2011-09-21 22:52:55Prof. Pielke's paper - another headache for Remote Sensing?
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
139.222.14.107

 

Prof. Pielke referred to a paper he has co-authored on model-data comparison for tropical trophospheric trends.  However it has a statistical flaw that means the claim of statistically significant difference are a wild over-cliam, the flaw is very similar to the one in the earlier paper by Douglass et al.  Essentially they compare the observed value with the spread of the multi-model means, rather than within the spread of the model runs themselves, which essentially means that the comparision does not consider the effect of internal climate variability as evident in the models.  Like the DOuglass et al paper, the models are liable to fail this test even if they are perfect.

Remote sensing really shouldnt be accepting climatology papers as it is clear their peer review process doesn't have enough reviewers with appropriate skills.

http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/r-358.pdf

I suspect that Prof. Pielke will not give a direct answer to my question about the Douglass et al paper, which suggests his skepticism is one-sided after all.

 

2011-09-21 23:12:23
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

Do you think this is something that should be dealt with here, or a comment to Remote Sensing, or another journal?

2011-09-21 23:26:25
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
139.222.14.107

Here would be a start, a comment to Remote Sensing would also be worth considering [however my teaching load is vast this semester :-( ].  This model-data comparison stuff hardly rocket science, but it crops up again and again.

2011-09-21 23:37:58
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.29.19

Dikran,

My impression from looking at the table of contents for RS for a few issues is that they are really about measurement tools & methodology, not about conclusions. To exaggerate slightly, it's like a journal on mining technology publishing an article on how re-evaluation of mining tailings leads to a dramatic re-evaluation of the geographical distribution of some mineral: There may be a linking insight, but someone involved with the actual issues should do some sanity checking.

2011-09-21 23:55:02
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
139.222.14.107

Neal, agreed.  ISTR there was a suggestion that skeptics had been using Remote Sensing to get results that wouldn't get past peer review at a climatology review through "under the radar"; this would be another example, and again Roy Spencer is a co-author.

To be fair to RS, you have to understand how ensembles are used in climate modelling to see the error in Christy et al. (2010), and this seems abit off-topic for remote sensing.

2011-09-21 23:59:21
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.29.19

Dikran,

Exactly why their antennae should have started quivering: "Why is he sending this paper to us?"

Or did they think, "This is our change to make a mark in real science? Something that will go into the textbooks?"

2011-09-22 02:39:54
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Dikran, I think that would make for an interesting post - discussing the proper statistical approach in this sort of study (preferably not too technical!), where Douglass and Pielke et al. went wrong in the two papers, and ending with a note about Remote Sensing establishing a pattern of publishing papers outside the journal's expertise.

If you have time to draft it, of course :-)

2011-09-22 03:03:03
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
139.222.14.107

I was thinking about doing such a post on the Douglass paper (but was worndering if it was a bit too long ago to be worth it), based on an infinite number of parallel Earths (which would be a "perfect" GCM ensemble) thought experiment.  That a perfect model fails the test is a pretty good indication of the value of the test!  The one in Christy et al (2010) is sligtly better, but still wrong AFAICS.

I am hoping that Prof. Pielke will be willing to discuss it on the most recent Pielke-a-thon thread, but I suspect he won't give a straight answer to the question.

2011-09-22 03:54:50Dikran
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Thanks for steping in as Moderator on the Pielke-a-thon thread, The baton is in good hands.

2011-09-22 05:38:35Dikran
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

pielkesr at 05:32 AM on 22 September, 2011

Dikran Marsupial - It would be much more effective if you would directly contact David Douglass and ask your question about his analysis. This would be another example of reaching out to seek to work together on the climate issue. I have respect for David and he will clarify or correct if their is an error. However, you need to reach out to ask him. 


That answers that question.  Next?

 

2011-09-22 07:43:55
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Reach out to those poor deniers Grypo, reach out to those poor souls...  ;)  Good grief.  Or you could write a slam-dunk refutation.  Wow he respects Watts and Douglss and Spencer and Christy.  He probably does not respect Hansen though.

2011-09-22 17:25:03
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
139.222.14.107

grypo - the funny thing is that I DID email Douglass when I first saw the paper, but no reply.

Pielkes refusal to answer a direct question about a scientific paper that he himself has cited is deeply unscientific.

2011-09-23 04:12:33Houston, we have a problem!
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

2) A new paper by lead author Dr. Nigel Fox of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the U.K.’s National Measurement Institution (synopsis available at eurekalert.org) warns all existing space data used in computer models to calculate the future impact of climate change are highly unreliable.

In a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Fox, head of Earth observation and climate at NPL, notes: “Nowhere are we measuring with uncertainties anywhere close to what we need to understand climate change and allow us to constrain and test the models. Our current best measurement capabilities would require more than 30 years before we have any possibility of identifying which model matches observations and is most likely to be correct in its forecast of consequential potentially devastating impacts. The uncertainties needed to reduce this are more challenging than anything else we have to deal with in any other industrial application, by close to an order of magnitude. It is the duty of the scientific community to reduce this unacceptably large uncertainty, by finding and delivering the necessary information, with the highest possible confidence, in the shortest possible time.”

Fox proposes the launch of a new space satellite designed by NPL called TRUTHS (Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial-and-Helio Studies) which would improve current satellite measurements by a factor of 10, and help to upgrade the performance of existing satellites gathering information on climate, which typically lose their calibration during launch.

Source:

2) A new paper by lead author Dr. Nigel Fox of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the U.K.’s National Measurement Institution (synopsis available at eurekalert.org) warns all existing space data used in computer models to calculate the future impact of climate change are highly unreliable.

 

In a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Fox, head of Earth observation and climate at NPL, notes: “Nowhere are we measuring with uncertainties anywhere close to what we need to understand climate change and allow us to constrain and test the models. Our current best measurement capabilities would require more than 30 years before we have any possibility of identifying which model matches observations and is most likely to be correct in its forecast of consequential potentially devastating impacts. The uncertainties needed to reduce this are more challenging than anything else we have to deal with in any other industrial application, by close to an order of magnitude. It is the duty of the scientific community to reduce this unacceptably large uncertainty, by finding and delivering the necessary information, with the highest possible confidence, in the shortest possible time.”

Fox proposes the launch of a new space satellite designed by NPL called TRUTHS (Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial-and-Helio Studies) which would improve current satellite measurements by a factor of 10, and help to upgrade the performance of existing satellites gathering information on climate, which typically lose their calibration during launch.

Souce: “Global warming is hot”, Toronto Sun, Sep 22, 2011

 

2011-09-23 06:01:29Actual announcement by NPL
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.33.164

Public release date: 17-Aug-2007
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Contact: Richard Moss
084-568-01863
National Physical Laboratory

UK satellite mission to improve accuracy of climate-change measurements gains global support

TRUTHS (Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies) is a proposed satellite mission, led by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), to improve tenfold the accuracy of earth observation satellites used to deliver climate change data. TRUTHS will launch a calibration laboratory into space to help settle international debates around climate change and provide a robust statistical baseline from which to monitor and predict changes in the Earth’s climate. Enabling the provision of data of sufficient accuracy to improve the predictive quality of climate models such as those of the UK Hadley centre a key requirement highlighted in the Stern review.

Since its initial proposal more than five years ago TRUTHS has been seeking the level of financial support required to convert it from theory to a fully-fledged satellite mission. Recent reports from the United Nations, the World Meteorological Organisation and the US Academy of Sciences all call for a spaceflight mission designed to achieve exactly what TRUTHS was established to deliver. The latter has even recommended such a mission as one of the four priorities for US spaceflight by 2013.

“We’ve seen a recent surge in recognition around the world that we need more accurate data about our climate,” explains Dr Nigel Fox, NPL’s lead scientist on TRUTHS. “This can only be good news. With so many influential organisations calling for a TRUTHS-like mission we hope to be moving from scientific theory to spaceflight very soon.”

Why is TRUTHS important" Assessments of climate change and the consequential scale of its impact depend on accurate data from scores of earth observation satellites. They ought to provide unequivocal evidence to support national and international legislation. But most earth observation data is disputable.

“We just don’t know if the instruments are really accurate enough once they’ve been in space for a couple of years,” Fox says. “What we do know is they all seem to produce slightly different results, and that gives a lot of unnecessary wriggle room to those who dispute the evidence for human origins of climate change. The uncertainty of the data allows the sceptics to exist.”

The problem lies with calibration. Delicate measuring devices on earth – those used in medical and high-tech industries, for example – are regularly calibrated against primary physical standards held by national measurement institutes such as NPL. Instruments in space don’t have this luxury. They are finely tuned before they leave the earth. “But after that we just don’t know,” Dr Fox says. “Even if these sensitive instruments survive the violence of a rocket launch, their sensitivity changes over time. But we don’t really know by how much.” It’s not logistically or financially viable to bring these instruments back down to earth for a service every few months. “They can’t come to us so we’ll sort it out in orbit,” says Dr Fox.

The idea is for TRUTHS to be a master device in orbit, against which other earth observation satellites are tested and calibrated. That ensures they will all be working off the same measurement benchmark. It also reduces costs – a central orbiting reference point means each individual satellite doesn’t need to be equipped with its own individual suite of calibration tools.

Although the needs of climate science are perhaps the most demanding in terms of accuracy, such a mission would also serve as a reference to underpin the quality of data that is being generated and processed as part of the European GMES initiative and also that of GEO.

2011-09-23 06:28:55
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

John,

Your that first article you quoted quoted article is a good exaple of misrepresentation, I do not think Dr. Fox would say "warns all existing space data used in computer models to calculate the future impact of climate change are highly unreliable.".

This is about addressing problems with the observation system.  The climate model simulations rely on physics and specified forcings.

Anyways, such an obseravtion platform is a great idea, I hope that it comes to fruition.

2011-09-23 07:06:56Albatross
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

I suspect that the lead sentnece of the Toronto Sun article, 

"D. Nigel Fox...warns all existing space data used in computer models to calculate the future impact of climate change are highly unreliable."

has already gone viral as a denier meme.

Regardless, Fox's paper could be used by Pielke and others to boslter their arguments that the climate models are wothless.