NOAA’s ‘Hiatus’-Busting Study ‘Rushed’, Ignored ‘Scientific Processes’

The battle between House Republicans and the National Oceanicand Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is intensifying thanksto claims from whistleblowers that governmentscientists “rushed†a key studyclaiming there was no prolonged“hiatus†in global warming.

“Information 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 NOAA’sscientific integrity policies,†Texas Republican Rep.Lamar Smith writes in a letter to Commerce SecretaryPenny Pritzker, the second letter he’s sentthis week as part of an investigation into NOAA.

Smith worries a highly publicized study by Dr. Tom Karl, the director ofNOAA’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.

Karl’s study presents newly“adjusted†temperature datawhich does “not support the notion of a globalwarming‘hiatus’‗ a period of 10 to 15 years with no significant globalwarming. Karl claims there was actually an increasedwarming trend during that time, not a slowdown in warming.

The study is heavily criticized by some climatescientists, who argue the“adjustments†made to thetemperature record to get rid of the“hiatusâ€are questionable and not adequately explained by NOAAscientists.

“Thisshort paper in Science is not adequate to explain and explorethe very large changes that have been made to the NOAA dataset,†Dr. Judith Curry of Georgia Techwrites in her critique of Karl’sstudy.

“The global surface temperature datasets areclearly a moving target,†Curry says.“So while I’m sure thislatest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically usefulfor the Obama administration, I don’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 of“politicizingâ€lawmaker’s requests to make it look like theyare targeting government scientists.NOAA maintains it won’tturn over any internal communications from scientists or employeesworking in policy and communications, but made someofficials available for congressional interviews.

Now, Smith says whistleblowers have come forward andsays Karl’s“hiatus†stusy was rushed throughthe agency “before all appropriate reviews ofthe underlying science†were completed. NOAA employeesapparently pointed this out to the agency, but were ignored.

“Because the Karl study was apparentlyprematurely rushed to publication, the timing of its release raisesconcerns that it was expedited to fit theadministration’s aggressive climateagenda,†Smith writes.

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