New Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project graphs emerge as Richard Muller prepares to give evidence
- 31 Mar 2011, 11:00
BEST chair Richard Muller
Professor Richard Muller at
the University of California at Berkeley will today give evidence
about his 'Berkeley Earth
Surface Temperature' project to the US House of Representatives
There is widespread scientific agreement that the temperature
datasets which track rising global temperatures give an accurate
view of how the planet is warming. But they are the subject of
fierce criticism from climate sceptics, who argue that
methodological flaws or scientific conspiracy to massage data mean
they cannot be relied upon.
Muller calls the surface temperature record
'very contentious' and argues that climate sceptics have raised
'legitimate concerns' about the way that temperature data is
handled. He recruited a team of statisticians to re-assess
temperature data, promising a totally revised approach to
understanding the raw data from global temperature stations.
We are publishing for the first time a graph showing preliminary
results from this reassessment which show a temperature trend
closely in accord with the other three main temperature datasets.
The preliminary results are based on an analysis of 2% of the data
the BEST project will consider.
presentation [PDF] containing the graph is from January 2011.
Although it's difficult to draw firm conclusions from this image,
Ken Caldeira, a prominent climatologist who donated to BEST, has
seen the project's draft paper. He
told US website Climate Progress: "Their preliminary results
sit right within the results of NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU, confirming
that prior analyses were correct in every way that matters.
"Their results confirm the reality of global warming and support
in all essential respects the historical temperature analyses of
the NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU. Their analysis supports the view that
there is no fire behind the smokescreen put up by climate science
A second graphic appears to show the temperature data points
used for the preliminary 2% results:
Concerns have been raised around the BEST project after it
emerged that the project was granted $150,000 from the Charles G.
Koch Charitable Foundation, out of total funding of more than
covered in the LA Times today.
Koch Industries, run by billionaire brothers Charles and David,
is outspoken in challenging the science of climate change and
donated millions of dollars to think tanks in the United States
that have promoted climate scepticism.
Certainly it would be very surprising if a new analysis of the
data provided results significantly different to current datasets -
which already use a variety of scientific techniques to correct for
errors and bias in the raw temperature data, and are regarded by
scientists and policymakers as authoritative.
In response to their preliminary findings, the BEST team updated
their FAQ to state:
A preliminary analysis of 2% of the
Berkeley Earth dataset shows a global temperature trend that goes
up and down with global cycles, and does so broadly in sync with
the temperature records from other groups such as NOAA, NASA, and
Hadley CRU … the preliminary analysis includes only a very small
subset (2%) of randomly chosen data, and does not include any
method for correcting for biases such as the urban heat island
effect, the time of observation bias, etc. The Berkeley Earth team
feels very strongly that no conclusions can yet be drawn from this
presentation containing the graph [PDF] was given in January by
Paul Alivisatos, a senior staff member at the Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory. Muller's testimony will be available to watch
here at 3PM UK time.