Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Accounting for Temperatures

I’ve had a good deal of experience with accounting systems, and it has just struck me that the whole global temperature database should be constructed in a transactional fashion.

To wit:

Each station in the record has an ‘account’ – a GUID if you will, and all temperature values and adjustments for a given station are recorded as transactions for that account, assigned to a date (and even time), and classified as some Type of transaction.

Types of transactions (trx) could usefully be globally codified: as it’s clear that a potent source of confusion is just what value adjustment happened to what data, when. The analogy here is to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) which rules the accounting world. Sorely needed in the world's temperature records....

Accounting systems which use the ’single-table’ approach and are in essence just a big bucket of transactions thereby, could in fact be adapted for this sort of recording. I've worked with SunSystems, Coda and Kypera - all are of this type. There are probably many others.

Trx types would obviously include:

- RAW measurement
- UHI adjustment
- EQP equipment change/calibration etc
- LOC location change adjustment

and so on.

Then, every Step in any process which causes value adjustments to be made to any data point (account/station, day) could be traced, and most importantly, added as a new trx, thus leaving the raw data strictly alone.

Auditors love this sort of approach, and the SQL database engines which store and handle the data, make short work of the heavy lifting in terms of summing trx, adding trx, and consolidating data. Of course the database itself is typically chock full of compliance features (thanks to SarbOx).

As a final aid to traceability, each trx can be stamped with the process name that put it there, and even a description. And who…..

And the beauty of this is that the existing data-generation routines can still operate, but instead of altering arrays of values, they would be adding trx per single data point.

As the start of a Global Temperature Dataset, a transactional accounting-style structure would begin to address the ‘amateur hour’ data storage and versioning techniques we see in so much of the CRU dataset, thanks to Harry.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Harry Read Me - ClimateGate

An entertaining read. Harry has grave qualms about the data, the methods, and his own abilities, all written up in the ReadMe text file in unflinching fashion.

A lovely quote:

So, once again I don't understand statistics. Quel surprise, given that I haven't had any training in stats in my entire life, unless you count A-level maths.

An honest man in a den of vipers - I've just finished Wolf Hall, and the similarity between the climate crew and the post-Luther Catholic church is striking.

Climate crew:
- suspect data,
- data munges up the wazoo,
- academic echo chamber,
- currently facing funding cuts and fraud scrutiny,
- lashing out at critics (how Dare they - they aren't even Peer-Reviewed!).

Catholic Church:
- failing belief in the basic propositions by population,
- emergence of fanatical fringes of existing belief system,
- closed system of ecclesiastical courts (a state within a state)
- facing funding cuts as Henry VIII realises that if he can be Head of the Church and thus secure a ruling on his first 'marriage', he can also obtain the keys to the church's extensive coffers,
- burns critics at the stake after trials conducted by....priests!

I know analogies by example aren't scientific, but hey, it worked for carbon dioxide and AGW, d'innit?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Climategate - a few links

The 'Hardly Screwed' epithet which envious types used to throw at the University of east Anglia's Climate Research Unit is spookily accurate, possums....

Chiefio - who has discovered the 'snowbird' tendency of global thermometering - is my favourite link, because he took the time to actually build a test Linux box, work through the GisTemp code and station data, and think about the results. An engineer after me own heart. The results, for those lazy sods who don't click links is threefold:

1 - fewer thermometers in the world over time
2 - survivors tend to be at the coast or at low altitude
3 - history data, being from high altitudes as well, plus inland, is inherently different and colder, so the 'snowbird' thermometers (coastal or low altitude) with which this history is being compared show Warming! Quelle surprise....

Iowahawk has given us a short lesson on the climatologist ecology. Read it and laugh. Or have a replacement keyboard handy if you are consuming liquid refreshment.

Smoking gun or AGW Mushroom Cloud? I favour the latter, but the deaths will take years, and will be by radiation poisoning - the slow cutting off of grants funding....

Monday, June 08, 2009

VDH - the Reckoning

Another classic article from the classicist and agricultural toiler, Victor Davis Hanson.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Government Motors

Hat tip to MaxedOutMama. Health warning: please DO NOT read this with a cup of hot liquid near your mouth or over the keyboard. You have been warned.....