Roger Andrews: How NASA GISS Manufactures Warming in the Antarctic

Posted: October 21, 2012 by Rog Tallbloke in Analysis, Dataset, Incompetence, Measurement, methodology, Surfacestation
Tags: , , , ,

My thanks to Roger Andrews for his continuing efforts to uncover some of the bigger egregious errors and mannipulations in the historical temperature record. Here he examines the long term Antarctic record as published by Jim Hansen’s NASA-GISS.

by Roger Andrews

Those pagod things of sabre-sway
With fronts of brass and feet of clay

These lines from Byron’s “Ode to Bonaparte” provide a fitting introduction to this short post, which I’m submitting as a filler while I delve ever more deeply into the regional, hemispheric and global atrocities committed by GISS’s homogeneity adjustments.

One of the more significant unknowns in climate science is what temperatures did in the Antarctic during the first half of the 20th century, and the reason it’s an unknown, of course, is that there are no temperature records in the Antarctic in the first half of the 20th century. There are records in the Antarctic Peninsula that date back to the 1940s, but the Antarctic Peninsula covers only a tiny fraction of the continent and temperature trends there aren’t representative of trends on the Antarctic mainland, and there are no records on the Antarctic mainland before the mid-1950s. So the mid-1950s is as far back as we can make meaningful estimates of Antarctic mean surface air temperatures, and here are mine, estimated as always using unadjusted GHCN v2 data:

The regression line shows a few tenths of warming since 1955 but the trend probably isn’t statistically significant. However, the fact that we can’t make estimates of mean Antarctic temperatures before 1955 doesn’t mean that no one publishes any, because GISS does. Here are the GISS mean annual surface air temperatures for the 64-90S latitude zone, which covers the Antarctic plus a bit, superimposed on mine (GISS data here):

The close match between GISS and me after 1955 is encouraging in that it shows that there’s at least one corner of the Earth where GISS hasn’t seriously mutilated the raw data. But GISS bumps Antarctic warming up from little or none since 1955 to two full degrees since 1900 by extending the Antarctic record back to 1904. Here’s where GISS gets the pre-1955 temperatures from:

The 1945-55 temperatures come entirely from stations on and around the Antarctic Peninsula that show much more warming than the mainland stations over the period of common record after 1955, and the 1904-44 temperatures come from a single station – Base Orcadas in the South Orkneys northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Projecting temperatures from the Antarctic Peninsula over the entire the entire 64-90S latitude zone, which covers an area of 25 million square kilometers, is bad enough, and projecting temperatures from  a single record like Base Orcadas over a zone this large is even worse. But it gets worse yet. The map below shows where Base Orcadas is. At 60 degrees 44 minutes south latitude IT ISN’T EVEN IN the 64-90S latitude zone. It’s in the next GISS latitude zone up – the 44-64S zone.

It’s hard to see how data manipulation in the service of global warming could get much more creative than that.

UPDATE 22-10-12  - [EDITED pending review by RA] Roger Andrews added this additional description of some particularly stupid warmist tricks on the re-posted WUWT discussion:

Roger Andrews says:

Thank you everyone for you comments. I’ll respond as time permits.

But in the meantime another skeleton has fallen out of the closet. In a comment above Tallbloke posted some graphs from Jostemikk, and I reproduce one of them here:

This graph shows that there are in fact two temperature records in the South Orkneys – Laurie Island GHCNv2 and Louise  Laurie Island GHCNv3, which is something I didn’t know when I wrote the post. Laurie Island (GHCNv3), which shows warming, is the one that GISS and just about everyone else uses as “Base Orcadas”. Louise Laurie Island (GHCNv2), which doesn’t show warming, appears as “Base Orcadas”  in the KNMI “adjusted” GHCNv2 data base.

Another graph posted by Tallbloke in an earlier comment further shows that the Laurie Island record, the one that GISS uses, contains a large artificial discontinuity in 1951 that adds maybe 1.5C of overall warming.

Here’s how the Laurie Island and Louise Island records compare when this discontinuity is removed.

Not perfect, but I think good enough to show a) that the Laurie Island record is indeed warming-biased and b) that there’s been no significant warming in the South Orkneys since 1900. [Note] ‘Louise island’ in this plot is Laurie Island (GHCNv2) – TB

So it seems that GISS based all of its Antarctic series before 1945 on a demonstrably contaminated and heavily ‘adjusted’ record from a station located miles outside the Antarctic.

  1. Joe's World(progressive evolution) says:


    Interesting that we are not getting any true data of ALL the Antarctic. Just a couple places at different latitudes.
    The difference of latitudes itself can have a very profound effect on data collected.

  2. Is this an alignment of anomaly time series with no overlapping periods?

  3. Roger Andrews says:


    Officially no, but as it happens the answer is yes.

    Orcadas is presented as a single record but it’s actually two separate records. The first record runs from 1903 to 1951, when readings were taken by the Argentine Ministry of Agriculture, and the second from 1951 to the present, when readings were taken by Argentine Navy. Here’s what we get when we separate the two:

    Not much doubt about it – the Navy generated a +/-1C artificial upward shift in the Orcadas record after 1951. Take this shift out and the record shows effectively no warming before 1980.

    So now we can put the issue in its true perspective. A decision made by an Argentinian bureaucrat in or around 1950 manufactured 2 degrees C of warming in the Antarctic in 2012. :-)

  4. tchannon says:

    Given the interior is at high altitude, somewhat isolated from global effects and the poles have the greatest temperature variation, a zero change at Scott base is notable.

    It is my current belief that there is an earth north/south cyclic change in temperature. This is born out by a number of datasets.

    I also note that this fits with phase leading asymmetry solar data. Whether this is magnetic or perhaps UV coupling, I have no idea. Lost interest some time ago.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Tim, a lot of people have talked about a north-south ‘see-saw’. I don’t thik it’s an evenly balanced thing. I think the pacific ocean shifts more heat northwards via the n. atlantic when the sun is active.

    For the south, the circumpolar current keeps things more stable.

  6. Roger Andrews says:

    Tim & TB

    The idea behind this post was simply to show the extreme lengths GISS is prepared to go to make global warming look real. But to set the record straight on Antarctic temperatures, here’s what the available data show:

    About 2C of surface warming in the Antarctic Peninsula since 1943.

    No change in mean surface temperatures on the Antarctic mainland since 1955.

    No change in mean UAH TLT over the Antarctic mainland since 1978.

    No evidence for any cyclic relationship with NH temperatures.

    But – and going way O/T myself here – a thought occurs to me. If the Antarctic is climatically isolated from the rest of the world by the circumpolar current, as it appears to be, then we can consider it as a kind of sealed chamber in which we can study the impacts of increasing CO2 without worrying about extraneous effects. And since 1955 CO2 in the Antarctic has increased by about 80ppm but temperatures haven’t increased at all.

  7. tallbloke says:

    Roger A: Delicious. :)
    And the Earth radiates strongly in the 14um bad at around Antarctica temperatures, where co2 absorption is strongest and there isn’t much water vapour around…

  8. Roger Andrews says:

    According to the CMIP3 multi-model results there should have been 0.9C of CO2-induced surface warming in the Antarctic since 1955.

  9. Roger Andrews: thanks for the plot. I expected that to be the case as similar is seen in many climate datasets where anomalies are used.

    The isolated Antarctic idea is interesting particularly as temperature proxies from ice suggest an increase in temperature of about 0.4°C from 1955 to ~1990 at which time it plunges. [Antarctic temperatures over past teo centuries from ice cores. Schneider et al 2006 Geophys. Res. Lett. 333, L16707.]

  10. nzrobin says:

    Typo in the heading. Should be ‘Mannufactures’.

  11. TimoH says:

    There is little or not warming at all in Orcadas.

    There is no reason to ask why GISS cutted Orcada post 1945 temps away.

  12. Roger Andrews says:


    Good find. I missed that. But that’s KNMI’s version of the adjusted GHCN Orcadas record. Their unadjusted GHCN record is the same as the one I show above.

    I’d love to know who did the adjustments. It certainly wasn’t GISS or GHCN v3.2.

  13. The increasing ice area of the Antarctic certainly does not indicate warming.

  14. ChrisM says:

    There were comprehensive records of the weather in McMurdo Sound for the two Scott and Shackleton’s expeditions. I have seen their temperature screens and the books decscibe the trials of the record collection. Mawson also kept records as did Byrd. These could be used to check correlation (or not) with the South Orkney.

  15. Roger Andrews says:

    ChrisM: There seem to be two Base Orcadas (South Orkney) records to correlate with – the “unadjusted” KNMI record that TimoH linked to above and the GHCN v2 record that everyone else uses. I’ve emailed Geert Jan van Oldenborgh at KNMI to ask him where he got the unadjusted Orcadas record from.

    Jonathan: Here’s the Schneider paper FYI

    No warming in the Antarctic for at least the last 200 years :-)

  16. ChrisM says:

    There were several interesting things in that paper. They disregard the early polar explorers’ records, claiming nothing before the 50s. They also use ice core data. Isn’t that the same information which Thompson won’t publish or release? The ice data says that the Antarctic peninsula and especially not South Orkneys is not indicative of the rest of Antarctica. There goes Steig and GISS.

  17. Brian H says:

    The missing CO2-driven 0.9°C since 1955 is about as pure a test of the GCM algorithms as you can get.
    FAIL, of course.

  18. tallbloke says:

    Roger A:
    “there are no temperature records in the Antarctic in the first half of the 20th century.”

    Well, not quite true, but I doubt we can get any sensible annual averages out of Scott or Shackleton. Would it be worth my trying to obtain what there is?

  19. tallbloke says:

    Jostemikk: Thank you!

  20. Jit says:

    I have examined the Base Orcadas series – although was unaware of the different provenances.

    Was travelling by Google Earth one day and saw the station on the South Orkneys. Wondered what it was, followed the Wikipedia link, and saw a graph with a rather steep incline in temperatures. (Go to South Orkney, click on Wikipedia, then “Full Article”, then scroll down and you’ll see what I mean. The graph was so extraordinary that I had to examine the data closely.)

    Base Orcadas is in the interesting position of being ice-bound for half the year (June to November) and ice-free the rest of the time. As you might expect, the largest monthly temperature anomalies occur in the ice-bound period. (The highest in the Reynolds era is +8.5C in July 1989.)

    There is a –ve relationship between Reynolds ice cover anomalies and temperature anomalies, also as you might expect.

    The temperature on Orcadas does correlate with that on South Georgia, but I haven’t investigated closely. A brief look shows that there may be something going on. South Georgia is available for 1905-1981. For the period 1905-1950 the average difference in annual anomalies (i.e. Base Orcadas anomaly – South Georgia anomaly) is -0.2C. For 1951-1981, it’s +0.3C (so Orcadas anomalies were on average half a degree higher over this period). That said, I have massaged the data and infilled, so the numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    I have intended to put some graphs together for a blog post, but have yet to get around to it!

    Finally there are some excellent photos of Base Orcadas on Google Earth by a user called Manu_mdq – worth checking out.


  21. Roger Andrews says:


    You have solved the problem. Thank you.

    There are two Base Orcadas records – Laurie Island and Louise Island. Laurie Island is the one that gets reported by just about everyone as “Base Orcadas” because it’s longer and because it shows warming. Louise Island, which doesn’t show warming, gets reported as “Base Orcadas” only in the KNMI adjusted GHCN v2 version, I suspect by mistake.

    And if you adjust the 1951 artificial shift shown on the graph I posted above out of the Laurie Island record (here it is again below) it tracks the Louise Island record quite closely.

    So not only has GISS based its entire Antarctic series before 1945 on a corrupted record that lies well outside the Antarctic, it has ignored what appears to be a good record sitting right next to it.


    I’m not sure Scott or Shackleton would give us any usable data, but in the context of long-term Antarctic warming Schneider et al (with one of the als being Steig, incidentally) strikes me as a good fallback position.

  22. tallbloke says:

    Roger A:
    in the context of long-term Antarctic warming Schneider et al (with one of the als being Steig, incidentally) strikes me as a good fallback position.

    Yet they conclude with this:

    “In the longer-term context, our reconstruction,
    combined with other evidence, suggests that the Antarctic
    continent has experienced modest warming over the last
    150 years. Similar phasing as the SH mean temperature record
    suggests that this warming may be linked to global
    changes and suggests that Antarctica will warm in parallel
    with the SH, in general accordance with model-based predictions
    [e.g., Shindell and Schmidt, 2004].”

  23. philincalifornia says:

    tallbloke says:
    October 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm
    Roger A: Delicious.
    And the Earth radiates strongly in the 14um bad at around Antarctica temperatures, where co2 absorption is strongest and there isn’t much water vapour around…

    ……. ooopsie, time to play the man-made ozone hole card ??

  24. Roger Andrews says:


    I was referring to their Figure 3a, which shows zero warming since 1800.

  25. tallbloke says:

    That’s from the ice core proxy of course. Yes, it does seem like a pretty good falsification of the enhanced greenhouse effect really. Considering the Earth radiates strongly in the 14um band at around Antarctica temperatures, where co2 absorption is strongest and there isn’t much water vapour around…and comparitively little energy is needed to change temperature quite a lot.

    If extra co2 can’t do the business in the Antarctic, then it doesn’t look good for the AGW theory.

    Commercial CFC’s were invented when? ;)

  26. Jostemikk says:

    Roger Andrew:

    “You have solved the problem. Thank you.”

    My new name could easily be JosteERRmik. Louise Island is located on the Antarctic Penninsula, and that’s the funny part. Not so funny is that the Louise part of the explanation on the data from KNMI Climate Explorer wasn’t ment to be typed. I have never heard of the Louise Island before, and can’t explain what happened.

    I’m sorry for my mistake, and I can assure you I only intended to show the difference between the two versions of GHCN (adjusted) data w2/w3.

    I’ll guess this doesn’t make any difference. They adjust their adjustments all the time. GHCN adjusts their data several times a month.The GHCN data is downloaded from:

    The reason I typed the date oct 17 2012 on the graph is because they have changed the data several times before and since that date. Take a look at this, and its from Klimaforskning member la1goa on another GHCN station:


    ghcnm.tavg.v3.2.0.20120908.qcu.dat 716.66815186 + 0.45558590x Black

    ghcnm.tavg.v3.2.0.20120908.qca.dat -1415.11840820 + 1.53020287x Blue
    ghcnm.tavg.v3.2.0.20120921.qca.dat -677.69775391 + 1.16321862x Red
    ghcnm.tavg.v3.2.0.20121009.qca.dat -767.05212402 + 1.21529031x Green;topic=994.0;attach=3090;image

    I’ll correct the graphs in my next post.

  27. tallbloke says:

    Jostemikk: “I’ll correct the graphs in my next post.”

    Don’t worry, this happens in real time climate conversation. I’ll update the update when you come back. ;)

  28. tallbloke says:

    Maybe this can help explain why Antarctic temps derived from ice cores were the same in 1800 as today:

  29. Doug Proctor says:

    tallbloke says:
    October 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Shakelton’s men were left for 2 years or so on the opposite side of Antarctica from where he was starting his trans-Antarctic trek. They got sick, mentally and physically, but they were super-troopers who probably continued to take their scientific measurements even though their supplies moved out to sea on the ice, at least one member died (it’s been a couple of years since I read about the ones “left behind”), and they thought they were abandoned forever.

    But how do you drop in data that doesn’t have overlap?

  30. tallbloke says:

    Elephant Island is at around 61S, so about the same as Orcadas. Maybe the absolute temperatures would be useful after all.

  31. Roger Andrews says:


    If you’re still around, could you please give me a link to the exact site from which you downloaded the Louise Island record? Thanks.

  32. [...] tallbloke on Roger Andrews: How NASA GISS M… [...]

  33. ES says:

    “So it seems that GISS based all of its Antarctic series before 1945 on a demonstrably contaminated and heavily ‘adjusted’ record from a station located miles outside the Antarctic.”

    The South Orkney Island station you mention at 60 degrees 44 minutes south latitude is not outside the Antarctic today. By the Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, the Antarctic includes everything south of 60 degrees, which includes the South Orkney Islands, the South Shetland Islands, and the Antarctic Peninsula.

    Antarctic Treaty – Summary:

    [Reply] We are talking about real-world climatic zones, not politically decided international borders on maps.

  34. ES says:

    I don’t know if you have seen this report by P. D. Jones and P. A. Reid at the Climatic Research Unit. They broke the stations down four groups with similarity in temperature trends:
    A – East Antarctic coastal stations: Mawson, Davis, Mirny, Casey and Dumont d’Urville
    B – Dronning Maud Land: Novolazarevskaja, Molodeznaja and Syowa
    C – Northern Antarctic Peninsula stations: Esperenza (including Hope Bay), Signy Island, Islas Orcadas, B. A. Arturo Prat and B. A. Bernado O’Higgins
    D – Western Antarctic Peninsula stations: Rothera Point, Faraday (including Port Lockroy) and Bellingshausen

    “Islas Orcadas has a record stretching back to 1903, so to compare trends with other stations for this analysis its record has been truncated to 1947, matching it with that of Signy Island.”

    “Recording Antarctic station data is particularly prone to errors. This is mostly due to climatic extremes, the nature of Antarctic science, and the variability of meteorological staff at Antarctic stations (high turnover and sometimes untrained meteorological staff).”
    I realize it is more than 10 years old now, but it may be updated.

  35. [...] Ce ne parla Roger Andrews su Tallbloke. [...]

  36. [...] Update 1/31: More GISS shenanigans. Using iffy data for Antarctica in order to manufacture warming. [...]