Is Climate Data Collection Corrupted?

Who Are These Guys? We see on TV and read about experts. Often, University Experts. Then we hear whatever it is they pontificate about. But does anyone really know who these people are? Does anyone really scrutinize their work or do we just accept that they did things properly and correctly? Does anyone look to see if there is fraud? Typically, that sort of fact checking is done by other scholars. But, if there is a dissenting voice, will the media give that voice any credence or airtime? Often researchers have students do the dirty work for them…collect the data. There have been a couple of famous historians who were nailed for plagiarism when it was found that work done by others showed up in their books. The two historians I am thinking of got off the hook by claiming the work was done by graduate students on their behalf and the items inadvertantly got into their published work without citation. So…just exactly who is collecting the data for these big global warming studies? Do you really think that the person who writes the analysis and gets credit for the work is actually doing the collecting?

Consider This Regarding Data Collection and Global Warming Statistics:

First off, read the following article from the Sydney World Herald that is about how in 1917 the movement of a weather station by a very short distance resulted in the skewing of data. The old site, which had been in use for a number of years was in a micro-meteorological environment that resulted in much cooler conditions than the new site. The result was a jump in temperatures. In 1972, because the data collection point was inconsistent, it was determined that the data collection point had to be disregarded when making climate studies.

Sydney World Herald-Hot Heads Cause Climate Change

Now, in spite of the fact that the inconsistency of the data made it no good for usage in long term climate studies, Anthony Watts claims that noted “global warming expert”, Dr. James Hanson used the data when making one of his surveys. Hanson has been sounding alarms and been quite popular on Capital Hill and in the press. Watts even provides a graph that he says Hanson presented for Sydney that uses the corrupted data.

Here is Dr. Hanson’s site that provides a whole lot of stuff on him including his recent papers and presentations and even provides his email address. Here is an article that is critical of Hanson for his recent call to Congress that oil company executives should be tried for crimes against humanity which is interesting because I bet Dr. Hanson didn’t ride a bike to the halls of Congress.

Okay, let’s assume that Dr. Hanson and others have indeed used Sydney. So, using one data point that is corrupt will not alter significantly global findings. But, it raises the question about the quality of data collection. I mean, if it is bad at one place, what about others? Could it be that there are a bunch of bad data sets that may corrupt climate studies? Well, I know potentially of one more and it’s right here in Louisville.

We were told that the official site for Louisville was the National Weather Service office, which is staffed 24 hours by professional meteorologists. Well, a few years ago it was determined that NWS guidelines required that all official collection sites be ASOS sites, or automated and the NWS office is not automated; they use real humans who are trained professionals. So, the official site got moved a few miles away to the airport where there is an ASOS and the observers are in the control tower who have other duties besides weather collection. Though not as dramatic as Sydney, the data collected can be quite different between the sites. Here is an example from June 2008.



The airport is influenced by lots of concrete and the aircraft engines and heat and such. Officially Louisville was 4.3 degrees warmer than the 30 year average this year. Alarming! But, at the NWS office, Louisville was less than one degree warmer than the 30 year average. in 2004, this would not be startling because the official high would have been less than a degree but today it may sound alarm bells in the global warming community and the reason is only because they moved the site.

Other examples can be found in the recent past. August 2007 was considered to be the hottest of all time in Louisville by a wide margin. Had they used the data at the NWS, like had been done for something close to the past 30 years, then it would have been the 6th warmest. (Climate records) The average temperature in Louisville officially was 8 degrees above average…had this occurred in 2004, Louisville it would have been only 4 degrees warmer than average. The only difference? They moved the site.

I suspect that it will be very difficult for Louisville to break any record lows but will consistently break records for highs simply because the data being collected today is from a site not consistent with previous collection points. The averages that they are comparing today’s collection with were largely made at the National Weather Service.

So…now we have Sydney Australia and Louisville KY as examples of corrupted data points. I had always thought that researchers are pretty thorough and they would know to be consistent and careful with their data collection. However, if Hanson was using Sydney, who is using the new Louisville records. And how many researchers take into account the effects of urbanization? In Houston, the official data collection was moved from Hobby Airport(HOU) to the then new Intercontinental Airport(IAH). Hobby is closer to the ocean and is way warmer than the 25 miles farther north IAH. That made IAH cooler, especially at night. At that time, there was nothing but fields around IAH…now there is all sorts of development around it. how has this altered the data? Are these changes taken into account? I don’t know but Anthony Watts says we have at least one example in which a noted scientist used bad data.

Sites have been moved and surroundings have changed. The question is how many of these sites are there and how many have been used in climate studies? How much data is used when it supports one agenda or another and how much is discarded?

As I had asked before…what is the matter with honesty in reporting and in research. It’s hard to know who to believe these days.  Here’s a related post featuring an admission by the IPCC their data has no quality control.


4 Responses

  1. like many of my religious and right winged friends and sadly family members, you are trying hard to ignore the big picture in the hope that all the climate change data is erroneous and none of this is happening……….the most religious just say its “God’s will”, the non religious dismiss it all as just Nature repeating a cycle. I wish I could just ignore it all, but I am afraid I have seen too much destruction up close to believe all the scientists and semi scientists and doom sayers are wrong. The environment we depend on is in deep shit and it is going downhill fast. If you cant see it, you are living in a happy dream world and listen to idiots and corporate Whores like Rush! just proving one or twenty scientists are using erroneous data does not change the fact that Glacier National park is no longer full of glaciers, that Mt Killamanjaro is practially devoid of snow and the glacier that feeds the Ganges is shrinking at an alarming rate.

  2. thank you for the response. However, you have jumped to conclusions. First off, I do not think that there is a question that temperatures are warming. The question is whether or not it is anthropogenic and if there is really anything pragmatically that can or should be done to try and alter any trend.

    As I have pointed out in other responses…calling people names tends to cause one to diminish credibility. All I am doing is quetioning yet…I get called names. I am looking for truth and honesty. In the case of the melting ice caps, I was chastising a reporter for altering the facts. In this case I am questioning on whether or not there is accuracy. Are you all for truth and complete facts or are you supporting an idea that we bury our heads and accept something less than honest. If you notice in my local example, it would be that this past month, it was warmer than average, just not as extreme as one site might suggest.

    Please read the diaries of John Muir. In it he talks of the vanishing glaiciers of the Sierra-Nevadas. He notes the rapid melting. He said they would be gone by the turn of the century. He was right. In 1870 the glaciers were melting rapidly and they were largely gone by 1900. He said it was due to rapidly warming earth temperatures. This time frame is well before anyone has suggested the industrial revolution as a culprit. Mr. Muir seems to suggest that glacier melting was happening well before Mr. Gore. Whom are you to believe? One man is the founder of the Sierra Club. The other is a politician who has earned over $100 million by trumpeting Global Warming and whose future earnings depend on that mania to continue.

    All I am asking for is honesty. You have likened me to Rush Limbaugh and others have said I am beholden to the Global Warming enthusiasts. Interesting how someone advocating truth can get attacked from both sides.

  3. Candacelange, I encourage you to look at the natural life cycle of our beautiful earth. I encourage you to investigate why the last ice age occured, the ice age that brought to us the beautiful ice caps. I encourage you to research what happened to the all the ice that was frozen during this ice age (where did it go). Also i believe you should look into how long it took the ice to melt during the first, second, and third ice age (our ice now is from the fourth ice age on earth) and how far are we from our last ice age. The earth you know is changing, because that is what our earth does. Investigate the carbon cycle, and you will come to find out what happens to the green house gases, why they are important and what our earth does to void out these gases when needed. Research what a catalyst due to heat is and maybe than you can understand more about how our wonderful earth works. WE ARE NOT CAUSING A GLOBAL WARMING!! Because we simply are not able to attack our atmosphere with carbon, its physically impossible and a good chemistry lesson is sure to prove that to you.

  4. Not sure why you are preaching to me. Methinks you are barking up the wrong tree but thanks for contributing.

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