The fallout from the BEST project results continues, with the denialosphere frantically trying to disown and defame Richard Muller. Marc Morano is at his shrillest pitch ever, and believe me that is as shrill as shrill gets! I guess it works at some level, because he did make me look at his website. That high pitched squeaking broke down all my intellectual safeguards and I followed a link from his almost daily inbox spamming.
Today’s (approving) hysteria was about an article in the DailyMail which gives you the general flavour of the treatment Muller is receiving. Given his own rather vile treatment of other climate researchers, the very ones that BEST shows “had truly been very careful in their work” and had “managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections” (Muller’s own, rather arrogant, words) I find it hard to be all that sympathetic despite being sure he is getting a true beating. (Morano makes certain his pack of mad dogs has Muller’s email address close at hand). Kind of a “what goes around, comes around” moment, if you ask me.
Anyway, nothing too surprising in all that. I did, however, note with interest that the Daily Mail article quotes Curry extensively and on her blog she does not back away from very much of it. This is interesting because she is actully a named author on the BEST papers. “The direct quotes attributed to me are correct”, she says. She denies saying this latest “scandal” “has to be” compared to Climategate, but acknowledges she probably did so anyway! In her view, looking at a 200 year record does not make it clear enough that the last decade showed little trend. This is of course not a relevant observation for a climatological analysis, one decade is not enough to describe the behaviour of a 30 year average. Does Dr. Curry really not know this? Would she say one thing in a mainstream media context, and another in a scientific context?
An interesting question, one that is informed by this additional comment:
This graph shows that the trend of the last decade is absolutely flat, with no increase at all – though the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have carried on rising relentlessly.
‘This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting,’ Prof Curry said. ‘Whatever it is that’s going on here, it doesn’t look like it’s being dominated by CO2.’
This is a pure crock of bull. Real Climate has a great discussion of just what it is that climate models do and do not say about short term variability here, I highly recommend it. The take away message is that, in fact, many individual model runs do show decades in which the natural variability temporarily masks the long term trend. There is no expectation that an enhanced CO2 forcing will dominate on that timescale. The actual temperature record over the last 40 years even contains examples of such “pauses”.
I scare-quote “pauses” because they are not in fact actual pauses in the climatic trend at all, as evidenced by the eventual continuation of the global temperature rise. Such is almost certainly the case for the recent “pause” as well, at least there is no reason to think otherwise, and no evidence of any actual change in the situation.
Okay, so ‘This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting’ is just wrong, but does Dr. Curry know it’s wrong? Well, here she is a while ago on her own blog quoting extensively from research exactly to that effect:
Because of the large effect of year-to-year variability on decadal trends, roughly 10% of the 10-year TLT trends in the 20CEN/A1B runs are less than zero (Figure 4A). This result shows that anthropogenically forced models can replicate the recent muted warming of the surface
So she is clearly aware of the truth of this matter, yet for her it is more important that the temporary noise in the trend gives her a hook upon which to hang her FUD than it is that the long term trend is as clear as it ever was.
The hardest thing I find to reconcile in Curry’s writings is her active participation in avoiding the cessation of this insane experiment with our one and only world with her personal estimation of a ~5% chance that we may end up with a warming of 10oC or more!! That was a “WTF??” moment if ever she has blogged one, and she has blogged many.