Satellite Data for Global Temperature is Unreliable

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It turns out that the satellites that were used to measure the global temperature may have been off by as much as 10-15 degrees. (I can’t tell if it is C or F…) (link)

Hat tip: Climate Depot

One of the nice things about physicists is that when we test someone’s results, we build our own equipment or purposefully try different methods of doing the same thing. The reason is really simple. There’s always a chance that what you saw wasn’t interesting at all, just equipment malfunction.

When I worked for the physics department underground at the University of Washington, and when we needed something to be very precise, we would use two or three calipers to measure it. We would take multiple measurements with the same devices as well. If one of the calipers gave consistently wrong answers, we would discard it or remember that it wasn’t exactly reliable and use it only for rough measurements.

One of the problems with satellite data is that there aren’t a whole lot of different organizations in space with their own custom-built satellites. We have to trust the people who are using the satellites that they are taking precautions to ensure that their measurements are exact.

If it is true that the satellite data is inconsistent or absurd, then that’s understandable. NOAA and NASA and other organizations should readily admit the flaws in their devices, try to quantize that, and move on.

However, if it is true that the devices are flawed, and NOAA and NASA aren’t forthright about that, then what we have is deception. We can no longer trust the results they give us, because we know they are not honest about what they are doing.

We cannot hamstring our economy with excessive taxes on CO2 due to flawed data. We must make sure that the data we have is as accurate as possible, and any flaws in the measuring devices is well-understood and accounted for.

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4 Responses to “Satellite Data for Global Temperature is Unreliable”

  1. demo kid Says:

    A satellite. ONE. And note that satellite data is not the only data used, or the only data supporting the hypothesis.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      You didn’t read the article.

      But as Dr. John Christy indicates, the real Satellitegate is not about one satellite. The scandal is endemic with comparable flaws across the entire network; the scandal is also that it took a tip off from a member of the public and the widespread broadcast of my article before one of the offending junk boxes, NOAA-16, got taken down.

      There are more flaws with the satellites. We don’t know how severe they all are because NOAA is being disingenuous. That’s the scandal here.

      • demo kid Says:

        No… I read the facts, not the spin from a right-wing website. Affixing “-gate” to every single miniscule faux “scandal” you can invent doesn’t exactly mean that you’re disproving a mountain of evidence against you here.

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        Great. So you have the data on the satellites. Can I see it too? I’d like to see how well they agree with each other and verify whether this man is making a valid claim.

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