Skip to content

Roy Spencer On Satellite v Surface Data

January 19, 2017

By Paul Homewood

 

 

trend

http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1998/to:2017/every/plot/rss/from:1998/to:2017/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1998/plot/gistemp/from:1998/trend

 

With the continuing divergence of surface and satellite temperature records, it is worth revisiting what Roy Spencer had to say on the issue in 2014:

 

Much is being made of the “global” surface thermometer data, which three-quarters the way through 2014 is now suggesting the global average this year will be the warmest in the modern instrumental record.

I claim 2014 won’t be the warmest global-average year on record.

..if for no other reason than this: thermometers cannot measure global averages — only satellites can. The satellite instruments measure nearly every cubic kilometer – hell, every cubic inch — of the lower atmosphere on a daily basis. You can travel hundreds if not thousands of kilometers without finding a thermometer nearby.

(And even if 2014 or 2015 turns out to be the warmest, this is not a cause for concern…more about that later).

The two main research groups tracking global lower-tropospheric temperatures (our UAH group, and the Remote Sensing Systems [RSS] group) show 2014 lagging significantly behind 2010 and especially 1998:

 

Yearly-global-LT-UAH-RSS-thru-Sept-2014

With only 3 months left in the year, there is no realistic way for 2014 to set a record in the satellite data.

Granted, the satellites are less good at sampling right near the poles, but compared to the very sparse data from the thermometer network we are in fat city coverage-wise with the satellite data.

In my opinion, though, a bigger problem than the spotty sampling of the thermometer data is the endless adjustment game applied to the thermometer data. The thermometer network is made up of a patchwork of non-research quality instruments that were never made to monitor long-term temperature changes to tenths or hundredths of a degree, and the huge data voids around the world are either ignored or in-filled with fictitious data.

Furthermore, land-based thermometers are placed where people live, and people build stuff, often replacing cooling vegetation with manmade structures that cause an artificial warming (urban heat island, UHI) effect right around the thermometer. The data adjustment processes in place cannot reliably remove the UHI effect because it can’t be distinguished from real global warming.

Satellite microwave radiometers, however, are equipped with laboratory-calibrated platinum resistance thermometers, which have demonstrated stability to thousandths of a degree over many years, and which are used to continuously calibrate the satellite instruments once every 8 seconds. The satellite measurements still have residual calibration effects that must be adjusted for, but these are usually on the order of hundredths of a degree, rather than tenths or whole degrees in the case of ground-based thermometers.

And, it is of continuing amusement to us that the global warming skeptic community now tracks the RSS satellite product rather than our UAH dataset. RSS was originally supposed to provide a quality check on our product (a worthy and necessary goal) and was heralded by the global warming alarmist community. But since RSS shows a slight cooling trend since the 1998 super El Nino, and the UAH dataset doesn’t, it is more referenced by the skeptic community now. Too funny.

In the meantime, the alarmists will continue to use the outdated, spotty, and heavily-massaged thermometer data to support their case. For a group that trumpets the high-tech climate modeling effort used to guide energy policy — models which have failed to forecast (or even hindcast!) the lack of warming in recent years — they sure do cling bitterly to whatever will support their case.

As British economist Ronald Coase once said, “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.”

So, why are the surface thermometer data used to the exclusion of our best technology — satellites — when tracking global temperatures? Because they better support the narrative of a dangerously warming planet.

Except, as the public can tell, the changes in global temperature aren’t even on their radar screen (sorry for the metaphor).

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/10/why-2014-wont-be-the-warmest-year-on-record/

Advertisements
17 Comments
  1. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 19, 2017 1:35 pm

    Mosher-Stokes, in 5 4 3…. This, I want to hear.

  2. January 19, 2017 2:54 pm

    So sad that the press cant discern the difference. The blinkers are firmly in place.

  3. January 19, 2017 4:03 pm

    ‘the huge data voids around the world are either ignored or in-filled with fictitious data’

    Which are then proudly announced to the world as the unvarnished truth. What a farce!

    • nigel permalink
      January 19, 2017 4:27 pm

      “…farce!”

      In French Cooking, what you use to stuff things.

      Incidentally, very few people realize that – since time can be an EXPLANATORY variable but NEVER a CAUSAL variable – the existence of a statistically significant trend in a time series over a period merely means that SOMETHING “net” happened in that time. That “something” can be – and often is – simply the accumulation of drift in a random walk.

  4. January 19, 2017 4:37 pm

    Off topic but shows how the media controls the narrative:

    Halley Research Station in Antarctica which lost power and heat at -32C back in 2014 is in the news again.

    Ice crack forces British to close Antarctic research station for winter.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/huge-ice-crack-closes-antarctic-research-station-1.3939093

    Sounds bad right! What’s not disclosed is that they have known all along that eventually they would have to close the station.

    From Wikipedia:
    Halley Research Station, run by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), is a scientific research station located on the Brunt Ice Shelf floating on the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. As with the German Neumayer-Station III it is built on an ice shelf floating on the sea, versus being located on solid land on the continent of Antarctica. Because the ice shelf is slowly moving towards the open ocean it will eventually calve off creating a drifting iceberg

    They have been making plan for a few years to relocate the station.

    https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/moving-halley/

  5. January 19, 2017 5:03 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “So, why are the surface thermometer data used to the exclusion of our best technology — [NASA] satellites — when tracking global temperatures? Because they better support the narrative of a dangerously warming planet.”

  6. January 19, 2017 5:36 pm

    Global surface temperatures are not fit for purpose. UHI. Microsite issues. Large land masses with no data. Before Argo, dodgy SST. To pretend the record correct to plus minus 0.1C is a joke; since 2000 both NOAA and GISS have modified the record by more than that, something easy to see by overlaying past and present with the supposed error bars.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      January 19, 2017 8:12 pm

      Well said, Ristvan. I’m tired of the likes of Mosher dropping their snide comments that RSS is ‘modelled’, ‘adjusted’, or just not relevant to surface temps/AGW. No wonder they think that way: UAH is so poor in its coverage and so compromised, the more-so compared to RSS, yet they continue to attack satellites. Seems to me they have something to hide.

  7. tom0mason permalink
    January 19, 2017 5:53 pm

    “So, why are the surface thermometer data used to the exclusion of our best technology — satellites — “

    So, why? Because those so called ‘climate scientist’* (a BS label if anyone chooses it for themselves) with political advocacy at their heart can have fun statistically manipulating lots station data to make the so called ‘global effect’ say anything they want.
    Most times these adjustments are not explained because they are scientific nonsense.
    Satellite data would show if too much statistical fiddling were done but on the other hand you can (and probably do) hide lots of error prone fiddling in the weather station data.
    .
    .
    *’climate scientist’ functionally the same as an astrologer but for weather.

  8. Bloke down the pub permalink
    January 19, 2017 6:02 pm

    How disingenuous is it that the alarmists call the Giss dataset the NASA data? It is an obvious attempt to conflate their work with the satellite record.

  9. January 19, 2017 8:16 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    In my opinion, though, a bigger problem than the spotty sampling of the thermometer data is the endless adjustment game applied to the thermometer data. The thermometer network is made up of a patchwork of non-research quality instruments that were never made to monitor long-term temperature changes to tenths or hundredths of a degree, and the huge data voids around the world are either ignored or in-filled with fictitious data
    Indeed.

  10. January 19, 2017 11:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Floating-voter.

  11. January 20, 2017 3:18 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  12. January 20, 2017 10:48 am

    FYI, RSS says 2016 is the warmest in its record: http://images.remss.com/papers/rsstech/Jan_5_2017_news_release.pdf

  13. January 22, 2017 2:09 pm

    ‘Lumo’ argues that satellite and surface data are not measures of the same thing anyway, which adds to the controversy :/

    ‘Their different stories about the global mean temperature probably aren’t due to a “mistake” but due to their different definition of the global mean temperature. The terrestrially measured temperature is increasing at this rate approximately 2 °C per century while the rate is less than 1.5 °C – and, according some proxies, even much smaller than that – according to the satellites. That’s not a contradiction because they mean different quantities by the “global mean temperature”.’

    http://motls.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/giss-1998-2016-comparison-suggests.html

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: