The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.Of course, the press release got widespread coverage with commentators treating it as validation of anthropogenic global warming which has been now relabeled as climate change. But some reporters didn't simply regurgitate NASA claim in the press release. They looked at the data and found problems. Within 24 hours, NASA was backing off its claim. The Guardian reports:
In an independent analysis of the raw data, also released Friday, NOAA scientists also found 2014 to be the warmest on record.
“NASA is at the forefront of the scientific investigation of the dynamics of the Earth’s climate on a global scale,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The observed long-term warming trend and the ranking of 2014 as the warmest year on record reinforces the importance for NASA to study Earth as a complete system, and particularly to understand the role and impacts of human activity.”
The NASA climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38 per cent sure this was true.In a press release on Friday, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed ‘2014 was the warmest year on record’.The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. NASA admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.Yet the NASA press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.
As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond. Another analysis, from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, drawn from ten times as many measuring stations as GISS, concluded that if 2014 was a record year, it was by an even tinier amount.