And makes them feel worthwhile by being a RELIGION-SUBSTITUTE!
Just think how empty and meaningless their lives would be without a
"crusade", any "crusade" will do!!
Only if you approve of Fudgin' Hansen!!!
Can We Really Trust NASA's Temperature Data
5 June 2008
QUOTE: The discrepancies between NASA and other data sources can't help but
make us consider Einstein's advice: "If the facts don't fit the theory,
change the facts."
Painting by numbers: NASA's peculiar thermometer
The story is that the world is heating up - fast. Prominent people at NASA
warn us that unless we change our carbon producing ways, civilisation as we
know it will come to an end. At the same time, there are new scientific
studies showing that the earth is in a 20 year long cooling period. Which
view is correct? Temperature data should be simple enough to record and
analyze. We all know how to read a thermometer - it is not rocket science.
looked at how US temperature data sets have been adjusted - with more recent
versions of historical data sets showing a steeper rise in temperature than
they used to. Here, we'll be looking at current NASA data and why their
temperature maps appear hot-red, even when others are cool-blue.
To recap the earlier article, the graph below shows additional adjustments
to the data set
(http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/US_USHCN.2005vs1999.txt) since the
big "correction" in 2000.
We observe that the data has been consistently adjusted towards a bias of
greater warming. The years prior to the 1970s have again been adjusted to
lower temperatures, and recent years have been adjusted towards higher
NASA's published data is largely based on data from the US Historical
Climatology Network (USHCN), which derives its data from thermometer
readings across the country. According to USHCN
literature, the raw temperature data is adjusted to compensate for
geographical movements in the weather stations, changes in the 24-hour
start/end times when the readings are taken, and other factors. USHCN is
directly affiliated with the Oak Ridge National Laboratories' Carbon Dioxide
Information Analysis Center (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/), an organisation which
exists primarily to promote the idea of a link between CO2 and climate.
shows what the raw unadjusted USHCN temperature trends for the US in the
20th century looked like.
20th century temperature trends - USHCN raw data (lots of blue)
Prior to any adjustments, more than half the US shows declining temperatures
over the 20th century - blue and green colors - i.e. the US is cooling down.
However, subsequent to the adjustments the country goes dominantly warmer
(red and yellow) - as seen in the image below
20th Century temperature trends - USHCN raw data (lots of red)
Below is a video showing the USHCN adjustments in action.
So how does NASA's data compare with other temperature sources? As we
explained in our earlier article, NASA data is derived from a grid of
ground-based thermometers. During the last thirty years, we also have the
benefit of more sophisticated technology - satellites which can indirectly
record temperatures across most of the planet. The satellite data is from
Remote Sensing Systems
(RSS) and the University of Alabama at Huntsville
In 1998 (left side of the graph below) NASA and the satellite data sources
RSS and UAH all agreed quite closely - within one-tenth of a degree. Ten
years later - in March 2008 - NASA is reporting temperature anomalies more
than 0.5 degrees warmer than UAH. The divergence between NASA and UAH has
increased at a rate of 0.13 degrees per decade (red lines below.) In
contrast, RSS has converged with UAH over the period and is now within 0.02
degrees (blue lines below.)
Differences between reported temperature anomalies, NASA, RSS and UAH - with
UAH as the baseline.
The divergence is now quite striking. Looking closer at March 2008, NASA's
data (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt) shows the
month as the third warmest on record. In sharp contrast, UAH and RSS
satellite data showed March as the second coldest on record in the southern
hemisphere, and just barely above average for the whole planet. How could
such a large discrepancy occur?
Viewing the NASA 250-mile map for March below, what immediately grabs the
attention is that NASA has essentially no data (gray areas) in most of
Canada, most of Africa, the Greenland ice sheet, and most of Antarctica.
This begs the question, how can one calculate an accurate "global
temperature" while lacking any data from large contiguous regions of three
So what was NASA missing?
NASA Temperatures March, 2008 - 250-mile smoothing radius - looks hot
We can find NASA's lost continents in the UAH satellite data for March
UAH Satellite Temperatures March, 2008 - looks cool
Not surprisingly, the missing areas in Canada and Africa were cold. The NASA
data thus becomes disproportionately weighted towards warm areas -
particularly in the northern hemisphere. As can be seen in the UAH satellite
map above, the warm areas actually made up a relatively small percentage of
the planet. The vast majority of the earth had normal temperatures or below.
Given that NASA has lost track of a number of large cold regions, it is
understandable that their averages are on the high side.
Additionally, NASA reports their global temperature measurements within one
one-hundredth of a degree. This is a classic mathematics error, since they
have no data from 20 per cent of the earth's land area. The reported
precision is much greater than the error bar - a mistake which has caused
many a high school student to fail their exams.
A second important issue with NASA's presentation is that they use the time
period of 1951-1980 as their choice of baseline. This was a well known cold
spell, as can be seen in the 1999 version
(http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_07/fig1x.gif) of the NASA
US temperature graph below.
NASA US Temperature Map August, 1999. Note the cooling trend since 1930, and
particularly between 1951 and 1980.
Temperatures dropped enough during that period to trigger concern about the
onset of an ice age
magazine went so far as to mention a proposed "solution" of spreading soot
(http://www.denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm) in the Arctic to melt the
polar ice caps. 1978 was the coldest winter on record
(http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/atmos/statecli/Winter/coldhard.htm) in much of
North America. By using a cold baseline, all recent temperatures become
relatively warm - which causes the NASA maps to be covered with lots of hot
red and brown colors. From looking at the NASA map above, one could easily
believe that that the earth is having a meltdown. By contrast, the UAH map
makes most of the earth look quite cool.
When we look at the temperature data for Alaska, the disparity is again
The NASA temperature map for March above shows Alaska temperatures much
above "normal", while the UAH map shows Alaska temperatures well below
"normal". This is partially due to the fact that the 1951-1980 NASA baseline
period was unusually cold in Alaska - due to the cold phase of a dominant
ocean cycle, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation
(http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~mantua/REPORTS/PDO/PDO_egec.htm) (PDO), as
shown below. The graph below indicates variations in Pacific temperatures,
showing a cold period from 1950-1980 which exactly matches NASA's baseline
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation in its cold phase from 1951-1980 (the period
of the NASA baseline)p>
When the PDO ocean pattern is in its cold cycle, the Pacific remains
dominantly in the La Nina phase, causing cold temperatures - particularly
around the Pacific basin. La Nina also causes cold northern hemisphere
winter temperatures across much of the world - as measured in 2008.
NASA's colourful Antarctic makeover
We can see how dramatic an artistic makeover can be. On the left, NASA's
Goddard Space Flight Center shows that
interior of Antarctica is generally cooling". Indeed, most of the landmass
is cooler, or the same as it was, with patches of warming around the
On the right, NASA's Earth Observatory warns that
(http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/WilkinsIceSheet/) "Between 1981 and
2007, most of Antarctica warmed" - and the graph is correspondingly crimson.
For the colourists at the Earth Observatory, a mere +0.01C is needed to
colour the continent red.
One month does not make a temperature trend, and the point of this article
is not to ascertain whether or not the earth is warming towards Armageddon.
We are not qualified to analyze that or second-guess the experts. What is
being examined is the quality and stability of the data being used by people
making those claims.
For example, whatever motivations NASA had for picking the 1951-1980
baseline undoubtedly have some valid scientific basis. Yet, when the data is
calibrated in lockstep with a very high-profile and public political
philosophy, we should at least be willing to ask some hard questions. Dr.
James Hansen at GISS is the person in charge of the NASA temperature data.
He is also the world's leading advocate of the idea of catastrophic global
warming, and is Al Gore's primary climate advisor. The discrepancies between
NASA and other data sources can't help but make us consider Einstein's
"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." ®
Credits Thanks to Evan Jones from Watts Up With That
(http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com) for pointing me to the USHCN
temperature maps, and Steve McIntyre (http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1687)
for generating them.
As it has always done in the past.
Natural variability is like that.
Nice bit of prediction there buddy!!