In view of the ClimateGate scandal, where we learned that CRU was manipulating temperatures to support the theory of man-made global warming, it is instructive to see that Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) was also doing similar manipulations. Last year on a different hosting site, I wrote a blog wondering if GISS was reporting global temperatures on a different basis than the other major reporting agencies. Part of that blog is as follows:
IS GISS OUT OF STEP WITH THE OTHER ORGANIZATIONS?
There are several organizations that measure global temperatures, not just GISS. From Jennifer Marohasy’s website , we get a summary of 5 primary temperature reporting organizations:
“1. GISS, The Goddard Institute, home of James Hansen, 2. NCDC, The National Climate Data Center, a part of NOAA (as is GISS), the National Oceanographic and Atmosphere Administration. 3. BMO/UEA, The British Meteorological Office and the University of East Anglia. 4. UAH, The University of Alabama, Huntsville, home of Roy Spencer with his colleagues including John Christy of NASA and 5. RSS, Remote Sensing Systems in Santa Rosa, California, a company supported by NASA for the analysis of satellite data.
The first three groups use ground based data where possible with a degree of commonality. However since 70% of the surface of the earth is ocean and it is not monitored in a detailed manner, various recipes are followed to fill the ocean gap, if that is the best way of putting it.
The last two groups use satellite data to probe the atmosphere and with the exception of the Polar Regions which are less than 10% of the globe, they get comprehensive coverage.”
Marohasy further notes that for the last 8 years (2001-08), GISS shows a temperature anomaly of +0.1C, NCDC shows no change, BMO/UEA has a -0.9C, RSS has -1.1C and UAH has -0.6C. Only GISS shows an increasing temperature through the 8 year period.
HOW ACCURATE ARE GROUND BASED TEMPERATURE MEASURING STATIONS?
GISS relies on ground based stations. That should cause one to pick up one’s ears, when we know the world is about 70% ocean.
The United States is said to have one of the best ground based measuring systems in the world. Standards have been written so that these stations can be sited to achieve accurate results not influenced by such things as being located in a blacktopped parking lot or in the path of the exhaust from an air-conditioning compressor. SurfaceStations.org, has so far surveyed 534 of the 1221 United States stations, and have found that:
“Meeting Class 1 Standards (the best) 4%
Meeting Class 2 Standards (acceptable) 9%
Meeting Class 3 Standards (Error of 1C) 18%
Meeting Class 4 Standards (Error of >= 2C) 56%!!!!!
Meeting Class 5 Standards (Error of >+5C) 13%!!!!!”
This work says that 87% of the total have an error of 1C or more. Moreover, 69% of the total are inaccurate in excess of 2C. SurfaceStations.org plan on surveying all 1221 stations. (The work has continued to progress since the time of my original blog and it will soon be published. Essentially the entire network of monitoring station have been surveyed and the results are not far different from that reported in my original blog)
A way around this is to measure temperature change (anomaly), rather than absolute temperature. But this requires that some one put in adjustments for each site to correct the error.
TEMPERATURE ADJUSTMENTS (AND MANIPULATION)
If the actual temperature measurements are adjusted, how often does this happen? In GISS’s case very often. So often that one wonders if that group is trying justify its point of view about global warming.
Steve Goddard, in his Entry “Is the Earth getting warmer or cooler?” http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/02/a_tale_of_two_thermometers/ shows us two versions of US temperature put out by GISS:
NASA’s original data: 1999
NASA’s reworked data: 2007
Focus on two points. Estimate where 1934 is on both charts. The annual mean on the 1999 report is about +1.5C and the 5 year mean is about + 0.75C. Those same points on the 2007 report are +1.25C and +0.6C. Temperatures in the thirties are lower as a result of adjustments in the 2007 chart.
Estimate where 1998 annual mean and 5 year mean are on each report. Annual mean +0.9C vs. +1.25C and the 5 year mean +0.2C vs. +0.5C. The temperatures in the nineties are higher as a result of adjustments in the 2007 chart.
Goddard goes on to say:
“NASA staff have done some recent bookkeeping and refined the data from 1930-1999. The issues has been discussed extensively at science blog Climate Audit. So what is the probability of this effort consistently increasing recent temperatures and decreasing older temperatures? From a statistical viewpoint, data recalculation should cause each year to have a 50/50 probability of going either up or down – thus the odds of all 70 adjusted years working in concert to increase the slope of the graph (as seen in the combined version) are an astronomical 2 raised to the power of 70. That is one-thousand-billion-billion to one. This isn’t an exact representation of the odds because for some of the years (less than 15) the revisions went against the trend – but even a 55/15 split is about as likely as a room full of chimpanzees eventually typing Hamlet.”
Want to guess what way favors those that believe in man-made global warming?
IS GISS THE GOLD STANDARD?
It is hard to believe that GISS data is the gold standard. Their data is suspect and the way they use it seems shameful.
Their top man, James Hansen appears to be somewhat out of control at this time, e.g. he writes to publishers telling them they can not publish science books that even suggest there are two sides to the global warming story. I think he is acting like a man threatened. His legacy is that of “the man who woke the world up to the coming catastrophe called run-away global warming”. Right now that legacy is coming apart at the seams.
GISS appears to be on a mission with an agenda that is designed to prove their belief that man is the cause of global warming and there is going to be hell to pay if we don’t mend our ways.
“Climategate” started out when there appeared on the Internet a collection of e-mails of a group of climatologists who work in the University of East Anglia in England. These documents reveal that some climatologists of international preeminence have manipulated the data of their investigations and have strongly tried to discredit climatologists who are not convinced that the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the cause of global warming.
It is true that a majority of the scientists who study climatic tendencies in our atmosphere have arrived at the conclusion that the world’s climate is changing, and they have convinced a group of politicians, some of whom are politically powerful, of the truth of their conclusions.
A minority, however, is skeptical. Some believe that recent data that suggest that the average temperature of the atmosphere is going up can be explained by natural variations in solar radiation and that global warming is a temporary phenomenon. Others believe that the historical evidence indicating that the temperature of the atmosphere is going up at a dangerous rate is simply not reliable.
Such lacks of agreement are common in the sciences. They are reduced and eventually eliminated with the accumulation of new evidence and of more refined theories or even by completely new ones. Such debates can persist for a period of decades. Academics often throw invective at one another in these debates. But typically this does not mean much.
But the case of climate change is different. If the evidence indicates that global warming is progressive, is caused principally by our industrial processes, and will probably cause disastrous changes in our atmosphere before the end of the twenty-first century, then we do not have the time to verify precisely if this evidence is reliable. Such a process would be a question of many years of new investigations. And if the alarmist climatologists are right, such a delay would be tragic for all humanity.
The difficulty is that economic and climatologic systems are very complicated. They are not like celestial mechanics, which involves only the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force, and efforts to construct computerized models to describe these complicated systems simply cannot include all the factors that are influential in the evolution of these complicated systems.
All this does not necessarily indicate that the alarmist climatologists are not right. But it really means that if global warming is occurring, we cannot know exactly what will be the average temperature of our atmosphere in the year 2100 and what will be the average sea level of the world’s ocean in that year.
It also means that we cannot be confident that efforts by the industrialized countries to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will have a significant influence on the evolution of the world’s climate.
Alas, the reduction of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be very costly and would greatly change the lives of all the inhabitants of our planet–with the possibility (perhaps even the probability!) that all these efforts will be completely useless.
Harleigh Kyson Jr.