I was rather surprised to see this interview in Physics World with Dr. Richard Muller (h/t to Bishop Hill) with this praise.
“If Watts hadn’t done his work, we would not have reliable data today. The fact that he did that means he’s a hero; he deserves some sort of international prize.”
Thanks for the kind words Dr. Muller, but I don’t think that will happen.
Here’s the full quote plus some other interesting things:
Muller also had four specific concerns with the scientific consensus on global warming, which the BEST project was designed to address. The first – and most serious, he says – is the “stations issue”, referring to a problem highlighted by controversial US blogger and former TV meteorologist Anthony Watts. In 2007 Watts initiated the Surfacestations.org project, which reported that 70% of temperature recording stations in the US were inaccurate to a level of 2–5°C. MulIer says that the BEST team has now cleared up this issue by showing that when it comes to specifically measuring change in temperature, the 30% of good stations are not significantly more accurate than the 70% of bad stations. “If Watts hadn’t done his work, we would not have reliable data today. The fact that he did that means he’s a hero; he deserves some sort of international prize.”
The other concerns are as follows:
The second concern Muller refers to i. the “data selection” employed by the three major groups collecting global temperature data: NASA; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US; and the Met Office’s Hadley Centre in the UK. Muller says that the number of stations being used between 1980 and the present day has dropped from 6000 to less than 2000, with no explanation to be found anywhere in the literature. The third issue is that rapid urbanization in the regions surrounding temperature stations might have led to localized temperature increases, or what is known as the “urban heat island” effect. The fourth concern, which Muller calls “data correction”, refers to the small adjustments that the climate groups make to temperature readings as a result of changes in instruments and locations. Muller says the records describing why individual corrections have been made are very poor.
I emailed Professor Muller tonight, thanking him for the kind words. It was our first email exchange in months. He maintains that he has an open mind on the issues of surface data, and if new data is presented to him, he’ll re-evaluate.