Claims of Data ‘Massaging’ at NASA

DATA on global temperatures is compiled by several organisation including NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) headed by James Hansen.    This data set tends to show more warming than, for example, data compiled by the UK Meteorology Bureau’s Hadley Centre.   Both rely on measurements from thermometers.    

All sorts of statistical tests can be performed on data – on numbers.   There is even a test to determine whether data is likely to have been ‘massaged’ by people. 

Ecologist and computer modeller David Stockwell has used this technique to analyse the frequency of the final digits in the temperature data compiled by James Hansen’s team, and he claims that the unequal distribution of the individual digits strongly suggests manipulation.   Read more here.  

Physicist Lubos Motl agrees.  Statitician Steve McIntyre disagrees.   

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After receiving his Ph.D. degree in Ecosystem Dynamics from the Australian National University in 1992, Dr Stockwell worked as a consultant until moving to the San Diego Supercomputer Center at University of California San Diego in 1997. There he continued his work developing computational and data intensive methods of ecological niche modeling using museum collections data. Dr Stockwell has received grants from the NSF, USGS and DOT enabling him to develop software such as GARP (Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Production) used in making outstanding contributions in many fields: modeling of invasive species, epidemiology of human diseases, the discovery of seven new species of Chameleon in Madagascar, and effects on species of climate change. Dr. Stockwell has published research articles in the major international journals Nature, Ecological Modelling, and the International Journal of Geographic Information Systems. He was recently judged by the US Immigration Service as an Outstanding Researcher, a category reserved for persons recognized internationally as outstanding in their academic field.

90 Responses to Claims of Data ‘Massaging’ at NASA

  1. tarpon January 15, 2009 at 8:52 am #

    Isn’t it odd that collecting and collating tables of numbers can be so hard, and has to be a closely guarded secret.

  2. MattB January 15, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    Hmm well McIntyre’s “Cry Wolf” comment I think sums things up nicely. You’d want to be pretty sure of your numbers before crying wolf all over the net… but the trouble with denialists (as opposed to sceptics) is that they lap up anything that agrees with their POV (see Quadrant).

  3. tarpon January 15, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    The real question is why would the people doing this behave the way they do if they weren’t playing fast and loose with the data?

    Why not demand the process be opened up for all to see — Analysis, methods, software, and the raw data, everything. What is to hide here? It would still be easy to have a single final arbiter, final authority, but it would be much easier to understand if it were opened up for all contributors.

    But now, it’s getting really cold, the sun has taken holiday, time is short, it’s all in now or never time. You can see the panic in the alarmists as the snow piles up all over the world.

    I SAY OPEN SCIENCE NOW.

  4. MAGB January 15, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    Meanwhile tropical cyclone activity is at the lowest level for 30 years.
    See http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/monthly_ace_24.jpg

    Does increasing CO2 actually inhibit tropical storms?

  5. hunter January 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    As we see from the hit on Quadrant, the extremists are perfectly willing to use deception in depth to trick skeptics by the extremist’s own fraud.
    Hansen is certainly good at playing games.
    I would be very careful on this, even though we know that the AGW leadership has been caught just these last few months using bad data for GISS.
    If it can be shown that the AGW leadership is simply using massaged data so easily detected, it will be a great development in bringing rationality back to cliamte and environmental issues, but I am dubious if this will turn out to be the case in this instance.

  6. SJT January 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    There should be an update. Motl now agrees with McIntyre. It’s a non story.

  7. janama January 15, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    To accuse NASA GISS of cooking the books is a bit far fetched and desperate if you ask me.
    It’s also extremely rude and insulting!

  8. Terry January 15, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    Re: Matt B:
    Please read the linked material. It seems you may have things backwards.

    Jennifer:
    In the initial post,

    There is even a test to determine whether data is likely to have been ‘massaging’ by people.

    ‘massaging’ might better be expressed ‘massaged’ unless I misread/missed it in the article on CA and you are poking fun.

    Cheers,
    tk

  9. Will Nitschke January 15, 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    SJT is right. Very silly stuff. Any kind of rounding step anywhere in the calculations might result in something like this. More fodder for silly conspiracy theories.

  10. Louis Hissink January 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

    This is called peer review – and notice none of the usual sceptics here took the bait?

  11. Gordon Robertson January 15, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    MattB “…the trouble with denialists (as opposed to sceptics) is that they lap up anything that agrees with their POV…”

    It’s not as if the AGW side has not indulged in that practice. For example, the entire basis of the AGW theory is that CO2 is warming the surface. It has been demonstrated in labs that CO2 has the ability to absorb energy at certain IR frequencies. So far, so good. The AGW advocates have taken that theory from the laboratory and liberally applied it to the atmosphere as a basis for forcing a computer modeled atmosphere. They ‘assumed’ CO2 has those properties on a mass scale; to warm the surface that supposedly warmed the CO2.

    It is not possible for a cooler atmosphere to warm a warmer surface, unless the thermal conductivity of the atmosphere is less than zero (G&T). That condition does not exist in the atmosphere. The AGW paradigm conveniently ignores that basic fact of thermodynamics, substituting a vague notion of ‘net energy flow’ (G&T). The entire basis of the CO2/warming paradigm is mathematical and is not based on physics (G&T). Then again, what would G&T know, they are only physicists working at the cutting edge of physics, whereas climate scientists probably took a couple of physics courses along the way?

  12. Raven January 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    Gordon,

    I think you have the GHG effect wrong.

    The claim is not that CO2 warms the surface.

    The claim is the sun warms the surface and the CO2 acts like a blanket that slows the radiation of the thermal energy back into space.

    This has the effect of increasing the surface temperature because less heat is lost during the night hours when the sun is not heating the surface.

  13. Luke January 15, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    Gordon – alas – you can go out on a clear night and measure downwelling longwave radiation with a pyrgeometer – according to your theory there shouldn’t be any.

    And what will that radiation will do when it reaches the ground.

    Do you think you’re going to overturn decades of such measurments and actual measured energy budgets with mere assertions.

    Rabett decribes a simple experiment as an anology using reflective foil around a light bulb – http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/09/light-dawns-there-are-styles-in-science.html according to your “theoryh” this can’t work …. but the bulb gets much hotter from reflecting radiation back onto itself.

  14. Marcus January 15, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    Raven
    “CO2 acts like a blanket”
    I think you have it wrong, how can a minute amount of trace element “blanket” the surface?

  15. Marcus January 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    luke
    “this can’t work …. but the bulb gets much hotter from reflecting radiation back onto itself.”

    Only because there is a constant energy transfer to the filament from the electricity supply!
    And secondly because here you are talking about a genuine hothouse effect, the heat is trapped, no circulation, no radiation to the outside.

  16. Raven January 15, 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    Marcus,

    I am not making any claims about the magnitude of the effect. I am just saying the effect works by reducing the amount of radiation lost at night and that no one claims that the troposphere heats the surface.

  17. Luke January 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    Marcus – not really – the energy supply is constant – the foil is just as good conductor as the glass bulb. The surface simply gets hotter by relfecting radiation. Read Eli’s link.

    The temperature goes up from 160C to 300C in this experiment (covered/uncovered)

    I am not saying that how the greenhouse effect itself works but that reradiation on a constant energy source increases tempeature until the conduction with the air reaches a new equilibrium.

    According to Gordon’s physics this can’t happen …

    It would also work somewhat if reflectors were placed around the bulb at greater distance. Despite the reflectors being cooler they would reradiate back to the bulb and increase temperature.

    But back to the atmosphere ….

    The troposphere reradiates back to the surface, can be measured by instruments, and still happens at night. A problem for Gordon !?

  18. Raven January 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    Luke,

    Rabbit’s experiment is nonsense.

    The earth does not produce energy – it absorbs it during the day.

    During thenight, it starts radiating heat, however, the rate at which heat is radiated will depend on the opacity of the atmosphere to infrared. The average temperature of the surface determined by the energy absorbed during the day – energy lost at night. Less energy lost at night means a higher temperature.

    There is no situation where energy is reflected back to the surface – it goes one way: up and out to space.

    Gordon – sorry for being curt earlier. I did not realize that you got the idea from the alarmists themselves.

  19. Luke January 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    Raven – nope – Gordon is saying re-radiation from a colder surface to a hotter one can’t increase temperature/or does not happen. Read carefully what I wrote. I am not saying that in itself is a direct analogy the greenhouse effect – just a simple component point.

  20. Luke January 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm #

    So tell me Raven – what are pyrgeometers measuring at night then?

  21. Raven January 15, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    Luke,

    Light scatters when travelling through a medium so there will always be some photons going backwards or sideways. However, what we care about is the net flux which is in one direction even if some of the photons are not moving in that direction.

    So in your example the foil is not heating the light – it is simply decreasing the the net outflow by reflecting some of the photons backwards. If the distance is short enough it is possible that some of the photons will get far enough to hit the light but that is unlikely in the atmosphere.

  22. Luke January 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    Some real measurments from 2 instruments vs theoretical.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/publications/annrpt25/3_2_9.pdf

  23. Luke January 15, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    Well pity the non-existent effect is actually measured eh?

  24. Jennifer Marohasy January 15, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    Thanks Terry. Change made.

    As regards what is meant by “massaged”:

    Managing’ or ‘massaging’ financial or other results can be a very serious deception. It ranges from rounding numbers up or down, to total fabrication. This system will detect the non-random frequency of digits associated with human intervention in natural number frequency.

  25. Jan Pompe January 15, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    “So tell me Raven – what are pyrgeometers measuring at night then?”

    What they always measure like any thermocouple or thermopile the difference between the temperature of the thermocouple element and the body (the cold junction). The thermopile is exposed only to the filtered sky and the body of course to the atmosphere the thermopile The rest is computation.

  26. Luke January 15, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    Not how they measure – but what !

    and the absolute IR radiometer also …

  27. Luke January 15, 2009 at 11:31 pm #

    Jen – heaps of data are adjusted/massaged/manipulated – especially satellite data or sensors – especially RSS and UAH – obital drift, different platforms, sun angle and so forth. Indeed without such massaging you would come to incorrect conclusions.

    So the raw input from many sensors in science is manipulated. So it’s a question of the appropriateness or otherwise of that adjsutment, not adjustment per se.

    I dare suggest it only becomes fraudulent if you undertake adjustments that will knowingly give you an answer you’d like without robust scientific justification or fairness in the adjustment/massage/manipulation.

  28. Jan Pompe January 15, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

    Temperature difference is what thermocouples and thermopiles, which measure. How the measure it is that the temperature difference because of the Seebeck effect causes a potential difference between the cold and the hot junction.

    From that we can compute the net radiation into the atmosphere from the device, because of how it works it cannot directly measure absolute IR radiation.

  29. Luke January 16, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    And that’s why they also had a absolute IR radiometer and an atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer?

    Abstract
    Atmospheric longwave irradiance uncertainty: Pyrgeometers compared to an absolute sky-scanning radiometer, atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer, and radiative transfer model calculations

    Because atmospheric longwave radiation is one of the most fundamental elements of an expected climate change, there has been a strong interest in improving measurements and model calculations in recent years. Important questions are how reliable and consistent are atmospheric longwave radiation measurements and calculations and what are the uncertainties? The First International Pyrgeometer and Absolute Sky-scanning Radiometer Comparison, which was held at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program’s Southern Great Plains site in Oklahoma, answers these questions at least for midlatitude summer conditions and reflects the state of the art for atmospheric longwave radiation measurements and calculations. The 15 participating pyrgeometers were all calibration-traced standard instruments chosen from a broad international community. Two new chopped pyrgeometers also took part in the comparison. An absolute sky-scanning radiometer (ASR), which includes a pyroelectric detector and a reference blackbody source, was used for the first time as a reference standard instrument to field calibrate pyrgeometers during clear-sky nighttime measurements. Owner-provided and uniformly determined blackbody calibration factors were compared. Remarkable improvements and higher pyrgeometer precision were achieved with field calibration factors. Results of nighttime and daytime pyrgeometer precision and absolute uncertainty are presented for eight consecutive days of measurements, during which period downward longwave irradiance varied between 260 and 420 W m−2. Comparisons between pyrgeometers and the absolute ASR, the atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer, and radiative transfer models LBLRTM and MODTRAN show a surprisingly good agreement of <2 W m−2 for nighttime atmospheric longwave irradiance measurements and calculations.
    Received 28 November 2000; accepted 4 June 2001; .
    Citation: Philipona, R., et al. (2001), Atmospheric longwave irradiance uncertainty: Pyrgeometers compared to an absolute sky-scanning radiometer, atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer, and radiative transfer model calculations, J. Geophys. Res., 106(D22), 28,129–28,141.

  30. Luke January 16, 2009 at 1:54 am #

    and again at Barrow in Alaska ….

    Downward longwave irradiance uncertainty under arctic atmospheres: Measurements and modeling

    Measurement and modeling of downward longwave irradiance are a special challenge in arctic winter due to its low water vapor content and the extreme meteorological conditions. There are questions about the representativeness of the instrument calibration, the consistency and unfcertainty of measurements and models in these environments. The Second International Pyrgeometer and Absolute Sky-scanning Radiometer Comparison (IPASRC-II), which was conducted at Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program’s North Slope of Alaska (NSA) site in Barrow provided a unique opportunity to compare high accuracy downward longwave irradiance measurements and radiative transfer model computations during arctic winter. Participants from 11 international institutions deployed 14 pyrgeometers, which were field-calibrated against the Absolute Sky-scanning Radiometer (ASR). Continuous measurements over a 10-day period in early March 2001 with frequent clear-sky conditions yielded downward longwave irradiances between 120 and 240 W m−2. The small average difference between ASR irradiances, pyrgeometer measurements, MODTRAN and LBLRTM radiative transfer computations indicates that the absolute uncertainty of measured downward longwave irradiance under arctic winter conditions is within ±2 W m−2.

    Received 12 September 2002; accepted 18 March 2003; published 21 June 2003.

    Citation: Marty, C., R. Philipona, J. Delamere, E. G. Dutton, J. Michalsky, K. Stamnes, R. Storvold, T. Stoffel, S. A. Clough, and E. J. Mlawer (2003), Downward longwave irradiance uncertainty under arctic atmospheres: Measurements and modeling, J. Geophys. Res., 108(D12), 4358, doi:10.1029/2002JD002937.

  31. bill January 16, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    The question still stands, why isn’t all this done in the open? What is there to hide in a bunch of numbers.

    So if AGW is real, then prove it, shouldn’t be hard. Isn’t that how science supposedly works? Unless of course …

  32. david January 16, 2009 at 5:10 am #

    I look forward to seeing Stockwell’s peer reviewed paper. I’m guessing he won’t write it and it won’t get published.

  33. Jan Pompe January 16, 2009 at 6:11 am #

    Luke if you want to how an instrument works and what they actually measure you are far better off reading the manual than looking for papers comparing computed results from various instruments calculated by various methods.

  34. cohenite January 16, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    I go away for a week and luke succumbs once again to his Philipona fetish.

    GISS is hopeless; given their history David’s critique must be given respect;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/09/23/adjusting-pristine-data/#more-3208

  35. SJT January 16, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    “Pristine Data”? What a joke. There is no such thing in the real world.

    Maybe Mr Watts would like to list all the steps that Satellite data has to go through? It’s just as involved.

  36. SJT January 16, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    “Luke if you want to how an instrument works and what they actually measure you are far better off reading the manual than looking for papers comparing computed results from various instruments calculated by various methods.”

    I fail to see the logic in your statement. Luke was describing how models greenhouse radiation match up very closely to physical readings, you say 1=1 in response.

  37. NT January 16, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Cohenite
    ” given their history David’s critique must be given respect”
    You call that a critique? It’s a joke.
    One that even Lucia and Stevie Mc both don’t agree with.

    Hey why have you never taken Lucia to task over her AGW beliefs?

  38. Jan Pompe January 16, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    ” Luke was describing how models greenhouse radiation match up very closely to physical readings, you say 1=1 in response.”

    Sometimes you need to be reminded that 1=1.

    If Luke were to actually use a pyrgeometer or even do some non contact thermometry or perhpaps set up a thermocoupole he would know that those instruments work and are fairly accurate precisely because Gordons statement

    It is not possible for a cooler atmosphere to warm a warmer surface

    holds true for all heat transport including radiative.

  39. NT January 16, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    Jan,
    “It is not possible for a cooler atmosphere to warm a warmer surface”

    So what? there are times when the atmosphere is warmer than the surface… Like… Nightime.

  40. cohenite January 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    NT; read comment 37 at CA for SM’s reappraisal; I didn’t realise lucia disagreed with DS; I don’t know what you mean by “never taken lucia to task for her AGW beliefs.” I know lucia understands that CO2 is a luminescent gas and has an IR absorbing capacity; I agree with this as well; the issue is the extent, if any, of heating which results from this.

  41. NT January 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Cohenite, keep reading. By comment 109 his says
    “109
    reply and
    paste linkSteve McIntyre:
    January 15th, 2009 at 6:07 pm
    The problem with this topic is that it only looks like a little crossword puzzle.

    Everyone PLEASE stop worrying about whether it “matters” or about other adjustments. Let’s maintain some perspective here. I’m sorry – but I’m not interested right now in reviewing past little changes to GISS. There are lots of interesting issues with GISS, but I see no evidence that this is one and don’t want to piggyback this topic into larger issues as I don’t have time to refresh myself on GISS stuff right now.”

    It’s an unbelievably stupid claim by Stockwell… And the website he uses even has a disclaimer at the bottom about how there are a lot of false positives….
    It’s so funny watching the skeptics being so NON-skeptical!

    Here’s Lucia
    “lucia (Comment#8738)
    January 14th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    tetris–
    Sure. Don’t forget that I too believe CO2 must cause some warming. I don’t know how much– but some.

    It’s going to take a much longer flat or down trend to make people who believe CO2 causes warming to stop believing CO2 has caused some of the past warming, and will continue to do so.

    On the other hand, I am in the camp that says: If the data say some specific prediction improbable, we admit the data say that. I find the projected 2C/century as the current trend is improbable given the data.”

    So she says that it will cause some warming, which contradicts your next claim
    ” I agree with this as well; the issue is the extent, if any, of heating which results from this.”
    To really agree with her you need to get rid of your “if any” part.

  42. Malcolm Hill January 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    Is see Dave the PR Groupy is still on about his fetish.

    “I look forward to seeing Stockwell’s peer reviewed paper. I’m guessing he won’t write it and it won’t get published.

    Well if he doesnt write it, then it as sure as hell isnt going to be published.

    Thankfully if he Stockwell does produce some sort of document, the Rules ( Appendix 2) for the next IPCC report do provide for consideration of other documentary sources.

    But whether the brotherhood considers it in an intelligent manner is any ones guess.

  43. cohenite January 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    NT; how lawyerly of you to fasten onto this scintilla of ‘difference’ between lucia and myself; let me clarify this although your sophist capacity will no doubt find a loophole; there is a greenhouse effect; the mammoth Arthur Smith thread established that there is a difference of opinion as to how much of the 33K of Tafe is caused by greenhouse compared with other causes; then there is the enhanced greenhouse which theorises that 33K will be increased by a doubling of CO2; I think lucia and I are in accord with dismissing the EG.

  44. cohenite January 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    I should have said the EG predicts that the 33K will be increased by 3C from a doubling of CO2; which has been, as NT has duly noted, rebutted by lucia [actually the 2C prediction is falsified].

  45. NT January 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Oh Cohenite… Funny of you to accuse me of being ‘lawyerly’ !
    I just like stirring you up.

    Lucia didn’t falsify the 2C prediction, she just believes that the data are inconsistent. If you want to go around claiming that the ‘prediction’ is falsified you need more than an analysis on some blog somewhere.

    “My focus has been comparing observed and predicted trends during this period. My posts discuss whether or not these sorts of negative trends are consistent with IPCC projections of underlying warming (which is about 2 C/century for the first 2 or 3 decades of this century.)
    I believe that these data are inconsistent with that level of warming.
    However, I do periodically think it’s important to note that I am not suggesting the recent negative trend is inconsistent with some level of underlying warming trend. I believe GHG do cause warming, and we should expect that warming trend to resume at some point. ”

    Cohenite if she believes the warming trend is to resume, doesn’t that mean she does acknowledge AGW?

    Also you have often disputed the greenhouse effect… Remember the greenhouse effect isn’t about some small insignificant quantity. The greenhouse effect as a theory is about explaining the 33K difference. You can’t say you like the greenhouse effect theory but that it’s only 2K or something, that’s not the greenhouse effect theory.

    I assume this means you accept that Stevie Mc doesn’t think much of Stockwells ‘analysis’?

  46. Luke January 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    Well the absolute IR radiometer then is measuring signficant quantity of downwards radiation clear nights. Unless you want to take on PMOD/WRC and tell them that they don’t know what they’re doing I’m more than convinced that the downwelling radiation is there and has been measured. Unless Jan wishes to show otherwise with why my interpretation and that of the litertaure above is incorrect.

  47. Jan Pompe January 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

    NT:

    “Jan,
    “It is not possible for a cooler atmosphere to warm a warmer surface”

    So what? there are times when the atmosphere is warmer than the surface… Like… Nightime.”

    Please explain how a warmer atmosphere can be a cooler one. Strange things do tend to happen in the mind of a child.

    At midnight (1 am summer time) 2 nights ago the atmosphere 9 air temp was 22.7c (as the body of my instrument) the thermopile element was at 9C the surface (lawn) was at 23.5c what does this tell you?

    What was the back radiation the net radiation and how much was it warming the surface?

  48. Jan Pompe January 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    yes Luke an absolute radiometer will measure a significant down welling radiation all things above 0K radiate including the atmosphere.

    However a pyrgeometer is not an absolute radiometer. Could you try not carrying your already off topic red herring too far?

    The beauty of the pyrgeometer is that it actually can give the net radiation in a single reading. I can tell you that unless the atmosphere is significantly warmer an I mean scorching hot the net radiation is always going to be from ground to sky.

    It also shows how much more significant conductive transfer is so if the atmosphere is scorching hot the ground will be too, since it is heat form the ground that got it that way, net radiation to the ground will always be negative.

    Those of us who have to and have had to work with these things in order to manage heat transport for process control only work with difference equation for radiative heat transfer you can see it here

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/radiation-heat-transfer-d_431.html

    halfway down the page.

  49. Luke January 16, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    Well that makes the fascinating discourse on the limitations of pyrgeometers somewhat irrelevant. In the references I listed above they had an absolute radiometer which confirmed within a small margin the pyrgeometer readings. Read my links above.

    So if you want to talk “net” radiation that’s fine in terms of a discussion on greenhouse. They are only talking a modest change to that “net ” balance.

    So Gordon seems to be denying a greenhouse effect. If there is no effect why is there downwards IR radiation on a clear night. (I’m attemting to show as measured). The IR should disappear) one way into space.

    My simple point??

  50. NT January 16, 2009 at 8:02 pm #

    Jan, you need to read better.
    I never said what you seem to think I did.

    What I was hoping for, was for you to indicate what was so important about your claim “It is not possible for a cooler atmosphere to warm a warmer surface”. Hence my reply “so what?”

    Do you understand?

  51. Jan Pompe January 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    “Well that makes the fascinating discourse on the limitations of pyrgeometers somewhat irrelevant.”

    At last you do understand why your name dropping of an instrument whose operation you don’t understand wasa irrelevant.

  52. Jan Pompe January 16, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    “I never said what you seem to think I did.”

    More to the point you didn’t say what you thought you said.

    “So what? there are times when the atmosphere is warmer than the surface… Like… Nightime.””

    Is in that case a totally irrelevant remark.

  53. cohenite January 16, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    “Why is there LDR on a clear night.” Dear me luke, give it up; or read Spencer; or read this from a more pro-AGW crew;

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1995/95JD02166.shtml

    IRIS has upset the LDR synopsis and even Griggs and Harries [2004] have back-pedalled about the certainty of LDR and AGW. If the AGW fingerprint of night clear-sky LDR was real wouldn’t Diurnal Temperature Range and LDR be the same in a desert with low humidity as a longitudinally equivalent high humidity site?

  54. Luke January 17, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    Cohenite – what an old reference – DTR has changed of late – do try to keep up.

    Cohenite – this is very tedious. I am simply making the point that a variety of insturments are measuring downwelling radiation (to about the same degree) on clear sky nights. To within bounds of what theory/models suggest.

    So inbound IR is occurring at night. So where’s it coming from then Cohenite?

    And what does it do when it reaches the ground.

    Do you think there is a greenhouse effect at all? If you don’t pls explain what this radiation is doing?

    BTW I said greenhouse effect – not enhanced greenhouse effect or AGW.

    Jan clearly has the physics ability to lead some comments on this issue but would prefer to sit on the sidelines and smirk with superiority.

  55. Jan Pompe January 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    “And what does it do when it reaches the ground.”

    Nothing because the ground is radiating more as the pyrgeometers show..

    You really need to get a handle on directions of net heat flow.

    Do you think sticking your finger on the end of the garden hose causes some of of the water to flow backwards and increase the flow out of the hose?

  56. NT January 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    What is this:
    “Do you think sticking your finger on the end of the garden hose causes some of of the water to flow backwards and increase the flow out of the hose?”

    proof by stupid analogy?

    I guess because you’ve all got back to your endless discussion on how the greenhouse effect does and doesn’t work that the so called data massaging was nothing.

  57. Jan Pompe January 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    “proof by stupid analogy?”

    I agree it is stupid just as stupid as what Luke has been saying about radiation heat transfer.

  58. Luke January 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Jan – I don’t have a problem with net radiation balance. It seems Gordon does.

    So Jan what would happen to temperatures if the downwards IR was not there?

  59. cohenite January 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Alright luke, from what height was the LDR coming from in the Philipona papers? And what do you mean “DTR has changed of late”?

  60. Jan Pompe January 17, 2009 at 7:22 pm #

    “So Jan what would happen to temperatures if the downwards IR was not there?”

    What you should be asking is what happens if the net radiation from the surface increases? The radiation pressure given by P = aT^4/3 (a=radiation constant) decreases because of that the temperature decreases.

    The temperature drops it’s exactly equivalent to taking the finger of the end of the hose where the pressure in the hose will drop..

    I perceive that you don’t know how active cavity radiometers work either. They can’t measure any radiation (downward or up) unless they are colder than the source if warmer they can’t absorb it in order to detect and measure we need to be quite clear which direction the heat flows and how the radiation pressure gradient due to thermalised photons (a boson gas) cause the heat to move up the column.

    Pyrgeometers provide us with data from which down welling radiation can be inferred cavity radiometers (absolute IR measuring devices) must be operated at very low temperatures for a number of reasons but the chief is that radiation cannot warm something that is warmer than the source.

  61. Luke January 18, 2009 at 12:08 am #

    Cohenite – I’m not talking about the previous Philipona papers. I’m trying to understand Jan’s points here on radiation measurment, but we’re getting there one post a time.

    Jan – well can you interpret the papers above where pyrgeometers and the absolute radiometer give similar values.

    “Results of nighttime and daytime pyrgeometer precision and absolute uncertainty are presented for eight consecutive days of measurements, during which period downward longwave irradiance varied between 260 and 420 W m−2. Comparisons between pyrgeometers and the absolute ASR, the atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer, and radiative transfer models LBLRTM and MODTRAN show a surprisingly good agreement of <2 W m−2 for nighttime atmospheric longwave irradiance measurements and calculations”…..

    And what happens if the downwelling radiation changes between days? What’s the net effect?

  62. NT January 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    A word of caution Luke, Jan never answered your original question. His game will be to move the discussion to some other point and then ‘demonstrate’ you don’t understand it. I would ask him the same question again, and see if he can answer it. Also take note of his terminology, he’s loose with it (he switches from Thermodynamic equilibrium to Thermal equilibrium and so on… Make sure he sticks with the same definitions.

    Cohenite is the spoiler and will try and distract you with irrelevant discussions of unrelated trivialities.

  63. Luke January 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    shhhhh NT – I have money running on not getting a straight answer.

  64. cohenite January 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    luke and NT, clowns incorporated; luke and his back-radiation; you both need a big Hug;

    http://www.john-daly.com/artifact.htm

    The salient point is on p3; the 15um band [including the CO2 wings] of IR is effectively absorbed within a 10 m surface layer; reradiation by CO2 at that level is balanced by collisional thermalisation [hope that is precise enough for you NT] with the rest of the atmospheric gases creating an LTE; consistent with Chilingar and Miskolczi, convectional processes take the LTE to the CLE layer where emissions of IR are relatively unhindered and can leave the atmosphere; because of this convective process and the LTE creating thermalisation which precedes it the greenhouse effect is many times less than AGW assumptions. For another take on Backradiation;

    http://www.geocities.com/atmosco2/backrad.htm?20086

    I don’t know what Philipona is measuring; maybe it’s the same CO2 which poor old Beck measured.

  65. Luke January 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Oh Cohenite – blah blah blah blah – this is REALLY basic – the world gurus on radiation measurement are measuring downwelling IR radiation. At night. On clear nights. With a diversity of instruments. At very near the ground. At about what theory suggests.

    So you want to take them on do you? The whole of PMOD/WRC. You from Newcastle? Don’t make me frigging laugh.

    And if one inverted the instruments which they do on occasion and sometimes at the same time – you could measure the upwelling radiation.

    Can’t get a straight answer out of Jan as usual. But that’s OK.

    Spare us the hand waving Cohers. We have the photo of the actual birth of Christ – what’s your problem? Now desist, roll over and play dead.

  66. Jan Pompe January 18, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    Luke: “well can you interpret the papers above where pyrgeometers and the absolute radiometer give similar values.”

    First sorry for the lag.

    I think you miss the point. The different instruments give similar results as one would expect especially as one is being used to calibrate the other.

    I also expect similar results if FTIRs thermometer and LBL code + HITRAN database. It’s not the issue neither is the fact that the atmosphere radiates according to it’s temperature and present absorbers/emitters in all directions.

    About half an hour ago I turned a radiometer to lawn and sky lawn was emitting ~401 W/m^2 (i.e. it was about 17C) and sky was emitting 251 W/m^2 which means it could heat another body to a temperature of ~ -15C which would be it’s equilibrium temperature. Now how much heating do you think it is doing to the surface?

    The body of the instrument was about 22 because I have it inside so the body (if black which it isn’t) would be radiating at ~429 W/m^2. Now do you think that the radiation was warming the thermopile or stopping it from cooling further?

  67. Jan Pompe January 18, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

    i should have mentioned the air was at 19C i.e. warmer than the surface but down welling was still a lot less than up welling from surface.

  68. cohenite January 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    Very interesting Jan; I recently had an air conditioner installed and the tech used an IR detector to check its operation; he said he could point it into the air and the beam would go some kms before being returned; I forget what he called it; returning to your experiment, if you repeated it at day presumably the down radiation would be equal to or exceed the surface emission, hence daytime warming; the inverse disparity at night is the reason nights are cooler than days [that’s for luke!].

  69. SJT January 18, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    “chief is that radiation cannot warm something that is warmer than the source.”

    You seem to be incapable of understanding what happens as a net effect, and the quantum level. At the quantum level, energy can and does move, as photons, from a colder body to a warmer body. That’s because a colder body will still radiate energy, and it has no idea when it does so if that energy is being radiated towards a hotter or warmer body. It just radiates in a random direction. The laws of thermodyamics are still obeyed, however, the net radiation flow will still be from hotter to colder, because the hotter body will be radiating more energy than the colder body.

    Here’s a tip, Steve McIntyre as stated, once again, that he has no interest in wacky ideas that violate accpted science, and stops discussion of them as soon as they start. G&T, Beck, Miskolczi, all are persona non grata. They can do what they want on the discussion forums, he has no interest in them.

  70. SJT January 18, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    “About half an hour ago I turned a radiometer to lawn and sky lawn was emitting ~401 W/m^2 (i.e. it was about 17C) and sky was emitting 251 W/m^2 which means it could heat another body to a temperature of ~ -15C which would be it’s equilibrium temperature. Now how much heating do you think it is doing to the surface?”

    So what you have just told me is that there is radiation going up, and radiation going down. If there is radiation going to something, it must he heating it. That’s what photon’s do, they carry energy.

  71. Jan Pompe January 19, 2009 at 4:55 am #

    cohenite: “That’s because a colder body will still radiate energy, and it has no idea when it does so if that energy is being radiated towards a hotter or warmer body.”

    The warmer body knows. 😉 The radiation coming in has higher entropy being of longer wavelength that what it is emitting. It will not stop the warmer body from cooling until they are in equilibrium with each other.

    “I forget what he called it; returning to your experiment, if you repeated it at day presumably the down radiation would be equal to or exceed the surface emission,”

    No the atmospheric radiation never does my instrument while it’s not particularly designed for measuring atmospheric radiation it does have an IR filter with a fairly sharp cut off at 5 micron sunlight can warm the filter and that will overstate the down welling radiation but even then the upward radiation is measured to be about 255W/m^2 on a day when the concrete was 55C the air about 41C the lawn about 42C. It’s fine to use at night though when down welling (and up welling) is only IR.

    SJT If Steven McIntyre has something interesting to say about statistics his field of expertise I’ll pay attention but apart from that I’m really not interested in your misinterpretation of what he has to say about topics in which he is not interested.

  72. cohenite January 19, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    Will, you nong; what Jan says is right; a cooler body emits at a proximate entrophy wavelength; it carries less energy than the warm body which is emitting at a higher energy wavelength [actually the warmer body will emit at all wavelengths up to its wavelength capacity as determined by Wein and Stefan-Boltzman]; radiation from the sun is at all wavelengths which is why Philipona type experiments during the day are useless. I’m wondering about the usefulness of the night clear sky ones as well for reasons already mentioned by Jan and also the range of readings obtained; Oklahoma obtained a range of 260 – 420 Wm-2 and the Arctic one 120 – 240W m-2; is the difference between day and night or is this variation in night readings? Over to you luke.

  73. Luke January 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    “Direct solar radiation has some irradiance above 4 microns. However, by definition we account this part to the shortwave radiation. In our longwave measurments we correct the pyrgeometer reading for direct solar radiation. This is however a very small part.”

    You’re talking utter rot Cohenite.

  74. Luke January 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    So Jan with your 401 and 251 watts example – are you saying that the 251 downwellng makes no difference to surface temperature. If it werer 100 or 300 that the surface temperature would be the same?

  75. NT January 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

    Jan and Cohenite
    You are such a predictable pair…
    Always talking about irrelevant details.

    You need to discuss this all with Lucia, she’s someone you trust and respect. It’s so easy to argue this with Luke because you can dismiss him out of hand. So here is Lucia’s take

    “lucia (Comment#8936)
    January 17th, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    How in the world do you come up with the idea Watts is on “our” side. I believe CO2 causes warming and the best explanation of the most the observed warming in the 20th century is greenhouse gases. My impression is Anthony believes the effect of greenhouse gases is small, and most of variations are driven by the sun. ”

    Which she made on this thread:
    rankexploits.com/musings/2009/you-cant-make-this-stuff-up

    You attempts to ‘minimise’ the greenhouse effect are cute but silly…

  76. Jan Pompe January 19, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    “You need to discuss this all with Lucia, she’s someone you trust and respect”

    Not really any more or any less than anyone else.

    “So Jan with your 401 and 251 watts example – are you saying that the 251 downwellng makes no difference to surface temperature. If it werer 100 or 300 that the surface temperature would be the same?”

    It’s not what makes the difference Luke because the down welling is just an absorbed portion of the up welling, and the down welling is equal to the up welling so the net change in energy in the surface due to that is zero but the amount of up welling available is determined entirely by rate of insolation.

  77. cohenite January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    I’d rather be cute and silly than look like luke; I believe Jan is the more rugged type.

  78. Luke January 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    So Jan – what happens at night when obviously the run is not present?

    Why are cloudier nights in general warmer? (in terms of energy balance)

    And why is the moon so cold without the Sun? Why is the Earth warmer.

  79. Luke January 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    Well Cohers – your gravatar certainly portrays your individual style and inner passion for truth.

  80. Jan Pompe January 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    Luke: Why is it so difficult to educate you that -1 + 1 = 0?

    Everything you comes from half the story

    “Why are cloudier nights in general warmer? (in terms of energy balance)”

    Why are cloudy days cooler?

    “And why is the moon so cold without the Sun?”

    Why is the moon so hot on the sunny side.

    “Why is the Earth warmer.”

    It isn’t the equilibrium which i determined entirely by solar and orbtial parameters is about the same for both.

  81. Luke January 19, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    Why is it so hard for you to answer some basic questions Jan? Given your obvious intellectual superiority it ought be easy but it’s not is it. Cohers I hope you’re taking note !

    There is no half story – simply some questions so you educate me on energy balance.

    Cloudy days are often cooler during the day due to less insolation received at the surface but they are warmer at night? Why are they warmer at night.

  82. Jan Pompe January 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Luke “There is no half story”

    Of course not 1=1 is perfectly true but selective inattention on your part fails to realise it’s only half the story you miss entirely the “-1 +” in front of the one which changes the equation to -1 + 1 = 0.

    Your questions have been answered I’ve said it before if you can’t understand such simple arithmetic I can’t help you, (perhaps a remedial course is in order) and if you can’t get your head around it SJT and NT have not even a glimmer of hope of doing it.

    I know it must be a failing on my part but teaching remedial arithmetic is a skill I don’t have for that I can only say I’m sorry.

  83. Jan Pompe January 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Luke “There is no half story”

    Of course not 1=1 is perfectly true but selective inattention on your part fails to realise it’s only half the story you miss entirely the “-1 +” in front of the one which changes the equation to -1 + 1 = 0.

    Your questions have been answered I’ve said it before if you can’t understand such simple arithmetic I can’t help you, (perhaps a remedial course is in order) and if you can’t get your head around it SJT and NT have not even a glimmer of hope of doing it.

    I know it must be a failing on my part but teaching remedial arithmetic is a skill I don’t have for that I can only say I’m sorry.

  84. cohenite January 19, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    luke; Gordon has made some interesting points over at the Hansen Award thread on the issue of backradiation and radiation flux; I’m intriqued by your reference to cloudy and non-cloudy temperature effects; noone is denying that atmospheric water has a major effect on both radiative transfer and temperature; the only problem is that effect at low to medium levels is a moderating one; high troposphere and low stratosphere cloud may have some heating effect but that is a different issue; what bugs me is that CO2 emission is assumed to have a heating effect as per Will’s goddam blanket; even AGW theory notes that CO2 emission has a cooling effect at the hypothesised level when the radiation leaves the Earth; conveniently for AGW theory this high level emission supposedly cools the stratosphere; why does it have a warming effect at lower levels to such an extent that the atmosphere is predicted by AGW to warm faster than the surface [which it isn’t]?

  85. Luke January 20, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    Looks like I lose the bet guys.

    Jan your ability as an obscurantist is phenomenal. Obviously cloudy nights will always have some warmer magic.

  86. NT January 20, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Jan
    “Your questions have been answered I’ve said it before if you can’t understand such simple arithmetic I can’t help you, (perhaps a remedial course is in order) and if you can’t get your head around it SJT and NT have not even a glimmer of hope of doing it. ”
    No, it’s because you are a hopeless teacher and you never answer direct questions. Most other people seem to understand the greenhouse effect, that Lucia blogger is an engineer too… Why is it that you are incapable of understanding?

    Cohenite, you are simply wasting everyone’s time round here. No more than Jan’s cheerleader… You know we had some good times for a while and you seemed genuinely interested in it, but lately… Well I guess ever since your run in at Deltoid you seem to have lost confidence. Not surprising really. Are you going to take Lucia to task over her AGW beliefs? Or will you conveniently ignore it?

  87. cohenite January 20, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Hear that Jan? So how about some pom poms and some leotards for us girls cheering you on and freezing our butts off in all this global cooling?

  88. NT January 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    Global Cooling?? Ha ha haaaa!

    Come on Cohenite, go and chat to Lucia about the Greenhouse Effect… Go on go on go on!

  89. Jan Pompe January 21, 2009 at 5:07 am #

    Luke “”Obviously cloudy nights will always have some warmer magic.”

    Only if you use your body, that has been cooler during the cloudy, dayas a thermometer but it’s hardly an objective measure. Clouds reduce the amplitude of diurnal variations and they lower the averages, so what you get is cooler days and not so cold nights.

    It’s all really quite straight forward.

  90. Jan Pompe January 21, 2009 at 5:21 am #

    cohenite: “Hear that Jan? So how about some pom poms and some leotards for us girls cheering you on and freezing our butts off in all this global cooling?”

    Sounds like fun and I can recommend some good thermals for the weather. I tend to use Kathamandu.

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