It’s ‘the hottest year on record’, as long as you don’t take its temperature

Christopher Booker – Telegraph.co.uk December 18, 2010

We have lately heard much of the claim that 2010 will turn out to have been “the hottest year on record”. No one has done more to promote this belief than Dr James Hansen (left), head of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), responsible for one of the four main official global temperature records.

As reported by the US blogs Real Science and Watts Up With That, in a post headed “GISS temperatures out of line with the rest of the world”, the GISS record has in recent months been diverging wildly from the others. While three have shown global temperatures dropping sharply, by as much as 0.3C, the GISS figures (based, despite the link to Nasa, on surface temperatures) have shot up by 0.2C.

In a second post (“Hansen’s ‘Hottest Year Ever’ is primarily based on fabricated data”), Real Science demonstrates that the parts of the world which GISS shows to be heating up the most are so short of weather stations that only 25 per cent of the figures are based on actual temperature readings. The rest are simply conjectured by GISS. This is not the first time Dr Hansen’s temperature record has come under expert fire. Three years ago, GISS was forced to revise many of its figures when it was shown that wholesale “adjustments” had been made, revising older temperatures downwards and post-2000 figures upwards.

Since Dr Hansen first sprang to fame in 1988 for his part in setting off the global warming scare, he has become one of the world’s most outspoken climate activists. He recently appeared in a Nottingham court as defence witness for 20 activists who were found guilty last week of criminal conspiracy for trying to shut down our second largest coal-fired power station. No one familiar with Hansen’s pronouncements in recent years would be surprised by this. Still, it might seem odd that a senior US federal government employee should fly to England to support a bunch of criminals. Nothing like so odd, however, as the way his state-sponsored temperature record is still the one cited by politicians and the media to support their belief that this is the “hottest year in history”.

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