back to article NASA's curious climate capers

There have been a few red faces at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in recent days, to match the predominant color of its October global temperature map. Based at Columbia University in New York, GISS is the division of NASA that is responsible for global climate data and is used by the media in assessing global …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    90 stations?

    They map the ENTIRE globe (even at the displayed level of pixellation) with only 90 stations?

  2. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    It's too bad...

    It's too bad he doesn't just make the scientific case for global warming. Being all activist (supporting people who vandalized a power station?) and fudging the numbers to try to make his case really doesn't help his credibility, compared to just being scientific, and showing the warming trend the real numbers still indicate.

  3. Neil

    Usual Global Warming rubbish

    "In all, September data from 90 stations was used in October. GISS director Hansen claimes that data analysis and quality control is rigorous"

    Yeah, as long as the temperature shows it's goes up we're happy - regardless of whether it actually si or not.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Could do better!

    Yeah, the science here isn't great - adjusting numbers to fit what you want it to show is a stupid thing to do, because it just weakens your case, or shows that your measurement technique needs improving (As AC1 one points out - a global map from just 90 stations?), in which case you can't be trusted anyway.

    Sadly, the skeptics are in exactly the same boat, but for *all* of their data, not just the odd one here and there.

    C'mon Reg, do some real reporting, instead of taking the easy route of poking fun at NASA repeating it's own mistakes. Go check some skeptics figures for a change...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lies

    Lies, more lies, damned lies.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Annualized?!

    Annualized?! Annualized?! Oh for fuck's sake!!

    On a serious note: We have here an organization that only has the data from 90 stations to check on a monthly basis and makes a glaring fuckup like this. An organisation that adjusts it's data to suit it's own ends with no rational explanation (whatever happened to the scientific method). And yet people still take them seriously?

    The political agenda requires that they show global warming to be a major issue. The Bush administration want a stick with which to beat almost all of the rest of the world, in particular the Chinese, Russians and the developing world. Just look that the maps, the US is nicely blue while the "enemy" is mostly in the red.

    "Look at us" they can say "there's no warming in our country so it's everybody else's fault."

    Sorry guys but global warming (if you believe in it at all) is a global phenomenon. You can't exempt yourselves from it no matter how much you try making up your own words.

    Of course you could argue that the whole issue is just a ploy to allow the world's major governments and big business to release more harmful polution. Step 1 convince everybody that global warming is happening and it's a major issue. Step 2 convince evrybody that only emissions of carbon dioxide cause global warming, it helps if you come up with a nice catchphrase which explains nothing and ignores all other greenhouse gasses. Carbon Footprint would do nicely, it means absolutely nothing but concentrates the gullible on CO2 emissions and makes them forget other greenhouse gasses (methane, water vapour, etc.). Step 3 convince everybody that the best way to cut CO2 emissions is to increase all those nasty emissions and potentially hazardous processes that the environmental lobby have clamping down on for years. Suddenly nuclear power is a good thing (unless one of your enemies wants it - in which case they are only using it to build weapons). Using and disposing of lots of mercury is also apparently a good thing.

    Politicians are not necessarilly a bad thing, but they are when their motivations are bad.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 90 stations

    Read the article. They used Septembers data from 90 stations for October. The remaining stations (many hundreds, if not thousands) had the "correct" data.

  8. Mark

    @AC1

    So pop over there and look after 100 stations, get 100 of your mates to help and we have 10,000 stations measuring temperature.

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Boffin

    CAN all the adjustments and show the raw data!

    All the adjustments do is fudge things. Show the ACTUAL measurements and then try to explain trends.

    Unless you have measured a bias in an instrument (and show these measurements) any adjustment is arbitrary and therefore bad science.

    Cargo-cult science is what Richard Feynman would probably say!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Henry

    Actually the raw data from a number of sources does not show anywhere near the warming that the doomsday predictors are stating. Also, because the model researchers are fitting models to fudged data, they then overpredict future warming even more. I do agree about one thing though - this topic is in desperate need of some real science applied to it.

  11. frymaster

    When will they learn...

    Do I think the figures have been adjusted either deliberately or subconciously to support the idea of climate change? No

    Do I think NASA is acting in good faith? Probably yes

    Does that actually matter? Hell no... whatever their _intentions_ are, you do real science by exposing the raw data and detailing what calculations you've made. Not only does doing anything else subtract from anything you use the data for, it makes it almost impossible for someone _else_ to use the data for a different purpose.

    This is just not scientific :(

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @AC - Could do better!

    So you are saying the likes of RSS fudge their figures are you. Where's your proof? Or do you mean is that they don't agree with your world picture, so you have to assume they are fudging their figures?

    The whole scientific case for catastrophic global warming is weak because it relies on data that only go back a few decades. One problem we have is that severe volcanic activity a couple of centuries ago threw a lot of ash into the air and resulted in wonderful sunsets (no you don't see sunsets like Turner painted, but you did back then) and a significant drop in global temperatures. Then of course we had the industrial revolution, you should therefore have seen all those CO2 emissions producing significant global warming over the 18th and 19th centuries - but that doesn't seem to be the case from the data we have. These data are not necessarilly the most reliable but they are all we have. One reason for this could be the cooling effect of the volcanic ash in the atmosphere. Another could be the amount of particular crap pumped into the atmosphere by burning all that coal causing cooling. The latter is interesting because a lot of the world started cleaning up it's act in that respect in the mid to late 20th century. So we have rising temeratures which coincide with the gradual settling out from the atmosphere of volcanic ash and particulates from combustion.

    Now I'm not saying that this explains the recent trend towards global warming, but it's something that doesn't get mentioned by the pro-global warming lobby.

    Another thing they avoid is the so called "little climactic optimum" around the time of the Viking expansion. The problem they have with that is that we have a period in relatively recent history where temperatures rose and then fell again. Take things like this into account and you could be looking at our current warming trend being part of a cycle upon which man has no effect or control.

    The argument is hugely complex and yet the pro warming lobby work on so many assumptions (or as they like to call them: facts) that they leave absolutely no room for debate. In that respect I find the pro lobby to be more of a religion than a school of scientific thought.

  13. Jon Kale
    Stop

    re: Re: 90 stations

    must... rush... to... post... uninformed... opinion... can't... wait... to... read... article...

  14. breakfast
    Stop

    Not 90 total

    A bit of cursory investigation indicates there were 90 stations for which the climate data was accidentally copied from September to October, there are a total of 908 stations used for surface weather monitoring.

    I love the way that if the temperature goes up the reaction is "ZOMG!!! NASA CONSPIRACY TO TAKE AWAY MY PRECIOUS CAR!!!" and if the temperature is moderated down the reaction is exactly the same hysterical hyperbole.

    The story here is: "Programming error found, corrected."

    There is certainly an IT angle, but I don't think it's really all that big of a deal, no matter what the denial industry would have us believe.

  15. RRRoamer

    More tidbits...

    1) This article does NOT say how many stations there are world wide. It only says that the September data from NINETY of them were used for October.

    2) Screwing with the data to make things look worse is a great way to strengthen the position of people such as myself that do NOT believe this is human caused. Let's see, the people that are getting paid to investigate this horrible thing that is human caused global warming are screwing with the data to make it look like GW is MUCH worse than it is... Now why would the POSSIBLY want to do something like that??? Job security, perhaps?

  16. Evan Jones

    All in Perspective

    "They map the ENTIRE globe (even at the displayed level of pixellation) with only 90 stations?"

    Oh, no. Although they probaly could get by on not many more than that provided that they were well sited, distributed, and maintained (which does not describe the GHCN).

    GHCN has thousands of stations. But if you take nearly a hundred and bump them up by up to ten degrees you will increase to bottom line considerably, in climate terms. In this case around a quarter of a degree C (the 1951-1980 anomoly should be on the upper right of each map). That is a very large adjustment as these things go.

  17. TimM

    "since reliable record-keeping began in 1880"

    I question how accurate these records are compared to the methods of measuring in the last 10 or 20 years.

    Also there's a problem in that we were technically coming out of a mini ice-age around the 1880s. Arguably we are still recovering from this.

    Whether man has contributed makes crap all difference anyway, we're getting warmer whether man was here or not. Okay we may be making it even warmer still, but it's peanuts to what nature has on the cards.

    And face it. We're only here for a tiny blip of time. In the true span of things, we stand very little chance of survival, whatever happens, so what does it matter?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The Climate Change Scam

    Until Hansen and his acolytes start to behave in an open and honest fashion a significant number of people will simply regard them as charlatans. It is clear from their behaviour that they do not wish to be open and accountable for their work. Simple errors like copying the data across from one month to the next is for simpletons not large taxpayer funded programs. One can only assume that because the error was in favour of the warming theory they simply did not bother to check the data, if the situation had been reversed and the figures showed the coldest October on record - would they not have investigated it?

    At least Paris openly displays her figure!

  19. Evan Jones

    Correction Section

    Brain sneeze on my part. UAH, which I listed as "University of Alabama at Hambra" is actually "University of Alabama at Huntsville". (Chalk up another "I knew that" moment.)

    This is now corrected in the article.

    See? Was that so hard? All we want is GISS (etc.) to do the same: Note the error for the record and make the change while "archiving" the old error for future reference.

  20. IGnatius T Foobar

    The 'global warming' house of cards is finally collapsing

    As the scam of anthropogenic global warming continues to come unravelled, the political house of cards in which it resides is collapsing. Climate alarmists are getting increasingly desperate and are now pulling some hasty moves to try to maintain what is left of their credibility.

    The bottom line is that climate drives carbon levels -- it isn't the other way around.

    Hopefully the temperature levels will drop to the point where global warming alarmism is so obviously wrong, that the general public will dismiss it before bad legislation goes into effect and then they start to claim "see -- we fixed it" like they did with the ozone hole.

  21. Matthew Brown
    Paris Hilton

    Hmm

    Since only "England" was in the red zone, can Scotland start mass producing V8 supercars then?

    Ahem.

    Paris for the foolhardy behaviour and lack of geopolitical awareness.

  22. Pete
    Happy

    England and Ireland

    So England and Ireland dropped out of the red zone on the first revised map. Was there some anomaly over Wales then? Or is the author confusing England with the UK or, geographically, Great Britain? That's never been done before now, has it?

  23. Pete
    Stop

    Please don't bash Hansen

    Ok so yet another article on the register with a bashing climate change subtext (at least I can comment on this one!)

    I met James Hansen when he was in the UK for the court case defending the people with the boats who climbed up the chimney (no I don't work for them, that's really not my style!).

    One of the things that struck me when I chatted to him on the train back from Kent was his reluctance to resort to sensationalist language - everything he said was very measured and cautious. He didn't want to get drawn on reports about 'warmest years on record' and freak weather events since they essentially are single events (in the same way that the fact October was chilly in the UK doesn't debunk climate change). He was interested in the potential of 4th generation nuclear power, but was waiting to be convinced that it could be done in a clean way.

    He was also quite bemused as his status of being a 'climate change celebrity' - he turned down a request to visit Australia - where there's a lot of anti and pro coal campaigning going on at the moment. The impression I got was of someone who'd really rather be in a lab somewhere doing science.

    I think it's difficult to mix science and campaigning - but the potential dangers of climate change are really quite scary, and it's this that prompted Hansen to speak out. After all he first came to fame in the 1980's during a time where there was a lot of politically-inspired whitewashing going on over the climate problem.

    With regards to the rest of the article - yes science should be more open - although when the mainstays of the climate change denier lobby are scrutinized they really fall apart.

    You can read the statement he made to the court at Kingsnorth here:

    http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/files/pdfs/climate/hansen.pdf

    and watch an interview here:

    http://nonewcoal.org.uk/?q=node/36

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Almost no one can keep up with their "truth", it changes so often

    I'm someone who is more concerned about toxins that aren't visible, so therefore must be ok, being dumped into the air ATM than global temp changes.

    But, the biggest problem with this kind of "science" is that MOST of us do not keep up with all of the media stories, and their corrections that are usually barely audible after. A lot of people I know still believe that the shifting of the climate isn't a temporary way the world is using to absorb some of this extra energy being pumped into the system, whether it's mostly man made or not, the world usually adjusts with weather first until the energy absorption-output is at some sort of balance. Like ice melting in a glass of water, once the ice is gone the water warms up pretty quick until it reaches around room temp, which not nearly as complex as the earth. Complex systems that are generally in balance usually go through some kind of change that follows this pattern. With the ice in the water, the system is simple so the changes are very easy to predict. Earth is a soup of elements and molecules (and that's just using what we're sure of on it's surface), without having any kind of data on when something like this has happened before, there really is no way to predict what the change cycle will be like or to what extremes it could take. Scientists pretty much have no faith that anyone would be able to handle the, "we have no idea and are scared shitless because we like to know all the everythings and whys" excuse. Plus they don't get paid if they don't "know" anymore, with the busniness models that emerged in the 80's and 90's theres too much competition with hundreds of other smart yes men who would be very happy with the large paychecks ;P

    We don't usually have so many warm winters during the solar minimums. Winter where I live used to be a season, now its fall most of the time with a few weeks here and there of winter. I know most people like the mild temps up here in the colder areas, but I liked the fact mosquitoes couldn't live all year round, and I'm mostly Nordic, so I can actually enjoy the cold :P AND, we're not used to having hurricanes come so close to where we live. But whatever, things change, as long as the weatherman still tells me when the storms are coming I'll be ok.

    But it might not be that bad, everything alive today has survived on this ship we call Earth through every catastrophe that has ever happened, including us. I'm gonna have a drink to that :)

  25. Joe Zeff
    Paris Hilton

    This is not science

    Once you start fudging the data, or making unrevealed adjustments (or whatever else you want to call it) you're not doing science any more. This is propaganda, plain and simple, and I bet they'd have been perfectly happy to let it stand if they hadn't been outed. i'll bet that if the error had shown a cooling trend, they'd have been all over it, trying to find "the error."

    Paris, because this type of thing is about all she can understand

  26. Brandon

    post hoc ergo propter hoc

    I worked for 4 years at a university doing post graduate clinical and cognitive psychology research, and I saw "fudged" numbers like this all the time. Only on professor of 4 asked for the actual code used to "manipulate" or "analyze" the data of the 15-20 projects that came down the pike. I completely lost my faith in science in those 4 years. So, when I hear about all this doomsday prophecying coming from "so-called" experts, I think to myself, what ulterior motive could they have for "manipulating" their analysis code... low and behold, I was correct. For years I've been saying this global warming stuff is a bunch of bullarky... or in other words, there's little, if any, REAL scientific evidence for such a phenomenon that rules out normal, warming and cooling trends.

    It's not so much that these guys are fudging their numbers, it's that they're resistant to be transparent in their methods that raises concern. If you have something to hide, it's not science... unless it's classified or related to engineering a product for the market. In this case, they're engineering data for the likes of the weather channel, one of the biggest proponents of global warming, or as it's know now... climate change. Thank you Algore.

    What's even worse, to me, the rampant post hoc analysis and mis-allocation of blame for climate change... if we don't even know if it's happening, how can we blame man for it? Furthermore, why should we be allocating millions or billions in federal funds to "stop" it...

  27. goggyturk
    Thumb Down

    @ breakfast

    " The story here is: "Programming error found, corrected."

    There is certainly an IT angle, but I don't think it's really all that big of a deal, no matter what the denial industry would have us believe."

    Afraid I have to disagree with that. The issue is the behaviour of one of the foremost activist / scientists in the world today, James Hansen. I use that oxymoron deliberately in this case.

    Speaking personally, if one of my colleagues behaved with such high handedness and a lack of transparency, I wouldn't trust a thing they say. Bullshit is bullshit in any language and in any field of scientific activity and I've seen enough of this kind of behaviour in the past to know what it means.

  28. Charles Manning

    @Frymaster

    Good faith?

    The first goal of any research establishment is to secure your funding channel.

    Anyone getting funding due to GW needs to keep GW alive.

    I really doubt that they can make effective apples-to-apples comparisons with data more than 50 years old. Sensors at airports have seen a shift from small grass airfields to mega tarmac jobs with air conditioners etc. Sensors standing in cities are now surrounded by air conditioners pumping out heat. Sensors standing in agricultural land have seen change in land use. How many of the sensors actually stand in places that can give a sensible reference point?

  29. jake Silver badge

    Wine (not whine)

    Yes. The world is getting warmer. When was the last time the Thames froze over?

    It's still not as warm as it was in Roman times. When was the last time you drank wine from grapes grown along Hadrian's Wall?

    The climate cycles all by itself. Get over it.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Lost stations

    While only 90 stations had the error and many more were used the 90 stations were able to "raise the planet's temperature" considerably.

    The real issue though isn't that this happened - mistakes always will occur. The problems are:

    1) The lack of "version management" - ie an explanation of the differences between the first version and the current version.

    2) The lack of quality control at NASA on this - GISS is the measurement used in the bulk of scientific literature to demonstrate warming and, as a result of this warming, we are going to spend billions on fighting global warming. And yet they only have 1 person spending 3 months a year on ensuring that everything works correctly? Surely a team of 100 checking and rechecking the data and code wouldn't even dent the billions being spent?

    3) That the number of stations being used by GISS has, in recent times, decreased dramatically even though these stations are still recording data. Why is this? And what difference does it make to the overall record? Again a bit of money spent on this would be nothing compared to the total cost of fighting global warming.

  31. Evan Jones

    Science is all inthe Method

    Please bear in mind that it is understood that everyone has a point of view and that scientists are no exception.

    And that is precisely why we have the scientific method in the first place--to protect us from ourselves. Scientific method, based on openness and ability to reproduce results, is a very human thing. If we were not the curious pongids that we are but insted E.E. "Doc" Smith's Arisians, we would not require a scientific method: One Arisian would do.

    The issue here is science and presentation, not policy. We know that scientists lift one leg and vote like everyone else.

    Note that GW, be it (AGW or NGW) is only indirectly addressed in this article. The point is that with such an immenseamount of money (up to a third-to-a-half of world growth on a continuing basis) and such profound policy issues at stake, it is very important that we get the whole story, "warts and all", as well as we can before acting. Any private commercial venture would demand the same.

    As McIntyre has pointed out, any assay provided by a mining company that was anywhere near as unsure and obscure as the data provided by NASA or NOAA would be flatly illegal.

  32. beaker
    Thumb Down

    Nasa/GISS

    Your article stated

    "The revised map still showed Siberia to be fairly warm. England and Ireland were no longer in the red zone, while North West Canada was somewhat cooler."

    I must point out that SCOTLAND was also removed from the red zone.

    England is the bit at the foot Great Britain.

    All of GB was removed from the red zone.

  33. ben
    Stop

    Two Options - Only One Sensible

    We only have two options - act, or don't act.

    A sizeable majority of the scientific community says there is a problem.

    The worst that can happen if we act upon their advice is that we create new markets, spur innovation and create new jobs, with a likely temporary increase in fuel costs while technology catches up.

    The worst that can happen if we don't act is catastrophe.

    So, I know which option I choose.

  34. Evan Jones
    Alien

    An Enigma Wrapped in an Anomaly

    "So England and Ireland dropped out of the red zone on the first revised map. Was there some anomaly over Wales then?"

    Always. (But we Evan Jonses don't like to talk about that.)

  35. Evan Jones

    Dr. Hansen's Angle and Dangle

    "One of the things that struck me when I chatted to him on the train back from Kent was his reluctance to resort to sensationalist language - everything he said was very measured and cautious."

    Perhaps so. But his web page is another story.

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/

    (See especially his Presentations and Links section.)

    And publicly calling for trials for climate criminals is difficult to describe in other terms than sensationalistic.

    Unfortunately Hansen has set himself up as a bit of a pinata stuffed with his methods, codes, etc., which we are very anxious to bring out into the open. And until he does thus bring, he will, perforce, find himself on the business end of the bash.

  36. Mike Richards

    @ jake @ Anonymous Coward

    'Yes. The world is getting warmer. When was the last time the Thames froze over?'

    Since you ask it was the winter of 1962 - 63 when it froze as far downstream as Teddington Lock. If you're asking when was the last Frost Fair then it was 1813 - 14 which is recognised as an exceptionally cold winter even for the Little Ice Age, possibly as a result of the colossal eruption of Tambora in Indonesia. It's questionable whether frost fairs were possible much later, not just because of a general warming trend, but also because the construction of London Bridge from 1825 and the Embankment changed the flow of the river, making it faster and much less likely to freeze.

    'It's still not as warm as it was in Roman times. When was the last time you drank wine from grapes grown along Hadrian's Wall?'

    Actually you could grow vines at Hadrian's Wall today, it's just that it doesn't make economic sense. I've heard this story about Romans and Northumberland wine a number of times, but I can't find a definitive source apart from Freddie Forsyth blustering on 'Question Time', so I wonder if the Romans ever did have vineyards that far north.

    As for temperatures changing. Yes they do, it is the RATE of change in the current warming phase that is abnormal compared to other changes in the Holocene.

    @ Anonymous Coward said:

    'One problem we have is that severe volcanic activity a couple of centuries ago threw a lot of ash into the air and resulted in wonderful sunsets (no you don't see sunsets like Turner painted, but you did back then)'

    Already factored into the calculations and we have plenty of empirical evidence from eruptions such as El Chichon and Pinatubo to know the amount of cooling these eruptions would cause.

    As for not seeing sunsets like Turner's ummmm - perhaps some of Turner's paintings are impressionistic?

    'Then of course we had the industrial revolution, you should therefore have seen all those CO2 emissions producing significant global warming over the 18th and 19th centuries - but that doesn't seem to be the case from the data we have.'

    We're burning an order of magnitude more carbon than we were in the 18th and 19th Century when only a tiny minority of the population were consuming fossil fuels and even then only consuming a small fraction of the energy we use today.

  37. MarkMac
    Flame

    @IGnatius T Foobar

    Feel free to live on in your fantasy world. Out here in the Real One, the effects of climate change on our environment are now trivially easy to see, and their link to human endeavour is also all too clear. Oh by the way, we know all about climate cycles. The current change doesn't fit the pattern.

    @ all the people who complain about the adjustments. Perhaps you should read about why they're made instead of assuming they're fudge-factors as the article's author incorrectly implied. I mean, a little scientific research can't hurt can it - unless you're afraid of what you might find.... :-)

  38. John Savard Silver badge

    Greenland

    And then there was when they could establish farming colonies in Greenland. Still, that global warming is promoted by carbon dioxide, and that it would be a very bad thing in today's crowded, militarized, and be-bordered world is undeniable despite unfortunate errors.

    We need to shift to nuclear power, not try to throttle energy use, thereby kicking the poor and working-class in the teeth.

  39. scotchbonnet
    Thumb Down

    Gee, Ain't It Fun...

    ...watching all these PhD level scientists and those who follow their every utterance (on both sides of the debate) screw themselves into the ground over each little disclosure of information. Doctors, take off your PhD blinders and realise that the single biggest influence on earthly climate is that big yellow ball that traverses our sky once a day. Take your noses out of your faulty data sets long enough to learn that solar cycle 24 has come to us stillborn, and couple that with your own PhD-ly prediction (from NASA, no less) that solar cycle 25, due to peak in the mid 2020's is predicted to be an extremely weak one. Odds are good that we're in for at least 30 years of cooling temps, more if the sunspots go on a long-term hiatus like they have done many times in the past.

    Little or no sunspot activity has occurred coincidental with each of the five reported periods of global cooling that have been recorded since year 1000, such periods lasting between 40 and 150 years. Tree ring growth data actually takes the connection back some 11,400 years, but I'll be a good boy and just report that which has occurred since civilised man was around to observe.

    While you all pay your carbon credits like good little stooges, know that there is a sun god somewhere laughing at your folly in thinking that minute changes in the absolute level of a minor atmospheric gas are more powerful than the effects of the star that powers all of the energy sources on earth, save nuclear fission.

    Arrogance, thy name is mankind - or at least Hansen/Gore.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    A little extra info for ya Pete

    Please don't bash Hansen

    By Pete Posted Wednesday 19th November 2008 18:17 GMT

    You might want to actually read what Hansen himself posts before you defend him.

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/

    he clearly has an agenda just based on his own writing.

  41. Evan Jones
    Coat

    "My shoe is off, my foot is cold."

    "Feel free to live on in your fantasy world. Out here in the Real One, the effects of climate change on our environment are now trivially easy to see,"

    Thank you. Freedom is a beautiful thing. But I am not sure whom you are addressing, here.

    The article did not claim climate change is not occurring. Neither did it say word one about probable cause. It did cite two sources that indicate that the warming trend has been exaggerated by around a factor of two. This is accounted for by miscalculation of UHI and a continually increasing trend of site violations (plus potentially bad FILNET and simply inexplicable SHAP).

    As for urban effects, if you want to get technical, waste heat is a direct offset, but heat sink effect instead exaggerates a warming trend. And, of course, for a warming trend to be exaggerated, there has to BE a warming trend in the first place to exaggerate.

    Note also that heat sink effect "undoes" itself in a cooling trend. So it is likewise possible that the sharp cooling trend of the last two years may be somewhat exaggerated as well.

    "and their link to human endeavour is also all too clear. "

    Taken at face value, surely. Human endeavor covers a very wide area indeed. it would include land use and "dirty snow", for two. What is not at all clear is how much CO2 affects temperatures.

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas and has a positive forcing effect. Two vital factors are at issue:

    First is the extent of the saturation effect (and how much "diminishing returns" are diminishing).

    Second, and even more important, is that "positive feedback loop" theory (which multiplies the direct CO2 effects many times) has been called into extremely serious question by recent findings of the Aqua Satellite. AquaSat instead strongly indicates negative feedback leading to homeostasis. That would help explain the flat trend over the last decade.

    "Oh by the way, we know all about climate cycles. The current change doesn't fit the pattern."

    The multidecadal oceanic-atmospheric cycles (the "Big Six" being PDO, IPO, AMO, NAO, AO, and AAO) were unknown at the time Dr. Hansen made his 1988 speech; they were not even discovered until a decade or more later. The severe cooling over the past year and a ahlf has been attributed to a PDO reversal.

    The Big Six all flipped, one by one, from cool phase to warm from 1976 through 2001. Temperatures warmed. Then they were "all on warm". Temperatures remained flat. Now PDO has turned cold, and NAO a,d AO may be wavering. Temperatures have cooled. Does anyone see a pattern here? Especially if the initial warming was overestimated in the first place? It certainly correlates better than the CO2 curve. And you can trace the pattern back to the last warming-then-cooling from the 1920's to the mid-70's.

    Add in a "Little Ice Age Recovery" underpinning, and anthropogenic effects (land use, soot, and, yes, a bit for CO2 but no positive feedback loops) as a slight underlying trend, and it fits prety well. Certainly better than Dr. Hansen's climate models.

    What can we expect? I'm sure I don't know. I'm equally sure you don't know, either.

    And the Sun may be saving up spit for another Dalton or even Maunder-type minimum. We don't know about that yet. Normal cycles only vary tempertures by c. 0.1C, and claims that TSI is at a long-time high are in dispute, so I do NOT attribute 20th-Century warming to the sun.

    But what if it's the very model of a Modern Maunder Minimum? (We don't yet know.) If that's the case, all bets are off--short-sell your carbon credits and invest in mink farms.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We are left with many factors, each with a nice, healthy margin of error. There are ten times the number of students majoring in climatology these days, and a lot more attention being paid to the subject. The above and other questions will be answered, probably in another decade. But we don't know now. We simply don't. The only thing we know for sure is how badly the computer models have failed.

    So before we dance the Kyoto with Stern and "invest" a third to a half of world growth on a continuing basis (greatest suffering to be borne by the worlds poorest, at a cost of many, many lives), I think we badly need to find out what is actually going on. This ignores the very real possibility that AGW is all too real but a "cheap, quick, dirty, and effective" fix can be found such as, but not limited to, reflective pole-to-pole satellites or a new power storage method. (Mix and match?)

    And if we are going to find out what is going on, methods and procedures--on both sides of the debate--need to be conducted in the open. Don't you think?

    In the meantime, make mine one of those non-fur, high-tech padded jobs. Poor Tom's a-cold!

  42. Evan Jones
    Stop

    D.E.W. Diligence

    "How many of the sensors actually stand in places that can give a sensible reference point?"

    For GHCN (where NASA/GISS gets its data)? In the US, about one in seven. Sic.

    In the rest of the world? Hard to say without better photographic evidence, but the indications are that with the possible exception of Australia (and WITHOUT the exception of Western Europe), the surface stations are much more unreliable and badly sited than in the US.

    We do have some cursory shots of some of those "September Siberia" stations (there are around a dozen at or a bit under the 80th parallel) and they are magpie-scandals.

    The sensors appear to be attached to heated buildings (any nearby building even without heat is a severe heat sink violation), even on roofs (a ghastly disqualifier--any sensor on a roof is estimated to be running at least 5°C hot, probably worse in winter).

    And the many of the sites are in mini-urban areas using district heating (huge steam pipes running all over town) that, even if insulated (and photos show not all are), will create UHI (if 5 degrees warmer than forty-below warrants the letter "H").

    And since there are no stations north of there and NASA hates a gap, they estimate the entire Arctic based on the (bad) stations surrounding the Arctic Circle. And the Arctic just happens to be where GISS is finding a very large amount of the warming. We don't know how bad it is, but I contend we need to find out.

    Well, you get the idea.

  43. jake Silver badge

    @Mike Richards

    > so I wonder if the Romans ever did have vineyards that far north.

    Yes. I was a grunt when excavating along the wall during summer vacation between 6th form and upper sixth. I wasn't important, just a "shifter & sifter" ... I think it was at Vercovicium (Housesteads) that we found evidence of a vineyard that had been in production for over 100 years, judging by casts made from the root holes. The only reason to expend the man power for that kind of thing in that era would be wine production.

    I seriously doubt that decent wine grapes would grow up there today. It's not warm enough long enough for proper sugar development.

    jake in Sonoma, CA ... "we make wine"

  44. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Boffin

    @scotchbonnet: You're dead right

    I studied astronomy, and have known about several papers showing a 98% correlation between sun-spot activity and global temperature for ages. Astronomers publishing this kind of thing have often been ridiculed or worse for their SCIENCE. There may be a man-made contribution to global warming, but the case is not clear.

    However, it does make sense to preserve resources. Hey, if I get a car with twice the fuel efficiency, I can laugh my head off at the fuel bills of those driving your "average" American-built car. Better still, I cycle to work (and almost everywhere else). It's usually faster in city traffic, and it costs next to nothing. I realize this is not possible for everyone, but I know too many people who live a 15 min cycle from work (and 20 min drive, or up to an hour if there is a traffic jam (again)) and still persist in using the car, even in the best of weather. This is just wasteful. Providing good insulation to houses, rather than providing free heating to the mosquitos outside is another way to stop wasting energy.

    Maintaining a good standard of living while keeping energy (and other resource) usage low is just plain economic sense. (at least to me but then I have a PhD ;-) )

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    and remember

    ..the Red Zone is for loading and unloading only.....

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scientific Method

    OK here's the deal with the scientific method.

    1. You postulate a theory.

    2. You observe and record.

    In light of these results you have three possibilities:

    a. Your theory is proved beyond doubt. (Unlikely) End of process. Many plaudits. Potentially end of funding.

    b. Your theory is proved to be a load of toss. End of process. And end of funding.

    c. Your theory is partly right. So you modify your theory and repeat step 2. Continue until you either hit options (a) or (b) or your funding runs out.

    What is important about this process is that you observe and record your observations. As soon as you start changing the observed data you are no longer a scientist.

    There are two possible reasons why somebody would choose to modify their observations in a purely accademic setting. One is the worry that on hitting option (b) they would be out of a job. The other is that they have been instructed by those providing their funding to procude certain results. There could be others and without knowing the complexities of the organisation I couln't really speculate further.

  47. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    @TimM

    So, technically, how deep was this mini ice age in 1880? Because it's a shitload warmer now after that "technically mini ice age" than it was before it.

  48. Mark
    Thumb Down

    re: @Henry

    Well, one is a number, so I suppose I can't prove you wrong there.

  49. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    @jake

    "I seriously doubt that decent wine grapes would grow up there today. It's not warm enough long enough for proper sugar development."

    You'd better check. Wine is now growing further north than it did during Roman times. And "decent grapes" sounds like a weasel way of backing out of being wrong: "Aye, but they aren't what *I'd* call decent grapes" (neglecting you don't know what the romans of the time considered decent or if it would make a blind bit of difference).

  50. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    @Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    I'm an astrophysicist. And there is a correlation but do you know what they MAGNITUDE of that correlation is? Fuck all. Also, do you know the sign of the correlation and have you asserted whether the changes you see are correlated with those sunspot activity graphs?

    No.

    None of you have.

  51. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    @scotchbonnet

    If the sole factor for the earth's temperature, ice would be frozen over the entire earth. 40+C is from greenhouse gasses. A 10% change in the insulating factors would make that ~44C. ~4C warmer. Since the difference in global temperatures between ice age and warm interglacial is about 2-3C and we're already well past the middle of a warm interglacial period, 4C warmer takes us into a climate system that has not existed for the period of animals colonising land on the earth.

    PS I think they've heard of this mythical "daystar". Even the ones in the UK.

  52. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    re: Greenland

    Strange how many people know about the colonisation of Greenland but don't know the result.

    It was unsustainable, the result of a short term warming in the area and died out VERY quickly.

    Greenland was a scam. Even the name was made to enforce the scam.

  53. Arclight

    Surprise

    And they wonder why people don't trust scientists? According to the first article I saw on global warming, back in the early 80's, by now I should be 10' under water

  54. Dave Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    Correction Section

    @Evan Jones

    Then how about correcting your expansion of FTE? It stands for Full-Time _Equivalent_ not employee.

  55. Steve

    @ AC: "Go check some skeptics"

    Skeptisism is healthy and a necessary part of the scientific method.

  56. Evan Jones

    LIA MIA?

    "So, technically, how deep was this mini ice age in 1880? Because it's a shitload warmer now after that "technically mini ice age" than it was before it."

    Depends on what you mean by "before". The Little Ice Age grand minimums are estimated as follows:

    Wolf (1280-1340)

    Spörer (1415-1534)

    Maunder (1645-1715)

    Dalton (1790-1840)

    So by mid-19th Century we were climbing out of the LIA for real. There were ups and downs all through, but the nadir was around 1700 and we have been (on average) picking up around 1°F per century since (so far as we can tell), including the 20th. You'll also notice we are about due for another grand minimum. All in all, around 250 of the last 1000 years were grand minimum conditions, so yes, it CAN happen here.

    The Medieval Warm Period was deleted by the "team", as exemplified by the infamous Dr. Deming quote ("We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period"). Bet he wishes he never said that! The 1995 IPCC graph of the paleo record shows the MWP as a lot warmer than today.

    Non-dendro proxy reconstructions do indicate the MWP was somewhat warmer than today, and that is strongly supported by archaeological evidence (and it's in the contemporary literature as is the LIA).

    As for the 1880 records, they may well better than today's. The instruments were great, the readings were consistent and conscientious (and politics was not at issue), and the stations were yet to be taken over by urban, suburban, and exurban creep. When the MMTS was introduced starting in the 1980s, they were operated by cable and the result was than a large majority which used to be well sited are now within ten yards (or closer) of the housing containing the instrumentation. Over 50% of all today's US stations surveyed sport CRN4 violations. NOAA's own CRN estimates that such violation biases readings to the warm by 2 or more degrees C (note the lack of decimal point).

    What does this mean? We are still trying to find out. But it's obvious that we need more quality control. Fix the dang violations. Then let the data speak for itself; there will be no need for adjustments.

  57. Evan Jones

    Fixes

    "Then how about correcting your expansion of FTE? It stands for Full-Time _Equivalent_ not employee."

    So noted and logged.

    And enshrined in the Comment Record.

    "Go check some skeptics"

    Not difficult. Skeptics have made mistakes, but operate very much in the open and with cards on the table. Unfortunately we can't say that for the other side. It's discouraging when requests for data series or code are denied (see the Climate Audit record for excruciating detail, including rude refusals by email).

  58. Evan Jones

    GreenScam?

    "Strange how many people know about the colonisation of Greenland but don't know the result.

    It was unsustainable, the result of a short term warming in the area and died out VERY quickly.

    Greenland was a scam. Even the name was made to enforce the scam."

    That's because it wasn't a scam, as we were taught in school. Settlements lasted for hundreds of years and subsisted on standard agriculture. There were hunting stations as far north as the 70th parallel. The Greenland colony did not die out until after 1400. There are some recent studies that find all sorts of leafy schmutz that dates back a thousand years under what is now solid icesheet.

    As for forcings, we have to consider what % of the greenhouse is attributable to vapor and how much to CO2, CH4, SO2, etc. (a topic in wild dispute). And what the diminishing return rate of CO2 really is. Not to mention a 3%+ decrease in arctic albedo due to soot. All in dispute, with wide MoE in play.

    From a practical pov it is one heck of a lot easier and cheaper to clean up non-CO2 aspects (esp. soot) than to get rid of the CO2, stipulating there is a severe problem in the first place.

  59. Evan Jones

    Landlubbers

    "4C warmer takes us into a climate system that has not existed for the period of animals colonising land on the earth."

    'WAY off. Climate is c. 14°C today. Proxies indicate that when the creepy-crawlies were emerging it was c. 22°C, and it was that hot for most of the time until the Cenozoic (with a Big Freeze in the late Paleozoic, a recovery, then a cooling slide from the late Mesozoic). No, we wouldn't want to see 22°C again, but that's how warm it was when land surface life evolved.

  60. Paul M.
    Heart

    Mark: Speed record for disinformation

    Looks like someone has forgotten their meds:

    By Mark Posted Thursday 20th November 2008 12:05 GMT

    By Mark Posted Thursday 20th November 2008 12:08 GMT

    By Mark Posted Thursday 20th November 2008 12:10 GMT

    By Mark Posted Thursday 20th November 2008 12:13 GMT

    By Mark Posted Thursday 20th November 2008 12:19 GMT

    By Mark Posted Thursday 20th November 2008 12:20 GMT

    Lots of tombstones. Less haste, and more time checking your "facts" please. Especially about Greenland.

  61. n
    Boffin

    statistics

    hmmm...over 99.2% of scientists agreed with their funders.

  62. Naadir Jeewa
    Thumb Down

    As usual, RealClimate has the details

    RealClimate's 18 November posting "Mind the Gap!" shows why there has been an upward trend in the data, and goes into all the gory details that have been omitted here.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    missed the boat

    This sucks, I missed the boat on the Y2K scam, and now I’m going to miss it on this one too. I have to be quicker at figuring out how to profit from these mass scams sooner.

    Flames because the world is on fire, now give me money.

  64. jake Silver badge

    @Mark, @n

    Mark wrote:

    "You'd better check. Wine is now growing further north than it did during Roman times. And "decent grapes" sounds like a weasel way of backing out of being wrong: "Aye, but they aren't what *I'd* call decent grapes" (neglecting you don't know what the romans of the time considered decent or if it would make a blind bit of difference)."

    I'd better check? OK. I've checked. Wine grapes are NOT growing further north than they did in Roman times. I don't weasel about wine (I grow it). And I have read the Romans opinions on wine, in the original Latin. Have you? I thought not.

    If you have proof of wine grapes growing further north in England, or rather Scotland, as it would have to be in this case, today, please provide proof or shut the fuck up.

    Or better, just shut the fuck up. You are clearly very young. Read, learn, grow. Then talk.

    @n

    "hmmm...over 99.2% of scientists agreed with their funders."

    No.

    100% of scientists explore their findings. So-called "scientists" who go along with their funders pre-conceived ideas are not really scientists. See the followers of ElRon, for an example.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Where is my nearest weather station...

    So I can give it a good going over with a blow lamp:

    "Yam-Yam Climate Shocker! - West Midlands in 1300c global warming melt down!"

    Tidy, I tell you.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Raw data

    There seems to be a fair few people suggesting that the data should be entered into the models raw. This is not the case, the actual data the you get from monitoring stations needs to be processed before it can become usefull, this is for several reasons, the most significant being that different weather stations in different contries have different measuring procedures, some even measure in different temperatures (C or F) Sometimes one station will give a consistent error in its readings, maybe due to being out of callibration. All this data needs to be processed before it can be usefull.

    As it happens, there is a fairly famous 'blip' in temperature at the end of the Falklands war when all the UK taskforce sailed out of town and left a few US boats in the surrounding area, this cause a jump in temperature, becuase the US boats recorded and relayed the data in a different way to the UK.

  67. Mark

    I don't weasel about wine (I grow it).

    It wasn't the wine growing, it was the "decent" proviso, giving you the opportunity to, if proven wrong, say "yes, but that produces very bad wine which I'm sure the romans wouldn't drink".

    Remember, alcohol kills off lots of germs, that's why grog (a mix of water and rum) was issued: pour rum in the water barrels and it stays safe much longer.

    Similarly, wine is safer to drink than water (which having newts pissing in doesn't taste too nice in any case) and if you can't have good wine, you drink bad wine.

    And they are now today growing wine further north and people are not going to drink the wine just because it's the only wine available: they can drink wine from places better suited to it, thereby putting a much higher lower limit on acceptable quality today than in the roman times.

  68. Mark

    re: missed the boat

    How do you know it was a scam, AC? Should we rerun a week over the 2009/20010 and put the old systems in place (pre Y2K work) and see how many things that fall over cause problems.

    Of course, in case it was not a scam, you and your chums had better pony up a reserve fund to pay for any costs lost if the Y2K changes were needed.

    NOTE: the reverse isn't true: if the systems work fine on pre-y2k software on the changeover, there's plenty of time to get the money back from the IT bods who benefited from it.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grapes

    My mother has a grapevine in Manchester. The grapes are pretty poor quality I'll admit but I am pretty sure you could make wine out of them if you had enough. (I am aware this is south of Hadrians wall, but it is good enough for an example, I believe.)

    I think Roman soldiers / administrators in the North of England would have happily drunk any cheap wine they could get their hands on, in the way soldiers will drink anything alcoholic today.

    Also, if you grow vines along a wall you benefit from heat retention / reflection and wind avoidance that the wall provides, similarly to how the Victorians built big walled gardens all over the place. IIRC a wall can effectively add a couple of degrees C of equivalent temperature.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Mark.

    I believe at this point one Eric Cartman (of South Park fame) would say....

    "You just got F'd in the A!"

    Thumbs up to that!

  71. Mark

    @Chris Roughneen

    Nah, nothing like it.

    Give me your address and I'll show you the difference.

  72. Evan Jones
    Stop

    Cards on the table, PLEASE

    "RealClimate's 18 November posting "Mind the Gap!" shows why there has been an upward trend in the data, and goes into all the gory details that have been omitted here."

    Yes, they don't seem to find anything the matter with current SHAP procedure, do they, the poor dears?

    "There seems to be a fair few people suggesting that the data should be entered into the models raw. This is not the case, the actual data the you get from monitoring stations needs to be processed before it can become usefull, this is for several reasons, the most significant being that different weather stations in different contries have different measuring procedures, some even measure in different temperatures (C or F) Sometimes one station will give a consistent error in its readings, maybe due to being out of callibration. All this data needs to be processed before it can be usefull."

    Oh, I agree. I would go even so far as to say that measuring procedures, calibration, and conversion are the very least of it. However, raw data must needs be archived as well as with data at each stage of adjustment.

    The objection, of course, is that adjustment procedures themselves are controversial. SHAP, FILNET, and UHI spring to mind! Not to mention "homogenization" (which somehow seems to involve a bit of pasteurization).

    In short, provide raw data, the reasons and ALL methods for adjustment (i.e., logs of station histories, data forms, etc.). And don't expect the public to accept these very necessary adjustments unless all the cards are on the table.

    Another problem is there is a margin of error at every stage of adjustment and after a half dozen adjustments things start to become meaningless in a milieu where 0.1C is an important difference. And no, oversampling doesn't feed the bulldog: Because of uneven distribution a lot of the data is based on a tiny number of stations. (I am not criticizing the gridding procedure, here, note.)

    Of course the stations should conform in such a fashion that little or no adjustment should be necessary.

    The NOAA is beginning to address this through the CRN network. These new stations are to be very well sited and fully automated, thus requiring no adjustment (outside instrument drift). All data to be served raw. Unfortunately this only covers the US and cannot redeem the historical data.

    To sum: I don't care about how well it is explained by RC. SO not interested. Neither am I interested in stuff like the meaningless pap on NOAA's page that is supposed to explain the USHCN v2 ajustments (while somehow failing to mention the amounts of the adjustments).

    I want to see all data archived at all stages of adjustment, with means of reproducing results at each step.

    This would allow scientists from the outside to consider the data properly and maybe even (Shock. Horror.) suggest adjustments of their own. And furthermore I don't see how it is even vaguely possible to object to this.

  73. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Duh, Evans

    "However, raw data must needs be archived as well as with data at each stage of adjustment."

    They do.

    How do you think they got the changes to the US temperatures that changed the warmest year to the second warmest? Guessing???

    Duh.

  74. Evan Jones

    Once Upon A Millennium . . .

    "They do."

    They don't.

    All we get is the raw and adjusted version. Sans any explanations. Bulldog not fed.

    "How do you think they got the changes to the US temperatures that changed the warmest year to the second warmest? Guessing???"

    How do I think? As it happens, I don't have to. I know.

    Story Time!

    Here's a condensed version what went down.

    The date is July 26, 2007. Anthony Watts is evaluating photos by Don Kostuch of the NOAA Stevenson screen at Detroit Lakes, Michigan. He notes that not only are two nearby air conditioner vents but that it is falling over and sinking into the swamp. (Yes, kids, it is an official USHCN station of record. Daft, what?) He also posts the adjusted climate record and there is a curious disconnect. A gap in the records followed by a strangely high reading. Much commentary ensues as to the possible cause.

    Time passes. It is now August. The adjusted data shows that even without April-August, the strange jump remains. Steve McIntyre is now on the case. He is trying to reverse-engineer the problem (without any code and without any of the individual step adjustments). He puts his statistical acumen to work and determines that the difference between raw and adjusted data is too extreme to be attributable to anything but some sort of adjustment glitch. He notifies GISS, which acknowledges the error, asserts it is trivial, and (very grudgingly) thanks Mac by email.

    Mac should have been able to go to any given step of the adjustment which would have turned it up in short order (it would have been noted long since). Instead he noticed the problem only serendipitously and had to use the before-and after without the benefit of any steps in between and no hint of how the "before" became the "after" in the first place.

    Oh, I almost forgot. GISS did not announce the change of data but simply made it without notice or comment. The old data was simply erased.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There may be more October hijinks afoot:

    A poster on WUWT reports the following:

    On CA, Steve Mc found problems with a temperature data file. As the issue was being discussed, NOAA began deleting files.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=4395

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ¿Que pasa, NASA?

    Este Frío Triste Agosto

    Este agosto

    No me gusto,

    Amiga mia

    Hace tan fría!

    Y menos húmedio

    Que el promedio.

    Yo lamento

    Sin caliento . . .

    ¿Dónde la puedo

    Conseguir ajustedo?

  75. jake Silver badge

    Wrapping up ...

    >My mother has a grapevine in Manchester.

    Re-read mine. The Romans tended at least one vineyard, a largish one, at the Scottish boarder. Manchester basks in the (relative) warmth of the Gulf Stream warming the air moved by the northern sub-tropical jet stream. The Wall doesn't. Not really. It's a micro climate thing. The Romans would NOT have tended a vineyard of that size, for that long, for anything other than wine. I've read the surviving literature.

    YES, there are grapes that grow in the Northern climes these days. (Ever try "ice wine"? It's fermented from grapes that are allowed to dry out and then freeze before picking. Interesting stuff, but usually entirely too sweet for my tastes.) There is even an experimental vineyard or two on California's coast, north of Fort Bragg. Some of us find playing with grape genetics fun (sad lot, aren't we?). But at Hadrian's Wall? I seriously doubt it. It *might* get that warm up there again eventually, but it is not today.

    There is a reason that Vinland was called Vinland. Wild grapes don't grow in Newfoundland anymore. The climate is too cold. But they did grow there back in Viking times. It was warm enough. (I know about the alternate version of the name, but I've read the sagas. It was named after the grapes.)

    The Thames doesn't freeze over anymore. It's getting warmer again.

    So, what do we have? It has been quite a bit warmer, and quite a bit colder than it is today over the last 2000ish years. Pretty simple, no? The climate fluctuates. We do NOT know why (we have ideas).

    Making gross changes in what humans are doing without understanding the mechanics of the fluctuations is (in my mind) foolhardy. We could do more harm than good.

    Does that about wrap it up?

  76. Evan Jones

    MWP Lost (and Found)

    You're stuck, Mark, between the the experts of wine and weather.

    Another important point not enough address is the interdisciplinary aspects of the problem. The climatologists don't cut it. We also need the physicists, biologists, engineers, archaeologists and historians (inter alia) in on the act, especially regarding the delicate and highly politicized subject of paleoclimate. (And, obviously, classicists and vintners.) The 2003 Harvard-Smithsonian study that recovered the Medieval (and Roman) Warm Period from the IPCC lost-and-found is an example of this.

    Making climate the sole prerogative of the climatologists is as foolish and limited as leaving history up to the historians.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Re: Wrapping Up, by Jake

    Well hold on there. Firstly you may be able to read Roman texts in the original but that doesn’t give you any better insight than someone who relies on translations done by other experts. And if you can literally read cursive Latin in the original then I take my hat off to you –if.

    The local wine on Hadrian’s wall – it’s perfectly clear from the Vindolanda tablets that while there might have been local wine, the officers much preferred imported wine from the continent. So that might be a valuable hint about the quality of the local stuff.

    Secondly, the Romans would have drunk wine – even bad stuff – rather than local beer simply as a statement of Romanity – it’s what civilised people did and for the largely auxiliary troops that were about at the time that also would have been an important statement.

    Finally, it’s unlikely that the viking Vinland was Newfoundland. Again, read in translation, but the Penguin edition makes it clear that the description of the land, and the natives that they met make that location unlikely and suggest that Vinland was probably further down the New England coast.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Mark.

    No - you definitely got F'd in the A....BIG TIME.

    Take it like a man - bitch!

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