Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

What’s a Tired Climate Blogger to do?

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on July 6, 2010

Clearly, my posts have waned to ridiculously low levels.

I throw up a Forex account update twice a month for anyone interested in this little experiment, which probably aren’t all that many people.

So, what has happened to loveable old Joe? Where are the charts? Where are the opinions on global warming? Am I ducking and running because there have been warmer temperatures in recent months?

Let me address those quesitons in order:
1) Loveable old Joe is still here. But loveable old Joe has had to reassess how and where to spend his valuable old time. (OK, enough third person…) I know I’ve offered a couple previous posts in the past on this, but I wanted to elaborate a little bit.

I have a pretty good job, and I feel blessed to have it. I’ve been fortunate enough to be successful at it and make a good name for myself with company management. This has invited more responsibility. With more responsibility comes more opportunity, and with that, more demands on time.

In the past, I could steal some time here and there or on breaks or over lunch to pull climate data and crunch some numbers. I enjoyed doing it. And there would be times where, even if I couldn’t steal that time during the day, I could do so at the end of the work day. Or, at home.

This available time has depreciated considerably. Not only that, but as my responsibilities at work increase, the less inclined I am to spend the free time I have working on spreadsheets on a computer. Sure, I’d enjoy it to a degree, but I also enjoy many, many other things. I have decided to mainly pursue many of those other interests. But more than that, this is also driven by outside responsibilities.

You see, along with job responsibilities during the day, my family obligations have increased from an “available time” perspective. I have eight kids. Oh, sure, that’s always provided a time challenge. But as all parents know, as kids get older they get more involved. I don’t want to miss out on that. So, I coached my 7 year-old’s baseball team this year. I give my kids piano lessons. I go to 4H meetings with the kids. And so on. I’m sure you can all appreciate that climate blogging takes a back seat to these things.

Then, there’s the music thing. As it is, I barely write music any more and spend less time actually recording it. I miss that. I have been practicing once or twice a week with a band that will be giving a concert this Friday night. It’s volunteer, but it’s a love of mine that I don’t want to entirely abandon. I pretty much lead the thing and put all the music together, and it’s taken a large chunk of time. But worth every moment, because it’s forced me to reconnect with an outside interest that I always feel kind of guilty pursuing on my own.

Don’t get me wrong… I love science. I love exploring the numbers. I love expressing my opinion. But time is time. They don’t make more of it. Something ahs to give.

2) Where are the charts? Quite honestly, way back when I put the charts together as part of my general blog, I never intended it to be more than a simple look at the numbers and to provide some random musings about what they meant. Many of those old charts still get referenced around the web, and they kind of took on a life of their own. I never intended to champion anything other than to just look at the data. I’m not sorry that I got caught up in blogging seriously about the details, because it forced me to look at some things in an interesting way, it forced me to revisit some statistics that I needed brushing up on, and it forced me to learn a few things I needed to learn to have a semi-intelligent discussion on matters.

Along the way, I recgnized waves in the data and tied that to ocean cycles. Along the way, I did correlation analyses to sunspots that showed the importance of “persistence” in elevated levels and associated lag effects. Along the way, I demonstrated that almost all the warming in the last 30 years came from a single jump, and that the trend lines on either side of that jump are flat. Along the way, I presented charts on different time frames that showed both warming and cooling. I showed how the slopes of different lines have changed over time, to provide yet another level of insight into the trends. I looked at all the different temperature indices.

However, while I feel pretty good about a couple deeper analyses (the correlation of sunspots, the best fit sine waves against PDO and AMO cycles, and the best-fit double-sine wave cycles against HadCrut are my favorites) the temperature charts aren’t rocket science. It’s just a trend line.

I never intended, nor did I desire, to delve into all the ins and outs of the data like others do. And along the way, I’ve decided that my charts are of minimal additive value to the wonderful work that people like Jeff at The Air Vent, or Anthony Watts, among a plethora of others.

While I could see blogging about my simple opinion about a story here or a story there in the future, I just decided that for the additional value of it, the time spent compiling these charts isn’t of high enough value to compel me to continue. Now, for a while, I thought I’d try to get to it every 3 months or so. But even that didn’t happen.

Probably the only thing I can say at this point is that I may, in the future, put some charts together when enough time has passed to make an updated chart relevant. One might argue that I’m already there, but my schedule being what it is, I probably won’t get to it any time real soon. Now, I may look at some of my favorite analyses again, because I felt they were more insightful and contributed a bit more to the discussion. Ironically, some of those “favorite” pieces of work from my perspective received few comments, while I’d often get linked to all over the place from a simple trend line chart. Go figure.

3) Where are the opinions on global warming? Quite honestly, I never thought anyone came here to hear me blab about my thoughts on this story or that story. If I’m being honest, I’m much more energized by the thought of just putting up quick posts that make fun of somebody for saying or doing something than I am about the thought of deep analysis. So, in a sense, I kind of felt “locked up.” I didn’t want to post anything if I couldn’t do the charts or something. In a way, this directly broke a rule I had set up for myself, where I just wanted the blog to be what I wanted it to be. But I realize I still felt a bit like I needed to post charts or analysis if I posted anything. I mean, there are plenty of sites that post sotries and links and comment on them.

But, I can pretty much say at this point that (a) this is pretty much what I will be doing going forward, because if I don’t, I won’t be doing much of anything at all, and (b) my opinion is awesome, and even if nobody else reads it, I like expressing it.

Am I ducking and running? While the timing is suspect, no. I fully recognize and appreciate the fact that monthly temps have increased lately. There’s this whole El Nino thing going on and we’ve had “the warmest on record.” I never run away from the data. I don’t hide it, and never have. If things are warming, I’ll say as much.

Now, that won’t change my mind without further evidence that this has much at all to do with human activity. It’s two separate issues to recognize that the last few months are warm and then to attribute that warmness to one thing or another without specific correlation analyses that deomnstrate it.

So this is not a matter of ducking and running. It’s a matter of time and desire and a recognition that others are doing yeoman’s work out there of which I have little to add. So I’ll probably just go back to trying to find anecdotal things to make fun of, politicians to be sarcastic about, and overall just have a jolly good time.

Jeff once asked me a question: Have you given up? At the time, the answer was “no.” Today, the answer is “sort of.” My plan is now to simply have fun. Typing up an opinion of a dumb random story is far less time-consuming than putting together charts, saving those charts, uploading them, titling them, analyzing them, and then finally posting a summary of the analysis. I guess I’m just lazy.

You can also expect to see continued Forex updates. In case you haven’t noticed, this strategy actually seems to be working. Those posts don’t take any time at all because I already have all the information handy. We’re not talking millions of dollars or anything, but if I continue to make money, I’ll be getting more aggressive with that.

The dozen or so of you who still check in deserve an explanation for my absence, and probablye subsequent change in behavior. I’m hoping I’m re-energized by the thought of just posting quicker opinions on stuff without being asked to be some sort of expert in analysis. Maybe this change in approach will even get me to revisit some of my charts occasionally.

Hope all the U.S. readers had a wonderful 4th of July. Well, actually, I hope everyone did, but you know what I mean.

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3 Responses to “What’s a Tired Climate Blogger to do?”

  1. Bob H. said

    Good Evening Joe,
    I’ve been following you with the RSS feed,and I understand the pressures of time, especially with a lot of kids (can you say 7 teenagers?) Ouch! Anyway…I am still following the sunspot frequency, but I am growing more suspicious of the official pronouncements, since several of the “official” sunspots really weren’t even apparent in visible light. Perhaps I’ll get my analysis to you in the near future. I’ll be the first to admit my statistics are not nearly as good as yours, plus what I did learn is a wee bit…um, rusty, but I think I could put together something interesting and hopefully entertaining.

    Have fun with your family this summer. I suspect it is going to be another cold, cold winter. Not positive, just a hunch.

    Catch you later.

  2. The Diatribe Guy said

    Thanks, Bob. I’ve always appreciated your input, and as time allows I’m more than happy to put up a guest post if and when you put something together.

    Do you really have 7 teenagers? Egad. So much for my pity party! 😉

  3. Bob H. said

    Yep. 7 teenagers and 2 21-year olds. It can be frustrating at times.

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