Friday, January 22, 2016

Desperate Deniers Part 2: David Middleton fakes satellite data "Just for grins"

Sou | 11:38 PM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment
This is the second article in the Desperate Deniers series and is about David Middleton's deception. In the first article, I posted charts of the global mean surface temperature from four different sources: the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, GISS NASA (USA), NOAA (USA) and Berkeley Earth (USA). Below is the chart that probably explains best why climate science deniers are so desperate:

Figure 1 | Global mean surface temperature from four datasets. The 2015 line is the average of the 2015 temperature from all four sources. Data sources: GISS NASA, UK Met Office, NOAA, Berkeley Earth.

David Middleton wrote an article about an article by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica. That was about the US temperature record, not the global temperature record. He's still arguing that the data shouldn't be adjusted to allow for changes to the time of observation, or urban heat islands, or broken weather stations or anything else. He likes his data "raw", warts, wrong measurements and all. He doesn't like corrections. He wants incorrect data. As Scott K. Johnson wrote:
At times, guidelines for the volunteers in the US have changed, with new equipment or procedures gradually spreading through the network of stations. Around 1960, the guidelines changed from late afternoon observations to morning observations. That kicked in over time (many stations didn’t change until a new volunteer took over) and there’s a substantial cooling bias over that time period as a result. In the 1980s, the National Weather Service asked volunteers to switch to electronic thermometers, adding another cooling bias. So in the US, accounting for non-climatic factors ends up increasing the warming trend over the raw data—which we know is wrong.

David dumbly wrote how he prefers to see the data with a double cooling bias. He said:
Without the adjustments and homogenization, the post-1960 US temperatures would be indistinguishable from the early 20th century.
I’m not saying that I know the adjustments are wrong; however anytime that an anomaly is entirely due to data adjustments, it raises a red flag with me. 
Yeah, right. David Middleton is nothing more than another climate conspiracy wacko from WUWT, who doesn't "believe" that the data required adjustment to correct the cooling biases.

The Middleton Muddle

There's more, though. Down the bottom he posted a chart "just for grins". What he did was superimpose what he claimed was RSS and UAH over the USA surface temperature chart, which showed the corrections. Before you look at David's chart, have a look at these charts of NOAA data for the land surface of the contiguous USA, and that of the UAH temperature of the air above it. That is, the temperature of the lower troposphere for the same region.

Figure 2 | Temperature of the USA contiguous land surface and the air above (lower troposphere). Data sources: NOAA and UAH

And to see any differences close up, here is the data for the full period of UAH records:

Figure 3 | Temperature of the USA contiguous land surface and the air above (lower troposphere) from 1979 to 2015. Data sources: NOAA and UAH

As you can see they are fairly close. The surface shows the very hot year of 2012. According to the satellite data, the air several kilometres above the ground didn't get quite as hot as the land did. Nor would you expect the air way above the land surface to have an identical temperature profile. Air moves, land doesn't.

Contrast that with what David Middleton drew "Just for grins":

Figure 4 | David Middleton's muddle from WUWT

What's up with that muddle?
  1. The purple and pink wiggles are not what he says they are. In any version they are not UAH and RSS data.
  2. As well as not reflecting the data, how can his pink and purple wiggles be running five year averages, if they start a year after the satellite record began?
  3. Not all 1960 temperature variation can be attributed to "natural variability". Greenhouse gases have been increasing since well before 1960.
  4. His "pre-1960" block stretches all the way from 1900 to the present.
Even if David just superimposed the global lower troposphere temperature instead of that for the USA it would be wrong. UAH and RSS are now almost identical with the latest beta version of UAH data.

With his muddled deception and conspiracy nuttery, David Middleton shows himself to be one of the desperate deniers that WUWT breeds. Thing is, if NOAA staff were fudging the data, why on earth would they bother making raw data available, together with detailed explanations of what corrections were made and why? Surely they'd just get rid of it.

From the WUWT comments

AndyG55 might be in for a disappointment when the satellite data for the next few months comes out.
January 21, 2016 at 2:23 pm
“I think can see why the so-called consensus has become so obsessed recently with destroying the credibility of the satellite data.”
And now that the El Nino is starting to ease, that desperation will become MANIC !
And great fun to watch….. as the dodgy bros salesmen go to work !

jayhd is wanting NOAA to do what NOAA already does:
January 21, 2016 at 3:07 pm
“NOAA climate scientists”?
Excuse my skepticism, but anyone who works for NOAA and also calls himself, or herself, a climate scientist, has two strikes against them as far as credibility is concerned. As for adjusting past temperature data, that should be a no go. Too many questions can be raised. Just graph the data as it was measured. When collection instrumentation and/or methods change, draw a lineplot the new data, and note what and why it changed.

Notanist is a run-of-the-mill conspiracy theorist:
January 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm
I would suggest that what needs adjustment the most is their willing suspension of critical thinking, but then I remember they’re getting paid to put this stuff out. Sad that to make the necessary adjustments to science to get it back on track, we’ll first have to make a major adjustment to the political climate.

KTM is a conspiracy nutter and a greenhouse effect denier:
January 21, 2016 at 3:33 pm
His quotes in this story were typical. He also cited his collaboration with a Warmist scientist to show that you need CO2 to make their models work.
This is one of the most bass ackwards zombie arguments that keeps coming back no matter what. Just because they can’t make their model work without leprechauns doesn’t mean leprechauns exist. 

Most of the comments are of the wacko conspiracy type. Deniers don't like the data so they accuse the scientists of fraud and fakery. They probably don't accept that ice is melting and seas are rising and floods are flooding and heat is waving, either. Nutters the lot of them.

References and further reading

Thorough, not thoroughly fabricated: The truth about global temperature data - article by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. Sou:"...how can his pink and purple wiggles be running five year averages, if they start a year after the satellite record began?"

    I think the first year of the pink and purple wiggles is 1981. That would be consistent with 5 year running AVG; 1979,1980, *1981*, 1982, 1983 being the years for the first data point.

    1. You could be right, Kevin. It doesn't explain why they are so out of whack though, unless he's posted the *global* records on top of the US record.

      Surely not :(

  2. I'm getting more convinced that the MSU/AMSU TLT (and TMT) series are wrong. Here is BEST land only vs RSS land:


    Close correspondence up to 2000-2001. No increase for RSS land after that while the temp-stations temperature increases.

    Does not make sense. Thousands of thermometers suddenly wrong?

    Only conspiration lovers can believe that. Same goes for the US.

  3. David Middleton compares the land temperature of the USA with the global mean of the satellites.

    The land warms more than the ocean. The Northern Hemisphere warms more than the Southern Hemisphere. No wonder they do not fit.

    No wonder he had to add "just for grins" so that he can claim it was a joke not intentional deception.

  4. (For some strange reason I was not able to find way to reply at http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2016/01/desperate-deniers-part-1-stephen.html.. Commenting that post here instead..) It is quite strange to find a person with apparently valid competences - based on the bio on that university page at least - making quite bold statements from such short periods in a very noisy dataset.. Perhaps work outside of own core area - possibly aided with inner deep "knowledge" that there can not be any warming - makes people do these mistakes.. Then again, a bio on a university page could be a bit optimistic about oneself..

  5. I have written a supplementary rebuttal to Sou's.


    I apologize to any HotWhopper readers who were directed to my site earlier. I fat-fingered the "publish" button before I had finished the post. Before I realized that I had made a mistake, the bad link showed up in the blog roll here.


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