Warming Is Not Following the Climate Alarmists’ Script– In Models or Reality

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  • 03/02/2023

Climate change is just not following the script written for it in models or displayed daily in news headlines.

In fact, data clearly show no evidence weather is getting more extreme. More importantly, global temperature rise, the foundation for the entire edifice of the theory of catastrophic human-caused climate change, is not following the playbook either. The inadequate and fatally flawed climate models after more than 30 years of tweaking are still running way too hot, satellites and weather balloons record minimal warming, and ground-based temperature stations report artificially hot data because they are cited poorly.

The basic truth is the Earth has not been warming to the degree (pun fully intended) that climate models have consistently projected over the years it would. No catastrophic warming, no catastrophic climate change. If climate models are wrong about the most basic projection they were created to make, there is no reason to take any of their other projections seriously.

Worse news for climate alarmists—though not for normal people with bigger things to worry about—is that much of the so-called warming being reported is a result of bias, not reality, with reported average temperatures being higher and trending steeper than if the system used accurate measurements. A new report by The Heartland Institute, “Corrupted Climate Stations: The Official U.S. Surface Temperature Record Remains Fatally Flawed,” shows this conclusively. This report is an update of a 2009 study by meteorologist Anthony Watts, a Heartland senior fellow: Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable? Spoiler alert: it wasn’t then, and it isn’t now.

The 2009 study found approximately 89% of the stations used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to calculate average U.S. temperatures failed to meet the National Weather Service’s (NWS) siting standards, which stipulate stations must be 30 meters (100 feet) or more away from any artificial or radiating reflecting heat source. That was disgracefully poor performance. The situation is now worse.

NOAA and the NWS took a variety of actions in the aftermath of the 2009 report, perhaps in response to it. Some were positive; others appear intended to bolster the claims of dangerously rising temperatures on which Watts’ study cast doubt.

On the positive side, NOAA rolled out a new network of temperature stations: the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN). The USCRN comprises a subset of existing temperature gauge locations that meet all NWS conditions for unbiased, high-quality temperature data that are not expected to be affected by nearby development or the placement of artificial heat sources for at least the next 50 years. Describing the USCRN, the National Climate Data Center wrote, “[t]he USCRN measures temperature with superior accuracy and continuity in places that land-use change will not likely impact during the next five decades. Built specifically for this purpose … [t]he USCRN serves, as its name and original intent imply, as a reference network for operational estimates of national-scale temperature.”

Concurrent with the creation of the USCRN, NOAA developed a second new temperature reporting network, adding thousands of stations from the Global Historical Climatology Network to NOAA’s Historical Climate Network of 1,218 stations for a new dataset it called “nClimGrid.” This new system collects data from more than 10,000 high-quality (unbiased) and low-quality (biased) stations alike.

Sadly, in its monthly and annual reports on temperature and weather trends, NOAA does not use or cite the data from the unbiased USCRN. Instead, the federal government’s official reports cite data from the woefully inadequate, fatally compromised nClimGrid network.

Why would that be, one wonders, since NOAA acknowledges the USCRN has, in its own words, “superior accuracy”? Could it be because the USCRN dataset shows warming of less than half that recorded by the biased system, and that such a minimal amount of warming doesn’t make a compelling case for large-scale government action and increased funding and personnel for federal agencies?

Watts and his team of volunteers surveyed a representative sample of the original temperature gauges and the more recent nClimGrid network, in different regions across the country. The results were worse than even I could have imagined. The survey found more than 96% of surveyed sites were improperly sited and/or maintained, resulting in corrupted, biased data. You read that right. Instead of improving station siting and reporting since the 2009 report, the temperature dataset NOAA uses for official reports has gotten worse.

For me, the main takeaway from the report is threefold. First, the government is either inept or stubbornly refuses to learn from its mistakes for political reasons, likely both are at play. Second, the government’s official temperature record can’t be trusted. It reflects a clear urban heat-bias effect, not actual national temperature trends. Third, because you can’t trust the official temperature record, and the climate model projections are even more flawed than the actual reported data, you shouldn’t trust reports that temperatures are hotter than ever now, or that extreme weather events are becoming more common or severe. None of these claims are borne out by the data.

The simple truth is simple: it is not getting as hot as fast as climate alarmists within and outside the government say it is.

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