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RSS Nobbled

March 4, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




As we know, RSS have been a real thorn in the side of the climate establishment in recent years. Their satellite measured temperature trends have failed to back up claims of rising global temperatures and record years.

This has also been a huge embarrassment to Carl Mears, who is responsible for the dataset.

Well, if you don’t like the data, adjust it!


No doubt under great pressure from above, RSS have now brought out a new version, starting with the Mid Troposphere temperatures, TMT, which in the words of their paper says:


The new dataset shows substantially increased global-scale warming relative to the previous version of the dataset, particularly after 1998.


Let me stress again, this only applies at this stage to the mid troposphere, rather than the lower troposphere which we usually pay attention to. Nevertheless, Mears has made it clear that the latter will be similarly adjusted in due course.


As usual with these things, the past has been cooled and the present warmed.

Although Mears states that this (diurnal adjustments) is the most important change, and leads to substantially more warming during the 1999-2005 period when the NOAA-15 satellite was drifting rapidly, it is apparent that substantial adjustments have been made since 2012 as well. This is often a tell tale sign that adjustments keep accumulating in one direction, rather than making one step change, something we have regularly seen with GISS.

The most recent figure for February 2016 actually increases the old version by 0.178C.





The effect of the change since 1998 in particular is startling. An essentially flat trend has been replaced by 0.74C/C.





All datasets are continually refined, but until now changes to RSS have been much, much smaller, just a few hundredth degrees.

RSS V3.0 ran up to 2008, and was replaced by V3.2 until 2011. The differences between the two were tiny – note the graph below is drawn to the same scale as the graph above:




Same with Version 3.3 that has lasted since 2011:




Have RSS really gone on for so many years, and through various updates, and not realised there was something so drastically wrong with their output? Really?

Or have they bowed to the pressure and simply produced the results their masters demanded?


WUWT’s excellent post on this business included a very telling comment from Roy Spencer, who has already shot a few holes in the RSS adjustments:


UPDATE1: Given this sort of work has only two groups doing it, it is a very narrow field of scientific specialty, I asked Dr. Spencer this question:

I assume neither you or Christy were asked to review this paper?

There aren’t many satellite temperature data experts in the world.

He replied:

Interesting question….

John reviewed their original paper submission to JGR, in detail, asking for additional evidence — but not advocating rejection of the paper.  The JGR editor ended up rejecting it anyway.

Mears & Wentz then revised the paper, submitted it to J. Climate instead, and likely asked that we be excluded as reviewers.



In other words, the Mears paper was so weak that it was rejected by JGR. But as is the way with climate science, another helpful editor was lined up, and will no doubt publish it with the help of friendly reviewers. 




  1. Vanessa permalink
    March 4, 2016 4:11 pm

    I have been told that because the government, and therefore the PM, represents the British public, it SHOULD be impartial in this referendum ! So the drivel Cameron is peddling about the disaster of us leaving the EU is ILLEGAL and should not be allowed. Where are the judiciary??

  2. March 4, 2016 4:28 pm

    It should be noted that Tony Heller (Real Science) predicted this would happen a year ago. And that Roy Spencer also spotted the likely principle error in Mears RSSv4. The last MSU sensor had known problems, very visible in the overlap period with the first AMSU sensor. Mears did not correct for this.
    Very similar dodge to the Karlization of SST that erased the pause in the NOAA NCEI GAST series, which has occaisioned whistleblowers and a congressional investigation.

  3. March 4, 2016 4:52 pm

    Perhaps nobody wanted his RSS data because it was politically – and policy-wise – unacceptable.

    He found a 5% reason to accept it (in Canada, that’s all you need to push legislation that might be contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedom, a 5% belief that the legislation will pass Charter review).

  4. Jack Broughton permalink
    March 4, 2016 5:04 pm

    When the algorithms confuse the data and alter them, it is the algorithms that are wrong. It is surely time to revert to the measured data; if necessary, increasing the error bands to reflect reality rather than humangenised values.

  5. A C Osborn permalink
    March 4, 2016 5:47 pm

    I think his judgement and timing was very poor in this case.
    With the GOP asking ever more questions about Adjustments to data, now was the time to keep your head down.
    Instead he has put himself directly in to that current investigation, if his paper is not really sound he is in for a very uncomfortable time, I hope.

  6. A C Osborn permalink
    March 4, 2016 5:51 pm

    Paul, have you noticed these 2 items.

    Both discussing the corruption of science, the MSM appears to be swinging a bit.

    There is also this one at GWPF on UK Solar Heating Subsidies.

  7. AndyG55 permalink
    March 4, 2016 8:50 pm

    At the moment, RSS over the USA matches the ONLY untainted surface data in the world.

    Will Karl Mears adjust the TLT for the USA, so it becomes the outlair….

    …or will the USA data remain miraculously untouched while the rest of the world gets adjusted.?

  8. Svend Ferdinandsen permalink
    March 4, 2016 10:20 pm

    It is a general problem with anomalies if the past reference also changes, as is the case with the surface products.
    Any change in the precent anomaly could be a change in the reference calculation or a change in the precent temperature. No one can tell unless you save anomalies for older times like Ole Humlum has done.
    It is very much like selling rubber bands by meter.

  9. Keith Gugan permalink
    March 4, 2016 10:55 pm

    When are they going to notice that the world is on to their scams. It’s so childish really, really.

  10. Chuck L permalink
    March 5, 2016 12:43 am

    I had hoped that Mears had the integrity to trust his data but once he said how upset he was that skeptics used RSS to show the “pause” it was clearly just a matter of time before he “adjusted” the data. He has shown the same reckless disregard for science as NOAA and NASA with respect to global temperature and one can only hope that at some point ethical scientists and researchers wrest control from political panderers and scientific rent-seekers

  11. March 5, 2016 6:04 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts” AE

    Tsk tsk tsk

  12. Pethefin permalink
    March 5, 2016 7:13 am

    How long does it take before the MSM finally wakes up to the Orwellian world that climate science seems to be living in: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

  13. Peter Azlac permalink
    March 5, 2016 8:41 am

    The adjustments made by Mears to the RSS data may be valid or not, only a more disinterested evaluation will show that. However, the changes may well be due to pressure from the alarmist camp to conform, and perhaps concern over funding, leading to confirmation bias. As the studies of John Ionnidis show, this is widespread in other areas of science, especially the studies of biomedical and psychological and so given the pressure climate scientists face it would be a remarkable exception if it were not widespread in this area of science too. The video is particularly interesting as it looks at the application of statistical methods in detail as well as non reproducibility of results.,
    On the reason given for the adjustment and the further adjustments after 2005, whilst it is stated that the AMSU system is more accurate that the previous system Charles Anderson referred to the problem with the satellite sensors on NOAA 16 and probably earlier systems used by RSS:
    “This led to questions to NOAA, which generates the primary temperature records in the U.S. and supplies its raw data to NASA and the CRU at the University of East Anglia in the UK. NOAA has not been very forthright with what is going on, but it has admitted that the NOAA-16 satellite has severe sensor problems. Then they also admitted that other satellites have suffered degradation of their sensors. Finally, Charles Pistis, Program Coordinator of the Michigan Sea Grant Extension admits that satellite data going back to 2005 may have been corrupted by bad data. He instructs us that the NOAA-16 satellite uses IR sensors and provides a temperature which is either the surface temperature or the temperature at the top surface of a cloud. The temperature of 604F found in one grid on a cloudy day is not likely to be either the temperature of the surface of Lake Michigan or of a cloud over it.”

  14. Grimwig permalink
    March 5, 2016 9:01 am

    I understood that the RSS data closely matched the data from radiosonde ascents. Radiosonde data is surely the very best – not affected by poor siting, UHI and fiddling. Perhaps they will adjust the radiosonde data?

    • A C Osborn permalink
      March 5, 2016 12:25 pm

      Too late radiosonde has already shown the necessary upward increase over the last 2 years.
      As far as I am concerned no “final” climate data coming out of NOAA can be trusted, not any of it.
      Unless it is Raw you can’t trust it.

  15. March 5, 2016 11:29 am

    One has to wonder what pressure was brought to bear on Mears?
    He’s jumping on the leaky ship that even Mikey Mann is jumping off.

  16. March 5, 2016 12:23 pm

    M&W have miraculously found warming 5 times that of UAH in the tropical mid troposphere! From the point of view of the confirmation of man-made global warming theory, accelerated warming in the tropical MT (the so called ‘hotspot’) is far more significant than a demonstration of more modest warming in the LT, in line with what the surface datasets are showing. The tropical hotspot, which, despite several attempts to prove otherwise, has for years been conspicuously missing, which has proved inconvenient to say the least. With Mears’ new ‘Pausebuster’ RSS dataset, this is no longer a problem, despite the fact that the required corollary evidence of increasing water vapour trends in the mid troposphere is patchy; because now, of course, RSS ‘confirms’ those studies which do find positive trends in water vapour, and vice versa.

  17. March 5, 2016 3:01 pm

    Would that be Climate of Gavin yanking their funding leash? – it certainly smacks of behind the scenes politicking by execrable sleezeballs.

    The poor sods only get a small amount outside of NASA / NOAA funding …

    That said – Carl Mears is being pretty off about it …

    I see the farquit Nuticcelli at Skeptical Science and Climatecrocks(!?) are absolutely wetting themselves over the adjustments and change of emphasis.

    I really do wonder how much Karlisation is going into the now long overdue presentation of data from the OCO-2 mission….

  18. April 8, 2016 1:01 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


  1. If You Don’t Like The Data, Just Adjust It | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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