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Your Temperatures Diddled

ALMOST exactly three years ago Michael Hammer showed that the official temperature rise profile for the 20th century in the United States is largely, if not entirely, an artifact of adjustments applied after the raw data is collected from the weather stations [1]. It was a very neat little analysis, first published at this blog. It was a neat little analysis that was, for the most part, ignored.

Back then, meteorologist Anthony Watts was busy documenting evidence of problems with the official temperature record in the US because of poor placement of weather stations and Ross McKitrick was attempting to calculate just how artificially elevated temperatures might be as a consequence.

Then interestingly, just last month, John Hinderaker cited the original study by Mr Hammer at Powerline [2] and other studies, concluding:

‘These disclosures highlight a key fact with respect to global temperature data: the data sets are utterly lacking in integrity. Global warming alarmists confidently announce that worldwide temperatures have risen by, say .1 degree over a decade. It would be extraordinarily difficult to take measurements at many locations around the globe that would actually demonstrate that proposition. But the real situation is much worse: no one tells you what temperatures were actually measured at the world’s weather stations. Rather, they report claims of global warming based on “adjusted” temperature data–adjusted by alarmists, with the systematic purpose of manufacturing a rising temperature trend. If you subtract the “adjustments,” it may well be that there has been no net warming over the last 100 years at all.’

Ho Hum. But no one was publishing the proof in the technical literature.

Then along came an announcement by Mr Watts last Sunday that he had documented, and had ready for publication, the proof that the U.S. temperature record had been diddled. In particular his new analysis demonstrated that the reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward [3].  What Mr Hammer was explaining three years earlier, and for a longer period.

Given Mr Watts had the article ready for submission for peer-review, why didn’t he just get on, and get it published?

Well, apparently Mr Watts was keen to trump Richard Muller, from Berkeley University, who was about to announce that he had an article ready for publication.  But Professor Muller’s article proved that not only were temperatures rising, and the official temperature record accurate, but that the temperature rise could be attributed to carbon dioxide.

Ho Hum.

Indeed.  Just last October Professor Muller released a study claiming that he had checked out the concerns raised by sceptics, including “the risk of data selection bias” and, temperatures really were rising [4].

But then about a week after that study was released Professor Muller was forced to acknowledge that this BEST (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project) data might also indicate that temperatures have not rise for about 13 years [5].

Indeed, earlier this year David Whitehouse from the Global Warming Policy Foundation concluded that there had been no global warming for 15 years [6].

It should all be straight forward, but its not.  In part because it really is important to those who believe in anthropogenic global warming that temperatures are rising and it really is important to many so-called sceptics that they are not.

The following YouTube video entitled ‘Hitler’s Reaction to the Watts Study’ explains some of the politics:


1. Hammer, M. June 27, 2009. Does the US Temperature Record Support Global Warming?

2. Hinderaker, J. June 9, 2012. Is the United States Actually Getting Warmer?

3. Watts, M., July 29, 2012. New Study Shows Half of the Global Warming in the USA is artificial.

4. Earth Warming According to Berkely Analysis.

5. No Global Warming for 13 Years.

6. No Global Warming for 15 Years: David Whitehouse.


119 Responses to “Your Temperatures Diddled”

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  1. Comment from: Robert

    The software was young and naive when it lost $440 million last Wednesday.

  2. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    I hope that story is not entirely true Robert, for the sake of the software boys.

    Even if they had instructions to the contrary I’m sure they would have put limits and warnings in place to alert the operators or to cease trading when on autopilot?

    Well, I would have anyway.

  3. Comment from: Minister for Truth

    Tony Price says: “”" I always thought “Nullius in verba” meant “not in so many words”, which roughly translated means “we left out much of the uncertainty”.”"

    In truth Tony, it means ” On the word of no one” which as just as apposite .. and is strikingly relevant when one reads his Report. It is just the AAS issues, writ larger.

    ….and shows the depths of the unprincipled activism that science has stooped to, even from Presidents.

    Its also a reminder also of the quip, that one doesnt have a conversation with most Professors and senior academics,…. “one has an audience.”

    Thankfully they are not all like it, just the GW alarmists it seems.

  4. Comment from: Robert

    Horace’s original phrase concerns swearing allegiance to no master. “In verba iurare” just means to swear allegiance, it doesn’t have anything to do with repeating the words of others.

    However, Latin being the blunt, compressed language that it is, there’s always some play for interpretation. Also, appealing phrases often lose their original context and signification, just like Kipling’s “Lest we forget.”

    Back in the 1600s, John Aubrey was looking for a nifty phrase as a slogan for the Royal Society. You had to have one! Separating “in verba” from “iurare” killed the original sense, but I’m fine with it. I’m fine with Tony’s and the Minister’s interpretations. The phrase sounds good, and I get the point.

  5. Comment from: Robert

    Of course, if you trace the military phrase right back to its origins, the idea was that you were indeed swearing an oath using the words proposed by the commander – even if he didn’t bother proposing the words! By the first century BC, it just meant swearing an oath.

    So everybody’s right…and I’ll stop now!

  6. Comment from: cohenite

    luke links to tamino, after linking to eli; tamino attempts to shred both Watts and Muller, only suceeds with Muller and then let’s rip with this:

    “The impact of global warming is getting clearer, and will soon be obvious even to the hard-core deniers. Arctic sea ice continues its death spiral. Sea level continues to rise. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continue to lose mass at an alarming pace, and glaciers worldwide keep shrinking. Species continue to migrate to higher latitudes and altitudes. We’re also seeing more and more signs that the “man in the street” can’t ignore. Since the amazing heat wave in Europe in 2003, we’ve seen amazing heat waves in Australia, Russia, the USA (twice). We’ve seen enhanced drought and record-breaking floods. And to the statisticians at re-insurance giant Munich Re, the increase in weather-related disasters is both huge and certain. This is not normal — and it’s not natural.”

    This is serious loon stuff.

    I still don’t get the TOB criticism with Watts; as I said before this is in his new paper:

    “The USHCNv2 monthly temperature data set is described by Menne et al. (2009). The 215 raw and unadjusted data provided by NCDC has undergone the standard quality-control 216
    screening for errors in recording and transcription by NCDC as part of their normal ingest 217 process but is otherwise unaltered. The intermediate (TOB) data has been adjusted for 218 changes in time of observation such that earlier observations are consistent with current 219 observational practice at each station. The fully adjusted data has been processed by the 220 algorithm described by Menne et al. (2009) to remove apparent inhomogeneities where 221 changes in the daily temperature record at a station differs significantly from neighboring 222 stations. Unlike the unadjusted and TOB data, the adjusted data is serially complete, with 223 missing monthly averages estimated through the use of data from neighboring stations. 224 The USHCNv2 station temperature data in this study is identical to the data used in Fall 225 et al. (2011), coming from the same data set.”

    Here is the Fall et al paper:

    It is plain that Watts has used the TOB adjusted data; he says this data was:

    “further refined in quality control reviews led by two of
    us (Jones and Watts), using the USCRN site selection
    classification scheme for temperature and humidity measurements
    [NOAA and NESDIS, 2002], originally developed
    by Leroy [1999] (Table 1).”

    That further refinement does not mean that he has tampered with the TOB adjustment, how could he, but merely applied the UHIE test from Leroy as it then was; the point of Watts’ new paper is to apply Leroy’s new methodology with its improved UHIE catching criteria.

    If that is the case, and please advise if I am missing something then the TOB issue is crap.

  7. Comment from: spangled drongo

    When it comes to behaving like a defence council rather than a judge Tamino is a prime example.

    AND he always breaks the first principle and fools himself:

  8. Comment from: spangled drongo

    The biggest thing the catastros have going for them is the Arctic ice but even that may not be what it seems:

  9. Comment from: Another Ian

    But then there is this

    “Greenland Summit Camp Continues To Get Buried In Snow
    Posted on August 5, 2012 by stevengoddard
    NASA forgot to mention the fact that their fake meltdown was 99.999% bullshit.”

    More at

    And in previous threads

  10. Comment from: gavin

    Selective posters inc do it again and can’t help themselves hey?

    Greenland stories in abundance this month. I did Google SD’s lead author and found quite a good variety of headlines following Kurt Kjaer’s earlier comments to the media. So each one can make what they like of the fact, melts like this one go in a series of pulses . My pick below.

    “Greenland enters melt mode’-'Island-wide thaw is one for the record books”

  11. Comment from: gavin

    btw; I haven’t seen snow from my place this year.

  12. Comment from: Debbie

    Look up the snow reports and the snow depth Gavin.
    Best snow pack in years.
    It’s just boring empirical data but you can go and have a look if you like, some of the snow fields aren’t that far from Canberra.

  13. Comment from: gavin

    Deb, it was only a hunch (I’m usually right) that no snow indicates a warming world. The ACT had the 3d warmest July on record. It’s official. under “Other phenomena”

    “Canberra Airport recorded an average of 6.2 hours of bright sunshine during July, above the historical average of 5.8 hours. The prevailing wind direction was northwesterly, with 61% of 3pm winds between NNW and WNW; 29% of 3pm winds were SSE-SSW, a larger proportion of southerly winds than normal for July”

    Details -

  14. Comment from: Debbie

    A hunch?
    It wasn’t right this time Gavin.
    May I also suggest that the ACT is neither the centre of the world or a basis as a thermometer for the world,
    July is just weather Gavin, ask Luke and Bazza.
    I lived in Canberra for a number of years. To be honest, a warmer July is a bonus in that often freezing cold place.

  15. Comment from: Gilbert

    For a full appreciation of Muller’s views, take in the podcast and discussions at the included links. Guaranteed to tickle your funny bone.

    The unapologetic physicist takes shots at colleague Michael Mann and Al Gore; offers unsupported assertions about debunked ‘Climategate’; calls for conservation and ‘clean fracking’; stands by charge that most Global Warming concerns are ‘exaggerated’…

    On Wednesday, Progressive Radio Network host/veteran green journalist Betsy Rosenberg and I were honored to interview, the one-time climate change skeptic Dr. Richard Muller, whose Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project — which was funded in part, ironically enough, by the notorious climate change deniers at the Charles G. Koch Foundation —

    Podcast here:

    Discussions here:

  16. Comment from: Another Ian



    Coldest run of temperatures in 36 years

    Updated July 09, 2012 09:49:14

    Canberra has experienced its coldest run of temperatures in 36 years, with the mercury dropping below zero for the seventh time in a row.

    The minimum temperatures have averaged minus five so far this month.

    Meteorologist Ryan White says the warmest night this July so far has been 0.7 degrees.

    “The last eight nights in a row we’ve had it pretty much at the minus five degree mark as an average, so it is quite incredible,” said Mr White.

    Today the mercury dropped to -4.8 degrees shortly before 7:00am AEDT. ”


  17. Comment from: Debbie

    Bet you can see snow in the ACT today Gavin. :-)
    Your ABC told us it snowed in Canberra yesterday.

  18. Comment from: Larry Fields


    Since it’s been a slow news week here at Jennifer’s blog, I hope that it’s OK for me to ask a stooopid question. Exactly which data did Anthony have access to? The ‘Hitler’ video suggests that it was the raw data. Is the video’s claim reasonably accurate? If so, did GISS or NOAA finally disgorge the raw data from each INDIVIDUAL temperature station in the contiguous USA? Or was it averaged raw data?

    Steve Goddard says that John Daly saved the publicly available raw data in 1999, before Hansen got his grubby paws on it in 2000. Was Anthony using Daly’s 20th Century data?

    Here’s another possibility that crossed my mind. There were multiple levels of ‘adjustments’, not just TOB. Anthony may have been able to peel away the outermost onion layer. If that’s the case, then Anthony’s claim of the two-fold temperature increase artefact may have been understated.

    Sorry, I have not been following this stuff as closely as I should. There are data, and then there are data. Can someone clarify this for me?

  19. Comment from: Debbie

    Good question Larry!
    That’s right at the heart of the dilemna.
    The credibility of the data and the use of the data.
    I hope someone here can answer that question.

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