Science requires the collection and interpretation of data. Consensus, therefore, requires that there be no significant dispute on either the data (e.g., its relevance) or it interpretation. The debate over whether there is a consensus about anthropogenic climate change has tended to focus on the interpretation of the data.
But what if the data is fatally flawed ?
If you want to understand why the controversy over global warming wont go away, forget combing through hundreds of hacked emails or trying to understand the enormously complex computer climate models that spit out predictions of our future doom. Instead, just check out the Marysville, California, temperature monitoring station that NASA and other climate researchers use to track temperature trends. The problems with the Marysville station represent in microcosm why the supposedly settled issue of climate change has become so unsettled in the last few months.
The Marysville temperature station is located at the citys fire department, next to an asphalt parking lot and a cell phone tower, and only a few feet away from two air conditioning compressors that spew out considerable heat. These sources of heat amplification mean that the temperature readings from the Marysville station are useless for determining accurate temperatures for the Marysville area.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration admits that stations like Marysville, sited close to artificial heat sources such as parking lots, can produce errors as large as 5 degrees Celsius.
Indeed, the Marysville station violates the quality control standards of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA admits that stations like Marysville, sited close to artificial heat sources such as parking lots, can produce errors as large as 5 degrees Celsius. That is not the only shortcoming of the Marysville data; it turns out that daily data were missing for as many as half the days of any given month. Either the device failed to self-record, or no one recorded the daily data as procedure requires. NASA simply filled in the gaps in the data by interpolating.
As the article notes, 89 percent of the 860 temperature stations surveyed fail to meet the National Weather Services site requirements that stations must be located at least 30 feet away from any artificial heat source. How can there be a consensus about how to interpret the data when the collection method is substandard?