Lawmaker Claims NOAA Altered Climate Change Data, Issues Rare Subpoena for Internal Research Docs


A key House chairman and climate change skeptic is extending a months-long clash with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by issuing an unusual subpoena seeking internal scientific research documents that the agency considers confidential.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, first requested documents from NOAA in July, following publication of a peer-reviewed study by Tom Karl, director of the agency’s National Centers for Environmental Information. It concluded that the rate of global warming during the last 15 years has been as fast as, or faster, than that seen during the latter half of the 20th century, according to a NOAA spokesman. That would refute the notion offered by some that global warming has slowed in recent years.

Arguing that other scientific studies contradict that conclusion, Smith followed up with further requests for NOAA documents and with meetings and emails between congressional and agency staff. Their inability to reach an agreement on the completeness of the document record prompted the Oct. 13 subpoena to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan. (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)