National Climatic Data Center /NCEI director Tom Karl resigns

From the one less bureaucrat department and NCDC/NCEI comes this press release:

Tom Karl Retires After Nearly 41 Years of Service

Photo of NCEI Director Tom Karl

NCEI Director Tom Karl announces his retirement.

After nearly 41 years, Tom Karl, NCEI’s Director, is retiring from Federal service. He’s come a long way from his first job as an 11 year old handing out advertisements for a TV repairman on Saturday mornings. But, he’s ready to transition into a new phase of his life. “I’m looking forward to slowing things down and taking some time to relax,” said Tom. “And, I won’t have to worry about staying up too late watching football,” he continued with a smile.

Even though Tom is now looking forward to relaxing, the passion for science he developed as a young man remains deeply rooted in him. In the early days of his childhood, Tom had his heart set on becoming a weather forecaster. And, he continued that educational path into college, obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin—both in meteorology.

After completing his master’s degree, Tom was ready to embark on a new phase in his career. He applied for several positions across the country, including one at what was then the Environmental Research Lab in Raleigh, North Carolina. With no word back from the Lab after several weeks, Tom moved to Norman, Oklahoma, and prepared to begin a PhD program and work as a teaching assistant at the University of Oklahoma. Then, a week before his first semester was set to begin, the Environmental Research Lab offered him a position.

“I think the overwhelming Oklahoma heat was what really led to my final decision,” Tom recalled of his decision to move to Raleigh. But, he was certain he’d made the right decision as he began researching the interactions of air pollution with Earth’s climate under his first boss, George Holzworth. “George pushed me to publish a lot of papers early on,” said Tom. “He was instrumental in helping me learn to better communicate my science.”

As much as Tom enjoyed climate and research, he still wanted to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a weather forecaster. So, he took advantage of working for NOAA and found a job doing just that with the National Weather Service Office in Anchorage, Alaska. But, Tom found that rotating shifts weren’t for him, and he began to search for other opportunities.

Finally, in 1980, Tom found what he was looking for in the National Climate Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Since then, the National Climate Center transformed into the National Climatic Data Center. Throughout that time, Tom also worked his way up from a researcher to a Lab Chief to Senior Scientist to Director of the Center. And, when the National Climatic Data Center merged with its sister Data Centers in 2015, Tom took on the responsibility of serving as NCEI’s first Director and shepherding the former organizations through the transition period.

Of all of his accomplishments during his tenure, Tom reflects most fondly on some of the “ah ha” moments throughout his career. “It was great to use science to discover something we hadn’t realized before,” Tom said. “And, it was really rewarding to work with so many brilliant people toward a cause as rewarding as NOAA’s—helping protect lives and property and living marine resources.”

As Tom goes on to new adventures, he hopes that NCEI will continue to build off its strengths of providing authoritative data and information and being experts on what’s possible with that data. “We’ve built a great reputation from the standpoint of providing stewardship, science, and services,” Tom noted. “And, we’ve got many opportunities to integrate environmental data from different disciplines to help solve some really complex problems. What we’ve done and what NCEI will continue to do is really positive for the country and the world, and that’s worth quite a bit.”

Tom would like to thank all of NCEI’s employees for their dedication and hard work. He would also like to extend a special thanks to all those who encouraged and influenced him throughout his career.

We appreciate Tom’s many years of service at NOAA and wish him the best of luck in the future!


What this means is that Tom Peterson will likely succeed Karl as director, and Peterson is a rabid warmist, and holds the keys to the entire GHCN dataset and the WMO climate program. He was also a co-author (likely the one who did all the work since Karl is a policy wonk and not much of a scientist) in that sleight of hand that they pulled last year in adjusting past sea-surface temperatures in a  highly criticized paper that made the slope of warmer higher. These two are so smug, they refused a congressional subpoena last year looking into the issue

If Peterson gets the nod, you can expect NCDC/NCEI to become even more alarmist and data adjusting than they are now.

UPDATE: Apparently I’m in error. Zeke notes in comments that Tom Peterson retired from NCDC last year in July 2015. I regret the error, but was unaware.

UPDATE2: Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. Notes in comments:

My experience with Tom Peterson in the last few years has not been pleasant. I will document some of them in this comment. Tom and I used to get along fine at CSU and I enjoyed my discussions with him. Somehow, this climate issue [has] distorted his objectivity and collegiality.

My largest concern is that when I was on the CCSP 1.1 committee (with Tom Karl as Chair) which was evaluating the surface and tropospheric temperature data trend analyses, Tom Peterson communicated to others, including members of the committee, behind my back. His comments were insulting. I only found out due to the Climategate e-mails. For a federal manager/employee to involve themselves so as to skew a report compromises the objectivity of such reports.

Here is some of the record on my experience (excerpts and links to where they came from)

1. https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/tom-peterson-of-ncdc-and-climate-science-baloney/

“At 18:12 13/03/2008, Thomas C Peterson wrote:

Hi, David,

My first thought is well, we’ll just have to cut it way back. Then I pulled out Pielke’s paper and saw that mountain of baloney and thought where do we draw the line?

There is so much there that should be refuted.

To be pithy, we could just hit the central points with little elaboration:

1. Definition of global temperature (a) Roger gives a definition related heat content and climate feedback. We give this definition: the average temperature of the earth.”

“Conclusion: Roger is full of baloney.
There you go, David. Add in a few references and we have a paper!
Regards,
REDACTED Tom”

2. https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/comment-on-the-post-enemies-caught-in-action-on-the-blackboard/

“From: “thomas.c.peterson” To: Phil Jones Subject: [Fwd: Marooned?] Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2007 11:10:02 -0500

Hi, Phil,

I thought you might enjoy the forwarded picture and related commentary below.

I read some of the USHCN/GISS/CRU brouhaha on web site you sent us. It is both interesting and sad. It reminds me of a talk that Fred Singer gave in which he impugned the climate record by saying he didn’t know how different parts were put together. During the question part, Bob Livzey said, if you don’t know how it is done you should read the papers that describe it in detail. So many of the comments on that web page could be completely addressed by pointing people to different papers. Ah well, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it think.

Warm regards,

Tom”

3. http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/enemies-caught-in-action/ {see Cartoon which ridicules me and others]. This behaviour would never have been known except for the hacking to obtain the Climategate e-mails.

Tom Peterson never apologized for this.

Thus, if he becomes head of NCDC, I assume he will continue to denigrate, behind their backs, those who disagree with him, but now in an even more senior position.

Roger Sr.

P.S. The CCSP 1.1 report was thus a biased assessment. I discuss this, for example, in

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”. 88 pp including appendices.http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/nr-143.pdf

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85 thoughts on “National Climatic Data Center /NCEI director Tom Karl resigns

    • Well after all 41 years is a bit too long to collect climate data.

      The general consensus, is that 30 years is plenty long enough to get good climate data.

      Then you should resign; excuse me that’s retire. It will be another 30 years before anyone discovers it was all hogwash, and by then you will be off at some foreign Riviera.

      g

    • Thanks for reminding me about this travesty. You would think that researchers would take pride in describing to Congress what they, in fact, had accomplished. But here’s what really happened:

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/10/28/ncdcnceis-karl-and-peterson-refuse-congressional-subpoena-on-flawed-pausebuster-paper/

      So the words “…had accomplished” that I used above, should probably be replaced with “…were ashamed of” or “… were embarrassed by.”

      The more worthy of their colleagues at NCDC, are quietly celebrating, as is the Muse of hard science!!!

      • Funny, just this morning I was wondering what became of the subpoena and wether Lamar Smith was following up on their refusal.

        Perhaps Karl has decided to ‘spend more time with his family’ as an attempt of taking some of heat off. He can now be blamed and all action dropeed because he’s already resigned.

        Move along, nothing to see ?

        Someone needs to get prosecuted here, that jerks really think that they are above the law.

    • It’s hard to say.
      Karl will be forever associated with fiddling the use of temperature samples sets from ships in order to adjust the temperature record.

      When a person as tarnished as him goes, it doesn’t matter if he is as honoured by the State as Lysenko was.
      He will be remembered.

  1. The younger comrade has an ability to make up numbers which is “more equal than others…”

    The fluid nature of all historical data will continue on its deceitful path until all science is drowned…

  2. You do know Tom Peterson retired last July (2015), right? Somehow I don’t think he will be replacing Karl.

    Also, changes to ERSST (v3b to v4) were done in Huang et al 2015; Karl et al did no new adjustments to SST data. They did use the ISTI databank for land stations (which includes many more stations than GHCN v3), which was novel but had little impact on land trends.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00006.1

  3. What’s the bets even Tom is not willing to do what NCEI NOAA are about to embark on at the end of his career, as in total all out f r a u d but this Patterson will no questions asked.

    Because I reckon they have to cook up completely imaginary warming at this point, this year, absolutely no way it was he “hottest evah”

    • Jesus what boring statements from Helsinki all the time!
      Did Finland start prohibition on russian vodka a while ago?

  4. One wonders if he will be calibrating ship engine intake thermometers in his spare time now!

    Sarc/ if I really need to :-)

  5. NOAA.

    The administrating agency of Oceans and Atmosphere…
    Way to go with the administering of nature…….

    goods do envy NOAA…..

    cheers

  6. Bye. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out …

    One less ‘Scientist’ working out how to ensure that a significant ‘slope’ is discovered just in time for ‘Paris’.

    • What we’ve done and what NCEI will continue to do is really positive for the country and the world, and that’s worth quite a bit.”

      No slip. He clearly thinks corruption of science is “really positive for the world”.

  7. Dec, 1989 news article from the Santa Cruz news –

    ” . . there is still considerable uncertainty among scientific experts about a number of critical factors which determine global warming,” said Karl.

    Analysis of warming since 1881 shows most of the increase in global temperature happened before 1818 – before the more recent sharp rise in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, said Thomas Karl, of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N. C.

    “ While global climate warmed overall since 1881, it actually cooled from 1921 to 1979, Karl said.”

    Karl went from having a mind to . . .

    • gary845. It is sad that someone like Karl could make the statements you listed and then throw away an entire career’s worth of accomplishments by adjusting/substituting/torturing data to indicate false warming. Seems to me a man just before retirement would look back to the good things and the bad things he did and then choose to good things to characterize his career. But no, he will forever be known for cooking the data to meet a false assumption and false modeling results. Sometime he in the future, might reflect and decide that his character and integrity were important. But, they are irretrievably gone. A good lesson to all. Shakespeare could have done much with a career such as Karl’s.

      • Karl as Malcolm:

        It is myself I mean, in whom I know all the particulars of vice so grafted that, when they shall be opened, black Macbeth will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state esteem him as a lamb, being compared with my confineless harms. (Macbeth: Act 4, Scene 3)

  8. “he hopes that NCEI will continue to build off its strengths of providing authoritative data and information and being experts on what’s possible with that data. ”
    Translation: Carry on with authoritarian data manipulation for political awards and promotions.

  9. ““I think the overwhelming Oklahoma heat was what really led to my final decision,” Tom recalled of his decision to move to Raleigh.”

    I had to laugh about that one.

    • Yea, can you imagine how much hotter Oklahoma is today than it was when Karl was headed for graduate school?

      • Yeah, it is hot today, about 101. One good thing, we are on the downhill side of summer, and it has been relatively mild so far, with much more rain than a normal Oklahoma summer, and this is going to turn out to be a mild summer. A few more weeks and the extreme heat ought to be about over with.

        This, in the “Hottest Year Evah!”. It’s been a lot hotter around here in past years than this year, I know that.

  10. Said another way, each 0.1 degree upward manipulation is worth $30 billion in carbon tax revenue and many public service awards too.

  11. My experience with Tom Peterson in the last few years has not been pleasant. I will document some of them in this comment. Tom and I used to get along fine at CSU and I enjoyed my discussions with him. Somehow, this climate issue as distorted his objectivity and collegiality.

    My largest concern is that when I was on the CCSP 1.1 committee (with Tom Karl as Chair) which was evaluating the surface and tropospheric temperature data trend analyses, Tom Peterson communicated to others, including members of the committee, behind my back. His comments were insulting. I only found out due to the Climategate e-mails. For a federal manager/employee to involve themselves so as to skew a report compromises the objectivity of such reports.

    Here is some of the record on my experience (excerpts and links to where they came from)

    1. https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/tom-peterson-of-ncdc-and-climate-science-baloney/

    “At 18:12 13/03/2008, Thomas C Peterson wrote:

    Hi, David,

    My first thought is well, we’ll just have to cut it way back. Then I pulled out Pielke’s paper and saw that mountain of baloney and thought where do we draw the line?

    There is so much there that should be refuted.

    To be pithy, we could just hit the central points with little elaboration:

    1. Definition of global temperature (a) Roger gives a definition related heat content and climate feedback. We give this definition: the average temperature of the earth.”

    “Conclusion: Roger is full of baloney.
    There you go, David. Add in a few references and we have a paper!
    Regards,
    REDACTED Tom”

    2. https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/comment-on-the-post-enemies-caught-in-action-on-the-blackboard/

    “From: “thomas.c.peterson” To: Phil Jones Subject: [Fwd: Marooned?] Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2007 11:10:02 -0500

    Hi, Phil,

    I thought you might enjoy the forwarded picture and related commentary below.

    I read some of the USHCN/GISS/CRU brouhaha on web site you sent us. It is both interesting and sad. It reminds me of a talk that Fred Singer gave in which he impugned the climate record by saying he didn’t know how different parts were put together. During the question part, Bob Livzey said, if you don’t know how it is done you should read the papers that describe it in detail. So many of the comments on that web page could be completely addressed by pointing people to different papers. Ah well, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it think.

    Warm regards,

    Tom”

    3. http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/enemies-caught-in-action/ {see Cartoon which ridicules me and others]. This behaviour would never have been known except for the hacking to obtain the Climategate e-mails.

    Tom Peterson never apologized for this.

    Thus, if he becomes head of NCDC, I assume he will continue to denigrate, behind their backs, those who disagree with him, but now in an even more senior position.

    Roger Sr.

    P.S. The CCSP 1.1 report was thus a biased assessment. I discuss this, for example, in

    Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”. 88 pp including appendices.http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/nr-143.pdf

    [But there was “never” any “conspiracy” amongst “any” government-paid employees was there? .mod]

      • I am so glad to hear that. Even so it probably won’t make much difference as they turn these guys out using cookie cutters.

        Oooops….kooky cutters.

      • Later on, OHC has become the figleaf to explain lack of fast warming measured as an ‘average temperature’ of ‘the earth’. sic. And later on, Karl was involved in removing the figleaf by adjusting anomalies. This is funny.

    • “There is so much there that should be refuted.”

      In other words, skeptics have good arguments that need to be refuted. Our CAGW claims are being exposed for what they are: unproven theories, and we have to try and counter that, if we want our grant money to continue.

  12. I had wondered how he could so egregiously, on a purely biased fashion, Karlize the temperature to fit the models and then ignore a subpoena from a congressional committee to answer questions on it. I should have guessed! I’m also very disappointed in the committee not exercising its muscle and letting these bozos get away with this. It doesn’t garner much respect for congress.

    • Wasn’t there a follow up July some time when they were give 15 days to conform…. or else?

      What ever happened to this?

  13. BTW Anthony, what ever happened to SST graphs on WUWT?

    Hadley front page now give maps of red and blue dots for the current month. They have abandonned the usual time series graph they always used to provide, though I think it is still there somewhere burried deep where no one can see it.

    Since the NOAA/ NCIE scam means ERSST4 is not a valid record any more I was expecting to quickly find hadSST3 on WUWT, which is a generally good place to go for quick reference to such data.

    The SST page seems to be getting obsessed with ENSO and El Nino and does not seem to provide any SST time series. There’s also a bunch of broken links in the reference section due to site a UAH getting a reshuffle and breaking everyone’s links.

  14. Five minutes with Google tells me that, “Dr. Thomas R. Karl, PhD” was called to account back in 2007 or 2008 for claiming to be a PhD when, in fact, he was not.

    Seems that back along in 2002 or so he got an honorary LHD (Doctorate of Humane Letters) from somewhere and started calling himself “Doctor” based on that.

    Now I don’t want to be mean-spirited or anything, but in my line of work padding one’s resume by calling oneself a PhD when such a degree has not been earned is grounds for dismissal.

    That NOAA kept Karl on after such an imposture tells me that NOAA’s professional standards are not just slipping. It tells me they have abandoned professional standards altogether.

    Now NOAA lists him as “Thomas R. Karl, LHD”. Should be “LHD Hon.” as it appears he did not write so much as a sonnet or a haiku to get this “LHD”.

    As it happens I have a REAL hard-science PhD. It was the hardest thing I ever did, intellectually. When it was finished I knew I had earned it.

    Consequently fakers like Karl, anyone who poses as a PhD when they are not, are to me objects of disgust and contempt.

    • This explains a lot. When I got my PhD (in 1978), anyone who invented a conclusion and tried to make the data fit would have never got out with a PhD. It would have been back to the lab until it was beaten, metaphorically speaking, into the culprit that you don’t get out with a PhD until you “get” the scientific method. Trofim Karl never had that experience.

      I’ve never really understood the term “Exception that proves the rule” but – Travesty Trenberth, PhD anyone. The greatest of the climate conclusion-based conclusion-drawers. Has that scientific turd retired yet ?

  15. Too bad about the resignation. I was hoping to see Tom Karl resign in disgrace. Now, I’ll just have to content myself hoping to see his work deservedly round-filed under the heading ‘consciously tendentious anti-science.’

  16. The NCDC is beyond any hope of reform so let’s hope Donald Trump is the next president.

    Imagine government agencies being asked to do “Zero Based Budgeting” and “Cost/Benefit Analysis”. Many federal agencies are completely useless and others actually harm the prosperity of this nation so they will have difficulty justifying their existence under private sector budgeting standards.

    For example, the NCDC is worse than useless…….it does real harm to science and to the economy so I doubt if it could survive a stringent budgeting process. I used to think that NOAA was a few crazy scientists until I met Thomas Peterson in Asheville and found a behemoth:
    https://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/dorothy-behind-the-curtain-part-1/
    https://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/dorothy-behind-the-curtain-part-2/

    Karl and Peterson serve politics rather than science or truth.

  17. Tom Karl was a very personable guy, and the quintessential government manager. The latter observation isn’t necessarily meant as flattery. ;-)

    • Who best to carry out orders from above and then to provide public service awards to the team. It’s a chain of command, not bottom up or science process here. The same could be said with the instructions to staff to look the other way on Solyndra financial condition in the grants and loans program at DoE.

  18. Kerry needs a cabin boy. But you may have to ferry plane loads of cash to Iran on occasion.

  19. Is this position one that requires Congressional approval? If so, it should get stalled until the next, hopefully more competent, administration.

  20. God help the few that point out misgivings in the senior levels of research. It is one of the main reasons why research continues to cause harm as well as good over the centuries.

  21. Well, just walked in the streets today and saw a guy with a t-shirt, where it was written: create the past. It wasn’t Tom Karl but maybe it would fit his work

  22. His name will be enshrined forever in the neologism “Karlized data.” But that came years later than “Hansenization” and centuries after pasteurization.

  23. Hey, Tom, I’m pretty sure you’re reading these comments. Some are a bit ad-hom. But I have important questions for you.

    You were the science chief for the first (2000) National Assessment. I found that the two models used, the CCM2 and the Met Office one, resulted in a larger residual error AFTER applied to 10-year running means of the global temperature average than what was in the raw data. In other words, they added noise to signal. You wrote back that indeed I was correct

    But you went forward. This is EXACTLY like a physician prescribing a treatment that he or she knows will cause more harm than good. It’s unethical, pure and simple. What you did was noticed and created a great distrust of anything out of NCDC.

    Why did you do it? Was it worth it?

    Pat M.

    I saved your job in 2000. You were on a hit list and I had you taken off because I thought you were a straight shooter. Seven months later what is detailed above happened.

    • “I saved your job in 2000. You were on a hit list and I had you taken off because I thought you were a straight shooter.”

      A hit list, you say? More details please. This window into potential corruption and undue influence on the careers of federal public servants on the part of ‘skeptics’ and contrarians with ties to right-wing lobby groups and Republican politicians could be very interesting.

  24. Sorry Magma, we can’t tell you the inner secrets of the Merchants of Doubt or else we would have to neutralize you as well. (not really. yes really – not…)

    • What’s telling about Mr. Yulsman is that he is more interested in the semantics of “hit list” than he is about the alleged wrongdoings by Karl in using a noisy climate model when he knew it was bad.

      Bad science on display, check….but OMFG he said “hit list”!

      Anything for “the cause”…such is that sad state of climate science and the activists who pose as journalists who report on it.

      • Now some, not Eli to be sure, might want to defend Tom Yulsman, but Mike McCracken explained the science:

        Regarding Pat Michaels’ charge against Tom Karl, Pat made up a test for the models suggesting that to be useful they had to be able to predict the running 5-year average variability through the 20th century; he found that they did not have any skill at doing this so coined the clever phrase that climate models are no more than random number generators. Given the test he chose which has nothing really to do with climate (defined by NOAA as a 30-year average), the models did exactly as expected in that the 5-year variability is dominated by ENSO (with a bit of volcanic response thrown in) and these are not predictable influences. For climate change, per the detection-attribution analyses that are done, one wants to use the slow but accumulating forcing of GHGs and other long-term forcing and look at the multi-decade response. Those of us involved in the meteorological aspects of the National Assessment wrote a peer-reviewed BAMS article to explain all of this (MacCracken, M. C., E. Barron, D. Easterling, B. Felzer, and T. Karl, 2003: Climate change scenarios for the U. S. National Assessment, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 84, 1711-1723).

      • On Twitter Chip Knappenberger pointed out that Pat Michaels was using a ten year period, and Mike McCracken agreed that it was not five. Principle stands

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