Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
According to an article in the Hindustan Times by someone for whom English is a second language, I find:
Senior scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WITG) has rejected the Global Warming Theory and told that the Himalayas are quite safer zone on earth, where Global Warming has no role in controlling the conditions.
In an exclusive chat with HT, Director WIHG Dr AK Dubey has said that the conditions of Himalayas are controlled by the winter snowfall rather than external factors like much hyped Global Warming. He told that for a concrete result, at least 30 years of continuous research with steady outcome is needed to confirm the actual impact.
“According to a data for over 140 years available with a British weather observatory situated in Mukteswar (2311m) in Almora has actually revealed that temperature in that region witnessed a dip of .4 degrees,” he said.
So, as is my wont, I figured I’d go take a look. To distinguish urban from rural sites, GISS uses a “brightness index” which shows how much light comes from around the site as seen from a satellite. GISS lists Mukteshwar Ku as having a brightness index of zero, so they treat it as a rural station. Here’s the location per the GISS data, at 29.47°N, 79.65°E. It definitely appears to be a rural site.
Figure 1. Aerial View of the Mukteshwar Ku Surface Station locality.
Having seen the problems that occurred in Matanuska due to the application of a computer algorithm without quality control and checking, I next went to look at the record. Here is the GISS record for Mukteshwar Ku, before it has been subjected to the “homogeneity adjustment”:
Figure 2. GISS record of the temperature at Mukteshwar Ku before homogeneity adjustment
There’s a couple of oddities here. First, Dr. Dubey said that there were 140 years of temperature records from the station, but the GISS data covers 1897 to the present, or 113 years including the missing years.
In addition, it is clear that there has been some kind of serious change in the station. It is missing data from about 1993 to 1998, and when it starts up again the temperatures are much warmer than when it left off. (I can’t say exactly what years are missing, because curiously, the GISS server comes up with a “404 Not Found” when I ask it for the actual data.)
Seeing such an obvious problem with the data, I looked at the graph showing the temperature after homogenization to see how they had dealt with the problem … foolish me. I forgot that it was a rural station (brightness = 0), so it wasn’t adjusted at all. Sad to say, that’s the data that they used.
I’m used to not finding the data where I expect it to be, so to continue my analysis I just digitized the GISS graph so I could look at the effect of their leaving the data uncorrected. The gap was as I estimated, 1993-1998. Here’s that result:
Figure 3. Final GISS record of the temperature at Mukteshwar Ku. Note the difference in the trends when the recent data is included. Photo is of Nanda Devi Peak from Mukteshwar Ku.
As I said in my article about Matanuska cited above, the problem is that you can’t just devise a method for computer adjusting temperature data, apply it to all of the world’s stations, and call the job done. You need to look at and consider each and every station, as they are as individual as human beings. This is called “quality control”, and it is sadly lacking in all three of the major global temperature records (GISS, CRU, and GHCN).
Does this invalidate the GISS global temperature record? No. However, it does mean that they are not doing their job. They haven’t removed an obvious inconsistency in this case. How common is this type of problem? I don’t know.
But until they start over and do it right, it does mean that, like the baseball records of players who are known to have used steroids, the GISS global temperature has to be entered in the record books “with an asterisk” to indicate that lingering questions still remain.