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Remember: The climate data foisted on us by NOAA is based 30% on nonexistent weather stations

The uselessness of the global temperature record

A story yesterday at Zero Hedge noted once again that the yearly global data that NOAA inflicts on us, each year claiming that a new record has been set as the hottest year ever, is all based on fake data, with about one-third of the data created from weather stations that no longer exist.

The problem, say experts, is that an increasing number of USHCN’s stations don’t exist anymore. “They are physically gone—but still report data—like magic,” said Lt. Col. John Shewchuk, a certified consulting meteorologist. “NOAA fabricates temperature data for more than 30 percent of the 1,218 USHCN reporting stations that no longer exist.”

He calls them “ghost” stations.

Mr. Shewchuck said USHCN stations reached a maximum of 1,218 stations in 1957, but after 1990 the number of active stations began declining due to aging equipment and personnel retirements. NOAA still records data from these ghost stations by taking the temperature readings from surrounding stations, and recording their average for the ghost station, followed by an “E,” for estimate.

This is not a new story. It has been reported over and over again for years by numerous sources as well as here at BtB. See for example these 2015 posts here, here, and here.

The first 2015 link describes this exact behavior, averaging the data from adjacent stations (usually in urban areas) to recreate a fantasy measurement from a ghost decommissioned station (usually in a rural area). Because rural stations tend to average lower temperatures, replacing them with the fantasy measurements from urban stations will automatically increase the overall temperature trends.

The second 2015 link adds to this data manipulation by describing how 66% of NOAA’s data is further massaged and adjusted, always to cool the past and warm the present, thus confirming global warming by fiat.

The third 2015 link is where the graphic above comes from. At the time NOAA had a website that allowed you to create these graphs. Note the highlighted text. NOAA then admitted that it had zero data for large parts of the globe, yet if you look at graphs NOAA now uses in its annual announcements about how we are all going to die, that fact is always left out. (See for example NOAA’s 2023 global graph) Instead, NOAA does globally what it does in the U.S. with decommissioned weather stations. It takes the nearest data points and uses an average to fill in the gaps, producing a result that is utterly disconnected from reality.

NOAA probably eliminated that graphing capability because it exposed its dishonesty.

The bottom line: We don’t yet have sufficient data to know how the climate is evolving. Worse, we know even less about the climate today then we did twenty years ago, because the data for the past few decades has been manipulated heavily to serve a political agenda, and is now unreliable and essentially useless.

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  • MDN


    Great piece. Thanks for posting. with the legacy links.

    I would also extend Kudos to Anthony Watts who runs for his work critiquing the progressive impact of urbanization on our legacy weather stations that remain in operation. His work has documented how many of these have had their accuracy polluted by the construction of parking lots, cement block buildings, and what have you adjacent to them as urbanization has encroached on their locals. He has even documented the siting of air conditioning condensers (which exhaust the heat from a building’s interior) such that they blow hot air on some stations.

    Another criticism he has raised involves Australia updating their system recently to report the hottest single minute of each day as the max temperature, such a short duration that all the stations now report a bit warmer as temperature spikes that were previously attenuated out by mercury instrumentation are now counted as valid. This isn’t wrong per se, but it is disingenuous to the mission as it artificially increases the delta from legacy data that was measured differently.

    To address these issues the United States created the Climate Reference Network (USCRN) some 18 years ago. These are a collection of just over 100 weather stations that are in rural locals far from urbanization that have long term recording histories. In 2006 or thereabouts they were upgraded with new instrumentation that features redundancy, is fully calibrated, and is tested and maintained on a regular basis to ensure reliability. Anyone can monitor the status of this network at the following link. Simply select “Monthly” and “All Months” in the drop down menus and hit plot to get a graph of its entire operational history. I do so regularly and from this it is quite obvious that there is little to no real long term trend to indicate impending doom. Rather what you see is the pattern of weather which can vary a lot month by month and year by year, as it always has and always will.

  • MDN

    I meant : )

  • David Eastman

    I lost all respect for, and willingness to give any credit to, our climate overlords back in the early 2000’s when the answer to growing criticism of the temperature record was to have the “unbiased, well-respected” Berkeley climatology department evaluate the various records, meters, etc and come up with “the gold standard.” It was repeated over and over that this was being done by respectable, science-driven, unbiased people.

    When they issued their data set, people of course started looking into it. And I remember one data point in particular because it was one I could and did go look at personally. There was a weather station in the Sierras not far from Mammoth Lakes, that had originally been placed as part of some research project into Sierra storms, but then became part of the overall data set. And it had been pointed out as egregiously badly sited for the purpose, in front of a south facing granite rock face that would reflect and radiate heating right into the station. Well, that meter was still in the “fixed” data set, with the notation that it had been updated and rectified to meet station siting standards. But you could go hiking on the trails nearby, pull out a set of binoculars, and verify for your own eyes that not only had the site not been touched at all, but that it couldn’t possibly have been, because there was a rock fall blocking all access to the site, and there was a tree limb visibly blocking access to the transmitter box.

    After this was repeatedly pointed out in the Berkeley university bulletin board where discussion was being held, the university’s response was to revoke public access to that bulletin board, tell the Internet Archive that this was private university discussion that should not be archived, and sent a few DCMA warning letters to people who tried to copy the previous discussion out to public forums.

    Another station being discussed at the same time, but which I could not personally go look at, was a station in Iceland. There was apparently a very modern, automated, all the bells and whistles station at the Keflavic Naval Air Station. There was another, older station, without all the modern bells and whistles, sited several miles away. And they reported entirely different data, often diverging by as much as 15 degrees. It was stated on the boards that the local weather forecasters, including the Air Force/Navy forecasters, would completely ignore their own modern sensor and use the older one, because it was the one that reflected reality. But the new dataset went with the new sensor, apparently just because it was the more modern one that was easier to integrate into the data set. And of course, being more modern, “must be” more accurate. Ignore the fact that it was sited on the lee side of a hangar building right next to the HVAC equipment. And again, you could not discuss this, the new data set had been come to after rigorous unbiased work, and if you didn’t agree, you would be made to shut up and go away.

  • David Eastman: My memory of that so-called “gold standard” new climate data set, which was issued supposedly to counter the evidence revealed in the climategate emails that the data was unreliable and that those in charge were untrustworthy, to say the least, was that it was pure propaganda, created to give talking points for the mainstream press in order to dismiss the climategate emails as “disinformation” and “conspiracy theories.”

    Sound familiar? Everything done in the climate field to shut down debate and falsify data was a dress rehearsal for COVID and the 2020 election. And they ain’t done yet.

  • Ray Van Dune

    I propose this hypothesis: the climate hoax has ensnared millions into participation in fraud, actively or passively, and is the most significant root cause of the moral decay and rise of criminality in the modern world.

    Prove me wrong.

  • pouncer

    A grant proposal: We will test various methods now in use to “in-fill” regional temperature data. One, (or several, as funding permits) high class “pristine” station’s actual measured data over the past three years will be compared to the “average” or synthesis of data from five nearby stations (regardless of class). Our hypothesis is that all methods of synthesis will produce, over the course of a month, statistically similar results, all of which will also be statistically similar to the actual measured data. Falsification would be if one or more methods of synthesis produce “outlier” results, or in the worst case, methods of in-fill synthesis “measures” are statistically variant from the actual measures.

  • pouncer

    Synthesizing temperature data seems to me philosophically congruent to using surveys for political polling of voter preferences. Then when actuals election data varies from the polling data, a segment of the industry says the ELECTION must have been conducted poorly. (Clinton’s loss in 2016 being the ur-example)

  • Trent Castanaveras

    What makes you think there is any desire to collect and use actual observed data?

  • pouncer

    Pouncer: What makes you think there is any desire to collect and use actual observed data

    I am reliably informed by climate alarmists that the “Big Oil Companies” desire to discredit the scientists studying the climate. So, I infer there is grant money to be had for doing the sort of work I describe.

    Note this is a project for statisticians, like Abraham Wyner, not one for “climate scientists”.

  • Ian Jordan

    One could reasonably argue that calling the data ‘fake’ is an exaggeration borne of an agenda without additional proof. Interpolation is a technique that is useful as long as de-biasing methods are appropriately applied. I cannot speak to whether the data under discussion here has been debiased or not (i’m not a climatologist, although i am a data scientist), but concern over the temperature measurement sensors has been around for decades, so the community should be more than aware that de-biasing should be a standardized practice that has to be applied. A simple Google search shows a lot of concern in the community about just this issue, e.g.:

    The ironic part here is that the neglect of the old sensor network is (primarily) caused by lack of appropriate funding and agency policy priorities to keep that network uniformly operational throughout time. Replacement of the old sensor network is being done with higher-tech and therefore higher-cost equipment, leaving a smaller funding pot to employ data retrieving humans. The sensor deployment peak in the late ’50s was a result of a boost in funding for the IGY. Allocations of recent have had to struggle with decisions on how to spend money given technology improvements and insufficient funds to do everything that is needed.

    It’s important to note that were funding to be increased and priorities shifted, that sensor network could be reconstituted and new sites –not biased by the effects of urbanization– could be selected to provide a more reliable and accurate long-term monitoring network.

    It is certainly legitimate to ask questions about how such shortcomings are handled, but there is an argument to be made that just because you see a shortcoming that has been exacerbated by those who (primarily) appropriate and allocate funds does not necessarily require that the only conclusion is that the science is fake. Doing so is analogous to claiming that humans landing on the moon was faked because we don’t understand how all of the problems were solved.

  • Ian Jordan: I might take your points defending the climate community more seriously if that same community had not done the following for the past two decades:

    1. Worked to slander and destroy the careers of anyone who dare raised skepticism about the data or the theory of human-caused global warming.
    2. When the climategate emails clearly showed such slanderous activity by major players in that community, the community circled the wagons to protect those players rather than investigating their bad behavior.
    3. That same community refused to look into the many allegations of data fraud in the past two decades, much of it related to Michael Mann’s “hockey stick graph”. Those allegations were quite credible. Rather than investigate, the climate community worked once again to discredit any investigation.
    4. There has been repeated evidence that NOAA, NASA, and other agencies tasked with gathering global climate data have been tampering with that data, adjusting the past readings down while raising recent ones up, all to increase the evidence of warming. You might wish to look at the second link I provided from 2015, which describes this tampering and links to evidence of it.

    In all these cases you can find sources on BTB. Begin by searching for “NOAA” and “tampering”.

    In many ways the behavior of the climate community since the beginning of this century served as a practice run for the bad behavior we saw during the COVID panic.

  • Ronaldus Magnus

    I remember an article about the alteration of the older temperature record. NOAA, NASA, whoever, used words like update, clarify, etc. They actually stated that current technology to measure temperature is sooooo much more accurate, better than years ago, and that previous data needed to be ‘refined.’ Of course when they were finished, surprise, surprise, the “new and improved” temperature record indicated,…..yes……a definite warming trend. I would love to have a peek into the future, when the Great Cold returns. I would love to watch the future Comedy Channel showing AlGore and his minions stating “the Earth has a fever” while many shiver in the cold.

  • pouncer

    I’m watching the Brit TV show “Mr Bates vs the Post Office. Fujitsu computers with a software package called “Horizon” apparently screwed over the lives of hundreds of small contractors …

    I wonder why anyone has great confidence in any government-procured software packages running critical systems, for temperature databases, for postage stamp inventories, for voter registration/address maintenance, for health insurance, for student-load amortization, for tracking/tracing STD patients, for FAFSA applications, for census analysis … especially when, if problems are discussed, the government solution is to HIRE MORE PEOPLE, as recently with the IRS. Why not skip the middleman — middle-robot? — and hire more people in the first place?

    Better yet, why track so much data in the zero-eth case?

  • Edward

    Ian Jordan,
    Robert‘s fourth point should disturb you greatly. This data tampering was discovered by users who noticed that datasets delivered were different than the previous datasets that these users had been working to for years or decades. The changes were unannounced and unexplained, two strong signs of fudged data. The new data tended to better conform to the preferred hypotheses, which is yet another large red flag for fudged data.

    Worse is that the rest of the scientific community did not raise alarms that this had happened, did not ask piercing questions to get proper explanations for the unannounced changes, and seems content to allow fudged data to rule the day.

    We now have to ask some questions: how much can we trust the climate models, which were based upon the previous datasets (if the datasets were incorrect, then so are the models, because they are based upon those datasets), and how much can we trust the tampered data? Why, after all that fudging, are the models still unable to predict the reality, or at least the reality as presented to us by the fudged data that has been collected ever since the tampering?

    Fudging the data — fudging reality — did not solve the previous disparity between hypothesis and reality, and now our reality is just a fantasy that has been created in order to justify another fantasy.

    You say that “de-biasing should be a standardized practice,” but is it the practice? Why bother with de-biasing methods when all they had to do was claim that the science is settled? Why bother with de-biasing methods when all they have to do is destroy the careers of anyone who dares be skeptical of the data or the favored hypothesis? Why bother with de-biasing methods when they use their authority to claim correctness? Since they are willing to fudge data, why would they bother making sure that interpolated data is valid? They were willing to “hide the decline,” hide that their proxy was bogus, so why not hide that their other methods are also bogus?

    When the coming ice age, global warming, and climate change are declared existential threats, then the end (saving the world) justifies the means (fudging data, lying to everyone, and spending trillions of dollars on remediation before the fact).

    Robert’s other three points should also disturb you. They smack more of the Pope’s house arrest of Galileo than of a scientific method that is open to testing hypotheses — especially the favorite hypothesis. Exploring an out of favor hypothesis has confirmed Darwin’s evolution. Testing a bizarre hypothesis has confirmed Einstein’s relativity. Claiming that “the science is settled” while the models deviate from reality tells us that the science of climatology is doing something other than science, the activity of learning about the world around us. To learn about the world, science depends upon truthful data.

    In essence, climatology has destroyed itself in an attempt to rationalize its favored hypothesis. Moons don’t orbit any body other than Earth. Nature is unchanging. The world around us does not deviate from newtonian physics.

  • Terrance King

    First time commenter. Great website. I saw this story on Phys.Org, ‘aerosol emissions reduction creates additional GW’, sorry for no link, looks like something you might be interested in. Keep up the good work! (couldn’t figure out how to contribute any other way)

  • Jeff Wright

    I keep up with a lot.

    Some may accuse me of over-linking—but I actually consider it winnowing out.

    In terms of climate change, had two doom-and-gloom stories that seem contradictory:

    “Last year’s snow deluge in California, which quickly erased a two decade long megadrought, was essentially a once-in-a-lifetime rescue from above, a new study found.”

    But then, we hear this:

    “Prior research has suggested that atmospheric rivers used to be more common in the region, and may have resulted in more rain than has been seen in modern times. Such studies have suggested that if certain conditions develop, more atmospheric rivers could form in the future, and that they could be bigger, leading to more rainfall than has been seen thus far.”

    And of course—both scenarios are proof of GCC.

    If the temperatures go up–that’s AGW…even though we saw a spike across the solar system

    If the temps go down–well, more evaporation makes more precip’–that falls as newer white snow…so—that’s global warming too.

    If we have exteremes (nothing new) but overall conditions don’t change–that also is AGW.

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