A whistleblower's claim that data were manipulated to show global warming's 1998-2013 “pause” didn't happen — and the reaction to it — demonstrate that climate science is anything but “settled.”Yea, except that once we get to the actual science, we'll see the braintrust's deception. (Spoiler Alert: It's a deception by omission)
John Bates retired last year as the National Climatic Data Center's principal scientist and had been responsible for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate archive. He accused Thomas Karl, a former NOAA official and lead author of NOAA's 2015 “pausebuster” report, of trying to “discredit” the 1998-2013 warming pause by manipulating data and rushing the report's publication in advance of December 2015's United Nations climate summit in Paris, according to The Washington Times.
From the Trib editorial, we're lead to this piece at the Washington Times, that describes Bates' piece at Judith Curry's blog which is, itself, a criticism of the work of Thomas Karl, described here.
There's only one problem with Bates' criticism, however. It's dependent on whether Karl actually did hide and manipulate the data.
What does Karl say, originally? Take a look:
Much study has been devoted to the possible causes of an apparent decrease in the upward trend of global surface temperatures since 1998, a phenomenon that has been dubbed the global warming “hiatus.” Here, we present an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than those reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a “slowdown” in the increase of global surface temperature.And finally:
Newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from NOAA’s NCEI do not support the notion of a global warming “hiatus.” As shown in Fig. 1, there is no discernable (statistical or otherwise) decrease in the rate of warming between the second half of the 20th century and the first 15 years of the 21st century. Our new analysis now shows that the trend over the period 1950–1999, a time widely agreed as having significant anthropogenic global warming, is 0.113°C decade−1, which is virtually indistinguishable from the trend over the period 2000–2014 (0.116°C decade−1). Even starting a trend calculation with 1998, the extremely warm El Niño year that is often used as the beginning of the “hiatus,” our global temperature trend (1998–2014) is 0.106°C decade−1—and we know that is an underestimate because of incomplete coverage over the Arctic. Indeed, according to our new analysis, the IPCC’s statement of 2 years ago—that the global surface temperature “has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years than over the past 30 to 60 years”—is no longer valid.What does make science "valid" is if it's verified independently. So we can now ask, has Karl actually been verified? If he has been, then the idea that he's presenting something false goes out the window.
Actually, he has been:
In an article in today’s Mail on Sunday, David Rose makes the extraordinary claim that “world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data”, accusing the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of manipulating the data to show more warming in a 2015 study by Tom Karl and coauthors.But let's get back to the idea that Karl "manipulated" (Remember: the Braintrust used that word specifically) the data has also been debunked by a very prominent player in this discussion: John Bates.
What he fails to mention is that the new NOAA results have been validated by independent data from satellites, buoys and Argo floats and that many other independent groups, including Berkeley Earth and the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, get effectively the same results.
From an interview at E&E News this week:
The federal climate scientist hailed by conservatives as a whistleblower for allegedly revealing manipulated global warming data said yesterday he was actually calling out a former colleague for not properly following agency standards for research.And as to the timing of the paper (this is from the same E&E News piece):
In an interview with E&E News yesterday, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration principal scientist John Bates had a significantly more nuanced take on the controversy that has swirled since a top House Republican hailed his blog post as proof that the agency "played fast and loose" with temperature data to disprove the theory of a global warming "pause."
Bates accused former colleagues of rushing their research to publication, in defiance of agency protocol. He specified that he did not believe that they manipulated the data upon which the research relied in any way.
"The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data, but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was," he said. [Emphasis added.]
Whether the research was published to influence the Paris climate talks is a moot point, said Andrew Light, a senior member of the State Department's climate talks negotiating team in 2015. He said the talks had already been underway for about four years when the paper was published and that 188 nations were relying on a tremendous amount of research to support their goal of reducing humans' carbon emissions to slow the warming of the planet. They had also already crafted proposed reductions by the time the research was published, he said.So the science has been verified and it had no effect on the Paris climate talks. So what was the braintrust saying? What was it that they were presenting as factual to its readership? How much of it has been debunked by reality?
"I never heard it discussed once, let alone this one NOAA report, discussed in Paris, the run-up to Paris or anything after Paris, so this is really just an incredibly bizarre claim," Light said.
It reminds me of what Mary McCarthy once said of Lillian Hellman:
I said once in some interview that every word she writes is a lie, including "and" and "the."Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you more editorial alternative facts from the Tribune-Review.