Worth understanding. Data is important. Often data is manipulated just to make it mathematically easy to use. It is more important to respect the data than to show one’s math skills.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University

For researchers like myself examining the effect of local microclimates on the ecology of local wildlife, the change in the global average is an absolutely useless measure. Although it is wise to think globally, wildlife only responds to local climate change. To understand how local climate change had affected wildlife in California’s Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains, I had examined data from stations that make up the US Historical Climate Network (USHCN).

I was quickly faced with a huge dilemma that began my personal journey toward climate skepticism. Do I trust the raw data, or do I trust the USHCN’s adjusted data?

For example the raw data for minimum temperatures at Mt Shasta suggested a slight cooling trend since the 1930s. In contrast the adjusted data suggested a 1 to 2°F warming trend. What…

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