Decadal land-surface average temperature reconstruction, 1800-2010. The Berkeley group's record of global land temperature mirrors existing ones closely. Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature via BBC

By Richard Black, Environment correspondent, BBC News
20 October 2011

The Earth's surface really is getting warmer, a new analysis by a US scientific group set up in the wake of the "Climategate" affair has concluded.

The Berkeley Earth Project has used new methods and some new data, but finds the same warming trend seen by groups such as the UK Met Office and NASA.

The project received funds from sources that back organisations lobbying against action on climate change.

"Climategate", in 2009, involved claims global warming had been exaggerated.

Emails of University of East Anglia (UEA) climate scientists were hacked, posted online and used by critics to allege manipulation of climate change data.

The Berkeley group says it has also found evidence that changing sea temperatures in the north Atlantic may be a major reason why the Earth's average temperature varies globally from year to year.

The project was established by University of California physics professor Richard Muller, who was concerned by claims that established teams of climate researchers had not been entirely open with their data.

He gathered a team of 10 scientists, mostly physicists, including such luminaries as Saul Perlmutter, winner of this year's Nobel Physics Prize for research showing the Universe's expansion is accelerating.

Funding came from a number of sources, including charitable foundations maintained by the Koch brothers, the billionaire US industrialists, who have also donated large sums to organisations lobbying against acceptance of man-made global warming.

"Science is best done when the problems with the analysis are candidly shared."

The group's work also examined claims from "sceptical" bloggers that temperature data from weather stations did not show a true global warming trend.

The claim was that many stations have registered warming because they are located in or near cities, and those cities have been growing - the urban heat island effect.

The Berkeley group found about 40,000 weather stations around the world whose output has been recorded and stored in digital form.

It developed a new way of analysing the data to plot the global temperature trend over land since 1800.

What came out was a graph remarkably similar to those produced by the world's three most important and established groups, whose work had been decried as unreliable and shoddy in climate sceptic circles.

Two of those three records are maintained in the US, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The third is a collaboration between the UK Met Office and UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), from which the e-mails that formed the basis of the "Climategate" furore were hacked two years ago.

"Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK," said Prof Muller.

"This confirms that these studies were done carefully and that potential biases identified by climate change sceptics did not seriously affect their conclusions." […]

Bob Ward, policy and communications director for the Grantham Research 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 the 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." […]

Global warming 'confirmed' by independent study

5 comments :

  1. opit said...

    "thoroughly discredited claims that the increase in global average temperature could be attributed to the impact of growing cities"
    "claims that the evidence for global warming has been faked by climate scientists."

    It would be nice for once to find a 'debunking the debunkers' article that did not take liberties to then restate - incorrectly and simplistically - what 'the problem' is with the promoted reports of IPCC findings....and even those are often perverted to an agenda !

    Personally, I wonder how one can define what baseline to use and what is the significance given variations in planetary orbital position, galactic locus, solar output, long term trends towards cooling, and recorded variations in temperature trends in the past...such as a medieval ice age when London's Thames River froze in winter.
    It is not enough to show an increase in Global Mean Temperature ... nor is it 'news'. One must be able to show that mathematical models are both accurate and comprehensive before one can then proceed to the supposition that projection/forecasting is practical...and that one has a viable method for doing so !
    After all...there is an innate difficulty in 'proving' one can foretell the future !
    At the least, given known globalization interests in assessing taxation on the Use of Fire to be rendered to the IPCC / UN ( causing a shortfall in national ability to vary energy policy to compensate for undersirable practices ), you should appreciate that I personally consider the whole program a self-interested distraction from resource depletion and mining/water pollution....which has gone nowhere productive.
    p.s. Coal is running out in Appalachia within 3 years - even should the whole mania prove true.  

  2. Jim said...

    Hi Opit,

    We can rule out all of the various climate drivers that you mention (e.g., solar output) simply by noting that there are no trends in those parameters that match the 20th/21st warming trend. The only driver that has an upward trend is human CO2 output, and the physics predicts an upward trend in surface temperature when CO2 increases. So, theory matches observation.

    For a much more detailed discussion of this issue, please see the Gavin Schmidt post, On attribution.  

  3. Anonymous said...

    Yes, if we are to talk of geologic history, certainly orbital factors and variation in solar output are important. But in the absence of measured change in these factors over the past century, it is pretty clear that human activities are driving the heating. I would compare planet warming to erosion - both can occur naturally, but humans can also play a big role; the farmer who tills a steep hillside cannot blame nature for the loss of his soil.  

  4. opit said...

    Anon
    'It is pretty clear that human activities are driving the heating.'
    Actually, what is not clear to me is that human activities are driving the heating. There is a pretty clear disconnect when viewing things like leaving a little ice age or going into position in galactic orbit which changes effects and received amounts of cosmic rays, for instance. When you do not understand what is going on or have good records to draw on, it seems presumtion to declare conclusions - i.e. speculation. 'Scientists' should be reliable : but 'reports' of what the IPCC is saying haven't even been accurate, let alone what mass media have been declaring about 'scientific opinion.'
    So I read scientists' blogs and quip with some.
    If anything, there is distress about 'poor reporting'. Nor am I impressed with the Grist list of Talking Points. That's a studied ploy to pursue an agenda by 'debunking' disagreement in advance...which has nothing to do with keeping an open mind.
    Which certainly does not mean I think ravaging the Earth has not had horrendous costs and isn't running into untenable territory for sustenance of life. But ignoring water pollution, chemical and mining pollution and the nitrogen cycle in favour of a 'scientific consensus' pushed by thieves and liars who will fiscally impair ability to make change isn't attractive.
    We are talking about people who lie as policy to 'justify' global murder. They are so devious as to be perfectly capable of trying to 'corner the market' in a time when energy becomes even more necessary for essentials of survival.
    I might not be so definite about that if I had not seen so much negative reporting about 'green tech' in action...or felt its acquisition costs still unrealistic. Not that that hasn't been made worse by the usual culprit : copyright and patent law impeding change.

    Jim
    'Theory matches observation'
    Not when fudge factors are necessary to force modeling to match observation : ie when change far outpaces proposed drivers. In fact, it is itself an indication of 'barking up the wrong tree.'
    The whole idea of forecasting from an unproven model ( dare I say an impossible fabrication to make an adequate one ? ) ignores the notion that oversimplification, modeling of part of the geosphere, and general lack of ability to confirm projections or foresee what we have not thought of or observed makes a mockery of the construct.
    We don't even have any recognition that mass falls upon the planet from space ! Or that thunderheads may eject energetic molecules out of the atmosphere entirely.
    Nor is the question of water vapour activity in screening heating really more than taken as an irrelevancy, or storm action ditto. That seems intuitive...but isn't the same as knowledge.  

  5. Jim said...

    Opit, the problem with attributing the 20th/21st-century temperature trend to causes other than CO2 is this: you have to invoke an extreme sensitivity to tiny changes in a driver like TSI, while simultaneously invoking an extreme insensitivity to the gigantic excursion in the CO2 budget. Given what we know about the radiative properties of CO2, such an insensitivity is clearly unphysical.

    It's also worth noting that climate science and radiative thermodynamics are very successful theories, correctly predicting the surface temperatures of widely differing planets like Mars, Venus, and Earth -- and even exotic worlds like Titan. For a quick overview of the physics, please see Barton Paul Levenson's excellent How to Estimate Planetary Temperatures.  

 

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