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A week ago, I wrote a post over in Pencil's Palace related to another global warming post. It seems that this one falls right in line with the same discussion.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25160170

Here is one simple question to ask related to global warming - how accurate are historical measurements of the surface temperature of the earth?

As an engineer, I am confronted by the accuracy of measurements every day. In my business, switching from analog calipers to a micrometer to digital calipers to a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) will produce 4 very different results in measuring a part. The latest technology always seems to get better and produce consistently better measurements with less error and variation. We use a process called Gage Repeatability and Reliability (GR&R) to assess the reproducibility of measurements we take to guarantee the error of our equipment as compared to the total tolerance of what we are measuring. Most of these techniques and processes are fairly new, with their start in the last 30 years.

When I take that knowledge of measurement and apply it to measuring the global surface temperature of the planet, I am confronted with one definite answer - there is no possible way that anyone can say with any level of accuracy what the "mean surface temperature of the planet" is within 5 degrees C, even today. There are far too many variables. Far too many subjective elements. Far too much data to accurately gage a number for a single point in time. Simply consider that 70% of the earth's surface is covered by water, and how little measuring equipment is out in the middle of the ocean to take any readings.

Ask any climatologist how they calculate the current global mean temperature and where they get their data points from, and most will be hard pressed to even answer the question. Ask them the basic questions about their equipment, and they fall flat on their faces. Ask them that if they took 10 sequential measurements with the equipment what the variation in those measurements is, and they'll make up a story about how the weather in a micro sense changes much more rapidly than the macro.

It's all hogwash.

Remember, the same guys who can't predict the weather 3 days from now with any better than 50% accuracy are the same ones telling us that global warming is guaranteed to be caused by man.

As an engineer, I'm highly suspicious of the whole global warming debate. The data has too many assumptions to grant any of it any credibility. Yet it's reported as absolute fact in the media.

IMHO, let the debate start, and let it begin with a group of climatologists trying to explain their measurement accuracy to a team of engineers. Then let them try to explain how much more accurate it is than it was 50 years ago. Then the engineers will confront them with the paradox of what they just tried to explain - that today's measurements aren't very accurate, but they're orders of magnitude better than the old data - which means that the old data is even more questionable and subject to even larger errors.

Of course this won't happen. Too many groups have too much invested in making sure the data is never questioned. Which is a shame because there is an enormous pink elephant in the room...

I think that pretty much spells out one of the many issues with the climate models that are in use. Is there global warming happening? Who the heck knows. But I sure do know that the data being used to 'prove' the climate models sure as heck isn't accurate enough to be used for anything more than today's weather forecast.

Best Regards,

Jeff

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