What do you get when you combine copious amounts of government grant money, layers of dishonesty, the heat of environmental activism, a few dollops of ambition, and a glaze of science in a political pressure cooker?
It’s a recipe for enriching a few, impoverishing most, and serving up bad policy all around.
If you’ve ever wondered why you’re buried in snow but keep hearing about how we’ve experienced “officially, the second warmest year on record” (when we’re not being told it could be the warmest year on record), know that “officially” relates to the pronouncements of officials, and “official temperature records” have been “systematically ‘adjusted’ to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.”
So writes the Telegraph’s Christopher Booker, reporting on how, as his title puts it, “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.”
Cooked government figures are nothing new. Gallup’s CEO recently reported on how the official unemployment rate is illusory, and the Obama administration’s deportation numbers are fiction, too. But where these deceptions are designed to assuage, the temperature-record manipulation is meant to alarm.
Booker had tackled the “warmest year on record” claim about 2014 two weeks ago already, citing a blog post by a man named Paul Homewood entitled “Massive Tampering With Temperatures In South America.” At issue was NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) data, which showed profound warming across a swath of territory from Paraguay to Brazil. Booker wrote, “Noting that weather stations there were thin on the ground, he [Homewood] decided to focus on three rural stations covering a huge area of Paraguay. Giss showed it as having recorded, between 1950 and 2014, a particularly steep temperature rise of more than 1.5C: twice the accepted global increase for the whole of the 20th century.”
As Homewood himself wrote — providing an illustrative map showing that there simply is no data on much if not most of the world — about the dearth of data-collection stations, “One of the regions that has contributed to GISS’ “hottest ever year” is South America, particularly Brazil, Paraguay and the northern part of Argentina. In reality, much of this is fabricated, as they have no stations anywhere near much of this area.”
Booker then continued, “But when Homewood was then able to check Giss’s figures against the original data from which they were derived, he found that they had been altered. Far from the new graph showing any rise, it showed temperatures in fact having declined over those 65 years by a full degree. When he did the same for the other two stations, he found the same. In each case, the original data showed not a rise but a decline.”
In fact, the revised data charts for the three stations almost appear to be the raw data charts flipped over left to right, thus showing a temperature change quite the opposite of what the raw data shows. As Homewood put it, much of the hottest-year claim is based on “a large chunk of South America, where there is little actual data, and where the data that does exist has been adjusted out of all relation to reality.” Homewood has animated raw/revised data charts for the three weather stations at his website, showing the dramatic alteration of the data.
In Booker’s most recent piece, he provides more information, writing, “Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way ‘adjustments’.… These are the very records on which scientists and politicians rely for their belief in ‘global warming’.” He continues:
Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.
Yet this just continues a long pattern of government-funded scientists crying warm wolf. As Fox News wrote in January 2013 reporting on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency’s (NOAA) claim that 2012 was "the warmest year ever for the nation":
"2012 [wasn't] necessarily warmer than it was back in the 1930s.... NOAA has made so many adjustments to the data it's ridiculous," Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told FoxNews.com.
… NOAA has adjusted the historical climate data many times, skeptics point out, most recently last October.
… "The adjusted data is meaningless garbage. It bears no resemblance to the thermometer data it starts out as," [popular climate blogger Steve] Goddard told FoxNews.com. He's not the only one to question NOAA's efforts.
"Every time NOAA makes adjustments, they make recent years [relatively] warmer. I am very suspicious, especially for how warm they have made 2012," Spencer said.
Fox also reported that the NOAA fell back on an old argument when defending its manipulation, writing, “Government climate scientist Peter Thorne, speaking in his personal capacity, said that there was consensus for the adjustments.”
One might first note, as The New American has reported before, that “consensus” itself is often manipulated, a good example being the debunked claim that “97 percent of scientists affirm anthropogenic global warming.” Even more significantly, however, citing scientific consensus is just a version of the argumentum ad populum fallacy — and it is a thoroughly unscientific appeal.
Late author Michael Crichton expressed this truth brilliantly in a 2003 Caltech lecture, saying, “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.” Crichton pointed out that consensus is a political concept, not a scientific one, stating that science “requires only one investigator who happens to be right.” He continued, “In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.”
After providing numerous examples of castigated, consensus-condemned scientists who turned out to be right, Crichton cut to the matter’s heart, saying, “Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.”
In other words, when you have the facts, you present them. Consensus is something you talk about when you don’t have the facts.
This brings us to why the government is “adjusting” temperature data. Government climate models that had predicted climatic changes haven’t at all fit the facts of how the climate has changed, but the government still wants to use what they say about future climate to make today’s policy. So they need to change the “facts.”
And this data rape is no small matter. As meteorologist Anthony Watts told Fox News, “In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data.”