Saturday, December 05, 2009

Not enough

The Met Office is to publish some of the data it uses to analyse climate change after allegations that researchers have manipulated the evidence supporting manmade global warming, says The Observer.

This is to happen next week, when information collected by more than 1,000 weather stations from across the world will be released. It will be available on the Met Office website. A spokesman declares that the office had "every confidence" in the data, which "would show that global temperatures had warmed up over the past 150 years."

However, while that is a start, it is by no means good enough. As recorded by Anthony Watts in his surface station project and set out in detail in his interim report, most of the US weather recording stations are substandard.

He and his team found that 89 percent of the stations surveyed – nearly 9 of every 10 – fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements and were likely to be reporting higher or rising temperatures because they were badly sited.

Further, changes in the technology of temperature stations over time also has caused them to report a false warming trend while adjustments to the data by both NOAA and another government agency, NASA, caused recent temperatures to look even higher.

The conclusion, Watts says, is inescapable: The US temperature record is unreliable. The errors in the record exceed by a wide margin the purported rise in temperature of 0.7º C (about 1.2º F) during the twentieth century. Consequently, this record should not be cited as evidence of any trend in temperature that may have occurred across the U.S. during the past century.

Since the US record is thought to be "the best in the world," he adds, "it follows that the global database is likely similarly compromised and unreliable."

Now, for the Met Office data to be of any value, it must also release information as to the standard of the sites from which they were obtained. Then, it is up to CRU to explain which of the temperatures they actually used, and what "adjustments" were applied, both to the original records and to the processed data, in order to produce their global temperature data.

Anything short of that and one might get the impression that this exercise was simply cosmetic, aimed at confusing rather than clarifying the current controversy. And we wouldn't want that to happen would we?