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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 Ringold on 11/11/2008 5:20:53 PM , Rating: 5
Some intellectually challenged people claim that adherence to the scientific method is a sort of religion.

Who attacked the scientific method? I'd say it was GISS themselves who have failed to do their job as scientists. They pulled in outrageous data and instead of verifying it, they pushed it out the door until someone called them on their shoddy work. Peer review by blogs ftw, though.

The attacks are more directed at the arrogance that would allow GISS to publish crazy data and the self-assured way that they conduct themselves; they're so certain that they are right about their theory and predictions that they are beyond reproach, and everyone who apparently calls them on it is "intellectually challenged?"

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By lucasb on 11/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By porkpie on 11/11/2008 5:55:12 PM , Rating: 4
Curently, there's no better theory than AGW and there's no mounting evidence against it.
You mean, other than the fact that the earth has been cooling the past 10 years?

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By foolsgambit11 on 11/11/2008 6:12:20 PM , Rating: 4
That's a little disingenuous. The Earth is cooler than it was in 1998. But that doesn't mean the Earth has been getting cooler for the past 10 years. Temperatures cooled between 1998 and 2002. They plateaued in '02, and have been pretty much constant since then. What is more, some models predict that temperatures will stay cooler for the next decade or so due to natural cooling phenomena, and then bounce back up due to the combined effects of natural warming and human activities.

Still, I don't know what all the fuss is about. Global warming or no global warming, I think we should be taking the same steps to reduce our impact on the environment. To reasonable levels - I'm not suggesting we all run into the woods and wear ferns.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By wookie1 on 11/11/08, Rating: 0
By foolsgambit11 on 11/12/2008 7:34:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's funny. I actually do have a windmill and a 65W solar panel, plus I eat bugs (lobster - they count right?). But none of it is to reduce my 'carbon footprint.' I live on a boat at anchor. It would cost too much to live at a dock where I could be hooked up to the grid, so I make do with alternative energy sources. But these are just my lifestyle choices, for my reasons. That doesn't necessarily invalidate your basic point.

But what about this argument: it's called democracy.

We put things to a vote, and the majority gets to set the agenda, as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of the minority opinion. And the last time I checked, there wasn't anything in the Constitution about the basic human right of cheap electricity. Not even in the penumbras and emanations. So you may not have a choice but to spend more money to maintain the same carbon footprint you have.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By Yawgm0th on 11/11/2008 10:32:36 PM , Rating: 5
Give this man a 6 for taking a reasonable standpoint -- rather than working toward the extreme of his preference.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By ikkeman2 on 11/12/2008 2:26:44 AM , Rating: 5
just a small point - the origin of the predicted global heat-up in many models is the in-build assumption that hte earth will heat up.
Just like in this article, where errors in the october 2008 data has an effect back to 2005. global climate models are very much like the stock market. Based on assumptions that can't be proven, fed with data manipulated to fit the assumptions and financed by poeple with a vested interest in the outcome.

I do not say they are wrong - but their validity is very hard, if not impossible do verify.
Also, there is nothing wrong with taking resposibility for your impact on anything. There is something wrong with trying to force or fake others to your way of thinking.

By foolsgambit11 on 11/12/2008 7:43:22 PM , Rating: 2
I don't need to fake anybody into my way of thinking. I don't need to force them into my way of thinking. Eventually, the government will probably force them into certain actions. Actions with both environmental and economic impacts. Actions that I freely admit I don't currently practice.

As for the models, yes, there are lots of models out there that predict lots of different outcomes predicated on the same data but lots of different assumptions about the effects of different climatological phenomena. Which points out that there is no consensus among climatologists about the exact extent of global warming. The exact forcing that CO2 exerts isn't clear, even.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By FITCamaro on 11/12/2008 8:28:40 AM , Rating: 5
If by "reducing your environmental impact" you mean driving a hybrid, not eating meat, switching to 100% solar and wind, buy carbon offset, etc. then no.

If you mean try to recycle, use more energy efficient appliances, try to carpool, buy a sedan instead of a Suburban, etc. then ok. But I should have the choice. And I shouldn't be punished for choosing the choice you don't agree with.

By jgvandemeer on 11/12/2008 11:43:17 AM , Rating: 3
The problem is that the false god of Global Warming distracts us from what's really important: reducing pollution. Now there are a lot of people driving diesels which a) reduce CO2, but b) increase particulate pollution. They've been told they're "saving the planet" but really they're just making it dirtier.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By lucasb on 11/11/2008 6:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
You mean, other than the fact that the earth has been cooling the past 10 years?

Even supposing that this is completely right (it is partially accurate), where is the pile of evidence against AGW? Is there a new and improved theory which explains better the behaviour changes in climate and fits better in the body of evidence?

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By masher2 on 11/11/2008 6:52:44 PM , Rating: 4
> "where is the pile of evidence against AGW? "

A. Substantial research indicating our current warming trend began well before man began generating significant levels of CO2.
B. Research indicating the climate sensitivity of CO2 has been overstated by at least a factor of 3.
C. Zero statistically-significant warming of the Earth since 1995 (and a slight cooling trend since 2002).
D. Inability of models to explain any of the known past climate shifts, some of which were more rapid and severe than the warming we're experiencing today.
E. Basic AGW theory predicts a vertical structure to warming most prevalent in the troposphere (about 1.3X surface warming). Yet satellite data demonstrates the troposphere is actually warming slightly less than the surface.
F. The paleoclimatic record, which clearly demonstrates the Earth's climate system is governed by negative feedbacks. Were the positive feedbacks postulated by CAGW modelers truly in existence, the Earth would have long ago experienced runaway warming.
G. The inability of current models to properly account for clouds, the full hydrologic cycle, or other factors with forcing effects substantially greater than CO2's forcing.
H. The cooling of Antarctica, whereas original models predict polar amplification of warming. (and yes, while some *current* models do predict Antarctic cooling, that is due to adjustments made after the warming trend was already determined experimentally, i.e. it is essentially a fudge factor, not a prediction)

There are several other problems, but the above is a few of the more serious objections.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By wookie1 on 11/11/2008 9:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that solar activity is mostly ignored in the models. They focus on irradiance and that it doesn't change large amounts but don't want us to think about other solar activity that could affect cloud formation, ozone hole size, etc.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By kbehrens on 11/11/2008 10:09:28 PM , Rating: 5
Nice list! I guess we understand now why Al Gore is still burning 100X as much energy as the rest of us. He didn't really believe his own stories either.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By dever on 11/12/2008 4:57:04 PM , Rating: 2
Wow! Is the EPA actually admitting the heat island effect skews readings?

While I wouldn't believe anything on a government site, I'm surprised there's a wee bit of temperance to the usual fear mongering done by those who stand to profit the most.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By foolsgambit11 on 11/11/2008 5:59:16 PM , Rating: 4
You said it.

Look at economics, a set of theories that doesn't get it right all of the time, and never has very accurate data. But they still do a pretty good job in normal conditions. They also have to go back and revise their initial numbers after they've been published. They do it every time, so it doesn't make news. But those jobs numbers for October, or the consumer spending numbers, or manufacturing, or imports/exports, or any set of numbers they've compiled will be adjusted in the coming couple of months. Because collecting huge amounts of data is a difficult and error-prone process in any field.

RE: What??? Say it ain't so Jim!!!
By Ringold on 11/11/2008 9:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
Not quite what I was getting at, but you're close. Lets say you're working with an equation, and you plug in numbers. You should have a vague idea of what should pop out, right? For example, if you're trying to model household income, and out pops a value of a trillion dollars, or even 200k, you know something has been screwed up. For all of Russia, temperatures spiked huge versus what they should've been for October, a similar red flag.

Difference is, when I do my own work and get silly results, I painstakingly double check every step. GISS, apparently, says "Yay, it got warmer! PUBLISH!" As for economic data in general, do you ever see wildly incorrect data get published in the US only to later suffer massive revision? Not really. You cite the job numbers for October, but it was September that got a sizable revision in the Oct jobs report. The revision was still in the same ball park however, and not even entirely unexpected. Russia showing up as a giant fireball in that picture in the article? A little unexpected, I'd say.

Maybe they're not entirely to blame, but I'm a little surprised at their incompetence in not catching it immediately, unless they're so under staffed that they automatically kick out data and charts with very little human interaction beforehand.

By foolsgambit11 on 11/12/2008 8:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I was referring to the fact that when the November numbers come out, they'll also revise October. Because they revise the numbers every time.

But you're absolutely right, they should have been curious when they got such a striking anomaly.

UPDATE: They released the October data again. See

Notice, there's still a big heating area over Russia. I don't know what that's about, but the anomaly number has come down. It's at .65 instead of, what was it, .78? Something like that. It looks like parts of Russia are slightly cooler than the previous map displayed at the top of this article, but most of it is still pretty hot, versus the average for October.

By sigilscience on 11/11/2008 6:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
You can find pollution in almost any dataset.
I think the point is that THIS pollution was incredibly blatant and easy to find. Russia heating up 10C (that's almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit) in a single month? And these "experts" didn't catch it? What other problems are they missing?

You can bet if the data had suddenly showed a massive cooling, they would have caught it. But when you want to believe, you're willing to let a lot of things slide.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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