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1.2 Myopic Research, Cuz It's Easy!

April 04, 2013

 Wickham et al., Geoinfor Geostat: An Overview 2013, 1:2

Lazy Researchers/implementers

As a manager, one of the things that would drive me up the wall was when a smart, talented, knowledgeable engineer would slither over difficulties and solve a problem "the easy way".

While the results are a valid/correct application of "a" solution, it results in a meaningless or useless result.

An example of such a bogus result is in the paper:
Influence of Urban Heating on the Global Temperature Land Average using Rural Sites Identified from MODIS Classifications, Wickham et al, 2013

The problem

Their calculations, etc are very "correct", but they threw the baby out with the bath water:
      "...Identified from MODIS Classifications"

It seems that they classified the "local micro clime" of a NOAA temperature station by the macro environment. Clever, but not very smart.

Now, anyone with a lick of sense, including the NOAA,
for example, look at U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN)
knows that the major micro clime influence is about 500'.

So, a researcher, or a reviewer of a research paper, who somehow allows a multi-kilometer, with no analysis of the local environment, is just plan lazy and producing garbage.

What's wrong with this paper?

A decent analysis was published in a blog:
Berkeley Earth, Very Rural and Not

The bottom line:
"Most of the siting problems have nothing to do with proximity to an urban area"
Human habitat areas just make a problem, but even NOAA is clever enough not to have too many stations actually inside major metropolitan areas... at least more recently.  Airports are almost as bad as a city with all the concrete and jets.

What They Needed To Do

To be useful, the Researchers actually needed to categorize each, individual station by the actual standard for such stations and throw out any that do not meet standards.

But, of course, that requires work and knowledge, it is far easier to just make up some criteria and run it over blurry satellite photos to satisfy the grant.

Carpe Diem: What you can envision, you can achieve!(sm)


Recent Commentaries
in Knowledge Horizons Book

Commentary: Horizons - June 16, 2013
1.1  Paying for Interns?
Commentary: Horizons - April 04, 2013
1.2  Myopic Research, Cuz It's Easy!
Commentary: Horizons - June 16, 1997
1  Levels of Ignorance

Knowledge Horizons
       Chapters

1   Levels of Ignorance
  June 16, 1997
1.1   Paying for Interns?
    June 16, 2013
1.2   Myopic Research, Cuz It's Easy!
    April 04, 2013
Carpe Diem: What you can envision, you can achieve!sm
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