The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project puts PR before peer review

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project puts PR before peer review” (2011-10-20). Remember the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study begun by the “reliable” Dr. Richard Muller? Their results are in and it seems Anthony Watts has been run over by reality and taken away by the wahhhhhambulance.

Back in March Anthony seemed sure that the BEST study would be free of the corruption, manipulation and deception, unlike everything the thousands of other climate scientists had produced. He declared that he was “prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.

Suddenly, for some reason, Anthony’s tune has changed. Now Anthony is disgusted by Dr. Muller’s “media blitz” of his results. Results that, inconveniently, confirm all the conventional analyses of modern temperature trends and completely gut Anthony’s years of false criticisms.

Did you know that “Not one of the BEST papers have completed peer review“? It’s sort of true! Never mind that Anthony spent literally years falsely pre-announcing that his own amateur surface-stations “study” would prove that the rising temperature trend in the USA was the product of biased weather station choice and changing urban environments. Never mind that releasing pre-publication versions of scientific papers is a widespread practice, and never mind that the paper that Anthony was eventually able to help produce couldn’t support his own claims.

Did you know that “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“? Eagle-eyed Anthony has discovered that Dr. Muller used too much data! The first rule of cherry picking is to ignore as much data as possible, don’t you know.

Also, despite of Anthony’s habit of continuously posting articles noting localized cold or snow, Anthony wants you to know that “the issue of ‘the world is warming’ is not one that climate skeptics question, it is the magnitude and causes.” Even he’s given up on that. Technically.

Addition: Here’s the BEST’s global temperature trend compared to the three historical temperature trends created by evil, cheating, communist, climatologists. Break out your magnifying glasses and you’ll see that the differences are enormous!

The BEST Temperature Reconstruction matches previous results

BEST Study temperature reconstruction matches previous results! Shocking.

Whether or not the world is really warming, Anthony’s certainly feeling the burn. From Open Mind:

In my opinion it’s clear what Watts is really upset about — the results from the Berkeley team have confirmed that the other main global temperature estimates (NASA GISS, NOAA/NCDC, and HadCRU) got it right, and that station siting/urban heat island effects are not responsible for any of the observed temperature increase. The real reason all these analyses (including Berkeley’s) show temperature rise is: the globe is warming.

I’ll add links to other websites covering this entertaining development as I find them.

34 thoughts on “The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project puts PR before peer review

  1. This is some classic WUWT in the making right here.

    [It’s got all the check marks, dosn’t it? You know Anthony’s getting “a bit sensitive” when he invokes the unsupported ‘experienced scientists don’t know what I know’ argument and starts noting with outrage that his critic’s comments don’t include their full legal names. – Ben]

  2. The planet is definitely not warming! Well ok maybe it is but it’s definitely not by very much and definitely nothing to do with people.

    The Arctic is definitely not melting! Well maybe it is but it’s definitely not by very much and so on.

    Skeptics are slowly building up a publishing record and their previous claims can be seen and tested for all to see. When you’re new on the scene it’s easy to say “Oh Hansen was totally wrong! It’s warmed by slightly less than his projection from 23 years ago!” and pretend you can totally do better.

  3. Good stuff again, Ben.

    The story is also at the Guardian website:

    The moment I started reading the Guardian story I thought that it will be fun to see what bollocks Watts now comes up with.

  4. One of the best comments and replies from Anthony at WUWT I have seen yet. Anthony’s war will likely continue no matter what revisions or peer review will say of the BEST paper.

    Jeff D says:
    October 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Yep took his work and turned it into a hockey stick.

    That has got to sting. Sorry Anthony.

    REPLY: No worries, down maybe, but not out. I still have the upper hand, they just don’t know what I know at this point. – Anthony

    [The “upper hand”! I think the internet kids would say ROTFLMAO. Maybe he means a finger up his nose? – Ben]

  5. Gone deaf. Shot up one of his fellow deniers :)

    Brian H says:
    October 21, 2011 at 12:51 am
    Could you paraphrase the 2 questions in the Q&A? Couldn’t pick them up.

    I’d have loved to follow-up on the human sourcing of CO2, in the form: “Why does the Mona Loa record not show any fluctuations in trend corresponding to significant variations in human CO2 output that occurred since record-keeping there began?”
    If it doesn’t fluctuate, it’s not measuring anthro-GHG contributions. Period.

    REPLY: Turn up your volume, and sheesh I’ve spent my whole day servicing people and the cause of skepticism on my blog, I’ve taken abuse of all sorts, got no work done for myself, and now you want me to spend time to transcribe and paraphrase questions for you? And you still haven’t figured out from the several blog posts I’ve written and my about page that I’m hearing impaired and couldn’t hear the questions, much less Dr. Santer talking to me directly and I had to ask him to speak up? 24 hours timeout for you – Anthony

    Seriously, what’s up with Watts’ wits?

  6. Pingback: What I’m Reading Friday, October 21, 2011 | Rationally Thinking Out Loud

  7. I’m left wondering what the next denialist mantra will be to come from Anthony. When you put the old “the peer review process is corrupt” alongside this post’s “they haven’t completed peer review” it’s clear they’re running out coherent talking points. I’ll put my money on that Watts puts an even greater emphasis “corruption” and ad hominem attacks. Hard to believe, but I bet Watts’ writings will only get uglier because of this.

    [Logic or consistency has never been a requirement of denialist activity (see: the entirety of Anthony’s blogging efforts). I agree that Anthony will probably sink lower rather that adjust his beliefs – Ben]

  8. When I commented on this, I was dismissed as a Canadian living in a backwater village. I haven’t commented at WTFIUWT for months but T. Watt has my adress at hand. He also mentions comments I make at other blogs (maybe even this one).

    Sounds like our boy has an enemies list. Wasn’t Nixon from Orange County.

    Strangely enough a second comment hasn’t appeared after 20 hours.

    Tony: when you see this release the hounds. The bears and coyotes in my backwater are hungry.

    John McManus

    [Hoover kept lists too. – Ben]

  9. Jim Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said he had not read the research papers but was glad Muller was looking at the issue, describing him as “a top-notch physicist”. “It should help inform those who have honest scepticism about global warming.

    “Of course, presuming that he basically confirms what we have been reporting, the deniers will then decide that he is a crook or has some ulterior motive.

    “As I have discussed in the past, the deniers, or contrarians, if you will, do not act as scientists, but rather as lawyers.”

    “As soon as they see evidence against their client (the fossil fuel industry and those people making money off business-as-usual), they trash that evidence and bring forth whatever tidbits they can find to confuse the judge and jury.”

    Source: “Global warming study finds no grounds for climate sceptics’ concerns,” The Guardian (UK), Oct 20, 2011

  10. Ben,

    Skeptical Science now has two posts on this topic. You’ve included the first one in your list. The second one is “The BEST Kind of Skepticism” by Dana.

    [Added. – Ben]

  11. “The issue of “the world is warming” is not one that climate skeptics question, it is the magnitude and causes.”

    A. Watts 2011

    “Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and uni-directionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century.”

    A. Watts 2010: Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven Deception? First line of the summary.

    What a difference a year makes!

    [Anthony is such a creep. He had no problem making the utterly baseless accusation that the USA Temperature data was being deliberately falsified. I don’t think we’ve heard a retraction on that one either. – Ben]

  12. Comment at WUWT

    “It doesn’t pass the laugh test anymore that web forum sceptics and blog scientists on some relatively obscure blogs are somehow unfairly and continuously being persecuted by mainstream science and the overwhelming majority of the global climate science community. Frankly, its starting to sound paranoid and kooky.

    It is what it is. If blog scientists have more robust, and scientifically credible hypothoses that debunk human-induced climate change, feel free to publish it in a credible and internationally-recognized science journal.”

    REPLY: Oh, we will, be assured. – Anthony

    So I propose that this site be closed down. Human-induced climate change is debunked, Anthony’s series ‘How Not To Measure Temperature’ which you recall featured amusing photos of weather stations in car parks, his ‘paper’ for SPPI/Heartland Institute, which was released without peer-review, and which has been repeatedly shown to be bunk, and oh, all the rest of it. These were just misdirection, he has the real deal in his possession and all we have to do is wait for him to publish.

    Cool. I’m off out to buy that BMW X5 I wanted.

    Tamino’s message to Anthony Watts

    [Yep, Anthony’s word is good enough for me! I’d like you opinion though Phil. Will I have to give back the Porsche Al Gore shipped up to me as payment? – Ben]

  13. “I don’t think we’ve heard a retraction on that one either. – Ben”

    Course not. The document is still available for download without even a note pointing out that the BEST project and the Fall et al paper, both of which Watts contributed to, utterly falsify it.

    Whatever shred of credibility Watts ever had as a serious commentator is long gone, everyone makes mistakes, but leaving wrong and defamatory assertions in place after your own data disproves them…. words fail me.

  14. So hard to keep up with WUWT… posts get flooded with comments and then abandoned.

    Hopefully, the recent post on Anthony attending Ben Santer’s presentation at Chico State University changed a few minds. I tried to set the record straight with Joe Bastardi, but got distracted with other comments. I hope Anthony can find the time to attend many more seminars such as that.

    And this whole BEST thing is out of control over there, scramble conspiracy mode in the comments. Couldn’t Anthony have just kept his grievances private with Dr. Muller? If the peer review changed the BEST paper, then he could have the upper hand by demanding a retraction or write an op-ed to the Economist, or wherever.
    BEST: What I agree with and what I disagree with – plus a call for additional transparency to prevent “pal” review

    [Anthony relies on rapid-fire posting to bury, and hence conceal, the inevitable unravelling of his assertions. – Ben]

  15. Off topic, sorry, but it seems that Aslak Grinsted, a climate scientist from the University of Copenhagen decided to address his concerns with Willis Eschenbach’s article covering a recent paper on sea level rise. The comments are incredibly sad (at least they made me sad), if anybody has time to skip through them. I left a simple comment of support for him.

    “@ Aslak Grinsted
    You are a brave soul and I am deeply grateful for the hard scientific work that you do.”

    Only a Century? Ya Wimps!

    Aslak Grinsted, coathor of this paper

    [Willis seems to have more anger issues than ever. – Ben]

    • The saga continues. I contend that Aslak and his colleagues’ reputations may have been unduly damaged in the public sphere. I recommend a better route would have been to publish a rebuttal paper to “Global and Planetary Change”, thus participating in the modern scientific process.

      Aslak isn’t going to stand alone…

    • “…we can see that the rise in sea level will continue to accelerate for several centuries because of the sea and ice caps long reaction time.” (from the paper’s press release)

      But Willis Eschenbach objects to extending a sea level rise model out as far as 500 years. “It will make no difference to our current choices,” he says. Even though the 2100 sea level rise would only be about half of the eventual sea level rise. So apparently climate skeptics would recommend city ‘half-planning’.

      “…it is an exercise in projecting a simple curve into the future, which is a newbie error I was warned against in high school. You can’t just extend a curve out for 500 years…” (from Willis Eschenbach’s blogpost)

      Of course you can, with a computer model. The subject here is the melting of ice. The paper is about the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and the resultant sea level rise, due to increased temperatures. This graph can, and should, be extended beyond 100 years.

      The tone of the blogpost is (adolescently) insulting.

      And Willis Eschenbach’s performance was embarrassing. All he had in response to the co-author’s (Aslak Grinsted) discussion-opening comment was his own personal cloud theory.

      Of course he was at a disadvantage, because he hadn’t read the paper that he was criticising. Even though WUWT is getting 5000 site visits per hour (at the time), Willis doesn’t think the effort or expense of getting behind a paywall is justified.

      This blogpost is from the new-WE (quick editorializing), rather than the old-WE (technical details). If I haven’t SHOWN that it’s silly, let me TELL you that it’s silly.

      In delicious juxtaposition, in the the comments below Willis Eschenbach is led into rants of self-importance by Aslak Grinsted (at Oct21, 10:12 am) and otter17 (after Oct23, 1:34am). Not scientific, just theatrical.

      I wasn’t aware that consensus climate scientists regularly visited WUWT, to check out the opposition . For blogposts like this?

  16. There is something satisfying about watching these rats chew at BEST, it reveals their madness, they don’t want facts they want fantasy.

    If anybody was under any sort of impression that these guys had any sort of loyalty to reality then this lame assassination attempt of sommeone they were cheering as their own not so long ago should put any such idea to bed totally.

  17. Wow, in the last 24 hours:

    1. Willie Eschenbach has blown two posts so badly that fellow deniers are lampooning him in the comments
    2. The crack moderators at WUWT have tried to legitimize a claim that Hansen’s PhD is a fraud (“we’re just searching for the truth!”), and
    3. Willie Eschenbach and Tony Watts are inflicting all kinds of friendly fire / collateral damage with their unhinged abuse of fellow deniers who have the UNMITIGATED GALL to question the editorial integrity of WUWT!

    And I thought the BEST study would add nothing to the conversation!

    [I think criminogenic has the right analogy. The panic and desperation of a ripped open rat-nest is something to see. – Ben]

  18. In a new post about ocean heat content titled “Tisdale on the new “hide the decline” version of ocean heat content data”, Bob Tisdale asks, “Is the new 0-2000 meter dataset being introduced to hide the flattening of the 0-700 data since 2003?”. He is also incensed by a commenter who suggests he is saying that data has been faked or manipulated… The art of suggesting without actually saying…

  19. Slightly OT but sort of related: Watts was delighted by NOAA’s conclusion that the 2010 heat wave in Russia was down to natural variability:

    But Climate Progress have just posted news of another paper which did a Monte Carlo analysis on monthly and yearly figures and came up with a very different conclusion:

    One of the problems they cited with the NOAA study was that the smoothed data overestimated UHI around Moscow…..

    Not a peep about this on WUWT – I suppose he’s trying to think of a way he can accuse Gore and Hansen of having murdered 56 000 Russians and made it look like global warming..

  20. When does WUWT qualify as a Cult? now head poo-bah has rejected a fourth quantification of Global temperature there could be 150000 such quantifications and he and his would still reject them, it would just mean more site-hits, Jim Jones would be proud of such a following.

    • I think WUWT qualifies as a cult now. When Watts writes very clearly and very publicly that he’s prepared to accept the BEST results no matter what they say, and now starts coming up with excuses to invalidate that statement, it’s a cult.

      • The stronger the evidence of Global warming the stronger the Cult gets as it asks members to further loosen links with logic thus making them more compliant, more complete in their need for ‘guidance’.

        A way to extend membership is to expand the leadership group who bring their own circle of crazy and freshen up the current crazy soup. This also gives the Cult psuedo depth as it appears to have a number of rational voices involved, rational in that they can string some ‘sciency’ sounding sentences together.

  21. Climate change to flood link – no evidence (WUWT, Oct 24, 2011)

    WUWT forgets to mention the negative correlation in the SW

    “The only strong statistical result is the negative relationship between GMCO2 (global mean carbon dioxide concentration) and flood magnitudes in the SW region.” (from the Discussion, emphasis added)

    “In none of the four regions in this study is there strong statistical evidence for flood magnitudes increasing with increasing GMCO2.” (from abstract, emphasis added)

    The northeastern quadrant in this study, extending as far west as the 100th meridian, “shows a tendency towards increases in flooding over this period.” (as quoted in The Hill, emphasis added)

    “The question of how floods are related to GMCO2 concentrations is an important one for adaptation to climate change. This study suggests positive associations in colder areas with moderate to high precipitation amounts and negative associations in some of the dryer parts of the USA The results of this study do not mean that no strong relationship between flooding and GMCO2 will emerge in other areas in the future. It may be that the greenhouse forcing is not sufficiently large to produce changes in flood behaviour that rises above the “noise” in the flood-producing processes…” (from the Conclusion)

  22. Explaining Muller vs. Muller: is BEST blissfully unaware of cosmic-ray-cloud theory?” (WUWT, Oct 28, 2011)

    There’s no need to delve into the science in this blogpost. It is just the author’s personal sun/climate theory (Bob Tisdale calls it ‘speculation’).

    The problem is the big stretch he must make to justify presenting it. The author, Alec Rawls, first misinterpret BEST’s narrow corroboration of the existing land temperature data sets as doing something it does not. It does stomp on any skeptic intentions to further criticize the existing land temperature record, including UHI and micro-siting issues. It does not take a position on what causes the warming.

    Alec Rawls takes two similarly corresponding quotes, and interjects his personal inferences. He then somehow declares them ‘contradictory’, which leads him to a conclusion that is illogical and even magical:

    “All they know is that the CO2 theory predicts warming, prompting them to see evidence of warming as evidence for that theory.”

    But this is done with correct punctuation and perfect spelling, and the WUWT commmenters don’t notice anything wrong.

    A modest proposal…………… would be a response website run by English majors that would identify, categorize, and correct abuses of English composition perpretated by climate skeptics.
    The Remedial section would utilize common sense.
    Basic would introduce simple principles of logic.
    Advanced would cover technical writing.
    An eye test would be provided to help identify anyone who just needs stronger reading glasses.

  23. I wrote my cousin, a devout Republican, about this study, and he told me there has Never been a debate about whether there was global warming, even thought there has, and he doesn’t understand how far off the beaten trail Republicans and corporate profit-mongers in the energy industry will go to dispense with any hoopla about their ‘pollution for profit’ motives. He appears to be blind to the ridiculous level of proof they ‘pretend’ to require in order for them to be more responsible and reactive to the effects their having on all of us for a extra buck. Even the tea-party are ignorant of their own party. Apparently, being a Republican is bliss.

  24. Judith Curry was Richard Muller’s partner on the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) and she has publically stated that she disagrees with the assertions made by Muller about the findings of the project. She says that the data does not confirm that the earths surface temperature is warming. She said that it clearly shows that the earth surface temperature hasn’t changed in 10 years. This isn’t me making this up. It is a statement put out by someone who worked everyday on the project with Richard Muller. She was quoted as saying “I have no idea what Richard is trying to do with this”.

    Check it out. It’s not hard to find her comments from multiple sources.

    [Seriously? Curry seems to have had almost no clue about what her co-authors were doing until the paper was submitted. Then she tried to draw a different conclusion that only highlighted her own ignorance. Someone should “check it out” before putting their own foot in it… – Ben]

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