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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Joe Romm: Koch-Fueled Study Finds Recent Warming “On the High End” and Speeding Up, as Curry Frags Muller Herself

Koch-Fueled Study Finds Recent Warming “On the High End” and Speeding Up, as Curry Frags Muller Herself

We have learned two important things from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study (BEST):
  1. Denier claims that prior scientific analysis of the key land surface temperature data OVER-estimated the warming trend were not merely wrong, but the reverse was true.  Warming has been high and accelerating.
  2. The Deniers and Confusionists and their media allies can never be convinced by the facts and will twist themselves into pretzels to keep spreading disinformation.
We also learned that BEST’s Judith Curry still would rather be a confusionist than a scientist  — but that ain’t news (see “Judith Curry abandons science“). I digress.
data analysis graph
The decadal land-surface average temperature using a 10-year moving average of surface temperatures over land. Anomalies are relative to the Jan 1950–December 1979 mean. The grey band indicates 95% statistical and spatial uncertainty interval.
Recall the foundation of the phony Climategate charge.  Somehow the climate scientists at the Climatatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, led by Phil Jones, were manipulating the data and the peer review process as part of a grand conspiracy to convince the public the earth has been warming faster than it really is.  A key point is that “the CRU compiles the land component of the record and the Hadley Centre provides the marine component.”
The BEST team vindicated climate science — see Koch-Funded Berkeley Temperature Study Does “Confirm the Reality of Global Warming.” Equally important, if you read the key paper, they found:
we find that the global land mean temperature has increased by 0.911 ± 0.042 C since the 1950s….  our analysis suggests a degree of global land-surface warming during the anthropogenic era that is consistent with prior work (e.g. NOAA) but on the high end of the existing range of reconstruction.
D’oh!  The BEST data shows considerably higher warming in recent years than HadCRU (the red line above).
Of course, this isn’t news to anybody who actually follows this issue.  Two years ago, the Met Office released an analysis concluding that “The global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming.”
As an aside, Muller, in a March 2010 talk (near the end) clearly states that if warming is on the high range, then humanity should be more concerned because we have “less time to react.”
What’s even more worrisome is that the study clearly shows that the warming trend is accelerating.  First, “Our analysis technique suggests that temperatures during the 19th century were approximately constant (trend 0.20 ± 0.25 C/century).”  No big surprise there.
But then as human emissions kick into overdrive, things heat up:
The trend line for the 20th century is calculated to be 0.733 ± 0.096 C/century,well below the 2.76 ± 0.16 C/century rate of global land-surface warming that we observe during the interval Jan 1970 to Aug 2011.
That is, in the past 40 years, the land has warmed nearly 4 times faster than it did in the last century.  This really kills the denier meme that the observed data suggests we will see only a small amount of warming this century.
In fact, even the warming of the past 4 decades was reduced by human and volcanic aerosol emissions and the general lags between emissions and warming.  Thus, it is now patently obvious that if we stay on our current emissions path, the acceleration of warming will continue as greenhouse gas concentrations continue rising.  That’s without even considering the amplifying carbon-cycle feedbacks.
Another mini-bombshell in the paper, which has led co-author Curry to frag team leader Muller, is this conclusion:
Though it is sometimes argued that global warming has abated since the 1998 El Nino event (e.g., Easterling & Wehner 2009, Meehl et al. 2011), we find no evidence of this in the GHCN land data.  Applying our analysis over the interval 1998 to 2010, we find the land temperature trend to be 2.84 ± 0.73 C/century, consistent with prior decades.
Still warming, after all these years.
Now, even though Curry signed her name to this submitted journal article, she apparently doesn’t believe it’s true.
The pseudo-journalist David Rose of the UK’s Telegraph got a bunch of quotes from her in a piece headlined, “Scientist who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong [aka Muller] accused of hiding truth by colleague” [aka Curry].  It is exceedingly difficult to know what Curry is saying because:
  1. It is always difficult to know what Curry is saying (see Hockey Stick fight at the RC Corral).
  2. Rose generally isn’t reliable (see “David Rose destroys his credibility and the Daily Mail’s with error-riddled climate science reporting” and links therein).
  3. Curry has already walked back some of her comments (see here post here, but put a head vise on first, please).
But, she does say on her blog, “In David Rose’s article, the direct quotes attributed to me are correct.”
Still, neither she nor Rose appears to know what they are talking about.  Nor does Curry appear to have read the paper she put her name on.
Tamino has sorted out the statistics in his post, “Judith Curry Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot.”  He notes at the end:
Judith Curry protests that she was misrepresented by the article in the Daily Mail, and several readers have mentioned that David Rose, the author of the article, is just the man to do such a thing. It’s easy to believe that she was indeed the victim of his malfeasance.
But even after reading this post, she still hasn’t disavowed the statement “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped.” In fact, she commented on her own blog saying, “There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998.” Question for Curry: What’s your scientific basis for this claim?
In his post, Tamino shows there is no scientific basis for the Curry’s claim at all:
Judith Curry’s statement is exactly the kind of ill-thought-out or not-at-all-thought-out rambling which is an embarrassment to her, and an embarrassment to science itself. To spew this kind of absolute nonsense is shameful. Judith Curry, you should be ashamed of yourself.
If I may offer an imperfect analogy, suppose your kid averages 70 in his ten math tests in 7th grade, and then averages 80 in ten tests in 8th grade and then averages 90 in ten tests in 9th grade.  Is your kid getting better in math?  What if your kid got the same exact yearly averages but had one 100 toward the end of 8th grade and one 100 toward the end of 9th grade.  Does that suddenly mean your kid didn’t get better in math in 9th grade?
The deniers and confusionists would have you believe so.  In fact, Tamino shows that the warming trend is real in the Berkeley data even if you start the trendline fairly recently:
Warming Rate vs. Start Year
That shows just how mistaken, how foolish, how downright boneheaded it is to say that “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped.”
Curry tried to frag Muller, but dropped the grenade on herself.
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