How can we believe in ‘global warming’ when the temperature records providing the ‘evidence’ for that warming cannot be trusted?
It’s a big question – and one which many people, even on the sceptical side of the argument, are reluctant to ask.
Here, for example, is one of the two most prominent English sceptics in the House of Lords, Matt Ridley outlining his own position.
I am a climate lukewarmer. That means I think recent global warming is real, mostly man-made and will continue but I no longer think it is likely to be dangerous and I think its slow and erratic progress so far is what we should expect in the future. That last year was the warmest yet, in some data sets, but only by a smidgen more than 2005, is precisely in line with such lukewarm thinking.
Though I’ve no reason to doubt the sincerity of Ridley’s position, I can also see plenty of reasons why it would be a politically convenient line for him to take. The same applies to Lord Lawson’s position on climate change and Bjorn Lomborg’s position on climate change. All of these distinguished figures on the mildly sceptical side of the argument have taken the view that the figures provided by the various scientific institutions, such as the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and NASA GISS, as relayed to us in the assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are broadly trustworthy. Their beef is not so much with “the science” as it is with the political hysteria and green propagandising that has accompanied that science, as well as with the counterproductive policies resulting from it.
To repeat, these may be earnest, heartfelt positions but they are also politically expedient ones. What it means is that in debates Lomborg and Lords Ridley and Lawson don’t come across as too “out there.” It means that they cannot, by any reasonable stretch, be tarred as “deniers”. Not only are they not denying the existence in “global warming” but they’re not even that far off from where the mainstream “consensus” is.
This all seems to me tactically wise. If their positions weren’t so eminently “reasonable” they would be invited to speak at organisations like the BBC even less often than they are already.
What it does, unfortunately, mean, though, is that those of us on the sceptical side of the debate who want to push the argument a bit further are put in danger of being made to look like extremists. Crazed conspiracy theorists even.
So before I go into technical detail about why the temperature records are suspect, let me provide an analogy which ought to make it perfectly clear to any neutral parties reading this why the problem I’m about to describe ought not to be consigned to the realms of crackpottery.
Suppose say, that for the last 100 years my family have been maintaining a weather station at the bottom of our garden, diligently recording the temperatures day by day, and that what these records show is this: that in the 1930s it was jolly hot – even hotter than in the 1980s; that since the 1940s it has been cooling.
What conclusions would you draw from this hard evidence?
Well the obvious one, I imagine, is that the dramatic Twentieth Century warming that people like Al Gore have been banging on about is a crock. At least according to this particular weather station it is.
Now how would you feel if you went and took these temperature records along to one of the world’s leading global warming experts – say Gavin Schmidt at NASA or Phil Jones at CRU or Michael Mann at Penn State – and they studied your records for a moment and said: “This isn’t right.” What if they then crossed out all your temperature measurements, did a few calculations on the back of an envelope, and scribbled in their amendments? And you studied those adjustments and you realised, to your astonishment, that the new, pretend temperature measurements told an entirely different story from the original, real temperature measurements: that where before your records showed a cooling since the 1940s they now showed a warming trend.
You’d be gobsmacked, would you not?
Yet, incredible though it may seem, the scenario I’ve just described is more or less exactly analogous to what has happened to the raw data from weather stations all over the world.
Take the ones in Paraguay – a part of the world which contributed heavily to NASA GISS’s recent narrative about 2014 having been the “hottest year on record.”
If it wasn’t for the diligence of amateur investigators like retired accountant Paul Homewood, probably no one would care, not even Paraguayans, what has been going on with the Paraguayan temperature records. But Homewood has done his homework and here, revealed at his site Notalotofpeopleknowthat, is what he found.
He began by examining Paraguay’s only three genuinely rural weather stations. (ie the ones least likely to have had their readings affected over the years by urban development.)
All three – at least in the versions used by NASA GISS for their “hottest year on record” claim – show a “clear and steady” upward (warming) trend since the 1950s, with 2014 shown as the hottest year at one of the sites, Puerto Casado.
Judging by this chart all is clear: it’s getting hotter in Paraguay, just like it is everywhere else in the world.
But wait. How did the Puerto Casado chart look before the temperature data was adjusted? Rather different as you see here:
Perhaps, though, Puerto Casada was an anomaly?
Nope. Similar adjustments, in the same direction, appear to have been made to the two other rural sites.
Ah. But there was surely some innocent explanation for this, Homewood surmised. Perhaps the rural stations were wildly out of kilter with the urban stations and had been ‘homogenised’ accordingly.
Except, guess what?
OK. So why am I making you look at all these charts? Because seeing is believing.
Read the rest – and there’s lots more – at Breitbart London