Slate reads too much into new temperature paper

A paper on US temperature adjustments was published in Geophysical Research Letters on February 5. Download full text here, (pdf, 1.5MB). The University of York has information about the paper including handy links to data.

The paper examines and offers improvements to adjustments to the continental US surface temperature record. The abstract is easy to read and understand:

Numerous inhomogeneities including station moves, instrument changes, and time of observation changes in the US Historical Climatological Network (USHCN) complicate the assessment of long-term temperature trends. Detection and correction of inhomogeneities in raw temperature records have been undertaken by NOAA and other groups using automated pair-wise neighbour comparison approaches, but these have proven controversial due to the large trend impact of homogenization in the United States. The new US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) provides a homogeneous set of surface temperature observations that can serve as an effective empirical test of adjustments to raw USHCN stations. By comparing nearby pairs of USHCN and USCRN stations, we find that adjustments make both trends and monthly anomalies from USHCN stations much more similar to those of neighbouring USCRN stations for the period 2004-2015 when the networks overlap. These results improve our confidence in the reliability of homogenized surface temperature records.

Slate’s response is straight out of the “I told you so” playbook but they haven’t actually read the paper. Continue Reading →