Global warming study finds no grounds for climate sceptics’ concerns

Independent investigation of the key issues sceptics claim can skew global warming figures reports that they have no real effect

Berkeley Earth Temperatures

Berkeley Earth's land surface temperature data from 1800 to 2009, showing deviation from the mean temperature over that period – and overall global warming since the industrial revolution. Video: Berkeley Earth - click on the image to go to the video

The world is getting warmer, countering the doubts of climate change sceptics about the validity of some of the scientific evidence, according to the most comprehensive independent review of historical temperature records to date.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found several key issues that sceptics claim can skew global warming figures had no meaningful effect.

The Berkeley Earth project compiled more than a billion temperature records dating back to the 1800s from 15 sources around the world and found that the average global land temperature has risen by around 1C since the mid-1950s.

This figure agrees with the estimate arrived at by major groups that maintain official records on the world’s climate, including Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), and the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, with the University of East Anglia, in the UK.

“My hope is that this will win over those people who are properly sceptical,” Richard Muller, a physicist and head of the project, said.

“Some people lump the properly sceptical in with the deniers and that makes it easy to dismiss them, because the deniers pay no attention to science. But there have been people out there who have raised legitimate issues.”

Muller sought to cool the debate over climate change by creating the largest open database of temperature records, with the aim of producing a transparent and independent assessment of global warming.

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6 Responses to Global warming study finds no grounds for climate sceptics’ concerns

  1. Pingback: Climate change : Study finds no grounds for climate sceptics’ concerns « LEARN FROM NATURE

  2. Alan Burke says:

    Muller has also published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ):
    The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism
    There were good reasons for doubt, until now.

    Are you a global warming skeptic? There are plenty of good reasons why you might be.

    As many as 757 stations in the United States recorded net surface-temperature cooling over the past century. Many are concentrated in the southeast, where some people attribute tornadoes and hurricanes to warming. …

    Our work covers only land temperature—not the oceans—but that’s where warming appears to be the greatest. Robert Rohde, our chief scientist, obtained more than 1.6 billion measurements from more than 39,000 temperature stations around the world. Many of the records were short in duration, and to use them Mr. Rohde and a team of esteemed scientists and statisticians developed a new analytical approach that let us incorporate fragments of records. By using data from virtually all the available stations, we avoided data-selection bias. Rather than try to correct for the discontinuities in the records, we simply sliced the records where the data cut off, thereby creating two records from one.

    We discovered that about one-third of the world’s temperature stations have recorded cooling temperatures, and about two-thirds have recorded warming. The two-to-one ratio reflects global warming. The changes at the locations that showed warming were typically between 1-2ºC, much greater than the IPCC’s average of 0.64ºC. …

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  3. Pingback: Global Warming skeptics, burned | Opinion Analysis Babel

  4. Alan Burke says:

    Scientific American also has an article Skeptical Research Effort Confirms Global Warming, Again

    An independent effort to review temperature data finds strong evidence of climate change, consistent with other scientific results

    The Earth’s surface is warming, after all, says a team of researchers who sought to investigate claims that flawed data and methods had skewed existing analyses of global temperature trends.

    The work by the Berkeley Earth Project shows that, on average, global land surface temperatures have risen about 1 degree Celsius since the mid-1950s — on par with the warming trend described by research groups at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the U.K. Meteorological Office.

    The Berkeley effort’s leader, astrophysicist Richard Muller, said his team had taken climate skeptics’ criticisms of existing research into account when they began to examine global temperature data going back to 1800.

    But in the end, the factors singled out by skeptics — including some poorly sited temperature-monitoring stations — did not have much bearing on his group’s results.

    More (Click here)

  5. Pingback: Logarchism » The BEST Study Yet

  6. Alan Burke says:

    Nature News also has an article:

    Different method, same result: global warming is real
    Independent analysis confirms earlier results but aims for greater transparency.

    After generating considerable attention with a preview on Capitol Hill last spring, an independent team of scientists has formally released their analysis of the land surface temperature record. Led by Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study takes a different and more comprehensive approach than earlier assessments, but reaches the same basic conclusion: global warming is happening. Nature examines how the new study differs from its predecessors.

    What is the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study?

    Until now, instrumental temperature records dating back to the middle of the nineteenth century have been compiled by three main research groups: NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Greenbelt, Maryland; the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington DC; and a collaboration between Britain’s Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. All three records were developed in different ways, using separate, but overlapping, sets of data. By and large, all three studies line up fairly well as they document rising temperatures, particularly the sharp spike in recent decades, but that hasn’t halted criticism from climate sceptics regarding the quality of the data and the rigor of the analysis.

    More (Click here) Jeff Tollefson, Published online 20 October 2011 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2011.607

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