An important new graph links temperature changes in the 20th century strongly to atmospheric CO2. But before alarmists taunt back “Yah, we said so all along you anti-science hacks”, we clarify: it’s not man-made changes in temperature, it’s man-made changes in temperature data. Specifically the ones NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) makes to the raw readings, cooling the past and warming the present so it seems to prove there’s CO2-driven warming despite what the thermometer said. Yes, you read that right. Atmospheric scientist Wei Zhang did a “regression analysis” of atmospheric CO2 and NASA’s fiddles and found a fit of 0.82. On a scale where 0 means the adjustments had nothing to do with artificially matching temperature to CO2 and 1 means someone put the data on the rack and stretched it until it shrieked “carbon dioxide did it”.
As Zhang says, “The probability that this happens by chance is shockingly close to zero.” The point of regression analysis is to separate signal from noise, and his analysis found a clear signal: The lower atmospheric CO2 is in a given year, the more GISS “adjusts” the temperature downward, and the higher the CO2, the higher the adjustment upward.
It’s very difficult for this sort of thing to happen by accident. Admittedly statistics is hard, especially for non-statisticians. But NASA is chock-full of mathematicians. Including its GISS, the outfit initially directed by James Hansen and later by Gavin Schmidt, a leading alarmist who is now Joe Biden’s “senior climate advisor”.
They aren’t careless people. It would be very unlikely for such a result to result from carelessness anyway. And when you’re producing vital numbers for a crucial policy debate, you desperately need a “blue team” or some other mechanism for checking that you’re not making important mistakes, either from sheer inadvertence or because you had developed tunnel vision. Do they have one?
We dislike and resist conspiracy theories. But if this is not deliberate data-tampering it certainly looks like zealotry overwhelming judgement and honour. (And not for the first time.) There are many complexities to the climate debate as to climate itself. And much back-and-forth about the supposed increase in hurricanes and wildfires and the meaning and reliability of the evidence. But if there’s one point on which all alarmists are united it’s that “the science” or “the facts” or “the data” or some such trump card show steady warming driven by CO2 or, as they now like to call it, “climate pollution”.
NASA for instance dismisses the role of Milankovitch cycles in the recent past, saying “they cannot account for the current period of rapid warming Earth has experienced since the pre-Industrial period (the period between 1850 and 1900), and particularly since the mid-20th Century. Scientists are confident Earth’s recent warming is primarily due to human activities — specifically, the direct input of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.” There’s that “scientists say” thing again.
Gavin Schmidt’s models certainly say so over the 20th century. Or at least he says they say so, by the statistically unusual technique of dismissing their failure to fit before 1970 as “noise”. But what if it’s not true? What if CO2 and temperature don’t correlate and, indeed, the models overpredict warming precisely because they’re told CO2 causes it? And what if, when the facts don’t fit the prediction, the modelers change the data instead of the models?
Lord Christopher Monckton just pointed to another warming “hiatus” that has now continued for over five years, which certainly seems strange if rising CO2 means relentlessly rising temperatures. (And apparently the end of winter hasn’t reached Thailand, a tropical nation recently so chilly they put sweaters on elephants.) But Zhang’s chart is far more serious because it appears to show that the whole American warming trend from 1885, nearly a century and a half now, the one NASA uses to shove aside Milankovitch cycles, is an artefact of clods or zealots in government. Imagine the blow to the credibility of official science if it turned out to be true. Especially if they tried to cover it up.
Thus it would be very interesting to know what GISS thinks of this startling discovery that almost the entire correlation between increasing atmospheric CO2 and U.S. land surface temperatures is man-made. One hopes they do not dismiss it as the work of “enemies” or contemptibly unworthy of comment. Because unless there is something very wrong with Zhang’s analysis, NASA is simply making up the climate crisis. On purpose. For the greater good, you understand.
If on the other hand something is wrong with his analysis, GISS of all people should be able to show what it is. And they’d better get busy.