Home > Deconstructing Watts > Goddard: misGISStimation

Goddard: misGISStimation

2010 September 4

I know I am late to the party, but that’s what I get for waiting for the weekend. On the other hand, its been interesting to watch a full week of WUWT contributing author Steve Goddard in full blown self-destruct mode. I was first alerted to Goddard’s GISStimating 1998 post on a private board. I finally had some time to go check this out …

Goddard first shows this graph labeled “Global Temperature”:
GISTEMP land 1999

As you can infer from the URL that is from a research brief from Dr. Hansen. If you walk up the URL, you can find the original article

One thing to note is that the byline date which is 1999.
By James Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Jay Glascoe and Makiko Sato — August 1999

So what is the origin of the figure? It is listed amid the references at the bottom of the brief:
•Hansen, J., R. Ruedy, J. Glascoe and M. Sato 1999. GISS analysis of surface air temperature change. J. Geophys. Res. 104, 30997-31022.

The first line in the introduction of the paper reads: “Surface air temperature change is a primary measure of global climate change.”

GISS, like most labs, routinely produce a ‘land surface station’ record and a combined ‘land and sea surface station.’ This is describing the land surface. The source data is described in the next section: “The source of monthly mean station temperatures for our present analysis is the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) version 2 of Peterson and Vose [1997].” And the chart in question is Figure 4 which is introduced as “The near-global temperature, based on the meteorological station data, is shown in Figure 4. This result is based on rural, small-town, and homogeneity-adjusted urban stations.” and continues in the next paragraph with “Although this estimate of global temperature change is derived from what are nominally “land only” measurements, it is a better estimate of global change than what might be expected given that land covers only 30% of the world.”

So now you know the origin of the first graph. It shows land surface stations in GISTEMP circa 1999 using GHCN data.

How about the second graph labeled “Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index?” (you can already see where this is headed, can’t you?)

GISTEMP Land and Ocean

We can walk up the url to find the source web page

Where the source for the graph is given:
[This is an update of Fig. 1A in Hansen et al. (2006)]

If we go look at the paper, we read: “Our analysis, summarized in Fig. 1, uses documented procedures for data over land (4), satellite measurements of sea surface temperature (SST) since 1982 (5), and a ship-based analysis for earlier years (6).”

Goddard notes: “But something “interesting” has happened to 1998 since then.” Indeed, something interesting did happen. Many interesting things. USHCN has been adjusted for time-of-observation and other inhomogenities. Additional Antarctic data has been integrated. Nightlights are being used as a proxy for urbanization. But Goddard seems blithely unaware that the two graphs he is to which he is referring are showing two different things – a land reconstruction and a land+sea reconstruction.

Turning to his conclusion, Goddard writes: GISS recently modified their pre-2000 historical data, and is now inconsistent with other temperature sets. But as we already know, GISS doesn’t keep historical data. They use GHCN + USHCN + SCAR (antarctic) data sets.

He continues: GISS data now shows a steady warming from 1975-2010, which other data sets do not show. GISTEMP is consistent with HadCRU and NCDC and JMA and a small horde of bloggers. You can compare GISTEMP and HadCRU for yourself here for yourself. You can see a summary of the reconstructions of technical bloggers here

Some of this (maybe all of it*) is pointed out in the comments. I’ve picked up other bits spread over several blogs. Goddard himself was moved to post this “Iz so stoopid” comment on his brand new blog.

Goddard’s new blog may be a sign that even Watts is tired of his BS. I’ve read that he had been kicked off of WUWT author roll before, and it appears he has just been kicked off again. (see point 4) Probably owing to the comments on the bottom of this thread. But maybe its just a timeout in the penalty box for high-sticking.

You don’t need to turn to groupthink or fraud or religion or corruption or conspiracy to explain the questions or counter the slimy inferrences made by Goddard. You just need to Read The Fine Manual.


UPDATE: Just noted the closing comment on that thread:

Thanks to all for a spirited debate. GISS is not without it’s problems, but at least this one has been put to bed. Mr. Goddard made a mistake, and should have investigated complaints earlier.

As jeez points out, at least here at WUWT we allow the dissection of mistakes. We try to maintain an open mind about such things.

Good luck to Steve Goddard on his new blog.

This thread is now closed.

Congratulations to Anthony for improving the science content of his blog. Good luck to Goddard at his new blog. I hope his voyage of discovery is as self-educational as mine has been.

* Hi! Mosh! You did a great job in there. Thank you.

  1. Toby Joyce
    2010 September 5 at 3:30 am

    Watts might have taken some personal responsibility for allowing rubbish to be published on his blog.

  2. 2010 September 5 at 11:31 am

    Why it took 9 months I can’t fathom, but Watts did finally take action.

    But then, we see him post idiotic charges of “self-plagiarism” and see him quickly back pedal on responsibility. Or posting Mosher’s half-baked 5-SD post (and I mean that in the technical sense – its just not done yet). Watts’ site isn’t just some quiet little blog in the corner of nowhere.

    Then there is that “I’m going to reveal your real name and IP address” game he likes to play with critics.

    Using the charitable explanation, Watts just doesn’t understand internet ethics.

  3. 2010 September 6 at 1:48 am

    AFAIR the first time Watts kicked Goddard was after the famous CO2 snow fiasco year ago. Goddard wasn’t allowed to post for several months (I remember that Watts explicitely said something like that in the comments on WUWT, after one of his readers asked him where Goddard had gone). After Climategate all Goddard’s sins were forgiven and he returned…

  4. Steven Mosher
    2010 September 13 at 9:25 am

    God that was a painful exercise. The stupidest thing was that Goetz, SteveMc and I had gone over this stuff years prior. And once it became apparent that the RSM method would ( legitamately) offer up changing versions of the past as we went forward, the issue dropped off the radar screen. At first it made no sense to me, but after understanding the approach it made perfect sense.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.