August 17, 2007
Why Would Anyone Trust NASA's Climate Data Now?By Marc Sheppard
Last week's disclosure of a critical temperature data revision by NASA climate experts under cover-of-darkness poses as many questions as it answers. With worried alarmists scurrying to either dismiss the restatement's relevance or ignore it altogether, and NASA itself descending to CYOA tactics, the paramount issue remains that of credibility - both the agency's and the big green scare machine's.
Hastily responding to the media-subdued mini-furor his amendment sparked, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) chief James Hansen reflexively complained that "deniers" were "making a mountain of a molehill" about the "insignificant" revision. The overruled head eco-doomer mulishly denied that the data update had any impact upon "the overall trend." Ironically, while he's undoubtedly wrong, he also happens to be quite right.
After all, only his fellow doomsayers ever actually found any trend or anthropogenic evidence in the old numbers to begin with. And while the revisions are, indeed, significant, any enviro-plugged short-term "trend" they mitigate remains resoundingly otherwise.
In fact, Hansen's smoke-and-mirrors are instantly defogged by basic analysis of the so-called "trend" he continues to find even in the reworked numbers.
The Data Interpretations are Hyped
If you'll pardon the expression -- it doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that after a significant (and enigmatic) ascent in 1998, annual averages tended to drop off before an increase in 2005 and a spike the following year. Available 5 year means (5YM) over 10 years tended to climb to an apex in 2000, and then drop off until 2004.
Can this possibly represent a harbinger of boundless warming, as preached before and still by the minister of the eco-apocalypse?
Take a look at the revised 1930 through 1950 data, and you'll find not only 4 of the 10 hottest years since 1880 occurring in the 1930s, but a 5YM "trend" similar to that building today to boot. You'll also notice a 2nd zenith is reached in 1940, followed by a gradual drop to below 1930 levels by 1950.
So any alarmist argument that we've been getting consistently hotter over the past decade would not only ring disingenuous, it would be of no empirical value whatsoever. And that's exactly why the subterfuge potential of the hottest ever years clocking in during that time is so essential to their misbegotten crusade.
Now consider that atmospheric CO2 reportedly rose from 284 ppm in pre-industrial 1832 to only 300 ppm by 1911; then remained below 320 ppm until rising precipitously from 1960 to today's level of over 380 ppm. And yet -- there is nothing even remotely analogous in the temperature figures for those same periods. To the contrary, 60% of post-industrial CO2 ascension has taken place since 1960 - that's 20 years after the last decade with warming patterns similar to the present one. Furthermore, notice that over half of the 15 hottest years took place before 1960 and those 15 are actually spread out over not one but rather seven decades. That's some trend, my friend.
So then, even if NASA's figures were rock-solid, they simply don't advance AGW arguments any more than they do those for, say, cycles of the sun. We are, after all, in the midst of a period of elevated solar activity scientists refer to as the "modern maximum."
And yet, we're to accept that hyped projections fueled by deliberate misinterpretation of data are not threatened when such data lose a good portion of their "hottest years ever" propaganda value?
In the words of Reid A. Bryson, the father of modern scientific climatology, what "a bunch of hooey."
And the Misinterpreted Data are Tainted
But there's a deeper problem at play here. Frankly, until GISS comes clean, who's buying any of their numbers anyway?
Truth be told -- even prior to Steve McIntyre's correction of Hansen's algorithms last week, the data from USHCN weather stations had been suspect. Both faulty collection methods (e.g. environmental issues of absurdly located sensors) and the proprietary nature of the software which purportedly "fixed" these environmental irregularities had been openly challenged.
These "fudge factors," which remain unpublished, required McIntyre's reverse-engineering in order to surface their faults. As the scientist blogger wrote in a must-read article at ace weather-station sleuth Anthony Watts' site (climateaudit was still recovering from what were likely eco-maniac DDOS attacks) on Saturday,
But it was not only the disproved "adjustments" to corrupt input data, but also the shady manner by which GISS revised that information which warrant our concern. Realizing how the error reported by McIntyre impacted upon individual weather stations, they stealthily updated not only the local station data, but also the oft-cited US Temperature Data, particularly post-1999. With virtually no fanfare, estimates for 2000 through 2005 were lowered by about 0.15 deg C, and 2006 by 0.10 deg C - measures McIntyre suggests still fall short.
So what we have is a "scientific" data-base compiled and maintained by an institute conducted by a true AGW ideologue that uses undisclosed and flawed algorithms to offset admittedly spurious input data. That same organization failed to alert data-base clients (or anyone else to my knowledge) that significant modifications were made to theory and policy-critical data
Consequently, until such time that a satisfactory non-disclosure explanation is proffered and problem station data are resolved entirely at their source or, at the very least - interpretive source-code is published, how can GISS station data and their fruits be regarded as anything but suspect -- if not outright poisoned?
Put it together and what have you got?
Every soldier in this vital information war knows it's difficult enough to do daily battle against dramatically over-hyped propaganda with any optimism of triumph. Enemy warriors wield swords forged from hyped projections, shocking news, cataclysmic films and disinforming TV programs. Ours brave the battlefield armed only with a firm grasp of the facts and the wherewithal to draw cogent conclusions from them.
Now it appears our adversaries may have successfully infiltrated what are imperatively neutral data-bases, attempting to render our only weapons useless.
If the science were truly settled, then why would they so fear a fair fight?
Marc Sheppard is a technology consultant, software engineer, writer, and political and systems analyst. He is a regular contributor to American Thinker. He welcomes your feedback.