Michael Sununu: Manipulating climate data right before our eyes
THE RECENT ELECTIONS have caused the climate alarmists’ heads to spin. Without a liberal President to force green policies on America, there is little chance their agenda will move forward. Regardless of policy preferences, what elected officials need to focus on is what is actually going on in our climate and what steps need to be taken to address them. It’s the data that count. The real data.
On this point, let’s all agree that the world is warming. It has been since the 1800s when the world started to emerge from the Little Ice Age. We have had periods of warming, periods of cooling and periods when global temperatures didn’t do much of anything.
The bigger question is “Are we seeing recent temperature trends that are out of the ordinary of what we have seen in the past?” Alarmists tend to scream that temperatures are rising out of control, in an unprecedented manner, and that we are reaching a tipping point beyond which we are doomed.
That is all a lie, but I am sure they believe it.
Let’s look at the data, and just as importantly what alarmists have been doing to the data.
If you look at raw global surface temperatures, you see the rate of increase in the early part of the 20th century is the same as what occurred from the late 1970s to the late 1990s. No one has argued the first rate of change was anything but natural. So why must the more recent warming be manmade? In addition, we saw a flat/downward trend in global temperatures from the 1940s to the 1970s and we saw, at least up until recently, another almost 20 year flat temperature period to start this century.
So if what we are seeing are trends that are no different than in the past, why should we think it is anything but natural? We shouldn’t. In fact, any scientist should assume that nature is driving global temperatures and prove otherwise before arguing that mankind is driving our climate. One of the dirty little secrets of the alarmists is that they haven’t been able to prove that. They like to point to the correlation of rising carbon dioxide levels and temperatures as “proof”, but even a third grader knows that isn’t proof. Their climate models certainly make it look warmer, but the model forecasts are terrible, only proving that the models don’t work.
So what is a climate alarmist to do? Well if you don’t want to fix the models, you fix the temperatures. And that is exactly what has been going on.
Anyone who has closely followed the climate debate is familiar with the “adjustments” to the raw temperature data. What most Average Joes don’t realize is that the adjustments are almost entirely done to accomplish one thing — cool the past and warm the present.
How did they do this? Scientists have “smoothed” regional temperatures to get better agreement between urban and rural data. But instead of adjusting city temperatures lower (because of urban heat effects) they raised rural temperatures. More recently, in order to get rid of the “pause” in temperatures, they adjusted the sea surface temperatures higher when they decided that mid-20th century temperatures taken in ship engine intakes are more accurate than the modern ocean buoys. That’s right, the technology of the 1950s with the ship engine heat influencing the data was determined to be better than the network of modern electronics uninfluenced by external heat sources. And these are only a few examples of what has been going on.
On a more local level, between 2011 and 2013, the NOAA data set lowered annual Maine temperatures between three to five degrees in the early 1900s...and made almost no changes to recent temperatures. That “adjustment” is more than three times the actual warming we have seen.
When you look at how temperatures have been manipulated you start to wonder if we have any idea what the global temperature is. Over the past decade or so, the keepers of the data have cooled temperatures in the pre-1910 period the equivalent of -0.52 degrees per century. They warmed temperatures from 1980 to the early part of this century by the equivalent of +0.11 degrees per century.
Those two changes represent half the warming since 1900! And this was before the “pause buster” sea surface temperature manipulation took place.
Keep this in mind when the alarmists start demanding more action. When every iteration of the global temperature data set incrementally warms the present and cools the past, it’s not science. It’s manipulation. Mother Nature is still driving the climate, no matter how much they fudge the data for their agenda.
Michael Sununu is a small businessman and selectman in Newfields.