Pre-Prints and Pre-Data

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Folks have said that I’m far too hard on Dr. Richard Muller of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST Project). So let me stick to the facts. I fear I lost all respect for the man when he broke a confidentiality agreement with Anthony Watts, not just in casual conversation, but in testimony before Congress. So there’s your first fact.

[NOTE: ACTUAL FIGURE 1 PHOTO REMOVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FACTUALITY FOR INSUFFICIENT FACTITIOUSNESS.]

Figure 1. Actual un-retouched photo of a verified fact.

Next fact. Dr. Muller has put in motion an impressive publicity machine, including an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, to draw attention to his four new papers. He did this before the papers had been through peer review. He has been criticized by many people for doing this. I among others have wondered, why release the papers to with a big PR blitz before peer review? It made no sense to me. What is his official response to these criticisms? From the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature web site FAQ:

 Why didn’t Berkeley Earth wait for peer review?

Some people think that peer review consists of submitting a paper to a journal and waiting for the anonymous comments of referees. Traditional peer review is much broader than that and much more open. In science, when you have a new result, your first step is to present it to your colleagues by giving presentations, talks at local and international conferences, colloquia, and by sending out “preprints.” In fact, every academic department in the sciences had a preprint library where people would read up on the latest results. If they found something to disagree with, they would talk to or write the authors. Preprint libraries were so popular that, if you found someone was not in the office or lab, the first place you would search would be in the preprint library. Recently these rooms have disappeared, their place taken over by the internet. The biggest preprint library in the world now is a website, arXiv.org.

Such traditional and open peer review has many advantages. It usually results in better papers in the archival journals, because the papers are widely examined prior to publication. It does have a disadvantage, however, that journalists can also pick up preprints and report on them before the traditional peer-review process is finished.

Now, that stuff about it being like traditional and open peer review among colleagues, that sounds great. Heck, it even sounds progressive, it seems to include the blogosphere, who could oppose that? It’s all logical, or at least seens possible, until you hear what Dr. Muller’s unofficial explanation is for the big PR push. Judith Curry reports it like this, as a result of talking about it with Dr. Muller:

… Second, the reason for the publicity blitz seems to be to get the attention of the IPCC.   To be considered in the AR5, papers need to be submitted by Nov, which explains the timing.  The publicity is so that the IPCC can’t ignore BEST.  Muller shares my concerns about the IPCC process, and gatekeeping in the peer review process. SOURCE

There’s a few problems with that explanation.

• If Dr. Muller’s real reason for not waiting for peer review is so that it can get into the IPCC report … then why is he being so very much less than accurate and candid on his website?

• Dr. Muller is claiming that somehow the IPCC is not aware of the BEST project, that he needs to advertise because the IPCC scientists never heard of him … … I’m just hanging the facts out on the line here. You can decide if he needs to advertise.

• Dr. Muller is also claiming “gatekeeping” by the IPCC, presumably to keep out climate alarmists like himself … I’m just reporting here, sticking to the facts. [FACT] If there is gatekeeping in the IPCC to keep out climate alarmists, the guard at the gate post is not asleep. He is pining for the fjords.[/FACT]

• There is no IPCC deadline in November of any kind. To be eligible for assessment by WG1, the cutoff date is not until next summer.The papers have to be submitted for publication before August 2012.  And even then, the papers do not have to be published until the following year, by March 15, 2013. Here’s the timetable

IPCC AR5 Timetable

CMIP5 and WG1 milestones and schedule

2011

• February: First model output expected to be available for analysis.

• July 18-22: Second Lead Authors Meeting (LA2) • October 24-28: WCRP Open Science Conference will include a CMIP5 session (Denver, Colorado)

• December 16 – February 10, 2012: Expert Review of the First Order Draft (FOD)

2012

• April 16-20: Third Lead Authors Meeting (LA3)

July 31: By this date papers must be submitted for publication to be eligible for assessment by WG1.

• October 5 – November 30: Expert and Government Review of the Second Order Draft (SOD)

So why the hurry to get these papers out now? Why the sudden emphasis on the manyfold virtues of pre-prints? My best guess is that Dr. Muller wants to get his papers considered by the December-February Expert Review of the First Order Draft.

The reason I say that, is there’s an oddity about the first order draft (FOD). To be in the final IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), in theory the work must be peer-reviewed. The only exceptions seem to be for WWF opinion pieces.

But to be considered in the IPCC  FOD, the rules are much more lax (op. cit.). For the FOD the bar is lower because

preprints, papers submitted, accepted, in press, and published are all eligible for consideration

Which seems to me to be the final link in the chain connecting why he is talking so much about pre-prints on his website, while at the same time telling Judith that it’s a propaganda show to convince the IPCC to notice him. (In passing, does the push for preprints mean he hasn’t submitted the paper yet? Unknown but possible …)

Disquieting conclusions from the above:

First, from Dr. Muller’s actions it seems to be considered business as usual to try to persuade the IPCC to consider your claims by putting on a huge media blitz so that they can’t “ignore” you. Presumably this is because if the New York Times prints it, it must be science.

Is this how low we’ve fallen? Is this the scientific process the IPCC really uses to select what to consider? I don’t know … but clearly Dr. Muller thinks it is the process the IPCC uses, and that it is a legitimate way to get in the door.

Second, while solid, verifiable pre-print results might be worth a look-in for a first-order draft, these four papers were released without the accompanying data. You might have thought that Dr. Muller released the data when he released the four papers … but if so, you have been fooled by Dr. Muller. I was fooled for a bit, too, I didn’t read the fine print.

Someone pointed out that the bottom of the README file released by Dr. Muller it says:

… This release is not recommended for third party research use as the known bugs may lead to erroneous conclusions due to incomplete understanding of the data set’s current limitations.

In other words, to match the pre-prints, we have pre-data. Isn’t science wonderful?

Now, recall that Dr. Muller’s explanation of putting his papers out into the world right now was to subject them to “traditional and open peer review”. Recall that he is out hyping the results of these papers to anyone who will give him some publicity. He is discussing them in the media. And he is claiming he has put them out for “traditional and open” peer review.

Perhaps Dr. Muller can explain why either we or the media should believe his results when we cannot subject them to any kind of review at all without the code and data.

To summarize, here’s what I think are facts:

• The four papers appear to have been published in pre-print to be eligible for consideration for the first order draft of the IPCC report.

• A very different explanation for that was given in public on the BEST website.

• Dr. Muller thinks that the way to get the four papers into the IPCC report is a full-on media blitz.

• Dr. Muller may be right about that.

• The four papers have been prepared from some unknown subset of a “buggy” dataset.

• The subset was determined by looking at the “current limitations” of the buggy dataset.

• We do not know what the rules for extracting the subset were.

• We do not know what the current limitations of the buggy dataset might be.

• The actual data has not been released.

• Code for the individual papers has not been released.

• Their “homogenized” dataset, containing the result of all of their scalpel slices and adjustments of all types, has not been released.

• Finally, the dataset that they did release was not even the raw data. It was processed by removing the monthly averages … but we don’t know what those averages were, or how they were constructed.

So, despite a promise of transparency, to great fanfare BEST has released four pre-prints, based on admittedly “buggy” data, without the accompanying code or data to back them up.

That’s what I think are the facts in the case. I leave you to draw any conclusions.

My regards to all.

w.

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73 thoughts on “Pre-Prints and Pre-Data

  1. Another idea – It is much easier to get additional federal funding shortly after the beginning of a Fiscal Year (we are 1 month into FY12) than later in the year when all the money has been allocated. The publicity is to attract the Oooohs and Ahhhs of the Congress Critters.

  2. Muller states that “[i]n fact, every academic department in the sciences had a preprint library where people would read up on the latest results. If they found something to disagree with, they would talk to or write the authors. Preprint libraries were so popular that, if you found someone was not in the office or lab, the first place you would search would be in the preprint library. Recently these rooms have disappeared, their place taken over by the internet. The biggest preprint library in the world now is a website, arXiv.org.”

    Huh? I went through my entire undergraduate and graduate education in a fundamental discipline (Chemistry) at world-class institutions (University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria) from 1995-2005 and I never saw the apparently ubiquitous “preprint library” Muller speaks of. There was a hard-copy journal library, but certainly no “preprint library”. In chemistry, publicly available and widely disseminated preprints (either paper – before the internet, or online nowadays) are effectively non-existent.

  3. The mega-hyped fanfare announcement of the BEST project – the absolute promise of transparency, honest science, etc – the delay in results – and now the obvious political motivated pre-publication…of flawed material……..
    It simply cannot get any WORSE!

  4. I think Mark in Sandy Eggo has got the right of it. One thing that Muller seems to be good at is getting paid by the US tax payer….he’s been doing it all of his professional life.

  5. As ever Willis great post, however Dr Muller has already told every one who will listen that the world has warmed and sceptics are wrong, thats the FACT that he and BEST wanted put out to the world…… i feel very sorry for Anthony and his surface station project it appears from Mullers wailing that there is nothing wrong with the stations and that is clearly the case.

    Hopefully when code and data are released yourself and Steve McIntrye can pull this debarcle to pieces.Seems Muller wants a place on the gravy train, more than the truth/science

    Can’t understand Judith Curry’s postion at all now, one minute she’s really annoyed the next she happy after talking with Muller and the world seems all OKagain.hope she has not gone to the
    dark side..again

    All of this really is a curve ball and very unsettling…..maybe thats the point to it??? easier to knock your opponent down when he’s unbalanced.

  6. Willis>

    Doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that perhaps this is all in order to get an accurate temperature record into AR5 – a cunning and adversarial skeptic might deliberately make unsupportable warmist claims to get the data into the IPCC’s mind as suitable for their cause,

  7. Climate science has now run the gamut from people who actually looked outside to see what was happening, then writing it down, of course, to a vaudeville act complete with dancing bears (polar) and everything hidden behind a heavy velvet curtain.
    All pure showmanship to an indulgent media and politicians laden with other people’s money, neither of whom give any credence to the idea there may be nothing behind the curtain, least of all, supporting facts! Nor do they even care!
    They gotta’ do sumthin’!! you see. They’re convinced we’re all gonna’ die! No time to think about it!! Coincidentally, the present “leader of the free world” uses this exact same tactic, all the time!
    BAAHHH!

  8. I would like to hear Herr Dr. Professor Muller make a convincing case why the federal government should pay him to do anything.

  9. Mycroft says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    … Hopefully when code and data are released yourself and Steve McIntrye can pull this debarcle to pieces.

    That’s not my hope at all, Mycroft. My hope is, as it was from the first, that there isn’t a single thing wrong with whatever he finally produces as a dataset.

    And even if there are problems with his algorithms, if nothing else, we’ll have gotten all the raw data records collected in one place, a first for the field.

    w.

  10. I think it’s now got to a stage where you just play Muller along and let him sink under the weight of his errors and mis-statements and contradictions. JC is playing the right game here. meanwhile, even sceptical lord Mosher is getting more and more ridiculous in his claims about UHI effects…it is very strange to behold.

  11. I once had a FACT, I set it down somewhere and now I can’t find it; it must have gone out in the trash. As a matter of FACT, things that I know today, turn out to be not so clear-cut tomorrow, like in, it has become plausible, not a FACT.

    I take issue with Willis regarding time. He postulates January 2012 for First Order Draft (FOD) and I believe that November (2011) and Durban South Africa is the time series agenda. The giveaway for me was the June 2011 Congressional testimony….just hang in there with me Senators, I have the data and it will be out in the scientific literature in three shakes of a lamb’s tail and its all warming, warming I tell ya, hot! Everything is copisthetic. Those New York City and College Station boys were right. Trust me I’m a doctor.

    So we are back to FACTS, or in this case Factoids, those press release snippets for public consumption that do not actually show anything, just, something we like to talk about. Why am I reminded, again and again of the words of Joseph Goebbels and the theory of the big lie, say it over and over until people believe it is true. CO2 is the prime driver of climate change, and man is to blame. Or, in this case, the Land Surface Temperature record demonstrates an unceasing rise in global temperatures, we have 39,000 data sites to prove it. CO2 drives climate change. End of ….? Hmmm, there must be a FACT around here somewhere, did I leave it in the car?

  12. With all the SH-1-T that has been printed by IPCC and said to be peer reviewed, even if Dr Muller’s paper was peer reviewed, hwo would every believe it?

    Its got to the stage now that non-scientists like me do not know hwo to trust.

  13. So he wants to be considered for the next IPCC….compares his work to String Theory…

    ….and he puts out a PR campaign claiming he’s a skeptic

    “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here……..closing time”

  14. I wonder whether Dr. Muller and his research group are coming under severe financial pressure. If this is so, he may be trying to keep his funding current by this pre-publication raz-ma-taz. He may be saying, to whatever climate groups have money, you like this taste of what we’ve been doing? Then you’ll have to fund us for another year or so to get the official results and the official bug-free code. Otherwise, you’ll have to repeat my work yourself on your own dime. Basically, according to this hypothesis, he is offering his completed, corrected data to those who are willing to cut him a sufficiently big slice of their climate funding. There is also the implicit threat deep in the background that the final results will be slanted or presented in such a way as to please the pressure groups that fund him and to annoy the pressure groups that do.not fund him. The people who pay will also get the good stuff up-front and first as soon as it’s available, while everyone else gets it slowly and last as the peer-review and publication process grinds to a conclusion.

  15. Willis Eschenbach says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    “That’s not my hope at all, Mycroft. My hope is, as it was from the first, that there isn’t a single thing wrong with whatever he finally produces as a dataset.”

    It may not have been your hope, but I expect Steve McIntyre, you, and lots of other auditor types will do exactly that after Muller’s PR “debarcle”.

  16. A very compelling (and clear) case, Willis. Perhaps it is also worth bearing in mind that BEST’s first excuse, for their (IMHO) highly unwarranted premature media blitz, before it morphed into the rather bizarre ‘wanting to be noticed by the IPCC’ was that they “didn’t want to be scooped”.

    Those who may not yet have seen it, might also be interested in Steve McIntyre’s verdict:

    I don’t see anything in the BEST corpus that would cause a reasonable person with views on recent temperature change informed by satellite data to now prefer CRU or BEST as more probable measurements of land temperature change in the satellite period. It seems entirely reasonable to me that someone would attribute the difference between higher CRU and BEST trends and satellite trends not to the accuracy of CRU and BEST with flawed data, but to known problems with surface stations and, in the case of BEST, to artifacts of Mennnian methodology. I don’t plan to spend much more time on it.
    [...]
    The new temperature calculations from Berkeley, whatever their merit or lack of merit, shed no light on the proxy reconstructions and do not rebut the misconduct evidenced in the Climategate emails.[emphases in original -hro]

    As I have noted in a <a href="http://hro001.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/will-the-real-richard-muller-please-stand-up/"post on my own blog, perhaps Muller’s interests would have been better served had he heeded his own advice to others, circa Dec. 2003:

    In most fields of science, researchers who express the most self-doubt and who understate their conclusions are the ones that are most respected. Scientists regard with disdain those who play their conclusions to the press. [emphasis added -hro]

  17. This is my first time posting here, but I read the site every day. Anyway, I’m a big fan of the climate blogs.

    I searched youtube this afternoon and I found and watched these two videos of Dr. Muller. He denies the “end of skepticism” quote and says the article title was changed.

  18. As a designer of quant-model hedge funds, where short as well as long-term outcomes are unambiguous, we advise that BEST, Muller, and their peculiar kin invariably act in bad faith, with ill will, under false pretenses: “Si monumentum videre, circumspice.”

  19. Dave says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Willis

    Doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that perhaps this is all in order to get an accurate temperature record into AR5 – a cunning and adversarial skeptic might deliberately make unsupportable warmist claims to get the data into the IPCC’s mind as suitable for their cause,

    Are you truly claiming that Muller is “a cunning and adversarial skeptic”??? What am I missing?

    w.

  20. It was clear to me that after Climategate, things would get increasingly bizarre as Warmists struggle to maintain some semblance of science. Dr. Mole-er’s antics are right on schedule.

  21. Doug in Seattle says:
    November 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    “That’s not my hope at all, Mycroft. My hope is, as it was from the first, that there isn’t a single thing wrong with whatever he finally produces as a dataset.”

    It may not have been your hope, but I expect Steve McIntyre, you, and lots of other auditor types will do exactly that after Muller’s PR “debarcle”.

    What is the “It” that you say may not have been my hope?

    And also, you say you expect that we will do “exactly that”, but what is the “that” that you expect us to do?

    My high school english teacher used to whack my papers with her red pen and write “unclear antecedent” … you have two of them.

    w.

    PS—my point is that no matter how it plays out with Steve and I and others, for a man claiming “transparency” as Muller is, releasing these papers without the code and data hardly polishes his reputation for honesty …

  22. Since there are already questions about the quality of the data realeased so far, that would seem to put paid to EVERY claim he made. Still amazed that people believe that he was a sceptic. Doesn’t anyone use search engines anymore??

  23. stirfry says:
    November 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    This is my first time posting here, but I read the site every day. Anyway, I’m a big fan of the climate blogs.

    I searched youtube this afternoon and I found and watched these two videos of Dr. Muller. He denies the “end of skepticism” quote and says the article title was changed.

    Thanks, stirfry. Unfortunately, neither of those issue you mention were problems that had I pointed to, they have nothing to do with the issues I raised.

    w.

  24. The IPCC? It’s one thing to rush to the head of the line to get a ticket for the Titanic, but to climb aboard when the iceberg is already looming? (All) Saints preserve us!

  25. Muller’s campaign is working. Muller was interviewed by Ann Thompson near the end of her piece on tonight’s MSNBC news. She leads in with the repeat of the extreme weather mantra with the east coast snowstorm as the lead-in. After interviewing 3 others, one discussing ocean temperatures, then Dr. Jerry Neil of NCAR (sp?) and John Nielsen- Gammon (Texas State Climatologist) she cites BEST study, flashes it’s website and states that it “finds global warming is real and that the science behind it is not impacted by bias, bad data, or cities that act as heat islands.” Muller only gets to state that “The existence of global warming is, I think, pretty much beyond dispute. We have closed the last remaining questions on that.”

    It’s at the msnbc nightly news site.

  26. I am pretty sure that the datasets, when available, will be examined by hordes of informed and uninformed amateur scientists.
    In many ways Dr. Richard Muller has been incredibly brave, he has staked his whole reputation and future on the robustness and integrity of the data, the various algorithms and the statistics.
    He is an awful lot braver than I am, I am happy with the standard of my work, but I know how the sausage is made.

  27. @ Garacka –

    This quote by Muller clinches it – ““The existence of global warming is, I think, pretty much beyond dispute. We have closed the last remaining questions on that.”

    Muller is clearly a skeptic who would not do or say anything that might seem to support the CAGW by CO2 concept.

    /sarc

  28. Willis Eschenbach says:
    November 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I think you’ve accidentally posted in the wrong thread, Willis. This appears relevant to the thread on model forecasting abilities.

    Otherwise, just wanted to say that I enjoy reading your posts. :)

    [REPLY: Thanks, Graeme, I moved it. w.]

  29. Thanks Willis,

    We know there are some errors in the preliminary temperature dataset released by Berkeley. For one obvious example, the last two months are 47 Antarctic stations only (but these months carry through in the moving averages they produced).

    There will most certainly be many, many other errors. The dataset and the programming was not ready for Prime Time, yet Prime Time is exactly what they sought and got.

    Secondly, I just do not accept the data of good rural stations versus the average stations they presented in one of their seminal papers. While it has been spun as good rural stations against poor cited stations, they actually only compared “something” (we don’t know what) to the average stations. Second, they used a 1950 to 2010 base period for this analysis while everyone (including Anthony) told them it was only good for 1980 to 2010. Why get this part so wrong? It was easy to do it right.

    In addition, once we move the debate to Land Only stations, the Urban Heat Island almost certainly becomes a measureable quantity in the series affecting the trend and Berkeley obviously made a mistake in how they carried through this analysis. The Urban Heat Island is just too large, mathematically, to show up as Zero. It is NOT. When the oceans are included, it might be a small number, but not for the Land series.

    Most importantly, the data they released is so close to the NCDC GHCN record that it IS the NCDC record. Berkeley says they used the Raw unadjusted data but the NCDC has published papers showing how much their adjustments add up to. For the US, it is a full +0.425C. Yet Berkeley using the Raw data is virtually the same. For some reason, the NCDC has remained completely silent on Berkeley’s numbers. It doesn’t add up unless the NCDC co-operated in the Berkeley effort or the GHCN Raw data is already the adjusted data.

    I won’t buy it, even if it is on sale.

  30. How about THAT preprint obtained by Seth Borenstein?

    “Freakish weather disasters – from the sudden October snowstorm in the Northeast U.S. to the record floods in Thailand – are striking more often. And global warming is likely to spawn more similar weather extremes at a huge cost, says a draft summary of an international climate report obtained by The Associated Press.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/global-warming-worsens-weather-extremes-climate-panel-to-say/article2220698/

    Featuring Meehl, Gavin, Andrew, Jeff, Kerry etc…

  31. Dave says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Willis>

    Doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that perhaps this is all in order to get an accurate temperature record into AR5 – a cunning and adversarial skeptic might deliberately make unsupportable warmist claims to get the data into the IPCC’s mind as suitable for their cause,
    _______________________

    No WAY!

    Not with Muller’s Connections.

    From Muller & Assoc.

    “…Muller & Associates provides expertise for energy challenges that deserve the best minds in the world. Our senior-level team includes Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Geniuses, and recognized global leaders with experience in over 30 countries. We integrate science with business acumen, economics, and long-term trends to ensure that our clients are making the right investments for their organization.

    We know that in order to be effective, solutions must be sustainable…
    and we know that for businesses, sustainable solutions must be profitable as well….

    A key word is SUSTAINABLE This ties to the UN Agenda 21, Ged Davis, Shell Oil and the IPCC.
    Climategate e-mail on Sustainable Development (B1) Ged Davis wrote Sustainable Development (B1) scenario is mentioned.

    Here is who Ged Davis is (Shell Oil executive with IPCC connection)

    If you then go to the listing of the TEAM at Muller Assoc. you find. Arthur Rosenfeld, Former California Energy Commissioner among others.

    Further down you find Marlan Downey
    Click on Marlan Downey, Oil and Gas Executive
    And we are BACK TO SHELL OIL!
    “Marlan Downey, Oil and Gas Executive
    ….. Former President of the international subsidiary of Shell Oil…..”

    If we follow the Shell Oil connection, we find Queen Beatrix of the Dutch House of Orange and Lord Victor Rothschild are the two largest shareholders of RD/Shell.

    Prince Bernhard of the Dutch Royal Family is heavily tied to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

    If you have followed WUWT at all you should be aware that CRU East Anglia UK was originally funded by Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum.

    Gets positively incestuous doesn’t it?

  32. I left this on Judith Curry’s site.. I felt it appropriate for here as well..

    Bill H | November 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Reply

    I just see a real scientist being taken up and trusting those with an agenda.

    the end log is something you write to hype your findings… Muller wrote an end log when the science is incomplete… this screams of agenda and reminds me of others who have done the same: IPCC, EAU, MET, CRU, Jones, Mann, Briffa… and the list goes on. Who writes the end before doing the science?

    All in all BEST is only to going to verify that which we already know.. the earth is warming as it has been for over 10,000 years.. That warming is within the standard deviations on the over all long term trend.

    so the amount of warming that can be attributed to man is unknown.. BEST will do nothing more to reach that conclusion as it in and of itself in incomplete on a global scale..

    I sincerely hope that Curry is not being used. This has the ploy of “she’s a skeptic and she agrees”. a very bad precedent when Muller has shown he will write things and publish them without her knowledge and consent.

    Muller has left a very bad taste in my mouth.. I dont trust him. in my opinion neither should she.

    Bill

  33. Oh I forgot to mention Dr. Muller is President and Elisabeth Muller is CEO of Muller & Assoc.

    This type of story is the specific problem:

    ….“There were huge uncertainties in the accuracy of the thermometers,” Muller said. “Many (stations) were close to buildings or other sources of heat that could greatly distort the picture.”

    The study found the effect to be “locally large and real” but not significant enough to have a large impact on the rise in average land temperature because only a small percentage of the Earth’s land is urban.

    Elizabeth Muller, project manager of the Berkeley Earth group and Richard Muller’s daughter, said contributions from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation — Koch is the co-owner of Koch Industries, Inc., a conglomerate that operates oil refineries across the United States and Alaska — in no way affected how the research was conducted.

    Elizabeth Muller said the purpose of the study was to look at what occurred from the 1950s to the present — not to predict the future….

    http://www.dailycal.org/2011/10/23/global-temperature-up-by-1-degree-celsius-since-1950s-according-to-uc-berkeley-study/

    Those statements by Muller and his daughter effectively negate ANYTHING Anthony might find with his surface station study.

    “….the team, led by UC Berkeley physics professor Richard Muller and composed of climate experts, statisticians and physicists — including Nobel Prize-winning UC Berkeley professor Saul Perlmutter — compiled 1.6 billion temperature measurements and found “reliable evidence” of a rise in the average world land temperature of about one degree Celsius since the mid-1950s….”

    After this do you think an also ran study by a team of motley volunteers lead by a guy who does not even have a PhD, much less a Nobel Prize-winning professor is going to even get a back page print up in the local paper???

    Dr. Muller beat Anthony to the punch and published where it counts most The Wall Street Journal!

    The only way Anthony’s rebuttal will see print is in the blogosphere and if we chip in and buy an ad in the Wall Street Journal, other wise the story is just bird cage lining.

  34. Gail Combs says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Gail,

    While i agree that Anthony will not get the publicity he is due, the internet is a wild thing that can expose quite a bit of the lies they spew… Man’s arrogance is going to kill millions…

    Sadly the academic world is going to be mans undoing… politics has bastardized science and any hope of man surviving without huge losses is nil.. when the world slumps into cooling and we are unable to produce food because of our own stupidity we have only ourselves to blame…

    Bill

  35. Mr. Essenbach: before your next post you might care to read the lecture by Matt Ridley which is an excellent example of exactly how a scientist should approach a topic. Well referenced, full of logical argument, puts up various views and discusses why they’re correct or incorrect. A pleasure to read. I particularly liked his discussion of confirmation bias which is a problem for scientists and non-scientists alike. I’ll be interested to see if my post to RealClimate drawing the lecture to their attention gets posted. Possibly it won’t. It is said, with justification, that scientists are poor communicators. Matt Ridley is the antithesis of that viewpoint

  36. NBC News did a version of The Globe and Mail story linked above tonight in response to the New England snowstorm. Richard Muller made a cameo. Sure sounded to me as though he’s 100% on board with the CAGW crowd. The whole piece was real garbage journalism. It included all the major CAGW cliches , even stooping so low as to use “climate deniers.” Brian Williams ended the segment saying nothing like this extreme weather ever happened when he was a kid. Is he kidding? Even if this were true, does he think the history of weather started when he was born?

    When I see this stuff I have to wonder if real science is making any progress on this issue at all. But maybe this is the last desperate gasps of a dying ideology.

  37. Bill H says:
    November 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Gail Combs says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Gail,

    While i agree that Anthony will not get the publicity he is due, the internet is a wild thing that can expose quite a bit of the lies they spew…
    ____________________________________

    I agree that the internet is powerful. I have seen it in action, but the MSM still reaches more people. That is why Muller made the pre-emptive strike to spike Anthony’s guns.

    In the larger picture the hope is to lull the masses for the time needed to get an agreement in Durbin. It seems the whole CAGW is fracturing but I do not trust that picture. I have seen it before.

    On another subject we farmers put up a really good fight and thought we had “won” The bill got passed during the lame duck session and we got stuck with stuff that is going to be 100 times WORSE than what we thought we were fighting originally.

    These SOBs are nasty and they do not give up they just switch attacks.

  38. Willis,
    Thanks for trying to explain the BEST fiasco. But Machiavellian political intrigues are way out of my depth.

    What do you think about this quote from a recent post at GWPF?

    “Contrary to claims being made by the leader of the Best global temperature initiative their data confirms, and places on a firmer statistical basis, the global temperature standstill of the past ten years as seen by other groups.”

    Are they talking about data data, or adjusted ‘data’, or “pre-data”, or Trick-or-Treat data from the BEST website? I must confess that I’d never heard of “pre-data” before today.

  39. Bob Tisdale says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Considering the state of the IPCC, it’s a wonder anyone would push to be included in their upcoming publications.

    IPCC = BANK

  40. Larry Fields says:
    November 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Willis,
    Thanks for trying to explain the BEST fiasco. But Machiavellian political intrigues are way out of my depth.

    What do you think about this quote from a recent post at GWPF?

    “Contrary to claims being made by the leader of the Best global temperature initiative their data confirms, and places on a firmer statistical basis, the global temperature standstill of the past ten years as seen by other groups.”

    Are they talking about data data, or adjusted ‘data’, or “pre-data”, or Trick-or-Treat data from the BEST website? I must confess that I’d never heard of “pre-data” before today.

    You never heard of pre-data because I made the term up to chivvy Muller about releasing a buggy dataset marked Not Ready for Prime Time along with his pre-prints. I called it “pre-data” because presumably at some point, well after he has been interviewed and feted and gotten his claims swallowed by the media, he’ll release the actual data.

    In any case, his pre-data seems to show little warming in the last decade. He claimed that the world was still warming.

    Does it “place it on a firmer statistical basis”? No way to know, since the data hasn’t been released yet … all the stuff the media is frothing about is totally unverifiable.

    Free the data, free the code, as my buddy Mosh says …

    w.

  41. A preprint without a document, empty open datatsets, no peers or scientists involved — this is the long and noble tradition? More like the IPCC SOP.

  42. The study found the effect to be “locally large and real” but not significant enough to have a large impact on the rise in average land temperature because only a small percentage of the Earth’s land is urban.

    The problem with this is simple, if you just think about it. Yes, the UHI effect is local, and yes, it only effect a small area of the land. However, half of the official temperature measurements stations from other datasets, and a completly unknown number of stations in the BEST dataset, are from urban stations, or stations which have mini urban environments around them. Thus, saying that they do not impact the “global average temperature” is frankly dishonest. They may not effect the temperature of the earth, but they very definatly effect the temperature measurment of the earth.

    Frankly, this statement, far from building my confidence in BEST, causes me to seriously doubt whether this is an honest attempt to measure temperature at all.

  43. Bill H says:
    November 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    ……Sadly the academic world is going to be mans undoing… politics has bastardized science and any hope of man surviving without huge losses is nil.. when the world slumps into cooling and we are unable to produce food because of our own stupidity we have only ourselves to blame…
    _____________________________

    Bill if you look at the timing 1970 – 1975 and the reports coming out, in science: Gleissberg (1939 & 1971) Milankovitch (1938) and the work in 1963 during the International Geophysical Year. The paper by Hays, Imbrie and Shackleton confirming Milankovitch work on glacial cycles.

    And especially

    George Kukla, together with Robert Matthews of Brown University, convened a conference in 1972 entitled “The Present Interglacial: How and When will it End?”, and reported it in Science magazine… [note the date]

    Kukla and Matthews alerted President Richard Nixon, and as a result the US Administration set up a Panel on the Present Interglacial involving the State Department and other agencies…..

    there was widespread behind-the-scenes acceptance of Milankovitch, and Kukla, for one, was concerned about the implications…..

    George Kukla: Well almost all of us have been pretty sure that there were only four ice ages, separated by relatively long warm intervals. But now we know that there were twenty in the last two million years. And the warm periods are much shorter than we believed originally. They are something around 10,000 years long. and I’m sorry to say that the one we are living in now has just passed its 10,000 year birthday. That of course means that the ice age is due now any time….. there was widespread behind-the-scenes acceptance of Milankovitch, and Kukla, for one, was concerned about the implications…..

    http://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/next-ice-age/

    And then look at the politics:
    The CIA document dated 1974 predicting an Ice Age. http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/world-exclusive-cia-1974-document-reveals-emptiness-of-agw-scares-closes-debate-on-global-cooling-consensus-and-more/

    The 1972 Earth Summit where Maurice Strong poured lighter fluid on the fringe “environmental movement” and started CAGW.

    The Population Bomb theory and Obama’s Science czar, John P. Holdren who co-authored the
    1973 book Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.

    “A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation…”

    Now why all of a sudden does the USA start exporting its manufacturing as of the 1970’s??? Why did V.P. Al Gore over 15 years ago tell a young person They should develop other plans because our production agriculture is being shifted out of the U.S. to the Third World.”

    Why are the billionaires rushing to acquire farmland in South America and Africa??? http://media.oaklandinstitute.org/great-land-grab

    I have the very nasty feeling that those who really run this world have a lot more knowledge about the climate than what they tell the masses and “Global Warming” is not on the agenda.

  44. Legatus says:
    November 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm
    … the UHI effect is local,… However, half of the official temperature measurements stations from other datasets, and a completely unknown number of stations in the BEST dataset, are from urban stations, or stations which have mini urban environments around them. Thus, saying that they do not impact the “global average temperature” is frankly dishonest. They may not effect the temperature of the earth, but they very definatly effect the temperature measurment of the earth.

    Frankly, this statement, far from building my confidence in BEST, causes me to seriously doubt whether this is an honest attempt to measure temperature at all.
    ___________________________________
    I totally agree. BEST was never about science it was about trying to undo the damage done by Climategate and the Hockey Schtick.

    That is specifically why Judith Curry and Anthony Watts were roped in and Muller posed as a “Skeptic” The message was four fold.

    1. The climate is still warming.
    2. Questions raised by skeptics about the data (poor placement) have been resolved.
    3. The data and papers was release for open reviewed by the skeptics. (That is why Anthony was sent a paper)
    4. The skeptics questions have been resolved and they are now in agreement with BEST. (Thats why Muller said nothing about anything but the temperatures)

    Pretty slick piece of propaganda wasn’t it???

    The Climate Change Conference is in 25 days on 28 November – 9 December 2011. With the news stories in The Economist, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and on TV, Politicians can agree to Cap & Trade or whatever international treaty is floated and CLAIM they thought the issue was resolved, Global Warming is real. The skeptics LEAD by Dr. Muller, Dr Curry AND ANTHONY WATTS agreed.

    Remember the reporters called and ASKED Anthony and he did not REFUTE the paper or data.
    THAT was what the confidentiality agreement was all about To keep Anthony muzzled until the damage was done.

  45. Gail Combs says:
    November 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Gail,

    were over due for the next glacial cycle..

    one need only look at how the earth itself is compressing itself to see that cooling has already started. massive earth quakes globally are a sign of compression stress. volcanic unrest is a sign of compression stress. while gravitational bodies can cause this were not near a gravitational climax of any kind. so what is causing this compression stress? crust cooling… ?

    in a few years gravitational stress will occur as we pass close to other planets.. add that to the current crust compression… things are about to get very ugly..

    Bill

  46. David Ball says:
    November 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Perhaps getting the PR juggernaut going BEFORE winter hit was important, too.
    ________________________
    Seems Mother Nature had other ideas and decided to spoil Muller’s PR campaign. (Snicker)

  47. What a great job of analysis, all polished by a very funny style. That took a lot of work. My hat is off to you, Willis. You nailed all the details.

    What has caused Dr. Curry to go all squishy on matters regarding Muller? How could her pretty good analytical mind buy Muller’s BS?

  48. Sierra Rayne says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Yep, same here. Muller is so full of it and of himself.

  49. Do you think Muller is after Pachauri’s job? How about Pachauri’s spotlight? I bet Muller has a draft of a novel about the sexual exploits of a sixtyish rockstar professor. Can you imagine Muller and Pachauri on the same stage?

  50. Bill H says:
    November 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Gail Combs says:
    November 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Gail,

    were over due for the next glacial cycle…..
    __________________________
    That is one of the reasons I looked at a map of the Wisconsin glaciation before buying my farm. No reason not to be safe. Besides living in upper state New York and New Hampshire, I have had my fill of snow shoveling.

    And yes you are correct things are looking to get ugly. VERY UGLY, Cooling earth or no cooling earth. The grab for control of the world food supply is happening now. It is not just in third world countries either.

    ….the [EU] chair-lady said: “I don’t think you understand what EU policy is…. To do this it will be necessary to shift around one million farmers off the land and encourage them to take city and service industry jobs to improve their economic position.

    ….We protested that with unemployment running at 20 percent how would one provide jobs for another million farmers dumped on the streets of Warsaw? This was greeted with a stony silence, eventually broken by a lady from Portugal, who rather quietly remarked that since Portugal joined the European Union, 60 percent of small farmers had already left the land. “The European Union is simply not interested in small farms,” she said……

    Farmers… suddenly find themselves heavily controlled by EU and national officialdom brandishing that most vicious of anti-entrepreneurial weapons: ‘sanitary and hygiene regulations’ …. These are the hidden weapons of mass destruction of farmers and the main tool for achieving the CAP’s aim of ridding the countryside of small- and medium-sized family farms and replacing them with mono-cultural money-making agribusiness…..”

    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/savePolishCountryside.php

    Through “Harmonization” of regulations and the just passed “Food Safety Modernization Act” in the USAAmerican farmers are about to find themselves saddled with the same “vicious of anti-entrepreneurial weapons: ‘sanitary and hygiene regulations’ “ as are the other farmers in countries who are members of the World Trade Organization. The USA has lost 2/3 of her farmers since 1965 and Mexico lost 75% since NAFTA. (1995) Australia, with an “official policy” of “Encouraging farmers to voluntarily leave farming” saw a 60 per cent decline in the number of younger farmers since 1976. (The USA grows 25% of the world food supply.) Canada also has a “get big or get out” policy.

    At the rate we are going we are going to see “Fuel Poverty” thanks to this CAGW nonsense, along with very high unemployment and spiraling food costs as land is transferred into the control of large corporate entities. All of it carefully instigated by the same bunch of Meglomaniacs.

    I do not think those supporting CAGW are going to like the results.

  51. From my recent blog essay Is the Language of Science Apolitical? (http://retreadresources.com/blog/?p=911#more-911)

    “The recent actions of the climate sciences BEST research team headed by Muller are shall we say bazaar. The WUPT blog has been following this closely along with a number of others. No matter what the stated reasons for their pre-review and pre-publication media blitz is puzzling to everyone including many of the co-authors of the papers. You readers know I am the last one to propose some kind of conspiracy, however this time I can offer no other logical explanation. Muller’s action are either self destructive or at the behest of some political agenda.

    Muller has betrayed the trust of his coauthors and drawn his objectivity into strong question. Apparently he did not have the courtesy to share the pre-publication text with his coauthors. Now public (read that MSM and blog) fights are happening. Hence the cartoon at the header.

    This fits with your comments Willis. I hurts my sensibilities to say this. I fear you are as correct as I am. That being the probably case, science as a profession just got more embarrassing . It is like being a TV preachers following after Jimmy.

  52. Sierra Rayne says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm
    “Huh?”

    I’m with you on that call, Sierra. That is total bullfeathers about preprint libraries. Even the language is odd…the tone is sort of “well everybody knows that, sillies”….Uh, FAIL!

  53. So the IPCC agrees that the models are tuned to observations

    That is not what was said. A model tuned to give a good representation of certain key observations may be one that has had the physics on some components fine-tuned so that the model run represents very well the characteristics of those components in the real world. Eg, if much of the programming is devoted to precipitation characteristics, then runs of the model may turn out to represent what precipitation patterns and cycles look like in the real world. Other components less specifically fine-tuned may not resemble real world observations – eg, local temperature variance may be much smaller or larger than normally observed. That may or may not matter for whatever the model is testing.

    No observational data need be used to do this tuning.

  54. “there’s an oddity about the first order draft (FOD)”
    Agreed. It should be called the First Unified Draft (FUD). As for the rest, agreed also. “It’s science, Jim, but not as we know it.”

  55. To be honest I think you are being too kind to Muller. When this whole BEST thing was announced it smelt to me. It seemed to muchy like “Global Warming Reborn”. Here are the smelliest parts:-

    1] Al Gores “Nobel” was tainted by the fact that he is a dimwit. Team AGW needed a proper “Nobel” to do the re-launch. Any old “Nobel” would do. Even a cosmologist. As long as he was on Team AGWs side.

    2] They knew that one of the previous criticisms of Team AGWs work was no release of data. So they said they would release all the data and algorithms. They said it in a press blitz so Joe Average takes them at their word – but in fact they haven’t released any of the data to anybody. Not even to other scientists.

    3] They claimed that prominent skeptics had funded their research. This was clearly done to give the impression that their research was unbiased. Except that nobody appears to have known these skeptics and the percentage of money they gave to the cause was pretty small.

    4] They were aware that the “peer review” process was considered to be corrupted, so they didn’t subject the paper to peer review. They trumpeted this fact as a virtue in the press. They then claimed that their paper was subject to something better than peer review – some sort of open process of examination by anybody. In fact this is not true. Nobody has been able to view any of the data before the media blitz.

    5] They released graphs to the media that were deliberately misleading, suggesting dramatic warming since 1975. In fact the full graphs show a stalling in warming in the last 10 years which make the warming since 1975 look unspectacular when compared to the underlying warming that has gone on since before the industrial revolution.

    Basicallly the whole thing was nothing more than a sad PR stunt that would fool only those that don’t really care. Muller has created a steaming pile of dung which he is going to slowly sink in.

  56. The explanation for the pre-release stinks, but so what?

    The so what meme also applies to the data set itself. I really do not see the fundamental importance of the BEST data set. Surely the issue is why prefer BEST, GISS, HadCru over the satellite data?

    Is it not the case that, from an objective point of view, the most infrmative and reliable data sets (ie., the least corrupted) are the satellite data set and ARGO. The only limitation is that they are not lengthy but these data sets tell us the most as to what is going on now, and as regards the satellite data set what has happened these past (approximate) 40 years.

    Reverting to BEST the two most interesting points to emerge is that the warming dates back to 1800 (no surprise there – no doubt it dates even further back if only there records as would appear to be the case from CET) and that approximately one third of stations show no warming (even a slight cooling). The significance of the latter point seems to have been missed since this strongly suggests that there is a problem with land surface data collection. Certainly, the greenhouse theory cannot explain why one third of stations should not be showing warming (and even cooling).

  57. Re: what Garacka says:
    November 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    NBC evening news also ran with the Ann Thompson presentation last evening. She spun it as proof positive that CO2 is the culprit, or, as NCAR’s Neil put it, “steroids” for our climate. But Muller has an “out” insofar as his terminology referred to globe’s warming, and not the cause. The various news outlets will weave that into whatever message they want to convey. I do think it rather disingenuous of Muller to be overreaching in his claim, and not include the caveat that this is a land-based dataset, and not necessarily reflective of “global warming”. The silence of the lion. Then again, this seems to be about getting attention as opposed to discerning the truth.

    P.S. Interesting piece, Willis.

  58. Willis,

    Thank you for putting all the elements of the BEST Project’s unprofessional, discourteous, incorrect and self-conflicted PR strategies in one place.

    AGREE => I think you are correct about your 12 bulleted fact points at the end of your post. BEST Project appears to be loose with veracity.

    AGREE =>Your final paragraph on lack of BEST Project transparency and open behavior to this point in their project is something I can concur with. BEST Project looks to be playing the old hide the pea data and uncertainty game up to this point in their process.

    DISAGREE IF=> I do not explicitly see you supporting the idea that it is incorrect scientific process, per se, to do a pre-review/pre-publication public release of their papers and related SI. But, if you are suggesting that then I disagree with you. NOTE: If BEST Project violated journal policy with their pre-review/pre-publication release then that is an internal issue between the journal and BEST.

    BEST Project’s project management appears to be self-destructive to their own goals.

    John

  59. I don’t buy the “traditional peer review” as described by Muller.

    I’ve used the real, traditional peer review process for every paper I’ve ever submitted (send manuscripts to others in the department, colleagues at other universities, etc). But in no case have I sent a manuscript to a journalist for “review”. And I don’t know of any other case where someone has sent a manuscript to a journalist or media outlet for review, much less organized a media day around it.

  60. I wonder how likely it is that the data used to compile the pre-prints will ever become available. I suspect the ‘limitations’ of the dataset will be forever a moving target.

    Who knows; the original data may even become ‘lost’.

  61. Willis,
    I hoped there would be nothing wrong with the BEST project and with Mullers steering of the group….but hope and realility are two diferent things as we and Anthony have found out, this looks as if it is another shoddy attempt to muddy the waters and label sceptics as wrong and anti-science,especially as the observations from the real world become further from the models and doom laden predictions.
    My fear is that if another hard northern hemisphere winter comes to bear then these people will become even more desperate with their tactics and PR.

  62. I do not listen to anyone who won’t release ALL of his or her data and calculations, full stop. Without data and calculations, it’s religion, not science. You can’t test a hypothesis any other way than by looking at the data. And if the hypothesis isn’t testable …

  63. @hr0001. I enjoyed your “Will the real Richard Muller please stand up.” piece on your blog. Well done and a fine piece of labor. I recommend it to everyone.

    It is important that we retain the long-term view of experience and data and your piece ads a solid base line to the debate.

  64. @donkeygod: I do not listen to anyone who won’t release ALL of his or her data.

    I understand your reason, but I cannot go that far. When I am looking at a pre-stack depth migration seismic cube, I don’t demand the field tapes. Especially if I have not PAID for them.

    There is lots of key insights, tips, learnings and advice that you can get in this world from the wisdom of people you trust. I’ll listen! I’ll consider. I’ll take what they tell me under advisement. I might even think back and fit it into my past first hand experience and memories and see if it is worth believing. But I don’t demand their field notebook before giving them a listen.

    It is another matter when advise comes from people you have no reason to trust. I’ll listen, but the advise goes into an In-box for a while awaiting confirmation.

    It is a third and final matter when advise and learnings come from people you have verifiable evidence to DISTRUST. You know what, I’ll listen to them, too. What’s more, I will not turn my back on them. Believe them, no. Their advise goes into a purgatory awaiting redemption.

    So, no. I do not demand release of all data before I listen to someone. 99.9% of all conferences would have to be cancelled. OTOH, if someone is paid by the public dime, then the public has a right to see the data for the cost of providing a copy or physical access.

  65. Stephen Rasey says: November 3, 2011 at 10:20 am

    @hro001. I enjoyed your “Will the real Richard Muller please stand up.” piece on your blog. Well done and a fine piece of labor. I recommend it to everyone.
    [...]

    Thank you, Stephen … I hope you don’t mind that I’ve added a hyperlink to your comment … to make it easier for those who haven’t done so, to follow your recommendation ;-)

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