NOAA and NASA lied on temperature records

globeonlyBy Tom Harris

During the 2012 presidential election, Rasmussen Report’s poll conducted between November 1st and 3rd showed 49% of likely voters supported Barack Obama and an equal number supported Mitt Romney. But by Rasmussen’s next poll, covering the November 2 to 4th time frame, the Governor led 49% to 48%.

This change didn’t result in great celebration in the Romney camp. Neither were opinion leaders suddenly forecasting a Romney victory based on such a small gain. They understood that the margins of error of the surveys were greater than the supposed change. The apparent increase in Romney’s support may not have reflected any real change in public opinion at all.

Most people easily understand this concept during elections. But when it comes to climate change, the public’s appreciation of uncertainty seems to vanish. This is partly due to intense propaganda from official government bodies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

For example, last week NOAA headlined their home page, “It’s official: 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record.”  NASA proclaimed in their January 16th news release video, “2014 was the hottest year on record.”

But these announcements are effectively lies.

NOAA’s own data shows that the record for the year was set by only four one-hundredths of a degree Celsius over the previous record warmest years, 2010 and 2005, while the uncertainty in the temperature statistic is nine one-hundredths of a degree, or more than twice the amount by which the supposed record was set (NASA showed a record being set in 2014 by only two one-hundredths of a degree). In fact, NOAA temperature statistics for seven previous years—2013, 2010, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 1998—are all within nine one-hundredths of a degree of 2014’s level. So they all tie with 2014. No new record was set.

The same applies to NOAA’s announcement that, “December 2014 was warmest December on record for globe.” December 2014 was one one-hundredths of a degree hotter than December 2006, the previous warmest December. But the uncertainty is seven one-hundredths of a degree, seven times the amount by which the supposed record was set. December 2003 was only one one-hundredths of a degree cooler than 2006, so the December temperature statistic for all three years—2014, 2006, and 2003—are effectively equal. No new December record was set.

Contrary to supporting the notion that global warming continues unabated, NOAA’s data reinforces the observation that we are in the midst of an 18 year pause in planetary warming.

If NOAA and NASA made a big deal of a temperature record set by a few hundredths of a degree, many in the public would laugh, appreciating that such small changes cannot even be felt, let alone present problems. So instead the government emphasizes the amount by which the new temperature statistics exceed the “the 20th century average.” But to know this difference to hundredths of a degree, as they claim to do, requires that we also know the average for the 20th century to hundredths of a degree. And this in turn requires that we know the so-called global average temperature in each year during the 20th century to a similarly high degree of accuracy.

Historical climatologist Dr. Tim Ball, former professor at the University of Winnipeg, explains, “Typical accuracies of temperature measurements throughout the 20th century were between one and one-half degree Celsius. Therefore it makes no sense whatsoever for NASA and NOAA to claim differences from a 20th century average in hundredths of a degree.”

Ball explains that even modern “instrumental data is inadequate. There is are virtually no data for the 70% of Earth’s surface that is oceans. There is practically no data for the 19% of land area that are mountains, 20% that are desert, 20% boreal forest, 20% grasslands, and 6% tropical rain forest.”

“So NASA just invents data to complete the picture,” continues Ball. “They do this by making the ridiculous claim that a single station temperature represents all land temperature within a 1200 km radius region.”

So, it is not possible for NASA and NOAA to determine a meaningful average temperature statistic for the planet as a whole based on surface readings, as they pretend to do. It is only through the use of satellite-based instruments that we can hope to get a meaningful overview of planetary conditions. And satellite data shows that 2014 did not set a record at all, with computed temperatures statistics merely extending the current plateau.

NOAA chief scientist Richard Spinrad boasted in a January 16th news release that “NOAA provides decision makers with timely and trusted science-based information about our changing world…”

In reality, Spinrad’s agency is merely about PR spin when it comes to global temperature records. Science be damned.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition (www.ClimateScienceInternational.org).



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