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.
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 worlds 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 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:
NASAs information from its missions and programs is used by: government and national and international policymakers to enable sound and better public policy; NASAs 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 NASAs 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.