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Climategate: Justify Your Method of Homogenization

Science Fiction Author and multiple PhD Jerry Pournelle has some questions for the CRU:

Data and Climate Science

First, if you have any interest in the climate debate, you must read the careful analysis of the data from Darwin, Australia that we referred to last evening. I have studied this in some detail since Joanne recommended it, and it is important: not because it is a "smoking gun" demonstrating evil on the part of the climate analyzers, but because it raises questions that must be answered before the world spends trillions on remedies to climate change.

The analysis shows that the primary raw data show one trend; the adjusted "harmonized" data that were input into the models used to predict climate change show quite another. Now this may be a very reasonable adjustment -- but that adjustment has to be open, aboveboard, and justified. So far we have not seen any such explanations, and it has all been done in house, not openly.


So: 5% of the Earth's temperature is determined by 50 (actually it's more like 30, but call it 50) thermometers reporting daily. .05X = 50 so we have about 1,000 thermometers to determine the Earth's land temperature. Since the land is 30% of the earth's surface, .30X = 1000 and we have 3,333 thermometers to determine the entire temperature of the earth. (I doubt we have that many, but it'll do for this.) That means 3,333 data points ever hour, or 29,200,000 data points a year. At 8 bytes per data point we're talking about 2 gigabytes of data per year; meaning that everyone reading this has the capacity to store that much data, and probably the computing power to do daily averages and print out trend curves. It's too late to do that for past years, but I propose that given the enormous economic importance of climate trends, the IPCC should publish all the raw data: uncorrected, not homogenized, just the numbers you'd get if you went out on the porch and read the thermometer (or dropped your thermocouple over the side of a boat, or whatever it is they do to get the numbers); and also publish the corresponding "corrected" or "homogenized" number that is fed into the models. That's publishing a few gigabytes of data per year, or some 10 megabytes a day. Let everyone on earth look at the data, and do things like calculate differences between raw and corrected data. We can all look at the trends and differences.

Given the trillions at stake the costs of doing this are trivial. I doubt that it will be done, but shouldn't it be?

Indeed it should. And it should be done very openly.

Hat Tip: Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds


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Comments (5)

Good thing for us this admi... (Below threshold)

Good thing for us this administration is so amazingly transparent as Barry said it would be.

Sunlight is an amazing disinfectant. Therefore, these things must be done delicately and behind closed doors in the shadows where schemers scheme away.

The largists sources of HOT... (Below threshold)

The largists sources of HOT AIR comes from where ever the greens are from AL GORE and from COPENHEGAN

Why stop at posting raw dat... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Why stop at posting raw data going forward? All the raw data and metadata (methods and assumptions used to process the data) should be released for all the studies included in the IPCC's forth assessment as part of a transparent review of the so-called settled science. Like PhD Jerry Pournelle I say "I doubt that it will be done, but shouldn't it be?"

I go back to my statement that the blind acceptance of "forcing" is the underlying cause of Climategate. The concept of forcing is the result of a simple, yet fundamental error that has gone undetected because understanding one of the mechanisms by which the atmosphere warms the planet is a bit more complicated than the physics of radiative forcing.

There's no dispute that by day sunlight passes through the atmosphere and heats the surface. There's no dispute that some of that heat is imparted into the atmosphere by conduction and convection. Experiments show that the reason the inside of your car gets so dang hot in the sun is because of blocked convection and has nothing to do with glass either absorbing or reflecting IR. I only bring this up to demonstrate just how much heat must be transferred from the surface to the atmosphere by convection.

At night the surface radiates some of its heat into space and cools. Some heat from the atmosphere is transferred back to the surface by conduction and wind, but convection stops. Now here's the part most climatologists miss. 99.94 percent of the atmosphere by mass is made up of gases that are transparent to infrared. A pesky law of physics states that no medium that's transparent to a given wavelength of light can radiate at that wavelength. The reason I know that is because of work I have done in solar energy where high end collectors employ gold plated tubes covered by a material that absorbs visible light but is transparent to IR (a form of silicon). The result is a tube that gets real hot in the sun because it's unable to reradiate away heat as IR, and thus, it's more efficient at collecting heat energy from the sun.

Because of IR transparency a large amount of heat that was transferred into the atmosphere during the day is trapped there at night. The next day the atmosphere starts out warmer than it would have been had it been able to radiate heat as IR. What's neat is that this is a self-regulating system in that as the atmosphere gets warmer compared to the surface there's less temperature difference to drive convection, and thus less energy is transferred into the atmosphere. Also, the warmer atmosphere transfers more of its heat to the surface at night, which increases the amount of energy that's radiated to space as IR.

When you add CO2 to this system it increases the ability of the atmosphere to directly radiate heat to space as IR, while at the same time radiating some of that IR back to the surface. The result is a greater difference in temperature between the surface and high altitude, which is what were are seeing as CO2 increases. This greater temperature difference also increases convection which tends to put more energy into the atmosphere where the CO2 can radiate more heat into space as IR, and thus, one effect of CO2 produces a negative feedback for its other effect. I believe the Earth is relatively insensitive to atmospheric CO2 concentrations within any range burning fossil fuels could cause.

Water vapor produces even more complex interactions because of its ability to be in three states of matter in the atmosphere. Much of the IPCC's predictions assume water to be a positive feedback, but the basis for that assumption is just as simplistic as their assumption for forcing. What can be stated as fact is that without negative feedback mechanisms the climate would have spun out of control long ago and we wouldn't be here to talk about it.

Good GOD, Sir!You'... (Below threshold)

Good GOD, Sir!

You're actually proposing that common-sense be applied to this?

What's WRONG with you?!!!


They must be right. Last w... (Below threshold)
Clay Barham:

They must be right. Last week, it was 20 degrees below zero in the morning. This week, it is 20 degrees above zero. That's a change of 40 degrees. Enormous! It must be global warming. Of course, there are clouds in the sky, a little snow falling now, all of which tends to blanket the earth, unlike the clear skies when it was colder, but do not let these facts stand in the way of good old hysteria. Cannot let a hysterical moment go by when it comes to politics and jockeying for power. claysamerica.com






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