The Greatest Scandal In the History of Science

I have written many times about the unwarranted “adjustments” to measured past temperatures by government agencies, which serve to inflate the modest warming that has occurred in recent decades. Organizations around the world (NOAA and NASA-GISS here in the U.S.) have done this over and over, usually surreptitiously. The Manhattan Contrarian shares my opinion that this misrepresentation of the historical record is the worst scandal in the history of science. The most recent instance comes from Australia:

For those new to this topic, the Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time is the systematic downward adjustment of early-year temperatures in order to create a fake enhanced warming trend, the better to bamboozle voters and politicians to go along with extreme measures to try to avert the impending “climate crisis.”
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The latest news comes out of Australia, via the website of Joanne Nova. Nova’s February 17 post is titled “History keeps getting colder — ACORN2 raises Australia’s warming rate by over 20%.” “ACORN2” is a newly revised and updated temperature series for Australia, with temperatures going back to 1910 based on records from 112 weather stations on the continent, some 57 of which have records that go back all the way to the 1910 start date…. The ACORN2 data compilation is so called to distinguish it from ACORN1, which was only released some 7 years ago in 2012.
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Once again we find that the oldest thermometers were apparently reading artificially high, even though many were newish in 1910 and placed in approved Stevenson screens. This is also despite the additional urban warming effect of a population that grew 400% since then. What are the odds?! … The new ACORN version has nearly doubled the rate of warming in the minima of the longest running stations.

This simple bar chart shows how the Australian government’s “adjustments” have artificially inflated the warming trend:

Another Australian named Gillham has also worked to uncover the shenanigans at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. He created this chart, which plots the original raw temperature records against ACORN1 and ACORN2. You can plainly see how those responsible for the records have systematically lowered the measured temperatures of earlier years in order to inflate the warming of recent years:

The Contrarian comments:

As you can see, the “raw” and “v1” temperatures tend to be close — sometimes one higher, sometimes the other. But v2 is significantly lower across the board in the earlier years. Then, suddenly, in the recent years, it tracks the “raw” almost perfectly.

One amusing aspect of this story is the explanation for the latest revisions given by the creators of ACORN2. It is, in a word, incoherent. The Contrarian elaborates:

The one-word explanation is “homogenization.” OK, we understand what that is. For example, sometimes a station moves, and that causes a discontinuity, where, say, the new location is systematically 0.1 deg C lower than the old. An adjustment needs to be made. But these sorts of adjustments should cancel out. How is it possible that every time some official meteorological organization anywhere in the world makes some of these “homogenization” adjustments, the result is that earlier years get colder and the supposed “global warming” trend gets enhanced — always to support a narrative of “climate crisis?”

Good question! Here, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has released a 57-page explanation of why it altered the historic temperature record:

As far as I am concerned, this is the definitive proof of the fraud. If this were even an attempt at real, credible science, the proponents would put out a document complete with the details of the adjustments — and all of their computer code — so that an independent researcher could replicate the work. Nothing like that is here. This is pure bafflegab. Nova calls it “impenetrable,” which is way too nice a word as far as I’m concerned.

He includes an excerpt from the ABM’s document that amply justifies that assessment. It is actually pretty funny, reading like one of the parody articles that Steve has so much fun with–the ones that get published in “peer reviewed” journals even though they are pure nonsense, larded with cliches.

The excerpt from the ABM’s explanation of its work concludes with this:

All of these methods, which use different statistical approaches, have been successfully used across a range of networks since their development. Further details on their implementation are given in Appendix C.

About which the Contrarian comments:

My favorite part is that reference at the end to “Appendix C.” This document has no Appendix C. There are three appendices, numbered Appendix 1, Appendix 2 and Appendix 3. That’s about the intellectual level we are dealing with.

I don’t think there is any mystery about why employees of government agencies around the world systematically alter historical records–amazingly enough, always in the same direction. But the Contrarian draws a parallel that I think is apt:

And finally: over the years as I have accumulated posts on this topic, several commenters have suggested that I must be alleging some kind of conspiracy among government climate scientists in making these adjustments. I mean, without that, how does it come about that the Australians just happen to be making the exact same kinds of adjustments as NASA, NOAA, and for that matter, as the Brits at the Hadley Center in the UK?

If your brain is wondering how that could be, I would suggest that we have the same kind of phenomenon going on here as the hate crime hoax phenomenon. How does Jussie Smollett just happen to fake a hate crime playing right into the progressive narrative of the moment — just as did the Duke lacrosse team hoaxer, and the Virginia fraternity hoaxer, and the Harvard Law School black tape hoaxers, and many dozens of others? (Here is a compilation of some 15 recent hate crime hoaxes.) Did they all coordinate in one grand conspiracy? Or did they all just realize what was needed from them to support their “team” and its narrative?

There is a great deal of narrative supporting going on these days.

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