Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 30

Thread: Climate Skeptic Admits He Was Wrong to Doubt Global-Warming Data

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline

    Climate Skeptic Admits He Was Wrong to Doubt Global-Warming Data

    Climate skeptics perform independent analysis, finally convinced Earth is getting warmer
    By John Timmer | Published about 2 hours ago

    Last week, a project called Berkeley Earth released drafts of its findings. The project was started by a physicist, Richard Muller, who had previously expressed doubts about the mathematical rigor of climate science; it received funding from a variety of sources, including the Department of Energy and foundations set up by Bill Gates and the Koch brothers. The Berkeley Earth team set out to analyze records of the Earth's surface temperatures to answer questions about the trajectory of the planet's recent warming that had been raised by skeptics and contrarians. To a very large degree, it discovered that climatologists had been doing a pretty good job after all.

    Climatologists have generated a number of reconstructions of global temperature trends based on instruments that have been recording temperatures since the 1800s. However, one of those records was produced by members of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. That record became embroiled in controversy: the CRU was the target of e-mail thefts, was unable to release some of its records due to commercial agreements, and had destroyed some paper copies of original data decades earlier. NASA and NOAA, however, performed independent reconstructions based on publicly available data.

    Even those, however, had become the targets of criticism. Recording stations were moved, their surroundings urbanized, and researchers performed adjustments or dropped some stations entirely in order to compensate. Various parties hostile to the findings of climate science have raised questions about this process. Have the scientists really compensated for urbanization? Was the trajectory of the modern warming really as extreme as the temperature records were showing?

    And those were the moderate voices. At the more extreme end of the spectrum, some accused researchers of selectively dropping only stations that showed cooling trends, and raised questions about whether the planet had warmed at all. These questions weren't very realistic—melting ice, migrating species, and other factors made it pretty clear the planet was warming—but the climate debate has no shortage of unreasonable voices.

    Rerunning the numbers

    In any case, the Berkeley Earth project set out to answer all of those questions. It would use many more stations, perform an independent reconstruction of global temperatures, and examine the effect of urbanization. And it has now completed that analysis and posted drafts of the four papers it has submitted to peer reviewed journals (they're currently in the review process).

    It's not clear that they will all be published, because a few of them largely duplicate information that's already out there, as even the project head admits. "Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK," said Richard Muller. "This confirms that these studies were done carefully and the potential biases identified by climate change skeptics did not seriously affect their conclusions."

    So, with a different set of temperature stations, Berkeley Earth has succeeded in producing a graph that looks nearly indistinguishable from those of the other research groups. Is it possible to produce a biased record? Absolutely—about a third of the stations in Berkeley Earth's dataset show a cooling trend over the past 70 years. But, given this analysis, there's no reason to take give any credibility to accusations that climate scientists were cooking the books on temperatures.

    But could the climate record be inadvertently biased? Critics have suggested that urbanization and the changing environment around many temperature stations have created a false warming signal; this is the premise behind the Surface Stations project, which went out and rated US instruments for likely problems. Both of these issues had been tackled by the scientific community. A paper from NOAA scientists looked at the best-rated US surface stations, and found they produced a temperature plot indistinguishable from that of the network as a whole. Berkeley Earth essentially duplicates this analysis.

    Similarly, a group of NASA scientists (including James Hansen—yes, he still does science) used satellite images of nighttime lighting to determine which temperature stations are in urban areas, and found that these have a minimal impact on the temperature record. Berkeley Earth used a different source of urbanization information (daylight imagery that was processed by a machine learning algorithm), but come to the same conclusion: the urban heat island effect isn't skewing the temperature record.

    Is there anything new here at all? The primary new contribution seems to be in a paper that focuses on short term variability in the climate. The Berkeley Earth record shows a good correlation between surface temperatures and variability in the North Atlantic. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation, which takes place in the Pacific, is generally regarded as the main driver of short-term variability, so this goes a bit against the grain. It's possible that this is a result of Berkeley Earth's focus on land-based readings, but we'll have to await their next analysis, which will include ocean readings, to see.

    A sanity check for skepticism?

    With the papers released, however, a publicity war has broken out. Richard Muller, one of the leaders of Berkeley Earth, penned an editorial in which he ignores the previous work by NASA, NOAA, and others, and claims there was good reason to be skeptical of the temperature record. Until now, that is. Berkeley Earth has largely recapitulated that previous work, so now it can all be trusted, and climate skeptics should simply move on to something else. Muller may have been one of the only people to have actually done what anyone skeptical of the climate scientists should do—perform an independent check of their work—but his public spin on his results is completely unrealistic.

    Of course, like the NOAA study before it, Berkeley Earth undercuts the whole rationale behind the Surface Station project, and the people behind that are not happy. After posting nearly any trivia that came along on their blog (called Watts Up With That, after its lead, Anthony Watts), they have suddenly gotten very upset that the four papers were released before going through peer review—at which point they think they should be rejected for publication.

    Stranger still, Watts and a number of others are now disowning their past, claiming to never have doubted that the Earth had been warming, and complaining that Muller's editorial caricatures their view up as a straw man. That's hard to reconcile with Watts' past statements. In a document he prepared for a think tank, Watts had written, "Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and unidirectionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant 'global warming' in the 20th century." Now, after Berkeley Earth's release, he claims to have never questioned that the Earth had warmed. Other prominent skeptics are saying similar things.

    But Watts still doesn't trust Berkeley Earth's results. And, based on the comments on his blog, most of his readers don't either. That suggests that, contrary to Muller's expectations, this won't be the end of the skepticism of the temperature record.

    What it may help do is drive those who keep questioning whether the Earth has warmed further to the fringes, where they can join those who question whether the greenhouse effect exists even after a century of work has confirmed that it does. That's a territory that doesn't merit the label skepticism anymore.

    Actual skeptics might see this as an opportunity to focus on the scientific community's attribution of the temperature changes Berkeley Earth has confirmed, which is primarily ascribed to anthropogenic influences. There's an entire chapter of the IPCC report devoted to attribution, though, so any scientific skepticism should at least start by addressing the arguments outlined there.

    Photograph by BBQ Junkie

  2. #2
    Havakasha is offline
    Anyone see S&L? I quess he still has no opinion on climate change. LMFAO
    Eugene Robinson
    Opinion Writer
    The scientific finding that settles the climate-change debate
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: March 1, 2011. Updated October 24, 2011.

    For the clueless or cynical diehards who deny global warming, it’s getting awfully cold out there.

    The latest icy blast of reality comes from an eminent scientist whom the climate-change skeptics once lauded as one of their own. Richard Muller, a respected physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, used to dismiss alarmist climate research as being “polluted by political and activist frenzy.” Frustrated at what he considered shoddy science, Muller launched his own comprehensive study to set the record straight. Instead, the record set him straight.

    “Global warming is real,” Muller wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal.

    Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the neo-Luddites who are turning the GOP into the anti-science party should pay attention.

    “When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find,” Muller wrote. “Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that.”

    In other words, the deniers’ claims about the alleged sloppiness or fraudulence of climate science are wrong. Muller’s team, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, rigorously explored the specific objections raised by skeptics — and found them groundless.

    Muller and his fellow researchers examined an enormous data set of observed temperatures from monitoring stations around the world and concluded that the average land temperature has risen 1 degree Celsius — or about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — since the mid-1950s.

    This agrees with the increase estimated by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Muller’s figures also conform with the estimates of those British and American researchers whose catty e-mails were the basis for the alleged “Climategate” scandal, which was never a scandal in the first place.

    The Berkeley group’s research even confirms the infamous “hockey stick” graph — showing a sharp recent temperature rise — that Muller once snarkily called “the poster child of the global warming community.” Muller’s new graph isn’t just similar, it’s identical.

    Muller found that skeptics are wrong when they claim that a “heat island” effect from urbanization is skewing average temperature readings; monitoring instruments in rural areas show rapid warming, too. He found that skeptics are wrong to base their arguments on the fact that records from some sites seem to indicate a cooling trend, since records from at least twice as many sites clearly indicate warming. And he found that skeptics are wrong to accuse climate scientists of cherry-picking the data, since the readings that are often omitted — because they are judged unreliable — show the same warming trend.

    Muller and his colleagues examined five times as many temperature readings as did other researchers — a total of 1.6 billion records — and now have put that merged database online. The results have not yet been subjected to peer review, so technically they are still preliminary. But Muller’s plain-spoken admonition that “you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer” has reduced many deniers to incoherent grumbling or stunned silence.

    Not so, I predict, with the blowhards such as Perry, Cain and Bachmann, who, out of ignorance or perceived self-interest, are willing to play politics with the Earth’s future. They may concede that warming is taking place, but they call it a natural phenomenon and deny that human activity is the cause.

    It is true that Muller made no attempt to ascertain “how much of the warming is due to humans.” Still, the Berkeley group’s work should help lead all but the dimmest policymakers to the overwhelmingly probable answer.

    We know that the rise in temperatures over the past five decades is abrupt and very large. We know it is consistent with models developed by other climate researchers that posit greenhouse gas emissions — the burning of fossil fuels by humans — as the cause. And now we know, thanks to Muller, that those other scientists have been both careful and honorable in their work.

    Nobody’s fudging the numbers. Nobody’s manipulating data to win research grants, as Perry claims, or making an undue fuss over a “naturally occurring” warm-up, as Bachmann alleges. Contrary to what Cain says, the science is real.

    It is the know-nothing politicians — not scientists — who are committing an unforgivable fraud.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 10-24-2011 at 09:59 PM.

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
    "For the clueless or cynical diehards who deny global warming, it’s getting awfully cold out there."

    This could easily be directed at Siriusly Long among others. lol

  4. #4
    SiriuslyLong is offline
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Quote Originally Posted by Havakasha View Post
    "For the clueless or cynical diehards who deny global warming, it’s getting awfully cold out there."

    This could easily be directed at Siriusly Long among others. lol
    The fact that the earth is getting warmer doesn't scare me, nor does it compell me to give a half billion tax dollars to a company because of the fact.

  5. #5
    Havakasha is offline
    You mean you are finally admitting the earth is getting warmer? If so it only took you two years
    to say that. lol. Only 2 weeks ago you were trying to present evidence to the contrary.

    Kind of like when you wouldnt acknowledge for many, many months that i was right when I said that Peter Schiff's prediction of hyperinflation in the U.S. for 2011 was COMPLETELY WRONG.

    You are consistent at least in your unwillingness to admit some obvious truths.

    P.S. I understand you are upset about alternative energy getting some assistance from the govt.
    Just like how VERY upset you have been over many years about the trillions in tax subsidies to oil, coal and nuclear energy companies. LMFAO.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 10-28-2011 at 10:19 AM.

  6. #6
    Havakasha is offline
    Richard Muller, Global Warming Skeptic, Now Agrees Climate Change Is Real

    SETH BORENSTEIN 10/30/11 03:39 PM ET
    Submit this story
    WASHINGTON — A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly.

    The study of the world's surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. He was spurred to action because of "Climategate," a British scandal involving hacked emails of scientists.

    Yet he found that the land is 1.6 degrees warmer than in the 1950s. Those numbers from Muller, who works at the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, match those by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

    He said he went even further back, studying readings from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. His ultimate finding of a warming world, to be presented at a conference Monday, is no different from what mainstream climate scientists have been saying for decades.

    What's different, and why everyone from opinion columnists to "The Daily Show" is paying attention is who is behind the study.

    One-quarter of the $600,000 to do the research came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of skeptic groups and the tea party. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, run a large privately held company involved in oil and other industries, producing sizable greenhouse gas emissions.

    Muller's research team carefully examined two chief criticisms by skeptics. One is that weather stations are unreliable; the other is that cities, which create heat islands, were skewing the temperature analysis.

    "The skeptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago," Muller said in a telephone interview. "And now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias."

    Muller said that he came into the study "with a proper skepticism," something scientists "should always have. I was somewhat bothered by the fact that there was not enough skepticism" before.

    There is no reason now to be a skeptic about steadily increasing temperatures, Muller wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal's editorial pages, a place friendly to skeptics. Muller did not address in his research the cause of global warming. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists say it's man-made from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Nor did his study look at ocean warming, future warming and how much of a threat to mankind climate change might be.

    Still, Muller said it makes sense to reduce the carbon dioxide created by fossil fuels.

    "Greenhouse gases could have a disastrous impact on the world," he said. Still, he contends that threat is not as proven as the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it is.

    On Monday, Muller was taking his results – four separate papers that are not yet published or peer-reviewed, but will be, he says – to a conference in Santa Fe, N.M., expected to include many prominent skeptics as well as mainstream scientists.

    "Of course he'll be welcome," said Petr Chylek of Los Alamos National Lab, a noted skeptic and the conference organizer. "The purpose of our conference is to bring people with different views on climate together, so they can talk and clarify things."

    Shawn Lawrence Otto, author of the book "Fool Me Twice" that criticizes science skeptics, said Muller should expect to be harshly treated by global warming deniers. "Now he's considered a traitor. For the skeptic community, this isn't about data or fact. It's about team sports. He's been traded to the Indians. He's playing for the wrong team now."

    And that started on Sunday, when a British newspaper said one of Muller's co-authors, Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry, accused Muller of another Climategate-like scandal and trying to "hide the decline" of recent global temperatures.

    The Associated Press contacted Curry on Sunday afternoon and she said in an email that Muller and colleagues "are not hiding any data or otherwise engaging in any scientifically questionable practice."

    The Muller "results unambiguously show an increase in surface temperature since 1960," Curry wrote Sunday. She said she disagreed with Muller's public relations efforts and some public comments from Muller about there no longer being a need for skepticism.

    Muller's study found that skeptics' concerns about poor weather station quality didn't skew the results of his analysis because temperature increases rose similarly in reliable and unreliable weather stations. He also found that while there is an urban heat island effect making cities warmer, rural areas, which are more abundant, are warming, too.

    Among many climate scientists, the reaction was somewhat of a yawn.

    "After lots of work he found exactly what was already known and accepted in the climate community," said Jerry North, a Texas A&M University atmospheric sciences professor who headed a National Academy of Sciences climate science review in 2006. "I am hoping their study will have a positive impact. But some folks will never change."

    To read the whole article click on link at the top

  7. #7
    Havakasha is offline
    Climate change holds some mysteries for the future, but there are some known changes coming.

    Warm air holds more moisture: about 5 per cent more for each 1°C temperature increase. This means more rain or snow overall, and more intense rain or snowfall on average.This trend is already evident, and is stronger than models predict.
    More intense precipitation means more floods. While we can't say whether a particular flood is due to climate change, modelling indicates that climate change is making such events far more likely and more extreme.

  8. #8
    Havakasha is offline
    So are you admitting that the earth is getting warmer? lol

  9. #9
    SiriuslyLong is offline
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Evidently it is, but winter still sucks.

  10. #10
    Havakasha is offline
    "evidently it is". So all of a sudden you acknowledge the planet is warming after claiming you
    have no knowledge or point of view on this subject and dont care, and after trying to present
    evidence to the contrary. WOW.

    I know its hard for you to admit facts sometimes, but do you think you could take a little less than 2 years next time and do it with a little more intellectual honesty and maturity? Nah!

    P.S. I enjoy winter.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 11-02-2011 at 02:03 AM.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts