We have learned two important things from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study (BEST):
- 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.
- 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“).
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 Climatic 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 high and accelerating 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 (try to) frag team leader Muller, is this conclusion: