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Muller on the anthropogenic component

Leo Hickman points us to this interview with Richard Muller, in which it is suggested that the BEST team have been looking at the attribution aspect of AGW, and will be publishing their results shortly.

CM: Do you agree with the UN’s climate panel that the majority of the warming going on is being caused by human activity, burning fossil fuels?

RM: We haven’t yet finished our work on the human component of this. It looks to me like we will be in agreement with that [Muller says he'll be publishing his conclusions in the next few weeks].

But I do agree that the global warming has gone up. That, I think, is the main, if you want to call it a change, it’s the main result that I will now stand behind as a scientist, using my scientific credentials, doing the work that we did very carefully, that six months ago or a year ago, I would not have been wanting to stand behind. It does agree with the previous groups. We have achieved a better precision than the other groups have achieved, but it is a real effect.

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Reader Comments (65)

Strawman alert! Bitbucket, the operative word was zealotry, not leftist. It is the one-eyed activism that is the humour killer. If you think the likes of Russell Brand and Ben Elton are funny, well each to their own I guess. Earnestness, self-righteousness and antipathy towards people who don't agree with them (along with poor science literacy) are characteristic traits of Gaia-worshipping greenies, ergo they are wowsers.

If you are truly not of the left, you have thrown your lot in with the wrong crowd, as I expect you will realize soon enough. Some of the elitists in The Club of Rome are traditional do-gooding "social justice" religionists, who believe that they are qualified to don the mantle of "stewardship of the Earth", and thus save the unenlightened hoi polloi from their vices. Whatever brand of wowserism you ascribe to, it just ain't funny! ;-)

Jun 17, 2012 at 5:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

I picked out some 40 pristine sites from Australia based on much local knowledge and looked at the temperature trends in Tmax and Tmin. The data were made availble to BEST.
I was looking for a systematic "baseline" change over the last 40 years since we went decimal T in 1972.
The trends in T max and Tmin, as shown for the eye by linear regressions, are all over the place.

If you can't define a baseline, you can't define a change.

Have a read and form your own conclusions.

BTW, these are official Bureau of Meteorology figures with slight infilling of missing values to make Excel run easier.

A few months ago the BOM released a new set of national temperatures named ACORN-SAT. Some stations now have step adjustments of over a degree C over periods of 40 years, There are still some stations in the online data base that are unadjusted w.r.t. Acorn-Sat. So, you have a choice of sites & temperatures depending on your preconceptions.

This whole excercise is a bit of a joke. We don't need a recalculation of UHI.

We need the construction of valid error bars.

Jun 17, 2012 at 7:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

One thing we can be sure of is that Muller will never do or report multivariate least squares regression analysis of changes in his temperature data with respect to CHANGES in atmospheric CO2 and H2O. I have done that in 2 recent papers (at my website) which show that the changes in temperature with respect to CO2 are invariably not statistically significant.

There are two reasons: (1) is the physics, as a so-called GHG like [CO2] first absorbs and then radiates heat, through the infrared to space, so cannot explain whatever little warming Muller thinks there has been, and (2) is the fact the [CO2] increases at around 0.3% p.a. while the BEST temperature anomaly does not.

Now I know that 97% of climate scientists are incapable of grasping either (1) or (2) this side of eternity, mais c'est la vie.

Jun 17, 2012 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterTim Curtin

omnologos: "Glad to see Muller reach the point people like Willis Eschenbach (and I) reached in 2007 (see: "World is warming. Pope is Catholic.")"

A good resume of the "typical" standpoint of the sceptic is The Sceptic View

Yes, this kind of "denialist" nonsense is why this guy is not credible. I can understand someone being a warmist, I can understand someone being a sceptic, but I can't understand anyone who has any graduate science education denying that CO2 causes warming (except ... those who argue some thermodynamic arguments).

So this guy pretending to be a denialist just doesn't ring true. It smacks of an idea from a bunch of warmists sitting down and coming up with the crackpot scheme based on their madcap idea about sceptics and decided that ... because we are just deluded people in need a prophet to tell us what to believe, that if they could get us to believe that one of their stooges was one of us (i.e. a denialist) that he could lead us all to the promised land of milk and honey as he 'saw the light' and converted.

Jun 17, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler


There is an irony in this: poor Mr Watts does all that hard work and is aggrieved that Muller uses his data: poor Prof jones does all his work and Watts et al complain that he wont let them have his data. There is more comedy here than I thought :-) ...

There's an important difference here. Anthony Watts did lots of hark work at his own expense (with the help of many hundreds of volunteers). Jones et al did lots of hard work, paid for by tax payers in the UK (and USA). Muller promised Watts that he would not release the data until the research was complete, but then grand-standed to the congress. Jones et al despite their work being publicly funded, conspired to hide data. They also managed to 'lose' raw data so no-one can be sure of the magnitude of adjustments that have been made to contemporary datasets. As Muller himself has said, these people cannot be trusted, as they don't do science.

Muller is an oddity. My biggest problem with him is that he trusts the data, which has been adjusted, homogenised by NOAA and GISS and no doubt others.

I have not studied the temperature data in nearly so much detail as others on this blog (and many elsewhere) like Lucy & Geoff have, but from what I have looked at it is clear that the global datasets have serious problems with station selection, contamination from UHI, and spurious adjustments and homegenisation techniques. Just have a look at these graphs and you will soon see that the alleged 20th Century hockeystick (and CO2 induced CAGW in general) is complete bollocks: Nik-from-NYC's composite graph of the oldest datasets. - Removing UHI distortion - the elephant in the sitting room.

GISS adjustments to US temperatures

temperature follows AMO oceanic cycle

Iceland, Arctic, Hansen, GISS adjustments to make 1930s and 40s cooler -

UHI, GISS USA, Norfolk International airport UHI compared with Norfolk City - and

climate fraud - GISS - Alice Springs and Hansen tampering down under too

and for some context:

ttp:// Historic Variation in Arctic Ice, Tony Brown. - The Long Slow Thaw, another excellent essay by Tony Brown.

How the IPCC invented a new calculus

I hope you find these useful. Let me know if you still think all this is funny. I find wholesale fraud and incompetence rather serious considering the billions of dollars that have been spent on AGW when it would have been much better spent combating real environmental problems like habitat destruction, pollution of land and sea by heavy metals. Not to mention other more deserving causes such as the provision of clean water to the developing world.

Enjoy the Holocene while it lasts -

Jun 17, 2012 at 11:10 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Hi Lapogus, thanks for the detailed post and the interesting links. Many of the links/graphs seem to concentrate on 'adjustments' to data sets. Is it your (collective) contention that adjustments are bad per-se, or that those which have been made are unjustified?

Looking at the Fall paper (result of the Surface Stations project) they clearly use adjustments to the data. Are these wrong? The media resource file notes that overall, looking at mean temperatures, station placement seems to have made hardly any difference ( towards the bottom).

Jun 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Foxgoose "Muller was a sceptic about the same time that I was dancing in the chorus of Swan Lake."

And I told you not to put the spanners in your tights!

David, UK - loved the Daz bit. Climate science reminds me of the ads you see in the retail sheds "Up to 90% off everything"

Jun 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

BitBucket - I cannot speak for a "collective" view and I'm not sure one exists. However FWIW my view is that without a full archived and transparent audit trail from synthesised temperature index numbers all the way back to the actual recorded observed temperatures one is not able to judge the reliability of the index.

A recent example of this problem was discussed at Paul Homewood's site - this link shows graphically the impacts on trends. Read his other posts on the issue (tag "Iceland") to pick up the pertinent comments of the local Icelandic experts:

IMO the UK Met Office/CRU have glossed over this issue wrt HADCRU products as I believe the raw data which Jones' original work was based on has been lost. Without it I don't think the HADCRU products should be used. If Rob Wilson or Richard Betts (or other) could reject or confirm my understanding I'd be grateful.

Jun 17, 2012 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Bitbucket - I haven't looked at the Watts paper, will try to later. I am sure that some adjustments are acceptable, when a station has to be moved from one site to another, which has a microclimate, or when encroaching urbanisation has led to UHI. However, the problem I have is that it would appear that nearly all the adjustments always seem to go in the direction of alarmism; i.e. they make historic temperatures cooler, and contemporary temperatures warmer. Just look at how Hansen has done this in Iceland (much to the annoyance of the Icelandic Met Office), and with other Arctic stations in Greenland, Norway, Siberia. e.g GISS Iceland 2012.

Irrespective of this issue, there is another flaw with the instrumental datasets; they all start in the early 1800s or thereabouts, just when we were (thankfully) coming out of the Little Ice Age. I think this is inadvertent cherrypicking rather than conspiracy, but the net result is to make the case for CO2 alarmism look stronger than it is. Steven Goddard had made the same point about the late 20th Century warm period run of mild winters which has conveniently coincided with the satellite era: e.g. Rewriting The History Of The Arctic.

Jun 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Were I to follow the BitBucket model of commentary, I would make a sweeping statement loaded with snark. The generalizations would be so broad as to permit answering requests for specificity with yet more generalizations.

My commentary, ala BitBucket: no published peer-reviewed papers, it's not climate science. QED

Jun 17, 2012 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterEarle Williams

Jun 16, 2012 at 5:21 PM | diogenes

Muller seems to like doing science by press release.

He certainly does. Mind you once upon a time (perhaps in a previous incarnation?!) Muller had declared:

In most fields of science, researchers who express the most self-doubt and who understate their conclusions are the ones that are most respected. Scientists regard with disdain those who play their conclusions to the press.

For source of this and other interesting Mullerisms™, pls. see Will the real Richard Muller please stand up

Jun 17, 2012 at 10:04 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Is it your (collective) contention that adjustments are bad per-se, or that those which have been made are unjustified?

What is your collective contention, sir? :)

Jun 17, 2012 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Hilary, thanks for that, Muller does appear to be quite complex for a shallow person.

Shub, that's a truly alarming video. A perfect allegory of the Team's climate science; no content but a lot of self-satisfaction and inane hand-waving.

Jun 18, 2012 at 8:15 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

New post at Anthony's on adjustments to temp data:

Jun 18, 2012 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Like some others, I am never quite sure whether Muller is deliberately or accidentally slippery. But, the result is the same.

Anthony Watts was burned by this lot when he went into their project in good faith. Since then, they have (contrary to what was promised) withheld their data and workings for many months, putting out stuff called 'provisional' which gives people who want to assess it nothing concrete to work with.

Slippery is as slippery does.

Jun 18, 2012 at 10:56 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

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