NASA GISS caught changing past data again – violates Data Quality Act

From American Thinker – NASA’s Rubber Ruler

By Randall Hoven

A funny thing happened on the way to determining how hot 2012 has been on a global basis: temperatures changed in 1880.

We’ve been hearing that 2012 has been the “hottest on record.” I had written earlier that those claims were based on the contiguous United States only, or 1.5% of the earth’s surface. The “global temperature” in 2012 through June was only the 10th hottest on record. In fact, every single month of 1998 was warmer than the corresponding month of 2012.

I thought I’d update that analysis to include July’s and August’s temperatures. To my surprise, NASA’s entire temperature record, going back to January 1880, changed between NASA’s June update and its August update. I could not just add two more numbers to my spreadsheet. The entire spreadsheet needed to be updated.

I knew NASA would occasionally update its estimates, even its historical estimates. I found that unsettling when I first heard about it. But I thought such re-estimates were rare, and transparent. There is absolutely no transparency here. If I had not kept a copy of the data taken off NASA’s web site two months ago, I would not have known it had changed. NASA does not make available previous versions of its temperature record (to my knowledge).

NASA does summarize its “updates to analysis,” but the last update it describes was in February. The data I looked at changed sometime after early July.

In short, the data that NASA makes available to the public, temperatures over the last 130 years, can change at any time, without warning and without explanation. Yes, the global temperature of January 1880 changed some time between July and September 2012.

Read more:


Once again it appears NASA has violated the Data Quality Act. Steve McIntyre wrote in 2007: NASA Evasion of Quality Control Procedures

The U.S. federal government has a detailed set of regulations requiring scientific information to be peer reviewed before it is disseminated by the federal government. NASA, which says that it has “employs the world’s largest concentration of climate scientists”, has carried out an interesting manouevre that has the effect of evading the federal Data Quality Act, OMB Guidelines and NASA’s own stated policies. Once again, the system involves an employee purporting to be acting in a “personal capacity”. Here’s how it works.

Peer Review Policy

U.S. federal policy on data quality is set out in a variety of steps. The Data Quality Act itself is very short and states:

The guidelines under subsection (a) shall –

(1) apply to the sharing by Federal agencies of, and access to, information disseminated by Federal agencies; and

(2) require that each Federal agency to which the guidelines apply –

(A) issue guidelines ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by the agency, by not later than 1 year after the date of issuance of the guidelines under subsection (a);

(B) establish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the guidelines issued under subsection (a); and

The OMB has issued several guidelines under the act. The first statement is here . A subsequent OMB Bulletin clearly required peer review of important scientific information before dissemination by the federal government as follows:

This Bulletin establishes that important scientific information shall be peer reviewed by qualified specialists before it is disseminated by the federal government.

There’s an interesting exemption in this bulletin (and we shall see below how this comes into play):

This definition includes information that an agency disseminates from a web page, but does not include the provision of hyperlinks on a web page to information that others disseminate.

NASA Policies

NASA has several manuals and policies setting out its own procedures for ensuring compliance with such policies. NASA guidelines specify far-reaching obligations on data quality for information disseminated by NASA. It notes the wide use of NASA information:

NASA’s information from its missions and programs is used by: government and national and international policymakers to enable sound and better public policy; NASA’s scientists and others cooperating with NASA to pursue their important work; the media in describing to the public the importance and advances of research; the educational community to educate a new generation of citizens in science, math, and engineering; and members of the public to enable them to be knowledgeable and inspired about NASA’s goals and accomplishments.

It states that the policies apply to NASA Centers as well as to headquarters:

These guidelines are applicable to NASA Headquarters and Centers, …

It states that NASA will ensure the quality of its disseminated information:

NASA will ensure and maximize the quality, including the utility, objectivity, and integrity, of its disseminated information, except where specifically exempted. Categories of information that are exempt from these guidelines are detailed in Section C.3….

Information products disseminated by NASA will be based on reliable, accurate data that has been validated.


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Please could Jim Hansen make it warm last winter, I was frozen, and still haven’t thawed out..

Russ R.

Would you mind plotting the old data against the revised data to show the differences?

John from CA

Did they make the past colder, like NOAA did, to exaggerate the warming trend?
Your previous post documenting the change in NOAA data was very disturbing; printed records no longer match the electronic data.


This has got to stop. All of these alterations are highly questionable. Not one of the excuses given for these ‘homogenizations’ have any bearing in reality.

Kurt in Switzerland

These sorts of shenanigans seem to happen with increasing frequency.
Some layperson questions:
Why doesn’t someone just look at raw temperature records in predominantly rural areas over the 100 y+ record?
Wasn’t the BEST project supposed to eliminate fudging, guesswork, data massaging, etc.?
Why do we even “allow” the gate-keepers to modify records?
Should certain tasks be separated, in order to prevent conflict of interest?
Can’t meteorological organizations agree on a “Dow Jones” temperature average, based on calibrated, trustworthy and evenly distributed (as much as possible) sensors? Wouldn’t establishing such a baseline be an achievable goal of the WMO?
Kurt in Switzerland

It would help the quality of the article to put in graphs that compare the before and after data like Bob Tisdale often does.

GISS changes on a month by month basis. Changes throughout the entire record all the way back to 1880 are the rule rather than the exception. See:

Phil's Dad

Presumably we now wait for a full and transparent explanation from NASA.
And waiting…

Steve Keohane

There is simply no excuse for this.


Orwell did not consider this form of manipilation of minds because back in his day the weather was just the weather.

C. Quesenberry

This is soooooooooooo unbelievably frustrating! It is downright deceitful and disgusting! I am reminded of the old Soviet joke, ““The future is certain, it is only the past that is unpredictable.”
They are making a mockery of science and a mockery of the U.S. Is there anything at all that an ordinary man can do to stop this nonsense? Write my Senator or Congressman? I’m from Oregon; that won’t help at all. Any ideas? I am at my wit’s end.

Jimmy Haigh

Please Sir? Can we use the “f” word?

D. J. Hawkins

Perhaps plotting the “anomoly” of old vs new would be a quick way of seeing what adjustments were made.


Kurt in Switzerland says:
September 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

You are assuming they want accurate data. Rather than data that supports the narrative.


NASA-GISS has been changing it’s data set with EVERY update. Some times the changes are substantial, sometimes larger. GISS is since November 2011 a version 3. If you want to know know the version two data (before it disappears…) go to:
then compare V3 with V2 to get a real sense of how the data is being manipulated


Isn’t it long past time GISS was moved to a more appropriate federal agency, e.g., NOAA. I mean, really… what is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration doing in the climate arena to begin with?
I suspect it is because the climate mafia thought to appropriate the gravitas of the agency which sent men to the moon, explored the outer planets, and captured breathtaking vistas of the far cosmos. But, instead of gaining credence for their cause, the parasites have only drained the vitality of their host. Time for NASA to eject that particular payload.


Could someone possibly use the Wayback Machine or similar to get old copies? Or would those not have been archived?
I’m thinking that sending documentation of this to NASA’s congressional oversight or somesuch might be… interesting

As far as I know, NOAA data changed as well.
Does anybody know if CRU data changed too since they share the majority of the raw data? In other words, who did this first?


Hope they got 1880 right THIS time. /sarc

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Thankfully these changes will have no impact, as there is no scientific work done that uses GISS “data”, thus there are no peer-reviewed papers and ongoing works that are invalidated by such data changes and can be allowed to stand unchallenged without re-computation with the new figures. It especially has no impact on politically-motivated compilation pieces like the IPCC reports.
And as there are especially no papers or other works that merely point to GISS for the data, any researchers using GISS would have archived the data when they obtained it and it will be freely provided and included in the Supplementary Info for anyone else’s use, just as they do with all the rest of their data, the impact is even less than nothing.
Indeed, if anything GISS’ silent changes improve the science, by making it even more certainly known that GISS “data” should not be used for serious work, if any.
(Do you think I have to add “/sarc” to that? Really?)

tallbloke says:
September 26, 2012 at 8:55 am
Please could Jim Hansen make it warm last winter, I was frozen, and still haven’t thawed out..
Would that also make last years heating bill go down?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Is it possible to use the data that has been “adjusted” to recreate this 1889-1938 graph?
Might make an interesting comparison.

george e smith

“””””…..NASA, which says that it has “employs the world’s largest concentration of climate scientists”, has carried out an interesting manouevre that has the effect of evading the federal Data Quality Act, OMB Guidelines and NASA’s own stated policies. …..”””””
Why on earth does NASA employ the world’s largest concentration of climate scientists ?? For that matter, what on earth does climate have to do with Aeronautics, or Space Research. I can accept that Aeronautics may have an interest in weather; the atmosphere in which Aeronautics is carried out; but what on earth do they need to know what happened in Antarctica 800,000 years ago.
I just took some nice photos of the very last space shuttle flight; a tour around silicon valley (for the very first time), on the back of a modified Boeing 747 plane. The space shuttle never ever flew over silicon valley on either, any launch, or any re-entry. Much of the project took place here, and we had to wait till the last bitzer shuttle Endeavor kluged out of spare parts, was shuttled off to a veritable scrap heap museum in lala land.
I never minded that my tax dollars were spent developing the technologies that made outer space travel possible; I don’t care to waste it on the weather.

Jan P Perlwitz

[snip – Sorry, I’m just not interested in your smear and accusations. As a NASA scientist who works with Hansen, you are in a position to demonstrate why/why not the charge of post facto data change if true. Instead you whine, and I’m just not interested in that. Do something substantive other than whining. – Anthony]


I’m sure it’s just a simple matter of bit decay:
Nothing to see here…

“NASA’s information from its missions and programs is used by…members of the public to enable them to be knowledgeable and inspired about NASA’s goals and accomplishments.”
I don’t think I am seeing the proper “inspiration about NASAs goals and accomplishments” here by members of the public.

Steve C

Is there no-one with the authority to call BS on this data fiddling and force full explanations of what, exactly, NASA (and NOAA, and …) are up to? Or is it, as many of us suspect, that anyone with that authority is one of those guilty of ordering it?
It’s not just a US matter – “NASA’s information from its missions and programs is used by: government and national and international policymakers to enable sound and better public policy … “. This affects us all, no matter where we happen to be, and without that full explanation it’s fraudulent misrepresentation, because the facts are what was recorded in 1880, not what “somebody” decided in 2012.


So, conspiracy, corruption, malfeasance and misconduct, reaching to the highest level in the Space Agency or….
the updating the GHCN product in Sept 2012 to fix coding errors in the homogeneity routine:
who can tell?


For anyone wondering, American Thinker states the effects of this latest change as:
“To be fair, the overall result was that the 131-year trend now calculates to 0.64 deg C per century instead of 0.60 deg C per century. And the trend since 2002 is still a cooling one. (In fact, the cooling trend since 2002 is steeper with the new data.) So maybe this isn’t that big of a deal.”
Read more:

Mike Smith

C. Quesenberry
You might try writing Sen Inhofe.

David Ball

So what happens once all the hens have been eaten?

John West

There is no doubt that the GISS temperature record is scientifically philosophically sound and reliable.
Why do conflicts of interest continue to be ignored as if they’re not an issue. As soon as James Hansen’s reputation became entangled with the perception of a warming world he should have been removed from having any influence over the temperature record. If Bernanke went before congress and projected exponential increases in interest rates unless they passed legislation that he deemed necessary would we let him then stay in the position to determine interest rates? It’s surreal. I just want to wake up, find that it’s 1988 and James Hansen has just been arrested for perjury and extortion for the “trick” he pulled on Congress for personal gain.

cui bono

David Thomas Bronzich says (September 26, 2012 at 9:57 am)
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
We do! Thanks Randall and Anthony.


David Thomas Bronzich says:
September 26, 2012 at 9:57 am
“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
WE do, David.

As the sun is winding down the current cycle, we can expect more NOAA ‘artistry’ in the years to come
Solar maximum? Oh, you just missed it
26 September 2012 by Stuart Clark (new scientist)
WAITING for solar fireworks to reach a grand finale next year? Um, sorry, looks like you already missed them. Structures in the sun’s corona indicate that the peak in our star’s latest cycle of activity has been and gone, at least in its northern hemisphere.
Steven Tobias, a mathematician at the University of Leeds, UK, (who) models what drives the sun’s magnetic field. According to his models, such a situation precedes an extended quiet phase called a grand minimum.

Correction: Should be NASA (not NOAA).

“In short, the data that NASA makes available to the public, temperatures over the last 130 years, can change at any time, without warning and without explanation.”

Stunning …


I’m missing description of what was actually changed. Was it measurements of individual stations, gridded data, or average US temperature? Methods to calculate average or gridded temperatures may change and may provide different results even without changes to actual measurements, for instance.

Nasa does not change the data of the past.
GISSTEMP is a computer program that estimates the global “average “temperature of the past and present. It relies on inputs made available by other sources, GHCN, and SCAR.
There are ongoing projects to improve the coverage and quality of the incoming data sources. that means the input data can and will change on a monthly basis. Since the past is an estimate made relative to a 1951-1980 baseline period changes can and will ripple through the system. To put it simply. we don’t know the temperature of the past. We estimate it based on the data that is available. When that data changes, the estimate will change.
The other thing is that you can expect more changes going forward as the newer versions of GHCN-M are rolled out. You can probably expect that more stations will be added over time as more and more daily sources are being made available. Unless you want to argue against using more station data this advance should be welcomed.
Some of the data making its way into the records hasnt been public before ( availbale but not posted ) so it wil be interesting to see how more data changes the picture


My favorite Climate audit post has a nice graph of adjustments made in 2007:

Alice Springs has been going up and down like a yoyo.
I’ve given up trying to follow it.


Steven Mosher says:
September 26, 2012 at 11:20 am
so if somebody like UEA or the UK metoffice produces ‘new’ or adjusted data – this gets ‘read’ by Gisstemp and alters everything it produces?? Do you have more info please?
Mind you – if that is the case – then presumably, the data used is ‘pre’-validated and public too?

Kelvin Vaughan

Every one knows the real data is wrong and must be adjusted to fit the models which are right!

Neil Jordan

So NASA scrubbed some temperatures. US Army Corps of Engineers and US Geological Survey scrubbed one of the biggest Southern California floods in more than a century (1969). See Page 26 “The Man Who Made a Flood Disappear” in “Alluvial Amnesia” at:


Paul Homewood says:
September 26, 2012 at 11:33 am
Alice Springs has been going up and down like a yoyo.
I’ve given up trying to follow it.

Now that’s hilarious, nice documentation Paul.
Goddard has been following the recent massive data tampering…

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Okay, Mosher’s apologia on GISS’ behalf has been posted, as expected. Back to the issue.
With the new data fudging, the current cooling trend since 2002 is now a little steeper. But they insist this is a temporary thing, there are transient masking events, the heat’s getting stored in the ocean somewhere, yada yada. So the new warming trend of the 131-year record is steeper, and when the real warming signal is once again revealed and brings with it the “lost” heat, we will be even more screwed than they had said we would be before.
Thus it is worse than we thought, we must act now, and that’s the most-immediate now not the “this decade” now, to cut the carbon emissions and kill the anthropogenic warming. Now, while some previously unknown chance factors have given us a brief respite which has miraculously kept many tipping points from getting tipped, except for the Arctic sea ice.
Does that sound like the current (recently revised) version of The Narrative?

cui bono

They should remind themselves that in other professions, such as accounting, economic forecasting or Ponzi investing, changing the figures every month could make you…..seriously rich. Oh wait…
But you may subsequently get arrested.
PS: Paul Homewood says (September 26, 2012 at 11:33 am)
Alice Springs has been going up and down like a yoyo.
Was she in a late night movie that I missed? 🙂


Steven Mosher says:
September 26, 2012 at 11:20 am
”’There are ongoing projects to improve the coverage and quality of the incoming data sources”
this is a weird description – I accept that incoming data may well be valid, but it may equally have been ‘improved’ – or is that ‘fudged’? or ‘adjusted’?, etc, etc If so – Is the net result not the same, i.e. the data is massaged to newer values?