Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hottest Year Ever? It Is When You Alter the Data

From Fox News:
2012 was a scorcher, but was it the warmest year ever?
A report released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) called it "the warmest year ever for the nation." Experts agree that 2012 was a hot year for the planet. But it’s that report -- and the agency itself -- that’s drawing the most heat today.
"2012 [wasn't] necessarily warmer than it was back in the 1930s ... NOAA has made so many adjustments to the data it's ridiculous," Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told
A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed the average annual U.S. temperatures up last year, to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit according to the government. That's a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998 -- and breaking such records by a full degree is unprecedented, scientists say.
But NOAA has adjusted the historical climate data many times, skeptics point out, most recently last October. The result, says popular climate blogger Steve Goddard: The U.S. now appears to have warmed slightly more than it did before the adjustment.
"The adjusted data is meaningless garbage. It bears no resemblance to the thermometer data it starts out as," Goddard told He's not the only one to question NOAA's efforts.
"Every time NOAA makes adjustments, they make recent years [relatively] warmer. I am very suspicious, especially for how warm they have made 2012," Spencer said. ...
... One problem in weather monitoring occurs when there is a "break point" -- an instance where a thermometer is moved, or something producing heat is built near the thermometer, making temperature readings before and after the move no longer comparable.
"Version 2.5 improved the efficiency of the algorithm.... more of the previously undetected break points are now accounted for," Smullen [an NOAA spokesman] explained.
... Spencer says that the data do need to be adjusted -- but not the way NOAA did it. For instance, Spencer says that urban weather stations have reported higher temperatures partly because, as a city grows, it becomes a bit hotter. But instead of adjusting directly for that, he says that to make the urban and rural weather readings match, NOAA “warmed the rural stations’ [temperature readings] to match the urban stations” -- which would make it seem as if all areas were getting a bit warmer.
... Climate change skeptics such as blogger and meteorologist Anthony Watts are [also] unconvinced.
"Is history malleable? Can temperature data of the past be molded to fit a purpose? It certainly seems to be the case here, where the temperature for July 1936 reported ... changes with the moment," Watts told

"In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data."
Tweaking the data to make it fit the theory is not science.

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