Rebuttal to NOAA's "State of the Climate" sales brochure

The NOAA State of the Climate Report (PDF “at a glance” highlights version 10.5 MB, full version here 110 MB, 218 pages) was published by NCDC at the end of July. It’s another glossy compendium of issues, mostly qualitative, some quantitative. There’s lots of pictures, including some NatGeo style “poverty meets weather” images, and bullet points of severe weather (where weather apparently is climate for their purposes).

Unfortunately I had been wrapped up in a business trip for the past week, and until this weekend haven’t much of a chance to look over either the full or condensed “highlights” report. Reading the “highlights ” report (SOTCH 2009), it appears to be more about selling a product than discussing the state of the science. This “highlights” version appears suitable for busy policy maker browsing, which makes it even more troublesome. Like them, I don’t have time to do a complete read and rebuttal to the full 218 page version, and others have already done so (see later in this article). But, I think it is worth the effort to look at the highlights version as that is the version most likely to be read by the most people.

Even the filename says “brochure”:

The SOTCH 2009 “highlights” report seems destined to be a plastic sleeve/bag wrap inclusion with popular science magazines or perhaps climate conference tote bags. Think AOL disks.

From SOTC 2009: Arctic sea ice reaches its annual minimum in September. The satellite images above show September Arctic sea ice in 1979, the first year these data were available, and 2009. The areas of ice coverage range from 15 percent coverage (darker shades of medium blue) to complete coverage (lightest blue). The light circles over the pole indicate areas where there are no data from this satellite instrument. Dark blue is open ocean. September Arctic sea ice is the last of the 10 indicators shown on the facing page.

Even though it appears to be a sales pitch, they didn’t do a very good job of making the PDF, as it appears to be setup to be unsearchable. The Adobe reader search box yields no results on words, even those in plain sight.

One of the images in SOTCH 2009 that caught my eye was this one comparing minimum sea ice extent in 1979 to 2009. See image at left.

The way it is portrayed, and with the color scheme chosen, it gives an impression of nothing left but “slush” in 2009, when we all know that wasn’t the case.

In fact it is demonstrable as this comparison image below from Cryosphere Today shows:

Unfortunately, the CT compare function seems to be inconveniently broken at the moment or I’d offer a link to a large format image. These two images I was able to find in images in other posts and put them side by side.

Looking at the CT images of Sept 15th 1979 compared to Sept 15, 2009, it is quite obvious that while extent is less in 2009 that 1979, concentration is significantly higher. It certainly contrasts the “slush” that NSIDC portrayed for NCDC in the SOTCH 2009:

Speaking of choosing images. This image of the SOTC 2009 portrayal of El Niño on page 6 made me laugh out loud when I first saw it. I mean seriously, who shows it like this?

It is portrayed as if El Niño was just this giant red monster and the rest of the world’s oceans are normal, with no temperature variations at all. Maybe NCDC took a cue from Joe Romm and decided to go for the “boiling” look. Obviously, NCDC dumbed down the visuals. Given these sorts of cartoonish gaffes, NCDC must think the policy makers and public is exceptionally stupid.

From SOTCH 2009 page 2:

A warmer climate also means less snow cover, melting Arctic sea ice and shrinking glaciers.

Is winter snow cover really diminishing?

Joe D’Aleo writes:

“This is a blatantly false claim as can be seen using NOAA’s own data as compiled by Rutgers Snow Lab. The winter snow was claimed to be in decline. Here is the Northern Hemispheric data yearly since record keeping began in 1966. There is no trend (0.0/year).”

Graph: winter snow cover northern hemisphere

But we don’t get to see any actual supporting graphs for their snow cover statement in SOTCH 2009. What a shame.

Here’s something fun, page 7 violates the “weather is not climate” law that we get beat over the head with on a regular basis anytime WUWT (or anyone else for that matter) points out some unusual weather event or record that is cool, as opposed to warm or hot.

Notice the obligatory woman and child in the “weather meets poverty” NatGeo meme. This bullet point made me laugh:

  • In northern Iberia and southern France, a North Atlantic storm raked the land with record winds, downed power lines, closed airports and blocked railroads.

Gosh, events like that never happened before 2009? It’s worse than we thought!

On page 8 they show a picture of a weather station used to monitor climate.

But as you see in the text, they leave the reader with the impression that all 7000 stations have been “improved” to this hi-tech level. This is blatant misrepresentation. The photo chosen is of a Climate Reference Network station. As you can see from NOAA’s own Climate Reference Network web page, there are only 114 stations like this, not 7000:

And the choice of station photo in SOTCH 2009 gives the appearance of dry and hot, contrast that to the lush photo above. Of course the red color scheme of the CRN station in SOTCH 2009 fits in well with the red and hot cover page image, and the cartoonish red El Niño quite well.

Of course I can fully understand NCDC wanting to show their best and newest climate monitoring station design, in operation only since late summer 2008, because they surely don’t want to show photos of climate stations like this one in a parking lot at the University of Arizona, Tucson, (photos by Warren Meyer) in use for over the last 100 years to gather climate data:

Tucson1.jpg

Tucson2.jpg

No, that wouldn’t do at all.

Since we are talking about temperature, there’s this nugget from SOTC 2009 which Paul McRae points out in NOAA’s magic wand waves away 2000-2009 cooling:

[SOTC 2009 full version]…says 2000-2009 was 0.2° Fahrenheit (0.11° Celsius) warmer than the decade previous.

On its site, NOAA offers a gadget that lets browsers check the temperature trend in the continental United States for any two years between 1895 and 2010. Here’s what the graph shows for the years 2000-2009 in the United States:

http://www.paulmacrae.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/screen-shot-2010-07-31-at-121626-pm.png

This graph shows a temperature decline of 0.73°Fahrenheit (-0.4°C) for 2000-2009 in the U.S.

Heh.

In summary, SOTCH 2009 is a rather “target rich” environment for pointing out cherry picking, selective emotive graphics, and tugging at heartstrings. On the plus side, at least they didn’t try to use a photoshopped house in a flood on page 7, as NCDC has done before. See: NCDC: Photoshopping the climate change report for better impact

Of course, NCDC is not alone with presenting fake emotive graphics, the well respected Science magazine fell prey to this sort of climate chicanery recently:

New bear species discovered: Ursus Bogus

But, as I said at the beginning, SOTC 2009, is a sales brochure, not a scientific document, so slick graphics and lack of detail are the norm for such things.

And I surmise,  the real question about SOTC 2009 is this:

If the science is so strong, why does NOAA/NCDC need to resort to glossy sales brochures, emotive graphics, cherry picked claims, and narrative that isn’t supported by the actual data?

There have been rebuttals elsewhere, such as at Jo Nova and Paul MacRae but this report by SPPI contains a number of rebuttal papers, and is worth reading for some balance supported by data presented in tandem:

For the Full Report in PDF Form, please click here.

In a “Highlights” report of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s State of the Climate in 2009 document, which was prepared under the direction of the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, we can read the principal findings of what the document describes as the work of “more than 300 scientists from 48 countries.” Their primary conclusion, as stated in the Report’s first paragraph, is that “global warming is undeniable,” and the Report goes on from there to describe “how we know the world has warmed.” But this, and all that follows, tells us next to nothing about what has caused the warming, which is the crux of the whole contentious matter.

Advertisements

48 thoughts on “Rebuttal to NOAA's "State of the Climate" sales brochure

  1. Ursus Bogus is no more available. He’s been hired by The Copenhagen Diagnosis:
    http://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/Copenhagen/Copenhagen_Diagnosis_LOW.pdf
    The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science.
    I. Allison, N.L. Bindoff, R.A. Bindschadler, P.M. Cox, N. de Noblet, M.H. England, J.E. Francis, N.
    Gruber, A.M. Haywood, D.J. Karoly, G. Kaser, C. Le Quéré, T.M. Lenton, M.E. Mann, B.I. McNeil,
    A.J. Pitman, S. Rahmstorf, E. Rignot, H.J. Schellnhuber, S.H. Schneider, S.C. Sherwood, R.C.J.
    Somerville, K. Steffen, E.J. Steig, M. Visbeck, A.J. Weaver. The University of New South Wales
    Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC), Sydney, Australia, 60pp.
    Ursus Bogus is on page 31 (page 33 in the PDF viewer).

  2. My question is, is this sales pitch being funded by the US Taxpayer??
    If it is, a lawsuit should be filed for misuse of funds. We don’t pay them to form public opinion.

  3. Saw an interesting TV program about the NOAA Stereo Sun satellites, These guys left no doubt that the SUN with is CME’s and Sun flares are our only GLOBAL warming, cooling and Destruction forces.

  4. Wow. What a rebuttal. Go SPPI!
    [And thanks Anthony for summarizing it.]
    NOAA, like NASA, and UKMet, etc…..are all government organizations.
    And while there are some very very bright individuals working there, their individual and pronounced bubbles of scientific integrity that surround them, are unfortunately lost in the pro-CAGW agendas.
    As for SPPI, nothing like “in your face” prima facie hard evidence to refute that which deserves to be refuted.
    But will the zealots examine the hard evidence and change their minds?
    Nah!
    Groupthink just doesn’t work that way.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  5. Should this read 7,000 rather than 700?
    But as you see in the text, they leave the reader with the impression that all 700 stations have been “improved” to this hi-tech level.

    REPLY:
    Thanks to all to who pointed out the missing zero, fixed – Thanks- Anthony

  6. The most important thing is that swift rebuttals/challenges are the norm. Before 2000, people thought the powers that be told the truth, worked FOR them. They know better now.
    The argument will be won by the side that consistently treats the populace as caring sentient adults. You may make mistakes but you will highlight them, apologise for them but keep going.
    The side that lies, twists, distorts and disparages will lose.
    In the end.
    But right now, I don’t know how long it will be before ‘the end’ comes…….

  7. …bullet points of severe weather (where weather apparently is climate for their purposes)…
    Just a question that popped randomly up into my head. If meteorology can explain why the temperature is X degrees in a certain place, without using CO2, why can’t climate models that just use the average of weather? To phrase differently; if the temperature outside can be explained using a science that does so repeatedly and (more or less) correctly, what happens when you average the weather that makes it suddenly unexplainable without an additional factor?

  8. For years now, anyone foolish enough to rely on official Warmist propaganda has fallen prey to revanchist Nature scorned. This latest NOAA/NCDC asininity with its phony color schemes, rambling anecdotes, repetitive pseudo-academic jargon, is an egregious case-in-point.
    Impossible that Green Gangsters such as Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, Trenberth et al. could take this seriously… oxymoronic “busy” politicians care nothing for what anyone says, only for who says it (meaning back-scratchers of their own malfeasant ilk). Apparently, such sad-sack PR sock-puppetry is its own reward.

  9. They prepare Cancun. The will try to convince politicians to sign a useless paper for future ‘climate’ taxes.
    All these ‘masquarade’ is incredible ridiculous .. but dangerous.

  10. Pity there is no word search on the document. We cannot have a quick look for references to “Hanno 2009”

  11. It’s worse than we thought! We seem to have lost the whole southern hemisphere! I searched today for any mention in the northern hemisphere press for any mention of the cold in South America, or indeed anywhere in the southern half of the world. Nothing! They picture only the North Pole in their brochure. They’ve thrown away half the world to prove AGW. WUWT!

  12. And the photo of floods in the Lake District were caused by abysmal river management.The river should have been dredged but wasn’t because of a few fish.

  13. When in doubt, exploit the poor for propaganda to pull at the heart strings and purses of urban white middle classes. In cases like this, obligatory photos of suffering Asian or African kids in underdeveloped communities must be used without their permission.

  14. Now there is no doubt that NOAA press is seriously and intentionally skewed, even lying by omission. No doubt. Their one sided reporting proves it so clearly. Science reporting shows both sides of the reality, this does not.
    So senators and representatives, here come the calls and letters, listen to them, read them, and you should believe them even though they are skeptical of what is happening in our government and climate. Want to stay in D.C.? Fulfill your obligation to oversee. Your voters demand it.

  15. I started reading the SPPI response last night and finished it up this morning. They did a dandy job of refuting each and every claim. It’s actually rather entertaining reading and I heartily recommend it. My only complaint is that the SPPI response was a little too polite. What we’re talking about is a slick “Madison Avenue” report issued by NOAA and the UK Met office that is chock full of out and out untruths. Perhaps balf faced lies would be a bit too strong…but not by much.
    NOAA cranked out a persuasion piece directed at the lay public and politicians. In fact, politicians can point to it and affirm the unquestioned authority of NOAA while they scheme to separate us from more of our money. It’s not scientific or even factual…but it is consistent with the polemic.

  16. The 2009 picture show the NW passage was not only open, but incredibly wide. Couple hundred miles wide.

  17. They can anomaly it, proxy it, invent it, spin it, exploit it, propagandize it, netwar it, nitpick it, and downright lie about it, but in the end, the climate will always prove them wrong.
    They know it, they’re desperate, and those are the dying throes of another fear based failed push at globally controlling humanity with the “I’ve got one, but you can’t have one” – (Crichton, State of Fear) mentality . Eugenics in the 30’s comes to mind. We never learn anything from our past – jeez.

  18. yeeeeuuuuurrrrgggggh!
    It makes me feel sick. Such lies. Such brazen lies. Such contempt for truth, representative evidence, and scientific method. But thank you anyway Anthony for doing this review.

  19. I don’t think that when evaluating global warming the public realizes that unless these scientists convince the American taxpayer to fork over continuing monies to fund their research, these PhD’s will have to go back to driving cabs. Successful AGW marketing is critical to their livelihoods. Does that in any way affect the way that they portray their level of confidence? Can it not?

  20. I’m confused. Their sea ice extent decrease looks the same to me as yours. Sure, their color scheme is cheating, it looks extra slushy. But solid sea ice isn’t purple or red either. Both show a major decrease, same shape, open water in the same places. How’s that?
    And the points about how to correctly generate PDFs so they’re searchable…? I prefer your scientific arguments.

  21. john a makes a very good point. Yesterday on American Thinker there was an article that was essentially a rather boring book review of Roy Spencer’s latest book (from 4 months ago). The article itself was rather dull but the comments were good. After a while the comment thread was invaded by climate trolls. One sought to impugn Dr. Spencer as only being a mere “meteorologist” rather than a “real climatologist”. This caught my attention. A few decades ago a “climatologist” was a meteorologist or physicist who studied climate as opposed to weather. Eventually they developed their very own discipline and students were trained as “climatologists”. This meant that they were not really physicists or meteorologists.
    Twenty years ago I would bet most folks couldn’t name a single “climatologist”. Today theirs are household names. Mr. Watts may wish to correct me, but I have always viewed meteorologists as empiricists. I view most modern climatologists as astrologers. Well…the climate trolls invaded the site in a small group and were determined to dominate the comments thread by simply proclaiming what it not true. It was time for me to disengage…particularly after reading very disparaging remarks made about WUWT.
    But back to john a’s comment…what the hell do we do with the literally thousands of Ph.D. “climatologists” that have been trained as AGW acolytes when almost everyone finally acknowledges that cAGW is a fraud? It’s not like they have skills in the empiric science of meteorology or the depth of understanding to gravitate into theoretical physics. What happens when there is no longer a crisis to study? I suppose they could become biologists…

  22. Dr. Dave says: “…what the hell do we do with the literally thousands of Ph.D. “climatologists” that have been trained as AGW acolytes when almost everyone finally acknowledges that cAGW is a fraud? It’s not like they have skills in the empiric science of meteorology or the depth of understanding to gravitate into theoretical physics. What happens when there is no longer a crisis to study? I suppose they could become biologists…”
    I vote we anoint them to the priesthood of a new church. This would involve the least disruption to their careers.

  23. Hi Anthony,
    I was wondering why the 1979 and 2009 satellite images from SOTC 2009 where identical exept for the sea ice extent and thickness (Greenland ice and snow coverage for example). Are these “Satellite images” just photo shop reconstructions.
    Cheers
    M_S
    REPLY They are data rendered onto globes. The globe is a static map. -Anthony

  24. I don’t believe incompetence had anything to do with making the pdf unsearchable, it’s deliberate. They don’t want anyone to be able to easily search and copy and paste from it. The same thing has been noted whenever pdf copies of 2000+ page bills before Congress have been posted, usually leaving a day or so at most before they are voted for. The govt does not want this stuff easily searched and referenced, they do everything they can to obfuscate.

  25. Speaking of glossy prints – I was cleaning out my garage today and came across a glossy booklet of reprints from the September 1989 issue of Scientific American titled, “Managing Planet Earth.” After skimming 3 of the articles, I thought it was a recent print until I looked at the copyright date. How long have the Luddites been at taking control of publications to further their agenda of deconstructing our planet? Hopefully some historian of science will someday write the definitive tome on how all of this came about, and hopefully inoculate us from ever succumbing to such ideology again.

  26. noaaprogrammer says:
    August 8, 2010 at 9:41 pm
    Hopefully some historian of science will someday write the definitive tome on how all of this came about, and hopefully inoculate us from ever succumbing to such ideology again.
    Odds are against that inoculation. History shows that what has been is what will be.

  27. Lucy Skywalker says:
    August 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm
    yeeeeuuuuurrrrgggggh!
    It makes me feel sick. Such lies. Such brazen lies. Such contempt for truth…
    “How did we get here?”
    Joseph D’Aleo, 0:53 video

  28. Lucy Skywalker says:
    August 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm
    Such contempt for truth, representative evidence, and scientific method.
    Richard Lindzen, on, science in the service of politics
    5:15 video

  29. Dr. Dave says on August 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm:
    “… what the hell do we do with the literally thousands of Ph.D. “climatologists” that have been trained as AGW acolytes when almost everyone finally acknowledges that cAGW is a fraud? It’s not like they have skills in the empiric science of meteorology or the depth of understanding to gravitate into theoretical physics. What happens when there is no longer a crisis to study? I suppose they could become biologists…
    Certainly not!
    Since they have no skills in the empirical science of meteorology, as you rightly say, then where would their skills in the empirical science of biology come from?
    Since these climatologists prefer to spend their time staring at computer screens and spurn going outside to make observations or even find more than a few trees, they’d be useless and hopeless at spending months if not years outside, collecting biological data. And I have severe doubts as to their usefulness in a biological lab.
    Perhaps they can try their hands at forecasting trends for the big grocery chain stores? Once they’ve shown their uselessness at these tasks, they can then sit at the check-out tills, that shouldn’t tax them too much.

  30. jorgekafkazar says:
    August 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm
    Dr. Dave says: “…what the hell do we do with the literally thousands of Ph.D. “climatologists” that have been trained as AGW acolytes
    They become teachers and prepare for the next wave of cultural Marxism.

  31. Here’s another way this report tries to mislead its readers.
    The temperature data on page 5 is binned up into 10 year histograms.
    This wasn’t done this way in any of the IPCC reports, so why have they stearted doing this now?
    The answer is clear – they are trying to “hide the decline”. By showing the data this way you can’t see that there hasn’t been any warming this decade.

  32. “In Brazil, extreme rainfall in the Amazon basin caused the worst flood in a century.”
    Not long ago they blamed global warming for the drought there. Everyone on WUWT knows that similar or more extreme weather events occured from 50 years ago and backwards. Or did the weather begin in 1979?
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/sotc-2009-extreme-wx.jpg
    Here is some abrupt climate change of the past.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-5-1-6.html#6-5-2
    http://www.ngu.no/en-gb/Aktuelt/2008/Less-ice-in-the-Arctic-Ocean-6000-7000-years-ago/

  33. Wunderground seems to have a fairly balanced piece about extreme weather.

    “The good news is that the intensity and areal coverage of U.S. droughts has not increased in recent decades (blue bars in Figure 8). The portion of the U.S. experiencing abnormal drought and exceptionally wet conditions has remained nearly constant at 10% over the past century.
    A recent paper by Andreadis et al., 2006, summed up 20th century drought in the U.S. thusly: “Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century. “

    http://www.wunderground.com/climate/extreme.asp

  34. A precedent! The Montreal Protocol was signed by all nations in 1987 to save the world from destruction as man made CFC chemicals depleted the ozone layer.
    The Science and chemical processes are not in doubt.
    However, the ozone layer hasn’t recovered .(to any measureable statistically significant extent), The ozone hole above Antartica is as big as ever http://www.theozonehole.com/esasep09.htm
    So why aren’t we all dead? because if all the alarmist predictions made by the UN in 1987 were accurate then we should be.

  35. I’ve said more than a few times since the CRU tapes scandal (I’m not sure whether the C word gate is now disallowed in the new tentative steps toward raprochement that have taken place), there would be a crescendo of desperate and more hyperbolic climate publications, glossy and academic, pushed out to win hearts and minds for the CO2 – warming constituency.

  36. These people have neither shame nor mercy. As you point out, their reports are quite “truth challenged.” Then they throw the emotions at you about suffering mommy and baby. These very people KILLED millions of black mothers and babies in 2008, via the panic-encouraged shift of farmland to corn ethanol production. Millions of Africans starved to death.
    Today, they are encouraging “carbon offsets,” which also consist of taking poor peoples’ farm lands and growing commercially worthless trees on them. That is also murder, when it is actually done. (Fortunately, there is a lot of fraud in those programs).
    Unfortunately, Biology IS already loaded up with warmists, as any random scientific ecology literature search will show half the articles mention global warming in the introductions. The actual biology of climate is that warming is better and carbon dioxide is good for animals as well as trees.
    FREE biology from these merciless killers!

  37. I searched this “response” to NOAA’s ‘State of the Climate’ several times, and I could not find a challenge to the central factual assertions in the report, that temps are escalating at historically significant rates and that the earth is suffering as a result. So you take issue with the glossy photos … I get it. But the planet is changing.
    Hundreds dying daily from Russian heat wave and forest fires; 1600+ dead (and millions affected) from floods in Pakistan; 1500+ dead (and millions affected) from mudslides in China; 30 dead from flash floods in France and eastern Europe; massively decreased production of regional and global staples like Russian grain and Asian rice; heat waves in the northeast and droughts in the southwest; record high Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms predicted … welcome to the new normal.
    Even the insurance companies are striking a different tune. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2010/08/10/112323.htm. This isn’t political or ideological … they’re playing with real money.
    Impossible to attribute any one event to anthropogenic global warming, but at some point it all adds up.
    At some point, those working against efforts to stem GHG emissions are criminally complicit in the deaths we’re seeing and will continue to see. This is a humanitarian crisis right now!!!! It’s only going to get worse.

  38. Buzz says:
    . . I searched this “response” to NOAA’s ‘State of the Climate’ several times, and I could not find a challenge to the central factual assertions in the report, that temps are escalating at historically significant rates . . ”
    Buzz, you have got to be kidding. Look at pages 12 through 29. It clearly discusses the temperature issue, from the noted rise, how it has been adjusted, and the corruption of many temperature measurements.
    There is no denying that temperatures have risen coming out of the ‘little ice age’ around 1750. But to say that temps have been escalating at historically significant rates, or that the earth is suffering, is absurd, because it is not true. And, average temperatures have not increased this decade.
    Then using the latest heat wave in Russia and floods in Pakistan, as ‘evidence’ of the ‘climate change’ is a joke. There always have been, and always will be, ‘weather’ issues where heat waves come and go (along with cold waves – gee, why didn’t you mention the recent record cold in South america?) , droughts and flooding come and go, and so on.
    We hear more reports about them, because people are using them to claim “climate change, it’s worse than we thought, we have to do something . . ! ”
    And then to claim that, ” . . that those working against efforts to stem GHG emissions are criminally complicit in the deaths we’re seeing and will continue to see . . ” is utter nonsense.
    There is NO evidence that the increased CO2 is causing temperature increase, in spite of what James Hansen, Al Gore, or anyone else is saying. It would do you good to read a lot of the articles at this website to educate yourself on the issue, rather than spout the ‘warmist’ line of illogic.

Comments are closed.