For sheer amusement there is nothing like going to a climate denialist blog (i.e. Climate Change Fraud) and seeing the latest "proof" that NOAA is involved in a massive conspiracy to lie and defraud the American people about fake satellite data that shows global warming is a scam. The headline says it all: US Government in Massive New Global Warming Scandal – NOAA Disgraced
Global warming data apparently cooked by U.S. government-funded body shows astounding temperature fraud with increases averaging 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
The tax-payer funded National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has become mired in fresh global warming data scandal involving numbers for the Great Lakes region that substantially ramp up averages.
A beleaguered federal agency appears to be implicated in the most blatant and extreme case of climate data fraud yet seen. Official records have been confirmed as evidence that a handful of temperature records for the Great Lakes region have been hiked up by literally hundreds of degrees to substantially inflate the average temperature range for the northeastern United States. [...]
Under a scheme called ‘Sea Grant’ NOAA collaborates with national universities to compile an official federal temperature record. In this instance, the partnersip is with Michigan University’s ‘Coastal Watch.’
Of course, the author of this claim didn't think to call NOAA or Coastal Watch or Michigan State or anyone else associated with the satellite data over the Great Lakes region, so one poor commentator who thought they were serious people tried to explain what the image represented and also emailed Coastal Watch for them:
Mike 2010-08-09 19:16
You misunderstand the image you found. It is shaded black. That means it was too cloudy at that time to take measurements. The boxed numbers are therefore meaningless.
Here is today's image:
Mike 2010-08-09 20:22
The numbers have no relationship to temperatures on the lake surface. If O'Sullivan was anything close to being a legit journalist he would have written to the e-mail address given for questions and asked. This is how you can tell the difference between news reporting and propaganda. I will write Coast Watch and ask.
But people at the blog kept saying Mike was
full of shit wrong so he kept persisting in a polite manner to show them where they had run their conspiracy train off the tracks:
Mike 2010-08-09 20:46
I'll try to be clearer. "The satellite computer computes a temperature from this data. But the data is not from the water but the algorithm is only valid if the data is [from the water surface]. So, the numbers are meaningless."
The program that determines temperature from microwave data has parameters based on the assumption that the data is from the surface. If that is false, then the formulas give meaningless output. This is my best guess anyway. I'll post the message I get from Coast Watch.
But that still wasn't good enough because Mike clearly was an evil global warming alarmist troll sent to infiltrate the doughty band of truth seekers who know a scam from Big Guvmint when they see one ...
Mike 2010-08-10 10:10
...if the raw data was uploaded and used to "prove" warming then this is fraud at worst and shoddy science at best.
I doubt this was the case. You would need to include thermometer readings in any case since satellite data is invalid on cloudy days! The Coastal Watch web page does not say anything about temperature trends and none of the four "examples of media hysteria" given by O'Sullivan mention Coastal Watch. The third example specifically says the data is from a buoy:
"The water temperature at the buoy in the middle of Lake Michigan (40 miles west of Holland) reached 80° last Sunday afternoon. That’s only one degree from the all-time record mid-lake buoy temperature of 81° set on August 18, 1995. We have 30 years of water temperature records from the buoy."
The forth says: "The prediction comes from Jay Austin of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, who has documented accelerated warming of Lake Superior over the last 30 years."
There is no basis for the charge of fraud here. But, this O'Sullivan piece is a good example of how to manipulate public opinion. He has found one odd ball image. He does no followup work to understand it. He assumes is was used to compute trends even though he has no evidence of this. This should be enough to discredit him.
It should have been enough to discredit O'Sullivan, the author of this ridiculous claim, but alas, Mike didn't understand that reason's got nothing to do with how these people think. So Mike posted the email response he received from Coastal Watch's MSU Program head:
Mike 2010-08-10 09:45
I looked in the archives and I find no image with that time stamp. Also we don't typically post completely cloudy images at all, let alone with temperatures. This image appears to be manufactured for someone's entertainment.
Michigan Sea Grant Extension
Thanks. When you say you couldn't find that image in your archive I am not sure what you mean by "archive." This is something different than the archive the image file is in?
Also, just so this doesn't blowup in the blog-sphere, can you assure people these numbers were not used to estimate temperature trends in the Great Lakes?
You see, Mike was doing what a real journalist would do: ask further questions to make certain the information he was receiving from the Program Coordinator of the Michigan Sea Grant Extension:
Mike 2010-08-10 10:15
<<br>More from Charles:
Mike, I just relooked and the image again AND IT IS in my archive. I do not know why the temperatures were so innacurate. It appears to have been a malfunction in the satellite. WE have posted thousands if images since the inauguration of our Coatwatch service in 1994. I have never seen one like this. [...]
Mike 2010-08-10 11:14
More from Charles:
Mike, We are very concerned that our credibility is being questioned. This is a very beneficial program that is used by literally millions of anglers and others around the great lakes. We already are planning to remove this image from our archive and check if there are others. We need to do a better job screening what is placed in the archive or posted. Coastwatch is completely automated so you can see how something like this could slip through.
One of our colleagues checked the status of the satellite that generated that image on that particular day and indicated it was operational but degraded. We'll look more into this.
I'll pass on the other anomalous images people have found - although I have given the link to this blog to Charles. It seems this problem arises when the image is all black. Could be a software bug. Can anyone find a problem image that is not all black? [...]
Mike 2010-08-10 11:20
Here are some more anomalous image files:
I am sure anglers know to ignore such readings. Bloggers are another matter! Check the CF blog link to see what else people are finding.
So, Mike actually gets a reasoned response about a potential problem with the satellite and posts it. In short he does the blog author's work for him and gets the Coastal Watch official to respond rather than just make up assumptions about a vast conspiracy. Not that it did him any good:
Jake 2010-08-10 11:33
You owe everyone on this board a mea culpa. You started off belligerent, and finally came to the conclusion that hey, someone screwed up big time. Then you went back to mocking bloggers. All the while using the detective work of other people to prove them wrong only to find out that you were. Seriously, are you for real?
Actually Jake, Mike was the only one doing any detective work. Everyone else at that blog simply jumped to the conclusion that the government had been faking temperature data by ridiculous amounts from a single satellite over the Great Lakes thus proving a massive government cover-up. This despite all the other data sets from ground stations around the globe, other satellites, measurements of ice melt, glacier melt, etc. which provide evidence of global warming.
No, these folks took a few anamolous satellite images from a single satellite focused on a single small section of the globe and from that they found evidence of a government conspiracy, fraud, and probably the pants with Al Gore's DNA on them.
But no matter. Mike owed them an apology. Still he kept trying the sane approach:
Mike 2010-08-10 11:43
The images you have found seem to be at night. The Great Lakes are rather chilly. Also read their help page:
As I pointed out before, the rise in G.L. [Great Lake] temps has been checked by thermometer readings. [...]
So they called him a liar. After that I would have said to hell with them but Mike seemed convinced he could win them over to his point of view:
Mike 2010-08-10 12:16
Since you won't read the help page, here it is: "Areas near the black masked cloud cover may not be as precisely reported as those some distance from the clouds."
You people are reading way too much into this.
Then Mike did the worst thing he could do. He posted a complete response from Chuck Pestis of Coastal Watch explaining the anomalies and why they were showing up on the satellite images that the Climate Change Fraud blog had relied upon to post their initial story:
Mike 2010-08-10 13:16
Only the temp in the "clear" areas are completely reliable. It notes in the key that temperatures in the gray areas are considered "cloudy" and are therefore not reliable. The program that generates the temperature contours "sees" the temperatures the satellites sees. If it is the top of a cloud, or fog, or other smoke or haze that obscures the surface, it sees the temperature of that cloud or fog, and not the actual lake surface. Therefore, it may be wrong, and we print it in grey, and mark it as "probable cloud". If the satellite "sees" extremely low temperatures, such as the top of major clouds, the program is designed to black out those areas and identify it as "clouds".
So, in the clear areas the temperatures are correct. These temperatures have been tested by NOAA, University researchers and hundreds of private parties, and have been found to be accurate.
In the "gray" areas, the temperatures are to be taken with a grain of salt. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Typically, they will be temperatures that have been affected by something in the atmosphere.
"Black" areas are created by the program to totally obscure areas that are clearly wrong, such as complete cloud cover, etc.
Also, you can be sure that gray or black areas which may appear in regions of deep water, away from the shore, are most likely clouds and should be regarded with suspicion.
By the laws of physics, cold water can not appear far offshore over deep water, surrounded by warmer water.
During periods of high temperature, such as during mid-summer, the sun can warm the surface by several degrees during the daylight time period. This will cause the mid-day or afternoon temperatures to be several degrees higher than early AM images. The most accurate images are those generated in the early AM on clear, cloudless nights.
Finally, the images are generated by a sophisticated computer, using the best satellite data available, but they still require the interpretation of a human who understands how they are created, and who needs to practice interpreting what they present with some understanding of the complexity of how they are created.
You can test the charts yourself, using NOAA buoy data.
There are NOAA buoys in all the Great Lakes that transmit actual temperature, wind and wave data to NOAA satellites constantly.
You can compare the temperatures shown on that chart to the actual temperature of the water at that location, provided you compare the temperatures at the same time on the same day, on a day that has a clear sky (not a grey or black area on the temperature contour map.) I am very sure that you will find them to be in close agreement.
Coastwatch reads the surface temperature, the buoy reads the temperature slightly below the surface) I've attached a link to the NOAA site and you can click on the buoy of interest.
Hope this is helpful. Please respond if you have any other questions or concerns.
Well, the Climate Change Fraud commenters just took that as absolute proof that the fix was in.
johnny 2010-08-10 14:10
Talk about CYA. Incompetence borne out of arrogance wrapped in belligerence. I had a boss once that could never take the blame for anything. If he spilled a glass of water, he claimed the table was slanted. If he made an egregious error in a report, he blamed the spellchecker. When his wife caught him cheating, he blamed her for having a mastectomy to stop her cancer. People like Chuck are everywhere and have an answer for anything. I'm not just skeptical of his motives, I'm disgusted.
At which point Mike gave up.
By the way, I checked and couldn't find any local or major news outlet (not even Fox) that was covering this story (unless you count Lew Rockwell as a legitimate news outlet). Guess they must be part of the grand global warming hoax/conspiracy as well. Because they are all running stories like this one by Minnesota Public Radio:
Clara Goellner is one of the three life guards trying to keep an eye on the mob of teens and children splashing away in water that's typically bone-chilling.
But this year, the normally uncomfortably cool surface waters of Lake Superior aren't so cold, as summer heat is showing up in one of the Minnesota's colder places. Experts say the lake's surface temperatures set a new record high this week -- and the entire lake likely is warmer than ever recorded.
"It's extremely warm," Goellner said. "It's about 70 every day -- really big crowds, even on weekdays."
Damn Eco-Fascist Commie Bastards! How dare they dispute the superior minds of the "Climate Change Fraud" blog posters with real facts!