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October 31, 2011

Global Warming Science Is Settled, As Long As You Overlook Some Of The Science

Last week Gaia worshipers rejoiced when a report was released that seemed to confirm that everything they had been saying including the famed "hockey stick" graph was right.

Turns out there was some premature celebrating going on.

Professor Richard Muller, of Berkeley University in California, and his colleagues from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST) claimed to have shown that the planet has warmed by almost a degree centigrade since 1950 and is warming continually.

Published last week ahead of a major United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa, next month, their work was cited around the world as irrefutable evidence that only the most stringent measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can save civilisation as we know it.

...

But today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a leading member of Prof Muller’s team has accused him of trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST’s research shows global warming has stopped.

Prof Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said that Prof Muller’s claim that he has proven global warming sceptics wrong was also a ‘huge mistake’, with no scientific basis.

Prof Curry is a distinguished climate researcher with more than 30 years experience and the second named co-author of the BEST project’s four research papers.

So the number two researcher on the project is calling out her fellow researcher for overstating their results? There's only one response to that...POPCORN!

In fact, Prof Curry said, the project’s research data show there has been no increase in world temperatures since the end of the Nineties – a fact confirmed by a new analysis that The Mail on Sunday has obtained.

‘There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ she said. ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’

However, Prof Muller denied warming was at a standstill.

‘We see no evidence of it [global warming] having slowed down,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. There was, he added, ‘no levelling off’.

Below are two graphs of the data. One shows the "case closed" data that the media hailed and the other is the last 10 years of the data broken out on its own.


gwgraph.jpg

What's the importance of the second graph? The guys at Watts Up With That have the answer.

It is a statistically perfect straight line of zero gradient. Indeed, most of the largest variations in it can be attributed to ENSO and la Nina effects. It is impossible to reconcile this with Professor Muller’s statement. Could it really be the case that Professor Muller has not looked at the data in an appropriate way to see the last ten years clearly?

Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data.

When examined more objectively Best data confirms the global temperature standstill of the past decade. That the standstill should be present in land only data is remarkable. There have been standstills in land temperature before, but the significance of the past decade is that it is in the era of mankind’s postulated influence on climate through greenhouse gas forcing. Predictions made many times in the past few years suggest that warming should be the strongest and fastest in the land data.

Of course Muller's claim that this settles the debate will be tested through the usual scientific channels of peer review, right? Um, no.

But although Prof Curry is the second named author of all four papers, Prof Muller failed to consult her before deciding to put them on the internet earlier this month, when the peer review process had barely started, and to issue a detailed press release at the same time.

He also briefed selected journalists individually. ‘It is not how I would have played it,’ Prof Curry said. ‘I was informed only when I got a group email. I think they have made errors and I distance myself from what they did.

‘It would have been smart to consult me.’ She said it was unfortunate that although the Journal of Geophysical Research had allowed Prof Muller to issue the papers, the reviewers were, under the journal’s policy, forbidden from public comment.

Prof McKittrick added: ‘The fact is that many of the people who are in a position to provide informed criticism of this work are currently bound by confidentiality agreements.

‘For the Berkeley team to have chosen this particular moment to launch a major international publicity blitz is a highly unethical sabotage of the peer review process.’

In Prof Curry’s view, two of the papers were not ready to be published, in part because they did not properly address the arguments of climate sceptics.

As for the graph disseminated to the media, she said: ‘This is “hide the decline” stuff. Our data show the pause, just as the other sets of data do. Muller is hiding the decline.

In other words, shut up they explained.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:03 AM

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