Stephen McIntyre, amateur meteorologist from Toronto, has embarrassed NASA scientists by catching an error in recent climate-change data: climatologists at NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Science (GISS) in New York now concede that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in U.S. history. NASA now shows that 1998 is the U.S.'s second-hottest year and that five of the 10 warmest years on record in the U.S. date from before 1939. McIntyre first emailed NASA on August 4 saying he'd discovered inexplicable jumps in temperature in its climate change data from 1999-onwards. Around that time, NASA's temperature readings have all been too high, to a maximum of 0.15 C. The worldwide numbers remain unchanged, with 1998 and 2005 tied as the hottest year on record.
The mistake found has led to accusations and finger-pointing over whether NASA's error was genuine. Climate-change skeptics are accusing NASA of inflating the numbers to promote global hysteria over the environment and others are accusing NASA of trying to keep the error quiet. Meanwhile, climatologists at GISS say their critics are making a mountain out of a molehill and that the differences in the recalculated temperatures are so insignificant that they have no impact on the overall trend towards global warming. They attributed the error to a new data collection system established in 2000 that used different methods than the previous one.
News source: CBC News