Was 'Hottest Year on Record' Based on Phony Data?

Not Even Close: 2012 Was Hottest Ever in U.S.

So declared the New York Times in an article almost dripping with self-righteous jubilation. This sentiment was also echoed at the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Reuters, and many other media outlets. But could they all end up eating globally warmed crow?

According to Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That? that is exactly what they might be forced to do. The source upon which this  "Hottest Ever" story is based is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). According to Watts' intensive research, it appears that the NCDC has been keeping two sets of data: one for public (and gullible MSM) consumption and the other the actual stats. Here is what Watts discovered:

First, I should point out that I didn’t go looking for this problem, it was a serendipitous discovery that came from me looking up the month-to-month average temperature for the CONtiguous United States (CONUS) for another project which you’ll see a report on in a couple of days. What started as an oddity noted for a single month now seems clearly to be systemic over a two-year period. On the eve of what will likely be a pronouncement from NCDC on 2012 being the “hottest year ever”, and since what I found is systemic and very influential to the press and to the public, I thought I should make my findings widely known now. Everything I’ve found should be replicable independently using the links and examples I provide. I’m writing the article as a timeline of discovery.

At issue is the difference between temperature data claims in the NCDC State of the Climate reports issued monthly and at year-end and the official NCDC climate database made available to the public. Please read on for my full investigation.

And here are a few of the highlights of Watts' investigation. However, I urge everybody, especially scientists and gullible reporters, to read his full highly detailed report:

...In the July 2012 State of the Climate Report, where NCDC makes the claim of “hottest month ever” and cites July 1936 as then benchmark record that was beaten, they say the CONUS Tavg for July 2012 is: 77.6°F But in the NCDC climate database plotter output, the value is listed as 76.93°F almost 0.7°F cooler! They don’t match.

I initially thought this was just some simple arithmetic error or reporting error, a one-off event, but then I began to find it in other months when I compared the output from the NCDC climate database plotter. Here is a table of the differences I found for the last two years between claims made in the SOTC report and the NCDC database output.


As you can see, there are significant differences between the public State of the Climate report and the actual NCDC database. It will be interesting to find out if there will be a response from the NCDC about Watts' revelations. And if there is a response, I sure hope the following question posed by Watts is answered:

The question for now is: why do we appear to have two different sets of data for the past two years between the official database and the SOTC reports and why have they let this claim they made stand if the data does not support it?

Global Warming New York Times Anthony Watts