Kid and his dad: 1, Global Warming: 0

science Social Issues


I just discovered this thanks to Climate Skeptic.

A kid and his dad in the States took it upon themselves to perform and release data analysis that NASA’s Goddard Institute isn’t willing to do (or if they are, they certainly aren’t telling anyone). They showed in a fairly uncontroversial way that data shopwing warming trends is highly suspect due to the apparent failure of those who depend on that data to check for factors that might interfere with readings (i.e. factors other than climate). The factor these two have identified is a fairly simply one: The difference between readings in major urban centres vs readings in less industrialised rural centres. Observe:

Not being an expert myself, I invite critique of this method of analysis.

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{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Bob December 14, 2009, 6:27 pm

    Seems like this _global_ warming is only happening in urban areas.

  • david w December 15, 2009, 12:42 pm

    Not being an expert myself, I invite critique of this method of analysis.

    There is nothing wrong with their methods – in fact that exactly the sort of homogenising that has certain sectors of the denialosphere up in arms about at the moment. But people have done these studies for a long time and the small uncertainties the urban heat island effect produces are included in IPCC estimates. And of course warming in the sea and the troposphere can hardly be put down to urbanisation!

  • Glenn December 15, 2009, 4:22 pm

    David, just saying that IPCC estimates take these facts into account doesn’t seem to be correct.

    IPCC estimates would tell us that we should expect global warming. But this mini study shows that warming is a trend in major urban centres but not in rural centres.

    Can you please explain how the IPCC estimates takes this information into account?

  • david w December 15, 2009, 5:23 pm

    Well, that’s the difference between the you tube study and the bulk of peer reviewed science.

    Some studies find a small UHI effect (others none) but nothing like warming being a purely urban phenomenon (and again, how would that explain tropospheric or ocean warming?). So the IPCC reports on 20th century warming include a small uncertainty because some measurements might be inflated.

  • Glenn December 15, 2009, 5:37 pm

    So, your comment is basically that these two reported incorrectly? That really the two graphs in each case (i.e. the rural plus the urban one) should have the same incline? Note: The rural areas had absolutely no increase. Not a reduced increase, but no increase. So your comment amounts to the claim that the data they used was somehow corrupted.

    Is there a reason to believe this?

    And again, this small study was not even designed to look at ocean warming or the troposphere.

  • david w December 15, 2009, 7:30 pm

    Is there a reason to believe this?

    All the other papers that don’t find that effect? The fact warming is evident in two records (sea and atmosphere) that can’t have been the result of urbanisation?

    I don’t know how the kid and his dad found the trends they did but I trust the other studies a little more than the youtube one. Don’t you?

  • Glenn December 15, 2009, 8:14 pm

    Here’s the thing David – the kid and his dad told us exactly how they got the data.

    They got the data from the same place anyone wanting to know the temperatures in those places over the last century would have gotten it.

    So it sounds like you don’t trust their method after all, in spite of what you said earlier. Can you state exactly what is wrong with their method? or are you instead saying that the publicly acessible data source is wrong? If it is, what might be better source?

    Whether you can trust a study, surely depends on a) the reliability of the data, and b) the reliability of the method. So if someone thinks these guys are wrong, I’m curious to see specifics: is the data wrong (and some evidence would be good, given that they explain where they got the data) or is the method flawed?

  • david w December 16, 2009, 12:21 pm

    You want I point by point review of a study that is presented as a youtube video? I think I’ll find something better to do.

    I don’t know how those two got the results they did, perhaps they cherry picked stations (or were just lucky) that need adjustments, perhaps they messed up their analysis. I don’t know. Call me a skpetic, but I think it’s much more likely those two are wrong than the entire body of literature on the topic.

  • scrubone December 16, 2009, 3:58 pm

    It would be interesting to see if rural data as a whole (not just that paired to urban) showed no trend.

    I suspect it would show warming (it must do, surely?), but the question is then, why the discrepancy?

  • Glenn December 16, 2009, 5:37 pm

    David: “I don’t know how those two got the results they did,”

    But they TOLD us how they got those results. Why the desire to cast doubt? They were absolutely upfront on the source of the data, and the method they used to get the results. They even spelled out their rationale in choice of locations to remove the possibility of the old “cherry picking” canard, but you did it anyway.

    This is about as simple as it gets. We know the data source. We know the method. We know the result those two things gave. The only reply I’m seeing here is that either they were being dishonest (i.e. intentionally cherry picking, which we have good reason to doubt), or else *shrug* they were just lucky.

    That’s pretty weak.

  • david w December 17, 2009, 12:09 pm

    Really Glenn?

    You have two options here

    1) The youtube video represents the true state of affairs. Every paper published on this topic is wrong and two independent temperature records are biased in the same direction by some other factor.

    2) The youtube video is wrong.

    Which do you choose? If it’s 2 can I offer you shares in my perpetual motion machine company?

  • Bob December 17, 2009, 2:36 pm

    Hi david,

    what would the video be right or wrong about?

    That kid’s not making any conclusion about GW, AGW, CO2, etc, etc.

    He simply produced graphs from publicly available data that show the rural areas across US aren’t warming like the urban areas.

    But of course that raises questions like why those rural areas don’t show any warming trend.

    I did check the nasa website and can verify that you can download the data just as said in the video.

  • Glenn December 17, 2009, 5:36 pm

    David, do you realise that to say that the Youtube clip is “wrong” is to fault either their method or their data. Both are publicly available.

    So which is it? This isn’t going away just because it’s awkward.

  • Glenn December 17, 2009, 5:41 pm

    As if we needed still more evidence that there’s no shortage of liars willing to defend the holy cause of global warming, Ken Perrot has gone on record claiming that I have claimed – in this very blog post that you’ve just read – that we should “Just sack the scientists!”

    See – the alarmists really don’t need help in making their congregation look like a gathering of unscrupulous fabricators. They are doing that just fine all by themselves.

  • david w December 18, 2009, 2:11 pm

    David, do you realise that to say that the Youtube clip is “wrong” is to fault either their method or their data. Both are publicly available.

    So which is it?

    I don’t know, I have better things to do than go off an replicate a “study” presented in a youtube video. What I am saying is that the prior knowledge that we have about the UHI effect (studies with thousands of stations, studies comparing calm with windy days, temperature records in the troposphere and the ocean studies in China with the greatest recent urbinsation on the globe…) makes it very unlikely the the pattern shown in the video is a true representation of recent climate change. A youtube video by some bloke and his kid is not, to me, sufficient evidence to overcome this prior so it is reasonable to infer something is wrong with the video.

    Or does denialsm go so far as to deny Bayes’ Theorem now?

  • Glenn December 18, 2009, 2:26 pm

    OK David, so they’re wrong, but you don’t know if their data is mistaken, and you can’t say that their method is wrong. You just know because of the accumulated conclusions of orthodoxy.

    (Continuing to write it off because he’s a “kid” and because it appears on Youtube is, of course, not relevant. They provide their sources and methods for public scrutiny.)

    It’s a bit like when a religious person resists somebody’s findings because his church tells him that it just couldn’t be so.

  • david w December 18, 2009, 4:08 pm

    So, to be clear.

    Do you think the you tube video is an accurately describes climate changes in the 20 century, that every paper ever published on the topic, including one by a contrarian, is wrong and that ocean and tropospheric warming are down to some other factor undisclosed factor?

    Or do you think the youtube video is wrong?

  • Glenn December 18, 2009, 4:13 pm

    David, you’re not being “clear” at all. You won’t even state whether or not you think their data is wrong. You’ve already said that their method is fine.

    I’m inviting information and actual criticisms. I do not know that “every paper ever published on the topic” (as you put it) speaks with one voice on the subject, so there’s no way I can engage that question. My concern is limited to the facts presented in the youtube clip that I reproduced. Thus far you’ve said nothing specific about them, except that they have to be “wrong.”

  • ZenTiger December 20, 2009, 9:45 pm

    I wonder if these two have any emails that we could get a hold of to see if they cherry picked data (like ignoring large chunks of valid Russian data), shut people out of the peer review process or “applied tricks” like real climate scientists?

    That might explain where they went wrong.

  • ZenTiger December 21, 2009, 9:23 am

    Maybe Wikipedia has a good concise summary of the facts you need David? Surely, it will confirm that all the peer reviewed papers ever produced on AGW are of one mind?

  • Mike January 21, 2011, 5:11 am

    OK, so what do we trust. An 11 year old child or a huge number of extremely well educated experts whose lives have been spent studying these issues?

    Would you take advice on who built the pyramids from a child or from people who had spent decades studying? Go figure.

  • Glenn January 21, 2011, 1:29 pm

    Mike, that’s the ad hominem fallacy. Attacking the person rather than the reasons given. If this guy is wrong, it’s because the data or his analysis is wrong. Both of these are publicly accesssible, so your reply misses the mark.

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