Several months ago, our local newspaper presented on two consecutive Sundays, articles on global warming. The first was an AP article critical of global warming and detailing how the scientific results were manipulated to achieve political ends. The second was a rebuttal from several department heads at the University of Illinois, including the Atmospheric Science Department, who are involved in that science. In the first article, several links were presented to scientific results which supported his premise. The links were broken. Of greater concern was the scientific department’s heads rebuttal. Their argument consisted of a statement that Evangelical Christians supported global warming (mitigation efforts); therefore other conservatives should also support them — a kind of reverse ad hominem argument.

On April 18th in the Wall Street Journal, Patrick Michaels wrote an OpEd article detailing how climate data was suffering from several re-baseline efforts. As a result of correcting observations for various effects, the baselines from which the warming trends were extrapolated were lowered. This had the net result of creating warming trends over periods where the original data showed flat or decreasing temperatures. The outcome of this is that several widely publicized global warming indications are the result of data adjustments, not necessarily of true warming trends.

Data vs IPCC Trend

Unfortunately once a study is published, it takes on a life of its own. Critical review and analysis becomes loaded with imputed polticial agendas. Science is no longer performed. Political capital achieved from supporting one side or another obfuscates the picture and inhibits critical thought. The situation becomes worse when politicians in conjunction with industry devise solutions — carbon sequestration, trading carbon credits, and CO2 limits just to name a few. Corporations exist to create profit for shareholders, and when any corporation espouses a system of trading credits for emissions, you would do well to look beneath the covers. It won’t be pretty.

Personally, no matter which side of the debate you fall on, I think it is the epitome of arrogance to take a slice of as complex system as the earth and proclaim that this is the way it should be. Especially when humans inhabit such a trivial slice of geological time. Perhaps Canadians would like an open waterway to their north so they can deliver their now increased wheat production to the desertified islands of Florida.




My intent in writing this rant is not to take a side although I have one (application of the scientific method and rational thought); but to provide those missing links of data which seem so hard to ferret out so that our readers may at least have a basis for their position. Below are some links and brief commentary on data sources. Feel free to add others as comments.


The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report provides a framework for analysis and some presentation of data. Note in section 6.0 that “Some key findings may be policy-relevant even though they are associated with large uncertainties. {WGII 20.9}”.

Liang et al., “Regional climate model downscaling of the US Summer Climate and Future Change“, Journal of Geophysical Research Vol III, 2006.

NOAA Radiosonde Atmospheric Temperature Products for Accessing Climate (RATPAC) Homepage. Note included states “The temporal homogeneity of many radiosonde time series is suspect due to historical changes in instruments and measurement practices. Such changes may introduce artificial inhomogeneities to the time series, making them unsuitable for the study of long-term climate variations, such as through trend analysis.”

NOAA “Radiosonde Atmospheric Temperature Products for Assessing Climate
(RATPAC): A new data set of large-area anomaly time series“, Melissa Free, Dian J. Seidel, and James K. Angell (NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA), John Lanzante (NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey, USA) & Imke Durre and Thomas C. Peterson (NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, USA).

Some interesting animations from SPARC (Stratospheric Processes and Their Role in Climate) is found here.

Overview of the Integrated Global Radiosonde Archive“, Durre et al. (National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina).

[Book] Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change (2000), Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. “The global-mean temperature at the earth’s surface is estimated to have risen by 0.25 to 0.4 °C during the past 20 years. On the other hand, satellite measurements of radiances indicate that the temperature of the lower to mid-troposphere (the atmospheric layer extending from the earth’s surface up to about 8 km) has exhibited a smaller rise of approximately 0.0 to 0.2 °C during this period. Estimates of the temperature trends of the same atmospheric layer based on balloon-borne observations (i.e., radiosondes) tend to agree with those inferred from the satellite observations.”

Satellite and Surface Temperature Data at Odds?” Reply to John R. Christy and Roy W. Spencer. This is available as PDF from Springerlink for those with access.

The Effect of Diurnal Correction on Satellite-Derived Lower Tropospheric Temperature“, Carl A. Mears and Frank J. Wentz (Remote Sensing Systems, Santa Rosa, CA 94501, USA). “We have derived a diurnal correction that, in the tropics, is of the opposite sign from that previously applied.” i.e., a cooling trend relative to the surface measured temperature.

“Correcting the MSU Middle Tropospheric Temperature for Diurnal Drifts”, Carl A. Mears, Matthias C. Schabel, and Frank J. Wentz (Remote Sensing Systems, 438 First Street, Suite 200, Santa Rosa, CA 95401) & Benjamin D. Santer, Bala Govindasamy (Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, P.O. Box 808, Mail Stop L-264, Livermore, CA 94550). “One of the most important and difficult to characterize sources of long-term drift in the data is due to the evolution of the local observing time due to slow changes in the orbital parameters of each NOAA platform, which can alias diurnal temperature changes into the long-term time series.” Remember your sampling theory and the Nyquist limit?

Another satellite reconciliation presentation [PPT]: “Resolution of Disparities in Tropospheric Temperature Records“, Thomas P. Karl (NOAA).

NASA Satellite Imagery of Anartic Ice Melt. Cycles becoming deeper each year.

A critque of the Warming Island report off Carlsbad Fjord. This observation is a matter of believing that 50 years is an epoch in geological time.

A Brighter Future” — A Response to Don Wuebbles (Climatic Change, vol. 52, no. 4, 2002), James E. Hansen (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY, U.S.A.)

A critique of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Assessment of the claims made by Eric Steig, an earth scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. This has several links to hurricane strength data.

As I stated, these are some data links — some pro and some con. If one is to derive a consensus on global warming, and especially on what we should do about it, with attendant risks to our way-of-life, economy and future, we should at least make an attempt to find out the facts.