Friday, October 21, 2011

Climate Skeptics Take Another Hit

From Kevin Drum's MoJo Blog

What happens when climate deniers decide to try a new methodology?

University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller criticized Al Gore in the past as an "exaggerator," has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre's famous takedown of the "hockey stick" climate graph made him "uncomfortable" with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on.

SO, he started up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) in 2010 to show the world how to do climate analysis right. Who better, after all? "Muller's views on climate have made him a darling of skeptics," said Scientific American, "and newly elected Republicans in the House of Representatives, who invited him to testify to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology about his preliminary results." The Koch Foundation, founded by the billionaire oil brothers who have been major funders of the climate-denial machine, gave BEST a $150,000 grant.Link

But Muller's congressional testimony last March didn't go according to plan. He told them a preliminary analysis suggested that the three main climate models in use today—each of which uses a different estimating technique, and each of which has potential flaws—are all pretty accurate: Global temperatures have gone up considerably over the past century, and the increase has accelerated over the past few decades. Yesterday, BEST confirmed these results and others in its first set of published papers about land temperatures. (Ocean studies will come later.) Using a novel statistical methodology that incorporates more data than other climate models and requires less human judgment about how to handle it (summarized by the Economist here), the BEST team drew several conclusions:
  • The earth is indeed getting warmer. Global average land temperatures have risen 0.91 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years. This is "on the high end of the existing range of reconstructions."
  • The rate of increase on land is accelerating. Warming for the entire 20th century clocks in at 0.73 degrees C per century. But over the most recent 40 years, the globe has warmed at a rate of 2.76 degrees C per century.
  • Warming has not abated since 1998. The rise in average temperature over the period 1998-2010 is 2.84 degrees C per century.
  • The BEST data significantly reduces the uncertainty of the temperature reconstructions. Their estimate of the temperature increase over the past 50 years has an uncertainty of only 0.04 degrees C, compared to a reported uncertainty of 0.13 degrees C in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
  • Although many of the temperature measuring stations around the world have large individual uncertainties, taken as a whole the data is quite reliable. The difference in reported averages between stations ranked "okay" and stations ranked "poor" is very small.
  • The urban heat island effect—i.e., the theory that rising temperatures around cities might be corrupting the global data—is very small.

In the press release announcing the results, Muller said, "Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK." In other words, climate scientists know what they're doing after all.

The BEST report is purely an estimate of planetary warming, and it makes no estimate of how much this warming is due to human activity. So in one sense, its impact is limited since the smarter skeptics have already abandoned the idea that warming is a hoax and now focus their fire solely on the contention that it's man-made. (And the even smarter ones have given up on that, too, and now merely argue that it's economically pointless to try to stop it.) Still, the fact that climate scientists turned out to be careful and thorough in their basic estimates of temperature rise surely enhances their credibility in general. Climategate was always a ridiculous sideshow, and this is just one more nail in its coffin. Climate scientists got the basic data right, and they've almost certainly gotten the human causes right too.


  1. Nice one Laci! I wonder if the Koch brothers are going to ask for all the money back that they paid hoping that it would help their side promote more oil consumption... and pollution... and deregulation?

    Lets face it, the Koch brothers believe they can buy the science to produce the results they want.

  2. 'Laci the Dog' (heh), why do you hate America?

    Of course the planet is (for now) warming! The question is, are humans responsible, or are these temperatures naturally fluctuating as they always have over the eons; and, do we risk destroying our way of life (as most Leftists seem to desire) just to find out?

    What could we do to reverse in time this 'global warming', since the majority of pollutants are now coming from China and India and other third-world nations that desire only to catch up to the U.S., and to mimic our 'extreme' so-unfairly-decadent lifestyles?

    Let's say for kicks and giggles the Left is right. Dig deeper. You know the real causal is Planetary Human Overpopulation, right? Al Gore realizes that too, he just can't come out and say so publicily. He is a closet misanthrope to the bone. It's killing him, having to keep that fact to himself, having to ignore what he feels is the real reason for 'Climate Change', attacking the problem with roundabout methodologies that will never make any difference whatsoever.

    What he, and other environmental whackjobs want, is for at least half the world's population to die off immediately, and the rest be put on strict population controls. I know Al Gore personally. He's a tormented soul, really.

  3. Serrhatred, why do you hate mother nature?

    The link between human causality - anthropogenic causality - is clearly established in studies that researched measurements of changes dating back to the early stages of the industrial age.

    It is not the only factor, but it is clearly a major causation, one that is under our control, unlike, say, volcanic eruptions.

    The fact that India or Chiina are also major contributors does not remove the necessity of the U.S. from taking the lead in correcting these dangerous emissions - dangerous to all life on this planet.

    So, I will ask you again Sorry h8-red, why do you hate nature, and why do you hate all of humanity, including the U.S.?

    Hint - if you have anything of merit to add to this thread, but bury it under a load of invective and personal attack, it won't be posted, OR, I might post only the parts which have merit. If you waste my time enough to be consistentely irritating, I will ban you.

  4. Serh8d, more ignorant BS from you.

    Are you aware that UK Conservative Party has acknowledged that humans contribute to climate change?

    If the party of Margaret Thatcher can make that admission, then it is hardly a belief held by "leftists".

    That answers your question about my dislike for the US (although love of the environment is more of an international position). It is a land of simple minded people like yourself who is easily tricked by propaganda. Franklin should have acknowledged that most North Americans are not, for whatever reason, intellectually on the same par as Europeans.

    Dumb it down for the yanks.

    Anyway, if you were intelligent enough to understand this post, you would realise, that once again, you have posted twaddle.

    Sort of like missing that Ayn Rand is a hard core atheist!

    But as I say, you are always good for a laugh, Serh8d. Do you realise what a moron you are?

    Actually, Serh8d, why do YOU hate the US?

    You advocate policies that would turn it into a third world nation.

    Don't ban him Dog Gone, we can always do with a laugh from Serh8d.

  5. Serh8d, if you know Al Gore the way you know me--you know dick about him.

  6. Furthermore, Serh8d, Isn't Smyrna, TN home of the Nissan's electric car, the Nissan Leaf?

    100% electric. Zero gas. Zero tailpipe. Because zero is worth everything.

    The Nissan Leaf (also formatted "LEAF" as a backronym for Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car) is a five-door hatchback electric car manufactured by Nissan and introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010. The US Environmental Protection Agency official range is 117 kilometres (73 mi), with an energy consumption of 765 kilojoules per kilometre (34 kW·h/100 mi) and rated the Leaf's combined fuel economy at 99 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (2.4 L/100 km). The Leaf has a range of 175 km (109 mi) on the New European Driving Cycle.

    It must totally annoy you that the town you live in makes its money based upon the fear of global warming!

    It sounds to me as if all the things you despise allow for you to have that "So-unfairly-decadent lifestyle".

    Electricity from the TVA, Jobs from the Nissan Leaf--a "green" car, your philosophy from an Atheist, etcetera.

    Deep down, I'd guess your a "a tormented soul", which is why you have to post old info about me.

    Times do change, Serh8d.

  7. Man-made global warming makes sense to me. How could we not be affecting the climate with what we're doing.