NOAA’s Jan-Jun 2010 Warmest Ever: Missing Data, False Impressions

From Alan at Appinsys, who emails that he was inspired by this story on WUWT: A spot check on NOAA’s “hottest so far” presser

“NOAA: June, April to June, and Year-to-Date Global Temperatures are Warmest on Record”

The following figure from NOAA shows the temperature anomaly of January – June 2010 compared to the 1971-2000 base period for 5×5 degree grids [http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100715_globalstats.html]

The problem with the above map: data quality and data manipulation.

The following sections provide some spot checks on the areas of the world exhibiting the most warming according to NOAA. The gridded historical data graphs shown in these sections are from the Hadley CRUTEM3 database for January – June. (CRUTEM3 uses a 1961-1990 base period whereas the NOAA data above is for a 1971-2000 base period. This simply shifts the anomalies on the vertical scale, but does not affect the relative trends.)

It is clear from the following sections that NOAA performs manipulations to create false impressions from the data, including assigning temperature increases were there is zero data.

Spot Check – Northern Africa

It is apparently much hotter than usual in the Sahara. But where is the data? Several of the 5×5 degree grids have zero stations (indicated by the black arrows). Many of the others have one station with very limited historical data. There seems to be an inverse correlation between the number of stations and warming – more stations in a 5×5 degree grid and less warming is observed.

The map figure above shows the location of stations in the NOAA GHCN database (blue G or green B icons) and the red 5×5 icon indicates whether data exists in the Hadley CRUTEM3 database – a 5×5 degree gridded database used by IPCC (plotted at http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climate.aspx). The grid lines are 5×5 degree grids.

In many of the 5×5 degree grids showing 4 degrees warming according to the NOAA map, there are only one or two stations. The figure below shows some of the “hot-spots” in the NOAA map displaying January – June average temperature anomaly from the Hadley CRUTEM3 database for 1900 – 2009. In no cases is the warming close to what NOAA indicates.

There is a severe problem with lack of historical data in Africa as well as lack of coverage and gaps in the data. NOAA’s algorithms spread the low quality data across areas that have no data as well as showing warming that isn’t really there.

One must really question the NOAA data when even the areas with many stations seem misrepresented. The following figure shows the area of eastern Turkey which has many stations and shows no warming in Jan-Jun through 2009, but suddenly according to NOAA has 4 degrees in 2010.

Spot Check – Greenland

It is apparently much hotter than usual in Greenland. But where is the data? Most of the 5×5 degree grids have zero stations (only some of which are indicated by the black arrows). Most of the grids with data have one station. The two hottest spots on the NOAA Greenland area show 5 degrees warming and have no data.

Some of the Greenland stations have long-term data. The figure below shows some of the “hot-spots” (that actually have data) in the NOAA map displaying January – June average temperature anomaly from the Hadley CRUTEM3 database for 1900 – 2009.

Spot Check – Canada

It is apparently much hotter than usual in Greenland. But where is the data? Most of the 5×5 degree grids have zero stations (only some of which are indicated by the black arrows). Most of the grids with data

Historical Context

Many parts of the world do not have data for the first half of the 20th century. Without this historical context it is easy to create misleading impressions.

Northern Africa: A lack of historical context. The warming of 1 – 2 degrees since the base period is without historical perspective. This lack of history gives the false impression that the warming is significant.

Greenland: The historical context shows that warming and cooling by several degrees is not without precedent. Recent warming is less than the 1930s. The statement of warming since the 1980s gives the false impression that this is unprecedented.

Canada: Many stations in northern Canada are no longer maintained in the GHCN or CRUTEM3 databases. Warming has been 4 degrees over the last 40 years according to NOAA. The historical context shows similar warming in the 1930s (graph shown previously).

Recent warming in Canada correlates to the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The following figure compares the Jan-June temperature graph shown previously for northern Canada with the multivariate ENSO index (from http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/).


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118 thoughts on “NOAA’s Jan-Jun 2010 Warmest Ever: Missing Data, False Impressions

  1. All I can do is shake my head and wonder when NOAA and NASA get their act together and give us a true representation of surface temperature. If they were a private companies they would be out of business by now.

  2. Wow…I’m speechless. Excellent and timely analysis.

    The only thing I’d like to see are some trend lines with the actual slope. I’ve learned that ‘eye-balling’ it, I’m often incorrect by .5C or more…which is significant considering the small numbers CAGW is concerned about.

  3. I wonder what that map would look like if they used all record cold temperatures?

  4. So it seems that the largest red spots — and therefore the highest anomalies — ONLY appear where there is actually no data. What an interesting correlation!

  5. They continue their propaganda-campain, and we are told to be polite.

    Sometimes I feel we behave like Chamberlain in 1939.

    Luckily we have Monckton. He is our Churchill.

  6. Very informative, astonishing but not surprising. Is there no recourse through the US legal system for a public funded organisation publishing such misleading information? If similar disinformation came from the pharmaceutical or cosmetics industries legal action would certainly follow.

  7. After the whitewash of the CRU scandal did anyone really expect NOAA not to fudge their latest data? If no one else in authority in the climate-pseudo-science field will hold climate researchers accountable and apply rigorous and ethical scientific standards to their work, why should the researchers themselves?

  8. Then they wonder why visitors to WUWT and other sceptical sites simply don’t have any confidence in their published ‘data’. They call this lack of confidence denial. Badly placed thermometers and non-existant ‘red dot’ data – what do they expect us to say. This is sad for science.

  9. Couldn’t somebody reconstruct the big picture with dots only where real and comparable data are? This should give an impression about how reliable the conclusions are.

  10. The two hottest spots on the NOAA Greenland area show 5 degrees warming and have no data.

    What the!

    I’ve posted this video a couple of times. But for those who’ve missed it here’s Joseph D’Aleo talking about the dropped stations:

    3:08 minute video

  11. Yeah, i also noticed the deceptive qualities of showing thousands of dots as if each one would correspond to a data point. But i think it’s a good PR technique; it did go down well with the public and the news was successfully deployed worldwide. It arrived in German news articles the same day as at the BBC so it was pumped through AP and Reuters very quickly. Very good marketing. If i were a multinational corporation, i’d ask NOAA for the details of their PR agency. They’re good.

  12. Dr T G Watkins says:
    July 17, 2010 at 12:49 pm
    If similar disinformation came from the pharmaceutical or cosmetics industries legal action would certainly follow.
    —–
    So true! Execs aided by accountants go to jail for this kind of nonsense.

  13. MichaelM (12:31pm) re: Linear Trends
    Although I added the capability to plot linear trends on the graphs created via the map interface (at http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climate.aspx) I do not like the use of linear trends in non-linear data. The trend is too dependent on the choice of start point. Many times they are shown without confidence intervals, which can make them misleading.
    See: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/LinearTrends.htm for examples of why linear trends are often not appropriate.

  14. What scares me is that, in the name of getting rid of pollution, so many out there go along with this stuff – nay – support this stuff, in the full knowledge that it is a lie. Yet they will stick by it, vote for those peddling it, and argue against those who “deny” it, because they want to stop pollution…

    When did lies like this ever work before? Nope, not never…

    My Brother is a PHD Scientist, thinks the AGW science is unsupportable, but complies exactly with my comments. I just don’t know what to do with him any more!

  15. A regular grid overlaying a Mercator projection dosn’t make much sense to start with. Since this would imply more data points the greater the latitude. Just as well the temperature data isn’t continued to the poles.

  16. To the author of the post. Your analysis on Canada is missing! This is what I see…

    “Spot Check – Canada

    It is apparently much hotter than usual in Greenland. But where is the data? Most of the 5×5 degree grids have zero stations (only some of which are indicated by the black arrows). Most of the grids with data”

    Somehow you repasted Greenland analysis twice, instead of Canada. Hope you fixed soon.

    REPLY: I’ll fix. The HTML at Appinsys is a train wreck, which is what you get when you author web pages in Microsoft Word. I spent over an hour trying to fix it, having to manually replace images, so not surprising there’s a mistake -Anthony

  17. Now I understand how they are going to pull off the “new record high for the globe” predicted by Hansen for (about now?) before the heavy frosts settle in. The more the trends point to a few decades of cooling the more hysterical the blistering earth crowd is becoming.,

  18. I wonder if they even bothered to use any data at all. Wouldn’t it be much cheaper to just tell your marketing bunny your idea about the message you want to convey with your PR campaign and leave the rest to him and just okay one design that fits the bill?

    Doing it differently would be waste of taxpayers money.

    And this one’s also very funny: Go to NOAA’s original PR campaign site as linked by Alan:

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100715_globalstats.html

    and look for
    “Polar Sea Ice and Precipitation Highlights”

    When skeptics list stuff like that they’re immediately accused of cherry-picking; NOAA tells you the “Highlights” of Global Warming with a straight face.

  19. Cooking the books, eh, NOAA? Gosh, why am I not surprised! (These folks torture numbers in ways that simply aren’t acceptable in the real world.)

  20. Jimbo says:
    July 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    The misrepresentation appears deliberate, consistent, and fully intended.
    I’d say that’s reasonable cause for action.
    The opposing candidates in the upcoming elections should make it an issue.
    In fact, I would like to see the House & Senate GOP fling it out there for America to see.
    60% of Americans already suspect that the climate reports are being falsified.
    For several months I have watched as S. America, Australia and Africa have been below normal, yet NOAA has painted the Southern Hemisphere red. China has been cooler for most of the year.

  21. DirkH says:
    July 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    No, it’s not that they didn’t bother using data, it’s that they borrowed a page from GISS.
    I’ll give a go at image editing to remove the offending +5C red dots that should be white (no data).

  22. Robert says:
    July 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm
    “North Eastern Canada, and Canada as a whole has experienced the warmest winter on record. According to David Phillips Canada’s leading Climatologist. ”

    Oh i know what comes next. Somebody from Edmonton protests.

  23. rbateman says:
    July 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    No, it’s not that they didn’t bother using data, it’s that they borrowed a page from GISS.

    Who’s borrowing a page from who:

    Joseph D’Aleo on NOAA’s divergence from the real world, which NASA/GISS (James Hansen) uses:

    1:51 minute video

  24. Someone who has been there says:
    July 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm
    I wonder what that map would look like if they used all record cold temperatures?
    ===========================================================

    Me too
    Is that something that someone has done?
    I would like to see that.

  25. And after this seeming destruction of the credibility of one data source, how do you explain the fact that the satellite record, which has no such gaps, is in agreement with this data?

  26. Alan, wonderful analysis and great detective work. I guess I’d better keep my co-op station going, lest Colorado become a missing point and develop a huge red spot!
    Perhaps Jefferson somehow foresaw what NOAA, GISS, and CRU would be up to 230 years later when he wrote,
    “It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia
    Hence, government funding.

  27. sphaerica says:
    July 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Far as I know, the satellite data is not the ground data, but refers to the upper atmosphere.
    Remember the basic tenet of AGW, that the opposite effect is supposed to occur in the upper atmosphere as the Earth warms?
    But, now that you mention it, NOAA borrows from Mann, who spliced tree ring data onto temperature data… and hid the fact.

  28. Sounds like they should have used a different methodology for identifying data quality. In any case, there are over 1800 data points on the graph with less than 50 identified as suspect in this essay. This suggests more than 97% of the data is correct.

  29. Billy Liar says:
    July 17, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    Frankly, m’dear: Your link is broken – 403 error forbidden.

    Oops. Sorry. Thanks for pointing it out. This one should work. (It’s just a minor joke, but one I found appropriate to this discussion — or to any discussion involving climatologists.)

  30. Compilations are always difficult unless you know, or somehow show, how good (reliable and meaningful) the data is. When the Alberta Geological Survey began getting into GIS (I called them geologic information systems, not geographic, since the maps and data bases held geological data in a spacial context.) we believed we needed to deal with the situation. The last thing we wanted someone to do was draw conclusions related to scale that the underlying data could not support. Being compilations we added an index inset to the map legend that displayed the scale of the original data we were compiling.

    To publish a map, such as temperature or any other anomalies without a clear indication of the voracity of the underlying data, is unprofessional to say the least. If one is interpolating into some “cells” and not others and not showing that and its associated statistical error, it is devious at best and unethical at worst.

    This is then simply propaganda and not science. If professional geologists and engineers did a geostatistical analysis of an ore body like this we would be drummed out of the profession. That is if we didn’t have the brains to resign on our own.

  31. gerry says:
    July 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm
    “[...]identified as suspect in this essay. This suggests more than 97% of the data is correct.”

    Did i tell you about this marvelous bridge that looks just like what you’re looking for?

  32. Red spots in Central Europe are twice as fat as they should be. June was a bit over 1 deg C against coldish normal 1951-1980. 2 deg C against 1971-2000 is pure imagination.

  33. How do they test the validity of the infilling?

    Do they have test cells, where they specifically leave out the data, run the computations get the results and then compare them with the actual data from the cell?

  34. Experience tells me that it is prudent to take the big issues of this life to a higher authority. My highest authority, through 30+ years of marriage, is she that is known as HRH.

    I diligently presented the juxtaposition that is our year to date heating bills and the “this is the hottest year on record” press release.

    Whoa dude, I am still riding the wave, I have never heard a “civil” servant use such language before! I fear that I may have lost all future control of thermostat. Make ready my dear Chris Buffoon for it would appear that your policies have just launched a very serious woman on a major CO2 production mission!

    Good luck Chris, because it isn’t looking good from here.

    Whereas I am starting to get a nice warm slipper feeling, the type of feeling that you get from the aroma of freshly ground coffee on a cooling planet.

  35. IPCC = Inaccurately Produced Climate Claptrap

    NOAA = Notoriously Overestimates Actual Anomalies

    NSIDC = No Sensors Indicate Decadal Cooling

  36. Isn’t this a bit pre-mature considering the Model Verifiers haven’t yet shown the models can be replicated proving there’s nothing wrong with the surface station data?

  37. Yup, there’s no warming. NOAA is part of the a big socialist conspiracy. Or there is warming, but it’s completely natural. Take your pick!

    /sarc

  38. I don’t like their visually misleading technique of using larger dots for larger anomalies. It gives the impression that large anomalies cover larger area than the smaller ones do.

  39. July 17th, Northern Hemisphere. When Solar Insolation driving meets the apex of average temperatures.
    This varies from place to place, but 1 month after Solstice this is the time when the N. Hemisphere is at it’s warmest.
    NOAA’s big red paint-by-numbers is released just a day before.
    Coincidence, or timed for maximum effect?
    They have been found repeatedly this past spring to have been fudging averages in places where millions experience exactly the opposite of what was claimed.
    A leopard can’t change it’s spots, but a certain lizard can.
    It is 101 today where I live.
    My max pre-UHI temp for this date is 107 in 1925, and 110 in 1984 after they paved the streets.
    Nothing going on here as regards to record warmth, and nowhere within 200 miles shows any different.
    Redding, CA, the hotspot of the Sacramento Valley bar none, saw it’s first 100 degree day last week.
    A full month, and then some, behind schedule. Sacramento and Bay Area ditto.
    Los Angeles has unusually cold fog inland this summer.
    NOAA is full of it.
    I mean really full of it.

  40. Mark says:
    July 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    A regular grid overlaying a Mercator projection dosn’t make much sense to start with. Since this would imply more data points the greater the latitude. Just as well the temperature data isn’t continued to the poles.

    Your point is valid, but it’s not a Mercator projection!

    Do a Google search for “werme mercator” (leave off the quotes) for details like in

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/20/polar-albedo-feedback/#comment-65276

  41. Yup, there’s no warming. NOAA is part of the a big socialist conspiracy. Or there is warming, but it’s completely natural. Take your pick!

    Why the /sarc tag?

    My pick is “completely natural”.

    What’s yours?

    (BTW I would use “eco-activist” rather than “socialist”. And I would use “group think” not “conspiracy”. But that’s quibbles.)

  42. rbateman says:
    July 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    DirkH says:
    July 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    No, it’s not that they didn’t bother using data, it’s that they borrowed a page from GISS.
    I’ll give a go at image editing to remove the offending +5C red dots that should be white (no data).
    _________________________________________________
    Thank you from us older folks on ancient computers who are “computer challenged”
    (Mommy, I want my slide rule…)

  43. Check the base period. The most frequently used base period starts in 1979 because they tell us that is when satellite coverage started (still can’t figure out why they stop at 2000). Now they include 8 more years of a cooler period, 1971-1978.
    For what reason? Obviously to cool down the base in order to show more warming.
    Nice try fellas!

  44. DirkH says:
    July 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Very good marketing. If i were a multinational corporation, i’d ask NOAA for the details of their PR agency. They’re good.

    “The better, the worse.”

  45. sphaerica says:
    July 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    And after this seeming destruction of the credibility of one data source, how do you explain the fact that the satellite record, which has no such gaps, is in agreement with this data?
    _________________________________________
    First the issue is whether or not NOAA is putting out propaganda out data. The satellite record has nothing to do with whether someone is fudging the data. If a lab tech puts results on a Certificate of Analysis without testing the product, does it matter if he guessed the right answer? Or do you fire him for falsifying data?

  46. Why is this article citing January – June 2009 figures when the NOAA chart is for June 2010? Doesn’t exactly seem like a valid comparison to me.

  47. sorry i have to comment on this:

    “gerry says:
    July 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm
    Sounds like they should have used a different methodology for identifying data quality. In any case, there are over 1800 data points on the graph with less than 50 identified as suspect in this essay. This suggests more than 97% of the data is correct.”

    If you make a 3% mistake, and then a 2% mistake, and a 6% mistake, and adjust UHI in the wrong direction, and weight land more than water…. and and and….

    if the errors are all in the same direction, they add up.

  48. gerry says:
    July 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Sounds like they should have used a different methodology for identifying data quality. In any case, there are over 1800 data points on the graph with less than 50 identified as suspect in this essay. This suggests more than 97% of the data is correct.
    __________________________________________________________-
    Not hardly. New Zealanders are throwing a hissy fit because they found out their data has been “value added” to create warming trends where none exist. Willis looked at the Darwin Data and found the same problem in Australia. Anthony’s Surface Station Project has found only 10% of the US weather stations meet specification so far and reports from readers in the EU and else where show similar siting problems.

    And that does not include the Russians accusing the Climatologists of messing with their data. Russian IEA claims CRU tampered with climate data – cherrypicked warmest stations Remember the raw data sets used by CRU and NOAA are pretty much the same.

    If we had honest politicians they would investigate and defund the temperature collecting departments at NOAA and NASA-GISS not to mention tossing a few people in jail for willfully wasting tax payer money.

    The Surface Station Project Findings alone should have meant firings of those responsible for the mess.

  49. Pathetic. There are poor families who are struggling to survive, and these greedy SOB’s rip apart our economy, and thus peoples lives….. Fore FAKE Data??? FAKE Data?!?!

    And then when we want to speak out, the shut us down, and drown us out. We need to do something about this before the slowly drain the juice out fo our lives.

  50. Can anyone show that the NOAA figures are actually wrong? I haven’t seen any evidence of this so far. We all know that it’s easier to get a 4C anomaly for a single month than for a 6-month period, and the anomaly for Jan-Jun 2009 for a particular location doesn’t seem to have any bearing at all on the anomaly for June 2010. Why should it? Is the author arguing that it couldn’t possibly have been 4C above average in the Sahara last month just because it wasn’t 4C above average in the same place in Jan-Jun 2009? Doesn’t seem to me to hold water.

  51. I notice that there were no ‘spot checks’ for the eastern US. I’ve been hearing a lot about how hot it’s been there. Is anyone arguing that June 2010 *wasn’t* several degrees warmer than average in the eastern US?

  52. Tom T – shrewd observation. NOAA uses two-dimensional images to represent one-dimensional data. Not only are there anomalies without data, but the anomalies are squared. Edward Tufte (The Visual Display of Quantitative Information) would be proud of you.

  53. rbateman says:
    July 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm
    NOAA is full of it.
    I mean really full of it.

    ============================

    But Rob, I thought NOAA….

    “understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.”

  54. I think that NOAA should be trying, to the best of its ability, to be AGW issue-neutral. If they want broad-based public trust in the information they provide, I think it might be best if they did not any attempt long-term comparative analyses of the data they are measuring, but left that task to other organizations that are completely divorced from the data collection and initial presentation process.

  55. You mean they lied? What? How can this be? Well, how much of the missing data fall within the 1200 km radius? Excellent post!

    Just got back and haven’t had time to read all the posts, but, if it hasn’t been said yet…….

    One paragraph starts…..
    Spot Check – Greenland
    It is apparently much hotter than usual in Greenland. But where is the data?

    The next area discussed says……

    Spot Check – Canada
    It is apparently much hotter than usual in Greenland. But where is the data?

    It’s probably late in the game to correct, but it probably still should be. Ya never know when someone may use this post as a reference! I know I will!

  56. I notice that there were no ‘spot checks’ for the eastern US. I’ve been hearing a lot about how hot it’s been there. Is anyone arguing that June 2010 *wasn’t* several degrees warmer than average in the eastern US?

    I’ll spot check my country. The map shows the South Island of New Zealand as above average to average. NIWA, not notorious for understating temperature, says average to below average.

    The map shows the North Island at +1°C verging onto +2, but NIWA says not quite so hot. More like 0.5°C.

    http://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/publications/all/cs/monthly/climate-summary-for-june-2010

    Two possible conclusions, neither of which reflect well on NOAA.

    1)NOAA’s map is s**t. Quite possible IMO.
    or
    2) NIWA use a higher baseline for normal. If this is true, then NOAA’s “normal” is an arbitrary standard that even NZ’s – notoriously warmist – institute doesn’t use.

  57. http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1981/1981_Hansen_etal.pdf

    There seems to be some study understanding the gaps between temperature stations.

    History
    The basic GISS temperature analysis scheme was defined in the late 1970s by James Hansen when a method of estimating global temperature change was needed for comparison with one-dimensional global climate models. Prior temperature analyses, most notably those of Murray Mitchell, covered only 20-90°N latitudes. Our rationale was that the number of Southern Hemisphere stations was sufficient for a meaningful estimate of global temperature change, because temperature anomalies and trends are highly correlated over substantial geographical distances. Our first published results (Hansen et al. 1981) showed that, contrary to impressions from northern latitudes, global cooling after 1940 was small, and there was net global warming of about 0.4°C between the 1880s and 1970s.
    ###########################################################
    The analysis method was documented in Hansen and Lebedeff (1987), showing that the correlation of temperature change was reasonably strong for stations separated by up to 1200 km, especially at middle and high latitudes.
    ############################################################
    They obtained quantitative estimates of the error in annual and 5-year mean temperature change by sampling at station locations a spatially complete data set of a long run of a global climate model, which was shown to have realistic spatial and temporal variability.

  58. Phil says:
    @Peter Ward says: “So it seems that the largest red spots — and therefore the highest anomalies — ONLY appear where there is actually no data. What an interesting correlation!”

    May be the same thing that was covered here: http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/is-the-null-default-infinite-hot/

    FWIW, I do suspect there is some kind of bleed through of that bias to hot on the anomaly map calculation with reduction in station counts. I’ve just been too busy on other things to try and sort it out. I’m also using an older release of GIStemp so I’d need to find out of the newer version includes the map drawing software (the older release did not – so I could do nothing on the graphs).

    My suspicion is that the bug that caused the all red maps was an artifact of a math process being done on ‘no data’ giving the 9999 ‘missing data flag’ but that the use of it in calculations was not being adequately suppressed. The ‘average temperature’ number in the upper corner of the maps showed the 9999 was being used in that calculation, at a minimum. That empty grids are showing up with high values (but moderated by averaging with neighbor cells) would fit that pattern too.

    Basically, since there is no formal QA suite published (nor used, as far as I can tell from the code base) the whole package can’t be trusted for any important use.

  59. I would like to propose that we name these red dots without data UFO’s: Ultrared Fabricated Orbs

  60. Mooloo said:

    I’ll spot check my country. The map shows the South Island of New Zealand as above average to average. NIWA, not notorious for understating temperature, says average to below average. The map shows the North Island at +1°C verging onto +2, but NIWA says not quite so hot. More like 0.5°C.

    Looks to me like you’re misreading the NOAA chart. None of the dots in or around New Zealand even approach 1°C, let alone 2°C. Check it out for yourself.

  61. Icarus says:

    Looks to me like you’re misreading the NOAA chart. None of the dots in or around New Zealand even approach 1°C, let alone 2°C. Check it out for yourself.

    OK. I’ve looked at that map, and the only spot in NZ that shows as 0 is over Stewart Island to the south. Christchurch is shown as +1°C and Whakatane as +2°C. Many spots just off the coast including all those on a line north of Whakatane are at +2°C. Most of the south Island appear to be close to +1°C and most of the North Island appear to be between +1°C and +2°C.

    This is always a problem with this type of chart. The eye percieves red as bigger than it actually is and blue as smaller, so unless the chart is in high definition, and a set of dividers is available to measure the size of each dot, then appearances are what counts.

  62. Interestingly, the more remote the area, the fatter the red dots. It would be interesting to compare a satellte colour chart with the NOAA chart.

    One might find that the NOAA remote area temps are indeed quite inflated.

  63. savethesharks says:
    July 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    At this point, NOAA understands how to present itself as an example of sloppy work.
    They missed the cool anomaly in Calif. by 9 degrees F.

  64. Go easy on NOAA folks. They know that climate is complex and requires numerous mathematical tricks to make it understandable.
    i don’t find it surprising that they’ve used imaginary numbers:)

  65. Once again why is a 30 year average used for the baseline? Naturally it’s going to skew the data just like it will 30 years from now when the earth will begin to cool at an alarming rate because the previous 30 years were warmer than the previous 30 year period before that. Folks this is all about getting research money from the government. 30 years from now scientists will be trying to get research money to figure out why the temperatures have become dramatically cooler than the previous 30 year period.

  66. Once again why is a 30 year average used for the baseline?

    If you want to know whether or how the climate is changing, you have to plot anomalies – i.e. the amount and sign of change (in this case, of temperature). In order to do that you have to have a baseline to compare the current figures against. It doesn’t actually matter what baseline you choose – you’ll still see the trend (i.e. whether it’s rising, steady or falling) whatever you choose as a baseline. The choice of baseline doesn’t ‘skew’ the data at all. It’s arbitrary.

  67. Christchurch is shown as +1°C and Whakatane as +2°C. Many spots just off the coast including all those on a line north of Whakatane are at +2°C. Most of the south Island appear to be close to +1°C and most of the North Island appear to be between +1°C and +2°C.

    All of the red dots in and around New Zealand are clearly smaller than a 1°C dot – most of them substantially smaller. Anyone can see that. The nearest 2°C dot is somewhere around Tibet. Look again.

  68. The NOAH area averaging algorithm is statistically dreadful. There are large swaths with no records which are filled in by interpolation. Or a single station can cover 90,000 square miles. Plus there is no historical data for the oceans until very recently. Readings from ships hundreds of miles apart do not constitute a temperature station.

    This is well known in the field, but NOAH has always ignored the resulting uncertainties, which are huge. They used to report the global temperature in thousands of a degree, which I jumped on them for 15 year ago and they quit, or I think they did. My view is that it is not accurate to even a tenth of a degree, perhaps not to an entire degree. This easily explains why these surface statistical models (for that is all they are) do not agree with the satellite readings.

    However, there is no reasonable interpolation algorithm in this context that gives higher values on interpolation than are found in the actual data. There may be a Data Quality Act issue here. Someone should file a formal complaint.

  69. Icarus says:
    July 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm
    “[...]location doesn’t seem to have any bearing at all on the anomaly for June 2010. Why should it? Is the author arguing that it couldn’t possibly have been 4C above average in the Sahara last month just because it wasn’t 4C above average in the same place in Jan-Jun 2009? Doesn’t seem to me to hold water.”

    So you are defending inventing data where none was measured?

  70. Icarus says:{July 18, 2010 at 8:26 am}
    “If you want to know whether or how the climate is changing, you have to plot anomalies – i.e. the amount and sign of change (in this case, of temperature). In order to do that you have to have a baseline to compare the current figures against. It doesn’t actually matter what baseline you choose – you’ll still see the trend (i.e. whether it’s rising, steady or falling) whatever you choose as a baseline. The choice of baseline doesn’t ‘skew’ the data at all. It’s arbitrary.”

    However, in the first chart NOAA is not showing a trend it is showing a specific temperature anomaly against a particular base period. So it does matter in this case. It doesn’t matter if June 2010 is X number of degrees above or below an arbitrary base line. Change the base line and the June 2010 temp anomaly goes up or down accordingly.

  71. Dirk H: You rather evaded the issue there. How do Jan – Jun 2009 temperatures cast doubt on June 2010 temperatures?

    To answer your question though, temperature anomalies generally pertain over a large area, which is why some extrapolation and interpolation is justifiable. If you have a 1°C anomaly at two different stations 300 miles apart for June 2010, it’s unlikely that a point in between these two stations will have had a dramatically different anomaly for that month. This is a matter of observation, rather than ‘inventing’ data. Clearly there are many parts of the world where good weather records are closely spaced, so this observation would seem to be reliable. It makes sense if you think about it – heat waves or cold spells generally cover large areas, many hundreds of miles across, not just a few miles.

  72. Tom in Florida wrote:

    …in the first chart NOAA is not showing a trend it is showing a specific temperature anomaly against a particular base period. So it does matter in this case. It doesn’t matter if June 2010 is X number of degrees above or below an arbitrary base line. Change the base line and the June 2010 temp anomaly goes up or down accordingly.

    I take your point. However, they do have to measure the anomaly against *something*. What would you choose, and why?

  73. If you look at the map. What’s basically Louisiana (though obviously covers other styates, show what looks like either an increase of 3 or 4 degrees.

    Yet when you punch in Louisiana on NOAA’s climate at a glance. Since 1895 the trend has been a negative (-) .01F/decade. Looking at the region. Year to date is a whopping .04/decade. And this year is below the mean.

    Which math are they using?

  74. danbo wrote:

    If you look at the map. What’s basically Louisiana (though obviously covers other styates, show what looks like either an increase of 3 or 4 degrees.

    Yet when you punch in Louisiana on NOAA’s climate at a glance. Since 1895 the trend has been a negative (-) .01F/decade. Looking at the region. Year to date is a whopping .04/decade. And this year is below the mean.

    Which math are they using?

    The map doesn’t use 1895 as a baseline, it uses 1971 – 2000. That’s probably the mistake you’re making.

  75. Icarus says:
    July 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm
    “[...]anomaly for that month. This is a matter of observation, rather than ‘inventing’ data. Clearly there are many parts of the world where good weather records are closely spaced, so this observation would seem to be reliable. ”

    Bollocks. It’s Hansen pseudoscience.

  76. DirkH says:
    July 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm
    “Bollocks. It’s Hansen pseudoscience.”

    And i know i won’t convince you, Icarus, because you’re one of Hansen’s stooges, but let’s just show your fanastical thinking for what it is by mentioning the Bolivia Effect:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/ghcn-gistemp-interactions-the-bolivia-effect/

    just as a service for people who drop by accidentally and don’t know about what kind of magical fantastical mockery of science that Hansen does there with GISTEMP we’re talking.

  77. The mistake seems to be else where. The numbers for the last six months, (according to NOAA) a little more than a degree below normal. I guess climate didn’t exist before 1971. “Ever” only goes back to 1971.

  78. Icarus says:{July 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm}
    “I take your point. However, they do have to measure the anomaly against *something*. What would you choose, and why?”

    I certainly wouldn’t attempt to say any single month is X or Y degrees different than an arbitrary base line. I wouldn’t bother to report about calendar monthly anomalies at all. In fact I wouldn’t bother with global average temperatures at all either. I would accept the fact that climate changes and that adaptation is the best way to deal with it.

  79. I don’t suppose this map and the timeframe the “analysis” picks has anything to do with the next climate-junko-fest, which is coming up shortly, somewhere nice and warm (with the aircon tuned off) like Cancun?

    And anyone who states that it does not matter what baseline period you use for your anomaly calculation is a complete buffoon. Try taking the 1930s as your baseline and see what a difference that makes.

  80. All of the red dots in and around New Zealand are clearly smaller than a 1°C dot – most of them substantially smaller. Anyone can see that. The nearest 2°C dot is somewhere around Tibet. Look again.

    I looked again. Now, instead of thinking the map was wrong I just don’t know how to read it at all.

    I can’t tell what sized dot is used over the South Island of NZ. I had assumed that each dot size went up in 1°C units. Apparently not. Apparently we are meant to try and read the size of the dots off a non-linear scale at the bottom. Mental!

    Humans are shockingly poor at reading non-linear scales like this because people count by area of dots, not radius. So a dot twice as big looks four times as big. To use intermediate size dots on top is just crazy.

    I teach Maths. I would fail this graph if it was presented by a 14 year old. It is totally and utterly useless (except perhaps as a propaganda tool). It is both misleading at first impression and unable to be read accurately with closer inspection.

  81. Mooloo wrote:

    I teach Maths. I would fail this graph if it was presented by a 14 year old. It is totally and utterly useless (except perhaps as a propaganda tool). It is both misleading at first impression and unable to be read accurately with closer inspection.

    I wouldn’t say it’s *completely* useless. It was clear to me, for example, that the area around New Zealand saw less than 1°C anomaly and that there was a more than 3°C anomaly in much of central Asia. As an overall impression for the whole planet it’s not *that* bad.

    An alternative way to present the data which is used in more detailed reports (rather than ones intended for the popular media) is the kind of graph where the grid squares are colour-coded (different colours for each °C of warming/cooling). Those are probably better if you want to get a more precise figure for a particular area, but perhaps not so good if you want a quick overall impression of warming vs cooling.

    What kind of graph would you choose to give an at-a-glance impression of anomalies, given your expertise in this area?

  82. Tom in Florida wrote:

    In fact I wouldn’t bother with global average temperatures at all either. I would accept the fact that climate changes and that adaptation is the best way to deal with it.

    Well how would you know how to adapt if you didn’t know how (or even whether) it was changing?

  83. The honest way to present these grid estimates is with vertical bars. There is a fun book entitled “How to Lie with Statistics” that specifically address using misleading non-linear graphics like this. Written in the 1950′s, it is still in print, for obvious reasons.

    But the underlying fallacy is simply taking these rough estimates as in any way accurate. The complex area averaging method is full of well known problems, yet the estimates are taken as accurate by the advocates. They are not accurate. You cannot derive an accurate estimate of global atmospheric temperatures from the existing historical record. The data is simply not representative and no amount of extrapolation and interpolation can make it so.

  84. Icarus says:{July 19, 2010 at 4:42 am}
    “Well how would you know how to adapt if you didn’t know how (or even whether) it was changing?”

    Humans have already adapted to the wide variety of climates that exist on our planet. We live in cold, hot and everything in between. Keep in mind that annual temperature swings are greater than any proven, predicted or modeled change in “average world temperature”. For that matter, so are daily temperature swings. It doesn’t matter if the climate changes to warmer or colder. I can heat my house to 72 F in winter, and cool it to 72 F in summer if I so desire. We have the technology to handle it either way. The real issue is can we do it cleaner and more efficiently. Clean water and air are much more important than trying to manage a mythical average world temperature.

    There are three of scenarios we can do nothing about.
    First would be a large, rapid and unpredicted change in our Sun (very unlikely).
    Second would be a major hit by anything from space (very probable).
    Third would be the return of glaciation due to orbital parameters (will most likely happen).

    Will current plans for spending vast amounts of time, money and resources on climate change help us in any way prior to any of these three scenarios happening? NO.
    Will redirecting these vast amounts of time, money and resources to reducing real air and water pollution help us in any way prior to any of these three scenarios happening? YES.

    So I go back to my original statement that “I wouldn’t bother to report about calendar monthly anomalies at all. In fact I wouldn’t bother with global average temperatures at all either.”

  85. “In most endeavors, accurately predicting the course of an incredibly complicated phenomenon such as global climate — and doing so over a 30-year period — would build considerable credibility. But not in this case. The debate over global warming has become mostly political, not scientific, and in a political debate actual facts, data and expertise can be of sadly little consequence. In fact, as the science becomes more and more solid, and as the Earth gets warmer and warmer, many of those who desperately need to deny what’s happening have abandoned the pretense of science and begun to seek shelter behind bizarre conspiracy theories.”
    Even warmest six months on record can’t puncture denialists’ fantasy

  86. Anthony,

    Since there are so few who will question the establishment your analysis is much appreciated, and in fact, critical to those of us who don’t have a scientific background. However, I tend to get lost when you start discussing the graphs. Therefore, if there is any way you could dumb it down a bit more for those like me, I think it could really help the general pubic understand that there is in fact a legitimate debate.

    I could elaborate a bit more on my lack of understanding if you are interested. Just let me know.

    Thank you for all your hard work.

  87. I have lost count on how many times WUWT has caught the “official thermometer” readers cooking the books.

    Anthony has caught them lowering past tempuratures to give the impression that present tempuratures are higher.

    Anthony has documented what we must conclude is purposely poor recording sites to give the impression of higher tempuratures.

    Places that have no recording sites are always massaged and “estimated” hotter than actual sites close by.

    The raw data is homogenized, cooked, and served up piping hot and then the actual data is “lost,” “deleted,” “misplaced,” or eaten by a climate denier dog.

    How many times do these folks have to be caught commiting data fraud? I guess if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to verify the tree rings, we should discount everything the “experts” tell us. Science is supposed to be about the search for the truth and not the proposition of a lie.

  88. Well I am quite sure that it IS possible to graph “scientific Information” in a less communicative way than NOAA used here; but seeing as how I don’t have a PhD; Dr Laura HAS a PhD; I cannot fathom what such a method might be.

    NOAA has about maxed out, on minimizing information content.

    I’m told that NO message contains more information than White Gaussian Noise; since the next data value is infinitely unpredictable; which means that the message is 100 % information about what the signal is.

    Unfortunately; nobody has yet succeeded in determining WHAT the subject matter conveyed in a white Gaussian noise “message” even is; so they all remain undeciphered.

    Who knows what the hell Mother gaia; is trying to tell us in her white noise messages.

    For that matter who knows what the hell NOAA is trying to tell us with this graphic ?

  89. Ya know Anthony .. not to rain on your parade, but .. just looking at the Africa Plot, it is easy to see what NOAA did.

    Most every spot is surrounded by real data points. It seems they just averaged the surrounding data points to fill in the missing data. While that is not the most scientific thing to do, one would be hard pressed to prove that the points are somewhat accurate.

    On the otherhand, you have a very nice point on the Greenland and Canada data. There doesn’t seem to be the same qualifying surrounding points as noted in the Africa Example.

  90. So 10,000+ scientists are either actively conspiring to falsify the truth, or are really stupid (oh, right, PhDs) and easily swayed (like scientists aren’t the most cantankerous bunch of humans ever created). Hmmm, I guess that eliminates stupid and easily swayed, so…

    You know, I like a good conspiracy theory (IMO Oswald had lots of help), but climate skeptics take the cake. I believe this must be the most massive conspiracy ever imagined in the history of the planet. If you can think of a bigger one let me know (and the tobacco corporations telling us lies for 50+ years about the cause of lung cancer, while millions upon millions of Americans were killed, doesn’t count — too few participants).

  91. @Jon Rom

    “I believe this must be the most massive conspiracy ever imagined in the history of the planet. If you can think of a bigger one let me know”

    Oops, the catholic church and their abusing priests of course. My apologies.

    But science is not a rigidly hierarchical single organization, right? Far from it.

  92. The actual page for June on the NOAA site has two images the second (the one you posted) is clearly labeled (blended) right next to it, the first image (which you failed to post) clearly shows the real data situation, which explains I guess why it’s not here.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=global&year=2010&month=6&submitted=Get+Report#introduction

    If you wish to say NOAA is missing out data or falsifying data it might help your credibility if you don’t leave out important information in your own story, but then with this graph included you don’t really have a story.

  93. The problem with the above map: data quality and data manipulation.

    Got a problem with the data quality? You miss the obvious. The temperature anomaly is hotter in locations where population densities are low and monitoring is poor.

  94. David says:
    July 19, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    If you wish to say NOAA is missing out data or falsifying data it might help your credibility if you don’t leave out important information in your own story, but then with this graph included you don’t really have a story.

    And in other news yesterday …

    China became the world’s largest auto market as it sold more than 13 million vehicles last year, and the market kept rapidly expanding as sales in the first half of 2010 jumped almost 48 percent year on year to 9.02 million units.

    But the market growth is slowing down …

    http://autos.globaltimes.cn/china/2010-07/553241.html

    Have you driven a Ford lately?

    Jiangling Motors Corp (JMC) broke ground over the weekend for a new $300 million assembly plant in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, 775 km southwest of Shanghai.

    The plant will have the capacity to produce up to 300,000 vehicles per year when it opens in 2012. …

    http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2010/07/jianglings-new-plant-to-make-fords-subarus/

    AGW globalism is wonderful. …..

    CHANGCHUN, July 20 (Xinhua) — China’s automakers must expand research and development initiatives abroad in order to overcome limitations to their innovative and competitive abilities at home, an industry expert said Tuesday at a major auto show in northeast China. ….

    In the first half, China’s auto exports hit 242,800 vehicles, up 70.53 percent from the same period last year.

    However, industry experts say domestic auto enterprises still face problems, including a lack of technological competitiveness, brand reputation and international marketing networks.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-07/20/c_13406133.htm

    …. Cheap cars for everyone!

    Err what were you saying about credibility David?

    Maybe it was it something about NOAA inadvertently misdirecting the essential focus.

  95. NOAA’s Jan-Jun 2010 Warmest Ever – Oh Yeh!

    NOAA’s headline should read:

    Jan-Jun 2010 warmest ever – if you use a small sample of cherry picked data, manipulate it statistically and ignore the UHI effect.

  96. First of all, thanks for WUWT! I think all of those examining the dot size are giving NOAA way to much credit. I think there are only 5 different sizes of both red and blue dots. Each size representing a 1 degree difference. And the smallest size dot of either color on the figure represents 1 degree.

    I think it’s also quite possible that NOAA has misplaced a decimal, and the anomalies should actually be in tenths of a degree?

  97. Ralph: The dots in the ‘key’ go in 1 degree steps but the dots on the graph itself go in smaller increments.

  98. Did you do what ANY other scientist would do when faced with an apparent conflict in data analysis ? Did you contact NOAA and ask them if your analysis of NOAA data is correct, and if not, what you did wrong, and if you did the analysis right, why NOAA reported a different result than you expected ?

    I did not think so, because this is not a scientific posting….

    Also, when talking about “missing data” for some 5×5 grid squares, it appear clear that you do not understand that NOAA uses satellite data which is bias-adjusted by ground station data to produce it’s final global result for the global result. How could you miss such an important piece of information here ? What’s up with that ?

    In short : Please clear up the science before you claim “missing data” and “false impressions” or similar unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing.

    You are doing the community a dis-service by posting half-baked stories that are only created to validate the preconceived belief about scientific data analysis, and climate data in particular.

  99. Anthony, you’re a fool. You’ve compared the blended satellite-and-land-station data with maps of land station locations. It seems incredible that you’ve completely missed the fact that there are no land stations in the middle of the oceans, yet data points are shown for the oceans on the NOAA map you use.
    Here is the map you should have used with land-station-only data. As you can see, the data is missing in exactly the places it should be:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/get-file.php?report=global&file=map-land-sfc-mntp&year=2010&month=6&ext=gif

    They have these things called satellites these days, maybe you should look into that?

  100. Came back for another look at the article, and it suddenly occurred to me that something was missing. None of the areas showing cooling were “spot checked”. If there’s a “heating” bias in the warmer areas, do the cooler areas show any kind of bias when stations are missing or in how the raw data is “homogenized”?

    What made me think about that was seeing this again right after reading another article about the cold snap in South America.

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