5 Feb 2009, 11:43pm
Climate and Weather
by admin

Snow Job in Antarctica

Blogger skeptics bust GW modelers for bad data

by Mike Dubrasich, W.I.S.E. News

The January 22nd issue of Nature boasts the cover story: “Antarctic Warming” [here]. The problem is the research paper touted on the cover (and in the editorial) was based on bad data.

Statistician, global warming skeptic, and blogger Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit [here] has discovered that the Antarctic weather station data upon which the paper in Nature was based was tainted. Temperature data from two different stations, “Harry” and “Gill” in West Antarctica were combined to produce an erroneous uptick in historical readings [here].

In addition, meteorologist, weather station guru, and blogger Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That [here] has demonstrated that numerous Antarctic weather stations may have serious data problems. Snow has piled up around temperature sensors, effectively insulating the temperature monitoring stations from the bitterly cold extremes of the southern-most continent [here].

A University of Washington Press Release dated Jan. 21 hailed the new findings of a team led by UW professor Eric Steig [here]:

New data show much of Antarctica is warming more than previously thought

Scientists studying climate change have long believed that while most of the rest of the globe has been getting steadily warmer, a large part of Antarctica — the East Antarctic Ice Sheet — has actually been getting colder.

But new research shows that for the last 50 years, much of Antarctica has been warming at a rate comparable to the rest of the world. In fact, the warming in West Antarctica is greater than the cooling in East Antarctica, meaning that on average the continent has gotten warmer, said Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Quaternary Research Center at the UW. …

The study found that warming in West Antarctica exceeded one-tenth of a degree Celsius per decade for the last 50 years and more than offset the cooling in East Antarctica.

Co-authors of the paper are David Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., a former student of Steig’s; Scott Rutherford of Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I.; Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University; Josefino Comiso of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; and Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. The work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.

The researchers devised a statistical technique that uses data from satellites and from Antarctic weather stations to make a new estimate of temperature trends.

Authors Eric Steig and Drew Shindell took part in a Nature teleconference with reporters about their Antarctica paper. The story was picked up by newspapers around the world.

Now it turns out the data used was faulty and erroneous.

Various climate skeptics pointed out immediately that a temperature rise of one-tenth of a degree Celsius per decade was too small to be detected, especially when temperature stations in Western Antarctica are few in number across such a vast, continental area. The “interpolation” statistics used by the authors were also called into question.

But until last Sunday, no one had examined the actual data. That is when Mr. McIntyre and contributors to his blog, Climate Audit, discovered that the readings of stations “Harry” and “Gill” had been combined in such a way as to show a false upward trend.

“Gill” temperature reading from 1987 to July 1994 were spliced with “Harry” readings from December 1994 to 2000. Since “Gill” is at a relatively snow-free location, its temperatures were slightly colder than at snowier “Harry”. When the two stations were treated as one, an erroneous upward trend resulted.

McIntyre also discovered data flaws at the Chatham Island weather station last June.

When the data flaws were reported Monday, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) initially erased “Harry” and “Gill” from their database. Emails from Mr. McIntyre persuaded BAS to restore the data for scientific review.

The science magazine Nature has yet to respond to the (confirmed) allegations of flawed data that call into question the reliability of the UW team’s findings.

Mr. Watts has posted photographs of various Antarctic weather station buried in snow. Indeed, snow burial of “Harry” may have led to the confusion with “Gill” when “Harry” could not be found (Antarctica is a big place with few distinct topographic features). Other Antarctic weather stations with siting problems (snow burial, too close to heated dormitories) include “Theresa”, “Halley VI”, “Summit”, “Lanyon Junction”, and others.

Watts reports:

This regular burial and digging out of stations brings the whole network of AWS stations to be used as sensitive climate measurement stations into question.

Without a doubt weather stations periodically buried in snow cannot reliably detect a temperature trend as small as 0.1 degrees C per decade!

The reported “warming” of Western Antarctica was widely hailed as evidence of global warming. Climate skeptic bloggers have discovered serious defects in the data used in the UW analysis. Whether Media outlets will now report that the underlying data was flawed, and thus the finding of warming unreliable, remains to be seen.

They haven’t yet.

11 Feb 2009, 8:38pm
by vince

when you see ice melting, it is because it is elevating in temperature and thus it melts.

When you pour ice cubes into your glass and let it sit, they melt becuase room temp is higher than their melting point….

common sense here folks.

22 Mar 2009, 5:46pm
by Snozzle

I seem to recall a Scandinavian researcher on CBC’s now banned (as in removed from their website) documentary “Doomsday Called Off” (but still available on Youtube) saying that even if the temperature in Antactica goes up by several degrees, it is so cold down there that Antarctica will continue to “grow”. Note that the UW and Steig’s research is only talking about cooling/warming, not about melting and not about whether there is more or less ice on the Antarctic massif. But people erroneously assume that warming of Antarctica equals melting of ice. Why does a hotter world mean more ice in Antarctica? As I recall the Scandinavian researcher said because of increased evaporation in the rest of the world, the moist air turns to snow/ice over Antarctica, and as Antarctica is “so cold”, that even if Antarctica heats up by several degrees, it will continue to grow. (My understanding is that the melting around the edges of Antarctica, its Peninsula and the coast of Greenland, spectacular eye-candy for alarmists, is caused by warm sea-water currents).



web site

leave a comment

  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta