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The Guardian invents a myth that Trump obstructs satellite research

Posted By Jo Nova On November 7, 2017 @ 4:49 pm In Media-matters | Comments Disabled

Part #4,566 in The Demonisation of Trump – The Guardian spawns another urban myth and fake-hate-news.

Donald Trump accused of obstructing satellite research into climate change

The poor ignorant readers, fed the anti-science spin, and missing all the relevant info below (or any counter point of view) — predictably respond with the words “sociopath”, “Hitler”, “Nazi’s”, “criminals”, “crooks”, “liars” and “sychophants” — and that’s just in the first 20 comments of nearly 400.

The author Robin McKie found one scientist willing to hype this in a suitable way:

“This is like throwing away the medical records of a sick patient,” said David Gallaher of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

If McKie bothered to get calmer and more accurate views, he does not report them. Though he also says: “Many scientists say this decision was made for purely ideological reasons.” He names none of the “many”. Way to go McKie.

Enter a real expert in satellite systems:

Roy Spencer, award-winning satellite expert, explains how Trump is being wrongly blamed

In short, the story is that a series of US military satellites are monitoring sea ice. Four were launched from 2003 – 2014 (numbered 16 – 19). One, number 20, was in storage, supposedly to be used from 2020-2025. But storage costs got a bit much, the program was old, better ones are coming along, and Congress decided, last year, to dismantle it. As bad luck goes, #19 suffered a mishap and broke down a few weeks ago.  Now the Guardian and others are howling that #20 should have been kept to replace #19 but it was destroyed deliberately in some kind of Trump conspiracy to stop scientific research to hide the effects of  global warming.

Trump is so evil he must have arranged this while running the election campaign last year. Somehow he fooled Obama too. Maybe he had help from the Russians?  ;-)

The bottom line:

  • We can still monitor sea ice every day (which is enough — it’s not like we need hourly data)
  • the decision happened by Congress happened on Obama’s watch. Obama could have stopped it, but didn’t.
  • There are more modern satellites around. (The old sensor was a 1987 model).
  • The US decided years ago to let the Japanese be the stars of satellite microwave radiometers. Spencer says “everyone knows” the Japanese will take over with the best sea-ice monitoring satellites soon (The AMSR series, since you asked).
  • At a pinch we could still use other US satellites if we had too –specifically, the AMSU sensors flying on the NOAA polar-orbiting satellites.

Quoting Roy Spencer (read it all there):

“As the U.S. Science Team leader on that instrument, I and others helped Japan become a leader in producing and interpreting this kind of data.

“This claim that the Trump Administration is to blame, or that our capability is being blocked or crippled is, quite frankly, silly.

Trump Derangement Syndrome?

One could more justifiably ask why President Obama in his 8-year term could not have asked for a dedicated climate monitoring network of global satellites. Most people don’t realize that our long-term climate monitoring with satellites has always been piggy-backed on either NOAA weather satellites, which are not designed with the stability and lifetimes needed to monitor subtle trends in climate, or on NASA one-off science experiment satellites which provide just enough data to help address specific science questions.

Details at Roy Spencers blog. Thank goodness there are still honest experts out there.

On Gunters Space Page, it appears Congress put in a proviso to make sure the data would be obtained at lower cost

So much for the theory that Congress doesn’t like data:

The last satellite, DMSP-5D3 F20, which is in storage since the 1990ies, might eventually not launch, as the Senate drafted a bill, which prohibits the Air Force from spending any money on the DMSP-5D3 F20 launch pending certification from the secretary of defense that the military cannot obtain comparable data at a lower cost from other sources, such as civilian or international weather satellites. In the omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2016, lawmakers provided no funding neither for DMSP nor for the launch of DMSP-5D3 F-20 around 2018, effectively ending the program.

Gunter also points out that the US originally planned two satellite systems to replace the aging DSMP series, but they were both cancelled on Obama’s watch:

The DMSP-5D3 series was to be succeded by the jointly with NASA and NOAA developed NPOES system, which was cancelled in 2010 due to massive cost overruns. As a replacement, they were to be replaced by the military DWSS series, which in turn also was cancelled [in 2012].

The other insidious meme in The Guardian is the fakery that skeptics don’t like data, with the added myth that the data somehow supports the climate religion. How ripped off will Guardian readers feel when they find out one day that skeptics were the data hounds who used it all the time to make their case. Don’t get me started…

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