NOAA vs. NASA hottest year in the US still officially 1998

Tue, 2007-08-28 14:01Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

NOAA vs. NASA hottest year in the US still officially 1998

No offense to NASA, but as far as maintaining the official US surface temperature records, it's the job of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

And according to the official NOAA record, the 10 hottest years begin with 1998, followed by 2006.

But according to recent histrionics from the climate change denial industry, 1998 is no longer the hottest year in the US. However, this correction was made by the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) who is not officially charged with maintaining US temperature data.

There is an important distinction to be made between NOAA and NASA when it comes to temperature data. In a recent conversation with a top climate scientist I was told that the majority of climate scientists rely on NOAA's data, not NASA's.

This of course will not faze the climate denial industry. They'll continue to think that a minor correction in regional data (data not used by most climate scientists), somehow brings into question the overwhelming scientific evidence for human-induced climate change.

NOAA or NASA? It's splitting hairs over what is clearly a minor adjustment being blown way out of proportion by some with a vested interest in delaying action on carbon emissions.

Even the Junk Man Steve Milloy states that “I [he] am [is] prepared to acknowledge that Mr. McIntyre's discovery amounts to what a New York Times reporter calls a 'statistically meaningless' rearrangement of data.”

But some, like Brett Bozell's oil-industry-backed echo chamber, are more than happy to continue beating the denier drum on this one.

Previous Comments

“No offense to NASA, but as far as maintaining the official US surface temperature records, it’s the job of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

Are you saying that since Jim Hansen works for NASA, we should ignore all he says about temperature also?

And strange leaps of logic are abound with you Paul S. 

Kevin, the “leap of logic” is the warmers who are trying to distance themselves from the NASA data. The NASA data error was a simple oversight but with large significance to the US historical record.

However, the real questions are about the integrity of the USHCN network. Both the NOAA and NASA largely rely on this network for their data and it is the network itself which may have serious problems with it, affecting both the NOAA’s and NASA’s data. The NOAA’s records will likely be scrutinized next.

Scientific knowledge is always being refined Paul and NOAA’s data should be scrutinized. Why would anyone need to distance themselves from the minor NASA correction?

It was minor and regional. This correction in no way effects the startling upward trend in global temperatures. 

First off, the correction was not minor. It lowered warming in the USA over the last 100 years by about 20%.

The second issue is the quality of surface sites in vast regions of the world like China and Africa which are possibly suspect.

I agree that with you that climate data should be scrutinized more closely.

Now you sound like the guys who claim the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is so small that doubling the level won’t make any difference. Percentages mean nothing out of context. Even what’s-his-name agrees that the changes in the NASA numbers are “statistically meaningless.”

Reducing the warming in the USA by 20% with one simple correction is statistically meaningful. The next step is examining the “quality” historical records of China and Africa. Who knows what will turn up there if a proper independent analysis of the data is done.

Where’s your evidence for a 20% reduction? Sounds way out of whack to me.

What? The correction was .15 of single degree for the years 2000 to 2006. 

As far as how this effects GLOBAL temperature data, Gavin Schmidt from NASA rightly points out: “In the global or hemispheric mean, the differences were imperceptible (since the US is only a small fraction of the global area).”

Kevin, the correction of the error discovered by Steve McIntyre was to the US data. A .15 degree lowering of US temperature over the short period of 6 years is very significant and lowers the historical record of US warming by nearly 20%.

Yes, the US is a small fraction of the worlds surface, approx. 2% of the world’s surface and about 6% of the world’s land surface. The US also has the strongest historical surface site record.

Much of the the reported warming of the 20th century comes from much larger land masses such as Asia and Africa. A pertinent question is to ask how high a quality network those areas of the globe have had for the last 100 years.

A thorough independent analysis of other worldwide sites could well turn up significant discrepancies and corrections to their historical warming records also. Regards,

“The US also has the strongest historical surface site record.”

Based on what study? What comparisons were made and how? Is it better than Sweden’s? Or France’s? Who says?

Compared to Africa and China? Of course the US has the strongest historical surface site record. Get serious.

How parochial of you.

Parochial? LOL. Get a life VJ and go back to MySpace or whatever sites youngsters like you hang around at.

“Much of the the reported warming of the 20th century comes from much larger land masses such as Asia and Africa.”

Wrong, unless Asia includes Siberia. Most of the reported warming comes from the Arctic (where there are weather stations). Stations in the tropics have seen some warming, but only tenths of degrees, while the Arctic has seen warming in excess of 2 to 3 C, as it is the most sensitive area to climate change.

And there were lots of stations in the Arctic 100 years ago Stephen? I didn’t think so.

In populated land masses, much of the warming, if the records are to be trusted, comes from land masses with the fewest reliable records such as Africa and China.

The United States, with the largest number of stations with long term data integrity (though with problems of their own) shows markedly less warming then other large land masses with poor station records.

It is for these reasons that continued scrutiny of the historical records (or lack thereof) is necessary. Regards,

What’s your source for this?:
“…much of the warming, if the records are to be trusted, comes from land masses with the fewest reliable records such as Africa and China…”

The polar regions, especially the Arctic, are warming faster than the equator. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/polar-amplification/

It’s not my sources, it’s NASA GISTEMP global records.

Station coverage for much of the last century is spartan, to say the least, for huge swaths of the earth’s surface.
Where there is the best coverage, with the longest intact records, the USA, the warming is much lower for these populated areas then it is for other densely populated areas.

Excluding the Arctic for this discussion, the spartan records for large parts of the rest of the world need a second independent analysis to determine the robustness of the data and to quantify the degree of the warming trend indicated in the last century. Regards,

I can remember quite clearly a time when the big scientific story was the coming Ice Age. Time magazine did stories in the 1970’s. Of course their were also stories in the 1950’s and the 1910’s. Then there were the global warming stories in the 1890’s, 1930’s, and 1990’s. I’m starting to think just maybe human beings are too gullible to be at the top of the food chain. Let’s turn things over to the dolphins.

Now it is the scientific community talking about anthropogenic global warming, not some journalist out for a flashy story. The whole scientific community, including the climatologists whose job it is to study these things.

What global warming stories are you aware of from the 1890s and 1930s? You do realise, don’t you, that there was a massive drought in North America in the 1930s, when there were some high temperatures. Aren’t you worried that our rising temperatures now will cause another such ecological disaster? And, since this time it’s caused by our human activities which are not slowing down, that it will not be relieved in a few years?

It interests me that while the popular press has jumped on the “coming Ice Age” stories etc that you cite, there has been a gradual and steady (but largely unreported) development of scientific understanding of the impact of CO2 & the potential for AGW going back to 1896. I found this site very useful ; http://www.aip.org/history/climate/summary.htm

Paul, if as you seem to be suggesting, that the surface temperatures are so unreliable that they are meaningless, how come the surface data agree so well with two different sets of satellite data? This is clearly illustrated in the attached figure:

http://tinyurl.com/2zlf8e

Ian Forrester

This is a horribly written article. It’s basically one big argument by authority (a logical fallacy). Who says what about temperatures is irrelevant. You are basically handing deniers a completely valid objection when you say this regional data is not used by most climate scientists. Why don’t they? What is wrong with this data?

Whether NOAA or NASA is the authority is irrelevant. You continue this logical fallacy by caring about what Steve Milloy states as if that makes a difference. What is important is (a) what the data says, and (b) the validity of the data being used. You have not presented nor scrutinized either of these in this article. If the correction is minor then provide the relevant numbers before and after the correction and show how it is minor, and explain why most climate scientist don’t use this data.

It doesn’t help the cause by resorting to the same tactics and poor reasoning that deniers often use. It makes your position look weaker.

You said it all when you said “It doesn’t help the cause.” I don’t have a “cause.” I just want the truth. When “scientists” squelch debate, they lose my vote of confidence in them.

5qThank’s.7x I compleatly disagree with last post . kmx
паркетная доска 5x

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