Tuesday, 08 March 2016

Global Warming Satellite Data Gets Suspicious Makeover

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Facing an accelerating implosion of faith in the anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW) theory due in part to satellite data showing more than 18 years of no warming — the great “pause” or “hiatus,” as some put it — one of the satellite data sets has now been adjusted to show a slight increase in temperatures over the last two decades. Global-warming theorists on the government dole celebrated the news, speculating that it might herald the end of skepticism over their controversial theory and even what particularly rabid warmists refer to as “climate denial.” However, experts and scientists warned climate alarmists to cool it — especially because the “adjusted” data is now significantly different than other, unmanipulated temperature data sets. There appear to be big problems with the adjustments, too, experts in satellite temperature data said.  

The adjusted data set in question comes from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), satellites put into orbit by NASA but now overseen by chief RSS climate scientist Carl Mears in Santa Rosa, California. The new numbers, which were recently adjusted, purport to show about 0.125 degrees Celsius of warming every 10 years. That is radically more than the 0.078 Celsius per decade — a statistically insignificant figure — that the RSS data set showed before being “adjusted.” The new numbers from RSS also show radically higher temperature increases than other satellite data, such as the numbers from the University of Alabama at Huntsville's data set (UAH). Examining the alleged warming over the tropics, for example, the new adjusted RSS data shows a rate of warming almost five times larger than UAH data, analysts said.

Scientists at UAH, including Dr. Roy Spencer, former senior climate scientist at NASA, compared the new RSS results with the data collected by UAH satellites. In comments on his own website and at climate-focused outlets, Spencer said there had been “spurious warming” added into the new RSS data — a problem that UAH data does not have. He blamed the spurious warming in the adjusted RSS data set on the RSS scientists failing to correct for discrepancies between more accurate temperature data-gathering instruments and data gathered by older, poorly calibrated instruments that have drifted from their original orbit. “I suspect Carl Mears [with RSS] grew tired of global warming ‘denialists’ using the RSS satellite data to demonstrate an 18-year ‘pause,’” Spencer was quoted as saying by the Daily Caller. “So, now that problem is solved.”   

Spencer also followed up with an in-depth analysis of the changes on his own website. “Importantly, Mears and [fellow RSS scientist Frank] Wentz choose to leave this calibration drift in without adjustment for it,” explained Spencer after showing the discrepancies graphically. “In effect they are saying, ‘we don’t know which of the two satellites is at fault, so we will leave both satellites in without adjustment.'... We find it curious (to say the least) that RSS would treat these two satellites as equally accurate.” Spencer also noted that his colleague at UAH, Dr. John Christy, computed the level of agreement between the three satellite data sets and the various other sets of data. UAH data had better agreement with other data sources than RSS or NOAA's data set, Spencer said.

In his conclusion, Spencer said the evidence suggests that the latest RSS data set has “spurious warming” due to a lack of correction for calibration drift in the NOAA-14 MSU instrument, which gathers data from a satellite. “Somewhat smaller increases in their warming trend are due to their use of a climate model for diurnal [daily] drift adjustment, compared to our use of an empirical approach that relies upon observed diurnal drift from the satellite data themselves,” he added. “While the difference in diurnal drift correction methodology is a more legitimate point of contention, in the final analysis independent validation with radiosonde data [from weather balloons] and most reanalysis data sets suggest better agreement with the UAH product than the RSS product.”

Speaking to meteorologist Anthony Watts, who runs one of the world's leading websites focused on climate science, Spencer was even more blunt about the problems. “So, it looks like they [RSS] decided to force good data to match bad data,” he said. “Sound familiar?” Watts responded by saying, “Yes, yes it does.” Considering the fact that there “aren't many satellite temperature data experts in the world,” Watts also asked Spencer at UAH whether he or Dr. Christy, also a climatologist at UAH, had been asked to review the paper by RSS' scientists “finding” the spurious warming. Spencer said that Christy reviewed the original one and requested more evidence, but the paper was ultimately rejected anyway. Eventually the RSS scientists submitted the claims to another journal “and likely asked that we be excluded as reviewers,” Spencer noted.  

Watts also tore into the latest adjustments, lambasting what he called the “Karlization” of temperature data — a term named after National Climatic Data Center director Tom Karl, currently under congressional scrutiny, who was called out even by fellow warmists for trying to make the past seem colder so the present would seem warmer. “It seems to me based on his recent comments that Dr. Mears has gotten fed up with people using his RSS data set to suggest that the world isn’t warming as he expects it should,” Watts said about the recent adjustments to RSS data. “Taking a cue from the other Karl, he publishes a paper and claims that new and improved adjustments have 'found' that missing warming.”

On his climate-focused site, WattsUpWithThat, Watts also highlights Mears' own statements published on his own website. Attacking the selection of 1998, a very warm year due to El Niño, by skeptics to point out that there has been no warming in 18 years, Mears nevertheless concedes that “there is not much doubt that the rate of warming since the late 1990’s is less than that predicted by most of the IPCC AR5 simulations of historical climate.” “This can be seen in the RSS data, as well as most other temperature data sets,” Mears added. Watts, though, takes Mears to task for using terms such as “denialist,” clearly revealing his bias in favor of global-warming alarmism. El Niño is once again causing high temperatures for 2016.  

Other climate experts, meanwhile, downplayed the latest RSS adjustments, while highlighting the fact that climate models predicting massive and accelerated warming as CO2 concentrations increased were still at serious odds with reality. The RSS adjustment is “not that big a change, and it’s still controversial and new,” Chip Knappenberger, a climate scientist now at the Cato Institute, was quoted as saying by the Daily Caller. “It’s still not coming close to explaining the discrepancy between the models and the observations.” Speaking to the Associated Press, Knappenberger noted that the revisions show “how messy the procedures are in putting the satellite data together.”

Prominent climate bloggers, who have long been exposing fraud and deceit by the tax-funded climate-alarmism machine while on a shoe-string budget, promptly ridiculed Mears and his effort to find warming. “As usual with these things, the past has been cooled and the present warmed,” explained  Paul Homewood with the blog Not A Lot Of People Know That, adding that the adjustments so far dealt only with the mid troposphere, rather than the lower troposphere that normally receives more attention. “It is apparent that substantial adjustments have been made since 2012 as well. This is often a tell tale sign that adjustments keep accumulating in one direction, rather than making one step change, something we have regularly seen with [NASA data set] GISS.”

Another climate analyst whose work has embarrassed well-funded “climate scientists” for years similarly blasted the new revisions alongside graphs illustrating the deception. “Nothing about climate science reeks more of confirmation bias, than the changes scientists make to their own data sets over time,” noted climate-model whistleblower Steve Goddard (pseudonym) of Real Climate Science in a post highlighting the changes to various data sets, including the new revisions to RSS. “They all show exactly the same pattern of monotonically cooling the past and warming the present, regardless of the instrumentation.”

Unsurprisingly, considering that the stubborn 18-year “pause” in warming was used as evidence by skeptics to argue that AGW theory was a fraud or at least discredited, government climate scientists were very pleased with the latest adjustments. NASA's Gavin Schmidt, for example, who failed to properly explain numerous adjustments to the agency's own manipulations of surface temperature data, could hardly contain himself. “New version of RSS about to be released — the end of the satellite 'pause'?” he asked on Twitter. Of course, the other satellite data, and the weather balloons, continue to show the pause, which Schmidt knows very well.  

As if to confirm the allegations of his critics, RSS' Mears celebrated that skeptics could no longer point to his RSS data to say there has been no warming in 18 years or more. “There are people that like to claim there was no warming; they really can't claim that anymore,” Mears was quoted as saying, falsely, in a deeply biased report by the Associated Press. Of course, Mears also omitted the fact that other data sets that have not been similarly manipulated continue to show the pause.

As Watts pointed out, one Karl, the chief of the National Climatic Data Center, is already being investigated by Congress for manipulating data to show bogus warming and hide the “pause” in temperature increases. His manipulation was so extreme that even top climate alarmists had to call foul. Perhaps it is time for Congress to expand its probe into the manipulation of data — especially because U.S. taxpayers are being asked to fork over billions of dollars and suffer a reduced standard of living under the guise of dealing with AGW. For now, though, experts say the RSS data should also be treated as suspect until further notice.


Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, environment, politics, education, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

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