I preface this post with the above warning, as there is much emotional back and forth about climate denialists and climate alarmists. This false dichotomy unnecessarily confuses the science of climate variability and the manipulation of the science by political and economic players at the national and international levels.
Joseph D'Aleo & Anthony Watts have put together a thoroughly documented paper titled Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception, consisting of materials Anthony has made available on his blog "Watts Up With That."
The authors propose that what is perceived and promoted as recent "global warming" is an artifact of the manipulation of data from North American surface temperature instrumentation. They argue that the 1990 reduction in surface temperature recording sites is biased toward urban and low latitude sites, thus giving the surface temperature data set a climate warming bias.
The argument is compelling to me. I have read other sources that claim that the temperature data set is biased toward global cooling, without the extensive documentation that D'Aleo and Watts provide.
My question, that I ask quietly to myself in moments of contemplation, is, if this is true, what is the motivation for NASA and NOAA to cook the data in such a way as to create the impression of "global warming?" I suspect it has something to do with the political/economic climate of the time.
1990 happens to be the year when George H.W. Bush came to office as President of the United States, following Ronald Reagan, with Dick Cheney as his Secretary of Defense. I'm still researching who all was in power at that time. Key officials in NASA and NOAA would be an interesting area of research.
"Follow the money." Who would gain from a widespread belief that human industrial activity is threatening to send the world spiraling into irreversible global warming?