B.E.S.T. Results

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

B.E.S.T., Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature, is the organization, formed by Richard Muller, Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley and self-proclaimed climate skeptic, to analyze temperature data. B.E.S.T. has received a total of $623,087 in financial support, with the largest contribution, $150,000, coming from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. B.E.S.T. directly addressed concerns including urban heat island effect, poor station quality, and data selection bias.

Their results: “Global warming is real.” Before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Muller testified that “we see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups.” That similarity can be seen in the graphs below.

The issue of temperature stations in the U.S. located near buildings, in parking lots, or close to other heat sources has been raised by climate change skeptics such as Anthony Watts. Muller testified:

Did such poor station quality exaggerate the estimates of global warming? We’ve studied this issue, and our preliminary answer is no.

The Berkeley Earth analysis shows that over the past 50 years the poor stations in the U.S. network do not show greater warming than do the good stations.

Thus, although poor station quality might affect absolute temperature, it does not appear to affect trends, and for global warming estimates, the trend is what is important.

Regarding the urban heat island effect, the study concludes that:

The urban heat island effect is locally large and real, but does not contribute significantly to the average land temperature rise. That’s because the urban region of the Earth amount to less than 1% of the land area.

Anthony Watts is a weather-caster turned global warming skeptic who stated, “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.” That was in March. Now, Watts “consider[s] the paper fatally flawed.” Watts’ reaction moves him from the category of global warming skeptic to global warming denier. Watts has gained a certain amount of fame by claiming that the temperature data was flawed. If he had accepted the B.E.S.T. results as promised, his celebrity status would be lost.

H/T: Zingularity, LA Times, Brad Plumer, Ron Chusid.

204 thoughts on “B.E.S.T. Results”

  1. Doc Slarti, have you seen the data compilation on Skeptical Science? One of the best graphics ever to explain how climate change skeptics see the world, versus how realistic scientists view it. To the skeptic it is always cooling somewhere, as long as one looks at less than about seventeen year cycles.

    When you look at figure one, allow it to load fully and pay close attention to the chart as it develops.


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