I haven’t spent a lot of time on the whole ‘Global Warming’ thing except when really major things happen (like NASA grossly miscalculating several years of climate data). The 0.7 degree Celsius increase in mean temperature over the last fifty years hardly strikes me as conclusive evidence of anything. It definitely doesn’t make me feel like the world is falling apart or like Al Gore deserves a Nobel Prize for complaining about it. Even if you accept the argument that Earth is getting ‘warm’, which is a pretty goofy claim when we only have about 100 years of reliable temperature records on which to form a baseline, the evidence that it’s because of anything we did is paper-thin and circumstantial.
Anyway, NASA is at it again with their recent announcement that October was the warmest October on record. The problem is that much of the data from Russia was simply a repeat of the August numbers which, as you might expect, are supposed to be warmer than October’s numbers. Upon correcting the data, it turns out that October was stunningly normal.
Meteorologist Anthony Watts’s excellent ‘Watts Up With That‘ blog deserves much of the credit for uncovering this error (the same blogger who discovered NASA’s earlier miscalculations). Watts also asks why the NASA mean temperature graph has changed fairly significantly over the last ten years with little/no explanation, and independently researches weather stations and uncovers possible explanations for temperature ‘anomalies’ (like thermometers sitting close to air conditioner exhaust ports, which would erroneously skew the data warmer).
One bit I found interesting relates to the anamolous Russian numbers—many Russian cities have inefficient above-ground steam systems from the Soviet era, and these uninsulated above-ground pipes could possibly skew temperatures from entire cities. Even if the impact is more limited, it could certainly affect temperature readings at weather stations mere yards away. That’s the perennial problem with trying to get accurate temperature readings from manned outposts and populated areas in the arctic: humans bring heat with them for their own comfort, and a temperature reading at a manned outpost does not necessarily reflect the ‘real’ climate of the region.