2010-08-16 12:11:55Basic Rebuttal #62. Station drop-off: How many thermometers do you need to take a temperature?
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.181.139
An oft-cited skeptic argument is that the decrease in available temperature measuring stations during the 1990s introduces an increased bias towards warming. The argument is based upon the premise put forward by some climate change skeptics that stations which show more warming were kept and ones that show less warming were dropped. The reason this assumption is made is because during the 1990s there was a large reduction in the number of meteorological stations being used for global temperature analyses.

In order to test this theory, several independent researchers (Tamino, Ron Broberg, Zeke Hausfather, Joseph at Residual Analysis and others at the Clear Climate Code Project) and have calculated whether the stations dropped showed less warming than the ones kept. The results? Several find no difference and several find that dropped stations show more warming.

Furthermore, it is also important to note that the methods used in global temperature analyses make them robust to the loss of stations because they use techniques which incorporate multiple nearby stations into analysis of any individual region.

So to conclude: Independent researchers have shown that there is no truth to the claim that cooling stations were removed, in fact evidence suggests that if these stations were included, warming would be shown to be slightly greater.
2010-08-16 15:52:18A few points
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
81.152.239.255

Hi Robert. May I say, from the lay persons point of view the graph may be easily misunderstood. You say "the dropped stations displayed much more warming over the whole data series" but it could be taken by the innocent that the red lines show "higher temps" than the blue line (so, asking the devil's advocate question; what is the X axis (and will punters understand it?) and that after 1920 the difference is indistinguishable - so a sceptical question would be "what's the fuss about?". The two sets of smoothed trends are not self-explanatory, nor what pre and post cutoff signify, and the trend/R2 values are too technical in my opinion.

I feel this while the text is pretty clear, the graph may not be simple enough.

2010-08-17 12:17:21Response
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.181.139
I agree with your criticisms wholeheartedly. I've been trying to find another graph which is perhaps easier for individuals to read without requiring too much examination in order to discern the difference in trends. If I was any good at python I could run the thing like them but that's a no go haha... Regardless it is a pity the raw data is not available. I'll try to work something out. If you see anything plausible let me know (there is another graph which I could use but might requiring some editing to show the trend differences).

Thanks
2010-08-17 12:24:02Getting raw data
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.17.49
Robert, there's been a number of people who've done the pre/post cut off analysis - I could try emailing a few of them, seeing if they could email us their raw data?
2010-08-17 13:21:21Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.181.139
Hello John,

That would be great if you could email them. I'm probably going to post a comment on the Clear climate code forum and see what they say. It's just nice to be able to make your own graph so you can really make it clear for basic comprehension which is sometimes lacking in many academic graphs.
2010-08-17 13:55:15A couple of mundane suggestions
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

"in the 1990s the amount of stations being used for": "amount"-->>"number"

"picking out the series which show" --> "picking out the stations which show"

 

Might think about using "retained" in place of "kept."

2010-08-20 12:12:05Revised
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.177.145
See Up top for most recent version
2010-08-20 18:55:38Too technical?
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
217.44.86.17

Hi Robert - this line gave me pause for thought:

"Furthermore, it is also important to note that the spatial weighting and gridding methods used in global temperature analyses makes them robust to the loss of stations".

I don't think this is simple enough for the basic explanation, but I do think the robust nature of the analyses is a good point to make. Is there a way of explaining this in less technical terms? 

2010-08-20 18:59:09Twitter title suggestion
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
217.44.86.17
Station drop-off: How many thermometers do you need to take a temperature?
2010-08-20 22:07:23Wording - unneccessary "and"?
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
109.41.43.59

Hi Robert,

this sentence in the 2nd paragraph gave me pause:

"In order to test this theory, several independent researchers (Tamino, Ron Broberg, Zeke Hausfather, Joseph at Residual Analysis and others at the Clear Climate Code Project) and have attempted to calculate whether the stations dropped showed less warming than the ones kept."

I think the "and" needs to be deleted to make a "proper" sentence (...several independent researchers [..] have attempted to...)

2010-08-20 23:39:49Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
24.224.230.22
revision done.
2010-08-21 01:53:56Puzzlement?
John Russell

jr@johnrussell...
84.92.176.215

Is this a basic argument and does it have a number? Or are we charting new sceptic territory here?

Suggestions...

"...was a large drop-off in the amount of meteorological stations..."

I suggest... "...was a large reduction in the number of meteorological stations...".

I also think that you need to explain what 'gridding methods' means.  I'm not sure myself though I can hazard a guess. 

Best wishes,

JR

2010-08-21 04:44:34
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151
Might just swap in "statistical" for "gridding."
2010-08-21 05:02:58Revised
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
24.224.230.22
Revised and shown above
2010-08-21 06:38:25amount v number
John Russell

jr@johnrussell...
84.92.176.215

Robert,

'Amount' tends to be used when we're taking about something which is not made up of discrete elements -- like a pile of sand .

'Number' tends to be used when we're taking about something which is made up of discrete elements -- like bricks (and weather stations).

Just a thought. Of couse, you might have a reason for using 'amount'. If so can you let me know ,'cos I'm interested.

Best wishes,

JR 

2010-08-21 11:05:20Spelling
MattJ
Matthew Johnson
mej1960@yahoo...
64.105.35.191

Everytime I see 'skeptic' spelled 'sceptic', I pronounce it 'septic' -- which fits the so-called AGW 'sceptics' too well;)

But now to the article itself: it feels like it is starting in the middle of something, with this word 'another'. This reminds me of the comment someone else made about needing a style guide.

I suggest two principles to include in the style guide:

1) always make it clear when you are stating the skeptic's argument and when you are refuting it (done well in this post, even without CSS styles that might prove so handy for this purpose)

2)  We really should have a standard format across all the Basic rebuttals, kind of like what we already have on the Android app (and the iPhone/) where the initial block has the skeptic's argument, the response startw w/ a new font/style and "What the science really says..." followed by the body of the refutation.

Finally, I have to disagree with the reason given for making the assumption. The real reason is that they just want to reject all evidence of warming. That the stations were dropped is just an excuse, not a reason.

Oh, really finally this time;) I suggest replacing "attempted to calculate" with "calculate", since they really did calculate it. True, the result of the calculation was the opposite of what the skeptic would expect, but the calculation itself was successful and accurate. You do not want to suggest otherwise by saying 'attempted'.

2010-08-21 16:00:07
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

Quite effective, especially as we have multiple independent perspectives as opposed to the official word we could wish for. 

"...during the 1990s brings in an..." --> "...during the 1990s introduces a..."

Assuming Robert takes into account MattJ's remarks about "another" which is indeed a little jarring as well as JR's point about "number" versus "amount" I think this is ready to go.

2010-08-21 16:04:46I'm good
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
217.44.86.17
Other than a few minor tweaks, this is good to go in my view.
2010-08-23 01:44:08Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.177.145
Revisions done for the most part.
2010-08-23 22:40:35
Anne-Marie Blackburn
Anne-Marie Blackburn
bioluminescence@hotmail.co...
212.139.81.253
Good, clear post - ready to go.
2010-08-24 02:43:24Yes.
John Russell

jr@johnrussell...
82.70.63.102
Gets my vote.
2010-08-24 08:48:04
Michael Searcy

scentofpine@yahoo...
72.91.223.97

The content is great and gets a thumbs up from me.  Nice job!

Just a few very minor grammatical items just to be overly picky.....


"In order to test this theory, several independent researchers (Tamino, Ron Broberg, Zeke Hausfather, Joseph at Residual Analysis and others at the Clear Climate Code Project) and have calculated whether the stations dropped showed less warming than the ones kept."

Drop the "and".  May want to change the tense from present to past, changing "have calculated" to just "calculated".


"Several find no difference and several find that dropped stations show more warming."

Place a comma before "and". Need to keep tense consistent with the previous sentence. I lean toward the past tense since the analyses have been performed, and my assumption is that the dropped stations are no longer in operation..."Several found no difference....dropped stations showed more warming."

Either way, make sure it's consistent.  The first sentence contains "showed", the second "show".


"robust to the loss of stations because they use techniques which incorporate multiple nearby stations into analysis of any individual region"

Place a comma before "because". Add a "the" before "analysis".


"were removed, in fact evidence suggests"

Let "in fact" start a new sentence.

2010-08-24 09:50:53Published
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.178.185.124
Gone live with this one. Good headline from Graham too.