The “Hottest” Temperature Game

Climate Deception: How The “Hottest” Temperature Game Is Played To Offset Prediction Failures

Guest essay by Dr. Tim Ball 

Global temperature is not doing what the “official” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted. Proponents of the claim humans are the cause of warming and the cooperative media react by trying to deflect, divert and perpetuate fear. They exploit people’s lack of knowledge and understanding. A January 2013 ABC News headline said, “2012 Was 9th Warmest Year on Record, Says NASA” is a classic example of how the public are deliberately misled. It is deliberate because it distorts, is out of context, and exploits manipulation of statistics or as Disraeli summarized, “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”

The deception begins with the headline but is expanded in the article. The challenge is to know what is actually being said. Initially, you need a translator, but can develop sufficient propaganda detectors once the methods are identified. There are guidelines that work in most circumstances:

Don’t believe anything you read; Question everything; Be especially suspicious of numbers; Know the source and political bias; If you’re affected by the story get at least three other sources; Remember all government information and data is biased; Be especially wary of stories that cite authorities.

The opening paragraph to the ABC story says,

“The year 2012 was the ninth warmest globally since record keeping began in 1880, said climate scientists today from NASA. NOAA, crunching the numbers slightly differently, said 2012 was the tenth warmest year, and both agencies said a warming pattern has continued since the middle of the 20th century.”

The implied threat is the temperature continues its inexorable trend up. The record is 133 years long and with a general warming trend. When would you expect to find the warmest years? Figure 1 provides a hint.

Figure 1

Why are they drawing attention to this by focussing on the “ninth warmest”? Because for the last 15 years the trend has leveled and declined slightly in contradiction to their forecast. Figure 2 shows what is actually happening.

Figure 2

The IPCC claim with over 90 percent certainty that Figure 2 is not suppose to happen. Here is the actual data;

Figure 3

Notice how the shift caused a change in terminology to divert attention from the fact that CO2 was no longer causing increasing warming. CO2 levels continue to rise, but temperatures don’t follow. It completely contradicts their predictions, which is why they want to divert attention.

How meaningful is the temperature increase? What is the accuracy of the measure? IPCC says there was a “trend of 0.6 [0.4 to 0.8]°C (1901-2000)” , that is for most of the period in the news story. Notice the error range is ±0.2°C or ± 33%. It is a meaningless record.

The story cites NOAA and NASA in the standard appeal to authority. However, it’s offset by the observation that they are “crunching the numbers slightly differently” to explain why they disagree between 9th and 10th on the list. How can that be? Aren’t they using the same data? All agencies produce different average temperatures because they select different stations and “adjust” them differently. NASA GISS consistently produces the higher readings, and were most active politically when James Hansen was in charge. They both use the grossly inadequate surface station data.

Although the article limits its claim by acknowledging it is only the 9th warmest in the official record, most people believe it is the 9th warmest ever. It is a misconception deliberately created by political activists like Al Gore and not openly refuted by governments. It is like Gore’s claim that CO2 levels are the highest ever when they are actually the lowest in 300 million years.

So, how long and complete is the official record? A comprehensive study was produced by D’Aleo and Watts “Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven Deception?” detailing what was done. Two graphs from NASA GISS show the general pattern.

Figure 4 (Source NASA GISS)

There are fewer than 1000 stations with records of 100 years and most of them are severely compromised by growth of urban areas. Equally important, is the decline in the number of stations they consider suitable, especially after 1990. This pattern also partly explains why the current readings are high (Figure 5). Temperature increases as the number of stations used are reduced.

Number of stations plotted against temperature.

Figure 5

Number of stations plotted against temperature.

Although they condition the terminology “hottest” with “on record” most people assume it is “ever”. This implication was deliberate. The IPCC rewrote history by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) that was warmer than today. Weather agencies, increased the slope of temperature by lowering the old record – New Zealand is a good example (Figure 6).

Figure 6

Global temperatures are not following “official” predictions, so those who used global warming for a political agenda try to defend the indefensible. This proves it is political because scientific method requires you admit your science is wrong, determine why, and if possible make adjustments.

– See more at: http://drtimball.com/2013/climate-deception-how-the-hottest-temperature-game-is-played-to-offset-prediction-failures/#sthash.N7kgUFhU.dpuf

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Ed, 'Mr' Jones

Maybe Bob Dylan wrote “Like A Rolling Stone” for the Climate Hystericals and Climate Scientificists.

Figure 5 is a classical example of how to lie with statistics. To see why, extend the Figure to well before 1950. Bad Bad Bad.

Luther Wu

Oh, but Carbon Pollution!

Henry Clark

Figure 2 gives the general idea. It may be noted, though, that RSS satellite temperature data finds the decline phase as having a greater relative slope (already!) than figure 2 alone would show.
Here is an analogy of figure 2 made more specific with exact data, in this case depicting the global warming scare period (after the global cooling scare period) through now:
http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1976/to:1998/plot/rss/from:1976/to:1998/trend/plot/rss/from:1998/plot/rss/from:1998/trend
The 1997-1998 El Nino was the turning point, the last El Nino to be charged by relatively heavy warning before it. El Ninos (/ La Ninas) are largely how temperature change is expressed in the climate system. If CAGW movement claims had been true, the trend since the 1998 El Nino would have been warming instead of cooling, due to how more powerful El Ninos were supposed to occur after it:
[BBC news article prediction] Friday, November 7, 1997 […]
El Nino events normally occur roughly every 5 years, and last for between 12 and 18 months. However […] “it appears that we have a very good case for suggesting that the El Ninos are going to become more frequent, and they’re going to become more intense and in a few years, or a decade or so, we’ll go into a permanent El Nino.” […]
“So instead of having cool water periods for a year or two, we’ll have El Nino upon El Nino, and that will become the norm. And you’ll have an El Nino, that instead of lasting 18 months, lasts 18 years,” he said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/25433.stm
Of course, that didn’t actually happen; instead, there is the picture seen in http://s24.postimg.org/rbbws9o85/overview.gif

9th or 10th warmest on record.out of 133 years of records? Not much of a record. Sounds like temps are going down while CO2 is going up. Otherwise 2012 should have been the number 1 hottest. Watts up with that?

lsvalgaard says:
August 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Figure 5 is a classical example of how to lie with statistics.
===========
Fig 5 is a graph. It shows that when the USSR collapsed thousands of weather stations in Siberia closed and the earth’s average temperature went up rapidly. What a surprise. Remove cold stations from the records and the average goes up. Who’d have thunk.

ferd berple says:
August 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm
Fig 5 is a graph. It shows that when the USSR collapsed thousands of weather stations in Siberia closed and the earth’s average temperature went up rapidly.
It also would shows [if extended back in back] that as you go back in time from 1950 the number of stations declined and so did the temperature, hence in its present form is misleading and designed to be be so.

Peter Miller

Never has so much data been manipulated by so few to deceive so many in order to provide those few with such comfortable lifestyles.
In July 1940, the last war was settled, it was settled again in December 1941.
Funny that, when someone tells you something controversial is settled, it rarely is.

Jean Meeus

Leif wrote: “Figure 5 is a classical example of how to lie with statistics. To see why, extend the Figure to well before 1950. Bad Bad Bad.”
However, extending the drawing to well before 1950 would give meaningless results. Well before 1950, the situation was completely different. Extend it to A.D. 1800 : number of observing stations, zero. But evidently the temperature was then not much different from the present one.

SandyInLimousin

Jean Meeus says:
Beat me to it.

Patrick

Here in Sydney, Australia, we’ve had the warmest winter in 150 years. I am sure the Observatory in the City is not where it was 150 years ago, and there certainly wasn’t an airport either.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

Jean Meeus says:
Beat me to it, too!

Robertv

So to cut short , Global Warming is the urban heat effect on night temperatures.

Chris Schoneveld

Leif, what figure 5 shows is an clear drop in the number of stations coincident with a jump in temperatures. What happened before 1950 is of no importance (he could haven chosen to cut off the plot at 1960 or 1970) What one has to establish whether the coincidence of the two events is coincidental or not. Statistics alone doesn’t provide a satisfactory answers to that question.

Here’s how the BBC use that data.
I wonder how those poor little walruses managed to survive the Medieval, Roman and Minoan warm periods? Did they have to eat all the dead and dying polar bears?
I wonder how fast a 66% increase in summer sea ice retreats north?
Enquiring minds want to know…

Leif Svalgaard,
Do you disagree with the fact that elimination of the huge amount of Siberian weather stations coincided with the huge upswing in the registered average temperature? If so, on what grounds? Whatever happened before 1950 has nothing to do with this obvious fact.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

Alexander, maybe Leif is forgetting that numbers don’t have memory; a lottery ticket has an equal chance of winning even if you chose 1,2,3,4,5.

Jordan

I’d like to know more about that figure 5.
We expect the average of the entire Earth surface to be around 15 deg C.
If we have poorly distributed measurement stations (eg tending to be concentrated in mid latitudes like USA and Europe) their simple average would be a good deal lower than 15. Even if there are many thousand of stations.
If the number of stations is reduced, and most removals are in mid latitudes, we could have fewer stations, but a much better sampling distribution. The simple average would rise towards 15 as the stations were removed.
The issue would then be with the large number of stations with poor distribution, and not the number of stations. It would be appropriate to test the simple average of any measurement network to make sure it is not wildly different to 15. This could mean checking the sampling distribution and ignoring many station readings, where this helps to improve the distribution used to calculate the average.
The reduction in station numbers is not necessarily an issue. Given the rise in average temperature in figure 5 (towards 15) the lower number of stations appears to be doing a better job.
Is this what Figure 5 is showing?

Chris Schoneveld

I do detect a hint of disingenuity in the Tim Ball’s approach. For dramatic effect he chose a 15 month old plot from Climate4you which ends with the lowest T for many years. Climate4you updates its graphs every month.

Robertv

It is sad when those who represent We The People are the problem of nearly every problem normal We The People face today.How many still trust their government ? But We The People don’t protest anymore because we fear our government.
Paul Craig Roberts – Humanity Is Drowning In Washington’s Criminality
http://youtu.be/iCn_IFS3OUo
If only ‘Climat Change’ would be the problem. We’ve become sheep but we can still choose the dog that bites us.

Robertv

Is it not the Ocean heat content that regulates the climate ? So why are we measuring land surface temperatures.?

Henry Clark

Chris Schoneveld says:
August 28, 2013 at 12:11 am
I do detect a hint of disingenuity in the Tim Ball’s approach. For dramatic effect he chose a 15 month old plot from Climate4you which ends with the lowest T for many years. Climate4you updates its graphs every month.
At sometime in the past, Dr. Ball took a climate4you chart and performed a few minutes of additional work on it, adding the colored line, thick black line, and so on.
He may have done that a few months ago, back when the chart was the current one, and just reused the same plot (already saved on his hard drive) when writing this article later.
The few months since mid 2012 haven’t been particularly warm, as seen in the current plot on climate4you.com : http://www.climate4you.com/images/HadCRUT4%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif
That one superimposes HADCRUT4 as well, making it a bit harder to read HADCRUT3 individually. I’m not sure if climate4you.com still hosts now any chart showing HADCRUT3 alone by itself over the same timeframe of focus; I didn’t exhaustively look, but I didn’t find one at a quick glance.
(As illustrated in that link, HADCRUT4 has extra adjustments; in HADCRUT3, 2007 is seen to be cooler than 1998; in contrast, HADCRUT4 rewrites temperature history so 2007 gets depicted as warmer than 1998).

Brian H

lsvalgaard says:
August 27, 2013 at 11:19 pm
ferd berple says:
August 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm
Fig 5 is a graph. It shows that when the USSR collapsed thousands of weather stations in Siberia closed and the earth’s average temperature went up rapidly.
It also would shows [if extended back in back] that as you go back in time from 1950 the number of stations declined and so did the temperature, hence in its present form is misleading and designed to be be so.

Utterly irrelevant, and since I doubt you are stupid enough to think it is pertinent, mendacious. Deliberately.
The relevant stepchange is the correspondence between elimination of data sources (predominantly in cold areas, including N. Canada and the Andes) and an apparent 1.5K jump in “average” temperature. Most of those weather sites continue to report, btw, they are just disregarded. Blatant distortion of the record. RU complicit?

wayne

Dr. Ball, very, very good articles on your site ( http://drtimball.com ), need it at the top of my links. You’ve got it right, especially about what the i.p.c.c. really is.

ferd berple
Alexander Feht
………….
Siberia’s size and temperatures uncertainty may have profound influence on the ‘global temperature’ trends, but far less real relevance.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/69-71.htm
Was divergence of the SST and the Land temperatures during short period of just two years real ?
I am inclined to think that was unlikely.

thingadonta

Yeah, if it gets colder they will just say, ‘the heat that should be making made it warmer is building up during the current cold to come back stronger…”, oh sorry..but they already say this….
Winston Churchill once said of delegates from the USSR, “these people just can’t face facts..” That’s what years of mindless propaganda does.

George

It’s all part of the Republicans “War against Icebergs”. They are racist who would rather see green leafy food cover the planet than glaciers, harsh winters, starvation, misery and death!

Scute

Patrick on August 27, 2013 at 11:43 pm said:
“Here in Sydney, Australia, we’ve had the warmest winter in 150 years. I am sure the Observatory in the City is not where it was 150 years ago, and there certainly wasn’t an airport either.”
Patrick, you may find the following WUWT link interesting. There was a lot of debate about the Sydney obsevatory last year. There were two WUWT articles on it. I’ve linked the second one because it contains the link to the first right at the beginning. I think the second is more interesting but the first is useful for context. My interest was in the thermometers used in 1790. I traced the make and type to a specimen in the National Maritime museum at Greenwich. Recalibrating that thermometer could answer the question. It’s in the comments of the second article.

Yes I have always thought like Henry Clark says that El Nino’s are an expression of high temperatures, do not know how though

Jer0me

I was also very interested in the sudden drop in stations used for collecting data in 1990. I saw that animation here many years ago, where the stations were plotted on a world map, year by year. the massive drop-off in 1990 was startling.
I, for one, want to know why this was, and how much of the ‘global warming’ of the 90’s was caused by this. If it is a lot, as I suspect, then we would have seen a rapid rise, then a plateau as the records become the ‘norm’ once more. That is exactly what we seem to have seen in the surface temp records, IMO.

Thorsten

It doesn’t matter much whether, in Fig. 5, the earlier lower measurements (averaged from many stations) or the later higher ones (averaged from much fewer stations) are a better representation of the actual temperature. Even if Jordan is correct in assuming that the “weeding out” of many reporting stations around 1990 actually improved the global distribution by removing an earlier over-representation of certain areas, the unpleasant fact remains that the step-change is still artificial, no matter if it was “really warmer” in earlier years, or “really cooler” in recent years. In both cases, the trend will be equally skewed. It should be possible, however, to recalculate 1970’s and 1980’s temps using only stations that are still used in the network. I wonder if doing so would remove, or at least reduce, the apparent step-change (which looks not only like a strange coincidence, but rather unphysical to me – and certainly not like anything you’d expect from AGW theory)?

Dreadnought

It is truly appalling what these ‘climate science’ charlatans have been getting away with
.
They ought to be fired, and then put on trial for fraud and malfeasance in public office.
Let’s hope it isn’t much longer before a stop is put to this madness.

Bill_W

Leif,
Do you have a plot of this you can show or a link? SInce the 1920’s and 1930’s were warm, the graph might show the temp.’s going up as more thermometers dropped out although there may be a few years where it showed the opposite with earth cooling. I think the other caution is that correlation is not causality.

David L.

A friend of mine worked for a national weather station as a graphic artist and quit his job when he was being directed to make the weather maps of the US look different than what the raw data showed. He asked why he shouldn’t produce weather maps representing the real data and they said something like “because the map looks better that way”.
I’m also tired of hearing the term “extreme” everywhere. You can’t watch 5 minutes of the news, or read a news paper without being told that weather somewhere in the country is extreme. I’m sorry, but what’s going on today is generally no different than I remember going back to the 1960’s. It’s hot and dry in the summer, it’s cold and damp in the winter. Some years a little more, some a little less. 91F is not unheard of, it’s not extreme, even if it lasts for 3 days and becomes a dreaded heat wave. Years ago few people had air conditioners so it really felt hot to most. Now AC is ubiquitous. Who really feels the effects except for maybe 2 minutes when you’re outside checking the mail. So you have to be told it’s extreme outside. I just hope most people don’t believe this nonsense.

Bruce Cobb

The IPCC and all the proponents and purveyors of the CAGW Lie like to refer to us as “climate deniers” for not obediently going along with the Lie. They should be referred to as “climate liars” henceforth.

Steve from Rockwood

Fig. 5 represents a meaningless claim. You would have to show that station location influences the average temperature calculation. Taking unreliable Russian stations (cold) out of the Russian total stations (also cold) should make no difference to the average global temperature (distributed by surface area and not station count). But if you take a group of cold stations out of the total record the “average” temperature based on the “number of stations” will go up. The latter means nothing to me.

lsvalgaard says:
August 27, 2013 at 11:19 pm

ferd berple says:
August 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Fig 5 is a graph. It shows that when the USSR collapsed thousands of weather stations in Siberia closed and the earth’s average temperature went up rapidly.

It also would shows [if extended back in back] that as you go back in time from 1950 the number of stations declined and so did the temperature, hence in its present form is misleading and designed to be be so.

Whoa, we occasionally make a big deal here about similar graphs that start in 1950, most famously at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/16/why-ncars-meehl-paper-on-highlow-temperature-records-is-bunk/ with image http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/western_usa_all-time_temp_records.png?w=640 . That shows high and low records set by decade for “18 western states, provinces, and territories” and the 1930s have by far the most for both highs and lows. Other images show US summer highs and winter lows.
While the area covered is a small percentage of the planet, I’m not confident that “as you go back in time from 1950 the number of stations declined and so did the temperature.” It may be right, it may be the cold winters offset the hot summers, it may be that geographic and political influences rule. At any rate, I get suspicious of graphs that start around 1950.
I’d have to reread the original sources, it may be there was a geographic adjustment to account for the loss of the Siberian stations. I was amused at the suggestion back then that winter energy subsidies to Siberian towns were based on the local temperatures, thereby providing a strong incentive to report lower than actual averages.
There are so many caveats it’s hard to say anything that covers this large of a temperature span. I’m happy to point out that the recent record is consistent with a pause in warming or a plateau, and then point to suggestions we may be at the end of the plateau.

JimS

I think figure 3 says it all – the data changes, therefore, so does the name.

When you are statistically analyzing extreme values (hottest/coldest), you should start by assuming that the values have an extreme value distribution (not a normal distribution) and use extreme value statistical techniques. The tenth hottest in 150 years is more likely to be within a normal distribution range. What year in that 150 years was the tenth coldest?

An extended version of Figure 5 : http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/temperature/number-%20temperature-stations-ghcn-1701-2008.gif
From this page : http://joannenova.com.au/2010/01/horrifying-examples-of-deliberate-tampering/
lsvalgaard is completely correct. Cutting off the graph at 1950 creates a false impression. The data directly before 1950 shows a rapid temperature rise occurring with a rapid increase in stations. In short, don’t do this.

Chad B.

One of my favorite quotes about this is (and I don’t know where I heard it)
You can see global warming happening. Every year 1901 gets colder.

Bill_W says:
August 28, 2013 at 4:30 am
Do you have a plot of this you can show or a link?
Figure 4 of the post shows what I’m talking about at least back to 1900.
Steele’s comment backs this up.
I think the other caution is that correlation is not causality.
There is that too.

lsvalgaard says:
August 27, 2013 at 11:19 pm
It also would shows [if extended back in back] that as you go back in time from 1950 the number of stations declined and so did the temperature, hence in its present form is misleading and designed to be be so.
=============
That is a mistake in logic. The number of stations are not physically “declining” prior to 1950 because time does not run backwards. The time axis only has physical meaning from left to right.
Prior to the 1950’s, the number of stations was increasing with time, but this would have been generally randomly distributed. After the collapse of the USSR the number of stations are declining rapidly, and these stations are generally from a colder place on earth than the average. This coincides with a rapid increase in the calculated global average temperatures, which suggests the increase may be a statistical artifact.

Steve from Rockwood says:
August 28, 2013 at 5:19 am
Taking unreliable Russian stations (cold) out of the Russian total stations (also cold) should make no difference to the average global temperature
============
There is no evidence these stations were any more unreliable than stations anywhere else. The USSR generally removed people from their jobs that were considered unreliable.
Given the large number of stations removed and the very large surface area of the earth it represents and the fact that these are almost exclusively from a colder part of the earth than average, it would be next to impossible to interpolate the missing data without creating a false statistical trend in the average. It would be more a matter of luck than skill.
Fig 5. provides evidence that the increase in temps around 1990 was due to an artifact of the statistics. It doesn’t prove this, but it most certainly is evidence. Given that scientists have said they are unable to explain the rise in temps in this time period except by a rise in CO2, Fig 5 is a smoking gun that there may well be other explanations.

Jimbo

Some temperature records go beyond 150 years. Here is the canary in a coalmine of global warming.

“Retreating Alaskan Glacier Reveals Remains Of Medieval Forest”
August 26, 2013
http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/retreating-alaskan-glacier-reveals-remains-of-medieval-forest/

Here is another canary. Backqaaaaack.

“Retreating Glacier In Patagonia Uncovers 400 Year Old Forest”
August 27, 2013
http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/retreating-glacier-in-patagonia-uncovers-400-year-old-forest/

It’s still the hottest evaaaaah. It’s worse than we thought.

vukcevic says:
August 28, 2013 at 1:00 am
Was divergence of the SST and the Land temperatures during short period of just two years real ? I am inclined to think that was unlikely.
===========
I agree. A divergence between the surface and satellite calculated average during the period of the USSR collapse would be further evidence that the loss of a large number of surface stations at that time changed the calculated global average surface temperature.

ferd berple says:
August 28, 2013 at 6:23 am
That is a mistake in logic. The number of stations are not physically “declining” prior to 1950 because time does not run backwards. The time axis only has physical meaning from left to right.
Irrelevant [and silly] nit picking. My meaning was perfectly clear. It could have been said differently: the number of stations increased form 1900 to 1950 and temperature did too. My point is that Figure 5 is misleading and that it is deliberately so.

Jimbo says:
August 28, 2013 at 6:40 am
“Retreating Alaskan Glacier Reveals Remains Of Medieval Forest”
August 26, 2013
“Retreating Glacier In Patagonia Uncovers 400 Year Old Forest”
August 27, 2013
========
1. Climate deniers in the pay of big oil placed those forests under those glaciers.
2. Any past warming in Alaska and Patagonia was regional, not global.
3. Because CO2 is well mixed, today’s warming is global. Everywhere is getting hotter.
4. Don’t try and confuse the issue with new facts. The science is settled.

lsvalgaard says:
August 28, 2013 at 6:49 am
the number of stations increased form 1900 to 1950 and temperature did too. My point is that Figure 5 is misleading and that it is deliberately so.
==============
The number of stations is declining, not increasing following the collapse of the USSR, so the two cases are different. One is increasing, the other decreasing, so you cannot simply assume one is the mathematical inverse of the other. The mechanism would need to be the same, but in this case the mechanism is different. Thus the error is not with Fig 5.

jbird

“….Don’t believe anything you read; Question everything; Be especially suspicious of numbers; Know the source and political bias; If you’re affected by the story get at least three other sources; Remember all government information and data is biased; Be especially wary of stories that cite authorities…..”
If there is any truth left, it is found in this statement. Whether it is about global warming or some other issue, you simply can no longer trust our government to report the truth. I can’t believe it has come to this.