Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday Pick Points

There were only a couple of entries over in Real Climate this week, and they seem to be becoming more remarkable for their defensive nature. But it has been that sort of a week. It really began over at Climate Audit following up on the paper that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, in which Eric Steig et al wrote about a change in the calculations on Antarctic temperatures, resulting in a greater warming than had been projected in earlier evaluations.

So Steve McIntyre has a look at the data that was used for that re-evaluation, and focused in on data from one of the Automated Weather Stations (AWS) called Harry, which had shown the greatest trend in data. And he found that some of the data that had been originally reported for Harry, instead belonged to a station called Gill.

Writing this up at his site he noticed that the data at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) was in the process of being corrected. It turns out that it was being corrected because Gavin Schmidt, who writes for Real Climate, had contacted them about the error, though that did not become clear until February 4th. On which day Gavin wrote the somewhat defensive post at Real Climate, sensibly saying that by correlating manned station data with that from satellites and the AWS it had been possible to extend the estimates of actual temperatures, and that within the context of the process that was used, the erroneous data from Harry, and a third station known as Racer Rock, really didn’t make any difference to the results. (Incidentally Gavin’s actions drew a rebuke at Science Policy ).

In the process he admitted that the data from the AWS could be flawed, since the stations were, on occasion buried in the snow. (see photos at the Harry website above). Which was a timely comment, given that Anthony Watts was just posting photos that showed some of the problems in acquiring temperature data in the Antarctic. And Climate Audit being the site that it is, on the 6th the new data was reviewed to see what it changed. The results (bear in mind that there are only a few stations in the area) show that it may not have been as inconsequential as stated.

And so we leave CA for another week, just as another controversy is starting , Steve draws attention to a letter by Michael Mann which is, sadly, another demonstration of how easily the AGW group slip into ad hominem attacks rather than debate the science.. The issue this time is an article by Lawrence Solomon, and it is another take on the Antarctic discussion. It points out that when the data shows that one thing is happening (Antarctic cooling) and you would prefer that it not, you can use statistics to show that the opposite (Antarctic warming) is occurring. He also takes a dig at the “hockey stick” and that is the cause of Dr. Mann’s ire. The controversy is likely to go on into next week, and the latest response is from Mr. Solomon.

That whole relationship between Climate Audit and Real Climate looks to continue to be adversarial, since the new paper that is discussed at RC today has met with a rejoinder at CA suggesting that the data in the paper gives a different conclusion to that drawn.

Well, other than that WUWT points to a post where the new Secretary of Energy is predicting the end of agriculture in California, and has more pictures of inappropriate siting of weather stations, while promising a comment on fossil fuels in the near future.

Gristmill points to a new site on coal that will be interesting to follow. There is also a move to get to 25% renewable energy by 2025, as well as a lead to an initiative in Georgia to restrict coal use. And EPA is starting to work on the new sets of rules that will apply to coal-fired power stations.

Well these stories have kept me fascinated all day (the Antarctic ones) so I am going to stop before I get too far into the backstory . . and off to get back to Peak Oil for the week.

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