All is revealed …

There is an answer to every question, a solution to every puzzle, an explanation for every event. It’s called religion. Science, on the other hand can only answer some of the questions. The difference is in the extent to which you can trust the answers.

The reason you might trust the scientific answers is to be found in the process, it’s public … the methods, the results, the discussion, the conclusion are all out there to be checked. If they are not reproducible they are rejected. There is considerable cut and thrust in all this. Religious folk trust the answers, even though theirs are mostly wrong while true scientists never trust the answers even though theirs are mostly right. The science ain’t ever settled.

If every scientist had to check every experiment in person before accepting the result progress would grind to a halt. This leads to a paradox, for all scientists most science is revealed doctrine, sourced from the gospel of the scientific journal. The worst of mistakes are hopefully avoided by the peer review process. This makes a nonsense of any argument than runs along the lines 70% of scientists agree that …

A particularly unsettling example can be found in the paper The mystery of recent stratospheric temperature trends, D. W. J. Thompson et al, Nature 491: 692–697, Nov 2012. The paper is concerned with a data set originally processed by the UK Met Office and later by America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The background …

The surface temperature record extends for over a century and is derived from multiple data sources. In contrast, the stratospheric temperature record spans only a few decades and is derived from a handful of data sources. Radiosonde (weather balloon) measurements are available in the lower stratosphere but do not extend to the middle and upper stratosphere. Lidar (light detection and ranging) measurements extend to the middle and upper stratosphere but have very limited spatial and temporal sampling. By far the most abundant observations of long-term stratospheric temperatures are derived from satellite measurements of long-wave radiation emitted by Earth’s atmosphere.

The longest-running records of remotely sensed stratospheric temperatures are provided by the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU), the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), and the Stratospheric Sounding Unit (SSU). The SSU and MSU instruments were flown onboard a consecutive series of seven NOAA polar-orbiting satellites that partially overlap in time from late 1978 to 2006; the AMSU instruments have been flown onboard NOAA satellites from mid-1998 to the present day.

The widely accepted, continuous record of temperatures in the middle and upper stratosphere going back to 1979 was based exclusively on SSU data. The SSU data were originally processed for climate analysis by scientists at the UK Met Office in the 1980s and further revised as newer satellite data became available in 2008.
NOAA recently reprocessed the SSU records and published the full processing methodology and the resulting data.
stratosphere_temps-500
Met in blue NOAA in red, and the outputs kind of resemble each other, a bit. Why don’t they match? That’s a mystery. The pair diverge  from about 1985 and grow further apart with time. How did the Met Office handle the numbers? That’s also a mystery, the method was never published and is now lost to human knowledge.
The global-mean cooling in the middle stratosphere, that’s about 25–45 km in altitude, is nearly twice as large in the NOAA data set as it is in the Met Office data set or in the words of  the Nature article: “The differences between the NOAA and Met Office global-mean time series shown in Fig. 1 are so large they call into question our fundamental understanding of observed temperature trends in the middle and upper stratosphere.
So science triumphs again, it’s all fixed now.
Just one problem, it’s the old data set that the climate modellers have used to forecast thermageddon. And that might be just one of the reasons that observed temperature trends stubbornly refuse to comply with the IPCC predictions. Garbage in, garbage out.
You can buy the original paper <HERE> or read another review of it <HERE>.

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