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A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.
This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China’s official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its “worst snowstorm ever”. In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.
So what explained the anomaly? GISS’s computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.
It’s easier to let these kinds of errors slip through the quality assurance process when you are ideologically invested in a specific outcome — namely, human induced catastrophic warming.
A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with. This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen’s institute are not only one of the four data sets that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.
If there is one scientist more responsible than any other for the alarm over global warming it is Dr Hansen, who set the whole scare in train back in 1988 with his testimony to a US Senate committee chaired by Al Gore. Again and again, Dr Hansen has been to the fore in making extreme claims over the dangers of climate change. (He was recently in the news here for supporting the Greenpeace activists acquitted of criminally damaging a coal-fired power station in Kent, on the grounds that the harm done to the planet by a new power station would far outweigh any damage they had done themselves.)
Yet last week’s latest episode is far from the first time Dr Hansen’s methodology has been called in question. In 2007 he was forced by Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre to revise his published figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as he had claimed, but the 1930s.
Cult leader Dr. Hansen should be fired. He is clearly too emotionally wedded to the religion substitute of global warming. Unlike journalists who aren’t held accountable by peer review, scientists live and die by their objectivity. Hansen has discredited himself. Anyone who believes scientists can’t be tainted by bias or corruption has a weak grasp of the constancy of human nature. Science is humanity’s Savior. I don’t want false prophets like Hansen as representatives of our last, best hope.
I predict that in ten or twenty years when the dust has settled and the truth of AGW gets a more reasonable hearing than it has to date, we will look back on this sorry episode as one of the greatest attempted swindles ever foisted by the global elite on the masses. I also predict that all those End Times leftists who embarrassingly swooned in apocalyptic fervor for the clarion call of cataclysmic global warming and ritually embraced it like a Sacramental Rite will pretend as if their lies never happened, and simply move on to their next self-congratulatory save-the-world cause du jour. And the media, of course, being hopelessly lost as a respectable institution of high-minded journalistic integrity, will enable them to evade public humiliation.
I read that the personality trait “openness to experience” correlates strongly with people of a certain political persuasion. It’s a nice personality trait to have. I have some of it myself. But there can be too much of a good thing. Armageddonationist global warming cultists are what happens when people are a little *too* open to new ideas.