showing too much evidence that you grasp the fact that the Bish is quoting Booker in this piece.

Jan 30, 2011 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

The problem with lots of the data sets referred to is that they are the gridded data sets, an interpolation is not data, its an estimate.

Of more interest to me are the "raw data" such as GHCN. Others have posted online that the adjustments made to the raw data for GHCN are systematic. I have processed the entire GHCN data archive myself and can confirm that the adjustments over much of the 20th Century are systematic. See the page here http://statpad.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/ghcn-and-adjustment-trends/ for another poster who has put the graph online - fourth plot down on the page labelled Mean Annual GHCN Adjustment. I have obtained exactly the same result myself independently, as have others.

In the GHCN data the adjustment from 1910 to around 1990 is a strong linear trend. Why? What could give rise to a systematic correction being required for thermometers from 1910 to 1990 but was an opposite sign correction in the 19th century? The only systematic correction I can think of for the 20th Century might be for UHI effects, but these would have the opposite slope. Anyway, Phil Jones told us years ago that UHI is insignificant (/sarc).

Note that the adjustment to GHCN over the 20th Century accounts for half of all the observed temperature rise. If the adjustment is half of the claimed change something is not right. But everyone here probably knows that anyway.

Jan 30, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

I found the GISS changes graphed since the 80's posted on WUWT enlightening.

http://i54.tinypic.com/fylq2w.jpg

Jan 30, 2011 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Frosty - that's a great set of graphs. Even more revealing - in the leftmost graph just below the blue line, look how the low for 1965 is just below the peak in 1915. Then see what happens to the 1965 vs 1915 levels in the subsequent graphs. In the 1987 graph, 1965 is now about +0.1 higher than 1915 and by the 2007 graph it is about +0.15 higher.

Never let the data get in the way of a good theory, eh?

Jan 30, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Frosty

Can you direct me to the original post on WUWT? Thanks

Jan 30, 2011 at 11:22 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Bish, it's here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/18/weather-balloon-data-backs-up-missing-decline-found-in-old-magazine/

Jan 30, 2011 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Another with a blink comparison


http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/16/the-past-is-not-what-it-used-to-be-gw-tiger-tale/

Jan 30, 2011 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

As far as I can find on the web, Dana A. Nuccitelli is male. Defined as an 'environmentalist'.

When looking for him on the web I came across someone else with the same name (what odds on that?) who was a senior IT architect with some credit for designing call centre systems - something I did once. It left me thinking: If this guy/gal was designing call centre systems and never read any articles/books on design, ideas, strategies, etc, and believed only in his/her capability to design, there would be some truly awful call centre systems out there. Then again....maybe the (I don't read denier books) Dana A. Nuccitelli from Amazon is the IT guy and not the 'environmentalist', if you've had any contact with the call centres I've dealt with. ;-)

Jan 30, 2011 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Thanks Simon, I don't know as I could have found the OP!

here's a post on the GHCN changes, check out the mean annual adjustment ;¬)

http://statpad.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/ghcn-and-adjustment-trends/

Jan 30, 2011 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Frosty, I remembered that post (and, more importantly, where I was when I read it) because it was one of those JFK-type "HOLY F***" moments for me. It was the day GISS died. :o)

Jan 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

"Jan 30, 2011 at 8:22 AM | dread0
an explanation why there could be no significant GW for 22 years". If you can't justify your extrapolation, your claim to a possibly explanation for a delayed AGW signal is more than a little mealy-mouthed."

I agree with most of your comments. I too was surprised that a seemingly random data set could be reasonably accurately defined by a few fixed level sinusoids.
Each sinusoid frequency is obtained by scanning the hadcrut data with a narrow band bandpass filter looking for peaks in amplitude.
Each sinusoid amplitude is matched to the band pass filtered output of HADCRUT (bw=freq/150).
Each siusoid phase is matched to the phase of the bp filtered output (except the 60year and 10 year which are adjusted for minimum residual.
The TSI is added or subtracted from the hadcrut data. The amplitude of the TSI is adjusted for minimum residual. The phase of the TSI is adjusted up to +-11 years for min residual - in reality adding in TSI makes little difference to the residual It is lowered in some places but then simultaneously increases in others

The match over 160 years is "good". It is tempting to think it will be good for 40 years to the future!

My comment as to how the Warming signal COULD be deleyed is just a possibility. It shows that despite a continuous positive trend there is still a possibility that a negative or zero global temperature slope is possible. Many people have found this 60 years cycle - including Scafetta. It is this 60 year cycle that gives the current temperature stability in my plots.
Mike

Jan 30, 2011 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterthefordprefect

Mike/tfp

It's good to hear that natural variation can effortlessly over-print the ever-strengthening forcing from CO2. More evidence for a high climate sensitivity ;-)

Jan 30, 2011 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Snotrocket

I never cease to be amazed by what you can find out with Google. Dana Nuccitelli wears 30x30 trousers.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A83G9QYT44X4F

(His taste in books is much as expected.)

Jan 30, 2011 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Dreadnaught - be careful. I once googled Dana and he told me I was a creepy Google-stalker.

Jan 30, 2011 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

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