Recently Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology was caught tampering with temperature data. According to the Daily Caller:
- Meteorologist Lance Pidgeon watched the 13 degrees Fahrenheit Goulburn recording from July 2 disappear from the bureau’s website. The temperature readings fluctuated briefly and then disappeared from the government’s website.
- “The temperature dropped to minus 10 (13 degrees Fahrenheit), stayed there for some time and then it changed to minus 10.4 (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and then it disappeared,” Pidgeon said, adding that he notified scientist Jennifer Marohasy about the problem, who then brought the readings to the attention of the bureau.
As for why these low temperatures were erased from the record and adjusted, it turns out that the Bureau of Meteorology has an automated quality control system in place to remove “false” data. There are apparently limits in place in the system that prevent it from recording extreme temperatures. In this case, it conveniently removed record low temperatures that were measured in July, which as you might expect is being blamed on faulty equipment.
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The last time I worked in an actual "scientific" environment, I witnessed two types of potential data tampering:
- deletion of "outliers"; and
- deletion of unexpected data.
The unexpected data resulted from using an incorrect filter size when processing a sample. The error violated the experimental design, but it did show something which should have been pursued. The chief scientist decided not to.
One thing is certain - you won't find things you're not looking for, unless you have a VERY open mind.