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Thursday, August 20, 2009
Who is Really Making Up the Facts

By Joseph D’Aleo


In a Time/CNN story by Michael Grunwald “Steven Chu, A Political Scientist” on Chu’s mission to China, attempting to convince them to cooperate on emissions reductions in the December Copenhagen UN conference to discuss the next step after Kyoto (the Chinese are laughing all the way to the bank because they know our pain would be their gain).

Grunwald noted “When I asked Chu about the earth-is-cooling argument, he rolled his eyes and whipped out a chart showing that the 10 hottest years on record have all been in the past 12 years and that 1998 was the hottest. He mocked the skeptics who focus on that post-1998 blip while ignoring a century-long trend of rising temperatures: “See? It’s gone down! The earth must be cooling!” But then he got serious, almost plaintive: “You know, it’s totally irresponsible. You’re not supposed to make up the facts."”

I agree with the very last sentence. NOAA, NASA GISS and Hadley though are guilty of exactly that. They have created or enhanced man-made global warming by careless and possibly fraudulent methods. They started by dropping 80% of the world’s stations from their calculations, most rural, by not ensuring the instruments are not improperly sited (90% of the approximately 1000 surveyed and photographed by Anthony Watt’s team of volunteers do not meet the government’s own published standards), by not adjusting properly for the urbanization warming that has taken place as the world’s population rose for 1.6 to 6.7 billion people since 1900 (in the case of the US data, actually removing a very good urban adjustment), by employing and using instruments not really meant for precision temperature measurements or with warm biases, and most recently by eliminating ocean data sources like satellite or not using promising new sources like the Argo buoys because they are showing a cold ‘bias’ or cooling when the goal is to show warming in agreement with the models and their forecasts.

With the data they perform then an homogenization adjustment that blends the good with the bad (a little like the toxic assets in the mortgage crises). Though this may improve some of the bad data, it degrades the good data. This is a little like mixing pure spring water with sludge, the sludge is a little less disgusting, but the result is not potable.

Even the prior CCSP found that most of the warming is with the minimum temperatures in higher latitude cities and in winter, all classic characteristics of the urban heat island.

Dozens of peer review papers have been published and new ones appear monthly showing that the local factors like urbanization are responsible for an exaggeration of the warming longer term by 20 to 50% or even more.


The last century of temperatures from the UK Hadley Center shows the upward trend used by the IPCC. I have added the 60 year cycle that is evident in the data set. We have just begun a leg down right about on schedule.

Larger here.
We have posted other stories by Roger Pielke Jr. Anthony Watts, Timothy Ball, and Steve McIntyre recounted some of the adventures attempting unsuccessfully to date to get access to the raw data and adjustments from Hadley using official channels. We won’t get into that here.

With more stability of the United States with respect to the rural data, you sere a much smaller upward trend longer term and again warming confined to relatively short 20-30 year intervals even as CO2 rose. The rate of warming from the 1910s to 1930s was actually greater than that from 1979 to 1998.

Larger here.
When you correct for the issues discussed above, the recent decades fall down in comparison with the 1930s to 1950s when most of the heat records were set. You reduce the 10 of 10 to maybe 2 to 5 in ten warmest years. The data sets all show a 60 year cycle and one would expect years near the peaks would tend to rank among warmest and the minimums rank among the coldest.


Looking at the record highs one gets the clear impression we are dealing with cyclical changes and that the warmth in the 1930s to 1950s exceeded that of the recent decades. This decades almost ended, has fewer heat records than any decade in a century.

The all time state record highs show the dominance of the 1930s (24 of the 50 records). Larger here.

You can see the coverage difference between the stations on this GISS analysis of the NOAA gathered stations from 1978 versus that in 2008. You can see the stations grow then suddenly disappear in this animation from John W. Goetz here. See in this John Goetz post 1079 stations worldwide contributed to the GISS analysis, 134 of them being located in the 50 US states. Many, many hundreds of stations that have historically been included in the record and still collect data today continue to be ignored by NOAA and GISS in global temperature calculations (in 1970s the number of stations totaled well over 6000). Data is available in the large holes in places like Canada and Brazil and Africa, but NOAA appears not to be accessing it. The last year has been very cold in Canada.


NOAA is a press release designed to assist in the battle to get Cap-and_trade enacted and provide fodder for Copenhagen announced the world’s oceans were last month the warmest on record. See AP nonsense story by GW toady Seth Borenstein here.

Even in the release, NOAA noted the last year made changes to the ocean temperature data base removing the satellite data (IR not the microwave UAH and RSS use) that they claimed was giving a cold bias to the data especially in the southern hemisphere middle and higher latitudes. The oceans now are shown to be warm just about everywhere and in June was the warmest of the record. See NOAA’s map below. Note most of the world’s ocean were warmer than normal (for the oceans it was the warmest June on record).

Larger here.

This is true even though the 3342 NOAA ARGO floats worldwide are showing cooling. Plotted data (graph courtesy of SPPI) from the ARGO buoys by NOAA’s Willis and Loehle (2009). NOAA is making no effort being made to use this in monthly global assessments for ‘budgetary reasons’ although that is a convenient excuse.The data is easily accessed.

Larger here.

So Secretary Chu, as science advisor who claims to care about being responsible, may I suggest you do an investigation of this data debacle. I assure you that those of us who have worked with it for many years care about it more than you could ever imagine. I have a few names you start with.  See more complete analysis here.

Dr. Vincent Gray’s New Zealand Newsletter just out covers some of the the same territory here.

Posted on 08/20 at 02:48 AM
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