One Skeptic said that Government was altering 40% of climate data records.
Last week, the mainstream media was abuzz with claims by skeptical blogger Steve Goddard that NOAA and NASA have dramatically altered the US temperature record.
Other Skeptics said the first Skeptic was wrong. But on farther investigation it was discovered that there was a major bug in the US Historical Climate Change Network data base used to calculate the historical temperature changes in the US. The computer programs were continuing to calculate temperatures for station that were closed, using nearby stations that were compromised by siting issues to calculate a zombie temperature. In some cases the program was substituting calculated data, when the real data was available in the station record.
Anthony Watts has the full story HERE, demonstrating that the scientific method works when confirmation bias is constrained.
What is going on is that the USHCN code is that while the RAW data file has the actual measurements, for some reason the final data they publish doesn’t get the memo that good data is actually present for these stations, so it “infills” it with estimated data using data from surrounding stations. It’s a bug, a big one. And as Zeke did a cursory analysis Thursday night, he discovered it was systemic to the entire record, and up to 10% of stations have “estimated” data spanning over a century.
Bottom line here is that “Zombie weather stations” exist in the National Climate Data Center’s USHCN final data set that are still generating data, even though they have been closed. This has some “astonishing scientific and political implications”, according to Dr Curry at her blog. “[T]here are some interesting insights and lessons from this regarding the technical skeptical blogosphere,” writes Curry. This was another major discovery by citizens scientists working together.
What are the implications? There have been numerous papers written on increasing US temperatures, when the raw data shows some cooling. There have been multiple policies made to curb temperature increases based on this contaminated data, including AB-32 in California. Policies focused on warming, when the raw unadjusted data shows some cooling since the 1930s according to Goddard. More analysis is underway.
I highly recommend those interested in the full story read Anthony Watts account of how his being skeptical of Steven Goddard, which led to farter investigation by other citizens scientist, which led to the discovery of a major bug in how temperatures are calculated and presented to policy makers by NCDC, NOAA and NASA.
Dr Curry is right, there is going to be some scientific and political fallout from the discovery of a major bug in the historical data base. A date set used by policy makers to justify the control of climate change with regulations and taxes. There may no longer be any justification. However, I am skeptical that anything will change in California as there is too much AB-32 money on the table.