Which NASA climate data to believe?

Over on Climate Audit, Jean S points out a curious anomaly in the March GISS Temperature data for Finland.

http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ghcn_giss_hr2sst_250km_anom03_2010_2010_1971_2000.gif?resize=520%2C307

Maybe that’s where all of Trenberth’s “missing heat” went. Note the deep red anomaly is in a sea of blue that surrounds it.

Jean writes of the data:

GISS station values are even more spectacular, the warmest March on record is set in every Finnish station GISS is following. For instance, according to GISS, the mean March temperature in Sodankylä (61402836000) was a remarkable +1.5 °C beating the old record (-2.2 °C) from 1920 by 3.7 °C!

Well, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, March 2010 was colder than usual all over Finland, especially in the northern part. For instance, the mean temperature in Sodankylä was -10.3 °C, which is almost three degrees below the base period 1971-2000 average (-7.5 °C). So the GISS March value for Sodankylä is off by amazing 11.8 °C!

Even more curious, when you look at the NASA data from another division. NASA’s Earth Observations (NEO) The GISS Finlandic Temperature anomaly disappears!

Here are the satellite derived daytime and nighttime temperature anomalies for the world. Just like what the Finnish Meteorological Institute says, Finland was well below normal.

Here’s the daytime temperature anomaly:

NASA NEO March 1-31 2010 day satellite measured temp anomaly - click for larger image

Here’s the nighttime temperature anomaly:

NASA NEO March 1-31 2010 night satellite measured temp anomaly - click for larger image

The whole of Finland remains a cool blue in both images. So we have NASA NEO saying Finland is “below normal” and we have the Finnish Meteorological Institute saying below normal, but GISS shows a hotspot.

Gosh, who to believe?

I have a working theory as to why this happened, look for an update to this post if I’m able to confirm it – Anthony

UPDATE: GISS has posted a correction on their website which reads –

2010-04-15: The data shown between 4/13 and 4/15 were based on data downloaded on 4/12 and included some station reports from Finland in which the minus sign may have been dropped. NOAA updated GHCN on 4/13 by removing those data and we updated our displays today. The March 2010 global mean temperature was affected by about 2/100 of a degree Celsius, well below the margin of error (about 15/100 of a degree for monthly global means).

Back in January, I was working on a minus sign issue in data, and GISS making mention of this confirms it to be a real problem. I’ll have more later today. -A

UPDATE2: A commenter calls this “fraud” – folks please don’t go there. See below  and wait for my next post. – A

Hockeystickler

2010/04/17 at 10:33am

even if Giss accidentally dropped the minus sign, -1.5 (C) would still be 8.8 degrees warmer than the -10.3 figure from the Finnish Meteorological Institute. there is only one word for this – fraud.

REPLY: Actually, it’s not fraud, but common human error. Give me a couple of hours and I’ll demonstrate how this happens. GISS is a consumer of GHCN data, compiled by NOAA, and while their quality control may be nonexistent or slipshod, it’s not fraud that they plotted this erroneously transmitted data. – Anthony

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Kum Dollison
April 17, 2010 9:07 am

They hid the decline?

April 17, 2010 9:10 am

Reason? Two Words: James Hansen

Jim
April 17, 2010 9:15 am

Gotta love that satellite data!!

Dave F
April 17, 2010 9:19 am

Do they have room under the carpet for this?

April 17, 2010 9:23 am

I think Giss have already found the problem and updated. discussing at Lucia’s

Richard M
April 17, 2010 9:24 am

All the real Finnish data was missing so they had to look elsewhere using their now famous AlGORErithm. They thought those readings in Canada sure looked great and used them.

April 17, 2010 9:26 am

It also has NW Africa being warm when actually it wasn’t.
It’s just the latest of the Gisscapades.

MattyS
April 17, 2010 9:27 am

Where do you get these images from? The NEO ones are far more convincing than the GISS.
It seems “global” warming is currently isolated to Canada. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the additional heat the Canadians are using near surface stations…??
I wonder what one of these images would look like during the MWP.

Patrick Walker
April 17, 2010 9:30 am

S see their latest comment is “2010-04-15: The data shown between 4/13 and 4/15 were based on data downloaded on 4/12 and included some station reports from Finland in which the minus sign may have been dropped.” ooops – how careless!!!

April 17, 2010 9:31 am

Absent quality data the meme is “fill ‘er in with red ink, boys”

John B.
April 17, 2010 9:32 am

Anthony,
I’ll be fascinated to see your theory. Somebody really needs to check those GISS algorithms for errors introduced when adjacent grid cell data is missing. Strongly contrasting anomalies between these data sources also show up in northern Canada, Peru, Algeria, Pakistan and South Africa — all areas with adjacent gray (empty) grid cells on the GISS map.
John

Amino Acids in Meteorites
April 17, 2010 9:33 am

Gosh, who to believe?
I can believe GISTemp will be different from other data sets from around the world in that it will be warmer than the others.
GISS in not like a box a chocolates because you always know what you’re going to get.

PaulH
April 17, 2010 9:37 am

I wish these guys would at least TRY to get on the same page. Sheesh.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
April 17, 2010 9:41 am

Maybe it is an artifact of that 2008 September/October GISS data foible.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/11/10/giss-releases-october-2008-data/
Remember that NASA that put men on the moon? This isn’t your daddy’s NASA.

Chris
April 17, 2010 9:42 am

i can`t find at giss data your figure one:
look at this if you try for your own:
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2010&month_last=3&sat=4&sst=1&type=anoms&mean_gen=03&year1=2010&year2=2010&base1=1971&base2=2000&radius=250&pol=reg
REPLY: They have updated the data already.

kim
April 17, 2010 9:44 am

Judith Curry, in comments at Pielke Fils and at Bishop Hill is saying that we need to have a whole new effort made to make a reliable temperature and paleo record. I think she’s had enough of the foolishness.
=====================

Rattus Norvegicus
April 17, 2010 9:51 am

Umm…. baseline? GISS uses 1951 to 1980 the Finnish Met service 1971 to 2000. The baseline period for the Finnish met service is a considerably warmer period than the 1951 to 1980 period.

Chris
April 17, 2010 9:51 am

REPLY: They have updated the data already
really?
Can anyone tell me, whats going on over there?
Whats up with GISS? I can`t belive.

April 17, 2010 9:53 am

The problem with this, I think, is that if there is one error like this, there could be many more. I find that worrying, and I simply use Roy Spencer’s data. At least this is way out in the public’s view.

pat
April 17, 2010 9:54 am

Classic. Grounding of planes will cause global warming:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266739/Grounding-planes-Europe-lead-rise-temperatures.html
Hey? Is this game rigged? How come the Warmists always win? LOL.

Leon Brozyna
April 17, 2010 9:55 am

Plus sign (+) … minus sign (-) … those minor little details will getcha every time.

allen
April 17, 2010 9:58 am

just read the FT.com article about ongoing investigations into suspected hiring of Russian hackers by U.S. based climate skeptics. can’t wait until someone’s ass is nailed and would love it if it were you or Marc Morano in tribute to the disinformation you are so devoted to.

DirkH
April 17, 2010 10:06 am

As soon as the missing heat notices that somebody has found it it disappears to hide somewhere else.

Peter Plail
April 17, 2010 10:07 am

NASA News
2010-04-15: The data shown between 4/13 and 4/15 were based on data downloaded on 4/12 and included some station reports from Finland in which the minus sign may have been dropped. NOAA updated GHCN on 4/13 by removing those data and we updated our displays today. The March 2010 global mean temperature was affected by about 2/100 of a degree Celsius, well below the margin of error (about 15/100 of a degree for monthly global means).
Perhaps the minus sign went missing in March too!

April 17, 2010 10:09 am

Anthony, unless I’m mistaken, Iceland looks very hot in the graphic! We saw where that has recently led…
Could we be seeing potential volcanic eruptions in Europe? I couldn’t find anything on any volcanoes in Finland….then again, Mt. St. Helens was a surprise too!
Maybe Steve Goddard could comment? He’s the only legit volcanologist in this bunch that I know of!

April 17, 2010 10:12 am

included some station reports from Finland in which the minus sign may have been dropped</i<
is it know WHO dropped the sign?

Editor
April 17, 2010 10:12 am

Kelvins, I tell you, Kelvins. report the temps in Kelvins. Of course to save space in METARS and whatnot so they’d probably have people report just the last two digits or something silly or have non-standard rounding alogorithms to drop tenths of Kelvins (and even less standard algorithms to try to restore that precision in historical data)….
Programmers really shouldn’t be having sign problems these days. Hmm, the C language introduced a scheme where 123 is decimal, 0123 is octal, and 0x123 is hexadecimal. Air pressures are often reported in millibars, but only the last three digits are sent, e.g. 993 is clearly 993 mb, 023 is clearly 1023.
I wonder if there’s any software out there that treats 023 as octal (19 in decimal) and converts it to 1019 mb.

Weeble
April 17, 2010 10:13 am

Canada sure was warmer than usual in March. I think it was due to the overheated RE market. The readings should be dropping soon. Not to worry.

rbateman
April 17, 2010 10:31 am

Dear NASA:
We are delighted to inform you that we have found the $$$ to fund your Moon Mission. We’re cutting GISS to the bone, and transferring the proceeds to Space Flight. We are also shutting down major parts of NOAA, handing the local data collection and information system over to individual State Meteorologists. Once again, the funding will pour into NASA Space Flight.
Oh, and all those myriad global warming study troughs: We’ll be pulling the plug on the majority of them, so get ready to put the Can back into Can Do.

Hockeystickler
April 17, 2010 10:33 am

even if Giss accidentally dropped the minus sign, -1.5 (C) would still be 8.8 degrees warmer than the -10.3 figure from the Finnish Meteorological Institute. there is only one word for this – fraud.

REPLY:
Actually, it’s not fraud, but common human error. Give me a couple of hours and I’ll demonstrate how this happens. GISS is a consumer of GHCN data, compiled by NOAA, and while their quality control may be nonexistent or slipshod, it’s not fraud that they plotted this erroneously transmitted data. – Anthony

DirkH
April 17, 2010 10:37 am

“allen (09:58:38) :
just read the FT.com article about ongoing investigations into suspected hiring of Russian hackers by U.S. based climate skeptics. can’t wait until someone’s ass is nailed and would love it if it were you or Marc Morano in tribute to the disinformation you are so devoted to.”
brought to you by
http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384
CACC – Campaign against Climate Change

DirkH
April 17, 2010 10:40 am

“Ric Werme (10:12:13) :
[…]
I wonder if there’s any software out there that treats 023 as octal (19 in decimal) and converts it to 1019 mb.”
Python does this in the eval() function.

Stephan
April 17, 2010 10:45 am

If CA had not reported it would have been kept there as long as possible. Maybe CA should not be reporting this… so they can be really archived and then hammered in the future.

Kum Dollison
April 17, 2010 10:46 am

Meanwhile the SOI marches on. Positive 23 of the last 25 days.
http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/SeasonalClimateOutlook/SouthernOscillationIndex/30DaySOIValues/
Goodbye, “little boy.” It was good to know ya.

vigilantfish
April 17, 2010 10:49 am

MattyS (09:27:52) :
No conspiracy re Canadian temperatures. The last two months have been warmer than usual – one of the more pleasant winters I can remember in Southern Ontario, and a few summer-like days already this April. Last night and this morning, however, it felt like winter had returned.

Chris
April 17, 2010 10:56 am

a land surface temperature anomaly map for May 2002 shows how that month’s average temperature was different from the average temperature for all Marchs between 2000 and 2008.
the point is 2000 – 2008
i`m really a skeptic, but you can`t compare anomalies 1971-2000 with 2000-2008!

DeNihilist
April 17, 2010 10:59 am

Anthony, great sat. pics. Really illustrates your post on the high winter temps being from the overreaching release of heat from the oceans. Just by eye, it appears that during the day, about 50% of landmass is nuetral/cooling, but by night, it appears to jump to about 70%.
Then on the Giss pic, you can almost see the northern trade wind route, in the cooling/nuetral band.
It just seems to me, that if the globe is going through a prolonged cooling state, which it may be, then for the first few years of this change, we should expect to see higher then “normal” temps/energy release, for how else does a body cool?
It’s the “wobble hypothesis”.

DeNihilist
April 17, 2010 11:03 am

{DirkH (10:37:13) :
brought to you by
http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384
CACC – Campaign against Climate Change.}
Thanx Dirk, just signed up, so that I can comment also and bring some balance to this debate!
Suggest others do the same.

Ziiex Zeburz
April 17, 2010 11:05 am

Amino Acids in Meteorites (09:41:22)
Quite right Sir, in the days of moon landings there were thousands of recorded temperatures in the temperature calculations of the day, not a few well chosen hundred with more than half the world an area of no record.
Also in that time there were people who checked the unusual, such a stupid assessment would not have got of the ground.
There are hundreds of surface stations worldwide that have historic records and modern equipment that are not referred to in any global data, if these records were correlated, the scientific community would defiantly have a reference to challenge, WUWT has the ‘manpower’ ( 42 million plus hits, ) to definitely become a reference point, Anthony?

Dave Springer
April 17, 2010 11:09 am

If minus signs are mistakenly dropped today with the people responsible for the mistakes knowing there is such intense scrutiny of the data it makes one wonder how many minus signs were dropped in the past when there was far less scrutiny.
Interestingly one of the trends in “global warming” isn’t hotter summers but rather milder winters in the higher northern latitudes. Given that summer temperatures in higher northern latitudes seldom carry minus signs but winter temperatures often do this is just more cause for suspicion.
The surface station temperature record is essentially worthless for tracking small changes on the order of less than one degree and no proxies exist that are accurate enough either. I’d compare it to making a mountain out of a molehill except this mole’s hill has such a small slope that we can’t even be certain it’s not a molehole instead of a molehill.

Peter Miller
April 17, 2010 11:10 am

I think I have finally found something not caused by AGW – it’s sure to offend someone.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/dorset/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_8621000/8621852.stm

Chris
April 17, 2010 11:26 am

Can anyone replay to this:
“””a land surface temperature anomaly map for May 2002 shows how that month’s average temperature was different from the average temperature for all Marchs between 2000 and 2008″”””
The point here is 2000 – 2008
NOT 1971-2000
Now what are we going to compare here, Anthony and friends?

Richard Sharpe
April 17, 2010 11:26 am

Some Russian guy reported in that article about coldest winter in a long time has been going off the reservation:

Mr Tishkov, deputy head of the Geography Institute at Russian Academy of Science, said: ‘What we have been watching recently is comparatively fast changes of climate to warming, but within the framework of an overall long-term period of cooling. This is a proven scientific fact.
‘The recent warming – and we are talking tenths of a degree at most – is caused by human activity, like forest elimination, the changing of landscapes.
‘The greenhouse gases so much discussed now do not in fact play big role. We have to remember that all the impact of industrial enterprises in Russia cannot be compared with one volcano eruption on our planet.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1260132/Russian-weatherman-strikes-blow-climate-change-lobby-announcing-winter-Siberia-coldest-record.html#ixzz0lNpHtrNl

Doug in Seattle
April 17, 2010 11:28 am

“Which NASA climate data to believe?”
Easy answer. None.
Better question: Which NASA climate data is more reliable?
Or: Which NASA climate data is produced with the least bias?
The answers will by necessity be filled with caveats, whichever way one decides.

David, UK
April 17, 2010 11:31 am

AW said: “Actually, it’s not fraud, but common human error.”
Accepted, Anthony. But isn’t it curious that these human errors always seem to be on the side of extra warming. That is except, of course, when the Warmists themselves announce their own errors, and make the necessary adjustments… in favour of more warming. When was the last time an IPCC scientist announced error corrections that showed LESS warming?
AW also said “…their quality control may be non-existent or slipshod…” –
Yes, but only when it suits them. I mean, when the figures are pleasing to them, where’s the incentive to check them? Especially in a culture where ‘scepticism’ is a dirty word. I’d bet my @ss that wherever the figures are not to their satisfaction, they’re checked, and checked, and checked again.

henry
April 17, 2010 11:33 am

I just got off the phone to my bank – they’re trying to tell me I’m overdrawn.
I guess when I balanced my checkbook, I shouldn’t have dropped the minus sign…

hunter
April 17, 2010 11:41 am

OT:
I have started hitting the ads that post here to drive some bits of revenue to this site.
It is fun since some of the ads, like the Global Warming National Fax In, let you create and directly send letters to all in Congress and all Governors.
Think about how skeptics can be empowered by directly communicating using AGW promotional tools.
And bring in money to skeptics while doing it, to boot.
So my free advice is to help WUWT financially, and to play some of the AGW promoters tools against them. They certainly have no trouble using tax payer money to sell their fear.
Turn about is more than fair play.

MrCPhysics
April 17, 2010 11:41 am

Northwest Africa looks a little weird on the GISS map, too.
Not too many thermometers sited in NW Africa, one or two microsite effects or UHI issues might influence a lot of the local area.

Richard deSousa
April 17, 2010 11:46 am

The hot spot over Finland is too far to the east. It should be over Iceland… 🙂

Layne Blanchard
April 17, 2010 11:46 am

Anthony, I respect your opinion, but all of these “errors” from the AGW crowd are to the upside. (seemingly) all of them. 2350 “accidentally” becomes 2035, Sept temps in Siberia “accidentally” get reported as October, various decimal place shifts in IPCC summaries as outlined by Monckton, Airports are rural, UHI adjustments are somehow upward, Elevation and Latitude adjustments as noted by E.M. clearly biased to the upside, etc., etc. When they’re called on it, first they deny, then we get the blank stare, and an unapologetic “oops” . Individually, any one of these could be a mistake. Collectively, not likely.

April 17, 2010 11:48 am

It’s just weird that March would be so hot right at the time the Global Warming Hoax bill is introduced in the Senate.
Just random, nothing to see here.

Gary Pearse
April 17, 2010 12:02 pm

Hasn’t WUWT remarked before that the big maroon anomalies always occur in regions were thermometers are scarce – like the band of it in Canada.
REPLY: And there’s more than that involved, there’s polar numeric amplification too. See upcoming post. -A

GeorgeGr
April 17, 2010 12:08 pm

Have a look at the GISS map. All the red “blobs” are adjacent to grey areas (no thermometers).
Is all or much of this alleged warming in reality an artifact of the rather extreme version of interpolation techniques used by GISS (1200km interpolation if I remember correctly) or some other faulty method or software bug?
Has anybody looked into this possibility before?

April 17, 2010 12:14 pm

[snip] First, you print a retraction on your home page. ~dbs.

Rob Dawg
April 17, 2010 12:15 pm

I wouldn’t call this fraud but I am confident that if a cold spot of similar magnitude had been plotted that NASA would have held up publication while investigating the anomaly.

Dave Day
April 17, 2010 12:18 pm

Anthony,
I see by your recent comment that we shouldn’t jump to the suspicion of fraud when these mistakes happen and that you are perhaps working on a post to this effect.
I know my problem in this regard is that I am just not aware of their mistakes to the downside.
Perhaps you can address for us whether you think that these errors are random. Seems to me if they are anywhere close to random, we’d have ample examples of errors on the cold side of things.
Perhaps a side by side list of errors to the upside and their approximate magnitudes and then errors to the downside and their magnitudes to demonstrate how they balance out?
Thanks for all you do,
Dave

April 17, 2010 12:37 pm

It is interesting, though that the air temperatures WERE higher in Finland on at least two days in April when the “thickness” [528] line plunged south over Ireland and the UK – THEN MARCHED TOWARDS ITALY AND THEN DOUBLED BACK OVER NORTHERN SCOTLAND and swept north, to put Northern Scandinavia south of the line, and ***therefore, theoretically warmer than South West Ireland and Bristol and the M4 corridor towards London and the South East!*** I wrote to the British Met Office and they confirmed it was ‘unusual’. I HAVE THE SURFACE MAP FOR EARLY APRIL IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT!
radiospu@gmail.com.

April 17, 2010 12:40 pm

That Earth-cooling ash cloud from Iceland may continues for awhile — the 1821 previous eruption continued for more than a year. We will need all the global warming we can get.

April 17, 2010 12:43 pm

The explanation of the thickness line is here for those of you who require an explanation. The “528” line for instance was well south of us [British Isles] for the very cold days of January and February 3010.
http://weatherfaqs.org.uk/node/152.

rbateman
April 17, 2010 12:46 pm

Any chance some of the big mis-GISS-steps could be another oops, we got the pressure data mixed up with the temperature data?

kadaka
April 17, 2010 12:49 pm

allen (09:58:38) :
just read the FT.com article about ongoing investigations into suspected hiring of Russian hackers by U.S. based climate skeptics. can’t wait until someone’s ass is nailed and would love it if it were you or Marc Morano in tribute to the disinformation you are so devoted to.

After a bit of Wikipedia-ing, I found that with the Berber calendar the first of April-equivalent occurred on our (Gregorian) April 14, and since that was posted on April 17 there is still a three day difference.
Anyone know of any other calendars currently used that match up better?

Grumbler
April 17, 2010 12:53 pm

On the subject of fraud an important point to note legally is the type of misrepresentation. If an untrained layman made this error it would be ‘innocent mirepresentation’. The GISS guys went one worse and committed ‘negligent misrepresentation’. They would have to be knowingly cooking the books to commit ‘fraudulent misrepresentation’. However even negligent misrepresentation is pretty serious when so much is at stake.
cheers David

Ulric Lyons
April 17, 2010 12:53 pm

I posted this on the “NOAA says” thread;
Ulric Lyons (04:11:43) :
March 2010 image from NASA: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=MOD_LSTAD_M# (select March 2010)
shows a lot more blue areas than the NOAA map:
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/get-file.php?report=global&file=map-blended-mntp&year=2010&month=3&ext=gif
There are massive differences in temperatures between the NASA and NOAA maps,
west Africa, around -3 on NASA, +2 to +4 on NOAA. Ethiopia region, arond -8 on NASA, +1 to +2 on NOAA. More large differences in South Africa, East Australia,
South West. U.S.A., Central Europe. Also note the completely different scales, the NOAA map is -5 to +5 deg C. while the NASA map is -12 to +12 deg C.

John from CA
April 17, 2010 12:59 pm

“Stuff happens” – great catch.
Note: there have been 2 geomagnetic storms in April and they tend to turn satellite data into comic weatherviens. Oddly, one of the events occurred just prior to the Iceland eruption; likely just a coincidence.

Editor
April 17, 2010 1:04 pm

DirkH (10:40:53) :

“Ric Werme (10:12:13) :
[…]
I wonder if there’s any software out there that treats 023 as octal (19 in decimal) and converts it to 1019 mb.”
Python does this in the eval() function.

One of the few things I like about GISS is that they use Python. If GISS deals with air pressure reports (they may not), they’d likely use int(), which is decimal only.

Frederick Michael
April 17, 2010 1:07 pm

Anthony,
I commend you for clamping down on overreaction. I remember, when climategate hit, wondering how come UEA confirmed that the emails were legit. Anyone with political savvy would have held their cards closer. To me, that said that Phil Jones & Co. are true believers — not scam artists.
Some here have suggested that the believers will double check any result that contradicts their beliefs but will let error they “favor” pass. Any honest scientist will tell you they fear this in their own work. Subconscious bias is ubiquitous.
I firmly believe that some day, textbooks will study AGW as one of the greatest goofs in the history of science. But I think they will describe it in term of psychological forces that blinded the believers — not intentional fraud.

April 17, 2010 1:08 pm

Anthony, you’re a class act.
Just as were running to the barn for pitchforks and pitch-dipped torches,
you rein us back in.
Thank you. (Can I just throw a couple tomatoes or two, though? They’re ripe and I’ve got to toss them anyway . . .;-D

David44
April 17, 2010 1:14 pm

I doubt GISS is intentionally fudging the data at this point, but their bias toward an expectation of warming may prevent them from seeing what may stick out to others like Jean. People make honest mistakes, and we also tend to see what we expect to see. It’s when we don’t see what we expect and stop to figure out why that discoveries are made.

Jared
April 17, 2010 1:47 pm

May not be fraud. But do this error over and over again and poof, we have global warming. Remember temps do not vary much in the warm months, they vary the most in winter months. Winter months have the minus signs that are accidentally being left off. And since the controllers of the data want global warming they don’t notice they are making mistakes.
Go check out the data for Charlotte, NC. GISS is missing a recent month. Go get the actual temps for Charlotte for that month. You’ll notice that GISS formula to fill in for that month is horrible. They drastically over estimated how warm it was in Charlotte that month. Wonder how often that ‘accidental’ mistake is made too?

adrian smits
April 17, 2010 1:49 pm

I’m sorry but anyone looking at the two different maps can see such an enormous divergence that the only conclusion would be…….. something hinky in Finland,Iran,Iraq,Afganistan,Algeria,Sudan,California,Brazil.Chile,Argentina,northern Quebec,South Africa,Baffin island in Canada.I mean giss looks hot except for half of Russia and the other maps look coolish except for half of Canada.

Al Gored
April 17, 2010 1:57 pm

Yes. Goldman Sachs accidentally dropped some minus signs too. Just simple human error. Oops!
On the other hand, just looking at the map generated by this ‘error’, who would not double check such a conspicuous anomaly before using it???
So, if it wasn’t intentional it was incredibly incompetent. So reassuring.

roger
April 17, 2010 1:58 pm

Kathy
“Thank you. (Can I just throw a couple tomatoes or two, though? They’re ripe and I’ve got to toss them anyway . . .;-D”
Ripe tomatoes? At this time of the year? You must live in one of those anomalous hot spots beloved by the warmists!
Must stop this post now as I upset Charles with incontinent and inappropriate talk of tomatoes in an earlier thread…….

A C
April 17, 2010 2:04 pm

I’m a bit confused here. I though Arctic ice was supposed to be expanding in March? Is there a link between rising temperatures and expanding ice caps that I have missed?

Alan Simpson
April 17, 2010 2:18 pm

So why does this “common human error” occur in only one direction?
Why is it corrected, without the fanfare of the original findings, on the quiet?
Corrected only when they are caught in the lie, it seems.

April 17, 2010 2:24 pm

DeNihilist (11:03:42) : I just signed up too. I’ve often wondered why when a climate story unfavorable to the alarmists breaks on WUWT, Jo Nova etc that the alarmist trolls pile on. Now my suspicions have been confirmed.

R. Gates
April 17, 2010 2:27 pm

Another great catch Anthony…doesn’t change the fact that 2010 is a very warm year so far, but it’s great that you’re keeping these guys on their toes!

Peter Miller
April 17, 2010 2:30 pm

For those who would like to read a report of complete utter garbage on the Catlin expedition, this report from AlJazeera entitled “the evil twin of climate change” is really something special.
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/americas/2010/04/17/evil-twin-climate-change
Even Al Gore might blush with embarrassment over this.

Weeble
April 17, 2010 2:39 pm

Maybe when they were compiling the numbers for Finland, they asked Phil Jones if they looked OK.
“Absolutely”, he said.

Therapist1
April 17, 2010 3:14 pm

How does the volcanic plume effect the data?

CarlPE
April 17, 2010 3:27 pm

This raises the obvious question: How often does this error in sign happen? If it was spotty, it would not be noticed. Why not use Kelvin to avoid the confusion?
Pardon my ignorance about the heat balance of the earth, but isn’t there much more involved than just temperatures? Was account made of photosynthesis, for example, changing all that nasty CO2 back into woody plants and Oxygen? When the heat balance is done, is enthalpy accounted for? Is there a web page somewhere that explains how it was done? All I could find indicated it was just a comparison of heat in and heat out.
My theory is that there are an abnormal number of mini black-holes extant, floating around, soaking up energy and creating all the earth quakes 🙂

Milwaukee Bob
April 17, 2010 3:30 pm

The fact that the people at GISS, NASA, CRU, UN/IPCC, NOAA, XYZ, ETC… are human is not nor ever was a question…. and say it all together now: Of Course Not!
So what’s my point? Human they of course are, but I don’t expect- nay, may I say I DEMAND that they not be average humans! Prone to average mistakes!
For what they are being paid, for how much tax money they are spending, for the educational level they have, for the position they hold, for the influence they wield, I DEMAND they use proven and widely excepted scientific methodology AND REAL statistical analysis in their work and therein I DEMAND they NOT be sloopy, I DEMAND they be unscrupulously honest, I DEMAND they be intelligent AND use that intelligence without prejudice or preconception, I DEMAND they be open and share without discrimination, I DEMAND that they honestly believe that what they are trying to “produce” actually have some benefit for mankind and finally I DEMAND that when their theories are proven to be wrong, whether by themselves or by someone else, they “own-up” to their failure as a SCIENTIST!
And Dave Day @ (12:18:04) : had a great idea because as far back as I can remember, and that might be longer than some of you have been alive, I don’t believe any of the above has EVER made a “mistake” toward the cool side. Of course, I’m just another average human…. that not one of us is relying on for the TRUTH about the future of our planet!
And considering what the likes of the above have given us so far (and the “mistakes” they HAVE made, we should all be thanking Al Gore for inventing the Internet ☺ – – – oh, and you Anthony for providing this forum and a whole bunch more people (here) for BEING all the things some of the above have NOT!
Fraud? No. But if they were working for me, they’d already been given their pink slips!

old44
April 17, 2010 3:30 pm

Makes you wonder how many other minus signs have “inadvertently” gone missing”

1DandyTroll
April 17, 2010 3:36 pm

‘it’s not fraud that they plotted this erroneously transmitted data. – Anthony’
lol, so instead of them being evil doctor dooms’ they’re just plain incompetent.
Everyone’s supposed to be able to trust their work!

Stephan
April 17, 2010 3:38 pm

unortunately for the AGW crowd three major pillars have refused to cooperate
1 http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php
2 http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.recent.antarctic.png
3 http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+002
the last one temps notice how the slope of late is not even following normal at this rate mate were heading for the mea=under LOL

jknapp
April 17, 2010 3:43 pm

While it does seem that the CAGW crowd doesn’t catch errors on the warm side without some help from the skeptic community. How many errors to the cold side has the skeptic community caught?
I think that it is natural to look at data and if it fits your preconcieved idea of what it should be then one is less likely to look for errors than if it seems anomolous. That goes for all of us and it is something that good scientist should be watching out for. Not fraud just confirmation bias.

Dave N
April 17, 2010 4:06 pm

I’m wondering how many other errors there are/have been that *haven’t* been caught?

Dan Evens
April 17, 2010 4:52 pm

What’s up with the other red areas? NW Africa and the Mid East don’t look any where near as warm in the satt data. And what’s going on in Antarctica? It’s one solid red block in the GISS graph, and some tiny little orange and tiny little blue dots in the satt data.

Peter of Sydney
April 17, 2010 5:03 pm

They may not have committed fraud but they are supposed to be an authoritative source of climate information. So by failing to do due diligence to avoid their mistakes, they have actually committed a crime worse than fraud. Think about it.

jaypan
April 17, 2010 5:27 pm

This GISS picture does not fit at all with the Russians’ claim that this march may have been the coldest ever in Siberia.
How comes?

April 17, 2010 5:52 pm

From Wiki: The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection presented by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator, in 1569.
Why is NASA is using a map form that is 440 years old? I am so bored of NASA. I can’t give them any benefit of the doubt. Maybe this particular “mistake” is sheer incompetence, or maybe it’s systematic. In either case it stinks, the map stinks, NASA stinks, and the whole global warming sham stinks.
It’s all about funding, i.e. robbing the taxpayers to line the pockets of a privileged few. NASA is one of the prime beggars, cup in hand, pleading with the taxpayers to fork over $billions every year. They trot out astronauts and mighty rockets. They all wear pocket protectors and white lab coats. They want us to think they are super smart. Woo woo rocket science!
But they are mired in the Dark Ages. They are not that smart. Their rockets blow up, landers auger in, satellites malfunction, and their maps are scratched on vellum by Medieval monks.
Cut their funding. Let’s give them zero this year. Close the doors. Sell the equipment. If the employees are so gosh darn smart, they will have no trouble making a living in the real world. If they aren’t smart, then we shouldn’t be paying them the big bucks in the first place.

DocMartyn
April 17, 2010 5:59 pm

apparently they mixed up the data sets from Helsinki, New Mexico; Jyväskylä, Florida and Hämeenlinna, Colarado with Helsinki, Jyväskylä and Hämeenlinna in Finland. could happen to anyone.

henry
April 17, 2010 6:09 pm

“…While it does seem that the CAGW crowd doesn’t catch errors on the warm side without some help from the skeptic community. How many errors to the cold side has the skeptic community caught?…”
1. The owners of the data/makers of the chart have ensured that the smallest positive anomalies get ever deepening shades of red. They WANT that red to catch your eye.
2. Right now, it’s the middle of the NH winter. The loss of sign will show up. In the middle of summer, very few reports will come in with a minus sign.
The problem isn’t the loss of sign. The fact is that the quality of the data can be questioned. Those deep blues/purples in the middle of Siberia and Alaska should also be checked. 7.5 degrees COLDER than the averaging period?

Wondering Aloud
April 17, 2010 6:40 pm

So will we see a retraction or all those hottest ever stories do ya think?

Eduardo Ferreyra
April 17, 2010 6:54 pm

Anthony, please get in contact with GISS and tell them that in the central part of Argentina the warming indicated by them is about +2 to 3ºC AND THAT IS A LIE! According to our National Meteo Service (SNM) March showed NO increase at all –but the FLAT line of the mean temperature corresponds to 2ºC COOLER than historical normal for the month. Please see the temperature graphs for station Pilar (used by GISS and NOAA) that I have uploaded to:
http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-36/pilar_feb_march_2010.jpg
You may want to update your post with thos graphs if you wish.
The graph has temperatures for February that shows a strong cooling (4ºC below normal because it was a very rainy month) and March showing a FLAT line for the mean.

Steve Case
April 17, 2010 7:10 pm

Reminds me of the October / November data screw-up of the Siberian monthly data a year or so ago. How come these high level organizations supposedly staffed by the best and the brightest don’t hire a good quality control manager?

barry
April 17, 2010 7:55 pm

Steve Case (19:10:43)
NOAA corrected one day later, a few days before this article. GISS followed suit a few days after that. Looks like quality control is doing their job. For all we know, the error originated in the Finnish reporting stations. If you expect perfection every minute of the day, you’re always going to be disappointed.

April 17, 2010 8:27 pm

Stephan (10:45:35) :
If CA had not reported it would have been kept there as long as possible. Maybe CA should not be reporting this… so they can be really archived and then hammered in the future.

Except that it had already been changed by the time CA wrote about it!

Eduardo Ferreyra
April 17, 2010 8:46 pm

Anthony: I checked data in GISS database for Pilar (in http://tinyurl.com/y2647pz ) and got these figures for January, February and March, respectively: 24.7, 23.0, 22.2ºC.
I get daily reports from our SMN (National Weather Service) and I keep my own database. And January, February and March temperatures were: 23.3, 22.6, 21.8.
There is a cumulative error of +5.2ºC in just three months.
Is “human error” to blame for three consecutive months? Or are there some sharp pencils at work in GISS?

J.Peden
April 17, 2010 9:48 pm

kim (09:44:52) :
Judith Curry, in comments at Pielke Fils and at Bishop Hill is saying that we need to have a whole new effort made to make a reliable temperature and paleo record. I think she’s had enough of the foolishness.
Yes, at Bishop Hill’s blog her first post at the bottom of page two under the
+++Acton’s Eleven – the response+++ thread is very welcome, as though a barrier had finally come down allowing her to see things much more clearly. She’s speaking the language of how to do Science correctly especially as it concerns the ipcc. [Though I disagree with her when she later opines to the effect that the CRU Climate Science did not “falsify” the science in order to get a desired result, when she considers the matter of scientific malpractice from a technical standpoint.]

Enneagram
April 18, 2010 8:31 am

Easy: NONE !

R. Craigen
April 18, 2010 2:56 pm

Anthony, sorry to raise the “fraud” versus “common human error” issue again, but I want to make the point that, just as surely as we cannot insist that this is fraud, it also cannot be said with any certainty that this is mere incompetence.
Yes, we must always give the benefit of the doubt, but I think the truth lies somewhere between the two. Here’s my best shot:
I don’t think GISS, NASA, etc. are very inclined to flag errors biased toward warming as problematic as much as errors that go the other way. I’m open to evidence to the contrary, but given the vast array of errors that have been enumerated here, at CA and elsewhere, one would expect something close to 50% of the total should indicate erring on the low side. I have the impression that this is not the case.
“Fraud” is a strong word. But I think what we see is a bias in the error detection and correction phase introduced by wishful thinking, paradigm fixation and groupthink. As any scientist knows, we are quicker to have a second look at outcomes that don’t jive with our expectations. Record warmth in Finland? Even as a mere island of highs in an ocean of lows — this only justifies certain people’s expectations, so why expect there to be a problem?
I grant that these folks are honest enough to fix such errors once aware of it, and I see no clear evidence (tempting as it is to say otherwise) that they are only doing so because they’ve been “caught”. But I believe the point must be made that the skeptical community is doing a clear service by being alert to precisely those errors that the AGW community tends to overlook.
When nobody seems to be objective, it helps to have a dynamic of free exchange of ideas among opposing viewpoints. Keeps everyone honest.

Rich Wi.
April 19, 2010 6:26 am

Global Gore is at it AGAIN !!!!!!

Bill Parsons
April 19, 2010 9:41 am

Leif Svalgaard (10:12:11) :
included some station reports from Finland in which the minus sign may have been dropped</i<
is it know WHO dropped the sign?

Maybe that name will be found, obviating the following rant. Still, I’ve been wondering why government scientists are exempt from attaching their names to these reports, including their graphs. In a newspaper, it is understood that an editor can advocate anonymously for a particular viewpoint on the editorial page as his opinion can be viewed as that of the owner or publisher.
Most other articles should, according to journalistic tradition, have a “by-line” and thier facts be checkable. If they aren’t, the author and his editor can be held accountable -fired when their info deliberately departs from reality.
Why should these government entities – NOAA, NASA, NCAR – be allowed to violate this most basic tenet of journalism?
If they hold any scientific advisory role, contributing authors, programmers, analysts and consultants should kindly place their names, titles, and research sources at the bottom of their published announcements.
While Obama is reforming the banking industry with an eye to greater transparency, one might hope that he takes a closer look at the curiously derivative temperature and weather data being churned out at the science agencies under his purview.

Bill Parsons
April 19, 2010 9:51 am

Just eyeballing: If your NEO graphs are any measure, the Afgahanistan / Pakistan anomaly looks bogus as well.

Bill Parsons
April 19, 2010 10:00 am

And quicker than I can say, “Eyjafjallajökull”… I discover:
Dave N (16:06:37) :
I’m wondering how many other errors there are/have been that *haven’t* been caught?
17
04
2010
Dan Evens (16:52:22) :
What’s up with the other red areas? NW Africa and the Mid East don’t look any where near as warm in the satt data. And what’s going on in Antarctica? It’s one solid red block in the GISS graph, and some tiny little orange and tiny little blue dots in the satt data.

Michael Ozanne
April 20, 2010 3:38 am

“Peter Miller (11:10:55) :
I think I have finally found something not caused by AGW – it’s sure to offend someone.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/dorset/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_8621000/8621852.stm
I’m sure I can find a grant-hungry ornithologist willing to research “The effect of man-made climate change on the sexual politics of swans” …..:-)

April 21, 2010 1:25 am

Anthony, This comment is not directly concerning the topic of “Which NASA climate data to believe?” but does indirectly and I wanted to post it on a recent thread, so please excuse me.
I have always found your articles very helpful and found no reason to regard you as anything but honourable. I came across a March article “Message to Anthony Watts” (Note 4) on the blog of “Tamino” which I guess relates to E. M. Smith’s 12th Feb. article “NOAA langoliers eat another 1/3 of stations from GHCN database” (Note 5).
“Tamino” said QUOTE: Anthony: It has now been independenly confirmed, by multiple persons, that my results regarding the impact of station dropout on global temperature are correct. Your claims, in your document with Joe D’Aleo for the SPPI, are just plain wrong.
You’ve avoided answering this criticism, claiming that you can’t replicate my results without my code. Yet several others managed to do just that. It’s not that difficult, and you were irresponsible not to investigate this issue before publishing your claims. The posts by E.M. Smith are so incoherent they resemble the ravings of a lunatic more than the results of a qualified analyst. Your only other response has been to call me a coward for blogging under a pseudonym. That’s nothing but a desperate attempt of a scoundrel to deflect attention from his own misdeeds.
Furthermore, your use of false claims to accuse NOAA scientists of deliberate deception was not just mistaken, it was unethical.
If you have any honor at all, you’ll set the record straight. You owe it to everyone, and especially to NOAA, to admit that you were wrong. And you certainly owe it to NOAA to apologize. You need to make a highly visible, highly public admission of error, and apology, for using falsehoods to accuse others of fraud.
Are you man enough? UNQUOTE.
Please can you point me to any response that you have made to “Tamino”.
Someone calling himself Justin Ciderbottom (I did find one other comment by a Justin Ciderbottom on The Air Vent “How to Read RC” article – Note 6 – but nothing else so perhaps my first impression of “Justin Ciderbottom” was correct) and one Roger kept trying to get “Tamino” to disclose who he really is. “Justin” also asked QUOTE: Are you willing to debate Mr Watts, tell everyone who you are, and your qualifications? UNQUOTE but all that “Tamino” would say on the subject was things like QUOTE: Anthony Watts used false claims as the basis for accusing NOAA scientists of fraud. If he doesn’t admit his mistake and apologize for the unfounded accusation, he has no honor. None. .. Mr. Watts .. doesn’t admit his mistake and apologize for the unfounded accusation, he has no honor. .. Why do you go over to WUWT and insist that Anthony deal with the issue at hand?] … UNQUOTE.
I posted a comment on Tamino’s thread a couple of times and although it did stay on the thread for a while, as soon as it was moderated it was removed so it looks as though I hit a nerve. Here is what I posted QUOTE:
Justin, perhaps you feel the same as I do about people who hide behind false names – it always makes me suspicious. According to the Bayesian Statistics Blog (Note 1) QUOTE: Tamino, a notorious “climate change” blogger, is alleged to also be a statistician. He certainly seems to know something about time series. (Thanks to this investigation, we know that Tamino is Grant Foster, writer of “blog diatribe”-style climate papers. His affiliation in the linked paper is “Tempo Analytics, Westbrook, Maine”, but I can’t find any other reference to it online) UNQUOTE. This fits in with an impression I came to when reading Comment on “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature” by J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter from G. Foster et al. (Note 2) linked on the “too bad to be believed” blog (Note 3) of Eli Rabett (thought by some to be Joshua Halpern).
UNQUOTE.
As I intimated to “Tamino”, I am suspicious of anyone who hides behind a mask and to me a false name is just as much a mask as a real one. If I have to chose between two people who to trust, one of whom is wearing a mask and the other is not then I’m inclined to trust the latter. I don’t think many of us would choose the former.
As a matter of interest I see that Grant Foster figures in those Climategate E-mails (address tamino_9 – Note 7)) talking with the co-authors of “Comment on “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature”.
NOTES:
1) see http://bayesianstats.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/bad-bayes-still-bad/
2) see http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d5/jdannan/comment_on_mclean.pdf
3) see http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/03/too-bad-to-be-believed.html
4) see http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/message-to-anthony-watts/#comment-41510
5) see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/12/noaa-drops-another-13-of-stations-from-ghcn-database /
6) see http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/10/01/how-to-read-rc/
7) see http://www.climate-gate.com/search.php?tag=345
Best regards, Pete Ridley
REPLY: Hello Pete.
The reasons you cite are exactly why I don’t respond to “Tamino”. He’s complaining about a publication, with both Joe D’Aleo and my name plainly on the cover. Yet in his criticism, he has not the courage to put his own name to his criticism. Science is supposed to operate on a level playing field. If someone publishes a paper in a journal for example, the journal will not accept and publish a criticism from somebody named “Bugs Bunny” anymore than that would from somebody who signs their name as “Tamino”.
“Tamino” wants all the benefits of a public criticsm, but none of the risks himself. Until he puts his name on what he publishes, I have no intention of addressing him anymore than I would address somebody who calls himself “Bugs Bunny”
On that note, there have been other valid criticisms of that publication done by people who have the integrity to sign their names to their work. The recently updated version 2 of the paper (April 13) now available at http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/policy_driven_deception.html addresses some of those criticisms. I ask that you read the update and tell me if you think what has been published, in good faith, again with out names attached front and center, is something that we should apologize to an anonymous coward for. Thank you for your consideration. – Anthony Watts

April 21, 2010 8:00 am

Since my last comment I have posted two further comments on the blog of Grant Foster (Tamino) linking to this thread. Both have now been removed, which does show how eager Grant is for open debate on the issue.
Here are those comments before “moderation” by Grant.
**************************************************************************
Pete Ridley // April 21, 2010 at 11:07 am | Reply
Take a look at this http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/17/which-nasa-data-to-believe/#comment-373583 before it is moderated off the thread by Grant Foster
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Pete Ridley // April 21, 2010 at 11:50 am | Reply
This is a comment by Anthony Watts relating to the opening article here and to Grant’s claims. You can read the whole thing at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/17/which-nasa-data-to-believe/#comment-373583
Best regards, Pete Ridley
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Pete Ridley // April 21, 2010 at 11:51 am | Reply
OOOppps, forgot the comment
QUOTE:
“Tamino” wants all the benefits of a public criticsm, but none of the risks himself. Until he puts his name on what he publishes, I have no intention of addressing him anymore than I would address somebody who calls himself “Bugs Bunny”
On that note, there have been other valid criticisms of that publication done by people who have the integrity to sign their names to their work. The recently updated version 2 of the paper (April 13) now available at http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/policy_driven_deception.html addresses some of those criticisms. I ask that you read the update and tell me if you think what has been published, in good faith, again with out names attached front and center, is something that we should apologize to an anonymous coward for. Thank you for your consideration. – Anthony Watts
UNQUOTE.
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
****************************************************************************
Best regards, Pete Ridley

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