Christopher Booker has a new article in the The Telegraph called Climategate, the sequel: How we are STILL being tricked with flawed data on global warming. The title alone should be enough to convince anyone sensible that it isn’t really worth reading. I, however, not being sensible, read it and then called Booker an idiot on Twitter. It was suggested that rather than insulting him, I should show where he was wrong. Okay, this isn’t really right, as there’s only so much time and effort available, and it isn’t really worth spending it rebutting Booker’s nonsense.
However, thanks to a tweet from Ed Hawkins, it turns out that it is really easy to do. Booker shows data from a site in Paraguay (Puerto Casado) in which the data was adjusted from a trend of -1.37o C per century to +1.36o C per century. Shock, horror, a conspiracy? No, if you go to the actual station data you notice a couple of things that are illustrated in the figure below (credit : Berkeley Earth).
What the figure above shows is a number of data points that fail quality control, and it also shows two stations moves; one just after 1970, and the other just after 2005. Given that anomalies are determined relative to some long-term baseline, you have to remove any data points that fail quality control, and you need to adjust the temperatures to account for station moves (or for other non-climatic influences, such as time of observation changes).
If you look again at the information for this station the trend before adjustments was -1.37oC per century, after quality control it was -0.89oC per century, and after adjusting for the station moves was +1.36oC per century. Also, if you consider the same region for the same months, the trend is +1.37oC per century, and for the country for the same months it is +1.28oC per century. So, not only can one justify the adjustments, the result of the adjustments is consistent with what would be expected for that region and for the country.
Of course, this is really Victor Venema’s area of expertise, so I should probably double check with Victor before drawing any final conclusions. As it stands, however, it does appear that my initial assessment that Christopher Booker is an idiot was justified.
Update 4/2/2015 : It’s come to my attention that some are claiming that this post is misleading my readers. I’m not quite sure why, but it appears to be related to me not having given proper credit for the information that Christopher Booker used in his article. I had thought that linking to his article would allow people to establish that for themselves, but – just to be clear – the idiotic, conspiracy-laden, nonsense originates from someone called Paul Homewood, and not from Chistopher Booker himself. Okay, everyone happy now? 😀