Global Warming

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Thread Starter

Bob Pawley

The Canadian Government is eager to implement the Kyoto Accord. It is my contention that this accord is flawed due to technical temperature monitoring consideration, that have yet to be taken into account. There is evidence that the temperature devices used for weather observation is the very same RTD used in our industry.

I would appreciate your considered critiques of my position as outlined below.

My thanks in advance


Bob Pawley

250-493-6146

800-573-7703



Accuracy of Resistance Temperature Detectors and Global Warming

Flawed observations result in flawed conclusions.

Fact - Scientific conclusions are based on theory supported by direct observation.

Theory - Some scientists and many special interests have postulated that the Earth's temperature has risen by one degree (Celsius?) over the last century.

Conclusion - There can be no empirical evidence to support a claim of one degree of warming over the last century. All observations of temperature are based on mechanical devices which have uncertainty of reading greater than plus or minus one degree Celsius. Therefore the projections, assumptions and computer models based on these observations have the same, or greater, uncertainty. In fact, the Earth today could very well be colder by one degree than it was a century ago.

Summary - Uncertainties associated with the devices used to measure temperature are in the order of plus or minus one degree Celsius at the
best of conditions. The best conditions are measurements at the freezing point of water after proper, structured calibrations are carried out. Temperatures higher or lower than freezing have a corresponding additional
uncertainty.

Outside of the laboratory, adding the uncertainty of measurement for the temperature element and the associated electronics that are attached, the measured uncertainty can be significantly higher than plus or minus one degree. In fact, Fluke Technology, makers of temperature reading systems presented a paper in the early 90s that stated that no one could be sure of temperature readings without adding a plus or minus TWO degree Celsius to the reading. In other words, if you are reading 25 degrees Celsius the reading may be between 23 and 27. This is four times the "calculation" of the last century's temperature rise proposed by Global Warming supporters.

There is another wrinkle affecting accuracy with world wide temperature readings. The temperature element used is not a linear device. An algorithm is built into the electronics monitoring the temperature element to correct this physical phenomenon. I understand that Europe uses a different algorithm than does North America.


Bob Pawley

250-493-6146
 
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Phil Frisella

Bob,
Excellent article - Your article needs to be seen by lawmakers - has it been so disseminated?
I can certainly confirm your statement from a tech viewpoint.

Phil Frisella
 
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Steve Bailey

I'm not sure of the relevance of this topic to this forum....

I believe that the database of temperature measurements comprises hundreds of thousands, if not millions of individual observations. Is that
not a large enough sample for random inaccuracies in either the equipment or the observations to be statistically removed? For every sample that was higher than the actual temperature, there should be a sample that was lower than the actual temperature. Or is it your contention that the database is not yet large enough.

It seems to me that it is possible to measure temperature more closely than plus or minus one degree C. There are any number of metallurgical and pharmaceutical processes whose success depends on maintaining tighter tolerance on temperature than that.
 
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James Fountas

I do agree that the absolute accuracy of anything that measures temperature is questionable. Temperature measurement is based on measurements of secondary effects. If you wanted an extreme case of accuracy you would reference from a
triple point, not a freezing point. That is just too geeky to bother with.

Relative temperature measurement is another issue. If you are looking at global warming you are interested in relative temperature. If the devices you use are all the same, setup the same, calibrated by the same references, then you have an opportunity for good relative data. You are mostly concerned with a relative increase or decrease not the absolute value. For this you need a high repeatability, good resolution, and negligible drift. I see these as being possible so long as people aren't trying to be cheap at the same time.

I would worry about the method of individual groups having consistent practice. I would also worry about placement. A temperature sensors with a southern exposure in the northern hemisphere would show unusually high readings when
exposed to direct sun light.

Side note: Mechanical devices can obtain high repeatability, good resolution, and negligible drift.
 
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david mertens

This may or may not be correct but it is beside the point. The fact that an absolute measurement provides an uncertainty does not mean that relative measurements (repeatability) have the same uncertainty. If you have a measuring device that's 10 degrees off the actual value, you are still able to record temperature differences between two measurements with very good accuracy, as long as the repeatability of the measurement is ensured. So the right question is whether the measuring methods used 100 years ago compared to those used today will provide usefull data.
As to global warming, proof of past climate changes in both directions exists in the history of the earth, so this could also happen without human intervention. I think that's not the point either, I think we have already learned that you cannot just pump all your waste into the water without having to suffer the negative consequences. However some people don't seem to
understand that this is also valid for our atmosphere.
 
J
I was under the impression that many temperature measurements, especially 100 years ago, were taken with a quaint instrument called a
thermometer. There may even some still in use today. Many of these do not even have electronics!
 
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Jorge M. Tirabasso

Dear Bob

I remember having read (some ten years ago) an article showing this kind of troubles in determining long term atmosphere and ocean
temperature variations. However, pumping HFC and other gases to the atmosphere is a real treat to our enviroment.

From the Southern Hemisphere
J M Tirabasso.
Sistemas DACS S.A.



Jorge M. Tirabasso
Sistemas DACS S.A.
J. A. Cabrera 4621
Buenos Aires C1414BGI
Argentina
54 11 4833-0020
[email protected]
[email protected]
http://www.icubo.org/dacs
 
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Bob Peterson

Maybe it would be best if pseudo-science was left off this list. The facts on this issue are far from conclusive, and in some cases contradictory, but one would never know that from the media coverage.

Its no surprise to me that the countries pushing it the most are the ones who stand to gain the most economically if this bizarre treaty ever gets implemented.

What this really shows is that if you get enough critical mass behind an idea, it does not really matter if the idea is sound or not, as long as someone stands to gain financially from it.

The really humorous part of the thing is that the environmental wackos pushing this thing do not realize that if it ever gets implemented the only economical way to do so is by massive increases in nuclear power (something they have an intense and irrational hatred of), since there is no other powersource economically available to replace oil and other hydrocarbons.

Bob Peterson
 
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Exactly. Therefore the particular accuracy of the thermometer, coupled with whether or not it was too cold to bother actually going out to read it, makes a large part of the Global Warming claim suspect.

My contention is that even the +/- 1 degree uncertainty of today's measuring system is the more accurate.

Bob Pawley
250-493-6146
 
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Bob,

I believe someone from a University in Arizona went down this path a few years ago. He used satellite imagery (IR ?) to monitor the entire surface of the globe. I think he was more concerned about where temperature measurements were being taken than the accuracy of the devices used. (A good percentage of observations come from airports which are significantly different than they were 50 years ago.)

Apparently neither the Sierra Club nor Greenpeace wished to fund his research.:) His conclusions have been dismissed because the source of his funding was not 'green'. (Auto industry as I recall) At the same time Enron was very, very active in discrediting anyone that even suggested global warming was not a fact. They foresaw huge profits in trading emissions credits. They wanted Kyoto.

I suspect that the existing body of knowledge on this subject is greater and more diverse than lobbyists and special interest groups would have us believe. You do realize that the 'factual' part of global warming was the output from a computer model rather than scientific evidence. And the author of that model subsequently found flaws in the model and he no longers supports his previously held position.

Obviously, your position is worthy of investigation. The real challenge will be finding an open mind on either side of the issue.

Good luck,

Bob Lockert
 
I agree on both points.

Repeatability accuracy of RTDs is quite high. Our industry depends on this fact. The plant operator doesn't necessarily depend on the absolute temperature recording as he sees it. What he depends on, is the reading when the process is working well and his knowledge that the same temperature reading, in future days will produce the same results. However, quite often the operator undergoes a learning curve when the temperature monitor is changed out.

If the same single device had been used for all readings around the globe, as well as over the last 100 years, then the models and projections would be much more certain.

I also agree that pollution, in any form, needs curtailing. However, we shouldn't make decisions that are based on bad science.

I think it was John Glenn that looked at the Earth's forest coverage during his two space trips over a twenty year span. He estimated that the forest coverage had increased by about 20%.

This could very well be a positive result of burning fossil fuels.

The problem is - we just don't know; and we shouldn't waste resources, better used elsewhere, simply because of a Chicken Little panic.

Bob Pawley
250-493-6146
 
Bob,

I agree. I would add the question of whether the same devices were being used a century ago to record temperature. Were they connected to the same style controllers? Were the controllers temperature compensated? Was the
resistance at the termination point monitored to insure that it did not contribute to any anomoly? How was calibration performed then vs. now? The idea of recording "avg" earth temerature over the course of 100 years, and trying to maintain an overall accuracy of even the +/- 2 deg C that you mentioned would take a herculean effort that was most likely not performed at the start of their alleged 'test period'.

Just my $0.02 US (what is that in Euro's?)

--Joe Jansen
 
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Clark Southoff

Hi Bob:
I tend to agree on the lack of accuracy of the data. The linearization of low accuracy RTD circuits is formidable but can be accomplished with extra software.

Some RTD sensors used in oilwell monitoring require 0.01 C relative accuracy. Not absolute accuracy. Many algorithms do not utilize all the polynomials in the linearization curves over a restricted range.

So, where does that get reflected in the Kyoto Accord? Also, the technical committee for evaluation of technologies appears to be non-existent in Canada.
Does anyone know who they are?
Is there an ISA member on the committee?

With the Kyoto Accord, there appears to be more questions than substance.

There is one disturbing item that came up, Mars's Ice caps are expected to increase their annual melt due to unusual solar activity. That alone would skew climatic readings. It would seem that this unusual solar activity would also affect our planet also.

Best regards
Clark Southoff
Technology Wranglers Inc.
 
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Ranjan Acharya

I think that this is an interesting proposition. But not to be used against
Kyoto, it should be used to improve climate models instead.

The real opposition to Kyoto is from the advocates of the status quo (people without a care for the greatest natural resource, our children - let them breathe smoke!). Such people are terrified of the adjustments that are required to, for example, reducing the dependence we have on oil. They could just re-tool and go for solar, but human beings are after all, human.

It is overly simplistic and a bit daft to suggest that one RTD is the root cause of the claim that there is a problem afoot with our climate. Not all global warming data is based on measurement from temperature sensors. It is based on studies that include:

- Analysis of changing fauna e.g., the tree line is moving north
- Analysis of the changing permafrost, if it is not getting warmer, why is it thinning? Did it just feel like it?
- Analysis of samples taken from drilling into ice, soil et cetera to measure various factors including fauna, atmospheric conditions and so on
- And a lot more, there are lots of respectable scientific publications that don't just rely on one RTD

To deny that it is healthy to use the amount of fossil fuels we use per capita in the US and Canada is seriously silly. We use much more fossil fuels per capita than almost anyone else on earth including the Europeans (only Norway even comes close). That, by the way, is from an article in IEEE Spectrum not exactly a hot-bed of pro-environmental study.

I would suggest that you take a step back from the rhetoric surrounding Kyoto and look at the big picture. Our planet is undergoing some type of warming trend, weather patterns are changing. That being said, climate modelling science is still quite immature. However, there can be no argument that human activity must have an impact somewhere in the grand model.

Also, the coachmen and wheelwrights all had to adjust to the automobile, why can't the fossil fuel lobby adjust too?

There are tremendous opportunities in alternative fuels and tremendous opportunities in living with a little bit less waste. Imagine that you have solar panels on your roof that provide quiescent background power for most of your appliances through the day. Is this bad? I don't think so. Imagine that you recover grey water from your washing machine and it on your lawn (without pesticides!) instead of municipally treated water. That must be bad too eh?

I see knee-jerk, sadly funny reactions from Provincial Premiers regarding fossil fuel problems. Blinded by royalties I think. Enough to drive you to drink (comments regarding alcohol are not directed at anyone in particular,
but it is a good fuel).

R
 
> The Canadian Government is eager to implement the Kyoto Accord. It is my
> contention that this accord is flawed due to technical temperature
> monitoring consideration, that have yet to be taken into account. There is
> evidence that the temperature devices used for weather observation is the
> very same RTD used in our industry.

I think it's likely that those temperature observations also include mercury (and other liquid) thermometers, bimetal, thermisters, thermocouples, infrared and other radiative energy, etc.

> I would appreciate your considered critiques of my position as outlined
> below.
>
> ...
>
> Accuracy of Resistance Temperature Detectors and Global Warming
>
> Flawed observations result in flawed conclusions.
>
> Fact - Scientific conclusions are based on theory supported by direct
> observation.
>
> Theory - Some scientists and many special interests have postulated that
> the Earth's temperature has risen by one degree (Celsius?) over the last
> century
>
> Conclusion - There can be no empirical evidence to support a claim of one
> degree of warming over the last century. All observations of temperature
> are based on mechanical devices which have uncertainty of reading greater
> than plus or minus one degree Celsius. Therefore the projections,

I don't know the "Earth's temperature" was derived, but I have to presume it may also be based on other measurements and induced information, not just on the mechanical devices you mention.

> assumptions and computer models based on these observations have the same,
> or greater, uncertainty. In fact, the Earth today could very well be
> colder by one degree than it was a century ago.

I think one serious flaw in your argument is the implicit assumption that the measurements take place at the same "Earth's temperature", when in fact they must instead represent actual temperatures at different locations and seasons of the year, somehow processed to yield a metric which is then used for comparisons, trends, etc.

> Summary - Uncertainties associated with the devices used to measure
> temperature are in the order of plus or minus one degree Celsius at the
> best of conditions. The best conditions are measurements at the freezing
> point of water after proper, structured calibrations are carried out.
> Temperatures higher or lower than freezing have a corresponding additional
> uncertainty.

A pot of water that is boiling for 1/2 the time and frozen for the other half might be said to have a temperature of 50 C on average; if it boils for a bit longer than freezing it would have a slightly higher temperature, say, 51 C. Those temperatures could be argued to be meaningless since the water is (almost) never at that state, but as an overview of the gross conditions such a view might be useful. By your argument the comparison is valid since no measurements are needed, though the timebase would be a source of error.

I don't know, but my feeling is that the individual inaccuracies would be filtered out (to some extent) given enough data points, particularly if the measurement errors are random and not systemic.

> ...
> reading may be between 23 and 27. This is four times the "calculation" of
> the last century's temperature rise proposed by Global Warming supporters.
>
> There is another wrinkle affecting accuracy with world wide temperature
> readings. The temperature element used is not a linear device. An
> algorithm is built into the electronics monitoring the temperature element
> to correct this physical phenomenon. I understand that Europe uses a
> different algorithm than does North America.

I'm not necessarily a "supporter of global warming", but I think you'd do well to check your assumptions of how the numbers and trends have been derived. I think it is naive to think that scientists are not clued in to this level of detail.

Ken

--
Ken Irving <[email protected]itonet.com>
 
Your right about the pseudo-science Bob. I brought it to the list, in part, because of my industry observations over the years.

People, even in our industry, sometimes take things, such as temperature readings as gospel. Just because the reading is to one decimal point doesn't signify that that is what you are getting.

Our industry also needs to understand just what is behind, not only temperature, but any of the readings produced by our monitors.

Bob Pawley
250-493-6146
 
All of these positions are interesting. Some I even agree with.

The intent of my original posting was not to get into a political discussion. In fact, it was to draw attention to the proposition, held by some, that they have evidence that the temperature of the earth has risen ONE degree in the last century.

I am merely stating that there is no empirical evidence for this statement. The models, computer and otherwise, and other projections based on this
assumption are therefore also suspect.

If we don't question these statements, that are based on equipment that we ourselves use, - are we not subject to the same flawed thinking in our own jobs?

Bob Pawley
250-493-6146
 
B
An interesting set of conjecture, and misinformation.

[email protected] writes:

> think that this is an interesting proposition. But not to be used against
> Kyoto, it should be used to improve climate models instead.
>
> The real opposition to Kyoto is from the advocates of the status quo (people
> without a care for the greatest natural resource, our children - let them
> breathe smoke!). Such people are terrified of the adjustments that are
> required to, for example, reducing the dependence we have on oil. They
> could just re-tool and go for solar, but human beings are after all, human.

First off, Kyoto has nothing whatsoever to do with smoke, or pollution as we normally see it. Its about de-industrialization. Secondly, if you understood the economics of photovoltaic generated solar energy, you would not want it, because it is so uneconomical. At present, you can buy solar panels for about $4/watt. On average you can get somewhere around 4 hours per day of adequate sunlight. To get a single kw-hr of electricity per day thus requires a capital investment of almost $1000, just to get about 5-10 cents worth of electricity. In an entire year you might make $15-20 worth of electricity. Not much of a return on your $1000. And if you want electricty at night, or during a rain shower, you need batteries. The economics there are even worse. It costs about 50 cents to store a kw-hr of electricity in the most economical batteries currently available (lead acid). Most families in the US will use somewhere 1000 kw-hrs of electricty per month if they are careful. Thus you might need $30-40,000 worth of solar cells to provide your needs (a one time cost not including installation, maint, invertors, etc.). If you used 2/3 of the energy ( a fairly typical usage pattern) outside the generating period you would need to spend perhaps $350/month on batteries.
If you don't believe the numbers, the figures are easy to come by, go get them and do the calculations yourself. And guess what people do who use solar cells for electricty? They all have LP for refrigerators, some even for lighting.

> It is overly simplistic and a bit daft to suggest that one RTD is the root
> cause of the claim that there is a problem afoot with our climate. Not all
> global warming data is based on measurement from temperature sensors. It is
> based on studies that include:
>
> - Analysis of changing fauna e.g., the tree line is moving north
> - Analysis of the changing permafrost, if it is not getting warmer,
> why is
> it thinning? Did it just feel like it?
> - Analysis of samples taken from drilling into ice, soil et cetera
> to
> measure various factors including fauna, atmospheric conditions and so on
> - And a lot more, there are lots of respectable scientific
> publications
> that don't just rely on one RTD
>
> To deny that it is healthy to use the amount of fossil fuels we use per
> capita in the US and Canada is seriously silly. We use much more fossil
> fuels per capita than almost anyone else on earth including the Europeans
> (only Norway even comes close). That, by the way, is from an article in
> IEEE Spectrum not exactly a hot-bed of pro-environmental study.

It certainly is a fact that the US (for instance) uses more energy per capita then other countries. But that does not mean that has any negative effects. Its just a fact.

> I would suggest that you take a step back from the rhetoric surrounding
> Kyoto and look at the big picture. Our planet is undergoing some type of
> warming trend, weather patterns are changing. That being said, climate
> modelling science is still quite immature. However, there can be no
> argument that human activity must have an impact somewhere in the grand
> model.

Why does it have to be human impact? Long before humans were here there were massive changes in climate. The earth has gone from ice ages, to near tropical conditions when there were no humans at all.

> The point of Kyoto is an attempt to stabilise the emissions of methane,
> carbon dioxide and other by-products of combustion. I do not really believe
> that its authors ever hoped to see it fully implemented.
>
> Also, the coachmen and wheelwrights all had to adjust to the automobile, why
> can't the fossil fuel lobby adjust too?
>
> There are tremendous opportunities in alternative fuels and tremendous
> opportunities in living with a little bit less waste. Imagine that you have
> solar panels on your roof that provide quiescent background power for most
> of your appliances through the day. Is this bad? I don't think so. Imagine
> that you recover grey water from your washing machine and it on your lawn
> (without pesticides!) instead of municipally treated water. That must be
> bad too eh?
>
> I see knee-jerk, sadly funny reactions from Provincial Premiers regarding
> fossil fuel problems. Blinded by royalties I think. Enough to drive you to
> drink (comments regarding alcohol are not directed at anyone in particular,
> but it is a good fuel).

Actually, depending on how you calculate it, use of alcohol as a fuel results in a slight increase in both overall energy use and CO2 emissions over just using oil or natural gas. The reason is that it takes a lot of energy to grow the biomass, harvest it, and turn it into fuel. Enough energy is used in this process that its not clear that its even a net increase in available energy. This sort of makes sense since it costs so much more to make use alcohol as a motor fuel rather then gasoline (for instance). Even with the massive subsidies (bought and paid for by the big ethanol producers) it still costs more on a gallon per gallon basis, not even considering that alcohol has something like 20% less energy in a gallon then in a gallon of gasoline.

I would urge you to review carefully some arguments that indicate maybe we should look before we leap. a few links you might want to take a look at.

"http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/publications/digest/013/berkowitz.html":http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/publications/digest/013/berkowitz.html

"http://www.junkscience.com/":http://www.junkscience.com/

"http://www.libertyhaven.com/politicsandcurrentevents/politicalpartiesoractivism/globalpolitics.html":http://www.libertyhaven.com/politicsandcurrentevents/politicalpartiesoractivism/globalpolitics.html

BTW, I do not dispute the possibility that humans impact climate. I am just not sure (nor is anyone else), and IF we are responsible, is the Kyoto treaty the answer? Its even possible that a few degrees temperature rise might be beneficial to humanity.

Bob Peterson
 
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Michael Griffin

I'm not directing this reply to anyone in particular, but it might be best if political discussions were conducted elsewhere. If anyone is genuinely interested in the various sorts of scientific atmospheric and ocean temperature measurement methods and the accuracy thereof, there are information resources elsewhere which could address this at much greater length than is suitable here.

Of course, if anyone feels that the solution is better PID tuning of the climate, then they may have something useful to say. I'm not sure what they would use for an actuator though.


--

************************
Michael Griffin
London, Ont. Canada
************************
 
B
The discussions on global warming remind me of a passage in Defoe's "A History of the Plague Year".
At one stage in the course of 1665, there was a concerted campaign by the populace of London to kill off all the dogs and cats, on the grounds that:
a) there was a problem (the plague)
b) one possibility that had been proposed was that it was carried by domestic animals
c) so it couldn't hurt to get rid of the dogs and cats just in case.

Incidentally, it is highly likely that temperatures in Europe at that time were a bit warmer than they are now - after all, the Danes were living quite happily in Greenland about then.


Bruce.
 
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