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NCAR’s Record Temperature Con

May 18, 2015

By Paul Homewood







More climate fraud, this time from NCAR, funded by the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor, the Department of Energy, and Climate Central.

It claims to show that there are many more record high temperatures than there used to be, which, according to Gerald Meehl, shows how our climate is already shifting.

You may have noted how they only start their analysis from 1950. However, USHCN offer a handy little tool, which analyses daily records back to 1910 for a selection of sites with long and relatively complete data records.



Just a reminder, a record daily high means that temperatures were warmer on a given day than on that same date throughout a weather station’s history, but also ties are included.




NCDC have nine Climate Regions, so let’s take a geographically representative station from each, and see how the daily record high temperatures are distributed.














We find across the whole country that there is actually a remarkable absence of high daily records in recent years. But significantly, at most locations most records were set prior to 1950, notable in the 1930’s and 40’s. The fact that summer days hit more record highs in the 1930’s may not come as any great surprise, but the preponderance of all year round record might.

I wonder why Meehl decided to start his analysis from 1950?

It is true that Meehl makes the point that the study also found that the two-to-one ratio across the country as a whole could be attributed more to a comparatively small number of record lows than to a large number of record highs. This indicates that much of the nation’s warming is occurring at night, when temperatures are dipping less often to record lows. This finding is consistent with years of climate model research showing that higher overnight lows should be expected with climate change. (Although his graphic gives the clear impression that the number of highs is also greater than before).

However, it is also true that higher night temperatures are the result of the UHI effect, and, as I have shown here and here, when you exclude urban stations from the analysis the ratio of more highs than lows disappears.






I have had a few comments in the past to the effect that, as time goes by, records should become less commonplace, so let’s run a simple example through.


Suppose we have a record temperature of 100F set at a particular station in 1900, and then repeated every ten years.




If we only count the first record, and not subsequent ties, we would show the record in the 1900’s only. In other words, there would be a bias for most records to appear in the early years, and gradually get less common.


However, if we include ties, this bias disappears and we should expect to see as many records in the 2000’s as in the 1900’s.

  1. May 18, 2015 4:05 pm

    The central question is just this: Can the National Academy of Sciences be held accountable for

    1. Deceiving Congress, and
    2. Abusing NAS review of budgets of federal research agencies to deceive the public about the energy that provides heat and light to planet Earth and sustains our lives?


    “The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.”

  2. Newsel permalink
    May 18, 2015 4:20 pm

    Paul, Thanks for the information countering the 2009 NCAR article. I went back and googled “RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES FAR OUTPACE RECORD LOWS ACROSS U.S” and found zero to counter the data being presented. Just the opposite as the MSM reporting was indicative of the the blind leading the blind. It is unfortunate that you were not on-line back in 2009 to provide the “real” story. Your data is now bookmarked 🙂

  3. tom0mason permalink
    May 18, 2015 4:38 pm

    Like so many publicly paid for agencies, its just statistical gaming to justify their existence. Just conjuring fantasy outcomes with the adjusted location differentials, magically homogenize and average (eye of newt secretly added if required), then display in childish cartoon graphs preferably with stupid trend-lines and with colors inverted from normal.

    • May 18, 2015 6:32 pm

      We are all at fault for allowing descendants of distinguished scholars of 1863 to continue to review the budgets of federal research agencies in 2015.

      University faculty members cannot get promotions, research grants, or tenure if they fail to promote NAS propaganda.

  4. A C Osborn permalink
    May 18, 2015 4:47 pm

    I would like to see them try the same stunt now using 1950-2015, that would really show just how cold it is getting in the USA, there were thousands of low records set over the past 3 years.

  5. RockySpears permalink
    May 18, 2015 6:26 pm

    Does America have an equivalent to the UK “Freedom of Information Act”? I was looking at the old post about “The Royal Society” and its’ report on extremes of basically everything, and wondering if asking them, as a government funded body, to provide data for each of their graphs and statements.

    If your NAS is also open to such requests, maybe it is worth asking for explanations.

  6. May 18, 2015 6:35 pm

    don’t worry about it.
    people in the USA are already beginning to notice that winters are getting cooler. People still having to shove snow in late spring will soon begin to doubt the global warming rubbish.

  7. Don permalink
    May 18, 2015 6:39 pm

    The U.S. has had a FOIA since 1966, with amendments strengthening it in the intervening decades. Yet games are still played to deny, then appeals, etc.

  8. Paul2 permalink
    May 18, 2015 8:38 pm

    Just in and the BBC World Service are doing their conkers on this latest, er, discovery:

    • May 18, 2015 10:05 pm

      Thanks, Paul2.
      It looks like Sang-Ki Lee may be near making an important discovery, maybe he will give it a great name, something like “El Niño” would be great.

  9. May 18, 2015 9:03 pm

    Paul2, thanks for the heads up. The article states they are looking in the oceans for CO2-caused atmospheric warming that somehow got past the sea surface where long wave IR is absorbed and adds a bit to the evaporation. There’s heat in the oceans all right, but it comes from solar SW radiation.

    • May 18, 2015 10:07 pm

      Just a minor error, Ron. What difference does it make?

    • May 18, 2015 10:53 pm

      Andres, I just don’t see how the air can make the oceans warmer. Do you?

      • TonyM permalink
        May 19, 2015 1:51 am

        It is really the oceans that change the atmosphere as explained by Dr. William Gray in his 2012 paper

        “The Physical Flaws of the Global Warming Theory
        Deep Ocean Circulation Changes as the Primary Climate Driver”

        available here:

        Click to access gray2012.pdf

      • May 19, 2015 1:25 pm

        Thanks TonyM
        Gray makes this very pertinent point:

        “The global surface warming of about 0.7°C that has been experienced over the last 150 years and the multi-decadal up-and-down global temperature changes of 0.3-0.4°C that have been observed over this period are hypothesized to be driven by a combination of multi-century and multi-decadal ocean circulation changes. These ocean changes are due to naturally occurring upper ocean salinity variations. Changes in CO2 play little role in these salinity driven ocean climate forcings. “

  10. DavidS permalink
    May 19, 2015 1:09 am

    Recently, I did a similar analysis using Toronto (downtown) and the number of daily record highs per 5 year period since 1840. It does not seem possible here to show the graph within a comment but here is a summary; 1945-49 had 25 records, 1915-19 and 2010-2014 both with 22 records each, 1935-39 and 1920-24 both with 19 records, 1930-34 had 18 records, 1950-54 and 2000-2004 both with 17 records, 1910-1914 and 1975-79 both with 15 records, 1895-1899, 1925-29, 1940-44, 1990-94 and 1995-99 all with 12 records each, 1960-64 had 11 records, 1970-74 and 1980-84 both had 10 records, 1880-84 and 1900-04 both had 8 records, all other time periods had 7 or fewer records. Visually, the mass of the records clearly lie in the 1915-1959 period. There is a jump in 2010-2014 as we had a lot of highs in 2011 and 2012 but it has been noticeably cool since then reflected in 2013 setting only one record and 2014 setting none. One should bear in mind that metropolitan Toronto is a significant UHI that has grown from 800,000 people in 1931 to 5.5 million now.

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