NASA climate data worse than East Anglia CRU?

posted at 12:15 pm on March 31, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

That assessment doesn’t come from climate-change skeptics, but from NASA itself.  A FOIA request from the Competitive Enterprise Institute revealed the internal e-mail evaluation, and also another problem with the East Anglia CRU data.  It turns out that the databases maintained by NASA, UEA CRU, and the NOAA NCDC have self-endorsing mechanisms that mean that problems in one or more mean problems for all:

NASA was able to put a man on the moon, but the space agency can’t tell you what the temperature was when it did. By its own admission, NASA’s temperature records are in even worse shape than the besmirched Climate-gate data.

E-mail messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that NASA concluded that its own climate findings were inferior to those maintained by both the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) — the scandalized source of the leaked Climate-gate e-mails — and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.

The e-mails from 2007 reveal that when a USA Today reporter asked if NASA’s data “was more accurate” than other climate-change data sets, NASA’s Dr. Reto A. Ruedy replied with an unequivocal no. He said “the National Climatic Data Center’s procedure of only using the best stations is more accurate,” admitting that some of his own procedures led to less accurate readings.

“My recommendation to you is to continue using NCDC’s data for the U.S. means and [East Anglia] data for the global means,” Ruedy told the reporter.

Why is this a problem for all of the anthropogenic global-warming (AGW) data sets?  NASA chief James Hansen, now an Obama administration official, explained in the same e-mail thread:

“The different groups have cooperated in a very friendly way to try to understand different conclusions when they arise,” said Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in the same 2007 e-mail thread. Earlier this month, in an updated analysis of the surface temperature data, GISS restated that the separate analyses by the different agencies “are not independent, as they must use much of the same input observations.”

The efforts by NASA, UEA CRU, and NCDC have not been independent of each other at all.  They have been very much related, which means that systemic problems discovered in the UEA CRU data and analyses bleed over onto the other projects as well.  They use each other’s analyses as assumptions, and each other’s data as the basis of their own calculations.  The collapse of the UEA CRU’s credibility necessarily damages the credibility of the entire AGW industry.

Of course, that’s hardly the only damage to AGW credibility over the last few months:

When will the rest of the media catch up to this academic scandal?


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