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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spot Check – Northern Africa

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

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

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

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

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

Spot Check – Greenland

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

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

Spot Check – Canada

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

Historical Context

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

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

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

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

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


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old construction worker

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

MichaelM

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

Someone who has been there

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

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

kwik

They continue their propaganda-campain, and we are told to be polite.
Sometimes I feel we behave like Chamberlain in 1939.
Luckily we have Monckton. He is our Churchill.

Dr T G Watkins

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

NOAA + OBAMA, all you need know.
Why do these people insist on lying? They want your money.

David Walton

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

Jimbo

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

jaypan

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

Amino Acids in Meteorites

The two hottest spots on the NOAA Greenland area show 5 degrees warming and have no data.
What the!
I’ve posted this video a couple of times. But for those who’ve missed it here’s Joseph D’Aleo talking about the dropped stations:
3:08 minute video

DirkH

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

Phil

@Peter Ward says:
July 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm
“So it seems that the largest red spots — and therefore the highest anomalies — ONLY appear where there is actually no data. What an interesting correlation!”
May be the same thing that was covered here: http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/is-the-null-default-infinite-hot/

Jimbo

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

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

TimiBoy

What scares me is that, in the name of getting rid of pollution, so many out there go along with this stuff – nay – support this stuff, in the full knowledge that it is a lie. Yet they will stick by it, vote for those peddling it, and argue against those who “deny” it, because they want to stop pollution…
When did lies like this ever work before? Nope, not never…
My Brother is a PHD Scientist, thinks the AGW science is unsupportable, but complies exactly with my comments. I just don’t know what to do with him any more!

Mark

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

NOAA’s Jan-Jun 2010 Warmest Ever
Not here. It was 1846 according to the Met Office’s Hadley Centre.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-Jun.htm

Aldi

To the author of the post. Your analysis on Canada is missing! This is what I see…
“Spot Check – Canada
It is apparently much hotter than usual in Greenland. But where is the data? Most of the 5×5 degree grids have zero stations (only some of which are indicated by the black arrows). Most of the grids with data”
Somehow you repasted Greenland analysis twice, instead of Canada. Hope you fixed soon.
REPLY: I’ll fix. The HTML at Appinsys is a train wreck, which is what you get when you author web pages in Microsoft Word. I spent over an hour trying to fix it, having to manually replace images, so not surprising there’s a mistake -Anthony

Gary Pearse

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

DirkH

I wonder if they even bothered to use any data at all. Wouldn’t it be much cheaper to just tell your marketing bunny your idea about the message you want to convey with your PR campaign and leave the rest to him and just okay one design that fits the bill?
Doing it differently would be waste of taxpayers money.
And this one’s also very funny: Go to NOAA’s original PR campaign site as linked by Alan:
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100715_globalstats.html
and look for
“Polar Sea Ice and Precipitation Highlights”
When skeptics list stuff like that they’re immediately accused of cherry-picking; NOAA tells you the “Highlights” of Global Warming with a straight face.

RockyRoad

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

rbateman

Jimbo says:
July 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm
The misrepresentation appears deliberate, consistent, and fully intended.
I’d say that’s reasonable cause for action.
The opposing candidates in the upcoming elections should make it an issue.
In fact, I would like to see the House & Senate GOP fling it out there for America to see.
60% of Americans already suspect that the climate reports are being falsified.
For several months I have watched as S. America, Australia and Africa have been below normal, yet NOAA has painted the Southern Hemisphere red. China has been cooler for most of the year.

rbateman

DirkH says:
July 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm
No, it’s not that they didn’t bother using data, it’s that they borrowed a page from GISS.
I’ll give a go at image editing to remove the offending +5C red dots that should be white (no data).

Robert

North Eastern Canada, and Canada as a whole has experienced the warmest winter on record. According to David Phillips Canada’s leading Climatologist. http://www.sott.net/articles/show/204477-Warmest-driest-winter-on-record-in-Canada

I think this comes close to illustrating the matter.
http://content.comicskingdom.net/9_to_5/9_to_5.20100717_small.gif

DirkH

Robert says:
July 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm
“North Eastern Canada, and Canada as a whole has experienced the warmest winter on record. According to David Phillips Canada’s leading Climatologist. ”
Oh i know what comes next. Somebody from Edmonton protests.

Mark

“North Eastern Canada, and Canada as a whole has experienced the warmest winter on record”
That’s OK: out here in the West we’ve made up for it with an exceptionally wet and unusually cold summer and a ski resort near Jasper apparently had 18cm of snow last night.
http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/storm_watch_stories3&stormfile=jaspersnow_13_07_2010
Fortunately that’s just weather, not climate, etc.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

rbateman says:
July 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm
No, it’s not that they didn’t bother using data, it’s that they borrowed a page from GISS.
Who’s borrowing a page from who:
Joseph D’Aleo on NOAA’s divergence from the real world, which NASA/GISS (James Hansen) uses:
1:51 minute video

latitude

Someone who has been there says:
July 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm
I wonder what that map would look like if they used all record cold temperatures?
===========================================================
Me too
Is that something that someone has done?
I would like to see that.

rbateman

Are their own Sea Surface Temperatures correct? :
http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2010/anomnight.6.3.2010.gif on the 3rd of June which has cooled to
http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2010/anomnight.7.1.2010.gif
Look at competing data:
http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-100613.gif
So thier base sst data is already out there on the far end of the spectrum, then the land data is fabricated where none exists.
Progressive, isn’t it?

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

Billy Liar

Frankly, m’dear: Your link is broken – 403 error forbidden.

Richard Keen

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

rbateman

sphaerica says:
July 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm
Far as I know, the satellite data is not the ground data, but refers to the upper atmosphere.
Remember the basic tenet of AGW, that the opposite effect is supposed to occur in the upper atmosphere as the Earth warms?
But, now that you mention it, NOAA borrows from Mann, who spliced tree ring data onto temperature data… and hid the fact.

gerry

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

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

Oops. Sorry. Thanks for pointing it out. This one should work. (It’s just a minor joke, but one I found appropriate to this discussion — or to any discussion involving climatologists.)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v369/Husserl/9_to_520100717_small.gif

Compilations are always difficult unless you know, or somehow show, how good (reliable and meaningful) the data is. When the Alberta Geological Survey began getting into GIS (I called them geologic information systems, not geographic, since the maps and data bases held geological data in a spacial context.) we believed we needed to deal with the situation. The last thing we wanted someone to do was draw conclusions related to scale that the underlying data could not support. Being compilations we added an index inset to the map legend that displayed the scale of the original data we were compiling.
To publish a map, such as temperature or any other anomalies without a clear indication of the voracity of the underlying data, is unprofessional to say the least. If one is interpolating into some “cells” and not others and not showing that and its associated statistical error, it is devious at best and unethical at worst.
This is then simply propaganda and not science. If professional geologists and engineers did a geostatistical analysis of an ore body like this we would be drummed out of the profession. That is if we didn’t have the brains to resign on our own.

DirkH

gerry says:
July 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm
“[…]identified as suspect in this essay. This suggests more than 97% of the data is correct.”
Did i tell you about this marvelous bridge that looks just like what you’re looking for?

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

Genghis

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

Green Sand

Experience tells me that it is prudent to take the big issues of this life to a higher authority. My highest authority, through 30+ years of marriage, is she that is known as HRH.
I diligently presented the juxtaposition that is our year to date heating bills and the “this is the hottest year on record” press release.
Whoa dude, I am still riding the wave, I have never heard a “civil” servant use such language before! I fear that I may have lost all future control of thermostat. Make ready my dear Chris Buffoon for it would appear that your policies have just launched a very serious woman on a major CO2 production mission!
Good luck Chris, because it isn’t looking good from here.
Whereas I am starting to get a nice warm slipper feeling, the type of feeling that you get from the aroma of freshly ground coffee on a cooling planet.

@Genghis – there is a brief discussion on infilling in Canada here (but with links back to the NASA/GISS paper) ; http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/canada-3-comparing-eureka/
The Canadian data is decidedly strange: http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/canada-top-of-the-hockey-league-part-1/

IPCC = Inaccurately Produced Climate Claptrap
NOAA = Notoriously Overestimates Actual Anomalies
NSIDC = No Sensors Indicate Decadal Cooling

DR

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

Bob

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

Tom T

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

rbateman

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

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

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

Your point is valid, but it’s not a Mercator projection!
Do a Google search for “werme mercator” (leave off the quotes) for details like in
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/20/polar-albedo-feedback/#comment-65276

Mooloo

Yup, there’s no warming. NOAA is part of the a big socialist conspiracy. Or there is warming, but it’s completely natural. Take your pick!
Why the /sarc tag?
My pick is “completely natural”.
What’s yours?
(BTW I would use “eco-activist” rather than “socialist”. And I would use “group think” not “conspiracy”. But that’s quibbles.)