GISS’s Suspect Numbers

More AGW conclusions called into doubt:

On Monday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

The blunder?

GISS’s computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

Did GISS admit the mistake? Well first it tired to find a new way to justify it’s declaration of October being the hottest October on record:

This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new “hotspot” in the Arctic – in a month when satellite ../images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

Finally GISS addressed the Russian temperatures:

A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with.

Of course it is the absolute responsibility of GISS to ensure the data they use is the correct data, especially when they offer their work as an authoritative representation of reality and call for massive changes in the way we live, work and spend our money. Naturally such mistakes throw doubt on the entire body of work they’ve presented thus far in support of AGW. I’m sure scientists will be pouring over that now, in order to assess whether the same mistake was made in past data and the conclusions drawn from it.

This isn’t the first time that Hansen’s claims have been challenged:

In 2007 he was forced by Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre to revise his published figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as he had claimed, but the 1930s.

Hey, if you can’t trust a government institution to give you the straight scoop, who can you trust? [/sarcasm]

[Crossposted at QandO]]

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