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During his run as chair of the House Science Committee, recently retired Texas Congressman Lamar Smith made a habit of accusing US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists of manipulating data to exaggerate global warming. Smith did so almost entirely on the basis of his own wishes that data would stop showing warming, relying on fever swamp bloggers and disregarding published research.

His favorite target for both accusations and subpoenas was a 2015 paper published in the journal Science that incorporated new research to update NOAA’s global temperature dataset. The updates to the dataset made warming in the early 21st century more pronounced, and they indicated that a supposed “pause” in warming was a statistically insignificant event.

After the paper was published, the UK’s Mail on Sunday and its digital sibling The Daily Mail published allegations of improper behavior at NOAA, courtesy of a “whistleblower” inside the agency. The source, John Bates, claimed that the study had been rushed through without following proper data archiving protocol and that questionable choices had exaggerated the warming trend.

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