Fox News Cites Birther To Claim NASA "Faked" Global Warming

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Fox News

Fox News is reviving accusations that NASA's peer-reviewed adjustments to temperature data are an attempt to "fak[e]" global warming, a claim that even a climate "skeptic" threw cold water on.

Tony Heller, a birther who criticizes climate science under the pseudonym "Steven Goddard," wrote a blog post that claimed "NASA cooled 1934 and warmed 1998, to make 1998 the hottest year in US history instead of 1934." After the Drudge Report promoted a report of this allegation by the conservative British newspaper The Telegraph, conservative media from Breitbart to The Washington Times claimed the data was "fabricated" or "faked." On June 24, Fox & Friends picked it up, claiming that "the U.S. has actually been cooling since the 1930s" but scientists had "faked the numbers":

However, the libertarian magazine Reason noted that even climate "skeptic" blogger Anthony Watts said that Goddard made "major errors in his analysis" and criticized the implication that "numbers are being plucked out of thin air in a nefarious way."

In fact, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and NASA, which both maintain temperature records that use slightly different methods but show close agreement, have publicly documented the peer-reviewed adjustments they make to raw data. NCDC states that the "most important bias in the U.S. temperature record occurred with the systematic change in observing times from the afternoon, when it is warm, to morning, when it is cooler," and so it must correct this cool bias as well as other biases that, for example, result from moving temperature stations.

NASA's data shows that the nation has not been "cooling" since the 1930s, with several years, including 2012, ranking hotter than 1934 in the continental United States, along with a long-term warming trend. And while The Sean Hannity Show claimed that this shows the "Earth has been cooling," the continental United States makes up less than 2 percent of the Earth's surface -- global surface temperatures have increased significantly.

NASA U.S. and global temperature trends

Independent studies using different methods have consistently found a warming trend. Satellite data confirm that there is a warming trend in the United States:

EPA U.S. temperature graph

Fox News has tried to scandalize needed adjustments to temperature data since at least 2007, but it's hard to see who would trust Fox News over NASA.

UPDATE (6/26/14): PunditFact, a project of Politifact, rated Doocy's claim "Pants on Fire" false, noting that "[a]ll of the experts we reached or whose work we read rejected Goddard's conclusions."

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