Berkeley Team Says Global Warming NOT Due to Urban Heating

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature team has reported the results of their first studies of surface temperature records. They have submitted four papers for publication, you can get copies of them here.

Ironically, Anthony Watts has already posted about one of the papers, roundly criticizing their efforts. In a textbook example of “sour grapes,” he complains that they’re making results public before acceptance in a peer-reviewed journal, and about their use of trends over a 60-year period rather than a 30-year period which would match the analysis in Fall et al. Neither objection has any merit. The choice of a 60-year period has only one drawback: it gives Anthony Watts an excuse to whine. The pre-acceptance release is actually rather standard practice in the physics community (that’s one of the things the ArXiv is for).

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.


One of their papers addresses the impact of the “urban heat island” (UHI) effect on global temperature estimates. They computed global temperature based on land-based records using all available stations, and that using only stations which they classify as “very rural.” Calculating the trend since 1950 in both data sets, they conclude:


… the difference of these shows a slight negative slope over the period 1950 to 2010, with a slope of -0.19°C ± 0.19 /100yr (95% confidence), opposite in sign to that expected if the urban heat island effect was adding anomalous warming to the record. The small size, and its negative sign, supports the key conclusion of prior groups that urban warming does not unduly bias estimates of recent global temperature change.

The paper includes a graph of their global temperature estimate (based on land stations only), comparing the “all records” result to that using “very rural” stations (the graph shows 12-point moving averages of monthly averages):

I find it interesting that this analysis seems to show even greater warming than reported in Richard Muller’s testimony about preliminary results, and more warming than the GISS analysis based on meteorological stations only (also 12-point moving averages of monthly averages, which I’ve tried to plot on the same y-axis scale):

They also graph the difference between the “all stations” and “very rural” stations averages, which shows that “all stations” actually show less recent warming than indicated using only “very rural” stations. That kind of blows the “global warming is due to UHI” argument right out of the water.

It’s also fascinating to note that the fake skeptics who lauded the Berkeley team when they expected them to contradict the other analyses, have now turned on the Berkeley team like a pack of angry wolves. To the Berkeley team I can only say: welcome to my world.

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150 responses to “Berkeley Team Says Global Warming NOT Due to Urban Heating

  1. See also http://clearclimatecode.org/gistemp-urban-adjustment/ and http://clearclimatecode.org/just-440-stations/ in which David Jones uses ccc-gistemp to do various tweaks on the UHI adjustment in the GISTEMP record. Summary: urban stations don’t make much difference.

  2. Interesting that A. would complain about a paper which confirmed the results of a paper he was an author on.

    Meanwhile over at Judith’s RP Sr. is trying throw mud on the results by complaining about the overlap in stations used in all datasets. Ugh.

  3. I love the way Watts is grumping about the fact that these results were made public before the four papers went through peer review.

    For years now, Watts has been a walking fountain of un-tested and un-reviewed claims — the more lurid, the better. How the hell can Anthony complain about BEST not waiting until everything has passed review?

    • Rob Honeycutt

      Yeah, but Ned, everything before was supporting what Anthony wants to believe. This is totally different because it doesn’t support what he wants to believe. You have to understand there are two sets of rules that get applied based on how Anthony wants to perceive things. //sarc

    • The ultimate irony may be that Anthony was PR spinning his version of the Surfacestation.org data which became part of the BEST papers before BEST even started the project.

      And then he said he would accept the BEST results no matter what they showed…

    • The sheer irony was my first thought, too. Has Watts ever submitted his half-baked hooha to peer review? As opposed to promising someday he would, that is? Did I miss this great and shining moment?

      • The paper was Fall, et. al., and it showed the same thing that Menne showed — no effect from station siting. The same thing that BEST, and apparently a couple of other papers (cited in the BEST paper on siting) have also found.

      • Thank you, RN–hey, I’m here to learn. I note Drs. Christy and Pielke Sr. are authors, too–not very surprising, I suppose.

    • How the hell can Anthony complain about BEST not waiting until everything has passed review?

      Srsly. . This is how they roll.

  4. Watts is a bit frantic about this. Four updates to his original post – so far.

    • And, all the regulars are whining that W. had “an agreement” with Muller, that he reneged on. Hm, was he supposed to find significantly less warming or some such?

    • There seem to be four updates numbered 1, 2, 4, and 5. Either Anthony was so blinded by his own fury that he was having trouble typing, or one of his updates had to be deleted … or maybe he just has trouble counting beyond 2.

    • It’s not only Watts who is working up a frantic head of righteous umbrage. His co-mods are a bit cranky too…

      criminogenicjamesc says:
      October 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      [Snip. You are completely misrepresenting and misquoting Anthony, who has never said, as you mendaciously allege, that the planet isn't warming. ~dbs, mod.]

  5. The near agreement between TLT satellite measurements (RSS and UAH) and surface temperature measurements (GISSTemp, NCDC, and HadCRUT3), when compared on a common baseline, also undermines the claim that the UHI effect causes the land measurements to be too high.

  6. Watts published Is The US Surface Temperature Record Reliable? via Heartland in 2009 in which he concluded

    “This project has shown that the vast majority of the temperature stations in the USHCN network have proximity to biasing elements that make them unreliable. Figure 27 offers a visual representation of how low-quality stations greatly outnumber high-quality stations.”

    and

    “The findings and recommendations of these highly respected and influential scientific and political organizations are now in doubt. The data currently used to claim that the twentieth century witnessed a statistically significant warming trend are unreliable. The truth of that claim can be established only with new and more-reliable data. Since the U.S. temperature record is widely regarded as being the most reliable of the international databases, it follows that data used to estimate the
    change in global temperatures over the past century must also be revisited.”

    It took about 2 years for him to get around to actually publishing a paper which naturally reached the opposite conclusion.

    Of course now simply coordinating a media campaign around an expected successful completion of peer review? Oh that’s not science, best to ignore the findings completely.

    It is useful as a demonstration that a lot of the noise about peer review, transparency is just a cover for disdain over findings some find disagreeable.

  7. Now what to do for a dog whistle call and morale booster? Quick, Anthony;… throw up another post bashing Al Gore!

    • Rob Honeycutt

      I bet if Anthony is really careful and looks really, really hard he’ll be able to see an image of Richard Muller in the reflection of the glass jars in Al Gore’s simple CO2 experiment.

  8. Rob Honeycutt

    I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that they eventually end up doing an additional 30 year analysis just to shut Anthony up. For that matter, they’ve made the data public so anyone with sufficient skill should be able to do the work.

  9. You’re not being fair to Anthony. He isn’t simply complaining about the pre-publishing process. He’s also complaining because the sample size they used is too large.

    That’s right. I kid you not. He thinks the sample size is too large.

    • Well, one of his acolytes claimed the other day that “real” science doesn’t use sampling and all the “fancy tests” of modern statistics. If you want to claim that, say, a certain species is shrinking due to global warming (there was a recent paper on this topic), then you damn well need to measure every single member of that species.

      Of course, that would in effect condemn us to utter and complete ignorance on a great many topics. Oh, wait. . .

      Anyway, the point is, he must not have got AW’s memo about sample size!

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but when Menne et al was published, wasn’t one of the major denialist objections that they used a ‘mere’ 30% of the data, and that they should have waited until the surfacestations project was complete and used it all?

      • Horatio Algeranon

        “Goldiwatts and the Three Samples”

        “This sample’s too big,
        – Too many lots”
        “This sample’s too small,
        – Too few dots”
        “This sample’s juuuust right“,
        Said Goldiwatts

  10. Never miss an opportunity to re-read this.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/06/briggs-on-berkeleys-best-plus-my-thoughts-from-my-visit-there/

    I’ve “liked” the post – a first for me on wuwt!

    • Thanks for the link!

      “And, I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.” (A.W.)

  11. The results released today don’t surprise (or upset) me. However, press-release publication of unrefereed scientific papers is very poor practice, even if it is frequently done. Since public distribution of these preprints was certain to cause a media blitz, distribution should have waited for peer review. “They do it,” is no justification.

    • Reasonable point.

      Last time Muller used the “Congress asked me” excuse.

    • Jeff, hi,

      If I understand correctly, it is standard practice for physicists to release papers before peer review just to get them out there for their colleagues to be able to critique. And 8 out of 10 members of the BEST team are physicists.

      Methinks the trouble here is that, climate science having become so politicised lately, naturally due to the consequences of the deleterious effects mankind is having on the environment, just has everyone on tenterhooks.

    • Jeff,
      I often get 40 or 50 requests for preprints of my papers before they are published–and I work in a tiny little subfield of physics as an Oompa-Loompah of Science.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        Then you better roll Anthony Noregard off to the de-juicing room before he bursts.

        And Mac TV needs some help too, while you’re at it.

        Guess that makes Richard Muller Willy Wonka, with his Everlasting Blogstoppers.

  12. Looks like the news is getting some press. The BBC has just published an article on the report with some notable quotes.

    “Global warming ‘confirmed’ by independent study”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15373071

    “The findings so far provide validation for Phil Jones, targeted during the “ClimateGate” affair”

    Bob Ward, policy and communications director for the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment in London, said the warming of the Earth’s surface was unequivocal.

    “So-called ‘sceptics’ should now drop their thoroughly discredited claims that the increase in global average temperature could be attributed to the impact of growing cities,” he said.

    “More broadly, this study also proves once again how false it was for ‘sceptics’ to allege that the e-mails hacked from UEA proved that CRU land temperature record had been doctored.

    “It is now time for an apology from all those, including US presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who have made false claims that the evidence for global warming has been faked by climate scientists.”

    • In fact, HadCru should’ve done nothing but demand evidence for the claims brought against it re ‘ClimateGate’, else sue for slander at once.

      I hope other institutes and climatologists learn this lesson. They have no obligation to the slanderers whatsoever. None.

  13. Anthony said: “And, I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.”

    It won’t matter if they change to a 30 year trend, reanalyze it with a smaller data set, or anything else. Anthony is clearly not the type of person to admit he was wrong. It’s sad that he’s invested so much of his credibility into a position that clearly isn’t correct.

  14. Amazingly, no-one has called Anthony directly on this at WUWT yet. I just took care of that oversight.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      > no-one has called Anthony directly on this at WUWT yet

      Or so you think… how many tried before you?

  15. Let me preface this by saying I am being serious. Is the opposite of the UHI effect also documented? i.e. that cities are colder in the winter than rural areas? If so, the negative slope of the graph could be due to this effect. I dont really think so, as the first figure shows no appreciable difference. honest question – is the UCI (C for cold) for real?

    • I don’t believe there’s any research that says cities are colder in winter than rural areas. What the diff graph in the middle of the post suggests is that *maybe*, cities have been warming slower than rural areas over the last 2-3 decades and that this trend has just barely become statistically significant. If the effect is real, I’d bet it has to do with deliberate actions taken to make cities “more liveable” like planting more vegetation and perhaps an average lightening of roofing materials (although I have no support for the latter suggestion).

      • I’d guess, more likely due to albedo changes. What we’re really seeing is suburban sprawl removing trees. That cools those areas, compared to the “very rural” stations. Of those stations not “very rural” (in 2011), many would have been 100 years ago.

      • Actually the urban effect rises not linearly but quasi-logarithmically to the number of inhabitants. The first one or two hundred thousand make for most of the effect by far, growth from a million to 1.5 million doesn’t make for much effect anymore.
        So the assertion “cities have been warming slower than rural areas over the last 2-3 decades” must be correct.

      • To Kampen: data analysis or citation, please.

      • One possible reason for temperature anomalies in cities increasing more slowly than rural areas is improving standards of insulation of buildings in cities, thus allowing less heat to leak out to the outside where temperature measurements are made..

  16. Reading Watts’ post (and multiple updates) on this, and then perusing the comments, reminded me of dealing with Creationists. They love to claim there are gaps in the fossil record. Then somebody finds a fossil that fits in the gap, and they declare “Now there are TWO gaps!”

  17. To off theshelfedge — I’m not going to bother looking up the details of all this (because all you need to do is to look at the very rural results), but it’s known that at least some cities did experience local cooling effects from their industry. Pittsburg in the 40′s, I think, is a good example. The pollution was so thick it blocked out the sun (street lamps were lit during the day).

  18. Curry’s take is … well, I guess it’s predictable given her “Italian flag” analysis of uncertainty.

    Shorter Curry: “Everything’s preliminary because history began with this analysis, never mind that it confirms the massive preexisting body of literature. Hence, draw no conclusions.”

    The song remains the same.

  19. Oh, Anthony’s hurt bad. Somebody call a Waaaahmbulance.

    • He’s been frantically dialing whine-1-1 for hours.

      • There was a man on the TV called Watts
        Who thought he could call all the shots
        But when the planet responded
        His logic absconded
        And he ended up tied up in knots….

  20. My guess on the negative slope: it’s at least partly because the cities were warmer to begin with.

    As radiative heat loss goes with the 4th power of absolute temperature, an urban area that’s, say, 5K warmer than the surrounding rural areas, will lose about a third of a watt more heat for a 1K temp rise. Turning it the other way – for a given heat input (e.g. X W/m2 radiative imbalance), the temp rise will be lower for warmer areas than for cooler areas.

    It’s a very slight effect, though – actually, running some calcs, with a 1W increase in radiative heat loss (just using ‘sigma x T^4′ for a unit area), I get a temp increase of .194 K from 10ºC, and .184K from 15ºC. Not sure how that ties in with the observed trend, but I think maybe it’s an order of magnitude (or two?) too small, so other impacts (such as changes in pollution levels in cities over the past 3-4 decades) may be responsible.

    • Bern:

      My guess on the negative slope: it’s at least partly because the cities were warmer to begin with.

      Another possibility is rural stations may lead to a net cooling through anthropogenic activity, for example, evaporative cooling arising from crop irrigation of crops as other land usage changes—the irony for me is the recent shift to rural-only stations may be understating the extent of actual global warming slightly.

  21. BTW, I am impressed with the effort of the BEST team. They have tried to answer most of the questions which have been raised about previous research into the surface temperature record and and have done so carefully. The fact that they come up with a record which looks much more like GISS than HadCRU is causing the deniers conniption fits. It is to laugh!

  22. Tamino,
    as per previous discussions between me and you. What do you think of BEST’s work on the AMO and Global Temperature Change?

    [Response: I don’t know yet. I had an advance copy of the UHI paper so I was able to digest it ahead of the announcement. But I’ve just been reading the paper on decadal variations (which contains their ideas about AMO). I’ll probably post on the subject after I’ve had time to study it.]

  23. A cool (or should that be hot) video can be found here.

  24. BTW, it is 16MB, so the best way to view it is to click the link in the para below the player…

  25. @Jeff:

    In my field, particle physics, preprints have been sent around for decades, from even before arXiv. As a grad student (back in the 80′s) it was my job to organize the preprints that were mailed in from around the world and maintain a little library of them.

    In fact arXiv was invented to democratize this process, since only the leading institutions were generally the recipients of preprints.

    Bear in mind that the refereeing process can take months, and even longer before the paper is actually accepted. I don’t think it is reasonable to expect scientists to hold up simply discussing their results while that plays out.

    Putting out a press-release, on the other hand, is a different matter. How one ought to feel about it depends on how shaky the result is likely to be and how the press is likely to respond.

    And of course, the press ought to learn to take such press releases with a grain of salt.

    [Response: I once complained about the painful slowness of the review process when I still didn’t have a decision a year after submission. That’s an exceptional case I admit, but it illustrates the point. As for the press release, I’m not sure how I feel about that. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the press to take anything with a grain of salt.]

  26. One of many gems in the WUWT comment thread:

    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

    And the Black Knight always triumphs! Have at you, tamino!

    • “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”

      Very ominous.

      Maybe he has evidence that BESTs analysis is flawed – oh, I don’t know, because temperatures are higher in urban areas and that migh….

      Oh. Wait.

      Nevermind.

    • Rob Honeycutt

      “[T]hey just don’t know what I know at this point.” ?????

      OMG! His level of self delusion knows no bounds. What? Has he got a SECOND set of surface station records that he’s never released?

      There is not a face large enough to palm.

    • What the heck is Anthony’s “upper hand”? Sounds like juvenile swagger to me.

    • If he is not just blowing smoke, could he be referring to something that is in the works? The Durban conference is coming up in a month or so, isn’t it time the deniers faked up another scandal to help derail it with?

    • I still have the upper hand, they just don’t know what I know at this point.

      Sounds like something out of The Princess Bride. Maybe Watts is going to announce that he secretly switched around all the site ratings before sharing his data with Muller.

    • In a later article over there (in his article on the Realclimate take on BEST), Watts said “A second paper is in the works looking at the station siting issue from a much broader perspective will be sent for peer review (and hopefully publication) in the coming weeks. ”

      Is he writing a rebuttal to his previous published paper, this time showing that station siting/quality does have an impact (where his previous paper said it didn’t).

      Will it take another two or three years? Has he found a scientist to clean it up again in order to make it publishable?

  27. One curiosity – the big statistical name on their team was David Brillinger. And their main paper does have some ambitious statistics (which look like an advance), But he’s not an author, though well acknowledged.

  28. Since we’re on the “not yet peer reviewed” stage, anyone know what happened to the paper from that Australian professor showing CO2 came from the oceans? Can’t quite remember his name, but do remember there supposedly was a paper to be out in October.

  29. Tamino,

    In a textbook example of “sour grapes,”

    How so? Surely everyone knows the Aesop’s fable?

    (I know it’s a bit OT but why is “sour grapes” misused so often?)

  30. Horatio Algeranon

    For some reason, Watts reminds Horatio of “Nomad” from the Star Trek Changeling episode.

    Better beam him off the ship quick, Scotty….

    NOMAD: Error.
    KIRK: Scotty, set the controls for deep space. Two ten, mark one.
    SCOTT: Aye, sir.
    NOMAD: Faulty!
    Ready, sir?
    NOMAD: Faulty!
    KIRK: Nomad, you are imperfect!
    NOMAD: Error. Error.
    KIRK: Exercise your prime function.
    NOMAD: Faulty! Faulty! Must sterilise. Sterilise,
    KIRK: Now!
    SCOTT: Energising.
    (They observe the satisfying explosion on a monitor.)

  31. The comments on the WUWT post re: the BEST work remind me of the final scene of Terminator 2- the one where the bad Terminator, as it melts in a vat of liquid metal, morphs into all the forms it had taken earlier in the movie. To no avail.

  32. We should all thank Anthony for his excellent collection of photgraphs of temperature stations that have helped confirm global warming.

    It gives us all more confidence in the need to reduce carbon gas emissions by our industrial activities and helps make the case for rapid cuts CO2 output.

    Well done Mr Watts. Perhaps now he can use his time to take a part time course in atmospheric physics and actually learn the science he has so much to say about.

  33. People might have fun taking apart Doug Keenan’s comments to Muller regarding the decadal variations and UHI papers. Let’s just say he seems badly confused.

  34. In comments:

    October 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm
    jthomas says:

    Funny how you climate change deniers all of a suddenly like “peer review”.

    REPLY: Funny how a well established university team of professors, previously published that way, suddenly doesn’t – Anthony

    Zing!

    • Or the way they’ve lauded physicists as “real scientists” for years (when some have sown doubt), until suddenly…

  35. I’m confused by the methodology. If you wanted to see a UHI effect on the temperature trend, why would your second set be *all* temperature stations? Why not just the urban vs. the “very” rural?
    From everything I’ve read up until now, I very seriously doubt it would have made an iota of difference, but still the choice of sets puzzles me.

    • The idea is to see the effect on the overall trend, which turns out to be small, just as we’ve known since the early 1990′s

      BTW, in one of Muller’s statements (I think it was in BH piece linked above) he states that they are only quoting 1 sigma uncertainties. If that is the case for the -.19C +- .19C then this trend is not statistically significant..

  36. It might be worthwhile to help out the comments on Muller’s editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal:
    The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism

  37. Tangentially related, but it appears Watts is now promoting on Easterbrook’s just-published academic textbook (!) on climate science:

    http://www.elsevierdirect.com/ISBN/9780123859563/EvidenceBased-Climate-Science

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780123859563

    For a cool $120, you too you assign your class to read repackaged WUWT posts. The illustrious contributors include Easterbrook, D’Aleo, Scaffetta, and even Monckton.

    • You forgot Goddard.

      Yes. THAT Goddard…

      • Oops.

        Goddard’s chapters are really something. There are no bibliographies. Graphs are generated by Wood for Trees. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all those illustrations floating around blogs before. And every page has at least one illustration, sometimes taking up over half the page.

        I should really get in on this textbook publishing business, should be a piece of cake. I’ve got Word, Paint, and Google. What more do I need?

  38. “Evidence-Based Climate Science”

    The positions of Easterbrook, D’Aleo, Monckton, et al. are actually very highly correlated with the evidence (r = -0.98).

    If you want to know what the evidence is on any particular question, read what D’Aleo has to say, then assume the opposite is true.

  39. Well WTFUWT? is now making stuff up as fed to them by the GWPF.

    See my reply here and Tony the Tiger’s reply;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/21/sceptical-berkeley-scientists-say-human-component-of-global-warming-may-be-somewhat-overstated/#comment-774084

    ___________________________________________________________
    “Human Component Of Global Warming May Be Somewhat Overstated”

    Really?

    The “Sceptical Berkeley Scientists” actually said the above, that “Human Component Of Global Warming May Be Somewhat Overstated”?

    Because I can not find that exact quote anywhere within the *.edu or the *.org domains, except at only one place, the GWPF!

    :-(

    This quote is nowhere to be found in the Berkeley PR statement dated 2011-10-20.

    Who of the “Sceptical Berkeley Scientists” actually said this exact quote?

    When was this quote actually stated by the “Sceptical Berkeley Scientists”?

    Where was this qoute actually stated by the “Sceptical Berkeley Scientists”?

    What did the “Sceptical Berkeley Scientists” actually say?

    Why did the “Sceptical Berkeley Scientists” make this quote?

    How did the “Sceptical Berkeley Scientists” make this quote?

    Or is this just something that someone made up purely much out of thin air, you know by the GWPF.

    Same goes for the “Sceptical” moniker, this may have once been true, but it is no longer a true statement, as BEST has confirmed all previous “official” surface temperature reconstructions.

    A much more accurate headline for this post would be;

    “Berkeley Scientists Confirm Human Component Of Global Warming”

    REPLY: And despite your whiny objections, it stays, tough noogies junior. Complain to Whitehouse and GWPF, but please do shut up about my accurately reproducing the article as they requested. – Anthony
    ___________________________________________________________

    And here’s my followup, which apparently, won’t appear on WTFUWT? for some odd reason. I wonder why?
    ___________________________________________________________
    We do have a quote though, don’t we?

    With no attribution to anyone or any group of people whatsoever.

    Generated from the GWPF and NOT the Berkeley scientists themselves.

    In other words a ficticious quote, as in something that is patently false.

    Those are the EXACT facts as I understand them to be until such time as I am proven wrong.

    Just setting the record straight for those of us who just happen to be true skeptics.

    [Response: He’s quoting out of context from the paper “Decadal Variations in the Global Atmospheric Land Temperatures.”

    That paper studies the correlation between decadal variations (after detrending to remove long-timescale changes) in land temperature and numerous ocean indices, including the AMO. They find stronger correlation with AMO than others (including ENSO). On this basis they suggest that AMO may influence decadal-scale fluctuations in land temperature.

    In the conclusions section, they speculate about quite a bit which is not addressed in this paper by data or analysis. That includes this statement:

    If the long-term AMO changes have been driven by greenhouse gases then the AMO region may serve as a positive feedback that amplifies the effect of greenhouse gas forcing over land. On the other hand, some of the long-term change in the AMO could be driven by natural variability, e.g. fluctuations in thermohaline flow. In that case the human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated.

    Benny Peiser is quote-mining to suggest that the Berkeley team have produced evidence that “the human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated.” It’s pure speculation, and isn’t even addressed by the actual study.

    Scientists speculate all the time. It’s part of the job — both necessary and beneficial, it’s how we “kick around ideas.” It’s also fodder for ideologues.

    Watts is trying so hard to discredit the Berkeley results, he so reeks of desperation, I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.]

    • Tamino, thanks for the correct and factual clarification.

    • The uptrends and downtrends of the AMO correspond roughly with multidecadal swings in global temperature (R^2=14%), suggesting that when the AMO rises, global temp rises a little faster and when the AMO falls, global temp rises a little slower. It’s possible that part of the uptrend in global temp from the mid-70s to about 2000 (and 1920-1940) was due to an uptrend in the AMO. Since roughly 2000 the AMO has leveled off, coinciding with what some perceive as a reduction in the rate of warming.
      Of course there are many confounding factors, correlation does not prove causation, and global temperature is such a noisy signal it can be difficult to tell if the rising trend is changing or intact.

    • EFS_Junior,
      The quote: “Human Component Of Global Warming May Be Somewhat Overstated”, may be found on page 12 of ‘Decadal Variations in the Global Atmospheric Land Temperatures’, downloaded from

      http://www.berkeleyearth.org/Resources/Berkeley_Earth_Decadal_Variations

  40. Daniel J. Andrews

    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

    Shorter version: Fools! I’ll show them all!

    I’m suspicious of items that first appear as a press announcement before they come out in the literature. There have been a number of breathless press releases that didn’t live up to their hype. E.g. the arsenic-based life, National Geographic’s announcement of what turned out to be a fake fossil, cold fusion from 1989 etc. I think I’ll wait till the paper comes out even if the press announcement is that the earth moves around the sun.
    -dan

    • Team of physicists and statisticians including one Nobel prize winner to be foiled by college dropout … AGAIN!!!!

      Can’t wait!

      DKDKDKDKDKDK … syndrome! :)

      • Maybe D-K – but remember that there are certain people who have achieved some status in the world due to their stance on this. Watts is mentioned into just in the blogosphere but the world press etc. if he turned round now and said “ok. Game over. AGW I’d right, I’m wrong and that’s the end of my blog” and all that attention disappeared… it’d be like giving up drugs. For some fame is like crystal-meth. god knows that academia is full of good researchers who go emeritus and start promoting all kinds of crazy things, essentially because they’ve lost touch (or aren’t up to) the latest science but can’t give up the status.

      • If Watts ever did admit AGW was occurring, many of his followers would assume he had been bribed or blackmailed and would turn on him too.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        Holly,
        If Watts ever admited that AGW was a real problem, he’d self destruct for sure. His logic circuits weren’t built for it.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        sorry, should have put quotes around the “logic”.

      • “Logic” is a wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad.

        [edit]

        [Response: Please no embedded video in comments.]

      • Sorry about that.

  41. Also take a look at Richard Black’s blog-like article on the subject, in which he tears into A.Watts:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15400748

    The BBC also had a separate article on the same topic up on the front page of it’s news website allowing comments. It rapidly grew to over 1000 comments. Deniers turned up but most people weren’t buying their snakeoil. The BBC news website allows comment ratings. Take a look at the worst rated and best rated comments:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15373071

  42. I can’t get over Watts’s too much data complaint. Of all the ill-considered, too-dumb-to-spin remarks, that ranks up there with Clinton’s “didn’t inhale” excuse.

  43. Tamino, re the AMO note this new paper. The upshot is that what had seemed might be natural warming of the Atlantic due to a cycle in the AMO is likely a result of enhanced “leakage” into the South Atlantic of the warm Indian Ocean Agulhas Current. That leakage is in turn a function of the AGW-induced expansion of the tropics, which shifts the southern westerly winds poleward, which in turn moves the Antarctic Circumpolar Current south and reduces the eastward circumflection of the Agulhas as it tries to round the Cape of Good Hope.

  44. Marco, that will be the Salby paper, I think that it was an update to his book that comes out in October, and the paper, for want of a better name due next year, E & E ?

    Some may push to release it in time for Durban ?

  45. I hope this serves as a lesson to other scientifically-trained people who should know better: Don’t go making loud statements about how bad some other field (far outside your own) is, without taking the time to actually learn where that field is. Don’t fall for the hype sold by the McIntyres of the world. It takes a lot of time to really become familiar with the literature in any field, and then hard work to make an original contribution beyond the state of the art. Some people (seemingly, often physicists and engineers, for whatever reason) lack this sense of humility when commenting on matters they actually know precious little about. As a credit to Muller, it seems like he’s made a big progression in his approach, though I wonder if he has the self-awareness to realise how poor a showing he put on earlier, back when he was still a darling of the fake sceptics.

    • McIntyre is out there, spreading doubt already (over at Watts on the GWPF thread) claiming he can’t replicate the results of the BEST site quality paper (and by extension Fall, et.al., Menne, et. al., and a couple of other studies cited in the BEST paper)

      But he does admit that he hasn’t looked at the actual BEST methodology yet. Sloppy as usual but I won’t hold my breath for an apology. He is still wanking about the the Yamal stuff 2 years after he was blown out of the water on that.

  46. On Judy’s thread we have this. Which boils down to in a time series analysis why does time have to be the denominator. This is pretty hard core…

  47. The are quite right to pick up both on the AMO remark and that this is ore-peer review. Afterall reviewers may will ask for that remark to be rephrased or removed as unsupported by the methods and data of the paper.

  48. Well, as usual, WTFUWT? is now back on their never ending trip aboard the Conspiracy Train.

    They even have an MSNBC Ed Schultz lopsided poll to boot. ;-)

    Ya know, ya just can’t have a proper witch hunt without first accusing them all, as being, ya know, witches.

    Now where’s my pitchfork?

  49. @Bern
    The T^4 equation for determining radiative emissions applies to a black body. When the emission spectrum is blocked, the radiation must be integrated over each wavelength instead of applying the Stefan-Boltzmann equation. Because part of the emission spectrum is blocked, a larger temperature increase is required to get the same emission as a black body, implying a lower order relationship than T^4.

    • Ah, I see, so that would actually make it even less likely that my thought explains the difference. I think. :-)

    • When a frequency “mask” is blocking part of the emission spectrum, the exact T^4 relationship is broken, but at any given temperature it could be faster or slower than T^4. Of course if the nature of the mask includes blocking all frequencies lower than some cutoff, then for all temperatures where that covers an appreciable fraction of the emission spectrum, then yes, the relationship will be slower. But off the top of my head, for relevant greenhouse gas concentrations and temperatures, T^4 is still a very good approximation. IOW, if the temperature of a patch of ocean is 300K one day, and 301K some other day, I expect the outgoing radiation to be 1.34% greater on the hotter day. (Although 3 sig figs are not realistic!)

  50. Well the ruckus still continues over ar WTFUWT?

    Now it has to do with little old me and the original GWPF press release vs the new-and-improved GWPF press release.

    The word “overstated” was used four times in the original GWPF press release, but as Tamino showed above, the correct out-of-context quote should end with “overestimated”, so what did the GWPF do after finding out that they can’t even read and/or quote something correctly?

    The GWPF edited their own press release and replaced 3 of the 4 “overstated” with “overestimated” and they also edited the press release by adding a hyperlink to the quote that now points to the actual paper where the quote was made (prior to that edit only the misquoted words sans hyperlink existed).

    That’s the real denier news story, bunker mentality in full view.

  51. “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

    First line of the summary in the Watts/D’Aleo paper : Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven deception?

    Watts was a co-author on Fall et al and contributed to BEST, both of which utterly falsify the SPPI nonsense. But he won’t retract or correct it, that’s how they roll.

  52. That should be further falsify, of course, after Tamino’s demolition and open letter.

  53. On denying reality, to turn disaster to victory.

    http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com/2011/10/un-rigged-temperature-data-sea-levels.html

    Do not drink hot coffee while reading.

    .

    • That would be too funny if it weren’t sad.

      I ran into another GAO report citation yesterday at another conservative blog spot. A desperate move for them considering the BEST report (as many others before them) took al that into consideration.

      A Nigel Calder citation! Oh my!

      The sea level rise talk that took place where “The audience clapped at every statement made by Professor Nils-Axel Morner” appears to have been for entertainment purposes. Was not published (that I can find).

      http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/article2538017.ece

      Unfortunatly the “it hasn’t been unpublished” criticism looses some clout in light of the BEST press release.

      • They did hit the trifecta there with Calder, Morner and Watts citations. Any idea what that one paid?

      • Rattus, note responses from Tom Harris in the comments section.

        Heartland will be sending another check for Mörner to speak next year, I guess…

      • Marco, not who wins – what it pays, silly!

        Gotta love the “it’s the insurance companies what done it” implication.

  54. Grenville Cramchild

    Re- John Byatt- If you trace through to the GAO report on stations, it makes no claim about the effect of the documented station problems on the temperature record. As Hansen has noted, a lawyer’s approach to things, since they can’t do the science. What Mueller’s work demonstrated is that as far as tracking trends, station location, maintentence records, paperwork, central adminstration had no effect.

  55. I should have read the warning first!! I almost chocked on my crackers……

  56. John Byatt: notice how this blog post says that the Berkeley reconstruction shows a strong decline over the last decade (when in actuality the reverse is true)?

    Guess what the source is.

    Apparently Willis saw a figure on the AMO paper that he liked (“OMG! A decline!”), decided that this figure showed the actual Berkely reconstruction (despite the text and the caption saying otherwise), and ran away with it.

    • “PS—The world is warming. It has been for centuries.”

      I guess Mann is off the hook about the MWP then.

      I also note that he struck his “hide the decline mantra” comment.

      So much for climategate. Hard to claim the decline is hidden (particularly when one misapplies the term) when one accepts the world continues to warm. Funny how they don’t get the “rate” part though.

      I think they owe some apologies to more folks than just EFS_Junior.

  57. David B. Benson

    The BEST team clearly fails to understand the nonsignificance of the AMO.

  58. Wow — before I even had a chance to get used to the “new paradigm”, where *of course* everyone agrees that the world is warming and everyone who suggests that was ever a skeptical position is spreading crass, outdated lies (e.g. “World is warming. Pope is Catholic.”, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/22/world-is-warming-pope-is-catholic/), I see another post on the exact same site proving yet again that it’s all UHI and dodgy adjustments! (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/24/unadjusted-data-of-long-period-stations-in-giss-show-a-virtually-flat-century-scale-trend/)

    My head is spinning.

    • Oh yeah, the world is warming, but they invariably throw in “since the Little Ice Age”. Of course, from there the only way is up, so that gives them their clever little “can’t ever be proven wrong” security blanket. See how that works?

      Personally, I think that a large portion of the CO2 being contributed to the atmosphere lately comes from those heavy-duty goal post movers the deniers are driving around in.

  59. “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”

    I’m gonna guess he’s referring to Briggs & Keenan’s critiques(basically they really dislike smoothing), links to which are already being cluster-bombed onto Dot Earth threads by the usual suspects?

  60. What’s 1/3 of 39,390?

    The number of Goddard posts showing downward sloping temperature time series.