Why Satellite Records Cannot Be Ignored – ‘Between 1979 and 2012, the satellite and surface data followed each other closely’

By: - Climate DepotJanuary 17, 2015 3:14 PM

Why Satellite Records Cannot Be Ignored


By Paul Homewood As we all know by now, satellite data has failed to support claims made by the surface datasets of “hottest year evah”. This has led to many now claiming that the satellite datasets should be ignored, as they don’t measure the same thing. This argument, however, ignores the fact that between 1979 and 2012, the satellite and surface data followed each other closely, albeit not always on a month by month basis. The Woodfortrees graph below compares RSS with GISS between those two years. There is a slight divergence, with GISS showing a slightly higher trend, but it is relatively small, and the direction of travel is the same. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1979/to:2012/plot/rss/from:1979/to:2012/plot/gistemp/from:1979/to:2012/trend/plot/rss/from:1979/to:2012/trend But now contrast this with the last two years. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:2013/plot/rss/from:2013/plot/gistemp/from:2013/trend/plot/rss/from:2013/trend/plot/uah/from:2013/plot/uah/from:2013/trend Both satellite sets, UAH and RSS are essentially flat, yet GISS has shot up by nearly 0.2C. This divergence appears to be even more inexplicable, because, in his 1987 paper “Global Trends of Measured Surface Air Temperature” James Hansen attempted to verify his surface datasets with atmospheric temperature trends, as measured by radiosondes. http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1987/1987_Hansen_Lebedeff_1.pdf NOTE – “These results suggest that most of the difference between the two temperature records is due to the incomplete spatial coverage of stations”. The implication is that the surface and atmospheric temperature changes should correlate over a period of time. Of course, satellite coverage is now nearly universal, with the exception of a small area around the poles, so in this respect satellite data can be regarded as more accurate than radiosondes. Until the difference between satellite and surface datasets can be fully explained, it is no more than political rhetoric to claim that 2014 was the warmest year on record. It is time that NOAA, NASA and the rest took the satellite records seriously, instead of just sweeping them under the carpet.

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