Dec 17 2009

Hide The Decline Comrade!

Sorry for the lack of posting today, been on travel all day.

Russia just threw a huge monkey wrench into Copenhagen by becoming the first nation to claim the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia manipulated the raw Russian measurement data to create a fictional view of climate in that huge and chilly country:

On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

Wow – what a strange coincidence. 75% of the Russian station data was not used, and this data represents 40% of the country! Now there is evidence this is not a deliberate deletion to ‘hide the decline’, but simple and total incompetence. If we read the HARRY_READ_ME file we find a lot of discussions about Russian stations and problems with the CRU database:

So.. should I really go to town (again) and allow the Master database to be ‘fixed’ by this program? Quite honestly I don’t have time – but it just shows the state our data holdings have drifted into. Who added those two series together? When? Why? Untraceable, except anecdotally.

It’s the same story for many other Russian stations, unfortunately – meaning that (probably) there was a full Russian update that did no data integrity checking at all. I just hope it’s restricted to Russia!!

Here, the expected 1990-2003 period is MISSING – so the correlations aren’t so hot! Yet the WMO codes and station names /locations are identical (or close). What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have 🙂

You can’t imagine what this has cost me – to actually allow the operator to assign false WMO codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a ‘Master’ database of dubious provenance (which, er, they all are and always will be).

This still meant an awful lot of encounters with naughty Master stations, when really I suspect nobody else gives a hoot about. So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option – to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations (er, CLIMAT excepted). In other words, what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad, but I really don’t think people care enough to fix ’em, and it’s the main reason the project is nearly a year late.

CRU incompetence verses cherry picking? Who cares which sin is lesser or the reality. The point is the CRU data is a mess, and therefore invalidates all ‘scientific’ conclusions it is based upon, and calls into question all results which are consistent with.

But even more important, a major country has now made the claim the results showing man-made global warming are not accurate. You don’t miss 75% of the data and 40% of the country the size of Russia and claim you have an accurate temperature record.

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Hide The Decline Comrade!”

  1. crosspatch says:

    This information from the Russians combined with “Harry’s” words are enough to throw the enture HadCRUT database into the toilet. It is not worth the disk space it is stored on.

    At one time I thought there was a need for an academic climate database the should be maintained by some respected institution (say a CalTech or MIT). The data should be rigorously vetted with no “time limit” to pressure people to cut corners. It should be built carefully. The data should not be “freely available” to the public as many sources of this weather data charge for it and only offer it for free to academics who are doing research and don’t release the raw data. Possibly the database could offer data sets for sale for a fee to non-academics with a revenue share with the original data providers.

    This would give all climate researchers a common base of information from which they could build their research. Everyone would compare apples to apples. This mechanism of everyone trying to build their own databases from raw data that is often incomplete or in error results in each database having its own set of mistakes. Added to that the time pressure as research grants are generally given for only a finite period, there is no wonder the data are a mess.

    But now I wonder … if there is no catastrophic climate change going on, why go to the expense of creating such a database?

  2. Frogg1 says:

    Interesting flash from the past article from March of this year:

    Obama’s involvement in Chicago Climate Exchange—the rest of the story

  3. kh1234567890 says:

    The only way out of the mess that CRU had created is to start again from each country’s raw data. Surely that must still exist somewhere ?

    The whole thing should be subcontracted to a commercial organisation that does this sort of thing for a living, not some clueless academics and amateur programmers. FFS there are only a few tens of thousands of stations to consider, not millions.

    Harry did his best, but he was completely out of his depth and under too much pressure to come up with the ‘right’ answers. For this reason the data interpretation has to be kept separate from the database building and maintenance.

    Is it going to happen ? I doubt it. Politicians and the media will find some new scare story and in a year’s time the whole episode will be forgotten. Life on planet Earth will carry on.

    I feel sorry for the Green movement who’d allowed themselves to be hijacked by the Climate Change lobby – many of their valid objectives could well go down with the Climate Change fiasco.

  4. David Mellon says:

    I note that the article is based on the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA). Their paper, written in Russian can be found here:

    There are a couple links in the paper. The most important link is preceded by the following statement which I translated using Altavista’s Babelfish.

    “Answering the strengthened public pressure the climatic center University of East England (CRU) in the collaboration with meteorological bureau of the center Of [khedli] (Met Office-Hadley Centre) on December 8, 2009. Placed in the free access the part of the base of these given, utilized by a joint group two centers (HadCRUT) for enumerating the temperature of the earth’s surface”

    Okay so following their link we go to an information release page:

    The news release is fairly detailed and I quote part of it below.

    “The Met Office has today released station temperature records for over 1,500 of the stations that make up the global land surface temperature record.

    These data are a subset of the full HadCRUT record of global temperatures, which is one of the global temperature records that have underpinned IPCC assessment reports and numerous scientific studies.

    The data subset will consist of a network of individual stations that has been designated by the World Meteorological Organization for use in climate monitoring. The subset of stations is evenly distributed across the globe and provides a fair representation of changes in mean temperature on a global scale over land.

    This subset is not a new global temperature record and it does not replace the HadCRUT, NASA GISS and NCDC global temperature records, all of which have been fully peer-reviewed. This subset shows that global-average land temperatures have risen over the last 150 years and is very similar to the temperature rises shown by the complete data set.”

    The FAQ info is very good.

    Okay so I was excited to see this access to HadCRU and took a look at the Darwin Airport station (mislabeled Phillipines on the data header). There is no notation of any correction for the station move–just data. You can see that some some data is missing here and there. For instance the 1941 missing data. So unless you know that the data has been adjusted and may actually be from another location you would not know that there has been any alteration of the data for the Darwin station move. Good to know! This is sloppy and is consisitent with the Harry Readme file.

    I love reading your blog AJ. Keep up the great work.

    I also briefly looked at the U.S. data with an emphasis on Nevada since I lived in the state for 27 years. The Nevada stations are as follows: Reno (el 4400′), Las Vegas (el 2000′), Winnemucca (el 4400′), and Ely (el 6400′). The mean elevation of the four measurement stations is 4,300′. Nevada has more mountain ranges than any other state and the mean elevation of the state is about 5,500′ (U.S. Geological Survey). To correct for this error it would have been appropriate to include South Lake Tahoe (el 6,300) instead of Reno NV. They are about 30 miles apart so th location is a good fit. Substituting South Lake Tahoe yields a mean elevation of 5,375 feet.

    After correcting for the heat island effect associated with Reno and Las Vegas and changing to the South Lake Tahoe station, I believe one would have a more representative result of this fairly large state and I say this without having looked at any of the Nevada data.

    I believe the opportunity to look through these 1,500 stations will tell us much about how accurately the stations really represent a country. The more I look at the measured temperature data on AGW the more I realize how little relaible data they really have! Considering the area covered, the granularity of the data simply must be ridiculously high!

  5. David Mellon says:

    Correction to comment two.

    I stated that the Darwin Airport file was mislabeled as the Philippines. That is incorrect. I was looking at the complete file (a zip file) and being a newbie thought all of the files were for Darwin. The files are actually for the entire world.

    The link to the zip file is a little further down the Met information release page from the individual file retrieval area.

    My apologies for the confusion.

  6. borepatch says:

    If you consider that all the analysis of the data so far (you, Anthony Watts, M&M, Chiefio, Lucia, a few others) has been mostly as a hobby, imagine what will happen when some government is about to get its ox gored by all this.

    If Russia or China (or India) unleash a couple labs worth of Mathematicians on the GISS and NHCN, do you think they’d find something interesting?

    AJ, you’ve been doing outstanding work, but you’re one guy in your spare time. Imagine a thousand of you, 40 hours a week.

  7. AJStrata says:

    Thanks Borepatch,

    But to be honest this ‘science’ is so bad it doesn’t take much to discover it is all a myth built on shoddy math.

  8. Snapple says:

    I can’t evaluate the science, but I read Russian. One thing I notice is that bloggers who are skeptical of AGW are taking the Russian line on AGW.

    Still, “the Russians” do not speak with one voice on the AGW issue, although the ones who accept AGW were pretty quiet during this recent scandal.

    You cite the the head guy at the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis, Andrei Illarionov, is also at the Libertarian Cato Insititute. He is an economist, not a scientist. Look at their website.

    He used to work for Putin and Chernomyrdin, who was chairman of the board of the natural gas conglomerate GAZPROM before now-President Medvedev was chariman of the board.

    Maybe Illarionov represents GAZPROM interests, not science. GAZPROM is half owned by the Russian government and the other half by stockholders.

    Inhofe comes from an oil state. He is a promoter of the Russian AGW skeptic Andrei Kapitsa.

    Kapitsa claims that warming is causing the increase in CO2.

    Do all skeptics agree about this or do they disagree with each other?

    The AGW folks believe that CO2 causes warming, not the other way around.

    Some Russian scientists claim an ice age is coming.

    In Tomsk, there is a scientist named Sergei Korpotin who claims that AGW is melting the permafrost (frozen peat bogs) and that this is causing methane from decomposing organic matter to go into the atmosphere. The indigenous people who live in those remote areas also reportedly also claim the climate is warming.

    More than half of Russia is permafrost, so Russians are likely to notice if it is thawing.

    The Tomsk Polytechnical University held an international conference about this recently.

    I think that the Russian FSB are the hackers because the Russian oil and gas interests that control Russia don’t want to pay for fixing the problem. They want us to spend our money.

    Still, Russian scientists are studying global warming.

    The Russian oil and gas interests may feel that global warming will make it easier to extract oil.

    The oil interests in the US that support Inhofe may also be lukewarm about AGW.

  9. Snapple says:

    Here is Illarionov’s site.

    He is cited by Western skeptics of AGW, but he used to work for Chernomyrdin, a former chairman of the huge gas conglomerate GAZPROM.

    He has posted some charts and articles from the Russian media on his site.

    The December 16 article is titled “A Scientific Consensus on Climate Issues Does Not Exist.”

    You can download the google toolbar and use the translation feature to read this article.

    I am skeptical of the science presented by an economist who used to work for Chernomyrdin.

    It’s like believing a scientist who works for a cigarette company that claims cigarettes don’t cause cancer.