Friday, 12 February 2010

NOAA and the New "Climategate" Scandal

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The theory of manmade climate change has been rocked for several months by a series of scandals. Emails released as part of the “Climategate” scandal raised serious allegations of efforts by advocates of manmade climate-change theory to skew data and to suppress studies that undermined the theory. Then allegations were made against NASA charging that the space agency was dragging its heels on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for release of their climate-change data.

The climate-change theory was dealt another serious blow when the “Glaciergate” scandal further undermined the credibility of studies published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With IPCC estimates for the melting of the Himalayan glaciers resting on unbelievably weak scientific premises, IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri has faced calls for his resignation. The Glaciergate scandal has even led the Indian government to withdraw from the IPCC and found its own agency to investigate climate change.

A new scandal is now emerging that fundamentally challenges the accuracy of climate-change data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to an article at FOXNews.com:

But probably the most damaging report has come from Joseph D’Aleo, the first Director of Meteorology and co-founder of the Weather Channel, and Anthony Watts, a meteorologist and founder of SurfaceStations.org.
In a January 29 report, they find that starting in 1990, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began systematically eliminating climate measuring stations in cooler locations around the world. Yes, that's right. They began eliminating stations that tended to record cooler temperatures and drove up the average measured temperature. The eliminated stations had been in higher latitudes and altitudes, inland areas away from the sea, as well as more rural locations. The drop in the number of weather stations was dramatic, declining from more than 6,000 stations to fewer than 1,500.

D’Aleo and Watts show that the jumps in measured global temperature occur just when the number of weather stations is cut. But there is another bias that this change to more urban stations also exacerbates. Recorded temperatures in more urban areas rise over time simply because more densely populated areas produce more heat. Combining the greater share of weather stations in more urban areas over time with this urban heat effect also tends to increase the rate that recorded temperatures tend to rise over time.

Their report provides examples of how the systematic elimination of stations and unexplained adjustments in temperature data caused measured temperatures to rise for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. Many adjustments change what would have been a drop in temperatures into an increase. Take New Zealand, where D’Aleo and Watts note: “About half the adjustments actually created a warming trend where none existed; the other half greatly exaggerated existing warming.”

Consider a brief review of institutions that have provided much of the data and analysis concerning the theory of manmade climate change:

  1. The Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia found its credibility fundamentally undermined by the Climategate revelations. Furthermore, news that much of the original climate data held by the CRU had been destroyed only fueled speculations about the credibility of the entire theory: It was simply impossible to challenge the CRU’s theories according to one of the most fundamental elements of the scientific method: independent verification of results.
  2. NASA has also been accused of suppressing the data behind its climate change estimates.
  3. Now NOAA appears to have systematically skewed its environmental data by placement of its monitoring devices.

So one might reasonably ask, “Where’s the data proving climate change is occurring? And where is the proof that even if such a change is taking place, that man is responsible for the change?”

The “Chinagate” scandal appears to demonstrate that much of the temperature change in China may actually have been “caused” by placing monitoring equipment in rapidly urbanizing areas — rather than documenting a change in the climate, such data simply illustrates the long-established “urban heat effect” associated with cities around the world. Similar issues with data collection have already surfaced in other areas of the world, including New Zealand.

The failure of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to produce a binding treaty has bought time for a rational reassessment of the entire “science” behind the theories that were the premise for gathering 192 nations in Copenhagen. However, participation in the Copenhagen Accord still poses an imminent threat to the economic vitality of the industrialized world at a time when the economies of many of those nations are already reeling in the midst of recession. The scandals have laid bare what now appears to many observers to have been a “rush to judgment.” It is time for cooler heads to reevaluate global warming.

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