Thursday, December 17, 2009

Institute for Economic Analysis Claims Met Office fiddled data

Today's buzz is about the Moscow -based free market think tank, the Institute for Economic Analysis (IEA), who claim, according to Watts :

"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.

The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.

On the whole, climatologists use the incomplete findings of meteorological stations far more often than those providing complete observations.

IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.

The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the world’s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration.

Global-temperature data will have to be modified if similar climate-date procedures have been used from other national data because the calculations used by COP15 analysts, including financial calculations, are based on HadCRUT research".

Watts ends his piece: "This is a very powerful accusation, which if true could change much about the climate science debate. Many papers are based on this dataset which has the highest trend of the major ground datasets".

So I ask the Met Office for a comment. They reply:

"The World Meteorological Organisation chooses the set of stations designated as essential climate stations that have been released by the Met Office. These are evenly distributed across the globe and provide a fair representation of changes in global average temperature over land. We do not choose these stations and therefore it is impossible for the Met Office to fix the data.

The global temperatures record, HadCRUT has been shown to underestimate the rise in global average temperatures over the past 30 years when compared against a fuller analysis of global temperatures. This analysis includes information from a wide range of sources such as satellites, radiosondes, and sea surface temperature data, but does not include surface observations used in HadCRUT, so is fully independent.

The analysis shows that HadCRUT under-estimates the warming in the Russian region, in particular, because of the limited availability of Northern Hemisphere high latitude observations. The Met Office is keen to publish all underpinning station data as it becomes available. We are already in the process of seeking agreement to release the underpinning data from its owners".
(emphasis added)

So it looks as if the IEA have got it wrong about who removed the measuring points, and in any case, there is no evidence that they are removing stations that are too cold.

It looks as if it is another damp squib from the deniers. This will not stop them from spraying it around the blogosphere, and to news sources which are also in denial.

A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on.

Thanks to Phil in the comments for this link to Deltoid on this topic. Deltoid found the IEA report, and it contains this graph created by the Met Office, to which he added the Russian graph from their paper (p 19):


The red line shows readings from the smaller set of 121 stations, and the blue line is for the larger set of 476 stations.

They agree very well since 1950. Before that, the red smaller set, the ones chosen by the data collectors, show colder temps. It is true that the pruned readings from 1990 on are fractionally warmer than the full set, but the difference is not significant, as both lines are cooler than the best estimate grey line.

It is odd that the selected by the WMO is more cold in the 1880s, going beyond the grey line of total uncertainty.

The key point is that the two sets agree very well from the 1960s onward.

So - no goal for the skeptics at the Institute for Economic Analysis. Maybe they should stick to economics.

[Update 12 Jan 2010] I have just received this email from the World Meteorological Office, which is generic and non specific. It does not address the IEA allegations. I have suggested that they do so in a return email].

Thank you for your email.

WMO provides standards and guidelines on weather station data observations and communication protocols. This raw data is then processed and analyzed by many institutions for many different purposes. The weather stations of each country are maintained by that country.

The following web page does a job of explaining the GCOS Surface Network (GSN):

Specifically the Purposes of the GSN are:
* To establish national commitments for the preservation of a set of valuable climate stations for the foreseeable future;
* To build a collection of validated data from these stations in standardized formats;
* To provide this information to the global climate community with no formal restrictions;
* To create a baseline and benchmark data set for more enhanced regional and sub regional climate networks and for newly-developed observing systems, including remote-sensing systems.

Please see the following links for further detailed information:
Roshydromet national report 2008 on climate change
GCOS principles for GSN

Best regards,
xxxxxxxxxxxxx
World Meteorological Organization - http://www.wmo.int/

Daily Weather Forecasts and Climate Information - http://worldweather.wmo.int/
Tropical Cyclone and Severe Weather Warnings. - http://severe.worldweather.wmo.int/
World AgroMeteorological Information Service (WAMIS) - http://www.wamis.org/

[Update 21 Jan: still waiting for the WMO to reply]
Climate change FAQs.

26 comments:

Phil said...

Tim Lambert's demolished this one too:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/russian_analysis_confirms_20th.php

Kaihsu Tai said...

Yesterday (as so rarely happens) I watched RT News (ex Russia Today), which gave a huge amount of play on this piece, to the extent that it did no ‘balancing’ by interviewing mainstream scientists. (CNN was only a bit better, with Amanpour having a swipe at Chávez, closely followed by BBC which reportedly ‘balanced’ the Age of Stupid; but that is no excuse.) RT then took out two full-page adverts in today’s Guardian, one of which questioned climate change. Alas.

DocRichard said...

Alas, indeed. To rebalance, take a look at the Climate Wars series
http://greenerblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/earth-climate-wars-history-of-climate.html
if you have not already.
What we have now to expect is an attack on the ability of models to predict future climate.

The skeptics, like the poor, we will have always with us. They have a role in sharpening up the science. We can even hope that they are to some degree right, because the science is pretty terrifying.

Four weeks on the Daily Mail debate has desensitised me from ad hom attacks. That's all I expect from them now.

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DocRichard said...

Why the hell is this post getting spammed so intensively? It is of course impossible that some associate of the Institute for Economic Analysis has put it onto a spam list, because climate sceptics are ethically pure as the driven snow, so what is the real explanation?

weggis said...

You've missed one!

There is obviously a phrase in there somewhere which the bot searches for?

DocRichard said...

What that Japanese one? For all I know it says this is the best blog in the world. I'm not going to delete that am I?

I cannot see why purveyors of priapic pharmaceuticals should decide that this is of interest to them. Maybe its because climate change deniers are old men they reason that there is a good market niche for them.

Thanks for commenting Weggis. I don't know what I'd do without you.

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