Per the UK Daily Mail, “the claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s [NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies] analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. NASA admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.
Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.
As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted NASA thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond.
To put it another way, it was almost 2x as likely that 2014 was not the warmest year since 1880 a fact that Mr. Schmidt did not want the public to know.
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Climate Scientist Dr Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama was embarrassed by the claim:
I am embarrassed by the scientific community’s behavior on the subject. I went into science with the misguided belief that science provides answers. Too often, it doesn’t. Some physical problems are simply too difficult. Two scientists can examine the same data and come to exactly opposite conclusions about causation.
We still don’t understand what causes natural climate change to occur, so we simply assume it doesn’t exist. This despite abundant evidence that it was just as warm 1,000 and 2,000 years ago as it is today. Forty years ago, “climate change” necessarily implied natural causation; now it only implies human causation.
What changed? Not the science…our estimates of climate sensitivity are about the same as they were 40 years ago.
What changed is the politics. And not just among the politicians. At AMS or AGU scientific conferences, political correctness and advocacy are now just as pervasive as as they have become in journalism school. Many (mostly older) scientists no longer participate and many have even resigned in protest.
Science as a methodology for getting closer to the truth has been all but abandoned. It is now just one more tool to achieve political ends.
Reports that 2014 was the “hottest” year on record feed the insatiable appetite the public has for definitive, alarming headlines. It doesn’t matter that even in the thermometer record, 2014 wasn’t the warmest within the margin of error. Who wants to bother with “margin of error”? Journalists went into journalism so they wouldn’t have to deal with such technical mumbo-jumbo. I said this six weeks ago, as did others, but no one cares unless a mainstream news source stumbles upon it and is objective enough to report it.
The fudging may even be bigger, climate blogger Steven Goddard at Real Science examined the raw numbers and discovered:
Gavin quietly says that there is a 62% chance that 2014 was not the warmest year on record, but he had to give his boss a talking point for the State of the Union address this week.
So Gavin simply fabricated warm temperatures across huge areas like Greenland, where he had no actual thermometer data in December. Gavin showed much of western Greenland 1-2C above normal, when it was actually 2C below normal. It doesn’t take a lot of that sort of cheating to get temperatures up 0.02 globally.
The claim also ignores the satellite temperature data, also from NASA which shows that the earth hasn’t warmed in 18 years and 3 months.
Not only was the claim as made by Gavin Schmidt bogus, but the numbers/analysis was wrong also. Or to quote
Physicist Luboš Motl, “Please laugh out loud when someone will be telling you that it was the warmest year.”