When BEST first came out I said it was boring, because it just said what everyone knew already “Summary: the global temperature record is just what we thought it was”. There was some soap opera thrown in for fun, but that didn’t affect the science.
But now (New Global Temperature Data Reanalysis Confirms Warming, Blames CO2, Ronald Bailey at reason.com, h/t JB at RR) it seems that Muller is announcing his “new” findings via op-ed in the NYT [Important note: reason.com isn’t exactly a brilliant source, but I can’t see a good reason why they’d make this up. Update: the real thing is now available, and the early version was correct]. Although I’m not really sure what the new findings are. They appear to be:
* the temperature record is, still, just as we thought it was, and
* it appears likely that essentially all of this increase is due to the human emission of greenhouse gases.
The first bit is, still, boring. The second bit is true, but isn’t a consequence of the study. Their work is (as far as I can tell) purely a matter of pulling together a temperature record. They’ve done none of the attribution work you’d expect, in order to talk about attribution. And what they say (How definite is the attribution to humans? The carbon dioxide curve gives a better match than anything else we’ve tried. Its magnitude is consistent with the calculated greenhouse effect – extra warming from trapped heat radiation) appears absurdly naive. [Update: it appears there is an as-yet-unrevealed paper that covers this. Based on the thin info currently available, I’m dubious. DA puts it nicely. More: At dotearth Elizabeth Muller gives a non-answer to the “attribution” question; naive still looks to be the order of the day.]
So I think my original contention – that Muller is rubbish – holds up remarkably well.
Muller also says These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming. To which the answer is: no, your actual findings are simply the same as IPCC 2007: all the UHI stuff, and the data selection issues: its been done before. You’ve added a bit of extra data, which makes no difference post 1850, and you may have done better with the early record, though I imagine people will suspend belief until they actually see the proper results. [Update: on reflection, I’m being a bit unfair here. They have made some incremental improvements. But its nothing earth-shattering, and indeed arguably nothing terribly important; it certainly doesn’t justify the attention the op-ed says that Muller thinks he deserves. Also, via La Curry I find this figure and the accompanying “For the period from 1700-1800 Berkeley uses 27 percent more station months”. So I think its hard to see them having much more data for the early period.]
But the bit that really annoys is:
CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified scientific issues that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Now, after organizing an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I’ve concluded that global warming is real, that the prior estimates of the rate were correct…
All of that is bollocks. What Muller is saying is that he read a few septic blogs, didn’t bother read any of the scientific literature, and so decided to run his own project. So is that his model for converting septics? Everyone who has doubts gets to run their own re-analysis of the temperature reccord? Its going to be a pretty slow process at that rate. Wouldn’t it be quicker if people just read the existing literature? Of course, Muller is a prima donna and must invent his own wheel: as far as he is concerned, now that he believes, everyone else should, too. Idiot.
[Update: Romm quotes Caldeira as saying I am glad that Muller et al have taken a look at the data and have come to essentially the same conclusion that nearly everyone else had come to more than a decade ago. The basic scientific results have been established for a long time now, so I do not see the results of Muller et al as being scientifically important. However, their result may be politically important. Which is what I’m saying, only he is more polite, as you’d expect.
Another item: WUWT has been off-air for a day or two, promising something weally exciting. Could that be a leak of BEST results? I hope so, because if that’s it, he’s going to look like the twat he is. Though that doesn’t obviously fit “something to do with one of my many projects”, so maybe not. Oh well, reading chicken entrails was never my favourite sport. Actually my favourite sport is rowing; I don’t know if you’ve noticed (and if you follow that link, please ignore 4’s blade height, he’s a good lad really but does tend to dive at the catch).]
[Update: Update: the real thing is now available (webcite), and the early version was correct. Jolly good. So, yes its still rubbish, and in fact goes on to even more rubbish lower down. It also says “The careful analysis by our team is laid out in five scientific papers now online at BerkeleyEarth.org… Four of our papers have undergone extensive scrutiny by the scientific community, and the newest, a paper with the analysis of the human component, is now posted, along with the data and computer programs used…” I don’t see any changes, though, from when I looked earlier. There are still only 4 papers listed, there isn’t one on attribution, and the 4 that are there are marked “submitted” (see-also Eli for some parsing of the review status).]
* QS on the rumour; and TP seems to believe it, too
* webcite of the reason.com article (I have learnt something over the years…)
* according to the BEST site their publication output is 4 papers, all still under review by JGR. If those, too, talk the same nonsense about attribution its no wonder they are coming out slowly.
* The Incidence of Solipsism Among Physicists by Eli.
* Michael Mann is unimpressed: Muller’s announcement last year that the Earth is indeed warming brought him up to date w/ where the scientific community was in the the 1980s. His announcement this week that the warming can only be explained by human influences, brings him up to date with where the science was in the mid 1990s. At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of a few years!
* The Grauniad, shamefully falls for the hype.
* Gold award for most garbled take goes to topdailybreakingnews for “Muller, who has total P.T. Barnum climax and scholarship via his three-year project” and more.
* Andy Revkin “quotes” me but the paraphrase is badly wrong; see my comment.
* Muller talks bollocks to the Graun
* Berkeley Earth, part 1: Divergences and discrepancies – Deep Climate. It looks like BEST isn’t doing a great job admitting errors.
* Want more shite from Muller? its here.