A First Look at 'Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus' by Karl et al., Science 4 June 2015

Guest essay by Ross McKitrick University of Guelph

June 4, 2015

UPDATED June 8 2015: Some changes and corrections noted in red. Also added MAT records and  Kent figure 18


The idea that there has been a hiatus in global warming since the late 1990s comes from examination of several different data sets:

clip_image002 HadCRUT(land surface + ocean)
clip_image004 HadSST(ocean surface only)
clip_image006 NCDC(land surface + ocean)
clip_image008 GISS(land surface + ocean)
clip_image010 RSS(lower troposphere)
clip_image012 UAH(lower troposphere)
clip_image014 Ocean Heat Content (0-2000m)Argo floats (black line)NOAA SST est’s (red solid and dashed lines)


(Added Fig 14 above) Marine Air Temperatures by latitude band

Black: HadNMAT2

Red: HadMAT1

Green: MOHMAT4

Blue: HadSST3

Light blue: C20R

Sources: all data accessed through http://www.climate4you.com/GlobalTemperatures.htm except last one, taken from http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n3/full/nclimate2513.html.

The IPCC’s recent report identified this hiatus and commented as follows (Working Group I, Chapter 9, Box 9.2):

The observed global-mean surface temperature (GMST) has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years than over the past 30 to 60 years… Depending on the observational data set, the GMST trend over 1998–2012 is estimated to be around one-third to one-half of the trend over 1951–2012.

K15 New Estimates

Karl et al. (2015, which I’ll call K15) have struck a very different note, saying that the post-1998 trend is much higher than previously thought, and is in fact about the same as that of the post-1951 interval. Their trend estimate revisions are as follows:




The big source of the change is an upward revision (+0.06 oC /decade) to the global post-1998 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) trend, with only a small change to the land trend:

  LAND       OCEAN



So what changed in the SST records? Bear in mind that there are very relatively few records of air temperatures over the oceans, especially outside of shipping lanes and prior to 1950. So to get long term climate estimates, scientists use SST (i.e. water temperature) data, which have been collected since the 1800s by ships. The long term SST records were never collected for climate analysis and they are notoriously difficult to work with. Many judgments need to be made to yield a final record, and as the K15article shows, changes in some of those assumptions yield major changes in the final results.

A Primer on SST Data

There is a large literature on methods to derive a consistent climate record from the SST archives. The contribution of K15 is to take one such record, called the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 4 (ERSSTv4), and use it to compute a new global climate record. The difference in recent trends they report is due to the changes between ERSST versions 3b and 4.

Almost all historical SST products are derived from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS, http://icoads.noaa.gov/) or one of its predecessors. ICOADS combines about 125 million SST records from ship logs and a further 60 million readings from buoys and other sources.[1] A large contributor to the ICOADS archive is the UK Marine Data Bank. Other historical sources include navies, merchant marines, container shipping firms, buoy networks, etc.

SST data have historically been collected using different methods:[2]

· Wooden buckets were thrown over the side, filled with seawater and hauled on deck, then a thermometer was placed in the water;

· Same, using canvas buckets;

· Same, using insulated buckets;

· Automated temperature readings of Engine Room Intake (ERI) water drawn in to cool the ship engines;

· Ship hull temperature sensors;

· Drifting and moored buoys.

In addition, there are archives of Marine Air Temperature (MAT) taken by ships that have meteorological equipment on deck.

Here are some of the problems that scientists have to grapple with to construct consistent temperature records from these collections:

· Ships mainly travel in shipping lanes, and vast areas of the oceans (especially in the Southern Hemisphere) have never[3] been monitored;

· Sailors are not inclined to take bucket readings during storms or perilous conditions;

· Readings were not necessarily taken at the same time each day;

· During the process of hauling the water up to the deck the temperature of the sample may change;

· The change will be different depending on how tall the ship is, whether the bucket is wood or canvas, whether it is insulated, and how quickly the reading is taken;

· The ERI intake may be just below the surface in a small ship or as much as 15 m below the surface in a large ship;

· Similarly the hull sensors may be at widely-varying depths and may be subject to temperature effects over time as the engines heat up the hull;

· MAT readings are taken at the height of the deck, and modern ships are much taller than older ones, so the instruments are not at the same height above sea level;

· Buoys tend to provide readings closer to the water surface than ERI data;

· There were not many surface buoys in the world’s oceans prior to the 1970s, but there are many more now being averaged in to the mix.

Now add to these challenges that when data is placed in the archive, in about half the cases people did not record which method was used to take the sample (Hirahari et al. 2014). In some cases they noted that, for example, ERI readings were obtained but they not indicate the depth. Or they might not record the height of the ship when the MAT reading is taken. And so forth.

Ships and buoys are referred to as in situ measurements. Since in situ data have never covered the entire ocean, most groups use satellite records, which are available after 1978, to interpolate over unmonitored regions. Infrared data from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) system can measure SST accurately but need to be calibrated to existing SST records, and can be unreliable in the presence of low cloud cover or heavy aerosol levels. In the past few years, new satellite platforms (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM, and the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer or AMSR-E) have enabled more accurate data collection through cloud and aerosol conditions.

Hadley, GISS and Hirahara et al. (2014)[4] all use satellite data to improve interpolation estimates over data-sparse regions. The ERSST team (i.e. K15) did prior to version 3b but doesn’t anymore, due to their concerns about its accuracy.

The Three Main ERSSTv4 Adjustments

The measurement problems mentioned above all well-known. A great deal of work has been done in recent decades both to try and recover some of the metadata for in situ temperature readings, and also to estimate corrections in order to overcome biases that affect the raw data. K15 have made some relatively minor changes to the bias correction methods, and the result is a large increase in the post-1998 trend.

A. They added 0.12 oC to readings collected by buoys, ostensibly to make them comparable to readings collected by ships. As the authors note, buoy readings represent a rising fraction of observations over recent decades, so this boosts the apparent warming trend.

B. They also gave buoy data extra weight in the computations.

C. They also made adjustments to post-1941 data collected from ships, in particular a large cooling adjustment applied to readings over 1998-2000.

Taken together these changes largely explain the enhanced trend over the past 15 years. So now everybody needs to decide if they think these adjustments are valid.

Perhaps they are. The main problem for us observers is that other teams have looked at the same issues and come to different conclusions. And the post-1998 K15 data don’t match that from other independent sources, including weather satellites.

A. Looking at the first adjustment, K15 take the buoy data and add 0.12 oC to each observation. They computed that number by looking at places where both buoy data and ship data were collected in the same places, and they found the ship data on average was warmer by 0.12 oC. So they added that to the buoy data. This is similar to the amount estimate found by another teams, though the bias is usually attributed to ships rather than buoys:

Recent SST observations are conducted primarily by drifting buoys deployed in the global oceans (Figs. 1, 2). The buoys measure SST directly without moving seawater onto deck or to the inside of a ship. Therefore, buoy observations are thought to be more accurate than either bucket or ERI data… In the present study, we regard this difference as a bias in the ERI measurements, and no biases in drifting buoy observations are assumed. The mean ERI bias of +0.13 oC is obtained and is within the range for the global region listed in Table 5 of

Kennedy et al. (2011).

(quote from Hirahari et al. 2014 p. 61)

That quote refers to a paper by Kennedy et al. (2011 Table 5)[5] which reports a mean bias of +0.12 oC. However, Kennedy et al. also note that the estimate estimated bias in each location is very uncertain: it is 0.12 clip_image036oC ! Also In other words, the bias varies quite a bit by region. This is a key difference between the method of K15 and that of others. K15 added 0.12 oC to all buoy data, but the Hadley group and the Hirahari group use region-specific adjustments while the Hirahari group modify the bias adjustment for the estimated time-varying fraction of insulated versus uninsulated buckets.


B. There is not much detail about this step. K15 simply say that because the buoy data are believed to be more reliable, they were given more weight in the statistical procedure, and “This resulted in more warming.” Steps A + B accounted for just under half of the additional warming.

C. It has been noted by others previously that SST data from ships shows a more rapid warming trend than nearby air temperature collected by buoys (Christy et al. 2001).[6] K15 compute an adjustment to SST data based on comparisons to Nighttime MAT (NMAT) records from a data set called HadNMAT2. This step entailed making a large cooling adjustment to the ship records in the years 1998-2000. K15 say that this accounts for about half the new warming in their data set. They defended it by saying that it brought the ship records in line with the NMAT data. However, this particular step has been considered before by Kennedy et al. and Hirahara et al., who opted for alternative methods that did not rely exclusively on NMAT, instead making use of more complete metadata, perhaps in part because, as Kennedy et al. and others have pointed out, the NMAT data have their own “pervasive systematic errors”,[7] some of which were mentioned above. So rather than using a mechanical formula based solely on NMAT data, other teams have gone into great detail to look at available metadata for each measurement type and have made corrections based on the specific systems and sites involved.

Numerical Example

Here is a simple numerical example to show how these assumptions can cause important changes to the results. Suppose we have SST data from two sources: ships and buoys. Suppose also that ships always overestimate temperature by exactly 1 degree C and buoys always underestimate it by exactly 1 degree C. We have one set of readings every 10 years, and we are not sure what fraction is from ships versus buoys. Both ships and buoys accurately measure the underlying trend, which is a warming of 0.1 oC /decade from 1900 to 1990 then no trend thereafter.

The Table below shows the simulated numbers. Suppose the true fraction of ships in the sample starts at 95% in 1900 and goes down by 8% every decade, ending at 7% in 2010.

Year Buoy Ship True Ship % True Avg
1900 2.00 4.00 0.95 3.00
1910 2.10 4.10 0.87 3.10
1920 2.20 4.20 0.79 3.20
1930 2.30 4.30 0.71 3.30
1940 2.40 4.40 0.63 3.40
1950 2.50 4.50 0.55 3.50
1960 2.60 4.60 0.47 3.60
1970 2.70 4.70 0.39 3.70
1980 2.80 4.80 0.31 3.80
1990 2.90 4.90 0.23 3.90
2000 2.90 4.90 0.15 3.90
2010 2.90 4.90 0.07 3.90

The true average is calculated using the weight in the True Ship % column, adding 1 oC to the buoy data and subtracting 1 oC from the ship data. The result is shown in the graph:


The thin black and gray lines are the ship (top) and buoy (bottom) data, while the thick black line in the middle is the true average.

But now suppose we don’t know what the correct adjustment is for the buoy data or the ship data, and we don’t know the True Ship % figures either. We will estimate the global average as follows:

· Adjust the buoy data up by +2 oC every year (a bit too much)

· Adjust the ship data down by 1 oC every year (the right amount)

· After 1940 we will also apply a cooling adjustment to the ship data that starts at -0.25 oC and goes up by that amount every decade

· We further cool the ship data by 1 oC in 1990 and 2000 only

· We estimate the ship %, starting it at 99% in 1900 (a bit high) and reducing that by 7% every decade (a bit too little) up to 1990, at which point we observe the True Ship % and follow it exactly thereafter.

Before looking at the results, ask yourself if you think these adjustments will make much difference.

Year Buoy Buoy adj Ship Ship Adj True Ship% True Avg Est Ship % Est Avg
1900 2.00 2.00 4.00 -1.00 0.95 3.00 0.99 3.01
1910 2.10 2.00 4.10 -1.00 0.87 3.10 0.92 3.18
1920 2.20 2.00 4.20 -1.00 0.79 3.20 0.85 3.35
1930 2.30 2.00 4.30 -1.00 0.71 3.30 0.78 3.52
1940 2.40 2.00 4.40 -1.25 0.63 3.40 0.71 3.51
1950 2.50 2.00 4.50 -1.50 0.55 3.50 0.64 3.54
1960 2.60 2.00 4.60 -1.75 0.47 3.60 0.57 3.60
1970 2.70 2.00 4.70 -2.00 0.39 3.70 0.50 3.70
1980 2.80 2.00 4.80 -2.25 0.31 3.80 0.43 3.83
1990 2.90 2.00 4.90 -3.50 0.23 3.90 0.23 4.10
2000 2.90 2.00 4.90 -3.75 0.15 3.90 0.15 4.34
2010 2.90 2.00 4.90 -3.00 0.07 3.90 0.07 4.69

The new estimated average is the red dashed line.


The fit is not bad up to 1990, but the accumulated effect of all the small mistakes is the artificial trend introduced at the end of the series. At this point we would hope to have some independent data on the post-1990 trend to compare the result to in order to decide if our methods and assumptions were reasonable.

This example proves nothing about K15, of course, except that small changes in assumptions about how to deal with uncertainties in the data can have a large effect on the final results. But that was already clear because the K15 themselves explain that their new assumptions—not new observations—are what introduced the warming trend at the end of their data set.


Are the new K15 adjustments correct? Obviously it is not for me to say – this is something that needs to be debated by specialists in the field. But I make the following observations:

· All the underlying data (NMAT, ship, buoy, etc) have inherent problems and many teams have struggled with how to work with them over the years

· The HadNMAT2 data are sparse and incomplete. K15 take the position that forcing the ship data to line up with this dataset makes them more reliable. This is not a position other teams have adopted, including the group that developed the HadNMAT2 data itself. BTW, if you are interested, the global HadNMAT2 temperature anomaly is the black line in the figure below. The data series ends in 2010.

kent-fig18-HadNMAT2(Added above)(Kent, et al (2013), Global analysis of night marine air temperature and its uncertainty since 1835 1880: The HadNMAT2 data set, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, 1281–1298, 1836 doi:10.1002/jgrd.50152)

· It is very odd that a cooling adjustment to SST records in 1998-2000 should have such a big effect on the global trend, namely wiping out a hiatus that is seen in so many other data sets, especially since other teams have not found reason to make such an adjustment.

· The outlier results in the K15 data might mean everyone else is missing something, or it might simply mean that the new K15 adjustments are invalid.

It will be interesting to watch the specialists in the field sort this question out in the coming months.

Ross McKitrick


Department of Economics

University of Guelph



[1] Woodruff, S.D., H. F. Diaz, S. J. Worley, R. W. Reynolds, and S. J. Lubker, (2005). “Early ship observational data and ICOADS.” Climatic Change, 73, 169–194.

[2] See http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadsst3/Kennedy_2013_submitted.pdf for a review.

[3] Rayner, N. A., D. E. Parker, E. B. Horton, C. K. Folland, L. V. Alexander, D. P. Rowell, E. C. Kent, and A. Kaplan, (2003): Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(D14), 4407, doi:10.1029/2002JD002670.

[4] Hirahara, S. et al. Centennial-Scale Sea Surface Temperature Analysis and Its Uncertainty, Journal of Climate Vol 27 DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00837.1

[5] http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadsst3/part_2_figinline.pdf

[6] Christy, John R., David E. Parker, Simon J. Brown, et al. 2001 Differential trends in tropical sea surface and atmospheric temperatures since 1979. Geophysical Research Letters 28, no. 1

[7] http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadsst3/Kennedy_2013_submitted.pdf page 28.


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Ted G

Ross The hiatus in global warming is provable, a fact but that is not enough for the doom and gloom crowd. After all if it is this is the case, they will have to get real jobs and no more exotic travel junkets!

They are more a domesday and suicide sect?


Hmmm, all the big guns, releasing papers at nearly the same time, right after a paper was released by Karl. I guess they all knew in advance, had time to prepare rebuttals, and were waiting for starting gun to go off. Something is a bit contrived about this whole thing. I mean, obviously, I’m tempted to assume that all the big guns on my side of the argument are correct, but it feels like saying “my dad can beat up your dad”.


Interesting observation. All this argument about “the temperature” is a sign that there really isn’t much to talk about.


Well put Jpatrick.

Pete J.

I think the term they filed to use in their critique is “mental masturbation.”


This was all explained by Anthony over the last 2 days. I’m surprised you missed it, especially since you commented on several of the articles.

Alan Robertson

In spite of your profession: ” I’m tempted to assume that all the big guns on my side of the argument are correct, but…” regarding this and recent past statements-
Somehow, Viking Explorer, you are always a subtle purveyor of doubt about THIS side of the debate. Why is that?


Alan, I’m skeptical of everything. Shouldn’t every good scientist be skeptical? Otherwise, one is just a me-too yes man, and what is more disgusting than that? However, I’m 100% convinced that AGW is false, theoretically plausible in the abstract, but too small to measure.
I’m also willing to argue against an irrational argument against AGW. For example, if someone said that CO2 doesn’t exist, or that it doesn’t absorb IR. The most important thing is intellectual integrity, following evidence where it leads, and not having an a-priori agenda.
Someone who picks a side, right or wrong, is just like the Orthodox people from 1984. Someone issues a post in Big Brother fashion, and what follows is more like a two minutes of hate than it is like a rational discussion. This kind of thing has been very prevalent on sites like RealClimate and many others from the beginning. The whole culture of calling people “deniers” is a great example of mindless reactionary thinking.
It now seems to be spreading to anti-AGW sites, and it makes me a bit sad.

ferd berple

K15 added 0.12 oC to all buoy data … K15 simply say that because the buoy data are believed to be more reliable, they were given more weight in the statistical procedure,
if buoys are more reliable, why were they adjusted?

ferd berple

Alan, I’m skeptical of everything.
even of being skeptical?


VE, you claim to be skeptical of everything, yet you time and again profess faith in the gods of your peculiar religion. This most recent post being a perfect example.


MarkW, you are playing the role of a 1984 spy perfectly. You’re always looking for signs of unorthodoxy, and trying to denounce me to Big Brother. For you, there is no reason, there is only our side (oceania) and their side (Eurasia), and ridicule (death) to anyone who thinks instead of demonstrating mindless dedication to the cause.


VE, could you be more nonsensical if you tried?
I point out your slavish devotion to your ideology, and you come back with a claim that I want to kill anyone who disagrees with me.
Sorry, dude, but that’s the tactic employed by your masters.

Bears repeating:
ferd berple
June 4, 2015 at 2:46 pm
K15 added 0.12 oC to all buoy data … K15 simply say that because the buoy data are believed to be more reliable, they were given more weight in the statistical procedure,
if buoys are more reliable, why were they adjusted?


They changed yhevbouy data, raising all the values (my, what a surprise)that were actual measurements near sea level by calibrated modern instruments.
Then they declared these numbers to be more reliable and gave them more weight!
Since the ocean is the vast majority of the Earth’s surface, this tactic was sure to give them their desired result.
And it is a blatent contrivance, with validity that is not questionable or dubious…it is preposterous.
To toss in such adjustments and weighting reassignments, and then just skip past any justification with barely a sentence of explanation, is as unscientific and counter to logic as anything I have ever heard.
In short, this is not science, it is sophistry.
It is the equivalent of the quickly spoken disclaimers at the end of a radio car advertisement, or the tiny fine print on a TV screen that negates everything that was said in the ad.
It reminds me of the old Steve Martin bit, in which he tells the audience he had discovered the secret to getting rich: ” First, get a million dollars, then…”


I agree with ferd’s point:
if buoys are more reliable, why were they adjusted?
I’m having trouble getting around that simple statement. Under what logic framework does this make sense? One could accept everything else about the paper and still would have to conclude it was junk because of this.


Term ‘deniers’ was first used 100 years ago and scientists called so the people who (despite of lots of proofs) were denying the fact that diseases are caused by bacteria.
If someone says that CO2 doesn’t exist, or that it doesn’t absorb IR he should be called denier.
It’s also very well proven that if no feedbacks existed average temperature on earth surface would rise 1.1 Celcius degree per CO2 doubling – so someone who doesn’t accept that fact is denier too.

Judith Currie said “JC’s initial reactions
I received this several days ago, from an (international) journalist asking for comments, my quick initial reactions provided below:”
So, yes, the “big guns” knew in advance. I don’t see the problem.


See Jpatrick’s comment

In addition to what I wrote above, I am also curious about whether the ERSSTv4 tropical trends are now high enough to exceed the LT trends. The tiny ERSSTv3 trends were crucial for Santer et al. 2008 to be able to claim that even with very low tropical LT warming rates, positive amplification with altitude was still being observed. Ironically they relied especially heavily on RSS – ERSSTv3 being a positive number. Now RSS is small and ERSSTv4 is large.


Very good point. That has the potential to tie the whole theoretical basis of AGW into a knot.
But proceed with caution, you are on the verge of discovering the Mid-Troposphere Cold Spot and Anthropogenic Global Cooling.


Your observation is common to problem of lying about complex events. Trying to maintain consistency across time and complexity becomes impossible when the first lie is told. Law enforcement and prosecutors deal with this from criminals and biased witnesses all the time in their prosecutions/investigations. When one lie is use to cover up an inconsistency, inevitably other inconsistencies arise that then must be lied for again. And the process snowballs into areas unanticipated by the liars. It is inevitable with lies. And K15 is a Big Lie.


I’ve watched time and again a big, hyped, paper come out to answer some trenchant skeptical criticism and see in blown up in days if not hours by the likes of JeanS, Steve McIntyre, Nic Lewis, Bob Tisdale, Ross McKittrick, and so many others. This has been a recent, but crescendoing, phenomenon, with the time to blow up a paper shortening, almost to infinitesimal with this one. It should soon be possible to predict the next alarmist apologia even before it is written and blow it up then.
This is a measure of the cognitive dissonance facing the alarmists as it becomes ever more obvious that any dangers have been exaggerated, and alarm with attendant fear, is counterproductive.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf had a few bad, sadly confused, moments, too.

Paul Mackey

@Ross and @Ferd berple.
I am struggling to understand why, if the buoy data are considered more reliable, these are adjusted to math the ship data. Surely this should be the other way round?


I’m struggling to understand how their error bars can possibly be as small as they claim. But, what really amazes me is that the data collected more recently has MUCH larger error bars. Is this because they assigned an error to their adjustment? Or because they are simply taking the square root of the number of measurements and the longer time frame has a lot more measurements?


Paul Mackey: “I am struggling to understand why, if the buoy data are considered more reliable, these are adjusted to math the ship data. Surely this should be the other way round?”
Ah, but as this is “climate science”, it’s all done back asswards, innit?

average joe

From the article: “It will be interesting to watch the specialists in the field sort this question out in the coming months.”
Not so interesting, but the outcome is predictable. My logic goes something like this:
1. Climate scientists are pretty much all treehuggers with rare exception. This is because only treehugger mentality sees a need for climate science, few others are even aware of the field.
2. Treehugger ideology is to get rid of fossil fuels, and to prevent anything with an engine from desecrating the public wilderness holy ground. Treehuggers universally see climate science as a means to an end.
3. The only thing the specialist treehuggers will sort out is how to disappear the pause.
4. The non-treehugger specialists will sort things out logically, but will not be heard because they are an endangered species.
The treehugger is a pest that can do serious damage if not contained. One effective method is to use Spotted Owl calls and snail slime to attract and trap them.


Mr. Average,
You said:
“Climate scientists are pretty much all treehuggers with rare exception. This is because only treehugger mentality sees a need for climate science, few others are even aware of the field.”
I consider myself a climate scientist, although I have never been employed in such a capacity.
And although I have built and run a plant nursery, and am currently in the planning stages of a commercial tree farm, I can state that, with the exception of the times where I needed to support myself while high on a ladder and pruning a tree (like yesterday while trimming my favorite mango), I have never done a lot of “hugging”.
I am very much what used to be called a naturalist, and an environmentalist (although not so much mental as a observer of my environs, unlike many these days who favor the “environmentalist” appellation) and, since I also strive to be a practical and pragmatic sort, and a solver of problems rather that a whiner, I think that the current direction of what may be regarded as the Green Movement is very far from having any rational and coherent vision of ecological stewardship.
For my entire life (I can recall before even being in Kindergarten quizzing my mom about the particulars of rain and raindrops) I have studied such things as the weather, geology, astronomy, ecology, and basically all of the natural sciences. It was not until college that I learned enough to realize how much there was to know, and that one must have a broad understanding of physical chemistry, and hence of physics and of chemistry, to even begin to make sense of the intricate details such areas of study as geology, physical geography, and biology.
An outgrowth of this was a realization that the Earth encompasses the interactions of so many different things, in so many different ways, that one must really broaden one’s fields of study or one’s insight will hit a wall.
If, for example, one tries to understand the process by which a cooling pluton differentiates, and ways and reasons by which various minerals crystalize out of the melt, without first having studied quite a bit of chemistry, the understanding of the process will be limited.
Some people just want to understand the world and the universe, and so study the physical aspects of the Earth and the sky.
I can tell you though, back in the 80’s, there were not a lot of people taking classes in meteorology and/or climatology. And people would look at you funny if you started talking about the weather at a party, or really anytime, except when walking out the door and having it hit you in the face.
People I knew who were studying literature would ask me what I could possibly find interesting about the weather, while they worked to write the four billion, nine hundred and thirty-seven million, four hundred and sixty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty-third critique ever written on the subject of Romeo and Juliet!
Oh, hell, I do not know…something about living in the real world, and understanding real things, that have a real affect, on real lives….Reality?


If they are lowering ship temperatures by comparing to NMAT, then doesn’t that mean they shouldn’t be moving the buoy temps up to match the ships?


My thoughts exactly.

They computed that number by looking at places where both buoy data and ship data were collected in the same places, and they found the ship data on average was warmer by 0.12°C. So they added that to the buoy data.

Point 1 – They think that buoy data should be adjusted to match ship data. Thus they think ship data is more useful or more true.

K15 simply say that because the buoy data are believed to be more reliable, they were given more weight in the statistical procedure, and “This resulted in more warming.”

Point 2 – They think that buoy data is more reliable than ship data. Therefore, they think that buoy data is closer to truth.
Point 3 – This paper is concerned with propagating what is useful, which is not what is true.
So what do they think is useful?

pat michaels

It is useful because Karl’s boss needed the result. They are obviously getting hurt by the pause. He doesn’t care that the fact that he raised all the buoy data by .12degC, coupled to the fact that the number of buoy datapoints is increasing compared to the intake data, MUST induce a warming trend.
Then there’s the use of the .10 probability for test of hypothesis. Even jimmying the data like they did couldn’t get it to .05.
This paper is everything that is wrong with climate studies (at the .10 level it no longer merits the word “science”).
This is the same guy who was perfectly fine using models that were worse than random numbers in the first National Assessment. The reason I know that he knew that is that he sent me their own test, which verified what I found in my review.
This the same guy who said, with 95% confidence, in a post-1998 paper, that the 1998 El Nino induced what he called a “change point” in the warming trajectory and that from then on it would take place at a much GREATER rate.
The truth does not matter to Obama Administration scientists.


That fact is that Obama is also the President of Drones. If that hypocrisy of monstrous consequences is acceptable by him and acolytes then, what is not?


pat michaels
Actually, it is worse than you thought.
You say

It is useful because Karl’s boss needed the result. They are obviously getting hurt by the pause. He doesn’t care that the fact that he raised all the buoy data by .12degC, coupled to the fact that the number of buoy datapoints is increasing compared to the intake data, MUST induce a warming trend.

True, and there cannot be a valid application of such a post hoc adjustment. This is because as Ross McKitrick says in his above essay

The mean ERI bias of +0.13 °C is obtained and is within the range for the global region listed in Table 5 of Kennedy et al. (2011).
(quote from Hirahari et al. 2014 p. 61)
That quote refers to a paper by Kennedy et al. (2011 Table 5)[5] which reports a mean bias of +0.12 °C. However, Kennedy et al. also note that the estimate is very uncertain: it is 0.12 ±0.17°C ! Also, the bias varies by region. This is a key difference between the method of K15 and that of others. K15 added 0.12 °C to all buoy data, but the Hadley group and the Hirahari group use region-specific adjustments.

The “adjustment” is within the error estimate of the existing value. Thus, the most that can be validly altered is the uncertainty (i.e. the error range) of the existing value and not the value itself.
Add to that the comment of Ross McKitrick in this thread here and K15 is an especially problematic paper even for its potential supporters.


I think the authors of this paper have forfeited the right to call themselves scientists.
Even “apologists ” is too kind.
History will note such shenanigans, the who and the why and the “for how much”.
And how some responded to being shown to have backed a mistaken hypothesis by lying, cheating, and commuting blatent fraud and malfeasance. Even to the point of contradicting themselves, without batting an eyelash or expressing any reservation about the original and falsified hypothesis.
If it can be shown that such scientific malfeasance was materially contributory to costing some people their lives, and livelihoods, and/or substantially damaging our economy, then they have attached their names to such very plainly.
They do us a favor to be so clear about what sort of person and what sort of a ” scientist” each of them be.


See my comment at 12:19 on the paper “NOAA’s deperate paper”.

Thanks, Ross. Great overview and presentation.

Barclay E MacDonald

I second this. Clearly presented, so even this layman may understand it. And it is nice to see some science again on WUWT. I am getting bored with all the political, as opposed to specifically science, posts. However, I do see the increased political posts as more a commentary on where the science is going and not really a criticism of Anthony. Thanks.

Evan Jones

The politics is all fluff. A big, fluffy tail. Science is the dog. The tail will ultimately go where the dog goes.
The question of AGW started in the scientific community and will end there. Politics cannot answer the question.


You misunderstand.
The ‘science’ is the dog. Politics owns the dog and has from the start of the global warming scare.
This has been the case since Thatcher started the global warming scare in the early 1980s. Indeed, she created the Hadley Center to undertake the ‘science’ needed to promote the scare.
Politicians require that science should always be on tap and not on top.
The ‘dog’ of global warming pseudoscience will bark until its political owners ‘put it down’. As realists and supporters of science our task is to get the ‘dog’ to bite its political owners so they ‘put it down’.


“Clearly presented, so even this layman may understand it. And it is nice to see some science again on WUWT. I am getting bored with all the political, as opposed to specifically science, posts.”
Amen. Dr. McKitrick is an oasis of clarity and logic. If he writes it, I’ll read it.

evanmjones “The politics is all fluff. A big, fluffy tail. Science is the dog. The tail will ultimately go where the dog goes. The question of AGW started in the scientific community and will end there. Politics cannot answer the question.”
Evan, since you are on this site, there is some hope that you are actually trying to learn some facts and that you probably are not be a troll. Read a little more, try to understand that the “science” exists only to support the objectives of the global left. The scientists and political leaders know that what they promote is false. It is a means to an end and a rather unhappy end for most of humanity. Take some time to learn and apply your critical thinking skills. When you finally have the eureka moment, like I had some years ago, it is frightening and sad. You will start to question everything anyone in a position of power (what should be responsibility) tells you. You’ll start to question and sometimes see their motives.
Good luck in your search for the truth,


If the CAGW meme was merely one of scientific curiosity, like whether or not the expansion of the universe is accelerating, then purely scientific discussions would be called for.
It is the political, and hence the real world policy, implications that are what everyone should be very concerned about.
These people(the warmistas) have begun to speak and behave in a very troubling manner.
We have moved well out of the realm of scientific curiosity, or philosophical musing.
We are talking about people’s lives, jobs, how our children are being (mis) educated…this ain’t a freakin’ game of Chinese checkers!

If the CAGW meme was merely one of scientific curiosity, like whether or not the expansion of the universe is accelerating, then purely scientific discussions would be called for.
It is the political, and hence the real world policy, implications that are what everyone should be very concerned about.
These people(the warmistas) have begun to speak and behave in a very troubling manner.
We have moved well out of the realm of scientific curiosity, or philosophical musing.
We are talking about people’s lives, jobs, how our children are being (mis) educated…this ain’t a freakin’ game of Chinese

Beyond basic curiosity, I would not be spending any time on this, it’s their thinly veiled attempts at turning the world into a hippy commune complete with windmills for power from their 60’s childhood that has me invested in the outcome for my grandchildren.
I have no issue if they want to live like that, I greatly resent them wanting to force me to live like that. And I suspect they don’t even plan on that sort of life, they’re special, they just want everyone else to live like that. Europe is already like this, look at the high cost of auto fuel, what “normal” working people drive, and what the politicians and the well to do drive.
Me I want the world of the Jetson’s from my 60’s childhood.
Good Post Nicholas!


If science is the dog, it is being led around by the nose…… politicians (including politicized scientists) have the dog’s snout in a harness and lead it where they want to go….


Step B makes no sense. If the buoy data is considered more reliable, why was the buoy data adjusted to match the ERI data?

MarkW, it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other, but with a twist. The engine room inlet data extends for a much longer time period, so it’s easier to adjust the buoy data.

Mike McMillan

It would be, if we were adjusting datasets by hand, rather than by computer.

Brandon C

The cynic in me ponders if all the other adjustments to cool the past data, meant that cooling past data again makes it so out of line with actual weather events and measurement data of the time, they couldn’t keep a straight face and do that. They already have dichotomies of such events as fast shrinking glaciers and retreated sea ice during some of the coldest years on record (according to their adjusted history). Some past years are already adjusted outside their past error bars of the original data and this would only make it worse. They simply risk creating too ridiculous a history by cooling the past even further. Better to heat the recent data, where the other adjustments are less. I could be off base, but it is looking more like desperation than actual science at this point. Doubly so with their probabilities.


Brandon, from the hesitant nature of your comments, I am thinking you are the least cynical person I have ever heard comment on a climate blog.

Evan Jones

Yeah. That one jumped right out at me, too, and has been pointed out by others above. The authors have some ‘splainin’ to to. I’ll be interested to hear it.


“The authors have some ‘splainin’ to to. I’ll be interested to hear it.”
Maybe it wasn’t their own idea to make those adjustments? I’ve learned that the boss is always right, even when he (or she) is wrong.


As I recall from above, they did cool a few years at the beginning of the pause, thus also helping the argument that there was no pause or it was not worth calling a pause.

Rob Dawg

This is excellent news. Every report using these discredited data series previously will now be withdrawn. The ENTIRE case for CAGW will have to retreat, rerun their models and then get the new results published through a gauntlet of past peer review now freshly chastized for having passed bad studies from these very same researchers.
Hey! I can dream.


I have couple of rules of thumb when it comes to these types of studies.
If the adjustments that you make are an order of magnitude greater than the signal that you believe you have found, then you are on dangerous ground.
If the margin of error is an order of magnitude greater than the signal you believe you have found, than your data is worthless.
If both are true, you are dealing with junk science.

Joseph Murphy

Lucky then that we have better data for this period. It is strange the satellite data has heralded a new age in collecting data in many areas yet it is almost completely ignored with global average temp.


Yes, so who are the real science deniers then?


I have my own rule of thumb. if you adjust data, but can’t apply the adjusted data in a practical application that objectively shows that the adjustments improved the data set, then you’re just making up data.


I believe that is covered by my first rule of thumb.


No, slightly different. My rule of thumb is that adjustments to data are meaningless unless you have some check to verify the quantitative accuracy of the adjustments. Let’s say I filter a video signal in a way I hypothesize will reduce noise around the signal. I can run a video with and without the filter to see whether it really does improve the quality of the picture. But now lets assume that I think that the temperature data recorded by thermometers has some biases, and I come up with some theoretical statistical manipulation to the temperature record to “correct” for the biases. There is no check for the quantitative accuracy of the adjustments because there is no real-world application for which the data is used as an input that can be readily discerned to either work better or not work better. Such an adjustment process is, quite literally, fabricating data. It may not be deceitful in that the process is open, but it is still just making numbers up via the adjustment procedure selected. (For this same reason, climate modeling is just another example of data fabrication).
Your rule of thumb would have said that the adjustments would have been just fine if they were small enough to be dwarfed by the trend, while my rule of thumb wouldn’t care. Even if the effect were insignificant, it still would be fabricating new data to replace the old data.


Let me see if I understand this correctly. First they adjusted the most accurate measurements to ‘fit’ the least accurate measurements. Then they adjusted the least accurate measurement, but only and specifically in the range of years that are a problem for the AGW theory. They then find that this disagrees with independent and even more accurate measurements, and…
Therefore, this is valid science performed properly that passed a review of thinking peers.
Does that sum it up correctly?


Yes. That sums it up, but you misspelled a few words.
” …passed a review of thankful pals.”
There, fixed it for ya.

Stephen Richards

You see how the FIFA scam is unravelling. They are all turning on each other to save their themselves from prison. Well that’s how the AGW scam will end, I HOPE. These scam all end eventually and very often in super quick time. Like a cascade.


I do not think taking a huge grant and using it to publish such blatant chicanery will save anyone from whatever they have coming.
I think when one has painted oneself into a corner, it is not a wise idea to apply a second coat.

Good article, to the point and clear.


Engine rooms are generally warm. The ERT sensors will be affected by heat conducted through the structure of the sensor from the ER space. Depending on the location of the sensor it could also be boosted by pump heat. Seawater pumps are often big because the interior heat sources are big so pump heat should not be ignored. Changing buoy data to match ship data doesn’t sound like a good idea if accuracy is the goal.
Some Navy sonars have temperature sensors. The Navy runs their sonars and related equipment just about everywhere and often. I don;t know whether this data is kept. Has anybody asked?. Perhaps they have and the Navy wont give it up.


As I said elsewhere, if the sea water temperature on a merchant ship is taken at the main engine cooling water intake valve which is right at the skin of the ship, there will be little or no thermal contamination of the temperature. However not many of the thermometers were very accurate.
Also this would not be a surface temperature but the temperature lower down.

D.J. Hawkins

What kind of thermometer was used? Gas/vapor with a capillary connection? What about fouling at the inlet from accumulated sea critters?


When we’re taking tenths of a degree, though, it doesn’t take much contamination to affect the results.


D J:
Marked glass tube with liquid inside, with the bulb in the water.

Michael Wassil

Are the new K15 adjustments correct? Obviously it is not for me to say – this is something that needs to be debated by specialists in the field. But I make the following observations…

Ross McKitrick you are a scholar and a gentleman. K15 is what? excuse #75? for the ‘hiatus’: there is none. These cuckoos are going scream about global ‘warming/change/disruption’ (TM) through the icicles hanging out of their frostbitten nostrils.
I intend to enjoy the rest of the Holocene as long as it lasts and these maroons are not going to spoil it!


We have always been at war with Oceania.

Brian R

I find it interesting that the authors of K15 would adjust upwards bouy data to match ERI data, then at the same time introduce a downward adjustment for the ERI data. I think the authors are overwhelmed by the data they are working with. Overwhelmed by the inconsistencies in those data sets and overwhelmed by how for correct for them.
Or, they could just be working for The Team in trying to remove or reduce the impact that “The Pause” has had on the psyche of the believers and non-believers alike.

Of course the record reflects continued warming, just add fudge.

Mike Smith

Karl et al wanted their 15 minutes of fame. And they got it.
The end.


K wanted his 15 and he got it with K15.


Have I got this right? 0.12±1.7°C?? And that’s not a typo?
So the total error of 3.4°C is way over an order of magnitude greater than the signal?
LOL! Only in “climate science”!
And we’re still supposed to take these crazy government sponsored BS artists with their “homogenisations” and “adjustments” seriously and close down half our industry in favour of China and India, to say nothing to depriving around a billion people of electric light and clean cooking facilities, condemning them to an early death from respiratory disorders!
It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

Mike McMillan

That’s like when getting an estimate of how much to replace a wiper blade, the mechanic tells you $12, give or take $170.


” the mechanic tells you $12, give or take $170.”
And completely “forgets ” to tell you how effective RainX is, and instead hides it on the bottom shelf.

Tom T

I knew it I knew it I knew it.
They used Kennedy et. al. 2011. A horrendous paper that reached its conclusions by using a Norwegian anecdote from 1954 as established scientific fact buried with a double reference so no reviewer would see that they were using an anecdote.
“It is likely that many ships that are listed as using buckets actually used the ERI method (see end Section 3.2).”
What does end section 3.2 say?
“It is probable that some observations recorded as being from buckets were made by the ERI method. The Norwegian contribution to WMO Tech note 2 (Amot [1954]) states that the ERI method was preferred owing to the dangers involved in deploying a bucket”
What does Amot 1954 say? Who knows good luck finding it. But even then its just an anecdote passed off as established scientific fact.
And this anecdote is used to overrule official data.

Tom T

Sure the data says its bucket adjustments but if we take this anecdote from 1954 as fact we can conclude that many of the readings that claim to be buckets are actually ERI.
We will then assume that half of the unknown are ERI even though the standard practice is to assume that the unknown has the same distribution as the known unless there is significant and compelling otherwise.
Total Horseshite.


Tom T: “Total Horseshite.”
Not even that good Tom.
At least horseshite is good for fertilising roses.
That claptrap on the other hand…

Yeah, but catseazle666 –
Horseshite, after being shat, shows a cooling trend.

Tom T

Given that their sole source is an anecdote in a 1954 paper just imagine how many papers Kennedy et. al. scoured looking for something … anything … that they could use to keep the bucket adjustment after Kent proved beyond any doubt that the hypothesis, and that is all it ever was a hypothesis, that the bucket adjustment and with it 0.3-0.5C of the warming trend was a false assumption.


This is monstrously perverse inquiry. What, in Gaia’s name, made them think this was scientific rather than politically useful information? I shudder to think they ignored that calculus in their deliberations. How much madness and evil can this discipline, and the policy it has misbegotten, stand?

I have it

I have it. Do you want it? Where to?

Ivor Ward

As one of the many people who actually took these readings of seawater temperature I can quietly and confidently say that K15 is a complete and utter load of unadulterated crap.


What are the error bars on that conclusion?


The error bar is plus or minus a bucket of pissing and moaning.

Bill Illis

We all know this simply a continuation of the process to adjust the temperature trend higher and higher to postpone the day of reckoning and having to face self-introspection.
We should just quit using any of the data series and start using the lower troposphere satellite temperatures and actual physical evidence such as sea ice extents; first frost and snow melt dates; and vegetation limits etc.


Even NOAA admits that their “global” surface temps are UHI/homogenized. This has been known for a long time. See http://climateaudit.org/2007/08/04/1859/
Another WUWT thread here http://tinyurl.com/ylrzy54
Plus many secondary blogs have been tracking the various “averages” being falsified over time.
Reliable surface temperature data on a global basis do not exist. The few scientifically reliable stations show zero warming. Antarctica data show zero warming. Satellite data are not surface data, but show no statistically significant warming. Eg. the curent UAH value is within 0.2 degrees of zero. Temps today are no different from 1980.
There is no point in even discussing global warming until a reliable long term quantitative metric is established.

The Tobacco Institute would be proud of this work product.
The data was tortured until they got the answer they wanted. Proof that torture doesn’t work.


Water boarded.

Why are y’all fighting this? You care about less than 0.1 degrees per decade because why?
Let ’em have it. The nice thing about 0.1 degrees/decade is that it’ll be a long, long time before the trend varies statistically from that and that trend is likely beneficial to the vast majority of North Americans.


The problem isn’t that there is or is not 0.1 degrees in any direction. Rather:
1) Assume that the satellites are valid, then this study is not and tells us nothing. It is disproven before it was published and is not, ergo, science.
2) Assume that this paper is valid, then the satellites are not. Then we are stating that our best technology is incapable of producing a valid thermometer. But if we cannot produce a valid thermometer, then the paper has no valid thermometer to base either of its measurements or adjustments on. And so the paper refutes itself and it not, ergo, science.


Sure, I agree with both 1 and 2, but the purpose of the paper is not science – it’s political. Ultimately, the political claim is 0.1. The political refutation is, “yeah, so what? 0.1 is a nice trend.”


Fair ’nuff.


I Agree Bret. The problem is really political and tactical. A decade ago on CA, three things I argued vehemently were a) concentrate on science, not countering a bad logical argument gosh it’s hot, let’s violate rights, b) forget the surface temps, satellites are much better and c) forget air temps, oceans will show warming or cooling.
Instead, skeptics accepted the premise of the argument gosh it’s hot, focused on surface temps and ignored the oceans. In other words, they let them set the tone, and allowed them to play their game.
Continuing to accept their false premise, skeptics have placed an awful lot of faith in the argument no warming for 18 years. It reminds me of when IBM was pushing OS/2. Their only argument was “32 bit is here now”. I reacted by thinking “that’s their only argument? In that case, I’ll wait for MS”.
I assert that based on science, there is no AGW, regardless of whether the average temperature is up a few tenths of a degree. I assert that natural variability is +/- 2C. I would also stipulate that global warming from some cause other than human CO2 could still be happening, even if the average temperature remained flat for 18 years, or even if it went down. As long as a temperature change is within natural variability, it’s not dispositive.
Apparently, the main line skeptics’ only or best argument is gosh it’s cool, therefore let’s keep our rights. I’m not willing to skate on such thin ice.

“skeptics have placed an awful lot of faith in the argument no warming for 18 years.” Because the satellite temperature records show just that. They can fiddle with super uncertain ground based measurements but they can’t fiddle the satellite data. We don’t “place an awful to of faith.” We just read the numbers and calculate the trends. NOAA and NASA ignore the most precise state-of-the-art data set. That is very odd … Okay, maybe not. Witch doctors and faith healers have no faith in modern medical imaging technology.


Thomas, it seems like you don’t understand what I just wrote. Do you understand that a huge and obvious logic flaw is that correlation = causation? If I claimed that wet sidewalks caused rain, and presented a compelling correlation based argument, it would be a very weak or non-existent case.
If you responded with another correlation based argument, then your counter argument would be logically weak and/or non-existent. That’s the situation we’re in:
AGW: gosh it’s hot, let’s violate rights
Skeptics: gosh it’s cool, let’s keep our rights just a little bit longer
AGW: no, it’s a tiny bit warmer, let’s violate rights
Skeptics: no, that was just boat exhaust, it’s cool, let’s keep our rights just a little bit longer
All I’m saying (for a decade) is: let’s either show scientifically that rain causes wet sidewalks or that wet sidewalks causes rain.
Warming temperatures cannot make an impossible idea a reality.


All I am saying is Give Science a chance…


” All I am saying is Give Science a chance.”
Yeah, because twenty seven years of failed predictions, fudged and faked “data”, selective attention, confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, untold billions of wasted taxpayer dollars (including st least $29 billion, in the past year and in this country alone!), lies, insults, bullying, and all the rest of it…are not really enough to be considered ” giving science a chance”.
At the rate Climate Science is moving the world ahead, we will not have any such thing as actual science, or much of an economy, for much longer.
Once obvious lies, collusion, and made up gobbledygook pass muster among the press and the scientific establishment, why or how can anyone have any confidence in the pronouncements of either institution regarding anything important?


>> not really enough to be considered ” giving science a chance”.
menicholas, I agree that it’s all been mostly a waste, but it wasn’t really spent on science. It was spent on political marketing with a thin scientific veneer. The actual number of academics involved in pushing the AGW hoax has always been quite small. Even the small part that was somewhat technical has been about math. When people are throwing out trees that don’t support the a-priori conclusion, and people are adjusting data to support their a-priori conclusion, it’s not about science. It’s about political manipulation.
Btw, the fact that in your comment, you have conflated science with the AGW political-pseudoscience establishment means that you have accepted one of their lies. That’s exactly the result they wanted.

Bob Boder

I would give science a chance except by the time science proves out the I’ll be a serf.


Viking Explorer,
Note the capital letters with the term climate science.
I was commenting on a phone while on a short break, or I would have used quotation marks.
I agree that one should avoid giving an inch or letting the fraudsters control the tone of the conversation.
But I think we all slip up in the process of trying to make our points be heard, when time is so short and there is so much to say.
In short, I agree with you on this completely.
But I am unclear as to what path you see to getting back to actually employing the rigorous version of the scientific method?
The establishment has been bought and paid for. Much, if not most, of academia, and seemingly all of the high muckety-mucks of the various scientific organizations, are signed on and doubling down on the meme.
I see a few cracks in the façade, but little wholesale back-pedaling.

Gunga Din

How can they claim “the science is settled” when their constant adjustments to the numbers climate science is based on clearly show they know that it is not?


Winston, it is undeniable that the chocolate ration has been increased from 30 grams to 20 grams this week.


Jquip & Khwarizmi,
Awesome ! Thanks for that.


So, I’m confused. If this paper is correct, doesn’t this mean that Trenberth and Co. were flat wrong about the heat being “missing” at all, and thus wrong about deep ocean warming? Wouldn’t it make a laughing stock of the entire climate science A Team because it was laying on the surface of the ocean all along and they’ve bent themselves into pretzels trying to explain something that never existed? Doesn’t it mean skeptics are free to apply random adjustments that cool the trend if they see fit? How on Earth does NASA think this makes them look like anything except idiots?


No, it would make it worserer. This is surface and the missing heat went into
the deep ocean. That’s my take, anyway.

Chuck L

Wow, so this one study invalidates “the heat is hiding deep in the ocean” explanation and the many papers that purported to explain the pause by mainstream climate scientists, and it does it all by increasing the more accurate buoy measurements to match the far less accurate bucket measurements. Ain’t gubmint science wunnerful!

Mike M.

Ross McKitrick,
Thank you for providing a nice, clear description of the paper and the issues without taking sides. Refreshing.


Yes, thank you Mike M. In politics there are “sides”. In science, there should not be.

Henry Galt

Yes, they really like to make the ARGO data readily available and easily graphed so we can all see what’s what. Maybe they are capable of learning after all.

I’m not sure free-floating Argos are that great.
Consider an alternative. Anchored temp / depth recorders, Maybe 1000-3000 places, including coastal, offshore, and open ocean, Pacific, Atlantic,Indian, Southern.
Three nearby anchorage points per “ovation”.. Each anchorage point has up to five monitors, one ranging from 0-100 meters depth, the second from 100 m to 500 m, the third from 500 to 1000 meters, the fourth from 1000 m to 3000 m, the fifth from 3000m to ocean bottom. With three-monitor sets, per location, it’s easy to find malfunctioning monitors, and repair/replace them.
This monitoring system could cost tens of billion dollars, but divided among the US, EU, China, Russia, India, and South America, not that much. It would allow us to understand the oceans’ storage of heat, instead of guessing. We could understand whether the oceans are warming, if so, how much, or if they are not.
Why not spend $30 billion to measure temps, before spending $30 trillion dollars adopting Paris? It will only take 10 years to find out whether catastrophic warming is really on the horizon, or not. If the atmosphere is not warming, much and if oceans are not warming, much,we don’t have a serious problem requiring massive UN “solution”.

Schoolsie, you have made the same simple mistake I made for years. There is no interest in finding or promoting the truth. Once you understand that single point, the rest starts to fall in place.


Schoolsie, the vast volume of the ocean, the continuous motion in three dimensions of every part of it, the ceaselessly varying temperature over scales of millimeters and miles, the huge range of variation between the very top and very bottom, and the inherent difficulty of integrating such factors as the above with the varying heat content of water of varying salinity and temperature, makes it absolutely ludicrous to think we can measure the heat content of the ocean to a degree of accuracy which would be meaningful.
You must be a bureaucrat of longstanding tenure to casually speak of spending THIRTY BILLION DOLLARS on such a pointless and futile effort!
We should not be wasting any money on such things unless and until it can be agreed we have both money to waste, and some logical rationale for wasting on this!
And what makes you think those other countries are going to march our spending on any such thing, at any time, and for any reason? They are laughing at us into their sleeves, content to agree to let us be lunatics, while persuing goals and policies that make sense to them.
China had been given a pass and told we are cutting back to preindustrial levels of output, which I am sure makes them as happy as they are privately scornful, and Russia profits handsomely when we cut back on fossil fuel production, being that they are a net exporter with a huge need for the cash higher prices will bring.
And finally, anyone who needs ten more years of convincing that CAGW is a hoax is either too dizzy or empty headed for facts to make a difference.


Er, sorry about all the typos.

And also: water surface temperature is not air temperature, go to the beach in Holland on a summer day.


Or to the beach in Florida on a winter day.

ferd berple

K15 added 0.12 oC to all buoy data … K15 simply say that because the buoy data are believed to be more reliable, they were given more weight in the statistical procedure,
if buoys are more reliable, why were they adjusted?


Nice catch. Also worth noting that correcting the buoys make them ‘less reliable’ by definition. Giving them more weight thereafter simply magnifies the problem.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Yogyakarta

Aphan, yes it means there is much less missing heat. It also means that going forward, further justification of adjustments will be harder to ‘splain.
The use of a formula that changes the weighting of buoys going forward is notable. As time passes, the buoys will be given more and more weight and have a fixed Adjustment. So even without any warming at all the calculated temperature will continue rising.
This is a novel way to create global warming! Very ‘clevah’.
A downside is that the warmer ‘surface’ further undermines the claim to have miraculously detected the missing Hot Spot. They found just a pinch of Hot Spot and now this K15 disappears it. Oh well.
What now do we do with all the carefully calibrated proxies with their little fiddles to support the CO2 vs Temp meme? It appears the AGW faithful have given up on the Mann and settled for the Buoy.

Henry Galt

Nice one Crispin. The chuckles I have already had at the expense of this particular lapdog’s dinner – both here and with the Bishop – golf charlie is outdoing himself over there. Very funny.


“Federal scientists say…”
Well, at least they make it clear they are not Actual Scientists, but that wacky federal kind.



“Federal scientists say there never was any global warming “pause” – Washington Post
This is the graphic we should be focussing on..(captioned here is a figure to drive home the point)comment image&w=1484

Henry Galt

Barry – look who you are dealing with there – he is the original Looney. Feral scientists indeed. Oh, and Oreskes; ‘seepage’ and uncle Tom Cobley and all.
I agree the infographic is mental but it will get spewed out for ever.


Federal Scientists. Top Men!


Notice how in the text of the WaPo article, it mentions the buoy data being “reconciled” with the buckets and the intakes.
It seems the author took care not to mention the specifics, especially that the more accurate data was adjust way up to match the slop from the other measurements. Even a casual low information type would see right through the whole thing if this was described in detail.
The writer seems also to seek to actively dissuade anyone from having a look at the original article, first by not clearly labeling the link to the original article, and also tucking it in well below the headline. And then opining that the details of the adjustments “quickly get complicated”.
But the real whitewash is contained here:
“Noting that “buoy data have been proven to be more accurate than ship data,” the new study applies a new “bias correction” to address the difference between them.”
Note how this sentence implies that the more accurate buoy data was used to correct other data, rather than simply stating the embarrassing truth…that the data said to be more accurate was adjusted upwards by a massive 0.12 degrees. Sort of like using a rusty sundial to correct a Swiss watch.
No, he left that part out, alright.
And I doubt the false implication was some sort of coincidence. I will be looking at other MSM write-ups to see if this is how they all spin it.
And if they do, the fingerprint of collusion to deceive will be all over this noise.


Knew it would be “Looney Mooney” at WaPo. He can pen back to back articles that completely contradict one another and not bat an eye. Dead fish roll their eyes back when wrapped in his “journalism”.

steve in seattle

All the more reason to look at RSS and UAH ONLY, all the rest is manipulation, adjusting and homogenizing so as to keep the faith in their ” religion “. Counter their fraud in the MSM to the extent you / we can !

Christopher Paino

Until all climate data is sourced through completely observable means and no longer relies on any form of statistical magick, proxies, extrapolations, etc., the debate will never end. Probably not even then.


Agreed. All this tells me they don’t know what the temperature is.

If folks are interested, here is how the new Karl et al global record compares to there other surface temperature records during the pre-“hiatus” (1951-1997) and “hiatus” (1998-2014) periods: http://s17.postimg.org/ggmd032un/temperature_trends_comparison.png

Why are the uncertainty ranges so much greater for recent estimates than for the earlier period?

The timeframe is shorter. The longer a timeframe you are looking at (assuming homoscedasticity), the smaller the confidence intervals will be for trend estimates.


Good point! We got worse as measurments and methodology got better?

Ah, yes. The measurements were perfect. It’s only the math that requires error adjustments. 😉
Still, I appreciate the point made by the trend graph.


How long is the timeframe that these adjustments have been considered to have validity?
Not long, and are therefore highly uncertain, by this same logic.


Ross: Given satellite coverage, don’t we have one homogeneous source of SST data for since 1980 that doesn’t require adjustment. Doesn’t it show slower warming since 1998 than before?
Due to all of the changes in measurement methodology for the oceans, we don’t really have a reliable GLOBAL or SST temperature record for the last 150 or 100 years. With all the variables that can be adjusted, the old data (and new data of the same type) can probably be adjusted to say just about anything. Even worse, one can pick and chose from among all of the adjusted records to reach almost any conclusion one wants about phenomena like lapse rate, which rely on two different records.
Then they have the audacity to say climate science is “settled”. Their conclusions are settled and the data says whatever they want it to say. If the hiatus can disappear by tweaking some adjustments, the main conclusion should have been that climate science has placed too much confidence in all of their results!
A real SCIENTIST who wanted to improve the SST temperature record would get his a$$ out from behind his computer and into the laboratory – by sailing around the world for a year or more measuring SST and MAT with a variety of current and historic methods. Then maybe we would have a scientific basis for combining a variety of incompatible records and calculating the uncertainty inherent in that process.

Steve Case

You know what’s interesting? There seems to be no limit to the amount of temperature adjusting to various sources of manual temperature recording shipboard or land based. But as near as I can tell, manual records of sea level from tide gauges hasn’t been touched. I wonder if there is any sort of an assault on those records by people who wish they said something other than what they do. I know that the sea level data from satellites is regularly adjusted.


At tmsny tide gages there are actual physical benchmarks. Hard to move those.
Plus structures which have been in place, physical high water marks, photographic records…
I would like to see who the first person to come out and question the long term reliability of an actual marked post anchored in the water.


At many tide gauges…

Fred Harwood

Thanks, Ross.

Another way of correcting global temperatures
Is this what the real ‘global temperature’ – blue line – could look like
I used a variable high pass filter and varied its 6dB down cut-off in steps of 25 years.
I searched for longest period of coincidence between filter in and out without any alteration to the scale.
It was found to be at 450 years.
All periodicities below 200 years are virtually intact.
‘New’ data available on request.

I see this as a political issue, and I know the most decisions are made by powerful elites. So I downloaded the Hadcrut anomaly data I got here in Google Earth for the 20 most powerful cities in the world, and I plotted them, plus the average for all twenty cities. Interestingly, that data shows the temperature stopped climbing around 1998 in those cities (as shown by Google Earth in the 2013 data set). So if we look at this as a purely political debate, then we can understand why nothing much really happens. The most powerful folk aren´t seeing much impact, they seem to be worried about other issues, which means there´s a need to heat up their cities if we want our taxes raised.
My analysis is here:
(Please ignore the bird and the other material)

Atmospheric CO2 has been identified as a possible climate change forcing. Forcings, according to the ‘consensus’ and the IPCC, have units of Joules /sec/m^2. Energy, in units Joules/m^2, divided by the effective thermal capacitance (Joules/K/m^2) equals average global temperature (AGT) change (K). Thus (in consistent units) the time-integral of the atmospheric CO2 level (or some function thereof) times a scale factor equals the AGT change. When this is applied to multiple corroborated paleo (as far back as 542 million years ago) estimates of CO2 and average global temperature, the only thing that consistently works is if the effect of CO2 is negligible and something else is causing the temperature change.
CO2 has no influence on climate and the solar cycle is on the down-slope. The only way to make it appear that it is still warming is to change some numbers.
See what does cause climate change (explains 97+% average global temperatures since before 1900) at .http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com

I have been recording ‘SURFACE’ sea temps for a while now and can unequivocally state that the skin is always the same or cooler than the water just below the surface and that the water temperature changes rapidly within centimeters of the surface depending on the time of day (sunlight) and wind conditions.
Deeper water as in ship inlet temperature can be much colder than surface temperature.
But the big thing is that water temps tend to stratify and bands of water at different temps tend to persist, unless broken up by wind, waves and current.
I can almost always get an accurate range of temperature readings of more than 5˚C in the top meter of the ocean surface, often much more. Merely depending on the depth of the temperature reading.
There desperately needs to be a definition of what exactly the ‘Surface’ is.


Sorry, in climate science definitions are in critically short supply. You can’t have one.

M Seward

In other words the ‘Global” temperature ‘data’ is fundamentally bipolar so to speak. The land based data uses more or less the same instrument at a known locationover a certain period of time but the sea based data is all over the place and has been advjusted and adjusted and adjusted. So on what possible basis is the aggregate data set robust and reliable to the degree of accuracy required especially compared to the satellite data? On what basis is then the ‘science settled’?
Rort, boondoggle, fraud or just junk science matters little.

Bruce Cobb

What have we done? The Pause is dead, and we skeptics bear at least some responsibility. We had the Pause with the “missing/hidden heat”, which we lambasted cruelly and mercilessly. We should have been more accepting of the missing heat idea, perhaps helping them look for it, because at least then we still had the Pause. Now it is gone, and we have only ourselves to blame.
Alas and alack! Great Pause, we hardly knew thee. R.I.P.
Rents garments. Sackcloth and ashes.
[Mods need to know rental rate for garments (sans ashes). Per week? Per day? .mod]


I’m starting to think that ALL man-made global warming is in the adjustments.


DAS: “I’m starting to think that ALL man-made global warming is in the adjustments.”
That’s why it’s called Mann Made Global Warming.

son of mulder

I’ve just turned Lead into Gold.

Evan Jones

Think of it as a leading indicator.


Data fiddling is never justified. Too much potential for bias confirmation. If the data is not suited for purpose, get new data. We have plenty of time.

Evan Jones

But we don’t have plenty of data. I keep the fiddling to a minimum by dropping the bad stations, yeah, but that’s the data- and metadata-rich USHCN. But what about Outer Mongolia?
I’ll be chiming in with some adjustments of my own, too: Microsite Adjustment. CRS adjustment. They’ll be big, too.
MMTS adjustment? For what? That stuff is on the level. It’s the CRS units that need the adjusting. The dang things carry around their own Tmax heat sink. NOAA is adjusting the wrong thing. We do it the way NOAA does it because it matters not to our trends. But what about the all-CRS record going back to 1880? Can’t be replaced. Must be adjusted for equipment (and that’s an adjustment they don’t make).

M Seward

Hidden in data uncertainty, instrumental inaccuracy, and uncertain location. Condition stable and apparently settled but on life support at the IPCC emergency palace.

Evan Jones

I know exactly where the missing heat is. It’s wherever it can’t be observed. And what if we do? It just moves along to someplace that hasn’t been yet. It keeps its bags packed.

Chuck Wiese

Since the UAH RSS data does not conform to the idea that the “pause” never existed, this invalidates the methods used to change the answers in the surface data set. I have heard the nonsense from warmers that measuring lower tropospheric temperatures is not a valid comparison to surface data. This is also malarkey and just another attempt to “disconnect” the data sets and free these con artists to change the surface records as they please to validate their failed theories.
Lower tropospheric temperatures and surface data are not separate in what they indicate. The lower troposphere is connected to the surface by the adiabatic lapse rate, meaning the temperature values of the troposphere will be lower than the surface, reduced only by the gravitational potential energy envelope. But any heating of the surface will, most certainly be reflected in the lower troposphere by convection. That is how it works.
Combine this with the vulnerability of the changes to being assailed as scientifically flawed as McKitrick points out above and we have nothing new here except for more of the same. Another cheap and dishonest attempt to change and fake the history of the climate so as to save these shameless scientists from the throttling they deserve in helping the government steal from the public and enrich themselves in the continued taking.
Chuck Wiese