Spectacularly Poor Climate Science At NASA

Dr. James Hansen of NASA, has been the world’s leading promoter of the idea that the world is headed towards “climate disaster.” There is little evidence to back this up.

In 2008, Hansen wrote about “stabilizing” the climate:

Stabilizing atmospheric CO2 and climate requires that net CO2 emissions approach zero, because of the long lifetime of CO2

Yet in 1999, he made it quite clear that past climate was not stable, and that there was little evidence to support that idea that the climate was becoming unstable.

Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

NASA GISS: Science Briefs: Whither U.S. Climate?

In that same 1999 report, he showed that US temperatures peaked in 1934, and declined through the rest of the century.

NASA fig1x.gif (500×182)

In 1989, NOAA and the UK’s leading expert agreed with Hansen that [the] U.S. had not warmed.

February 04, 1989

Last week, scientists from the United States Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that a study of temperature readings for the contiguous 48 states over the last century showed there had been no significant change in average temperature over that period.

Dr. (Phil) Jones said in a telephone interview today that his own results for the 48 states agreed with those findings.

Global Warmth In ’88 Is Found To Set a Record – New York Times

But in the year 2000, NASA and NOAA altered the historical US temperature record, which now shows that there was about one degree centigrade US warming during the century before 1989.

NASA Fig.D.gif (513×438)

The animated image below shows the changes which Dr. Hansen made to the historical US temperature record after the year 1999. He cooled the 1930s, and warmed the 1980s and 1990s. The year 1998 went from being more than half a degree cooler than 1934, to warmer than 1934.

Hansen’s recent temperature data tampering is not limited to the US. He has done the same thing all over the planet. Below is one recent example in Iceland, where he dramatically cooled the first half of the century, and warmed the present. He appears to be trying to erase evidence that there was a very warm period in much of the Arctic around 1940.

Original version  Altered version

The changes in Reykjavik, Iceland were particularly heinous – because they were specifically objected to by the Icelandic Met Office. Meteorologist Mark Johnson contacted  the senior expert at the Icelandic Met Office and asked him about NASA data tampering in iceland. Here is their exchange :

 1) Are you happy with the adjustments as they stand right now?

No, I am not happy with the adjustments as they stand, but I might no be quite up to date. I don’t know if they have been making additional changes during the last 2-3 weeks.  

2) Have you or any of your staff contacted or been contacted by anyone from NASA Goddard Space Institute officials?

No, but we made some contact with them about 5-6 weeks ago.  Best wishes, 

Trausti Jónsson senior meteorologist Icelandic Meteorological Office

The altering of Icelandic data by NASA was particularly troubling, because the cooling from 1940 to 1980 was a well known and difficult historical period in Iceland. NASA  erased Iceland’s history, without even the courtesy to contact Iceland’s experts.

Additionally, we know that there was tremendous warming in the Arctic prior to the 1940s, which Hansen has erased from the historical record in Iceland, Greenland and elsewhere.

In 1947, noted geophysicist Dr. Hans Ahlmann reported to the University of California Geophysical Institute that the Arctic had warmed ten degrees since 1900.

31 May 1947 – Warmer Arctic Climate May Raise Ocean Levels

Arctic warming was well known as early as 1922.

Many leading experts prior to the Hansen era, agreed that the earlier Arctic warming was real, and quite dramatic.

CLEVELAND, Feb. 16 (A.A.P.) Dr. William S. Carlson, an Arctic expert, said to-night that the Polar icecaps were melting at an astonishing and unexplained rate and were threatening to swamp seaports by raising the ocean levels.

Leading Arctic expert from 1953

The glaciers of Norway and Alaska are only half the size they were 50 years age. The temperature around Spitsbergen has so modified that the sailing time has lengthened from three to eight months of the year,”

Leading Arctic expert from 1952

LONDON (A.P.).-The earth is getting warmer. The oceans are getting deeper. The glaciers are getting smaller. Even the fish are changing their way of life.

All this and more is going on because of a vast, unaccountable, century-by-century change, in climate. In his study at Bedford College in London, Britain’s distinguished geographer, Professor Gordon Manley, is worrying about it.

Leading geographer from 1950

Dr. Ahlman urged the establishment of an international agency to study conditions on a global basis. Temperatures had risen 10 degrees since 1900. The navigable season along Western Spitzbergen now last- ed eight months instead of three.

Leading Arctic expert from 1947

it was concluded that near Polar temperatures are on an average six degrees higher than those registered by Nansen 40 years ago. Ice measurements were on an average only 6½ feet against from 9¼ to 13 feet.

Russian report from 1940

Similarly NASA temperature records for Antarctica have also been altered. In 2005, NASA showed most of Antarctic on a long term cooling trend, but in 2007 they changed it to a long term warming trend – despite the fact that 2007 was the year of record sea ice in Antarctica.

The map below from 2005 shows long term cooling.

SVS Animation 3188 – Antarctic Heating and Cooling Trends

In 2007, they replaced the image above with a different one which incorrectly showed long term warming.

Disintegration: Antarctic Warming Claims Another Ice Shelf : Feature Articles

NASA has been altering data and changing the historical record from one pole to the other. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of these changes have trended towards more warming than the original thermometer readings indicated.


In 1988, Hansen made three very famous forecasts (shown below) of temperature rise, based on high, medium and very low (Scenario C) CO2 production.

His forecasts were very poor, and indicate that he has greatly overestimated the effect of CO2 on the climate. The graph below overlays the most recent NASA global temperatures (red line) on Hansen’s predictions from 1988. The red circle shows 2012 temperature anomalies so far.

NASA reported temperatures show more of an increase than satellites do, but even the NASA temperatures fall below Scenario C – which essentially assumes that people stopped producing CO2 in the year 2000. Hansen’s own data invalidates his theory, yet he continues to ramp up his claims about the magnitude of global warming. This is the mark of a very poor scientist.

Sea Level

Now, on to his claims about sea level. Hansen has consistently made sea level forecasts far above the upper bounds of those from the IPCC (18-59cm.) In 2007, he forecast sea level rise up to 25 metres to the US Senate, which is nearly fifty times higher than the IPCC’s highest forecast.

Antarctic blues and the Australian drought 

In 1988, Hansen told (sympathetic) journalist Bob Reiss that the West Side Highway in Manhattan would be underwater within 20 or 30 years (2008-2018). In 2001, he confirmed and reiterated that claim.

While doing research 12 or 13 years ago, I met Jim Hansen, the scientist who in 1988 predicted the greenhouse effect before Congress. I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”

And so far, over the last 10 years, we’ve had 10 of the hottest years on record.

Didn’t he also say that restaurants would have signs in their windows that read, “Water by request only.”

Under the greenhouse effect, extreme weather increases. Depending on where you are in terms of the hydrological cycle, you get more of whatever you’re prone to get. New York can get droughts, the droughts can get more severe and you’ll have signs in restaurants saying “Water by request only.”

When did he say this will happen?

Within 20 or 30 years. And remember we had this conversation in 1988 or 1989.

Does he still believe these things?

Yes, he still believes everything. I talked to him a few months ago and he said he wouldn’t change anything that he said then.

Stormy weather – Global Warming – Salon.com

Dr. Hansen has also been making wildly exaggerated forecasts about a wide variety of topics for almost three decades, like this one from 1986

The News and Courier – Google News Archive Search

In March 2006, he forecast a “Super El Nino” which went against the opinion of the expert community, and never materialized.

We suggest that an El Niño is likely to originate in 2006 and that there is a good chance it will be a “super El Niño”, rivaling the 1983 and 1997-1998 El Niños, which were successively labeled the “El Niño of the century” as they were of unprecedented strength in the previous 100 years.

– Prometheus: Out on a Limb with a Super El Niño Prediction Archives

In March, 2011 – he again predicted a strong El Nino which never materialized.

Based on sub­sur­face ocean tem­pera­tures, the way these have pro­gres­sed the past sever­al months, and com­parisons with de­velop­ment of prior El Niños, we be­lieve that the sys­tem is mov­ing toward a strong El Niño start­ing this summ­er. It’s not a sure bet, but it is pro­b­able.


In 2012, the NASA model is once again predicting a strong El Nino, which no one else is forecasting.

Why does James Hansen keep incorrectly predicting strong El Ninos? The reason is simple – they bring the temperature up, and he expects to see that. A very unsophisticated, lazy and ineffective basis for science.

Antarctic Ice

In 1984, Dr. Hansen predicted a large amount of ice loss in Antarctica as CO2 increases. The image below forecasts 40% albedo loss in the Ross Sea (after a doubling of CO2) which corresponds to loss of white, reflective sea ice.


Contrary to Hansen’s forecast trend, Antarctic sea ice has steadily increased – particularly in the Ross Sea.

seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png (1122×912)

S_daily_extent.png (420×500)

Excess ice in the Ross Sea shown in the red circle above. This is the region which Hansen forecast peak ice loss.

Conspiracy Theorist?

Dr. Hansen has alluded on several occasions  to the idea that there is a well funded group of people working to intentionally ruin the climate.

James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

Put oil firm chiefs on trial, says leading climate change scientist | Environment | The Guardian

“There is a very concerted effort by people who would prefer to see business to continue as usual. They have been winning the public debate with the help of tremendous resources.”

Scientist hits climate change skepticism – UPI.com

Hansen has never provided any evidence to support the idea that skeptics are either well funded or intentionally misleading the public, yet he frequently repeats this claim.

Dr. Hansen has suggested that fossil fuel corporation CEOs are intentionally committing high crimes against the planet – because they don’t believe his spectacularly failed mispredictions.

Hansen went on to say: “CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”

James Hansen: Try Fossil Fuel CEOs For ‘High Crimes Against Humanity

Additionally Dr. Hansen has been arrested several times for committing crimes in “defense of the planet”

 Other NASA climate failures

Dr. Hansen is not the only climate scientist at NASA making spectacular mispredictions. Five years ago another NASA scientist predicted a possible ice-free Arctic in 2012

NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?

Arctic ice extent is now within a couple percent of normal, and Alaska has the most extensive sea ice ever recorded.

N_timeseries.png (1050×840)

University of Illinois – Cryosphere Today


For the past 30 years, NASA climate scientists under the leadership of Dr. Hansen have demonstrated nearly complete incompetence in forecasting, and they have tampered with data to try to hide their mispredictions.

james hansen El nino 2011 prediction

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