NASA and NOAA’s Latest Climate Warning Is a Result of Purposefully Flawed Data

Because science is the pursuit of knowledge, and political actions almost necessarily restrict personal freedom, science, laws, and regulations should use the best available data. Using bad data undermines both the pursuit of truth and the legitimate justification of laws and regulations.

Everyone, from the far left to the far right on the political spectrum, should be able to agree about this.

Sadly, in the field of climate research and climate policy, good data, when not ignored entirely, is increasingly twisted to fit the narrative claiming that humans are causing a climate crisis. Climate action partisans, in pursuit of political power and ever increasing resources, force data to fit their delusion that humans must forego modern, industrial civilization to save humanity and the earth from climate doom.

This problem is more than evident in a recent report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on global temperature trends. Between them, the two agencies operate the most accurate, comprehensive system of temperature measuring instruments in the world. But rather than cite data from their best sources when NASA and NOAA reported global temperatures on January 15, they chose to use severely compromised data from temperature readings adjusted—in a process called “homogenization”—they and others gathered from biased monitoring stations.

NASA and NOAA announced that 2019 was the second warmest year since modern record keeping began in 1880, helping to make the 2010s the “warmest decade on record.”

These claims are based on the utterly unreliable adjusted temperature measurements recorded by surface temperature stations scattered across the globe. These measurements, at least the raw data from them, are usually sufficiently accurate to inform local inhabitants of the temperature and weather anomalies in their area on a particular day, but as measures of actual trends telling us something important about whether humans are causing global warming, most of them are virtually worthless.

As has been hammered home repeatedly over the years by meteorologist Anthony Watts (who is also a Senior Fellow with The Heartland Institute), many of the monitoring stations throughout the United States fail to meet the standards established by the agencies themselves for reliable data measurement. Watts recorded hundreds of stations on pavement, at airports collecting jet exhaust, located next to artificial sources of hot and cold, such as air conditioning systems or commercial grill heat exhausts. Many of these stations were once located in rural areas, but are now surrounded by development, and others are rural stations where data is not recorded or monitored regularly.

After Watts’ 2014 revelations, the U.S. Office of the Inspector General issued a scathing report, almost entirely ignored by the media, that found lack of oversight, non-compliance, and a lax review process for the climate recording network led it to conclude program data “cannot be consistently relied upon by decision-makers.” In a panic, during the investigative process that resulted in the Inspector General’s report, NOAA closed approximately 600 of its most problematic weather stations.

Numerous reports have shown data manipulation is not limited to the United States, but is common across the globe. Temperatures recorded at pristine rural monitoring stations in far flung locations such as Australia, Paraguay, and Switzerland have been inexplicably homogenized so that past temperatures are now reported as cooler than were actually recorded, and recent temperatures are now reported as warmer than were recorded, necessarily making the temperature rise at these locations over the past century appear steeper and larger than the unadjusted data indicate.

NOAA violated its own rules when it undertook a similar adjustment process for recording ocean temperatures, beginning in 2015. As David Rose wrote for the Daily Mail, “[NOAA scientists] took reliable readings from [ocean] buoys but then ‘adjusted’ them upwards—using readings from seawater intakes on ships … even though readings from the ships have long been known to be too hot.” When you mix bad data with good, you no more produce reliable results than you do by adding muddy river water to purified bottle water to produce safe drinking water.

NASA and NOAA’s new report is another instance of “garbage in, garbage out,” in which their use of bad data produces flawed results, which, based on experience, will be used to push bad policies.

NASA and NOAA jointly or separately operate the U.S. Climate Reference Network, the gold standard of surface temperature data, global satellites, and weather balloons. The temperature data recorded by these three independent, unbiased temperature-measuring networks show minimal warming over the past 40 years. Yet the agencies ignored these data sets in their recent report—proving their dogmatic belief in a human-caused climate catastrophe.

NASA and NOAA are like toddlers trying to fit square pegs into round holes, and just as likely as toddlers to throw fits when their efforts are stymied by reality.

The Trump administration should steeply cut NASA and NOAA’s climate budgets until agency heads and career staff get the message they will not be rewarded for repeatedly telling “sky is falling” climate scare stories, when the truth about temperature and climate trends is, in fact, far from alarming.

[Originally Published at Breitbart]

H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute's Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland's Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.

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  1. What the climategate emails proved was that climate scientists are more honest with each other than they are with outsiders. When communicating with outsiders they circle the wagons to protect each other and their grand funding.
    There were dozens, if not hundreds, of peer reviewed papers about the global warming hiatus in the years after Y2K. Kevin Trenberth in one climategate email writes: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” Later, in a paper published in GRL, he claimed the missing is in the oceans below 700 meters.
    Then NASA began adjusting temperatures to make them agree with climate model predictions and climate scientists now claim the climate is changing exactly as the models predicted and ask “what missing heat?”

  2. Global temps are a joke. When pushed CAGW proponents will admit that regional temps increase/decrease differently, i.e., not one increase everywhere.

    Yet for every region that has cooled a region must also be that much hotter to get the “average” correct. No one can ever show those extra hot regions.

  3. Didn’t learn anything of significants that I did not know or what most of the people coming to this site already knew (and represent a small percentage of the country). My question is what can we do? What are we doing to demand reviews of NASA / NOAA practices? What are we doing promoting legislative action to require these agencies to use quality control procedures that stop their generation of garbage out science, a point that Steve McIntyre promotes? How do we take action to protect scientists such as Judith Curry from political persecutions by liberal university administrations, a practice that ensures science research will only focus on feeding the alarmist agendas? Internal discussions, conferences of the believers is not getting us anywhere. The alarmists are winning this fight.

    • Facts will always win the fight. Climate change is a fact. This article (and this entire website) provides no significant evidence to the contrary. It’s a combination of cherry-picking and logical fallacies. There is no grand liberal conspiracy against pseudoscientists, they’re just plain wrong and everyone just proving that much.

  4. The heck with cutting into their budgets, dissolve the departments completely and start over with a fact-based organization that is not under the political hacks in charge of NOAA and NASA.

    Build into their policy statement that only fact based, peer reviewed, publicly available data and publications can be used, and that all raw data and processes to manipulate the data for study has to be publicly available as well. Also, that they MUST respond openly to questions and criticisms of their work, like any good science department would.

    • They are fact-based organizations and they do conform to peer review and standards of scientific accuracy. Everyone who knows anything about science knows that there is nothing inaccurate about their data and nothing in this article does anything to prove otherwise. They should respond to any valid criticisms of their findings but why in the world would they ever dignify your childish science denial fantasies?

  5. Make it visual. People remember images much better than text. This article needs a figure that shows two lines. 1. the historical temperatures as published by NOAA sometime before the year 2000 and 2. the historical temperatures as published in 2020. Then it becomes easy to point out the remarkable differences between the two lines.

  6. As an American, it makes me very sad and angry that I can not trust NASA and NOAA science any more. The so-called scientists responsible for biased science reports should be ashamed.

    • You don’t have to have blind faith, that’s what science is about. Be an educated consumer of information and look at their data yourself but take into account the opinions of those who are more educated and know more than you. Get out of this insane science denial echo chamber and you’ll see that for yourself

  7. Even after 40 years the models still seem to be having problems, so I should like to offer a simple revised theory which ticks all the boxes. It correctly calculates the Earth’s temperatures of 256K and 288K, ( and so the 32 deg C rise), and it shows that the anthropogenic temperature rise effect of carbon dioxide is now virtually exhausted, with a rise of only about 1 deg C.
    This also explains the temperature “hiatus”.
    It is a little too long to post here, but please visit my website
    Comments HERE would be welcome.
    Eddie Banner

  8. Instead of a global average they sould have longitude band coverage of 4 bands:

    Equatorial, lowerlevel, northern and polar. GW predictions are that polar regions would warm much faster then equatorial.


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