The establishment barks “cherry-picking” at skeptics who claim a particular year was cold, or quiet, or less stormy, but where are the caveats when the mass media churns out record single “hot year” headlines as if they matter: 2010 is hottest year EVER!
What’s not obvious is that breaking those records depends on the data set. According to satellite data there have been no “hottest year ever” records since 1998, though as it happens, NASA doesn’t seem too keen on using data recorded from space. Go figure.
With ground stations, every single station requires hand-made “adjustments” and many stations are ignored completely. The results from ground stations are “interpreted” to cover anything from zero kilometers right up to 1200 km. I guess, only a God of Science would know which thermometer has that magic-1200-gift. Meanwhile, the satellite records are a massive collection of data recorded continuously 24/7, year after year and covering all round the globe, land and sea.
Part II of this series is about those “adjustments” and the different data sets.
Part 2: Air Temperatures
The public might not understand the science, but they do understand cheating
Dr. David Evans
4 October 2010
[A series of articles reviewing the western climate establishment and the media.
The first article discussed thermometer placement tricks.]
Click to download a pdf file containing the whole series
More Thermometer Tricks
There are lots of ways to find “warm”. More tricks from the climate establishment:
- They removed inconvenient thermometers. There were nearly 6,000 thermometers in the official global network in the 1980s, but there are now just 1,079. (Nice animation of global thermometer network from 1920 to 2010. See p.10 here.) The removals increased the proportion of thermometers:
- At airports—which are warmer than surroundings. (From about 30% to about 50%, p.12 here.)
- Nearer the equator—it is hotter at the equator. (The mean distance of thermometers from the equator in degrees latitude dropped from 35° to 20°, p.13 here.)
- At lower altitudes—it is colder in the mountains. (The mean altitude of thermometers decreased from 480 meters above sea level to 350 meters, p.14 here.)
- They “adjust” the raw temperature data to increase apparent warming. This is under the guise of filling in missing data, accounting for thermometer moves, accounting for the urban heat island effect, and various technicalities. The effect is to substantially increase the warming trend (US and global, Australia). In the country with the best thermometer network, the USA, the official adjustments account for almost the entire temperature rise from the 1930s to the 1990s (from NOAA data, here).
- They revise the official (adjusted) temperatures after a decade or so have passed, to increase recent warming and remove any recent cooling. For example, 1965 went from being 0.3°C warmer than the 1970’s in 1976 to 0.03°C cooler by 2007, presumably to erase the cooling period around 1960 – 75 when human carbon emissions were increasing rapidly.
- They hide their temperature data, both their raw data and how they adjusted it. They evaded Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to make the data, which is publically owned data, available. They even claim to have lost original data!
Why would the climate establishment play these tricks, if their case and data were strong?
Don’t these tricks strongly imply that their case is weak or wrong, and that they know it?
What Difference Do Their Tricks Make?
The climate establishment always quotes the land-thermometer temperature records as the global temperature, usually the one by NASA GISS:
The main features:
- The warmest year appears to be 2006.
- The warming trend appears to continue through 2010.
But there is an alternative method of measuring global temperatures—with satellites.
Satellites measure the temperature 24/7 over broad swathes of land and ocean, across the whole world except the poles. While satellites had some initial calibration problems, those have long since been fully fixed to everyone’s satisfaction. Satellites are mankind’s most reliable, extensive, and unbiased method for measuring surface temperatures.
There are two independent satellite records, and they agree with each other. Here is one:
The main features:
- The warmest year was 1998.
- A generally rising trend until somewhere around 2001, then a levelling off (or slight cooling).
- A large El Nino spike in 1998. During an El Nino, surface temperatures are high for about a year then come back to their previous level.
- A large El Nino spike in 2010, that peaked in January to March and is now (Sept 2010) presumably on the way back down.
Obviously this has different political implications from the land-based thermometer data.
The satellite data is inconvenient to the climate establishment, and they never refer to it. But they appear to have a strategy for dealing with it in the future: they underfund the temperature satellites and do not fix flaws as they arise.
An important admission. Shortly after the ClimateGate scandal broke, a leading member of the climate establishment, Dr. Phil Jones, Director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the UK, in an interview with the BBC, agreed that:
“from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming”.
Jones also noted that it has been cooling since 2002, but that this trend was too short to be statistically significant.
Their thermometer tricks create the picture of ever-rising temperatures that they need politically, but contrasts with the superior and unbiased satellite picture that shows global warming paused around 2001.
Why do the climate establishment use the land- thermometer temperatures in their communications with the public, when they could use the satellite data instead?
They have tacitly admitted their land-thermometer data is deeply flawed by setting up a new network of properly sited thermometers (which won’t report for 50 years) and by ceasing to use individual thermometers that get ridiculed on the Internet. Obviously this goes beyond mere incompetence.