back to article BEST reiterates ‘no solar forcing’ claim

Richard Muller, whose Koch Foundation-funded Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project has sparked an ongoing controversy since 2011, has hit the news again with the publication of his paper in a peer-reviewed journal. In the paper, BEST reiterates its claim that including solar forcing doesn’t improve measurement of warming, …

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Trollface

Which one?

Ok, admittedly I'm not educated in these matters, but I was following the presented data up to the last paragraph. The last paragraph makes it sound like this published article was about, another publication. Why did this article end with reference about another publication? I assume it is to let us know that there is another respected publication in this field.

Now, since I don't know anything about what the article is talking about, I only say this with question...

"The analysis used records from 36,866 stations"

Well, are all 36,866 stations using the same formulae? If so, wouldn't the variations of the results basically be a simple matter of opening a map and reading latitude and longitude, maybe throwing in a barometer? Obviously, I'm clueless, but I don't see how you can expect too much variation. Maybe that is the point.

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Re: Which one?

The value of a peer reviewed journal is largely in its reputation. Obviously, the first issue of a publication of an obscure publisher won't have the best possible reputation. So the Reg author (apparently) asked BEST why they had picked this particular publication and the last paragraph is BESTs answer to that question.

As for your question of the stations, it is unfortunately a little more complicated. First of all, with that many stations, there are going to be errors in the database (for example, wrong value for the latitude), so your data is less accurate than it appears. Second and more importantly, many of these stations have seen their environments change substantially over their lifetime (what was farmland in the 1950s might be downtown today). This would change the recorded temperatures even if there were no global climate change. You have to compensate for those effects somehow to extract just the climate portion. It's a complicated and controversial subject.

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Anonymous Coward

>"Well, are all 36,866 stations using the same formulae?"

The stations were not using any "formulae" at all. They were using thermometers or similar devices to measure the temperature and recording that raw information.

The analysis then used a formula to work out the overall average global surface temperature from those records. Latitude and longitude don't come into it because they want a single figure for the average temperature across the entire surface of the planet. The process is described in the paper: it begins:

To perform the average, the surface of the Earth was divided into 15,984 elements of equal area and weighted by the percentage of land at each spot; 5326 of them had >10% land. For each month, Berkeley Average creates an estimated temperature field for the entire land surface of the Earth using Kriging to interpolate the available temperature data. The Kriging process, also known as Gaussian Process Regression, is the best linear unbiased predictor of the underlying field provided the temperature fluctuations at each site are approximately normally distributed and the correlation structure between sites can be estimated [10,11]. This method uses the correlations between temperature stations as a function of distance to estimate the temperature at any intermediate point and naturally avoids the bias that might come from overweighting highly clustered stations (e.g. in the United States and Europe). A monthly estimate for each equal area grid is computed as described below using a minimization process. The final global average temperature, Tavg, is then the simple average of the interpolated land temperature field over land during each month.

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Re: >"Well, are all 36,866 stations using the same formulae?"

I'm sorry, the graph goes back to the 1750's - are we saying they've got data from 36,866 stations since this timeframe?

This is highly unlikely - what would they be using before, say, 1950 as their sources and are these shown in the article?

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Re: >"Well, are all 36,866 stations using the same formulae?"

Hi AC,

I think you may have overlooked the weighting calculation - your quote specifically mentions that it compensates for station distribution by performing calculations regarding distance between stations. If your location is (possibly) incorrect, then so is the distance, surely?

Not passing judgement on the research itself, merely the apparent contradiction in your comment...

AS

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FAIL

"modeling" <> "measurement"

"Solar forcing" not being a common (or even uncommon) factor involved in the *measurement* of surface or ocean temps, the paper must have instead been referring to "modeling" of historical surface temperatures. It's hard to make a case that either this article or the reported-upon paper is worth reading, but here you are anyway, so have a free copy of Windows 8 as a consolation prize!

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Open Journals

Will never have the endorsement of the scientific community as a whole. By definition an open journal is not an exclusive vehicle & the exclusivity of a journal is what gives the lead authors weight in jobs & grants.

A really good Reg article would be a primer on how journals & scientific publishing works. For example peer reviewed is the lowest bar to cross in publishing & by itself is effectively meaningless.

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Re: Open Journals

> the exclusivity of a journal is what gives the lead authors weight in jobs & grants

So you are arguing "pay to get lustre". Can't argue with that, it's a kind of academic "pay to win".

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Trollface

Re: Open Journals as "exclusive vehicles"

Perhaps you're suffering delusions because of the long drought of fresh Top Gear episodes? A Bugatti Veyron is an "exclusive vehicle," but parking one in your lab's parking garage is unlikely to boost your grant score.

Regarding open journals, you might want to investigate how scientific publishing works these days in e.g. particle physics.

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Boffin

Re: Open Journals

"Open Journals Will never have the endorsement of the scientific community as a whole"

This is a rubbish generalisation. Per se, the open-access-ness of a journal does not make it a bad journal. In atmospheric science the open-access jounal "Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics" costs a similar price (for the author) as the non-open AGU journals, has a similar impact factor, and has just as rigourous a peer-review process. (I know because I have published papers in both). Over the last decade, ACP has gone from a new journal that had people asking what it was for to being one of the two or three most important journals in the field.

Quite independent of the above is the recent phenomenon of junk journals with (I suspect) feeble peer review, many of them put out by Chinese and Indian publishers that you have never heard of. These publishers are a major source of spam email for working scientists. Their journals are often open-access, but it is not the fact that they are open-access that makes them an annoying waste of space.

For BEST to have chosen what appears to be one of these junk journals for their paper seems odd. It looks at first sight to be competent enough to get into a more established journal. It remains to be seen whether "Geoinformatics and Geostatistics" becomes the next ACP, or whether it vanishes without trace.

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Re: Open Journals

One of the issues with 'open' journals is cost and related incentives. 'Open' journal is free to the reader, so has to be paid for by the submitter. Therefore it is in the publisher's financial interest to accept any research of borderline or low quality that would be rejected by a traditional publisher. Traditional publishers are paid for access by universities etc, he who pays the piper calls the tune and universities will quickly stop paying for any journals that are publishing sub-par research. *

So open journals are great for disseminating reasearch far and wide but come with some caveats.

* This is simlair to financial ratings agencies (Fitch, Moody's, Standard & Poors etc). Up until teh 70s or 80s they were paid by the pension funds etc who were paying the money to invest in any investment vehicle. So if any financial roduct was risky, it got junk status. Once the ratings agencies started to get paid by the banks issuing the financial instruments, their incentive was to give as high a rating as they could justify, which led to sub-prime trash getting A ratings

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Re: Open Journals

"Will never have the endorsement of the scientific community as a whole."

The scientists who publish in the open-access, peer-reviewed Public Library of Science (PLOS) journals would be surprised to hear that. In the life sciences community, the PLOS journals have a strong reputation.

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Re: Open Journals

From the responses it is clear that not many people know how journals work. The more exclusive a journal is, the higher a given report ranks in its impact factor. This score helps determine what research gets used in future reports. Most researchers have a minimum threshold for this score and none of their citations can fall below it.

Therefore you are forced into using 'exclusive' journals to get your research done and to get others to use your research.

So you can all shut it. You've got no idea what you're talking about & obviously don't want to learn how real research works.

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Angel

> Richard Muller, whose Koch Foundation-funded Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature

Is that the same "Koch Foundation" that is accused by proggos in every lead-in of advocating exploitation of children in sweatshops, destroying welfare, giving 99%ers cancer and possibly generating chemtrails?

Now they are linked to studies not rejecting Global Warming? Is there nothing holy anymore?

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Well it's interesting to speculate whether Koch took a gamble with BEST that failed. Perhaps they hoped Muller would uncover the surface records were wrong?

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g e
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WTF?

Just volcanoes and people?

I'm sure volcanism (vulcanism, surely?) covers a bit more than volcanoes, maybe not, but it sounds like the sea is being completely ignored?

There is quite a bit of the stuff, after all.

If you're trying to show that ACC is real vs normal natural CC which the human race hasn't been round long enough to actually measure firsthand then just using volcanoes and people stuff (which presumably is the anthro data) sounds like fitting the data to the desired outcome to the lay-person.

If I wanted to show Jimmy Savile as a nice chap I'd produce a graph of time vs charitable funds raised. If not then a chart of time vs alleged victims and so forth. Whichever chart I produced would be dependent upon the revenue I thought it would produce.

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Meh

Odd.

It seems odd for a group that (supposedly) wishes to avoid the controversy that is rife in climate science to choose a publishing venue that is almost bound to be controversial. There's nothing wrong with being open access and there's nothing wrong with being a new journal - all journals are new at some point. But a paper that is supposedly a sober review of existing data ought to be able to get published in a more established journal.

("meh" icon because it's the closest to a "confused face" icon)

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Re: Odd.

Climate skeptics have attacked prestigious peer review journals such as Nature for years because

1) These journals have published a lot of papers with findings supportive of man-made global warming

2) climate skeptics can't get *most* of their arguments into the journals

This is really because

a) Man-made global warming has the weight of scientific evidence behind it

b) climate skeptic arguments are *mostly* bunk

Being unable to admit a) and b), climate skeptics, like creationists who are in the same boat, opt to attack the peer review journals as corrupt and biased against them. Ie it's all a conspiracy.

So they set up their own publishing platforms, eg their own journals and even blogs and publish their arguments and argue that these are just as legitimate (no more so!) as prestigious journals.

So all I am saying is that it's going to be a bit rich now if climate skeptics turn round and dismiss the BEST paper because it hasn't been published in a journal like Nature.

Although I am sure they will.

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Vanity Press

or vanity peer review

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Unhappy

The interesting bits...

... are the earlier temperature readings. GISS has been 'correcting' them down by about 0.2 deg over the last century, making any long-term temperature set pretty unreliable - even before the siting issues and arguments about 'apples and oranges' proxy interpretation.

It's a shame, but long-term temperature records are now political statistics. Satellite data is the only dataset you can reasonably rely on...

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Re: The interesting bits...

The idea that GISS has been correcting past temperatures downwards is a myth born of people comparing the wrong datasets.

The fact that BEST took the raw data and found the same result as GISS shows should finally dispel that myth.

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WTF?

Re: The interesting bits...

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/updates_v3/

They do change past data - from one of their own links "century-scale global land surface air temperature trend is higher using the v3.2.0 data. with v3.1.0 the adjusted... was 0.94 degrees C per century with 3.2.0 the trend is now 1.07 degrees C per century... The greatest differences between the two versions of the adjusted datasets are in the data for years prior to 1970."

Doesn't sound much like a myth to me.

Best did not take the "Raw" data (in fact a lot of the "raw" data has gone missing) .

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Re: The interesting bits...

They don't change past data. They update an algorithm which spits out different output, but that's not changing past data. They don't alter the input data. They don't own it for a start.

BEST took raw data from weather stations around the world, from the same input sources plus more. BEST used nothing from GISS. Evidently then a lot of it isn't missing. BEST applied a different algorithm to the input data and reached the same output as GISS. Conclusion: GISS hasn't added false warming into the record (or else BEST would have reached a different result). It's a myth.

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Stop

Re: The interesting bits...

Which version of GISS did it match? I guess the more version of GISS output available the greater chance of matching one of them.

Did I accuse anyone of false warming or was it cooling of historic data as per outlined in GISS own statement?

Just because two people get 2+2=5 doesn't make it any more correct.

And no they didn't take the "raw" data from around the world.

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Re: The interesting bits...

yea they did, you are stuck on a loser here

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Childcatcher

Overall

If I understand correctly, this study is a description of the "very simple" model they use which equates CO2 with human activity - termed a "crude proxy" in the paper. It claims, in extremely broad terms, that the total climate change can be put down to CO2 emissions (not a difference in solar activity), which in turn comes down to human activity and vulcanism. However, it is careful to point out that there is insufficient data to determine long term trends as well as a number of its other limitations.

Can anyone else see any value in this other than in presenting a corrected data set from which to work?

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Re: Overall

i can't. the attribution stuff seems a bit weak to me. Too simple as stuff like that has already been done.

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It's always been a silly, stupid idea to believe that the sun could ever have any influence on the Earth surface temperatures... really... what a preposterous idea!

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Exactly!

I mean, I haven't seen the sun for MONTHS and it is still not that cold! How could a ball of hot plasma 110 times the diameter of the earth affect us at a distance of 149 MILLION kilometres?

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Facepalm

It's always been even sillier to believe that humans could possibly influence it, either. I mean, the Bible says it can't happen.

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Devil

Two words: KOCH. BROTHERS.

That is all.

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