Newly released FOIA'd emails from Hansen and GISS staffers show disagreement over 1998-1934 U.S. temperature ranking

From a Judicial watch press release

NASA Scientists Go on Attack After Climate Data Error Exposed

Contact Information: Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — January 14, 2010

Email from Sato to Hansen 8-14-07 click to enlarge (Note: email addresses redacted as a courtesy by WUWT)

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained internal documents from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) related to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA’s handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States. According to multiple press reports, when NASA corrected the error, the new data apparently caused a reshuffling of NASA’s rankings for the hottest years on record in the United States, with 1934 replacing 1998 at the top of the list.

These new documents, obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), include internal GISS email correspondence as NASA scientists attempted to deal with the media firestorm resulting from the controversy. In one exchange GISS head James Hansen tells a reporter from Bloomberg that NASA had not previously published rankings with 1998 atop the list as the hottest year on record in the 20th century.

Email from Demian McLean, Bloomberg to Jim Hansen, August 14, 2007: “The U.S. figures showed 1998 as the warmest year. Nevertheless, NASA has indeed newly ranked 1934 as the warmest year…”

Email Response from James Hansen to Damian McLean, August 14, 2007: “…We have not changed ranking of warmest year in the U.S. As you will see in our 2001 paper we found 1934 slightly warmer, by an insignificant hair over 1998. We still find that result. The flaw affected temperatures only after 2000, not 1998 and 1934.”

Email from NASA Scientist Makiko Sato to James Hansen, August 14, 2007: “I am sure I had 1998 warmer at least once on my own temperature web page…” (Email includes temperature chart dated January 1, 2007.)

(This issue also crops up in email communications with New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin a little over a week later.)

According to the NASA email, NASA’s incorrect temperature readings resulted from a “flaw” in a computer program used to update annual temperature data.

Hansen, clearly frustrated by the attention paid to the NASA error, labeled McIntyre a “pest” and suggests those who disagree with his global warming theories “should be ready to crawl under a rock by now.” Hansen also suggests that those calling attention to the climate data error did not have a “light on upstairs.”

“This email traffic ought to be embarrassing for NASA. Given the recent Climategate scandal, NASA has an obligation to be completely transparent with its handling of temperature data. Instead of insulting those who point out their mistakes, NASA scientists should engage the public in an open, professional and honest manner,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

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Here’s a large package of emails from NASA GISS in one large PDF with 215 page which I’ve made available on the WUWT server which can handle the traffic this is likely to get.

783_NASA_docs (warning large PDF 11 MB)

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Fred from Canuckistan . . .

Not
All
Science
Agrees

John W.

“…Instead of insulting those who point out their mistakes, NASA scientists should engage the public in an open, professional and honest manner,”
Well, there’s the problem.

kwik

“Hansen also suggests that those calling attention to the climate data error did not have a “light on upstairs.””
Not a very Scientific approach.
Using the same language as the Norwegian foreign minister used in Copenhagen. Very strange.
Why are they so hostile?

DirkH

At least he doesn’t say f**k or s**t or d**n.

David Alan Evans

And late last year, 2006 jumped by 0.19ºC to become joint warmest year in the USA lower 48 series.
DaveE.

so in 1999 Hansen claims:
1934 – 1. 459
1998 – 0.918
but by 2007 he has “adjusted” the data to:
1934 – 1.227
1998 – 1.242
so he magically managed to adjust 1934 down 16% and 1998 up 35% … gee I think we’ve seen that game before …
I think the last earring Hansen had put in must have killed off his last remaining brain cells …

Eric (skeptic)

Judicial Watch has always been sort of a loose cannon. Their announcement isn’t going to send shivers down anyone’s spine.

Ron de Haan

Top Obama czar: Infiltrate all ‘conspiracy theorists’
Presidential adviser wrote about crackdown on expressing opinions
Among the beliefs Sunstein would ban is advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=121884

Henry chance

Climate Progress was pushing some graph from James Hansen rather hard today. You mean it is laced with misinformation? George Zoros needs to watch his sock puppet site more closely.
Hanson’s comment tells us he is immature in his work attitude.

coalsoffire

Eric (skeptic) (13:51:38) :
Judicial Watch has always been sort of a loose cannon. Their announcement isn’t going to send shivers down anyone’s spine.

But the emails will speak themselves will they not? They are not diminished in any way because of the credibility or lack thereof of the party that procured them.

stansvonhorch

there will be a press release explaining how the public can’t possibly understand all this scary-looking but totally innocuous “science talk.” mark my words.

Al Gore's Brother

Wow! So not only do they take my tax dollars and push for a result that lets them ask for and receive more, but then when someone catches them doing this, they call them names. Shame on you NASA…

Henry chance

kwik (13:39:30) :
“Hansen also suggests that those calling attention to the climate data error did not have a “light on upstairs.””
Not a very Scientific approach.
Using the same language as the Norwegian foreign minister used in Copenhagen. Very strange.
Why are they so hostile?

It is simple. This hostility is defensiveness. Freud wrote of defense mechanisms. when proud people are exposed in error, they lash out. It is a natural reflex response . Joe Romm and James Hansen have almost identical maladaptive coping mechanisms.
A real Scientist would scratch their chin and just dig deeper.

PaulH

Gosh, it seemed like a simple correction of a minor error at the time. Talk about thin-skinned!

D. King

“According to the NASA email, NASA’s incorrect temperature readings resulted from a “flaw” in a computer program used to update annual temperature data.”
OMG… not the Flaw!

Can someone please dumb this down for us?

The face of settled science surfaces…
And today we have:
“There will be a significant effort on the part of all in the administration to press forward,” [Todd Stern] said. “The president is focused on it, and the White House is focused on it.”
You know what they say about fools.

Fred from Canuckistan . . . (13:33:44) :
Not
All
Science
Agrees

Not even from one year to the next. From the same data munger.

Henry chance

Al Gore, leading science denier, says the Earth is several million degrees-2 miles down.
It seems the warmists need to adjust some of their claims.

andy

The same folks who think “Day of the Condor” and “JFK” are gospel because the government is behind all conspiracies apparently don’t have a problem believing every word NASA comes up with.

sleeper

Re: Dr. Bob (Jan 14 14:06),

“Can someone please dumb this down for us?”

If we don’t stop burning fossil fuels now, the planet’s gonna burst into flames sometime in the next 100 years and we’re all gonna die. Trust us, we’re scientists.

Peter of Sydney

It’s a pity to see what was once a vibrant and useful organization as NASA deteriorate down to it’s current level of embarrassment and malpractice. But then it’s to be expected in any organization that grows too old with fat cats, useless managers and pen pushers who have no scientific experience, and is becoming more and more like a political entity much like the UN. Sad but true. I expect China will replace the US in leading space research soon enough.

edgar

the hotter they claim it gets the more taxpayer money they get. Give me a million dollars and I’ll tell you it’s d**n hotter than hades and getting worse every year.

DirkH

“andy (14:10:27) :
The same folks who think “Day of the Condor” and “JFK” are gospel because the government is behind all conspiracies apparently don’t have a problem believing every word NASA comes up with.”
We would love to, but their words change so often.

Myron Mesecke

Email Response from James Hansen to Damien McLean, August 14, 2007: “…We have not changed ranking of warmest year in the U.S. As you will see in our 2001 paper we found 1934 slightly warmer, by an insignificant hair over 1998. We still find that result. The flaw affected temperatures only after 2000, not 1998 and 1934.”
But if it is an insignificant hair between 1934 and 1998 then why all the fear mongering saying that recent warming is unprecedented? You can’t have it both ways James.

James Sexton

I really thought I’d never see NASA’s changing of historical data exposed in such a manner. Perhaps there is hope after all.

No wonder there are still those who swear we were never on the moon!

belvedere

Well i have read about 60 of those emails and i can say only one thing:
What the [snip] is going on here??
It sickens me that Steve and Anthony are being portrated like a bunch of loonies instead of themselfs..
Keep up the good work Anthony and Steve! I love you!

Ron de Haan
b_C

Simple: henceforth the CIA will audit NASA GISS temperature data. While they’re at it, perhaps they can check out whether Hansen’s boxers have been twisted into a permanent knot.

Eric (skeptic) (13:51:38) :
“Judicial Watch has always been sort of a loose cannon. Their announcement isn’t going to send shivers down anyone’s spine.”
Only Daily Kos Kool-Aid chuggers would consider Judicial Watch a “loose cannon”. They are a widely recognised watchdog and whistle blowing group with a number of successes over the years not only in exposing scandal, but in forcing open closed government records found embarrassing by bureaucrats and big-government politicians. Lets all drop the ad hom attacking the messenger and look at the facts. The documents in question are NASA’s, so it really doesn’t matter who brought them to light.

Patrik

You know, Sweden was just as warm as the US in 1934, compared to now. Could it have been global?

Leon Brozyna

Hansen changes his mind and the data so often that it’s a wonder anything can be said about the historical ‘record’. I tried to think of something or someone with which to compare the frequency of his changes, but it would surely be offensive to any man, woman, or group to which his conduct could be compared, and I could come up with some real doozies. Let me just say that perhaps he’s way past due for retirement, and let it go at that.

Steve McIntyre

In 2007, on the 1934-1998 issue: I agreed that Hansen had been for 1934, before he was against it.

Jimbo

I’m beginning to think that the forecast by Jim Hansen about 2010 having a 50% chance of being the warmest year is more like a promise than a forecast. :o)

“Indeed, given the continued growth of greenhouse gases and the underlying global warming trend (Figure 3b) there is a high likelihood, I would say greater than 50 percent, that 2010 will be the warmest year in the period of instrumental data.”

Source

Robert Ray

D. King (14:03:44)
“OMG… not the Flaw!”
Is that a raw Flaw or a “value added Flaw”?

Chuck

At least the FOI seems to work in the US better than other parts of the world!!

carlbrannen

I’m glad to see FOIA acts successful on this. Is this about the first one, or did I miss other releases? And I wonder if Climategate will effect how FOIA requests are handled. I would think it would increase the pressure to release.

starzmom

Seems I read somewhere recently that 1998 is on top of the heap again. I was surprised because I remember this little episode a couple years ago. Do the different parts of NASA/GISS say different things. That could be inconvenient, too.
Guess I must be a loonie too.

Michael

OT
Rothschild Family to Donate $50 Billion to Haiti Relief Efforts.
This offer for help comes with no strings attached.
There are estimates the Rothschild’s are worth $100 trillion.
$50 Billion is but a drop in the bucket of the Rothschild’s budget.
http://www.dailypaul.com/node/121585

rbateman

When was the last time these people presented the data unaltered?
Seriously.

Did GISS throw away data too?

HotRod

I can’t judge the science, but I can judge the tone of the emails. Errors don’t matter. 0.15c difference seems big to me. H/T Steve yet again.

Have the reasons for these adjusments (just to the US data set) ever been fully explained? It appears that Sato is joining other climate scientist who have lost some of the original data. Why was Sato not interested in US data after 2001? Was it possibly becasue the major adjustments done prior to 2001 had a desired effect? Sato claims to not know why the biggest adjustments were made!! He says , rather sadly, “I may have some of the data.”
Really a rather telling letter.

And of course not only the reasons, but the formula for changing them, were those released??
Thanks

Konrad

Peter of Sydney (14:17:11)
I have to agree with your comments about NASA but there is hope, check out http://www.spacex.com/
This company may have their Falcon 9 / Dragon space vehicle operational while NASA is still trying to make ARES work.

edgar (14:19:55) :
the hotter they claim it gets the more taxpayer money they get. Give me a million dollars and I’ll tell you it’s d**n hotter than hades and getting worse every year.

Give me two million above that and I will claim it is worse that you thought.

Hey, I’m flattered by the mention on your site today, but can you please correct the spelling of my name? Both versions are wrong.
And here’s a link to the full Bloomberg story:
http://tinyurl.com/2qq9k3
If I remember correctly, we broke the NASA-temperature story among mainstream media, though blogs were there way before us.
REPLY: Fixed, but you might also want to make a note to Judicial Watch, where the error originated.
http://www.judicialwatch.org/news/2010/jan/judicial-watch-uncovers-nasa-documents-related-global-warming-controversy
– Anthony

HotRod

revkin August 2007 – I never till today visited surfacestations.org and found it quite amazing. If our stations are that shoddy what’s it like in Mongolia?
Love it.

Ray

If that is not (yet another) enough reasons for immediate dismissal, what will it take?