Average Temperature July 1, 2011

Mail 681 Friday July 1, 2011 – 2


Global Mean Temperature Anomalies


Message Body:

Dr. Pournelle:


I saw where you stated that you haven’t found a good reference for the method of how they make the Global Mean Temperature Anomaly. The first thing to realize is that there is no one method used. The three major surface air temperature datasets; National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), NASA GISS (GISS) and the Hadley/CRU (HadCRUT) all use different methods. However there is some basic similarities across them. For one they all divide the globe into 5° x 5° grid squares. Second they find an average for each grid square. Since the grid squares closet to the poles are smaller area wise compared to the ones closer to the equator when combining the grid they use a weighting system so that the larger squares do not become statistically dominant in the resulting Global Temperature Anomaly. To see how each dataset takes the quality controlled raw data and makes the grid averages you need to read the papers they are based on.


The easiest one IMHO to find and read is the NASA GISS documentation here:



It is based on the series of papers by Dr. Hansen and you will find the links to those papers at that webpage.


For HadCRUT you can find the names of the papers they are based:



The major papers to review are Jones et al 1999 (no link provided) and Brohan et al 2006 (link provided to PDF)


For NCDC there is their analysis here:



However the reference section hasn’t been updated to the new version that the analysis is based on:


Menne and Williams 2009 ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-williams2009.pdf


and Menne et al 2009 : ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2009.pdf


As to the Satellites they work completely different and I haven’t found yet how they do them exactly. For the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) you would have to contact Dr. Roy Spencer of Dr. John Christy.


For the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) dataset you would have to check on their website on who to contact: http://www.remss.com/contact_rss/contact_rss.html


Hope this is helpful


Sincerely Robert Allaband


Thank you. I am having trouble following some of the links, but that may be due to where I am. I still have seen no discussion of how these methods are chosen and how and why the weights are assigned to the various cells, nor have I seen any discussion of what methods are used to compensate for the loss of some of the data, such as when all of Siberia didn’t report for a month. By discussion I mean an explanation at the level of “scientifically educated tax payer who is expected to go without some discretionary luxury in order to pay for this” – ie, an explanation of why certain procedures are used, and why the results are often contrary to intuition.

For example, it may be obvious to NASA that last year was the second hottest year ever, but to the outside observer this is more a function of where you measured what, and what weights are given to the various measurements. It was pretty cold in many places. It was cold and wet in others. Surely out of the billions we pay for these models, they could spare a bright graduate student who can explain just what we are paying for? But perhaps I ask for too much.

Mail Friday July 1 2011 – testing

Mail 681 Friday Jule 1, 2011 – 1

This is an attempt to publish Mail. I made up a package last night but Word informed me that I could not publish it. It gives no explanations, and Help was as useful as Microsoft Help usually is. I have no idea whether there is something in one of the mail items, or if I inadvertently put in a bad character. I am going to publish this several times (assuming I can do so at all) adding mail to it each time in a series of tests. Apologies to those getting multiple feeds.

All right. That worked. Now to start adding some mail.

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All right. I pasted one of the unpublishable letters from last night. I was promptly told that I cannot publish. I tried eliminating my reply and it still will not publish. First see if this will publish –

And it does. Now to see if I can paste in any letter at all and get it to publish. This will not be an organized mail session.

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Subject: America saving California



Dr. Pournelle



Now to the point you mentioned that America might save California from itself where they are voting themselves largess. The question really should be: “Who is going to save America?”


Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation in testimony in front of the Senate Budget Committee on March 9, 2011 showed that right now that 36% of filers do not pay income tax and that shortly that number will be almost 40% due to tax credits that the Democrat controlled Congress passed and the President signed into law:


[quote]In 2008, these tax rebates boosted the number of nonpayers to nearly 52 million, or roughly 36 percent of all tax filers. Moreover, the rebates boosted the maximum income for nonpayers to more than $56,700. In the absence of the rebates, the threshold would have been roughly $44,500.


When the final IRS data is tallied for tax years 2009 and 2010, it is likely that the number of nonpayers could approach 40 percent due to President Obama’s making-work-pay credit, first-time homebuyer credit, and American Opportunity tax credit. As a rule of thumb, we can now expect that the typical family of four earning up to $50,000 will owe no income taxes.[5] [End Quote] http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/27099.html


So as you can see asking America to save California is like asking the blind to lead the blind.


Robert Allaband


Oh, I am aware of the irony here. The only thing that can save the United States, or California, is what my father used to call an economic dose of salts; and at the moment that is politically impossible. We are not so bad off as Greece where they riot because the retirement age for civil servants may be set to 55 instead of 50, and there is insistence on raises and more spending even long after they have gone broke, but it’s close. The political leadership in both California and Washington has built a tax and spend machine that is ruthless, and any attempt to cut back anything is met with fiery opposition, and the claim that this is a preference for the rich over – the kids, the poor, the sick, nurses, teachers, anyone other than the political organizations which forcibly collect dues and make big donations to political campaign funds, which are of course the main beneficiaries of this system. Boss Tweed used to fix the potholes and actually provide some services for the constituents: Los Angeles has managed to have all the high salaries, exchanges of favors, bureaucracies within bureaucracies, and the rest of it and still be the pothole capital of California. Probably there is a lobby of autorepair shops that donates to keep the potholes unfilled, and God how the money flows in…


We all know that in the past decades the cost per pupil in the schools has doubled while the effectiveness of our K-12 schools has been going down and down. We expect it. But any attempt to cut back on all the money spent, or to introduce some form of productivity testing to the schools, is always an attack on the teachers. The only remedy to bad schools is to throw in more money. We don’t have any more money, so we must raise more money, with taxes, or borrowing, or balancing the budget by putting in an item on how we expect money from the Easter Bunny. Charlie Sheffield and I described a school system in Higher Education that was seen as a horrible slur on the school system. It seems to have been prophetic, and if it was in error, it was an understatement of just how awful things can get.


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fusion space “drive”


Message Body:


 I saw this interesting tidbit about a potential fusion space drive in and article on the IEEE Spectrum magazine on line site. It is pretty brief, but informative description of a non-continuous fusion reaction used for a space drive based on boron as fuel (since it is low on neutrons). It produces significantly more power than is input by a pulsed laser.


 The NASA scientist who is working on this said he thought it would take 10 years to make it usable as a space drive.

 Joe Kubler

NOTE: this published, but when I attempted a reply I got the cannot be published message. I am trying again, first with this note. Then I will try to do a reply.

I used a boron fusion drive in a story some decades ago, after I visited Los Alamos and talked to the project director. There were high hopes for fusion as an interplanetary drive system. Other projects got higher priorities and I have not followed this, but it is good to see that work still continues. This isn’t Heinlein’s torch ship, but there’s enough ISP to generate interplanetary commerce.

Comment: that worked and published. Now to see if I can color it.

Apparently an attempt to color the QUOTE style before publishing renders the entire document unpublishable; but if I use quote style, publish, THEN color the quote style and publish again, it works. Of course that raises the question, should I bother with the color. The quote style certainly makes it clear which remarks are mine and which are the readers.

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Not so! Not so!


Reads like an Oslo editorial, about 1100.


http://www.economist.com/node/18897425 http://www.economist.com/node/18897425



Steven J. Dunn

Or the Mandarins dealing with the Chinese Treasure Fleet that discovered Africa in the time of Vasco de Gama. But it is not so, we will have interplanetary commerce.

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The Sixth War


We’re back in Somalia and we now have six wars.





Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC


Bush took terrible advice regarding Aidid, who had previously had every indication that he was “our man” in Somalia, and who undertook to restore some order. Operation Gothic Serpent was a terrible idea: there was no need to arrest Aidid, who was the most popular leader in the region and who had at least some notions of western values (his son was educated in the US). The result was a terrible war of all against all, with the US exacerbating the situation as we often do when we send in leaders who know little of the local area – and worse, who have not studied the classical documents of political philosophy and reality, starting with Aristotle. We paid a price in Somalia but the people there paid worse. And the beat goes on.

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Instaneous Cheap Memory


Another game changer from IBM. I don’t want to wait 5 years, I want it NOW.





Fascinating. I want it now, too. Things flow here so…

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