Nothing is more important to the deniers and delayers than finding a mistake. Oops, let me quickly correct that mistake before they do and start again.
Nothing is less important to the deniers and delayers than finding or even acknowledging the whopping mistakes by fellow deniers and delayers or frankly by anybody who publishes anything that might seem to support their anti-scientific views. See, as but a tiny sample,
- Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?
- Yet another denier talking point melts down
- Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years
- Killing the myth of the 1970s global cooling scientific consensus
- Nature article on ‘cooling’ confuses media, deniers: Next decade may see rapid warming
- A bunch of huge mistakes by Michael Crichton
Also, nothing is more important to the deniers and delayers than finding even the tiniest and most irrelevant mistakes in NASA datasets (see, for instance, “Must read from Hansen: Stop the madness about the tiny revision in NASA’s temperature data!“).
Well, they’re back! Two of the most popular denier websites are all excited by a temporary misreporting of some temperature stations by NASA (see wattsupwiththat.com and climateaudit.org — note, I can’t actually bring myself to hyperlink to them and thereby simplify their task of spreading disinformation). Anyway, you can read the entire story from NASA’s Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate.org in a post appropriately titled, “Mountains and Molehills“:
… there was a glitch in the surface temperature record reporting for October. For many Russian stations (and some others), September temperatures were apparently copied over into October, giving an erroneous positive anomaly. The error appears to have been made somewhere between the reporting by the National Weather Services and NOAA’s collation of the GHCN database. GISS, which produces one of the more visible analyses of this raw data, processed the input data as normal and ended up with an October anomaly that was too high. That analysis has now been pulled (in under 24 hours) while they await a correction of input data from NOAA.
There were 90 stations for which October numbers equalled September numbers in the corrupted GHCN file for 2008 (out of 908). This compares with an average of about 16 stations each year in the last decade (some earlier years have bigger counts, but none as big as this month, and are much less as a percentage of stations). These other cases seem to be mostly legitimate tropical stations where there isn’t much of a seasonal cycle. That makes it a little tricky to automatically scan for this problem, but putting in a check for the total number or percentage is probably sensible going forward.
Zzzzzzz. Zzzzzzz. Zzzzzzz.
We should know in a day or two what the corrected temperature anomaly is. Obviously, whether it turns out to be one of the warmest Octobers on record or just an average October has exceedingly little bearing on the overall long-term climate forecast, which is most certainly “Hot — and then Very Hot” — and, assuming we keep listening to the deniers and delayers, “extremely friggin’ hot.”
But I still like to draw attention to the monthly temperature trends, especially because it is, of course, actually getting warmer, and I know just how much it annoys the deniers and delayers. Seriously, if we can’t stop the denier and delayers from throwing dust in the eyes of the media and convincing GOP voters and politicians to oppose the action needed to save our children from the gravest threat to their health and well-being, if we can’t do that, at least we can try to make the deniers and delayers misdirect some of their venom. And venom they do spew, especially at the most inconsequential of things:
… there is a strong yearning among some to want to wake up tomorrow and find that the globe hasn’t been warming, that the sea ice hasn’t melted, that the glaciers have not receded and that indeed, CO2 is not a greenhouse gas. Thus when mistakes occur (and with science being a human endeavour, they always will) the exuberance of the response can be breathtaking – and quite telling.A few examples from the comments at Watt’s blog [hyperlink deleted to spare your blood pressure and sanity] will suffice to give you a flavour of the conspiratorial thinking: “I believe they had two sets of data: One would be released if Republicans won, and another if Democrats won.”, “could this be a sneaky way to set up the BO presidency with an urgent need to regulate CO2?”, “There are a great many of us who will under no circumstance allow the oppression of government rule to pervade over our freedom—PERIOD!!!!!!” (exclamation marks reduced enormously), “these people are blinded by their own bias”, “this sort of scientific fraud”, “Climate science on the warmer side has degenerated to competitive lying”, etc… (To be fair, there were people who made sensible comments as well).
The amount of simply made up stuff is also impressive – the GISS press release declaring the October the ‘warmest ever’? Imaginary (GISS only puts out press releases on the temperature analysis at the end of the year). The headlines trumpeting this result? Non-existent. One clearly sees the relief that finally the grand conspiracy has been rumbled, that the mainstream media will get it’s comeuppance, and that surely now, the powers that be will listen to those voices that had been crying in the wilderness.
Alas! none of this will come to pass. In this case, someone’s programming error will be fixed and nothing will change except for the reporting of a single month’s anomaly. No heads will roll, no congressional investigations will be launched, no politicians (with one possible exception) will take note. This will undoubtedly be disappointing to many, but they should comfort themselves with the thought that the chances of this error happening again has now been diminished. Which is good, right?
If you know any of the NASA GISS scientists, and I am fortunate to know both Schmidt and Hansen, then you know that, like the overwhelming majority of scientists, nothing is more important to them than data integrity, reproducibility of results, and the search for the truth.
When the history of this time is written, I suspect nothing will be so incomprehensible and infuriating to future generations as how so many clever people could devote so much of their effort to both attacking our top scientists for trying to warn the public about what is to come and delaying action that might have staved off the worst.
- Yes, the globe is warming. But how fast?
- This just in: Great Ice Age of 2008 is STILL over
- “Hadley Center to deniers: We are STILL warming”
- Hansen throws cold water on cooling climate claim
- Where is the media on the incredible warming and extreme weather of February?
- Media enable denier spin 1: A (sort of) cold January doesn’t mean climate stopped warming
- No warming since 1998? Get real, deniers!
- NASA: 2007 Second Warmest Year Ever, with Record Warmth Likely by 2010