NOAA Climate Gauge Devices Tampered with? Two Have Already Been Arrested

Tint Media /
Tint Media /

Insurance fraud has been a thing since, well, insurance has been around. But a recent case shows just how easy it might be for someone to fraudulently tamper with climate change results.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado, two men have recently been arrested and convicted of tampering with federally owned rain gauges, which are supposed to gauge the rainfall of any given area.

This information is then used for all sorts of things, from how much farmers can get for the insurance of their crops and fields to studies showing how the climate is supposedly changing and warming up.

According to the report, Patrick Esch and Ed Dean Jagers were more interested in the former. Both being farmers, they and a few other unnamed souls decided to tamper with a number of rain gauges, some of which belong to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, for the purpose of claiming there had not been enough rain for their crops during the year.

As CBS News reports, the US Department of Agriculture offers private crop insurance each year called the Rainfall Index Annual Forage Insurance Plan.

Basically, it means that a farmer can make an insurance claim and “receive a payment when precipitation is below the historical normal level even if the relevant farmland suffers no loss in productivity.”

Gee, I wonder whose bright idea this was… But I digress.

Naturally, Jagers and Esch wanted to take advantage of this. And so, they schemed to tamper with various rain gauges in the surrounding areas to supposedly prove that their crops weren’t getting enough rain.

This included “cutting wires,” “filling gauges with silicone,” or just covering the gauges. And they messed with gauges as far as southwest Kansas.

After being caught, the Esch and Jagers are now pleading guilty to insurance fraud, which will land them in prison for two and six months, respectively. They will also have to pay a combined $6.6 million in fines.

As I said, this particular case has little to do with climate change. But it makes the likelihood that someone out there right now is tampering with devices just for that reason.