If You Don’t First Succeed: Yet More Climate Alarmist Fraud?



This past week, most of the world’s major media, including The Economist, Washington Post, and Nature, reported uncritically the claims of global warming by Richard Muller of the University of California at Berkeley, director of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST), that has recently completed a series of four studies. However and in response in a letter published in Nature, Independent Institute Research Fellow S. Fred Singer has accused the magazine of unscientific bias in its editorial on Muller’s claims, noting that the BEST studies had not yet been peer-reviewed, were based on the same flawed data sets that have been discredited by Climategate, and that key additional data has been ignored.

The first question to raise is here is why were these studies suddenly released before the essential scientific process of peer-review? Could the answer be that the release just happened to occur just prior to a major United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa, in November?

The second question concerns a new report from the London Mail that a leading member of the BEST team, Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, is claiming that Muller deliberately sought to mislead the public with claims that are simply untrue. Curry is the second named co-author of the four BEST studies and she compares what Muller has done to the notorious Climategate scandal. She indicates that the studies show that there has been no increase in global temperatures since the late 1990′s:

There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped. To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.

In addition, the Global Warming Policy Foundation has now issued a graph contrasting the claims by Muller and the actual data in the BEST studies.

Curry went on to state that:

This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting. Whatever it is that’s going on here, it doesn’t look like it’s being dominated by CO2.

In response to Curry’s allegations, the Mail reports that:

Yesterday Prof. Muller insisted that neither his claims that there has not been a standstill, nor the graph, were misleading because the project had made its raw data available on its website, enabling others to draw their own graphs.

However, he admitted it was true that the BEST data suggested that world temperatures have not risen for about 13 years. But in his view, this might not be ‘statistically significant’, although, he added, it was equally possible that it was—a statement which left other scientists mystified.

‘I am baffled as to what he’s trying to do,’ Prof Curry said.

Prof. Ross McKittrick, a climate statistics expert from Guelph University in Ontario, added: ‘You don’t look for statistically significant evidence of a standstill.

‘You look for statistically significant evidence of change.’

. . . .

As well as trends in world temperatures, they looked at the extent to which temperature readings can be distorted by urban ‘heat islands’ and the influence of long-term temperature cycles in the oceans. The papers were submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research.

But although Prof. Curry is the second named author of all four papers, Prof. Muller failed to consult her before deciding to put them on the internet earlier this month, when the peer review process had barely started, and to issue a detailed press release at the same time.

He also briefed selected journalists individually. ‘It is not how I would have played it,’ Prof. Curry 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.’ She said it was unfortunate that although the Journal of Geophysical Research had allowed Prof. Muller to issue the papers, the reviewers were, under the journal’s policy, forbidden from public comment.

Prof. McKittrick added: ‘The fact is that many of the people who are in a position to provide informed criticism of this work are currently bound by confidentiality agreements.

‘For the Berkeley team to have chosen this particular moment to launch a major international publicity blitz is a highly unethical sabotage of the peer review process.’

In Prof. Curry’s view, two of the papers were not ready to be published, in part because they did not properly address the arguments of climate sceptics.

As for the graph disseminated to the media, she said: ‘This is ‘hide the decline’ stuff. Our data show the pause, just as the other sets of data do. Muller is hiding the decline.

‘To say this is the end of scepticism is misleading, as is the statement that warming hasn’t paused. It is also misleading to say, as he has, that the issue of heat islands has been settled.’

Prof. Muller said she was ‘out of the loop’. He added: ‘I wasn’t even sent the press release before it was issued.’

Prof Muller defended his behaviour yesterday, saying that all he was doing was ‘returning to traditional peer review’, issuing draft papers to give the whole ‘climate community’ a chance to comment.

As for the press release, he claimed he was ‘not seeking publicity’, adding: ‘This is simply a way of getting the media to report this more accurately.’

He said his decision to publish was completely unrelated to the forthcoming United Nations climate conference.

This, he said, was ‘irrelevant’, insisting that nothing could have been further from his mind than trying to influence it.

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