November 16, 2008

A Globalarmist’s ‘Surreal Scientific Blunder’ Noted in UK Paper; US Media Doesn’t Care

Earlier today, Christopher Booker at the UK Telegraph noted a “surreal scientific blunder,” followed by an attempted cover-up, that should cause everyone to question the source’s past and future credibility.

The source of the shoddy work is NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the outfit run by world champion globalarmist James Hansen. Hansen has in the past stated that “heads of major fossil-fuel companies who spread disinformation about global warming should be ‘tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.’”

What Booker reports causes one to wonder what the appropriate punishment should be for committing drop-dead obvious errors and integrity-lacking follow-up.

Part of the punishment is surely the Telegraph’s delicious headline, followed by Booker’s criticism (bolds are mine):

The world has never seen such freezing heat

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month …..

So what explained the anomaly? GISS’s computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs – run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious “hockey stick” graph – GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new “hotspot” in the Arctic – in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with. This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen’s institute are not only one of the four data sets that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.

…. whether, on the basis of such evidence, it is wise for the world’s governments to embark on some of the most costly economic measures ever proposed, to remedy a problem which may actually not exist, is a question which should give us all pause for thought.

No kidding. It’s also reasonable to ask why taxpayers or anyone else should be funding Hansen’s horrible handiwork.

McIntyre at Climate Audit reported the errors, with What’s Up With That also noting, on Monday, November 10. GISS’s blunder, and attempted back-and-fill, were both clear by Thursday. Yet a Google News search at 11 AM on “Hansen October” (quotes not used) for November 9-16 shows that the larger center-right blogs have picked up on the story, but that here has been no apparent traditional media interest. A similar New York Times search came up empty.

Thus, Mr. Hansen will more than likely be able to continue to spout off in front of congressional committees about the planet’s impending doom from global warming — even as evidence continues to mount that the earth is cooling.

Cross-posted at


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