Scientists so good they can predict things after it happens

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Normally I would post this tidbit when I do my monthly update of the Sun’s solar cycle, due out in sometime in the next week. However, this piece of news is so ridiculous that I have got to post it now, just so everyone can see how far science in the modern world has declined.

For the past three years I have documented the number of times the solar scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center have changed their prediction for the number of sunspots during this solar maximum. They have revised their prediction so many times with such a large range that it appears that they really don’t have any real system or theory for making this prediction, but are merely guessing based on instinct, opinion, or tea leaves. Moreover, they do not archive their earlier predictions. If I wasn’t documenting them here monthly, there would be no way to know that while today they predict one thing (very close to what is the right number), two years ago their prediction was way off, In recent months, because the changes have become so absurd, I have been making screen captures of each change.

For the past two months they have been stating that the sunspot maximum had occurred during the summer of 2013 with an average daily sunspot number of 65. Below is my screen capture from when they made this change in November.

November prediction by Marshall solar scientists

I had assumed this would be a final number, since we are now well past the summer of 2013. Today, however, they posted another revision to this prediction. To quote them,

The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 67 in the Summer of 2013. [emphasis mine]

Let me repeat that: They are predicting that the solar maximum will still occur in the summer of 2013, but the average daily sunspot number is now expected to be 67. Below is the screen capture:

January prediction by Marshall solar scientists

Obviously, this ain’t a prediction at all. Instead, it is an adjustment of their previous prediction to better match the actual numbers. However, they don’t tell the reader that. Instead, they pull a fast one, making it look like their prediction was right on the button.

Or to put it another way, to call this a prediction is perpetuate an outright fraud.

I have never had a serious objection to the previous revisions, though I found it annoying that they weren’t honest enough to archive their revisions as they went. However, this is unacceptable. What they should do is to show their previous predictions and announce today’s sunspot number for the summer of 2013 as the actual number, allowing everyone to compare their prediction with reality.

By hiding this fact they make themselves look as dishonest, as untrustworthy, and as ridiculous as the crowd of global warming scientists who were trapped in the ice in Antarctica this week and still claimed the ice cap was melting due to human-caused global warming.


One comment

  • wodun

    It is dishonest. Makes me wonder how chronic this type of data manipulation is at NASA.

    Have you contacted the author or the curator for a statement regarding their unethical practices?

    Author: Dr. David H. Hathaway, david.hathaway @
    Curator: Mitzi Adams, mitzi.adams @

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