NOAA caught manipulating temperature data – again

Dr John Bates, a recently retired senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), alleges that a NOAA paper written before the historic climate conference in Paris in 2015 breached NOAA’s own rules and was based on misleading and unverified data. That, to many, looks like the paper was designed to stoke up hysteria over global warming in the run-up to the conference. (Source)

NOAA has often been accused of manipulating data for political purposes. See for instance, my ADI article: The past is getting cooler which reflects a curiosity of published government temperature records that show the 1930s getting cooler and cooler with each update of the record. The more recent scandal derives from NOAA’s attempt to erase the 18-year “pause” in global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide has been rising, global temperature has failed to respond as the climate models say it should. (See El Nino to El Nino – no warming of global temperature) This recent scandal was exposed by David Rose in an article in the British paper Daily Mail.

Global temperatures published by NOAA compared to global temperatures published by the British MET office shows that NOAA temperatures are consistently higher. In the graph below (source), the red line shows the current NOAA world temperature graph, which relies on the ‘adjusted’ and unreliable sea temperature data cited in the flawed ‘Pausebuster’ paper. The blue line is the UK Met Office’s independently tested and verified ‘HadCRUT4’ record, showing lower monthly readings and a shallower recent warming trend.


David Rose notes: NOAA’s 2015 ‘Pausebuster’ paper was based on two new temperature sets of data – one containing measurements of temperatures at the planet’s surface on land, the other at the surface of the seas. Both datasets were flawed. This newspaper has learnt that NOAA has now decided that the sea dataset will have to be replaced and substantially revised just 18 months after it was issued, because it used unreliable methods which overstated the speed of warming. The revised data will show both lower temperatures and a slower rate in the recent warming trend. The land temperature dataset used by the study was afflicted by devastating bugs in its software that rendered its findings ‘unstable’.

To add to the confusion, NOAA also changed the computer programs it uses to compile temperature data, and guess what? The new program creates global warming where there had been none before. These changes are documented in a post by Rud Istvan.

“A 2011 paper announced that NOAA would be transitioning to updated and improved CONUS software around the end of 2013. The program used until the upgrade was called Drd964x. The upgrade was launched from late 2013 into 2014 in two tranches. Late in 2013 came the new graphical interfaces, which are an improvement. Then about February 2014 came the new data output, which includes revised station selection, homogenization, and gridding. The new version is called nClimDiv.” The graphs below show some of the results for temperatures from 1900 to 2010. Left shows old system results versus new system results on right.




Another way NOAA influences the official temperature is by removal of thousands of weather station land thermometers from remote, high altitude, and/or non-urban locations since the 1970s. These are stations which do not show the warming trends predicted by models, as they are not affected by proximity to artificial or non-climatic heat sources (pavements, buildings, machinery, industry, etc.) like urban weather stations are. (Thermometers near urban heat sources can cause warming biases of between 0.1 and 0.4°C per decade.) This inflates the average temperature reported. Read more

Perhaps the Trump administration can get NOAA out of politics and back to science.

Global Warming’s “Lost Pause” – the rest of the story

Earlier this month, I reported on how Thomas R. Karl, director of the former National Climatic Data Center* of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) falsely claimed that the 18-year “pause” in global warming is an illusion – just an artifact of data analysis – and that the global climate never really stopped warming. (See: The lost pause of global warming/).

Karl et al. eliminated the pause by a statistical flimflam manipulation of surface data from their main database, the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) and from sea surface temperature data. Karl’s contention ignores observational evidence from two satellite systems and balloon-borne radiosondes all of which show no net warming for the past 18 years.

Karl’s contention also ignores NOAA’s own data from its newer United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN). Just about one year ago I wrote about the differences in these two networks: New NOAA data show cooling trend for last 10 years. The USCRN network continues to show a lack of warming. Did Karl think nobody would look?

The USCRN stations are sited well away from urban influence (urban heat island effect). These stations use state of the art instrumentation and are therefore not subject to many of the problems associated with the old USHCN network. The difference in temperatures recorded by the two networks shows that the old USHCN instruments have been overstating the temperature anywhere from +0.5°C on average, up to almost +4.0°C (+0.9°F to +7.2°F) in some locations during the summer months.

NOAA maintains a website where you can plot their data, which I did this week. Results from the newer USCRN stations show no net warming for 11 years. In fact, the data show a net cooling from 2005 to 2015. (NOAA has not released any USCRN data prior to 2005.) I made a screen shot of the plot (just in case this site disappears).


Another part of the deception is that Karl et al. focused on a very short time period which ignores the larger picture. The Roman Warm Period (centered around 50 A.D.) and the Medieval Climate Anomaly (centered around 990 A.D.) were both warmer than our current warming, See: Current warming not unprecedented .

Karl’s supposed elimination of the pause in global warming received wide mention in the press, including the Arizona Daily Star, but apparently none of those journalists bothered to check the USCRN data (or they, too, ignored the data).

Anthony Watts has an article showing that Karl is very familiar with the new USCRN data but chose to ignore it because if its inconvenient results. One of the comments to that post says: “Natural laws apply everywhere in the universe except the realm of climate ‘science.’”

It is sad to see how science has been perverted by politics. It seems that many government scientists and academics who rely on government grants are finding ways to make the data conform to policy rather than shaping policy to fit the real data. I’m sure readers can think of a word which characterizes that practice.

“Simply put, the danger is not climate change – which will always be with us. The danger is energy restrictions imposed in the name of controlling Earth’s perpetually fickle climate. For developed nations, surrendering to the climate crisis industry would result in fossil fuel restrictions that kill jobs, reduce living standards, health, welfare and life spans – and put ideologically driven government bureaucrats in control of everything people make, grow, ship, eat and do. For poor countries, implementing policies to protect energy-deprived masses from computer-generated manmade climate disasters decades from now would perpetuate poverty and diseases that kill them tomorrow. Denying people their basic rights to have affordable, reliable energy, rise up out of poverty, and enjoy modern technologies and living standards would be immoral – a crime against humanity.” –Paul Driessen and Tom Tamarkin (Source)

[*NOTE:The National Climate Data Center, National Geophysical Data Center, and National Oceanographic Data Center have been merged into NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) as approved in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235.]

NOAA touts the USCRN as follows [link]:

U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN)
Data from NOAA’s premiere surface reference network. The contiguous U.S. network of 114 stations was completed in 2008. There are two USCRN stations in Hawaii and deployment of a network of 29 stations in Alaska continues. The vision of the USCRN program is to maintain a sustainable high-quality climate observation network that 50 years from now can with the highest degree of confidence answer the question: How has the climate of the Nation changed over the past 50 years?

These stations were designed with climate science in mind. Three independent measurements of temperature and precipitation are made at each station, insuring continuity of record and maintenance of well-calibrated and highly accurate observations. The stations are placed in pristine environments expected to be free of development for many decades. Stations are monitored and maintained to high standards and are calibrated on an annual basis. In addition to temperature and precipitation, these stations also measure solar radiation, surface skin temperature, and surface winds. They also include triplicate measurements of soil moisture and soil temperature at five depths, as well as atmospheric relative humidity for most of the 114 contiguous U.S. stations. Stations in Alaska and Hawaii provide network experience and observations in polar and tropical regions. Deployment of a complete 29-station USCRN network in Alaska began in 2009. This project is managed by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and operated in partnership with NOAA’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division.

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Climate change in perspective

Mystery of the missing heat


The “lost” pause of global warming

Since the AGW global warming hypothesis doesn’t fit the data, the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) has changed the data to fit the hypothesis.

After about 60 journal articles failed to explain the lack of warming over the past 18 years, NCDC now claims there was no pause in global warming; it was all a bookkeeping error.

Observational data from two satellite systems and balloon-borne radiosondes show no net global warming for at least the past 18 years even though atmospheric carbon dioxide content has been rising. The lack of warming is very inconvenient for government policy. Something had to be done.

18 year temp

Ignoring physical evidence and all the journal articles about the pause, the National Climate Data Center just published a paper (Karl et al “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus”) in Science Magazine which claims that the widely reported and accepted temperature hiatus is an illusion – just an artifact of data analysis – and that the global climate never really stopped warming.

This propaganda is probably designed to bolster the next round of UN-IPCC meetings in Paris in December where the IPCC will try to convince countries to spend billions of dollars fighting climate change and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The claim is ironic because NCDC, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is deep into data manipulation itself. A new post from the NoTricksZone shows that “Comprehensive Analysis Reveals NOAA Wrongfully Applying ‘Master Algorithm’ To Whitewash Temperature History.” The author of that post says “I caught NOAA purposefully using computer code (algorithms) to lower historic temperatures to promote present day temperatures as the warmest on record.”

That’s not the first time. In my article “The past is getting cooler” I demonstrate that published government temperature records show the 1930s getting cooler and cooler with each update of the record. This phenomenon is due to government data manipulation designed to make the present look warmer in relation to the past.

Dr. S. Fred Singer has an American Thinker article on this latest gambit by NCDC. Singer notes that “There are at least two rival data centers that may dispute the NCDC analysis:

the Hadley Centre in England and the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).In fact, Hadley’s partner, the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, was the first to announce, on the BBC, the existence of a pause in global warming. Then there are also dozens of scientists who have published research papers, purporting to provide an explanation for the reported pause.”

NCDC is basing its claim on the surface temperature record which, itself, has many problems. Singer goes on to write, “Not only that, but a look at the detailed NCDC evidence shows that much depends on polar temperatures — which are mostly guessed at, for lack of good observations. If one uses the (truly global) satellite data, analyzed either by UAH or by RSS, the pause is still there, starting around 2003.” And, “the same satellite data show no warming trend from 1979 to 2000 – ignoring, of course, the exceptional super-El-Nino year of 1998.”

A long post by Bob Tisdale and Anthony Watts demonstrates that all the claimed warming is due to NCDC manipulation of the data. In the same post, Dr. Judith Curry notes that NOAA use considerable gap filling of temperatures in the Arctic which ” introduces substantial error into their analysis.”

A separate article by Patrick J. Michaels, Richard S. Lindzen, and Paul C. Knappenberger notes that NOAA inappropriately adjusted ARGO buoy temperature data upwards:

“…the authors’ treatment of buoy sea-surface temperature (SST) data was guaranteed to create a warming trend. The data were adjusted upward by 0.12°C to make them “homogeneous” with the longer-running temperature records taken from engine intake channels in marine vessels. As has been acknowledged by numerous scientists, the engine intake data are clearly contaminated by heat conduction from the structure, and as such, never intended for scientific use. On the other hand, environmental monitoring is the specific purpose of the buoys. Adjusting good data upward to match bad data seems questionable, and the fact that the buoy network becomes increasingly dense in the last two decades means that this adjustment must put a warming trend in the data.”

In a long technical post, Bob Tisdale shows that British Night Marine Air Temperature dataset which is used by NOAA,does not support NOAA’s claims of no slowdown in global surface warming.

Physicist Lubos Motl opines that “A whole discipline of pseudoscience – one pretending to be science, like most pseudosciences – has been created. It is the ‘climate change science’ whose preachers – pretending to be scientists – shout that the sky is falling. The ‘hiatus’ is an inconvenient truth for these ‘researchers’ so as of mid May 2015, they have proposed 63 explanations of the hiatus.” Motl then goes on to discuss how NCDC manipulated sea surface temperature data and provides a more general discussion of measuring and creating uncertainty in datasets.

Doug L. Hoffman at Resilient Earth also has a long post on problems with the NCDC paper. He concludes his post with this:

“According to Karl et al the pause was not, is not, real. It is only an artifact of decades of crappy temperature data, the same data that has fed the grossly inaccurate climate models that are at the heart of the global warming scam. And that’s the real bottom line—for this paper to be correct all the historical data, all the work of climate scientists around the world over the past 40-50 years, has been in error. If this paper is correct climate science has lost all credibility.”

We see that government “climate science” is nothing more than political science applied to support policy rather than have an honest assessment of conditions. Essentially, what Karl et al. have done is revise data to match a particular hypothesis. That’s your tax dollars at work. Are we paying for climate whores?

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Climate change in perspective

Mystery of the missing heat

Satellite data show that CO2 has almost no effect on global warming

The “pause” in global warming has reached a milestone of 17 years with no net warming. This has been very inconvenient for “warmist” scientists and policy makers. There have been many excuses proffered to explain the pause (See: “The ocean ate my global warming below”). And, there have been more scare stories in the media (See: “Risky Business debunked” below).

Back in 2011, a study by a group of pro-catastrophic global warming scientists (CAGW) determined that the human CO2 warming influence on atmospheric temperatures would become obvious over a period of 17 years of satellite measurements. The paper is Santer et al., 2011, Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale, Journal of Geophysical Research (abstract here). The bottom line of the abstract says: “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

As of June, 2014, it has been 17 years since the super El Nino of 1997/1998 and there is no obvious signal that increasing CO2 emissions have had any effect on global lower troposphere temperatures. In fact, over the last 17 years, temperatures show a slight cooling trend. See this article and graph from C3Headlines (that graph uses RSS satellite data). See also the latest data from UAH satellites courtesy of Dr. Roy Spencer here. There is some slight difference between RSS and UAH satellite data as explained by Spencer here. Another C3Headlines article shows that “NOAA Confirms: Huge CO2 Emissions Have Zero Impact On U.S. Maximum Temperatures.” (Link)

Once again we come back to a basic fact about global warming alarmism: There is no physical evidence supporting the contention that CO2 emissions play a significant role in driving global temperatures. Such a role for CO2 exists only in computer models.

Fun with graphs:

NOAA maintains a website called “Climate at a glance” where you can construct your own graphs of temperature data. I played with it a bit.

Here are graphs for average July temperatures and maximum July temperatures for the contiguous US from 1895-2013. No sign of CO2 influence:

Average July temps 1895-2014

Max US July temps

We can also play with precipitation data. Below I plot Arizona precipitation for January and July, our two rainy seasons. We see quite a bit of variation but no trend:

Arizona January precipitation

Arizona July precipitation

In a separate article, Anthony Watts points out some problems with global precipitation records. According to a recent paper published in Atmospheric Science Letters, global precipitation has either decreased, increased, or not changed over the past 30 years, depending upon which of three global datasets are examined. Thus, the actual trend of global precipitation, if any, remains a mystery. (Read full post).

Note: Satellites do not measure temperature directly. Instead, they measure the radiance of oxygen, in several wavelengths, which is proportional to temperature.

See also:

The ocean ate my global warming – part 1
The ocean ate my global warming – part 2

The Stadium Wave Hypothesis – how the climate cycles between warm and cool

All climate models used by the IPCC failed to predict the “pause” in global warming since 1998. Two Georgia Tech researchers, Dr. Marcia Glaze Wyatt and Dr. Judith A. Curry, hypothesize that multi-decadal oscillations in atmospheric and oceanic circulation regimes, such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) can amplify or diminish longer term atmospheric warming or cooling.

Their hypothesis is likened to a “stadium-wave signal that propagates like the cheer at sporting events whereby sections of sports fans seated in a stadium stand and sit as a ‘wave’ propagates through the audience.  In like manner, the ‘stadium wave’ climate signal propagates across the Northern Hemisphere through a network of ocean, ice, and atmospheric circulation regimes that self-organize into a collective tempo.”

This study analyzed data from the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice since 1900.  “The study provides an explanation for seemingly incongruous climate trends, such as how sea ice can continue to decline during this period of stalled warming, and when the sea ice decline might reverse.  After temperatures peaked in the late 1990s, hemispheric surface temperatures began to decrease, while the high latitudes of the North Atlantic Ocean continued to warm and Arctic sea ice extent continued to decline. According to the ‘stadium wave’ hypothesis, these trends mark a transition period whereby the future decades will see the North Atlantic Ocean begin to cool and sea ice in the Eurasian Arctic region begin to rebound.”

The Stadium Wave hypothesis predicts that the current “pause” in warming will continue well into the 2030s.

Near the end of their paper, the researchers provide this caveat: “While evidence strongly supports our hypothesis of a secularly varying climate signal propagating through a hemispheric network of synchronized ocean, atmosphere, and ice indices during the 20th century, we cannot know if this variability, tempo, and sequential chronology will continue into the future. How changes in external forcing might affect the Eurasian Arctic sea ice in context of an apparent quasi-oscillatory ocean-ice-atmosphere system is a burning question.”

They do note that study of 300 year proxy data suggests changes in tempo and amplitude of the “Stadium Wave” did occur prior to the 1800s.

The bottom line is that this hypothesis explains the behavior of global temperature while the carbon dioxide hypothesis does not.

The research is published in the September issue of Climate Dynamics.

See more detail at Dr. Judith Curry’s blog here. You can download the full manuscript (in pre-publication form) here.

Another paper relating the AMO and PDO cycles to conditions in the Southwestern US concludes: “If the AMO continues its quasi-cyclic behavior the US SW temperature should remain stable and the precipitation should significantly increase during the next few decades.”  That bodes well for our future water supply.  For that story see here.

See also:

The significance of the 17-year pause in global warming

Critique of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers

IPCC downplays abrupt climate change danger

Why climate science is fallible

IPCC AR5 climate report may be dead on arrival

IPCC 95% Certain – hold on to your wallets

The new IPCC climate report is already in trouble

More evidence that climate models are wrong

The significance of the 17-year pause in global warming

As of the end of October, the “pause” in global warming has reached 17 years according to the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) satellite data sets.  The temperature plot below is from  November 1, 1996 to October 31, 2013; that’s 204 months =17 years. The significance of this is discussed in detail here.  I will summarize:


In spite of steadily rising emissions and atmospheric content of carbon dioxide, the global temperature has failed to rise in lockstep as predicted by climate models. The temperature spike in 1998 is attributed to a “super” El Nino.

Some climate scientists, attempting to explain away the lack of warming, claimed that pauses of 10 years or so is just natural variation and would not falsify the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.  In 2011, Santer et al., wrote a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters titled:  “Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale.”

The paper concludes: “Because of the pronounced effect of interannual noise on decadal trends, a multi-model ensemble of anthropogenically-forced simulations displays many 10-year periods with little warming. A single decade of observational TLT [temperature of the lower troposphere] data is therefore inadequate for identifying a slowly evolving anthropogenic warming signal. Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”  So, 17 years became to new magic number.

Well, it has now been 17 years with no net warming.  No signal of a man-made warming due to carbon dioxide emissions has been identified. This shows at the very least that the climate models, upon which all dire predictions are based, are wrong.

It also indicates that any warming attributable to carbon dioxide is very small compared to natural variation and should not be cause of concern.  All the regulations attempting to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are fighting a phantom menace.  And the billions of dollars spend on climate research and supposed mitigated of the phantom menace have been wasted.

See also:

More evidence that climate models are wrong

Mystery of the missing heat

Obama’s Climate Action Plan is Clueless and Dangerous

For some real climate science see:

Climate Change Reconsidered II – A major new report on the state of the climate