Thursday, August 16, 2007

Case for Man-Made Global Warming Made Up By NASA Scientists?

Blogger Steve McIntyre has apparently discovered what seems to be a blatantly fraudulent presentation of NASA temperature data which has been used to make the case for global warming:

"NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second place. 1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now all occur before World War II."

Reto Ruedy and James Hansen, the scientists responsible for the data, are blaming a Y2K data glitch. How convenient. Hansen made headlines previously, when he publicly denounced the US government for trying to censor his data. Sorry guys, but you're scientists. Not really cool to blame the computer for your hugely massive "mistake" of misinforming the world on global warming. Hard to believe they never even took a glance at the final data...

Despite this fiasco regarding the US data, it seems that long-term global temperatures are indeed on the rise as previously believed.

The science on this issue has become so corrupted by politics I find it pretty much impossible to know what to believe. Hopefully the scientific community will take this as a lesson that the ultimate price of compromising objectivity by selling out to political and corporate interests is the loss of the public trust. Once this happens, the benefits and freedoms science can provide are lost to society altogether. Maybe I'm naive to hope we haven't yet reached that point...


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Rob said...

If you read the story from other sources apparently the discrepancy is hardly statistically significant and only applies over the continental US (2% of the earths surface).
It does not change the warmest years on record over the entire globe.
This story is almost always on websites with a polical agenda or is presented more balanced on other news sites.

Bayman said...

Which other sources? Could you link? I couldn't find much else out there.

Certainly looks to me like the discrepancies are statistically significant for the data in question (US surface temperatures over the last 100 years). The biggest peak on the original graph, at 2000, was entirely removed in the corrected version.

If you meant not globally significant then I would agree. You are quite right to point out that this correction of the US data does not impact global temperature records, as was indicated in both the post and the article I linked to. In fact, every news release I have come across clearly points this out.

Another interesting point...although this news only applies to American data, the US has one of the most sophisticated climate monitoring systems in the world. This adjustment error in the US system may indicate that data collected from stations around the rest of the world is also has similar problems and needs to be adjusted.