The EPA Office of the Inspector General published the report
“Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes,” dated September 26, 2011.
The Agency’s determination that the temperature records (from CRU, NOAA, and NASA) were independent and valid, and that they were properly considered in the IPCC assessments, was largely based on the following factors:
- The temperature datasets had been subject to formal, independent, external peer review.
- The temperature records were part of a large body of scientific evidence that included multiple lines of evidence showing a warming of the climate system.
- The temperature records were considered by IPCC as “one line of evidence among many” that presented a broad range of indicators that global warming was occurring.
- An independent investigation issued in March 2010 by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee verified the CRU data
To obtain an expert opinion on the relationship between NOAA temperature datasets and other key datasets used in IPCC’s AR4, in July 2010, we discussed these records with the Director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). According to the NCDC Director, while NCDC, NASA, and CRU each employ different methodologies to analyze the raw temperature data they collect, the long-term temperature trend analyses produced by all three organizations generally agree with each other. Further, he told us that IPCC recognized that the temperature datasets generated by NCDC, NASA, and CRU were all quite important in demonstrating the robustness of data for the temperature trends discussed in IPCC’s AR4. The NCDC Director said that even if the CRU temperature data were completely disregarded, the NCDC and NASA temperature datasets, along with other indicators such as sea level data, sea ice melting, ice sheet melting, subsurface ocean temperatures, lake and river freeze dates, glacier retreat, and biological indicators, were capable of demonstrating that the weight of scientific evidence overwhelmingly pointed toward a long-term trend of global warming.
First, there are other misstatements in this text (e.g. Tom Karl’s comment about other indicators are not only oversimplified but misleading as sea ice, ice sheet, lake and river freeze dates, glacier retreat (and advance) and biological indicators are regional climate issues (and in the case of the biological indicator a broader environmental issues).
The fundamental error that is easiest to show is the EPA Report statement that
“the temperature records (from CRU, NOAA, and NASA) were independent”
and that thus
“According to the NCDC Director, while NCDC, NASA, and CRU each employ different methodologies to analyze the raw temperature data they collect, the long-term temperature trend analyses produced by all three organizations generally agree with each other.”
First, NCDC, NASA and CRU do not collect this data! The data are obtained from the numerous observational sites around the world. Tom Karl is misleading policymakers on this (or was misquoted). We report on this network for the USA in our paper
Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D14120, doi:10.1029/2010JD015146.Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union.
Second, the three data sets are NOT independent. This was clearly (and honestly) reported by Phil Jones (of CRU) in our paper
Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.
As we report in that paper highlight added]
The CCSP report (2006) presents three separate analyses of the global surface temperature trend….‘Over land, ‘‘near-surface’’ air temperatures are those commonly measured about 1.5 to 2.0 m above the ground level at official weather stations, at sites run for a variety of scientific purposes, and by volunteer (‘‘cooperative’’) observers [e.g., Jones and Moberg, 2003]….’
“The raw surface temperature data from which all of the different global surface temperature trend analyses are derived are essentially the same. The best estimate that has been reported is that 90–95% of the raw data in each of the analyses is the same (P. Jones, personal communication, 2003). That the analyses produce similar trends should therefore come as no surprise. Indeed, this overlapping of raw data between different analyses of multidecadal surface temperature trends is an issue which has not received adequate scrutiny with respect to the value added of more than one analysis.”
The claim that the NCDC, GISS and CRU analyses are from independent data is in error. Tom Karl, as the head of NCDC, should be challenged to correct this erroneous claim.