Our Bogus Historical Temperature Records

The climate change canard is like the old joke about the Soviet Union where “the future is known; it’s the past that keeps changing.”

The basis for claims of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming rest on the information derived from our historic temperature records — serially adjusted and then fed into computer programs.  Those numbers are simply not trustworthy.  The latest to weigh in on this travesty is Scott Adams, who finds no indicia of reliability in those numbers.  It is well worth a listen.  He starts on the topic at the 11:00 minute mark and speaks for about nine minutes on it:


This is not exactly a secret.  It is ignored by the evil progressive left, who see the climate change canard as their golden ticked to power and wealth, and those on the right ignore this at their peril.  Then there is this, from Ken Haapla writing today at WUWT:

The greenhouse gas effect occurs in the bulk atmosphere. Greenhouse gases cannot cause surface warming if the atmosphere is not warming, and the rate of surface warming caused by greenhouse gases cannot be greater than the rate of atmospheric warming. Physicist Will Happer has estimated that if greenhouse gases are causing surface warming, the rate of atmospheric warming must by 20% greater than the rate of surface warming.

Much of what is called greenhouse gas theory, or carbon dioxide-caused (CO2) warming, was devised in the 1970s when numerical modeling became popular with the advent of improved computers. The concepts advanced in reports, such in the 1979 Charney report, projected that the small amount of warming caused by increasing CO2, as observed in laboratory experiments, would be greatly enhanced, amplified, by an increase in water vapor, the dominant greenhouse gas. This was speculation, because there were no comprehensive measurements of atmospheric temperature trends at the time.

In 1990, Roy Spencer and John Christy published a method of using data collected by satellites to estimate temperature trends for the entire atmosphere except for the extreme polar regions. The data begin in December 1978 and are verified by independent measurements using instruments on weather balloons and, subsequently, weather reanalysis data. When revealed, small errors in the initial calculations were promptly corrected. We now have 40 years of comprehensive global atmospheric temperature trends of the atmosphere, the most rigorous global temperature data existing.

Roy Spencer, John Christy, and the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at the University of Alabama in Huntsville have reported their findings of atmospheric temperature trends since 1979. For the last 20 years, there has been no statistically significant warming of the atmosphere. For the last 40 years, atmospheric warming has been modest and not dangerous (0.13ºC/decade, 0.23ºF/decade). For the last 60 years, atmospheric temperature trends over the tropics taken by weather balloons (which 1970s climate thinking expected to warm greatly) has warmed one-half as much as climate models project. The disparity between models and observations is increasing.

It is past time for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and other government entities to abandon the 1970s concepts, built into their models. Their thinking is no more scientifically current than the 1970s thinking that the US is about to run out of oil and natural gas.

No doubt the UN perceives that by creating a fear of CO2-caused dangerous warming, it will be receiving $100 Billion in new money it can control, thus it will not be responsive to changing scientific knowledge. However, the USGCRP and US government entities are accountable to Congress and the American public. The USGCRP web site states:

“The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a Federal program mandated by Congress to coordinate Federal research and investments in understanding the forces shaping the global environment, both human and natural, and their impacts on society.”

The refusal by this program to discuss natural causes of climate change, to inflate human causes, and to exaggerate global warming is inexcusable. John Christy has testified before Congress that the models are failing, yet the USGCRP continues to use them. The failure to adjust models to ongoing advances in knowledge, facts, is a manifestation of bureaucratic science at its worst, becoming incompetent by mental stagnation. Specific issues will be more fully discussed in future TWTWs. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and https://www.globalchange.gov/about

Nothing has changed since  I wrote several years ago:

[A]djusting our historic temperature records – is something that our government record keepers at NASA and NOAA have done multiple times over the past two decades. Those changes to the temperature record, never published for comment or publicly justified, have been coming . . . fast and furious over the last three years because raw temperature data has shown no warming since 1997: “By the count of researcher Marcia Wyatt In a widely circulated presentation, the U.S. government’s published temperature data for the years 1880 to 2010 has been tinkered with 16 times in the past three years.”

And here is the mystery about those changes: Every major adjustment of our temperature records during the past two decades has been to adjust pre-1950 temperatures downwards and post 1950 upwards, thus creating an ever greater illusion of warming. As science writer Richard Booker wrote in the Telegraph a few months ago, “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.”

One simple example illustrates how the scandal operates. Back in 2008, if you were to have looked at both NASA’s and NOAA’s historic temperature records for January, 1915, and January, 2000, you would have found the difference between the two to be .39 Celsius of warming. Fast forward to 2015, and if you look at both NASA’s and NOAA’s historic temperature records for the same two months, you would find the difference between the two to be .52 Celsius of warming. Certainly something is heating up in our historical temperature records. It appears to be the pixels.