Monday, February 06, 2017

The Speed of Entropy

In a post fact world, everything degrades to heat in microseconds, so Eli, although perhaps only a day behind, is well, a day behind, or two or three.  The latest attempt to recreate the furor following the hack of CRU Emails is a combined David Rose and Judy Curry and a whole bunch of others attack on Tom Karl and the paper that he was the first author of about the rate of global temperature change.

That paper, took away one of the blathering points that the denialists were so fond of.  As Science summarized it

Previous analyses of global temperature trends during the first decade of the 21st century seemed to indicate that warming had stalled. This allowed critics of the idea of global warming to claim that concern about climate change was misplaced. Karl et al. now show that temperatures did not plateau as thought and that the supposed warming “hiatus” is just an artifact of earlier analyses. Warming has continued at a pace similar to that of the last half of the 20th century, and the slowdown was just an illusion.
although the point has been rather blown away by the global temperature evolution of the last three years, each a record.

The attack has, at the speed of heat transfer already given rise to two technical responses to Rose, one by Zeke Hausfather and the other by Victor Venema.  There may be others.  Adding to the confusion is that there are really two separate bleats in the Rose argument.  The first which is what Zeke and Victor go after is that Karl, et al, manipulated the data.  Short answer: No.  Long answer: David Rose is an ignorant, well, this is a family blog. 

The second is that "proper archiving procedures were not followed", this being pushed by John Bates, directly at Judith Curry's blog, so down the Climate Audit Rabett Hole we go.  However, and here is where Eli may be pointing to some things that have not appeared elsewhere, Bates does appear to have solved one mystery, that being who was the NOAA source for Lamar Smith in 2015 when Smith went after Karl, et al.
The letter alleges for the first time, that “information provided to the [House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology] by whistleblowers appears to show that the Karl study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists." The letter states that “Dr. Karl rushed to publish the study before all appropriate reviews of the underlying science and new methodologies used in the foundational climate datasets were conducted.”
Tom Peterson, one of the et al on the Karl paper talked to the Washington Post at that time
That author, Thomas Peterson, described in an interview some of the internal tensions at NOAA between the scientists and computer engineers who were writing software code for the data and wanted more time to make sure it was reliable. The scientists felt confident using the data that had already been made public and were ultimately vindicated by the latest version.

The conclusions of the Science paper were based on corrections and adjustments to even earlier land and sea temperature measurements. These were intended to address what scientists described as measurement biases in readings taken of ocean temperatures and land temperatures that did not fully account for the rapidly warming Arctic.
 And Peterson laid out the source of this reignited conflict back in 2015
Peterson acknowledged that tensions over timing developed between the scientists and a team of computer engineers — some contractors, some civil servants — who were rewriting the software code to process the data once it was collected from stations worldwide. The engineers wanted more time to test and retest the software to ensure its reliability, he recalled. The scientists argued that it was taking too long.
and in a direct quote said:
“We’re talking about a time lag of years between the science and when they thought the software testing would be ready because of this question of whether one piece of software might develop a glitch, ” said Peterson, now president of the World Meteorological Organization’s Commission for Climatology."
An interesting question for Dr. Bates is, since he was in charge of the software, why was this taking so long?  The perfect always being the friend of delay, questions must be asked.

The other thing that is interesting is that Bates has roused the ire of some pretty temperate people, including Peter Thorne, who comes just within the Irish libel laws of calling Bates out as the Kelly Anne Conway of climate science
The 'whistle blower' is John Bates who was not involved in any aspect of the work. NOAA's process is very stove-piped such that beyond seminars there is little dissemination of information across groups. John Bates never participated in any of the numerous technical meetings on the land or marine data I have participated in at NOAA NCEI either in person or remotely. This shows in his reputed (I am taking the journalist at their word that these are directly attributable quotes) mis-representation of the processes that actually occured. In some cases these mis-representations are publically verifiable.
Prof. Thorne also provides a number of detailed demolitions of claims made in the Rose article attributable to Dr, Bates.  The upshot of Prof. Thorne's post is, that in many respects this is another Bates was not Hansen's supervisor at NASA situation with echoes of MBH 98.

Good times


Matt M said...

I think it would have been useful to provide a comparison between the old and new data, and the new data with other groups data. I see so many arguments when data is updated, but when they show a comparison to the old data, and to other data sets, the differences seem too small to care about. Well at least for those of us that aren't concerned with the finer details and just want to know how much are we contributing to cc and how much should we care about cc. I read posts like this and think there is more of an issue than actually exists. Show a graph and the issue disappears.

Russell Seitz said...

The propagation of Rose & Delingpole's latest Gate meme through the denialosphere suggests communication at the speed of thought in a vacuum.

snarkrates said...

OK, Russell, now that one was good.