ClimateGate Goes Back to 1980

Those of you who still believe that the ClimateGate scandal was just a bunch of emails in England should read this article. James Hansen of GISS appears to have systematically adjusted the historical temperature record to remove a cold patch in the ’70s in order to exaggerate the rise since. The amount of change of 0.6 degrees is for one decade is close to the measured change for the whole century. This is vividly seen in these three snapshots of his data being modified:

Watch how the cooling trend of the 1960’s to 1970’s is steadily adjusted up so that 0.3 degrees cooler gradually becomes 0.03 warmer (notice the red and blue horizontal lines in the graphs above).

Mathews Graph 1976: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.3C warmer than 1970’s

Hansen/GISS 1980: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.1C warmer than 1970’s

Hansen/GISS 1987: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.05C warmer than 1970’s

Hansen/GISS 2007: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.03C cooler than 1970’s

Here is what we had thought was the historic temperature, back in the mid-1970s before the deception began. Note how much warmer the ’30s and ’40s looked then, and how in the charts above it shrinks in significance:

The article goes on to explain how weather balloon data created the prior temperature record, and is considered very accurate. It also matches very closely to satellite data, which started in 1979. Significantly, satellite data has diverged from the surface temperature data, showing less warming, pointing to the deception.

The whole AGW edifice is built on surface temperature from three sources: Hansen’s GISS, the UK’s HadCRUt and the NOAA. The GISS data is now seen to be manipulated; the HadCRUt data is suspect since it is from the main sources of the ClimateGate emails; and NOAA is even warmer than both of them, suggesting manipulation there too.

Much of the rest of climate science is built on data which is now suspect. What is now seen as Garbage In, Garbage Out had been Garbage In, Gospel Out.

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About Duncan Davidson 228 Articles

Affiliation: NetService Ventures

Duncan is an advisor to NetService Ventures, where he focuses on digital media and the mobile Internet.

Previously he was at four start-ups: Xumii, a mobile social service based on a Social Addressbook; SkyPilot Networks, the performance leader of wireless mesh systems for last-mile access, where he was the founding CEO; Covad Communications (Amex: DVW, $9B market cap at the peak), the leading independent DSL access provider, where he was the founding Chairman; InterTrust Technologies ($9B market cap at the peak), the pioneer in digital rights management technologies, now owned by Sony and Philips, where he was SVP Business Development and the pitchman for the IPO.

Before these ventures, Duncan was a partner at Cambridge Venture Partners, an early-stage venture firm, and managing partner of Gemini McKenna, a joint venture between Regis McKenna's marketing firm and Gemini Consulting, the global management consulting arm of Cap Gemini.

He serves on the board or is an adviser to Aggregate Knowledge (content discovery), Livescribe (digital pen), AllVoices (citizen journalism), Xumii (mobile social addressbook), Verismo (Internet settop box), and Widevine (DRM for IPTV).

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39 Comments on ClimateGate Goes Back to 1980

  1. If this “ClimateGate”, as it is called, the biggest smokescreen campaign in recent times. It is a fitting name because it refers back to the dirty tricks the Republican Party has always resorted to to sway public opinion…this is no different.
    It would not surprise me if the backers of this party are behind this (the other fossil fuel lobby). I pray that evidence appears to uncover this base practice.
    Never mind the science and evidence that is solid and without question…ice melt in Greenland, specie movement (ie coffee plantations for one!), specie invasion (ie pine beetle in the west USA), warming of oceans, just to name a few.
    We are burning ever INCREASING amounts of fossil fuel carbon in the air.
    Does anyone with COMMON SENSE really think this will not have an IMPACT?!
    I suppose it is really hard to accept here in the Industrialized societies that our “way of life” will ultimately undermine living ecosystems.
    The question remains…will we wait (like we have done for the LAST 30-40 years!) for the time that we have NO CHOICE but to ACT?
    If so, then it will be too LATE .. “the tipping point” will be reached and then we (future generations that is) just have to take the consequences.

    • What ice melt? The Ice is back as we enter the solar minimum.
      Extreme Environmentalism is using the Global Warming/Climate Change mantra to promote of control population, commodity consumption, and land use. All these are valid environmental issues and concerns but not with Climate Change as the driver. Extreme environmentalism demonstrates the use of science for the purposes of politics and this has been exposed. Environmentalist cry foul when they are exposed by the facts and blame it on the Republicans. Democrats and Republicans alike are fed up with extreme environmentalists crying “Wolf”.

      • …while extreme capitalism does not hesitate to lie (no explicit bibliographic source for data and no method explanation are given in this article) in order to mine planet’s natural capital up to depletion, for the greatest pleasure of a handful of tycoons.

        Mentez, mentez … il en restera toujours quelque chose

    • “Anyone” with common sense or a physics background realizes that the change this could cause is likely very small. Anyone with common sense and even basic biology knows the change, if any, would be overwelmingly beneficial to life. Anyone with common sense and any knowledge of geology knows that greater changes in atmospheric content in the past have not produced the results claimed by the warming fanatics.

      I don’t know the impact perfectly but I do know beyond any reasonable doubt; that the historic record has been faked. The size of the distortion is similar in size and direction to the warming observed. Therefore the most that can be said is that there may have been a small warming in the last 150 years and that it is apparently VERY small and not at all outside of the realm of normal variation.

      The rediculous data manipulation at both GISS and Had/CRU have destroyed my confidence in the entire warming hypothesis and they should have done the same for “anyone”.

  2. Whatever : Said like someone who hasn’t had the courage to actually look at the emails, and do his research. Instead of swallowing wholesale the fear mongering of the media as a whole, actually sit down and do some reading.

    There is no scientific consensus on global warming, that’s a huge myth. Recently 30,000 plus UK physicists issued a challenge against the whole of climate science based on these emails.

    They are not alone. The oregon petition in the US> The Potsdam declaration. The recent open letter to the UN general Secretary. These and more are initiative, not back by oil money, but instead based on fact and principle.

    Its easy to blame the republicans. Its easy to blame big oil. But, unfortunately, 247 peer reviewed articles, in spite of the deliberate attempts exposed in the climategate emails to take over the peer review process, have appeared that completely contradict the theories your backing.

    I was once like you. Then I woke up, admitted I was wrong, and moved forward.

    I’m an environmentalist, and a liberal.

    • Dear Sir,
      I believe you did not read my message as I intended.
      Is it just a a fluke that is “Climategate” broke in the media just before the climate meeting at Copenhagen?
      Of course there is debate and different evaluations and judgements!
      I also want to point out this issue is just NOT about climate change.
      Namely, energy use, population surge, resource depletion via our consumption (sorry consumer) culture, to name a few.
      Ok then, if you feel that increasing our fossil fuel extraction and consumption has no bearing… get on with it. Never mind they are finite resouces (oh, can I mention “Peak Oil” here) or the land destruction of coal burning (toxic ash, mercury, strip mining, and mountaintop removal).
      No, my friend, I’m not going to site some university paper to you to prove these are
      actual happening.
      Global warming is here, how do you explain the above?
      Nit pick all you want…
      We’ll fiddle and the next generation will have to atone and deal with our lack of foresight because of selfish, self-centered actions.

      • I am not an environmentalist, but I am most certainly an advocate of sound environmental stewardship. Our environment is sacred and critical to the healthy life of all things on this planet. Because of this, it is ever more important that we make sound and knowledgeable decisions, based upon FACTS, not conjecture and supposition.

        “Population surge”? Are you kidding me? You obviously have NO facts, because if you did, you would know that the global population growth rate has been steadily declining since 1962, and continues to do so.

        “Energy use”, a good topic. Now go do your research on just how well bird beaters (windmill’s) and solar are performing. Do a little research and come back and tell us the environmental impacts of these garbage technologies. If you are an environmentalist, as you say you are, then you should be outraged by these garbage technologies, as it has become ever so clear that they are more environmentally destructive than just about any other energy technologies we have invented, not to mention woefully in adequate.

        “Resource depletion”, can you give example? While I would agree that there are distinct and specific resources that may in fact may be critical impacted, the big picture is quite different. In most subject areas, resources have been either insignificantly impacted, or in many cases, more plentiful than ever. Again, there are exceptions to this, and I believe those specific exceptions need to be addressed, but this is never the solution suggested by environmentalists. The solution is ALWAYS all encompassing, and in almost every case, has resulted in far reaching and more detrimental side-effects than the problems addressed (ie: cure worse than the disease). As an environmentalist, this should also be disturbing to you. I find it interesting that environmentalists, historically speaking, have been equally, if not more, destructive to the environment as virtually any industry. Thus far, environmentalists have solved nothing, have improved nothing. Because they don’t think logically, they are not good problem solvers, they are just passionate and most typically misguided by a political agenda driven by an ideologue seeking another opportunity.

        “Global warming is here”, perhaps, perhaps not. More and more evidence (facts) are showing that this may in fact NOT be the case, not matter the cause, CO2 or otherwise. Further, the linkage of CO2 or any other “man made” effect to change climate, is proving to be implausible at best. So, is global warming here? In the grand scheme of things, centuries scales, I would have to say your are completely wrong. In the short term, decades scales, yes, perhaps we have seen +0.5C or so of warming, but we have also seen the same or more in cooling, depending upon your decades selection. Moreover, it all depends upon who’s temperature measurements you are considering. Because of this, you cannot even know for sure if there is global warming or not. So, if you cannot even know, how can one say that there are any adverse affects happening with our climate, let alone “catastrophic”, let along “man made”. YOU CAN’T!

        My suggestion to you, before trying to spout off all of this BS (bad science), do a little research on the subject, get your facts together, and leave your hype in your pocket, then we can discuss.

      • And how is a carbon tax (a life giving gas) going to help? Oh yeah help to line the pockets of the elitists all the while controlling us the sheeple! Keep up the great shill work!

    • > Recently 30,000 plus UK physicists issued a challenge against the whole of climate science based on these emails.

      If you’re referring to the Institute of Physics submission to the parliamentary commitee investigating the emails, then you are grossly misrepresenting the situation.

      The submission is itself a massively controversial subject, drafted by the energy subcommitee and seemingly only associated with a tiny handful of individuals, with associations to right-wing thinktanks. Huge numbers of members of the IoP have publicly denounced the submission, the IoP have backed away from the statements made and – in a massively ironic twist in a submission seeking openness and transparencey – refuses to explain the origins of the submission and who it was drafted and authorised by.

      To use this dubious and unethical submission as basis for claiming that the tens of thousands of members of the IoP as a whole (which includes, lest we forget, climate scientists like the RealClimate conributors) is ridiculous.

      • I’m not too interested in the IOP statement other than to point out it is at least as representative of the views of physiscists as a whole as are the statements by APS and other groups, which are also made by a tiny politically motivated committee and without consulting the members.

  3. Jeez ‘Whatever’ get a grip !. We aren’t doomed, ever heard of negative feedback… don’t panic!

    Your the sort of ‘concerned’ environmentalist that gives true environmentalists a bad name.

    Just read the article again and DONT PANIC

    • Dear John,
      Belive me I’m not in the panic mode. Actually, I’m over 50 now and this will not have any bearing on my life. I had it real good… all the oil that was practically FREE, the greatest expansion of the economy ever, free money (thanks China, ironic isn’t it they are so poor and they are LENDING US MONEY!?).
      No, John, my little world is just fine, actually I feel the song goes…

  4. This is full of mistakes. For example the national geo image is of northern hemisphere and that shouldn’t be compared with the GISTEMP global surface record. GISTEMP northern hemisphere record does show a significant decline from 1940s to 1970s.

    Also the balloon data graphed only covers the tropics – same deal, it cannot be compared with the global surface record as if it should match. Same again with the reference to the arctic.

    As for the 3 images – comparison is difficult because they don’t all use the same average. Also it’s possible that they don’t all represent the same thing. They might all be global but I wouldn’t be surprised to find one was global land, while the others were global land+ocean. But eyeballing the graphs as they are shows no significant different – they all show a roughly flat period after the 1940s blip before the recent warming.

    As for the conclusion:
    “Much of the rest of climate science is built on data which is now suspect. What is now seen as Garbage In, Garbage Out had been Garbage In, Gospel Out.”

    I hope I have shown this kind of rash conclusion is built on arguments which are now suspect. Garbage in, garbage out.

    • socold: The mistakes are yours. The three graphs are labeled “Hansen/GISS”. The first one has the label “Global mean” on it. The G in GISS stands for “global”. The vertical scales are given. It is an “apples-to-apples” comparison.

      As for the phony NH vs SH argument that Jones raised to try to discount the MWP, none of the climate models that identify CO2 as the major forcing factor controlling global temperature can explain why this forcing factor should work differently in one hemisphere than in another. If the hemispheres are different, then the models are no good.

  5. The movement for AGW is a big dark political entity. Did you vote the members of the UN’s IPCC into office? Have you ever been asked your thoughts and opinions about whether we should actually be funding their activities? If you had any say in the matter would you continue to support their activities, considering the (to date) number of debacles (gates) that have been identified in just the one document? How many gross errors does it take before you are known as totally unreliable?

  6. Hi Skorrent, whilst I need to correct you about your ‘g’ – it’s Goddard, this stuff is standard issue for Hansen, CRU and NCDC. They have form for revising historical temperatures without justification so that they fit better with their obsessive theories. Here’s a classic of its genre: – historical temperatures adjusted down, recent ones up = alarming but entirely faked warming. Game over guys, we know what you’re up to.

  7. Jim and WUWT.

    Anybody who takes anything at WUWT seriously is asking for trouble with assessing the truth of any issue to do with climate change, as the following example demonstrates.

    Tamino is still waiting for a reply after dismantling that SPPI document created by Watts in association with Joe D’Aleo which accused NOAA scientists of deliberate deception WRT the impact of station dropout on climate data.

    Tamino puts this in a nutshell with this statement found at:

    ‘Furthermore, your use of false claims to accuse NOAA scientists of deliberate deception was not just mistaken, it was unethical.’

    Read the article and note other on the target comments that follow.

  8. WAV3 Mad Monk says:

    ‘What ice melt? The Ice is back as we enter the solar minimum.’

    and cites a page where we read this:

    ‘In February, Arctic sea ice extent continued to track below the average, and near the levels observed for February 2007.’

    However, as many of us realise, this does not tell the whole story. It is not only in area coverage that the ice is lower but also, and much more worrisome, in volume and in particular in ‘multi-year’ ice.


    Where on Earth is it unusually warm? Greenland and the Arctic Ocean, which is full of rotten ice


    Mad Monk, with his topsy-turvy take, would have been a subject of interest for the Reverend Charles Dodgson

  9. skorrent says:
    “The mistakes are yours. The three graphs are labeled “Hansen/GISS”. The first one has the label “Global mean” on it.”

    Which is why it’s incorrect to compare these graphs with the Mathews 1976 graph that depicts *Northern Hemisphere*.

    Furthermore the first GISTEMP graph (1981) depicts global meteorological station data without sea surface temperature (SST) data, whereas the other graphs include SST data. So the comparison is certainly not apples-to-apples.

    “As for the phony NH vs SH argument that Jones raised to try to discount the MWP, none of the climate models that identify CO2 as the major forcing factor controlling global temperature can explain why this forcing factor should work differently in one hemisphere than in another. If the hemispheres are different, then the models are no good.”

    It’s common knowledge in climate science that the Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere respond differently to forcings – think about the different in the proportion of ocean between Northern and Southern hemisphere and think about thermal inertia.

    • So you’re saying that Hansen’s “Global Mean” plot in 1980 cherry-picked data that just happened to correspond to the “coming ice age” meme, then added in data in ’87 that just happened to correspond to the switch to AGW, and further “modified” the data in ’07 to exagerate the effect. And we should trust Hansen, why?

      Of course the NH and SH are different. The EH and WH are even more different. The point is that the models do not account for these differences. The models suggest a uniformity that does not exist. They likely project a future that will not exist.

  10. Jim says:

    ” this stuff is standard issue for Hansen, CRU and NCDC. They have form for revising historical temperatures without justification so that they fit better with their obsessive theories. Here’s a classic of its genre: – historical temperatures adjusted down, recent ones up = alarming but entirely faked warming. Game over guys, we know what you’re up to”

    Darwin Zero is a classic case of cherrypicking a certain result.

    The opposite result – historical temperature adjusted up, recent ones down exist:

    Applying your own reasoning this means scientists have

    Lets apply your reasoning scientists have deliberately put fake cooling into the record. And by your logic this means game over, or something.

    The skeptic arsenal of arguments, such as Darwin Zero, are an utter anti-scientific crock.

  11. You can try to (childishly) attack the science and scientists by distorting the data all you want. That doesn’t change the radiative physics and the fact increased CO2 causes warming – the elephant in the room.

    The only reason these attacks gain any traction at all is because of the scientific illiteracy rate. Mad Monk’s post is a shining example of ignorance and cherry-picking. 2007’s ice melt was anomalous, and the ice has only recovered to the trend – which is a decreasing ice extent.
    (and we’re exiting to solar minimum)

    • “Scientific illiteracy” on display! CO2 absorbs IR in two very tiny bandwidths. It absorbs it so well that the first 50 ppm in the atmosphere absorbs half the available energy. Each additional 50 ppm absorbs half the remaining energy. At the current level of 380 ppm, there’s much less than 1% of the IR energy left in those bandwidths to be absorbed no matter how much CO2 there is. The “elephant” is more like a mouse, or perhaps a cockroach!

      • skorrent says

        ‘It absorbs it so well that the first 50 ppm in the atmosphere absorbs half the available energy. Each additional 50 ppm absorbs half the remaining energy.’

        Well even you have it wrong it is each doubling of CO2 that has a commensurate increase in radiative forcing i.e. works like film light sensitivity ratings. But that does not men that we have no cause for concern as the earth’s energy balance has yet to be established at the new higher level that current levels of CO2 increase have set in motion. The energy absorption band of CO2 is not yet saturated. To understand the science I suggest a visit here:

        Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast

    • Crotalus
      You’re argument here is incorrest. The CO2 effect is tiny. Do the calculation the total affect assuming water vapor is absent is about 1 degree C for a doubling and most of that should already have occured. The presence of water vapor reduces the radiative effect further. Convection and the thermodynamics of phase changes are hugely larger than this.

  12. Lionel A–
    If Scorrent is wrong, then why is it at least four international scientists agree with him.

    Dr. Gerhard Gerlich, Institute of Mathematical Physics, Germany. “Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics.
    Dr. Pierre Lafour, a Chemical andProcess engineer.” A tripling of CO2 fromcurrentlevels would not cause any additional warming.
    Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi, Hungarian Physicist. “CO2
    Cannot cause any more Global Warming. (QJHMS)
    Dr James Barrante, Emeritus Prof. of Physical Chemistry, So. Connecticut State Univ. “Salvaging the Reputation of CO2”.

  13. It is clear that constructing a global mean temperature across time is quite involved. The data is messy, stations have changed position, instrumentation and measurement time, gone out of existence etc and there are large gaps in coverage. Adding to the complication, the urban heat island effect (UHI) is real and must be adjusted for. So “manipulating” the data is unavoidable in order to achieve a sensible result. Are the manipulations unbiased?

    The GISS web site discusses its data sources and algorithms in great detail. Anyone with time and effort can duplicate their approach and decide for themselves if it is fair. For example, they examine the magnitude of UHI using alternate “corrections” for night lights, population and rural stations against making no adjustment. Judge for yourself.

    Added to this, the GISS record agrees closely with HadCrut, UAH (satellites) and NCDC. Ask yourself how likely it is that all of these institutions are in on a conspiracy to boost temperature that luckily coincides with melting ice at both ends of the globe, rising ocean heat content and consistent species migrations in both hemispheres?

    None of the above points to man as the cause, but when multiple approaches show the ten year average of global temperature consistently rising I know which way I’d bet.

  14. Crotalus–
    You might be right about Gerlich, but I know Prof. Barrante. Read his new book, “Global Warming for Dim Wits”.It’s all about the historical record and how CO2 can’t be responsible for the periodic 100,000 year spikes in temperature and the nonlinear changes that have been taking place more recently. He presents a thorough discussion of how CO2 and other gases operate. The only plausable explaination for the repeating 100,000 year pattern, is the sun.

    • The sun isn’t the only thing that influences climate.
      And no one has claimed CO2 is responsible for Milankovitch cycles. (Attributing it to the sun is only partly accurate. One needs to account for the planet’s orbit as well.)


    The Cantwell-Collins plan is almost exactly what Mr. Obama proposed in the campaign and after first taking office — a 100 percent auction of permits and a large tax rebate to the public.

    “He called our bill ‘very elegant,’ ” Ms. Cantwell said. “Simplicity and having something people can understand is important.”

    So after getting elected, why is it that Obama is no longer looking at this option seriously, which is a much more taxpayer friendly option? Is it because he and his banker buddies won’t be able to make as much money from gullible taxpayers?

    AGW isn’t about saving the environment. It’s all about scaring, extorting, and controlling middle-class taxpayers for the benefit of a few greedy bankers, politicians, and environmental NGOs.

  16. crotalus, you are absolutely correct. we must account for the planet’s orbit as well. That orbit is a big player in our climate.

    Now, what is it that the earth orbits?

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