Dana1981 asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 1 decade ago

Does the lower troposphere satellite data confirm the accuracy of the surface station temperature record?

In a recent entry in the 'Watts up with that?' blog, Anthony Watts tried to compare the surface station data (from the Hadley Centre and NASA GISS) to the satellite lower troposphere data (from UAH and RSS). Coincidentally, he screwed up his analysis royally by neglecting the fact that the datasets use different reference periods. Tamino at the Open Mind blog does the correct analysis here:


And comes up with this plot comparing the 4 normalized datasets from 1979-Present:


As you can see, they all give very similar results, and their observed warming trends are almost identical over this period.

Does this put to rest the myth that the surface temperature record is biased due to urban heat island (or any other) effect(s)?


Tomcat - not sure why you think Tamino screwed up. GISS data is in red.

Update 2:

Tomcat 2 - no, it means they probably seperated the lower tropospheric data from the middle troposphere reasonably well. It doesn't necessarily mean they also accurately separated the mid and upper troposphere from the stratosphere data, for example.

9 Answers

  • Ken
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Clearly this demonstrates two things:

    1) The satellite data demonstrates that the surface temperature datasets are reliable

    2) Anthony Watts TV meteorologist career was more about his TV performance than his scientific/mathematic "expertise"

    And interestingly enough, just as yet another big mistake of Mr. Watts is exposed, he's giving a presentation at the phony climate conference funded by the Heartland Institute. I guess that shows the "quality" of the scientists they have speaking there.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Oh come on guys this is a softball game!

    Heat island effect


    If you ever had a real job working in a city and on HVAC on a roof top you would stop balking at heat islands

    This explains how weather satellites’ work just remember these balloons or satellites are traveling at high speeds and the area of a city is small. (Like a stamp on a living room carpet) Now with a resolution of satellite data,


    Wow look at that all these different references pointing to the same fact that the planet is just about the same temperature and the datasets are skewed warm due to operational error

    Now all you eggheads that have never relied (life and death type) on satellite data and learned just how it comes about and is processed and think that all this GW is real better start looking for a better job in two years

    As for my job, A Sonar man on submarines, I have been working with weather, and ocean environmental data for 20 years. If you want try to prove your bias try looking towards the ocean and the SVP data and METOC

    Want to see the real stuff



    Real mans weather from Station 46006 - SE PAPA - 600NM West of Eureka, CA


    Now with a Buoy that has not changed position more than 7NM since 1977 Prove to me that there is global warming. It has had a sensor 1 meter below sea level and 4 meters above. It is 600 NM from any “Heat Island” or manmade source. If there has been any global warming (Planetary) this little Bouy holds the truth.

    Of course this means work on your part and not living off somebody elses skeved data.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Take a look at GISS data for Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, and additional weather observations are available to 1880. Phoenix was incorporated in 1881, and population data is available. Plot the two on a graph, with "zero" being the temperature anomaly, and actual population. Is it a coincidence both follow the same curve over the past 126 years? Heat island effect. QED.

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  • Tomcat
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Doesn't that mean that the mid troposphere data is correct then, and is not biased by upper atmospheric cooling.

    No: GCNP58 you are wrong on the stratosphere data, there is no cooling trend to remove over the last 15 years pure and simple. The mid troposphere data relative to the surface indicates that the warming is caused by changes in Earths Albedo, not a change in greenhouse gas forcing. I guess you will have to learn that one the hard way, live it.



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  • gcnp58
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    TC: No. This is lower troposphere data. Upper/mid troposphere is a different issue. You're wrong on that one too, but it's still a different issue.

    Taking into account none of this is peer-reviewed, the one unsubstantiated study from Tamino cancels out the erroneous study from Watts. But since I had ignored Watts already, I sailed through the issue like Mr. Magoo going through downtown Manhattan.

    TC: Can you point me to peer-reviewed papers in mainstream geophysical journals supporting your assertions (the stratosphere hasn't cooled and that the tropospheric warming is albedo driven)? Here's what I am talking about:


    I know you hate peer-review and you've already stated you think Fu et al. is wrong (why you think that is a little fuzzy), but peer-review is the world of accepted science. My dogma is running over your karma and there isn't a darned thing you can do about it.

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  • Bob
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Yes. Not that it was really needed, the "urban heat island" stuff was dead a long time ago.

    And Watts has pretty pictures, and no good data. He's really not a serious player.

    EDIT - birdog - The UN doesn't practice science. The IPCC is a team of scientists who work elsewhere, not for the UN. The UN provides some logistical support for the scientists to get together, and publish reports, is all.

    And I can guarantee that the Heartland conference (run by an avowedly right wing think tank) will be nothing at all like the rigorous procedure used by the IPCC. Details:

    "The drafting of reports by the world’s pre-eminent group of climate scientists is an odd process. For many months scientists contributing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tussle over the evidence. Nothing gets published unless it achieves consensus. This means that the panel’s reports are extremely conservative – even timid. It also means that they are as trustworthy as a scientific document can be."

    George Monbiot

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  • 1 decade ago

    After looking at your graph, the only thing I can say is, why are we spending trillions of dollars when the temperature has flattened out over the past couple of years. And, sure does seem like a pretty big drop at the end. Wonder if that will continue?

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  • 4 years ago

    I'm very interested to see what happens this year but as others have pointed out-and I know you are very well aware-one month or one year isn't going to prove anything one way or the other. What I am curious about is the weaker El Nino and solar cycle you mention; I will be very interested to examine natural processes vs. the theoretical impact of AGW and how it is explained if global averages remain at these higher readings through 2010. Short term and local, I am still shaking my head over the weather.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I just hope the Heatland Conference scientists don't practice the same scientific methods that the U.N. has. The left would be outraged.

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