back to article Scorchio! This June was the sixty-sixth hottest on record

The press is full of reports that Planet Earth is undergoing it's hottest year ever - that the first half of 2015 is the hottest first half yet seen, according to the NOAA among others. Is it true? In fact the contiguous US saw the tenth hottest first half of a year since 1880, when the NOAA database begins. Only such recent, …

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  1. Dazed and Confused
    Happy

    But not many people will be taking NOAA global surface temperature "records" very seriously any more, since they were recently massively amended to make the long-ago past "records" colder and the recent past and present "records" hotter.

    But surely you have to make the data fit the theory.

    Isn't that how these things are supposed to work?

    How else do you get an increase in your research grant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As a Scientist, manipulating raw data....

      to fit your hypothesis should be punishable by finger amputation.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: raw data....

        AFAIK, the manipulation is on the cooked data. I have no idea if the new recipe is better or worse than the old recipe, but a considerable amount of cooking is required to convert historical and prehistoric data sets into something that can be compared with modern data sets.

        In my ignorant opinion, the whole issue is so political that separating fact from fiction in climate change is too much like hard work. A slightly easier place to look is at what oil and gas sellers do with the money we pay them. It would also be nice to see costs and all subsidies for various renewable sources of power. Again, separating facts from politics takes time, and people taking different amounts will argue about the conclusions.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As a Scientist, manipulating raw data....

        Not if you are a climate scientist. In that case data manipulation is mandatory!

      3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: As a Scientist, manipulating raw data....

        That'll stop digital manipulation.

    2. Steve Crook

      Lost the older versions...

      But the dog didn't eat them. What's shameful is that the NOAA make the adjustments, publish the new data and don't archive the older version. I suppose the argument is that there's no need as the current version is always the best.

      Just as well that someone has been archiving since 2010. You see that scale of adjustments pretty much overwhelms any instrumental warming.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/09/noaancei-temperature-anomaly-adjustments-since-2010-pray-they-dont-alter-it-any-further/

      I don't consider they're necessarily wrong in their adjustments, but when they're having this much effect on the temperature record it's difficult not to wonder the why's and wherefore's.

    3. Luther Blisset

      Actually the adjustment moved a bunch of temperatures _down_, and the observational data informs the prediction, not the other way around.

      There's a vanishingly small group of people that will argue the data is incorrect, then use the data. or parts of the data. Or slices of the data. There's not a lot of consistency on the denier side on what's _right_.

      Lewis, for example, talks about June in the UK to prove a point that it's been a bit chilly. I point out that the Annual figures tend to agree with the scientific concensus that significant warming has occurred in the past couple of decades. Is one column wrong compared with another?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Holmes

        June in the UK != June in the world.

        Case closed.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @ Dan 55

          "June in the UK != June in the world.

          Case closed."

          Well said. Which is why Lewis is right to post this article to report that the US != the world as the press report this is the hottest year ever based on an NOAA estimation of the planet after they have apparently recently amended their dataset in a way that looks suspect.

          While this doesnt conclusively prove nor disprove the climate science this article does seem to serve a purpose. As you point out to him the UK != world, he is pointing out suspect estimation data that makes a good headline != reliable fact. So I would agree case closed

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: @ Dan 55

            If this article were to plant doubts in peoples' minds, it would have to...

            Compare the old and new NOAA datasets with historical UK temperature reading data and find the new NOAA dataset is x% less accurate than the old NOAA dataset in the areas covered by UK temperature reading data (that's to say, the UK). That's if we can use the UK temperature reading data is reliable enough to be used as a control. There and probably other too, I'm not a statistician.

            Mention that NASA and JMA also drew similar 'hottest on record' conclusions and in some way take that into account instead of not mentioning them at all for some reason. This was just after a casual Google search, I didn't really need to go digging for that.

            As it is the article just uses a scattergun approach which doesn't seem to hit anything and makes people immediately think "June in the UK != June in the world".

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @ Dan 55

              @ Dan 55

              "If this article were to plant doubts in peoples' minds, it would have to..."

              You have your own answer to this in some form of comparative way which may hold some scientific relevance. Instead Lewis pointed out the dubious changing of historical records which (according to the linked article) was achieved by throwing out 6 more reliable measurements and relying on the single problematic one.

              Your approach works better when the source of the data is considered reputable. Lewis seems to be starting by pointing out why that may not be the case. This is why a lot of climate 'science' has problems. A lot of so called experts and facts have been exposed as unreliable or out right unbelievable. Scandals have rocked the debate hard and unfortunately the actions of the few have stained the reputations of many scientists who enter the debate. Both believers and deniers have been dented by this but it is the believers who want to vastly change our lives in ways that are normally considered very very very very very bad (read death).

              And of course this is without mentioning the political interventions where the 'scientists' convinced our political leaders that stupid schemes, incapable technology and lots of gravy was the way forward. Which of course has ensured our doom is certain with no way out or any hope of survival, assuming that every time they say 'we have x days to save the world' they mean it.

              Basically I am sick of being told we are certainly dead if we dont fix it by x deadline, only for nothing to be resolved and a new deadline put in place. I am sick of parasites in my pocket for their latest monument to their beliefs. I am sick of being told that we must do such damaging things to our lives as to be a danger to people, to save the world. And I am sick of the believers banging on about their special version of hell (as other religious groups love to) and their annoying attempts to save my life (soul) by buggering the world up and fixing nothing all because some preacher of dubious credibility claims so.

              So while I do not believe Lewis has the answer I can be fairly happy accepting the press based on the NOAA and the general amusement of climate 'science'/propaganda dont have the answer either. And that sounds like doubt to me.

            2. Marshalltown

              Re: @ Dan 55

              "...If this article were to plant doubts in peoples' minds, it would have to...

              Compare the old and new NOAA datasets with historical UK temperature reading data..."

              NOAA data changes are compared pretty regularly in the sceptic blogs. The complaint of of sceptics is that the changes persist in cooling the past and warming the present, which is true. The raw data really doesn't show much in the way of trends.

              And, how would one go about "measuring accuracy"? They change the data and they have not published any standard against which accuracy can be objectively measured. So how would one know what "adjustment" is better? There is certainly no empirical basis that can be employed to "adjust" historical data from before about 1950.

              The fact is that the adjustments are made according to theory, which says the planet "must" be warming because of increases in CO2. There is certainly no need to "homogenize" data except to draw pretty pictures. Any trend in global weather over time should show up in each local data set over time. So regardless of the thermometer quality or time of observation, each thermometer should reflect its own microcosmic response to any global change.

      2. VeganVegan
        Flame

        there's no need to adjust the data

        The favorite ploy used by deniers on both sides (pro- and con- global warming): all you have to do is to pick just those datapoints that you like (June 2015, in the UK), and pretend that the rest do not exist.

    4. Dazed and Confused
      Happy

      Oh look peoples irony filter seems to be on the blink again.

  2. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    "The story's little different here in the UK, where the roasting June of 2015 was the sixty-sixth hottest since records began in 1910, meaning - amazingly - that actually most Junes have been hotter. Including June 1910 actually. And 1911, and 1913, 1914 and 1915. But not 1912! June 1912 was cooler than June 1915. And the spring overall was the, um, thirty-fifth hottest. In the upper half of the rankings!"

    So basically temperature can rise and fall based on various influences that we're still getting to grips with. Got it!.

    1. Anthony 13

      Unfortunately you're missing the El Reg meme...

      ... of promoting any 'fact' that, in any way, seems to conflict with climate change orthodoxy. Apparantly, this is the 'scientific approach'.

  3. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    "...the middle of the Pacific ocean..."

    Obvious logical flaw there Old Top.

    Not many people live among the glaciers of Greenland, but many of us would still be very interested to know if they're doing okay (staying frozen-wise).

    1. Marshalltown

      Re: "...the middle of the Pacific ocean..."

      They are, and if you check Hudson Bay, there is a resupply problem taking place along the eastern shores where ice has been reluctant to leave. So much so that summer climate research plans (the irony) for Canadian ice breakers has been cancelled while they break ice instead, and that is happening now.

  4. John Philip

    Nice cherry-pick, Lewis. Up to the usual standard. Here are a couple more from the linked UK ranked months chart: 6 out of the hottest 12 Junes on record occurred since 2000, and here are the 8 hottest calendar years:

    2014, 2006, 2011, 2007, 2003, 2004, 2002, 2005

    Notice anything?

    Adjustments to raw data occur in every field, for perfectly good reasons. As Zeke Hausfather of the Berkely Earth project has shown, the adjusted global numbers actually trend *lower* than the raw data.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/07/07/understanding-adjustments-to-temperature-data/

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      the adjusted global numbers actually trend *lower* than the raw data.

      the adjusted global numbers actually trend *lower* than the raw data.

      That is correct - non-adjusted numbers result in stations which were in the countryside ending over time inside urban areas as they grow. This in turn raises their unadjusted average by a few degrees.

      The issue is not so much with adjustment, but how it is adjusted. I read the original analysis by the Russian met of the University of East Anglia data * (used in most UK climate studies) and it was devastating - they have missed to adjust most data from stations across the ex-Soviet union for urbanization warming and in the few cases where they did adjust it was adjusted incorrectly. That is like... one 6th of the Earth landmass. Even a small mistake in adjusting for that will lead to the data being massively off.

      By the way, all that is needed to be said about the "science" in climate science is that they never released the unadjusted set. It took hacking the lab and releasing the data on wikileaks to get the unadjusted set and the "methodology" for adjusting it out.

      1. pjclarke

        Re: the adjusted global numbers actually trend *lower* than the raw data.

        That is correct - non-adjusted numbers result in stations which were in the countryside ending over time inside urban areas as they grow. This in turn raises their unadjusted average by a few degrees

        No, if you read the analysis by Hausfather, its the adjustments to Sea Surface Temperatures that lower the average. Urbanisation is dealt with differently, NASA for example use only rural stations in their trend analysis, and get a similar result to other agencies.

        Oh, and the analysis by the 'Russian Met'. Was that the one actually by the IEA, a right wing 'think tank'?

        http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/17/russian-analysis-confirms-20th/

      2. pjclarke

        Re: the adjusted global numbers actually trend *lower* than the raw data.

        By the way, all that is needed to be said about the "science" in climate science is that they never released the unadjusted set. It took hacking the lab and releasing the data on wikileaks to get the unadjusted set and the "methodology" for adjusting it out.

        Pure fiction.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Notice anything?

      I notice a disparity between the figures you quote for June peaks and the figures in the article, then I notice that you rationalise adjustments to data with a pretty subjective dismissal.

      That’s what I noticed.

      What has the term ‘perfectly good reasons’ got to do with scientific process?

      1. pjclarke

        Re: Notice anything?

        So, a met station is relocated up a hill. After the relocation the readings are, on average 0.5C lower. Would you use the raw data or would you adjust? Or a thermometer is replaced with a newer model, after which it records 0.1C lower, compared with nearby stations. Would you use the raw data? Or the time of day the readings are taken is shifted, which somewhat counterintuitively, introduces a bias. Would you use the raw data or would you adjust?

        And if you DO want the raw data, its online. Fill your boots.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Notice anything?

          You don’t appear to be the source of original post so I will assume you are putting forward these scenarios as ‘perfectly good reasons’ to be helpful.

          To address your points - Personally, I would expect basic safeguards in any relocation of a met station to avoid introducing foreseeable errors. One would be to situate it at the same altitude to avoid errors induced by elevation. That is foreseeable.

          Replacement of a thermometer with a new one presumably would be for reasons that either the original was suspect and its accuracy comes into question, or that it was being replaced with a more accurate unit. Both reasons to utilise the new data over and above the nearby stations.

          But then, I am not doing it and presumably and hopefully you aren’t, given the lack of challenge your scenarios present to controlling the validity of the data.

          Whether these are ‘perfectly good reasons’ (and I hope they are) I don’t know, because perfectly good reasons are subjective therefore whatever are used need to be standards derived, peer reviewed and utilised right across the board, otherwise they introduce the bias you point out (although why an error introduced by a change in the time of day to take the data reading should be counterintuitive escapes me!).

          ‘Perfectly good reasons’ are subjective, generally personal and have no place in scientific process.

        2. Marshalltown

          Re: Notice anything?

          "So, a met station is relocated up a hill. ..."

          That would be fine, IF the relocated stations were actually relocated. There are a large number of stations in the US where the "relocation" is nothing more than a change in the rounding of the latitude and longitude figures, or a shift between NAD27 and WGS84 datums for GPS coordinates that was treated by automated software as a change in location. There are some notorious examples in the US and in Australia. Worse though is that in some of those cases, superior data records are weighted downward and misused.

  5. saxicola

    Uk Temperatures

    UK Temperatures are very much influenced by the Atlantic Conveyor or "Gulf stream" are not indicative of global temperatures. Melting Arctic ice influences the conveyor and may possibly slow it down so leading to cooling in the UK. These local effect are entirely expected. The UK will get wetter and colder if the conveyer slows or stops. We are the same latitude as Newfoundland, I've heard it gets pretty cold there too. These are local effects, do not confuse weather with climate.

    Mike E

    1. Scott Broukell

      Re: Uk Temperatures

      @ saxicola - Would it not be more accurate if that read as: "UK Temperatures are very much influenced by the Atlantic Conveyor or 'Gulf stream' AND the meanders of the Northern Jet Stream" ? I would suggest that it is a combination of these two major variable elements that have the greatest local influence on UK weather.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three hours and no sign of the usual Lewis Page character assassination squad.

    It must be factory fortnight for the Well Poisoning Society or they are out of school with their mummy and daddy.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      I think most people here have worked out that if you want an expert opinion on climate science, trying to get it from a bomb disposal expert is like asking a camel for synchronised swimming lessons.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry AC theu have had time to get back to their basements and down vote everything that does not fit their dogma.

  7. saxicola

    UK Temperatures

    UK Temperatures are very much influenced by the Atlantic Conveyor or "gulf stream" are not in any way indicative of global temperatures. Melting Arctic ice is fresh water and influences the conveyor and may possibly slow it down so leading to cooling in the UK. We are of a similar latitude to Newfoundland and I've heard it get pretty cold there. Without a north Atlantic Ocean, warmed by the conveyor, keeping us warm we'd be freezing our cojones off in the winter with much cooler summers. These are local effects, do not confuse weather with climate.

    Mike E

  8. IR

    Wrong place

    If you wanted a hot June this year then you could do worse than Seattle. Broke all the heat records by a long way. Also, the "rainy" city has had almost no precipitation at all for the last few months.

    http://www.komonews.com/weather/blogs/scott/June-doesnt-just-break-but-destroys-several-Seattle-temperature-records--311125801.html

    Still, not quite as fun as pointing at a very specific place on the globe and saying that for a specific short duration it didn't go into the record books as being hot, as if it is somehow meaningful in the bigger picture.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, really?

    Lewis, old chap. The MET data that you're using is the ranked mean. If you look at the Annual figures, you'll notice something disquieting to your overall point.

    9.91 2014 -

    9.73 2006 -

    9.64 2011 -

    9.59 2007 -

    9.50 2003 -

    9.47 2004 -

    9.47 2002 -

    9.45 2005 -

    9.41 1990

    9.40 1997

    9.38 1949

    9.36 1999

    9.28 1989

    9.27 1959

    9.27 1921

    9.18 1945

    9.17 2009 -

    9.17 1995

    9.14 1998

    9.09 2000 -

    Items marked with dashes have occurred within the last fifteen years. There are 10 dashes. Out of the past fifteen years, ten of them have hit records.

    Weather still isn't climate.

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I absolutely disagree with straight manipulation of historical data

    That is totally unacceptable.

    I understand that there are cases where data must be corrected, but that is not the way to do it.

    The only acceptable method is the continued publication of the old data, for reference, and the declaration of a filter used to produce the new data.

    The filter needs to be public, quantified and justified. In that way, everyone knows what is being massaged and why, and the issue is out in the open, which is the scientific method.

    Anything else is just backroom dealings and cannot be tolerated.

    1. pjclarke

      Re: I absolutely disagree with straight manipulation of historical data

      ALL the adjustments are documented in the peer-reviewed literature, virtually all the raw data is freely available, and the tiny percentage that is not, largely because it has some commercial value to the originators, could not possibly alter any major scientific conclusion.

      (Hint: not everything you read at WattsUpWithThat is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I absolutely disagree with straight manipulation of historical data

        @pjclarke,

        It would be helpful if you actually named the papers that do that and give the URLs for the freely available raw data - except you can't because the papers don't go into the actual details and the 'raw' data isn't, it has been 'changed' for public consumption.

        1. pjclarke

          Re: I absolutely disagree with straight manipulation of historical data

          Raw data collated here:

          http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/#Climate_data_raw

          Papers:

          NASA: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/references.html

          CRU http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/hrg/

          NOAA http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/anomalies.php

          (See also Karl et al 2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa5632

          That’s not an exhaustive list, but should get you started.

          In addition to the NASA dataset being completely open source they also publish the source code to their analysis, and there's a project that has refactored it and guess what? All analyses show the same unequivocal warming.

          1. Marshalltown

            Re: I absolutely disagree with straight manipulation of historical data

            "http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/#Climate_data_raw"

            Now there is a trustworthy source. The data is aggregated by government agencies. The sources should be government sites, not the primary web page of the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

  11. asdf

    LOL I can cut and paste this comment at least 3x a month here.

    Long live El Reg the amateur climate science blog that does IT on the side as a hobby.

  12. Yoda123

    I have news for you. UK is not the world although you have subjected a good chunk of the world to that indignity in the past.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed, some of us have been enjoying quite low temperatures.

    2. VeganVegan
      Flame

      You have to admit that Lewis had very few places to choose

      Take at look at the global map for June 15:

      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/june-2015-global-climate-report

      Kashmir might have been another cool spot.

      (Yes, yes, it is from NOAA, so all the deniers can start the denying).

      1. Marshalltown

        Re: You have to admit that Lewis had very few places to choose

        Look at ice problems in eastern Hudson Bay as well. Also the southern hemisphere has been breaking cold records. It isn't nearly as hard to find counter examples. The problem is homogenizing the global data. You wind up with a meaningless blanc mange of so called data. The methods of adjustment are "documented" but the methodology is not, or is very carefully munged until it is unreadable.

  13. Rik Myslewski

    Citations, please?

    "But not many people will be taking NOAA global surface temperature 'records' very seriously any more ..."

    Might you please provide some evidence as to your assertion that "not many people" will trust NOAA data in the future? Surveys? Analyses?

    "The 'very large changes that have been made to the NOAA data set' this year have seriously damaged its credibility."

    Again, your assertion of damaged credibility is neither proven by argument nor supported by verifiable data.

  14. Michael 31

    The International Surface Temperature Initiative

    My name is MIchael de Podesta andI am a metrologist - actually the person who has made the most accurate temperature measurements in human history - and I sit on the steering for the International Surface Temperature Initiative.

    Point 1. All the data is available on line if you want it.

    http://www.surfacetemperatures.org/

    Point 2. The dataset is difficult and the main problems using it are clearing through erroneous files - station records that are duplicated or misidentified. Only after this process can one begin 'homogenising' the data. This is the process of adjusting older data FROM A PARTICULAR WEATHER STATION so that it is fairly comparable with recent data FROM THAT SAME WEATHER STATION. This keeps as many things as possible the same

    Point 3. You might think that weather data is very variable - but the statistics deal with the 'monthly means' - the average of 60 max/min readings which reduces the noise by square root 60 and actually data is not too noisy. By averaging these data over a decade or two trends of a small fraction of degree can be clearly seen.

    Point 4 The homogenisation process looks for statistically significant 'odd' events. Originally this was done by hand and was very time consuming. Now the Pair-Wise Homogenisation Algorithm (PHA) is used. PHA takes the difference between two nearby (<~100 km) stations - with the expectation that a climate trend will be the same in both stations. By searching through many pairs it is possible to identify and locate anomalies in a particular station. Very great care is taken not to over adjust and PHA has been demonstrated to be conservative - it deliberately doesn't remove the full non-climate effect but it does very reliable detect urban heat islands.

    Other teams use other techniques to detect UHIs e.g. - satellite maps of night time illumination.

    Point 4. All the analyses - including that from Berkeley Earth Sciences which set out to show how bad the other analyses were - agree with other.

    Point 5. The recent readjustment from NOAA NCDC Karl et al resulted in miniscule changes to the modern record but eliminated the hiatus because 10-year trens in climate data are statistically fragile.

    Summary: The fact is the data tells us the Earth is warming - and the warming the oceans which cover 2/3 of the planet is very important for the temperature and rainfall for the land. I ask you all to please not impugn scientists who are just doing their best to get at the truth.

    1. asdf

      Re: The International Surface Temperature Initiative

      You are wasting your breath. Its has become a religious argument at this point. The eggheads lost because they thought they only had to deal in facts and not also in emotions. Sadly that is not so with the general public.

    2. Rik Myslewski
      Thumb Up

      Re: The International Surface Temperature Initiative

      @Michael de Podesta: Thank you, sir, for your clarification — and thank you also for your work on this important topic. And do know that there are far, far more of us who, even though we're laymen, have studied the science and understand its physical underpinnings than there are those conspiratorialists who, as you say, "impugn scientists who are just doing their best to get at the truth."

      'Preciate it — "Keep calm and study on."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The International Surface Temperature Initiative

      Michael,

      could you explain why the rss satellite data shows no warming from 1997?

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1997/mean:6/plot/rss/from:1997/trend

      Thanks

  15. Your alien overlord - fear me
    Devil

    Spot the obvious

    Sixty-sixth sixth month = 66 6 (the 'th' dropped for dramatic effect). I bet someones having the Devil of a time in this heat - ho ho ho.

  16. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Sigh....

    Are you after a job on Fox 'news'?

    Even the bloody Republicans now admit that global warming exists (of course, they deny Human contributions)

  17. greypowerOz

    dataset changes are pretty much in a +/- .2 degree C range

    just by way of due diligence I looked at the overall change graph between 2010 and 2015, and the range of "changes" are almost all within an overall range of +0.1 to -0.1 C ... so about 1/10th of one degree up or down.

    I'm not making any comment on the science :^) but I do find it hard to believe that predictions (long term) can really accurate based such tiny changes.... (in the sample location....).

    Let's all be "greener" anyway, I like the idea .... but some of the reporting is just silly :^)

  18. Aquatyger

    Lewis is wrong. We need global warming

    The earth needs to heat up and stay warm. We are at the end of an inter-glacial and the earth is ready to plunge into a new ice age. Bring on global warming I say.

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