A Welcomed Sight In the Watts et al Saga!


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Yes, I called it a saga, because that’s what it is going to be.  Other than grammatical errors, the first criticism to Watts et al is that they didn’t account or even really address the TOB (Time of OBservation) biases. 

It isn’t that it was necessary for the work to be valid, the work is valid.  It’s just that there’s much more to the story than sighting.  In my travels throughout the internets, I’ve found criticisms such as this to be fairly typical…… (stealing a comment from WUWT)  Bold mine.

vvenema says:

July 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

In the Fall, Watts, Nielsen‐Gammon, Jones, Niyogi, Christy, and Pielke Sr paper (2011), in Figure 4, the trend in the raw data is about 0.2°C per decade. The trend in the data corrected for differences in the time of observation is 0.3°C per decade. (The rest of the homogenization does not change the mean temperature much.)

Thus the difference between the trends in the raw data and the one in the homogenized (adjusted) the manuscript Watts et al. (2012) found are most likely due to forgetting to correct for the time of observation bias (TOB). This is an important issue, which is why McIntre [sic] is having some doubts about the manuscript.

As http://rabett.blogspot.de/2012/07/bunny-bait.html points out: “There is practically no time of observation bias in urban-based stations which have taken their measurements punctually always at the same time, while in the rural stations the times of observation have changed.”

Thus the differences in the trends for the different station quality classes are likely due to forgetting to correct for the TOB. Another likely problem with the analysis of Watts et al. (2012) is that the classification of the stations was performed at the end of the study period. Stations that were poor at the end, but average in the beginning will show an artificially stronger trend.[editor: presumably, stronger towards a higher temp] Similarly stations that were good at the end, but average at the beginning will slow a weaker trend (or even negative trend). This selection bias may well explain the differences found in the trends for the various quality classes. The very least, these are issues, which a rigorous scientific paper would discus.

For now, I will not study this manuscript any further, expecting that it will never be submitted. If it is, I am happy to review it more closely, knowing how much Anthony Watts likes blog review.

So, what’s to be done about this criticism?  Well, nothing……. no, not really.  First of all, everyone should laugh.  We should laugh at several things. 

Without analysis or numbers or even reading any papers, first laugh at the assertion of vvenema ….. no, I didn’t say laugh at the name!!!  Annoyed  Laughing out loud   Laugh at this….

McIntre [sic] is having some doubts about the manuscript.

I wonder if it is lost on these people about doubts and assertions and truly knowing something.  You truly know something by faith and faith alone.  All else is subject to doubt.  I will expound if asked, but for the sake of brevity, I hope most here will understand this.  If not, ask away!  Steve McIntyre is simply being Steve McIntyre.  And, I’ve no doubt his contribution will make the paper even more robust, and in all likelihood eliminate even more spurious warming.  So, laugh at these people they think something is awry for the wrong reasons.  Something is awry, but it is going horribly wrong for the alarmists.  Rolling on the floor laughing

But, the laughs shouldn’t stop there.  One of my favorite places to laugh at is the rabbit run or whatever.  It’s complete with 3rd person references and people who claim to be bunny rabbits or something.  I’d call them furries, but it may insult the furries and/or the bunnies, or maybe they’re one and the same, so I’ll just leave it at that. 

Eli (Dr. Hapsomething) seems to think stations improve themselves. (4th para of the critique)  It’s like when my lawn takes care of itself.  He seems to think the USHCN would  originally placed a thermometer in some real crappy location, but then the site improves over time.  (Editor note!!  This does happen in the land of unicorns, sadly,  Sad smile  not so much in real world.)  Rolling on the floor laughing


But, let’s get to the real critique.  The TOBS bias. 

“the trend in the raw data is about 0.2°C per decade. The trend in the data corrected for differences in the time of observation is 0.3°C per decade.

For those confused by the vernacular, this is stating that there is a difference of 0.1°C/decade of warming which wasn’t properly accounted for in the raw temperature readings. 

Watts et al states, “The Raw Tmean trend for well sited stations is 0.14°C per decade lower than adjusted Tmean trend for poorly sited stations..”

So, this is how warmist Eli and the rest of the warmista are considering this.  ‘Watts found that simply measuring the raw data based on sighting issues it found 0.14°C per decade of spurious warming, but after considering TOB bias, most of that warming is eliminated’

I suppose if you were a sophist such as the warmista, then this is the way you’d consider this.  In which case, then Watts et al would have only found 0.04°C/decade spurious warming.  Which, by itself, wouldn’t be a major accomplishment but, could add to the greater discussion. 

But, we’re not sophists.  The error in the thinking is that the TOB adjustment would be the same across the board for the sighting ratings or even more for the rural stations.  (Urban settings should have better compliance for TOB)  I don’t know the answer to how much bias would be to what rating.  But, as shown above, a very notable statistician is looking into it. 

Here’s the way I see it.  If one is going to look at this in this manner (see final thoughts) then there is a hierarchy of application.  First, remove all but the well sited stations.  Then look for the TOB bias.  I suspect, we will not see a 0.1°C/decade raise in the data.  We should see a lowering.  The confusion comes with the perception of what a “rural” station is vs an “urban” station.  It is assumed rural means a better sited station, and this is true to a point.  But, if we read Watts, we see airports.  Many, if not most, would have a rural rating, but would not rate as a 1 or 2 on the standard set forth by Leroy (2010).  Beyond airports, rural doesn’t mean “no structures or heat sinks”.  These too, would be removed from the original hierarchy filter. 

Final thoughts:  What I’m hoping to do here is to get people thinking about how to assist Anthony and friends.  Give them proper critiques.  I don’t necessarily put much stock in temp readings.  It is true that we should, over time, see a zero trend.  Heat is not confined to our surface.  Heat is not energy.  But, it is a function of energy.  So, take what I’ve offered, mull it around, and then go after Watts et al.  The TOB may not be the proper avenue, if you’ve something to offer in that respect go to Anthony or Steve Mac.    The self-healing sites?  ……  well let’s let the warmista’s have that one in unicorn land.  The discussion paper is just that, a discussion paper. 

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133 Responses to A Welcomed Sight In the Watts et al Saga!

  1. Jim Masterson says:

    Heat is not energy. But, it is a function of energy.

    I guess you’re confusing me. The units of heat are the BTU or the calorie. These are directly convertible to joules, ergs, or kilowatt-hours–all units of energy. The first law of thermodynamics equates the circular integral of dQ (differential of heat) to the circular integral of dW (differential of work). So heat is energy. It happens to be the energy transferred from system 1 to system 2 across the boundary between system 1 and 2 due to a temperature difference. Neither system 1 nor system 2 contains heat, so it is a transient phenomenon. Also, system 1 must be at a higher temperature than system 2 for the transfer to occur from 1 to 2. Positive heat transfer is heat going into a system. Positive work is work done by a system. Those are the classical definitions.


    • suyts says:

      Hmm, right…. poorly worded. Heat is a form of energy. It total expression of heat is not the expression of total energy.

      You mention watt hours …. a watt is an expression of power…… now convert that to joules….

      Yes, it is confusing. And, I’m sorry for this. But, it is necessary to understand, but I can’t fully articulate it. I’m working on the articulation. Heat, power and energy are not the same. But are parts of each other. If you run through them, they do not directly convert. You should come up against an expression of x over time over time. Here try this out…. http://www.chemteam.info/Thermochem/Energy-Work-Heat-Temp.html

      • Jim Masterson says:

        You mention watt hours …. a watt is an expression of power…… now convert that to joules….

        Well, I said kilowatt-hour. A watt is a joule/sec. A kilowatt is a thousand watts. A
        kilowatt-hour = 1000 watts * 1 hr = 1000 joules/sec * 3600 sec = 3.6*10^6 joules.



      • suyts says:

        Uhmmn no. I’m not trying to be argumentative, but…..

        A watt is a joule/sec.
        A watt/hr would then be a joule/second/hour. Less than easy. Click on the link above.

      • Jim Masterson says:

        Well, you are being argumentative. It’s not a kilowatt per hour; it’s a kilowatt-hour or a kilowatt times an hour. It’s what the power company charges you for–total energy consumption.

        A 100 W bulb burning for three hours uses the same energy as a 300 W bulb burning for one hour.

        100 W * 3 hrs = 0.1 kW * 3 hrs = 0.3 kW-hrs
        300 W * 1 hr = 0.3 kW * 1hr = 0.3 kW-hrs

        I saw the link. I’m a double-E. I convert units all the time. I know what energy units, temperature units, power units, work units, voltage units, current units, etc. are.

        Work is force through a distance. That’s newtons times meters. A newton-meter is a joule–a unit of energy. Work is energy–they use the same units–or can use the same units.

        A force is mass * acceleration = kg*meter/sec^2 = newton (Newton’s second law)

        A newton-meter is kg*meter^2/sec^2 which is the definition of a joule.


  2. Jim Masterson says:

    And so was I–being argumentative, that is.


  3. suyts says:

    Thanks Jim, I’m glad you responded. I can’t stress enough how I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with my assertions. I can only learn if people interact with me.

    However, I’m not trying to be argumentative. I’m trying to get people to look at it from a different perspective.

    What is a 1 hour * 1 sec? 3600*1? OR 1* 1/3600?

    Of course, I’m happy to carry on this conversation, but it beleaguers the point of the post.

    Thanks Jim.

  4. DirkH says:

    V. von Enema also thinks min/max temperatures could not be recorded before automated weather stations.

  5. suyts says:

    It takes just a part of a second to light the 300 or even the 100 watt bulb. That isn’t a percentage of the watts running through it, it is all of the watts running through it. For 1/10th of a second or even 1/100th of a second.

  6. Jim Masterson says:

    What is a 1 hour * 1 sec?

    We can manipulate units mathematically. 1 hour = 60 minutes. Then we can create a conversion expression with 1 = 60 minutes/1 hour. 1 minute = 60 seconds. Another conversion expression is 1 = 60 seconds/1 minute. So let’s convert:

    1 hr * 1 sec = 1 hr * (60 min/1 hr) * (60 sec/1 min) * 1 sec = 60*60 sec*sec = 3600 sec^2


    • suyts says:

      Right, I realized I wasn’t being clear. Please read the comment above this one.

      • Jim Masterson says:

        I’m not sure I understand your comment. You seem to be talking about start-up wattage verses steady-state wattage. It’s true that the resistance of the filament is low when it is cold, but it quickly heats up to its working wattage/light output/ and current. After that, it dissipates the wattage value for whatever time it is in use.

        So here’s some more unit math:

        A volt is a joule per coulomb. An ampere is a coulomb per sec. So the product of a voltage with a current is volt*amp = (joule/coulomb)*(coulomb/sec) = joule/sec = watt

        A 300 W bulb using 117V (RMS) is drawing 2.56 amps (RMS).
        A 100 W bulb using 117V (RMS) is drawing 0.854 amps (RMS).

        Ohms law is V = I*R or R = V/I = 117V/2.56A = 45.7 ohms for the 300 W bulb.
        And 117/0.854 = 137 ohms for the 100 W bulb.

        So a 300 W bulb is consuming 300 joules per second. A 100 W bulb is consuming 100 joules per second. To find total energy consumed, you multiply the wattage by the time in use. It works for 1/100th of second, 1/10th of second, 1 second, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 year, etc. It’s like finding the distance traveled if you know the speed and time.


      • suyts says:

        Jim, thanks for responding. I want to make it clear this is just thought exercise.

        No, I’m not talking about start up. Let’s stay with steady state.

        On your 300 watt bulb, at any moment, while that bulb is lit, 300 watts are running through it. Not 300 watts per second, not 300 watt/hours, but, at any moment there are 300 watts illuminating this bulb. Right? If you were able to be the conduit and touch it, even only for 1/2 a second, that’s still 300 watts going through you. With me? There are no time constraints on this. It is instantaneous. .

      • Jim Masterson says:

        not 300 watt/hours

        Please, stop saying watt/hour. The unit is watt-hour. The time unit is at the same level as the power unit. That means they are both in the numerator and are being multiplied. Units are a big deal. If they are wrong, the whole statement is wrong.

        On your 300 watt bulb, at any moment, while that bulb is lit, 300 watts are running through it. Not 300 watts per second, not 300 watt/hours, but, at any moment there are 300 watts illuminating this bulb. Right? If you were able to be the conduit and touch it, even only for 1/2 a second, that’s still 300 watts going through you. With me? There are no time constraints on this. It is instantaneous. .

        An electrical device (such as a light bulb) dissipates power as heat (and some light). What runs through it is current. The voltage appears across it. This is an AC device, so there may be reactive impedance involved too (capacitive or inductive). Usually, a light bulb is purely resistive. Power doesn’t actually run through you. The current does.

        So where are you touching this bulb? How does the power affect you again? I’m confused with the question.


        • suyts says:

          Jim, you are correct about my shorthand for watt-hours. It’s simply more natural for me to type it as such.

          Why don’t we start at the start. Through my inarticulate mannerisms and bumbling, I’m afraid I’ve made a confusion rather than a clarification. I’m sorry.

          When I stated, “Heat is not energy. But, it is a function of energy.” (acknowledging the poor phraseology) I was trying to state the differences between heat and energy, as they are often used as synonymous. .

          It placed that here because it’s relevant in the terms climatology frames the discussion. The thought may not be relevant towards your field of work.

          Instead of me tripping over a proper explanation, why don’t I allow a person better versed in articulating the concept speak towards this notion?

          Please go here……. http://www.biocab.org/Heat.html

          Note the closing thoughts….. “Thermal energy units are Watts*second (W*s), Joules (J) or calories (cal). Notice the difference between the heat units (W, J/s, calories/s) and the thermal energy units (W*s, J, calories).”

          Jim, I apologize for my poor articulation of thought.

        • Jim Masterson says:

          Please go here……. http://www.biocab.org/Heat.html
          Note the closing thoughts….. “Thermal energy units are Watts*second (W*s), Joules (J) or calories (cal). Notice the difference between the heat units (W, J/s, calories/s) and the thermal energy units (W*s, J, calories).”

          I was with your link until they added a rate to heat flow. The first law of thermodynamics is:

          dU = δQ – δW

          Depending on how you integrate this (it’s a circular or path integral), you can sometimes ignore the internal energy term. To get flow rates, it’s possible to take the dot operator of these values, but then everything is in power units.

          Heat IS energy. Your link is confused about this too. The units of heat are BTU or calorie. These are directly convertible to any other energy unit.


        • Jim Masterson says:

          I guess I should have explained the terms. U is internal energy, Q is heat, and W is work. For U, use any energy value you like, Q is usually in BTU or calorie, and W is in your favorite work unit: foot-pounds, ergs, joules, kilowatt-hours, horse power-fortnights, or any other energy unit. It’s easier if you use the same unit for all, because you don’t have to convert them.


        • suyts says:

          Jim, this has been a confounding conversation. And, it isn’t my wish to confound any more. So, I’ll simply state this, and leave the last word to you. A joule is not equal to a joule per second.

          Wanna talk about sea level? Or cultural differences? 😀


    • suyts says:

      Jim, I should be clearer even still. The point I was trying to make in the post, when considering energy from the sun, it is constant. There is no energy over time. Unless we wish to consider from the beginning of time. Which would then be as you say energy multiplied by time. But, the sun, like energy through a wire isn’t, or rather can’t be quantified by time. It simply is. We can say joules or what ever form we wish, but, however we describe it, it is at this precise moment.

      Okay, too many beers. I should have simply stated, joules and joules/second are not the same. My bad.

      • Steve Bloom says:

        Don’t forget the much-studied 11 year solar cycle. There’s also been much study of and speculation about longer-scale changes affecting irradiance, e.g. the Maunder minimum, but the more those are examined the more they seem to be minor or even non-existent in terms of their climatic effect.

  7. suyts says:

    I’ve got to say, with this post, and the great conversation I’ve had since I’ve posted it, I’m a bit disappointed. I thought I made some great points and other conversational points, not the least of which the comments about the furries. 😦 Well, not every joke is funny…….

    • DirkH says:

      An ex colleague of mine was a furry. He was also an ardent social democrat, a hypochondriac, an extreme alarmist and warmist, fanatically anti-nuclear power, depressive and gay. Boy, what fun we had! 🙂

    • suyts says:

      Lol…. yeh well, I’m hopeful I didn’t go that far in the implications. But, do you think your colleague knew the furry pictured? That would be ironic.

      • DirkH says:

        The ones who actually dress up meet on international conventions for which they book an entire hotel for a few days. He was one of those so it is highly likely.

  8. Steve Bloom says:

    Possibly you should take more care to not have your post be something approaching pure sophistry. It was, you know.

    Anyway, thought I’d pay a brief visit back here after the inevitable implosion.

    The TOBS adjustment is kind of a big deal, BTW. There are a number of other obvious problems to be pointed out, not least among them the fact that a strict application of the Leroy (2010) standards (not “physics,” just rules of thumb) will lead to major errors of site classification. We’ll hear more about those if Tony actually attempts a revision.

    A major irony is that Tony had no reason to completely wreck his credibility like this. As we saw with “Climategate II,” to have staying power a second round of publicity needs to be based on real added value. The only such value here was Muller’s “coming out” in favor of the scientific consensus, which just wasn’t a big deal. If anything, Tony’s attack just served to extend Muller’s time in the spotlight.

    Note: McI is not a statistician. He certainly knows some statistics, but that wasn’t the focus of his education (he has a master’s degree in something else, although IIRC he has a bachelor’s in math), and he spent his working life doing other things. If you want to call him an amateur statistician, fine, but bear in mind the difference. All of that said, the stats and other math involved with processing temp data isn’t terribly advanced, and I’m sure he can manage.

    • suyts says:

      Steve, I didn’t say TOB wasn’t a big deal. It is a separate consideration to site quality.

      You’re saying that a strict application of a “rule of thumb” wasn’t done properly? That’s interesting, I hadn’t consider that, however, from the material provided, I’m not sure how you’ve come to that conclusion. Can you illucidate?

      • Steve Bloom says:

        To understand the point in detail would involve actually reading Leroy (2010) and realizing how a direct application of it can go badly wrong. But just to list an example, a ~1,5 meter tall shrub in an east-west alignment with the station, i.e. one whose shadow briefly covers the base (note not the sensor, this is at ground level) , is sufficient to demote an otherwise-Class 1 station to Class 4. Many similar absurd results are possible.

        The point is that Leroy (2010) really is just rules of thumb, not “physics” by which one can calculate effects with any precision. Their correct application requires expert judgement, which Tony and “Rev” pointedly lack.

        But there are other major points on which the paper fails, even lacking access to Tony’s data.

  9. Steve Bloom says:

    Also, you are aware, are you not, that Venema is a subject matter expert?

    • suyts says:

      I am aware many people are adorned with the label “expert”.

      • Steve Bloom says:

        By ll means go on not listening to any of them, ever. Foolish me for trying to advise you otherwise.

        • suyts says:

          Steve, there’s no reason to take offense here. You didn’t like what I had to say. I get that. And, perhaps I could have used a bit less sarcasm. OTOH, I believe the response was warranted given the snarky way both Eli and Venema both made their statements.

          If they, or you, or anyone else wishes to have a proper conversation regarding these issues, that’s fine we can have that. If Venema and Eli want to engage in drive-bys, and throw peanuts from the gallery, then I don’t see the problem, here.

          I try very hard to takes the statements made by others based on the merits of the statement itself. That doesn’t mean I don’t weigh “expert opinion”. But, honestly, how serious can one take someone who’s quoting Eli? Do you think Venema’s statement added to the discussion? Do you think it was constructive or even written for reception?

          This was my poor attempt to add levity to the discussion while throwing out some talking points for discussion. As far as Eli and Venema go, I don’t have a problem with poking at either of them because of the way they interact. If they wish to be taken seriously, then I’d suggest they Eli quit with his clown act and Venema to quit quoting the clown.

        • Steve Bloom says:

          Yep, plenty of snark there, but by now I don’t think anyone can really be blamed for that. There’s also lots of science, to which you can pay attention if you choose. Or just keep ignoring it because of the snark.

          Just to note, Eli is a scientist (physical chemist) but not what I would call a subject matter expert (nor does he claim to be except where climate intersects with physical chemistry, although he has been following the issue closely for many years). As a consequence I tend to look elsewhere for confirmation (with the noted exception). Venema, as I already noted, is a subject matter expert (on climate data analysis), so when he’s pronouncing within his field it’s reasonable to take what he says at face value. When he’s not sure, he’ll say so (as will Eli).

          But there are plenty of snark-free sources for the same material, if you choose to look for it. NCDC issued a detailed statement rather promptly, e.g.

        • suyts says:

          Yes, I’m familiar with Dr. Halpern. And, yes, there has been volumes wrote regarding TOB.

    • Jim Masterson says:

      Venema is a subject matter expert

      Ahh, it’s the great SME debate. What happens in a court of law when two experts disagree? Or does that not happen in your world?


      • Steve Bloom says:

        In my world, a former TV weatherman without a met degree isn’t an expert.

        • kim2ooo says:

          So a degree equates to an expert?

          Do you know anyone who has freely dedicated his time – and as much time – in Siting Problems?

        • Steve Bloom says:

          The lack of a degree combined with a clear failure to have studied and understood the relevant scientific literature does indeed strike me a evidence for a lack of expertise.

          Yep, Tony has spent a fair amount of time on all of this, but results are what counts.

        • kim2ooo says:

          Stevey, [ I’m sure you won’t consider me disrespectful of you – as you see no problem in referring to Anthony as “Tony” ] Mr Watts et al has produced their findings – THAT is where you logically need to attack.

          It’s darned funny, all those “EXPERTS” have sucked monies from taxpayers and produced little.

      • Jim Masterson says:

        It’s my guess that in your world, an expert is anyone you agree with (or agrees with you).


        • Steve Bloom says:

          Bad guess, Jim. Make a lot of those?

          Out of curiosity, though, what would you say qualifies Watts as an expert?

        • Jim Masterson says:

          Steve Bloom says:
          August 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm

          Bad guess, Jim. Make a lot of those?

          It’s my “opinion” that if I did guess correctly you wouldn’t admit it.

          It reminds me of an old joke, but it’s my guess you wouldn’t understand it.

          Out of curiosity, though, what would you say qualifies Watts as an expert?

          Why would you care what I said if you don’t care what I say?


        • Steve Bloom says:

          Sure I care, or I would have been silent. ‘splain please. I’m truly curious.

        • Jim Masterson says:

          I’ll answer with a story. Years ago, I owned a ’65 T-bird. It had a 390 cubic inch engine. I did much of the work on it myself. One day I noticed a water leak that was coming from the water pump. It was leaking from the point where the pulley shaft entered the pump housing.

          I didn’t have time to change the pump myself, so I took the car down to the local Ford dealer. The mechanic pressurized the cooling system and found no leaks. He said that I was wrong–there were no leaks. I said that the leak only occurred when the engine was running. He said it didn’t matter, because when he pressurized the system, any leaks would show up. I disagreed. He disagreed. He then asked me angrily if I was a mechanic (he was the expert after all). My wife, who had been standing there quietly, said, “No, but he’s a mechanical engineer.”

          At that point, he stopped arguing, turned on the car’s engine, noticed the leak, and said, “The bushing is leaking.”

          So who was wrong here? My wife who stretched the truth about my being a mechanical engineer (I’m an electrical engineer)? The expert mechanic who thought he was right? Or me, the skilled observer and amateur mechanic who was right?

          Not all experts are always right. Not all skilled observers are always wrong.

          And your continual appeal to authority is what many refer to as a logical fallacy.

          The question is do you care? Probably not. Do I care that you don’t care? Probably not.


        • suyts says:

          Excellent story, Jim. Perfectly applied.

          I’m thinking of a post about this post. Which is odd sounding, but the different interactions on this thread are quit remarkable. It’s too late tonight, but this is a “how to, how not to” thread.

        • kim2ooo says:

          Love that story 🙂

        • Jim Masterson says:

          Thanks everyone.


        • A beautiful story Jim Masterson. And I would be last one to tell people to believe my arguments because I am an experts. It are the arguments that count, you can find my arguments in blog review on Watts et al. In the mean time there is a much better review on Skeptical Science.

          But on the other hand, to think that someone who worked on statistical homogenization for several years, does not know that minimum and maximum thermometers exist is kind of weird. That is more similar to assuming that your mechanic does not know how to start an engine. It might have made one wonder whether the sentence was simply unclear and to investigate a bit further. Or simply ask?

          For those interested, I have just written a post on the time of observation bias, including some information on how temperature is measured.

  10. kim2ooo says:

    One of the best replies to Venema:
    Konrad. says:
    July 31, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I posted this comment on another thread in response to vvenema’s unfounded joy at having found a TOB “out” from the pain of the paper. I feel it is also relevant to this thread.
    vvenema says:
    July 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm
    Hand flapping about TOB adjustment in the hope that it will remove this thorn from the side of the consensus is not going to work. In fact it may have the opposite effect than what you intend. You are just attracting attention to Tom Karl’s pet rat TOBy.

    There are two types of TOB adjustment that may be valid. The first is time zone adjustment, to account for the true sidereal position of the sun over a station. The second is a one time only step adjustment to individual station data for a change between evening or morning reading of max/min mercury thermometers. The second type of adjustment cannot be validly made from a desk in a distant city. It can only be valid if it is made on an individual station basis with direct reference to individual station paper records. Which method do you think Toms rat TOBy has been using? Yes, that’s right, from a desk in a distant city, not on an individual station basis and with no supporting metadata.

    To make a valid TOB adjustment you would need to know whether an individual station was making evening or morning readings of a mercury thermometer, if and when the reading time for that station changed and when the station changed to an MMTS sensor. To achieve this for USHCN stations would require a project similar in scale to Anthony’s surface station project.

    Anthony has shown that you cannot adjust for station site issues from behind a desk with any amount data smearing. NOAA thought you could. NOAA also thinks you can adjust for TOB from behind a desk with no supporting individual station metadata. So by all means make a fuss about TOB adjustment invalidating Anthony’s work. Lets drag TOBy squeaking into the disinfecting sunlight.

    • suyts says:

      Kim, thanks for reposting that comment here. It is what I was trying to state, maybe they’ll understand it by the way Konrad articulated.

      • kim2ooo says:

        You are welcome. 🙂

      • Steve Bloom says:

        It’s just tendentious wurble, I’m afraid. If you have the records on time of observation, which NOAA certainly does, the TOBS adjustment can be made (and was made) sitting at a desk. Unsurprisingly, they also keep records of sensor changes.

        A point to bear in mind about station metadata is that it has no value without being able to compare it to the station record. If, for example, a parking lot got put in some distance from a station, sufficient to change its Leroy class, one would want to look at the record to see if there was actually an effect on the data. This is why NOAA was happy to get the metadata Tony et cie collected, since if they see a wobble in a record they can look to see if anything in the station’s physical surroundings might be the cause. Thing is, if they don’t see a wobble (determined relative to the records of surrounding stations), there’s no reason to even look at the metadata since it demonstrably has no effect.

        • suyts says:

          That’s an interesting perspective. I wonder how many Wal-Marts have screwed our temp records because they all went in around the same time specific to regions?

      • Steve Bloom says:

        But I would agree entirely with kim2000 that it was one of the best replies to Venema. 🙂

        • 🙂 ROFL, you made my day. Thank you.

          I wish I was a native speaker and could write sentences like: “It’s just tendentious wurble, I’m afraid.”

          If that post of Mr Watts was a reply to my initial review of his discussion document, Watts does seem to take care never to mention my posts. Is he afraid that some of his readers can be convinced by arguments?

  11. kim2ooo says:

    Ha ha ha ha Eli The Third Person Pronoun Deficient Rabbit.

    Skittle along little rabbit….

  12. Steve Bloom says:

    A probably not complete listing of papers on time of observation issues is here.

  13. Steve Bloom says:

    Also this, in response to what you seemed to think was a mischaracterization by Venema: “Steve McIntyre is simply being Steve McIntyre. And, I’ve no doubt his contribution will make the paper even more robust, and in all likelihood eliminate even more spurious warming.”

    Well, adding a TOBS adjustment can only help robustness-wise, although IIRC McI didn’t promise to go that far, rather that he would just try to characterize the scale of the error. The point is that he’s been entirely clear that failure to account for TOBS is an error, and a large one. I don’t think he has any doubt as to the sign of the error, either. It’s odd that you would read his remarks otherwise. Confirmation bias?

    • suyts says:

      Maybe. You’re right, he didn’t state that he’d go that far. But, given his history, I’m pretty sure we’ll have more answers than a simple characterization. He has a thing for completeness and he’s fairly tenacious.

      Steve, you may not believe this, but I don’t always agree with Steve Mc or Anthony. Again, I think the work can stand on its own without regard to TOBS, however the work would then not be of complete utility. But, still good work which can add to the body of knowledge.

      At this point, what it all means and how it will all play out is simple speculation by anyone, And while my statements were assertive, I’m pretty sure we can all understand these were prognostications. We’ll just have to see how it plays out. Grab some popcorn. As I said at the start, this will be a saga.

      • Steve Bloom says:

        “But, still good work which can add to the body of knowledge.”

        Much too error-riddled for that, sorry. Anyway, hopefully you’ll end up learning something from all of this.

      • suyts says:

        Steve, I’m very curious as to how you know it is riddled with errors. Has Anthony released more information or are you counting off for the spelling and grammar errors?

        We don’t know how he applied or processed anything.

      • Suyts: “Again, I think the work can stand on its own without regard to TOBS, however the work would then not be of complete utility. But, still good work which can add to the body of knowledge. ”

        This is as if you study the relationship between cancer and diet, but without correcting for smoking and age. McIntyre seems to understand that the study is worthless without a TOB correction, which scientists like to call “doubt” with some sense of understatement.

        • suyts says:

          Nice analogy, Victor. Of course, the argument seems to be that we know and can measure all of the factors what lead to cancer, and all of the factors which lead to non-climate warming. (There have been cancer studies without regard to smoking)

          Of course, with Macs announcement and other members of Watts stating that TOB will be addressed, this is a moot topic.

          It will be interesting to see their approach to it.

  14. Steve Bloom says:

    Yeah, as I’ve noted the detailed data has the potential for a lot more errors, mainly regarding site classification. My reference was just to what’s known so far. It’s kind of a long list.

    This fresh post covers the data handling issues, although not the ones relating to the use of Leroy (2010) (relatively minor, arguably, although IMO they are major relative to the premise of the paper).

    The failure by Watts to contrast/compare with the Climate Reference Network is also striking, since that’s the most obvious way of double-checking whether there’s anything wrong with the USHCN. All of the CRN stations were sited such that they have a companion USHCN station for purposes of network verification, BTW.

    Broadly, that’s everything I can think of so far, although it’s one hell of a list for just one paper.

    • kim2ooo says:

      Ohhh Stevey, It doesn’t sound like you have an honest debate.

      “potential ” …is not an honest debate or criticism –
      In Normal Science you must show WHY and HOW.

      Where you trained in Post-normal Science by John Cook, by any chance?

      • kim2ooo says:

        typo: “Were”

      • Steve Bloom says:

        I’m happy to show why and how on those errors just as soon as that dedicated apostle of data access, A. Watts, releases the data. Hold not your breath on that one.

        In the meantime, I and other are sadly limited to the many errors that are already apparent.

        Don’t like Skeptical Science? Well then, just google for any number of similar criticisms, including many by people on your side of things. It’s quite the pile-on. Embarrassing sloppiness has few defenders, it seems.

        • kim2ooo says:

          “I’m happy to show why and how on those errors just as soon as that dedicated apostle of data access, A. Watts, releases the data.”

          So you don’t know where or what the errors are – because you admit the data isn’t yet, released.

          Processed Cheeseses………………

          I’ll await for you to make an honest Normal Science criticism.

          This garbage, is why I dislike Post-normal science practitioners – ya sound like Mr Watts stole your prom date years ago.

        • miked1947 says:


        • Me says:

          😉 Looks good on them kim

        • Steve Bloom says:

          Let’s try this in terms you can understand, Kimmie:

          From the paper, we have the methods and conclusions. They include a number of errors.

          We do not yet have the data itself. They may contain yet other errors.

          There ya go.

        • suyts says:

          Steve, we don’t have the specific methodologies used. The facts are, there’s little to say about the paper without the methodologies and numbers. It’s just “here’s what we did, (without specifically stating how) and here’s the results. People can assume all they want, and maybe they’ll be shown right, maybe not. But, no one knows, so quit pretending to know.

        • Steve Bloom says:

          Sigh. Yes, the paper includes the methods. Re the class binning, we see the methods but not the results (the specific calculations/measurements for each station). Everything else is there, in particular the method used to propose that the adjusted USHCN is erroneous.

        • suyts says:


          Ok Steve, lay “the class binning” and “the methods” out for me using variables instead of numbers so a hick like me can understand the beautiful insights warmists have that the rest of us just can’t see, yet.

          While we’re at it, could you explain to me exactly how they applied Leroy to the sites? I’m curious about the strict application.

        • suyts says:

          You know Steve, there are a plethora of topics we discuss here. Why don’t we wait for some actual information and come join us in some of the other discussions. I’m interested in various opinions.

        • kim2ooo says:

          Let’s try this in terms you can understand, Stevey:

          Present …. reference the errors you are concerned about.
          If you don’t have the data – you don’t know if there are errors, that falsify this work.

          You keep saying errors falsify Watts et al – The logical onus is on you.

          FALSIFY Watts et al
          There ya go.

        • Steve Bloom says:

          Hmm, lost track of this subthread.

          Anyway, suyts, what in the world are we talking about if you haven’t read the paper? The site classification (binning) method is described starting at the top of page 14, although it’s best to read all of Section 2.2 for context.

        • suyts says:

          Steve, you’re becoming ridiculous. Steve, can you draw any conclusions from that bit of information? Has anyone even ran a comparison against what was the old standard?

          Again, either you are confused or the people your soaking your information from are confused.

          Tell me what you can glean from the part you just referenced?

    • suyts says:

      Steve, you’ve got to be kidding.

      First of all, you should know better than to bother with SkS. They are dishonest.

      Menne is mentioned countless times and they specifically mention the MMTS switching. In fact, they say they are specifically looking at the changes this caused.

      Moreover, you’re falling for more sophistry. Yes, if the ground temps change, then so too would the amplification factor, right? Klotzbach derived his factor (1.1) in part by examining the adjusted ground temps to the satellite temps. It follows then that if the adjustments are in error, so to is the amplification factor. This isn’t an error, this directly confronts the findings. We’ll see how it plays out, but SkS is either being disingenuous or are simply incapable of grasping the simplest of concepts.

      Is there any more drivel you wish me to respond to or do I have to go through each of the silly posits of SkS. It’s really very torturous to have to sift through their mindlessness.

      Does SkS not understand that these are the things Watts et al are challenging? They laughably insert that the adjustments make no changes globally. True enough, Watts doesn’t address this. However, it reasonably follows that if the USHCN is improperly adjusting then too would be the GHCN. We’ll get to that later. In fact, that was next on my project list, but, I think I’ll wait and watch for a bit.

      Again, these are not errors SkS is listing, these are conflicting pieces of information.

      • Steve Bloom says:

        Gosh, you really haven’t read the paper, have you? Watts binned the raw data into the Leroy classes, then compared it with the adjusted USHCN data to see the differences, then drew his conclusions as if the raw data was more reliable(!). But, er, that rather begs the question about the adjustments, doesn’t it? Just so we’re clear, Watts did not himself attempt to recalculate any of those adjustments.

        This is all a little ironic since the adjustments are based on station metadata, which Watts claims to think is very important. Some is, some isn’t, I guess.

        Re SkS, climate scientists seem highly approving of their efforts, but of course YMMV. As I said, you can find plenty of “lukewarmers” saying the same thing.

      • suyts says:

        Yes, you can find many lukewarmers saying the same thing. This is because they don’t understand what’s being done. But, this is typical of climate science and this is the reason why it’s so FUBAR. They allow errant assumptions to persist and then base their imaginative works upon the errant assumptions.

        For temp readings, this starts at the base. All of the other crap based upon the imagined temp readings aren’t to be considered if we consider the base temp reads invalid. Watt’s work starts at the base of the thermometer knowledge.

        Now, the funny part is in all of this is that people are saying this isn’t right because our adjustments are correct. They must realize they’re hitching their wagon to stating “our warming is created by our adjustments.”

        Maybe it is, maybe not, but, in the arena of ideas and discussion. I wouldn’t take that tactic. But, that’s just me.

        • Steve Bloom says:

          Well, if you have questions about the validity of the adjustments, you’ve got as much as 10 years of data from the pure-as-the-driven-snow (even Tony says so) CRN stations, which get zero adjustments. It so happens that the CRN data shows the adjustments to be generally appropriate. Imagine that.

          Tony’s failure to do this easiest and most obvious of checks on the adjustments (or more to the point just reference Menne et al.’s conclusions) has caused many to wonder about his grip on reality, since it guaranteed that the “paper” would blow up in his face instantly. It will be most interesting to see McI wiggle out of this without calling Watts out for the idiot he is.

        • suyts says:

          Steve, I don’t think people are understanding this. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. As stated before, Menne was mentioned numerous times in his paper. The assertion is that they didn’t consider Menne? That’s an incredulous thought.

          It is true that the CRN data would make an interesting comparison. Tell me, are the CRN sites subjected to Leroy’s ISO standard?

        • Steve Bloom says:

          Hmm. You don’t know that, and it’s a very basic piece of information. You’ve got rather a lot of homework to do before you can engage in a discussion of this sort, I think.

          But anyway: Yes. The sites are all Class 1 by design, better actually since they have a higher maintenance standard. CRN was constructed because scientists realized nearly 20 years ago that the USHCN would never be ideal for climate monitoring purposes.

        • suyts says:

          I don’t know what? That Menne was mentioned numerous times? Yes, yes I do.

          You state, “But anyway: Yes. The sites are all Class 1 by design…. 20 years ago….

          You do realize then, they have not been subjected to Leroy ’10. The view of “pristine” has changed. And, that’s the point. What was a class 1 under the old standard may not be even a 2 under Leroy’s.

          People spewing that they know this or know that are FOS. Quit believing what other people are babbling. They’re lying to you and you’re letting them. Think for yourself.

        • Steve Bloom says:

          Again, sigh. What you didn’t know was that the CRN sites are subject to Leroy’s standard, pretty basic stuff for this discussion.

          The difference between the 1998 and 2010 standards looks like a great talking point right up until you find out what the standards actually are. Which, BTW, is exactly the same except that the 2010 ones specify a certain amount of acceptable interference whereas the 1998 ones said that any amount would change the class. IOW, the 2010 standards are looser.

          Please to stop just making stuff up off the top of your head, although if you’re going to change your ways I’m afraid you’ll have to find someone else to practice on, as you just met my standard for someone not worth interacting with.

        • suyts says:

          Yeh, it’s pretty basic stuff that we know Leroy 2010 has never been applied to the CRN sites and you now look like a total tool.

          You came to this site with your bluster and bs and it gets exposed. You don’t want to interact with that? I don’t blame you. Maybe you can go somewhere else and not look like a total tool.

          Steve, I do thank you, though, you have confirmed for me that I was correct. No where through all of your blathering bs could you refute my assertions about Watts on my original post.

          As a bonus, you and your SkS surrogates look like a bunch of ….. well we’ve already covered that.

          And, I get the extra traffic.

          Thank you.

        • kim2ooo says:

          “as you just met my standard for someone not worth interacting with.”


          Ha ha ha ha

          Such a ponce 🙂

        • suyts says:

          I think he doesn’t love us anymore. 😦

        • kim2ooo says:

          There is a REAL and present danger when you attempt to step out of an echo-chamber and attempt Post-normal Science.

        • suyts says:

          I don’t understand how they walk right into these things?

          He ends up telling me, “Oh yes! The stations we picked twenty years ago were subject to a 2010 paper!!!

          And then gets pissy with me! WTF? I didn’t force him to look like an idiot!

          If they would have stayed polite, they’d still be here, but, damn….. Christoph!!!! Wait up!!! Christoph!!!!

        • Me says:

          Ya think, it’s just like the other one, pHDouche, one in the same so to speak. And that’s why they censor at their warmist sites. They can’t have any descent in their ranks, where people can see and think for them selves or have any different kind of way of looking at things or seeing for them selves from the MSM and the likes. No they like to give their sheep their daily dose of crap and apparently they like it that way, until people like you make a web site like this, and you diddy build that but they came anyway! BWAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        • suyts says:

          Imma gonna write my gubment a thankyou note!!! I really did try for him to not look like an idiot.

        • Me says:

          But I will stay out of it here, I will only comment to you and others like you and Me but not to them anymore. Though it may be indirectly but I will continue! 😆

        • kim2ooo says:

          The problem with them is simple:

          They think they can do the same as allowed on echo-chambered sites.
          No logic skills…
          No debate skills….
          No idea what Normal Science requirements are.

          AND they insist on fallacious argumentations.

          I learned logic by debating philosophical arguments – ya better be sharp 🙂

        • Jim Masterson says:

          But heat IS energy, not power. Look up the definition.


        • suyts says:

          🙂 I don’t disagree with that statement. I stated you’d have the last word, and so you have.

          Thanks Jim, it’s a shame the others didn’t observe from you. They could have learned something about how to disagree without being disagreeable.

        • Me says:

          I guess what is good for the goose is good for the gander, but they don’t like it, Me guesses…….

        • Me says:

          Only if it is used in the capacity of a physical system to perform work. Other than that, it is a byproduct of work or energy.

  15. Christoph Dollis says:

    There were so many (and immediate) basic science errors by the author of this post that I’ve found his conclusions hard to swallow. Even where I’m inclined to agree with him, I feel a new urgency to question my position.

    • suyts says:

      Sure Christoph, as you can see, I’m very open to question and criticism. Are you going to demonstrate the “many (and immediate) basic science errors”? Or are you simply a furry advocate throwing snark?

      • Christoph Dollis says:

        Heat is a form of energy. kWh.

        Those are very very basic.

      • suyts says:

        Sis, you are in way over your head. But, I do understand some may disagree. Now, by my count, that’s one if you take your perspective. Do you have any more to make the “many”?

        While you’re contemplating the “many” vs. one concept …….

        Solve this ….. the Watt, which is part of the expression you’ve entered is defined as joules per second. Tell me then, what is a Watt, and what is a joule and then tell me what the difference is?

        If you can answer just one of the two questions I’ve posed to you, then I’ll regard further comments from you.

        • Christoph Dollis says:

          “Many” was hyperbole. It’s actually two. But they were made so quickly that they subjectively felt like more, since the density of scientific illiteracy(tm) function was so high.

          This became more ironic when, a moment ago, I saw the title of the top-right-most page in your site’s navigation bar. Somehow I knew you’d be a critic of others’ scientific illiteracy.

          The most likely explanation is that I saw that earlier and it stuck in my subconscious. But in this case? I think it’s just as equally likely that my brain made the prediction based on your post!

          I appreciate your efforts; I really do. But seriously, these are grade 8 science issues. You ought to bone up on the basics while continuing probing the more advanced problems. IMHO

        • suyts says:

          Christoph, you’re quickly losing credibility. Two? You’ve named one which you haven’t shown. Is coming to new blogs and looking ridiculous a hobby? I hope you’re using an alias.

          I’m still waiting on the joules and joules per second explanation. 8th grade stuff man, you ought to be able to spit this out in your sleep!

          Or, is there something else about the post you can see that is in “error”?

        • kim2ooo says:


          Watt – Anthony Watts
          Joules – The girlfriend Stevy had
          Joules second – the second thoughts she had about going out with Stevey….
          And of course, She went to the prom with Mr Watts.

          Ha ha ha ha 🙂

        • suyts says:

          Lol, well, there is that explanation.

        • kim2ooo says:

          8th grade gossip 🙂
          The answers to ALL that happens!

  16. suyts says:

    Lol, I think he’s just pissed because I was bagging on his furries.

  17. miked1947 says:

    You Kids are just having to much fun in this “Sand Box! 🙂 My popcorn is still warm.

  18. Evan Jones says:

    I came up with an obvious solution to the TOBS. We simply dropped the stations where TOBS is an issue. Time of observation for each station is directly available from MMS.

    Like the man said, “If you want to stay out of trouble, stay away from it.”

    That takes our sample down from 790 stations to 592, but that is still plenty.

    We also factor in the MMTS adjustment as well.

    The result is that the gap between Class 1\2 stations and NOAA-adjusted data is narrowed somewhat (but is still dramatically wide), but the gap between Class 1\2 (“good”) stations and Class 3\4\5 (“bad”) is actually increased.

    There is a prejudice that urban sites must obviously have worse micrositing than rural. Taking TOBS into effect was supposed to wash away the differences between good and bad stations because rural areas are more affected by the TOBS issue and therefore the “good” stations would be disproportionately affected.

    But that is simply not so. Quite the opposite. 30% of urban sites are Class 1\2 compared with 20% of non-urban. Also a higher % of Class 3s than 4s.

    Perhaps when stations are sited in cites, there is more conscious consideration of surroundings? I can’t tell you the “why”, but the “what” is what it is.

    So not only does the paper live, but is as robust as all hell. I’ll be finishing up the current set of spreadsheets this weekend.

  19. Pingback: Upcoming Update To Watts et al Paper! | suyts space

  20. evanmjones says:

    One of the objections is that if one uses a more “lax” methodology (Leroy (2010), one ought not to be getting “cooler” results for the well sited stations.

    The answer to that is one word: Airports.

    Nearly all of the stations that had their microsite ratings improved are non-airport stations. And airports have a much greater warming trend than non-airports. Although well sited AP stations have lower trend rhan poorly sited AP stations, well sited airports have much higher trends than well sited non-AP staions.

    Glad we cleared that up!

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