How NOAA/NASA Doctored Temperature Data To Get Record Warm Years

The topic of how the US temperature record has been massively altered in recent years has been well covered by Tony Heller, myself, and others in the past.

Nevertheless, it is worth summarising again.

In 1999, James Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Jay Glascoe and Makiko Sato of GISS published a paper, “GISS analysis of surface temperature change”, which included this graph of the US temperature record at that time.

https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_07/1999_Hansen_ha03200f

The drop in temperatures from the 1930s to the 1970s is absolutely clear.

The paper commented:

The U.S. temperature increased by about 0.8°C between the 1880s and the 1930s, but it then fell by about 0.7°C between 1930 and the 1970s and regained only about 0.3°C of this between the 1970s and the 1990s. The year 1998 was the warmest year of recent decades in the United States, but in general, U.S. temperatures have not recovered even to the level that existed in the 1930s. This contrasts with global temperatures, which have climbed far above the levels of the first half of this century.

This dichotomy with global temperatures clearly posed a problem for Hansen and co. So they wrote a brief, which attempted to explain why the US temperature trend was out of line:

What’s happening to our climate? Were the heat wave and drought in the Eastern United States in 1999 a sign of global warming?

Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

How can the absence of clear climate change in the United States be reconciled with continued reports of record global temperature? Part of the “answer” is that U.S. climate has been following a different course than global climate, at least so far. Figure 1 compares the temperature history in the U.S. and the world for the past 120 years. The U.S. has warmed during the past century, but the warming hardly exceeds year-to-year variability. Indeed, in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934. Global temperature, in contrast, had passed 1930s values by 1980 and the world has warmed at a remarkable rate over the last 25 years.

Fig. 1: Annual and 5-year mean surface temperature for (a) the contiguous 48 United States and (b) the globe, relative to 1951-80, based on measurements at meteorological stations.

A picture of how U.S. climate change during the past half-century compared with the rest of the world is shown in Figure 2. This map shows that the trend has been toward warmer temperatures in most of the world. There has been nearly ubiquitous warming in the tropics, especially in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, where the largest warming coincides with the location of more frequent strong El Niños. The strongest warming has been in Alaska and northern Asia. Warming in Alaska is often associated with El Niños. A suspicion of many climatologists — as yet unproven — is that an increasing greenhouse effect may cause more frequent and intense El Niños. Asia has long been predicted to show the largest warming due to increasing greenhouse gases, especially in the winter, and observations are consistent with that.

Yet in the U.S. there has been little temperature change in the past 50 years, the time of rapidly increasing greenhouse gases — in fact, there was a slight cooling throughout much of the country (Figure 2). We caution that linear trends, as in Figure 2, can mask temporal detail. Indeed, Figure 1(b) indicates that the last 20 years have seen a slight warming in the U.S. Nevertheless, our analysis (Hansen et al., 1999a), summarized in Figures 1 and 2, makes clear that climate trends have been fundamentally different in the U.S. than in the world as a whole.

Is this a temporary fluke, a chaotic regional climate fluctuation? If so, as the regional fluctuation reverses and global warming continues, will the U.S. experience dramatic, perhaps “disastrous” climate change in the next few decades? Or is there an understandable and continuing reason that the U.S. is warming less than the rest of the world? In that case, will the U.S. be relatively immune to global warming in the next several decades?

In order to answer such questions and predict future climate change reliably, a prerequisite is an understanding of the cooling of the past half-century in the U.S. Figure 2 suggests that the U.S. cooling is associated, at least in part, with cooling in the North Atlantic Ocean. Climate model simulations tend to confirm this, yielding cooling in the U.S. during the past 50 years when driven by observed ocean temperatures (Hansen et al., 1999b).

But that only changes the question: what is the cause of the Atlantic cooling? In part, the Atlantic cooling is a natural fluctuation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, that occurs on decadal timescales. Observations of the past few years, summarized in Figure 17 of Hansen et al. (1999a), suggest that the North Atlantic Oscillation is now moving into its warmer phase.

However, North Atlantic cooling is also a predicted consequence of the transient growth of greenhouse gases. Climate models (Manabe and Stouffer, 1995; Russell and Rind, 1999) driven by increasing greenhouse gases yield increased precipitation at high latitudes, decreased ocean salinity in the North Atlantic, and thus a weakening of the ocean conveyor belt that transports heat to the North Atlantic.

Additional mechanisms may contribute to observed climate change. For example, in the decades after World War II, when the number of aerosols (fine particles) in the air grew most rapidly in the Eastern U.S., the pattern of cooling showed a clear resemblance to the distribution of aerosols. Also, changes in solar irradiance (the brightness of the sun) are difficult to dismiss as a mechanism of climate change because there are observed correlations of solar variability and climate change.

The upshot is that we will be able to understand climate change well only with the help of global climate models that are able to incorporate all of these mechanisms on an equal footing. We will be able to test our understanding during the era of satellite measurements when all of these forcing factors can be measured accurately.

https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_07/

But there was actually a much bigger problem for GISS. During that warm period of the 1920s to ’60s, most of the world’s temperature data came from the US, along with Europe and Australia.

Most of the rest of the world had very little in the way of reliable data.

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ghcn-daily-description

Moreover, the US data was high-quality stuff from USHCN. This could not be so easily dismissed as it put into doubt the claimed increase in global temperatures.

NOAA, however, had the answer and adjusted the US data out of all recognition. Now it looks like this:

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

Take a close look at the data for 1934 and 1998.

The new chart tells us that the temperature anomalies (relative to the 1951-80 mean) were 1.19°C and 1.33° respectively. In other words, 1998 was 0.14°C warmer than 1934.

Yet on the original 1999 chart, 1934 was clearly a lot warmer than 1998. We don’t have figures, but eyeballing suggests that the 1934 anomaly was about 1.5°C, while 1998’s was about 0.9°C, that is 0.6° hotter.

Overall then, NOAA has reduced the 1934 temperature by 0.74°C, relative to 1998.

The hottest year on record, according to the current version of the US temperature history, is 2012, with an anomaly of 1.86°C. However, if you take off the adjustment of 0.74°C, it still leaves 1934 as the warmest year.

NOAA claims that these adjustments are mainly to allow for the time of observation changes (TOBS), yet their own analysis shows that this only account for around 0.5°F,  or 0.3°C. (Also note that NOAA’s webpage explaining all of this is no longer available, but fortunately is still obtainable on Wayback).

https://web.archive.org/web/20021204171218/http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn/ushcn.html

So NOAA’s “explanation” accounts for less than half of their changes. Yet there are no specific adjustments for the effects of UHI, which must be substantial as well.

As Ronan Connolly has shown, there are very real concerns about whether the current homogenization methods used by USHCN adequately take account of UHI. Indeed there is a likelihood that rural stations are actually being adjusted to match urban trends.

And as Anthony Watts has also revealed, temperature trends at rural USHCN stations are lower than those at urban ones.

In summary, the adjustments to the US temperature record made by NOAA are more than double the ones they have admitted to. Furthermore, they have not been making proper allowance for UHI.

The US temperature record presented by NOAA and GISS is little more than a political construct.

Read more at Not A Lot Of People Know That

Comments (13)

  • Avatar

    Gerry

    |

    https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/24/
    Graphic: The relentless rise of carbon dioxide**

    https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
    Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

    – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 OF THE 17 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD OCCURRING SINCE 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.

    **And NOAA “collected” the CO2 data for all of that warming period which occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 OF THE 17 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD OCCURRING SINCE 2001.

    IS it coincidental that NOAA”s past 35 year CO2 data from their Primary Benchmark site shows a correlation to warming claimed by Mann & the IPCC??? How convenient.

    UH-OH! There was no real warming as claimed.

    https://climatechangedispatch.com/new-report-on-global-warming-debunks-government-temp-data/ July 17, 2017

    A new paper analyzing government temperature data says the Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST) data published by NASA and NOAA are “not a valid representation of reality.” In fact, the three respected scientists who published the paper hint strongly that the data may have been fudged.
    The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever – despite current claims of record setting warming.

    According to NOAA, Mauna Loa is the world’s oldest continuous CO2 monitoring station, and THE WORLDS PRIMARY BENCHMARK SITE for measurement of the gas. Since 1956 Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) has been monitoring and collecting data relating to atmospheric change, and is known especially for the continuous monitoring of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) Where, “CONTAMINATION FROM LOCAL VOLCANIC SOURCES IS SOMETIMES DETECTED”, see volcanic degassing.***

    Rising gradually to more than 4 km (13,100 ft) above sea level, Mauna Loa is the largest ACTIVE volcano on our planet. Its long submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km (16,400 ft), and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa’s great mass another 8 km (26,200 ft). This makes the volcano’s summit about 17 km (55,700 ft) above its base! The enormous volcano covers half of the Island of Hawai‘i and by itself amounts to about 85 percent of the area of all the other Hawaiian Islands combined.

    MAUNA LOA VOLCANO (VNUM #332020)
    19°28’30” N 155°36’29” W, Summit Elevation 13681 ft (4170 m)
    Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
    Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

    Activity Summary: Mauna Loa Volcano is not erupting. (BUT) Rates of deformation and seismicity REMAIN ABOVE LONG TERM BENCHMARK LEVELS

    Observations: Small-magnitude earthquakes CONTINUE TO OCCUR beneath the volcano, primarily beneath the summit caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone at depths less than 5 km (3 miles). Additional deeper seismicity (5-13 km or 3-8 miles) was scattered beneath the southeast flank of the volcano.

    Global Positioning System (GPS) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) measurements continue to show slow deformation related to INFLATION of a magma reservoir beneath the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone.

    For more information on current monitoring of Mauna Loa Volcano, see: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna_loa/monitoring_summary.html

    Mauna Loa was originally chosen as a monitoring site because, located far from any continent, the air was sampled and is a good average for the central Pacific. Being high, it is above the inversion layer where most of the local effects are present and there was already a rough road to the summit built by the military. The CONTAMINATION FROM LOCAL VOLCANIC SOURCES IS SOMETIMES DETECTED at the observatory, and is then removed from the background data… How Convenient.

    **CONTAMINATION FROM LOCAL VOLCANIC SOURCES IS SOMETIMES DETECTED and is then removed from the background data…. Adjusted data……fudging again!!

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/16/another-known-unknown-volcanic-outgassing-of-co2/

    **In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing *** released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.

    These inflating figures, I hasten to add, don’t mean that our planet is suddenly venting more CO2.

    Humanity certainly is; but any changes to the volcanic background level would occur over generations, NOT YEARS. *The rise we’re seeing now, therefore, MUST HAVE BEEN THERE ALL ALONG: As scientific progress is widening our perspective, the daunting outline of HOW LITTLE WE KNOW ABOUT VOLCANOES IS BEGINING TO LOOM LARGE.

    Even MORE INCREDIBLY, it even seems that some volcanoes which are considered inactive, in terms of their potential to ooze new land, can still make some SERIOUS ADDITIONS to the atmosphere through diffuse CO2 release. Residual magma beneath dormant craters, though it might never reach the surface, can still ‘erupt’ gases from a distance. Amazingly, FROM WHAT LITTLE SCIENTITS HAVE MEASURED, it looks like this process might give off as much as half the CO2 put out by fully active volcanoes.

    IF THESE ADDITIONAL ‘CARBON ACTIVE’ VOLCANOES ARE INCLUDED, THE NUMBER OF DEGASSING PEAKS SKYROCKETS TO MORE THAN 500. OF WHICH WE’VE MEASURED A GRAND TOTAL OF NINE PERCENT. You can probably fill it in by now — we need to climb more mountains.

    IS THERE ANY PROOF *the CO2 rise we’re seeing now, therefore, MUST HAVE BEEN THERE ALL ALONG? Was Mauna Loa showing signs of increasing geological activity over the past 35 years?

    http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/10051891/mauna-loa-volcano-still-active-after-25-years

    March 25, 1984 Mauna Loa exploded with great vengeance and furious anger. Lava moved down the mountain covering 15 miles in three days, to an elevation of 3000 feet above Hilo.

    The earthquakes have been what seismologists call “long period,” which means their signals gradually rise above the noise generated by usual seismic activity.

    Scientists want to use this silver anniversary to remind island residents that the world’s biggest volcano is STILL ACTIVE, and based on its past history, is overdue for another eruption.

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Hawaii-s-Mauna-Loa-volcano-heating-up-Molten-2758429.php >OCTOBER 30, 2002

    Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano heating up / Molten magma is thrusting upward — new eruption possible

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/2004/09/13/scientists-say-mauna-loa-may-soon-erupt.html

    >SEPTEMBER 13, 2004

    The earthquakes have been what seismologists call “long period,” which means their signals gradually rise above the noise generated by usual seismic activity.

    “Such a concentrated number of deep, long-period earthquakes from this part of Mauna Loa is unprecedented, at least in our modern earthquake catalog dating back to the 1960s,” Okubo said.

    http://blog.sfgate.com/hawaii/2012/06/13/hawaii-volcanoes-park-reopens-crater-rim-area-4-years-after-eruption/

    >JUNE 13, 2012

    Hawaii volcanoes park reopens crater rim area 4 years after eruption
    http://guardianlv.com/2014/06/hawaii-volcano-shows-signs-of-possible-eruption/

    >JUNE 29, 2014

    Hawaii Volcano Shows Signs of Possible Eruption
    http://www.staradvertiser.com/

    >2015/09/17/

    breaking-news/alert-level-for-mauna-loa-volcano-raised-to-advisory-but-eruption-not-imminent-2/

    >September 17, 2015

    Alert level for Mauna Loa volcano raised to ‘advisory,’ but eruption not imminent
    http://www.ibtimes.com/mauna-loa-scientists-watching-hawaiis-largest-volcano-possible-eruption-2591477

    >09/19/17

    Mauna Loa: Scientists Watching Hawaii’s Largest Volcano For Possible Eruption UH-OH!

    Food for thought…….

    Not a conspiracy theorist but didn’t The Weather Channel start service about the same time “THE WARMING AWARENESS STARTED”? Convenient. No?

    The Weather Channel originally gathered its national and regional forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Convenient.
    Who can remember ???

    “You Need Us”

    “Weather You Can Always Turn To”

    “No Place on Earth Has Better Weather” (This is about the time I tuned TWC out)

    “Live By It”

    “Bringing Weather to Life”

    https://www.scribd.com/document/46965511/Ipcc-Summary-2008
    Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melt-ing of snow and ice and rising global average sea level
    Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the twelve warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850).
    In November 2008, The Weather Channel became part of NBC Universal’s “Green is Universal” campaign to promote environmental awareness.

    HOW Convenient!

    • Avatar

      Jireland

      |

      Well that was confusing and long winded. What is your point exactly?

      • Avatar

        Gerry

        |

        2 points

        1. Atmospheric CO2 data, BENCHMARK ATMOSPHERIC CO2 data, is collected from a site located on the worlds largest active (outgassing) volcano. Mauna Loa is one of five active volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii. CONTAMINATION FROM LOCAL VOLCANIC SOURCES (outgassed CO2 and other gasses) IS SOMETIMES (always) DETECTED and is then removed from the background data. Adjusted data……!!

        2. Food for thought……. The Weather Channel started service about the same time “THE WARMING AWARENESS STARTED”. The Weather Channel originally (still does) gathered its national and regional forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

        In November 2008, The Weather Channel (Formally) became part of NBC Universal’s “GREEN IS UNIVERSAL” campaign to promote environmental awareness. see point #1

        • Avatar

          JIreland

          |

          So basically one of the premier sites for analysing CO2 is near a volcano that’s spews Ron’s of it out. Why would they place it there then? That’s gonna mess up the data.

    • Avatar

      Sonnyhill

      |

      IF volcanoes are responsible for such a large contribution to the carbon cycle, that diminishes that of humans, percentage wise. Our burning of fossil fuels is new CO2, so is volcanic degassing. I’ve read that our contribution to the global carbon cycle is anywhere from 1% to 5% . No one knows. Can anyone quantify how much biomass is created annually? Could they chart that info historically? Nope.
      Some who post comments here will ask “So what? There is no greenhouse effect!”
      I’m saying that IF CO2 plays a role (1 Celsius degree per century) in warming the Earth, what difference will your prescribed sacrifices make? Nothing that could be measured with certainty.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

    |

    Anything under Hansen should be viewed with a little skeptisim since him and his small group are in it for all that Grant Money and Hansen himself has been arrested he is into politics and cash not real science

    • Avatar

      The Rick

      |

      “…Anything under Hansen should be viewed with a little skeptisim…” – a little?
      I submit more than a little!

  • Avatar

    Jireland

    |

    So basically one of the premier sites for analysing CO2 is near a volcano that’s spews Ron’s of it out. Why would they place it there then? That’s gonna mess up the data.

    • Avatar

      David Lewis

      |

      Hawaii is in the middle of the ocean far from continental carbon dioxide sources. Woops, the site is also on a volcano. Scientists do make mistakes.

      I’ll repeat what I have posed before. It is estimated by geophysicists that only three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947), spewed more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all of human activities in our entire history.

      • Avatar

        Gerry

        |

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/16/another-known-unknown-volcanic-outgassing-of-co2/

        **In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing *** released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.

        These inflating figures, I hasten to add, don’t mean that our planet is suddenly venting more CO2.

        Humanity certainly is; but any changes to the volcanic background level would occur over generations, NOT YEARS. *The rise we’re seeing now, therefore, MUST HAVE BEEN THERE ALL ALONG: As scientific progress is widening our perspective, the daunting outline of HOW LITTLE WE KNOW ABOUT VOLCANOES IS BEGINING TO LOOM LARGE.

        Even MORE INCREDIBLY, it even seems that some volcanoes which are considered inactive, in terms of their potential to ooze new land, can still make some SERIOUS ADDITIONS to the atmosphere through diffuse CO2 release. Residual magma beneath dormant craters, though it might never reach the surface, can still ‘erupt’ gases from a distance. Amazingly, FROM WHAT LITTLE SCIENTITS HAVE MEASURED, it looks like this process might give off as much as half the CO2 put out by fully active volcanoes.

        IF THESE ADDITIONAL ‘CARBON ACTIVE’ VOLCANOES ARE INCLUDED, THE NUMBER OF DEGASSING PEAKS SKYROCKETS TO MORE THAN 500…………………………………………. OF WHICH WE’VE MEASURED A GRAND TOTAL OF NINE PERCENT!!.

  • Avatar

    Amber

    |

    If you can’ t predict natural climate variables and their interaction , and they can’t, then pretending to adjust the earths temperature via a trace gas is absurd . I have yet to see a volcano eruption schedule .
    I’ll happily accept we may be in a long term warming cycle . Enjoy it while it lasts and if you don’t want to move your beach furniture every decade or so then just move to fly over country . Funny how unscared the billionaires seem to be about the alleged pending great flood .

  • Avatar

    Al Shelton

    |

    I am sick and tired of the endless talk about “carbon emissions”.
    CO2 has been debunked as a cause of CAGW or even GW.
    First off it is not logical; and has been proven wrong by experiment; mathematics and empirical evidence.

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

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    The worst kind of warming is man made. It’s the urban heat island (UHI) effect. It’s measurable and it hits people where they live.

    Bickering amongst ourselves is not helpful. There are millions who blindly believe that “carbon” is evil. The luke-warmists are the ones most likely to reach them.
    When I tell believers that there’s no such thing, they clam up. Conversation over.

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