Real Climate pans BEST and Muller

In a shocking development that may represent a singularity, I find myself in agreement* with parts of an opinion piece posted on Real Climate today called Berkeley Earthquake Called Off. Dr. Eric Steig writes:

Anybody expecting earthshaking news from Berkeley, now that the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group being led by Richard Muller has released its results, had to be content with a barely perceptible quiver. As far as the basic science goes, the results could not have been less surprising if the press release had said “Man Finds Sun Rises At Dawn.” This must have been something of a disappointment for anyone hoping for something else.

True. As Maurizo pointed out in World is Warming. Pope Catholic, and as Dr. Roger Peilke said in No surprise about BEST.

Other excerpts:

But Muller’s framing of the Berkeley results is still odd. His statement, that had they found no warming trend, this would have “ruled out anthropogenic global warming”, while true in a technical sense, would not have implied that we should not worry about human drivers of climate change. And it would not have overturned over a century of firmly established radiative-transfer and thermodynamics. Nor would it have overturned the basic chemistry which led Bolin and Eriksson (reprinted here) to predict in 1959 that fossil fuel burning would cause a significant increase in CO2 — long before the results of Keeling’s famous Mauna Loa observations were in. As a physicist, Muller knows that the reason for concern about increasing CO2 comes from the basic physics and chemistry, which was elucidated long before the warming trend was actually observable.

Muller’s other comments do very little to shed light on climate change, and continue to consist largely of putting down the work of others. “For Richard Muller,” writes Richard Black, “this free circulation also marks a return to how science should be done,” the clear insinuation being that CRU, GISS, and NOAA had all been doing something else. Whatever that “something else” is supposed to be completely eludes us, given that these groups all along have been publishing results in the peer-reviewed literature using methods that proved easy to reproduce using easily available data (and in the GISTEMP case, complete code). In one sense, though, we do agree with Muller’s quote: nobody has stolen his private emails and spun them out of context to make his research look bad.

Overall, we are underwhelmed by the quality of Berkeley effort so far — with the exception of the efforts made by Robert Rohde on the dataset agglomeration and the statistical approach. And we remain greatly disappointed by Muller’s public communications (e.g. his WSJ op-ed) which appear far more focused on raising his profile than enlightening the public about the state of the science.

It will be very interesting to see what happens to these papers as they go through peer review.

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

* OK now for the asterisk. Like any opinion piece not everyone will agree with all of it. I’m no exception Steig writes about the station siting issue saying:

National Academy of Sciences study already concluded that the warming seen in the surface station record was “undoubtedly real,” that Menne et al showed that highly touted station siting issues did not in fact compromise the record…

I would point out to Dr. Steig, and to Dr. Muller, that science, by its very nature, is not a static enterprise. A second paper is in the works looking at the station siting issue from a much broader perspective will be sent for peer review (and hopefully publication) in the coming weeks. In the best tradition of Forest Gump I’ll borrow one of his famous lines:

“And that’s all I have to say about that”.

This guest post is an instructive read though: Unadjusted data of long period stations in GISS show a virtually flat century scale trend

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64 Responses to Real Climate pans BEST and Muller

  1. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Anthony. I thought you had something up your sleeve…

  2. “World is warming. Pope Catholic”….when did WUWT turn into a Alarmist den, everybody knows that NCDC manipulates readings to give false warming BEST is just the latest example of this corruption, the fact the Kocg brothers financed the study whows it is Alarmist as the Kochs are up to their necks with Al Gore etc.

  3. Gary Hladik says:

    “A second paper is in the works looking at the station siting issue from a much broader perspective will be sent for peer review (and hopefully publication) in the coming weeks.”

    *facepalm* No no no, Anthony! The way science is done, first you issue a press release with your conclusions, next you write the paper, and only then do you submit it for publication! How do you expect to write a first class scientific paper without going through the crucial press review step?

  4. Legatus says:

    I don’t know about you, but Figure 1 immediately made me think of the repeated claim by Michael Mann that the temperatures of the 1990s were the warmest in a thousand years

    Uhhh, sooo, whats the big deal? Sooo, we had a medieval warm period 1000 years ago, it was warm, people were happy. Then it got cold, people were not happy (those that lived through it). Now it is the same temperature as 1000 years ago (and people are happy again), so I have to ask, what, exactly, is “unprecedented” here? We have been this warm before, we are again now, what, exactly, has changed? What, exactly, is there to be concerned about? Or can it be shown that 1000 years ago was a time of danger and death from all that heat? Did the sea rise and cover all of them then? Did all the animals go extinct? All the forests and crops die off? What, exactly, did happen?

    Now, if you can show me that it is much much warmer than it was 1000 years ago, much warmer than it has ever been, why, that would be something else.

    And the 1990’s huh, what about the 2000’s, what about the 2010’s? What has happened since those 1990’s, and why?

    Mr Mann, call me when you actually have something to say.

  5. Mark T says:

    It’s’s sort of a “toldyaso” as a crackdown to the “deniers” that don’t think much of the warming.

    Mark

  6. Mark T says:

    Smackdown, not crackdown. Autocorrecting phone with a dictionary that would be embarrassed by a pre-schooler.

    Mark

  7. Ursus Augustus says:

    Am I unreasonable in concluding that Richard Muller et al have managed to piss of both the skeptics and the warmista’s by making a craven play for publicity? Who does the guy think he is? Al Gore??

  8. Legatus says:

    And we remain greatly disappointed by Muller’s public communications (e.g. his WSJ op-ed ) which appear far more focused on raising his profile than enlightening the public about the state of the science.

    Well, his company, Muller & Associates, seems a very likely reason for this. The title of the op-ed, “The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism
    There were good reasons for doubt, until now”
    , strongly supports the idea of global warming, and is obviously against the idea of skepticism. If global warming is real, Muller & Associates can get business. If he raises his profile, he can get a lot of business. If he actually gets into the IPCC report, he gets even more. Conclusion, he has a conflict of interest. Therefore, no matter how honest he may appear, I must suspect him, at the very least. In addition, it is possible he may make a semi honest BEST project, yet spin it to make AGW look real and thus increase his business. It is also possible that the press, who are all for AGW, will slant their coverage as well, and, like I said, he has a conflict of interest and thus may not exactly appose this…

    Also, his method of telling if there is UHI bias seems very inadequate. The only way one could actually tell would be if the folks whose job it is to tell us the temperature would actually get out there and do their jobs, take a portable measuring station, set it up nearish but out of the way of any urban effects of the station they wish to check, and see if there is a difference in the two. Heck, at the very least, they could actually go out and look at the station, rather than trying to tell if it is rural or not with some satellite. Heck, if they really want to get frisky, they could fly over it at fairly low altitude and look down with infrared film or detectors (war surplus stuff might be good enough), see if the area around the station shows up as a hot spot, has no one ever tried this? They may even want to make sure that their portable station will calibrate with old stations with, dare I say it, whitewashed screens. After all, we are trying to compare new data to old data, we need to know we are doing an accurate comparison. want to get super frisky, well, actually make an old style station manufactured and calibrated the same way it was done say, 50 or 80 years ago, then us that, now that would be true apples to apples.

    BTW, the first post I made above should have been under the next article down.

  9. Gary Mount says:

    Oops I put in the wrong year. its only 160 days too early, or 206 days too late.

  10. jorgekafkazar says:

    Earth warms. Earth cools. Bear goes in Yamal woods.

  11. Brian H says:

    The more we see and hear of Muller, the disingenuouser and disingenuouser he looks and sounds. The gratuitous put-downs littering his text are really juvenile.

  12. jorgekafkazar says:
    October 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm
    Earth warms. Earth cools. Bear goes in Yamal woods.

    How sweet! That was my favourite bed-time poem when I was a kid.

  13. Ursus Augustus says:

    Just to counterpoint my post above, I just looked at Richard Muller’s “Hide the Decline” Youtube video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk ) and it does not surprise me that Realclimate bags him considering what he inferred about the culprits. Not a lot of love there I imagine. Maybe BEST is a Trojan Horse playing the media for the cretinous, lazy suckers they are. We’ll have to wait for the final papers and the final results. Who knows?

  14. John says:

    The two important things that BEST adds to the debate are:

    1. A substantial part of the warming from 1975 — as much as 70% — may be due to natural forcings such as the AMO. BEST says that the AMO (and PDO) cycles could be caused by GHGs, but my sense is that this is just being scientifically cautious. It certainly appears that these cycles were in operation before significant increases in GHGs occurred. IF the temperature increases due to the AMO are part of a natural variation, then as pointed out on pg. 12 of the BEST temperature report, then no more than 0.25 degrees or so of the 0.8 degree temperature increase over land since 1975 would be due to GHGs. That is a rate of less than a degree per century. Someone check and see if Richard Lindzen is chortling. If ocean surface temps were included in this analysis, temperature increases would be lower.

    Maybe this is why Steig doesn’t seem impressed by BEST?

    2. In 2010, BEST finds that temps plunge by 0.1 degrees, in one year. The other three records show temps increasing by a slightly smaller amount. Why?? If BEST is right, the other records are high by about 0.15 degrees at the end of the temperature record. It is important to find out if this is anomalous or not.

  15. a jones says:

    “When I see our own officers being shot to encourage the others I know the war is lost”.

    Not my words: but a fair summary of the current state of play.

    Kindest Regards

  16. TomT says:

    “Man Finds Sun Rises At Dawn.”
    Of course the sun doesn’t really rise at all, the earth rotates. Ok not really a big deal, but it is just another example of how the people at Real Climate seem not to care at all about getting the scientific facts correct at all.

  17. Manfred says:

    Remembering Steig’s contribution to basic physics and statistics in his Antarctica temperature paper, his opinion may still be regarded as pretty lightweight.

  18. TomRude says:

    “As a physicist, Muller knows that the reason for concern about increasing CO2 comes from the basic physics and chemistry, which was elucidated long before the warming trend was actually observable.”
    Typical highjacking of physics and chemistry! If you are against us you are against the laws of physics… conveniently forgetting that they are using equations approximating what they think is the physics happening. Pierre Morel founder of the LMD was very clear about this and how the model freaks try this little magic.

  19. Poptech says:

    You have to be pretty naive to believe anything else would come out of Berkley.

  20. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    All delivered with the barely-disguised snark so typical of the ballpark. Playing field is now a quagmire due to climate change.

  21. Venter says:

    Anthony,

    The fact that you have another paper coming up showing different results could be the reason for this PR Blitz by BEST.

    Dr.Judith Curry wrote this in her blog about the BEST PR Exercise

    QUOTE

    In my relatively minor role in all this, I have had virtually no input into the BEST PR strategy. I have encouraged making the data set available as soon as possible. They were reluctant to do this before papers had been submitted for publication, and cited the problems that Anthony Watts had with releasing his surfacestations.org dataset before papers were accepted for publication. IMO, two of the papers (decadal and surface station quality) should have been extended and further analyzed before submitting (but that very well may be the response of the reviewers/editors.) I agree that it is important to get the papers out there and not be scooped on this by others, especially since Muller and other team members have been giving presentations on this. I have no problem with posting the papers before they are accepted for publication, in fact I encourage people to post their papers before publication.

    UNQUOTE

    She specifically mentions ” not to be scooped on this by others ” which makes me suspect that they had wind of some other papers coming up showing different results.

    Dr.Muller and BEST have scored an own goal here with this hasty and deliberately misleading PR before on papers which have been shown to have significant errors. I have no doubt that all of this was planned for rushing through the papers into AR5. But I believe this is going to backfire on BEST.

    I have no trust on Dr.Muller who exactly deserves what he gets, as eloquently described by Willis Eschenbach. Willis called him out as an unprincipled and untrustworthy jerk when he gave that testimony to senate trashing your papers. Dr.Muller has fully lived up to that description.

    Unfortunately, with this hasty PR and shoddy work, because of her association with BEST, Dr.Judith Curry, who’s one of the few honest people in the climate science field, is going to also have her reputation affected.

  22. Robin Melville says:

    @TomRude : Too true! The crudity of the “physics” is astonishing. You take an abstract column of gas standing over a shiny surface, project a beam of light energy through it and measure the irradiated heat return. Now add some extra CO2 to the column and the escaping heat reduces. That’s the basis of Bolin’s thought experiment upon which this whole farrago is based.

    In the real world we have a massively complex interaction of different gases and water vapour (clouds). The completely unfounded assumption that this complex system will *reinforce* any minor heating due to increased CO2 rather than reacting to mitigate it is what feeds the scare story. In reality, the Earth’s systems are rather stable — for which we should be grateful — and tend towards homeostasis. “Oscillation” — which is often seen in climate phenomenology — implies negative feedback, not positive.

    Convincingly disprove that and I’ll stop being skeptical about the Climate Disruption panic.

  23. pat says:

    In poker this silly BEST double down is called a bluff. The card being played here is one of reputation. It is the Joker that has been played for years. It means nothing in real terms, but if one does not condescend, it means that your reputation as a poker player will be smeared.

  24. Daniel H says:

    A couple of days ago on Grant Foster’s “Tamino” blog there was an anti-WUWT, anti-Keenan rant entitled Fake Skeptic Criticism of “Decadal Variations in the Global Atmospheric Land Temperatures” in which Foster criticizes Keenan’s criticisms of the Muller et al paper. Buried somewhere in the comments was the following interesting remark by Eric Steig:

    Tamino, I never thought I’d agree with anyone that agrees with Watts about anything but in fact the Muller AMO paper is quite unconvincing, on statistical grounds (not to mention their radical idea that there[sic] thermohaline circulation can contribute to global T variability on 2-5 year timescales)…

    In response, Foster stated that he also disagrees with Muller and that he’s working on another post about that very topic. That post is now online.

  25. Brian H says:

    How droll; Muller is demonstrating incompetence both as a Warmist and a Skeptic.

  26. Anthony Watts says:

    @ Daniel H

    BEST has made for strange bedfellows.

  27. Glenn says:

    Bear in pig’s clothing, or pig in bear’s clothing, I can’t tell which. Maybe its manbearpig. Naaa. Baaa.

  28. JJ says:

    “Real Climate pans BEST and Muller”

    AKA – “Remember, we go in separately and act like you don’t know me.”

  29. Gras Albert says:

    Anthony

    Apologies for the re-post but I can understand the ‘team’ rallying against BEST, comparing the BEST reconstruction with the Hockey Stick leaves one to conclude one or the other is fantasy, if I were Mann’s mates I wouldn’t want this graphic getting courtroom time!

    1800-2010 comparison, BEST-Hockey Stick

  30. Yarmy says:

    ‘Muller’s other comments do very little to shed light on climate change, and continue to consist largely of putting down the work of others. “For Richard Muller,” writes Richard Black, “this free circulation also marks a return to how science should be done,” the clear insinuation being that CRU, GISS, and NOAA had all been doing something else.’

    To be clear here, Eric Steig is criticising Muller for something someone else said about him. An opinion reconstruction using a proxy, no less!

  31. KnR says:

    Its not enough to ‘believe’ you have to ‘believe’ in the right way . Mullers crime for Real Climate is failure to both show ‘right belief’ , lets see how this work out , will Muller get the message they clearly sent. And come out to show us the ‘purity of his faith’ by denouncing any doubts or will he risk the anger of the ‘Team’ and so perhaps IPCC inclusion?

  32. KenB says:

    Its times like this that I wish sceptical scientists were as organised and as heavily funded as the team nodders always claim!! They use this illusion of funding to attack the qualifications of those scientists who dare to speak out rather than detail any issues with the scientific results they put forward.

    If only a fraction of the money that has been wasted by the “team insiders and fellow travellers” AND the IPCC lunch club, was applied with full application of the Scientific method, “before” the results were splashed all over the media, we might get a great leap forward in our knowledge of extreme weather and how our climate actually works, rather than as postulated by some academics with snouts in the trough.

    Having viewed the Jason Kirkby videos on the preliminary results/indications from the Cloud experiment and witnessed what was shaping up to be groundbreaking (Cloud making/precipitation) chemical building blocks of information based on actual experiments, those results, seem to have been deliberately nobbled by the upper Government/Academic managers, and their cautionary suppression of comments by working scientists, preventing them, giving any opinion at all on the results obtained, because of the apparent controversial importance of the results of those experiments and, exactly avoid seeking any media hype, unlike the BEST (WORST) approach we have now witnessed.

    It would seem to this observer, there is some “dirty work going on behind the scenes” to get certain papers and data into the current IPCC reporting echo chamber, and rule others outside (outliers) or in football parlance ruled offside!!.

    I think Donna is spot on in her book, The IPCC can only be cleaned out by defunding and then make sure climate science is rigorously rechecked and openly reviewed to ensure we get only premium science from the rejigged Climate Science.

  33. frusto says:

    @legatus IIRC the climate scientists (aka alarmists by people in this blog) claim, that temperatures of MWP were achieved by 1970-80, and now it is warmier than in the medieval warm period.

  34. NotTheAussiePhilM says:

    Robin Melville says:
    “Oscillation” — which is often seen in climate phenomenology — implies negative feedback, not positive.

    Worryingly, ‘Oscillation’ implies positive feedback.
    – the microphone/speaker ‘howl-round’ feedback is classic example of positive feedback with which most people are familiar.

  35. I think this is all just part of the work of master manipulators. The recent papers and opinion pieces have both solidified the idea that the world is warming and got the ‘skeptics’ to vocally agree to this. Real Climate’s welcome opinion piece will be hailed through the skeptical blogs and a rare glimpse of sanity, if we are agreeing with the the rate of warming, which we will more redilly do because we are so pleased that it shows measure on the BEST results. I think the AGW movement is manipulating the skeptic community with a classic flattery con trick; also individual beleaguered skeptics will latch on to any sign of kindness and unconsciously sacrifice some of their beliefs. It is a very solid foundation for the AGW movement who now don’t have to worry about defending the temperature records and can concentrate on various ‘scientific’ reasons for this warming. Lumumba.

  36. Venter says: October 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Unfortunately, with this hasty PR and shoddy work, because of her association with BEST, Dr.Judith Curry, who’s one of the few honest people in the climate science field, is going to also have her reputation affected.

    Doesn’t have to be. Anthony Watts and others here also had high hopes for BEST. They shot themselves down by their behaviour, which led on to a much closer examination of their science than would have happened otherwise. And in all this we have a miracle, the Gordian-knot-slicing paper from Michael Palmer

  37. DEEBEE says:

    I have always found the “Team groupies” response of relief to station siting, a bit perplexing. If “bad” and “good” sites are giving similar results then the climate change signal must be very strong so as to survive such an obvious issue. If this is the case then the GCMs are woefully inadequate since they can barely begin to follow the undulations of this “strong” signal.
    OTOH, there could be almost no signal of any kind to measure, so siting does not matter and we are just reading wonderfully aromatic, cherry picked tea leaves.

  38. wayne Job says:

    I have a logic problem, the hockey team and this best team are looking for a trend upward. The dying of thermometers in the backwoods, gives them a very upward trend. They then tell us that the UHI has no effect on the temperature increase in their graphs for the last hundred years, my head hurts.
    Why do all the old continuos stations show no global warming? This BEST mob are telling me that the UHI makes no difference to the trend or the temperature rise as shown in their graphs, I find this logically incompatable with reasonable thought processes.

    Some how I remember many people suggesting that our host cover his a#se and not trust these people. Lesson learned, and the cryptic message of a soon to be released paper is hope fully Anthony’s revenge. This may relieve the hurt in my head.

  39. paulhan says:

    BEST / Muller will now use this as vindication of their analysis on the basis that both the skeptics and the alarmists are equally up in arms over it.

    What I’d like to know is who is going to peer review it now after all the negative publicity over it. It’s a losing proposition for anybody engaged in it. And what about the journals? There won’t be anything in it for them, other than opprobrium for having let it through. Any publicity about it has already been done. Anything “groundbreaking” about the process is already known.

    I think they are going to pay a high price for their fifteen minutes of fame. I just hope it was worth it.

  40. SimonJ says:

    NotTheAussiePhilM says:
    October 25, 2011 at 2:15 am
    “Worryingly, ‘Oscillation’ implies positive feedback.
    – the microphone/speaker ‘howl-round’ feedback is classic example of positive feedback with which most people are familiar.”

    The microphone/speaker feedback is indeed an example of positive feedback, but it does not involve oscillation. The ‘signal’ is pushed hard up against the end stops and stays there. That’s the problem, and that is why climate feedback CAN NOT BE POSITIVE.
    Negative feedback does indeed produce an oscillation, a damped oscillation, where the rate of damping is a function of the feedback ‘strength’ (and here I can’t remember the correct word – transfer function??)

  41. John says:

    KnR (1:16 AM) has it right when he says:

    “Its not enough to ‘believe’ you have to ‘believe’ in the right way . Mullers crime for Real Climate is failure to both show ‘right belief’ ”

    Honestly, what did everyone expect, if BEST is starting with the same record everyone else has? The difference between the records is mostly how you adjust for changes over time, like UHI, except where land temp records have sea surface temps added in.

    Why lambaste Muller and BEST, when they have suggested that apparently natural forcings such as the AMO and PDO may be responsible for around 70% of the temp increases since 1975 (see pg. 12 of the temperature paper, 2 paragraphs before acknowledgements)?

    One of the things Steig and company didn’t like — it’s in the thread above — is that BEST suggests that thermohaline circulation, an apparent natural forcing, can influence the land temperature record. BEST speculated that perhaps the AMO might be driven by the thermohaline circulation. THIS observation is what makes BEST a threat to the IPCC, to Real Climate, to Hansen and Mann and Pachauri, and why they criticize it.

    Yes, we need more research, but why are so many people on this thread killing what looks like a golden goose that you have been given?

  42. Mark T says:

    Negative feedback does indeed produce an oscillation, a damped oscillation, where the rate of damping is a function of the feedback ‘strength’ (and here I can’t remember the correct word – transfer function??)

    Without going into too many details…
    1. The feedback “strength” is simply called gain. It is less than unity for all bounded-input, bounded-output stable systems, necessarily so for any passive system such as the earth and its climate. Climate scientists tend to use this terminology (feedback) a little bit differently, however, though the same prinicple still applies.
    2. The transfer function is a relationship between an input and output of a system. This can be decomposed down to any “path” between any input and any output, even within the system itself. E.g., the feedback path has its own transfer function from the output that is getting fed back to the input.

    Mark

  43. Severian says:

    Gotta love the logic, or lack thereof, in the statement that, paraphrased, says “even if it’s not happening that’s no excuse not to do something about it!”

  44. chris y says:

    Perhaps overheard at the water cooler-
    Jim- “Gav, this is a travesty. That jester Muller’s grandstanding has usurped my helpful media.”
    Gav- “Yeah, I gave the Fenton crew a couple of new postings to cycle through at RC.”
    Jim- ” Kev and I are flying to New Zealand next week. I already have some interviews set up to steer the media lights back on me.”
    Gav- “Are you going to bring up the rate of sea level rise doubling every decade again? They really fell for that.”
    Jim- “Mehh. My 1988 prediction was not far enough in the future. People are starting to ask me why I haven’t moved my offices to higher ground. I think its time I resurrect my dead-certain Venus world caused by exploding methane clathrates of doom.”
    Gav- “Good. With all the first class international travel and sixteen dollar muffins, the budget is a few mill short. A couple of apocalyptic scenarios should scare up the needed funds. Cheers.”

  45. Gneiss says:

    As BEST ramped up, Muller posed with the opinion that skeptics were right, the scientists were incompetent or dishonest — UHI or data shenanigans really could explain away the warming, and his team of outsiders would set things right. It turns out that his assumptions all were mistaken — the skeptics were wrong, hundreds of scientists had been doing a fine job all along, and neither UHI or data shenanigans were anywhere to be seen in the temperature records. It really is warming, just as NOAA, NASA and HadCRU (and UAH and RSS, and the Arctic sea ice, glaciers and so forth) had said all along. And more than that, as he’s still learning, it’s tought for outsiders to jump into a highly competitive discipline where they have no competence, and do top quality new work.

    Perhaps it’s surprising, and honorable, that Muller has presented a finding that was opposite to his starting assumptions. But it’s not surprising that neither skeptics nor other scientists are much impressed with the his journey.

  46. KnR says:

    John given BEST says the world is warming and that broadly the figures were right , why the Realclimate hit piece when you think they would be happy. Simply Muller and BEST did not come out in full and blind support of AGW . They showed faith but not ‘correct faith ‘ which for the Team means full support for their views and all that means.
    Its an oddity of religion that ‘heretics’ are always given a harder time than unbelievers for their seen to be a bigger threat to the ‘purity’ and therefore the validity of the faith .

    Its to be seen if Muller gets the message and shows us he is after all a ‘true believer’ or if he will stick to his guns and risk the ‘Teams’ displeasure further. And that has little to do with any peer review process has we are now firmly in the land of PR and spinning.

  47. Gneiss says:

    KnR writes,
    “why the Realclimate hit piece when you think they would be happy.”

    If you think that then you don’t get Realclimate. They and others (including Tamino) are criticizing aspects of the BEST AMO paper because it’s not good science; the analysis is weak. Probably the peer review process will flag the same problems, and they’ll get corrected to make a stronger paper by the time it eventually gets published.
    Realclimate notes also the irony of Muller admitting that he’s surprised by his own results. If he had done his homework, he would not be.

  48. Ed Scott says:

    From the Washington Post article, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-scientific-finding-that-settles-the-climate-change-debate/2011/03/01/gIQAd6QfDM_story.html?wprss=rss_opinions,
    “It is true that Muller made no attempt to ascertain “how much of the warming is due to humans.” Still, the Berkeley group’s work should help lead all but the dimmest policymakers to the overwhelmingly probable answer.”

    In other words, they have no factual data link to Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide having an effect on global warming/climate change/climate chaos or any new straw-dog they introduce to compensate for their lack of objectivity.

    Scandal? What scandal? “Muller’s figures also conform with the estimates of those British and American researchers whose catty e-mails were the basis for the alleged “Climategate” scandal, which was never a scandal in the first place.”

    A new scientific method of proving a theory, not by fact, but by the overwhelmingly probable. Sounds somewhat like consensus.

    I am still waiting for the factual data link connecting Anthropogenic and/or Natural Carbon Dioxide to global warming – the original theory – or to any of the straw-dogs, which the Almor Goretry acolytes present in their efforts to prove something, whatever that something may be.

  49. Ron Cram says:

    I think one of the reasons RealClimate is upset at BEST is that BEST shows the early 19th century was cooler than tree rings show. When the Little Ice Age rears its head in this fashion, it throws off the nice, neat narrative RealClimate and the IPCC folks have been selling because natural climate variation is much greater than they previously believed. Also, it shows a second Divergence Problem in the early 19th century. It is hard to support the claim the divergence in the late 20th century is due to anthropogenic effects when we have evidence of a divergence in the early 19th century.

    BEST may not have done great work in regards to UHI effects and station siting issues, but the surface temp series in the early 19th century throws a wrench into the works. We will have to see if that portion of their work holds up under scrutiny.

  50. Rob Honeycutt says:

    John says:
    “The two important things that BEST adds to the debate are:

    1. A substantial part of the warming from 1975 — as much as 70% — may be due to natural forcings such as the AMO. ”

    How can this be the case when the AMO lags both ENSO and Temp?

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/decadal-variations-and-amo-part-i/

  51. John says:

    To Rob Honeycutt (10:43 AM):

    I don’t take anything at face value that I read in the mutually accusatory climate change blogs. I will wait for science to sort things out. Both WUWT and Real Climate have strong biases. I think they each serve as an important counter when the other side goes over the edge. So for now, I take the BEST results as the authors do, e.g., there appear to be natural forcings which cause ~ 30 year up, ~ 30 year down temperature cycles.

    We had a sharp ramp up in warming from about 1915 through 1945, then a cool period from 1945 through 1975, then a warm period from then through the 1998 El Nino, and now a cool period which may last another 15 to 20 years. BEST, quite correctly, says that we need to look at the issue of natural forcings on multi-decadal cycles more closely. I agree.

    But I don’t discount the possibility of these cycles driving temperatures, with man made influences added on. Nor do I discount the implications for temperature effects of GHGs.

  52. Rob Honeycutt says:

    John… I’m also curious how the AMO paper from BEST is going to play out in peer review. But it seems to me that it is pretty damning if it can be asserted that the AMO is actually a signal of AGW, which is what Tamino is suggesting. I also have to remind folks that the 30 year up and 30 year down both has existing explained forcings behind them. And prior to that the 30 year cycle breaks down, so you’re really only talking about one up and one down, followed by a clear CO2 driven forcing.

  53. Keith says:

    So the only person Steig sees fit to praise is renowned warmist Robert Rohde? Well what a surprise…

  54. AlexS says:

    “surface temp series in the early 19th century throws a wrench into the works.”

    As if the surface temp in early 19th century have anything near 0.x Cº accuracy!

  55. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    [snip -if you want to insult me, and label me as a "cultist" do it at SkS, it is after all what they do BEST there. Read my policy about being a guest in my home. SkS had a link like everyone else until they started with the revisionism, and yes you and SkS are in fact "unreliable" when you do that sort of thing, but you are too blind to see it. - Anthony]

  56. barry says:

    Realclimate notes also the irony of Muller admitting that he’s surprised by his own results. If he had done his homework, he would not be.

    Yes, Muller dissed the surface records long before he did any work on them, and this website didn’t have a problem with that kind of press.

    I don’t know if anyone has noted it, but there is a parallel here with Fall et al. Anthony and others are on record declaring the US temp record unreliable long before doing any proper number-crunching. Fall et al comes out, and it appears the average temps record is robust (but there are problems with min/max). Minus the pre-peer review fanfare and treatment on max/min, this is pretty much what has happened with BEST.

    If the lesson here is to be cautious in your public announcements til you’ve done the work and had it checked, then I hope it sticks. On this there is agreement between realclimate and WUWT, at least regarding BEST.

    REPLY: but science is not static, remember that – Anthony

  57. peter stone says:

    Dogparliament: “I think this is all just part of the work of master manipulators. The recent papers and opinion pieces have both solidified the idea that the world is warming and got the ‘skeptics’ to vocally agree to this. Real Climate’s welcome opinion piece will be hailed through the skeptical blogs and a rare glimpse of sanity, if we are agreeing with the the rate of warming, which we will more redilly do because we are so pleased that it shows measure on the BEST results. I think the AGW movement is manipulating the skeptic community with a classic flattery con trick; also individual beleaguered skeptics will latch on to any sign of kindness and unconsciously sacrifice some of their beliefs.”
    *************************************************************************

    Good lord. Oh yes, the IPCC overlords and mainstream climate scientists are out to manipulate some relatively obscure bloggers and forum posters into admitting things they don’t want to admit; aka the globe is warming consistent with temperature reconstructions by BEST, NASA, HadCrut, and NOAA.

    Why don’t you just stick to and say what you actually believe, instead of imagining you’re being manipulated by a global cabal of devious scientists into moving your goals posts to agree with the consensus on the warming trend? Why on Earth would you even feel pressured to move your goal posts, if you have genuine confidence in some relatively obscure non-peer reviewed blog science?

  58. Doug Ferguson says:

    Barry:

    Drawing a parallel between initial informal comments made by Anthony on a blog like WUWT prior to a study and testifying before congress on preliminary results of a study funded by same as Dr. Muller did, doesn’t fly in my book. Muller knew full well the mainstream media would be all over the event as they are dying to prove that anyone who doesn’t go along with the entire AGW program is a “Neo-Luddite”(especially Republicans) which is exactly what Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson did in an article he wrote today. You can read it here and see what he did with Muller’s testimony:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/10/25/climate_change_just_got_hotter_111804.html

    To others reading this if you wish to tell Mr. Robinson what you think of his article on “Neo-Luddites”, you can send a comment to his email:

    eugenerobinson@Washpost.com

    Doug Ferguson

  59. kuhnkat says:

    As Willis points out in the previous post, Muller’s work simply shows the models to be wrong. The higher the ground temps, the further away from the correct tropospheric temperature profile we get. To show the water vapor feedback necessary for the Climate Alarmism (hot spot and cooling strat) the surface must be warming at a slower rate than the mid trop which warms slower than the upper trop. Right now we have the opposite and it is a TRAVESTY I tell you!!

    Basically Muller is NOT a team player and apparently is trying to promote himself and not the team. He should get slapped down in the Review Process, although he will probably make it through eventually.

  60. Slacko says:

    NotTheAussiePhilM says:
    October 25, 2011 at 2:15 am
    Robin Melville says:
    “Oscillation” — which is often seen in climate phenomenology — implies negative feedback, not positive.

    “Worryingly, ‘Oscillation’ implies positive feedback.
    – the microphone/speaker ‘howl-round’ feedback is classic example of positive feedback …”

    Guess again. The ‘howl-round’ is the result of runaway amplitude increase, not runaway frequency increase. So your implication falls flat, sorry.

  61. Steve says:

    SimonJ says:
    October 25, 2011 at 4:26 am
    ‘Negative feedback does indeed produce an oscillation, a damped oscillation, where the rate of damping is a function of the feedback ‘strength’ (and here I can’t remember the correct word – transfer function??)’

    SimonJ, in analog electronics the term is feedback factor.

  62. Alcheson says:

    Maybe it was a good thing it went to press review before pal review afterall… just imagine what the conclusions of the paper would have been if it had been been given the stamp of approval by the team before release.

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