Minor Victory or Convenient Spin?

Wed, 2007-08-15 10:34Emily Murgatroyd
Emily Murgatroyd's picture

Minor Victory or Convenient Spin?

It's not surprising that a quickly acknowledged and corrected discrepancy in temperature recording by NASA was pounced on by the denier camp to further the proof that global warming is a hoax! Unsurprisingly, the reports have been biased and have omitted certain key facts, not the least of which is that the GLOBAL temperature record (it is after all, global warming) remains largely unaffected by the corrected data.

New Republic has published an excellent review of the facts using - wait for it - scientific data!

Previous Comments

The error discovered does not mean AGW is a hoax, but it was a significant error nonetheless. For the years 2000 to 2007, the warming trend in the US has been reduced by .15 degrees. That is a very large adjustment for such a short period of time.

Well yes and no, any error is bad, from my masters work I can attest to errors being the bane of ones existance, which is why I always tripple checked my data analysis. Any error that gets that far is troublesome, and I am sure a number of people are triple checking a bunch of other numbers now. In all reality, the US record still shows a warming trend and there is no question that some areas are changing (warming) faster than others. The global land temp record is insignificantly changed by the US data fix as the US occupies such a small surface area. The whole hoax nonsense gets tiresome…..

“Well yes and no, any error is bad, from my masters work I can attest to errors being the bane of ones existance, which is why I always tripple [sic] checked my data analysis.”

So how’s that “tripple” checking working out for you then?

People like you make it way too easy for us “deniers”.

Opps, typo on that one. Course I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t at least double check their analysis. How many times you go over your data? And despite typos my thesis defense went rather well thanks.

Yes I’m sure you, like Hansen, will continue to “tripple check” your analysis.

The trouble only seems to start when someone else checks it.

Rob deliberately posted a mis-statement by stating on DeSmogBlog that 1934 was the hottest year for the globe, when he knew already that that was a mistake; it was the hottest year for the US only, a mere 2% of the earth’s surface. So Rob, you have no business criticizing anyone else’s fact checking when you are too lazy and dishonest to check your own statements.

… when you consider that full implementation of Kyoto would, its supporters say, avert a global temperature increase of less than one-tenth of a degree C by 2050.

Isn’t that absurd? Greenies and Desmoggers want us to curb our freedoms, grow the nanny state, and pay through the nose for energy to achieve a result that scientists say would not be measureable because it could not be detected against the background of normal temperature fluctuations. At least NASA’s adjustment is measureable.

From memory, the UK and Germany will meet their Kyoto obligations, without forcing people to pay through the nose, or curb freedoms, though Nazism still lands you in jail in Germany so political freedom has always been somewhat curbed there since ww2. Anyways point being, Kyoto was a first step and countries are moving to take the next. Things such as (taken from wikipedia)

February 16, 2007, Presidents or Prime Ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa agreed in principle to a global cap-and-trade system.

and on and on…..While its disappointing to see some countries fail to meet their Kyoto objective the doom and gloom destruction of freedoms, economic ruin etc, just doesn’t hold true, Germany and the UK show no signs of apparent collapse from economic disasters or riots of people wanting their freedoms back. I am quite curious to see what G8 and UN negotiations bring out for the treaty that replaces Kyoto when it expires.

So now we want to curb freedoms and grow nanny states?? You’ve been watching too much John Stossel!

Yes, we have secretly aligned ourself with that underground neoliberal covenant called the “scientific community.”   

On a serious note, last time I checked it is not NASA’s job to measure temperature anyways – that’s the mandate of NOAA in the US.   

There is a hoax, Paul S and it is Kyoto. The Greenies and their Goracle tell us the world is facing a great calamity due to man-made global warming. Yet they promote a plan (Kyoto) that even its most ardent supporters admit will only avert a temperature rise of less than one-tenth of a degree by 2050. This result would not even be measureable, scientists tell us.

If AGW has us on the doorstep of disaster, shouldn’t the Greenies be calling for a remedy much stricter than Kyoto – something that might actually have an impact?

The reason they don’t is they know a call for even more draconian hits on our lifestyle would spark serious public examination of the whole global warming issue and the pseudo-science of fudged climate modelling that props it up. The last thing they want is any debate on their supposedly settled science. So they perpetuate the hoax of Kyoto.

Besides, Kyoto could deliver what they radical left elements in the Green movement are really after, which is controlling influence over our economy by browbeating governments into imposing strict controls on energy supply and usage. This desire for control over Western economies, and thus over the lives of people, has long motivated the left and they have latched onto the enviromental movement and its warmist cult as their best chance to attain this goal.

I doubt they will be successful because people have too much sense to let governments roll back industrialization. But it helps to understand what the radical leftists who have infiltrated the Green movement are really up to.

Typical ideological idiocy, John.

“It’s not surprising that a quickly acknowledged and corrected discrepancy in temperature recording by NASA was pounced on by the denier camp to further the proof that global warming is a hoax!”

Which “denier camp” is this to which you are referring? You don’t bother to mention. Anything I’ve read about this has been very careful to point out the context of the data correction. But then, maybe this is simply your own … now what did you call it? Oh, yes, spin.

Unsurprisingly, the reports have been biased and have omitted certain key facts, not the least of which is that the GLOBAL temperature record (it is after all, global warming) remains largely unaffected by the corrected data.”

Again, since you never mention your source for these “reports”, we just have to take your word for it, right? Wrong. Even the chief discoverer of the false data strongly emphasised what it actually meant.

It would appear that if anyone is omitting certain key facts here – it is you.

“New Republic has published an excellent review of the facts using - wait for it - scientific data!”

You complain that key facts have been omitted, and you complain of “bias”. So what do you do? You cite as your “scientific” reference a left-wing political magazine.

That is laughable. Are you for real?

Oh, not just any left-wing political magazine, but one which is still wiping the egg off it’s face from just the other week having been exposed for publishing completely fabricated stories about Iraq, by Scott “mindthoughts” Beauchamp. Which is nothing new for New Republic. Remember Stephen Glass?

You really do miss the entire point of this, which I presume is intentional. What is significant about this finding is that it sheds light on just how shakey your “settled science” really is. The United States has the one of the most comprehensive historical climate data records in existance. The data was significantly in error. That in and of itself is deeply significant.

Does this one discovery of false data completely knock the legs out from under the AGW cult? No, of course not. But then, the audit has only just begun.

Since you never bother to tell us where you saw these imaginary “reports” containing omissions of “certain key facts”, we can only conclude you are the one who is guilty of spin here. Surprise!





I get the distinct impression that you did some hasty googling only after I posted my comment.

But how does any of this support your contention? All you’ve posted are some random URLs which happen to make reference to McIntyre’s findings. What “key facts” have been omitted? At least two of your URLs are opinion columns. So what?

If anything, you’ve just undermined yourself even further. To quote from your last link:

“The effect of the correction on global temperatures is minor (some 1-2% less warming than originally thought), but the effect on the U.S. global warming propaganda machine could be huge.”

Which, essentially, is the entire point, and not what you are trying to misrepresent it as being.

Out of curiousity, just how much are they paying you for this kind of bungling attempt at propaganda? Whatever it is, it’s too much.

So far you have called me a litany of names as well as making a point of insulting me several times. I have also noted that this seems to be your main mechanism for delivering your point and that I am not the only person at the receiving end of your name calling.

I fail to see how this strenghtens your argument-  if anything, it undermines what could possibly be an interesting discussion. When you resort to making snide comments about personality it only highlights your lack of a constructive counterpoint - in other words, you are reaching and it shows. If you want to challenge my scientific background - OK, or the fact that I have a degree in sociology - I’ll take that and sure - you can call me a global warming propagandaist - I can handle it - but calling me a joke and suggesting that I get paid too much does nothing to engage the topic -  it’s just a weak way to get your point across.

Yes - I googled those articles and that was exactly my point. I didn’t have to dig too deep to find stories to support my post. I also wanted to illustrate the range of opinion - from suggesting that there is a huge issue at hand to trying to create one in spite of acknowledgement that there isn’t one,

My eyes have pretty much glazed over listening to the vitriol spewing from our friend Rob and others that seem unable to form a solid argument.

A new low was reference to anyone concerned about global warming as a “jihadist”. Nice, real nice. Excellent way to further rational discussion. I comment on the at www.globalwarmingisreal.com.

Keep up the good fight Emily!

comes easy in this debate. Consider e.g. the “denier” slur, designed to associate any AGW skeptic with holocaust deniers.

No, they are called deniers because they deny that AGW is happening by refusing to admit the mountain of evidence for it. Denial => denier.

If AGW deniers then complain that they are being compared to Holocaust deniers, the impartial observer will naturally be led to reflect on how much resemblance there is between one group of people who deny historical facts for ideological reasons and another group of people who deny scientific facts for ideological reasons.

J I K, has your mother finally given you back the keys to her computer? You must have done something really naughty to be denied its use for so long.

If you actually examine how the AGW deniers became associated with holocaust deniers you will find that it was the deniers themselves who were first to make the connection.

In response to your later comment that science is rarely discussed on this blog, I think that really reinforces my opinion of you that you really don’t know what science is. It is discussed frequently by knowledgeable people on this site but the discussion usually falters when the deniers cannot respond in a scientifically meaningful way and either retreat into oblivion for a while or respond with ad homs and meaningless gobbledygook.

Ian Forrester

Ian? Why do you keep publishing here without stating or proving your real name?

Oh, was that your line of argument? Sorry.

Regarding scientific understanding, I am pretty sure (not 100%, of course, but close) that I understand science better than you do.

Btw, read your own entries and look for ad hominems and “gobbledygook”. You might find something.

J I K said: “Regarding scientific understanding, I am pretty sure (not 100%, of course, but close) that I understand science better than you do”.

Well prove it. Tell us why AGW is wrong and all the climate scientists have got it wrong. Should be really easy for someone as “knowledgeable” as you to put us all right with just a few deft statements of “fact” as proven by the AGW deniers. I bet you can’t even put one sentence together to disprove the concept and theory of AGW. None of your kind has ever done any repeatable research to disprove the basic scientific facts.

All you do is wave your hands in the air and say that it is all wrong. Give us some proof.

Ian Forrester

The “association” between AGW “deniers” and Holocaust “deniers” was purely a “denier” concoction in order to attempt to silence the “deniers’ ” opponents. It was in no way linked by those who argue AGW is happening and that we must do whatever we can to mitigate its effects.

It was just one more of the repugnant tactics used by the “denier” community to try to win the PR campaign, since they have failed miserably to win the scientific portion of the “debate”.

The facts of this matter are presented in the RealClimate.org discussion here:


Also, regarding this statement:

“The effect of the correction on global temperatures is minor (some 1-2% less warming than originally thought), but the effect on the U.S. global warming propaganda machine could be huge.”

They are really talking about the “denier machine” which is running full spin cycle on this matter. An insignificant correction of the data yielded a wholescale firestorm of activity on the “skeptic” (and conservative) blogs and has led them to say that AGW is not happening. (See Lorne Gunter’s crap in the National Post from Saturday for proof.)

Rob, you’ve yet to actually discuss the science of climate change. Instead, you’re spouting off ideological nonsense and using ad hominem attacks as your modus operandi. Rob, why don’t you shut up if you have nothing constructive to add to the discussion?

Oh dear, Stephen, do you really consider RealClimate as an objective source of facts?

Apropos ad hominem, when will you stop using the “denier” slur?

We should be lucky (also the AGW proponents) that there at least are some scientists and other interested parties who actually try to practice the scientific method, i.e. actually try to test and disprove hypotheses. And the “denier machine” simply tries to make these findings available & known to he public.

Even if you are a true AGW believer, you should appreciate the work of e.g Steve M, who has done more that most to expose data weaknesses and inconsistencies, which, whatever you think about AGW, must be a good thing.

And, Stephen, science is very rarely discussed on this site, which is a propaganda site (nothing wrong with that btw). So don’t pretend to be something you are not.

Ummm. RealClimate is run by actual climate scientists, unlike ClimateAudit (a.k.a. ClimateFraudit), which is run by a former mining executive. I’d trust a group of climate scientists over a former mining executive about climatology any day. It’s the rational thing to do.

The “denial machine” is not about science. It is about tarring the reputations of thousands of honest climatologists and putting forward an agenda favourable to the fossil fuel industry.

Steve M has done little “to expose data weaknesses and inconsistencies” compared to the peer-review process.

Johan, I never pretended to be a climate expert. However, I’d bet that I have much more education (academic and personal investigation) in this field than you do. I also tend to discuss the science far more than you do. You tend to rely on ad hominems and “science” which has failed the peer-review test miserably.

DeSmogBlog is not a purely scientific blog. I agree. However, they do identify the flawed nature of the science the “skeptics” put forward and call “sound science”, as well as identify irrational behaviour (very common in the “denier” community) when it comes to the “skeptics” trying to refute AGW.

of this argument that the so called “deniers” (aka known as heretics, kind of like Galileo and Bruno) are not real scientists. Please. Why can’t you accept that there are indeed a scientific dispute going on, that there are some very good scientists (Lindzen, Moberg, Landsea, Mörner, Christy, Svensmark, Schwartz, Spencer, and many more) that do not subscribe to the official IPCC doctrine? Is that a problem? Are the all paid off by “big oil”?
If one is interested in science, one should value dissent and critique. Instead, Gore, Hansen et al (including the cheer leaders at desmogblog) feel offended and demand that the heretics repent. Sad, truly sad.

Actually, I’d be satisfied to see the heretics publish papers in professional, peer-reviewed journals instead of junk puff-pieces in popular tabloids.

Even an accomplished scientist like Dr. Lindzen has sunk to a level where he’s writing junk that a high-school student could pick apart (i.e. conflating relative and specific humidity, as he did in a recent puff-piece he published in the WSJ, available on-line at: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220).

I know that he likes to play the contrarian, but he has become a sad caricature of his former self. It’s rather embarrassing, actually….


Caerbannog, check this out for a laugh! http://n3xus6.blogspot.com/2007/08/bottom-of-barrel.html

Landsea: a hurricane expert (and meteorologist), not a climatologist. (There is a difference.)

Lindzen, Mörner, Christy, Spencer: supported by “Big Oil”. See here: http://www.exxonsecrets.org/

The IPCC’s conclusions are not “doctrine”. If you would get your head out of the sand or clear the ideological smog from your eyes, you would see that they survey all peer-reviewed studies on climate change and summarize the results. It is the largest peer-review examination in the history of science.

I don’t demand these “heretics” repent. I ask that they stop lying to the general public and stop confusing them into thinking that AGW is not happening or that if we do what is necessary to mitigate its effects, that the economy will go in the tank.

Also, you haven’t stated either your real name nor your “qualifications” as it relates to climate science. (Or will you ever, as it may lead the rest of us to laugh?)

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In additon to the data error that NASA corrected, there are also reports surfacing of significant problems with the location of temperature monitoring stations in the US. Amateur sleuths are reportedly taking photos of these monitors next to air-conditioning outlets, beside large, paved parking lots and exposed to jet exhaust, to name a few of the locations where they can be exposed to artificially high temperatures. And then there are the long-standing monitoring stations located at airports that were once in the countryside but have since been engulfed by urban sprawl.

Contrary to the belief of some Desmogger progagandists, the heat island effect is real. Anyone who doubts that should go out some evening after sunset and put their hand on masonry wall that has been exposed to the sun all afternoon. It is still warm and radiating heat. This is significant in light of the fact that a lot of the recorded warming is for night-time temperatures. Builders understand this idea. They deliberately orient and design houses and other buildings so they can take advantage of passive solar gain to lower heating costs.

If the US has the most sophisticated temperature collection system in the workd and applies the most rigorous analysis to its data, what does this say about the rest of the world? Can we seriously imagine things are better elsewhere?

As for global mean temperature, there is no such thing and no one really knows how to create one. As one scientist has stated: compiling a global mean temperature is about as meaningful as compiling a global mean telephone number.

One little problem with your post. NASA uses only *rural* stations to determine long-term temperature trends. Urban trends are adjusted so that they match the average trends of surrounding *rural* stations. See http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2001/2001_Hansen_etal.pdf for details.

Here is an excerpt:

In the prior GISS analysis the time series for temperature change at an urban station
was adjusted such that the temperature trends prior to 1950 and after 1950 were the same as the mean trends for all
“rural” stations (population less than 10,000) located within 1000 km (with the rural stations weighted inversely
with distance). In other words it was a two-legged adjustment with the two legs hinged at 1950 and with the slopes
of the two lines chosen to minimize the mean square difference between the adjusted urban record and the mean of
its rural neighbors.
The urban adjustment in the current GISS analysis is a similar two-legged adjustment, but the date of the
hinge point is no longer fixed at 1950, the maximum distance used for rural neighbors is 500 km provided that
sufficient stations are available, and “small-town” (population 10,000 to 50,000) stations are also adjusted. The
hinge date is now also chosen to minimize the difference between the adjusted urban record and the mean of its
neighbors. In the United States (and nearby Canada and Mexico regions) the rural stations are now those that are
“unlit” in satellite data, but in the rest of the world, rural stations are still defined to be places with a population less
than 10,000. The added flexibility in the hinge point allows more realistic local adjustments, as the initiation of
significant urban growth occurred at different times in different parts of the world.

Your claims about UHI impacting long-term warming estimates are completely without merit.

Does NASA adjust enough for urban heat effects on temp readings? I came across an on-line discussion a couple of years ago on this topic with some scientists maintaining they do and others saying they don’t.

NASA and Hansen (the “father” of AGW) are predisposed to prove the case for AGW so you have to wonder about them. We saw evidence of this predispositon in how they handled the data errors McIntyre forced them to correct. They made the changes but they kept quiet about it. Something that important should have generated a press release but it would have (a) proven embarrassing and (b) weakened their contention that something unusual is happening with temperature readings.

The U.S. Historical Climatology Network has some interesting data that shows the impact of urban heat islands and why making proper adjustments to take them into account is important. Their data show that between 1822 and 2000, New York City’s average temeprature rose by 5 degrees F. Between 1826 and 2000, average temperatures for West Point (in the country but near NYC) stayed the same at 51 degrees F. They have similar data for other centres showing towns and small cities experienced constant average temps or even slight declines in the long-term while nearby large cities recorded increases.

Given that the greatest warming has been observed in the high latitudes (Greenland, Northern Siberia and Canada, Alaska, etc.), and given that the surface temperature data and satellite-derived mid-troposphere temperature data match quite well, we can safely rule out urban heat island effects as a cause of observed global warming.

Spencer and Christie, the scientists who originally claimed that satellite observations showed the mid-troposphere not to be warming, recently found an error in their math. When the error was fixed, their satellite-based measurements showed significant warming (and fell in line with climate-model predictions).

The magnitude of Spencer and Christie’s error was far greater than that of NASA’s recent error. The NASA correction barely impacted global-averages and rather modestly changed the USA averages. Spencer/Christie’s correction changed their results from cooling or no-warming to significant warming.

But for some reason, Spencer/Christie didn’t get flogged nearly as much for their big error as NASA did for its small one!

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==Posteb by caerbannog:==

==”NASA uses only *rural* stations to determine long-term temperature trends.”==

Many of the sites NASA designates as rural do not appear to be any such thing. A significant number of these rural sites also appear to be in violation of World Meteorological Org. standards; possibly contaminating data.

A comparison of the avg surface temperature record with satellite data (UAH and RSS MSU) shows very good agreement between them. So the alleged surface data contamination doesn’t seem to be having much of an impact.

See http://tinyurl.com/3dmkdf for a comparison of the surface-temperature record with the UAH satellite data.

If UHI contamination were as serious as you suggest, we’d see its impacts when we cross-check the surface data with satellite measurements. But we don’t.

But if you wish, we can ignore the surface station data and just go with the satellite measurements. And guess what? The warming is still there.

If one adjusts a temparature series to fit another, why not just through it out? It no longer provides any valid information.

You obviously do not understand science, do you?

understand science, probably more that most.
If one suspect one’s data are contaminated (e.g. through the UHI effect), the natural approach is to throw out those data.
Another approach is to “adjust” them to fit some other data, without knowing if this adjustment makes physical sense or not, without any scientific rationale, except that they must end up showing the same result. That latter approach is not science.

John, get your head out of the sand! There have been a few studies which have refuted the UHIs effect on the temperature record.


See Peterson (2003), Parker (2004 and 2006), and Fourth Assessment Report from the IPCC (2007: p.244) which can be found here:


You also said this “Contrary to the belief of some Desmogger progagandists, the heat island effect is real.”, which is a complete and utter lie. The urban heat island effect IS real, but HAS NO SIGNIFICANT EFFECT ON THE TEMPERATURE RECORD!!! Your ears are plugged and your eyes are ideologically-blinded. You do not seem to want to comprehend the science. Instead, you listen to industry-funded PR and pseudo-science which cannot pass the peer-review test.

I think it might be time to update yourself on the science of surface sites Stephen.

The credibility of those studies you list refuting the UHI effect is starting to be questioned by other climatologists. As with the NASA error, it is time experts reviewed and double-checked these UHI papers.

Ah, unnamed “other climatologists.” Anybody aside from the usual small handful who can be counted to speak out on the denialist/contrarian side of any global warming controversy?

Absolute BS. The Peterson paper is highly regarded and the Parker studies were vetted by the most thorough peer-review process in climate science. “Journal of Climate” is one of the most prestigious in the discipline.

Can you name me some real climatologists who question Peterson and Parker’s studies? Or are you repeating the typical “denier” argument style, making unsubstantiated claims.

The Peterson paper may not be the authoritative paper many claimed it to be.

Here is one article; there are more:

Documentation of Uncertainties and Biases Associated with Surface Temperature Measurement Sites for Climate Change Assessment http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-toc&issn=1520-0477&volume=88&issue=6

By the looks of the abstract, it has nothing much to do with the rural vs. urban station “discrepancy”. It only seems to have to do with the lack of standardization in some stations and not whether the measurements at urban sites are significantly altered by the urban heat island. In other words, it looks like Pielke et al. do not refute nor try to refute the study by Peterson.

When it comes to WMO-sanctioned stations, there is the utmost in standardization. These stations are the most frequently cited in the temperature record.

Stephen said:
“When it comes to WMO-sanctioned stations, there is the utmost in standardization.”

Actually, the word is starting to get out that that is not necessarily true. Sure, the WMO has standards, as does the NOAA and NWS. What is apparent in the USA though, it that a significant number of surface sites are in violation of these standards and have been for many years.



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