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Government & Politics

NOAA Lies About the Warming Hiatus

Cherry-picking the data to pave the way for a climate treaty.

Lewis Morris · Jun. 9, 2015

A new report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the latest issue of the journal “Science” claims the global warming hiatus that began in the late 1990s never actually happened. In fact, according to NOAA, temperatures actually rose twice as high as the previous global scale had predicted or measured. This wouldn’t by any chance be an attempt to influence climate treaty talks in Paris later this year, now would it?

“Newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from NOAA’s [National Centers for Environmental Information] do not support the notion of a global warming ‘hiatus,’” wrote NOAA scientists, contradicting the work of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The hiatus, which in the scientific community refers to a period in which global surface temperatures appeared to stabilize, has flummoxed climate alarmists. It flies in the face of their exceedingly shrill predictions of extreme global warming — indeed, it’s part of the reason they’ve switched their terminology to “climate change.” If there’s been no warming, it undermines their calls for ever more drastic measures to combat it, like dismantling the U.S. coal industry, heavily regulating fossil fuel production, and financially burdening the citizens of the world’s richest countries.

By many scientific accounts, temperatures rose during the period of 1998-2013 at a much slower rate than the previous bellwether period between 1950-1998, a time frame during which global surface temperatures supposedly significantly spiked. According to satellite measurements, the most accurate tool we have, temperatures have remained flat — an ongoing trend. How is it that NOAA was able to come to its contrary conclusion?

The NOAA study was essentially able to raise the rate of warming during the pause by putting a greater emphasis on data collected from ocean buoy arrays, and slightly raising land-based temperatures that had been previously recorded. NOAA also shifted the time frame of the pause, defining it as 2000-2014 in order to conveniently include two years that supposedly saw the highest recorded temperatures on record. They ridicule skeptics for cherry-picking data, yet that’s exactly what they just did.

“This new analysis exhibits more than twice as much warming as the old analysis at the global scale,” NOAA scientists claim with a straight face. The report goes on to state that the overall warming trend since 1880 has not significantly changed, but the sharp uptick in temperatures in recent decades is cause for concern.

This manufactured spike in global surface temperatures in the NOAA study certainly comes at a convenient time. World leaders will be gathering in Paris at the end of this year to hammer out the details of a global warming treaty that is sure to place harsh restrictions on international commerce and energy production. That treaty is harder to justify if the lull in rising temperatures persists.

Yet the NOAA report has landed with a thud among many in the scientific community. Climate experts Bob Tisdale and Anthony Watts noted that to “manufacture warming during the hiatus, NOAA adjusted the pre-hiatus data downward. It’s the same story all over again; the adjustments go towards cooling the past and thus increasing the slope of temperature rise. Their intent and methods are so obvious they’re laughable.”

Georgia Tech climate scientists Judith Curry noted, “The global surface temperature datasets are clearly a moving target. So while I’m sure this latest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration, I don’t regard it as a particularly useful contribution to our scientific understanding of what is going on.”

In its investigation of the story, the online news site Mashable talked to a dozen top climate scientists not associated with the NOAA report and found that they were nearly unanimous in refuting the conclusion that the warming pause never happened.

“It is clear that [NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information director Thomas] Karl et al. have put a lot of careful work into updating these global products,” said Lisa Goddard, director of Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society. “However, they go too far when they conclude that there was no decadal-scale slowdown in the rate of warming globally. This argument seems to rely on choosing the right period — such as including the recent record-breaking 2014.”

NOAA’s data cherry-picking won’t help advance their cause — at least not honestly. But this behavior is typical of the leftist mindset that seeks to bend others to their will by any means necessary.

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