The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project puts PR before peer review

UPDATE: see this new story

BEST: What I agree with and what I disagree with – plus a call for additional transparency to prevent “pal” review

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Readers may recall this post last week where I complained about being put in a uncomfortable quandary by an author of a new paper. Despite that, I chose to honor the confidentiality request of the author Dr. Richard Muller, even though I knew that behind the scenes, they were planning a media blitz to MSM outlets. In the past few days I have been contacted by James Astill of the Economist, Ian Sample of the Guardian, and Leslie Kaufman of the New York Times. They have all contacted me regarding the release of papers from BEST today.

There’s only one problem: Not one of the BEST papers have completed peer review.

Nor has one has been published in a journal to my knowledge, nor is the one paper I’ve been asked to comment on in press at JGR, (where I was told it was submitted) yet BEST is making a “pre-peer review” media blitz.

One willing participant to this blitz, that I spent the last week corresponding with, is James Astill of The Economist, who presumably wrote the article below, but we can’t be sure since the Economist has not the integrity to put author names to articles:

The full article is here. Apparently, Astill has never heard of the UAH and RSS Global Temperature records, nor does he apparently know that all the surface temperature records come from one source, NCDC.

Now compare that headline and subtitle to this line in the article:

It will be interesting to see whether this makes it past the review process.

And, The Economist still doesn’t get it. The issue of “the world is warming” is not one that climate skeptics question, it is the magnitude and causes.

I was given a pre-release draft copy of one of the papers, related to my work as a courtesy. It contained several errors, some minor (such as getting the name of our paper wrong i.e. Fell et al in several places, plus a title that implied global rather than USA) some major enough to require revision (incorrect time period comparisons).

I made these errors known to all the players, including the journal editor, and the hapless Astill, who despite such concerns went ahead with BEST’s plan for a media blitz anyway. I was told by a BEST spokesperson that all of this was “coordinated to happen on October 20th”.

My response, penned days ago, went unheeded as far as I can tell, because I’ve received no response from Muller or the Journal author. Apparently, PR trumps the scientific process now, no need to do that pesky peer review, no need to address the errors with those you ask for comments prior to publication, just get it to press.

This is sad, because I had very high hopes for this project as the methodology is looked very promising to get a better handle on station discontinuity issues with their “scalpel” method. Now it looks just like another rush to judgement, peer review be damned.

Below is my response along with the draft paper from BEST, since the cat is publicly out of the bag now, I am not bound by any confidentiality requests. Readers should note I have not seen any other papers (there may be up to 4, I don’t know the BEST website is down right now) except the one that concerns me.

My response as sent to all media outlets who sent requests for comment to me:

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In contradiction to normal scientific method and protocol, I have been asked to provide public commentary to a mass media outlet (The Economist) on this new paper. The lead author,  Dr. Richard Muller has released me from a previous request of confidentiality on the matter in a written communication on 10/14/2011. 10/15/2011 at 4:07PM PST in an email.  The paper in question is:

Earth Atmospheric Land Surface Temperature and  Station Quality [Tentative title, may have changed] by Muller et al 2011, submitted to the AGU JGR Atmospheres Journal, which apparently has neither completed peer review on the paper nor has it been accepted for publication by JGR.

Since the paper has not completed peer review yet, it would be inappropriate for me to publicly comment on the conclusions, especially in light of a basic procedural error that has been discovered in the methodology that will likely require a rework of the data and calculations, and thus the conclusions may also change. The methodology however does require comment.

The problem has to do with the time period of the data used, a time period which is inconsistent with two prior papers cited as this Muller et al paper being in agreement with. They are:

Fall et al (2011), Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends J. Geophys. Res.

http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/r-367.pdf

and

Menne et al  (2010), On the reliability of the U.S. surface temperature record, J. Geophys. Res.

Both papers listed above (and cited by Muller et al) do an analysis over a thirty year time period while the Muller et al paper uses data for comparison from 1950 – 2010 as stated on lines 142-143:

“We calculated the mean temperature from 1950 to the present for each of these sites, and subtracted the mean of the poor sites from the OK sites.”

I see this as a basic failure in understanding the limitations of the siting survey we conducted on the USHCN, rendering the Muller et al paper conclusions highly uncertain, if not erroneous.

There is simply no way siting quality can be established as static for that long. The USHCN survey was based on photographs and site surveys starting in of 2007, plus historical metadata. Since the siting of COOP stations change as volunteers move, die, or discontinue their service, we know the record of siting stability to be tenuous over time. This is why we tracked only from 1979 and excluded stations whose locations were unknown prior to 2002. 1979 represented the practical limit of which we assumed we could reasonably ascertain siting conditions by our survey.

We felt that the further back the station siting changes occurred, the more uncertainty was introduced into the analysis, thus we limited meaningful comparisons of temperature data to siting quality to thirty years, starting in 1979.

Our ratings from surfacestations.org are assumed to be valid for the 1979 – 2008 period, but with Muller et all doing analysis from 1950, it renders the station survey data moot since neither Menne et al nor Fall et al made any claim of the station survey data being representative prior to 1979. The comparisons made in Muller et al are inappropriate because they are outside of the bounds of our station siting quality data set.

Also, by using a 60 year period, Muller et al spans two 30 year climate normals periods, thus further complicating the analysis. Both Menne et al and Fall et al spanned only one.

Because of the long time periods involved in Muller et al analysis, and because both Menne et al and Fall et al made no claims of knowing anything about siting quality prior to 1979, I consider the paper fatally flawed as it now stands, and thus I recommend it be removed from publication consideration by JGR until such time that it can be reworked.

For me to comment on the conclusions of Muller et al would be inappropriate until this time period error is corrected and the analysis reworked for time scale appropriate comparisons.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature analysis methodology is new, and may yield some new and potentially important results on siting effects once the appropriate time period comparisons are made. I welcome the BEST effort provided that appropriate time periods are used that match our work. But, by using time period mismatched comparisons, it becomes clear that the Muller et al paper in its current form lost the opportunity for a meaningful comparison.

As I was invited by The Economist to comment publicly, I would recommend rejecting Muller et al in the current form and suggest that it be resubmitted with meaningful and appropriate 30 year comparisons for the same time periods used by the Menne et al and Fall et al cited papers. I would be happy to review the paper again at that time.

I also believe it would be premature and inappropriate to have a news article highlighting the conclusions of this paper until such time meaningful data comparisons are produced and the paper passes peer review. Given the new techniques from BEST, there may be much to gain from a rework of the analysis limited to identical thirty year periods used in Menne et al and Fall et al.

Thank you for your consideration, I hope that the information I have provided will be helpful in determining the best course of action on this paper.

Best Regards,

Anthony Watts

cc list: James Astill, The Economist, Dr. Joost DeGouw, JGR Atmospheres editor, Richard A. Muller, Leslie Kaufman, Ian Sample

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Despite my concerns, The Economist author James Astill told me that “the issue is important” and decided to forge ahead, and presumably produced the article above.

Here is the copy of the paper I was provided by Richard Muller. I don’t know if they have addressed my concerns or not, since I was not given any follow up drafts of the paper.

BEST_Station_Quality (PDF 1.2 MB)

I assume the journalists that are part of the media blitz have the same copy.

I urge readers to read it in entirety and to comment on it, because as Dr. Muller wrote to me:

I know that is prior to acceptance, but in the tradition that I grew up in (under Nobel Laureate Luis Alvarez) we always widely distributed “preprints” of papers prior to their publication or even submission.  That guaranteed a much wider peer review than we obtained from mere referees.

Please keep it confidential until we post it ourselves.

They want it widely reviewed. Now that The Economist has published on it, it is public knowledge.

There might be useful and interesting work here done by BEST, but I find it troubling that they can’t wait for science to do its work and run the peer review process first. Is their work so important, so earth shattering, that they can’t be bothered to run the gauntlet like other scientists? This is post normal science at its absolute worst.

In my opinion, this is a very, very, bad move by BEST. I look forward to seeing what changes might be made in peer review should these papers be accepted and published.

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UPDATE: Judith Curry, who was co-author to some of these papers, has a post on it here

Also I know that I’ll be critcized for my position on this, since I said back in March that I would accept their findings whatever they were, but that was when I expected them to do science per the scientific process.

When BEST approached me, I was told they were doing science by the regular process, and that would include peer review. Now it appears they have circumvented the scientific process in favor of PR.

For those wishing to criticize me on that point, please note this caveat in my response above:

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature analysis methodology is new, and may yield some new and potentially important results on siting effects once the appropriate time period comparisons are made. I welcome the BEST effort provided that appropriate time periods are used that match our work. But, by using time period mismatched comparisons, it becomes clear that the Muller et al paper in its current form lost the opportunity for a meaningful comparison.

Given the new techniques from BEST, there may be much to gain from a rework of the analysis limited to identical thirty year periods used in Menne et al and Fall et al.

My issue has to do with the lost opportunity of finding something new, the findings may agree, or they may be different if run on the same time periods. I think it is a fair question to ask since my peer reviewed paper (Fall et al) and NOAA’s (Menne et al) paper both used 30 year periods.

If BEST can run their comparison on the 30 year period for which our data is valid, instead of 60 years, as stated before, I’ll be happy to accept the results, whatever they are. I’m only asking for the correct time period to be used. Normally things like this are addressed in peer review, but BEST has blown that chance by taking it public first before such things can be addressed.

As for the other papers supposedly being released today, I have not seen them, so I can’t comment on them. There may be good and useful work here, but it is a pity they could not wait for the scientific process to decide that.

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

UPDATE2: 12:08 PM BEST has sent out their press release, below:

The Berkeley Earth team has completed the preliminary analysis of the land surface temperature records, and our findings are now available on the Berkeley Earth website, together with the data and our code at

www.BerkeleyEarth.org/resources.php.

Four scientific papers have been submitted to peer reviewed journals, covering the following topics:

1. Berkeley Earth Temperature Averaging Process

2. Influence of Urban Heating on the Global Temperature Land Average

3. Earth Atmospheric Land Surface Temperature and Station Quality in the United States

4. Decadal Variations in the Global Atmospheric Land Temperatures

By making our work accessible and transparent to both professional and amateur exploration, we hope to encourage feedback and further analysis of the data and our findings.  We encourage every substantive question and challenge to our work in order to enrich our understanding of global land temperature change, and we will attempt to address as many inquiries as possible.

If you have questions or reflections on this phase of our work, please contact, info@berkeleyearth.org.  We look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Muller

Founder and Executive Director

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature

www.berkeleyearth.org

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

I’m still happy to accept the results, whatever they might be, all I’m asking for is an “apples to apples” comparison of data on the 30 year time period.

They have a new technique, why not try it out on the correct time period?

UPDATE4: Apparently BEST can’t be bothered to fix basic errors, even though I pointed them out, They can’t even get the name of our paper right:

http://berkeleyearth.org/Resources/Berkeley_Earth_Station_Quality

I sent an email over a week ago advising of the error in names, got a response, and they still have not fixed it, what sort of quality is this? Fell et all? right under figure 1

And repeated six times in the document they released today.

Sheesh. Why can’t they be troubled to fix basic errors? This is what peer review is for. Here’s my email from October 6th

—–Original Message—–
From: Anthony Watts- ItWorks
Date: Thursday, October 06, 2011 3:25 PM
To: Richard A Muller
Subject: Re: Our paper is attached
Dear Richard,
Thank you for the courtesy, correction:  Fell et al needs to be corrected to
Fall et al in several occurrences.
When we complete GHCN (which we are starting on now) we’ll have a greater
insight globally.
Best Regards,
Anthony Watts

Here is the reply I got from Dr. Muller

—–Original Message—–
From: Richard A Muller
Date: Friday, October 14, 2011 3:35 PM
To: Anthony Watts- ItWorks
Subject: Re: Our paper is attached
Anthony,
We sent a copy to only one media person, from The Economist, whom we trust to keep it confidential.  I sent a copy to you because I knew you would also keep it confidential.
I apologize for not having gotten back to you about your comments.  I particularly like your suggestion about the title; that is an improvement.
Rich
On Oct 14, 2011, at 3:04 PM, Anthony Watts- ItWorks wrote:
> Dear Richard,
>
> I sent a reply with some suggested corrections. But I have not heard back
> from you.
>
> Does the preprints peer review you speak of for this paper include sending
> copies to media?
>
> Best Regards,
>
>
> Anthony Watts

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UPDATE 5: The Guardian writer Ian Samples writes in this article:

The Berkeley Earth project has been attacked by some climate bloggers, who point out that one of the funders is linked to Koch Industries, a company Greenpeace called a “financial kingpin of climate science denial“.

Reader AK writes at Judth Curry’s blog:

I’ve just taken a quick look at the funding information for the BEST team, which is:

Funded through Novim, a 501(c)(3) corporation, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study has received a total of $623,087 in financial support.

Major Donors include:

– The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund ($20,000)

– William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation ($100,000)

– Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates) ($100,000)

– Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($150,000)

– The Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation ($50,000)

We have also received funding from a number of private individuals, totaling $14,500 as of June 2011.

In addition to donations:

This work was supported in part by the Director, Office of Science, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 ($188,587)

So now (pending peer-review and publication) we have the interesting situation of a Koch institution, a left-wing boogy-man, funding an unbiased study that confirms the previous temperature estimates, “consistent with global land-surface warming results previously reported, but with reduced uncertainty.

The identities of the people involved with these two organizations can be found on their websites. Let the smirching begin.

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JeffC

I warned you that this would happen when they asked you to assist … I hope you really aren’t suprised to have gotten fleas from these dogs …

REPLY:
I took the BEST team at their word, without ascribing motives. Perhaps they started out with the best of intentions, but got paved along the way. – Anthony

Yawn. World is not warming.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2001
Courtesy of HadCRUT, the IPCC prominent global dataset.
REPLY: The world HAS warmed in the past century, but not in the last 10 years according to the HadCRUT data you offer in the plot above- Anthony

peetee

Certainly, the absence of peer-review is a telling criticism… clearly, in the absence of peer-review a rigorous pass through SPPI should have been pursued!
REPLY: or maybe WWF or Greenpeace or IPCC?

Paddy

The BEST group are a collection of academics rent seekers flying the false flageof rational and ethical scientists.

Gary

The BEST analysis? WORSE than we thought.
Were graduate students involved?

Septic Matthew

the Economist has not the integrity to put author names to articles
That’s not an issue of “integrity”. Sometimes they publish critical letters. Send them a letter and see whether they publish it. If they don’t, you can put it up here.

crosspatch

Despite my concerns, The Economist author James Astill told me that “the issue is important”

Yep, highly important that we get this information out while it still validates the meme, no sense in waiting for a correction that might produce a different result.
Sheeesh.

Toto

(BTW, toto is a different person)
Looking on the bright side, Richard Muller is just confirming what we already knew: peer review sucks (and pal review sucks more). pal-MSM review is not going to help though; he’s daft if he thinks that will help the science. I do like the phrase “mere referees”.

Bloke down the pub

It seems like there is some international deadline approaching whereby the Team feel the need to get all their cards on the table as quickly as possible.
REPLY: Probably COP17 in Durban. I was excoriated for suggesting the media blitz of papers leading up to Copenhagen in 2009 was “coordinated”, we’ll see how this plays out. – Anthony

Jeff D

A little saying in my office that we have come to live by.
There are two types in the world Squirrels and Skunks. You can run up and hug a squirrel with no danger of being sprayed. You can even hug a skunk but knowing he is a skunk allows you to protect yourself if he decides he wants to spray you.
The one that scares us is the skunk that looks like a squirrel. And the world is full of them……

Ged

@Septic Matthew
“That’s not an issue of “integrity”. Sometimes they publish critical letters. Send them a letter and see whether they publish it. If they don’t, you can put it up here”
Errr, what? The Economist isn’t putting the author name on the articles it publishes, that’s what Anthony is talking about. It has nothing to do with publishing critical letters, but allowing correct attribution of written works so one knows who is behind what penned piece. And that is a matter of “integrity”. I personally don’t see it as a big issue, though.

Theo Barker

Post-normal science has been biting us since at least 1946.
http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/at-work/education/radiations-big-lie

toto

The issue of “the world is warming” is not one that climate skeptics question,
Could you please point that out to Fred “myth of rising temperatures” Singer?

REPLY:
He may have been referring to the last 10 years, see graph in comment above. – Anthony

Rather than snow, peer review is a thing of the past. And The Economist has used “the heat is on” so many times, it makes me sick.

Gil Dewart

As with comedy, and there is a lot of that here (apparently unintentional), timing is all-important. Over what time span is it, or was it, or will it be getting warmer or cooler or whatever. If there is any purpose at all here it seems to be obfuscation.

William

The Economist article could have noted that there is in the paleoclimate record cycles of warming and cooling.
The Economist article could have noted there was been no warming for the last 10 years.
The Economist article could have noted that for some unexplained reason sea level has started to fall.
The Economist article could have noted that there are published papers that provide data and analysis support the assertion the planet’s total feedback response to a change in forcing is negative (planetary cloud increases when the planet is warmer) rather than positive (planet amplifies temperature changes). If the planetary feedback response is negative, rather than positive the warming due to a doubling of CO2 will be around 1C.
The Economist article could have noted that skeptics do not dispute that the planet has warmed in the last part of the twentieth. The question is how much of the 20th century warming has due factors other than CO2 and how much will the planet warm in the future due to CO2 increases.
The three hypotheses that have been floated to explain the lack of warming in the last 10 year.
1. Increased sulfur dioxide emissions from China. (Does not explain why most of the warming has occurred at high latitudes particularly in Northern Latitudes.)
2. Increased volcanic activity in the equatorial region. (This paper noted that analysis of top of atmosphere radiation did not support hypothesis 1.
3. Heat is moving to the deep ocean. No explanation as to why the heat is suddenly moving to the deep ocean. No explanation as to why sea level is now dropping.
Copied from the above comment, ncluding Anthony’s reply to the above comment:
” Yawn. World is not warming.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2001
Courtesy of HadCRUT, the IPCC prominent global dataset.
REPLY: The world HAS warmed in the past century, but not in the last 10 years according to the HadCRUT data you offer in the plot above- Anthony”

Scott Covert

What ever happened to objective journalism? You write both sides of a story and let the reader decide what is true. All I see here is blind acceptance on one side and putting words in the mouths of skeptics on the other. I think most skeptics agree that the earth is warming since the LIA and CO2 does indeed absorb some infrared energy.
There is more to the debate than is it warming or not and frankly warming is not debatable, “global warming” is but a warming trend in the instrument/ proxy record is clear. What is most certinly not clear is any negative consequences that are unavoidable.

rw

Is there any commentary in the paper as to why the DMI Arctic temperature records show no net warming after 50 years? Isn’t this where the warming should be most pronounced?
I’m also troubled by the many rural temperature records I’ve seen (from 3 continents) which indicate that the hottest decade of the 20th century may have been the 30’s.
Most of all I’m bothered by the subtext in all of this: that careful measurement isn’t really required – averaging will always do the trick.
Toto, peer review isn’t perfect, but in my experience it’s usually adequate. (Recall W. Churchill’s remark about democracy: that it’s the worst political system in the world, except for every other one that’s been tried). The trouble comes if an entire field has become too politicized and polarized; then all bets are off and we’re into post-normal (or is it post-modern?) science.

DirkH

Probably Muller hopes to re-ignite the AGW panic to sell some geo-engineering ideas.
http://jer-skepticscorner.blogspot.com/2011/04/best-novim-and-other-solution.html
http://www.mullerandassociates.com/index.php

JEM

The Economist has been pushing for carbon taxation for years, it would be expecting far too much for them to change their tune.

Bill Illis

The paper doesn’t say what smoothing parametre/program they used.
From my work with US temperatures I know the US temperature anomaly is extremely variable. It needs to be smoothed over 12 or more months to approximate what Best has charted. This is not described in the paper or perhaps it is also in the unpublished to date Rohde et al 2011.
For example, this is what the strict (unsmoothed) monthly anomaly for the US looks like (to March 2011).
http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/348/usmonthlyanomnomvavgmar.png

Honest ABE

So, who got it in their BEST little heads that they needed to have a “media blitz?” Perhaps this is what they are being taught in all those courses and seminars telling them how they need to communicate the dangers of global warming better.
I’d be curious if they’ve had any contact with members of Realclimate – and all the manipulation that goes along with them.

GaryM

BEST appears simply to be another manifestation of the climate science rapid response methodology. It was not about doing science, but was a PR response on the issue of uncertainty in the temperature record raised by the surfacestations.org project. It was done as rapidly as possible – Muller testifying about preliminary conclusions just before the publication of Fall et al (2011) being the most obvious previous evidence.
I wonder if the timing of this media blitz has anything to do with some other climate news currently being widely discussed, the release of Donna Laframboise’’s new book on the dysfunctional IPCC? It’s all about controlling the message.

Eric Barnes

Below is a quote from the conclusion section of the BEST paper. Note the use of the weasel words, “may” and “unduly”. IMO, if the paper can’t even make a proper conclusion, it’s junk. It doesn’t even need to be taken seriously.
“conclude that poor station quality in the United States does not unduly bias estimates
of land surface average monthly temperature trends. No similar study is possible for the rest
of the world because we do not have indicators of good/bad station quality;
however, the lack of a significant difference in US stations suggests that such effects may
be minimal.”

rw

I suggest a change of acronym to BESTS: the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Show.

Is this a scientific study or a statistical analysis/manipulation aka “math”? Politicians use statistics. Perhaps we actually need “iteratively re-weighted” scientific studies before some biased outlet like The Economist spews their propaganda. So, we have NYT, The Guardian, and The Economist seeking quotes. Makes me think the paper contributors sat in a room and discussed who should get copies so that their position would pass “media review.” Maybe one of the contributors could weigh in…or iteratively re-weigh in on this.

Mack

I love how the cartoon depicts lab-coated and expedition-garbed scientists in the field recording temperature data on clipboards–not by volunteers.

CinbadtheSailor

“REPLY: The world HAS warmed in the past century, but not in the last 10 years according to the HadCRUT data you offer in the plot above- Anthony”
I was under the impression that Satellite data and Argo data also showed no significant temperature rise in the last 10 years

Laurie Bowen

Can’t win a “war” if there is no war . . . can’t have a war if there is no “enemy” . . . don’t have an “enemy” . . . . make one??

P Wilson

the world has warmed in the last century, but not the last 10 years.
So say you Anthony, and that those timescales invoke others. 1850-1875 was the coldest period of the entire Holocene and the 19th century was a particularly chilly one.
Of course, many are acquainted with the Holocene as a time-scale and understand that 3/4 of the last 12,000 years have been warmer that the last 50 years, so it depends on the starting point, although we do attribute the holocene with the rise of global warming then cooling, then warming again (optimum-Roman warming – MWP – little ice age – MIS1). Call these Preboreal, Boreal, Subboreal, Atlantic -Subatlantic with events of warming and cooling within these cycles (maunder, Dalton etc) so we are in an interglacial in what is currently an ice age. So the temperature performance of the last 100 years is unexceptional.

andrew

So why is it cooling so much now? see amsu SST and UAH

andrew

Weel according to that plot it has STOPPED warming since 2001 or 1998 whatever….So it is NOT warming now and especially not right now see above re etcSSTS

Dave

Anthony.
I admire your knowledge and devotion very much.I read the articles at WUWT daily and very rarely disagree.
I was extremely worried when your first wrote you were involved with the BEST project, They never intended to let you play in the the halls of wisdom, They told you you can play the game without providing the rules. They were professing impartiality in name only. They played you like a violin, but so what, even the best of us get suck punched often?.
Now we need to regroup and keep on with the good work, in spite of this set back we are winning the battle with truth, facts and conviction as you will see eventually.

stevo

“The issue of “the world is warming” is not one that climate skeptics question”
Oh really? Could have fooled me with your constant hyping of cold weather and downplaying of warm weather.
REPLY: Well Stevo, we all know that your perception is “chilly” so I’m not surprised at your anonymous snark, it is what you do- Anthony

Jeremy

The economist is fighting a straw man – skeptics do not deny that the world is warming!
This is deceitful propaganda journalism of the worst kind!

Gary Hladik

“I know that is prior to acceptance, but in the tradition that I grew up in (under Nobel Laureate Luis Alvarez) we always widely distributed ‘preprints’ of papers prior to their publication or even submission. That guaranteed a much wider peer review than we obtained from mere referees.”
Um, there’s a difference between peer review and “press review”. Circulating a “preprint” among professional colleagues (like Anthony) before or during formal peer review seems like a good way to improve the science. Circulating a “preprint” to the news media will not improve the science, but will certainly have a political impact.
Congratulations, guys. You’re now politicians. Personally I consider it a step down from scientist, but I guess it beats working for a living.

Brian H

As for the warming, a recent analysis of the record as a signals problem resulted in this:

The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration which is another time series shows a smooth accelerating increase ending in a linear trend of about 2ppmv/year over the past decade. This time series does not contain this predominent 65 year period so increase in CO2 concentration cannot be the driver of observed global temperature change; full stop!

Fourier analysis is free of any ideological bias and, provides incontrovertible proof that there is no possible significant relationship between CO2 and global temperature as claimed by the IPCC.

and this:

There is no temperature cycle that in any way correlates to either CO2 emissions or CO2 concentration other than the recovery from the Little Ice Age with its associated ocean heating causing increased outgassing of CO2 from the oceans in response to the lowered saturation point from increased ocean temperatures.

toto

FWIW, the Berkeley site is back up and running. All 4 preprints are available there.
Check out the one on UHI.

Brian H

Above are from the comments by Norm Kalmanovitch on JC’s posting, Does the Aliasing Beast Feed the Uncertainty Monster?

Septic Matthew

Ged: Errr, what?
I could have worded it better. My suggestion that he write a letter was independent of my saying that omitting author names was not a matter of integrity. Editors rewrite the articles submitted by the authors, so the editor is responsible.

Dave

Anthony,
You should be careful around certain letters… as we’ve just seen, the letter “M” for Muller needs to be approached with a great deal of trepidation… as should the letter “T” for Trenberth.
You stand heads and shoulders above the members of “The Team” and I don’t doubt that that they will try to use your best attributes and good nature against you.
Speaking of team… Go Sabres!!! Now there’s a hockey team…

OregonPerspective

Anthony, what you ask can now be done, and hopefully someone will do it.
Because the Berkeley group has made both their data and their methods available for download.
Any objections you have can now be tested.
That’s better that peer review.

Anthony I knew it was BEST, soon as you wrote. Makes me want to go back to John Daly’s rural records and if I had time I’d get in touch with the present record-keepers and find stations where we can actually trace the full record. Egad, even one station in the whole world with complete history recorded, would help.
However, let me offer once again for WUWT, my page on UHI – the elephant in the sitting room to remind folk of the real temperature record issues.

Mooloo

but we can’t be sure since the Economist has not the integrity to put author names to articles
Why does this show lack of integrity? It was the way all newspapers worked for a very long time (and most articles in my local newspaper are unsigned.) It is intended to remove the ego out of writing.
The reverse is columnists who strive to insert their personality into every article. Something the British are less keen on.
(Also, I think quite a lot of their articles are group efforts, which makes naming troublesome.)

Phil

The surface stations survey has apparently been the only attempt to do simple quality control on the “thousands of temperature stations” used to calculate temperature reconstructions and/or constructions. As stated in this post, the review of siting quality can at best be stretched back to 1979. I think that is generous. Nevertheless, prior to 1979 there is no credible evaluation of siting quality for any meaningful number of weather stations. The best that can be argued probably involves stations sited at airports, but these have their own siting biases (biased high, because if an airport station errs on the low side, it may lead to a crash). Accordingly, the vast majority of weather data (i.e. pre-1979) has had no evaluation of siting quality as well as no calibration records or calibration checks of the temperature measuring instruments themselves. Given the small magnitude of the warming trend (less than 1 degree C over a century), the quality issues should be given more weight.
In conclusion, it bears repeating that the BEST effort, as well as others that are similar, is NOT a quality assured record of past temperatures. Instead, they (BEST and the others) are reconstructions based on a number of different assumptions and corrections, each of which has its own uncertainty that should be added to the uncertainty inherent in the raw records.

JJ

Step one: recognize when you are being manipulated.

Jeremy

For those that want to poke fingers in the eyes of those claiming that “the world has not warmed.” Even accepting that the world has warmed, there is the question of degree. How much has UHI or land-use change near the instruments affected this presumed warming? If it accounts for 50% of a 1C change over a century, why should anyone worry at all? Would it then be unfair to say, “The world is not warming,” and mean the world simply isn’t warming in any unexpected way?
When you say, “The world *IS* warming,” there is an inextractable implication that it is warming unexpectedly. If it were warming within the bounds of reason or historical knowledge, then it *is not* news, and not worth saying. In fact, if the world gains X degrees C over Y years, but the noise level on that is 20 times X a year, it is actually fair to say that the world *is not* warming with the implication that it is not warming unexpectedly.
This *IS* a game of semantics, period. The argument continues to be pushed forward with clever use of language that the Earth is known to be warming catastrophically. Then when someone questions this by saying, “well, no, we’re not really warming up,” those who believe in a cataclysm of future warming suddenly become very specific and math-oriented, demanding the skeptics acknolwedge 0.1 degree C rises in decades as proof they are correct.
Temperature variations within known historical limits are NOT news and in fact cannot be used as evidence of presumed man-made catastrophic warming. Yet the CAGW supporters do this very thing all the time, even in this very thread of comments. It is nonsense, and while they may be correct in pointing out those who incorrectly state *zero* warming, they must be called out for conceding to a level of warming that makes them look like the truly paranoid alarmists they are.

Jim G

And, of course, the fact that warming is far better for all life on this planet rather than cooling, is always ignored. How about another round of glacier advance compared to all the supposed problems coming our way from global warming?