NASA, GISS, 1934, 1998, etc.

11 August 2007

This past week, Steve McIntyre wrote an email to NASA pointing out a jump in their U.S. GISS data from 1999 to 2000. The NASA researchers looked into it, discovered a faulty assumption in their analysis, corrected their error, and sent a letter thanking McIntyre. In the old data set, 1998 and 1934 were in a dead-heat for the title of "warmest year on record in the United States," with 1998 being 0.01ºC warmer. However, in the corrected data, it turns out that 1934 is 0.02ºC warmer. Mind you, this is only for the continental United States temperatures, not those of the entire world (1998 is still hotter on a world-wide scale).

First, let's take a look at the old NASA data:

Now let's look at the new data:

Shocking! But of course, you can always rely on the same old standbys to highlight this finding in big, bold letters in an attempt to further the idea among the misinformed that climate science as a whole is too inexact to inform any public policy decisions whatsoever.

First off, we have a FOX News alert from Steven Milloy:
Junk Science: New Science Challenges Climate Alarmists?

"climate alarmist-friendly media...manmade global warming embarrassing temperature error rained on their parade...existing climate models are so prone to price-hiking and economy-harming laws and regulations...NASA’s alarmist-in-chief James Hansen...fiction...climate alarmists...even wrong on the matter of 1998 being the warmest year on record...1934 is the new warmest year...embarrassing setback for alarmists... alarmists... clamping down on CO2 emissions from SUVs may do absolutely nothing... the climate-worry bubble... ominous weather reports"

Next, we have a report from the Wall Street Journal's college dropout James Taranto.
"it turns out that there was a Y2K bug--and it contributed to global warming hype... The one Y2K bug that happened to slip through was the one that contributed to another alarmist narrative. But when you think about it, it makes sense. NASA's faulty findings didn't look faulty to global warmists, who saw exactly what they were expecting to see."

Finally, we can always count on college dropout Rush Limbaugh:
"The thing to remember is that 1998 is not the warmest year on record. It forms one of the central theses about the current global warming hoax... " We have proof of man-made global warming. The man-made global warming is inside NASA. The man-made global warming is in the scientific community with false data... I don't know if they intend to correct it or not. I doubt you'll hear anything about this, other than this program... We're nowhere near as hot as we have been 75, 71 years ago. Nowhere near as hot..." So it is just more evidence, ladies and gentlemen, that this whole global warming thing is a scientific hoax..." In four or five years we'll have a majority of people understanding how phony and fraudulent this is... raise your taxes, control more of your life, reduce your lifestyle, all coming from the United Nations"

My favorite part of this particular response is how Limbaugh embellishes the facts and says "We're nowhere near as hot as we have been 75, 71 years ago," despite the fact that, in the continental United States, 1934 was only 0.02ºC warmer than 1998. Also, Limbaugh is possibly unaware that the present five-year average temperature is still warmer than it was back then, and that the worldwide 1998 temperatures on a whole are also warmer.

So once again, I'd like to recommend the Newsweek article The Truth About Denial.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin joins the party: "NASA quietly fixes flawed temperature data; 1998 was NOT the warmest year in the millenium"

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