From my comments to this post on comparing IPCC forecasts to reality, I had a couple of thoughts on satellite temperature measurement that I wanted to share:
- Any convergence of surface temperature measurements with satellite should be a source of skepticism, not confidence. We know that the surface temperature measurement system is immensely flawed: there are still many station quality issues in the US like urban biases that go uncorrected, and the rest of the world is even worse. There are also huge coverage gaps (read: oceans). The fact this system correlates with satellite measurement feels like the situation where climate models, many of which take different approaches, some of them demonstrably wrong or contradictory, all correlate well with history. It makes us suspicious the correlation is a managed artifact, not a real outcome.
- Satellite temperature measurement makes immensely more sense – it has full coverage (except for the poles) and is not subject to local biases. Can anyone name one single reason why the scientific community does not use the satellite temps as the standard EXCEPT that the "answer" (ie lower temperature increases) is not the one they want? Consider the parallel example of measurement of arctic ice area. My sense is that before satellites, we got some measurements of arctic ice extent from fixed observation stations and ship reports, but these were spotty and unreliable. Now satellites make this measurement consistent and complete. Would anyone argue to ignore the satellite data for spotty surface observations? No, but this is exactly what the entire climate community seems to do for temperature.