Bad, Badder,…BEST. The Video is here.
October 25, 2011
The reactions continue to the much ballyhooed BEST global temperature results. How could I not weigh in?
For the clueless or cynical diehards who deny global warming, it’s getting awfully cold out there.
The latest icy blast of reality comes from an eminent scientist whom the climate-change skeptics once lauded as one of their own. Richard Muller, a respected physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, used to dismiss alarmist climate research as being “polluted by political and activist frenzy.” Frustrated at what he considered shoddy science, Muller launched his own comprehensive study to set the record straight. Instead, the record set him straight.
“Global warming is real,” Muller wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal.
“When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find,” Muller wrote. “Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that.”
In other words, the deniers’ claims about the alleged sloppiness or fraudulence of climate science are wrong. Muller’s team, theBerkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, rigorously explored the specific objections raised by skeptics — and found them groundless.
A new climate study shows that since the mid-1950s, global average temperatures over land have risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.6 degrees Fahrenheit), confirming previous studies that have found a climate that has been warming – in fits and starts – since around 1900.
Most climate scientists attribute warming since the mid-1950, at least to some degree, to carbon dioxide emissions from human activities – burning coal, oil, and to a lesser extent gas, and from land-use changes.
The latest results mirror those from earlier, independent studies by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research in Britain, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The study also highlighted the regional differences in temperature trends that can lead people to say: What global warming?
Over the past 70 years, the team found that about one-third of the measuring stations in its global sample indicated cooling trends. Two-thirds showed warming trends, with warm regions more than offsetting cool regions in developing a global average.
Money for the new study, dubbed the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, came from five foundations, including one established by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and another from theCharles Koch Charitable Foundation, widely seen as a source of money for conservative organizations and initiatives that have fought efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
BEST set out to disprove the conclusions of NASA’S Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research in Great Britain. Each of them had arrived, separately, at remarkably similar figures showing how much the Earth was warming. BEST took on the gargantuan task of analyzing 1.6 billion data points. What Muller and his team of skeptical scientists found was, despite the poor siting of some of the measuring stations, NOAA, GISS and Hadley had gotten it right.
On Friday, Muller addressed all global-warming skeptics in the Wall Street Journal by saying, “Now let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.” He went on to explain what BEST had found, and how it had found it. He reported the final paper, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found that the Urban Heat Island argument did not stand up. The data showed that poorly positioned measuring stations showed no greater temperature increases than the better ones.
In other words, the skeptical funders of the study just backed the wrong horse. Charles Koch helped pay for a study that says everything Charles Koch believes in is wrong.