Roy Spencer’s satellite data website: “The temperature on 06/15/2010 is 457.23 deg F warmer than this day last year.”

Hansen was right all along: We’ve become friggin’ Venus!

This amusing mistake won’t be on Spencer’s and Braswell’s Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit satellite data plotting website for long, so here’s a screen grab:

[Insert your joke here.]

And yet Accuweather’s expert long-range forecaster Joe Bastardi insists, “Keep in mind, the only records to ‘trust’ are 30 years of objective satellite measurements.”

Seriously, though, there are two reasons I am tweaking Spencer on this. First, for a long time, I (and many others) have been urging Spencer to fix the website that bears his name as “page author.” He has finally changed it, but from my perspective he made it less useful, if not entirely useless.

As I noted three months ago:

There are flaws in Spencer’s graphing system. Dr. Danny Braswell, NSSTC, an author of the graphing page, writes me, “The period used to compute the 20yr record highs ended several years ago. Gaps are because of missing data.” He also writes, “The yearly plots are computed with temperature data from AMSU. The first AMSU was launched in May 1998 on NOAA-15 and data became available later that year. The 20 year records are only there for a few channels and are based on data from the older MSU.”

That means if you want a plot that includes the first half of 1998, which set many records, you need to use Channel 5 and include the “20-year record highs.” But if you want the true record highs, you need to include all recent years (although that makes the graph messy).

Now they’ve nixed the “20-year record highs” line because it would have to be updated continuously to be useful, which they don’t want to do, even though it doesn’t strike me as particularly hard. So now you can’t plot current temps against the hottest year in the satellite record. That seriously undercuts the value of the entire plotting enterprise.


Second, if, say, James Hansen had a similar website that had so many problems for so long — the anti-science crowd would have hectored him no end. And then if he had redone the website and dropped a lot of old data claiming it was too much trouble to keep up, well, you can only imagine the accusations they would level.

So I rather think Spencer should either fix this so that it plots all of the data they have — or nix the whole thing.NOTE: For those who have been plotting Channel 4 (the near surface layer) and thinking this is a blowout year, that is mainly because the 1998 data isn’t there for the first half of the year but again the website doesn’t make that obvious.

For the record, NOAA points out that both satellite data sets show about the same amount of warming as the land-based record, “which increased at a rate near 0.16°C/decade (0.29°F/decade) during the same 30-year period” “” once you remove the expected stratospheric cooling from the satellite records (see NOAA discussion here).

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