Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Scientists Launch Investigation into Climate Data “Adjustments”

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A team of top scientists and experts is launching a major inquiry into the integrity, or lack thereof, of the surface temperature data often cited by anthropogenic (man-made) global-warming theorists to justify their alarmism, the Global Warming Policy Foundation announced on April 26. Minor increases in the world’s surface temperature data, which is admittedly “adjusted” by governments for various reasons, has been key to demanding global policies restricting carbon emissions and economic freedom to supposedly fight climate change ever since the man-made “global cooling” theory imploded after its heyday in the 1970s. However, if the inquiry ends up confirming widely held suspicions that the warming data is inaccurate or even outright fraudulent, the entire climate-alarmism industry could be permanently crushed.    

According to the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which launched the probe of the data, an international team of “eminent climatologists, physicists and statisticians” has already been assembled. The inquiry will be led by Professor Terence Kealey, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, the group said. The global warming-focused organization is seeking information and evidence from all sides of the debate. Among other elements, the investigation will review the “technical challenges” in accurately measuring surface temperature around the world. It will also “assess the extent of adjustments to the data, their integrity and whether they tend to increase or decrease the warming trend.”

More than a few experts, of course, have suggested that the controversial “adjustments” to the data have virtually all gone in one direction — artificially warmer temperatures in the present and artificially colder temperatures in the past. Indeed, the mostly government-collected and -adjusted surface data has come under fierce criticism in recent years by experts, whistleblowers, climatologists, and critics of the United Nations-backed climate hysteria. Among other concerns, the surface data, which authorities admit to manipulating under various guises, often conflicts with temperature records compiled by more objective and comprehensive satellite measurements. NASA and U.K. authorities have both been slammed in recent years for precisely such scheming.   

The GWPF, though, responding to widespread and increasingly vocal concerns about the manipulations in the temperature record by authorities, vowed to take an objective view in its investigation. “Many people have found the extent of adjustments to the data surprising,” explained Professor Kealey, who will lead the team of experts reviewing the facts. “While we believe that the 20th century warming is real, we are concerned by claims that the actual trend is different from — or less certain than — has been suggested. We hope to perform a valuable public service by getting everything out into the open.”

Toward that end, Professor Kealey put out a request for evidence from all sources that might have insight or information on the subject — regardless of their own views. “We hope that people who are concerned with the integrity of climate science, from all sides of the debate, will help us to get to the bottom of these questions by telling us what they know about the temperature records and the adjustments made to them,” he said in the April 26 statement. “The team approaches the subject as open-minded scientists — we intend to let the science do the talking. Our goal is to help the public understand the challenges in assembling climate data sets, the influence of adjustments and modifications to the data, and whether they are justifiable or not.”

The panel’s investigation made instant headlines in leading newspapers across the United Kingdom after the announcement, and columnists in the United States cheered the news. Some especially alarmist publications such as the U.K. Guardian, though, perhaps the most extreme publication in the world when it comes to peddling warming theories and hysteria about them, dismissed the investigation by alleged “climate deniers” trying to create a “fake controversy.” It cited supposed monitoring of the ongoing temperature data manipulation by the alarmist UN World Meteorological Organization to suggest that nothing could possibly be wrong with the changes in the data. Other alarmist publications echoed the dismissal, apparently unconcerned about the escalating controversy surrounding data fudging.

However, panel members who have spoken to the press, who come from all sides of the debate, emphasized that they plan to take an objective look at the information. York University Professor William van Wijngaarden, an expert on climatology and physics, explained to the U.K. Daily Mail that he has been concerned about the temperature records’ quality for years, starting after he noticed that examining an individual data-collection station, “you’ll see a sudden jump.” Those jumps are not natural but the result of artificial “adjustments” to the data, he added.  

“Sometimes you get ‘corrected’ data without knowing exactly how it has been changed,” the professor was quoted as saying in the British paper. “I’m a scientist. I’m not going into this with any preconceptions. But if some of the corrections have not been properly made, then we’ll find out. We want to see all the actual station data.”

Others involved in the investigation also vowed that the probe would be “transparent,” with acknowledgements that there may be no problem with the data — or that there may be major problems. All of the submissions received will be published, the organization said, pointing interested parties to the inquiry’s website at www.tempdatareview.org.

On its website for the investigation, the GWPF offered more details on the controversies that have made an independent review so important. “Climatologists have long been aware of the poor state of global surface temperature records and considerable effort has been put into adjusting the raw data to correct known errors and biases,” the team said. “These adjustments are not insignificant. For example it has been noted that in the temperature series prepared by NOAA for the USA, the adjusted data exhibits a much larger warming trend than the raw data.”

The team also pointed out that over the years, the changes to the temperature data have often tended to cool the early part of the surface records while warming more recent years. Of course, such adjustments increase the apparent warming trend. “Although the reasons for the adjustments that are made to the raw data are understood in broad terms, for many of the global temperature series the details are obscure and it has proved difficult for outsiders to determine whether they are valid and applied consistently,” the team explained on the Web page for its review. “For all these reasons, the global surface temperature records have been the subject of considerable and ongoing controversy.”

Despite a virtual blackout on the information in much of the establishment press, The New American and numerous other publications have been reporting on the controversies for years. Most recently, Selwyn Duke reported on the “data rape” involving massive adjustments made to NASA’s surface temperature data in South America. Unsurprisingly, the manipulations ended up showing a huge amount of warming in and around Paraguay and Brazil — manipulations that helped sway global averages. The raw data, however, showed massive declines in temperatures across the region. “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever,” reported Christopher Booker in the U.K. Telegraph amid the revelations.

Before that, a former contractor working on government climate-model projects turned whistleblower and highlighted what he said were serious biases in the adjustments — all of them toward giving the appearance of more warming. Ironically, in many instances, without the manipulations, the raw data showed cooling at many stations, only to be turned into warming by official yet mysterious “adjustments” to the numbers by tax funded scientists behind closed doors. In areas such as much of Antarctica where no temperature data is available, official data sets have often added in vast quantities of warming, which critics say is unjustified.

In fact, just this year, temperature data manipulation played a major role in allowing NASA and other government entities to proclaim that 2014 was the “warmest on record.” Without the adjustments to show additional warming and vast surface areas where warming was “extrapolated” rather than recorded, last year would not have come close. Ironically, again, NASA’s own satellite records showed that 2014 was only the sixth warmest on record since the satellites were launched some 36 years ago. Major media outlets around the world parroted NASA’s “warmest on record” claim without noting that NASA data contradicted it.

Analysts monitoring the data manipulation expressed hope that the newly announced investigation might produce some answers. “Only when the full picture is in will it be possible to see just how far the scare over global warming has been driven by manipulation of figures accepted as reliable by the politicians who shape our energy policy, and much else besides,” observed Booker with the U.K. Telegraph. “If the panel’s findings eventually confirm what we have seen so far, this really will be the ‘smoking gun,’ in a scandal the scale and significance of which for all of us can scarcely be exaggerated.”

Of course, with the UN “climate” summit coming up this year in Paris where Obama, dictators, globalists, carbon taxers, and others hope to impose a global-warming regime on humanity, the race is on to whip up hysteria. Especially problematic for warming theorists at the UN and elsewhere have been a series of mega-scandals — ClimateGate, for instance — most recently including the resignation of UN climate czar Rajendra K. Pachauri, who admitted saving the Earth from humanity was his “religion.”

The fact that there has been no warming in almost two decades despite the predictions of every single UN climate model has also been problematic — not to mention the failure of virtually every falsifiable “climate” prediction so far, on both cooling and warming. Whether the temperature data manipulation will be the final nail in the coffin, though, remains to be seen.

 

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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