Meanwhile, Hansen and Karl go on about certainty

There’s a press conference going on right now with NCDC’s Tom Karl and NASA GISS Dr. James Hansen. They want us to believe them, about the certainty of their conclusions from data. I just checked the “State of the Climate Report” being referred to, and one has to wonder, when they are this sloppy with important details, can we really trust their conclusions derived from details? I had to laugh when I saw this in the SOTC for 2012:


You’d think they could get a simple detail like a date/time stamp on the official reports right. The “downloaded” time is the time my browser accessed it. The updated time is over a year ago, for a report made this month.

See for yourself here:

Scroll all the way to the bottom.

You have to wonder, like the warden in the Shawshank Redemption, are they being purposely obtuse?

Date/time stamps are crucial in science. Flubs like that would be enough to get most forensic science tossed out of court if they can’t establish the point in time exactly. It is a small detail to some, and a major detail to others. The devil is in the details, and if you want to convince people that your conclusions are accurate, pay attention to the details. Science is all about the details.

But maybe I’m wrong, and KarlHansian date and time is adjustable, much like they do with temperature, like that changing temperature of July 1936:

For example, the July 2012 SOTC report, issued in early August, announced that a new record had been set with the average July temperature for the contiguous United States at 77.6 degrees, one-fifth of a degree higher than in July 1936. However, the NCDC now says the July 2012 average was actually about 76.9 degrees, nearly 0.7 degrees less. This is almost 0.5 degrees cooler than the 77.4 degrees claimed as the previous monthly record in 1936. What is going on?

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January 15, 2013 8:00 am

The standard “Page Info” provided for all web pages is virtually useless these days, since nearly all pages are dynamic, so the “Modified” timestamp just shows when you read the page.
Tue 15 Jan 2013 15:56:06 GMT

John F. Hultquist
January 15, 2013 8:19 am

Good job, Sir.
I think the operative phrase is “Close enough for government work.”
The timing of this press conference is priceless, per the ‘Gore effect’, insofar as eastern NA is slowly being chilled well below freezing.

January 15, 2013 8:24 am

Bogus feedbacks on top of bogus physics justified by bogus data. I call that a triple bogey.

January 15, 2013 8:31 am

I’m at work and don’t have time to look into it, but with modern web page design, this is quite possible. The “Last Update” is probably for the static content. The dynamic content that is pulled in when the page is accessed (and the delivered HTML composed) would normally be newer. Not that I want to be an apologist for an organization that regularly engages in political propaganda.

January 15, 2013 8:36 am

It’s just a minor adjustment. They do it all the time, so what is the problem? Climate Science is about making the record match the “science”, much cleaner to have the accepted facts match the theory. It is a peer proven technique in modern PNS. pg

January 15, 2013 8:37 am

Well, It’s common knowledge now that temperatures are not tracking CO2 levels. The cat is almost out of the bag; the causal link is broken. It’s getting close to headless chicken time!

January 15, 2013 8:45 am

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption! Great novella. One of my favorites from Mr. King.

January 15, 2013 8:47 am

Maybe they should open the other box….

Rud Istvan
January 15, 2013 9:12 am

Anthony, the NOAA page is just confusingly wrongly labeled. The bottom attribution does say last updated in 2011. But the fine attribution print below the CONUS temperature graphic says last updated on Jan 7 2013. And the graphic with 2012 weather extremes would have been rather hard to prepare in 2011, as it’s labeled actuals, not forecasts.
Just shows how sloppy and careless most of their “factual” public reporting is.
Biggest issue, of course, is that the headline conclusion about warmest year was based on preliminary data and turns out to be just wrong, after MSM reports the erroneous headline. You can bet they won’t revise that part.

Peter Miller
January 15, 2013 9:23 am

You have to remember Hansen and Karl are obliged to keep spouting out stuff on ‘the certainty of their findings’. The three things we can be sure of here:
1. The data will have been ‘homogenised’/manipulated to produce the results required,
2. The scary CAGW myth will be intertwined with the mildly interesting subject of AGW, and
3. Weather will be confused with climate.
Hundreds of thousands of mostly useless people in the Global Warming Industry’s gravy train depend on this stuff being continuously pumped out in order to keep their jobs.
In addition, their political paymasters also require ‘certainty of their findings’, as there are critical tax funding considerations at stake.

January 15, 2013 9:27 am

There is a social science/political theory that relates to all the other aspects of what is going on to justify the public sector taking over direction of Western economies that traditionally relied on free markets and personal liberty generally. It actually goes back to Marxist-Leniniist political theory. But since that acknowledgment would go a long way towards jinxing the endeavor and blowing the cover need for stealth there is a tendency to pretend facts, like global warming or that Whole Language is just a better way to teach reading, that do not fit reality. When that gets pointed out you get unwarranted claims of certainty as with Hansen. Or in education you get told “We are the professionals and we know best.” I guess that one comes up in CAGW too as it gets used against Monckton all the time.
Anyway this is what John Dewey called Theory in Practice. Kurt Lewin called it Action Research. You come up with rationales to get the Transformative collectivist political theories in place so you can literally see what happens. That’s the research. Making it the basis for economic redesign or pedagogy by launching it nationwide on all school kids allows tax paid researchers to observe its actual effects.
It’s a ridiculous way to go through life as famines in the Ukraine should have shown but we are talking about a nomenklatura here who wants to both get and preserve power and live well at our expense. So we keep getting thee bogus scenarios. Cooling was going to work just as well as a rationale as 70s Club of Rome documents make clear.
All just rationales to gain submission to dirigiste Statism.

Steve C
January 15, 2013 9:28 am

Same sort of date/time uncertainty I noted in my comment on the Meteorite thread. Such details do make you wonder whether anybody bothers checking.

January 15, 2013 9:29 am

Wait… I’m all for holding these things to the fire, but that time stamp makes perfect sense if the website is a form create to grab the desired report out of a database. I’m just saying the last updated is probably when the form itself was updated not the derived content. Not your normal quality of post.

Doctor Gee
January 15, 2013 9:49 am

“Lies, damned lies and statistics.” The truth is in there somewhere, though KarlHansian seems bent on avoiding it.

January 15, 2013 9:53 am

I saw this in my NASA news feed yesterday and I was poised to say “yes, but Anthony, have they done the update using the paper records- you know, the ones you discovered that drag the temps down after the MSM have had their field day and gone home?” Now I don’t know what to ask! Does this mean there are two layers of confusion on date and data dalliances?

Peter in MD
January 15, 2013 10:06 am

i had gone to the NOAA website and was messing around looking at the ENSO discussions, when I noticed something, it seems between May of 2012 and June of 2012 the heat content anomaly base period changed from 1982-2004 here in May. I was looking at the 180-100 W area.
And the new base line in June of 1982 -2010.
why make the change mid year?
Did the announce it? (Does it matter?)
Why stop at 2010? why not through 2011?
I don’t know if any of this matters, but maybe someone like Bob Tisdale could comment on what he thinks.
Peter in MD

January 15, 2013 10:08 am

Whatever became of the global in “Global Warming” ? The AGW cheerleaders’ strategy
is to point to local weather as evidence of a global condition, to which I say,
“It’s the planet, stupid!”

January 15, 2013 10:22 am

(h/t Judith Curry) Don’t miss sharp criticisms at Piele, Jr:

Gary Pearse
January 15, 2013 10:47 am

Robin says:
January 15, 2013 at 9:27 am
“There is a social science/political theory that relates to all the other aspects of what is going on to justify the public sector taking over direction of Western economies”
The social sciences were corrupted long ago into socialist tools. The hard sciences had resisted but the whole lefty education establishment couldn’t be denied forever. Climate science is the most obvious example and probably the test case for the ultimate peoples’ chemistry and physics. We are in the awkward position now of looking to China, India and Russia to save us from this.

January 15, 2013 12:07 pm

Gary-that USGCRP 2012-2021 report says that the term science in it includes the social sciences and behavioral sciences plus pedagogy. Which in not about how to teach an academic discipline as most assume. It’s been about getting political theory implemented via classroom practices since the late 1980s. I have the conference report.
This is scientistic in the sense that Hayek used the term. Trying to get the social sciences to produce desired effects like they were chemistry or physics. And the new Common Core science Standards are all about the Ecosystem like it was a fact, not a metaphor.

G. Karst
January 15, 2013 12:28 pm

Doesn’t seem like enough ducks lined up in a row, to take a shot. GK

January 15, 2013 1:32 pm

Anthony, as a website designer I can tell you “with high confidence” that the 2011 date will be the date the web template was last modified. The web template will make a database call out to grab the dynamic content.
This is a common thing on websites.

That’s fine. They should have a date for the content though – Anthony

Mike McMillan
January 15, 2013 1:43 pm

Hey, give the guys a break. Climate is supposed to be 30 years, so anything within the last decade is fine. Besides, I don’t see where updating their predictions has made them any more accurate.

Bill Illis
January 15, 2013 2:17 pm

Huge drop in global temperatures in December from the NCDC.
Down to 0.4075C in December from 0.6633C in Nov.
1901-2000 baseperiod
GISS down to 0.44C in Dec from 0.68C in Nov.
Base period is 1951-1980.
This drop is not really explainable from the ENSO or the AMO. Probably more like the previous few months were not as high as reported.

January 15, 2013 2:23 pm

January 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm
Anthony, as a website designer I can tell you “with high confidence” that the 2011 date will be the date the web template was last modified. The web template will make a database call out to grab the dynamic content.
This is a common thing on websites.
REPLY: That’s fine. They should have a date for the content though – Anthon
Not having a date on content is a big pet peeve of mine. The tendency is getting worse. I guess its all a part of the post-normal world that is being pushed.

michael sweet
January 15, 2013 4:34 pm

The NCDC says that they updated their data and you are comparing numbers from two different data sets. From the NCDC:
“It is totally inappropriate to mix values from different data bases to identify records. This is exactly what Anthony Watts has done. He selected the mean monthly temperatures from an older data base (version 2 USHCN) and compared it to mean monthly temperatures in a newer data base (version 2.5 USHCN). This is a fatal error. For example, the US average temperature of July 2012 is the record warmest within both data bases”
You have compared the July record from the version 2USHCN to the version 2.5 USHCN. July 2012 is the hottest July in both data sets but they have changed the baseline so you cannot compare data from one set to the other.

January 15, 2013 4:39 pm

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ranked 2012 the 10th-warmest on record,”
““Including 2012, all 12 years to date in the 21st century rank among the 14 warmest in the 133-year period of record,” NOAA said in a statement.”

IOW, 2012’s temperature is well below the average year’s in this century. (There are 9 above and 2 below it.)

Bill Illis
January 15, 2013 5:09 pm

Assuming Hadcrut3 and Hadcrut4 fall by as much as NCDC and GISS in December (likely), this is what the temp oberservations versus climate model forecasts looks like as of the end of 2012.
This is what I saying awhile ago about if temps fall in the next 6 months as their relationship to the ENSO and the AMO indicate should happen, then the day of reckoning may be on us sooner than expected. There has to be more temp reductions to come yet and that day will be here at that point.
Hansen’s newest paper released today along with the news conference with the NCDC tries to say Aerosols may be the cause. Beijing’s air quality index has apparently been off the charts bad in the last few days, but Hansen is wrong.
The forecasts are NOW too far off from reality and the theory has to be re-written.
I’m calling it now.

David A. Evans
January 15, 2013 5:19 pm

Having watched the GISS figd.txt change in Nov. 2009 to promote 2006 to joint warmest with 1998 from about 6th, with 1934 demoted from joint warmest to about 6th, I don’t believe anything from either GISS or NCDC.

Lil Fella from OZ
January 15, 2013 6:45 pm

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln
New political system in Australia. Democratic Dictatorship.
‘You vote us in and we will do what we like and you will do what we tell you.’ {s RGH

Werner Brozek
January 15, 2013 8:39 pm

Bill Illis says:
January 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm
GISS down to 0.44C in Dec from 0.68C in Nov.
Base period is 1951-1980.

Hello Bill,
Something seems wrong with the information in the link. It shows only up to October at 0.69.

January 15, 2013 9:13 pm
The above is a link to the draft Third Climate Assessment Report just released
There is an opportunity to submit comments so have a go at it.
I have downloaded the Executive summary and gave it a glance. It seems to say the same old things of Doom and Gloom: Floods, Sea Level Rise, Acedification, heavy rains, etc, etc.
Here is a sample of the change we never saw before (Sarc)
Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have 2 become more frequent and/or intense, including heat waves, heavy downpours, and, in some 3 regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers 4 and arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, 5 which is primarily driven by human activity. 6
Many impacts associated with these changes are important to Americans’ health and livelihoods 7 and the ecosystems that sustain us. These impacts are the subject of this report. The impacts are 8 often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, 9 and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures. While some changes will 10 bring potential benefits, such as longer growing seasons, many will be disruptive to society 11 because our institutions and infrastructure have been designed for the relatively stable climate of 12 the past, not the changing one of the present and future. Similarly, the natural ecosystems that 13 sustain us will be challenged by changing conditions. Using scientific information to prepare for 14 these changes in advance provides economic opportunities, and proactively managing the risks 15 will reduce costs over time.”
Did they just copy the last report??
I wonder if they have mentioned the pause in temperature rise or the divergence of the temperature measurements from the models?

January 15, 2013 9:29 pm

Found it, “the unambiguous story the planet is warming”
No reference to the pause yet !
“Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. 17 This evidence has been compiled by scientists and engineers from around the world, using 18 satellites, weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems. The sum total of 19 this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming.”

David L
January 16, 2013 4:22 am

Correct date/time are a cornerstone of Pharma GMPs of crucial importance. Our research has to be well documented according to the general requirements of “timely, accurate, complete”. Infractions are a serious event. People have lost their jobs over it. Agencies such as the FDA could suspend our operations for such violations.

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