Print 119 comment(s) - last by Andy35W.. on Nov 27 at 6:30 AM

GISS's October Data. The large reddish-brown area in Russia is actually September readings.
Amateur team finds NASA error similar to one they discovered a year ago.

NASA'S Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is one of the world's primary sources for climate data. GISS issues regular updates on world temperatures based on their analysis of temperature readings from thousands of monitoring stations over the globe.

GISS’ most recent data release originally reported last October as being extraordinarily warm-- a full 0.78C above normal. This would have made it the warmest October on record; a huge increase over the previous month's data.

Those results set off alarm bells with Steve McIntyre and his gang of Baker Street irregulars at They noted that NASA's data didn't agree at all with the satellite temperature record, which showed October to be very mild, continuing the same trend of slight cooling that has persisted since 1998. So they dug a little deeper.

McIntyre, the same man who found errors last year in GISS's US temperature record, quickly noted that most of the temperature increase was coming from Russia. A chart of world temperatures showed that in October, most of Russia, the largest nation on Earth, was not only registering hot, but literally off the scale. Yet anecdotal reports were suggesting that worldwide, October was actually slightly colder than normal. Could there be another error in GISS's data?

An alert reader on McIntyre's blog revealed that there was a very large problem. Looking at the actual readings from individual stations in Russia showed a curious anomaly. The locations had all been assigned the exact temperatures from a month earlier-- the much warmer month of September. Russia cools very rapidly in the fall months, so recycling the data from the earlier month had led to a massive temperature increase.

A few locations in Ireland were also found to be using September data.

Steve McIntyre informed GISS of the error by email. According to McIntyre, there was no response, but within "about an hour", GISS pulled down the erroneous data, citing a "mishap" and pointing the finger of blame upstream to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA).

NOAA's Deputy Director of Communications, Scott Smullens, tells DailyTech that NOAA is responsible only for temperature readings in the US, not those in other nations.

The error not only affected October data, but due to the complex algorithm GISS uses to convert actual temperature readings into their output results, altered the previously published values for several other months as well. The values for August 2008, for instance, changed by 0.11C and the global anomaly as far back as 2005 increased by a hundredth of a degree.

GISS is run by Dr. James Hansen, a strident global warming advocate who has accused oil companies of "crimes against humanity".  Hansen recently made headlines when he travelled to London to testify on behalf of a group of environmentalists who had damaged a coal plant in protest against global warming. Hansen also serves as science advisor to Al Gore.

Dr. Hansen could not be reached for comment.

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RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By porkpie on 11/11/2008 5:08:06 PM , Rating: 5
Michael Crichton has words of wisdom on the topic of "mainstream opinion".
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics....

Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By foolsgambit11 on 11/11/2008 5:38:59 PM , Rating: 3
Um, I think you mean had words of wisdom. I mean, come on, are we supposed to pay attention to a guy who couldn't even stay alive?

Enough irreverence about death. Of course consensus is what you have before something becomes more or less universally accepted. E=mc2 was only a consensus for a while. There were plenty of theoretical physicists who didn't think it was the way the world worked at first. But the evidence piled up, and they eventually had to accept it. Einstein himself was against quantum physics when it was just a consensus viewpoint. He eventually came around, but not before spending a good while as a naysayer and discovering weird quirks about the theory in an attempt to disprove it.

In the same vein, to all those global warming naysayers, I say bravo! Good work spotting errors in data, calculation, modeling, etc. You help to improve the science.

Of course, the ether model of physics was a consensus model for a good while, too. Until eventually the evidence was sufficient to refute it. Only time will tell which type of theory GW, and especially AGW, is.

As for consensus being the business of politics, you're absolutely right. But in the world of advanced science, there's only so much money to be had to advance human knowledge. At some point, decisions have to be made, and those decisions are about what the most fruitful uses of research moneys are. They are, at their heart, political decisions based on pragmatics and values.

On a total tangent, don't the consensus of scientists agree that many dinosaurs had feathers, and especially the compy's in Jurassic Park? I can't remember in the book if the dinosaurs were feathered. They certainly weren't in the movie.

By foolsgambit11 on 11/11/2008 5:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I should have previewed that - noticed the missed closing element

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By MattCoz on 11/11/2008 11:54:44 PM , Rating: 2
Feathered dinosaurs is a more recently accepted idea, which is why proto-feathers were added to the design of the raptors in JPIII. This was Jack Horner's influence though, not Michael's, so I'm not sure what this has to do with anything, heh.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By mmntech on 11/11/2008 10:51:32 PM , Rating: 5
The man was a genius. Basic scientific method clearly states that consensus can never exist in the scientific community. That's what they teach you in first year university science courses. It's a scam. Say the sky is falling and governments become more than willing to hand out fat research grants.

It also appears that the IPCC is loosing the propaganda battle. The Register had a thing on global warming a couple of weeks ago. They cited an Ipsos poll that said that 60% of Britons don't think global warming is man made. A number which has been increasing. I think the UK has been hit the hardest economically by AGW hysteria. Parliament (not just Labour) has been carbon taxing them to death. With the most recent climate bill, which would severely hurt British shipping and global trade, there were only five dissenters. They're certainly not reflecting public opinion. The only consensus that exists on AGW is a consensus of elitists. (I define elitists as people with a paternalistic, "holier than thou" attitude. In other words, "only I know what's best for you".)

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By FITCamaro on 11/12/2008 8:23:38 AM , Rating: 4
"only I know what's best for you, but what I say doesn't apply to me".

Fixed it.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By The0ne on 11/12/2008 11:05:07 AM , Rating: 2
ahuh. I really hate it when government funds a company. It just wreaks of deception.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By dever on 11/12/2008 4:47:18 PM , Rating: 3 schools?

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By BBeltrami on 11/12/2008 6:43:48 PM , Rating: 4
...or the entire banking industry?

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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