Feeds

Painting by numbers: NASA's peculiar thermometer

What's the temperature, Kenneth?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The NASA temperature map for March above shows Alaska temperatures much above "normal", while the UAH map shows Alaska temperatures well below "normal". This is partially due to the fact that the 1951-1980 NASA baseline period was unusually cold in Alaska - due to the cold phase of a dominant ocean cycle, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), as shown below. The graph below indicates variations in Pacific temperatures, showing a cold period from 1950-1980 which exactly matches NASA's baseline period.

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation in its cold phase from 1951-1980 (the period of the NASA baseline.)

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation in its cold phase from 1951-1980 (the period of the NASA baseline)p>

When the PDO ocean pattern is in its cold cycle, the Pacific remains dominantly in the La Nina phase, causing cold temperatures - particularly around the Pacific basin. La Nina also causes cold northern hemisphere winter temperatures across much of the world - as measured in 2008.

NASA's colourful Antarctic makeover

NASA's colourful Antarctic makeover

We can see how dramatic an artistic makeover can be. On the left, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows that "the interior of Antarctica is generally cooling". Indeed, most of the landmass is cooler, or the same as it was, with patches of warming around the periphery.

On the right, NASA's Earth Observatory warns that "Between 1981 and 2007, most of Antarctica warmed" - and the graph is correspondingly crimson. For the colourists at the Earth Observatory, a mere +0.01C is needed to colour the continent red.

Conclusion

One month does not make a temperature trend, and the point of this article is not to ascertain whether or not the earth is warming towards Armageddon. We are not qualified to analyze that or second-guess the experts. What is being examined is the quality and stability of the data being used by people making those claims.

For example, whatever motivations NASA had for picking the 1951-1980 baseline undoubtedly have some valid scientific basis. Yet, when the data is calibrated in lockstep with a very high-profile and public political philosophy, we should at least be willing to ask some hard questions. Dr. James Hansen at GISS is the person in charge of the NASA temperature data. He is also the world's leading advocate of the idea of catastrophic global warming, and is Al Gore's primary climate advisor. The discrepancies between NASA and other data sources can't help but make us consider Einstein's advice:

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." ®

Credits Thanks to Evan Jones from Watts Up With That for pointing me to the USHCN temperature maps, and Steve McIntyre for generating them.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.