Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Runaway Models

There may be some strange cooking going on in the kitchen...

This all started when I saw a news story several weeks ago about NASA's Dr. Hansen claiming that 2010 was The Hottest Year On Record. Much was made of his most-recent studies providing yet-more 'proof' that AGW / Climate Change was Real, not subject to dispute, and the 'deniers' were flat-out wrong... Rather than take it a face value, I thought it called for a little digging into the data.

First, take a look at this link to NASA's GISS Surface Temperature analysis. Note that virtually the entire Arctic at the top is "gray" indicating "missing data".

Then, look at this link showing extrapolated GISS data. The Arctic is shown with temperatures 2-10 degrees C above normal. My understanding is this alternate set of data was used by Dr. Hansen as source material leading to his recent "hottest year on record" statement.

Clearly, even to a non-climate scientist such as myself, it can be inferred that the 'average world temperature' calculated from the second set will show higher temperatures. I guess you *have* to get values to plug into the model from somewhere... but what would be wrong with using real word data? In other words: just how good are those "extrapolated" values?

Look at this link of a NOAA animation of recorded temperatures over a recent period. As expected, some areas are above normal, some below, some stay close to the expected average. Kinda like the real world, eh? So where did Hansen's data come from, and why is it so wildly different? Well, some *model* of Dr. Hansen's was used to create that data. (Or at least some model endorsed by Dr. Hansen, else why would he use it?)

It is clear (at least to me) that Dr. Hansen's extrapolated data significantly skews the global temperature reading upwards. Also note Dr. Hansen claimed a record in 2010 by only 0.01 degrees based on this data.

I feel reasonably comfortable in saying that if the NOAA temperature values had been used instead of the "extrapolated" values, the result would be quite different. I doubt it would support a "hottest year on record" statement.

*ANY* serious scientist (regardless of discipline/area of study) would simply take the BEST available data, push it through the models, and let the results fall where they will and publish it all regardless... even if the data shows the theory/model is WRONG.

Dr. Hansen's views this subject of CO2 and AGW are well known and documented. However, I question his conclusions about 2010 global temperatures, which at first glance, appear to contradict Real World observations. I am sure others can/will do the same. I might still be wrong about this (and *I* am willing to admit it).

But even if I am not a certified Climate Scientist... "Lucy, you got some 'splaning to do"...

BTW - You'll note I didn't use any data from JoNova, Anthony Watts, et.al. I very carefully did NOT look at any of those sites, since I did not want to be or appear to be biased (or following a different herd of sheep). Just looked at easily available NASA and NOAA data... Since *I* found this, I am sure the denier sites are making similar analysis, and they probably did so weeks ago... no doubt it took me longer than those folks (who have more time). No matter where it comes from, none of this changes what the data appears to indicate. One way or another, FACTS will win out, in the long run.

- Steve

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