Hmmm....that didn't take long. The BEST research effort is falling on hard times as controversy and infighting between the authors breaks out. It definitely appears that the non-professional, public relations media campaign that Richard Muller initiated (to satisfy his inner needs?) has backfired, resulting in unwanted additional scrutiny and embarrassing criticism of BEST results.
Putting aside this new climate science 'food fight' that has erupted, what does BEST tell us about the recent past temperatures? In review, it is well established, from the latest peer-reviewed studies by climate alarmist scientists, that there has been essentially no warming since 1998 (a very painful admission, no doubt). And many C-AGW skeptics point out that this lack of warming has been consistent since 2001.
Indeed, the above BEST fig. 1 chart does reveal the lack of warming since the beginning of 2001 - the chart represents a per century trend increase of only 0.3°C degrees (three-tenths of a degree). And by using a 6th order fitted curve (light blue) in the fig. 1 chart, the BEST data indicates a recent cooling trend through the end of May 2010.
Did land surface temperatures continue to cool since May of 2010, as the BEST data seemed to be predicting in fig.1?
The best answer is YES! The land temperatures continued their cooling trend - at the end of August 2011, the per century trend over those 15 months (since May 2010) became a -16.3°C trend (minus 16.3C degrees). The plotted data in fig. 2 show this linear trend using the CRU land surface data. (Note: Since BEST data only goes through May 2010, the fig. 2 CRU data was used. CRU has a very tight correlation of 0.86 with the BEST data going back to the early 20th century, which makes it an excellent proxy for BEST.)
The fig. 3 chart is the entire 128-month period (10+ years) of CRU data since January 1, 2001. As both alarmist and skeptic scientists have previously found, the CRU land temperatures show no warming over this extended period. The per century linear trend for this chart is only +0.05C degrees (five-hundredths of a degree). The 6th order polynomial curve indicates that a cooling direction continues through August 2011.
Now, whether this CRU fitted-curve has similar "predictive powers" as the BEST blue curve in fig. 1 is, at "best", a very speculative guess. Regardless, any claims of "accelerating" warming and/or claims that warming is causing severe weather events are without scientific merit as the empirical evidence strongly suggests cooling to be the more relevant issue.
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