Read here. Despite the recent BEST climate science fiasco, the BEST team has at least confirmed what everyone on the planet agrees to: the globe has warmed since the Little Ice Age; it warmed at an increase rate during the late 20th century; and, global warming disappeared with a subsequent major deceleration during the 21st century. What the BEST researchers did not determine is the cause of the warming - is temperature variation anthropogenic or natural? A new peer reviewed study in a major physics journal provides the answer to that question.
The answer: Yes!
Using advanced statistical techniques, Ludecke et al. concluded that global temperature variation has causes related to both anthropogenic and natural reasons. Depending on a given climate station's temperature measurements, the warming (cooling) trend is likely to be explained, from 40 to 90%, by natural causes. (The remaining anthropogenic causes of temperature change may be a result of greenhouse gases, UHI, land-use, aerosols and etc.)
"We evaluate to what extent the temperature rise in the past 100 years was a trend or a natural fluctuation and analyze 2249 worldwide monthly temperature records from GISS (NASA) with the 100-year period covering 1906-2005 and the two 50-year periods from 1906 to 1955 and 1956 to 2005...The data document a strong urban heat island effect (UHI) and a warming with increasing station elevation...About a quarter of all the records for the 100-year period show a fall in temperatures...that the observed temperature records are a combination of long-term correlated records with an additional trend, which is caused for instance by anthropogenic CO2, the UHI or other forcings...As a result, the probabilities that the observed temperature series are natural have values roughly between 40% and 90%, depending on the stations characteristics and the periods considered." [Horst-Joachim Ludecke, Rainer Link, and Friedrich-Karl Ewert 2011: International Journal of Modern PhysicsC]
Read here. As BEST's Richard Muller woos a skeptical co-author with sweet nothings about romantic number crunching, he then proceeds to provide an interview that has him denouncing his own WSJ opinion piece regarding the preliminary BEST global temperature findings. Needless to say, the BEST 'PR' campaign has become a self-immolation fiasco. Embarrassing may be an understatement.
In the meantime, sober minded individuals are carefully scrutinizing the BEST global temperature science and finding it deficient and unimpressive. Then there is the analysis by the renowned Steve McIntyre that may help explain the self-immolation.
Skeptic McIntyre's analysis summary, in a nutshell: late 20th century warming has happened and satellite measurement remains superior to any surface temperature reconstruction efforts, whether performed by BEST or GISS or CRU.
"In the 1980s, John Christy and Roy Spencer revolutionized the measurement of temperature data through satellite measurement of oxygen radiance in the atmosphere. This accomplishment sidestepped the intractable problems of creating (what I’ll call) a “temperature reconstruction” from surface data known to be systemically contaminated (in unknown amounts) by urbanization, land use changes, station location changes, measurement changes, station discontinuities etc..."
"If one takes the view that satellite trends provide our most accurate present knowledge of surface trends, then one has to conclude that the BEST methodological innovations (praised by realclimate) actually provide a worse estimate of surface trends than even CRU.
In my opinion, it is highly legitimate (or as at least a null hypothesis) to place greatest weight on satellite data and presume that the higher trends in CRU and BEST arise from combinations of urbanization, changed land use, station quality, Mennian methodology etc.
It seems to me that there is a high onus on anyone arguing in favor of a temperature reconstruction from surface station data (be it CRU or BEST) to demonstrate why this data with all its known problems should be preferred to the satellite data. This is not done in the BEST articles."
It would appear the warm cinders of BEST are headed towards the 'ashbin of climate history' as a result of Muller's hurried and statistically lame temperature reconstructions, speeded along by the amazing PR self-immolation.
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.
Last week the BEST research team released their findings in regards to land surface temperatures. The BEST data matched up very closely with the IPCC's gold standard, the HadCRUT land temps sub-dataset. In summary, the Berkeley study had a few key points, including:
BEST results found one-third of climate stations report a cooling, not a warming
BEST determined that government maintained temperature-station quality is "awful"
BEST found that the urban impact on global land temperatures is minimal
BEST concluded that the human influence on land temperatures may be overestimated
BEST concluded that land temperatures may be driven by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) - a decadal phenomenon
Since the BEST land surface results were so similar to the Hadley and CRU efforts, it is highly probable that the future BEST research will closely mimic the HadCRUT3 global temperature dataset as shown above in the chart on the left.
The latest HadCRUT dataset report (released today, 10/28/2011) through September 2011 reveals a very insignificant warming over the last 15 years, with zero correlation to increasing CO2 levels. The global HadCRUT linear trend if projected out means a total global temperature increase of +0.3 degrees by year 2100.
The chart on the right tracks the HadCRUT and GISS global temperature anomalies versus the NASA climate model prediction of global temperatures due to CO2 emissions. It is obvious, that the climate models are stupendously wrong in their estimate of the temperature impact of human CO2 emissions - if the models were correct, the HadCRUT and GISS temperature anomalies would resemble Hansen's 'green' curve. (Note: Climate predictions from the IPCC, its models and its experts are consistently wrong.)
Based on this most recent temperature and CO2 information, one can safely assume that the BEST researchers are no dummies.....that would explain their hedging comments that the human influence is 'overestimated' and that natural decadal oscillations may be driving temperatures instead of human CO2 emissions.
Dr. Timothy Ball is a well known climate expert that even the "hockey stick's" infamous Michael Mann pays attention to (grudgingly, we expect). Dr. Ball's background and CV reflect a life of science, achievement, teaching and critical thought about the environment and climate.
The newly released BEST study on land surface temperatures has caused quite a controversy in the blogosphere. We at 'C3' have done two posts on the issue, which reflect our current 'half-empty' and 'half-full' beer glass thoughts on the BEST research. So, we wanted to ask an expert about this complex topic, thus we turned to Dr. Ball to ask his opinions on the subject.
Below, we posed some very basic questions to Dr. Ball. Our questions are in bold and Dr. Ball's responses italicized:
1. What actually did BEST analyze and measure? Global temperatures or a subset of global temperatures?
Answer: It was a subset of global temperatures, however, it was a larger subset than anyone else had used. This appears commendable, however, if the full data set is inadequate, as it is, a bigger subset does not improve the analysis potential. Also those who used smaller subsets did so for a reason. Was it to create a result to support a hypothesis? If so then what is the purpose of the BEST study? To prove that they did just that, or to show that it didn’t matter?
[Ed: The BEST study did not include over 70% of the globe's surface temperatures - namely, no ocean/sea surface temps were included in this study.]
2. Did BEST use different climate station data than that used by NASA/GISS, NOAA/NCDC and HadCRUT?
Answer: Yes is the short answer. The problem with the other 3 is they affected the results by the stations they chose. For example, in one year there was a difference of 0.4°C between their global annual averages, which doesn’t sound like much, but consider this against the claim that a 0.7°C increase in temperature over the last approximately 130 years. What people generally ignore, is that in the IPCC estimate of global temperature increase produced by Phil Jones of 0.6°C the error factor was ±0.2°C. An illustration of how meaningless the record and the results are is given by the fact that in many years the difference in global annual average temperature is at least half the 0.7°C figure. In summation, all 4 groups selected subsets, but even if they had used the entire data set they could not have achieved meaningful or significant results.
3. Did BEST use only the best climate stations' data or did they use all stations' data?
Answer: They didn’t use “all” stations or “all’ data from each station. However, it appears there were some limitations of the data that they didn’t consider, as the following quote indicates. Here is a comment in the preface to the Canadian climate normals 1951 to 1980 published by Environment Canada.
“ No hourly data exists in the digital archive before 1953, the averages appearing in this volume have been derived from all available ‘hourly’ observations, at the selected hours, for the period 1953 to 1980, inclusive. The reader should note that many stations have fewer than the 28 years of record in the complete averaging.”
4. Did BEST use the actual raw temperature data, or an "improved" raw dataset, or adjusted temperatures for their analysis?
Answer: The use of the phrase “raw temperature data” is misleading. What all groups mean by the phrase is the data provided to a central agency by individual nations. Under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WM0) each nation is responsible for establishing and maintaining weather stations of different categories. The data these stations record is the true raw data. However, it is then adjusted by the individual national agencies before it is submitted to the central record. Consider the EC [Environment Canada] comment above.
5. If adjusted, did BEST perform the adjustments or another agency (3rd party)?
Answer: They adjusted the data, but most adjustments are only as valid as the original data - not the data they claim was the raw data. For example, the ‘official’ raw data for New Zealand is produced by NIWA and they ‘adjusted’ the “raw” data. The difference is shown in Figure 1. Which set did BEST use?
Figure 1: Temperature record adjustments for New Zealand. It is my understanding that most nations have done similar adjustments.
6. How were the adjustments done?
They are described by BEST here ...... To quote President Obama’s infamous line, it is like lipstick on a pig. Any adjustments don’t improve the complete inadequacy of the raw or adjusted data.
7. Has BEST made public their calculated monthly anomalies and monthly baseline means used to calculate the anomalies for their new temperature series?
Answer: The entire handling of their work has been a disaster. It is not possible to say it was planned but it has completely distorted the stated purpose and results of their work. Their actions are almost too naive to believe they were accidental, especially considering the people involved in the process. Releasing reports to mainstream media before all studies and reports are complete is unconscionable from a scientific perspective. it replicates the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) practice of releasing the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) before releasing the Scientific Basis Reports. The panel includes only one climatologist, Judith Curry, who has apparently only recently shifted from a very vigorous pro AGW position and should be very aware of the political implications of the entire issue. There should at least be one skeptical climatologist for balance. The lack of balance is troubling.
They failed to explain how much temperature changes naturally or whether their results are within that range. The original purpose of thirty-year ‘normals’ was to put a statistically significant sample in a context. It appears they began with a mindset that created these problems and it has seriously tainted their work. For example, they say, “Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature aims to contribute to a clearer understanding of global warming based on a more extensive and rigorous analysis of available historical data.” This terminology indicates prejudgement. Why global warming? It doesn’t even accommodate the shift to “climate change “ forced on proponents of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) as the facts didn’t fit the theory. Why not just refer to temperature trends? Ironically, the one difference in the results between plots using the BEST data and the other agencies is a distinct downturn of temperature in the Land-only record. (source of below chart: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/22/a-preliminary-assessment-of-bests-decline/#more-49792 )
8. From your preliminary review of the BEST research, what do you like best of their methodology? What are the shortcomings of their methodology?
There is nothing I like best. The fact they even attempted the project indicates lack of knowledge or understanding of the inadequacies of the data set in space or time or subsequent adjustments. Lamb spoke to the problem when he established the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). On page 203 of his autobiography he said,
“When the Climatic Research Unit was founded, it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important. A worldwide record was needed particularly on the time scale of human history a project which surprisingly no other body had attempted in any coordinated way.” “We are living in a time when the glamour of the much more expensive work of the mathematical modeling laboratories, and the tempting prospect of their theoretical predictions are stealing the limelight. The confidence generally characterizing the pronouncements from those quarters has since given way to more cautious statements in later years. It does not seem to have been widely recognized that the theoreticians work was proceeding without adequate prior study (or any sure understanding) of the sometimes drastic swings of climate that have occurred over periods from a few years or decades to some centuries, often settling in abruptly and some of them still unexplained.”
The BEST study confirms Lamb’s concerns. It adds nothing to advancing the understanding of the degree of climate change. Until that is adequately defined and described there is no hope of determining the underlying causes and mechanisms of change. The failure to understand the complete inadequacy of the existing temperature record is troubling. It makes it appear that there is an incompetence or a political motive, or both.
Thank you, Dr. Ball.
Note: 'C3' is a C-AGW skeptic with views similar to the majority of skeptics. Supposedly, the BEST study is said to challenge the core beliefs of skeptics. Since I, like most skeptics, believe that the world has warmed since the Little Ice Age, the BEST study does not challenge my beliefs one iota. The authors of the BEST study confirm that they have not proven, nor dis-proven, the AGW hypothesis.
How does the BEST temperature dataset relate to the datasets of the major climate agencies? Using the BEST monthly anomaly data and the handy Excel correlation function, since 2001 the BEST dataset matches up quite well with the NCDC and CRU data, as the adjacent chart shows.
In essence, when NCDC and CRU temperatures 'zig,' the BEST temps are probably doing the same.
And GISS temps? Not so well. In fact, it's the worst. In contrast, when BEST and the other agency anomalies are 'zigging,' GISS is likely to be 'zagging.' This GISS divergence problem also extends to its performance versus the RSS and UAH satellite datasets, as previously pointed out by skeptics.
Why doesn't the GISS dataset comport with climate reality as documented by other sources and experts? Hmmm...one thinks global warming fame and fortune is not likely to visit those who report modest or little warming.
Since it is now clear that GISS isn't up to the "BEST" standards of science, and there is no good reason for NASA to be in the temperature reporting business in the first place, it's time to fold the GISS tent and save taxpayers some money - outsource the GISS efforts to BEST and be done with it.
Now that BEST has shown GISS to be a wasteful, error-prone (remember the Y2K error) redundancy, maybe it's time to shine a bright light on the idiocy emanating from NOAA's NCDC - their temperature dataset should also be on the hot seat of scrutiny also.
Here is an agency that seemingly has the bizarre mission to change historical temperature anomalies on a monthly basis - literally, every single month. Take the very first month of the NCDC temperature dataset, January 1880. Over the past six months, NCDC has changed the January 1880 anomaly six (6) times.
Sept. 2011 version of January 1880: -0.0443
Aug. 2011 version of January 1880: -0.0474
July 2011 version of January 1880: -0.0468
June 2011 version of January 1880: -0.0444
May 2011 version of January 1880: -0.0439
April 2011 version of January 1880: -0.0428
And it's not just a single month they perform this type of climate science magic on. When NCDC reported the anomalies dataset for the September 2011 reporting period, NCDC had changed every single historical month's anomaly as reported in the August 2011 dataset. They changed all 1,580 months of past temperature reporting, adding in a cumulative warming of +0.0966 in a single stroke! Did we say bizarre yet?
The folks at HadCRU don't practice this blatant monthly form of "global warming" revisionism. The folks at GISS aren't constantly revising historical temperature reporting on a monthly basis. And it's hard to imagine that BEST research team would condone, let alone practice, this style of empirical climate evidence tampering.
If BEST plays their cards right and performs in an upright, objective manner, it's not hard imagining that all of the GISS and NCDC temperature measurement/reporting efforts (not necessarily climate analysis and modeling) being on the chopping block. This would likely result in the U.S. finally having a 'BEST'-of-breed global surface temperature reporting system that could be taken seriously by all sides of the debate.
Read here. Well, it would seem Richard Muller and his Berkeley team take the weekly chutzpah honor with their grandiose PR media blitz and speculative claim for their non-peer reviewed literature.
The obvious arrogant and egotistical approach to climate science by Muller et al. is really not needed, nor recommended, for helping the IPCC to climb out of its self-inflicted pit of scientific corruption. Indeed, the Muller-BEST technique of forcing their "science" on the IPCC prior to a proper vetting and the peer reviewed process just adds a new stink to the existing odor of corruption.
Despite the "BEST" science only confirming what everyone accepted (that the world has warmed since the Little Ice Age), their grandiose public relations machinations belie the real objective: to rig/manipulate the IPCC report process via public pressure towards acceptance of the Muller et al. findings in the next IPCC report.
It's as simple and as crass as that. As they say, read the whole thing and make up your own mind of what's really going on.
Read here. Update: Willis Eschenbach's take on Muller's testimony.
Dr. Richard Muller of the newly minted Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project decided that the world just had to hear from him despite only doing a preliminary analysis of temperature records that amount to only 2% of the entire record database. Muller had promised Anthony Watts of the surfacestations.org that a full analysis of the data, utilizing all the advanced techniques previously discussed, would be conducted before any pronouncements. So much for the word and honor of a Berkeley scientist.
The group of scientists headed by Muller also promised badly needed transparency in their climate science research effort, which has been solely lacking from the IPCC's Climategate scientists and from the major climate research agencies. As Luboš Motl, the renowned physicist, notes, the transparency claim was just a global warming alarmist's façade:
"I watched much of the hearings – together with the text-based exhibitions of Gavin Schmidt et al. for the Science magazine...Concerning BEST, I am confused about yet another thing – the promised transparency about everything. As far as I can see, BEST is currently offering an even worse transparency, at least to me, than any other previous team. Is that just me? I can’t even get the final data. And they’re already presenting “results” to the Congress?...I think that they have done *nothing* out of the things that they have promised.
Read here. Dr. Richard Muller, a highly acclaimed Berkley physicist and author of Physics for Future Presidents, is joining with other prominent scientists in an all out effort to establish an accurate and transparent global temperature data record that policymakers can hopefully believe and rely on. It's called the BEST project.
Existing temperature databases maintained by NASA, NOAA/NCDC and HadCRUT have been highly tainted by political agenda-driven science, to the point where empirical-based scientists are incredulous about many of the "accelerating," "unequivocal" and "unprecedented" global warming claims. In this video, it is painfully clear that Dr. Muller knows that existing, fabricated temperature records are highly suspect.
And how about the reporting on this important and unique climate science endeavor from the New York Times and Washington Post? Nada. Zilch. Goose egg. Nil. Zip. Over the last 60 days, the NYT has had 68 stories referencing global warming and the Washington Post has had 97 - none of which reported on Muller's BEST project.
Why is that the case? The NYT and Wapo have invested substantially in publicizing the extreme, hysterical claims of global warming alarmists, which this new climate project ultimately threatens. If either newspaper started publishing the truth about climate science, there would have to be a lots of 'splainin' to do to their readership. Instead, they keep the liberal/left audience in the dark with "leading edge" science reporting on global warming like this.
In the meantime, here's one global temperature chart that NYT and Wapo readers won't ever see - the actual global warming reality from high technology, instead of fabrication. (click on image to enlarge)