Thursday, March 27, 2008

Uben! Uben! Uben!
(Calibrate, Calibrate, Calibrate)

Well, not really a good translation. In Germany, screw ups on the football field are greeted by a heartfelt shout: Uben! Uben! Uben! or practice, practice practice. Eli is much in favor of this, but common sense is also needed. Tim Curtin springs to the defense of inanity over at Deltoid and criticizes Eli's take on the good Diplom Beck. Yves decks him by pointing to "Oxygen Deficiency in Antarctic Air" by Ernest Lockhart and Arnold Court that appeared in Monthly Weather Review. Starting from the conclusion of sod. . .

"they got CO2 concentration wrong by 200ppm at the worst! (and we don t really know what the real CO2 concentration was at the place they were measuring!"

They, IMO, are mostly Beck and ZJ when making global conclusions from local measurements from primary authors whose first purpose were not always CO2 levels, even local (see for instance Lockhart and Court 1942 available in, about ... oxygen depletion in Antarctica).

which Eli had mentioned about a year ago.

Eli is having the kind of week that Ms. Rabett goes revenge shopping during, possibly this will be a mite too strong, but it is exactly this sort of thing that differentiates the telephone book that Beck published, a critical review such as the IPCC report, or a decent scientific paper, like Machata and Hughes' "Atmospheric Oxygen in 1967 to 1970" Science, 158 (1970) 1582.

We see the same sort of ingrained nonsense from the engineering types who insist that data analysis consists of simply writing numbers down without worrying what they mean and never, no never, evaluating if they make sense and what sort of corrections need to be made. Thus the recent spate of the world is cooling since 1998 naivety, be it put on or real, and bunny labs can make a pretty good guess at that choice too.

Machta and Hughes measured atmospheric oxygen mixing ratios from 49 North to 60 South latitude and found no variation within the accuracy of their measurements settling on an average value of 20.946 percent. They looked at previous measurments and evaluated them. Some were ok, some were dodgy. They comment on the measurements of Lockhart and Court:
In 1942 Lockhart and Court reported oxygen abundances in Antarctica averaging 20.92 percent by volume and suggested that the low values might be unique to the location. Glueckauf pointed out that they performed no analysis of normal non-Antarctic air to confirm their procedures. To further cast suspicion, their carbon dioxide abundances were many times higher than that found in recent times. Table 1 does not suggest lower values approaching the Antarctica (sic).
The method that Lockhart and Court used had a resolution of 300 pppm for CO2 and 400 for oxygen. They found CO2 mixing ratios as high as 1700 ppm. For example between January 2 and January 4th they recorded values of 1700, 1500 (1/2), 1100, 900 (1/4) and 400, 200, 600, (1/55) 600, 700 (1/5 sample 2), 1600, 1400 (1/6). Think about what it would mean, if rather than a change in local conditions, or bad measurment methods or techniques, if this had really been a change in the background level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Thus, another Beckie GOGI, garbage out tells you that what went in was also garbage, or that someone made garbage in the measuring process. (End of post)


Anonymous said...

> background level of CO2

This kind of study is, perhaps, what led to the requirement -- in current procedure of -- parking the idling gasoline engine vehicle well downwind of the location where the gas is captured (since it's not smart to turn off your engine when far out on the cold ice, lest it not restart).

They may simply have been the first climate skeptics who actually discovered their own exhaust, and mistaken it for new science.

By now, it's become ... Tradition!

Yves said...

Hi Eli,

My take on the story (or to put the umlauts on üben's ü):

- I did in fact point Lockhart and Court's paper from your post "Found in margins" (excuse me for my html's incompetency) since I read the paper after having seen the last Anonymouse commentary for the post, trying to make an argument from authority using Haldane gas analyser and L&C's credentials,

- Later, I intervened in Deltoid making some ironical comment about the possible composition of the "Beck's boys" you mentioned in a previous comment, and how I could become one of the "Beck's great-grandson's boys" in 2070. At the end I mentioned the infamous "90000 measurements" used by Beck's backers as argument from authority along with "tens of Nobel prizes" (and "175 papers"). I precised that 64000 of the 90000 came from one location at one period (Giessen, Germany, 1939-41),

- Then sod had a catch on the argument, probably taking it seriously. How to respond ? Frankly were I more skilled in polemology and roleplaying I would have played the pseudoskeptic side for a while with some allusions of irony in order to watch the reactions and count the points in that very heated thread. But, being utterly incompetent in such a game I somehow dropped my tail and preferred to make factual responses, of which the L&C paper I read previously as example of article not primarily devoted to CO2 and giving erratic (and very unprecise) measurements of Antarctica CO2 levels,

- I had an exchange with T. Curtin in the thread but it was about the trend of dCO2/dt since 1957. We had a thoughtful and civil discussion. About the "yet" he proposed to add in my last response (follow the thread), I didn't answer, considering unnecessary to do so. After further reflection I agree with him on this "yet"; we only might disagree ... on its cause (Frau S. or Herr K.).

Voila. I prefer to give back to Eli what originates from him; I wouldn't have read L&C paper from a purely personal research; if I had more time along with more intense morbid desire of sniffing horseshits I would probably dig into the bulk of the authority (the 64000 measurements from Giessen, the attribution of the "Nobel prizes" to accurate CO2 measurements, etc...).

I think that Beck's story, along with writings from Jaworowski, or Segalstad, and much of the Larouche "science", have much pedagogical interest to be shown since much can be learned from errors and error-making especially when shaping into elaborate and authoritative science. Besides, a study of such writings can have some sociological interest on how science is perceived... and how fringe science or pseudoscience can be practiced.



Anonymous said...

it is "üben" (or ueben) and not "uben" ;-) Its an verb and means "to exercise" or something like that.