- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 18, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A federal global-warming office (“New federal office would study global warming,” Politics, Feb. 9), supposedly President Obama’s attempt to improve the accuracy of climate data, would be a squeaky-clean repository of climate-change knowledge, held to the highest standards of scientific integrity. Really?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Climatic Data Center, as well as NASA Goddard Institute of Space Sciences, are the focus of yet another “Climategate.” These two organizations have systematically reduced the number of worldwide temperature reporting stations in their database from 6,000 to 1,500. A January study by Joseph D’Aleo et al. finds a clear bias in the reduction process that removes higher-altitude, higher-latitude and rural stations that normally report colder temperatures. The reduction bias creates a warm bias of unknown magnitude in the database, from which global temperatures have been and still are provided to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Moreover, it appears that a larger percentage of the remaining stations in the database are now located in urban areas, where they are subject to heat-island contamination. Numerous peer-reviewed papers in recent years have clearly demonstrated that the urban heat-island effect can overstate the long-term warming of the past several decades by 30 percent to 50 percent.

It would appear that relying on NOAA or any of its affiliates to be repositories of accurate climate data may be akin to allowing the fox to guard the henhouse.

DONALD K. “DEKE” FORBES

Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment

Dumfries, Va.

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