column this week detailed the work of a volunteer team to assess problems
with US temperature data used for climate modeling. One of these people is
Steve McIntyre, who operates the site climateaudit.org. While
inspecting historical temperature graphs, he noticed a strange discontinuity,
or "jump" in many locations, all occurring around the time of
These graphs were created by NASA's Reto Ruedy and James Hansen (who shot to
fame when he accused the administration of trying to censor his views on
climate change). Hansen refused to provide McKintyre with the algorithm used to
generate graph data, so McKintyre reverse-engineered it. The result appeared to
be a Y2K bug in the handling of the raw data.
McKintyre notified the pair of the bug; Ruedy replied and acknowledged the
problem as an "oversight" that would be fixed in the next data
NASA has now silently released corrected figures,
and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934.
1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second
place. 1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now
all occur before World War II. Anthony
Watts has put the new data in chart form, along with a more detailed summary
of the events.
The effect of the correction on global
temperatures is minor (some 1-2% less warming than originally thought), but the
effect on the U.S. global warming propaganda machine could be huge.
Then again -- maybe not. I strongly suspect this story will receive little to no
attention from the mainstream media.