NASA's Rubber Ruler: An Update

The NASA/GISS temperature record is not actually a record of recorded temperatures.  It is simply the most recent version of NASA's adjustments to older adjustments.  It is not thermometer readings.  It is models all the way down.

In 2012, I wrote an American Thinker article on the status of global warming at the time.  I used the latest available NASA/GISS data to do that analysis, which was the version NASA had on its website on April 30, 2012 (Land-Ocean Temperature Index [LOTI]).

At that time, the data from 1880 through 2011 showed a warming trend of 0.59 degrees Celsius per century.

What is that warming trend using the latest data from NASA's website (December 30, 2017), using those same exact years (1880-2011)?  The answer is 0.66˚ C.

How did warming accelerate if we are looking at the very same years?

Apparently, the Earth is getting warmer faster than it was five and a half years ago, but not because of actual recorded thermometer readings in those last five and a half years.  It is getting warmer faster because NASA adjusted the data to show faster warming.

When you go to the NASA website, you can download temperature anomalies "1880-present."  But those data change every month.  NASA adjusts it.  You cannot find any older versions.  NASA makes available only its most recent version.  And NASA does not explain how it adjusts the data.  You must simply trust it.

I still have the data from 2012 only because I downloaded them to a spreadsheet and kept that spreadsheet.

What are the differences between the two sets of data?  See the first figure, which shows all adjustments to data from 1880 through 2011.  NASA made these adjustments after April 2012.


Figure 1.  NASA's post-2012 adjustments to the 1880-2011 temperature record.

The black line shows the linear regression trend of the adjustments.  To be clear, the trend is of the adjustments to temperatures, not actual temperatures.  It is clear that NASA tends to adjust older temperatures down and recent temperatures up, to accelerate the overall warming trend: from 0.59 to 0.66˚ C per century, just since 2012.

If we look only at the most recent century of those same data (1911-2011), the adjustment trend is even starker: from 0.71 to 0.87˚ C per century.  Again, the only difference is when the data were downloaded from the NASA website.  The same years of data were used in both cases.


Figure 2.  NASA's post-2012 adjustments to the 1911-2011 temperature record.

And I have no idea how much adjusting NASA did before April 2012.  For all I know, the entire "warming trend" is simply one big "adjustment trend."

I wrote of NASA's "rubber ruler" in 2012.  NASA changes the temperature "record," going back to 1880, every month.  In just one month in 2012, August to September, 60% of NASA's temperature record changed.  How did temperature readings in August of 2012 cause 60% of the temperatures from 1880 to 2011 to change?  Anthony Watts says NASA is violating the Data Quality Act.

How does one validate a climate model using temperature observations, if those "observations" were themselves adjusted using models?  Real science means using the scientific method, which means using physical measurements to test a hypothesis.

The simple explanation is that NASA is reversing that method.  It apparently uses the global warming hypothesis to adjust physical measurements.  That is not science.  It is the opposite of science.

We need to answer four questions before we take real action to address man-caused, catastrophic global warming:

  1. Is the globe getting warmer?
  2. If so, is man doing it (or most of it)?
  3. If so, is it bad?
  4. If so, is the massive-reductions-in-CO2 approach the best way to deal with it?

The temperature record does not even address the last three of these questions.  Yet even that first, most basic, question is on shaky ground.  One could say that warming is man-caused: men adjusted the temperature record.

I know that NASA adjusted the temperature record in a way that accelerated the warming trend.  What I don't know for sure is how much of the warming trend is due solely to such adjustments.  One peer-reviewed study says "nearly all" of the warming is fabricated.

I would sure like to look at the science of global warming.  But without physical observations one can trust, how does one do that?  It is all one big "trust us."  But that is not science.  The "temperature record" is not a record of thermometer readings.  It is a summary of what government-funded people with science degrees think is OK for us to see.

Randall Hoven is a retired Boeing technical fellow with a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees in engineering, which is two more master's degrees than Bill Nye the Science Guy has.  He teaches at a university now, not on TV.

The NASA/GISS temperature record is not actually a record of recorded temperatures.  It is simply the most recent version of NASA's adjustments to older adjustments.  It is not thermometer readings.  It is models all the way down.

In 2012, I wrote an American Thinker article on the status of global warming at the time.  I used the latest available NASA/GISS data to do that analysis, which was the version NASA had on its website on April 30, 2012 (Land-Ocean Temperature Index [LOTI]).

At that time, the data from 1880 through 2011 showed a warming trend of 0.59 degrees Celsius per century.

What is that warming trend using the latest data from NASA's website (December 30, 2017), using those same exact years (1880-2011)?  The answer is 0.66˚ C.

How did warming accelerate if we are looking at the very same years?

Apparently, the Earth is getting warmer faster than it was five and a half years ago, but not because of actual recorded thermometer readings in those last five and a half years.  It is getting warmer faster because NASA adjusted the data to show faster warming.

When you go to the NASA website, you can download temperature anomalies "1880-present."  But those data change every month.  NASA adjusts it.  You cannot find any older versions.  NASA makes available only its most recent version.  And NASA does not explain how it adjusts the data.  You must simply trust it.

I still have the data from 2012 only because I downloaded them to a spreadsheet and kept that spreadsheet.

What are the differences between the two sets of data?  See the first figure, which shows all adjustments to data from 1880 through 2011.  NASA made these adjustments after April 2012.


Figure 1.  NASA's post-2012 adjustments to the 1880-2011 temperature record.

The black line shows the linear regression trend of the adjustments.  To be clear, the trend is of the adjustments to temperatures, not actual temperatures.  It is clear that NASA tends to adjust older temperatures down and recent temperatures up, to accelerate the overall warming trend: from 0.59 to 0.66˚ C per century, just since 2012.

If we look only at the most recent century of those same data (1911-2011), the adjustment trend is even starker: from 0.71 to 0.87˚ C per century.  Again, the only difference is when the data were downloaded from the NASA website.  The same years of data were used in both cases.


Figure 2.  NASA's post-2012 adjustments to the 1911-2011 temperature record.

And I have no idea how much adjusting NASA did before April 2012.  For all I know, the entire "warming trend" is simply one big "adjustment trend."

I wrote of NASA's "rubber ruler" in 2012.  NASA changes the temperature "record," going back to 1880, every month.  In just one month in 2012, August to September, 60% of NASA's temperature record changed.  How did temperature readings in August of 2012 cause 60% of the temperatures from 1880 to 2011 to change?  Anthony Watts says NASA is violating the Data Quality Act.

How does one validate a climate model using temperature observations, if those "observations" were themselves adjusted using models?  Real science means using the scientific method, which means using physical measurements to test a hypothesis.

The simple explanation is that NASA is reversing that method.  It apparently uses the global warming hypothesis to adjust physical measurements.  That is not science.  It is the opposite of science.

We need to answer four questions before we take real action to address man-caused, catastrophic global warming:

  1. Is the globe getting warmer?
  2. If so, is man doing it (or most of it)?
  3. If so, is it bad?
  4. If so, is the massive-reductions-in-CO2 approach the best way to deal with it?

The temperature record does not even address the last three of these questions.  Yet even that first, most basic, question is on shaky ground.  One could say that warming is man-caused: men adjusted the temperature record.

I know that NASA adjusted the temperature record in a way that accelerated the warming trend.  What I don't know for sure is how much of the warming trend is due solely to such adjustments.  One peer-reviewed study says "nearly all" of the warming is fabricated.

I would sure like to look at the science of global warming.  But without physical observations one can trust, how does one do that?  It is all one big "trust us."  But that is not science.  The "temperature record" is not a record of thermometer readings.  It is a summary of what government-funded people with science degrees think is OK for us to see.

Randall Hoven is a retired Boeing technical fellow with a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees in engineering, which is two more master's degrees than Bill Nye the Science Guy has.  He teaches at a university now, not on TV.