Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How Do You Measure a Planet’s Temperature?

Why I Think Global Warming Is a Fraud: How Do You Measure a Planet’s Temperature?

When astronomers measure the temperature of a planet, they have both an advantage and a disadvantage over meteorologists here on Earth. Their instruments can acquire data from nearly 50% of a planet’s surface at a time… but they cannot measure that temperature as accurately as someone on that surface might be able to at a specific location. In other words, astronomers can only measure the average temperature of the portion of the planet that their instruments can "see." And until satellites were first used in 1979 meteorologists here on Earth had to measure the temperature at multiple points and mathematically average them.

How Accurate Was the Global Record Before Satellites?

The first continual instrumental record of temperature in the world is the Central England Temperature record, started in 1659. During the mid-19th century the measuring and recording of temperatures spread to other locations, but not until 1873 with the foundation of the International Meteorological Organization that people began to try and take the temperature in the same way.

But note that these temperature readings were limited mostly to urban locations in Europe and North America until after World War II. And that they were not monitored for changes to the environment of the thermometers, such as the introduction of asphalt roadways and parking lots. Or the introduction of new heat sources, like nearby mechanical equipment.

At no point was there any real attempt to set up a regular network of automated thermometers at set distances apart over the entire planet. The expense would have been immense and the technical difficulties, such as placing devices in high mountainous areas or positioning them on the open seas, insurmountable.

Other Attempts to Establish a Global Record

Lacking direct measurements hasn’t been a barrier to some. They have chosen to infer temperatures through such means as ice cores from Antarctica or variations in the thickness of tree rings. Yet how accurate can those be? What assumptions are they making?

What Satellite Measurements Show

Since 1979 the satellite data does show a warming trend of 0.114 degrees Celsius (0.2052 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade. If it continues for a full century, that would be 1.14 degrees Celsius (2.052 degrees Fahrenheit)! But is that truly significant?

That raises yet another question for me: measurement error. In my college physics classes we were cautioned about relying too much on apparently precise measurements. To quote Wikipedia:

Observational error (or measurement error) is the difference between a measured value of a quantity and its true value. In statistics, an error is not a "mistake." Variability is an inherent part of the results of measurements and of the measurement process.

A simpler way to put it is that we cannot be certain that any measurement is as accurate as multiple digits after a decimal point imply. Before digital calculators became common and affordable, most calculations were performed with slide rules. We assumed that there were perhaps 3 significant digits in each calculation we made, and only 3 or 4 in the final result. Now we can quickly add together hundreds of values from thermometers and find their average, with results like 72.36426229… But the fact is that those initial values were probably recorded as whole numbers and that final calculation should be rounded to 72. Reporting those extra digits give a false impression of accuracy that’s not supported by the instruments used.

Confirmation bias also plays a role in this situation where we emotional, semi-rational humans unconsciously look for reasons to put more emphasis on data that support our beliefs and, of course, to reject data that conflict with them.

My Bottom Line

I believe that many who are accepting the global warming hoax are often ignorant of how the data is being collected and reported by researchers. I think those who know better are guilty of knowingly violating the rules and standards of data collection in order to gain power or financial rewards.

Simply put: The truth is not in them.


  1. Rick in Shermantown here. There you go again - making sense.

    1. This column was triggered by a sponsored ad on FB which focused on measurement errors in work environment, things like using a ruler to measure a small item when calipers were needed for any real accuracy. When bad data is used, bad results are coming... and using a calculator to give more digits of assumed accuracy just makes it worse!

  2. Must be nice to have your own sources that are able to uncover this Chinese climate hoax. Same group that tells you recent "tax reform" is about to trickle down to the rest of us?

  3. Oh ye of little faith!

    Do you, like former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, think the $1,000 bonuses (or more for some companies) are "crumbs"? Or that the raises many are now receiving don't matter?

    Go read for details of the good news!