After a couple of days filled with rumours and wild speculation we finally know what all the commotion was about. Richard Muller, the head of the BEST project, has written an op-ed in the NYTimes:
CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.
The Best teams has also published their findings on their site and presumably submitted them for peer-review.
Scientifically the BEST results are nothing new. In fact many have criticised BEST for their simplistic attempts at attribution:
simple curve-fitting doesn’t cut it. In fact, it makes you look kind of foolish. If it were that simple climatologists would have done it in the 19th century (and, of course, they’ve all tried curve-fitting on the second week of their research, then hid those papers in a bottom drawer.) That’s exactly why they scratch around for all the clues they can get, and why they ruin their youth build climate models.
Politically, however the story is more interesting. Muller was once sceptical of climate change and the BEST project was partially funded by the Koch Brothers.
The BEST project even got Anthony Watts to state:
I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.
Though he went back on his word last year when the preliminary results were published.
Ken Caldeira, from Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology, sums it up nicely:
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. It shows that even people who suspect climate scientists of being charlatans, when they take a hard look at the data, see that the climate scientists have been right all along.
Muller and I had an agreement for my data. I said I’d give it to him as long as he used it to publish his results, and that I needed time to get my paper (Fall et el 2011) published first, which was my right since I did the work to get the data.
I was initially impressed with him. I thought they had a real chance of doing real science.
So what happens? three weeks later he’s in front of Congress with my data and doing a media blitz…and no published paper.
I begged him not to do it, he didn’t care, he broke our agreement so he could grandstand in front of congress.
Now over a year later he STILL hasn’t got his papers published, they failed peer review, and have now pissed of one of the reviewers.
So I ask that you correct your story. I kept my end of the bargain, and when I said that I believed Dr. Muller was a man of his word. He isn’t and proved this. He’s an attention seeker. Even Mann said so today.
So when he broke our agreement, I didn’t feel compelled.
You should tell my side of the story. And if you were any sort of fair reporter, you’d ask me fist why I did.
I think pretty much everyone agrees that Muller is very good at getting attention for himself.
But that really doesn’t speak to his scientific methods which by your own admission show promise.
Oh and I should add, I’ve falsified his paper on siting as well as my own first one, Fall et al 2011. The data Muller has from that paper is useless.
There is a contradiction in your headline which also applies to your comment about Muller’s data
Can you spot it?
You falsified his paper?
Anthony, have you released the data regarding site classification yet? A list of sites used in your still maturing paper and their classifications would be a good start.
Looking forward to it. Thanks!
For more information on the Watts paper (which I haven’t read) this post @ Variable Variability seems worth readering
The connection between elevated greenhouse gases and drought in the American West is that greenhouse-induced warming is very likely to increase the frequency and severity of drought conditions in the region. The recent prevalence of today’s droughts may already be caused in part by elevated greenhouse gases. But, indeed, greenhouse-induced warming is not the sole cause of droughts. Natural (non-human-induced) variability is still likely the dominant cause of today’s droughts, and clearly was for megadroughts evidenced in the paleoclimate record. Still, human-caused growth in greenhouse gases is expected to become a new driver of things that have been seen in the distant past as century-long megadroughts, an alarming future by most any measure. In short, projections warn of how continued growth in greenhouse gases will make the American west even drier, with today’s extreme droughts becoming the average condition of the future, and the future’s droughts being far worse than the worst droughts of today.
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