1998 no longer the hottest year on record in USA

Here’s a story of scientific investigation and discovery I’m proud to have

had a small part in.Regular readers may remember that I posted about a

climate station in Detroit Lakes MN last week, surveyed by volunteer Don

Kostuch, and cross posted it to the website

http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1828#comments that had two air

conditioner units right next to it. It looked like an obvious cause and

effect because in 1999 on May 5th, it was determined that the a/c units were

moved off the roof of the radio station where this station resides and moved

them to the ground where the temperature sensor is close by.


Detroit Lakes, MN surveyed by Don Kostuch – Don has

single handedly done almost the entire state of Minnesota!However, some folks on the blogosphere just went, well, a little

ballistic over that assertion. It was a good thing too, because their very

loud and somewhat uncivil complaints led to an examination of this idea: if

its not the a/c units, what then did cause the temperature jump at that



Steve McIntyre, of Toronto operates

www.climateaudit.org and began to

investigate the data and the methods used to arrive at the results that were

graphed by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

What he discovered was truly amazing. Since NASA does not fully publish

the computer source code and formulae used to calculate the trends in the

graph, nor the correction used to arrive at the “corrected” data. He had to

reverse engineer the process by comparing the raw data and the processed


Here is one of his

first posts

where he begins to understand what is happening. “This imparts an upward

discontinuity of a deg C in wintertime and 0.8 deg C annually. I checked the

monthly data and determined that the discontinuity occurred on January 2000

– and, to that extent, appears to be a Y2K problem. I presume that this is a

programming error.”

He further refines his argument showing the

distribution of the error,

and the problems with the

USHCN temperature data. He also sends an email to NASA GISS advising of the problem.

He finally publishes it

here, stating that NASA made a correction not only on their own web

page, attributing the discovery to McIntyre, but NASA also issued a

corrected set of temperature anomaly data which you can see here:


Steve McIntyre posted this data from NASA’s newly published data set from

Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) These numbers represent deviation

from the mean temperature calculated from temperature measurement stations

throughout the USA.

According to the new data published by NASA, 1998 is no longer the

hottest year ever. 1934 is.

Four of the top 10 years of US CONUS high temperature deviations are now

from the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938 and 1939, while only 3 of the top 10 are

from the last 10 years (1998, 2006, 1999). Several years (2000, 2002, 2003,

2004) fell well down the leaderboard, behind even 1900. (World rankings of

temperature are calculated separately.)

Top 10 GISS U.S. Temperature deviation (deg C) in New Order


Year Old New
1934 1.23 1.25
1998 1.24 1.23
1921 1.12 1.15
2006 1.23 1.13
1931 1.08 1.08
1999 0.94 0.93
1953 0.91 0.90
1990 0.88 0.87
1938 0.85 0.86
1939 0.84 0.85

Here’s the old order of top 10 yearly temperatures.

Year Old New
1998 1.24 1.23
1934 1.23 1.25
2006 1.23 1.13
1921 1.12 1.15
1931 1.08 1.08
1999 0.94 0.93
1953 0.91 0.90
2001 0.90 0.76
1990 0.88 0.87
1938 0.85 0.86

I salute the work of Steven McIntyre, he has now made two major contributions to climate science.

1) Proving how the Mann “hockey stick” used in all Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was based on unsupportable data and methods.

2) Proving how yearly temperature anomalies for the USA are based on data that had been processed incorrectly.

Dr. Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado also deserves credit becuase he was the one who encouraged me to pursue the www.surfacestations.org project due to his broad work on land use change and it’s affect on regional and local climate.

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August 8, 2007 5:19 pm

Congratulations to both you and Steve, Anthony. Of course the propagandists will poo-poo this as illegitimate research because they didn’t do it. And of course no clear trend in 20th century surface temperature emerges as a result.
Where’s the global warming??

David Walton
August 8, 2007 5:49 pm

Correct me if I am wrong. From this information it appears that the last twenty years of global warming — which has been argued as not congruent with sunspot cycles — is, indeed, completely anthropogenic. That is, the warming trend formerly reported was either false or overstated and was produced entirely by humans fidgeting and fudging numbers while playing statistical games with computer programs.
I do not wish to be unfair but it seems to me that global warming science as it is currently known is largely practiced by the seat of the pants in air conditioned rooms at computer terminals.
There are two basic branches of all science — theoretical and empirical. Theoretical science is valuable and exciting but worthless without reliable, real world empirical data.
Since it appears that no one has ever tried to do any reasonable quality control or quality evaluation of surface stations, and considering the hostile tone of the detractors of your station survey, and considering the unpublished massaging methods used on USHCN temperature data, it appears that there are some real and significant problems in the global warming science community.
Not the least of which is credibility.

John Goetz
August 8, 2007 6:35 pm

Anthony…congrats! Keep pushing the (thermal) envelope!

John Goetz
August 8, 2007 6:41 pm

By the way, Don Kostuch is a surveying animal. Kudos to him as well for finding a site that pushed the debate over the edge.

Frank Ch. Eigler
August 8, 2007 7:32 pm

Just wondering – how come NASA gets away with not posting their software & correction data? If their work is not reproducible or checkable, how is it called science?

Anthony Watts
August 8, 2007 8:21 pm

That my freind, is the 64,000 dollar question.
Yet, it is the reality of the situation.

August 8, 2007 8:50 pm

Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts vs. 95% of the scientific community.
I wish I would have put a $20 spot on that fight.
Are you planning on redrawing this nasty bit of propaganda?

Russell Steele
August 8, 2007 9:06 pm

Anthony, congratulations! Successes like these are super motivators for doing more surveys later this month. We will be reporting from the road in Nevada, Idaho and Utah. I am recruiting some folks to do surveys in Montana and Wyoming. I will keep you posted on my success.

Matt Schaefer
August 8, 2007 9:21 pm

You guys should be commended for a job well done so far…I completely agree that good science should be reproducible and subject to strong peer review…
However, I think that some of the comments being made (by others) are making way too much of this news …Remember that this data is USA only, not global temps…A significant upward temperature trend is still present over the past twenty years, which was clearly stated on CA…
Let’s take a look at all data (especially global) and ensure its reliability…But be careful of making too much of this..
Thank you

Evan Jones
August 8, 2007 9:31 pm

Let me be the 8th to congratualte you (and St, Mac and the Drs. P.)!
Now for all those nasty foreign sites! (Are you maybe going to ‘rassle up some international volunteers?)

Evan Jones
August 8, 2007 9:44 pm

“Yet, it is the reality of the situation.”
The reality of the situation is that anyone who refuses to divulge methods or data has lost the argument forthwith–by automatic forfeit.
That’s even true in my own field (history). Cough up or get out. Period.
It goes without saying. So how in heck does one find oneself having to say it?
Not only that, but isn’t that stuff paid for by taxpayer? Don’t they have a legal obligation to cough up, quite apart from all the other (more pressing) scientific reasons?

David Walton
August 8, 2007 9:56 pm

Re: “Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts vs. 95% of the scientific community.”
Now isn’t this statement interesting, where does this dubious 95% figure come from and why does the anonymous author couch it in adversarial terms?
Didn’t NASA just change their data and credit Mr. McIntyre?

August 8, 2007 10:25 pm

It comes from a recent quote by California’s Attorney General, Jerry Brown. (I believe he was referencing the recent Newsweek cover story but who can say?)
NASA admitting to a mistake to a private individual isn’t exactly exculpicating them from their part in the greater crime of inventing a false crisis, which is currently being used to pummel the business community in my home state.
I’ll be looking forward to the press release issued to the world at large by NASA regarding these new developments, then I will judge whether or not they are honorable seekers of truth.

August 9, 2007 3:04 am

By the way, isn’t NASA GISS a government funded agency and therefore subject to FOIA? Wouldn’t the formulae, corrections and source codes be recoverable under a proper FOIA request? If not, forgive my ignorance on this matter, me being foreign and so on. 🙂

August 9, 2007 3:27 am

Congratulations! I have been reporting some of your surveys on my EM News Blog and so I am delighted that errors and misrepresentation of climate data are being brought under closer scrutiny.
Global warming is a misnomer, instead our planet and all the other planets in our solar system are undergoing evolutionary change driven by solar, cosmic and galactic energy.
What we are seeing can be explained in terms of electromagnetic effects driving change NOT temperatures.

Evan Jones
August 9, 2007 6:45 am

“Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts vs. 95% of the scientific community.”
There’s an old anecdote about Einstein. A hundred (or a thousand or ten thousand) Nazi scientists got together and signed a paper denouncing Relativity.
Einstein is said to have remarked, “if they had been right, they would have needed only one scientist!”
“Now isn’t this statement interesting, where does this dubious 95% figure come from”
The “consensus”?
“and why does the anonymous author couch it in adversarial terms?”
Well . . . it IS a controversy!
“Didn’t NASA just change their data and credit Mr. McIntyre?”
Yes they did and so they should have.
They should do more (such as cough up data and methods). They credit St.Mac.; now they should enlighten him.
The NOAA stats are still show a 0.06C increase per decade, for the US same as before, with 1998 and 2005 leaving i934 in the dust(bowl).

August 9, 2007 8:10 am

What’s up with the CA site? It’s been down for a while now. Not a hit as with your site, I hope.

August 9, 2007 8:22 am

Good stuff. Let me make my prediction that there are more surprises to come.

August 9, 2007 8:43 am

Anthony thanks for your efforts and great research into the GW myth. It is amazing when the facts start coming together, the global warming myth is evaporating. The leftie greenies will still be blowing smoke and hot air, but the truth will prevail. Even though the UN is pushing the GW myth, just like the food for oil scandal, the politicos want to extract money out of the U.S. and other nations for something that really does not exist (or can be proved is cause by man or Co2). The scientist pushing GW are using dooms day scare tactics to get grant money.
I do not deny climate changes. We think we know it all and can out guess the good Lord, but the world and climate belongs to the God of this Universe.
God bless and keep up the great research. Check out my new blog: Green Chemicals are not always Green.

John O
August 9, 2007 9:14 am

This proves the point that global warming since 1990 is totally man made! Man made because of errors.

August 9, 2007 9:41 am

Perhaps this explains the delay with the USHCN Version 2 dataset that was suppose to come out in July?

william knight
August 9, 2007 10:14 am

Great research. I am from England,has this data been released to the papers in America. I guess they won’t be interested anyway eventually all this info will filter through.

August 9, 2007 11:00 am

Rush Limbaugh quoted you right off the bat in todays show.
But that is easy, Rush has been calling BS on AGW since forever.
I wonder where the global warming media juggernaught will crack first?

Evan Jones
August 9, 2007 11:08 am

Those offsets are still pretty small.
Considering the number of detected microsite violations so far (plus the possible minimzation of UHIE), I’d be surprised if much greater offsets will not soon be due.

Frank K.
August 9, 2007 11:18 am

Let me also join in with a hearty congratulations! I’ve been following the proceedings at Climate Audit and I must say that it’s been an eye-opener.
As Matt said above, though, the adjustments are for the US only. Of course, that didn’t stop the media and others earlier this year from trumpeting the fact that 2006 (!)was the warmest year in the US:
Then, of course, 2006 fell when revised data were rolled out in May:
Are the media outlets now going to correct themselves again? I’m not holding my breath…
As for the rest of the world, I have always wondered about the state of the temperature data from remote areas of the earth – e.g. India, China, Africa, open oceans. I can only imagine how poor many of these sites are compared with the USHCN. How are the global temperatures corrected, especially for the previous century? There certainly must be severe UHI effects in places with large populations like China and India. Questions, questions…
Frank K.

August 9, 2007 11:40 am

I’ve been told that climateaudit.org has been disabled by a DDOS attack. It may be a week before it’s back up.

August 9, 2007 12:40 pm

McIntyre’s Grenadier Guards and Watts’ Light Horse have had rather a spectacular victory. Carry on, gentlemen.

Douglas Hoyt
August 9, 2007 1:27 pm

In California, the warming rate is much increased by UHIs and land use measurements. In fact, it may be doubled according to a study by Patzert and LaDochy.
“The scientists found great variations in temperature patterns throughout the state. Average temperatures increased significantly in nearly 54 percent of the stations studied, with human-produced changes in land use seen as the most likely cause. The largest temperature increases were seen in the state’s urban areas, led by Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area, particularly for minimum temperatures. Minimum temperatures at some agricultural sites showed increases comparable to some urban areas. Rural, non-agricultural regions warmed the least. The Central Valley warmed slowest, while coastal areas warmed faster, and the southeast desert warmed fastest.
The only area to cool was a narrow band of the state’s mainly rural northeast interior. While few stations overall showed decreases in average and minimum temperatures, 13 percent of the stations for which sufficient maximum temperature data were available showed a significant drop in average maximum temperatures, including some urban sites.”
From http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070330221144.htm
Until GISS corrects for these non-climatic effects in California and other states, the temperature increase in the US will continue to be overestimated.

Bob Pohlhausen
August 9, 2007 2:09 pm

The record temperatures of 1931 vs. 1998 don’t tell the whole story. Please go to the Goddard Institute’s numbers, copy and paste them into an Excel sheet and plot. I see a higher 5-year average-temperature in the last 20 years than in the timeframe before and around WW II. This may be due to the lower number of low-temperature-years. And the decline has not happened yet.
There is lots of room for statistical games but no room for jubilations on any side. Just continue your investigations – they are very valuable.

john brown
August 9, 2007 2:23 pm

OK. I’ll keep the green light bulbs, but I’m turning the air conditioner back on.

August 9, 2007 3:14 pm

It appears that CA is down because of traffic overload. Mr. Limbaugh apparently mentioned the site and kaboom. I guess I will have to gettalife!

August 9, 2007 4:28 pm

Steve’s comment on the cause of CA being down was just posted. I should have been more paranoid. Troubling.

August 9, 2007 6:45 pm

how is the mean taken ?
can this data be made into a us temp graph that shows the actual average
us temp for each year ?
fascinating stuff

August 9, 2007 6:55 pm

The record temperatures of 1931 vs. 1998 don’t tell the whole story. Please go to the Goddard Institute’s numbers, copy and paste them into an Excel sheet and plot. I see a higher 5-year average-temperature in the last 20 years than in the timeframe before and around WW II.
Compare to 10-year averages. I can’t evaluate which is more meaningful, but changing the length of the float makes the curves a lot different.
The 1930s were (minutely) more consistently warm than the 1990s as a set or 2000s as a set.
Obviously this is playing around a bit, and to be discouraged without disclosure…but it’s interesting.

August 9, 2007 11:07 pm

Of course none of this means a damn thing unless you can tell us how this revision impacts the measurement of global temperatures, rather than just US temperature.

August 10, 2007 12:08 am

The US data is considered the best temp record in the world with the best stations.
It will be interesting to see if the rest of the world gets audited.

Carl Smith
August 10, 2007 12:57 am

Actually, I suspect Australia has the best maintained climate network in the world:
The Australian Reference Climate Station network:
They have already documented their sites online – this documentation could be improved with additional direction views etc., but it is a step in the right direction.
It is a pity, but it seems to me that either GISS includes various stations not in this well documented network in their analysis, or they apply some of their weird ‘adjustments’, as they always seem to produce warmer anomoly maps than the BoM does.

Retired Spook
August 10, 2007 5:27 am

A caller to Limbaugh’s program yesterday made an interesting point. He said that, when the Soviet Union imploded, a couple hundred temperature recording sites were abandoned due to lack of money and resources to run them. I hadn’t ever heard such a claim before, but that many stations closing in a short period of time could have had significant consequences on global surface temperature data, depending on where the stations were located. There’s an awful lot of the former Societ Union that’s extremely cold most of the time. Anyone know any more about this interesting claim?

Frank K.
August 10, 2007 6:41 am

To answer JoeBloe, I think the real significance here is two-fold:
(1) There must be complete transparency in the methods used to derive the temperature histories used for climatological analysis. That is, raw data, algorithms, source code, etc. Why did Steve M. have to “reverse engineer” the corrections to discover the anomaly? GISS should have provided him with the source code – if or course they were truly interested in understanding the problem. The fact that they still are holding out on the source code speaks volumes…
(2) When the media (via NOAA or GISS press releases) say something like “…this year’s average temperature was the highest ever recorded…”, we know now that this is not entirely true! The raw data undergoes extensive “corrections” for various effects such as time of observation, urbanization effects (to the exent that’s known), data outliers (recorded temperatures are clearly in error), and missing data. Much of this is necessary, but even with the corrections, there will always be some level of uncertainty in the results, which typically is not mentioned in these press releases. And “highest recorded” certainly does not logically mean “highest ever” – tree ring and other proxies notwithstanding…
It is my own personal belief that a significant fraction of the “warming” detected in the last century can be attributed to progressive alteration of the microclimates surrounding the stations used to collect the climate data. Imagine for moment you have a camera at a typical US station which recorded a photo of the site (like those on sufacestations.org) every year since, say 1900. What would you see? In many cases, these sites were likely in the middle of nowhere for decades. Then development crept in and the sites became surrounded by roads, buildings, and people. Of course, the impact of urbanization is supposed to be accounted for in the temperature adjustments, but these effects can only be modeled imperfectly given the lack of information about the development histories of the individual sites.
Frank K.

August 10, 2007 6:57 am

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is only applicable to the United States…the US accounting for somewhere around 8% of the Earth’s total mass. Last I checked the issue was “global warming,” not “United States warming.”
In other words, you have a massive variable that will no doubt have a significant impact on your numbers once they’re factored in.
Simply put, your Popperian attempt at providing a counterexample that calls into question prevailing the climatological paradigm falls on its face by simple logically fallacy: you cannot generalize or challenge an entire set by simply addressing very small, singular outlier; nor can you provide a factual counterexample via inductive logic.
As an aside, wasn’t this around the time of the Dust Bowl?

August 10, 2007 8:23 am

“With all that Exxon money, would think Climate Audit could buy a better server.”
It’s not like they are getting the BILLIONS of funding from the US government. Exxon is only shelling out a few millions.

steven mosher
August 10, 2007 8:42 am

My good friend. Suppose this: I kick you in the groin and you whine. After you catch your breath you protest that I have fought unfairly.
And I respond: you should have bought a better Groin protector
BLAMING THE VICTIM for any attack is a diversion that only sociopaths engage in.
Please TCO, you have other issues with steveMc. Valid or not, they are LOGICALLY disconnected from the issue of DDOS.
At times we agreeably disagree. But at times I want to put your comments here

August 10, 2007 9:11 am

Remember that AGW crowd blames the US as the prime contributor to CO2. And they correlated global warming with the increase in CO2. If 40% of the top 10 years are now huddled in the 30’s that certainly decouples that relationship. But don’t worry… the AGW crowd will change the topic from AGW to Climate Change. That way all bases are covered – cooling and warming. Regardless we (the US) are responsible and need to be reigned in by the UN and Gore.

John Perris
August 10, 2007 11:25 am

Grow up, the earth is flat too.

August 10, 2007 11:29 am

The media has always referred to 1998 as the “warmest year on record” for the globe, not for the US. (at least, until 2005 when 2005 became statistically tied with 1998 for warmest year). This result (a change by 0.02 degrees for a small portion of the globe) will not impact the global conclusions in the slightest.
Sergei: Since CO2 is well-mixed globally, it doesn’t matter where it is emitted, the warming effects are global not local. Nor is the science of global warming a science of correlating one trend with another: it is a science derived from basic physics and radiative forcing, which is why Arrhenius predicted possible global warming from increases in CO2 in 1898, long before CO2 started increasing…

August 10, 2007 11:37 am

Just one thing to keep in mind. This is just *one* data point and doesn’t actually ‘debunk’ global warming. Part of the thing to keep in mind is that global temperatures are what is important – not US only temperatures. This correction is actually relatively minor only causing a change of around 1% to 2% in the data. As such, this doesn’t, in and of itself, actually provide any falsifying evidence.

August 10, 2007 11:52 am

One last thing,
People have to make a decision. While climate change may or may not be real we still have to make a choice about what we are going to do. If we do nothing there are two outcomes: If climate change is real (regardless of the cause) then we’re screwed. If its not real, then we save a lot of money and life is good. If we do something then there are two outcomes: Climate change isn’t real and we slow down the world economy to some degree possibly resulting in a depression. Climate change is real and we mitigate the worst effects of climate change at the price of slowing down the world economy.
What you need to do is evaluate the various risks, the costs associated with mitigating those risks, and the costs associated with doing nothing. Personally, I look at it like I do my home owners insurance. My house is 120 years old and hasn’t burned up, fallen down, or been flooded out yet. It doesn’t mean it won’t be but to be honest the risk is pretty low. However, if something does happen and I don’t have insurance I’m completely screwed paying off 180k+ on a house I no longer can live in. While I’d rather do something else with the $1k or so I pay in insurance and even though I know the risk is small I still pay it – because the risk is still there.
If the insurance cost $20k a year I’d, without a doubt, risk the fire because I couldn’t afford $20k a year for an admittedly low risk.
So you have to ask yourself, are you 100% sure completely and totally convinced without the slightest shadow of a doubt that there is no risk from climate change? If you believe that there is a chance you are wrong you have to ask yourself how much you are willing to spend to buy yourself some insurance – just in case you are wrong.
Since the only people I know who are right about everything are Jesus and my wife I’m willing to entertain the idea that I might be wrong about climate change. As such, I think it might actually be a good idea to take out a reasonably priced insurance policy.

rick jones
August 10, 2007 12:01 pm

i’m a triffle confused – what I’ve read (and perhaps misunderstood) thusfar suggests that this “y2k” problem affected data from 2000 and on. that being the case, how does that change 1998 vs 1934 or any other pre-2000 year?

kristina gray
August 10, 2007 12:16 pm

After reading daily diary entries of a Norwegian-American who chronicled for 45 years from 1910 to 1954, his golf scores, money spent, temperature, inches of rain and velocity of wind, I would come to the same conclusion. According to S.A. Olsness, 1934 was by far the hottest year that drove many North Dakota farmers off the land. Thanks for this blog to confirm what I already knew!!! He didn’t call it global warming back then, he called it an “eternal inferno.”

L Nettles
August 10, 2007 12:45 pm

Re: One last thing, one more one last thing. Where in your analytical frame work do you consider that warming might have have positive consequences?

stas peterson
August 10, 2007 12:49 pm

I congratulate Mr. Steven McIntyre. This is how scientific progress is made; by replicating experiments and confirming them or contradicting them where required.
I concur that other data should be checked as well. I understand that the collapse of the Soviet Union led to an economic depression and the closing down of lots of weather recording stations. If true, I suspect merely removing the presumably cooler weather reports from these northern areas from the worldwide sets of data, would tend to bias continuing studies. Such studies based on the set of continuing to report more southern and warmer sites, might show warming that is a statistical chimera. I urge Mr. McIntyre, (or others), to see what the statistical effect really would be.
In conjunction, with the NASA, these changes Would change worldwide temperature history. Alternatively, it might confirm it. Either way, It is Science that needs be done.

August 10, 2007 12:49 pm

Quoth TCO:

Of course none of this means a damn thing unless you can tell us how this revision impacts the measurement of global temperatures, rather than just US temperature.

Why can’t climate scientists do proper error checking? The US GISS temp data has major errors and nobody in “the consensus” detected them. Considering the poor peer review the MBH hockey stick got from those same “scientists” though, that’s par for the course.
So, thanks to McIntyre, the hockey stick became a total fiasco for the warmmongers (especially for Michael Mann’s reputation). Now the despised skeptic who proved that the HS was scientific fabulism has debunked Hansen’s treasured “1998 HOTTEST YEAR EVER” meme. And on the same day this story appeared too:

Global warming is forecast to set in with a vengeance after 2009, with at least half of the five following years expected to be hotter than 1998, the warmest year on record, scientists reported on Thursday.

Finally, if the US data is so dodgy, imagine how bad the rest of the world’s temp record keeping has been. We need a Global Climate Audit ASAP!

August 10, 2007 1:06 pm

> As such, this doesn’t, in and of itself, actually provide any falsifying evidence.
Oh sure it does. At least the popular press, Al Gore, case for global warming. Let’s not conflate that with the scientific case for anthropogenic global warming which is far from decided.
It’s the people who came up with the phrase “global warming denier” to stifle dissent by implying the parallel to Holocaust deniers that take it on the chin and for that I am truly grateful.

Sidny Crawford
August 10, 2007 1:21 pm

I look at things in many a different way…for instance…
How do the temps compare in 5 year overlapping blocks?
1880-1885, 1882-1887, 1884-1889, etc.
How does the data compare in 10 year overlapping blocks?
1880-1890, 1885-1895, etc.
Take the top 10 highest temps and the top 10 lowest temps, plot them in regards to the data sets above (5 and 10 year blocks) and see what happens.
Run a historic line and plot in volcano eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and more, and see what that does to the data…
And if CO2 is being blamed, and the US is supposedly at fault by CO2 production, what about the reverse? Rainforests are being cut down at an alarming rate and plants reverse CO2 back into O2…so what kind of factor does that have (and this will run globally, but affect the US locally – so calculate that in and plot to the graphs created above…and add in population statistics…
What do we see when this is done? To me, it looks like, on the over-all scale of things, people have minimal impact on the climate…there is a slight change, but at the viewed rate, it will take hundreds of years for the climate to actually change enough for us to worry…

August 10, 2007 1:27 pm

You have mischaracterized the issues…
Climate change is real. It always has been and it always will be. The earth is not a steady-state climate machine.
The question at hand is whether or not the earth is getting hotter. If yes, how much hotter does our best scientific guestimates suggest it will get?
Right now we are not getting our best scientific guestimates. We’re getting a bunch of crap based upon crap data – GIGO.
But let’s just say the GIGO issue didn’t exist. Let’s say we had good data and quality science. Next we’d want to know how much hotter earth would get and for how long. Right now we have no idea.
Next we’d want to estimate the effects of a world made X deg hotter over time period Y for duration Z.
That way we could make a best guess at the ramifications and the scale of any potential effort to migigate the problem if, in fact, it is a problem. There are some who seem to claim that both man and other species (with specific exceptions, of course) thrive much better in warmth than cold. Maybe an earth warmed by X deg would be a BETTER place.
But let’s assume it wouldn’t be a better place. Let’s assume that warming of X deg. would be BAD.
Then we’d want to know the cause of the increased heat. The less you know about the cause of a particular problem the less chance there is of fixing it or mitigating the BAD effects.
So, does GW have an “A” for “anthropogenic” in front of it or an “N” for “natural”. Is warming caused by man-made CO2 or by urban heat islands or by lawn sprinklers or what? Or are the causes natural? Maybe solar activity, or cosmic rays, or whatever. Or is it some combination and, if so, in what measures.
After we knew all that we might be able to determine if there is any hope of altering anything and at what cost.
To just go off and decide that we need to undertake massive international programs (particularly ones that clobber the US while leaving out China and India) for the sake of “insurance” without any idea of the real nature of the problem (presuming there is a problem) is nothing short of stupid.
I don’t live in a flood zone. Not only do I not live in a flood zone but I don’t have any sizeable body of water particularly close to my home. Not only that, but my house is atop a small rise. I’d be a fool to buy flood insurance just because a bunch of hyperventilating salesmen are blathering about reports churned up under the GIGO principal.

August 10, 2007 1:34 pm

That stuff about glaciers and the polar ice-caps and Mount Kilimanjaro, pure Photoshop!! Then Katrina was all made up, and now tornadoes in Brooklyn–get out of here!!
They’re just trying to attack the business community, because they enjoy that.
I always knew that the only information that is true is the information that I want to be true.

David Walton
August 10, 2007 1:54 pm

Re: Evan Jones —
“Now isn’t this statement interesting, where does this dubious 95% figure come from”
The “consensus”?
“and why does the anonymous author couch it in adversarial terms?”
Well . . . it IS a controversy!
1) Whose “consensus”?
2) Since when was making a surface station survey — something that has never been done and has been asked to be done by many in the field — controversial? Perhaps it is controversial to fearful minds with a special agenda.
3) Steve McIntyre’s contributions are hardly controversial. If they were, NASA would not have changed the data and credited him.

August 10, 2007 1:56 pm

OK, so there isn’t any warming going on at all. Or maybe there is a little or maybe we’re even cooling down a little – I don’t care. Would you propose that we just stop looking for a replacement for our cars completely? Or crank up the heat or A/C? That’s a great idea … if you are of the false impression that we will be able to extract oil out of the ground AT THE SAME PRICE indefinitely … and if you think that the Middle East will remain “stable” forever.
Yes, I know we don’t get a lot of our oil from there but if a 1% drop in their production can send the crude market in a tail spin then what do you think will happen to our economy if the 5, 10, or 20% of our imports from the region are cut off?
And what do think think will happen to the energy markets when China’s population begins entering the First World? Their population is some 3-4 times our population. Where are they going to get their energy imports? You people actually believe this won’t impact the situation for the current First World countries?
NOT TO MENTION INDIA’S POPULATION which is some 3 times our population (in the U.S.)…..
Whatever people…. You can have your day in the sun (and I do applaud the person’s who uncovered this serious oversight), but we STILL have to find alternative solutions no matter how much you want to gloat.
Get over yourselves and start looking at the writing on the wall…..

August 10, 2007 1:57 pm

I am confused. When did the scientific method change? Was it when politicians and marketeers got involved?
So, for those of you who have your head buried in a dark place, here it is:
1.Theorize something
2. “Prove” that it is true
3. Have a group of peers using exactly the same conditions come up with exactly the same results.
4. Have an independent (read “not paid for a conclusion”) body review theory, proof, and results.
5. One cannot prove by example alone, but one can disprove by a single example of failure.
When did science and results become a matter of “interpretation”? Why did I study math, physics, and analysis techniques in college if I can cook up a rediculous theory, cook the tests and results, and ask for billions in grants? Oh yeah, and since I was “smart” enough to come up with the theory I now become the only authority, moral or scientifically, to determine what is “correct”?
Clarity is pleasurable. Question facts and motivations.

John Goetz
August 10, 2007 2:02 pm

Retired Spook – A paper / article written by Vincent R. Gray updated in 2003 said “Examination of the data shows that almost all of the 1901-1996 temperature rise for Russia/Soviet Union took place in one year, 1987 to 1988.” This was about 3 years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, but two years after Perestroika and Glasnost.
Gray says in another paper “Although some Russian stations have excellent records over a very long time, the service has deteriorated in recent years, together with the rest of the Russian economy. In 1988 there were 244 temperature stations, but in 1989 135 were closed; mainly the smaller ones, leaving only 109 stations. Most of the 91 5°x5° grids in Russia/Siberia in Figure 2 will be represented by single stations. Recent monthly records from Russian stations show many gaps and doubtful figures.” In the same paper he notes “Monthly temperature records for the Russian stations show an extreme temperature range of around 60°C. Early measurements are likely to have been in primitive or deprived conditions. Stations would have been operated by political prisoners.”
The papers (or articles) mentioned above can be found on http://www.john-daly.com. At one point on that same site I recall seeing an interesting hypothesis that temperature readings from Siberia pre-Soviet collapse should be suspect because officials had a strong economic incentive to report lower-than-actual temperatures: heating oil subsidies.
So here we have an interesting artifact in Russian / Soviet temperature data that presents itself as a discontinuity not unlike Steve McIntyre’s “Y2K bug”. In this case the discontinuity may have an economic driver behind it, not a mathematical error. Or the discontinuity may truly be due to climate change.

David Walton
August 10, 2007 3:00 pm

Re DCB’s comments —
“Simply put, your attempt at providing a counterexample that calls into question prevailing the climatological paradigm falls on its face by simple logically fallacy: you cannot generalize or challenge an entire set by simply addressing very small, singular outlier; nor can you provide a factual counterexample via inductive logic.”
In a word, sheesh!
Calm down a bit and quit fabricating straw men by which to justify your rants.
What is going on here is a legitimate complaint — the obfuscation of methods by a preeminent scientific organization that makes public pronouncements of the results of those methods without allowing a thorough examination of them.
Simply put, methinks you doth protest too much.
What is it you are so afraid of? Do you fear the survey of temperature stations, a valid correction of the temperature data, or the storm of controversy and political theater — of which you are a part — that may swirl about it?
My guess is that you fear the folks you are attempting to marginalize and manufacture as fallacious contrarians.

August 10, 2007 3:18 pm

Nasa should also get a call out for admitting their mistake and publishing corrected numbers in a timely fashion.

John Putnam
August 10, 2007 3:19 pm

There is considerable discussion on Slashdot.org on this topic and some analysis you might light to see.

August 10, 2007 3:47 pm

RE Global warming insurance we have two opions. we can enable alternatives and reduce/utilize waste streams or we can crash the middle class to pump co2 into the ground. I personally don’t think we need more Perrier.

Dave Lincoln
August 10, 2007 3:57 pm

“If climate change is real (regardless of the cause) then we’re screwed.”
Uhh, how exactly are we screwed, now, Chris? So, it’s a little bit warmer out, crops grow farther north, some tropical climates get less livable, whatever.
That’s really not my definition of “screwed” at all, and totally pales in comparison to gun control and/or an audit by the IRS. Those, may friend, are examples of getting “screwed”. Let’s keep it real.
I will only believe that you believe in this crap, Chris, if you tell me that you bought some land in Florida at 23 ft msl elevation, or whatever the AlGore prophesizes. It will be beach-front in a few years, right? Put your money where your mouth is, people!

Tom Dixon
August 10, 2007 4:16 pm

Excellent work. However, I don’t think I am being too punctilious by pointing out that your confusing “affects” and “effects” undermines the rigorous tone of the argument.

Chris Batchelor
August 10, 2007 5:02 pm

The unfortunate aspect of the US politcal situation is that it has obscured what the true objective of energy policy in the US should be. The global warming debate is unresolvable scientifically and politically. However, I argue that the true objective of US energy policy should be to grow the economy of the US, but not at the expense of the environment or the providing of wealth to those who endanger national security. Therefore, the number one task should be to develop an energy infrastructure which is not based on use of (or inefficient use) of fossil fuels, and has unlimited growth potential. We could argue about the best way to do this, but the time is right to emphasize nuclear energy, hydrogen production, and fuel cells. The technology to be able to pour water into your gas tank or fuel cell, and have a gallium/aluminum reaction release hydrogen, is here. The byproduct is alluminum oxide, which is then recyled back into alluminum. At 3 dollar a gallon gas, this technology is economic, without further refinement in processes which purify alluminum. Too many ideas to discuss here, but lets move on from the politics and wasteful scientific effort, and start using science to further the economy and environment of humanity.

eric L
August 10, 2007 5:05 pm

The NASA GISS webpage is, as of 8-10-2007, still pushing the wrong temperatures at the top of their lungs.
Can they please print the correction ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

David Walton
August 10, 2007 5:13 pm

Regarding GW Insurance:
Please don’t be giving that shameless huckster Al Gore any new ideas by which to fleece easily deceived suckers.

August 10, 2007 5:27 pm

McIntyre did some work on the Hockey Stick, but he did not ‘prove’ that it was BS. He found a small error which acccording to three other papers, did njot really matter. Read about it on the Wall Street Journal:

August 10, 2007 7:02 pm

“That stuff about glaciers and the polar ice-caps and Mount Kilimanjaro, pure Photoshop!!”
The shrinking ice pack on Kilimanjaro has nothing to do with global warming.

August 10, 2007 7:21 pm

Evan and others are absolutely correct when they say “The reality of the situation is that anyone who refuses to divulge methods or data has lost the argument forthwith–by automatic forfeit.” because all data supporting conclusions must be made available for scrutiny if those conclusions are to have any validity.
Now maybe some of the people posting here who are intellectually honest will similarly push for the release of the “tweaked” govt. computer models of the 9/11 WTC collapses which are still being kept secret.
Because after all the evidence is growing that 9/11 was an inside job, or else you have to explain how the terrorists got demolition materials into all 3 WTCs (including WTC 7 which was never struck by an airplane). MOLTEN STEEL AND/OR IRON IN THE BASEMENTS CANNOT BE EXPLAINED BY THE FAITH-BASED OFFICIAL CONSPIRACY THEORY, see http://moltenmetalsmokinggun.blogspot.com/

August 10, 2007 7:43 pm

Your link is a couple of years out of date. Here’s the latest skinny on the hockey stick and McIntyre’s part in busting it.

In 2003, Steven McIntyre, a former mining executive in Toronto, decided to test Mann’s claim, made to a Senate committee, that the IPCC’s assessment deserved respect because “[t]he IPCC carries out a process for developing its summarization of the understanding of science that leads to one of the most rigorously peer reviewed scientific documents in existence.”
McIntyre contacted Mann to get the data for his graph, thinking that they would be appropriately archived and readily available for replication and review. It quickly became more complicated than that, and he ended up having to enlist the University of Guelph economics professor Ross McKitrick in a three-year quest to get basic information. As McKitrick summarized their findings:
“Nature never verified that data were correctly listed: as it happens they weren’t. Nature never verified that data archiving rules were followed: they weren’t. Nature never verified that methods were accurately stated: they weren’t. Nature never verified that stated methods yield the stated results: they don’t. Nature undertook only minimal corrections to its publication record after notification of these things, and even allowed authors to falsely claim that their omissions on these things didn’t affect their published results. The IPCC’s use of the hockey stick was not incidental: it is prominent throughout the 2001 report. Yet they did not subject it to any independent checking. … They allowed chapter authors to heavily promote their own work with little or no oversight. They published false claims about the hockey stick’s statistical robustness and have never made any effort to retract them.”
What McIntyre and McKitrick got for bringing this to light, as well as exposing numerous statistical and methodological flaws in the studies including that the studies, was mostly brickbats and scorn by the paleoclimatology community…

August 10, 2007 7:55 pm

So the numbers are wrong, but what if you took it at a philosophic approach? Merely because the numbers are wrong and possibly prove that global warming doesn’t exist, does it give us the right to say we should carry on doing what we do?
Clearly the planet is being damaged and you don’t need numbers to show that. But clearly, as evidenced in the Dead Sea, if left alone the world can heal itself.
By saying that the numbers are wrong and we don’t need to change is ludicrous. At least by raising issues, even if they are incorrect in substance, we can move on and change our ways and make things better.
The mere fact that the only people who stand to benefit from the knowledge that global warming is a shame are the very corporations who caused the problems in the first place should raise warning bells, but then sloppy science is used to support their side as well.
As far as I’m concerned I’d rather take the side of the sloppy science of global warming than the sloppy side of science that is eventually going to lead to more senseless destruction of this planet, all for what? A fistful of dollars.

August 10, 2007 8:16 pm

If you plot NASA’s updated data onto a graph, you still see a pretty interesting trend.
Seven of the ten hottest five-year periods have all occurred within the last decade.

August 10, 2007 8:55 pm

Christ, some of you people are dense.
Amidst all your bitching about “propaganda,” did anyone actually bother to plot up the old/new datasets and compare them to one-another?
Because it would have taken you all of 2 minutes to do so.
Holy crap, this changes everything!

Bob Binette
August 10, 2007 9:35 pm

I agree that all scientist should review their method constantly and should not be influenced by politics on either side.
Global Warming is not only supported by measurements of thermometers in continental US. Other measurement methods are much superior such as the volume in Glaciers or Ice Caps. Their variation is already taking into account the change in the average temperature over the years.
Is the ice melting or not?

August 10, 2007 9:41 pm

I gotta love sites like this, with posters so totally self-unaware that they write “Congratulations to both you and Steve, Anthony. Of course the propagandists will poo-poo this as illegitimate research because they didn’t do it.”
Damn, I’m dyin’!
That said, McIntyre did do a useful service to NASA–bad data makes climate modeling impossible to do. From my view, this discovery will only improve the evidence for global warming, at least in the long run.

August 10, 2007 10:28 pm

Good job and very interesting revelation.
So where do we go from here?
I’m not about to make a blogment here but there must be a concise and precise report/journal so as to educate the public and to eradicate unintelligent guesses that lead to fights even within my tiny circle of friends.
I will recommend this site for a “must read”. Thank you very much.

August 10, 2007 10:56 pm

Deltoid has posted the graphs of the old and the new, corrected dataset. The change is completely insignificant. It is amusing watching children play at scientist here. Kudos to McIntyre for finding this error.
I agree with Bruno’s density comment.

August 10, 2007 11:22 pm

According to the new data published by NASA, 1998 is no longer the hottest year ever. 1934 is.

True in the US. 1998 and 2005 are still the hottest years in the global temperature record.
What, pray tell, is the big deal about 1934 being .02 degrees warmer than 1998? This is not a significant difference. We knew the dustbowl years where hot and dry. Are the AGW naysayers now pointing at the temperature record and saying it is accurate to .01 C? You won’t be able to deny the upward trend in the coming years.

August 11, 2007 1:54 am

For a somewhat different account of these events (and their significance) you might want to take a look at

August 11, 2007 2:07 am

I can’t get to Deltoid’s gifs. I get a message saying ‘unauthorized referer’

steven mosher
August 11, 2007 3:45 am

Yes I know you are capable at the salt in the wound thing, me too I suppose. Probably why we like to joust and jest with each other. No fighting here on Anthony’s site. He has a business to run and cannot waste time issuing a time out to us.
See you back on CA when it reopens..

August 11, 2007 5:37 am

Nice posting and comments, all.
The conclusion we can clearly draw is that NASA has been infiltrated by partisans who are no longer scientists.
Fortunately, the scientists who are at NASA are still willing to change their mistakes and publicly admit their error.
The partisans who refuse to divulge data and algorithms are marginalizing themselves.

August 11, 2007 8:13 am

I’ve posted an animated GIF comparing the old and new GISS curves here:
The change is hardly “insignificant“.
Is a curve highlighting the annual mean rather than the 5-year. By any measure, the 1920s and 30s had the wackiest weather ever.

August 11, 2007 9:27 am

So, now we only have 4 in the 90’s and 00’s instead of 5 by very slim statistical margins. Still seems like a high number for this guy born in 1964. Why is everyone so happy that 1934 beat 1998? They only switched places…can you say “Big Picture”?

August 11, 2007 9:58 am

I am surprised of some people commenting; some people seem to want to find some excuse or misinterpretation or mistake to be able to say that the global warming stuff is a lie and thus we should just keep going as usual and let businesses do their own.
Look, even if the global warming theory is wrong, that does not make it right to be polluting half of the world, to be over-using natural resources, destroying forests, etc. So stop trying to find an excuse to use your Hummer without feeling guilty.

August 11, 2007 11:56 am

The change is hardly “insignificant”.

GISTEMP data have error bars, Chris. How would you characterize the change? Do an error analysis and present a numerical argument based on observed data. This is how science is done. I remain utterly unimpressed by this insignificant result.
We know the weather was bad in the 30s in North America. We know the earth is warming now. If you disagree with the scientific consensus on AGW, then tell us what it would take to convince you that AGW is real.

John M
August 11, 2007 12:23 pm

Thank you for defining what people should feel guilty about. What sexual practices do you recommend for me?
And is my weight in line with what you think is “right”? I’d hate to be eating too much for your tastes, since that too impacts my carbon footprint.

August 11, 2007 12:46 pm

Here is my real world example of the Global Warming effects on Policy.
The State of California just passed legislation based on the Global Warming hysteria that has forced electric bills to be billed by customer usage of kwh in “usage tiers”. Any usage over a certain mystery amount, that the nuts in the state legislature determined would reduce Global Warming, results in a penalty rate being charged to the customer.
My bill this month was $400 higher than last month due to the fact I consumed electricity into the penalty range of the “usage tier” they call “energy hogs”.
My electric bill went from $200 to $600 even though most days were in excess of 100 F last month and I set my thermostat at 82 F. I live near Palm Springs, Kalifornia.
I want a refund!
This is the kind of crap the global warming nut jobs are using to say we are wasting energy and increasing the temperature of the planet with fraudulent research by NASA and others.
My local barber said his bill was in excess of $1000, a $600 increase because of bogus science. This is a real world example of consensus science run amok. My barber will have to pass the cost along as well as all the other businesses in this state.
This is Pure insanity. How do I as a homeowner pass the cost along?
We all are going to the City Council Meeting next Tuesday and are going to protest the new electric rates. I am going to bring in the new data from NASA to debunk their arguments about Global Warming.
You all should be outraged that public policy is based on junk science. You are going to be paying too. Like they say, California is usually the leader in liberal policies. If California passes something, so goes the nation.

David Walton
August 11, 2007 1:04 pm

Personally, I don’t get all the swarm of controversy, supposition, and political theater going on here.
To me it is just so much hot air. Hot air I am also guilty of as I stand (self) corrected on my first post. The temp adjustment is not significant with regard to temperature increase versus the last sunspot cycle. Again, someone correct me if I am wrong or missing something.
What this blog entry was about, ostensibly, is a temperature correction initiated by Steve MacIntyre which NASA accepted and credited him with.
The only real side issue, imho, is that the discovery of the correction was done by reverse engineering by a person outside of the NASA scientific community because NASA has a ridiculous policy of making pronouncements on data and climate predictions while withholding details on methodology.
The actual temperature adjustment does not affect their current averaged trend for the US or globally. While many (including myself) may question the strength of the trend and the reliability of the data and data massaging that produces it, Mr. McIntyre’s ingenious reverse engineering has a single and important result — an error went undetected until reviewed by a person working outside of the cloistered community of NASA environmental science.
That, folks, is real, effective peer review that NASA, for some inexplicable reason, has a policy of impeding. As such I feel NASA has a credibility and policy problem that sorely needs correction.

August 11, 2007 1:22 pm

I’m still curious for an answer from those who think that global warming (GW) has been completely debunked by this finding.
Those who think we should do something because of GW believe we need to reduce our CO2 impact; reducing our CO2 impact primarily means finding alternative/renewable sources of energy that reduce our CO2 impact. (That is just a part of a long list of what could be done.)
After reviewing the “before” and “after” charts, I still see an upward trend. HOWEVER, let’s argue that CO2 is not part of the picture. Ok, then I’m guessing that, for you “debunkers”, your main argument against GW is that it is not sufficiently proven to be something we have any impact on, therefore, we shouldn’t waste money battling it. I think you don’t believe businesses should be spending money to reduce CO2 emissions, because those costs are then passed on to us consumers. Or, that you believe businesses will go bankrupt. I believe that is your argument, if not, please enlighten me. (And please don’t tell me that you don’t want scientist getting “rich” off of this whole GW nonsense, because whether true or false, that is not the point and is not a relevant argument….)
So, going with the postulation that you debunkers don’t want to have to pay more (as consumers or business owners) then tell me how ever increasing energy costs, ON AVERAGE, are going to be good for consumers and businesses? (I emphasize “on average” because I believe there will be times of lower costs for energy but on average, those costs will only go up as energy-carriers become more and more difficult to extract.)
In short, none of you “debunkers” have explained how our energy needs will be met by “business as usual” thinking. I need an answer here: if we and our leaders refuse to encourage the growth of a healthy and robust alternative/renewable energy industry, and we refuse to look at ways to improve efficiencies in both the transportation, commercial, and retail sectors and in the residential realm, how will our current fossil fuel infrastructure serve a growing economy in the First World while the developing world continues to grow and demand its own energy? And know that the developing economy of China alone (not to mention India) could easily match the size of the developed economy of Europe or the U.S. How are we going to meet our energy needs? If we don’t do something just to improve our energy efficient for that reason, ALONE, I don’t see how things could be anything but scary in the future.
If for no other reason, please explain how business as usual will be fine so that I, and a few others of us, can sleep as night. And so that I can be as enthusiastice of the future as you debunkers are with the knowledge that you, so far, haven’t shared with the rest of the world. Because, frankly, I’d rather believe you debunkers since your sense of what is going on sounds much easier than the world I’m envisioning.

August 11, 2007 1:35 pm

JohnP breaks me up with:

GISTEMP data have error bars, Chris. How would you characterize the change? Do an error analysis and present a numerical argument based on observed data. This is how science is done.

Sure John, that’s how science is done by skeptics.
But the warmmongers do it with proprietary algorithms, dodgy data, and secret consensus handshakes. But that’s not surprising, after all, how can climate scientists be expected to fritter around doing “error analysis” when the fate of Gaia is in the balance?!

August 11, 2007 1:44 pm

Oh, I get it. So you’re saying all those pictures that show glaciers and sea ice all over the world shrinking are shrinking because of the Y2K bug. Now it’s all clear….
/sarcasm off

August 11, 2007 2:47 pm

Annoyed huffs:

Oh, I get it. So you’re saying all those pictures that show glaciers and sea ice all over the world shrinking are shrinking because of the Y2K bug. Now it’s all clear…

Sure, glaciers and sea ice are shrinking in one part of the globe, but we’re also finding them thickening elsewhere. The more we learn about Earth’s climate system, the more complex we find the feedback controls are.
We may be getting warmer, but thanks to the shoddy work climate scientists are doing of peer review and error checking, the data saying we are is equivocal, just like your anecdotal photo evidence.
If we are warming, it’s very likely a natural process. The 30s showed us that temps can rise and fall dramatically at least once in a century, so our current warming cycle is not that unusual.
We had a Little Ice Age just 400 years ago. You would expect temps to bounce around like they have been but tend to continue rising until a stasis is reached (or until another ice age or ELE tries to wipe out life on the planet).
Also, the sun has been more active than at any time since the Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum (another warm time). The jury is still out as to whether the active sun prevents cosmic rays from causing clouds thereby warming the surface, but even if it isn’t, a more active thermonuclear reaction going off just 90 million miles away is bound to have some effect!
So we have the Sun, recovery from an ice age, and normal variation as explanations for the current warming cycle. And a very small possibility that mankind has a hand in it, but that’s not likely. After all, over the last half billion years, CO2 has never driven global temperatures, even when CO2 levels were 17 times higher than they are now, temps have always remained within a relatively narrow 10 degree C band.

Evan Jones
August 11, 2007 4:57 pm

“Oh, I get it. So you’re saying all those pictures that show glaciers and sea ice all over the world shrinking are shrinking because of the Y2K bug. Now it’s all clear….”
Well, a big chunk of Antarctic ice falling into the sea makes a swell photo. *Ka-BOOM-bruggabruggabrugga-FLUMP*
But for some strange reason we just aren’t as turned on by all those exciting pics of Antarctic ice accumulting!
That’s the trouble–one side of the argument gets all the glamour shots!

Evan Jones
August 11, 2007 4:57 pm

“Oh, I get it. So you’re saying all those pictures that show glaciers and sea ice all over the world shrinking are shrinking because of the Y2K bug. Now it’s all clear….”
Well, a big chunk of Antarctic ice falling into the sea makes a swell photo. *Ka-BOOM-bruggabruggabrugga-FLUMP*
But for some strange reason we just aren’t as turned on by all those exciting pics of Antarctic ice accumulting!
That’s the trouble–one side of the argument gets all the glamour shots!

August 11, 2007 5:48 pm

This does not change what a lot of you imbeciles think it changes.
I don’t think you understand what the annual mean temperature abnormality is measured against.

Steven Mosher
August 11, 2007 6:43 pm

Chris I like the animation. But don’t use GISS’s bogus way of calculating a 5 year mean. Just do a proper 5 year running average.
Second, don’t worry about the error band. Hansen’s papers admit that the error ( 2sig is .1C) is a combination of data, Modelled data with stocashic error added, adjustments added deterministically and subjective assessments of data quality. In short. The reported error is nonsense.

Steven Mosher
August 11, 2007 6:52 pm

I love Irony. When CA called the error a “y2K” error some folks were quick to respond: It’s not a Y2K error, it’s a data input error.
Pause a minute and think.
whats the first thing you do… the first thing you check and verify. Read the file. If you can’t get that right…
Get Input data
Process input data
Output results.
Most programmers out there are dying with laughter. ” you messed up input files?”
Free the code.

steven mosher
August 11, 2007 7:32 pm

I love the way warmers run for the ICE.
Is the Ice in the artic melting?
How do we know?
Is the record long enough to be significant?
How is air temperature measured in the artic?
Why does ice decay?
( the last question is a trick question)
Be very careful when running on the ice.
Warwick is a good source here.

steven mosher
August 11, 2007 7:33 pm

I love the way warmers run for the ICE.
Is the Ice in the artic melting?
How do we know?
Is the record long enough to be significant?
How is air temperature measured in the artic?
Why does ice decay?
( the last question is a trick question)
Be very careful when running on the ice.
Warwick is a good source here.

steven mosher
August 11, 2007 7:33 pm

I love the way warmers run for the ICE.
Is the Ice in the artic melting?
How do we know?
Is the record long enough to be significant?
How is air temperature measured in the artic?
Why does ice decay?
( the last question is a trick question)
Be very careful when running on the ice.
Warwick is a good source here.

August 11, 2007 8:18 pm

You’ll have to show me the math….
I understand why the years between 2000-2006 and 1893-1899 would be suspect and caught as a “y2k” problem, but that doesn’t explain the different ordering for the years from 1900-1999.
Either they found “other” issues with the data or something else is up….

Steven Mosher
August 11, 2007 9:02 pm

The issues are:
1. Enforcing the scientific method on AGW folks.
2. The benefits of Independent review IN ADDITION to peer review.
3. The change in the US record. Now the 30s look like a Early century warming period, Prior to the the exponential release of C02
4. NASAs unbalanced PR.
5. Concerns about what a full audit will show.
The AGW argument is this.
“hey, its .01C on a glbal basis”
The counter is: we only audited 1/6 of 2% of the stations.
If yu found an error on the first page of your wifes check book, would you jump to the conclusion that there were no more errors t be foound in the next 100 pages?

Chris Schoneveld
August 12, 2007 2:58 am

“If climate change is real (regardless of the cause) then we’re screwed”
I can imagine you are believing that since the media and a majority (the so called 95%?) of the scientific community appear to support that view. Just “google” the expressing “climate change” in combination with any of the following things we humans like (e.g. sea turtles, panda’s, harlequin frogs, orang-utangs, Adelie penguins, whales, porpoises, butterflies, tigers, bears, polar bears, koala bears, coral fish, coral reefs, trout, tropical rainforests, ancient monuments, Eskimos, spaghetti, wine)
And then do the same with things we dislike( e.g. mosquitoes, cockroaches, scorpions, poisonous spiders, ants, mice, poison ivy, Lyme disease, dengue fever, asthma, allergens, jelly fish, feral cane toads, feral cats, storms, droughts, floods, death, poverty, wars, ice age, extreme weather events.
What you will find is that there are no (or hardly any) reports or studies in the likable category that show any benefit from global warming. Indeed all the things we like are in demise or at risk of going extinct. On the other hand, all the examples from the non-likable category are invariably on the increase due to global warming. In other words global warming is detrimental (or catastrophic, if you like) in every respect.
The obvious question remains: would a cooler world then be good for all the things on the list we like and alleviate us from all those things we don’t like, i.e. would a cooler world be generally beneficial? For example: more and healthier coral reefs, more koala bears, more butterflies, more sea turtles, more whales, more urang-utangs but less floods, less storms or other extreme weather events, less jelly fish, less cockroaches, less poison ivy, less diseases, less wars, less poverty etc. etc. I don’t think anybody would believe that such a positive scenario is realistic or even remotely plausible. Our gut feeling is that a colder world would be a harsher place for humans (i.e. our anthropocentric preferences) than a warmer world. Indeed history shows that the medieval warm period was one of progress and the little ice age one of relative hardship.

August 12, 2007 8:31 am

I congratulate you and Steve. We are on that 5% of scientists that see the real state of climate.

Evan Jones
August 12, 2007 9:19 am

“McIntyre’s Grenadier Guards and Watts’ Light Horse have had rather a spectacular victory. Carry on, gentlemen.”
Today, Bennington; tomorrow, Saratoga?
(Quien sabe? If our AWatts closes this one out with the surfacestations project, maybe the French will sign on!)

Anthony Watts
August 12, 2007 9:42 am

Evan, I claim no victory, only a better understanding and an improved accuracy in reporting the near surface temperature record.
There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done.
Science is not a game of winning, but an ongoing saga of improved understanding.

Evan Jones
August 12, 2007 9:43 am

“if you are of the false impression that we will be able to extract oil out of the ground AT THE SAME PRICE indefinitely”
Yes, I am. With the minor modification that fuel will increase in real price but become a lower and lower percentage of income. That’s the historical trend.
I expect that would be the case for at least three centuries (even at 6% incresed use/year), except that alternative fuels will undoubtedly be available long, long before that.
And that assumes we can’t find any more potential reserves (which I sincerely doubt.)
There are–darn good–economic reasons why we almost never have more than 30 or so years proven reserve of any given resource! (And why 30 years later of intensive use, there’s STILL a 30-year proven reserve!)
Check out The Next 200 Years (Herman Kahn), the definitive book that (almost singlehandedly) broke the back of the Club of Rome.
But this is OT, so I will not go on (but I could).

Evan Jones
August 12, 2007 10:01 am

“Seven of the ten hottest five-year periods have all occurred within the last decade.”
Musta been quite a decade!
(Would ya care to rephrease that, laddie? )

Evan Jones
August 12, 2007 10:25 am

“They’re just trying to attack the business community, because they enjoy that.”
I used to be part of that crowd.
And yes, we enjoyed it very much indeed!
“I don’t think you understand what the annual mean temperature abnormality is measured against.”
Yeah, well no one does, do they? And no one will until they release data and methods.
Two words: Source Code.
Two more words: Operating manuals.
As for the unfortunate 9-11 comment, I can see why the gvt. would want that classified for security reasons. Would it be prudent to explain carefully to the world-at-large the best way to knock down skyscrapers?Speaking personally, I’d just as soon the terrorists had to “reconstruct” THOSE data annd methods!
David Walton: I think you may be reading me wrong.

Evan Jones
August 12, 2007 10:51 am

“Evan, I claim no victory, only a better understanding and an improved accuracy in reporting the near surface temperature record.”
“There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done.”
“Science is not a game of winning, but an ongoing saga of improved understanding.”
It’s statements like these that inspires confidence in your judgement.
So you claim no victory. (Ah, the nobility, the chivalry of that statement!) Very well, then. You need not claim it. It is WE who accord you the victory! (And I think I speak for others, here.)
BTW, you were making some–very–tempting noises about putting up the surfacestation ratings . . . (always impatient and hopeful!)
Also, any word on your whitewash/latex experiment?

reid simpson
August 12, 2007 6:52 pm

The question is, where do we expend our scarce resources? We could address problems that are taking human life today or spend money on an unproven threat which cause is undetermined. Risk/reward analysis gives a clear answer. Problem is, news makers and news reporters do not understand economics (else have nefarious motives.

August 12, 2007 6:56 pm

Question, the correction was required due to an error in the 2000 to 2006 data. Why would 1998 and the other pre-2000 data need corrections?

August 12, 2007 11:38 pm

see tamino’s analysis here
showing old and new data, as well as other data commenters asked him to plot
this thread has a lot of random discussion (which isn’t necessarily bad), but it’s worthwhile to realize what the significance is to the measurement trend

August 13, 2007 12:30 am

captdallas: The figures are probably based on a multi-year average. The numbers for “1998” are not the actual number that was collected in 1998; it’s an average of the numbers collected from 1993 to 2003.
The idea is to smooth out cyclic variations and get an overall trend. For example, if your measurements are 1,3,1,3,1,3,1,3 then it all averages to 2,2,2,2. But if your numbers are 1,3,1,5,1,7,1,9, then it averages to 2,3,4,5. In the first case, there’s no “change” even though the number keeps going up and down. In the second case, we see a change, even though the number always “goes back” to 1.

August 13, 2007 3:49 am

Note how the site http://www.climateaudit.org/ no longer seems to be up, access forbidden to data that makes the government look stupid and makes there carbon footprint “tax” seem unnecessary..

Evan Jones
August 13, 2007 5:26 am

Good question. I can only assume that the post 1999 adjustments affected the computer model’s overall interpretation.
If so, it would seem to speak VERY badly for the model.
I’ve done historical models including a complete storyboard for the wargsme Blue Vs Gray, and I’m painfully aware of the process that adjusts A which then reflects on B (although real life would show no connection whatever between A and B).
One of the reasons I cast a very jaundiced eye toward models.
Plus, when one does a model, one falls in love with it and believes it endowed with prophetic power.
It ain’t, see?
(Our Right Rev. Dubya, St. Mac or the Drs. P. would be more qualified to comment.)

August 13, 2007 11:34 am

I have a doubt:
If it is man-made CO2 that brings global warming, naively I would exspect that the US should be among the world regions in which the warming is MORE severely felt.
But now, after NASA revision, it seems that US are among the places LESS affected by long term warming…
There is something to ponder upon or everything is perfectly clear?

August 13, 2007 1:11 pm

I found this to be the esiest way to sum it up for those that loose attention real fast.
New top 10 temperatures
1939 New
Old top 10 temperatures
1998 Tied
1934 Tied
2001 removed

August 13, 2007 2:09 pm

Yet another NASA goof exposed for all to see. Disband it. Take the nascent return of heavy lift and transfer it to DoD, in fact, transfer all strategic manned exploration and plant-the-flag thusly. Transfer all climate resarch to the DoI and NOAA. Cull out all politically motivated sad excuses for scientists and let them show us what they are worth … I am collecting resumes and hire very, very selectively. Put the remaining NASA work up for sale to the academic community.

Curtis Metz
August 13, 2007 2:44 pm

1978 and 1979 were the coldest years in the US since 1929. There was a general cooling trend in the US since the Dust Bowl days of the mid 1930’s down to 1979. I remember some climatologists back in the late 1970’s predicting that the Earth was heading for the next Ice Age.
By the way everyone is missing the point. The Earth is warming. It has been warming since the last Ice Age and will continue to warm until the break over point to the next Ice Age is reached no matter what Humanity does. We only have the choice to get to the break over point earlier or later by the actions that we take.

Evan Jones
August 13, 2007 3:37 pm

“But now, after NASA revision, it seems that US are among the places LESS affected by long term warming…
“There is something to ponder upon or everything is perfectly clear?”
Ponder this: If you look at the raw, undjusted data, it shows what looks–very–much like an actual cooling trend for the 20th Century. Little warming, at best.
And that’s the raw data!
Furthermore, it seems to me to be farly clear that most of the measurement biases introduced during the 20th Century have been to the warm. Especially since 1980. (As we impatiently await the results of the Right Rev. Dubya’s surfacestation project.)
So one would expect the adjustment to be
A.) downward, overall, and,
B.) Even MORE downward since 1980.
So guess which way NASA and NOAA adjust their raw data.
Upward, overall, and especially upward during recent years, that’s how.
One is led to wonder about the reasoning behind the data adjustment.
For my money, you’re better off going with the raw data, as flawed as it is. (And one also wants to know what the raw data of the “good” surface stations will reveal.)

August 13, 2007 6:44 pm

This kind of thing goes way back. Nearly 40 years ago I was doing data reduction for a NASA sponsored university research project. At one point, NASA said we could no longer have the original data, because they were going to do the reduction (and charge our project for it).
When we got the results, they had a bug in it that could only have come from a version of my program that had exactly the same subtle bug. Of course, any future user of that data presumably got bad information (although the error in the data was obvious to anyone who looked closely, which the bureaucrats didn’t).
In other words, bureaucrats have always been bureaucrats, and big science turns scientists into bureaucrats.

Ron McChesney
August 13, 2007 6:48 pm

I would like to suggest that someone that is an expert on these temperature issues take a look at the NOAA satelitte temp data set.
I have worked with the numbers on excel for several years, and realized that the numbers are tinkered with/adjusted fairly often.
The readme file notes this activity.
What I find interesting, is that when NOAA-15 data started to be used around 2000, the temperature numbers seem to bump up. About a year and a half ago, I thought that there seems to be some kind of discrete shift up of about .15C, and seems to be related to the substitution of a new NOAA and the retiring of an old one.
In recent months, they seem to have lost confidence in NOAA-16, and are just showing NOAA-15 data.
But if you take away .15c or about .25f from the data starting in 2000, the trend reverts back to what it was from 1979-2000.
I could be mistaken; I am simply an interested observer of the public data.

Arik Beval
August 13, 2007 7:51 pm

Is it only me or all this joy on how 1998 is no longer the hottest year in the U.S. a bit dubious? Isn’t global warming about “global” increase in temperature not rather a single country in the world? Now I don’t know much about Al Gore’s method of analysis but wasn’t he talking about the climate deterioration in the global scale?

Sean Seefried
August 13, 2007 10:54 pm

Top 10s don’t tell you that much about trends. Let’s say I’m a contractor for a few years and then switch to a steady salary-based job. I could make enormous amounts of money some months while I’m a contractor and in others make almost nothing. I might make more money overall when I’m a salaried employee. If we did a Top 10 analysis of all the years I’d been working then we’d see those “spikes” during the time I was a contractor plain as day. But we’d miss the fact that my earning power had been higher as a salaried employee.
Plus, a helpful commentor on Slashdot had the following to say:
I don’t think demoting 1998 to the 2nd-highest US temperature in a century (barely — by 0.01 annual average degree) is a big deal either. 1998 is an awfully close second. I also wouldn’t ascribe much to the the claim that “half” the top ten years in the US were before WWII (1921, 1931, 1934, 1938). Last I checked, 4 is less than half of ten 🙂 Two others were in the 1950s (1953, 1954), and the rest were 1990, 1998, 1999, and 2006. Perhaps this is merely indicating that, in the US, lately it’s been the hottest it’s been since the “dust bowl” years. That’s not a pleasant thought.
The TOP 10 annual temperature years in the US are (celcius degrees from mean):
year annual 5-year mean
1 1934 1.25 0.44
2 1998 1.23 0.51
3 1921 1.15 0.15
4 2006 1.13
5 1931 1.08 0.27
6 1999 0.93 0.69
7 1953 0.90 0.32
8 1990 0.87 0.40
9 1938 0.86 0.36
10 1954 0.85 0.47
If you look at the top ten ranking for the 5-year means, the pattern is pretty clear:
1 2000 0.52 0.79
2 1999 0.93 0.69
3 2004 0.44 0.66
4 2001 0.76 0.65
5 1932 0.00 0.63
6 1933 0.68 0.61
7 2003 0.50 0.58
8 2002 0.53 0.55
9 1998 1.23 0.51
10 1988 0.32 0.51
The 1930s are down at 5th and 6th place. 2005 and 2006 are left out because you can’t calculate a 5-year window around them yet.
Finally, the error changes the GLOBAL pattern insignificantly, and the global trend in the last couple of decades is greater than the USA trend.
In all, it’s a worthwhile error to catch for the US data, but it doesn’t change much about the overall pattern.

Sir Fred Wacko
August 14, 2007 6:04 am

Well for those of you saying you have to look at the global picture, Id just like to say here in Australia this winter has been one of the coldest in many many years, all over the world we have had many many floods this year, looking at the average temp of that flood water, Id say it would have to be cold.

August 14, 2007 7:59 am

The 1930’s? During the great depression? How do we know some homeless guy wasnt sleeping under the thermometer?

Climate Tony
August 14, 2007 8:32 am

The “1998 is the warmest year” claim originated with the NOAA/WMO estimate, not with NASA. I think they crunch the numbers a little differently. Has anyone figured out whether 1998 is still the warmest year according to NOAA.
It would seem pointless to crow about egg on the face of Hansen when the media’s 1998 claims were originating from the NOAA calculations.

August 14, 2007 10:40 am

How do you obtain real values from an open system? How do you remove the contributions of solar heating from say road building or ice melt to identify CO2 contributions? If we are only measuring surface temp, how do we account for the entire column? How can a hidden algorithm be the basis for a crusade? just asking.

August 14, 2007 11:24 am

Annoyed | August 11, 2007 01:22 PM asks:
How are we going to get our energy needs met with business as usual?
May I suggest a search on:
IEC Fusion Technology
The USA has quite a robust program in that area. I expect to see a working reactor in 10 years. Less if we push harder. All our eggs are not in the ITER basket.

August 16, 2007 8:54 am

The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was the 2nd warmest on record and within 0.1°F of the record set in 1998. Using final quality controlled data from the recently released USHCN Version 2 data set (see details below), the 2006 annual average temperature was 54.9°F, 2.1°F (1.2°C) above the 20th Century mean and 0.08°F (0.04°C) cooler than 1998.—NOAA website recent quotes

Rod Duke
August 16, 2007 10:07 am

My back ground is in Chemistry and I am well versed in the methodology of Scientific Research.
This leads me to the question: Has anyone thought to question the accuracy of the CO2 concentrations that are so glibly presesented?
I have seen one graph presented by a lone researcher located on one of the Hawiian islands but it lacked the methodology, parameters of sample collection, and confidence values.
I have tried to find a source for CO2 detectors but most are for industrial use and are +- 50 PPM for accuracy. I found a Vaisala CO2 detector with very good detection levels and on their web site I found a link to an outdoor CO2 monitoring experiment.
What astounded me was that over the limited time period that was presented on their graph, the variance of the CO2 levels was 100 PPM!
Since the collection of temperatures presented in support of anthropogenic global warming are not scientifically valid, why would anyone assume that the CO2 levels would be?
It is much more difficult to measure a gas concentration with such precision than it is to measure temperature.

Walter E. Wallis, P.E.
August 16, 2007 6:32 pm

The concept of an average earth temperature is ludicrous on the face of it. I cannot get past the third paragraph of the ASA article on adjusting surface temperature data without wishing I could get the IRS to accept such crap.
You cannot accurately measure it and no average has any meaning.

August 20, 2007 7:16 pm

Couple things here. First of all global warming is NOT defined by one data set. Nor is it defined by “recent highest” temperatures.
It’s good foder for the unconvinced. But it’s not about absolutes – it’s about trends. And every data set I’ve seen trends to warming, and faster warming in the most recent years.
You don’t have to believe. And you go bury your head when articles like this (http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL2069726720070820?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews) come around.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Personally I would welcome a shorter winter and warmer water here in the North East (US). Shipping companies are loving the reduced ice flow. (You can ignore global glacier reduction all you want, but if you’re a global shipper, you better pay attention).
Obviously the oil companies *like* the idea of global warming if it means easier access to oil.
Go on – ignore it. But if you’re an investor, you can bank on it.
25ft rise in ocean levels? I’ll have water front property!

August 22, 2007 1:41 pm

1998 was a scorcher. It’s cooler now but still pleasantly warm. Ok warming, stop anywhere round here please. 🙂 As Canute or someone said to the sea.
Thanks Anthony, and of course your aides for your work. It’s appreciated.
How can I get locations for Turkish temp stations? Any assistance appeciated.

August 24, 2007 6:09 pm

Spread the “boomerang theory”. The boomerang theory is a hybrid of the HOCKEY STICK with one difference…. it has the correct numbers in its diegram… it bends in the 90’s and in the 30’s 🙂

brian kelly
August 27, 2007 11:32 pm

NASA is a public agency funded with public dollars. Any research or corrections on climate data that they have made must be shared with the public. That is the law.

September 1, 2007 11:05 am

You are deeply confused here. The data you are citing is temperature CHANGE data – not temperature data. If you see a large positive number, that means that that year was warmer than the previous year. You need to integrate the data to see relative temperature. (For each data point, create a running total and plot that.) Do this and you will see that the 30s were some of the coldest years in the data set. You will also see that since around 1990, every successive year is warmer than any other year in this data set. You are misrepresenting the data and spreading misinformation.

November 5, 2007 10:24 am

[…] the much touted year 1998 formerly known as “the hottest year on record in the USA” fell to a close second behind 1934 during the peak of the dust bowl […]

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