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Earth Science

Global Warming 'Confirmed' By Independent Study 967

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-crank-the-AC dept.
chrb writes "The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project — an independent study of Earth's historical temperature record partly funded by climate skeptics, including the Koch brothers — has released preliminary results that show the same warming trend as previous research. Project leader and physics professor Richard Muller, of the University of California, has stated that he was 'surprised' at the close agreement, and it 'confirms that these studies were done carefully.' The study also found that warming in the temperature record was not caused by poor quality weather monitoring stations — thus rejecting a frequent claim of skeptics. Climate skeptic Stephen McIntyre has previously said 'anything that [Muller] does will be well done.'"
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Global Warming 'Confirmed' By Independent Study

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  • by Shisha (145964) on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:45AM (#37790778) Homepage

    It didn't "confirm" it was caused by man, as it didn't set out to and doesn't claim to.

    Nevertheless the collected data seem to indicate a steady increase in temperature. This has coincided with increased emissions of CO2 (while many other factors remained constant, or more precisely didn't vary enough to allow anyone to claim correlation). This of course does not mean that it's _caused_ by the increased emissions of CO2.

    But if my belly starts aching I look at what I ate that others didn't. And if I ate something that others didn't (say a dodgy kebab) and I feel bad and they don't then of course I can't claim I feel bad because of the kebab. But I'm sure not going to have the same kebab next time. I don't wait for a double blind study done on a statistically significant sample to confirm to within some statistical error that the kebab is indeed bad.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:45AM (#37790790)
    Things look different when not done by agenda-driven "climatologist". warmest year was 13 years ago, let's all have some retroactive panic
  • by Arlet (29997) on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:51AM (#37790892)
  • by cosmicaug (150534) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:03AM (#37791134)

    It was probably caused by man.

    By measuring temperatures in dumb-ass places, the BBC link in the article sums it up nicely with a picture of a weather station next to an airplane, and you could argue that jet exhaust and black tarmacs are natural, but you can't argue that jet exhaust and black tarmacs are representative for the earth surface in average.

    Actually, the heat island effect was one of the things that this study was meant to address. The climate skeptic's contentions on this are basically threefold:
    - Urban heat islands exist and they are warmer than they otherwise would be if urbanization had not happened (I don't think anyone disputes this).
    - Urban heat islands exaggerate warming trends.
    - Unlike TV weathermen, climate scientists are too stupid to realize that urban heat island effects could affect their data and too stupid to correct the data for it (even though it is quite likely that clever TV weathermen probably read about this effect in the climate science literature in the first place).

    What this group has found on the matter, to their great surprise, is that not only doesn't the urban heat island effect not exaggerate warming trends, it actually dampens them a little bit. In other words, if you are not accounting for the urban heat island effect it makes the hockey stick less steep, rather than more steep.

    Which is no great surprise to me because others have already looked at this due to the stink Anthony Watts was raising and found the same thing (though I would guess Watts probably doesn't talk about that too much).

  • by wytcld (179112) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:08AM (#37791248) Homepage

    The Berkeley study got $150,000 from the Koch brothers precisely because those who started it came largely from outside climate science, having established their considerable credentials in other sciences, and announced at the outset their skepticism about the standards of climate scientists. They expected they well might find - and the Koch brothers clearly hoped they would find - that the interpretations of the temperature records accepted by over 97% of current climate scientists were exaggerated and sloppy.

    The Berkeley study leaders are now openly surprised that their conclusions - using more advanced statistical methods than have been employed previously - are within 2% of the mainstream climate science analyses. I'll bet good money they get no further funding from the Koch brothers going forward. The Kochs have many billions, and have been generous in funding the economics department at Florida State University, with strings attached to assure that department will support economic theories the Kochs agree with ("Austrian school" economics). Universities keenly court large donors. Had the Berkeley climate study likewise come to conclusions agreeing with the brothers' prejudices, that cash-strapped university could have anticipated generous funding to support a climatology institute going forward.

    So which side of the bread is buttered? Were the genius scientists too stupid to see they just dropped the bread butter-side down? Why have they followed the science even when it drives away their funding?

  • by laird (2705) <lairdp.gmail@com> on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:27AM (#37791640) Journal

    Of course there are "anthropogenic climate change models" - I suspect that you don't know what is meant by a climate change model. So a little Climate Science 101:

    The models take data other than the measured temperature data, such as forestation, solar activity, human population, etc., and the OUTPUT of the model is predicted temeratures. They then compare those predictions to the observed temperatures to validate the model.

    The models that include human activity as an input ("anthropogenic models") predict the actual observed temperatures much better than models that ignore human activity. Thus, human activity is strongly believed (98% of climate scientists) to be a cause of global climate change.

    And even if you ignore the science, and believe that humans aren't CAUSING global climate change, we still want to stop the change that is taking place (i.e. we don't want to flood coastal cities, etc.). There's no doubt that it is going on, and that human behavior can affect what is going on. So even if the global warming were caused entirely by sun spots, we would still want to reduce our carbon emissions in order to cool the planet off.

    Or are you saying that because you think that we're not causing it, we should do nothing? That doesn't seem like a good long term plan. Do you have kids, or friends?

  • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sstamps (39313) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:28AM (#37791654) Homepage

    Except for:

    1) None of the scientists ever said "only university-trained scientists can understand the data".
    2) All of the science was done openly with all the cards on the table. Published papers are, well, published.
    3) You could always discover the funding sources for the vast majority of all scientists, because most of them are required to disclose it.
    4) Vanishingly little data was used that could be considered "tainted".

    The only real difference between this research project and previous ones which came to the same conclusions was the personalities involved.

  • by Rary (566291) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:31AM (#37791744)

    For the 10 billionth time, "global warming" and "climate change" are two different, but related, phenomena. "Global warming" is the observation that the global average temperature (note the words "global" and "average") is rising. "Climate change" is the observation that the climate is changing (which includes localized record snowfalls and cold snaps) as a result of global warming. One leads to the other. If you're talking about average temperatures, then "global warming" is the correct term. If you're talking about severe weather phenomena, then "climate change" is the likely subject.

    The fact that the media (and the "skeptics") don't understand this says nothing about climate science, and lots about the media (and the "skeptics").

  • by Karellen (104380) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:32AM (#37791780) Homepage

    That reminds me of the Yes, Prime Minister foreign office 4 stage strategy [imdb.com]. You've just outlined stages 1 and 2. I guess that once they can no longer deny it's anthropogenic, they'll move to saying that there's nothing we can do (stage 3), again absolving them of the need to do anything. Then they won't need stage 4 until after some coastal cities are already underwater and millions of climate refugees/victims are making their lives a misery.

    It'd be funny if it weren't so tragic.

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:40AM (#37791996) Journal

    You and people like you are the ones with agendas. If you can blow off global warming, then you can keep right on living large and wastefully, diverting our resources to peacock like displays of virility and vanity, and the propping up of obsolete businesses and ideas so that you don't have to change. Because then you might actually have to think, heaven forbid! After all, you have to show the neighbors that you're rich and important, don't you? And you sure don't want anyone changing the rules on how best to do that.

    So you go down the classic route of "offense is the best defense", and make ridiculous claims that scientists are stupid and wrong, or have joined in a vast conspiracy to extract grant money from governments. You cry about the "sacrifice", but you won't go live next to a coal power plant on the downwind side, will you? But it's okay with you if poor people get shoved into such locations, and have to deal with the resulting health problems themselves. And you ignore that we have that thing known as progress. You surely don't want to give up the LCD monitor, and go back to CRTs? How about leaded gas? Do you understand what that stuff did to us all, and how simple it was to ditch? Just need hardened steel valve seats, that's all. Just a few more pennies per engine, and we saved many dollars on health and pollution problems. If we ever get some good batteries, or fuel cells, I promise you that almost no one will ever want to use a combustion engine vehicle again, global warming or no. A combustion engine is awful compared to an electric motor. They will be relegated to museums, much like the old railroad steamers. But we won't ever get there, unless we research it.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:01AM (#37792446)
    they are driven by the agendas of their benefactors, who have made markets for cap and trade and other scams of power and money. The CRU is made of the worst offenders, which is why their graphs are the most cooked.
  • by Myopic (18616) on Friday October 21, 2011 @12:21PM (#37794000)

    Are you asking me to do your research for you? Okay, I'll do it, but only this once:

    "Bloomberg New Energy Finance identified US$43–$46 billion last year allotted by governments for renewable energy. Meanwhile, oil, coal and gas received $557 billion [renewableenergyworld.com]"

    So, renewables got about one-twelfth the money that hydrocarbons got. Is that what you were asking? So, the hydrocarbon industries have something like twelve times the sway on government spending than renewable-energy industries? And thus government conspiracies would be twelve times as likely to fund anti-AGW science as pro-AGW science? Is that the kind of argument you are trying to make?

    Not me. I'm just trying to point out that it is absurd, preposterous, and demonstrably wrong to suggest that somehow the tree huggers have taken over government, resulting in a gigantic multinational conspiracy to push the false myth of AGW onto an unsuspecting public in order to advance an anti-human ideological agenda. That argument is retarded, and people who make it are kooks.

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