The Left Responds to BEST, Ignoring Watts (Updated)

Russ Steele

Here are some samples from our local lefty bloggers and commenter on the BEST/Muller Op-Ed at the Sierra Foothills Report.  They seem to be totally unaware of Anthony Watts analysis of the data sources that Muller used in his BEST study. Data that is flawed in two ways, bad siting and faux warming adjustments.  Detail are shown in this graphic: 

My comments are in brackets [ ]

Ben Emery, on July 29, 2012 at 9:38 am said:
Those who deny Global Warming/ Climate Change are on the wrong side of history and will cost future generations dearly. Short term gains at the expense of long term health, it is very small minds that cannot expand the thoughts of life past their own.

[ Ben, think about the possibility that the planet is really cooling and we are on the cusp of another ice age, but our leaders are planning for warming, they are burning the corn need to feed the hungry and starving when more droughtd come. History has shown there are long term droughts during the coldest periods during the little ice age. If we are burning what little corn survives what will we feed the the starving? ]

Tom Kenworth (@TomKenworth), on July 29, 2012 at 10:05 am said:
Even Sarah Palin has flipped on this issue, as the evidence has become to compelling, with the broiling of the midwest, and Greenland’s ice cap going going..go…. It’s like in Spain, some four centuries ago, “golly, Columbus was right after all. How could we have known?”

[Tom, what is your evidence that Sarah Palin has flipped? Alaska village populations are declining and the native are unable to cope with the increasing cold and snow for the last couple of years. Alaska glaciers are growing.  While the  midwest is warmer than normal for a few weeks, the 1930s were hotter for much longer.  Greenland has a one week melt about every 150 years, +/- 20 years. It was only a few mm of water on 2 miles of ice. Not much of a melt.  More details here: ]

Ed Peritz, on July 29, 2012 at 11:35 am said:
Inconvenient to accept on many levels; from the bedrock tenet of capitalism–growth/expanding markets–to daily consumer choices, sixty foot stinkpots vs, sailboats, a vehicle with decent milage vs, a huge 9 passenger Extinction which nobody can park, etc. Like I’ve been asking for years, how could the effects of the Industrial Revolution not change a once pristine environment? No denier ever had an answer, just evasion, then on to ridicule and personal attack.

[ Ed. I would provide a comment If I knew what you were trying to say. ]

Steve Enos, on July 29, 2012 at 11:49 am said:
Nice to at long last see some Koch Brother’s money spent in a positive manner.
“Koch-funded study has found that the IPCC “consensus” underestimated both the rate of surface warming and how much could be attributed to human emissions”… this seems real clear.

[ Steve, what is real clear is that the data used for BEST  calculations is flawed. If you start with garbage data, you end up with garbage answers. Look at the graphic above. ]

John Vodonick, on July 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm said:
I think that its time for some of our local pundits to express an opinion on the issue now that climate denial funds have proven that climate change exists. I would really like to know what they believe now.

[ John, here is my opinion. The data in BEST was collected from a flawed sensor set, and the data was adjusted by NOAA to show warming, doubling the actual temperature change. Garbage in, garbage out.  More details here:

gregzaller, on July 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm said:
Russell Steele says:
07/29/2012 at 1:34 pm
Andy Revkin wrote in Converted’ Skeptic: Humans Driving Recent Warming
Muller’s database will hold up as a powerful added tool for assessing land-side climate patterns, but his confidence level on the human element in recent climate change will not. I’d be happy to be proved wrong, mind you.

[ Greg, he will be proven wrong. Muller actually wrote in the Op-Ed, you really should read it.

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. And it’s possible that we are currently no warmer than we were a thousand years ago, during the “Medieval Warm Period” or “Medieval Optimum,” an interval of warm conditions known from historical records and indirect evidence like tree rings. And the recent warm spell in the United States happens to be more than offset by cooling elsewhere in the world, so its link to “global” warming is weaker than tenuous.

My bet is still open the left will first ignore Watts Study and not comment.  Eventually they will have to attack it or accept the fact warming is much less than recorded and the human contribution in “very small” almost undetectable.

Update (07-30-12, 08:00)  Mr Frisch makes it clear that he has bought into the flawed work of Dr Muller and does not find any value in Anthony Watt’s work with a team of citizens scientist.

stevefrisch, on July 30, 2012 at 4:22 am said:

I do find it humorous that the BEST study depends on work by Dr. Robert Muller and quotes the worlds top climate scientists, while the skeptics case relies on a quote from former communications director for Rush Limbaugh Marc Morano and former meteorologist Anthony Watts, whose claim to fame is appearances on the Glen Beck and Sean Hannity shows and reconstructing temperature data using retires RV’ers like at least one of our local pundits.

Anthony Watt is also known for saying about the Muller BEST study on March 6th of this year on his blog, “… I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong. I’m taking this bold step because the method has promise. So let’s not pay attention to the little yippers who want to tear it down before they even see the results.”

I guess Mr. Watt is taking back his pledge to abide by the findings of the Muller BEST study since his entire business model is based on Koch funded Heartland Institute grants and the largess of curmudgeons who set up thermometers next to their Airstreams and call it science.


[ Here are some comments that might shed some light in the issue for Mr Frisch:

Anthony Watts’s paper is a game changer, in my view, with respect to the use of the land surface temperature anomalies as part of the diagnosis of global warming. 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. The new paper shows that a major correction is needed in Muller’s BEST study. Anthony also has shown what dedicated scientists can do with even limited financial support.  Despite the large quantities of funds spent on the BEST study, it is Anthony Watts and his team who have actually significantly advanced our understanding of this aspect of the climate system.  Well done Anthony! –Roger Piele Sr., Climate Science, 29 July 2012

The global warming movement is losing steam. The state of anxiety that was once present among the electorate has ratcheted down. This is why Richard Muller is “striking” now. The professionally outraged will remain outraged that “nothing” is being done. But the man-in-the-street won’t be able to sustain his worry — even to the point of some saying, “Yeah, this guy Muller is probably right. But so what? I can live with a little heat. Winter’s are too damn cold anyway.” The majority would just as soon forget about it. —William M Briggs, 29 July 2012

BERKELEY EARTH STUDY REFEREE REPORTS: On September 8 2011 I was asked by Journal of Geophysical Research to be a reviewer for a paper by Charlotte Wickham et al. presenting the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (“BEST”) analysis of the effect of urbanization on land surface temperatures. This work is mainly associated with Richard Muller and his various coauthors.  I submitted my review just before the end of September 2011, outlining what I saw were serious shortcomings in their methods and arguing that their analysis does not establish valid grounds for the conclusions they assert. I suggested the authors be asked to undertake a major revision.

In October 2011, despite the papers not being accepted, Richard Muller launched a major international publicity blitz announcing the results of the “BEST” project. I wrote to him and his coauthor Judy Curry objecting to the promotional initiative since the critical comments of people like me were locked up under confidentiality rules, and the papers had not been accepted for publication. Richard stated that he felt there was no alternative since the studies would be picked up by the press anyway. Later, when the journal turned the paper down and asked for major revisions, I sought permission from Richard to release my review. He requested that I post it without indicating I was a reviewer for JGR. Since that was not feasible I simply kept it confidential.

On March 8 2012 I was asked by JGR to review a revised version of the Wickham et al. paper. I submitted my review at the end of March. The authors had made very few changes and had not addressed any of the methodological problems, so I recommended the paper not be published. I do not know what the journal’s decision was, but it is 4 months later and I can find no evidence on the BEST website that this or any other BEST project paper has been accepted for publication.

On July 29 2012 Richard Muller launched another publicity blitz (e.g. here and here) claiming, among other things, that “In our papers we demonstrate that none of these potentially troublesome effects [including those related to urbanization and land surface changes] unduly biased our conclusions.” Their failure to provide a proper demonstration of this point had led me to recommend against publishing their paper. This places me in an awkward position since I made an undertaking to JGR to respect the confidentiality of the peer review process, but I have reason to believe Muller et al.’s analysis does not support the conclusions he is now asserting in the press.

I take the journal peer review process seriously and I dislike being placed in the position of having to break a commitment I made to JGR, but the “BEST” team’s decision to launch another publicity blitz effectively nullifies any right they might have had to confidentiality in this matter. So I am herewith releasing my referee reports. The first, from September 2011, is here and the second, from March 2012 is hereRoss McKitrick, July 30, 2012.

There you have it.]


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

8 Responses to The Left Responds to BEST, Ignoring Watts (Updated)

  1. Arthur M. Day. says:

    They won’t admit error, they can’t afford to. It’s not about the planet or the climate, it’s about their shaky sense of self worth.

  2. gjrebane says:

    When you run out of reason (or never had any to begin with), change the subject.

  3. Bob Hobert says:

    Here you go –

    [Updated, 4:17 p.m., July 29: Tonya Mullins, a spokeswoman for the Koch Foundation, said the support her foundation provided, along with others, had no bearing on the results
    of the research. “Our grants are designed to promote independent research; as such, recipients hold full control over their findings,” Mullins said in an email. “In this support, we strive to benefit society by promoting discovery and informing public policy.”]


    I’d like to hear more from Muller on his ‘conversion’ – tomorrow, or whenever the data is corrected, if the warmists will correct it.

  4. Russ, please note that “Tom Kenworth” is just the latest Doug Keachie sock puppet; he came out as such at Rebane’s.

    What is really funny is that even the likes of warmist activist William Connolly pan the new Muller contribution. Muller’s past collaborator, Dr.Judith Curry, has a nice summary on BEST:

    “Their latest paper on the 250 year record concludes that the best explanation for the observed warming is greenhouse gas emissions. In my opinion, their analysis is way over simplistic and not at all convincing . There is broad agreement that greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to the warming in the latter half of the 20th century; the big question is how much of this warming can be attributed to greenhouse gas emissions. I dont 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.”

    By the way, nice timing by your friend in Chico. I suspect that will have more effect on the debate over time.

  5. Ben Emery says:

    I respect your skepticism because it is based on perceived scientific findings but disagree with your opinion because you seem to migrate to it just for the sake of being on the opposite side of environmentalists and climatologists seem to be almost in full agreement on the issue. I know from work and trying grow produce, the last 5 years especially, have been very difficult due to unpredictable weather (I know weather is not climate).

    • Russ says:

      Ben, you wrote: “environmentalists and climatologists seem to be almost in full agreement on the issue” Can you please give me more information on the source of your statement. There is a discredited study by a graduate student going around that 97% of climate scientists agree. If this is your source, then I well hunt down the critiques of this study for your evaluation.

  6. Arthur M. Day. says:

    97% of crickets notice the absence of an Mr. Emery response.

  7. Jim Spice says:

    I’m not ignoring him. I’m taking him at his word that he would accept the conclusions of BEST no matter what they found.

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