Monthly Archives: March 2010
March 30, 2010Posted by on
Now that Obamacare has passed I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some Senate and Governor races to see how well the Dems are doing so lets start out in Pennsylvania and Senator Arlen “I switch parties all the time” Specter (For those that don’t know Arlen Specter started his political career in Philly as a Dem District Attorney, then in 1980 switched to Rep to ride Reagans coatails into the Senate and this past year switched back to Dem because the Repub’s were fed up with his backstabbing them). All numbers are from Rassmussen Reports
Pa Senate: Toomey [R] leading Specter [D] 49% to 40%
Governor: Corbett [R] leading State Auditor Jack Wagner [D], by 13 points, 46% to 33%
Corbett [R] leading former Congressman Joe Hoeffel [D] 49% to 28%
Corbett [R] leading Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato [D] by a 46% to 29% margin.
So in Pa, which is a key battleground state, it doesn’t look good for the Dems.
California Senate: Boxer [D] leading Campbell [R] 43% to 41%. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate, and 10% are undecided. There is two other Rep nominees within striking distance.
Governor: Brown [D] and Whitman [R] earning 40% of the vote each. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate, and 14% remain undecided.
Things are tight for Boxer who many last year thought was in a solid position and the Dems can’t seem to capitalize in the dismal performance of Ahnuld to grab the lead in the Governor race.
Wisconsin Senate: Feingold [D] leading real estate entrepreneur Terrence Wall [R] 49% to 40%, however Feingold might have a much tougher opponent to face: matched against Thompson [R], Feingold [D] now trails by a statistically insignificant 47% to 45%.
Governor: Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker [R] leading Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett [D] 48% to 42%.
Former GOP Congressman Mark Neumann [R] now posts a 46% to 42% lead over Barrett.
So depending on if Tommy Thompson runs or not the Dems might get shut out there as well.
Ohio Senate: Portman [R] leading Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher [D] 44% to 39%.
Portman holds a 43% to 37% lead over Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner [D].
Governor: Kasich [R] leading Strickland [D] 49% to 38%.
Ohio is another battleground state that last election got a lot of attention from Acorn.
Oregon Senate: Incumbent Democratic Senator Ron Wyden with a 49% to 35% lead over law professor Jim Huffman, the most prominent Republican reportedly considering running against him. This is a very troubling news for Dems, for two reasons: 1. There is no announced Rep candidate yet and the Dem can’t get 50%. 2. As Rasmussen states “Given Oregon’s political leanings, it’s a tough struggle for any Republican candidate against a popular Democrat like Wyden. Still, an incumbent who polls less than 50% at this stage of the campaign is viewed as potentially vulnerable.”
Governor: Right now its a free for all as there is two top Dem candidates and 4 Rep candidates.
Oregon is a very liberal state and if the Dems are having trouble there it could be a repeat of Mass.
Illinois Senate: Democratic State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias holding a slight 44% to 41% lead over Republican Congressman Mark Kirk
Governor: State Senator Bill Brady [R] leading Quinn [D] 47% to 37%. Quinn is filling in for the ousted Blago.
Those 6 were the only states that had both Senate and Governor races so lets look at some important races such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s race:
Nevada Senate: Sue Lowden, ex-chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, with a 51% to 38% lead on Reid.
Businessman Danny Tarkanian [R] posts a similar 50% to 37% lead over the embattled Democratic leader.
Well unless Harry can pull off a miracle like Truman it looks like he is gone.
Delaware Senate: Republican Mike Castle leading Democrat Chris Coons by 21 points, 53% to 32%.
This is Joe Bidens seat and look at those numbers, what surprised many (but shouldn’t have) Joe’s son Beau Biden, the Attorney General, decided not to run for papas seat. The reason that it shouldn’t have been a surprise, is that papa knows the Dems are going down faster than the Titanic.
Florida Senate: Former State House Speaker Marco Rubio [R] leading Meek [D] 48% to 34%.
Governor Charlie Crist, who is battling Rubio for the GOP Senate nomination, posts a 45% to 34% lead over Meek.
Now in case the Dems get their hopes up that Crist might decided to run as an Indy if he loses the primary and that way split the Rep vote and their man can sneak in, think again: Even in a three-way match-up with Crist running as an independent, Meek comes in second with 25% of the vote. Rubio leads with 45% support, while Crist earns 22%.
Florida is another key Battleground state.
You can find more races here:
March 30, 2010Posted by on
This article by a columnist from Australia hits the “progressive green” nail right on the head, with such illuminating bits such as:
Earth Hour. Could there be a better symbol of this feckless age in which seeming counts for more than doing? In which we pose as noble for having done something as pointless as it’s painless?
If I really thought man’s gases were heating the world so dangerously that, as Al Gore says, “the future of human civilisation is at stake”, I’d feel the call to do more than turn off some lights for just one hour a year.
But, no, on Saturday night, tens of thousands of your fellow citizens made a huge show about how good they were to do for one hour what they couldn’t be bothered doing for the other 8759.
or how about this little beauty:
The results of Earth Hour were just as pitiful as you’d expect, of course.
Power usage in Sydney’s CBD for that one hour went down just 6 per cent (less than last year) which means that when a city of planet savers tries really hard to cut emissions for Earth Hour, it cuts its gases by less than what an average Australian emits in a single year.
Which in turn means that if a single baby was conceived in the frisky dark of Earth Hour, then all those savings are blown to bits.
However thats not the best part IMHO it’s this:
Reality check: anyone not already aware of the great global warming scare?
Now, anyone doing much to actually “stop” it?
Answer: bugger all. Judge that from Quantum Market Research’s annual social survey, undertaken to help advertisers understand what pushes consumers’ buttons.
Quantum divided Australians into five groups, from “Ultra Greens” to Un-Greens”, depending on how they’d “embraced the Green culture”.
No surprise, but the Ultra Greens, “the original tree loving hippies and green peace embracers”, turned out to be perfect specimens of our time.
They were not only the most likely to vote Green and join green groups, but also the most likely to own a four-wheel drive and join frequent flyer clubs.
You can read the whole article here:
March 27, 2010Posted by on
All it takes to make your own space agency operational is:
1. A cheap digital camera
2. A SD card loaded in said device in #1
3. A Polystyrene box with a round plexiglass window put into it and sealed.
4. Wrap said box in #3 with Duct Tape.
5. Install a GPS tracking device in said box from #3.
6. Make and attach a cheap parachute to said box from #3.
7. Obtain a full Helium Tank.
8. Obtain a weather ballon and fill it from the said tank in #7.
9. Set timer on cheap camera from #1. Close and latch the box from #3. Attach the filled ballon from #9 and then launch.
10. When the Ballon reaches the edge of space the ballon pops and the box parachutes back to earth. Use the GPS tracking device to locate the box and then download the pictures from the SD card into a computer.
Hmm and how much do we pay NASA to take pictures from up there again?
March 27, 2010Posted by on
Police: Drunk Pa. man tried to revive dead opossum
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Police say they charged a Pennsylvania man with public drunkenness after he was seen trying to resuscitate a long-dead opossum along a highway.
I understand how getting drunk can make you do some really stupid things, but I just can’t understand how even in that state of mind you would even try to give CPR to an opossum.
March 18, 2010Posted by on
Ah yes the dying man that only had 3 months to live, seven months ago, and was released on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Authorities. Well we got an update on Mr Megrahi’s condition from Col Gadafi’s son:
The health of the freed Lockerbie bomber has ‘greatly improved‘ now he is home in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi’s son boasted yesterday.
He said Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi was doing much better since being released seven months ago by the Scots on compassionate grounds because he had ‘only three months to live‘.
In words which will confirm the suspicions of Lockerbie victims’ families, Saif Gaddafi – widely tipped to succeed his father as Libyan leader – also finally admitted that the convicted killer’s release had dominated trade talks with Britain.
This would have included discussions about lucrative oil deals, despite the fact that Megrahi was officially released purely on compassionate grounds. Five months after the release, Libya announced plans to invest £5billion in the UK.
Geez who could have guessed that was what happened and that he wouldn’t have dropped dead after being freed.
March 17, 2010Posted by on
This is how you deal with Vegetarians!
You can also see the video here:
March 16, 2010Posted by on
Now this is interesting.
San Jose, Juan Santamar and Puentarenas Costa Rica according to GISS sets the latitude for those stations at exactly 10N, and not a fraction of that. That means that it falls on the boundary between 2 grid boxes in their gridded datasets. Box One is centered on 9 N / 85 W and Box Two is centered on 11 N / 85 W. What makes that interesting is that the amount of infill for each box is determined by the radius from the center of the box not from any of the temperature stations in that box. So it will be interesting to see how close the trend for actual data from stations like San Jose match to the trend of the 250km infill GISS anomalies. I am going to try and make a visual layout of what the boxes look like and with Long/Lat’s and where the temperature stations lie in relation to everything:
88/14-----------86/14-----------84/14-----------82/14| 87/13 | 85/13 | 83/13 | 88/12-----------86/12-----------84/12-----------82/12 | 87/11 | 85/11 | 83/11 | 88/10-----------86/10-------|||--84/10-----------82/10 | 87/09 | 85/09 | 83/09 | 88/08-----------86/08-----------84/08-----------82/08 | 87/07 | 85/07 | 83/07 | 88/06-----------86/06-----------84/04-----------82/06
Ok there you go a bunch of grid boxes and the amazing thing according to GISS is that data from the box centered on 87W/09N can be used to determine what the “real temperature trend” in the box centered on 83W/09N is.
In the cases of San Jose, Juan Santamar and Puntarenas they all sit right on the line going between 86/10 and 84/10 (as shown by the three vertical lines). So by looking at the trends for the boxes they overlap and comparing them to the trends for those stations it will give us a good idea how much of those trends is infill from other boxes and how much is from the stations in the boxes. Remember for this comparison the data was turned back to 250km infill from the center point, normally it is 1200km infill.
First lets look in Figure 1 the trends for the two boxes based on the yearly anomalies from 1942-2009, Jan-Dec:
Now as you can see according to the anomalies from 1942 to 2009 the trend is warming of about 1.7° C. Now in Figure 2 we will see the graph of the absolute temperatures for these 3 stations:
Notice that in the overlap period of the 3 stations that they are at different absolute temperatures. Matter of fact the trend for San Jose during its time of coverage is < -.1° C, for Juan Santamar we have a trend of 1.35° C and for Puntarenas 1.2° C.
So with 2 of the stations showing a warming trend but .35° C and .5° C less then the grid and with 1 station showing basically a flat trend does that mean most of the difference is due to infilling?
Not necessarily, first lets just do a simple average of the anomalies of those three stations and compare that to the grid trends. The Anomalies are based on taking each station’s data and subtracting out the average for the baseline period of just that stations data, then averaging those anomalies and that gives us what is seen in Figure 3:
Now as you can see that gives a pretty good fit with a a combined station anomaly trend of 1.6° C over that time period. Now some might ask about geographical weighting of the data and when you look at the Lat/Long of each station you will see that there is very little difference. All three are set at 10° N Lat and they run at 84.1°, 84.2° and 84.8° W Long. So these stations are not that far apart in the horizontal sense but they are different in elevation. San Jose according to the GHCN station list (which seems to have gone MIA from the NCDC GHCN ftp server) is at 1141 meters, Juan Santamar is at 939 meters and Puntarenas is at 3 meters. So when you go back to the graph in Figure 2 you see that as you get lower in elevation the temperature starts rising, but it doesn’t seem that GISS weights for elevation (at least they do not have any indication of such in their station list, there is no elevation listed).
Now what else is different between the three? Well according to GHCN San Jose and Juan Santamar are both classified as tropical and Puntarenas as water (that means it’s down by the beach). According to GHCN San Jose is Urban and GISS has a pop of over 390,000, while the other two are classified by GHCN as S and GISS has pops of 33,000 and 26,000 for them today. So we started out with one thermometer up in the mountains in a city that grew over time, we added in another thermometer in 1956 at a little lower elevation with a smaller population and then added a third in 1961 much further down in elevation. We then lose the original thermometer in 1980, then lose the one down by the beach in 2000, leaving the one small town thermometer (which might be the international airport for San Jose the capital see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Santamar%C3%ADa_International_Airport ). This lets us break down everything into separate time periods based on when we added and lost thermometers and see what the trends were for each one and compare it to the averaged trend line for those same periods.
As can be seen in Figure 4, period 1 covers the years 1942 thru 1950 and there is only one thermometer for that period. Also shown is that there is a cooling trend of about -.6° C over that period. Also note the big drop in temperature right after the start of the graph. That big drop is going to play a big part in the 1.6° C warming trend we saw in Figure 3.
Now here in period 2, which covers the baseline years of 1951-80, we gained two new thermometers while still retaining the original one, however 1980 is the final year for our original thermometer. What that means is that it help shaped the combined/Grid box baseline and is what the other two thermometers are compared to in the future. Also note that all trends are cooling at that point including the combined at slightly over -.5° C.
Now here in period 3 we just have two small towns that have thermometers, one at higher elevation and one down by the beach ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puntarenas ). The one down by the water basically has a flat trend during this period with barely a small amount of warming. The higher elevation one is of much more interest, it has a warming trend of .4° C over that period. What makes it interesting is that the temperature at that station jumped up very quickly in 1985, then remained basically flat after 87 until 95 and then dropped back down. What this produced in the combined is a slight warming trend just under .2° C.
Now here in Period 4 we are back down to just one thermometer and it’s in a small town at a higher elevation (which might be the 2 nd busiest airport in Central America) and we see a cooling trend of just over -.5° C for that period.
Now I broke that record up into 4 periods, 2 of which have just one station each, one is the baseline period where we introduced 2 into the record and ended our original and the last period is a long stable period of just two stations. Now of those 4 periods we had 3 with cooling trends and only 1 with a slight warming trend. What you see if you go back and look at Figure 2 is that from 1941-80 you had a big dip in temperatures followed by some warming, then another dip of temperatures. From 1981-2009 you see a jump in temperatures followed by a flat trend since then, however the anomalies all stay above the baseline where before 1980 you had those dips below the baseline, that is what gives you the warming there, the comparison of those big dips prior to the baseline and the large jump after the baseline. You will be able to see this in the following three graphs:
Here we see a slight warming trend of just under .1° C for the period 1942-1980.
Here you see a trend that is for almost all intents and purposes flat for 1981-2009, but is about 1.1° C higher then the trend in Figure 8.
Now in Figure 10 I took out the baseline years and just glued the period 1981-2009 to the end of 1950 and you can see you get a warming trend of about 1.5° C. That shows that you are basically comparing the anomalies of the two newer thermometers against the anomalies of the original thermometer, which is an apples to oranges comparison and giving you a nice big 1.5° C warming trend, where if you look at the one thermometer that runs from 1956 thru 2009 you only get a 1.35°.
Now lets see what GISS says the trend should be for our 2 selected boxes:
First 1200km infill
48 50 -85.00 9.00 1.2232
48 51 -85.00 11.00 1.1963
These numbers are what I get from the GISS trend map for 1942-2009, Jan to Dec years, in those two boxes. To make GISS trend and Anomaly maps go here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/ . You can download the trend/anomaly for each grid box from the map page.
48 50 -85.00 9.00 1.6586
48 51 -85.00 11.00 1.7351
As we added in more thermometers the trend dropped by about .5° C but, as I think I have shown above, the “trend” for those grids is not based on a warming trend over that entire period but a step function right when you lost the original thermometer. The result causes an apples to oranges comparison of the 2 post Baseline thermometers to the original one pre Baseline. So to me the “warming” trend we see is more a case of change in instruments then whats really going on there. When you had periods of instrument stability you had mostly flat trends and when you didn’t it was just in the one station you had a big step jump that got the warming trend.
March 13, 2010Posted by on
This came via the crew at SDA and is both very funny and oh so true.
March 10, 2010Posted by on
It’s been awhile since I did a post on good reading material (at least IMHO). So in this round I’m going to direct you to who I believe is the best that I have found on the Internet in the genre’s of Fantasy and Sci Fi.
This author started long long ago back in the early 1990’s with a Story Arc that just kept growing. It eventually encompassed 5 books with each book basically with it’s own storyline inside the over arching one. The name of the series is called the Firestaff and the writer is known as Fel.
Here is an excerpt from Book 1 of the Firestaff Collection, Tower of Sorcery, where we first meet Tarrin Kael a young man that grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, who only had one dream in life: To become a Knight of Karas.
Tarrin was sitting at the table, watching Eron and Elke dancing on the Green while Jenna checked the arrows she’d used in the archery contest for damage, when the knight’s voice called out. “What brought an Ungardt to such a secluded place?” he asked curiously, walking up to them. Tarrin saw that the Sorceress was with him, looking at the siblings with her penetrating gaze.
“She married father,” Jenna piped in simply. “Father wanted to live here, and mother came with him. She says it’s warmer than home.”
“I would think that it is,” the Sorceress said in a mild, calm voice, touched with amusement. “You are brother and sister?”
“Yes ma’am,” Tarrin replied respectfully.
“I can see the resemblence,” she said.
“Not many people can,” Jenna said impishly.
“On the contrary, I cannot see how someone could not see that you share common blood,” the woman countered. She reached into the bodice of her blue dress, and withdrew an amulet made of ivory. It was rather unusual, Tarrin noticed, a circle holding a six-pointed star inside it created by two triangles resting over each other in opposite directions. And inside the six-pointed star was a four-pointed star, its points going in the four compass directions, with concavely curved sides. At the center of that inner star was a small diamond. “Do either of you know what this is?” she asked.
“It’s an amulet,” Jenna replied.
“Not what it is, child, what the symbol means,” the woman elaborated.
“No,” they both said, almost in unison.
“It’s the symbol of my order,” she told them, pulling the chain over her head and holding the ivory object in her hand. “We call it the shaeram. It represent the seven spheres of Sorcery. Earth, air, fire, water, the power of the mind, the power of the Goddess, and the seventh sphere, which is the power of confluence.”
“Con-flewence?” Jenna repeated. “I’ve never heard that word.”
“It means the power of joining, of unity,” she said with a smile. She held out the amulet to them. “Here, take it. Hold it in your hands, and tell me what you feel.”
Jenna took the ivory amulet and silver chain, holding it in her hands and looking at it. “Ouch!” she cried, almost dropping it before grabbing it by the chain. She quickly pawned it off to Tarrin.
“What’s the matter?” Tarrin asked quickly.
“It’s hot!” she said loudly.
“Hot?” Tarrin said. He put his hand near the amulet. “I don’t feel any heat,” he said, then he put his hand on it. The instant he did so, it felt like he’d grabbed a piece of stock out of Master Karn’s forge. “Ahh!” he hissed, yanking his hand back and shaking it violently to cool it. “How do you wear this thing without getting branded?” he asked the Sorceress crossly. Jenna was blowing on her fingers, giving the woman a baleful look.
“Here, let me see,” she said calmly. Jenna presented her hands. Her fingers were red and blistered. “By the Goddess!” the woman said under her breath. “Here, you too, Tarrin Kael,” she said, in a commanding voice. Tarrin held out his hand.
His skin was severely blistered wherever it touched the ivory.
“It burned you,” she breathed in surprise. She put her hand over Tarrin’s seared fingers, and Tarrin suppressed the desire to yank it away when he felt something flow into his hand. The throbbing pain eased, and then was gone, washed away by some sort of sensation that was warm and icy at the same time, and not entirely pleasant. She let his hand go, and he gawked at it. His fingers were smooth, pink skin, and showed no signs that anything had happened to them.
“How did you do that?” he asked in shock as she took Jenna’s hands in her own. Jenna yelped and tried to pull away, but the woman’s hands were like steel, holding them in an iron grip.
“My name is Dolanna Casbane, a katzh-dashi,” she said formally. “What I just did is called healing, and with practice, it is something that both of you will be able to do someday.”
They both just stared at her.
“The young one is a bit too young,” the knight said.
“No matter,” she replied. “I’m amazed that neither of them have done anything. She needs instruction before she has an accident.” She put the ivory amulet back around her neck, tucking the device back under her bodice.
“What are you talking about?” Tarrin asked.
“Both of you, you have tremendous potential,” she said, pursing her lips. Then she noticed the slightly confused looks she was getting. “Both of you have the natural talent to be Sorcerers, to be katzh-dashi,” she explained. “Tremendous potential. The shaeram burned you. I have never seen that happen before.”
Jenna looked at her a bit fearfully. “What does that mean?”
“That means that both of you must come to the Tower of Six Spires, in Suld, and undergo formal training,” she replied. “Soon. Now.”
“Now?” Jenna said. “I can’t just leave! My parents wouldn’t let me, and I don’t want to go!”
“Jenna,” Tarrin soothed, “calm down.” Then he looked at the small woman expectantly.
“There is no need to look so surprised,” she said gently. “Nor is there reason to be frightened. I will speak to your parents, and let them know what has happened. Then we will all sit down somewhere quiet and discuss what must be done.”
Tarrin put his arm around Jenna, who had begun to cry, then he pulled her into his arms and comforted her, his own mind tumbling around a numb sensation. “It was wrong to just blurt it out like that, Dolanna,” the knight berated as the pair left.
“I was surprised,” she said a bit ruefully, and then their voices were lost in the din. He didn’t notice the knight stop and look back at them.
“But I wanted to be a knight,” he said numbly, putting his chin on the top of his sister’s head.
From there Fel takes the reader on a journey, the journey of life and times of Tarrin Kael. You live the high and lows with a young man coming of age and the harsh lessons that he learns along the way. You will see an innocent, highly principled youth get turned into the most feared being on the face of the planet, while deep inside protected from the harsh cruelties of life the innocent youth still remains.
The Firestaff Collection spawned a sequel the Pyrosian Chronicles, but besides the action fantasy Fel also has taken a stroll into Sci Fi with his Subjugation Universe:
Mankind’s first contact with extra-terrestrial life was as dramatic and historical as everyone believed it would be.
They were called the Faey, and they came to Earth not as messengers of peace, but as conquerors.
On March 12th, 2005, they arrived in two immense starships and addressed the peoples of Earth via radio transmission, in every major language, that Earth had two weeks to surrender to the Faey Imperium or face war. They did not use any show of force or destroy anything to prove their might, for the images that Earth telescopes gave of their two vessels was all the show of force anyone needed. They were two miles long and nearly three quarters of a mile across, two sleekly designed monstrosities that were so massive that when they entered into Earth orbit, they affected the tides.
The next day, a lone Faey emissary descended from the vessels above to address the United Nations with the Faey demands, and the global news coverage of the arrival of the emissary caused its own confusion. The Faey representative, a high-ranking military officer, was a breathtakingly lovely human-looking female with light blue skin and pointed ears. She did not look like a warlike alien, she did not even look particularly dangerous. But when she addressed the United Nations, in English, it became quite apparent to everyone watching the globally broadcast event that she was every bit the conqueror. She was arrogant and condescending, and she made it clear immediately that there would be no negotiation. The Earth had two weeks to surrender unconditionally or face war. Earth could either surrender or be conquered, but either way, they would become a part of the Faey Imperium.
Faced with an enemy vastly superior in technology to their own, the nations of Earth met in the United Nations met for two solid weeks and debated furiously, but such a debate had only one ultimate conclusion. That conclusion was reached March 26th, 2005, when the Secretary General of the United Nations, Vladimir Kosparivic, formally and officially surrendered on behalf of all the nations of Earth.
Without firing a shot, without killing a single human being, the Faey Imperium conquered Earth.
And so, Earth became a farming colony under Faey control. The second major shock that the natives—as the Faey called them—discovered about their conquerors was that there was much more to them than first believed. The Faey were a telepathic species, and they used that telepathic power to quickly move in and root out all the resistance movements that had sprung up since their arrival. All Terran governments were dissolved, replaced by a feudalist system where a Faey noble held absolute power over his or her territory. At first, the humans held hope that their conquerors could somehow be overthrown, but it was a feeble one. In two months, the Faey Occupational Forces wiped out every band of organized resistance, leaving the humans with nothing but grim resignation of the lot that had been dealt to them.
This story spawned sequels with more to come.
To read online or download Fel’s oldest works go to this address:
To download Fel’s newest stories visit his site here:
You do not need to register to download Fel’s stories only to take part in the various discussion forums.
March 9, 2010Posted by on
UPDATE #2 Added in an image of the Grid Cell. Grid Cell Center and Alert’s location according to GISS via Google Earth
UPDATE: Took out the none functioning links and just made tables from the GISS data page for the referenced data and put a link into the main GIStemp map making page where people can set the parameters themselves and get the data from GISS.
The debate on does losing thermometers cause a bias to show in trends continues to rage across the blogosphere and the Statistical Judo is astounding. I as well have been looking at this but I take a different approach. Instead of looking at “cartoon” worlds and other artifical constructs I rather just look at what GISS tells us with their own computations, data, maps and graphs made from their data. You see NASA GISS has this neat utility on their website that lets you make gridded Anomaly Maps with all the neat colors corresponding to how much warmer or colder it was based on a selected baseline. What is less well known is that you can look at Trends and make maps of those, again in nice colors. What is even less well known is you can download the trend or anomalies for each of the 2° x 2° grid boxes.
Sidenote here for some that refer back to the Hansen et al 1987 paper, there is an update to that paper Hansen et al 1999 and there is now 16,200 2° x 2° grid boxes not the 8,000 others have mentioned. I found this out the easy way of actually reading that paper where Dr. Hansen states the size of the grid boxes and then after downloading the data for a GISS Gridded Map into a spreadsheet took the row count, which tells you how many grid boxes there is and it also confirms the size of the boxes.
Now the thing that trips everyone up is that NASA GISS does infilling where they don’t have actual thermometer readings and then compare that derived data against historical readings. Now this infilling does induce a radical bias into the data and it is dependent on the infill radius or as GISS calls it the “smoothing” and I will demonstrate this by using a grid box on the edge of nowhere, that had only 1 station in the grid for its history. The Grid Box that I’m using is centered on 83N by 63W or in the GISS data -63 long by 83 lat. This box holds the station of Alert Canada:
Acording to GISS the useful data runs from 1951 to 1991 (however there is no data for one whole season (SON) in the 1991 data so I usually drop it). So lets start by showing the Adjusted station data according to GISS for the 51-80 baseline:
Now as you can see there is a slight cooling trend for Alert during that time period. Now you would expect that the GISS Trend Map would show roughly the same thing at the 250km infill radius during the same period and that is what you see here:
Now to see where Alert is look way up north just to the west of Greenland, but we don’t need to rely on that imprecise color scale at the bottom of the map. You see on the GISS website ( http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/ ) you can access the data to make that map. Now on that page scroll down to you get to the right co-ordinates which is bass ackwards from regular use so look for -63 Long and 83 Lat. Once you found that you will see the trend is listed at -.4184 which corresponds to that sickly green colored boxes up there. Here is a table of data taken for that map:
also of note notice that there is more then one box colored that green including some ocean boxes. That is because the data from the box holding that one thermometer is being used to determine the temperature trend for those other boxes which have no thermometers in them.
So lets see what happens when we put things back to the 1200km “smoothing” radius that is the “official” one used by GISS:
Again we don’t need to try and guess what the trend is from the color (-.2 to -.5) we can look at the data:
and according to the data the trend is still -.4184. So far things are looking ok but did you notice that the color of the boxes to the southwest of Alert changed color? That’s right the trend changed in those boxes to a cooler trend because when we went to 1200km smoothing we averaged in 10 different stations that at least partly over laps the time span of the Alert Station.
That brings us to what happens after 1990, and does GISS infill the box that used to hold the Alert Station?
The answer to that is yes they do, so lets expand the time frame out to 2005. (I know you are asking why not out to 2009, you will see why 2005 later).
So lets look what the GISS Trends are at both 250km and 1200km (I’m not going to show the pretty pictures this time).
At 250 km the Trend is: -.3246
At 1200km the Trend is: 1.1616
Now that is a huge change of almost 1.5° C just by increasing the number of thermometers being used to infill box -63 Long by 83 Lat and GISS no longer having data available from that station. Or do they? The answer to that question is yes and no.
No in the sense that the source that GISS uses GHCN doesn’t have the data, yes for the fact that the Canadian Government (Environment Canada) has made their data readily available for downloading ( ftp://arcdm20.tor.ec.gc.ca/pub/dist/CDCD/ ) and what do you know there is data from Alert up to 2005 (this is why I choose that year earlier). So lets take a look at what the GISS adjusted data looks like compared to the Canadian data:
Now there you can see that the Canadian Data and the GISS Adjusted data are in very close agreement during the years 1951-90, so lets add in the Canadian data for the Alert Station post 1990 and see what trend that gives us.
Look at that the trend when using actual data for that entire time period according to the Canadian Data is about .4 which is only about a third of what the 1200 km infill trend is.
As an added bonus I went and downloaded the Gridded Anomaly data for every year from 1880 to 2009 for 250 km infill so that you can graph that compared to station data. So here is the graph in figure 5 with that added in:
As you can see the 250km gridded anomalies from 1951 to 1990 alignment with the GISS Alert Station data is visually exact and very close to the Canadian data. So when we had an actual thermometer being used the gridded data for that box matched it, but once you lost that thermometer depending on how much infilling you do you get two wildly different trends and when you compare it to the data that is on the Canadian site you see that both the 250 km and 1200 km infill data trends for grid -63 Long by 83 Lat is wrong.
So as of 2005 the best trend is based on the EC data of .4° C from 1951 to 2005. So if the infill in GISS from 1990 to 2005 for that grid was that far off, how accurate is the trend of 1.6057° C from 1951 to 2009 with 1200km infill or 2.1158° C from 1915 (first year they could infill) to 2009 with infill both before the 1951 to 90 period and after?
My answer is slim to none and slim just bought a plane ticket to the US Virgin Islands.