A scientist-whistleblower has accused the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration of diddling with temperature data, adjusting it so that it better accorded with political desires.
The Daily Mail is reporting that Dr John Bates, a now-retired climate data expert, late of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), a branch of NOAA, claimed the agency “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.”
Bates said that Thomas Karl, who was until recently the director of NCEI, was “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” (ellipsis original).
The data, Bates claimed, was never “subjected to NOAA’s rigorous internal evaluation process”. When Bates complained, “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.”
Karl and eight others authored the “Pausebuster” paper “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus” which reported “an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than those reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, especially in recent decades” and which claimed “These results do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.” …
How dramatic are the adjustments? As the Daily Mail reports, “the Pausebuster paper said while the rate of global warming from 1950 to 1999 was 0.113C per decade, the rate from 2000 to 2014 was actually higher, at 0.116C per decade.”
This is three-thousandths of a degree higher….
Karl “admitted” to the Daily Mail that “the data had not been archived when the paper was published”, making replication by colleagues impossible or difficult. Karl also said “the final, approved and ‘operational’ edition of the [data] would be ‘different’ from that used in the paper’.”…
Even assuming all is aboveboard, what most don’t realize is that surface temperature measurements are not static; they change year to year. These changes induce uncertainty, which has so far been badly underestimated. This is why claims of thousandths of a degree change are, at best, dubious, and are more likely subject to large uncertainties.
Hurry and click before the earth melts!
Addendum: Is this an unlikely scenario? You are sure there must be warming in the record, because every other scientist you know says there should be, and every model should be. So that when you come across data that indicates warming didn’t take place, you naturally suspect there is something wrong with that data. You thus give preference to data to better conforms to what you know is true. Now every empirical scientist does this, and more often than you’d think this is a good move, because the suspicious data was right to be suspected. But sometimes the suspicions are wrong. How can you tell the difference?