Here is a good collection of links on the current push by the US government and media to convince us that 2014 was the “Hottest Year Ever,” ignoring the actual satellite data. That data tracked the the GISS surface record fairly closely until recent times. But now, GISTemp shows a (barely, possibly) “Hottest Year Ever!”
The satellites measure the lower troposphere (the bottom several kilometers of air) instead of non-random locations on the surface. They cover the entire globe, except for the areas unreachable at the North and South Poles due to their orbits. Here’s what the satellites show, since data has been made available starting in the cold year of 1979:
The red is GISS (Goddard Space Studies Institute) Land-Ocean Temperature Index of surface stations, from here, a 12-month rolling average to reduce the noise from seasons. The green line is the same for the RSS satellite data. I’ve offset the two by a quarter-degree so that they line up over most of this period. Notice the distance spreading in the past decade or so, as GISS data shows warming that the satellites don’t see.
The surface stations need to be adjusted for a variety of reasons, some of which are pointedly challenged by some scientists. Also, the actual surface coverage has dropped in recent years as individual surface stations have dropped, and thousands were taken offline (mostly in the 1990s, but many more recently as well.) As a general rule, the remaining stations are closer to the equator, more at airports, fewer that are far away from man’s influence.
Since missing data is filled in by comparison to stations up to 1200km away, the warmer/less influenced by growing local heat sources average of those stations has an effect. This graph is interesting, showing climate station counts and coverage (including recent declines in both) from the GISS site here:
Here’s a different way of looking at the same situation, with a brief discussion of implications. It includes this graph:
Data from the surface stations is updated, and because they decided that all of the old readings were wrong, they went back and adjusted the history all the way back to the 1800s. They did this by including very speculative data on ocean temperatures (with poor coverage and mis-characterization of method). But this had the desired effect of getting rid of the warm period of the 1930s/1940s, and virtually eliminating the drop to the very cold 1970s that had scientists and media hollering about Global Cooling and the new coming ice age.
There are multiple surface station data sets; only this one is in the news, but all have similar issues and there is massive overlap or same-sourcing between them.
Eventually the Hottest
The problem is, that when warm years like 1934 are cooled by this process as a one-time correction, that can seem reasonable. But it is cooled over and over again, every time new data is added. As a general rule, any year before 1970 gets cooler several times a year, and any data after 1970 gets warmer. Then the older year can be compared to the new one, and Voila! A new record! Eventually.
Sometimes this adjustment process has to run for years before they realized that the later year was warmer (after adjustments) than the earlier years. Here’s a nice article tracking that it took about seven years for 1999 (in the US) to be warmer than 1934. As a result, 2014 is warm, but probably not the hottest. But in future years, they will “discover” that it was tremendously warmer than any year “in the records” (which ignores much warmer times of centuries past).
Old and New Backers
Amusingly, some of the same scientists who were loudly publishing on the cooling catastrophe went on to become the core group loudly publishing on the warming catastrophe. The difference is that now, governments have figured out how to cash in on the deal with taxes and increased power, so now they are willing to pump billions, tens of billions of dollars a year into promoting the current catastrophe alarms.
This “we’re all gonna die” effort to alarm the public is pushed by governments in conjunction with major oil companies, lured by the windfalls possible in government-funded renewable energy schemes (despite the real cost), and major companies of all kinds — some bought off, some under threat.
The much-ballyhooed Kyoto Treaty was largely a creation of Enron, the Clinton scandal kept quiet long enough to be blamed on Bush. Exxon-Mobil, Shell, and BP are major contributors. BP gave half-a-billion dollars to Berkeley University to pursue hard-left progressive schemes. Shell correspondence (and plans to continue to get their support) forms part of the ClimateGate emails. They’re all on-board, or they better be or our gentle government attacks them.
I was part of a team writing a multi-billion-dollar proposal for a giant company a couple of years ago, on a matter nothing to do with climate. By law, in order to even be considered, the company had to demonstrate that it absolutely worshiped at the altar of Global Warming, and completely bought into whatever the government thought at the moment was the Right Thing to Do. There was no choice, no side-stepping. So now that company is one of the Major Supporters and Backers … as if it had been their idea.
Really the hottest?
The answer is, of course, no. We are simply looking at a short horizon (and through adjustments that distort our vision in any event). Here’s a longer view, using ice cores, which makes the point that 2014 may have been one of the coldest in the last 10,000 years:
==============/ Keith DeHavelle