The battle between House Republicans and the National Oceanicand Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is intensifying thankstoÂ claims from whistleblowers that governmentscientists â€œrushedâ€ a key studyclaiming there was no prolongedâ€œhiatusâ€ in global warming.
â€œInformation provided to the Committee bywhistleblowers appears to show that the [NOAA] study was rushed topublication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAAscientists, ignoring established and standard NOAA scientificprocesses and potentially violating NOAAâ€™sscientific integrity policies,â€ Texas Republican Rep.Lamar Smith writesÂ in a letter to Commerce SecretaryPenny Pritzker, the second letter heâ€™s sentthis week as part of an investigation into NOAA.
Smith worriesÂ a highly publicized study by Dr. Tom Karl, the director ofNOAAâ€™s National Centers for EnvironmentalInformation, was rushed to publication to further the politicalgoals of President Barack Obama, who is pushing an aggressiveregulatory agenda to fight global warming.
Karlâ€™s study presentsÂ newlyâ€œadjustedâ€ temperature datawhich does â€œnot support the notion of a globalwarmingâ€˜hiatusâ€™â€— a period of 10 to 15 years with no significant globalwarming. Karl claimsÂ there was actually an increasedwarming trend during that time, not a slowdown in warming.
The study isÂ heavily criticized by some climatescientists, who argueÂ theâ€œadjustmentsâ€ made to thetemperature record to get rid of theâ€œhiatusâ€areÂ questionable and not adequately explained by NOAAscientists.
â€œThisshort paper in Science is not adequate to explain and explorethe very large changes that have been made to the NOAA dataset,â€ Dr. Judith Curry of Georgia TechwritesÂ in her critique of Karlâ€™sstudy.
â€œThe global surface temperature datasets areclearly a moving target,â€ Curry says.â€œSo while Iâ€™m sure thislatest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically usefulfor the Obama administration, I donâ€™t regard itas a particularly useful contribution to our scientificunderstanding of what is going on.â€
Republican lawmakers took interest in Karl’s study andrequested information from NOAA over the summer on the study andcommunication records from agency employees. But their inquiry hasturned into a political football, with NOAA refusing to hand overcommunications from their scientists to Congress.
Smith accuses the agency ofâ€œpoliticizingâ€lawmakerâ€™s requests to make it look like theyareÂ targeting government scientists.NOAAÂ maintainsÂ it wonâ€™tturn over any internal communications from scientists or employeesworking in policy and communications, but madeÂ someofficials available for congressional interviews.
Now, Smith says whistleblowers have come forward andsaysÂ Karlâ€™sâ€œhiatusâ€ stusy was rushed throughthe agency â€œbefore all appropriate reviews ofthe underlying scienceâ€ were completed. NOAA employeesapparently pointed this out to the agency, but were ignored.
â€œBecause the Karl study was apparentlyprematurely rushed to publication, the timing of its release raisesconcerns that it was expedited to fit theadministrationâ€™s aggressive climateagenda,â€ Smith writes.