Singer’s letter to WaPo on BEST

The scientific finding that does not settle the climate-change debate
S. Fred Singer      Letter to WashPost  Oct 25, 2011**

Before you write off Bachmann, Cain, and Perry as cynical diehards, deniers, idiots, or whatever, [WashPost Oct 24] consider this:

Why are you surprised by the results of the Berkeley Climate Project?  They used data from the same weather stations as the Climategate people, but reported that one-third showed cooling — not warming.

They covered the same land area – less than 30% of the Earth’s surface – with recording stations that are poorly distributed, mainly in US and Western Europe.  They state that 70% of US stations are badly sited and don’t meet the standards set by government; the rest of the world is likely worse.

Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons.   This indicates to me that there is something very wrong with the land surface data.  And did you know that the climate models, run on super-computers, all show that the atmosphere must warm faster than the surface.  What does this tell you?

And finally, we have non-thermometer temperature data from so-called “proxies”: tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites.  They don’t show any global warming since 1940!

The Berkeley results in no way confirm the scientifically discredited Hockeystick graph, which had been so eagerly adopted by climate alarmists.  In fact, the Hockeystick authors have never published their temperature results after 1978.  The reason for hiding them?  It’s likely that their proxy data show no warming either.

One last word:  In their scientific paper, submitted for peer review, the Berkeley scientists disclaim knowing the cause of the temperature increase reported by their project.  However, their research paper comments: “The human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated.”  I commend them for their honesty and skepticism.

********************************************************************
S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project.  He is a Senior Fellow of the Heartland Institute and of the Independent Institute.  His specialty is atmospheric and space physics.   An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere.  He is co-author of Climate Change Reconsidered [2009 and 2011] and of Unstoppable Global Warming [2007]

**Responding to:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-scientific-finding-that-settles-the-climate-change-debate/2011/03/01/gIQAd6QfDM_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

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81 Responses to Singer’s letter to WaPo on BEST

  1. Keith W. says:

    Just the facts, Dr. Singer, just the facts. Bravo!

  2. Steve Oregon says:

    Is BEST the open door in the corner for many alarmists to free themselves?

  3. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Very good explanation of his view of the Berkeley project “BEST” paper. pg

  4. Bigred (Victoria, Australia) says:

    Science communication at its best [sorry, no pun intended]. Most helpful for us non-science graduates. Thank you, Dr Singer.

  5. Poptech says:

    Beautifully summed up.

  6. Rick Bradford says:

    I am getting confused.

    The MSM in the UK pounced on the BEST press release with crowing headlines such as “Climate skeptic now believes in global warming”, which seemed to me to be a free hit for the AGW alarmists.

    Yet hard-core AGW types at RealClimate, and the Deltoids, are trashing the BEST results with a display of meanness they usually reserve for “deniers” such as “James Watt”.

    What’s going on?

  7. J.H. says:

    Very succinct…. Now, if only the WaPo could be so clear.

  8. petermue says:

    Thank you very much, Dr. Singer!

    After reading that WaPo article, I asked myself wheather journalism can plummet farther.
    This guy is not only no scientist, he is also no journalist. Simply a spin doctor! And a scientifically illiterate at that.

    I’m really glad to have scientists like Dr. Singer on our side.
    And of course Anthony for his permissive blog.

  9. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    “Hmm – were there any other questions?”
    Well done Dr. Fred, as usual nailed it in one!

  10. Richard Hill says:

    It says its a letter to the WaPo. Did they actually print it?

  11. Brian Eglinton says:

    Rick
    The Climate Wars are not black and white. There are lots of variant positions out there on both AGW and sceptic sides.
    Muller took a principled stand against the “Hide the Decline” tricks ['this is not how science is done'] and will have a big black mark against his name with the blogs you mentioned.
    They are also upset that the basic premise of BESt was to assume that the standard temperature series that they use were under a cloud. This was to start out by questioning rather than asserting that there was no debate. No doubt this is also considered poor form.
    There are many things going on now days that make me think that the Star Wars series really was foreboding. How do you overcome an enemy and gain complete control? Make sure you start a war and then control all sides of it. People will surrender a lot in order to fight a perceived enemy – even if that enemy was a fabrication by the “good guys”.
    Notice how the WaPo narrative on this is that BEST resulted in the dramatic conversion of one of the bad sceptic guys [Muller]. Some have already mentioned that this is a kind of infiltration of the sceptic camp in order to sweep the legs out from underneath this position.
    But the little guys involved in the heat of the battle would not appreciate such a pincher movement. It would look like a game to get someone else in on their act.

    None the less – I hope the proposed open data and methods advertised for this project are realised. The exploration of the fact that 1/3 of the global sites show cooling and that these sites are relatively evenly distributed amongst the warming sites is, I think, the most important result from the study and needs to be thoroughly explored – even if the end result is the discovery that local temperature readings are only useful at the local level and should never be used in agreggate to establish a global metric.

  12. UK Sceptic says:

    BEST science apparently falls rather short of being the best science.

  13. Rick Bradford says:

    Brian,

    Thanks very much for the explanation.

    Is Muller trying to carve out his own niche as the only reasonable and trustworthy voice in the climate debate, do you think?

  14. Ed Mertin says:

    Ron Paul doubts climate change, says global warming is a hoax and wants to end subsidizing any energy. He’s not perfection, but why leave him out? At least he talks MORE about CUTTING SPENDING than taxation strategy. Unlike everyone else. Like him, I’m more concerned with debt and downgrades right now leading to our currency being totally rejected by the world. Then there won’t be no printing & inflating our way out of trouble. I’m also more concerned about knee jerk reaction with disastrous results like the ’08 election all over again.

  15. pat says:

    may Fred Singer live forever.
    may the Durban PR spin which is in full gear fail forever.
    may anthony and his family thrive and prosper.

  16. Mat says:

    Ok guys – beyond a joke now, you’re going to have to let this one go – BEST was on your side! And remember:
    “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.”

    REPLY: Sure, no doubt. But then they threw out the promises and went for PR review instead of peer review. Is that science? Yes I was suckered by Richard Mulller into thinking they’d do it right, without politics and fanfare, stickign to science. Boy was I wrong, much has changed in the months since then. – Anthony

  17. David Falkner says:

    Ok, I agree with the thrust of the letter. BEST hasn’t changed anything. If Watts and Gavin Schmidt agree about it, that says all we need to know.

    Cain, Bachmann, and Perry are still idiots, though.

  18. SteveE says:

    REPLY: Sure, no doubt. But then they threw out the promises and went for PR review instead of peer review. Is that science? Yes I was suckered by Richard Mulller into thinking they’d do it right, without politics and fanfare, stickign to science. Boy was I wrong, much has changed in the months since then. – Anthony

    —-

    So when this study is published in a peer review then you’ll accept it?

    “The Berkeley Earth team has now submitted four papers for peer review. We are making these preliminary results public, together with our programs and data set, in order to invite additional scrutiny. “

  19. Lord Beaverbrook says:

    ‘as the Climategate people’

    I like that, perhaps building on that with the ‘Climategate Concensus Team’ or CCT, could be used in future with a definition of it’s participants and their effect on world politics, Wiki maybe, that everyone then could reference when talking about the ‘old’ concensus and the ‘science is settled’ dogma.
    A sort of reminder to all of how much the science has moved on from that dark period and a reminder to future generations of scientists to do the science and not the dogma.

  20. Ask why is it so? says:

    Dr Muller considers himself an honest man and as such considers himself the only scientist that could produce a credible paper on global warming and it will be the truth as he sees it. But it’s like the $1.47 question, do you round it up to $1.50 or down to $1.45. It would seem 1/3 of the time its down and 2/3 up. I’m still trying to work out how long wave radiation can produce more heat than shortwave and this is causing global warming?????

  21. mindert eiting says:

    That one third of the stations shows a cooling trend, doesn’t say much to me, if I do not know for how long the stations were on duty. With short records, regression slopes vary wildly. Show me the global trend for (1) stations more than 50 years on duty, (2) stations 10-50 years, and (3) stations less than 10 years. This cannot be difficult if you have almost 40.000 stations in your data base. With that number you can also do a survival analysis: what determines the life time of a station?

  22. oMan says:

    Fred Singer’s letter is a thing of beauty. A model of clear exposition and confident but temperate tone. I had lost sight of the fact that BEST had found one-third of the stations showing a cooling trend. I suppose the alarmists would try to explain this by saying the CO2 is driving more temperature extremes (some few areas are getting somewhat cooler while most others are getting much hotter) but it seems implausible to me: how could that work over a long time series in a small region (commingled with or adjacent other regions where the temperature trend was upward)?

  23. John Marshall says:

    Excellent Sir.

    But alarmists will continue as before. Convince a man against his will, he’s of the same opinion still.

  24. Steve C says:

    Well said, Dr. Singer. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely, even with your authority, that your words will get past the “fingers in ears, la, la, la, we’re not listening” response from those with considerable financial interest in keeping the scam going. As a better quotesmith than me once said, you can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think”.

  25. Dr. John M. Ware says:

    I heard Dr. Singer and two other speakers from SEPP (including Dr. Haapala) give a presentation at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond VA last Saturday; all were excellent and very clear on the issues. As I expected, the presentation was all science; no gimmicks or sleight-of-hand. I must say, though, that the scientific matter was all familiar to me from reading WUWT, and I was grateful to you for that. The new element was the work of one of the speakers, who was able to get his county–ultra-liberal Albemarle County, where UVA is–to withdraw from its commitment to spend money and effort on false “green” measures, showing that, indeed, one well-informed and articulate citizen can help local government to see the truth and stop wasting taxpayers’ money.

  26. richardjamestelford says:

    I thought Watts wrote that sceptics didn’t dispute that the climate was warming, but then Singer writes “atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites”
    This is simply not true. Satellite data for the mid-troposphere shows a clear warming trend since 1979. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Satellite_Temperatures.png

  27. Brian Eglinton says:

    mindert
    BEST published a diagram using only stations with a record length of 70 years.
    There is a copy of it at http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/kansas-temperature-trend-updatemuller-confirms-there-is-a-problem/
    The very large proportion of opposite trends and their even distribution across the USA is remarkable.

  28. Robert Hoffman says:

    I am very encouraged by the BEST findings. Whether you like or don’t like the view put by the four papers, the fact is that the data and code are all public. Let the debate begin – its a really good thing.

    As to Anthony’s view about the PR spin ahead of peer review – I think the blog sphere can provide good peer review. I am not talking about the noise from the blogs. I am talking about many more qualified scientists, rather than a few chosen for formal peer review, can comment and tease out what is happening.

    Then there are thousands of technically qualified folk – engineers, physicists, statisticians etc, who while not climate scientists, can contribute to the analsis in some part.

    OK – some judgement is needed to tease out the informed comment from the rest – but it can work.

  29. Gator says:

    BEST is not an appropriate acronym for this work, WORST is.

    Warmists
    Obfuscating
    Real
    Surface
    Temperatures

  30. KenB says:

    SteveE says:

    Steve I’d like to think that Peer Review would be a corrective process of such integrity that we could blindly accept. However when you look at the quality and content of some of the “peer reviewed” papers that get analysed here and the sloppy nature of many of those papers, its a stretch too far to expect blind acceptance on the face value of peer review only.

    Not to mention the gatekeeping where certain papers get a golden run through peer (PAL?) review with astounding errors in them and, others that get nit picked to oblivion where they challenge the so called “orthodoxy”

    I think we will wait and see on the BEST review of ….BEST.. by the blogosphere!

  31. Sharpshooter says:

    “Peers” are supposed to be neutral and more opposition than Pals. How many egregiously and fatally flawed papers have we seen that had positive “peer” reviews?

  32. Old England says:

    Not having read any of the BEST papers – is there any correlation attempted or produced between the 70% of badly sited stations and the temperature results they show? Are they neutral with one third of them showing a drop in temperature and two thirds an increase ? or is there a clear picture of them predominantly showing results which are a showing a bias in one direction or the other?

    It may be just a coincidence that 66% of stations record a warming trend and 70% of stations are recorded as badly sited. I would be interested to know if anyone can tell me more………
    Thanks

  33. DirkH says:

    Mat says:
    October 26, 2011 at 12:49 am
    “Ok guys – beyond a joke now, you’re going to have to let this one go – BEST was on your side!”

    The only thing skeptical about Muller was that he denounced MBH98 in a lecture; and MBH98 has been so deconstructed that it’s simply indefensible anyway today (even though the BBC and other public media, e.g. in Germany, still use it occasionally to frighten the chicken; it looks so nice with its blue handle and red hot blade. And one must admit, it was a great graphic to “communicate the science”. From a marketing perspective, great brand-building; they turned the disadvantage of it – the splicing of two data sources – into an appealing visual symbol by the right choice of colors.).

    Very early on, Marc Morano has also uncovered that Muller is the front for a geo-engineering outfit, the Novim group. Now who would they sell their stuff to when there’s no climate crisis.

    Muller’s alleged skepticism was as flakey as it gets.

  34. Chuck Nolan says:

    Steve C says:
    October 26, 2011 at 2:23 am
    …………………………..As a better quotesmith than me once said, you can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think”.
    —————–
    Something must have been lost in the translation. I believe the original quote was:
    You can lead a rose to horticulture but you can’t make it pink.

  35. John Whitman says:

    Dr. Singer,

    Thank you for standing up to speak against the multitude of incorrect science statements reported by the media wrt the BEST papers that are currently in peer review. You have my gratitude, the future looks positive.

    All it takes is one honest man to turn the tide. You have inspired me to stand up as well.

    I especially liked your statement,

    Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons. This indicates to me that there is something very wrong with the land surface data. And did you know that the climate models, run on super-computers, all show that the atmosphere must warm faster than the surface. What does this tell you?

    I am doing some independent research on GCM (models) wrt logical errors in them from circular reasoning, so all comments on the models are appreciated.

    John

  36. peter stone says:

    Fred Singer: “And finally, we have non-thermometer temperature data from so-called “proxies”: tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites. THEY DON’T SHOW ANY GLOBAL WARMING SINCE 1940!”
    *****************************************************************************************************

    That’s odd. Mere days ago, bloggers and participants on skeptics blogs suddenly proclaimed the they “knew all along” the earth was warming, as confirmed by the BEST, NASA, HadCRU, and NOAA reconstruction. And that their “only”complaint was attribution of warming to human sources. “Only” was the word of choice of many prominent skeptics.

    Now were back to skeptics cheering on Mr. Singer, who proclaims there hasn’t been any warming?

    These sudden movements of goal posts over a few days time are inconsistent. Both of these skeptics claims can’t possibly be true simultaneously.

  37. kramer says:

    The Berkeley results in no way confirm the scientifically discredited Hockeystick graph, which had been so eagerly adopted by climate alarmists.

    Muller’s comments in a commondreams article about the hockey: stick

    A more sardonic view was taken by prominent Bay Area physicist Richard Muller of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who served as a peer reviewer for the academy’s report. In 2004, he publicly criticized the Mann team’s work, calling it “an artifact of poor mathematics … when applied to the (temperature records of the) last millennium,” he recalled in an e-mail Thursday.
    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0623-03.htm

  38. Tom in Florida says:

    “In their scientific paper, submitted for peer review, the Berkeley scientists disclaim knowing the cause of the temperature increase reported by their project.”

    I did not see this mentioned in any of the mainstream media “news” reports that I read.
    For the warmers claiming victory, may I remind you that this is the crux of the debate.

  39. Max Hugoson says:

    Mr. Bradford:

    “Yet hard-core AGW types at RealClimate, and the Deltoids, are trashing the BEST results with a display of meanness they usually reserve for “deniers” such as “James Watt”.”

    I imagine you are serious about the “James Watt” usage from the sources cited. Personally I’m amazed that someone with scientific credentials in “heat transfer” realm has risen out of the grave to make commentary on the AGW issue!

  40. peter_dtm says:

    peter stone says:
    October 26, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Fred Singer: “And finally, we have non-thermometer temperature data from so-called “proxies”: tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites. THEY DON’T SHOW ANY GLOBAL WARMING SINCE 1940!”
    *****************************************************************************************************

    That’s odd. Mere days ago, bloggers and participants on skeptics blogs suddenly proclaimed the they “knew all along” the earth was warming, as confirmed by the BEST, NASA, HadCRU, and NOAA reconstruction. And that their “only”complaint was attribution of warming to human sources. “Only” was the word of choice of many prominent skeptics.

    Now were back to skeptics cheering on Mr. Singer, who proclaims there hasn’t been any warming?

    These sudden movements of goal posts over a few days time are inconsistent. Both of these skeptics claims can’t possibly be true simultaneously.

    //// end quote

    Peter Stone; are you serious ?

    THE DATA reports no warming.

    here is the key bit
    quote
    And finally, we have non-thermometer temperature data from so-called “proxies”: tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites. THEY DON’T SHOW ANY GLOBAL WARMING SINCE 1940!”
    /end quote

    All I see is a scientist reporting what (some) data appears to show.

    Did you see Prof Singer make a claim that the Earth was not warming; or did he do what I expect all scientists to do – report what the data says REGARDLESS of how it fits your theory ???

    Not only have you misunderstood what is being said; but you have tried to take it out of context.
    This collection of data appears to be the very data that was NOT included in the assorted papers as it disagreed with the GCM outputs.

    Now please tell; who is moving goal posts ? Who is hiding data ? Who is showing data ?

    I am sure one of the real scientists will be along shortly to let us know what papers failed to extend their data sets to include this most inconvenient piece of information

    Now tell me; which is worse – reporting data even though it goes against your stated interpretation of other datassssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  41. JPeden says:

    kramer says:
    October 26, 2011 at 6:10 am

    “The Berkeley results in no way confirm the scientifically discredited Hockeystick graph, which had been so eagerly adopted by climate alarmists. ”

    Muller’s comments in a commondreams article about the hockey: stick

    “A more sardonic view was taken by prominent Bay Area physicist Richard Muller of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who served as a peer reviewer for the academy’s report. In 2004, he publicly criticized the Mann team’s work, calling it “an artifact of poor mathematics … when applied to the (temperature records of the) last millennium,” he recalled in an e-mail Thursday.
    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0623-03.htm

    So what about you, kramer? Do you believe that the Hockey Stick has been definitively shown to be “an artifact of poor mathematics”?

    And do Progressives still believe in CO2 = CAGW and its “green” energy drive?

  42. JPeden says:

    SteveE says:

    So when this study is published in a peer review then you’ll accept it?

    The more relevant question for you, Steve, is do you still believe in the pre-Enlightenment “mainstream” Climate Science methodological jibe that peer review insures the publication of the “given truth”?

  43. richard verney says:

    I am one of those skeptics who considers that it is probable that the world has warmed during the course of the last century but question (i) the exxtent of such warming (ii) the cause of such warming, and (iii) the significance of such warming (in particu;ar whether any such warming is a matter of concern, or whether on balance it is beneficial).

    That said, I consider the qulatity of data (or perhaps more to the point lack of reliable qualative and quantative data) to be such and the errors associated with it to means that no one can say with better than 70% certainty that it is warmer today than it was in the 1930s/40s or even the late 1800s. The deficiency of data is such that even that may be over stating the mark.

    The BEST re-interpretation of the available data does little to add any certainty to this important area of the debate, and in my opinion does not sufficiently detail the error bars with which any extrapolatiuon and interpretation of the data must be viewed. The lack of quality of the data and the failure to appreciate the extent of error margins is one of the key problems underpinning the poor understanding of climate science.

  44. Thanks Dr. Singer, you write a clear prose, shine a light.

  45. peter_dtm says:

    oopps my :
    peter_dtm says:
    October 26, 2011 at 6:30 am
    got mangled somewhere ..

    it should have ended :

    Now tell me; which is worse – reporting data even though it goes against your stated interpretation of other data

    or hiding it because it inconveniently disagrees with your hypothesis and models

  46. TomT says:

    In a sane world Dr Singer you would be asked to submit a full op-ed piece.

  47. TomT says:

    @peter_dtm
    October 26, 2011 at 6:30 am :

    What if all we were asking is that that the data be complete and accurate, and the data be made public so it can be checked? Does that sound like a reasonable place to put the goal posts?

  48. Prof Singer writes:

    “Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons…”

    I would like to point out that this is within the measures of the last ten years. It would be good if Prof Singer would clarify that this is the period he’s referring to, assuming that is his assertion. Alarmists are taking this quote and are saying “See, they deny ALL warming!”.

  49. JPeden says:

    peter stone says:
    October 26, 2011 at 6:08 am

    These sudden movements of goal posts over a few days time are inconsistent. Both of these skeptics claims [warming/no warming] can’t possibly be true simultaneously.

    Of course they can. There has been both warming and no warming, then cooling, occurring in the climate since it began, depending on the time period considered. Since the beginning of the holocene, for example, there have been several periods of more warming than the current, possibly waning or reversing, period – possibly now waning or reversing since there’s been no atmospheric warming over at least the past 15 yrs., no increase in ocean heat content over a period of some years, and a more recent decreasing to reversing rate of what was a very low rate of sea level rise to begin with.

    So admitting the existence of the current warming since the end of the “Little Ice Age” following the “Medieval Warm Period”, which the Hockey Stick tried to erase, is not inconsistent with questioning the duration, degree, and course of the current warming period, as well as its relevance to the CO2 = CAGW “science” – which itself hasn’t produced even one correct or “true” relevant prediction yet.

    What is inconsistent, therefore, are the practices of ipcc-style Climate Science as compared with the practice of real scientific method and principle science.

  50. John Whitman says:

    JPeden says:

    October 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

    ——————

    JPeden,

    A well constructed overview.

    Can I use it?

    John

  51. An Inquirer says:

    richardjamestelford points out @ October 26, 2011 at 2:44 am that Singer writes “atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites.” richardjamestelford goes on to say “This is simply not true. Satellite data for the mid-troposphere shows a clear warming trend since 1979.”

    While Singer has many valid points in his article, this comment about atmospheric warming is misleading at best and deceptive at worst. Singer undoubtedly knows that the satellite record shows warming of the lower troposphere — was he referring to another part of the atmosphere? Or maybe he was referring to balloon data from the 40s in addition to the Satellites from 1979. If so, that is sloppy writing. If Singer was referring to the last 14 years, then he really should have clarified.

  52. Bill H says:

    when you look at what BEST did with the data it makes me wonder if there intent was really science? they took 60 years of unverifiable data, massaged it, and got minor warming and no proof that man was responsible for it… or even if what man does do is a partial cause.

    now if i wanted to really evaluate the surface stations i would designate several groups as the Surface station papers have done.. Urban(cities), rural (farm areas), remote(forests and other non improved areas) i would then compare apples to apples etc… we know that land uses change area temperatures as does development. those heat islands are real however minute they may be.

    funny that just taking 15 stations labeled rural and in category 1 show no warming in the last thirty years. yet stations labeled Urban and category 1or 2 show a 1.3 deg C rise in the same time period. urban stations have bad problems with a majority of them in the 4.5 group.. so the findings are within the MOE for those stations. a statistical wash..

    BEST has just strengthened my belief that AGW is all hype.. natural variation (over which we have no control) is natural…

  53. An Inquirer says:

    Clarification for all confused about the Skeptics’ position on the existence of global warming. I do believe that Skeptics believe that there has been global warming since the Little Ice Age. For most of the world, thermometers started to be used only since the end of the LIA so we expect to see an upward trend in the thermometer record. Also, skeptics believe that the world has warmed since the 1970s. Remaining questions: (1) Are we continuing to warm? (2) Are we warmer than the 1930s? On the latter question, I am not sure, but it seems that most people believe that we are. Although adjusted temperature readings (worldwide) say that we are warmer now, the negative impact of hot, dry weather was much more dramatic in the 1930s. It is interesting to note that the winters were colder in the 1930s while I believe the summers were hotter.

  54. Ben Blankenship says:

    I have yet to see Singer’s fine letter in the WaPo. However, they have published a BEST-adoring column by Eugene Robinson. Here’s an excerpt:
    “Muller and his colleagues examined five times as many temperature readings as did other researchers — a total of 1.6 billion records — and now have put that “http://berkeleyearth.org/data.php”. The results have not yet been subjected to peer review, so technically they are still preliminary. But Muller’s plain-spoken admonition that “you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer” has reduced many deniers to incoherent grumbling or stunned silence.” From WUWT’s responses above, I’d say none are incoherent or stunned. Robinson must not be a regular patron of the finer arts.

  55. Dave in Canmore says:

    Peter Stone,
    Current global lower troposphere temperature anomaly is .29 degrees and will be dropping down to nearly zero over the next month due to cooling oceans. It was warming but not in the last 10 years. If you follow climate metrics rather than climate dogma, you can figure out why people would see different signals at different time scales. I hope this solves your confusion.

  56. Richard M says:

    It looks like another believer has demonstrated classic reading comprehension problems. Poor peter stone. If only he took time to understand the issues. But no, sadly all he does is give us a good laugh.

  57. Keith says:

    mindert eiting says:
    October 26, 2011 at 1:42 am

    That one third of the stations shows a cooling trend, doesn’t say much to me, if I do not know for how long the stations were on duty. With short records, regression slopes vary wildly. Show me the global trend for (1) stations more than 50 years on duty, (2) stations 10-50 years, and (3) stations less than 10 years. This cannot be difficult if you have almost 40.000 stations in your data base. With that number you can also do a survival analysis: what determines the life time of a station?

    For starters, there’s this from just a few days ago:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/24/unadjusted-data-of-long-period-stations-in-giss-show-a-virtually-flat-century-scale-trend/

  58. JPeden says:

    John Whitman says:
    October 26, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Can I use it?

    Sure!

  59. JPeden says:

    Ben Blankenship says:
    October 26, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I have yet to see Singer’s fine letter in the WaPo. However, they have published a BEST-adoring column by Eugene Robinson. Here’s an excerpt:

    “….But Muller’s plain-spoken admonition that “you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer” has reduced many deniers to incoherent grumbling or stunned silence.”

    From what I’ve seen of Eugene Robinson over the years, I believe the man still doth projecteth too mucheth.

  60. oeman50 says:

    “Dr. John M. Ware says:
    October 26, 2011 at 2:28 am
    I heard Dr. Singer and two other speakers from SEPP (including Dr. Haapala) give a presentation at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond VA last Saturday;”

    I was at the same meeting as Dr. Ware, it was the first time I had the opportunity at attend a climate presentation based on science, not emotions. I also got a chance to shake Dr. Singer’s hand and thank him. That made my day.

  61. Ben Blankenship says:

    And on the adoration front, this just in, from Al Gore, in Huffington Post:
    “With the evidence reconfirmed (again), I would hope that skeptics would rethink their position and join me in pushing our government, and governments around the world, to take steps to solve the climate crisis.”

    How, Al? Like EPA closing down our coal generating plants at the same time China is building twice as many?

  62. oMan says: October 26, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Fred Singer’s letter is a thing of beauty. A model of clear exposition and confident but temperate tone. I had lost sight of the fact that BEST had found one-third of the stations showing a cooling trend…

    Thank you. I think we may yet salvage usefulness for BEST from this. Singer’s note makes me think there is still a scientist in Muller’s soul, somewhere, alongside the media razz and fiscal investment in green piety.

  63. peter_dtm says:

    TomT says:
    October 26, 2011 at 7:46 am

    @peter_dtm
    October 26, 2011 at 6:30 am :

    What if all we were asking is that that the data be complete and accurate, and the data be made public so it can be checked? Does that sound like a reasonable place to put the goal posts?

    ————————

    Not only reasonable – but isn’t that ‘just’ plain ordinary (pre-post normal) science.

    but I would also expect to see any and all algorythms; functions and programs as well; and a declaration of funding; and if relevant a declaration of interest if I worked/voluntered for an advocacy group operating in the same or allied branch of science

  64. Julienne Stroeve says:

    Dr. Singer’s letter is unfortunately quite inaccurate in terms of there being no atmospheric warming or ocean warming during the time-period he is referring to. Additionally there has been warming land surface temperature warming since the 1940s. Not sure why he persists is such sweeping statements when the data records clearly contradict him. If he was referring to a different time-period that he alludes to in his letter, he should state that up front. Will be interesting to watch his presentation next week in Sante Fe, where the folks from BEST will also be presenting their results.

  65. John Whitman says:

    Julienne Stroeve says:

    October 26, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Dr. Singer’s letter is unfortunately quite inaccurate in terms of there being no atmospheric warming or ocean warming during the time-period he is referring to. Additionally there has been warming land surface temperature warming since the 1940s. Not sure why he persists is such sweeping statements when the data records clearly contradict him. If he was referring to a different time-period that he alludes to in his letter, he should state that up front. Will be interesting to watch his presentation next week in Sante Fe, where the folks from BEST will also be presenting their results.

    Julienne Stroeve,

    Yes, Singer did indeed do a fine job of completely sweeping into the dustbin all of the Wa-Po’s journalistically inaccurate PR piece.

    Ask Dr. Singer specific detailed questions. I think they will reach him. Enjoy.

    John

  66. peter_dtm says:

    Julienne Stroeve says:
    October 26, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Dr. Singer’s letter is unfortunately quite inaccurate in terms of there being no atmospheric warming or ocean warming during the time-period he is referring to.

    That is not what he said .. this is what he said :
    Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend

    TREND – admittedly he didn’t specify the time period over which he measured his trend; but he most definitely did not say there was no warming.

    and then you say
    /quote
    Not sure why he persists is such sweeping statements when the data records clearly contradict him.
    /end quote

    Lets see – he takes some specific examples of data series that do SHOW NO WARMING :
    /quote Dr SInger
    And finally, we have non-thermometer temperature data from so-called “proxies”: tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites. They don’t show any global warming since 1940!
    /end quote Dr SInger.

    I would say the data records support a statement of NO WARMING; and also he asks the very important question – what trends did the MISSING data show ? We can be very sure if the missing data showed a warming trend it would have been included. So would it be unreasonable to presume the missing data shows no warming ?

  67. J Martin says:

    @ Julienne Stroeve

    And your links to the data records / evidence of the warming you refer to…

  68. Bart says:

    I still want to know what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks the straight average of an intensive variable like temperature means.

  69. gator69 says:

    Hey Julienne! I never got a response from our last encounter. Wonder why? Well let’s not dwell in the past.

    Regarding the land surface GISS temperatures…

    “The slight upward temperature trend observed in the average temperature of all
    stations disappears entirely if the input data is restricted to long-running stations only, that is those stations that have reported monthly averages for at least one month in every year from 1900 to 2000. This discrepancy remains to be explained.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/24/unadjusted-data-of-long-period-stations-in-giss-show-a-virtually-flat-century-scale-trend/

    Examples…

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=425745560020&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=425724390020&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=425745560040&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=425745600010&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    So clearly there is no global warming.

  70. jakers says:

    peter_dtm says: October 26, 2011 at 11:15 am
    “Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend”
    TREND – admittedly he didn’t specify the time period over which he measured his trend; but he most definitely did not say there was no warming.

    Uh, just what are you defining “trend” as meaning?

  71. peter_dtm says:

    jakers says:
    October 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    peter_dtm says: October 26, 2011 at 11:15 am
    “Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend”
    TREND – admittedly he didn’t specify the time period over which he measured his trend; but he most definitely did not say there was no warming.

    Uh, just what are you defining “trend” as meaning?

    //end quote

    I guess in this case I can use wiki ?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trend_estimation

    Trend estimation is a statistical technique to aid interpretation of data. When a series of measurements of a process are treated as a time series, trend estimation can be used to make and justify statements about tendencies in the data.

    Which I PRESUME is what Dr S would mean –

    So in this case – over some indeterminate time; the data does not appear to have a tendency to indicate warming.

    So it is quite possible to have quite noticeable warming – but no overall trend – think of a sine curve over 3600 degrees – there is no observable trend towards either an increase from the start point or a decrease from the start point.. Of course over 10 degrees; you may notice :
    no trend as the curve is flat (min/max @90 degrees or 270 degrees)

    rapidly rising trend (0/360 degrees)
    rapidly falling (180 degrees)
    everything in between

    OR he could have meant this

    Trend line
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    (Redirected from Trend line (disambiguation))

    Trend line can refer to:
    Linear regression in mathematics. which links here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_regression

    which for the parameters being discussed would imply a trend over time and still allows for periods of warming and periods of cooling – with a final trend of …. no warming

    but as I said – he didn’t indicate what time period was used.

    Just what did you think that statement meant ?

  72. Robert Austin says:

    peter stone says:
    October 26, 2011 at 6:08 am

    “Fred Singer: “And finally, we have non-thermometer temperature data from so-called “proxies”: tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites. THEY DON’T SHOW ANY GLOBAL WARMING SINCE 1940!”
    *****************************************************************************************************
    That’s odd. Mere days ago, bloggers and participants on skeptics blogs suddenly proclaimed the they “knew all along” the earth was warming, as confirmed by the BEST, NASA, HadCRU, and NOAA reconstruction. And that their “only”complaint was attribution of warming to human sources. “Only” was the word of choice of many prominent skeptics.
    Now were back to skeptics cheering on Mr. Singer, who proclaims there hasn’t been any warming?
    These sudden movements of goal posts over a few days time are inconsistent. Both of these skeptics claims can’t possibly be true simultaneously.”

    Peter Stone,
    Have not heard of the “hide the decline” issue with respect to proxy reconstructions? Hence the devious truncation of recent temperature reconstructions that are not on message (showing divergence from thermometer records). So Singer claims the “so called” proxies show no warming since 1940. These are not Singer’s proxies and reconstructions; Singer is just making a point that all is not well in the temperature reconstruction business. We have BEST showing a net warming since 1800 but with 1/3 of records showing cooling; how reassuring is that? Setting the temperature reconstructions aside, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suspect that the earth has warmed since the little ice age but many reasons to suspect the allegedly more precise reconstructions of global average temperature. We also need time to digest BEST to see if it actually is “best”.

  73. JohnWho says:

    Robert Austin says:
    October 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm
    We also need time to digest BEST to see if it actually is “best”.

    I’m with you, Robert -

    we, here on WUWT at least, should not call it “BEST” (Berkely Earth Surface Temperature).

    Better to call it “Berkeley EST”.

    The “BEST” acronym is highly misleading, in my opinion.

    So, we also need time to digest Berkeley EST to see if it actually is “best”.

  74. Gator says:

    I’m leaning more toward BeSt.

  75. Gail Combs says:

    richardjamestelford says:
    October 26, 2011 at 2:44 am

    I thought Watts wrote that sceptics didn’t dispute that the climate was warming, but then Singer writes “atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites”
    This is simply not true. Satellite data for the mid-troposphere shows a clear warming trend since 1979. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Satellite_Temperatures.png
    ________________________________

    It depends on the context and that is where the propaganda comes in. Seems the Devil is in the details which is why Scott Armstrong, Professor of Marketing @ University of Pennsylvania wrote up a study Bafflegab Pays He has researched the peer review process and written several other papers.

    1970 to 1999 – slightly warming
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_current.gif
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/gw-us-1999-2011-hansen.gif
    NOAA adjustment chart) http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_pg.gif
    Discussions:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/16/the-past-is-not-what-it-used-to-be-gw-tiger-tale/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/15/controversial-nasa-temperature-graphic-morphs-into-garbled-mess/
    Interesting alternate data set: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/ruti-global-land-temperatures-1880-2010-part-1-244.php

    21st century – pretty much flat
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_current.gif

    last 6000-8000 years – cooling
    http://www.biocab.org/holocene.html

    last 0.03 million years – sharply warming
    http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/9484/lasticeageglant.png
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/20kyr_fig1.jpg

    Dr. Singer is not engaging in bafflegab. Thank you Dr. Singer

  76. Gail Combs says:

    #
    #
    Ben Blankenship says:
    October 26, 2011 at 10:05 am

    And on the adoration front, this just in, from Al Gore, in Huffington Post:
    “With the evidence reconfirmed (again), I would hope that skeptics would rethink their position and join me in pushing our government, and governments around the world, to take steps to solve the climate crisis.”

    How, Al? Like EPA closing down our coal generating plants at the same time China is building twice as many?
    ______________________________________________________-
    No by paying Al (president of New Forest Co.) and the World Bank(financier) to push more Africans off their land so they can plant an invasive tree.

    Al Gore and the World Bank have invented a new weapon, Genocide by Eucalyptus and want tax payers the world over to foot the bill.
    “It creates virtual monocultures and can rapidly take over surrounding compatible areas, completely changing the ecosystem. That monoculture creates a loss of habitats for many species that relied on the previous system. Due to its great capacity for taking over a wide variety of habitats, the Blue Gum eucalyptus could possibly spread to a great range of systems where there is enough water content and create huge monocultures.” http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/eucalyptus_globulus_htmlwra.htm

    “…..Most dense bluegum eucalyptus stands in California and Hawaii are almost devoid of understory vegetation, except for a few hardy grasses….
    The leaves of bluegum eucalyptus release a number of terpenes and phenolic acids. These chemicals may be responsible for the paucity of accompanying vegetation in plantations [4]. Natural fog drip from bluegum eucalyptus inhibits the growth of annual grass seedlings in bioassays, suggesting that such inhibition occurs naturally [10,34]. At least one leaf extract has been shown to strongly inhibit root growth of seedlings of other species…

    PALATABILITY :
    Bluegum eucalyptus foliage is unpalatable to cattle, sheep, and goats

    http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/eucglo/all.html#7
    The grass “fogged” with eucalyptus oil is also “unpalatable” and if even a goat won’t eat it….

  77. Gail Combs says:

    Bart says:
    October 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I still want to know what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks the straight average of an intensive variable like temperature means.
    _________________________________________
    That’s easy!

    Remember Anthony’s article (New York Times) on They had to burn the village to save it from global warming
    “…In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.

    But there was just one problem: people were living on the land where the company wanted to plant trees. Indeed, they had been there a while….”

    The president of New Forests is Al Gore and investors include the World Bank and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC. See Global Land Grab other for similar projects)

    This is the World Bank Press announcement:
    “Cancun, Mexico, December 8, 2010–Developing countries wanting to use market instruments to scale up their mitigation efforts will soon have access to financial and technical support arising from a new global partnership launched today.

    World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick announced the establishment of the Partnership for Market Readiness at an event on the sidelines of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Cancun.

    The Partnership received pledges of more than $20 million by Australia (A$10m), the European Commission (€5m) and the United States ($5m) in Cancun today, which builds on an early pledge of $5 million from Norway. In addition, Germany, Japan and the UK announced their intention to support the initiative financially.

    The Partnership is aiming for a total capitalization of $100 million. It is expected to become operational in early 2011 and will support a range of carbon market readiness initiatives ranging from technical to policy to institutional interventions…..”

    http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:22785667~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html

    Just think it is YOUR tax dollar that was invested in New Forests and resulted in Friday Mukamperezida death by burning, but you will never see a dime of income only people like Al Gore will. All you get is the guilt.

  78. richardjamestelford says:

    Gail Combs says:
    October 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Last time I checked, the satellite-atmospheric data started in 1979. So Singer cannot have been referring to any of the longer-timescales that you mention. Since the data don’t support his statement, he was indulging in bafflegab.

  79. Al Dorman says:

    I see the skeptics have switched to a “God of the gaps” approach.

  80. Robert E. Phelan says:

    Al Dorman says:
    October 27, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Gee, Al, don’t you think the Alarmist position “It’s got to be CO2! We can’t think of anything else!” better fits that approach?

    Drive-by snark. Gotta love it.

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