Muller is still rubbish

When BEST first came out I said it was boring, because it just said what everyone knew already "Summary: the global temperature record is just what we thought it was". There was some soap opera thrown in for fun, but that didn't affect the science.

But now (New Global Temperature Data Reanalysis Confirms Warming, Blames CO2, Ronald Bailey at, h/t JB at RR) it seems that Muller is announcing his "new" findings via op-ed in the NYT [Important note: isn't exactly a brilliant source, but I can't see a good reason why they'd make this up. Update: the real thing is now available, and the early version was correct]. Although I'm not really sure what the new findings are. They appear to be:

* the temperature record is, still, just as we thought it was, and
* it appears likely that essentially all of this increase is due to the human emission of greenhouse gases.

The first bit is, still, boring. The second bit is true, but isn't a consequence of the study. Their work is (as far as I can tell) purely a matter of pulling together a temperature record. They've done none of the attribution work you'd expect, in order to talk about attribution. And what they say (How definite is the attribution to humans? The carbon dioxide curve gives a better match than anything else we’ve tried. Its magnitude is consistent with the calculated greenhouse effect – extra warming from trapped heat radiation) appears absurdly naive. [Update: it appears there is an as-yet-unrevealed paper that covers this. Based on the thin info currently available, I'm dubious. DA puts it nicely. More: At dotearth Elizabeth Muller gives a non-answer to the "attribution" question; naive still looks to be the order of the day.]

So I think my original contention - that Muller is rubbish - holds up remarkably well.

Muller also says These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming. To which the answer is: no, your actual findings are simply the same as IPCC 2007: all the UHI stuff, and the data selection issues: its been done before. You've added a bit of extra data, which makes no difference post 1850, and you may have done better with the early record, though I imagine people will suspend belief until they actually see the proper results. [Update: on reflection, I'm being a bit unfair here. They have made some incremental improvements. But its nothing earth-shattering, and indeed arguably nothing terribly important; it certainly doesn't justify the attention the op-ed says that Muller thinks he deserves. Also, via La Curry I find this figure and the accompanying "For the period from 1700-1800 Berkeley uses 27 percent more station months". So I think its hard to see them having much more data for the early period.]

But the bit that really annoys is:

CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified scientific issues that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Now, after organizing an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I’ve concluded that global warming is real, that the prior estimates of the rate were correct...

All of that is bollocks. What Muller is saying is that he read a few septic blogs, didn't bother read any of the scientific literature, and so decided to run his own project. So is that his model for converting septics? Everyone who has doubts gets to run their own re-analysis of the temperature reccord? Its going to be a pretty slow process at that rate. Wouldn't it be quicker if people just read the existing literature? Of course, Muller is a prima donna and must invent his own wheel: as far as he is concerned, now that he believes, everyone else should, too. Idiot.

[Update: Romm quotes Caldeira as saying I am glad that Muller et al have taken a look at the data and have come to essentially the same conclusion that nearly everyone else had come to more than a decade ago. The basic scientific results have been established for a long time now, so I do not see the results of Muller et al as being scientifically important. However, their result may be politically important. Which is what I'm saying, only he is more polite, as you'd expect.

Another item: WUWT has been off-air for a day or two, promising something weally exciting. Could that be a leak of BEST results? I hope so, because if that's it, he's going to look like the twat he is. Though that doesn't obviously fit "something to do with one of my many projects", so maybe not. Oh well, reading chicken entrails was never my favourite sport. Actually my favourite sport is rowing; I don't know if you've noticed (and if you follow that link, please ignore 4's blade height, he's a good lad really but does tend to dive at the catch).]

[Update: Update: the real thing is now available (webcite), and the early version was correct. Jolly good. So, yes its still rubbish, and in fact goes on to even more rubbish lower down. It also says "The careful analysis by our team is laid out in five scientific papers now online at Four of our papers have undergone extensive scrutiny by the scientific community, and the newest, a paper with the analysis of the human component, is now posted, along with the data and computer programs used..." I don't see any changes, though, from when I looked earlier. There are still only 4 papers listed, there isn't one on attribution, and the 4 that are there are marked "submitted" (see-also Eli for some parsing of the review status).]


* QS on the rumour; and TP seems to believe it, too
* webcite of the article (I have learnt something over the years...)
* according to the BEST site their publication output is 4 papers, all still under review by JGR. If those, too, talk the same nonsense about attribution its no wonder they are coming out slowly.
* The Incidence of Solipsism Among Physicists by Eli.
* Michael Mann is unimpressed: Muller's announcement last year that the Earth is indeed warming brought him up to date w/ where the scientific community was in the the 1980s. His announcement this week that the warming can only be explained by human influences, brings him up to date with where the science was in the mid 1990s. At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of a few years!
* The Grauniad, shamefully falls for the hype.
* Gold award for most garbled take goes to topdailybreakingnews for "Muller, who has total P.T. Barnum climax and scholarship via his three-year project" and more.
* Andy Revkin "quotes" me but the paraphrase is badly wrong; see my comment.
* Muller talks bollocks to the Graun
* Berkeley Earth, part 1: Divergences and discrepancies - Deep Climate. It looks like BEST isn't doing a great job admitting errors.
* Want more shite from Muller? its here.

More like this

But he isn't a tosser. I'm sure he'll be glad to know that. Which Mullah do I mean? I mean Richard Muller (who has one of the worst-looking websites in the known universe, beaten only in my personal experience by TimeCube and (of course) Lubos). Muller is running the Berkeley Earth Surface…
It looks like the first of the BEST papers is published (webcite): A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature Spanning 1753 to 2011 (h/t WUWT) - Richard A. Muller, Robert Rohde, Robert Jacobsen, Elizabeth Muller, Saul Perlmutter, Arthur Rosenfeld, Jonathan Wurtele, Donald Groom…
Michael Mann has an article in the HuffPo, Something Is Rotten at the New York Times. He's complaining about the ill-informed views of Koch Brothers-funded climate change contrarian Richard Muller which is language that would normally put me off. But in this case I looked, and Muller's A Pause, Not…
When I said BEST is boring I was primarily thinking of the science. I'm not too surprised to find that many other people aren't. For such folk, there is much fun to be had, so I suppose I'll join in too. I was going to take the piss out of Watts (h/t KK) for Nature pans BEST and Muller PR antics,…

Agree, Muller probably is rubbish, but he can't be that rubbish surely. Think someone is having us on.

[Its possible. I'm going to look a bit stupid if the stuff is made up, and I'm uneasy using them as a source. I'm only doing so because I really can't see why they'd make it up.

OTOH another uneasy thought occurs: if Muller reads any of this stuff, he's still got time to re-write his op-ed so its isn't quite so crap -W]

Its such a bizarre prank to play though - psych grads with a bit of background having a bit of fun after final exams? unlikely.

Does fit Muller's MO though, do the press release, grab a few headlines, worry about whether the stuff is viable/publishable after - I don't think the last lot was, not emerged from JGR peer review yet as far as I can tell.

[Having just checked the BEST site, the 4 JGR papers are still described as in review -W]

Muller isn't just rubbish, he's dishonest and disreputable. Shame on him for attempting to deceive the public back when he was supposedly a skeptic, and for slandering decent and honest climate scientists. Let him sink back into obscurity as nothing he does can ever be trusted again.

[I notice his "Three years ago I identified scientific issues that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming" is tolerably vague about what the "issues" were, and indeed what has happened as a result of his work to resolve these issues. And I do recall him rather carelessly flinging accusations about, though I can't now call them to mind -W]

My assumption, on hearing "the rumours", was that Muller would be writing an op-ed to coincide with the publication the BEST papers.

If that's not the case I'm struggling to think what could be the point? What's different beyond what was publicised nine months ago, aside from apparently extending the record back another 40-50 years (with presumably massive uncertainties)?

Could it be the NYT are doing some kind of special issue on climate change and they thought Muller would be an ideal candidate to include given his 'conversion'? In other words, this isn't Muller demanding the spotlight of an NYT op-ed for self-publicity but accepting an offer not often afforded to scientists to talk about his results and views on an important issue.

[That's a more generous view; and you could be right. We'll see -W]

Regarding the flinging of accusations, allow me to jog your memory, via wikipedia (I think you've heard of it? :) :) ):

"McIntyre and McKitrick obtained part of the program that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the program not do conventional PCA, but it handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken.

Now comes the real shocker. This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called "Monte Carlo" analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!

That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics. How could it happen?"

[Ah yes, that sounds like it. In which case he's even more rubbish: that isn't the instrumental temperature record, which is what we're talking about. And of course he is wrong, as Deep Climate demonstrated -W]

I don't think Muller's dishonest, but I do think he was unforgiveably lazy in his willingness to accept denialist claims in the past. He fell for pretty much every piece of denialist bullshit out there in the past, and took Watts seriously enough to invite him to give advice to the BEST project.

Along with the quote above, Muller's reaction to the "trick to hide the decline" crap was to state that he wasn't worried about the word "trick", but was worried about the decline. Another words, that temps have been declining in recent decades and that Mann and others were *really* hiding it. A veiled accusation of scientific fraud ...

See Muller (2004), "Global Warming Bombshell" and discussion on p.183 of SSWR, i.e., that (non-peer-reviewed) article got cited in Wegman Report.,
I wrote:
'Muller is a UC Berkeley physicist who apparently accepted MM views and passed them along. He repeated some of this in his 2008 book Physics for Future Presidents, despite results of the intervening years. Most of his AGW discussion otherwise matched mainstream climate science. Muller is certainly an accomplished, eclectic physicist, but these publications offer no evidence that he has followed the hockey stick issues in any real detail, despite being a member of North‘s NRC panel, A.1.1.
McK05 mentioned him as a contact.'

Note that the WR didn't actually cite this, it was just included as a reference. For more fun, read about reference #52 on p.180.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 28 Jul 2012 #permalink

muller's email address is all over climate depot now...

I wonder if the wuwt announcement will have something to do with that heartland funded temperature website...

[OTOH another uneasy thought occurs: if Muller reads any of this stuff, he's still got time to re-write his op-ed so its isn't quite so crap -W]

It's a bit late for that.

Like most US dailies, the NYTimes prints an early Sunday edition on Saturday afternoons (to give shoppers more time to take advantage of/recycle the massive number of ads included in the Sunday paper). The "leak" by didn't say which day "next week" the editorial would appear, but Sunday's the prime day for exposure and it's out in today's online Sunday edition.

("today" is still saturday, i.e. it's in the early edition, though it's already early Sunday AM in the UK, of course. He explains a bit more detail about what other correlations they tried, that don't fit nearly as well as the rise in CO2, which sounds more like grasping at straws than serious science.)

GSW - beat you by 4 minutes, but my link's broken. Oops.

So, folks, click on GSW's link, not mine.

Agreed about the scientific irrelevancy of Muller's work:

The reaction to Anthony announcement is somewhat reminiscent of the people who sell all their belongings as they place their complete trust in the one or two people who proudly declare that the world will end on some certain date (I'm quite convinced that if Anthony had asked people to do that, half of his readership would happily do so). The end-of-the-world people, like Anthony, always get the answer wrong, and yet people continue to go back to him as an authoritative or even "interesting" source. An entire psychology community could have a field day with the phenomenon. The difference is that Anthony gets stuff wrong everyday, while the end-of-the-world people make much less frequent announcements. The only difference between this and the every day comic fest at WUWT is that this time he asked people to get excited and wait for it. Unsurprisingly, many people are.

While everyone is speculating and chiming in, here's a prediction:

Like virtually everything that Anthony throws on his blog, it will be some sort of alleged "nail in the coffin" for some aspect of the science, whether it be the surface station network quality, attribution of AGW, sensitivity, or whatever. Given what "his work" entails, I suspect it related to the first one.

Then, like everything on his blog, we will see a "rah rah!" fest from the conspiracy theorists, and the implications of whatever it is will be exaggerated beyond belief. There will be lots of "we knew it all along!!" or "how can [insert name] be called a real scientist!!" where [insert name] will be someone like Muller, Mann, etc.

Within a few days, no one will care, except for the typical crowd on a handful of blogs, and the understanding of how our atmosphere behaves will not be in the least bit impacted. It will contribute zero to discussions at scientific conferences, etc, and maybe will produce one paper that gets maybe a sentence of attention in the upcoming AR5.

But even I must admit to holding an ounce of curiosity...

By Chris Colose (not verified) on 28 Jul 2012 #permalink

John , the "bombshell" meme was flloated as well by Mchaels and Singer in a report publicized by the Cato Instittute:

<a href="".I noted in 2008 :

"What little scientific street cred the “global warming skeptics” brought to the debate evaporated in the heat of a long string of (un-peer reviewed) articles like Singer & Michaels's:

“Meltdown for Global Warming Science”:

“Bombshell papers have just hit the refereed literature that knock the stuffing out of the United Nations, and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In two research papers in…Geophysical Research Letters…we have a quarter-century of concurrent balloon and satellite data, both screaming that the U.N.‘s climate models have failed, as well as indicating its surface record is simply too hot.”

Authors Singer & Michaels were dead wrong—the satellite data they cited was seriously in error—the climatologist responsible agreed to its retraction in Science in 2005 and told Newsweek in 2006 that “our satellite trend has been positive.”

So, how long before the next person who insists on re-inventing the wheel for himself, before allowing the world to move on?

By carrot eater (not verified) on 28 Jul 2012 #permalink

Russell, yes.
See PDF @ Fake Science,... pp.100-101 on the satellites.
Singer kept doing it for a long time.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 28 Jul 2012 #permalink

So sad for you to have your very own guru, darling of the AGW/CC deniers brigade, be honest enough to admit he was wrong and man enough to publish his findings. Even sadder to witness your stubborn intransigence and ignorance and your attack on Muller's credibility when his research debunks your personal theorioes. You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own scientific facts. Get over it - the science is in- the Earth is warming due to man's actions and
we need to take steps to halt the warming. Nuclear power is the answer. Put your energies into promoting that not denying the undeniable.

[Errm, who are you talking to? Muller isn't my guru, and his work debunks none of my theories. Are you suffering from reading comprehension troubles? -W]

By Christine Brook (not verified) on 28 Jul 2012 #permalink

"Analysis: Muller's 'Results Nothing New': Warmist William "Connolley finds new BEST results 'rubbish' (by which he Stoat calls Muller a 'prima donna,' and quotes Ken Caldiera: '...I do not see the results of Muller et al as being scientifically important. However, their result may be politically important'"

What would Locke think?

[That was DenialDepot, in case others wondered. Note that I don't in fact call the results rubbish -W]

If Muller continues like this the skeptics will be demanding his emails next.....

[That was DenialDepot, in case others wondered. Note that I don't in fact call the results rubbish -W]

Or perhaps Climate Depot ...

But it would be nice to see Denial Depot get off the pot and cover this news :)

> So I think my original contention – that Muller is rubbish –
> holds up remarkably well.

Yep... the secret to success in science, consistently making accurate predictions.

You might have a future in climatology yet :-)

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

As former denizens of sci.environment {two of whom have denned up here} may remember, the original MBH98 included a few temperature records that went back into the 18th century, but they were not sufficient by themselves. This, and the BEAST (gotta work on those acronyms) studies raise some interesting questions about who you gonna trust.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

I think it's often of value to look at these situations from the perspective of incentives. While this is always dicey when dealing with someone one doesn't know personally (which is the case between myself and Muller), it certainly seems plausible that what we have here is Muller finding a way to [1] gain lots of positive attention and [2] manufacture an exit strategy for some of the less virulent climate deniers.

I suspect that this announcement will succeed brilliantly on that first goal, and will likely serve well enough for the second. I don't expect all deniers to have a sudden attack of reality acceptance and abandon their cause; there's simply too many with deep ideological or financial incentives for that to happen. But I do expect to see a few recognize the opportunity to stealthily take advantage of an unscheduled stop of the crazy train and get off.

By Lou Grinzo (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

You'll be shocked, shocked, to see from the Graun that Curry agrees with you. Sort of. "I don't think this question can be answered by the simple curve fitting used in this paper, and I don't see that their paper adds anything to our understanding of the causes of the recent warming."

No sign that she agrees with the basic point, that Muller reconfirms the accuracy of temp records. Also; rises in Celsius, not sure if there might have been a mix-up with Fahrenheit.…

[I'm sorry to see the Grauniad falling for the hype. And they don't get the best quote from Mann, even though they know of it, the cowards. Curry: meh, who cares? -W]

Whenever I hear the word " bombshell" I reach for my ear protectors, for it generally precedes shouting by the hearing impaired.

Now Rom is doing it .

Well, here I must quibble slightly with Martin about secret of success in science.

I'd say that making accurate predictions is good, but success requires making nonobvious-at-the-time accurate predictions, while avoiding making too many wrong ones.
The more nonobvious, the better , ie if everyone else says "No way!" at first and some years later almost all agree that's a win.
(For instance, if the evidence keeps piling up for Bill Ruddinan's ideas, that would be a big win, much bigger than my accurate prediction for many years that the Sun would rise the next day.:-))

Of course Muller has often been wrong on simple things.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

William ... Revkin over at dotearth has posted on this, and paraphrases you:

But others, notably the climate modeler William Connolley through his Stoat blog, have dismissed Muller’s work — old and new — as “rubbish.”

His work, i.e. the BEST temp reconstruction, as opposed to Muller himself.

You might want to e-mail him and ask for a correction, or post there explaining exactly what you're calling "rubbish".

[Thanks for that. I've posted a comment there, hopefully it will appear. I've also written on my google+, which he joined just recently -W]

Watts strikes back.

Bad station siting has caused a "spurious" doubling of temperature trends over the last 30 years for the US.

Lead author is Watts. Trailing author of the paper is Christy.

So, obviously, we can ignore BEST and Muller. Right? (chuckle chuckle).

[That's it? That's Watts's bombshell. How dull -W]

Is the end of the project or has he got funds for more?

Its not unknown in other areas of research that someone promotes or exaggerates his own role in a scientific result after starting by being indifferent or hostile.

One benefit is that he has used up some of Koch's funds. The problem is the size of the reservoir.

By deconvoluter (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

So Watts is obviously aiming for the geographically deficient who don't realise that the USA is a tiny fraction of the Earth's surface.

By Turboblocke (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

Surely it just being the US doesn't matter. If bad quality sites in the US elevate the trend then I don't see why that wouldn't apply to the world too.

Whereas if trends between good quality and bad quality stations match in the US that's evidence that microsite and all that doesn't alter the trends much in other countries.


From memory, and I hope I have this right, Muller used Watts US SurfaceStation data to determine that UHI could be discounted as a contributor to observed warming, A US study, and if it's true there, well its true everywhere else right?

"Instrumental" Surface temp anomaly dominated by oceans ~70% anyway and there's a whole load of other historical issues there also. Muller doesn't use Ocean data, only land for his studies so bad UHI accounting is a killer for him.

Watts has applied a rating criteria on the stations and produced trends for 'good' stations of +0.155degC/decade.
Less 'good' stations had a raw trend of +0.248degC/decade.
However the figure printed in red in his press release is that the NOAA final adjusted data shows +0.308degC/decade.

Until the details of the method used to derive the trends from those groups are clear I reserve judgment about their credibility.
But it would appear that the lowest trend matches the global rate of warming.

However the obvious implication of this result, carried in the manner of its presentation, is the deliberate malfeasance, or at least gross incompetence of the USHCN and NOAA data sources.
If doubt is your product, then confirming the known rate of warming is an acceptable loss for the greater gain of undermining the official sources, throwing uncertainty and suspicion on all the data they produce.

But it would appear that the lowest trend matches the global rate of warming.

Which is unlikely to be true given that 70% of the world is ocean.

Until the details of the method used to derive the trends from those groups are clear I reserve judgment about their credibility.

They're using raw data and comparing it to the trend found with NOAA's homogenized data. Of course, there are sound reasons for homogenizing data. And then one wonders why others doing similar work haven't gotten the same results.

Folks over at lucia are already looking into it (particularly Zeke), but they're a bit hampered by the fact that the classification data's not been made available, nor their (tee hee) code.

Free the code!

But really in reading the paper it had the reek of both obfuscation and waterboarding of the data. Add to that the fact that several members of the authorship team have a history of being both mendacious and wrong....

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

RPSr falls to his knees, worshipping anthony and his new paper, which is a "game changer"

In direct contradiction to Richard Muller’s BEST study, the new Watts et al 2012 paper has very effectively shown that a substantive warm bias exists even in the mean temperature trends. This type of bias certainly exists throughout the Global Historical Climate Network, as well as what Anthony has documented for the US Historical Climate Reference Network.

Well, yeah, uh-huh. I'm sure Watts has done just that.

[Weird. I thought Pielke was better than that. Well, I suppose I'll have to read the new BEST and Watts things sometime -W]

One recalls Sagan , Pollack, Ackerman, Toon & Turco announcing their review article confirming the work of Turco Toon Ackerman Pollack & Sagan t

When full-on denier GSW says that Muller is rubbish, he means something different than what the rest of us mean.

Hey, [incivility redacted. Be nice, or be unpublished], Watts' paper is out, and its not what you thought. In fact, it trashes the pathetic lack of rigorous reexamination of GHCN metadata and applies the new WMO gold standard for temperature site adjustments to show that half the warming you've been claiming is merely localized heat island effects and exaggerated adjustments that overcompensate. Lets see what sort of excuses and ad homs you come up with on this one.

[Well, Watts excitement is out, and you're right, its not at all what anyone thought - its far less interesting. You haven't read it, obviously, given your comments, but VV has - see -W]

By Mike Lorrey (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

Oh, and btw, Watts' measured warming is about 1/4 what you disasturbationists have been claiming your models have predicted, and half of what your doctored data claimed was happening.

[You really ought to try reading the paper at some point -W]

By Mike Lorrey (not verified) on 29 Jul 2012 #permalink

"Muller's announcement last year that the Earth is indeed warming brought him up to date w/ where the scientific community was in the the 1980s. His announcement this week that the warming can only be explained by human influences, brings him up to date with where the science was in the mid 1990s. At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of a few years!"

By Phil Hays (not verified) on 30 Jul 2012 #permalink

You can't tell a cycle from a trend with data that's short compared to the cycle you want to exclude, period. (The eigenvalues of the discriminating matrix explode, making every possible measurement inadequate.)

Looking for signatures is completely bogus. It doesn't get around that completely mathematical fact.

If you can't tell, you can't tell, period.

I may be cynical but I see this as Muller's attempt to get an invite to the cool kidz' IPCC party. Don't submissions close soon?

This stuff is out just in time to sneak through before cut-off.

This part of Muller's op-ed really bugged me:

It’s a scientist’s duty to be properly skeptical. I still find that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated or just plain wrong. I’ve analyzed some of the most alarmist claims, and my skepticism about them hasn’t changed. Hurricane Katrina cannot be attributed to global warming. The number of hurricanes hitting the United States has been going down, not up; likewise for intense tornadoes. Polar bears aren’t dying from receding ice, and the Himalayan glaciers aren’t going to melt by 2035.

Is he just being obtuse? The 2035 claim is acknowledged to be erroneous--at the very least it's a typo of the actual date of 2350--and no "alarmist" is claiming the 2035 date is correct.

The whole thing reeks of a man who can't accept that he believed things that are demonstrably untrue and is now ret-conning his denialism into some half-palatable "healthy skepticism."

[Yes. The 2035 stuff is obviously wrong. How he can still be believing it, whilst still claiming to be other than clueless, is unclear to me -W]

By Scientizzle (not verified) on 30 Jul 2012 #permalink

adelady, not exactly. The manuscripts should be submitted to a journal (no, the NYT is not a journal) -- and that happened quite some while ago. And then then should be ultimately accepted for publication, which remains to be seen.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 30 Jul 2012 #permalink


I'm not sure about whether it can ever ultimately be published in the literature. It will get a lot of attention, people requiring copies of the data to check Watts findings, objections raised, even people publishing rebuttals (which is probably more appealing to journals) in the form their own "Analysis" of the data. By the time that's done, will it have merit enough to be published in journal? have my doubts.

I think the work will value in its own right though, irrespective of whether it gets published in a journal, purely because it can't be ignored, it will have to be addressed by somebody at some point otherwise there will always be a question mark over of existing datasets.

Sure scientificaly Muller is just a metastudy of stuff we already knew. Buit in terms of the wider debate among audiences which are not scientifically (or -especially climate science) literate, this sort of conversion is a big deal. As a simply matter of tactics, we need to make it easier -not tougher for such conversions. I say we should swallow our justified pique, and welcome him in as a person, who because he was willing to follow where the data leads rather than his priors, has shown that he can muster some intellectual integrity. We don't have to like the fellow, but in the interest of helping the public debate, we should welcome him.

By Omega Centauri (not verified) on 30 Jul 2012 #permalink

As far as the Berkeley results go, I find Robert's work on this pretty cool:

There are also records for all the continents, CONUS, and individual states in there if you dig.

By Zeke Hausfather (not verified) on 30 Jul 2012 #permalink

Muller,Nemesis and Wikipedia

It is clear that Richard Muller (RM) is a far more serious researcher than Edward Wegman (EM) who was Congressman Barton's choice for re-analysing the hockey stick. EW never got down to work.

On the other hand, is it fair to have given him all the credit for the Nemesis hypothesis when it was initiated by five authors in 1984? Perhaps the authors of Wikipedia's biography of RM have checked this point? Just imagine that the idea had not run into trouble and had been confirmed? Would Wik. have awarded all the prize money to RM?

On the other hand elsewhere in Wikipedia, the article devoted to the N hypothesis does provide references to the two simultaneous papers involved.

By deconvoluter (not verified) on 31 Jul 2012 #permalink

I've long applauded Robert Rohde's globalwarmingart website, created while he was a grad student of Muller's, though updating didn't happen much while he finished his PhD recently.

He's now listed as Chief Scientist at BEST; the statistical work for BEST is attributed to him in its PR.

This seems a bit much -- it reminds me of how Mike Mann, either a grad student or freshly minted PhD as I recall, was pushed to the fore as responsible for the math behind the original 'hockey stick' paper.

Should we be citing the BEST work as "et al. and Rohde" in as that earlier paper was referred to as "et al. and Mann"?

Who decides who gets pushed out in front on these things -- the elder authors?

[The fifth BEST paper is Rohde et al. - he's the lead author. But, he doesn't seem to speak much. It looks like Muller speaks more than enough for all of them -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 31 Jul 2012 #permalink

"Everyone who has doubts gets to run their own re-analysis of the temperature reccord? Its going to be a pretty slow process at that rate. Wouldn’t it be quicker if people just read the existing literature? Of course, Muller is a prima donna and must invent his own wheel: as far as he is concerned, now that he believes, everyone else should, too. Idiot."

Oh, and research would also be quicker without this peer-review thing, too.

[Yeeees, Muller clearly likes the ways physics do their stuff, which isn't unreasonable, but he does appear to think that everyone else should do things his way, which is not reasonable. I don't know how arXiv weeds out trash; it must have some gatekeeping, or reputation, or it would fill up with rubbish -W]

"Everyone who has doubts gets to run their own re-analysis of the temperature reccord? Its going to be a pretty slow process at that rate. Wouldn’t it be quicker if people just read the existing literature? Of course, Muller is a prima donna and must invent his own wheel: as far as he is concerned, now that he believes, everyone else should, too. Idiot."

I thought the whole point of peer review was scientists testing the claims of others through their own investigations. What's wrong with that?

[That is a complete misunderstanding of peer review.

PR is for someone (several persons, usually) to check that the work presented is up to scratch: no obvious errors, is either totally original or is at least partly original and has taken account of prior art, and so on.

If you want to do something unoriginal - like, recreating someone else's temperature series, as McI does - then that isn't publishable; and it isn't peer review. Its replication. It can be valuable (see for example but its not original work in the sense of original scientific work; the CCC is original coding, obviously. But journals that publish code are rather separate.

In all cases, you're expected to have actually read and be familiar with clear prior work in your own area; that is Muller's fatal flaw -W]

By Dale Husband (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

I'll post this comment here just because the previous para references this site. The quote is by Muller of Judith Curry. I find it hard to believe she thinks this. On the other hand, she must have spoken to Muller about her discomfort with his work.

Anyway, here is what is in the Guardian:
Muller says Curry distanced herself from the paper because she disagrees with the findings, and that she has an alternative theory - that the climate is random, so any correlation between increases in carbon dioxide and warming is an accident.…

I don't frequent Curry's blog. Someone here might know if she really denies the greenhouse effect or not. I recall she once tried to describe it so I doubt Muller is correct.

Even if he's wrong (or misquoted), this probably signals further rifts between the various denier/lukewarmer/do-nothings.

It's been quite a week for that, hasn't it.

[Some scientists have wryly noted that in confirming the conclusions of other groups that examine global temperatures, BEST has essentially spent two years getting to where climate science was in the 1990s. seems fair enough.

However, Muller is still talking bollocks. In fact, he's got worse, and is now reduced to outright lying:

"Then, there's the urban heat island effect [the criticism that weather stations sited in urban areas give artificially high temperature readings]. That was something I think we studied in a clever and original way," Muller says. This involved examining only the data from rural stations to see if the temperature rise was still there - and it was. "We got the same answer," he says.

This has been done before. Muller knows full well that its been done before. He is lying through his teeth.

He is still clueless about attribution.

As for Muller says Curry distanced herself from the paper because she disagrees with the findings, and that she has an alternative theory - that the climate is random, so any correlation between increases in carbon dioxide and warming is an accident. - no, I don't think Muller is quoting Curry accurately. Curry believes many wacky things, but I doubt she believes that.

It isn't odd that Muller would misquote people, because he is far too arrogant to actually both understand what anyone else says -W]

Basically arXiv is full of trash, but they just let it sink.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

A screen shot of this page made it on the PBS Newshour Sept. 17 as a part of their very disappointing and controversial spot on Muller's "conversion" counterbalanced by a long interview with Watts.

[Fame, I suppose. I hope they challenged Muller with some of the obvious -W]

By paul Middents (not verified) on 19 Sep 2012 #permalink

Well, they quoted Curry too.

PBS reporters are not into very probing questions.

By paul Middents (not verified) on 19 Sep 2012 #permalink