Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Global Warming debate: Muller vs Curry; Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) & Global Warming Foundation

When Prof Curry heard that Prof Muller was saying that the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) findings would put an end to climate change scepticism for good she was horrified.
Prof Muller, of Berkeley University in California, and Prof Curry, who chairs the Department Of Earth And Atmospheric Sciences at America’s Georgia Institute of Technology, were part of the BEST project that carried out analysis of more than 1.6 billion temperature recordings collected from more than 39,000 weather stations around the world.
Prof Muller appeared on Radio 4’s Today Programme last Friday where he described how BEST’s findings showed that since the Fifties global temperatures had risen by about 1 degree Celsius...
When asked whether the rate had stopped over the last 10 years he said they had not. “We see no evidence of it having slowed down,” he replied and a graph issued by the BEST project suggests a continuing and steep increase.
But this last point is one which Prof Curry has furiously rebuttted. In a serious clash of scientific experts Prof Curry has accused Prof Muller of trying to “hide the decline in rates of global warming”.
She says that BEST’s research actually shows that there has been no increase in world temperatures for 13 years.
She has called Prof Muller’s comments “a huge mistake” and has said that she now plans to discuss her future on the project with him. “There is no scientific basis for saying that global warming hasn’t stopped,” she says.
“To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.” New research also seems to back up Prof Curry rather than Prof Muller.
A report published by the Global Warming Foundation, which is based on BEST’s findings, includes a graph of world average temperatures over the past 10 years and it is absolutely flat, suggesting that temperatures have remained constant.
This issue is crucial because the levels of carbon dioxide in the air have continued to rise rapidly over the last decade and if temperatures have remained constant during that period it would suggest there is no direct link between carbon gas emissions and global warming.
Previously carbon dioxide emissions – from the burning of fossil fuels and from deforestation – have been considered one of the biggest causes of climate change, the most damaging effects of which are thought to be the melting of the polar ice caps and the rise in sea levels as well as an increase in extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.
“Whatever it is that is going on here it doesn’t look like it’s being dominated by carbon dioxide,” says Prof Curry.
Prof Muller has made it clear that the BEST study was not conducted in order to gauge the causes of global warming, saying the study “made no assessment on how much of this is due to humans and how much is natural”.
He and his scientists – who also included this year’s physics Nobel winner Saul Perlmutter – set out purely to determine once and for all whether climate change had occurred.
IT IS well to point out that Prof Curry is not disputing the one degree Celsius increase. She is disputing Prof Muller’s suggestion that temperatures haven’t levelled off in the last decade.
Indeed she says this global warming standstill since the end of the Nineties – which has been completely unexpected – has wide-reaching consequences for the causes of climate change and has already led many climate scientists to start looking at alternative factors that may have contributed to global warming, other than carbon gas emissions. In particular she has mentioned the influence of clouds, natural temperature cycles and solar radiation.
What she also seems furious about is the way that Prof Muller went about publishing BEST’s results without consulting her and before a proper peer review could be carried out. “It is not how I would have played it,” she has said. “I was informed only when I got a group email. I think they have made errors and I distance myself from what they did. It would have been smart to consult me.”

-Excerpts from 11/2/2011 Express article by Julie Carpenter