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« Don't Ever Name It A Lull - Josh 331 | Main | Carbon Brief on the Sahel »

Obamas housekarls dance to his warming tune

Over the last few days I have been copied in on a great deal of correspondence about a new paper in Science from Tom Karl and colleagues, which has "blatant act of political propaganda" written all over it. The claim is that the pause in surface temperature rises is an artefact of the data and that a great deal of jiggery pokery is peformed on the numbers it is possible to get a graph that shows continued warming. The pause is no more.

This could only be written with Paris in mind.

Fortunately, Science distributed the paper to journalists sufficiently early for it to be widely circulated and quite a few people have now had a look. Some of them have even stopped laughing for long enough to write down their thoughts.

GWPF have a lengthy press release here, examining each of the eleven (!!) errors in the surface temperature records that Karl et al claim that nobody else has noticed before. It points out that the authors have decided that Argo sea surface temperature data can be ignored because it's not surface data (it's taken at 5m depth). Instead they prefer measurements from buoys and ships (from up to 15m down!) which they then adjust.  They also apply a completely implausible uplift to sea temperatures during the last few decades because, it is alleged, methods of SST measurement have been changing. To call the paper, as GWPF do, "a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals" seems to be a masterful piece of British understatement.

Meanwhile, stateside, Bob Tisdale and Anthony Watts are doing a splendid job in unravelling what is going on. In particular their Figure 4 showing how adjustments to the sea surface data are producing warming in the present and cooling in the past are astonishing, as is Figure 5, which shows how each iteration of the dataset gradually increases the amount of warming and cooling added. The also describe how the pre-hiatus period has been cooled, so that it looks like what was previously a hiatus is now a period of warming. Almost unbelievably, their largest changes to the data happen in the last few decades, when the raw data is best.

Desperate, desperate stuff and a sad day for science.

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Reader Comments (194)

ARGO floats were never intended for surface temperature measurements. They are used for subsurface temperatures and salinity. There is another set of buoys called "drifters" that are in place for ocean surfaces. Adding the ARGO "close-to" surface measurements would add yet another bias that would have to be adjusted for.


Jun 4, 2015 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Tisdale

Words can not do, justice to my feelings towards those in high office who are happy to betray the trust of the people who elected them and/or pay their salaries in order to further a personal crusade.

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

"This could only be written with Paris in mind."

The fact remains that the only way to separate Americans from fossil fuel will be to prise it from their cold dead hands. It certainly won''t be due to signing an international agreement.

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

In 1997, by a vote of 95–0, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that made clear that it would never ratify the Kyoto agreement.

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Peter Stott of the Met Office says in the Guardian that NOAA's work must be true because they are doing similar work (unpublished) that has NOAA's results within his uncertainties. What has science come to.

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered Commentercebe

Bob you're right that the Argo system does not provide SST readings, but BH's point was that neither do ERI data coming from below 5m, yet those data are included. My take on the K15 paper is here.

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss McKitrick

I'm so bloody proud of the sceptic community right now.

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

the main issue is the 1950 start date though?

at least one climate scientist sounds a bit sceptical about all this, via Reuters:

“Some other experts said however the idea of a hiatus was still valid, since warming had probably slowed this century if compared to fast rates in the 1980s and 1990s.

“It is curious that a comparison with these decades was not included in this new study,” said Richard Allan, a professor of climate science at the University of Reading.

My thoughts

oh how clever… choose a start date of 1950, in the 1940’s-1970’s pause/slowdown and extend to 2000, then compare it with a shorter time period 2000-2014.

that way, ignore 1940’s/1970’s pause/cooling, ignore rapid rate of warming 1980’s-1990’s.. ignore slowdown this century.

If climate science doesn’t comment on this little trick, to hide the pause (slowdown) they are dishonest in my mind.. And it makes them look stupid, for investigating rapid 80-90’s warming, and the relatively flat 2000-2014 observed temps..

Why not ask, any passing journalist, the Met Office, if the 1940-1970’s slowdown is ‘real, whether the 80-90’s warming was real, and whether the 2000-2014 slowdown is ‘real’

The other obvious question, is what is so special about picking 1950….and should anyone be comparing different time periods like they do.

Laughable, and desperate, in my non mathematician, non climate scientist opinion

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

But how are they going to adjust the satellite data to eliminate the plateau, before we fall off the other side?

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:53 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

David Whitehouse's point about the trend you get depends on the start date is a good one the media has ignored. That's why they start it in 1998 at the top of the warmest ENSO ever observed and in 2000 in the depth of a cool La Nina. Also I think Argo is interesting as its 0 - 5 m data should not be ignored.

To me this highlights the difference between the media and the sceptics. The media report things in terms of quotes but the GWPF for example look at the data in a detailed way.

Lets look at what changes happen to Giss and HadCrut and see if they live up to their billing.

Jun 4, 2015 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSST watcher

Frankenstein's warming. It doesn’t matter how many parts they sew on or how big the charge they shoot through it, the monster in this horror story is still dead and it’s beginning to stink.

Jun 4, 2015 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Totally embarrassing.
Fifa thought they were beyond the reach of the law. They weren't.
Catastrophic AGW is such an obvious crock of, erm, ;nonsense' that it just cannot stay out of court for ever. There will be a day of reckoning for these liars.

Jun 4, 2015 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

As we've seen before, the only purpose of these papers is to get published and then plastered in screaming headline form all over the BBC and Guardian (other "progressive" media outlets are available) and a new talking point is created for the green blob to beat sceptics with eg "...of course the so-called hiatus has been debunked in a peer-reviewed (gasp!) paper by Karl et al... blah blah blah...".

Jun 4, 2015 at 8:47 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

From satire to parody. Where next?
Paris and the Moulin Rouge.

Jun 4, 2015 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

To call the paper, as GWPF do, "a highly speculative and slight paper[...]"
I wonder if they meant sleight?

Jun 4, 2015 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

What's new?

They got rid of the '1940's blip' by fiddling the SST data (™Tom Wigley).

Now they've added it to the post 1998 SST data by the same method.

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

How good is the ARGO data anyway?

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Hmm, water torture of the data by K15.

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeInMinnesota

Just posted this at

“… we also found that our computed trends likely continue to underestimate the true rate of warming. This is due at least in part to a lack of surface temperature observations in large parts of the Arctic where warming is occurring most rapidly.”
So have I got this straight? Because of a lack of observations, you think your estimate of Arctic warming is too low, because you know it's getting warmer there than it is elsewhere – from your observations...
This is: “The dog ate part of my homework, and I know it was the best bit, because its the part that is missing.”
Do go there. It might be fun.

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:18 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:18 PM | geoffchambers

I think NOAA must suffering from a bad case of 'doublethink' (1984), holding two opposing views in their heads as equally valid:

There were a number of proposed explanations for the hiatus, including natural variability and heat accumulating in the oceans. Although these studies are still equally valid, we expect our finding to provide additional clarity and answers to this question.

So these explanations for the hiatus are valid but then they show a graph entitled 'No Slow Down in Global Warming':

This is seriously pathetic coming from so-called scientists.

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

And the winner of The Golden Dogma award ...

Retrospective Doggies anyone?

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

They [the apprentice thaumatologists of climate warming-man_made-somehow @ miracle/]........JUST had to do something about the pause!

GCMs galore and all the computing power in the world and yet............................. you see it just doesn't fit........................CO² is rising right but Temperatures have ceased to rise since 95 or, 98 depending on whose side you ride. AND God damn Mother GAIA!!

So in the end, why change the habits of a lifetime - "we had to fix it Mike!" Enter into the fun-house of KARL - where lots of magicked mirrors and stuff make it seem as if reality has been refashioned into a Temperature likeness - the real world doesn't recognize.

Well I never - Paris - "it's this year?" Knock me down with a feather..........................

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

h/t geoff, one of the papers' authors is busy digging a hole to bury the theory. He writes:

With the improvements to the land and ocean data sets and the addition of two more years of data, NCEI scientists found that there has been no hiatus in the global rate of warming. This finding is consistent with the expected effect of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and with other observed evidence of a changing climate such as reductions in Arctic sea ice extent, melting permafrost, rising sea levels, and increases in heavy downpours and heat waves.

This means, the pause *was/is* a problem to the 'expected effect of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations'. Good to know.

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:57 PM | Registered Commentershub

IMO this could backfire badly on them and warmunists. The AAAS media ploy is transparently obvious. The paper is transparently bad. Post hoc adjustment of modern good data to 'fit' EWI contaminated bad data, to remove a pause that climate scientists had already acknowledged, and which exists in both satellite records for the period.
The optics are very bad. So much for Obama's settled science. Karl et. al. have miraculously made Trenberth's missing deep ocean heat pop to the surface just in time for Paris.
Surely there must be some aspiring journalists somewhere akin to Woodward and Bernstein (Watergate) willing to expose this nonsense.

Jun 4, 2015 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Are they really saying that all the other climate scientists who have tried to explain the pause, were totally misguided by the previous data which clearly said there was a pause?

It is almost as though no one has a clue. Or an accurate thermometer.

If they serve Vichyssoise in Paris, and anyone says their soup is cold, there could be a major incident.

Jun 4, 2015 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

NASA water buoyds the temperature data and it confesses.

Jun 4, 2015 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"... a sad day for science." And for Science, a once-great journal

Jun 4, 2015 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterj.arimathea

Look at the lower of these two graphs from the paper, comparing the adjusted data wit the raw data.

Pre-1940 the corrected data is warmer than the raw data.

This means that the total warming since 1880 is less than previously I thought.

You sceptics have been saying this for years. One would think you would be pleased to have it confirmed.

Jun 4, 2015 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

There is no question now in my mind, after having read several reviews of this paper across the Internet, that the general conclusion is that the data adjustments are to make uncertain data even more uncertain, but have been made to produce a result which fits a political narrative of an increasingly desperate and dishonest group of individuals. If what is reported on the daily mail link below concerning mark maslin (UCL) and professor Peter wadhams ( Cambridge uni) comments on the paper are true them both men are incompetent buffoons at worst, or outright liars at worst.

Jun 4, 2015 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterAbc

If FIFA hoped this would draw some heat away from their shenanigans, Karl will be able to adjust it all back again, possibly with added interest, to account for any pocketed losses.

Obama will be very grateful to his advisor John Holdren for arming him with this new, improved, adjusted, damaged, repaired, damaged and repaired again, Hockey Sticklet Splinter. You would get more warming in Washington, if a Butterfly flapped its wings and lit a barbeque.

Jun 4, 2015 at 11:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Immediately picked up and reported by the BBC environmental dept.

Came across a quote on a comment on this which was quite apt

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” -Mark Twain

Jun 4, 2015 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBLACK PEARL

Story also picked up on the Sky News paper review of the Independent, with presenter saying it was a "blow to climate change skeptics" etc. She also quoted the "95% of experts" line too. So, another PR win on what seems to be a fairly tortured analysis to buttress a political message.

However, the guest reviewers were not so convinced and suggested it just made the story of global warming yet more confusing to the public. So there was at least some small glimmer of common sense, perhaps

Jun 5, 2015 at 12:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterShrdlu

Am I hearing crickets from the usual scientist suspects? Come on, it was on the Daily Mail, I'm sure it's been read by the MetO where they notoriously only read David Rose!

Jun 5, 2015 at 12:19 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Bish: I think the term "jiggery pokery " sums it up perfectly. In fact, maybe jiggery pokery is something that the red-brick and plastic-brick "Unis" should be offering as a new graduate course.

Jun 5, 2015 at 12:24 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

I thought the latest from the IPCC acknowledged the pause. Are these guys saying their bible is wrong ? If so, are we plebs to believe anything else that is in the latest version of their bible ?

I got sent this recently --just to show you can get any trend to agree with anything if you try hard enough, like these climate scientists do.

Jun 5, 2015 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

I love it! Necks are out, heads are on the block and Mother Nature's axe is, as always, well honed!

Let the games commence! The new breed, homo superbus (arrogant man), arrogant enough to have demanded, and received, funding to prove that virtual is actual and actual is imagination.

The eventual fall from grace of our present day wizards could be more detrimental to the well being of mankind than any of the other of our attempts at self harm. Destroy trust in scientists, which this missive does in spades, expect conflict.

Definition of 'homo superbus'? Anybody who claims to be able to control the temperature of this planet. There is another variant 'homo superbus+1', this variant not only knows how to control the temperature of this planet, but they are also the guardians of the 'Holy Temperature Grail'!

They, and they alone, know the one and only temperature that must be maintained.

PS. They walk amongst you!

Jun 5, 2015 at 12:40 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Entropic Mann

The whole point of Climate Skepticism, which warmists like you just do not get, Is not that we want to "prove' that AGW doesn't exist. We are affronted by the blatant manipulation and falsification of data for whatever politically motivated reason.

Jun 5, 2015 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Cooper

Manfred @8.49pm.

The Moulin Rouge will be the Only place where the delegates will see the bare facts.

Jun 5, 2015 at 1:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Hmm, I wonder how the raving nutjobs are doing? Oh look. There's been no published rebuttal in a peer reviewed journal, but you just 'know' all science is wrong, and a bunch of idealogues on a crank blog can just 'feel' that all science is wrong. And a year later when there have been no rebuttals published in a peer reviewed journal, you'll still be talking about how it has been 'debunked' because a few like minded cranks moaned about it denier blogs.

Jun 5, 2015 at 1:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

Some reactions: Doug McNeall makes interestingly reasonable comments that no media outlet will report. Real Climate uses the occasion to show that models better match observations if the expected warming trends are lowered -that is a longterm skeptical argument, thank you very much.

Gillis on the NYT is uncharacteristically nonplussed by the new paper and fills the article with doubt and caution. And actually, as pointed out by Revkin, Russel Vose, climate head honcho at NOAA Asheville and second last among the authors, has just said that the multidecadal global warming since 1880 has just been cut by the paper from 1.015C to 0.92C.

If this doesn't lower ECS, nothing will.

Jun 5, 2015 at 1:12 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Jun 4, 2015 at 11:22 PM Entropic man

Only actual records can be data

Any 'adjusted data', is simply somebodies opinion and is therefore, scientifically, irrelevant. Until proven correct by forthcoming events

Jun 5, 2015 at 1:22 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

The science is settled - again! But this time for sure!

Jun 5, 2015 at 1:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

We have all learnt from climate science that hot water travels to the bottom of the ocean. When measuring the temperature of a bucket of water, does it matter how high above sea level the bucket is, and where in the bucket the thermometer is? Obviously any heat in the bucket may get very confused about which direction to go, now that climate scientists have poured a bucket of cold water over conventional wisdom and accepted practice.

There are holes in this bucket idea.

Jun 5, 2015 at 2:03 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

And if we begin the warming trend just 14,000 years ago, remove the first 11,800 years of the Holocene due to a time keeper's error, leave the thermometer in the oven for a few minutes and correct for wind speed we will all be incinerated by the weekend.

Jun 5, 2015 at 2:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy Pattullo

I think this is one of the Bishop's most clever titles.
From Wikipedia-
"The term entered the English language when Svein Forkbeard and Canute the Great conquered and occupied Anglo-Saxon England; the housecarls of Canute were highly disciplined bodyguards.[5] It is unclear, however, whether Canute's housecarls were all Scandinavians; according to Susan Reynolds, it is likely that some of them were, or became, or were thought of as English."


Jun 5, 2015 at 3:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris y

Many readers will recall the notorious exchange among Mann, Jones and other IPCC authors about not wanting to give "fodder" to skeptics by showing the Briffa reconstruction in the 2001 IPCC report: see This was contemporary with and related to, but a separate incident from the "hide the decline" email.

Though his role was not mentioned in the Climate Audit post or elsewhere at the time, Tom Karl (together with Chris Folland) was co-Coordinating Lead Author of the chapter containing Mann's section and wascopied on this unsalubrious Climategate correspondence.

Jun 5, 2015 at 4:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

How does the BBC get such comedy quotes from the like of Reading Uni and the Met Office. I'm just embarrassed to have studied Met there if they get quoted all the time with nonsense like that.

Jun 5, 2015 at 4:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

This is due at least in part to a lack of surface temperature observations in large parts of the Arctic where warming is occurring most rapidly.

I highly doubt that. If sea ice is present as it is for most of the arctic summer, no matter that it is only small chunks of scattered and broken ice floating in the water, then the sea surface temperature will be pretty much exactly the freezing temperature of salt water. Ice may freeze and ice may melt; but so long as both ice and water are present the temperature will stay the same.Similarly the temperature cannot rise in my G and T until all the ice is gone. I have experimentally confirmed this on multiple occasions and I am entirely willing to pour myself another Gin and check it yet again.

Jun 5, 2015 at 5:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan H

We all need to stop playing to the hands of the CAGW-team by accepting their rhetorical trick of calling interpretation of data "adjusted data" or " new dataset" etc. Interpretation is what it is. Analysis is also interpretation and the public needs to understand this. The only "real" data is what people often call "raw data", rest is simply someone's interpretation of it. If we would consistently talk of "interpretation" and separate it from "data", the CAGW-team would not get away so easily with their creative interpretations disguised as "new datasets", "re-analyzed data" etc.

Jun 5, 2015 at 6:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterPethefin

Though his role was not mentioned in the Climate Audit post or elsewhere at the time, Tom Karl (together with Chris Folland) was co-Coordinating Lead Author of the chapter containing Mann's section and wascopied on this unsalubrious Climategate correspondence.

That's an interesting snippet [Steve - Ta!], cripes and all in cahoots are they.

If we would consistently talk of "interpretation" and separate it from "data", the CAGW-team would not get away so easily with their creative interpretations disguised as "new datasets", "re-analyzed data" etc.

Pethefin, it is a point not missed by me and I am sure many on here = but we love to 'dicker'.

And as, the other Steve [Goddard] points out - all the major GCMs, the computer models are way out in their future prognostications - they always will be, because the methodology is to say the least - slapdash but overriding that: the underlying premise is based on a totally false assumption.

Jun 5, 2015 at 7:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

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