The Contrast Between The NOAA NCDC and NASA NEO Images Of Land Surface Temperature Anomalies – Further Evidence Of The NOAA Warm Bias

Image from NASA Earth Observations (NEO) for the May 1 to May 31 2012 surface temperature anomalies

Earlier this week, I posted

Comments On Missing Context Information In NOAA’s Report On The Large Positive Land Surface Temperature Anomalies in May 2012

and pointed out a number of problems with the NOAA NCDC data analysis based on the GHCN data, including its warm bias.  Today, I present at the top of this post the May 2012 surface temperature anomaly analysis from NASA’s Earth Observations program.

As written on the NASA’s Earth Observations program website

Land surface temperature is how hot or cold the ground feels to the touch. An anomaly is when something is different from average. These maps show where Earth’s surface was warmer or cooler in the daytime than the average temperatures for the same week or month from 2001-2010. So, a land surface temperature anomaly map for May 2002 shows how that month’s average temperature was different from the average temperature for all Mays between 2001 and 2010.

These maps show land surface temperature anomalies for a given day, week, or month compared to the average conditions during that period between 2000-2008. Places that are warmer than average are red, places that were near-normal are white, and places that are cooler than average are blue. Black means there is no data.

As a reminder, below is the NOAA NCDC analysis for May 2012

It does not take a quantitative analysis to see regions of large differences, such as the cool anomalies in the NASA data in Africa, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. While they are not measuring the same temperatures, the anomalies should be quite similar [For the GHCN, NOAA NCDC uses air temperature measurements which are supposed to be 2m above the ground; they also use the mean temperature anomalies which are computed using maximum and minimum temperatures].

The areal coverage of the temperature anomalies, however, are not the same. The NOAA analysis shows much larger areas of warmer than average surface temperatures than seen in the NASA NEO analysis.

This is yet another documentation of the warm bias in the NOAA NCDC analyses which they use for their press releases on how warm the climate has become. Now that the American Meteorological Society has published its statement “Freedom of Scientific Expression” where they wrote

it is incumbent upon scientists to  communicate their findings in ways that portray their results and the results  of others, objectively, professionally, and without sensationalizing or  politicizing the associated impacts

lets see if Tom Karl, Tom Peterson and others at NCDC finally start to present the diversity of information (and the uncertainties) of what the surface temperature anomalies actually are telling us.

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