If you have been following my series on The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time, you know that I am referring to the world temperature data tampering fraud, by which the guardians of world surface thermometer records (in the U.S., NASA and NOAA) "adjust" old temperatures down and new temperatures up in order to provide fake support for the official "global warming" narrative.
My last post in this series (Part X) was back in July. Meanwhile, 2016 has proved to be a rather suspenseful year for those following this issue. The start of the year was a time of a massive El Nino. El Ninos (warm surface conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean) are known to be highly correlated with somewhat lagged spikes in atmospheric near-surface temperatures, as the oceans give up some heat into the air. Unsurprisingly, the years of the strongest El Ninos have also been the years of highest recorded lower tropospheric temperatures in the now 38-year (back to 1979) satellite temperature record -- most notably the year 1998, until now the record-holder for the warmest year in the satellite record. But with a comparably massive El Nino extending well into 2016, would 2016 now end the 18-year global warming "pause," break the prior record, and give new support to the cause of climate alarmism?
Throughout the year, the temperature "adjusters" at NASA have been working to prepare the ground for the big end-of-year announcement that temperatures have finally broken the old record. In the first several months, as the effects of the El Nino lingered, they put out breathless monthly press releases announcing that month to be the "hottest [March, April, May, whatever] since records began," or something like that. Here is NASA's release from July 20. Excerpt:
Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880, according to scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The six-month period from January to June was also the planet's warmest half-year on record, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the late nineteenth century.
But then a few months after the break-up of the El Nino, the atmospheric temperatures started their inevitable sharp decline. By October, NASA had suspended the breathless press releases; but its director of GISS, Gavin Schmidt, put out a tweet in that month that made it into the Guardian:
Dr Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, tweeted: "With data now available through September, 2016 annual record (~1.25ºC above late 19th C) seems locked in." Last month was only just over the previous record, coming in at a razor-thin 0.004C above the previous high for the time of year, reached in September 2014. That tiny margin may be revised in future, as monthly temperature data can be nudged up or down retrospectively as later reports come in. For instance, June 2016 was initially reported as the warmest on record but was subsequently revised downward slightly to the third warmest.
June 2016 was revised down and no longer a record? Funny, I missed any press reports on that one.
Anyway, yesterday Roy Spencer of UAH (provider of satellite-based data) put out the results for December and full-year 2016. The UAH global lower troposphere anomaly declined a full .21 deg C in December, going from + 0.45 deg C to + 0.24 deg C. And with that sharp drop, 2016 ended in what Spencer calls a "statistical tie" with 1998:
The resulting 2016 annual average global temperature anomaly is +0.50 deg. C, which is (a statistically insignificant) 0.02 deg. C warmer than 1998 at +0.48 deg. C. We estimate that 2016 would have had to be 0.10 C warmer than 1998 to be significantly different at the 95% confidence level. Both 2016 and 1998 were strong El Nino years.
So, too bad for those hoping for a big new full-year record in the satellite data. The "pause" resumes. But still no word from NASA as to their year-end figures. Not to worry. NASA has a different data source from the satellites, namely the network of surface weather stations whose data can be "adjusted" and "homogenized" to get essentially whatever answer NASA wants in support of its favored political narrative. The excellent Tony Heller, in a post titled "Why Temperature Fraud Matters," is already on top of the stream of NASA data, and provides this graph as of yesterday to compare recent NASA ("adjusted" surface station) data to UAH (satellite) data:
Yes, NASA has baked in a good 0.2 deg C or so of "adjustments" just since 1995 to give it a comfortable margin to claim a "record" for 2016. Expect that breathless announcement from NASA within the next couple of weeks. (Prior experience indicates that NASA press releases come out around the 18th to 20th of the month.)
If you want to make a prediction of the future about as safe as predicting the time of tomorrow's sunrise, you can predict that every mainstream news source in the country will parrot the upcoming NASA press release without mentioning that the new supposed "record" is not supported by the far-more-accurate satellite data. Nor will any mainstream news source ask the obvious question of how it is that global warming is supposed to be caused by CO2 emissions, yet temperature records always and only seem to be associated with El Ninos, and there is no plausible mechanism to explain how CO2 emissions into the air have any causative effect on the El Nino ocean current phenomenon. Hey, that would ruin our good sin-and-redemption story! We can't have that!
In related news, famed climate scientist Judith Curry, long head of the department at Georgia Tech, has announced her early retirement and an intended move into the private sector. Here is her post at her own blog. She began her transition to skepticism all the way back in 2005, and the years since have only seen a growing disgust:
A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc. How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide.
Well, that's the legacy of the Obama-era bureaucracy and its lackeys in academia. The funding situation may be about to change by 180 degrees. We'll see.