More heat than light over Richard Muller’s testimony

Long composite piece:

BEST, NOVIM and the other solution

Recently there has been much discussion about Dr. Richard Muller and his recent testimony before congress. When the public discussion of the BEST organization began  I posted a couple quick investigations that I did on the group behind BEST, the Novim Group.

When I found out that Anthony Watts as well as other individuals I highly respect were involved I pretty much dropped the matter, though I have always had my suspicions. As a lead into what I am about to post I wish to re-post some of the concerns I had from the original post:

This Berkley Earth Surface Group is part of the Novim Group. It appears based on a quick review of their literature that they are very much into Geo-Engineering. In fact  in alinked PDF which is described as a Novim Overview their Executive Director Michael Ditmore is quoted:

…. When it comes to climate change, he said, the world doesn’t have time to let politics and innuendo block the best available scientific thinking from reaching the public.

“The problems are not unsolvable, but we’re running out of time,” Ditmore said.

It seems to me that Mr. Ditmore has already determined in his own mind that man made climate change/global warming is not something to be determined through study of the temperature records but rather an established fact in need of  immediate control.

This was my primary concern about the BEST project, Novim a group whose obvious belief in  AGW as a pending catastrophic crisis was behind the effort to independently determine the historical temperature record. Does that seem a bit odd? It did to me.  Further  the only known actions that I can determine that Novim has taken was a report on geo-engineering feasibility, which I breifly described : (Skeptic’s Corner)

Climate skeptics lose their cool

Friends become enemies as a scientist expected to cast doubt on global warming trends does the exact opposite (Salon)

Comments On The Testimony Of Richard Muller At the United States House Of Representatives Committee On Science, Space And Technology

First, as posted on my son’s weblog in

Global Temperature Trends

the global temperature anomaly is essentially irrelevant in terms of climate change issues that matter to society and the environment. Even in terms of global warming, it is a grossly inadequate measure, as discussed, for example, in

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335.

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.

The global average surface temperature, however, unfortunately, has become the icon of the IPCC community and in the policy debate. As my son wrote in his post

“The debate over climate change has many people on both sides of the issue wrapped up in discussing global average temperature trends. I understand this as it is an icon with great political symbolism. It has proved a convenient political battleground, but the reality is that it should matter little to the policy case for decarbonization.”

This political focus has resulted in Richard Muller’s testimony on his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project yesterday to The Science, Space and Technology Committee of the House Of Representatives. In his (in my view, premature) testimony he makes the following claims

“The world temperature data has sufficient integrity to be used to determine global temperature trends”

“…. we find that the warming seen in the “poor” stations is virtually indistinguishable from that seen in the “good” stations.”

“The Berkeley Earth agreement with the prior analysis surprised us, since our preliminary results don’t yet address many of the known biases”?

The contradictory statement in the last sentence from his testimony contradicts the first two sentences.

All his study has accomplished so far is to confirm that NCDC, GISS and CRU honestly used the raw observed data as the starting point for their analyses. This is not a surprising result. We have never questioned this aspect of their analyses. (Roger Pielke Sr.)

BEST: surface warming since 1880 seems robust to me

I watched a part of the climate hearings in the U.S. Congress – together with infantile ASCII exclamations by Gavin Schmidt and his comrades on a Science Magazine page whose URL was sent to me by a skeptic. ;-)

Kerry Emanuel has said lots of lies about the ClimateGate. Otherwise, the contributions by Scott Armstrong, John Christy, and Richard Muller made lots of sense. Peter Glaser and David Montgomery added a more economically oriented skeptical perspective.

Click to zoom in. Taken from BEST.

Richard Muller has presented preliminary results of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST). Let me say that I am utterly disappointed by the reality of the transparency that’s been promised to us. In fact, BEST hasn’t offered anything at all – even though it’s already presenting its result to the U.S. Congress. I can’t even get a single page of the overall data.

I am still waiting to download a few gigabytes with all the raw data – plus all the algorithms that realize their promised quality standards (so far many of them haven’t been done).

On the other hand, unless Richard Muller is totally lying to the U.S. politicians, the graph above shows that it is pretty much unthinkable that a different analysis or selection of the weather stations would eliminate or radically modify the 20th century warming. (The Reference Frame)

I don’t think readers will be surprised to hear I’m not excited about globally averaged temperatures because, well, no one actually lives at “Globally Averaged” – it’s simply a statistical construct of no known real value. That said I find myself working with them a lot simply because a lot of people are greatly exercised over them, to the point of obsession.

It is possible Muller is a stalking horse for wannabe geoengineering billionaires, I suppose (hey, Al wants to corner the carbon indulgence market) but he sure sounded like a scientist here.

One response to “More heat than light over Richard Muller’s testimony

  1. Steven,

    Temperature study cannot predict weather events or create an accurate pattern for models when science has yet to even understand this planet or solar system. Science has neglected billions of years of history for a few years of temperature data.
    Advancements in technology is currently not allowed to challenge past theories are they are ingrained as facts brought down by traditional teaching into a closed system protected by peer-reviewed publishings.
    Actual physical evidence is now science fiction in current science as it finds our theories were not quite correct.

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