NOAA Scientists Manipulated Temperature Data To Make Global Warming Seem Worse


Climate Depot
By Marc Morano

 

World Leaders Duped Over Manipulated Global Warming Data

The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 5 February 2017.

The scandal has disturbing echoes of the ‘Climategate’ affair which broke shortly before the UN climate summit in 2009, when the leak of thousands of emails between climate scientists suggested they had manipulated and hidden data. Some were British experts at the influential Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia…Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards ‘to produce and preserve climate data records’. Yet when it came to the paper timed to influence the Paris conference, Dr Bates said, these standards were flagrantly ignored…In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a ‘highly experimental early run’ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records…Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: ‘I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.’ The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.

1) World Leaders Duped Over Manipulated Global Warming Data
Mail on Sunday, 5 February 2017

2) John Bates: Climate Scientists Versus Climate Data
Climate Etc. 5 February 2017

3) Matt Ridley: Politics And Science Are A Toxic Combination
The Times, 6 February 2017 Excerpts: Whistleblower Bates “is no “denier”; he was awarded a gold medal by the US government in 2014 for his climate-data work” — “More than just a routine science scandal..embarrasses science journalists who have been chronicling growing evidence of scientific misconduct.”

4) David Whitehouse: Don’t Be Distracted By Nit-Pickers: This Is Serious
GWPF Observatory, 6 February 2017

5) Former NOAA Scientist Confirms Colleagues Manipulated Climate Records
U.S. Committee On Science, Space and Technology, 5 February 2017

6) Cambridge University Clashes With Own Academics Over Climate Change
Financial Times, 5 February 2017

As a climate scientist formerly responsible for NOAA’s climate archive, the most critical issue in archival of climate data is actually scientists who are unwilling to formally archive and document their data. I spent the last decade cajoling climate scientists to archive their data and fully document the datasets. I established a climate data records program that was awarded a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 2014 for visionary work in the acquisition, production, and preservation of climate data records (CDRs), which accurately describe the Earth’s changing environment. The most serious example of a climate scientist not archiving or documenting a critical climate dataset was the study of Tom Karl et al. 2015 (hereafter referred to as the Karl study or K15), purporting to show no ‘hiatus’ in global warming in the 2000s. In the following sections, I provide the details of how Mr. Karl failed to disclose critical information to NOAA, Science Magazine, and Chairman Smith regarding the datasets used in K15. –John Bates, Climate Etc. 5 February 2017

“In the summer of 2015, whistleblowers alerted the Committee that the Karl study was rushed to publication before underlying data issues were resolved to help influence public debate about the so-called Clean Power Plan and upcoming Paris climate conference. Since then, the Committee has attempted to obtain information that would shed further light on these allegations, but was obstructed at every turn by the previous administration’s officials.  I repeatedly asked, ‘What does NOAA have to hide?’ “Now that Dr. Bates has confirmed that there were heated disagreements within NOAA about the quality and transparency of the data before publication, we know why NOAA fought transparency and oversight at every turn.  Dr. Bates’ revelations and NOAA’s obstruction certainly lend credence to what I’ve expected all along – that the Karl study used flawed data, was rushed to publication in an effort to support the president’s climate change agenda, and ignored NOAA’s own standards for scientific study. –Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), U.S. Committee On Science, Space and Technology, 5 February 2017

I have championed science all my adult life. It is humankind’s greatest calling. That is why I deplore those who drag down its reputation by breaching its codes of conduct for political reasons, and I have no time for those excusing these enormities. They foment anti-intellectualism and play directly into the hands of people such as Mr Trump. Under the Obama administration,” says Professor Judith Curry, Dr Bates’s colleague, “I suspect that it would have been very difficult for this story to get any traction.” Yikes. Dr Bates calls for more ethics teaching in science and for “respectful discussion of different points of view” — which we were emptily promised after climategate. It is time for the many brilliant scientists who are discovering great insights into quasars and quarks, Alzheimer’s and allergies, into neurons, fossils, telomeres and ice ages, to “take a public stand and be counted” against the politicisation of some science within their own ranks. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 6 February 2017

The University of Cambridge has become embroiled in an internal battle after executives at the UK’s richest educational institution clashed with academics over proposals to divest from fossil fuels. Last month the university’s governing body, which is made up of senior academic and administrative staff from its 31 colleges, passed a motion to divest Cambridge’s £5.8bn endowment from fossil fuels. But in an unprecedented break from university tradition, Cambridge’s council, its executive arm that sets policy, has said it will not follow through with the governing body’s calls for divestment within the next 12 months. The council is reluctant to cut investments in fossil fuel companies without assessing how this would affect funding for its teaching and research programmes. –Attracta Mooney, Financial Times, 5 February 2017

1) World Leaders Duped Over Manipulated Global Warming Data
Mail on Sunday, 5 February 2017

David Rose

The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.

A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.

The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.

But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data.

It was never subjected to NOAA’s rigorous internal evaluation process – which Dr Bates devised.

Data Science,Climate and satellites Consultant John J Bates, who blew the whistle to the Mail on Sunday
Data Science,Climate and satellites Consultant John J Bates, who blew the whistle to the Mail on Sunday

His vehement objections to the publication of the faulty data were overridden by his NOAA superiors in what he describes as a ‘blatant attempt to intensify the impact’ of what became known as the Pausebuster paper.

His disclosures are likely to stiffen President Trump’s determination to enact his pledges to reverse his predecessor’s ‘green’ policies, and to withdraw from the Paris deal – so triggering an intense political row.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the world climate change conference
 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the world climate change conference

The PM, the Prince and 'the pause': David Cameron and Prince Charles attended the historic 2015 Paris climate change conference with 150 world leaders. Cameron committed Britain to an EU-Wide emission cut as a result. And Charles, writing in this paper last month, stated there was no pause in global warming, influenced by the flawed NOAA paper that made this claim
The PM, the Prince and ‘the pause’: David Cameron and Prince Charles attended the historic 2015 Paris climate change conference with 150 world leaders. Cameron committed Britain to an EU-Wide emission cut as a result. And Charles, writing in this paper last month, stated there was no pause in global warming, influenced by the flawed NOAA paper that made this claim.

In an exclusive interview, Dr Bates accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, who was until last year director of the NOAA section that produces climate data – the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) – of ‘insisting on decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation… in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy’.

Dr Bates was one of two Principal Scientists at NCEI, based in Asheville, North Carolina.

Official delegations from America, Britain and the EU were strongly influenced by the flawed NOAA study as they hammered out the Paris Agreement – and committed advanced nations to sweeping reductions in their use of fossil fuel and to spending £80 billion every year on new, climate-related aid projects.

The scandal has disturbing echoes of the ‘Climategate’ affair which broke shortly before the UN climate summit in 2009, when the leak of thousands of emails between climate scientists suggested they had manipulated and hidden data. Some were British experts at the influential Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

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2) John Bates: Climate Scientists Versus Climate Data
Climate Etc. 5 February 2017

A look behind the curtain at NOAA’s climate data center.

I read with great irony recently that scientists are “frantically copying U.S. Climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump” (e.g., Washington Post 13 December 2016). As a climate scientist formerly responsible for NOAA’s climate archive, the most critical issue in archival of climate data is actually scientists who are unwilling to formally archive and document their data. I spent the last decade cajoling climate scientists to archive their data and fully document the datasets. I established a climate data records program that was awarded a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 2014 for visionary work in the acquisition, production, and preservation of climate data records (CDRs), which accurately describe the Earth’s changing environment.

The most serious example of a climate scientist not archiving or documenting a critical climate dataset was the study of Tom Karl et al. 2015 (hereafter referred to as the Karl study or K15), purporting to show no ‘hiatus’ in global warming in the 2000s (Federal scientists say there never was any global warming “pause”). The study drew criticism from other climate scientists, who disagreed with K15’s conclusion about the ‘hiatus.’ (Making sense of the early-2000s warming slowdown). The paper also drew the attention of the Chairman of the House Science Committee, Representative Lamar Smith, who questioned the timing of the report, which was issued just prior to the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan submission to the Paris Climate Conference in 2015.

In the following sections, I provide the details of how Mr. Karl failed to disclose critical information to NOAA, Science Magazine, and Chairman Smith regarding the datasets used in K15. I have extensive documentation that provides independent verification of the story below. I also provide my suggestions for how we might keep such a flagrant manipulation of scientific integrity guidelines and scientific publication standards from happening in the future. Finally, I provide some links to examples of what well documented CDRs look like that readers might contrast and compare with what Mr. Karl has provided.

Background

In 2013, prior to the Karl study, the National Climatic Data Center [NCDC, now the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)] had just adopted much improved processes for formal review of Climate Data Records, a process I formulated [link]. The land temperature dataset used in the Karl study had never been processed through the station adjustment software before, which led me to believe something was amiss. When I pressed the co-authors, they said they had decided not to archive the dataset, but did not defend the decision. One of the co-authors said there were ‘some decisions [he was] not happy with’. The data used in the K15 paper were only made available through a web site, not in digital form, and lacking proper versioning and any notice that they were research and not operational data. I was dumbstruck that Tom Karl, the NCEI Director in charge of NOAA’s climate data archive, would not follow the policy of his own Agency nor the guidelines in Science magazine for dataset archival and documentation.

I questioned another co-author about why they choose to use a 90% confidence threshold for evaluating the statistical significance of surface temperature trends, instead of the standard for significance of 95% — he also expressed reluctance and did not defend the decision. A NOAA NCEI supervisor remarked how it was eye-opening to watch Karl work the co-authors, mostly subtly but sometimes not, pushing choices to emphasize warming. Gradually, in the months after K15 came out, the evidence kept mounting that Tom Karl constantly had his ‘thumb on the scale’—in the documentation, scientific choices, and release of datasets—in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy.

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3) Matt Ridley: Politics And Science Are A Toxic Combination
The Times, 6 February 2017

Alternative facts have no place in climate-change research. Greater integrity is essential if the scandals are to stop

Fake-Climate
Back in December, some American scientists began copying government climate data onto independent servers in what press reports described as an attempt to safeguard it from political interference by the Trump administration. There is to be a March for Science in April whose organisers say: “It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.”

Well, today they have a chance to do just that, but against their own colleagues who stand accused of doing what they claim the Trump team has done. Devastating new testimony from John Bates, a whistleblowing senior scientist at America’s main climate agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, alleges that scientists themselves have been indulging in alternative facts, fake news and policy-based evidence.

Dr Bates’s essay on the Climate Etc. website (and David Rose’s story in The Mail on Sunday) documents allegations of scientific misconduct as serious as that of the anti-vaccine campaign of Andrew Wakefield. Dr Bates’s boss, Tom Karl, a close ally of President Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren, published a paper in 2015, deliberately timed to influence the Paris climate jamboree. The paper was widely hailed in the media as disproving the politically inconvenient 18-year pause in global warming, whose existence had been conceded by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) two years earlier.

Dr Bates says Mr Karl based the “pausebuster” paper on a flawed land-surface data set that had not been verified or properly archived; and on a sea-surface set that corrected reliable data from buoys with unreliable data from ship intakes, which resulted in a slightly enhanced warming trend. Science magazine is considering retracting the paper. A key congressional committee says the allegations confirm some of its suspicions.

Dr Bates is no “denier”; he was awarded a gold medal by the US government in 2014 for his climate-data work. Having now retired he writes of “flagrant manipulation of scientific integrity guidelines and scientific publication standards”, of a “rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy” and concludes: “So, in every aspect of the preparation and release of the data sets leading into [the report], we find Tom Karl’s thumb on the scale pushing for, and often insisting on, decisions that maximize warming and minimize documentation.”

This is more than just a routine scientific scandal. First, it comes as scientists have been accusing President Trump and other politicians of politicising science.

econd, it potentially contaminates any claim that climate science has been producing unbiased results. Third, it embarrasses science journalists who have been chronicling the growing evidence of scientific misconduct in medicine, toxicology and psychology, but ignored the same about climate science because they approve of the cause, a habit known as noble-cause corruption.

Colleagues of Mr Karl have been quick to dismiss the story, saying that other data sets come to similar conclusions. This is to miss the point and exacerbate the problem. If the scientific establishment reacts to allegations of lack of transparency, behind-closed-door adjustments and premature release so as to influence politicians, by saying it does not matter because it gets the “right” result, they will find it harder to convince Mr Trump that he is wrong on things such as vaccines.

Besides, this is just the latest scandal to rock climate science. The biggest was Climategate in 2009, which showed scientists conspiring to ostracise sceptics, delete emails, game peer review and manipulate the presentation of data, including the truncation of a tree-ring-derived graph to disguise the fact that it seemed to show recent cooling (“hide the decline”). The scientists concerned were criticised by two rather perfunctory inquiries, but have since taken to saying they were “exonerated”.

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4) David Whitehouse: Don’t Be Distracted By Nit-Pickers: This Is Serious
GWPF Observatory, 6 February 2017

David Rose’s excellent investigative journalism in the Mail on Sunday has turned up a remarkable story of poor scientific practice, lack of openness and bias regarding the Karl et al (2015) paper in Science. This is the paper that was quickly dubbed the “pausebuster” as it was said to have removed any evidence of a “pause” or “hiatus” in the rate of increase of surface warming over the past 20 years or so contradicting the IPCC’s own assessment of two years earlier.

There was very little public criticism when the Karl paper came out although we now know, thanks to David Rose’s piece, that that was far from the case within the scientific community.

At the time of Karl paper critics pointed out that whatever the details of his new analysis was, it was clear that the authors had underestimated errors, and given that the claim of having eliminated the “pause” was premature.

The Mail on Sunday piece is the most important piece of climate science journalism in a decade, opening a door on the hitherto closed world of internal NOAA discussions, revealing how scientific data can be massaged and timed, towards a predetermined end. It is rightly being taken very seriously by many people and will likely lead to further U.S. investigations.

However, such is the nature of the climate debate that some are only concerned with the omission of a few words in an image caption. It’s a clear case of deflection from the substantive part of the article. The problem is the caption to the graph which shows NOAA surface temperature data and HadCRUT4 temperature data post-1997. It should have said that NOAA was drawn relative to the average of its data between 1901 and 2000. HadCRUT4, however, takes its average or starting point from data between 1961 – 90. Whilst the data in the graph is accurate the caption was incomplete, until it was updated.

It was seized upon by a few who made jokes about it for a while probably without stopping to think it was a caption error. But in the main it was done by those who prefer Twitter put-downs rather than anything more serious and lack the grace to look beyond a simple caption error to the bigger picture. Twitter is a wonderful way to disseminate information, but in some climate cases, in some hands, it is the shallow end of the pool for those who don’t want much more than gags.

To clarify matters let me show the data from NOAA and HadCRUT4 using the same baseline period.


Fig 1 shows monthly data post-1997 (HadCRUT4 is black, NOAA red) and Fig 2 shows the annual data (HadCRUT4 is blue, NOAA is red and NASA GIS green). You can see that in the past decade NOAA has changed from being mostly cooler than HadCRUT4 to being mostly warmer. The month-by-month accumulation of this shows up well in a graph of annual data.

These graphs show that the introduction of the approach by Karl et al (2015) into NOAA’s global temperature analysis has resulted in a larger rate of warming using what Dr Bates suggests in the Mail on Sunday is a dubious and protocol.
The changes made by Karl were influential but small and temporary and are turning out to be irrelevant anyway because of what the data is actually doing.

Should anyone still think that the higher trends that include the years 2015 and 2016 are due to long-term global warming take a look at HadCRUT4, Fig 3, where you can see the deviation caused by the recent strong El Nino. Is there “no detectable sign of a “hiatus” or “pause” through to the present?” One can see the decline to 2014 temperatures and the return of the “pause.”

This latest development is one of scientific conduct and integrity. The global temperature datasets are among the most important datasets in the world. Billions of pounds rest on them. Politics and policies, jobs and industries, and the prosperity of billions are derived from them. What the Mail on Sunday’s story, and its ongoing aftermath shows, is that what some scientists consider to be adequate stewardship of this data is not the case.

It is not good enough to say that one believes the researchers would probably have released their computer code if they were asked for it, or to say the data was archived because it was available on an ftp site, or that procedures put in place were bypassed because they were inconvenient. In the Mail on Sunday article it is reported that some of the younger scientists at NOAA didn’t even know that data had to be archived.

Software runs our lives. The software that runs financial institutions is not perfect, but it is tested to industrial standards and protocols. So is the software used by health services and by engineers. I suspect that more people are involved in the production, testing and documentation of the software for a supercar than in some of the departments than produce these climate critical databases.

Not long ago a professor of climate science at a British university involved in compiling such a climate database said he wouldn’t know how to insert data into an Excel spreadsheet. Climategate revealed just how ad hoc, modified and ancient are some of the programs being used.

Feedback: david.whitehouse@thegwpf.com

5) Former NOAA Scientist Confirms Colleagues Manipulated Climate Records
U.S. Committee On Science, Space and Technology, 5 February 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology members today responded to reports about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 2015 climate change study (“the Karl study”).

According to Dr. John Bates, the recently retired principal scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the Karl study was used “to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy.”

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “I thank Dr. John Bates for courageously stepping forward to tell the truth about NOAA’s senior officials playing fast and loose with the data in order to meet a politically predetermined conclusion.  In the summer of 2015, whistleblowers alerted the Committee that the Karl study was rushed to publication before underlying data issues were resolved to help influence public debate about the so-called Clean Power Plan and upcoming Paris climate conference.  Since then, the Committee has attempted to obtain information that would shed further light on these allegations, but was obstructed at every turn by the previous administration’s officials.  I repeatedly asked, ‘What does NOAA have to hide?’

“Now that Dr. Bates has confirmed that there were heated disagreements within NOAA about the quality and transparency of the data before publication, we know why NOAA fought transparency and oversight at every turn.  Dr. Bates’ revelations and NOAA’s obstruction certainly lend credence to what I’ve expected all along – that the Karl study used flawed data, was rushed to publication in an effort to support the president’s climate change agenda, and ignored NOAA’s own standards for scientific study.  The Committee thanks Dr. Bates, a Department of Commerce Gold Medal winner for creating and implementing a standard to produce and preserve climate data, for exposing the previous administration’s efforts to push their costly climate agenda at the expense of scientific integrity.”

Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Darin LaHood (R-Ill.): “I applaud Dr. Bates’s efforts in uncovering the truth of this data manipulation, and I commend Chairman Smith and the Science Committee for conducting rigorous oversight on behalf of the American people.  Transparent and faithful execution of the scientific process, especially where taxpayer dollars are involved, is crucial to ensure that our policies are based on sound science and not on politically predetermined outcomes.”

Environment Subcommittee Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.): “I commend Dr. Bates for bringing to light the corrupt practices used by his former colleagues and hope this serves as a deterrence to anyone thinking of manipulating science to serve their own political agenda.  I applaud Chairman Smith and the Science Committee’s efforts to provide the necessary oversight to ensure the American people have the best information possible.”

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6) Cambridge University Clashes With Own Academics Over Climate Change
Financial Times, 5 February 2017

Attracta Mooney

University executive refuses to implement governing body’s carbon divestment motion

The University of Cambridge has become embroiled in an internal battle after executives at the UK’s richest educational institution clashed with academics over proposals to divest from fossil fuels.

Last month the university’s governing body, which is made up of senior academic and administrative staff from its 31 colleges, passed a motion to divest Cambridge’s £5.8bn endowment from fossil fuels.

The decision came amid investor concern that fossil fuel companies will suffer large losses as governments around the world seek to tackle global warming.

But in an unprecedented break from university tradition, Cambridge’s council, its executive arm that sets policy, has said it will not follow through with the governing body’s calls for divestment within the next 12 months.

The council is reluctant to cut investments in fossil fuel companies without assessing how this would affect funding for its teaching and research programmes.

Full story

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