NASA spokesman Gavin Schmidt announced at realclimate that Hansen et al had fixed the Russian (and elsewhere data), following corrections to the data made by their supplier (NOAA GHCN.) Even though errors of over 10 deg C had occurred over the world’s largest land mass, it only reduced GISS October temperature by 0.21 deg C (from 0.86 deg C to 0.65 deg C) and still left a large “hot spot” over Siberia. Schmidt reported at realclimate (which increasingly seems to be NASA’s method of communicating with the public):
The corrected data is up. Met station index = 0.68, Land-ocean index = 0.58, details here. Turns out Siberia was quite warm last month.
Actual temperatures in much of the lurid “hot spot” will average a balmy minus 40 deg C and lower over most of the next few months. Olenek or Verhojansk sound like ideal venues for large-scale gatherings of climate scientists.
The GISS website states that changes were made to incorporate corrected GHCN files (the new file timestamped 12.58 pm today):
2008-11-12: It seems that one of the sources sent September data rather than October data. Corrected GHCN files were created by NOAA. Due to network maintenance, we were only able to download our basic file late today. We redid the analysis – thanks to the many people who noticed and informed us of that problem.
Now look closely at the two figures below and see what else you notice.
Left: NASA GISS as of Nov 10, 2008; right – as of Nov 12, 2008.
All of a sudden, a “hot spot” has developed over the Canadian Arctic Islands and the Arctic Ocean north of North America, that wasn’t there on Monday (it was gray on Monday). A smaller hot spot also developed over Australia.
I had downloaded the GHCN file on Monday (and saved it). I downloaded the GHCN file once again and checked for stations that had October values today, but not on Monday. All but two were in Australia with the other two also in the SH.
I haven’t crosschecked the Australian data but at least there’s some new data to support this part of the change. There was no new information from GHCN on the Canadian Arctic Islands. So what accounted for the sudden hot spot in the Canadian Arctic Islands??
Why can Hansen obtain values for October in the Canadian Arctic Islands today when he couldn’t on Monday?
Maybe NASA spokesman Schmidt can explain exactly how.
Update Nov 13, 11.30 am: NASA spokesman Gavin Schmidt, complying with Hansen’s policy not to mention my name, provided the following answer on how Hansen “fixed” the problem:
However, between last friday (when GISTEMP downloaded the first GHCN data) and today (thursday), stations in Australia and northern Canada were reported. People claiming on other websites that Oct data for Resolute, Cambridge Bay and Eureka NWT are not in the latest download, should really check their files again. (To make it easy the station numbers are 403719240005, 403719250005 and 403719170006). Why anyone would automatically assume something nefarious was going on without even looking at the numbers is a mystery to me. None of these people have any biases of their own of course.
If data for the three Canadian sites were added between Friday, Nov 7 and Monday, that would explain matters. Gavin’s accusation that the above question was asked “without even looking at the numbers” is another fabrication by a NASA employee. I reported that I had compared stations in the GHCN download before the issue was public and after the issue the public. The Canadian data was in both data sets. According to NASA spokesman Schmidt, it appears that NASA used an even earlier version of the GHCN data. That answers the question.
It is also reasonable to inquire as to whether changes in methodology had occurred. In September 2007, after the Y2K problem, Hansen changed their methodology without any notice or announcement with the effect of reversing once again the order of 1934 and 1998. Determining that they had changed data sources from SHAP to FILNET wasn’t easy and a change in sources or method could hardly be precluded in this instance, though NASA has now said that this was not the case.