A reply to Vonk: Radiative Physics Simplified II

A reply to Vonk: Radiative Physics Simplified II. Denialist Jeff Id from “the Air Vent” tries to explain to the more enthusiastic followers of Anthony Watts’ blog why they shouldn’t make themselves look foolish defending Tom Vonk’s recent imaginative foray into radiative physics.

My statement is – CO2 does create a warming effect in the lower atmosphere.

Horrors! But the usual escape hatch is attached:

Before that makes you scream at the monitor, I’ve not said anything about the magnitude or danger or even measurability of the effect. I only assert that the effect is real, is provable, it’s basic physics and it does exist.

Lasers and canisters of CO2 explain it all. Source: WUWT figure 7.

After some simple-minded talk about lasers and canisters of gases Jeff declares that “NONE of this should create any alarm” and says that perhaps “CO2 then, can be considered nothing but plant food”. And of course we all must be reminded why the “true and high quality results from Anthony’s surfacestations project [is] so critically important.”

Perfect place for a thermometer in Oz

Perfect place for a thermometer in Oz“. Australia’s local cranks are an intense bunch, which means a warm, if tiny, welcome for visitor Anthony Watts’ obsessive ignorance. What deep new knowledge has Anthony gained from his international travels?

Well Anthony can always find a weather station to complain about and there will always be reports of “cold weather” somewhere. Also the Australian government, for presumably contemptible bureaucratic reasons, hates deceased American photographer Ansel Adams (commercial photographers need permission and must pay a fee to photograph in Commonwealth reserves, aka national parks).

Art Horn: a remarkable statement from NOAA

Art Horn: a remarkable statement from NOAA“. Anthony Watts wants us to know that right-wing partisan website Pajamas Media’s meteorologist, Art Horn, shares his obsession, and outrage, over weather station trivia.

The following remarkable statement now appears on the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) site:

For detecting climate change, the concern is not the absolute temperature — whether a station is reading warmer or cooler than a nearby station placed on grass — but how that temperature changes over time.

Welcome to 1950, Art! You too Anthony. This has always been true. That’s the difference between studying weather and studying climate.

Sigh. One day the penny will drop. And rattle around for hours.

P.S. Why do I keep looking at “Art Horn” and seeing “ad hom”?

Satellite Temperatures and El Niño

Satellite Temperatures and El Niño“. Steven Goddard has convinced himself that recent satellite temperature observations are “too warm”. He’s compared them the surface temperature records and decided that the satellite record is somehow incorrect because of unspecified El Niño effects. Maybe it’s because of aliens with investments in carbon-neutral technologies?

I thought that the surface temperature records were hopelessly contaminated by Urban Heat Island effect, human incompetence and malevolent selection and were to be ignored (because they showed a strongly significant warming trend) in favor of the purity of satellite measurements (a useful delaying tactic because they were too new to have good statistical meaning). I guess the surface temperature records are fine when they suit the denialist argument du jour.

Here’s what happens: The surface temperature record is only observed at the surface. Satellite measurements reflect a much ‘thicker’ selection of the atmosphere. The vertical transport of heat/moisture has a lag of several months and hence satellite measurements will normally trail surface measurements.

Where the !@#$% is Svalbard’s Weather Station?

Where the !@#$% is Svalbard’s Weather Station?” Anthony Watts loves to nit-pick over weather-stations, and Willis Eschenbach’s complaint about Svalbard has re-awakened his interest.

Here’s some more Urban Heat Island whining based on almost complete ignorance to convince you that Global warming is fake:

Look at the Urban Heat! And it's on an island! Source: WUWT

Whatever happened to Anthony’s shocking revelation that the surface temperature record was totally wrong? Hmmm. In the comments Anthony assaults a commenter with “shut your pie hole“, and promises “Just wait till my paper comes out.

NASA Data Worse Than Climate-Gate Data, GISS Admits

NASA Data Worse Than Climate-Gate Data, GISS Admits“. The latest scientific analysis Anthony Watts has copied-and-pasted is… a Fox News article! This is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Blake Snow of FOXNews.com reports as an admission of inferiority a NASA scientist’s assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the different global surface temperature analyses. He also presents as definitive the opinion of Christopher Horner, a ‘senior fellow’ from the right-wing Competitive Enterprise Institute, that “three out of the four temperature data sets stink”. When another ‘senior fellow’ this time at the right-wing Heartland Institute, James M. Taylor, is quoted next and the article ends with our own Anthony’s unchallenged arm-waving about the “quality” of surface stations, you know the fix is in. “Fair & Balanced”, eh?

The only hint of reality comes from Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground: “It would be nice if we had more global stations to enable the groups to do independent estimates using completely different raw data, but we don’t have that luxury”.

The real story? Climatologists have a limited number of long-duration surface temperature stations available to them. They use as many of those stations as possible. It’s a fundamental logical fact that they will all start with the same raw data. The differences will be in how they select representative stations from the entire data set and how they extrapolate from those stations.

As a final thought, I have to draw attention to the use of “accuracy” as the sole valid assessment of a temperature data set. Data can be accurate (very close to a true reading) but not as useful (doesn’t reflect the actual conditions over a wider area). The fundamental difference between the interpreted surface temperature data sets is that some are optimized for accuracy, some for global representativeness. There are good reasons for each approach. There are also good reasons why denialists try to define the argument on such narrow and misleading points.