You’re (not) the BEST thing

By Gareth Renowden 24/10/2011


Set aside for one moment the fact that New Zealand has just (in every sense of that word) won the Rugby World Cup for the first time in a quarter of a century, and consider instead events in the world of temperature records. (Don’t worry, it won’t take long). A team led by Berkeley physicist Richard Muller — the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) — has successfully reinvented the wheel, by demonstrating (once again) that the planet has been warming over the last 150 years. Tim Lambert at Deltoid explains the algorithm Muller employed:

  1. State that “reported global warming may be biased by poor station quality“.
  2. Collect funding from Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.
  3. Make the utterly predictable finding that warming is not a product of poor measurement.
  4. Brief reporters.

Michael Tobis at Planet 3.0 puts the affair in its proper context:

The science has not changed a whit — no serious scientist cares very much that the record has been confirmed yet again. Under ordinary circumstances this paper would have trouble getting published. This is not a red-letter day in scientific history. No new information is on the table. It’s posturing.

As for posturing, Brian Angliss at Scholars & Rogues points out that a certain US weather station quality control effort is under a little stress. One wonders if this might not spread to those who would wish to cast doubt on the NZ record?

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