Sunday, October 23, 2011

BEST outburst: another blow to global warming rejectionism


A former skeptic now agrees with the scientific consensus.
Richard Muller, UC Berkeley, has chaired a "BEST" (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) study, which examined the temperature records from around the world. BEST received its largest contribution (of $150K) from the Koch brothers. Muller said that he and his colleagues, including Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter, had suspected that the previous work had been tainted by the Urban Heat Island effect.

Its too bad Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter didn't ask me. If they had, I would have referred them to David Archer's excellent 2009 book, The Long Thaw. Archer is a professor of geophysical sciences (specializing in oceanography) at the University of Chicago. On page 32, Archer gives the scoop: if you throw out urban data, by picking them out by hand, you get the average temperature of the non-urban Earth. Studies show that is makes little difference to the global average whether urban areas are excluded or not. And the studies have been replicated. The urban heat island effect "turns out to be a non-issue", Archer concludes.

I suppose that it's ultimately a useful exercise: have a bunch of smart people, with no firm commitment either way, study the global warming issue. And they conclude that global warming is real. Duh.

[joke] In other late-breaking developments, the BEST group now concludes that evolution is a real effect. Even though some of the faithful think it contradicts Scripture. [/joke]

The Koch brothers were no doubt hoping that their contribution would foster the idea that scientists are deeply divided about whether global warming was happening or not. Now this has blown up in their faces.

Will Muller ask for more funding from the Koch brothers? And will the Koch brothers continue to support the BEST project? It certainly wouldn't be good PR for Koch to cut them off completely. So maybe a funding cutoff, but not right now. Stay tuned...

18 comments:

Martin Vermeer said...

What I would love to see, is Muller extracting funding from Koch for showing the hockey stick correct. He is a fool, but offers great entertainment value.

Nick Barnes said...

See also http://clearclimatecode.org/just-440-stations/
Although the BEST project has confirmed what we all knew about global mean surface temperature, it has been far from a waste of time. They have also:

1. Gathered a lot more temperature records than we ever had in a single dataset before.
2. Developed a new and useful data model for combining those records.
3. Produced a fine-grain dataset of local and regional temperature history. This is an improvement on previous datasets because of (1).
4. Started using this data to ask and answer new questions (e.g. their decadal variation paper).
5. Done some quite convincing stats work on the error bars for historical GMST.

It's good work.

cRR Kampen said...

I knew it would happen. Fodder for the contrarian alarmists.

"But a fine statistical analysis showed the urban heat effect could not explain a global temperature increase of about 1C since 1950."

No. 1° F which is about 0.56° C. Thank you, Independent!

Otherwise and generally this is a great time for Wattsching :)

cRR Kampen said...

Wow. I've been tripped somewhere. It really IS 1° C.

jyyh said...

for random readers Global warming, understanding the forecast by
David Archer: lecture series, 23 parts starting at
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMrSirCharles#p/u/24/jdMJbFmAcZs

Those wishing only the newer info start at 7.1 the previous ones were a welcome refreshener for me though

Anonymous said...

...and Tony reponds with

"Unadjusted data of long period stations in GISS show a virtually flat century scale trend"

These guys crack me up.

Former Skeptic said...

What I would love to see, is Muller extracting funding from Koch for showing the hockey stick correct

Shhh. Don't let the cat out of the bag, Martin!

Anonymous said...

"Unadjusted data of long period stations in GISS show a virtually flat century scale trend"

But... I thought that skeptics had never disagreed that the Earth was warming, only what the cause was? I'm so confused!

-MMM

David B. Benson said...

Also, BEST extended the record back to 1800 CE. That might prove useful.

Haruchai said...

Apparently, Anthony Watts is crying foul over the use of 60 yrs station data and his crowd of sycophants are in full chorus. But does he have a point? At this stage, especially with the RadicalRightWingNuts trashing climate change at every opportunity, it's important not to give the deniers leverage.
They're good at sowing doubt, which will only delay action, and time is running out. If concerted action isn't undertaken in the next 5-10 years, nothing short of serious geoengineering, which will have unforseeable side effects, will make any difference.

Anonymous said...

@Benson : but the oscillations at the early stage look a bit suspicious. Either it shows that climate sensitivity is high, or these are numerical oscillations ...

bratisla

cRR Kampen said...

bratisla, some larger swings back then find explanation in vulcanic activity, most notably Tambora (followed by 'the year without a summer' and Frankenstein).

ob said...

again @bratisla. the first swing in the beginning is due to the impact of the unknown 1809 and the 1815 Tambora eruptions and the second swing is due to the cluster of Galunggung, Babuyan Claro and Cosiguina from 1822 to 1835. The third is unclear to me, but the fourth is Krakatau in 1883. in 1902 you also see the Santa Maria eruption.

Anonymous said...

mmmh, thanks for the feedback. I shall ponder that in mind. Swings are IMHO still huge compared to the Pinatubo effect, but Tambora wasn't the average volcano.

Another nice BEST feature : the movie showing temperature anomaly map where datas exist over time. A look at US shows clearly an upward trend, which negates partly some arguments seen.

And on another news : Climatedepot just unleashed the haters onto Muller. He will be unpleasantly surprised. And the amount of hatred against him at WUWT is ... well, not that surprising (even though it's bigger than the hatred against Mann himself) if we consider that we have a tribe "us against the conspiracy" which fears more a treason by someone from their "tribe" than the outside contradictions. Maybe that's also why Watts went back to the "it's cooling" meme ...

Bratisla

Nick Barnes said...

Regarding those swings: coverage prior to 1850 is poor even in the BEST dataset (check out their video to see this). There are some other early datasets available which could improve this coverage, and which the BEST team are intending to add.

Anonymous said...

Mann must be secretly thanking Muller right now... the flying monkeys unleashed by climatedepot are now crapping all over Muller (and giving Mann a much-needed break).

Here's what's up at climatedepot (in 80 pt font) (as of 1353 MDT):

Muller Stands Accused by Climate Researcher : Muller 'broke a confidentiality agreement...I've had it up to here with being lied to by Muller, I'm fed up with his tricks & his whoring for the media'

Anonymous said...

Here's what they are saying about Muller over at WUWT. I can't imagine what his inbox is looking like right now (climatedepot published his email addy).
------------------------------

You’re likely right, mpaul. But the arrogance of Muller and his merry men knows no bounds. He got Anthony to lend him his Surfacestation data, and then broke a confidentiality agreement to traduce Anthony’s work in front of Congress, of all places. He knew it would get maximum media exposure there …

He also promised the most transparent, ethical, straightforward, purely scientific effort yet … then he goes and engages in shameless self-promotion prior to his work even passing peer review.

Me, I’ve had it up to here with being lied to by Muller, I’m fed up to my eye-teeth with his tricks and his whoring for the media. Sure, I could pretend Muller is an honest and honorable man like you recommend. But his actions have shown him to be a cunning snake. It is not my habit to address snakes as though they were honorable men.

Note, however, that none of these are “ad hominems”, as I make no claim that Muller being a snake has affected his mathematics or altered his results in the slightest. The data is the data, it says what it says despite Muller’s reptilian ways. I am not arguing against the data, there is no ad-hominem.

Look, mpaul. Almost no one in the climate establishment will stand up and call a spade a spade. They will never censor, condemn, or even criticize another climate scientist. The Eleventh Commandment for climate scientists is “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow climate scientist”, and they follow it religiously. Near as I can tell the AGW establishment scientists have had their gag reflexed surgically removed, it’s the only explanation I can think of that explains their actions. There is a deafening silence out there, just like after Climategate, scientists are acting like Muller is a straightforward, ethical scientist.

So as usual, I end up being one of the few people willing to be the kid in the story of the Emperor and his new clothes. I’m not going to say he’s well dressed, mpaul, I’m not going to pretend that Muller is “gentleman from sole to crown”. He is a deceptive, sneaky man, an activist who professes neutrality and pretends to be a scientist, a man who thinks nothing of throwing someone to the wolves, a panderer for his latest findings. And as far as I’m concerned, all you guys acting like he is a decent man, and advising me not to mention the Emperor’s nudity, are accomplices in his deception.

So rather than you advising me to be all calm and peaceful about this, how about I advise you to be less calm and peaceful, and to stand up and denounce bad science wherever you find it? I’m tired of people playing nice when folks are trying to sentence the poor to a lifetime of un-obtainably expensive energy. I’m sick of the silence surrounding egregious scientific malfeasance. I’m upset, yes, and you’re right, it does affect my writing. I’m upset that people are not outraged at this attempt to assuage some liberal guilt by making energy, the lifeblood of the poor, more and more and more expensive with each passing day.

However, I don’t see my being upset as a bad thing. It’s just what’s so. What would be a bad thing would be if if I were to pretend I wasn’t upset, as you advise me to do, if I were to lay down false honeyed words and omit certain facts in order to “persuade the persuadable”.

The problem is, mpaul, that that would make me exactly like Muller, putting on a false front simply to attract converts. Sorry, but I hope you can see why that’s not my style. I tell the truth as best I see it, and I trust that people are wise enough to look past my being upset, to look at the reasons why I’m upset, and to see that I am honestly recounting my experience and my ideas and my judgements. To date, I haven’t been disappointed placing my trust in folk’s common sense.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Anonymous said...

"Someone like You"
-- Horatio Algeranon's diversification of the song by Adele

I heard that you settled down
That you found a trend and you're convinced now.
I heard that NOAA's claims came true.
Guess they gave you data I didn't give to you.

Oh, man, are you ever sly
Ain't like you to toe the line or say Jones was right.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it.
I had hoped you'd see my blog and that you'd be reminded
That for me it isn't over.

Never mind, I don't need someone like you
I hope nothing comes of the BEST for you too
You won't forget me, I vow
I remember you crowed,
"Sometimes it lasts in science but sometimes it falsifies instead,
"Sometimes it lasts in science but sometimes it falsifies instead,
Yeah.

You know how the time flies
Only yesterday was the denial of our lives
We were born and raised
In a skeptic haze
Bound by the lies of our glory days

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it.
I had hoped you'd see my blog and that you'd be reminded
That for me it isn't over.

Never mind, I don't need someone like you
I hope nothing comes of the BEST for you too
You won't forget me, I vow
I remember you crowed,
"Sometimes it lasts in science but sometimes it falsifies instead,

Nothing's the same
No insults or shame
Gunshots or stabs
They are not half as bad
Who would have known how putrescent this would taste?

Never mind, I don't need someone like you
I hope nothing comes of the BEST for you too
You won't forget me, I vow
I remember you crowed,
"Sometimes it lasts in science but sometimes it falsifies instead,

Never mind, I don't need someone like you
I hope nothing comes of the BEST for you too
You won't forget me, I vow
I remember you crowed,
"Sometimes it lasts in science but sometimes it falsifies instead,
"Sometimes it lasts in science but sometimes it falsifies instead