NASA Rigs Data, Reports False Global Warming

Author: Edmund Contoski
Article Published: 11 February 2009

James Hansen is the NASA climatologist who started the whole global warming hysteria in 1988 when he told a Senate committee he was 99 percent sure global warming was already underway.

The news  media seized upon Hansen's unsupported testimony and parlayed it into an impending planetary crisis. A new industry was born. Billions of dollars were spent, and tens of thousands of jobs were created, giving rise to growing numbers of people with vested interests in promoting the specter of global warming. James Hansen gave them ammunition. For years, as head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), he has “repeatedly been caught providing erroneous temperature reports that always err on the side of claiming more warming than has occurred,” says James Taylor in the February 2009  issue of Environment & Climate News.

In 2007 it was revealed that GISS had been artificially inflating U.S. temperatures by 0.15 degrees Celsius since the year 2000. NASA had claimed that six of the ten hottest years in U.S. history had occurred since 1995. When the erroneous data was corrected, 1998 (an unusually warm year due to El Nino—not carbon dioxide) was no longer the warmest year of the past century in the US. It fell to second place, with 1934 now being the warmest. And third place now belonged to 1921, not 2006. The formerly high-ranking years 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004 fell well down the leader board—behind even 1900. Four of the top ten are now from the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938, 1939. Since more than 80 percent of the century's increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide occurred after 1940, the warmer temperatures of earlier years can't be explained by higher carbon dioxide levels.

In April 2008 Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre ( documented that NASA has been “rewriting history time and time again.”  Still, NASA continued the process. It falsely reported that October 2008 was the warmest October on record. Statistical scientists jumped on this claim, leading even NASA to admit it was wrong. Now meteorologist Anthony Watts has caught GISS and Hansen doctoring data records from Santa Rosa, California, and potentially other temperature stations. The charts below show how Hansen and his underlings turned a long-term decline into a long-term temperature increase.

The top chart shows actual readings reported by the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN). GISS arrives at its numbers, illustrated on the lower of the two charts above, by taking the USHCN data and applying secret adjustments. USHCN reports a temperature decline of nearly one-half degree Celsius during the twentieth century, while GISS reports an increase of one-half a degree. Hansen has refused to explain how and why he makes these adjustments.  

Hansen's secrecy raises an ethical and perhaps legal question of whether the head of an agency federally funded by U.S. taxpayers can refuse to disclose how those funds are spent. It is reminiscent of a case a few years ago involving Michael Mann and his “hockey stick” graph purportedly illustrating global warming in recent times.

Mann's graph showed centuries of temperature records as a basically horizontal line (the handle of the hockey stick), to which was added a sharply rising line (resembling the blade of the hockey stick) to denote global warming in recent decades.

For a long time Mann refused to disclose his methodology. Finally, faced with pressure from a Congressional committee, he relented and revealed it. His study was shown to be based on an invalid statistical procedure—one which would produce a hockey stick even from random inputs! The study was also found to include many other types of errors, as I previously noted in my "Global Warming, Global Myth, Part 2".

For a more detailed analysis of the Mann hockey stick, see Energy & Environment, Vol. 18, No. 7, 8, 2007. There David Holland's 34-page analysis declares the Mann et al study “a sloppy, poorly documented paper riddled with simple mistakes, unjustified assumptions, collation errors and incorrect methodology. Data, for instance, reported to be from near Boston, Massachusetts actually came from Paris. Central England Temperature data was truncated eliminating its coldest period.” Holland cites other examples where data were selectively omitted that would have negated Mann's conclusions. Further, he asserts that Mann must have known what he was doing, had run calculations with some of the omitted factors and deliberately—not accidentally—omitted the information because it contradicted what he wanted to prove. In addition, Holland criticizes IPCC efforts to support the hockey stick with other invalid graphs that also failed to use all the available data. He states: “Such manipulation of data and graphical presentation might charitably be viewed as 'graphsmanship'; alternatively, it is fraudulent.”  

Mann's long refusal to disclose his methodology seems to indicate he knew it would not stand scrutiny. One must wonder if that is not the same reason for Hansen's secrecy.  

Robert Ferguson, president of the Science and Public Policy Institute, has stated: “Hansen's track record for presenting false data is undeniable, and yet neither the press nor the government holds him accountable for his self-serving errors and lack of objectivity.”

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