Friday, 8 January 2010

The Satellite Temperature Source Code

Problems with the satellite record, as previously reported by DenialDepot

Over at WattsUpWithThat, a blog that poaches all my best commenters, the maps of UAH global temperature for the year 2009 have been posted and discussed without a hint of due skepticism.

DenialDepot has documented multiple instances of serious problems and causes of concern regarding the satellite record data. These problems remain unanswered.

One of the scientists involved in the satellite records posted an explaination of how the records are produced, which raises more questions than answers. The part that interested me the most was the acknowledgement that the satellite data is adjusted by FORTRAN programs:

POST-PROCESSING OF DATA AT UAH
The millions of calibrated brightness temperature measurements are averaged in space and time, for instance monthly averages in 2.5 degree latitude bands. I have FORTRAN programs I have written to do this. I then pass the averages to John Christy, who inter-calibrates the different satellites’ AMSUs during periods when two or more satellites are operating (which is always the case).


Naturally we need these FORTRAN programs to audit it. Even if it should have been written in Visual Basic or Javascript to begin with.

This is what I don't get. Other blogs have found errors in the satellite records and then have attempted to investigate the errors by comparing adjusted data. Ridiculous. All blog scientists should know the best way to find errors is to get hold of the source code! Why aren't these other blogs demanding the UAH satellite source code be released? If necessary use FOI requests!

So I am left to pick up the slack. I shot off a quick email to Roy Spencer:

To: roy@xxxxxxxxxxx.com
From: xxxxxxxxxxx@googlemail.com

Dear Roy,

I was very interested to read your latest article about how the satellite records are adjusted.

I am a blog scientist. Me and my commenters are interested in determining why the satellite records show too much warming over the last 30 years. You mention you adjust the raw data using some FORTRAN programs. Is this source code available online so we might replicate this process?

Thanks,
Inferno


And by replicate I of course meant audit

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  2. Fortran, isn't that the language that is stuck in the 70s? And were the 70s not much warmer than the present, due to global cooling?

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  3. Hi Inferno, it will be interesting to see what Roy Spencer has to say on this.

    Forgive me but I'm keen to draw your attention to the ground records for a moment as I know you agree its as important as the satellites.

    Over at climategate.com we've started an initiative to sort out why 806 'cold' ground temperature atations were dropped inexplicably in one year. I’m currently in ongoing correspondence with Britain’s Climate Minister, Joan Ruddock and I'm pressing her to come clean about the widely unreported dropping of these 806 'cold' weather stations as first noted by ChiefIO
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/thermometer-langoliers-lunch-2005-vs-2008/

    Over at www.climategate.com we are seeking help from volunteers with expertise in computer data analysis in our investigation of the facts behind the dropping of 806 'cold' ground weather stations in one year from the GHCN data set. So far, we’ve gone through part of that long list checking into the details of the dropped stations – particularly their location - whether rural or urban and thus likely to be contaminated by the urban heat island (UHI) effect.

    You may well have guessed that what we’re finding so far from the few stations we’ve analysed is a trend that its mostly rural stations that have been dropped e.g. the dropped Australian and New Zealand stations are mostly rural (e.g. Port Nelson, Ruttan Lake, Joutel). Our readers successfully determined that the station count for the U.S. (in the GHCN v2_mean file) dropped from 1177 to 136 in April 2006. We were able to confirm this by importing the data and by doing a simple count of all station ID’s beginning with “425″ for the year 2006. Replication is straightforward apparently ( I’m no stats man -my contribution is as volunteer writer and legal commentator). I’m told this is a trivial task for any application developer to write the code to import this data and then analyse it. The most significant observation we have noted is that most of the stations left in the U.S. are airports (for the years 2006 and going forward- that’s a clear UHI type contamination in itself).

    What we desperately need is help from other volunteers to complete our task of checking all 806 dropped stations. I want to be able to press the case confidently against the UK Climate Minister as soon as practicable to shame and blame the guilty and to lobby hard for a re-think of the culture of closed-door science and research.

    If there is anything anyone can offer I would be extremely grateful. For more info and to read a copy of my latest letter to the Minister please see:
    http://www.climategate.com/allow-me-to-correct-you-uk-climate-minister-joan-ruddock

    Best wishes and keep up the great work!

    John O’Sullivan www.climategate.com

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  4. Lawdy HaHa says:

    They used FORTRAN? So obviously suspect. What kind of results do you can when you use something that stands for FORmula TRANslation? You can get any translation you want!

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  5. Did you get any source code?

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  6. FORTRAN is an old piece of programming tool...and yet it is well proven and eficient. It is ugly, but it is everywhere so the fact that you people don't know this makes me wonder what a "blog" scientist is :)

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