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« Muller in the NYT | Main | Cryptic »

BEST guess is 1.5?

This may be an indication of what is exercising Anthony Watts' mind: Ronald Bailey at Reason Magazine is reporting a rumour that the BEST project will next week report a 1.5°C temperature rise since 1750.

The rumors say that new BEST reanalysis will show that global average temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times and will suggest that most of the warming since the 1950s is the result of increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

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Reader Comments (119)

'since 1750.'

Suddenly they are going back to 1750, when all I have EVER heard, is either 1850 / or the 'last 130 years'?

Anyone care to bet the addition of 100 years to the time scale, is NOT going to be mentioned in news reports?

Jul 28, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterOtter

1750 was in the LIA so I would expect the temperature to increase if it did not the Thames would still freeze during the winter. It does not. So claims about industrial CO2 causing this 1.5C increase are not sensible or scientific. If we knew the causes of the planet's continued swing from icehouse to hothouse then such claims would not be made. Unfortunately our knowledge is limited because exact data on past climates are based on proxies which must be used with care and need not necessarily be correct. Also our knowledge of atmospheric science is scant at best and continues to accept theories that observation shows to be shady at best. Compressive adiabatic heating has been ignored in favour of the greenhouse effect which is based on poor observation and miss directed conclusions, ie guesses. Compressive adiabatic heating accounts for all observed effects, the Fohn Effect, lapse rates, diesel engine working, star fusion initiation.
So all these observably effects but the cause is not working in our atmosphere! Amazing.

Jul 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Was Anthony Watts working on the BEST project?

Jul 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

John Marshall,

I'd also hazard a guess that another reason why our knowledge of the past is do poor is because so called climate scientists have only been looking for evidence to support their conviction that man is the sole cause of Mann Made Globsl Warming (tm).

The problem is when you arent looking for the truth you aren't going to find it. Perhaps the likes of Mann, Jones, Schmidt et al are responsible for keeping climate science in the stone age.


Jul 28, 2012 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Was Anthony Watts working on the BEST project?

Jul 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM | Justin Ert

He was involved via his data from the surface station work.

Jul 28, 2012 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

How is this "unprecedented"? We know Watts has been involved with BEST. Watts seems to be saying that the announcement is about something new?

Jul 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJan

So, that would be around 0 degrees since 1150? Or minus a bit since 1934? The start date is all if that is how you present the data. If this turns out to be another BEST press release with a pre-digested headline and an inbuilt message hinting at things the data won't support, it will be par for the course.

Jul 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda Klapp

Michael Mann: Anthony... I am your father...

Watts: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!....

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered Commentersarspa

Have BEST's papers about their methods passed peer review and been published yet?
Not that peer review actually counts for much, but the last time Muller made an announcement he was criticised because the papers hadn't even been reviewed and I can't remember reading anything about them being published.

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Suggesting that most of the warming since the 1950's was caused by anthropomorphic greenhouse gas emissions would not be a new idea. Hasn't the IPCC been saying that for at least two assessment reports? And how exactly could anyone conclude that from just a new and improved temperature trend? And how do you explain the warming trend in the fifty years prior to that, and presumably in the 150 years before that?

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

"and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing; and they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and did neither eat nor drink"

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMindert Eiting

Perhaps Watts' news is of his own defection, and now acceptance that CO2 has been the primary temp driver since post industrial times. Perhaps the measurements performed by BEST have so convinced him that his initial skepticism is now unjustified in the face of overwhelming evidence. Perhaps his announcement is to say that he has been proven wrong beyond any doubt that he originally held.
Perhaps we will have a successor to Kyoto by midnight on the 31st, and see a global technocracy ushered in within our lifetimes. Perhaps democracy will be suspended. Perhaps windmills will suddenly regain their subsidies. Perhaps the Euro will be saved and perhaps stirling will cease to be.
Perhaps, those two ibuprofen I took to fend off last night's entertainment went to my head ;)

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

You get what you pay for in life, nothing's free.

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPascvaks

If the majority if the increase has been since the 1950's wouldn't that be accounted for through rabid urbanisation? Or are they still counting in Phil Jones UHI paper from the 90's, the one he can't find any data for, to discount UHI having an impact on temp measurement?


Jul 28, 2012 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

I like "suggested" very scientific. However, the rise since the 18 century and man influenced from 1950 seems odd. The Clean Air Act came in sometime then burt prior to that there were a hell of a lot of extra emissions between 1939 and 1945. Apart from the industrial base making war weapons, think of all the expoding shells and bombs, rounds from machine guns, rifles and goodness knows what, to say nothing of burning buildings. They were exiting times, and somewhat polluted air was the norm.

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

I remember a puffed-up Richard Muller video. The guy seems to forget that he's not done any original work and that he has only performed number crunching with availabe (and sparse) data. And if Watts is shilling for this on his website, just because he was involved in it ...

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Registered Commentershub

And if Watts is shilling for this on his website, just because he was involved in it ...

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM | shub

This sort of speculation does not become you. Anthony W complained bitterly to Muller about his use of AWs work. Muller's work, on first issue, did not appear to be a useful contribution to the science. It appeared that he had used Hansen et al adjusted data to produce his graphs and that he didn't sanitize the data particularly well.

But, all this speculation about AW's announcement is rather silly, IMO.

Jul 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Such a BEST report would not be unprecedented, nor unexpected, and it would already be trumped, in my view, by the revelations of biased and fraudulent manipulation of the temperature data that Steven Goddard has been presenting on his Real-Science site. The BEST reanalysis, now supposedly stretching back to 1750, would only be an attempt to take some of the wind out of the sails of those who champion the multidecadal ocean oscillations theory on top of 0.5°C/century warming since the Little Ice Age, since 1680 or so--now the consensus defenders can say their data also go back over 250 years, not just to 1850. BEST is just playing catchup, to gain street cred (but in vain, in my opinion). All the academics are incompetent idiots, slobbering over their unsupported consensus dogma.

Jul 28, 2012 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

I just realized something. Someone please correct me if I am wrong...

1.5 C is 2.7 F, yes?
Over 262 years... that is 0.10305 degrees per decade. Seems somewhat lower a gradient, adding an extra century, does it not?

And am I correct in thinking that muller is using data adjusted by hansen?

Jul 28, 2012 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterOtter

Think about it. 1.5 deg since 1750 - thats 1.1 deg up to 1980 and 0.4 afterwards. The 1.1 must be natural but the little bit at the end isn't?

Jul 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterporthos

Attribution, she's a bitch.
Who knows why, just scratch that itch.
Puff the Magic Carbon,
Lived by the C. degree.
Nature turned and bit him, someplace rich.

Jul 28, 2012 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

@ porthos The unnatural 0.4 must have came from the latest olympics opening ceremony. So much for global warming, it's so important that the UK refuses to offset the carbon released by the olympics.

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn_a

1.5 C since 1750 is compatible with the variations seen in Christiansen and Ljungqvist (figure 5) - so this part of the rumour might be what natural variability looks like. The more interesting part IMO is the suggestion that BEST will claim post-1950 warming is mostly due to increased GHGs. If true, I look forward to reading their justification. Perhaps it will be an improvement on the IPCC's?

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

I can't see why Watts would make such a big deal out of this possibility, even if it proves to be more than a rumour. Yes, it may be controversial and unpecedented to use 1750 as the start date, but it would hardly move the debate on at all.

Surely it is far more likely that he wishes to publish the results of one of his projects which is also to be released elesewhere by a coworker. If so, it will need to be far more newsworthy, surprising and unexpected than yet another reworking of old, and rather questionable, temperature data!

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

'unprecedented' even!

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

1.5C over 2 and a half centuries..

equals about 0.6C per century...

am I supposed to be scared yet?

and the first 200 years is natural, that stopped (for ever?!) and the last 50 years warmed suposedly due to AGW about 0.3C - 0.4C

No wonder the public are not interested...

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

We can hope Antnee's blowing a fuss and throwing a Spanier into the werks.

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

HADCET summer temperatures are not 1.5C warmer than 1750.

They were for a short while. But then again, 1826 was the 2nd warmest JJA.

.009C per decade from 1650 ...

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

If Bailey's rumour is accurate, the BEST report would differ from its previous one in three significant ways:
1) global average temperature -- earlier was land-only
2) extending back to 1750 -- earlier limit was 1800
3) attribution of rise to greenhouse gas -- earlier had avoided any attribution statements

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:18 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

1.5 C in 262 years? That's what all the fuss is about? Leaving aside the question of whether deriving a number this small from the mass of statistical manipulation they do to produce what they call "global average temperature" has any validity, what possible difference can it make?

I wonder how many of the public who would claim to be convinced by CAGW know that the actual claim is 1.5 C in 262 years. That's not even noticeable, let alone catastrophic.

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Perhaps this new temperature trend will have properly calculated error margins, something like +/- 1C in 1800.

Jul 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

Sorry, I'm being a bit thick here; how was a global temperature calculated for 1750 that can stand any kind of scrutiny?

Jul 28, 2012 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDusty

"how was a global temperature calculated for 1750?"

The Incas meticulously carved into their altars the daily max and min readings (and subsequent TOBS adjustment) for each node of their global temperature network.


Jul 28, 2012 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

How many datasets go back to 1750? NikfromNYC who looked into this when he first questioned CAGW and produced the following composite graph:

Aside from the CET, he could only identify three cities with records going back that far: All in Europe, Geneva and Berlin are relatively close and St Petersburg is hardly far away. Has Muller got access to some 18th Century data from the Americas, Africa, Asia or the Antipodes?

Regardless, 1.5C is probably about right. And nothing unusual or remarkable for the Holocene:


Lawson, D.E.,et. al., 2007, Early to mid-Holocene glacier fluctuations in Glacier Bay, Alaska, in Piatt, J.F., and Gende, S.M., eds., Proceedings of the Fourth Glacier Bay Science Symposium, October 26–28, 2004: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5047, p. 54-55. Lawson looked at glacial advances and retreats in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Glacier Bay is well south of the Arctic circle, but yields information about northern latitude climates. They found a glacial retreat starting 6800 years ago followed by a new glacial advance starting 5000 years ago. The retreat “was long enough to develop a mature forest” on land that was subsequently recovered with ice.

Jung-Hyun Kim, Norel Rimbu, Stephan J. Lorenzb, Gerrit Lohmanna, Seung-IlNam, Stefan Schoutene, Carsten Ruhlemannf, Ralph R. Schneiderg, North Pacific and North Atlantic sea-surface temperature variability during the Holocene, Quaternary Science Reviews, 23, 2004.
Kim, et. al., used alkenone-derived sea-surface temperature records from sediments from over 30 locations to derive temperature changes in the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans during the Holocene. I have marked the locations of the five highest northern latitude cores, two above the arctic circle and three below it. Kim’s data for these cores covers only the last 7,000 years, rather than the entire Holocene. Nevertheless, the cores show temperatures clearly dropping to modern values over the last 7,000 years. The northern-most core (75N) shows a temperature drop of 4.4 degrees C since 7,000 years ago. Two other cores show temperature drops greater than 3 degrees C (3.3 and 3.8 degree drops at 57.8N, 8.7E and 57.7N, 7.1E respectively). The remaining two cores show temperature drops of 1.8 and 0.6 degrees C.

These are just 2 of 14 papers at

This graphic of Glacier Bay in Alaska does illustrate that the last 250 years have been warmer compared with previous centuries: I remain very doubtful that CO2 has been responsible for the long slow thaw since the end of the Little Ice Age.

Jul 28, 2012 at 4:58 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

The Guardian's Leo Hickman has tweeted about an upcoming announcement, which is possibly linked to the WUWT story:

Significant climate-related news will be breaking on Guardian website in next 24-36 hours. Will post likely timing later...

Jul 28, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

This sort of speculation does not become you. Anthony W complained bitterly to Muller about his use of AWs work.

Point taken. But making an announcement of the sort AW made can only lead to speculation. Commenter Steve Fitzpatrick said this on collide-o-scope:

Anthony probably underestimated the influence his ‘suspension’ would have.

I think this is true. WUWT is AW's personal blog. But it carries influence, and imposes restrictions on its owner. Every popular blogger knows this.

Jul 28, 2012 at 5:09 PM | Registered Commentershub

Hickman’s tweet was at 5AM (BST?) so it sounds as if the Graun is planning to scoop Anthony. They can’t have Anthony’s piece, but they may have whatever it is Anthony is aiming to scoop.

Jul 28, 2012 at 5:14 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff~ BST? is that Bull S**T time? :P

Jul 28, 2012 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterOtter

See, here's the problem I have with all this warming stuff. "Recovery" from the LIA such as it is to date was complete by the mid 1930's. Through the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s we saw a period of cooling which seemed to reverse in 1976 and return to a warming regime. There is reasonable cause to believe the temperatures by the late 1990s approached but never exceeded the temperatures that were seen in the 1930s. Any temperatures in excess of the 1930s is due to dubious "adjustment" schemes which adjust 1930's temperatures downward and recent temperatures upward and have been shown in recent papers to appear to have a warming bias.

There is reasonable cause to believe that there has been no warming since the 1960's that exceed what we already experienced in the 1920s and 30s in the period of warming that we saw from about 1910 to about 1935. Any late 20th century warming must be taken in the context of by how much it exceeded the temperatures of the middle 1930s and not by how much it exceeded the temperatures of the early 1970's. So far I am not convinced that the temperatures of the late 1990s and early 2000s exceeded the temperatures of the early/middle 1930s so therefore I am not convinced that we can really show any CO2 induced warming at all as CO2 would have not had any impact between 1910 and 1935.

Jul 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered Commentercrosspatch

If, as I speculated above, the Guardian has the same info as Anthony, and Hickman is promising us a “spoiler”, this pretty much narrows the possibilities down to Muller and BEST. This will be very big on CommentisFree, and I urge anyone who hasn’t been banned to get down there and point out what the Graun is up to as soon as their story breaks. Their Stalinist moderation policy means that informed sceptics are very thin on the ground, though a sceptic comment still manages to pick up 5-10 times more “recommends” than the efforts of their fan club. Don’t let them get away with it.

Otter: BST = British Summer Time, so Hickman is promising us something in the next 12 to 24 hours, before Anthony's announcement.

Jul 28, 2012 at 5:25 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

"They can’t have Anthony’s piece, but they may have whatever it is Anthony is aiming to scoop."

If Anthony were worried about a "scoop", he wouldn't have made the sort of announcement that he did.

Jul 28, 2012 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered Commentercrosspatch

BEST is absolute BS there is no warming check AMSU temps since 1979. Muller was always a AGW believer anyway even as temperatures have not risen since 1998-2002. Its more like that Watts is going to completely destroy the BEST analysis with hardUHI data by releasing it Sunday. Watch out for an early abrupt telltale release by BEST to counter Watts work. Thats my guess

Jul 28, 2012 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRogelio

I think any connection to Muller that Anthony might contemplate, would be at a distance, a long distance. Devil, spoons etc etc.


Jul 28, 2012 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Doubt that this "major development" is of a technical/scientific nature. Mayhap AW has agreed to affiliate with ye auld Heartland Institute or Koch Brothers [heh], greatly enhancing funding for media exposure. Since Santa Claus inhabits the North Pole, Christmas 2012 may have arrived a wee bit early.

Jul 28, 2012 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

"1.5C since 1750" and "most of the warming since the 1950s is the result of increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere" are mutually contradictory to the point of being almost exclusive. Surely if the temps had been rising for 200 years between 1750 and 1950, the case for GHGs as major warming force is (albeit slightly) undermined?

Jul 28, 2012 at 6:43 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Furthermore if after 62 years of GHG-caused warming the IPCC is still debating if there's been an increase in climate extremes, this is a strong argument against catastrophism.

Jul 28, 2012 at 6:45 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Ther is of course Mullers daughter who I understand is a total AGW fanatic (I stand to be corrected on that one). So if she is in any way in control forget any analysis from BEST as meaning anything.

Jul 28, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterrogelio

Pielke Jr is tweeting about Muller. All sounds very unexciting.

Jul 28, 2012 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Pielke, Jr. saying it's about Muller announcing study results and op-eds
Maybe it nudged Anthony into releasing something he was going to hold onto until after his vacation?

Tweets from Pielke, Jr:

Roger Pielke Jr. ‏@RogerPielkeJr
@RichardTol news is Muller op-eds, study ... Yawn

31m Roger Pielke Jr. ‏@RogerPielkeJr
I have heard the "news" - Muller has a new study, op-eds saying clim chg is real, need to focus on pragmatic solutions. Snore.

Jul 28, 2012 at 6:58 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

I think it is something with UHI and airports.
"So we looked at Salt Lake City, Utah and Reno, Nevada in the just made prior posting here:"

Note the we.
Last posting the 27th:

Jul 28, 2012 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterColdlynx

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