Who Wathces the Thermometers

Understanding that this topic does not interest all of my readers, nor is it the main thrust of this blog; I’ll try to make this be the last post on this topic for a while.

Who controls the thermometers controls the historical record.

Analysis A paper published in scientific journal Nature this week has reignited the debate about Global Warming, by predicting that the earth won’t be getting any warmer until 2015. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences have factored in cyclical oceanic into their climate model, and produced a different forecast to the “consensus” models which don’t.

But how will we know whether the earth is warming or cooling? Today, it all depends on the data source.

And is the data source unbiased:

Two authorities provide us with analysis of long-term surface temperature trends. Both agree on the global temperature trend until 1998, at which time a sharp divergence occurred. The UK Meteorological Office’s Hadley Center for Climate Studies Had-Crut data shows worldwide temperatures declining since 1998. According to Hadley’s data, the earth is not much warmer now than it was than it was in 1878 or 1941.

By contrast, NASA data shows worldwide temperatures increasing at a record pace – and nearly a full degree warmer than 1880.

You can follow the argument and data sources at the linked article, but a couple of more quotes:

The other two widely used global temperature data sources are from earth-orbiting satellites UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville) and RSS (Remote Sensing Systems.) Both show decreasing temperatures over the last decade, with present temperatures barely above the 30 year average.

One clue we can see is that NASA has been reworking recent temperatures upwards and older temperatures downwards – which creates a greater slope and the appearance of warming. Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre has been tracking the changes closely on his Climate Audit site, and reports that NASA is Rewriting History, Time and Time Again. The recent changes can be seen by comparing the NASA 1999 and 2007 US temperature graphs. Below is the 1999 version, and below that is the reworked 2007 version.

And finally,

NASA temperatures for March 2008 indicate that it was the third warmest March in history, but satellite data sources RSS and UAH disagree. They show March as the second coldest ever in the southern hemisphere, and barely above average worldwide. (The northern hemisphere in March was split between a cold North America and a very warm Asia, causing temperatures in the northern hemisphere to be above average.) Data so far for April shows both hemispheres back on the decline, and April is shaping up to be an unusually cool month across most of the globe (Africa, South America, North America and portions of Europe and Asia).

Bottom Line

Both of the satellite data sources, as well as Had-Crut, show worldwide temperatures falling below the IPCC estimates. Satellite data shows temperatures near or below the 30 year average – but NASA data has somehow managed to stay on track towards climate Armageddon. You can draw your own conclusions, but I see a pattern that is troublesome. In science, as with any other endeavour, it is always a good idea to have some separation between the people generating the data and the people interpreting it.

Who Watches the Watchers?

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