Screenshot of the misleading Daily Mail story of 4 February 2017 that claims, without any factual basis, that NOAA manipulated climate data to emphasize that there was never a pause in the global warming trend. Graphic: Daily Mail

By Rafi Letzter
9 February 2017

(Business Insider) – […] Every step climate scientists take happens under the scrutiny of a well-funded peanut gallery of professional science deniers, anti-science politicians, and agenda-driven writers eager to spin any misstep into evidence of a vast conspiracy.

This happened back in 2009, when several climate scientists found their names dragged through the mud in Congress based on some stolen emails, despite no evidence of wrongdoing.

And it's happening again right now, after Daily Mail crime writer David Rose published an article with the alarming headline "Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data."

Rose interviewed John Bates, a retired NOAA scientist, who has a very specific criticism about the methodology used by fellow NOAA researcher Thomas Karl in a 2015 paper.

That paper looked into a specific question in climate science: why, according to some analyses, did the global rise in temperatures seem to pause or slow down during the first decade of the 21st Century?

The answer, Karl suggests, is that the climate didn't stop warming at all. Rather, measurement tools changed, creating the illusion of a pause.

His conclusion isn't exactly controversial: other scientists using other methods have arrived at essentially the same result.

But Bates felt that Karl's paper wasn't rigorous enough, and wrote a blog post about it on February 4.

His criticism is fairly narrow: that Karl didn't hew closely to the data-archiving standards Bates had worked to implement during his time at the agency.

Other scientists, like NASA researcher Gavin Schmidt, have since criticised Bates's analysis. And if you want to read more about that debate, I suggest this article by Warren Cornwall and Paul Voosen.

Snopes also does a good job of laying out the underlying facts of the statistical argument. [more]

No, the NOAA Didn't Fake Climate Change Data



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