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  • AP IMPACT: Statisticians reject global cooling

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091027/...global_cooling


    AP IMPACT: Statisticians reject global cooling
    AP

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    By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer – Mon Oct 26, 9:34 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – Have you heard that the world is now cooling instead of warming? You may have seen some news reports on the Internet or heard about it from a provocative new book. Only one problem: It's not true, according to an analysis of the numbers done by several independent statisticians for The Associated Press.

    The case that the Earth might be cooling partly stems from recent weather. Last year was cooler than previous years. It's been a while since the super-hot years of 1998 and 2005. So is this a longer climate trend or just weather's normal ups and downs?

    In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

    "If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect," said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.

    Yet the idea that things are cooling has been repeated in opinion columns, a BBC news story posted on the Drudge Report and in a new book by the authors of the best-seller "Freakonomics." Last week, a poll by the Pew Research Center found that only 57 percent of Americans now believe there is strong scientific evidence for global warming, down from 77 percent in 2006.

    Global warming skeptics base their claims on an unusually hot year in 1998. Since then, they say, temperatures have dropped — thus, a cooling trend. But it's not that simple.

    Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, fallen again and are now rising once more. Records kept by the British meteorological office and satellite data used by climate skeptics still show 1998 as the hottest year. However, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show 2005 has topped 1998. Published peer-reviewed scientific research generally cites temperatures measured by ground sensors, which are from NOAA, NASA and the British, more than the satellite data.

    The recent Internet chatter about cooling led NOAA's climate data center to re-examine its temperature data. It found no cooling trend.

    "The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record," said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. "Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming."

    The AP sent expert statisticians NOAA's year-to-year ground temperature changes over 130 years and the 30 years of satellite-measured temperatures preferred by skeptics and gathered by scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

    Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past 10 years in either data set. The ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in data as far back as 1880.

    Saying there's a downward trend since 1998 is not scientifically legitimate, said David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor and one of those analyzing the numbers.

    Identifying a downward trend is a case of "people coming at the data with preconceived notions," said Peterson, author of the book "Why Did They Do That? An Introduction to Forensic Decision Analysis."

    One prominent skeptic said that to find the cooling trend, the 30 years of satellite temperatures must be used. The satellite data tends to be cooler than the ground data. And key is making sure 1998 is part of the trend, he added.

    It's what happens within the past 10 years or so, not the overall average, that counts, contends Don Easterbrook, a Western Washington University geology professor and global warming skeptic.

    "I don't argue with you that the 10-year average for the past 10 years is higher than the previous 10 years," said Easterbrook, who has self-published some of his research. "We started the cooling trend after 1998. You're going to get a different line depending on which year you choose.

    "Should not the actual temperature be higher now than it was in 1998?" Easterbrook asked. "We can play the numbers games."

    That's the problem, some of the statisticians said.

    Grego produced three charts to show how choosing a starting date can alter perceptions. Using the skeptics' satellite data beginning in 1998, there is a "mild downward trend," he said. But doing that is "deceptive."

    The trend disappears if the analysis starts in 1997. And it trends upward if you begin in 1999, he said.

    Apart from the conflicting data analyses is the eyebrow-raising new book title from Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, "Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance."

    A line in the book says: "Then there's this little-discussed fact about global warming: While the drumbeat of doom has grown louder over the past several years, the average global temperature during that time has in fact decreased."

    That led to a sharp rebuke from the Union of Concerned Scientists, which said the book mischaracterizes climate science with "distorted statistics."

    Levitt, a University of Chicago economist, said he does not believe there is a cooling trend. He said the line was just an attempt to note the irony of a cool couple of years at a time of intense discussion of global warming. Levitt said he did not do any statistical analysis of temperatures, but "eyeballed" the numbers and noticed 2005 was hotter than the last couple of years. Levitt said the "cooling" reference in the book title refers more to ideas about trying to cool the Earth artificially.

    Statisticians say that in sizing up climate change, it's important to look at moving averages of about 10 years. They compare the average of 1999-2008 to the average of 2000-2009. In all data sets, 10-year moving averages have been higher in the last five years than in any previous years.

    "To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous," said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.

    Ben Santer, a climate scientist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Lab, called it "a concerted strategy to obfuscate and generate confusion in the minds of the public and policymakers" ahead of international climate talks in December in Copenhagen.

    President Barack Obama weighed in on the topic Friday at MIT. He said some opponents "make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change — claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary."

    Earlier this year, climate scientists in two peer-reviewed publications statistically analyzed recent years' temperatures against claims of cooling and found them not valid.

    Not all skeptical scientists make the flat-out cooling argument.

    "It pretty much depends on when you start," wrote John Christy, the Alabama atmospheric scientist who collects the satellite data that skeptics use. He said in an e-mail that looking back 31 years, temperatures have gone up nearly three-quarters of a degree Fahrenheit (four-tenths of a degree Celsius). The last dozen years have been flat, and temperatures over the last eight years have declined a bit, he wrote.

    Oceans, which take longer to heat up and longer to cool, greatly influence short-term weather, causing temperatures to rise and fall temporarily on top of the overall steady warming trend, scientists say. The biggest example of that is El Nino.

    El Nino, a temporary warming of part of the Pacific Ocean, usually spikes global temperatures, scientists say. The two recent warm years, both 1998 and 2005, were El Nino years. The flip side of El Nino is La Nina, which lowers temperatures. A La Nina bloomed last year and temperatures slipped a bit, but 2008 was still the ninth hottest in 130 years of NOAA records.

    Of the 10 hottest years recorded by NOAA, eight have occurred since 2000, and after this year it will be nine because this year is on track to be the sixth-warmest on record.

    The current El Nino is forecast to get stronger, probably pushing global temperatures even higher next year, scientists say. NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt predicts 2010 may break a record, so a cooling trend "will be never talked about again."

  • #2
    Statisticians are all a bunch of dumb *******s. Rush Limbaugh is an impartial genius.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

    Comment


    • #3
      As the article states the data that is relied upon to say there is cooling is the satellite data. The reason that data is used is it is more reliable than the thermometers used previously. A satellite can collect data from all over the world and it much more accurate. Prior to using satellite data any data collected had to be requested form the various governments and it was manually collected. Assuming the thermometers were as accurate as modern satellites there are many steps in the process where the data can be incorrectly written.

      The other thing that the article is missing is that, if CO2 was responsible for the warming the temperature should not even be flat, it should be rising. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased over the last 10 years so the temperature should have increased over that time also.
      But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

      For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.

      Comment


      • #4
        The point of the article is that the data sets, including the satellite data, do not display a statistically significant cooling trend.
        Last edited by DAL; 11-01-2009, 08:33 PM. Reason: mistake -- omitted do not
        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

        Comment


        • #5
          It's all a complete joke! In the 70s all the *******s were screaming about the coming ice-age. Then they switched to warming and now they are switching back to cooling again. Let's face it, they think the sky is falling and it is being used for political purposes by the reformers.

          Comment


          • #6
            A message is hidden because BigPat is on your ignore list.

            Ah, sweet bliss.
            For every one hundred men you send us,
            Ten should not even be here.
            Eighty are nothing but targets.
            Nine of them are real fighters;
            We are lucky to have them, they the battle make.
            Ah, but the one. One of them is a warrior.
            And he will bring the others back.

            Comment


            • #7
              http://samanoontheissues.blogspot.co...on-record.html

              NASA scientists this month corrected an error that resulted in 1934 replacing 1998 as the warmest year on record in the U.S., thus challenging some key global warming arguments, but the correction is being ignored, a conservative climate expert charged Wednesday.

              Yet at the same time, announcements that support global warming are considered "front-page news," said H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

              For his part, James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has called the correction is "statistically insignificant."

              Burnett challenged that assertion, saying the correction made it clear that NASA's conclusion -- that the majority of the 10 hottest years have occurred since 1990 -- is false.

              "Time after time, Hansen and other global warming alarmists present their data as 'the facts,' and [say that] 'you can't argue with data,' " he said. "Well, it turns out their data is just wrong. And when it's wrong, they want to say it's not important."

              The controversy began on Aug. 4, when blogger Steve McIntyre of the ClimateAudit.org website, sent an email to NASA asserting that the data collected by the agency after 1999 was not being adjusted to allow for the times of day when readings were taken or the locations of the monitoring stations.

              According to a blog posting by NASA climate modeler Gavin Schmidt, agency analysts then "looked into it and found that this coincided with the switch between two sources of U.S. temperature data."

              "There had been a faulty assumption that these two sources matched," Schmidt said. "The obvious fix was to make an adjustment based on a period of overlap so that these offsets disappear."

              Schmidt said the data analysis was then adjusted accordingly, and a note of thanks emailed to McIntyre.

              "The net effect of the change was to reduce mean U.S. anomalies by about 0.15 degrees Celsius for the years 2000-2006," which resulted in a "very minor knock" on information from earlier years, Schmidt added.

              Burnett, however, called the miscalculation "a serious math error" and noted that according to NASA's newly published data:

              * The hottest year on record is 1934, not 1998;
              * The third hottest year on record was 1921, not 2006;
              * Three of the five hottest years on record occurred before 1940; and
              * Six of the top 10 hottest years occurred prior to 90 percent of the growth in greenhouse gas emissions during the last century.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well if Statisticians say so it must be true....

                When I took Statistics in college, the name of the textbook was How to Lie with Numbers. The biggest thing I learned in that class is that you can use Statistics to make any number set say whatever you want them to say...
                Originally posted by kontemplerande
                Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The case that the Earth might be cooling partly stems from recent weather. Last year was cooler than previous years.
                  So how is this not cooling?

                  It was hotter a while ago, it's less hot now.

                  This does not seem so difficult.

                  M-11
                  “All men dream...... But not equally..
                  Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it is vanity;
                  but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
                  for they act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.....”

                  TE Lawrence

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by M-11 View Post
                    So how is this not cooling?

                    It was hotter a while ago, it's less hot now.

                    This does not seem so difficult.

                    M-11
                    They are referring to long term trends.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kc12 View Post
                      As the article states the data that is relied upon to say there is cooling is the satellite data. The reason that data is used is it is more reliable than the thermometers used previously. A satellite can collect data from all over the world and it much more accurate. Prior to using satellite data any data collected had to be requested form the various governments and it was manually collected. Assuming the thermometers were as accurate as modern satellites there are many steps in the process where the data can be incorrectly written.
                      Upon what do you base your claim that satellite data is more accurate?

                      The other thing that the article is missing is that, if CO2 was responsible for the warming the temperature should not even be flat, it should be rising. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased over the last 10 years so the temperature should have increased over that time also.
                      That is actually discussed at the end of the article, El Nino and La Nina have affected temperatures in the short term.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JasperST View Post
                        http://samanoontheissues.blogspot.co...on-record.html

                        NASA scientists this month corrected an error that resulted in 1934 replacing 1998 as the warmest year on record in the U.S., thus challenging some key global warming arguments, but the correction is being ignored, a conservative climate expert charged Wednesday.

                        Yet at the same time, announcements that support global warming are considered "front-page news," said H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

                        For his part, James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has called the correction is "statistically insignificant."

                        Burnett challenged that assertion, saying the correction made it clear that NASA's conclusion -- that the majority of the 10 hottest years have occurred since 1990 -- is false.

                        "Time after time, Hansen and other global warming alarmists present their data as 'the facts,' and [say that] 'you can't argue with data,' " he said. "Well, it turns out their data is just wrong. And when it's wrong, they want to say it's not important."

                        The controversy began on Aug. 4, when blogger Steve McIntyre of the ClimateAudit.org website, sent an email to NASA asserting that the data collected by the agency after 1999 was not being adjusted to allow for the times of day when readings were taken or the locations of the monitoring stations.

                        According to a blog posting by NASA climate modeler Gavin Schmidt, agency analysts then "looked into it and found that this coincided with the switch between two sources of U.S. temperature data."

                        "There had been a faulty assumption that these two sources matched," Schmidt said. "The obvious fix was to make an adjustment based on a period of overlap so that these offsets disappear."

                        Schmidt said the data analysis was then adjusted accordingly, and a note of thanks emailed to McIntyre.

                        "The net effect of the change was to reduce mean U.S. anomalies by about 0.15 degrees Celsius for the years 2000-2006," which resulted in a "very minor knock" on information from earlier years, Schmidt added.

                        Burnett, however, called the miscalculation "a serious math error" and noted that according to NASA's newly published data:

                        * The hottest year on record is 1934, not 1998;
                        * The third hottest year on record was 1921, not 2006;
                        * Three of the five hottest years on record occurred before 1940; and
                        * Six of the top 10 hottest years occurred prior to 90 percent of the growth in greenhouse gas emissions during the last century.
                        http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoub..._on_record.php

                        The Island of Doubt

                        An irregular exploration of the struggle between the power of rational discourse and the scientific method on one hand, and the forces of superstition and dogma on the other. Mostly regarding climate change, though.

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                        me-fergus.jpg James Hrynyshyn is a freelance science journalist based in western North Carolina, where he tries to put degrees in marine biology and journalism to good use.
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                        « More melting mayhem | Main | Islamic science: contradiction of terms? »
                        1934 warmest year on record?

                        Category: climate
                        Posted on: August 10, 2007 2:37 PM, by James Hrynyshyn

                        That portion of the blogosphere that takes no shame in including Ann Coulter in their blogrolls is all atwitter with the news that NASA has "silently" released adjusted temperature records showing that 1934 is the warmest year on record, not 1998 or 2005 or 2006. How will Al Gore, James Hansen and all the other "enviromoonbats" recover from this embarrassing revelation? Probably without breaking a sweat, I would think.

                        Many of the blogs make no distinction between "warmest year in American history" and "warmest year in world history." And the difference, as you might expect, is more than a little significant. The revised list, from NASA, does indeed put 1934 as the warmest year -- in the lower 48 contiguous members of the United State of America.

                        But the warmest year globally remains 2005, followed by 1998, 2002 and 2003 and 2004. And the of the 12 hottest years on record, only one -- 1990 -- does not occur in the last 12 years. (Thank you Mount Pinatubo).

                        Many a right-wing blogger (such as this one, this one and this one, (in)conveniently glosses over or ignores the distinction entirely and spews out lines the likes of

                        Don't expect any press releases from NASA or NOAA about this change nor much coverage on the networks or major newspapers.

                        Which, to be fair, is a pretty good prediction. But only because the revised list, reportedly due to some kind of Y2K recalculation (see here for real origin), will not affect global averages significantly and is more properly relegated to the footnotes of obscure journals. The revised calculations after all, may have changed the rankings of the top warmest years in the U.S., but only by a wee bit, +0.02 degrees C in the case of 1934. Even in Fahrenheit, that's only 4/100th of a degree. To put it all in perspective, we're already 0.7 degrees C above pre-industrial levels globally, with another full degree in the inevitably pipeline due to climate inertia.

                        But even those who probably do understand the math are happy to make a mountain out of this molehill. Daily Tech's Michael Asher, who was up front about the fact that we're dealing with US temperatures only, couldn't restrain his glee (emphasis mine):

                        The effect of the correction on global temperatures is minor (some 1-2% less warming than originally thought), but the effect on the U.S. global warming propaganda machine could be huge. Then again -- maybe not. I strongly suspect this story will receive little to no attention from the mainstream media.

                        It would seem this pseudo-scandal started with the help of veteran climate change denialist Steve McIntyre, but my attempts to link to his work at climateaudit.org only generated a WordPress error.

                        Ah well. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along now.

                        Update: Check out this headline from KXMB, a CBS television station in North Dakota considers bloggers the equivalent of the wire services: "NASA Drastically Revises Global Temperature Numbers." Nothing like letting the facts get in the way... oh you know the rest.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The article also shows that there is no global warming. It is a double-edged sword. I think it's great that people are trying to switch to renewable forms of fuel, less greenhouse gasses, using less electricity, etc. I fully support those efforts (to a degree). Just don't lie to me and tell me that if I don't use the new lightbulbs in my house we are all gonna fry by early next week. Also, don't try to tell me that my modified 1965 Mustang will pollute the atmosphere any worse than the aircraft flying my local US Senators back and forth from Washington on our dime. Leave the classic car hobbyists the hell alone, and stop trying to tell us that the world will spin off its axis if we don't start driving Priuses by Monday. THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING OUTSIDE OF THE NATURAL UPS AND DOWNS OF OUR USUAL CLIMATE CHANGES!
                          sigpic
                          Originally posted by Smurfette
                          Lord have mercy. You're about as slick as the business side of duct tape.
                          Originally posted by DAL
                          You are without doubt a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BigPat View Post
                            They are referring to long term trends.
                            You mean like the 500+ years of extreme cold followed by the last 100 years of slight warming? THAT kind of long term
                            A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BigPat View Post
                              Upon what do you base your claim that satellite data is more accurate?
                              The fact that satellites are used to measure the temperature of the atmosphere and the water, not the land, make them a bit more accurate. There are many things that can effect the temperature of the land that give false readings, such as placing the instrument in a place that receives full sun or shade when the measurement is read. Placing the instrument next to a brick building. Placing the instrument next to the entrance or exit to a building. Placing the instrument on the north or south side of whatever.



                              Originally posted by BigPat View Post
                              That is actually discussed at the end of the article, El Nino and La Nina have affected temperatures in the short term.
                              I don't see anywhere in the article where it discusses the fact that even though the level of CO2 has risen the temperature has not. Granted in 1998 and 2005 there were El Ninos that resulted in higher temperatures, but taking those out the temperature has remained relatively steady since the mid to late 90's. This is in direct conflict with the computer models and the assertion that man releasing CO2 is the cause of global warming.
                              But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

                              For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.

                              Comment

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