Latest posts by H. Sterling Burnett (see all)
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Accumulating research shows two of the most visible organizations pushing the claim humans are causing dangerous climate change are either ignoring key data that would tend to undermine such claims or “adjusting” data to support their case for alarm and U.S. and international action to restrict fossil fuel use.
In the United States, a new report by retired NASA physicist Edward Long analyzes the temperature record of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), a temperature data set from 7,280 meteorological stations around the world. Examining both the unadjusted and adjusted average temperature data, Long notes a number of problems or instances of bias. As a result of these problems, NOAA reports more warming than has actually been observed and a steeper warming trend than has been experienced.
One source of bias: When adjusting the data, NOAA lowers temperature values from measuring stations in the earlier temperature record and adjusts upwards more recent temperature measurements. Another problem is NOAA’s tendency to ignore or discount errors introduced by source data discontinuity. For instance, temperatures from “Rural” stations reported as having airports jumped more than 2 degrees on average after 1950. It turns out, as Long reports, “the stations reporting before 1950 and those reporting after 1950 are entirely different stations at entirely different locations. This particular temperature discontinuity and the inaccurate categorization of stations at an earlier time being at airports when they were not …” produces a temperature trend indicating rising global temperature, when in fact the recorded rise is in large part an artifact of the change in station location and the fact many pre-1950 locations were listed as being at airports, when in fact there was no airport at the location. In addition, a warming bias has been introduced through the blending of data from long-term temperature stations with data from stations in use for only short time periods or periodically.
Using consistent records over the 1900 to 2016 timeframe, the longer the data is provided from a location, the less warming is recorded in the total record. By contrast, data from stations only in operation for short periods of time, primarily brought into operation during the late 20th century when claims for global warming first rose to prominence, show significant warming and a steep warming trend.
But U.S. agencies aren’t the only “authorities” fiddling with the numbers to make the recent rise in temperature seem unnatural and dangerous, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has gotten in the act as well.
A recent paper in the British Journal of Environment & Climate Change is the most recent research in the growing body of literature assembled by Kenneth Richard at the No Tricks Zone website positing the dominant role solar activity plays in climate change in general and in the most recent warming and hiatus in warming in particular.
Using data from the Central England Temperature (CET) record, the world’s longest instrument-based temperature record (1659 to the present), researcher Alan Smith of the University of Durham reports approximately two-thirds of the temperature variations the Earth experienced between the Maunder Sunspot Minimum in the late seventeenth century and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-late eighteenth century can be explained by fluctuations in solar output or total solar irradiance (TSI) alone.
TSI and other natural factors have continued to dominate temperature changes, with just one-third of the temperature increase during the twentieth century attributable to the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and only a portion of that attributable to human greenhouse gas emissions. Further proof solar activity dominates temperature comes from the fact as solar activity has declined in recent years, the rise in Earth’s temperature has paused.
Other papers from recent years also indicate TSI drives most temperature changes. For instance, a 2014 paper in Astrophysics and Space Science notes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was mistaken when it asserted TSI has played almost no role in the warming experienced after the 1970s. IPCC’s assertions were based on data sets from the Physical Meteorological Observatory Davos (PMOD). The Swiss data set is specifically calibrated to support climate model projections, indicating reduced solar activity in the 1970’s through the 1990s. The problem is the sun was, in fact, quite active during this period. Data from the Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor satellite, confirmed by other satellites, show TSI rose substantially after the 1970s during the modest measured rise in temperatures and began declining in the early 2000s coinciding with the hiatus.
The papers Richard cites consistently indicate solar activity accounts for at least 70 percent of the temperature variation since the twentieth century, thus undermining IPCC’s assertion (and the so-called 97 percent consensus) more than half of the temperature rise since the 1950s is due to human greenhouse gas emissions.
Top agencies and organizations seemingly consistently ignore sound data in favor of poor data sets, and adjust data sets to fit the narrative that humans are causing climate disaster. Is it coincidence these organizations funding has increased substantially, to billions of dollars from a few million dollars, in recent years as they began to stoke fears of climate change. Food for thought.