Friday, February 10, 2017

If We Had Buoy Data From the Past We Would Use That

Much, just about all of David Roses claims in his hit piece on Tom Karl has been walked back, not the least by Rose's source, John Bates.  Among the statements which Bates has disowned and which now must be considered fabrications was the paragraph

Dr Bates said: ‘They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out and “corrected” it by using the bad data from ships. You never change good data to agree with bad, but that’s what they did – so as to make it look as if the sea was warmer.’
but there was actually more both following and afterwards
But Dr Bates said this increase in temperatures was achieved by dubious means. Its key error was an upwards ‘adjustment’ of readings from fixed and floating buoys, which are generally reliable, to bring them into line with readings from a much more doubtful source – water taken in by ships. This, Dr Bates explained, has long been known to be questionable: ships are themselves sources of heat, readings will vary from ship to ship, and the depth of water intake will vary according to how heavily a ship is laden – so affecting temperature readings.

Dr Bates said: ‘They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out and “corrected” it by using the bad data from ships. You never change good data to agree with bad, but that’s what they did – so as to make it look as if the sea was warmer.’

ERSSTv4 ‘adjusted’ buoy readings up by 0.12C. It also ignored data from satellites that measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere, which are also considered reliable. Dr Bates said he gave the paper’s co-authors ‘a hard time’ about this, ‘and they never really justified what they were doing.’
Bunnies can read why this is wrong many places including articles by Kendra Pierre Louis in Popular Science, Zeke Hausfather and lots more.  John Bates can comment on whether it is Rose's fabrication or his.  AFAEK the question has never been put directly to either or answered.
In any case, this has given rise to several including John Bates claiming that NOAA made a dishonest choice when it moved combined the buoy and ship readings by joining the buoy to the ship readings.  In his response to Zeke Hausfather he writes (italics from ZH)
  1. ‘They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out […]’ 
v4 actually makes preferential use of buoys over ships (they are weighted almost 7 times in favour) as documented in the ERSSTv4 paper. The assertion that buoy data were thrown away as made in the article is demonstrably incorrect.
Response:  Verbiage used by David Rose is not the key issue here. The issue is the substantial adjustment of the buoy temperatures to match the erroneous ship values, and neglect of data from the Argo buoys.
Well actually it was a direct quote, so Bates is being very slippery here.  But this has given rise to the blathering point that the ship data should have been adjusted to the buoy data.  Much twitting has been wasted on that.  If there is a constant adjustment in either direction it makes no difference in determining the anomaly.  The fact that the size of adjustment is minimally different in v3, v4, v5 and on into the 22nd century is no never mind.

However, there is a significant reason to adjust the buoy data to the ship data.  Peter Thorne has done a service by explaining why NOAA and others update their records.  In his article, Prof. Thorne reproduces a figure from the recent IPCC AR5 report


Changing contribution of different measurement techniques (top panel) and their timeseries relative to the average of all sources at any given time (bottom panel). Note large and systematic offsets between distinct sources that vary through time. Source: IPCC

Ship measurements were the first, actually they go back well before 1920 and buoy measurements only kick in late in the twentieth century.  Earlier (and this would be pretty much anything published before 2000) would only, or massively depend on the ship measurements.  Thus offsetting the buoy to the ship data would cause the least confusion for anybunny looking at older publications. 

Makes sense to do it that way.

13 comments:

Nick Stokes said...

"Well actually it was a direct quote, so Bates is being very slippery here. "
I think those comments are from Judith, not Bates.

Nick Stokes said...

"Thus offsetting the buoy to the ship data would cause the least confusion for anybunny looking at older publications. "
I think it is really true that buoy to ship or ship to buoy makes no difference at all after anomaly. And no-one should quote anything else. So I don't think confusion can arise.

magmacc said...

If We Had Buoy Data From the Past We Would Use That

Yeah. Can't argue with that.

I look forward to Curry, Pielke, Spencer etc. complaining about lazy biased climate scientists not doing this.

Matt M said...

> And no-one should quote anything else. So I don't think confusion can arise.

Exactly.

Too many exchanges go like...

Person A: Here is point 1 which completely shows your argument to be false.
Now here are points 2, 3, 4... that also make your position weaker.

Person B: I have issues with points 3 and 7.

Low argument ensues. Person B never admits to point 1. Onlookers forget about point 1.

It would also stop confusion if ppl just posted the old/new comparison. These stupid little arguments turn into climate change is not real/not anthropogenic/not as bad as we expected, even though if the update actually was bad, it really doesn't say anything different to the old data in regards to these issues.

EliRabett said...

Nope, the quotes from the Mail article are reported by Rose as direct from Bates. The quotes from Curry's blog are given as part of Bates' response. He can dance, but he can't erase

Fernando Leanme said...

I'm pretty good at looking at crappy data, and understanding how data can be mishandled. This is an ability I seem to have developed at the same time I got real good at placing boxes just so they would fit perfectly in an ups trailer truck (which helped me pay for college and become an outstanding member of the community). So if you name me "chief data sniffer" and force a couple of these guys who can graph and display data for my visual inspection I can probably find where Karl is wrong. This is definitely easier than trying to figure out why some dwarf galaxies have a single star generation AND have such a low total mass.

snarkrates said...

No, Fernando, your skills run more toward self-delusion and comic relief. I can't imagine why anyone would take you seriously, let alone sanction you to sniff anything more complicated than your own armpit.

Kevin O'Neill said...

F.L. " I can probably find where Karl is wrong. "

Hmmm .... why not show where Hausfather et al are wrong, since they have shown that Karl et al is not wrong. "This suggests that the new NOAA record is likely the most accurate sea surface temperature record in recent years..."

Or maybe quit pontificating as if you had the knowledge to do either. Especially when people who *do* have the knowledge have already looked and found no there there.

magmacc said...

FL appears to have reached the awkward life stage of emeritus denier. Those in that condition can linger on for years before the next step of forgetting how to operate their computer.

Matt M said...

FL,
Learning to "graph and display data" before applying for the position of "Chief Data Sniffer" would increase your chances significantly.

Thomas Peterson said...

The ER in ERSST stands for Extended Reconstructed. So the focus of the data set is on long-term analysis. That is why the lead author of the ERSST paper decided it was better to adjust a 20-year buoy record to be equivalent to the 130-year ship record rather than vice versa.

One of the lessons I take from the Karl et al. 2015 paper is that long-term data sets that are used for climate monitoring require continual care and feeding to identify and address biases that might enter the data stream due to changes in the global climate observing system.

Bernard J. said...

"This is an ability I seem to have developed..."

I've seen the movie. Next you think that you can fly and jump off a multistorey building.

The ending is inevitable.

Jim Hunt said...

I know Eli has seen this, but it doesn't seem to have been mentioned in here as yet. David Rose's "Son of Whistleblower" schlock horror in the Mail on Sunday today:

David Rose’s Climatic Alternative Facts and Deceptions

Almost invisible in there is a brief "correction" of his NOAA hatchet job last weekend:

It is important to acknowledge the MoS did make one error: the caption on a graph, showing the difference between NOAA’s sea data records and the UK Met Office’s, did not make clear that they used different baselines. We corrected this immediately on our website.

No correction of the "anomalous baseline" graph itself needless to say. No mention of “World leaders not duped, Mail readers conned again”.