NOAA/GHCN “homogenization” falsified climate declines into increases

posted at 8:48 am on December 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

At least it did in Australia, where Willis Eschenbach took a look at the raw data to determine what effect the “homogenization” process at the NOAA’s Global Historical Climate Network had on the temperature readings.  Like alchemists of old, it transformed decades-long declines in temperature into rapid upward spikes completely unsupported by any of the underlying data.  Eschenbach calls this “the smoking gun at Darwin Zero,” and it demonstrates further why the East Anglia CRU (which relied on NOAA/GHCN) conspired to destroy evidence requested in a Freedom of Information demand — and why CRU may have destroyed its raw data archives (via Instapundit and Volokh Conspiracy):

The second question, the integrity of the data, is different. People say “Yes, they destroyed emails, and hid from Freedom of information Acts, and messed with proxies, and fought to keep other scientists’ papers out of the journals … but that doesn’t affect the data, the data is still good.” Which sounds reasonable.

There are three main global temperature datasets. One is at the CRU, Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, where we’ve been trying to get access to the raw numbers. One is at NOAA/GHCN, the Global Historical Climate Network. The final one is at NASA/GISS, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The three groups take raw data, and they “homogenize” it to remove things like when a station was moved to a warmer location and there’s a 2C jump in the temperature. The three global temperature records are usually called CRU, GISS, and GHCN. Both GISS and CRU, however, get almost all of their raw data from GHCN. All three produce very similar global historical temperature records from the raw data. …

Then I went to look at what happens when the GHCN removes the “in-homogeneities” to “adjust” the data. Of the five raw datasets, the GHCN discards two, likely because they are short and duplicate existing longer records. The three remaining records are first “homogenized” and then averaged to give the “GHCN Adjusted” temperature record for Darwin.

To my great surprise, here’s what I found. To explain the full effect, I am showing this with both datasets starting at the same point (rather than ending at the same point as they are often shown).

Figure 7. GHCN homogeneity adjustments to Darwin Airport combined record

YIKES! Before getting homogenized, temperatures in Darwin were falling at 0.7 Celcius per century … but after the homogenization, they were warming at 1.2 Celcius per century. And the adjustment that they made was over two degrees per century … when those guys “adjust”, they don’t mess around. And the adjustment is an odd shape, with the adjustment first going stepwise, then climbing roughly to stop at 2.4C. …

Intrigued by the curious shape of the average of the homogenized Darwin records, I then went to see how they had homogenized each of the individual station records. What made up that strange average shown in Fig. 7? I started at zero with the earliest record. Here is Station Zero at Darwin, showing the raw and the homogenized versions.

Figure 8 Darwin Zero Homogeneity Adjustments. Black line shows amount and timing of adjustments.

Yikes again, double yikes! What on earth justifies that adjustment? How can they do that? We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on. They all agree almost exactly. Why adjust them at all? They’ve just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data! Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right … but a six degree per century trend? And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven? What’s up with that?

Those, dear friends, are the clumsy fingerprints of someone messing with the data Egyptian style … they are indisputable evidence that the “homogenized” data has been changed to fit someone’s preconceptions about whether the earth is warming.

Or, in the Climategate parlance, hide the decline. If what Eschenbach says is true — and he’s looking at the raw data — Australia hasn’t warmed at all, except in the fevered imagination of the GHCN.  Did the CRU use the raw data or adjusted data to reach its conclusions?  Since they’ve destroyed their raw data, we won’t ever know.  But what we do know is that the “adjusted” data looks nothing like the raw data, and the rapid warming is as artificial as the thoroughly discredited “hockey stick” graph that started the AGW hysteria in the first place.

Is the Earth warming?  Yes, since 1650, as Eschenbach reports.  Is that warming trend natural?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  In order to make that determination, we need a completely transparent data set, one that is free of “adjustments” from advocates masquerading as scientists.  As long as the current set of alchemists remain in control of the raw data, their work should be considered completely unreliable.

Update: I changed the headline to accurately represent where the homogenization occurred.

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Reading about this coin-flip thing & temps:
All I care to add is that the measley number of recorded temps in man’s lifetime are pretty useless & worthless when considering billions of years of Earth history & all the temps that weren’t recorded:
Wait: they were.
In the rock record. And in tree rings. And in ice (only to what-450,000 Ma or so?).
But instead of tying the whole big picture together, these ‘scientists’ have to cherry pick their data.
And when we measure temp, like with satellites, we don’t even know now if those readings are entirely accurate.
The surest way we know about past climate is to look at the rocks.
And they tell us that the Earth was warmer back in time before now.
We are such minute little figures on this planet, I am so amazed how arrogent men are to assume they can change an entire climate system by burning fossil fuels.
Maybe when we get cool weather machine like that one planet had on SG-1, then we can be arrogant enough to think we can change the whole climate of an entire planet.
But until then…

Badger40 on December 10, 2009 at 12:07 PM

arrogent

arrogant

And remember the clouds!

Badger40 on December 10, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Then, about an hour ago, I got an email from a conservative reader asking if the Volokh post undermined my faith in global warming.

Heh.

MNHawk on December 10, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Then, about an hour ago, I got an email from a conservative reader asking if the Volokh post undermined my faith in global warming.

Heh.

MNHawk on December 10, 2009 at 3:26 PM

ohhhhhhhh…..missed that when I skimmed/read the article. Very telling point.

Fighton03 on December 10, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Here’s a perfect glittering gem of eurotrash condescension coming, not surprisingly, from the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8405108.stm

Nation of sceptics
Why US evangelical Christians could tip the climate debate

Matt Frei’s diary: Evangelical and environmental?

By Matt Frei
BBC News, Washington

If the green movement truly wants to convert America it needs to convert more evangelical Christians. Let me explain.

According to a BBC News/Harris Poll, the number of Americans who worry that carbon emissions are slowly heating our planet like a lobster pot have actually declined in the last eight years by 25%.

Despite Hurricane Katrina, which rang alarm bells about the connection between climate change and menacing weather, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and a photo album of environmental horrors from melting ice caps to rising sea levels to receding glaciers, fewer Americans are convinced today that the planet is in peril because of human behaviour.

Global warming has cooled off alarmingly on the list of priorities.

‘Miserable hoax’

Climate Gate – the brouhaha over some scientists padding some of their evidence – has been seized on by the usual suspects like Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who is prouder than ever to call global warming a miserable hoax.

But it is also fanning the embers of scepticism. Even the New York Times said it was a disaster at the very time when the Copenhagen summit should at least take the science for granted if not the politics.

In Europe, the environmental lobby has for long been part of the mainstream of course.

In Germany, the Green party has helped to further its agenda by making or breaking coalition governments.

Indeed, its agenda has been stolen by the more established political parties.

In Britain, the opposition Tories are now sounding greener than the governing Labour party.

In Europe, the colour green doesn’t need to justify itself.

Alternative arguments

Not so here. As a result America has been adept at coming up with alternative arguments why limiting the amount of carbon we spew into the atmosphere is a good idea.

There is the economic argument of green jobs, touted – among others – by the Obama administration.

There is the national pride argument: “We can’t let the Chinese invent, produce and sell something that we as the world’s most powerful and innovative economy should call our own.”

There is the national security argument. “Even if you hate tree-huggers, you do agree – don’t you? – that America should wean itself off Middle East oil and thus become less beholden to the very dictators who are fuelling hatred of their most needy client.

There is the geopolitical argument: why depend on a commodity that makes the likes of Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad more powerful?

They’re all sound but clearly none of them have convinced the great American public in sufficient numbers.

The poison of partisan politics and the culture wars are largely to blame.

Bridging the divide

I interviewed a lumberjack from Wisconsin this week who virtually admitted to me that he would be in favour of carbon caps and preserving the forest he had spent a career cutting down if the climate change crowd weren’t also in favour of gay marriage and abortion.

In America, the planet has fallen into the cracks created by a bitterly divided political landscape.

It is time to bring God into the debate.

In recent years, He has become conflicted in America between driving a Prius and driving a gas guzzler.

The evangelical movement is split between those conservative Christians who suspect that climate change is an evil secular plot, concocted by the devil, Al Gore and “the global government crowd” – in the words of Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher – and those who passionately believe that good Christians need to be good custodians of the planet.

Two years ago I went to Liberty University in Virginia, the home of the late Jerry Falwell and asked a lecture room full of students if they believed in the threat of global warming. Not a single hand went up.

I travelled up the road to the Eastern Mennonite College at Harrisonburg and asked a similar number of Christian students the same question. Almost every hand shot up.

Green pastor

This week, I spoke to Pastor Tri Robinson from the Vineyard Church in Boise, Idaho, who described to me his journey from scepticism to conviction about the need to tackle climate change via the Bible.

This is a growing trend inside the evangelical movement.

Pastor Tri described himself as both a “tree-hugger and a social conservative”.

He is against abortion and for caps on carbon emissions. And he prays that he won’t have to choose between the two at the next election.

But that is exactly what awaits him because for now there is no prominent conservative politician on the horizon who is, to put it bluntly, both pro-life and pro-planet.

Remember how the last Republican convention was electrified by the call to “drill baby drill”?

Pastor Tri and his flock are looking for a political home.

The candidate who is able to give them one, who can straddle the divide between social conservatism and environmental activism, who can recruit God in the service of the planet, is onto a winner.

Matt Frei is the presenter of BBC World News America which airs every weekday on BBC News, BBC World News and BBC America (for viewers outside the UK only).

And you can hear Matt present Americana on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service every week.

Django on December 10, 2009 at 5:52 PM

When the amount of warming corresponds almost exactly with the total amount of data adjustment, it almost becomes irrelevant what reason you have for the adjustment. Perhaps the important question here is not the reasons and methods for the data adjustment in this case, but rather if such a ridiculous trend is common among many sites besides this one.

Resolute on December 10, 2009 at 8:30 PM

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