BEST is boring

Apparently the BEST stuff is out; Tamino has the story so I won't bother. Summary: the global temperature record is just what we thought it was. Remind me again why they bothered to do this?


* mt at P3
* Schmidt on Muller via QS
* BA
* Moyhu
* Deltoid is jealous.
* RC is late.

More like this

Your Tamino link is wrong.

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We can't rule out the possibility that Muller thought he'd get the opposite result when he began the whole process, can we? If not, I find that a sufficient explanation for his bothering to do it.

I think Muller really believed his results would be different. He however has the integrity to publish the truth.

It's not easy to admit you were wrong .

[That is not an unreasonable point. He was a fool to think the first, but if that was what he thought, he did have integrity to admit a change of mind. Mind you, the first implies a lack of integrity too: I think it is pretty clear from many comment he made that he never bothered to look at the prior work in detail -W]

By John McManus (not verified) on 20 Oct 2011 #permalink

Your Tamino link currently points to your old Muller post.

[Oops. Thanks (and to everyone else), fixed -W]

By blueshift (not verified) on 20 Oct 2011 #permalink

The only reason Muller thought the opposite temperature trend could have been the outcome is a lack of wisdom. QED.

By t_p_hamilton (not verified) on 20 Oct 2011 #permalink

The results may be boring, but the comments from the peanut gallery at Watts and Judy's are anything but. In fact they are hilarious!

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 20 Oct 2011 #permalink

Well, somehow BEST was able to extend the record back to 1800 AD. [As in making sausage, BEST not to inquire how its done.]

[I'd missed that in all the hoopla. It might bear looking at -W]

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 20 Oct 2011 #permalink

Judith Curry explains:

> the REAL problem with the surface temperature data set lies with the ocean data. I hope that the Berkeley group will be able to extend their efforts to include ocean data.

[Curry is a fool -W]

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 20 Oct 2011 #permalink

"We" bothered to do this, so Anthony Watts could get another hissy-fit? First lure him in, chew a little, and then spit him out!

More seriously: there's some new data analysis in the BEST project that appears to be useful.

[Yes, I think that is right: there is a minor improvement or difference in the analysis. But nothing to justify much attention from the outside world -W]

Richard Black's piece at the Beeb had this to say:

"I was deeply concerned that the group [at UEA] had concealed discordant data," Professor Muller told BBC News.

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

[Indeed. It is clear that Muller fell for the septic hype, and didn't bother do any of the basic checking beforehand. Like reading other people's papers, for example. But now he has gone to all this effort, he needs to find some reason for having done it -W]


"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 Professor Muller.

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

Yes, well...

I think it's pretty clear that Muller thought he would identify problems in the existing temperature records, not necessarily that the answer would be different but problems X,Y and Z would be identified and then rectified by the BEST team thus improving the overall science.

He was likely under the impression that all the noise generated by skeptics must ultimately stem from real problems with the data and that rectifying those problems would satisfy their concerns. He was probably surprised at the lack of "low hanging fruit" in the records which his team could fix and I'm sure he'll be further surprised when skeptics regard him as part of the problem.

By sharper00 (not verified) on 21 Oct 2011 #permalink

Muller knows he's smart and honest and competent, unlike every climate scientist, so only he can do a good job. The world needed him, that's why he bothered! It must have been quite a shock to get the same results as the idiot liar incompetents.

Rest assured, this will have no impact on his firm belief that he is superior to the folks who somehow managed to get the right answer while being stupid incompetent liars. They just failed to lie effectively, I guess.

And to add to the hilarity, Don Easterbook has managed to get a textbook on climate change published at Elsevier (no, I am definitely not linking to it).

Notable experts contributing:
Don Easterbrook himself, the Viscount, errrr...Ali G/Borat, Steve Goddard, Joseph D'Aleo, and Nils-Axel Mörner (plus some less colorful people in the climate debate like Scafetta).

[Elsevier very definitely is Only In It For the Gold -W]

I suppose Easterbrook is teaching a class and he'll force his unsuspecting students to shell out $120 for a book which has no useful information in it.

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 21 Oct 2011 #permalink

Answer to easy question: RR and Muller's daughter needed employment. It's a tough job market, after all. Betcha they've got plans for after the ocean data, too.

pough, Muller is, after all, a physicist dabbling in a different field.

[The apparent nepotism, and everyone ignoring it, is a bit odd -W]

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 21 Oct 2011 #permalink

"Indeed. It is clear that Muller fell for the septic hype"

Yes they shot themselves in the foot. If Muller hadn't fallen for the septic hype they wouldn't now be reeling from the damage he's caused them (it's ironic that someone who fell for their hype has caused them more trouble in this way than all the Hansens, Phil Jones, etc). If Muller had from day #1 realized their claims were bogus he would probably never have set up BEST, or at the very least they would have written him off from day #1 as part of "the team".

Many skeptics are now trying desperately to assert that they never questioned the surface temperature records and that the "real issue" is something else. But interestingly that isn't working at all and seems to have exposed a flaw in their organization (or lack of)

It seems that while there are "tactical" benefits in being a leaderless rabble living in an echo chamber, there is at least one big drawback: when something goes wrong, as in this surface record case, the whole group of climate sceptics gets tarred with the same brush, precisely because the echo chamber makes it look like they were all saying it (or enough of them to matter).

I thought Easterbrook had gone emeritus, literally as well as figuratively.

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 21 Oct 2011 #permalink

Tim Lambert has some good comments, including a dandy set of quotes from Delingpole.

[I've linked Lambert. I can do without Delingpole. Here is a Q for your indefatiguable self: Muller, I've heard it said, strongly criticised someone - Mann perhaps; maybe Jones - for producing a graph without error bars. Now he has done the same himself. But can you source the quote I'm after? -W]

By Jiohn Mashey (not verified) on 22 Oct 2011 #permalink

OK. BEST is actually MEDIOCRE but it shows that no matter what part of the record is used and what methods are employed, the answer is the same. The data gives the correct result.

Someone smarter than me said that hockey sticks show up every time because the data is hockey stick shaped.I guess its hot shaped too.

By John McManus (not verified) on 22 Oct 2011 #permalink

re: 17
I'm not sure.
It's not in Muller's 2004 article that swallowed the PCA business and said:
"Let me digress into a short technical discussion of how this incredible error took place. "
"The net result: the principal component will have a hockey stick shape even if most of the data do not."

Similar material is included in his Phyiscs for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines.
(I have the 20089 version, he has many variants of this book.)

p.295: "Mann's hockey stick plot was not mroe universal than the rpevious work, not more free of bias, but jsut the opposite."

"Its report stated that Mann had underestimated his errors (the gray regions in the hockey stick plot) and that with the correct and much lager error bars, no conclusion about the presence or absence of that period could be drawn from Mann's data. ..

In the end there was nothing new left in Mann's papers that the National Academy supported, other than the idea of using principal components was in principle, a good one."

Anyway, read the whole section pp.292-299. Praises McI+McK, doesn't mention Wahl&Ammann, etc.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 22 Oct 2011 #permalink

I have read the Japanese edition of Muller's book which is translation of the American imprint in 2008.

On one hand, he did not doubt basics of anthropogenic global warming.
On the other hand, he believed that the study that produced the hockey-stick graph was bad, and it seemed that he thought the scientists involved were incompetent. (Note: It was before the forced release of e-mail messages.)
So, it seems natural that the apparent inconsistency forced him to think that more checking would be necessary.
It is extraordinary that he launched a real project rather than just writing criticism.
He seems to be over-confident in many aspects, but I think we sometimes need such a person.

As I see comments about climate change by some Japanese physicists (though most of them are after the e-mail release affair) as well, it seems that there is a certain source (or multiple ones) of stories which denounces IPCC and particularly the authors of the "hockey-stick" paper, which is considered credible among many circles of physicists. I think that the source must be physicist(s). Mosher and Fuller or Montford cannot be credible sources to physicists without endorsement of some seemingly credible physicist(s). But I cannot identify the source.

Notes to my previous comment.
(The first half)
Muller's main target of doubt in 2008 was millennial climate, while that in 2010 was centennial climate. The change was probably because of the e-mail affair.

(The second half)
This is an issue of social networks, or of "six degrees" (of John Guare, not of Mark Lynas). I suspect that someone who is connected to many physicists was involved in propagation of rumors by adding credibility among physicists, and that his/her network included Muller.

I do not know who that is.
Perhaps Frederick Seitz while he was alive.
Fred Singer unlikely, for pure physicists likely regard him as a technocrat or an engineer rather than their peer.
Freeman Dyson unlikely, for he is a known maverick who often says incredible things.
Will Happer possible, but perhaps those physicists who do not share his political stance do not believe what he saysãabout climate.
Ivar Giaever ... I don't know.

[Its an interesting idea - someone in the physics community trusted by the rest but pushing odd stuff. Maybe if Muller ever comes straight we might find out -W]

By Kooiti Masuda (not verified) on 23 Oct 2011 #permalink

Kooiti: see the petition to the APS.

Although I'm sure I missed many links, there was a clear social network there, and Austin/Happer/Cohen drove to form GPC, and quite a few of those who signed the petition have also signed up for GPC.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 23 Oct 2011 #permalink