The Dubious Birth of a Bogus Conspiracy


(published on 03/17/2017 in the Roswell Daily Record, Letter to the Editor)

Mr. J W Kopp, regarding your claim that NASA and NOAA were recently caught manipulating data (letter published March 7), I did some research, and here is what I found.

I found nothing credible about NASA manipulating data. I did find one event involving NOAA in 2015. It was first published by the UK’s Daily Mail, which is a sensationalist tabloid a little less outlandish than the USA’s “National Enquirer.”

The fact-checking website “” spent almost 2800 words explaining what actually happened, but I’ll try to summarize it here as best I can.

In 2015, two scientists from NOAA went to Paris to submit a paper for review. One of the scientists noticed that the datasets for part of the paper were out of date, and this made it appear as if there had been a “pause” in global warming, which he knew was false. He substituted the out-of-date numbers with “guesstimates” of his own that were in keeping with the trends and the current data as he knew it, but the substituted numbers were not the actual numbers from the actual, current data. His colleague took issue with this, “blew the whistle,” and a conspiracy was born.

Based on that one event, climate-change deniers around the world claimed that climatology was "junk science" and insisted that “global warming” was just a ruse to let scientists milk taxpayers for grant money.

Now, here’s the kicker:

After the conference, when the NOAA scientists got home and plugged in the current data, guess what happened? They found that the climate was warming at an even greater rate than anticipated.

The consensus among scientists that climate change is real and largely man-made is greater than 1000 to 1. Of the dissenters, most of them are either considered flakes, or they are clearly in the employ of fossil fuel think tanks.

So, I’m sorry to say this, but when someone tosses out all of that evidence, all of that support among all of those scientists and denies climate change based on the sensationalized dispute over one NOAA paper in 2015, that is nothing short of ignorance.

And to say that it is ignorance would be a polite understatement.