The British Mail on Sunday revealed that a landmark paper exaggerated global warming, duping world leaders into spending billions after being taken for a ride with manipulated global warming data.
The NOAA is set to face an inquiry by the Republican-led House science committee as a result of the flawed data.
The data was timed to influence the Paris agreement on climate change. Climate data was rushed to publish a landmark paper containing exaggerated claims of warming in time for the historic Paris Agreement on global climate change.
A high-level whistleblower the paper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity by publishing the flawed report.
The sensational claim made at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015, was that a “pause” or “slowdown” in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed.
The paper, launched by NOAA, stated emphatically that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected.
Whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, unverified data and never subjected to the NOAA’s own rigorous internal evaluation process.
Bates has accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, for the Pausebuster paper, rushed in time to influence national and international policy makers.
According to Bates, “there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.
“I want to address the systemic problems. I don’t care whether modifications to the datasets make temperatures go up or down. But I want the observations to speak for themselves, and for that, there needs to be a new emphasis that ethical standards must be maintained.”
Official delegations have committed advanced nations to fossil fuel reductions and pouring billions every year into green projects. The extra “climate-related” aid to the developing world by rich nations, run into billions.
Bates said he had decided to speak out after seeing fake news reports, including in the Washington Post and Forbes magazine, claiming that scientists feared the Trump administration would fail to “maintain and preserve NOAA’s climate records”.
Bates said: “How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.”
The scandal has disturbing echoes of the ‘Climategate’ affair which broke shortly before the UN climate summit in 2009, when leaked emails between climate scientists suggested they had manipulated and hidden data.
NOAA’s 2015 “Pausebuster” paper was based on two new temperature sets of data – one containing measurements of temperatures at the planet’s surface on land, the other at the surface of the seas. Both datasets were flawed and a final, approved version has still not been issued.
Neither has the data on which the paper was based been archived – a mandatory requirement meant to ensure that raw data and the software used to process it is accessible to other scientists to be checked.
A report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found “a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years”.
Thus explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science.
The impact was massive and lasting. On publication day, the BBC said the pause in global warming was “an illusion caused by inaccurate data”. One American magazine described the paper as a “science bomb” dropped on sceptics.
Data was actually changed to make the sea appear warmer, Bates said: “They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out and ‘corrected’ it by using the bad data from ships. You never change good data to agree with bad, but that’s what they did – so as to make it look as if the sea was warmer.”
Karl’s study “adjusted” buoy readings up by 0.12C. It also ignored data from satellites that measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere, which are also considered reliable. Bates said he gave the paper’s co-authors “a hard time” but “they never really justified what they were doing”.
In the weeks following the publication of the Pausebuster paper, Bates continued his dogged one-man investigation. He revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data, violated NOAA rules.
Before he retired last year, he continued to investigate the matter: “I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.” The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.
Karl moreover had a longstanding relationship with President Obama’s chief science adviser, John Holdren, with a direct hotline to the White House.
The NOAA not only failed, but it effectively proceeded with a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.
President Trump has since pledged to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
Jeremy Berg, Science’s editor-in-chief, said: “Dr Bates raises some serious concerns. After the results of any appropriate investigations… we will consider our options.” He said that “could include retracting that paper”.