Temperature adjustments: simmering science scandal ?

Posted: February 8, 2015 by oldbrew in alarmism, data, Measurement, methodology

Weather station [image credit: Peter West/National Science Foundation]

Weather station [image credit: Peter West/National Science Foundation]


Long-time critic of climate alarmism Christopher Booker has no doubt what the answer should be in his latest piece at the Telegraph:

When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.

Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record.

Read the rest here.

Booker concludes that ‘this wholesale manipulation of the official temperature record – for reasons GHCN and Giss have never plausibly explained – has become the real elephant in the room of the greatest and most costly scare the world has known. This really does begin to look like one of the greatest scientific scandals of all time.’

Are we being led up the garden path for propaganda purposes? It’s hard not to be suspicious of these wholesale revisions of the records.

Comments
  1. Ishtar Babilu Dingir says:

    So… I’m wondering, will this wake up the Telegraph readers? And if so, will they wonder why their government lied and lied and lied and lied, and still kept on lying to them about it? And if so, what else will they wonder about, that their government may have been lying to them about? Could there be a domino effect? Could this be a wrecking ball on their armchair comfortable Stockholm Syndrome? Well, I can dream, can’t I?🙂

  2. oldbrew says:

    How will they ‘hide the non-decline’ of Arctic sea ice if it fails to disappear as predicted?

    ‘Two cool summers in a row have now allowed the pack to increase and then hold on to a good deal of its volume.’

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30399079

    The rise of CO2 to a tiny 400 parts per million of the atmosphere seems not to be having the effect it was supposed to😉

  3. ren says:

    You can see that only in the Arctic this year more ice than in 2014.

    Link to image

  4. Joe Public says:

    Perhaps one victim of CAGW & Climate Change will be the BBCs funding system.

  5. A C Osborn says:

    There are only a few voices in the MSM talking about this, whereas any other kind of scandal and it would be everywhere in massive front page headlines.

  6. markstoval says:

    “How will they ‘hide the non-decline’ of Arctic sea ice if it fails to disappear as predicted?”

    They can not hide the fraud now from people who look at the facts, but the low-information regular person only knows what the mainstream media tells them. Since the mainstream media is the propaganda arm of the state — the “man in the street” has little chance of seeing the truth.

    But, on the other hand, the internet and sites like this one helps the situation.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Now you see it – now you don’t…the ‘pause’ that is. The UK Met Office plays the joker.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2015/02/uk-met-office-uses-graphical-tricks-to-hide-the-pause/

  8. ren says:

    The frigid arctic air is set to blast in during the day on Thursday with snow showers and a bitting wind from the north.
    These winds will make it feel even colder with AccuWeather.com RealFeel® Temperatures 15 to 30 degrees lower than the actual air temperature.
    With the arctic air entrenched over the region, Friday looks to be the coldest day of the week from Baltimore to Boston and west through Detroit. Some areas of northern New England may even fail to climb above zero degrees F during the day on Friday.

  9. oldbrew says: February 8, 2015 at 10:46 am
    How will they ‘hide the non-decline’ of Arctic sea ice if it fails to disappear as predicted?
    ‘Two cool summers in a row have now allowed the pack to increase and then hold on to a good deal of its volume.’
    ————————————-
    Well, when I look at this graph I see no great recovery. I do see some outlier low years but the decline in Arctic sea ice seems consistent to me.

    And then there’s this

    again it all depends on the numbers for this year but to date it looks like its declining all the way on average.

  10. rod says:

    The problem arises that there really was warming, much of which could be attributed to the last century’s grand solar maximum. But with silly posturing and positioning of some “scientists”, the actual strengths or contributions of the causal factors remains in doubt.
    Politicians make for really lame science.

  11. Aussie says:

    Reblogged this on Against the Climate Change Agenda and commented:
    It is about time that media took a more active role in presenting all the facts and not just the fantasies of the IPCC and the warmist crowd.

  12. Aussie says:

    @ ren, that would be a repeat of the weather pattern from 1985. It was extremely cold in the Mid-west aka Ohio with a record low of -28F.

    The warmists do not understand the role of cycles and cyclical weather.

  13. manicbeancounter says:

    I have just posted on the Paraguay temperature adjustments. By comparing the raw data with the adjusted Paraguay data, I have narrowed down the major adjustment in the data to the late 1960s and quantified it as around a full degree centigrade. The adjustment was to offset a rapid cooling shown by the thermometers at around that time. Looking backwards, the thermometers show the last few decades in Paraguay to be cooler than in the 1950s and 1960s, but the adjusted data shows recent years to be slightly warmer.
    The step change suggests to me that this is not a conspiracy to deceive the general public. Rather some climate expert sitting in an office in New York has got hold of some sparse and possibly ropey 40-year-old data for a single temperature station from a third world country. It shows a decline in temperatures, which goes totally against what the global temperature data sets are “telling us” and what the “science” is saying that the major driver of temperature change is greenhouse gases – and these are going up. So the instruments are wrong and the temperature is adjusted. This sets the homogenisation standard for others to follow. An incorrectly adjusted regional cooling leads to a very small rise in global warming.
    http://manicbeancounter.com/2015/02/08/is-there-a-homogenisation-bias-in-paraguays-temperature-data/

  14. Alan Poirier says:

    As we enter the Landscheidt minimum, it will be more and more difficult to hide the drop in temperature. That’s why there is so much urgency to get an agreement in 2015. This is a race against time.

  15. Kon Dealer says:

    Just remember the Met Orifice has been at the forefront of the AGW scam, having “created (quite literally it would seem) one of the world’s major climatic databases, currently known as HADCRUT4, in conjunction with those other paragons of honesty and openess, the Climatic Research Unit (University of East Anglia).

  16. ren says:

    Let’s see how shifted polar vortex is now at an altitude of 27 km. Can be seen the cold and in America and in Europe (wind direction).
    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/10hPa/orthographic=-119.57,84.63,344

  17. tom0mason says:

    I wonder if all these adjustments (in many countries’ records) has changed (diluted?) the previously noted solar effect on this planet’s temperature record.

    Just a thought.

  18. oldbrew says:

    mbc: ‘It shows a decline in temperatures, which goes totally against what the global temperature data sets are “telling us” and what the “science” is saying that the major driver of temperature change is greenhouse gases – and these are going up. So the instruments are wrong and the temperature is adjusted.’

    You’re saying science should determine temperatures, not instruments?

  19. manicbeancounter says:

    OldBrew
    I am saying what appears to be the case, not what ought to be. It is the thought processes for somebody within the “scientific consensus”.

    Adjustments are in response to identified anomalies in the data. But in temperature data sets, which are highly variable, what is anomalous? If someone thinks that temperatures are static, then they will view a sudden rise the same as a sudden fall. Both should be adjusted for subject to checks (e.g. data from nearby temperature stations). But if someone thinks that temperatures are rising, then the sudden fall would stand out more than a similar sudden rise. Trust in the instruments is based upon whether it fits into our view of the world. What appears to have happened in Paraguay if that the step fall in temperatures at the end of the 1960s was not believed.

    The way round this problem is to have rigorous adjustment standards and to have systemmatic checks for adjustment biases. But this is not necessary as climate scientists are above such human failings.🙂

  20. oldbrew says:

    I fail to see how an opinion of what the temperature might have been is an improvement on an actual measurement, even if the measurement itself was faulty – which is also an opinion.

    They are just trying to ‘play God’, in effect.

  21. manicbeancounter says:

    Oldbrew,
    With caution an opinion can be an improvement. Suppose just one of the nine weather stations in Paraguay showed a 1 degree drop in temperature, all the rest showed none. This is clearly an outlier. It the metadata showed that the weather station had been moved, then there is a reason, and an adjustment should be made so as not to bias the results. However, if people are too aggressive with the approach, then the results will be biased. If adjustments are made then audit should be carried out to make sure that there is not an overall bias in the data. There should also be clear and objective criteria for adjustments, with erring on the side of caution.
    Adjustments seem to be too aggressive for Paraguay, and there are no overall audits or overall adjustments for bias. Until such time it would be best to publish raw data taking out clear outliers, and not using poor data sets at all.

  22. oldbrew says:

    Booker’s original Telegraph article (link above) has over 22,300 comments to date.

  23. ivan says:

    manicbeancounter,
    Suppose just one of the nine weather stations in Paraguay showed a 1 degree drop in temperature, all the rest showed none.
    And if the station had not been moved or had anything changed all that 1 degree drop would show is the temperature at that station at the time it was taken was 1 degree lower than the other stations.

    To me, as an engineer, I would be looking at weather patterns and land contours long before I even considered trying to fudge that temperature to fit with the readings from other stations. It is more than possible that there was a freak weather event, helped by the relative position of the station caused that drop. Now the big question, do you adjust that station or not? Again, speaking as an engineer, I would say no because to do so is tampering with the data. Yes, you may put a note that there may have been unexplained external causes for that drop but you should never mess with the raw data – that is unless you have an agenda to follow that requires you to do so, then everything you produce becomes suspect just as we are seeing with the ‘adjusted’ climate data which makes it worthless.

  24. oldbrew says:

    thefordprefect says re Arctic sea ice: ‘to date it looks like its declining all the way on average’

    Last paragraph of BBC report:

    ‘Indeed, Cryosat’s five-year October average now shows pretty stable volume – even modest growth (2014 is 12% above the five year-average).’

  25. oldbrew says:

    If there must be ‘adjustments’ to temperature records, at least follow certain ground rules…

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Let-Bob-Baldwin-Re-New-Panel-18-January-1015-F.pdf

  26. oldbrew says:

    Paul Homewood replies to critics of his data analysis:

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/real-climate-fail/

    And Delingpole has another ‘tampering’report:

    ‘Ever since Climategate, the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia has enjoyed just international renown as a world centre of data-fudgin’, scientific-method-abusin’, FOI-dodgin’, decline-hidin’, grant-troughin’, junk-science-endorsin’ global warming propaganda.

    But did you know that the chap who founded the institution, Hubert Lamb, was a committed sceptic who would without a shadow of doubt have been perfectly appalled by the way the CRU has since prostituted itself in the bankrupt cause of climate change alarmism?

    No, of course you didn’t – and with very good reason.’

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/02/12/green-scientists-caught-tampering-with-the-historical-record-again/

  27. oldbrew says:

    US republican politicians plan to hold hearings re alleged temperature data ‘tampering’.
    Senator Inhofe for one is a long-time critic of AGW claims.

    “We’re going to have a committee hearing on the science,” said Inhofe, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “People are going to hear the other side of the story.”

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/20/republicans-to-investigate-climate-data-tampering-by-nasa/

    Bring it on🙂

  28. tallbloke says:

    Yep, just tweeted that one an hour ago. Good news for opening up the science.

  29. oldbrew says:

    Saw that one – Inhofe is the chair of the committee and won’t be shy about putting the sceptic case if his record is any guide. He seems a bit eccentric though😉

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Inhofe

  30. oldbrew says:

    ‘Inquiry Into Australian Temperature Data ‘Adjustments’ Begins’

    http://www.thegwpf.com/inquiry-into-australian-temperature-data-adjustments-begins/

    ‘The website of Britain’s The Sunday Telegraph registered more than 30,000 comments under an article by columnist Christopher Booker saying the fiddling of temperature data has been “the biggest science scandal ever”.’ [see post above]

    ‘A Telegraph poll suggested that 90 per cent of 110,000 readers had sided with Booker.’

    The smell of rotten fish surrounding climate issues is getting through to some people.

  31. oldbrew says:

    ‘Historic documents show half of Australia’s warming trend is due to “adjustments” ‘

    http://joannenova.com.au/2015/03/historic-documents-show-half-of-australias-warming-trend-is-due-to-adjustments/