2011-03-16 12:55:42Can anyone tell me what Richard Muller is talking about here?
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78

In Muller's "hide the decline" rant, he accuses scientists of refusing to release data:

“In their paper, if you dig into it, they say they did some things with the data from 1961 onwards - they removed it and replaced it with temperature data. So some of the people who read this paper asked to see the data, they refused to send it to them, the original raw data. They used the FOI act. The FOI act officer on the advice of the scientist would not release the data.Then the data came out. They weren't hacked like a lot of people say. Most people who know this business believe they were leaked by one of the members of the team who was really upset with them.”

I'd like to address this at http://sks.to/decline but am not sure exactly what he's talking about. Talking about divergence after 1960, he seems to be talking about Briffa’s 1998 paper on the divergence problem. Talking about "they removed it and replaced it with temperature data" seems to indicate Phil Jones and the WMO report. The FOI act seems to be about Mike Mann releasing his hockey stick data?

I don't suppose anyone can help me pinpoint exactly what he's refering to.

2011-03-16 13:14:51
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

He is very confused John...spinning and conflating stuff too.

That is why you, being rational and informed, are confused.

2011-03-16 13:27:59
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.194.158

You'd think Muller would at least have bothered to acquaint himself with the facts before getting on stage and making an ass of himself. In fact he reminds me of this guy: Ace ventura

2011-03-16 15:43:34Muller sucks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233

To be blunt, he's clearly talking out his ass. 

“In their paper, if you dig into it, they say they did some things with the data from 1961 onwards - they removed it and replaced it with temperature data."

He must be talking about the WMO report cover - that's the only place where "they" removed tree ring data and replaced it with instrumental temperature data.  That's what he's got up on the screen too.  He also claimed it's all tree ring data, even though it clearly says the blue line is Mann et al. (1999).

"So some of the people who read this paper asked to see the data, they refused to send it to them, the original raw data. They used the FOI act. The FOI act officer on the advice of the scientist would not release the data."

He's certainly talking about McIntyre's FOIA requests here.  And probably mixing in the Climategate emails where Jones (if I recall correctly) made some statement about ignoring the FOIA.  I don't know what he's talking about with the "FOI act officer" bit.  Maybe something he read in the Climategate emails.  He seems to be relying on those rather heavily.

"Then the data came out.  They weren't hacked like a lot of people say. Most people who know this business believe they were leaked by one of the members of the team who was really upset with them.”

This is a total load of crap.  The investigators have said there's clear evidence it was a hack, though the investigation is ongoing.  Plus the fact that there were other hack attempts (at RealClimate and some Canadian climate institution, and I think one in the US) is clear evidence that this wasn't some isolated whistleblower.

I'm not sure this is worth responding to.  It's focused on the WMO report cover, which as we've noted, was a very obscure report.  Then he's throwing in a bunch of crap he read in stolen emails.

2011-03-16 15:56:09The pile gets higher
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.11.205

Hey throws in a lot of crap like that it hadn't warmed since 1998. I love how he bitches about cherry picking and then shows a graph from 1998 to 2010...

2011-03-16 16:40:44
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.194.158

Doesn't bode well for BEST if the guy can't even get simple historical facts right. Maybe he needs a mint?, or perhaps some binaca?.

2011-03-16 19:07:32WMO cover
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78

Okay, so if he's talking about the WMO cover, then it's Phil Jones. Is it possible there were FOIA requests against Phil Jones that Jones denied? I just want to rule out that possibility. Are McIntyre's FOIA requests directed towards Mann and hockey stick data or were there other FOIA requests?

2011-03-16 21:14:05
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.121.84

It sounds like a conflation of events surrounding the data (which I don't recall being leaked) and the emails (which were hacked; but, at least some people conjectured, might have been leaked).

I recommend that we focus on the results of the BEST study: that's what matters, and it is in his own self-interest to get that right. We don't need to pick a fight with him right now.

 

2011-03-16 21:51:12Jones and FoI
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.158.190

Jones was a major target of FoI requests, as I discussed in my FoI post. I’m not sure whether they were directed at him individually, or CRU generally, but he’s the one who the contrarians hold responsible and the one who wrote the emails about FoI. Mostly the FoI requests were for CRU station data, and later on for confidentiality agreements about the data. I think there were some for the Yamal tree-ring data as well, but I imagine Briffa and not Jones would be responsible for that.

To my knowledge no FoI requests were related to the WMO cover graph because the contrarians never paid any attention to it before Climategate. So it's not directly related to "hide the decline".

2011-03-17 03:37:09
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

John,

If my understanding of events is correct, then James has provided an excellent summary of what went on.  Really, his rant is nothing more than Gish Gallop-- someone really ought to address and expose this.  Neal disagrees, but IMHO, discrediting them before they get too much momentum makes sense.  There will still be plenty to clean-up once the "results" from BEST are in.

And let us not fortget that while McIntyre was accusing Briffa of with holding the Yamal data, he had had it for some time.  There was also the issue that the data was not Briffa's to share, b/c it belonged to the Russian scientists who Briffa was working with (that is why Briffa had access to the data).

BEST is nothing more than a political sock puppet-- mark my words it will be a farce, to be forever trumpeted by the denialosphere. They are fabricating contrarian speaking points, and delaying action.  

2011-03-17 03:54:27James
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I think James has it right.  Muller is confusing two separate issues here.  The first is the deletion/truncation of the post-1960 tree ring data, which McIntyre has written about extensively (which led to Curry's blog post which I responded to). 

The second issue is the FOI requests which McIntyre made for temperature station data.  I can't find any evidence that McIntyre ever submitted an FOI request for the deleted tree ring data.  There's not much reason to - it's plotted in Briffa (2000), and if he wanted the raw data, Briffa would be the person to contact, not Jones.  And as James notes, there's no reason McInytre would have contacted Jones about the WMO report cover, since he didn't know about it until recently (post-Climategate), because it was such an obscure report.  So this part of Muller's quote:

"So some of the people who read this paper asked to see the data, they refused to send it to them, the original raw data. They used the FOI act. The FOI act officer on the advice of the scientist would not release the data."

Is also bullcrap.

2011-03-17 06:04:20Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105

I don't wanna be the one to suggest this, but Dr. Muller needs to learn about being accountable in his public statements. We *could* take his presentation and compile a document responding to it. He is on "our" side-ish... and his BEST result will support the AGW ideas but if he is allowed to act like an unbiased arbiter out there acting like climate scientists have acted unfaithfully then he should be called out and shown to be wrong. Imagine a SKS series on his claims + a Peter Sinclair movie...

2011-03-17 06:05:08
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.121.84

Albatross,

At least according to early reports, the BEST does not look like a whitewash.

I think we should hold our fire.

2011-03-17 06:29:31
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi Neal,

Sorry, I tend to go for the jugular-- being patient and trusting are not my forte.

Not that I do believe you, but can you please direct us to one or more of the "early reports" that you refer to?  Thanks.

2011-03-17 06:58:37BEST
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Albatross, see here.

I think John's post will be sufficient response to Muller for now.

2011-03-17 07:14:10BEST vs Hide the decline
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78
This issue is about Muller's comments on 'hide the decline', making him accountable for the misinformation. It's nothing to do with BEST. There's going to be a coordinated effort to push back on decline misinformation next week, similar to the effort to push back on Scmitt's Articgate misinformation. IMHO, a successful outcome would be Muller stopping repeating his lies or at best, retracting them (I'm doubtful that will happen).

I really don't know what's going to happen with BEST. I'm encouraged by the fact that Robert Rohde is doing most of the work. I'm discouraged by Muller's obvious bias and the fact that Anthony Watts and Fred Singer (!) have been talking it up. A glowing endorsement from Singer is like Mr Burns saying "Satan, eh? I like the cut of his gib". I think it's likely that the results from BEST will be unremarkable but certain parties will spin certain elements, cherry pick parts of the result, to say what they want it to say.

2011-03-17 07:38:28
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.121.84

Thanks, dana, I was looking for that, but couldn't find it. Annoying. I guess I just didn't read the titles with enough free-association.

John, in my opinion, the likely outcome will be:

- BEST will validate the data it is based on: mainstream science.

- Deniers will claim the study was rigged; but they will be disappointed anyway.

- Mueller may never get around to taking back his remarks about climategate, leaked emails, etc. (I never said he was a saint.) But he will say that the BEST study established that GW is definitely happening.

Overall, it's a net positive for us: Someone who is in good odor with the most eminent of the skeptics validates the facts, as claimed by the scientists. Even if he doesn't change his views about the reason (and actually he has admitted that some of it IS due to GHGs), it's a push-back on denialism. They'll have to fall back on "it's not due to us"; but it will definitely be a fall-back.

It may finish Judith Curry's tight-rope exhibition.

And if I'm wrong, and Mueller manages to distort the results (against early indications), it should be very visible, because the whole structure of the study is supposed to be set up to be transparent. In that case, Gavin Schmidt and others will have the BEST on the surgery table in a week, and we can join up with them to crucify it. It will start a big war; but in the end, it will put the issue of climate science on the greater scientific table, with more competent outsiders than the occasional interdisciplinary odd-ball, and I think the science will win. 

But I don't think I'm wrong.

2011-03-17 07:39:28Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105

To be honest, I don't care what the results of "BEST" are with respect to Dr. Muller. Wrong is wrong, and letting a high profile scientist propagate myths like he does just because his results support ours is morally questionable. If it were Gavin Schmidt making stuff up I would say the same thing.

2011-03-17 08:47:07More info on FOI
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78

Someone else has emailed me some info about what Muller might be talking about and it's consistent with James' FOI post (going back and rereading that post, great work, James!)

There were FOI requests for all the CRU station data. This was refused based on the third party restrictions on passing on anything other than the aggregated data to the public. There was a FOI request for the station list, which was was responded to (and that data is here: 
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/landstations/).Then there were the FOIs for the country-specific third party agreements (60 of which arrived in one day).

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/availability/

But the 'hidden' data is nothing to do with CRUTem3v, it is related to the Briffa et al 1998 and 2001 papers. However, the 1998 series is available here:

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/treering/reconstructions/n_hem_temp/nhemtemp_data.txt

and the 2001 data is here:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/briffa2001/briffa2001.html

Things that he might be referring to for which McIntyre might have submitted FOI (there isn't a list of all these things):
- post-1960 annual values for briffa et al (2001).
- the gridded mxd data that Osborn supplied and was eventually used in Mann et al (2008)
- a list of mxd chronologies (which was supplied: 
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~timo/datapages/mxdtrw.htm)

2011-03-17 09:03:50
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.121.84

If things work out as I expect, his anti-AGW views, established prior to the BEST, will be a bigger embarrassment to the skeptics.

"When you see your enemy digging himself into a hole, let him."

2011-03-17 09:08:02Something for John
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

http://www.jahozafat.com/php/sounds/?id=bst&media=WAVS&type=TV_Shows&movie=Simpsons&quote=prince.txt&file=prince.wav

2011-03-17 09:11:25consensus
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I think we've got a consensus John that Muller is almost certainly confusing the tree ring data truncation with the FOIA requests for the temperature station data.

I agree with Robert that wrong is wrong, but I think John's got the correcting of the wrongness under control.  And I agree with neal that although it sucks that Muller is misinforming people about 'hide the decline', at least he's become popular with the 'skeptics', so if/when BEST confirms the temperature record, it will be extra damaging to them. 

2011-03-17 09:15:27
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Thanks Dana or the link.

Neal, you may be right.  I do not really know how this is going to pan out.  The danger is that if the results are not what we "like" or perceived to "want" and we then slam Muller, it just looks like a smear for being "shown up".  I'm no strategist, sounds like you are though Neal :)

John Cook has been calling "skeptics" on their misinformation for a while now.  So IMHO, I still think that it would be a good idea to address his misinformation about ClimateGate etc., but to not link him to BEST, at least not for now.  The problem is that those not in the know will be misled by what he is saying, so it would be good to say "Hey, that is nonsense, see SkS where those claims are debunked".  Did I hear right that he is going on the road giving talks?  If so, I sincerely hope this talk shown above is not what he will be giving!

One thing for sure, regardless of the results form BEST, they will be spun by those in denial.

2011-03-17 09:39:05Collecting more info about the FOI
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78

There's another conversation going on by email as others also try to deconstruct Muller's words. One email provides a useful link to all the FOI request:

Here is a list of all FOI requests received by CRU:

http://www.cce-review.org/evidence/FOI%20requests_CRU_revised_DP.pdf

the one relating to Mann et al (2008) 'gridded mxd' is on page 8 (FOI-08-50), and the response was that it was all available on Osborn's page (which it is). So the data was supplied.

Then narrowing down the key question - was the Briffa "decline" data available?

I don't think this makes sense in the context Muller is using however. He is talking about the Briffa et al reconstruction as shown in Briffa et al '98, '101, and figure 2.2.1 in ipcc tar wg1. So the question is only, were the underlying data for that figure itself available from CRU and if not, were they FOIAed?  The gridded version of the mxd data produced much later, is not relevant to any of this. It is definitely a distraction to talk about that at all.

Answering this question:

As far as I can tell no FOIA for the post-1960 or 'full' Briffa et al
2001 data exists (it would be listed in the Muir Russell document). 
Whether anyone emailed Keith for the underlying data would need to be answered by Keith.

Briffa et al 1998 was always available in full.
Briffa et al 2001 was available as up-to-1960 annual data via NOAA WDCP.

The data used in the IPCC figures was not any different (AFAIK):
For AR4 everything is here:
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~timo/datapages/ipccar4.htm

For TAR, the data was the what was on the NOAA WDCP page.

So if the "decline" data was always available, that's the key point - Muller's key point seems to be saying the decline data was withheld.

2011-03-17 09:51:04yes
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Yes, Muller is saying the post-1960 tree ring data was unavailable, requested via FOIA, and not supplied.  This is simply wrong, unless it was requested from Briffa.  But I've never seen any complaints from McIntyre et al. that Briffa refused a FOIA request.  I think it's safe to say Muller is confusing the temperature record requests with the 'hide the decline' issue.  Considering that he also confused 'Mike's Nature trick' and 'hide the decline', this wouldn't be out of character for him.  There seems to be a pattern forming. 

This would be good to point out in your post John, that Muller is basically saying 'Mike's Nature trick' = 'hide the decline' = temperature station FOIA requests when they're actually three totally seperate issues.  This is fairly typical "skeptic" mentality where everything anti-AGW is grouped together.  Curry did something similar, basically saying WMO = TAR = AR4 therefore IPCC is corrupt, when the treatment of 'hide the decline' was quite different in all 3 cases.

2011-03-17 10:14:31
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.121.84

Albatross,

If Muller gets it wrong on BEST, we won't have to debunk him alone: 98% of the climate scientists will rise up against him. Heck, maybe it would be a good thing.

2011-03-17 10:40:11More on Briffa 98 data
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78

This data was given an 1998 accession number, and was last modified in 2003, so it clearly predates any of the data access discussions and may have been available right from the get go.

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/treering/reconstructions/n_hem_temp/nhemtemp_data.txt

However:

we do have to be careful here. The issue is not the reconstruction itself, but the underlying chronologies. those were not publicly available to my knowledge, though they were provided by Briffa and co. to certain colleagues I believe. So we want to be very careful on this point.

Okay, it's getting as clear as mud now:

Not quite. There is an email to Mike Mann that Tim sent that had the post 1960 Briffa et al 2001 data, which as far as I know, was not available (though the component mxd records 'raw data' were).

http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=160&filename=951763817.txt

the actual data series is somewhere around, but I can't find it right now.

Followed by

Really? The underlying chronologies are in ITRDB and/or CRU website:
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~timo/datapages/mxdtrw.htm
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/projects/soap/data/proxy/#schwein

though the timing of availability is unclear.

Still hard to pin down:

part of the problem is that 'the data' is horribly ambiguous.

The Briffa et al 1998 reconstruction was (AFAIK) available from 1998 in the NOAA website including post-1960 data points. It was certainly available by 2003 (which is the last noted change to the file).

The underlying MXD chronologies were available via the SO&P site by
31/Oct/08 since they are referred to in response to the FOI-08-50 appeal on that date. Other data related to the MXD papers was also online at Tim Osborn's site at that date.

However, just checking the WMO figure, that used the Briffa (QSR,
1999) data. This might be the same as the Briffa et al (2001) data, but I'm not quite sure. If it is, then I don't know that the post-1960 values were publically available prior to the email release.

Sorry about all the posts, I'm using this thread to collect all info and will go back and review it all when the dust clears.

2011-03-18 10:54:27More details on Briffa's data
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78

Another email giving a great summary and useful links:

The original Briffa 1998 reconstruction including the post 1960 values, was available all along (certainly since 2003). The problem with this one is that it was processed in such a way as to remove low-frequency variability.

There are a couple of intermediate versions that had more low frequency variability also available.

 From Briffa (2000, QSR) (which is wrongly described as 1999 in the WMO figure and on Briffa's homepage):
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VBC-40378TB-8&_user=100478&_coverDate=01%2F01%2F2000&_rdoc=8&_fmt=high&_orig=browse&_origin=browse&_zone=rslt_list_item&_srch=doc-info(%23toc%235923%232000%23999809998%23190011%23FLA%23display%23Volume)&_cdi=5923&_sort=d&_docanchor=&_ct=29&_acct=C000058228&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=100478&md5=820b4b8df7c21e74d3bebd67ec28d9dc&searchtype=a

In fig 1 there is a 'northern average chronology'
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/qsr1999/qsrfig1.csv
  - this isn't really relevant though.

More relevant is the LFD curve in fig 5, which is the MXD chronology processed to retain low frequency variability.

This is (I think) available on the SO&P site (which we know was open by 2008) here:
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/projects/soap/data/recon/blowinghotandcold.dat.unsmoothed

(column 4), and includes post-1960 data.

The Briffa et al 2001 curve used the same raw data as LFD but is somewhat different in processing detail. That 2001 version, which is the one that was used in TAR was only available up to 1960 (both in the 2002 file and the original JGR 2001 file). The only place that the post-1960 values for that reconstruction appear is in Tim's October
1999 email to Mike:
http://www.climate-gate.org/cru/mail/0939154709.txt
These values are seen in the graph in fig 6.

Presumably one could replicate the processing done by Briffa et al
2001 from the raw data, but the procedure seems complicated (see their appendix A), and I don't know that anyone has.

So there are (at least) two issues: one is whether the post-1960 values for Briffa et al (2001) were publically available prior to the emails - the answer is no, they weren't. They do not appear to have been asked for by FOIA either.

Second is whether it is justified to not include parts of a reconstruction that fail validation in a summary graph (which is I think the conclusion one can draw from the Table in Appendix A). That is much more of a judgement call. But the divergence was not hidden in either Briffa et al 1998 or 2001. See the CRU submission to Muir Russell for more info:
http://www.cce-review.org/evidence/Climatic_Research_Unit.pdf

There is a minor issue with respect to the WMO figure (but that doesn't figure in any FOIA requests because no-one had noticed it prior to the emails), which references Briffa (1999) (which became Briffa (2000) due to publication delays), but it is not clear to me whether the data were actually the Briffa (2000) or the Briffa et al (2001) numbers. But since the WMO figure didn't figure in any FOIA or other requests, that is kind of moot.

Then my email asking for clarification:

This all seems to revolve around the WMO graph which had the post-1960 "decline" removed. The WMO graph references Briffa 2000 (well, it says 1999 but we know it's 2000 due to publication delays).

Briffa 2000 does include post-1960 data. You say this data was available on the SO&P site from at least 2008. But the FOI acts against Jones date back to 2004. Is it possible that the Briffa 2000 data was available earlier than 2008?

2011-03-18 11:33:01
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.252.188

It is truly sad that you have to keep going over this. But kudos anyway. 

2011-03-18 15:53:06
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi John (Cook),

Someone who knows this stuff inside out is DeepClimate.  If you are not already in touch, let me know and i'll hook you up with him.  John Mashey is also a treasure trove of information.

And yes, Rob is right, it is truly sad that in 2011 we are still forced to re-hash this stuff.

2011-03-18 16:13:29DC
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78

No, I'm not in touch with Deep Climate. I know people who know him but his secret identity is closely guarded. But yeah, if you want to email me, I might run this by him to ensure I'm on the right track.

2011-03-20 18:54:37More info, narrowing down on the sources of data
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55

Important point, when the data sources were made available - no later than 2008:

The wmo curve/briffa (2000) curve is fully available here:
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/projects/soap/data/recon/blowinghotandcold.dat.unsmoothed  (column 4).

The underlying raw data from which all the briffa curves were derived is the Schweingruber MXD network:
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/projects/soap/data/proxy/index.htm#schwein

both these links were available at least in 2008, and was pointed out to McIntyre in response to a FOIA request (FOI-08-50, p 167 in the FOI list:
http://www.cce-review.org/evidence/FOI%20requests_CRU_revised_DP.pdf )

Recommendation to include the Schweingruber MXD network in the rebuttal:

I actually think that the underlying raw data from the Schweingruber network should be pointed to, along with these others links, i.e. everything anyone needed was in the public domain,

And

The 'would not release the data' is shot down by the raw Schweingruber archive (link below).

but the note that the WMO curve was not even noticed by anyone prior to the CRU email leak - but even if it had been, the data for that was available too:
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/projects/soap/data/recon/blowinghotandcold.dat.unsmoothed

So Muller's contentions that a) the WMO graph was the focus of any FOI interest, b) that the either the post-1960 or raw underlying data for it came out in the CRU leak, are both clearly false.

The potential come back to that is that he 'meant to say', the Briffa et al, 2001 curve in IPCC TAR, but while the post-1960 for that curve doesn't appear to have been available, nobody ever seems to have asked for it, and meanwhile the raw data (Schweingruber) was available as noted above.

Take-home: Muller's assertion that the data was not released is false, it's been available for years as is documented in that FOI response in 2008.

2011-03-21 05:37:06Preliminary release of draft BEST report: SURPRISE! No surprises.
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.”

2011-03-21 05:45:32
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.196.170

"So far, everything is coming out as I had predicted"

Nealstradamus???.

2011-03-21 05:49:16
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.126.124

No mysteries: Just prediction based on an evaluation of personalities and incentives.

Let's not break open the champagne until the paper is electronically published; but I think this is going to be a big positive.

But someone should look at these results in more detail: Joe Romm seems to take a somewhat sour attitude, based on what data were NOT included in the scope of the study. I think he has a hard time backing down from his perhaps over-heated apprehension about Muller's degree of prejudice.

It will also be interesting to see how Muller describes the results. My prediction:

- He will never really revisit the question of whether the Climategaters acted inappropriately or not;

- He will agree that global warming is clearly happening;

- He will take pride that the BEST study resolved this issue.

And, partly based on his reputation for being somewhat skeptical, he will not be wrong on the last point: The deniers will have no fall-back for this.

2011-03-21 06:22:12
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.126.124

More: Muller is supposed to have given a talk at Berkeley on 19 March:

Saturday, March 19th, 11am - noon
Science@Cal Lecture with Prof. Rich Muller "The Current Status of Climate
Change - A Non-Partisan Analysis"

"Because of its huge economic and political implications, Climate Change is
rarely presented without spin. This will be an attempt to do that. I’ll
discuss the physics of the greenhouse effect, and the data that indicate
global warming. Among key topics are: Copenhagen — why did we fail to get a
major treaty? Climategate — what really happened? IPCC standards — and why
they are undergoing major revisions. What are the top prospects among the
many choices for alternative energy? What kind of example can the U.S. set
that could be followed by the rest of the world? I’ll also report on new
results of our "Berkeley Earth" project — a detailed re-analysis of the
evidence for global warming; see www.BerkeleyEarth.org."

This is supposed to have been recorded, but I haven't found it yet. I suppose it will show up here:

http://scienceatcal.berkeley.edu/lectures/2011/03

According to the abstract/excerpt, he has to address both Climategate and the BEST study. Let's see what he comes back with.

2011-03-21 08:08:11Video of Muller's talk
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.143.75

Found this link on another list:
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13429263

It says "recorded on 3/19/11" and gives a length of 83:39

2011-03-21 09:18:27
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.126.124
2011-03-21 10:33:23
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.126.124

Yes, I was directed to that link as well, BaerbelW.

Overall, not too bad:

- Muller agrees that GW is definitely happening, mostly due to CO2, and represents a clear danger.

- He is very respectful of the science of the IPCC reports.

- He distinguishes between skeptics and deniers, although he does not mention names.

- In general, his attitude is that any climate change is likely to be bad.

- He stated that all the effects that people have worried about (UHI, etc.) will just have marginal impact on the measured rate of warming; they haven't "bottom-lined" the numbers yet, as they want to get everything in order before producing a result.

 

Some bad calls, in my opinion:

- He seems to regard the biodiversity issue as ONLY a rain-forest issue; I disagree.

- He seems to a rather long timeline for ocean acidification (although he doesn't deny it).

- He thinks polar bears are doing fine.

- He trashes Pachauri for not catching the unbelievable date for vanishing Himalayan glaciers, 2035.

- He trashes the Hadley CRU folks for the "hide the decline", and says he would never read their papers again; but on the other hand, he praises their output as being the most reliable as the input for his re-analysis. Odd.

- He trashes Al Gore and Thomas Someone (a New York Times editorialist whose name escapes me) as alarmist, for the usual reasons.

 

Interesting points:

- One major point is that the CO2 output of China is going to dwarf that of the entire developed world, if they go on growing another 20 years.

- The battery requirements for electric cars makes them almost certain losers.

- We probably need to find a way to use coal. Right now, carbon sequestration would cost about 50% of the derived energy.

- He likes the Wikipedia climate articles; he hates the Wiki Answers on climate.

- He showed photos of his team. He raved about Rohde; but Judith Curry didn't show up at all. Odd.

 

I think that, overall, it's pretty good for us. He, and his work, support the things that matter. He doesn't like what happened with Climategate and the Himalayan-glacier date, basically because they didn't handle the issues the way he felt they should have (and some of his facts are wrong on Climategate). I think his errors do not come from a deep-seated bias, but from a tendency to shoot from the hip. This probably comes from his history of working in a wide range of diverse fields, so he's developed a skill in jumping in and getting oriented by himself. This probably doesn't work so well in an area like climate science, which has such a range of disciplines and interfaces, even by itself.

2011-03-21 18:20:06A few choice Muller quotes from his latest lecture
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55

These come from his lecture recorded last weekend at Berkeley and offers a bit more clarify on his meaning:

At the start:
There's no subject I've ever worked in in which there is so much misinformation.

At the 34:37 mark:
The data from tree-rings became unreliable from 1961 so they replaced it with thermometer data. So some scientists called them up and said "could you send me the data that became unreliable, I want to see what it looks like". They refused. So Steve Mcintyre from Canada actually invoked a Freedom of Information Act and said "I would like to see the data that you refuse to..."

The Freedom of Information Act Officer was persuaded by the scientists not to release the data.

What they said is "how can we hide the decline?" And the suggestion came back from Phil Jones at the UK, "Let's use Mike's trick to hide the decline". Mike's trick consisted of erasing that data, calling it unreliable, and then substituting the temperature data from thereon. And so by doing that, they change that into that. And that's what was published, it was on the cover of the magazine. And they had to digging into the article to find out they had really done it. And then you couldn't find out what they had done because they hadn't released the data.

I also added this to the database although I stopped around the 40 minute mark:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/article.php?a=5368

2011-03-21 19:22:24So let me get this straight
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.158.190

Muller's timeline is:

  • The unreliable tree-ring data was replaced with thermometer data.
  • McIntyre and others asked to see the "hidden" data.
  • To hide the decline, the scientists replaced the unreliable tree-ring data with thermometer data.

It goes around in circles.

Incidentally, the answer to "Al Gore got it wrong" should read "Al Gore's book..."

2011-03-23 13:01:51When McIntyre got the Briffa 2001 data
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55

Mcintyre blogged about it:

http://climateaudit.org/2008/12/07/another-brick-in-the-wall/