Wednesday, February 15, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Met Office vs NOAA

The Battle For Truth And Credibility Over Global Warming Pause

In this newsletter:

1) ‘Slowdown’ In Ocean Heating Gives Climate Sceptics A Warm Glow
The Sunday Times, 12 February 2017
2) David Whitehouse: Karl et al. (2015) And The Return Of The ‘Pause‘
GWPF Observatory, 6 February 2017
3) David Whitehouse: Data, Deflection And The Pause
GWPF Observatory, 12 February 2017
4) David Rose: How Can We Trust Climate Scientists If They Keep Twisting The Truth?
Mail on Sunday, 12 February 2017
5) Christopher Booker: Will Donald Trump And The Republicans Bring An End To The Costliest Scare Story Ever Known?
The Sunday Telegraph, 12 February 2017
6) The New Dark Ages: Growing Censorship At 95% Of UK Universities
The Times, 11 February 2017

Full details:

1) ‘Slowdown’ In Ocean Heating Gives Climate Sceptics A Warm Glow
The Sunday Times, 12 February 2017
Jonathan Leake
A scientific controversy over the impact of climate change on oceans has taken a new twist with research suggesting they are warming more slowly than thought.

Scientists have analysed millions of readings from across Earth’s oceans between 2000 and 2015, finding that sea surface temperature is rising at 1.17C per century compared with the 1.34C per century of previous estimates.

The difference is tiny in everyday terms but is important because the oceans are so large that even a warming by a tenth of a degree represents a big increase in the energy they store — and the potential impact on climate.

It is also politically potent, especially in America where an increasingly climate-sceptic Republican party will see it as confirmation of a suspected slowdown in global warming and evidence that previous warnings were exaggerated.

“The reduced warming emerging in the latest analysis is due to several separate factors,” said Professor Peter Thorne, chairman of the International Surface Temperature Initiative and co-author of the latest research. “This includes corrections to historic data collected from ships and the inclusion of new data about areas covered by ice.”

The research was led by Boyin Huang of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), America’s leading climate research agency. The paper has been discussed at conferences and is under peer review.

In any other field, such detailed findings might matter only to scientists. In America, however, the election of Donald Trump, who has described global warming as “a hoax”, has made climate science a political battleground.

The Republican-dominated congressional committee on science, space and technology has taken a keen interest in the “climate slowdown” between 1998 and 2012, when the rise in global temperatures appeared to fall from 0.12C a decade to 0.07C.

Its chairman, Lamar Smith, used this to claim that climate scientists had “greatly overestimated” global warming and was infuriated when, in June 2015, the NOAA published research suggesting that the apparent slowdown was down to data glitches — and the world had warmed as fast as ever.

This was controversial with scientists too — even Britain’s Met Office disagreed. Tom Karl, author of the NOAA paper, has been under attack ever since. Last week the pressure increased when John Bates, a former colleague of Karl’s who was a data manager at the NOAA until his retirement, wrote a widely reported blog post saying Karl “had his thumb on the scale . . . in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus”.

Huang and Thorne’s research suggests the reality is more complex. “There was a bit of a slowdown but it was smaller than we thought and explained largely by natural variability,” said Thorne. “The underlying trend for the world to get warmer is still strongly present in our research.”

Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office climate centre, said: “The slowdown hasn’t gone away . . . However, our confidence in a warming world doesn’t just depend on surface temperatures. It is seen in a wealth of indicators, including melting snow and ice, and rising sea levels.”

The acceptance by the NOAA that there was even a small “climate slowdown” may please sceptics. However, Bates is unlikely to be among them. He told The Sunday Times: “I do not believe Tom Karl was cheating and did not mean to imply he was. I believe the evidence supports climate change, and do believe the world is warming — and this could be a threat. The details are the difficulty.”

2) David Whitehouse: Karl et al. (2015) And The Return Of The ‘Pause‘
GWPF Observatory, 6 February 2017

The changes made by Karl et al. were influential but small and temporary and are turning out to be irrelevant anyway because of what the data is actually doing. Should anyone still think that the higher trends that include the years 2015 and 2016 are due to long-term global warming take a look at HadCRUT4, Fig 3, where you can see the deviation caused by the recent strong El Nino. One can see the decline to 2014 temperatures and the return of the “pause.”

Full post
3) David Whitehouse: Data, Deflection And The Pause
GWPF Observatory, 12 February 2017
Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

David Rose’s splendid and significant article in last week’s Mail on Sunday certainly caused a stir.

The initial reaction, mostly distractions, have been easily dealt with by David Rose in this week’s installment.

One of the points raised concerned a paper submitted to the Journal of Climate by Huang et al. It is about the new ERSSTv5 sea surface temperature dataset. It is an interesting paper that claims that ERSSTv5 shows a lower rate of warming than the previous ERSSTv4 which was used by the now famous Karl et al paper in 2015 which claimed that — contrary to the IPCC — there had been no slowdown in the rate of temperature increase in the past 15 years or so – the so-called Pause.

One persistent activist said the paper was stolen and it was unethical to comment on it. In reality the preprint was obtained from a public webpage, anyone could have downloaded it. It has been in circulation for weeks.

The Huang paper and its inconvenient conclusion prompted the Carbon Brief website to publish an article early Friday afternoon by Prof Peter Thorne of Maynooth Universiry. Clearly, and unwisely, it was designed to forestall anything David Rose might say about discrepancies in ocean temperature data. It was a na├»ve move showing inexperience with ‘media management.’

Carbon Brief’s contributor said that the paper’s authors did not give permission for the yet to be published data to be distributed. But it doesn’t matter. By placing it on a public website they had. Also Carbon Brief or its advisors know that no such restrictions apply to journalists. Some journalists have a relationship with some journals to respect short-term pre-publication embargoes, but it is voluntary and not applicable with the journal in question. Where would journalism be if every time a reporter was told ‘you can’t publish this,’ they acquiesced?

The author said because of the potential headlines he wanted to set the record straight. Because the Huang paper and its data was still undergoing peer-review he said he would only discuss it in the barest detail, only he didn’t. He went into much detail about many of the most important points of Huang et al. But he went even further than that. He actually published the HRSSTv5 dataset. It doesn’t matter that it was in graphical form – there it was on Carbon Brief who had given to the world data that was under peer review! The article on Carbon Brief is published under a CC license encouraging reproduction. There could be no copyright issues now.

Within minutes of the posting by Carbon Brief it was noted that their ERSSTv5 graph was not the same as in the Huang paper. Because of this there followed a series of twitter exchanges. I will spare the names and embarrassment You can go look at them if you like. Below is the Huang data (click on image to enlarge).

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 10.38.34

Firstly it was said that whoever had noticed the changes must have better eyes that one of the scientists concerned! Then there was a denial they were different. Then it was said that the two graphs had different baselines, (which they hadn’t being both 1971 – 2000). Then there followed a claim that all the data series in the Carbon Brief article had beed ‘rebased.’ When it was pointed out that of the four datasets on the Carbon Brief graph only ERSSTv5 had been altered (constant offset of +0.08°C) what confusion there was only increased. Below is the Carbon Brief version of the data.

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 15.02.24

It was then said that these things happen, it’s the type of thing reviewers pick up. Well, I’m not sure about that. The paper had ten authors (five of them were among the nine authors of the Karl 15 ‘pausebuster’ paper) and seemingly all of them missed it, if it was the case that the Huang graph was wrong at that time. The question left in the mind of Twitter readers was why all the prevarication and untrue excuses. Why no admission that it was a problem straight up.

If the discrepancy between the two graphs had not been pointed out a highly misleading article would have been allowed to stand. Either the authors did or did not know the graphs were different. In either case the answer is cause for great embarrassment at least. These revelations made the Carbon Brief paper look manipulative and misleading.

The baseline confusion was ironic given the criticism given to the Mail on Sunday last week for an incorrect caption regarding temperature baselines. This time the same mistake was made by ten professional scientists. I don’t suppose an apology is imminent.

Today the Mail on Sunday consolidated its story, revealing that the release of new ocean temperature data was delayed for unscientific reasons. What is more a story in the Sunday Times confirms that the UK Met Office does not accept Karl et al’s denial of the global warming hiatus and acknowledges that, ‘the slowdown hasn’t gone away.’

Writing in this week’s New Scientist, Michael Mann claimed that the pause is an ‘utterly debunked idea’ and ‘in the final analysis was much ado about nothing,’ and a ‘favourite climate contrarian talking point.’

The pause is real and it contains lots of interesting science, there are over 50 explanations proffered for it. But is also has another effect in that is shows the diversity of opinion in climate science, which on this important topic is certainly not settled. Who can deny that climate science is divided over this crucial issue?

Here is HadCRUT4 global temperature for the past 20 years. Judge for yourself.


4) David Rose: How Can We Trust Climate Scientists If They Keep Twisting The Truth?
Mail on Sunday, 12 February 2017

They were duped – and so were we. That was the conclusion of last week’s damning revelation that world leaders signed the Paris Agreement on climate change under the sway of unverified and questionable data.

A landmark scientific paper –the one that caused a sensation by claiming there has been NO slowdown in global warming since 2000 – was critically flawed. And thanks to the bravery of a whistleblower, we now know that for a fact.

The response has been extraordinary, with The Mail on Sunday’s disclosures reverberating around the world. There have been nearly 150,000 Facebook ‘shares’ since last Sunday, an astonishing number for a technically detailed piece, and extensive coverage in media at home and abroad.

It has even triggered an inquiry by Congress. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House of Representatives’ science committee, is renewing demands for documents about the controversial paper, which was produced by America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the world’s leading source of climate data.

In his view, the whistleblower had shown that ‘NOAA cheated and got caught’. No wonder Smith and many others are concerned: the revelations go to the very heart of the climate change industry and the scientific claims we are told we can trust. [...]

It turns out that when NOAA compiled what is known as the ‘version 4’ dataset, it took reliable readings from buoys but then ‘adjusted’ them upwards – using readings from seawater intakes on ships that act as weather stations.

They did this even though readings from the ships have long been known to be too hot.

No one, to be clear, has ‘tampered’ with the figures. But according to Bates, the way those figures were chosen exaggerated global warming.

And without this new dataset there would have been no Pausebuster paper. If, as previous sea water evidence has shown, there really has been a pause in global warming, then it calls into question the received wisdom about its true scale.

Then there is the matter of timing. Documents obtained by this newspaper show that NOAA, ignoring protests by Dr Bates, held back publication of the version 4 sea dataset several months after it was ready – to intensify the impact of the Pausebuster paper. It also meant more sceptical voices had no chance to examine the figures.

Our revelations showed there was another problem with the Pausebuster paper – it used an untested experimental version of the dataset recording temperatures on land, which had not been properly archived and made accessible to other scientists.

This was a fundamental breach of mandatory rules under NOAA’s Climate Data Records programme, which Bates had devised. Is it sharp practice? Certainly it carries the stench of ‘Climategate’ in 2009, when leaked emails showed scientists colluding to hide data and weaknesses in their arguments.

It is important to acknowledge the MoS did make one error: the caption on a graph, showing the difference between NOAA’s sea data records and the UK Met Office’s, did not make clear that they used different baselines. We corrected this immediately on our website.

The only ‘fake news’ in our revelations is the claim that they don’t matter.

In truth, they are hugely damaging, for they suggest an agreement made by figures such as Barack Obama and David Cameron rested in part on research that had not been published with integrity.

This is an age where many have come to question the role of experts. Restoring trust demands transparency.

In climate science, this means being open about the fact there are still critical uncertainties: not about the basic proposition that the world is warming, thanks in part to humans, but about the speed at which this is happening; and when it is likely, left unchecked, to become truly dangerous.

Al Gore famously said: ‘The science is settled.’ It is not.

We cannot allow such a vital issue for our future to be mired in half truths and deceptions.

Full post

5) Christopher Booker: Will Donald Trump And The Republicans Bring An End To The Costliest Scare Story Ever Known?
The Sunday Telegraph, 12 February 2017

Once this scandal has been properly brought out into the open, it will raise the most disturbing question mark yet over the promotion of the greatest and costliest scare story the world has ever known.

Two years ago last week, I wrote a column given the provocative heading “The fiddling of temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever”. It was the second of two articles which attracted a record 42,000 comments from all over the world, reporting on the discovery by expert bloggers in half a dozen countries – led in Britain by Paul Homewood on his site “Not a lot of people know that” – that something very odd appeared to have been done to the official land surface temperature records on which, more than anything else, the entire alarm over man-made global warming has rested.

These derive from the record known as the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), run by the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). By comparing archived data with that now being published, the bloggers claimed to have discovered that temperature records all over the world had, seemingly, been systematically “adjusted” to show older temperatures lower than those originally measured and more recent temperatures higher than those recorded: thus conveying the notion that the world is warming significantly more than the actual data justified.

This scandal has now  surfaced again with accusations made by Dr John Bates, a recently retired senior scientist at the NOAA, against his former boss , Tom Karl. Bates alleges that an NOAA paper written before the historic climate conference in Paris in 2015 breached its own rules and was based on misleading and unverified data. That, to many, looks like the paper was designed to stoke up hysteria over global warming in the run-up to the conference.

The warmist lobby had no greater concern at that time than the so-called “pause”: the evidence that, for nearly 20 years, the trend in global temperatures had been failing to rise as all the official computer models had predicted it should.

Karl’s paper won worldwide publicity by purporting to show that there had, in fact, been no “pause”, and that both land and sea temperatures had continued to rise more than was previously accepted.

What Dr Bates now claims is that, in defiance of rules he himself drew up and over his (Bates’s) private objections, Karl’s paper had again been based on “adjustments” that the scientific evidence didn’t justify.

Full post
6) The New Dark Ages: Growing Censorship At 95% Of UK Universities
The Times, 11 February 2017
Greg Hurst

A new analysis shows that censorship has steadily increased at universities, with 94 per cent of campuses having some restrictions on freedom of expression, up from 90 per cent last year and 80 per cent in 2015.

Village People outfits, vicars and tarts parties, dressing up like chavs, gangsters or Mexicans and even Pocahontas outfits have been banned as offensive by some student unions.

Undergraduates may be disciplined at other universities if they put up posters showing a woman’s bottom or cleavage, wolf-whistle or make “offensive sexual noises” or fail to address a transgender student by their preferred name or correct gender pronoun.

Moves by student unions to control what undergraduates may and may not wear are among the latest examples of a growing climate of intolerance on campuses highlighted in a university free speech ranking compiled by the radical online magazine Spiked.

It found nine instances of campus bans on fancy dress costumes, 21 bans on visiting speakers, 16 bans on student societies, 17 bans on advertisements and 21 bans on tabloid newspapers in the past three years.

More widespread were restrictive policies adopted by student unions, and in some cases universities, with 44 per cent of campuses having no-platform policies that impose a blanket ban on fascist, racist or Islamist speakers and 24 per cent having safe space policies that censor free speech.

Spiked, which has compiled similar rankings for three years, said that 94 per cent of campuses had some restrictions on expression (such as harassment policies that forbid sexist jokes), with 63.5 per cent having active instances of censorship (such as bans on particular speakers or tabloid newspapers).

Full story

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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