Dissent in the climate ranks over Karl’s “pause buster” temperature data tweaking

WUWT readers may recall that on June 4th, 2015, WUWT published a scathing criticism of the paper by Karl et al (“Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus”) that purported to erase the pause in the surface temperature record by applying some highly questionable, and apparently desperate  adjustments to SST data. I still stand by this initial critical work of Bob Tisdale and I: NOAA/NCDC’s new ‘pause-buster’ paper: a laughable attempt to create warming by adjusting past data.


It seems that other climate scientists on the “proponent” side have taken note of this chicanery.

Andrew Montford writes at Bishop Hill:

The US CLIVAR project publishes a newsletter/cum journal, a recent issue of which was dedicated to the hiatus in global warming. Featuring papers from a variety of well-known climatologists, I was interested to see the headline article, from Gerald Meehl, which seems to take a fairly hefty pot-shot at the data tweaking approach adopted by many climatologists.

There have been recent claims that the early-2000s hiatus…was an artifact of problematic sea surface temperature (SST) data (Karl et al. 2015), lack of Arctic data (Cowtan and Way 2014), or both. Such claims indicate that when corrections are made to SST data, by taking into account various measurement methods that introduce biases in the data, then “there was no ‘hiatus’ in temperature rise…[and] a presumed pause in the rise of Earth’s average global surface temperature might never have happened” (Wendel 2015). Often there are issues with observed data that need adjusting – in this case such claims of “no hiatus” are artifacts of questionable interpretation of decadal timescale variability and externally forced response – not problems with the data. Thus, the hiatus is symptomatic of the much broader and very compelling problem of decadal timescale variability of the climate system.

Whether Meehl is any more correct than Karl is anyone’s guess though.


And there were others, previously:
Climate scientists criticize government paper (Karl et al. 2015) that erases ‘pause’ in warming
WUWT was also critical of the adjustments applied by Cowtan and Way in this article:
Cowtan and Way’s ‘pausebuster’, still flat compared to models
as was Dr. Judith Curry:
Curry on the Cowtan & Way ‘pausebuster’: ‘Is there anything useful [in it]?”
It bears repeating that any metric that purports to give the temperature of Earth, be it shonky surface data or indirect satellite microwave emission measurement is a statistical construct full of choices made by the authors. Users of such data tend to think of these as absolute measurements rather than the estimates with wide error bands that they actually are.
Some, are more uncertain than others. When you get fun results like this…
NOAA Releases New Pause-Buster Global Surface Temperature Data and Immediately Claims Record-High Temps for May 2015 – What a Surprise!
…one wonders if the surface temperature record is now so uncertain that it is essentially little more than a political tool with most of the science adjusted out of it.


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