Weather balloon data backs up missing decline found in old magazine

A Rawinsone being prepared for release at the Miami, FL airport - Image: NOAA

Jo Nova has more from Frank Lansner on what older records, this time from weather balloons, tell us about recent adjustments to the temperature record. WUWT readers may recall Rewriting the decline where the graph from National Geographic below raises some questions about temperature graphs today.

Graph 1880 - 1976 NH temperatures

Above: Matthews 1976, National Geographic, Temperatures 1880-1976

Frank Lansner has done some excellent follow-up on the missing “decline” in temperatures from 1940 to 1975, and things get even more interesting. Recall that the original “hide the decline” statement comes from the ClimateGate emails and refers to “hiding” the tree ring data that shows a decline in temperatures after 1960. It’s known as the “divergence problem” because tree rings diverge from the measured temperatures. But Frank shows that the peer reviewed data supports the original graphs and that measured temperature did decline from 1960 onwards, sharply. But in the GISS version of that time-period, temperatures from the cold 1970’s period were repeatedly “adjusted” years after the event, and progressively got warmer.

The most mysterious period is from 1958 to 1978, when a steep 0.3C decline that was initially recorded in the Northern Hemisphere. Years later that was reduced so far it became a mild warming, against the detailed corroborating evidence from rabocore data.

Raobcore measurements are balloon measures. They started in 1958, twenty years before satellites. But when satellites began, the two different methods tie together very neatly–telling us that both of them are accurate, reliable tools.

You can see how similar the data from both methods is:

Comparing Rabocores and Satellites.

So what do the raobcores tell us about the period before satellites started recording temperatures? They make it clear that temperatures fell quickly from 1960-1970.

Rabocore results

The decline in the original graph in National Geographic in 1976 is apparently backed up by highly accurate balloon data, and was based on peer reviewed data:  Budyko 1969 and Angell and Korshover (1975). These two sets overlap from 1958 to 1960, and correlate well, so stitching them together is reasonable thing to do and it doesn’t make much difference which year is chosen from the overlap period (indeed any other choice makes the decline slightly steeper).

What’s thought provoking is that the raobcore data above is for 30N-30S, covering all the tropics on both sides of the equator, and yet still shows the decline. That begs the question of whether the Southern Hemisphere data  has been adjusted too. It would be good to see the raobcore sets further up towards the arctic. It would also be good to look at the Southern Hemisphere. Where are the data sets and peer reviewed papers on temperature from 1965 to 1980? I’d like to follow that up.

Three decades of adjustments

When did the “funny business” begin? By 1980 Hansen and GISS had already produced graphs which were starting to neutralize the decline. His graphs of 1987 and then 2007 further reduced the decline, until the cooling from 1960 to 1975 was completely lost.

Hansen Giss adjust temperatures from 1940-1980(Click to see a larger image).

Watch how the cooling trend of the 1960’s to 1970’s is steadily adjusted up so that 0.3 degrees cooler gradually becomes 0.03 rising (notice the red and blue horizontal lines in the graphs above).

Mathews Graph 1976: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.3C warmer than 1970’s

Hansen/GISS 1980: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.1C warmer than 1970’s

Hansen/GISS 1987: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.05C warmer than 1970’s

Hansen/GISS 2007: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.03C cooler than 1970’s

And in 1974, there was the fore-runner of the “It’s worse than we thought” message.

US NAtional Science Board 1974. Temperatures falling sharply!

Frank has more information and details on his blog Hide the decline.

If 1958 temperatures were similar to the 1990’s, it rewrites the entire claim of all the unprecedented warming of late. Lansner also remind us of the photos taken in the arctic by submarines that surfaced around the north pole.

Submarines surfacing at the north pole


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

“Mathews Graph 1976: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.3C warmer than 1970’s
Hansen/GISS 1980: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.1C warmer than 1970’s
Hansen/GISS 1987: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.05C warmer than 1970’s
Hansen/GISS 2007: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.03C cooler than 1970’s”
Rogue decimal point?

Dave F

Wonder what the latest excuse will be? Maybe the photos need to be adjusted?
“Who are you gonna trust? Me or your own eyes?”


Great work!
Thanks for the digging into other temperature data sets.
I hope other people will get to see this data and begin to see more clearly the manipulations that are being done in the name of science.
Great job!

Henry chance

Hansen seems to be the source of trouble. I am sure he will one day get to explain why he cheats. Right now, he hides from hearings and tough interviews. Have patience. His day will come. The Head chef cooks the numbers and wrote the recipes. His cook book will be written.
Massey coal or Peabody Coal can be the sue Chefs. I am sure this give Romm indigestion.

UJ walsh

Anthony….you might find this enteresting….Climate education.

Brian G Valentine

Remember the days when National Geographic was readable and GISS wasn’t the little kingdom existing solely to “verify” the hallucinations of James Hansen? Seems like an eternity ago …

Amazing, particular in view of the satellite data / weather balloon data “convergence problem”
You’d have to suspect there are other useful instrumental sources tucked away, waiting to come to be re-examined.

Thomas J. Arnold.

“If 1958 temperatures were similar to the 1990’s, it rewrites the entire claim of all the unprecedented warming of late. Lansner also remind us of the photos taken in the arctic by submarines that surfaced around the north pole.”
Great stuff!
Just confirms what we always deep down knew, having lived through the period, the temperatures I experienced were not as GISS would have it.
This is delicious, vindication for the sceptics who knew we were being fed a crock.
Good work Mr. Lansner.


Sounds like another “nail in the AGW coffin”. I’m betting recent “hottest years on record” they keep harping about are just that–hottest on RECORD, not at the THERMOMETER.

John F. Hultquist

I was a new instructor at the University of Idaho in 1974. Your “word art” image of the U.S. Nat. Sci. Board, 1974 message about the cooling is the sort of thing I remember. I taught introductory physical geography and that includes sections on the atmosphere, world climates, and atmospheric processes. I used two days (if I recall correctly) to discuss the impending cold period that everyone seem sure of. My main points were (a) what the records at the time showed, and (b) using historical documents, that cold periods of Earth’s history were known for difficult times for human societies.
Two names come to mind – Lamb and Bryson – as source material for some of the ideas. Somewhere I might still have a folder (the paper type) full of clippings and documents. As regards to what the Earth is up to, I think we have a lot more data now but not a lot more insight.

Ian McLeod

Hansen, you’ve got a lot of splainin’ to do!

Central Europe record composed from 2 up to 14 stations, covering eastern half of Slovakia and bits of Poland, Ukraine and Hungary:
80ties are colder than beginning of 20th century. Quite similar to Armagh or CET record.
Looks that for NH, the hidden tree ring decline has been still overemphasized, but not that off.

Ian McLeod (09:49:39) :
Hansen, you’ve got a lot of splainin’ to do!
Fat chance !!!!!!!!!


Let the adjustment apologists now enter the arena.


I will never forget that picture I saw when I was 7 years old….
of a submarine surfaced at the North Pole in 1959.
It was only thanks to some posters here that I was able to understand why that sub was in open waters in March, surrounded by ice in the distance.

Looks like detrended 20th century NH record would fit those old charts quite well:

John Galt

Henry chance (09:22:21) :
Hansen seems to be the source of trouble. I am sure he will one day get to explain why he cheats. Right now, he hides from hearings and tough interviews. Have patience. His day will come. The Head chef cooks the numbers and wrote the recipes. His cook book will be written.
Massey coal or Peabody Coal can be the sue Chefs. I am sure this give Romm indigestion.

Don’t count on Hansen doing a mea culpa. Like politicians, activists rarely admit they are wrong. If Hansen is accused of cheating or misrepresenting the data or other inappropriate activity , he will be defended vigorously. If Hansen is found to have done wrong, the whole thing will be swept under the rug and all his past supporters will pretend he and his work never existed.


Anecdotal Evidence for the Decline:
I remember reading an article in the Reader’s Digest in the late 40’s or early 50’s, raising the alarm that the nation’s food supply might be in danger. Why? Because nearly all our corn then came from hybrids engineered during the excessively warm period two or three decades earlier. As climate returned to normal [cooling!], corn engineered to grow in hot weather would suffer, and the stocks of older corn had been discarded.


As a retired physician/scientist I have been sceptical of AGW for several years for two main reasons. First has been the lack of a sound Popperian approach (hypotheses cannot be proven, only disproven or falsified) to the problem of rising temperatures. Second has been the lack of evidence that atmospheric CO2 per se is the primary driver of climate temperature. (Correlation NEVER proves causation but lack of correlation disproves causation).
Now that the primary data themselves (reported temperatures) have been so discredited It seems necessary to declare that AGW is a figment of someone’s imagination.

Dave F

And what was the crap they were trying to use after Willis posted about Darwin Zero? That the adjustments did not affect the trend? Seems like that is pretty good evidence that, yes, it did affect the trend.

Leon Brozyna

Compared to Jimmie Hansen, Bernie Madoff was a rank amateur. Madoff suckered a bunch of people with money to invest; Hansen’s suckered the entire planet.




Henry chance (09:22:21) : …sue Chefs….”

I posted this comment today on Frank’s very good website;
” I do have a sense of Deja Vu, because as someone who primarily looks at this from a historic aspect I had believed (wrongly) that everyone was by now aware of the warming period in the 1920’s/1930’s and the subsequent decline you have highlighted here. No matter how often people like you or me make reference to it then the past becomes forgotten (by warmists) and new hysteria breaks out!
Having just finished re reading Hubert Lambs book ‘Climate History and the Modern World’ it is obvious that he took this cooling period as completely factual and made many references to it. He wrote that book in 1982 so it covers up to the same period you identify.
He revised the book in 1994 and obviously remained sceptical of mans impact (but was pleased at greater environmental awareness)
This ‘adjustment’ has other consequences of course. I have previously written of the cooler 1970’s which led to a high level of arctic sea ice which coincided with the advent of satellite measurements in 1979. The subsequent ice decline is therefore from a peak and has reverted to a level seen in the 1930’s and 1850’s amongst many other periods. In other words it is not ‘unprecedented.’
Looking at the current record of events this cold period and extensive ice has largely disappeared, so the context to subsequent ice melt is missing

Mike McMillan

Is there an online source for the three ’80, ’87, ’07 charts?

Doug in Seattle

ClimateAudit a few years ago showed that this process modifies older temperatures with each update of the database. What is shown here is the same with snap shots in 1980, 1987 and 2007.
As I recall, Hansen takes NCDC data and modifies it in a manner that supposedly accounts for UHI. Not sure how that can be justified when the end product is to cool older temps while raising new ones, but that’s the claim. It could be though that the NCDC homogenization is what is at work.
With Tom Karl now in charge of all climate “science”, I somehow doubt we’ll see any government funding being dedicated to an investigation of this issue.

Hu Duck Xing

An even better “subs at the pole” picture;

John from CA

Dr. Joseph Fletcher
ICOADS: International Comprehensive (Consolidated) Ocean and Atmosphere Data Sets
Global Climate MAESTRO
Dr. Sharp’s site also includes a timeline and source references to ENSO events for this period and earlier if its of any help.
Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study
Organized for you by: Gary D. Sharp, Ph.D.
1896 ENSO Warm Event (Pacific-wide)
1899-1900 ENSO Warm Event
1900 ENSO Warm Event (Pacific-wide)
1901-02 ENSO Warm Event
1904-05 ENSO Warm Event
1907 ENSO Warm Event
1910-11 ENSO Cool Event (Eastern Tropical Pacific)
1911-12 ENSO Warm Event
1913-14 ENSO Cool Event ENSO Cool Event (Eastern Tropical Pacific)
1914-15 ENSO Warm Event
1917 ENSO Cool Event
1918-1920 ENSO Warm Event
1919 ENSO Warm Event (Pacific-wide)
1923 ENSO Warm Event
1924 ENSO Cool Event (Eastern Tropical Pacific)
1925-26 ENSO Warm Event
1925-34 General warming trend begins (North Atlantic)
1928 ENSO Cool Event (Eastern Tropical Pacific)
1929-31 ENSO Warm Event
1930-31 ENSO Warm Event (Pacific-wide)
1932 ENSO Warm Event
1938 ENSO Cool Event (Eastern Tropical Pacific)
1939-1941 ENSO Warm Event (Pacific-wide)
1943-44 ENSO Warm Event
1946 end warm period
1951-53 ENSO Warm Event
1955 ENSO ENSO Warm Event (Pacific-wide)
1957-58 ENSO Warm Event (Pacific-wide)
1961 ENSO Cool Event (Eastern Tropical Pacific)

Steve Goddard
Brian P

Makes you see things in a new light doesn’t it


This is actually fairly stunning. I knew that blaming CO2 for any warming observed was foolish. But seeing the historical results from a publicly funded scientist progressively alter to demonstrate a warming the further into the future we get… well that I didn’t expect.
Honestly, is there any possible justification for what Hansen has apparently done here? It seems that each successive report changes the number for a year that was measured decades ago. Is Hansen spending all his time going over his old notes of how those numbers were taken and making corrections? Even that boggles the mind.


We must remember that there were sent Clima-Gate emails to many countries all over the world, so there was a widespread “cooperation” to “Hide the decline”.
I wrote to my own country “contact”, which appeared as recepient of some emails. the same day climate-gate happened and he didn’t answer me. In every country, as it has been shown here at WUWT weather stations were cherry picked and all those which recorded lower temperatures just disappeared.

Re: the three GISS plots all in the same image
This is a very compelling comparison.
Are these three plots copied from journal articles? Could you plese cite the references?
Best Regards,
Tom Moriarty


The Three Decades of Adjustments Graph pretty much says it all.

Antonio San

How NASA spends US taxpayers money in fostering AGW propaganda using AGW propagandists:
From Scott Mandia’s blog. Mandia is a vocal advocate of AGW, physics professor in some community college, graduated with a MSc. degree from Penn State University, the home of Michael Mann…
“I am currently listed as a co-investigator (co-I) on a NASA grant proposal that is to be submitted this month. The principal investigator (PI) is a colleague of mine who I will call Prof. X and the grant budget is requesting $437,232.67 over a three year period. Funding from the proposal will be used to create a learning institute to educate secondary education teachers about climate change. These teachers will be trained to use climate data from NASA in order to incorporate the latest climate change science and data into their curricula. Essentially, NASA will be using some of its funds so that our children will become more informed.”
Nicely said hey? That’s simply brainwashing teachers at taxpayers’ expense.
Read this


Hatshepsut was the 1st pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. The subsequent pharaoh, Thutmose III, attempted to erase Hatshepsut from history. Many of her likenesses were destroyed or were defaced. Archeologists have struggled to understand the social environment that led to the attempts to erase Hatshepsut from history.
I wonder if archeologist a thousand years from now will struggle to understand why our culture tried to erase the MWP from history.

Don B

It deserves repeating, again: Maybe the reason the plurality of maximum US state records were set in the decade of the 1930s was because it was warm then. Canada was warm that decade as well.

As Steve Milesworthy found, that old graph is based on US and some European stations. And the current GISS US record shows exactly that “missing decline”. It’s not missing at all. Your taking a US measure and claiming discrepancies based on global temps. They are just different.

One see’s here of course the benefit of archiving and SHARING the data supporting any publication. It’s not enough to “point” to a source in a paper as that source may change over time or be lost. Maybe Hansen kept his old data set. Asking him might be an interesting experience.


Carbon market update;
“EUROPE’S emissions trading system was in uproar yesterday amid a mounting scandal over “recycled” carbon permits.
Two carbon exchanges were forced to suspend trading as panic hit investors fearful that they had bought invalid permits.
BlueNext and Nord Pool, the French and Nordic exchanges, suspended trading in certificates of emission reduction (CERs) when it emerged that some had been illegally reused.
Concern that used and worthless permits were circulating caused the spot price of the certificates to collapse, from €12 ($17.87) a tonne of carbon to less than €1.”
European emission trading rocked by scandal over recycled carbon permits

In the referenced PDF, I adjusted the 3 decades of adjustment for scale. The change is still dramatic.

A C Osborn

Juraj V. (09:57:47) : , what I like about your (and other) real long term records is the cyclic nature of values, similar up and down trends are clear to see, not the almost straight line the IPCC like to show for pre 1970.
The 1710, 1810 and 1920 upward trends look very similar.

A C Osborn

Juraj V. (10:05:41) : Looks like detrended 20th century NH record would fit those old charts quite well:
Yes it does look like it.

A C Osborn

Steve Goddard (10:49:13) :
You will have the AGW croud jumping on you for cherry picking LOL.


Still can’t get Tips & Notes to work so have to post this link here
It is about the risk of indoctrination of kids which is making it ever more difficult to break the AGW hold on public.

James Sexton

I wish there would be more commentary about those subs. It seems to me, if they were near the north pole when they surfaced (and I know they were), then the melting/flooding argument of the alarmists is invalidated. Given the recent historical precedence, most, if not all alarmist hysteria becomes moot. They could cry about melting caps as much as they want and world could say, “who cares?”
As far as “adjustment” to historical data, we’ve known they’ve done this for years. Though it is fun to see how often and with casual disregard to our memory that they’ve rewritten history. I wonder, 100 years from now, what information will be available to the people? Will it be the true temp readings allowing the reader to make their own adjustments, or will it be the “homogenized” and “washed” temp readings? Will the skeptics even be a footnote in a history book?

Gil Dewart

As with my previous posting about mass graves in the Siberian permafrost, this comment is offered as anecdotal and second/third hand. Personally I trust my sources more than any “official” government handouts.
A friend who sailed on the Northern Sea Route (SevMorPut) had many conversations with experienced Arctic mariners and ice pilots. According to them this seaway along the north coast of Russia and Siberia has shown significant change over the years in sea ice cover during the brief summer shipping seasons. Sea ice in any particular place, of course, is subject to various atmospheric and oceanic influences. When it was officially opened in the 1930s and through the World War II and immediate post-war period the traverse was relatively open. Indeed, some even credit the unobstructed shipping lanes with helping save Russia from the Nazi invasion. Then travel conditions deteriorated (greater ice extent and thickness) during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Recently there has been a partial return to the more open pack of the past. This has become a major public issue in Russia today.

One of my pet “projects”.
Search AMS Website for “Radiation Heat Transfer”
As this:
Then, after finding the 10,000 hits..try to find the papers on actual measurements.
THEN put together an index of measurements and see if “overlapping areas” and conditions can be found.
Trace the radiation heat losses (at night particularily) and their changes (if any) down to location and time.
See if there is a significant change over the last…oh, say 100 years people have done such measurements with various radiometers.
Hard work.
Probably NULL result. But significant! (Similar to the Ballon Temp. measurements of this article.)


I have recently done temperature reconstructions for Canada using data from the Environment Canada climate site. I did this for two separate regions – south of 60N and north of 60N. I used major reporting stations which were generally at airports. The data I was able to obtain was went back to 1945 in the south and 1948 in the north.
My graphs show a very similar pattern to the Raobcore graph from 1960 onwards. Canada data shows a noticeable declining trend from 1960 to about 1975 similar to the Raobcore. It then levels off to about 1980 and then has an upward trend to about 2000 before leveling off again. All in all, very similar to the Raobcore data. Maybe our Canadian data is still pure as our driven snow.


Anthony, a bit OT. the following url was posted in comments on Spencer’s last contribution, and deserves attention.
Gene Zeien (09:31:41) : WUWT
My observations:
Where has all the warming gone? Start ca 1880 and end ca 2000 and we have warming. Start ca 1975 and end 2006 and we have warming. Start and end fairly mid range (LT average), – no warming. Start ca 1936 and end 2009 – clear cooling. Note 1990s peak lower than 1930s peak.