I posted Part XXIV of this series just three days ago, on Wednesday August 14. The subject of that post was the “homogenization” of official historical temperature data, by which the keepers of our official temperature records from ground-based thermometers use the excuses of station moves and instrumentation changes to adjust earlier temperatures downward in order to create an artificial warming trend and make recent temperatures appear to be the warmest ever.
But why would anyone engage in such a stupid game? After all, it’s been a good 50 years since the network of ground-based thermometers was recognized as completely inadequate to the task of keeping track of the earth’s changing climate. This network just had too many unfixable issues that meant that its measurement accuracy was not nearly sufficient for the task at hand. The issues include things like poor coverage of most of the earth’s surface (e.g., the whole southern hemisphere), essentially no coverage of the poles or the oceans, urban heat island issues affecting many of the most important stations, poorly tracked station moves and instrumentation changes, and so forth. These many issues are reasons why the decision was made back in the 1970s to spend some serious money to create a far superior methodology to track not just temperature readings at randomly sited ground stations, but instead to track the bulk heat content of the entire lower troposphere. Since 1979 the U.S. government has spent several billion dollars to build, launch and operate a group of satellites with instrumentation called “microwave sounding units,” designed to measure true average worldwide temperatures of the lower troposphere. Thus, since 1979, the network of ground-based thermometers has been made obsolete. We now have the far more accurate satellite temperature record to guide us.
The satellite-based temperature record is calculated and reported each month by a group at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) headed by Drs. John Christy and Roy Spencer. On August 1, UAH reported what they call the temperature “anomaly” for the lower troposphere for July: +0.38 deg C (measured as a departure from the average temperature from 1981 to 2010). That made July a relatively warm month, but it was down substantially from the anomaly of +0.47 deg C in June, let alone from the record anomaly of +0.88 deg C that occurred three and a half years ago in January 2016. The drop from the January 2016 record anomaly was a full 0.5 deg C, which is a very large drop considering that the record upward departure from the 1981-2010 mean is only +0.88 deg C.
You might think that the large drop in satellite-measured lower troposphere temperatures would put a stop to the endless series of claims from NASA and NOAA that the latest year or month is the “hottest ever.” Isn’t the definitive satellite temperature record the complete answer to that?
And yet, on August 15, the very next day after my August 14 post, NOAA came out with its latest press release, headline “July 2019 was the hottest month on record for the planet.” Excerpt:
Much of the planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded. . . . The average global temperature in July was 1.71 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees, making it the hottest July in the 140-year record, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The previous hottest month on record was July 2016.
But wait a minute — doesn’t the satellite record show that that claim is not true at all? Go through the NOAA press release, and go through the link in the press release to what NOAA calls its “full climate report,” and you will not find any mention at all of the satellite data. The only clue you will find that NOAA is talking about its surface thermometer series rather than the satellite temperatures is the reference to the “140-year record.” If you know something about this area, you know that the surface temperature series goes back 140 years to about 1880, while the satellite records only go back 40 years to 1979.
But aside from that one clue, they tell you nothing. What do the satellite records say? They tell you nothing. What about the adjustments to the surface temperature records to push earlier-year temperatures downward? Those are not mentioned at all!
But surely, when the independent prestige press gets this press release, they will not just regurgitate it, but will bring in the conflicting information from the satellite temperature series? Hah! Here is the New York Times article from August 15, headline “NOAA Data Confirms July Was Hottest Month Ever Recorded.” Excerpt:
United States government scientists on Thursday confirmed that July was the hottest month on record, edging out the previous record-holder, July 2016.
The article once again does not so much as mention the conflicting satellite data, let alone the issue of unexplained adjustments to the surface thermometer data to cause the most recent data to be the warmest.
Washington Post? It’s the same. Their article has the headline “July was Earth’s hottest month on record, beating or tying July 2016.” No mention of the conflicting satellite data. No mention of the unexplained downward adjustments to the early-year surface thermometer data.
At Watts Up With That yesterday, Kip Hansen weighs in with an appropriate comment:
NOAA has spent billions of taxpayer dollars to send up satellites to monitor the weather and thus climate of the Earth. It pays two different scientific groups, UAH and RSS to produce global temperature data sets of the Earth’s atmosphere, but routinely ignores them when it needs to push Climate Catastrophism.
This is a serious embarrassment for the U.S. government — or at least, you would think it would be. Inferior and intentionally altered data are touted to the world to promote claims of climate catastrophe, even as the same government spends billions to generate far better data that show the exact opposite. Meanwhile, the supposed prestige press aids and abets the deception. It’s beyond ridiculous.