2011-03-07 09:56:35First hints of Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project results
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x277070

I'm attending the American Physical Society's "Physics of Sustainable Energy" conference and Richard Muller gave us a quick peek at some preliminary results of his team's analysis of surface temperatures, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project. Since its announcement, Muller's initiative has been under fire from folks like Joe Romm, questioning the value of another analysis and the implications of some of Muller's funding (which includes the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation; when I brought that up, Rich quoted himself from a radio interview, saying he also took money from an organization that invaded Afghanistan - a reference to the US government).

They plan to release some preliminary results fairly soon (sounded like in 2-4 weeks or so). Tonight he showed us the surface temperature data from Hadley CRU, Goddard and NOAA for the past few decades and superimposed what BEST is getting so far on top of those. The data did not include all the stations they will ultimately have in their analysis. Based on what I saw, I don't think Koch family will be pleased if they thought they were buying a skeptic's rebuttal.

Muller listed about 5 skeptical arguments that he felt BEST's analysis will address (things like apparent surface temperature rise is an artifact of the urban heat island effect) as motivation for doing this work, and emphasized that the sorts of corrections the established groups have made to their data were all done for very legitimate reasons. He just feels that the skeptics - defined narrowly by Muller as people who are not flat-out deniers, but those who have genuine questions and are willing to listen to science - deserve more thorough answers than they've received to date.

2011-03-07 10:07:10Predictably the denier attacks begin
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=858

I am curious if anybody is holding out hope that this “Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study” has a hope in hell of producing anything worthwhile... I note they seem to be a post-Climategate formation and I also see on the team at least one prominent pre-Climategate “standard IPCC warmist” now very active re-inventing as a “person of reason” in the middle of the current debate.

2011-03-07 10:28:40
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.54.120

Participation in the BEST study may put an end to Curry's "promising" career in building bridges. She's already burned her bridges to the scientific community, and when she gives her support to what will disappoint skeptics, she'll have burnt her bridges to denialists as well.

She's going to be like a polar bear in desperate need of an iceberg.

2011-03-07 20:58:58
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.211.150

Or a Walrus.

2011-03-21 05:45:38
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.126.124

===================================================================================

March 20, 2011

Climatologist Ken Caldeira sent me the following email message for publication this weekend:

I have seen a copy of the Berkeley group’s draft paper, which of course would be expected to be revised before submission.

Their preliminary results sit right within the results of NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU, confirming that prior analyses were correct in every way that matters. Their results confirm the reality of global warming and support in all essential respects the historical temperature analyses of the NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU.

Their analysis supports the view that there is no fire behind the smokescreen put up by climate science deniers.

Note:  Caldeira helped fund the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study, but didn’t participate in it.

In one sense, this finding isn’t news, since there have never been any credible challenges to the surface temperature data other than the smoke blown by the climate science deniers.

Indeed, we have very good reason to believe the data that were attacked the most, that collected by the Hadley Center and Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, (unintentionally) lowballed the rate of recent warming (see The deniers were half right: The Met Office Hadley Centre had flawed data — but it led them to UNDERestimate the rate of recent global warming).

But in another sense, this finding is news, since the study looked like it was a set-up from the start.

I first broke the story of the dubious nature of BEST back in mid-February — see “Richard Muller, Charles Koch, Judith Curry and the implosion of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study:  How to kill a potentially not-bad idea in 5 easy steps.”

The goal of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study was to assemble some clever scientists and statisticians “to resolve current criticism of the [global] temperature analyses, and to prepare an open record that will allow rapid response to further criticism or suggestions.”  For a study supposedly aimed at boosting credibility in the surface temperature data record, however, its flaws in conception and operation were beyond head-exploding:

  1. It was co-chaired by Richard Muller (author of widely debunked books, blog posts and Wall Street Journal op-eds).  Muller himself has actually worked to undermine credibility in well-established science and doesn’t have a great grasp of basic climate science (see here) or energy (see “here).
  2. Muller got co-funding for the study from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation!  It’s hard to imagine a more irresponsible and anti-scientific person than Charles Koch.  CP and CAP have long detailed the role of the billionaire brothers of Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch, in destroying American prosperity.  We now know Koch Industries outspends Exxon Mobil on climate energy disinformation.
  3. BEST claims its team includes “climate experts,” but the only climatologist listed is Judith Curry, one of the most debunked climate scientists (see Schmidt and Annan and Steig and Verheggen, and CP for starters).  Curry mainly seems on the team to give Muller the thinnest veneer of climatology credibility, since she herself has written, “I participated loosely in this project, mostly as a resource person calling their attention to any new papers or blog posts that I thought were relevant and as a sounding board for ideas.  As they have begun analyzing the data, I have completely refrained from commenting on the process or preliminary results, I have only made suggestions regarding where they might publish their analyses, etc.”
  4. In a remarkable demonstration of bad judgment, Muller installed his daughter Elizabeth Muller, as project manager!
  5. In even more remarkable demonstration of bad judgment and conflict of interest, it turns out Muller has a consulting company, GreenGov.biz, part of Muller & Associates, whose aim is to “provide politically-neutral counsel that is broad in scope while rooted in the hard facts of state-of-the-art science and engineering” in energy and climate policy.  Richard Muller is President and Chief Scientist.  Who is the CEO? Elizabeth Muller! Two other members of the BEST team are technical advisors to Muller & Associates.

So it looked to several climate scientists that I have spoken to that the BEST effort was stacked with confusionists and funded by deniers in order to push a dubious message and advance Muller’s for-profit consulting business.

The problem for Muller, however, was that there’s really no way to turn the surface temperature data into something that it isn’t.  Even hard-core deniers haven’t been able to put a dent into it:

And BEST isn’t run by hard-core deniers, the kind who don’t have any professional scientific reputation and hence can just make crap up.

So it’s no surprise at all that, as Caldeira reported to me, “Their results confirm the reality of global warming and support in all essential respects the historical temperature analyses of the NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU.”

Still, it will be interesting to see if Muller finds a way to spin this dog-bites-man result into something that can generate media attention and business for his consulting company.

In that regard, it must be pointed out that BEST looked only at the global LAND temperatures, so they have completely ignored the place where climate science predicts the overwhelming majority of the warming is going.

Ocean temperatures set records in 2010.  And two major scientific studies from 2009 demonstrate that when you look at where 90% of the human-caused warming was expected to go — the oceans — you find steady warming in recent years.  Here’s the key figure from one of those studies

Time series of global mean heat storage (from 0 to 1.24 miles).

The second study, led by NOAA, “An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950,” concluded:

[S]ince 1950, the planet released about 20 percent of the warming influence of heat-trapping greenhouse gases to outer space as infrared energy. Volcanic emissions lingering in the stratosphere offset about 20 percent of the heating by bouncing solar radiation back to space before it reached the surface. Cooling from the lower-atmosphere aerosols produced by humans balanced 50 percent of the heating. Only the remaining 10 percent of greenhouse-gas warming actually went into heating the Earth, and almost all of it went into the ocean.

“Total Earth Heat Content [anomaly] from 1950 (Murphy et al. 2009). Ocean data taken from Domingues et al 2008.”

See also the Skeptical Science post on ocean warming.

Because BEST ignored the ocean data — and the myriad other independent datasets that demonstrate human-caused warming — their confirmatory analysis of the land data simply can’t make any broader  conclusions, much as Muller may try.   The bottom line is that the climate system is warming, which the 2007 IPCC report called “unequivocal” and which the 2010 National Academy of Sciences review called a “settled fact.”

2011-03-22 19:16:29
citizenschallenge
Peter Miesler
citizenschallenge7@gmail...
166.164.186.126

I was just at the offical BEST site and nothing there as of yet.

Also I was disappointed that they don't have a "last updated" date posted.

Could there be some hedging going on at HQ?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

http://www.berkeleyearth.org/findings

"Initial Findings The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project has not yet done the analysis of the full data set with the corrections to produce a global surface temperature trend. We are first analyzing a small subset of data (2%) to check our programs and statistical methods and make sure that they are functioning effectively. We are correcting our programs and methods while still “blind” to the results so that there is less chance of inadvertently introducing a bias.

A preliminary analysis of 2% of the Berkeley Earth dataset shows a global temperature trend that goes up and down with global cycles, and does so broadly in sync with the temperature records from other groups such as NOAA, NASA, and Hadley CRU. However, the preliminary analysis includes only a very small subset (2%) of randomly chosen data, and does not include any method for correcting for biases such as the urban heat island effect, the time of observation bias, etc.

The Berkeley Earth team feels very strongly that no conclusions can yet be drawn from this preliminary analysis."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011-03-22 21:52:18
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.62.182

Check: http://climateprogress.org/2011/03/20/berkeley-temperature-study-results-global-warming/#comment-332990

"BREAKING UPDATE:  The head of the Berkeley team, Richard Muller, confirmed at a public talk on Saturday that they have started writing a draft report and based on their preliminary analysis, “We are seeing substantial global warming” and “None of the effects raised by the [skeptics] is going to have anything more than a marginal effect on the amount of global warming.” "

2011-03-23 00:21:22
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

American right twist and turn, using language of their opponents (reminds me of Deltoid). I'm assuming this is an attempt to undermine the Climate Progress blog post:

http://blog.heritage.org/2011/03/17/the-lefts-war-on-science-continues/

But apparently a commenter (John Cole) who seems to be on the 'left' doesn't know his grid engineering:

"70 percent loss in transmission"

I think approx 7% is more realistic.

2011-03-23 00:53:46
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.62.182

That blogger is going to be mortified when Muller's group comes back with "It's real!".

2011-03-23 06:43:37Heritage blog post
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55
That heritage post is why we need to rebut Muller's lecture. My only regret is not doing it earlier before the video had a chance to propagate.
2011-03-23 12:07:59
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

http://climateprogress.org/2011/03/22/climate-science-deniers-berkeley-temperature-study/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29

 

There's something interesting happening here, I think.  Joe R has some good questions.  Like, why would both Muller and Caldeira say what they said when Watts and Mosher are saying that they used only Japan data, 2% global.  Joe is also very correct when he says that the WUWT/CA crowd wants first dibs on reporting/spinning the results, especially if Watts contribution(?) didn't effect the results at all.  And they WILL play up whatever uncertainty it reveals, it will likely show more considering they did not use a lot of the data that other temperature reconstructions adjust.  I wonder if we could find someone to check that when the results are in, considering, apparently, most of us will have to wait while Watts/Mosher get first dibs.

 

This BEST project is just bizarre.  A bit like the Lisbon fiasco.

2011-03-23 12:16:41Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105

I think that Joe Romm is off the mark too though. Mosher said he asked and the paper that Caldeira saw wasn't the one on the global results. Muller himself said in the lecture he hasn't run the full global analysis and that he has only "started" the paper.

Either way Joe R is certainly right about the involvement of the skeptics.

2011-03-23 12:34:03
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

Perhaps I'm wrong, but why would Muller and Caldiera say what they said based on what Watts/Mosher are claiming is 2% of data?  I'd think they'd know much more, even if it isn't in final draft, to make those statements, right?

2011-03-23 12:47:00Jumping the gun on BEST
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55

It's like both sides are pushing, struggling, slapping each other in the face to be the first ones to report on BEST. I'm happy for SkS to steer well clear of BEST until something official is released.

But Muller's misinformation on the decline is going viral so that needs to be stepped on ASAP. I'm coordinating with a few other bloggers including Peter Sinclair and Real Climate on this front.

2011-03-23 13:02:09Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105

You coordinate with realclimate :P Moving on up !

2011-03-23 13:05:28
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.62.182

I don't trust anything said by Mosher and Watts: they're both internally inconsistent.

If Caldeira says he sees support for the global warming picture, in a note composed for publication, I'm inclined to take him at his word.

I think Romm is acting paranoid and unhelpful. I can easily see a good reason to inform the WUWTers ahead of time: give them a chance to make sure they can trust the work, maybe a chance to back down their antagonism to the final numbers. As long as they're not allowed to do anything to the input or the processing that is not documented, I don't see any problem at all. (* See story below). As Sun Tzu said: "Never cut off your enemies' retreat."

If at the end, the WUWTers refuse to accept the numbers, it will be because Romm has thrown enough mud around that they can claim that the process has been spoiled. Damn! It's evident to me that Muller is not the only guy with a huge ego in this picture. Romm may have just given this temperature issue another 2 years of life. Damn!

* Story: Once I designed a spreadsheet tool to calculate optical and electrical budgets for a fiber-iin-the-loop system. I prepared a PERFECT presentation on it. When I gave the presentation, I got a lot of questions, and I had an answer for each question. End result: Not a single letter in the presentation was changed; but I got very tepid buy-in; people felt I was "argumentative", when in fact, I was just being right.

The next time I gave the presentation, I erased a fairly obvious requirement at the beginning; and I introduced a couple of spelling errors. When I gave the presentation, I got a lot of questions, which I answered; but I also graciously corrected the "errors" that some of the participants caught. End result: The presentation was restored to its previous pristine state; AND I got enthusiastic buy-in on the project as a whole.

Moral: If you're trying to sell a new idea, make sure your audience has a chance to "put their fingerprints" on it, even if you have to scrape off some paint to make space. That way, they'll feel like they're part of the team.

I think this story may be relevant to what Muller was trying to do with WUWT.

2011-03-23 15:14:45You sly dog
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55

You intentionally added errors to give your audience the opportunity to contribute?! Neal, you're a master of human nature and motivating people!

2011-03-23 15:16:30
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.43.207

You betcha.

2011-03-23 16:06:48my theory
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

My theory on BEST is that once it's released and is consistent with the rest of the global temperature records, most "skeptics" will accept it.  They'll say all they wanted was an "unbiased" group to look at the data, and now that one has, they're satisfied.  The planet is warming, but of course we still know the warming is mostly natural, climate sensitivity is low, ocean and solar cycles will soon lead to cooling, etc. etc.

They have so many backup arguments (hence our massive database) that they really don't need to dispute the surface temperature record.  It's just the myth that Watts originally hung his hat on.  But he's run so many other myths on his blog, he doesn't need it anymore.  Accepting the BEST results will give them the perception of being true "skeptics".  They'll say we just need the quality of the BEST analysis on the rest of the field of climate science.

That's my guess anyway.

2011-03-23 19:53:46"Your comment is awaiting moderation."
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.43.207

"Neal J. King says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I also think that the sensible thing to do is just wait until the results have reached finality, and are published, along with the methods and access to them.

I personally do not care who saw what earlier than publication: as long as the data-processing methods & data are clearly and accurately shown, and can be accessed & repeated by others, I do not care if Watts, Mosher or Spiderman saw them earlier; as long as they are not allowed to introduce undocumented changes to the algorithms, fiddle with the input values, or pour milkshakes into the computers."

I made the above comment many ( > 6) hours ago at Romm's page (http://climateprogress.org/2011/03/22/climate-science-deniers-berkeley-temperature-study/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29 ): It should be comment #10: after Jeff Huggins and before caerbannog.

But it's still sitting in moderation.

Interesting!

http://climateprogress.org/2011/03/22/climate-science-deniers-berkeley-temperature-study/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29
2011-03-23 21:11:10
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.226.63

Careful Nealstradamus, starting to sound a little paranoid. I've commented there and had stuff sit in moderation for a day.

2011-03-23 21:35:00
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.43.207

Rob,

It's just an observation; although I note that it's been over 7 hours, and they're up to 3 comments posted up behind me, two of them a bit longer. Previously, only one of my comments was in moderation, for a few minutes, and it was a long one.

I did get the following comment posted on the first Romm page of reaction:

"89.

Neal J. King says:
March 23, 2011 at 6:30 am
#88, MartinJB:

As long as Watts isn’t allowed to fiddle with the input numbers or make undocumented alterations to the data-analysis algorithms, what difference does it make? As long as the architecture of the study is set up to be open, all the data processing steps should be visible."


Neal J. King says:
March 23, 2011 at 6:30 am
#88, MartinJB:

As long as Watts isn’t allowed to fiddle with the input numbers or make undocumented alterations to the data-analysis algorithms, what difference does it make? As long as the architecture of the study is set up to be open, all the data processing steps should be visible.
2011-03-23 23:01:23
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.43.207

OK, my moderated post just showed up; along with a few others that have evidently also been waiting.

How does this moderation stuff work? Are there filters ?

2011-03-23 23:40:36
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Well Watts posted my comment without any alteration or response.

I await for his data to arrive in the post!

2011-03-23 23:57:42
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Romm definitely has a moderation filter.  I just can't see any consistency to it, given the rants that show up occasionally & then disappear when some reader points out they've gone too far...

Joe needs more vigilant mods like here at SkS!

;)

2011-03-24 03:44:33Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105

Cue the WUWT questioning of BEST after i'm assuming they got insider information to see that BEST confirms the other analysis methods.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/23/not-whether-but-how-to-do-the-math/