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Bombshell 1: Climate science deniers claim to have full access to Berkeley temperature study work-product — and are now working with the Berkeley team!

By Joe Romm  

"Bombshell 1: Climate science deniers claim to have full access to Berkeley temperature study work-product — and are now working with the Berkeley team!"


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Bombshell 2: BEST’s Project Chair Richard Muller confirms ClimateProgress reporting, contradicts WattsUpWithThat

The key conclusions from Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project have been made public by its project chair, Richard Muller.  In a talk Saturday (near the end), Muller explained that BEST has been analyzing large quantities of data, they have started writing a draft report, and what he can say now is:

  • “We are seeing substantial global warming”
  • “None of the effects raised by the [skeptics] is going to have anything more than a marginal effect on the amount of global warming.”

None of that should be a surprise (except to a few deniers).  If you listen to the entire video (which I don’t recommend without multiple head vises), it’s clear the Muller himself is a volcano of long-debunked denier talking points and misinformation (which I’ll re-debunk later).  So when Muller says the data show “substantial global warming” and the effects raised by the skeptics are “marginal,” you know he’s not overstating things.

Now I hadn’t watched that video when climatologist Ken Caldeira emailed me essentially the same exact set of conclusions, which he asked me to post (see Exclusive: Berkeley temperature study results “confirm the reality of global warming and support in all essential respects the historical temperature analyses of the NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU”).

Again, I thought the conclusions were obvious, but I published his email in part because I wanted to smoke out the deniers.  A number of climate scientists had told me they believed the deniers were working feverishly to change and/or spin the main results.  What I didn’t know — what few people knew — was that the hard-core deniers in fact had unprecedented access to the BEST work-product.  That gives the lie to BEST somehow being a transparent effort to work the data independently and restore “credibility” to the global temperature record, something the record didn’t actually need.

My post was far more successful than I ever imagined.  The deniers — Steven Mosher and Anthony Watts — went ballistic, since they obviously thought they were going to be able to control how the final product was shaped and spun.  As we’ll see, they publicly admitted some astonishing things that truly call into question the objectivity and transparency of BEST WORST [Worst "Objective" Reanalysis of Surface Temperatures].

For instance, although Watts claims to have intimate knowledge of BEST’s work product and claims he’ll abide by their results, his latest blog post is utterly at odds with them.  Also, it seems like the deniers got BEST to post a response to Caldeira on their website saying “The Berkeley Earth team feels very strongly that no conclusions can yet be drawn from this preliminary analysis” — without even realizing that Muller had already drawn the exact same conclusions and publicly announced them!  But I’m getting ahead of myself now.

UPDATE:  The eye-opening transparency blurts from the deniers continue.  As a commenter points out, Mosher now states that he is actively working with BEST.  Guess they’ll have to change the FAQ again!

Let’s go back to what disinformer Mosher wrote in various comments on CP:

There is no DRAFT paper….
There are some draft figures, some charts, that a few of us have seen. These charts are made with 2% of the data.

… I think I have a pretty good idea which draft chart he has seen.

Mosher, who is not to anyone’s previous knowledge associated with this project in any respect (unlike Caldeira, who is both a climatologist and a funder), has full up-to-the-minute access to everything BEST is doing. Mosher appears to be claiming to be such an integral part of what is going on that he knows everything Caldeira has seen.

Where are the auditors demanding an independent, fully transparent study?

As I hoped, my post led the discredited denier Anthony Watts to blurt out both his involvement and his intentions at WattsUpWithThat:

I’ve also seen a lot of other things, some things Caldieira [sp] hasn’t seen that the BEST team has shared with me.

Wow!  Double wow, actually.

So the person on the Internet most responsible for spreading disinformation on global warming, particularly disinformation on the surface temperature record, has seen things that Caldeira — a project funder and one of the country’s top climatologists — hasn’t seen.

Not only that, but Watts asserts on his blog, that “the BEST team has shared” the stuff with him — this ain’t some leak.

Now let’s be clear here. Muller, in the video, says “There are some real deniers out there….  They should be ignored.”

Certainly if one were to create a list of “real deniers” who should be ignored, Watts would be near the top.

Watts approvingly reprints denier manifestos that claim global warming “is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind” “” see here. As I’ve written, such a statement is anti-scientific and anti-science in the most extreme sense. It accuses the scientific community broadly defined — including the major journals and all of the major scientific organizations in this country — of conspiring in deliberate fraud.

Watts has perhaps more than any other leading anti-science blogger, viciously smeared scientists and urged his readers to do the same (see Watts urges WattsUpWithThat readers to disrupt Forbes blog: “shout them down in the comments section”).

Watts infamously coauthored a “report” accusing top U.S. scientists of various kinds of misfeasance and malfeasance in the global temperature record.  It was utterly debunked last March (see Wattergate: Tamino debunks “just plain wrong” Anthony Watts).  As Tamino wrote, “your use of false claims to accuse NOAA scientists of deliberate deception was not just mistaken, it was unethical.”

Watts never retracted the attacks.  Instead, last Memorial Day, Watts directly questioned the patriotism of both Tamino and Rabett (see “Peak readership for anti-science blogs?“) leading Tamino to write, “This just might be the most loathsome thing Watts has yet done with his blog.”

But it wasn’t.  Just last week, on March 19, Watts published this absurd statement:

many of the best AGW scientists are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to push their personal AGW agenda

Yet WattsUpWithThat offered not one single fact or link to back up that deplorable falsehood.

So I ask BEST, why are you sharing your entire work-product with hard-core deniers you say should be ignored?

Mosher writes in the comments:

I believe BEST will confirm what people like Zeke Hausfather, tamino, nick stokes, RomanM, and I have independently confirmed: the answers given by CRU and GISS are largely correct.

So again, we have yet more confirmation from a denier that any changes from the issues raised by the likes of Watts will be marginal, just as Caldeira had said.

After spilling the beans about his too-intimate knowledge of what BEST is doing, Mosher tries a mini-walk back:

Its best just to consult the FAQ


with only 2% of the data run it’s not appropriate to characterize results or to report on preliminary findings. Certainly Zeke Hausfather or I could have come back from Berkeley and blogged about what has been shown to Ken. However, both of us had sense enough to realize that preliminary results are just that. Nothing of consequence. So, I think you will find that the FAQ clarifies the issue surrounding the advisability of early reporting or leaking if you want a better word for it.

Ah, what a comedian!  Mosher who is in the business of misrepresenting people on climate based on false claims, has no credibility to lecture anyone else on whether they should publish true ones.

But the point is Muller, the project chair, obviously didn’t write the FAQ and apparently never even saw it, since he had already “inappropriately” characterized the results and reported on preliminary findings.  The mystery deepens.

Then Mosher dug himself in even deeper with another comment:

After your post, the team was contacted. And before I wrote my comment the team was contacted. A new FAQ has been released to try to clarify some of the confusion you have created….

Note the use of the passive voice.  Twice!  Normally these guys are eager to take credit for things, but now Mosher has created the most tortured grammatical construction just to avoid saying the obvious.

Where are the auditors?

Now here’s where it gets truly funny.  It seems like the deniers got BEST to post the response, since it uses a key phrase:

We are first analyzing a small subset of data (2%) to check our programs and statistical methods…

A preliminary analysis of 2% of the Berkeley Earth dataset shows a global temperature trend that goes up and down with global cycles, and does so broadly in sync with the temperature records from other groups such as NOAA, NASA, and Hadley CRU.

Who really uses the phrase, “up and down with global cycles” most?  Really?

Again, the FAQ states “The Berkeley Earth team feels very strongly that no conclusions can yet be drawn from this preliminary analysis” — without even realizing that Muller had already drawn the exact same conclusions as Caldeira and publicly announced them the day before!  And indeed, Mosher himself admits that, based on his obviously excellent insider knowledge, he expects BEST to vindicate CRU and GISS.

If you are looking for someone who created confusion, it’s Mosher and this FAQ — whoever wrote it.  And then there is Anthony Watts.

Why did BEST in its FAQ say that the analysis of the 2% subset “shows a global temperature trend” when Watts asserts:

That 2% subset they refer to is some weather stations in Japan. They chose Japan because it made for a compact insular test case for the code, combining rural, urban, and airport stations under one organization’s output to keep it simple. Like Ken Caldeira, I’ve seen that preliminary 2% output. I’ve also seen a lot of other things, some things Caldieira hasn’t seen that the BEST team has shared with me.

So Watts claims to not only know what randomly chosen data was, but why it was chosen.  Exactly how closely is he working with BEST, that he even knows what a funder like Caldeira hasn’t seen?

More importantly, are we to believe that BEST would say a 2% subset could show a global trend if it’s all weather stations in Japan, a very tiny country? That makes no sense at all.  Either BEST is confused or Watts.

Where are the auditors demanding answers?

Finally, Watts reveals his true agenda:

The issue hasn’t been the slight warming over the past century, we’ve always conceded that there is some. The issue has always been magnitude, uncertainties, and cause. With the BEST project, we’ll get closer to the ground truth of magnitude and uncertainties….

So his goal is to try to reduce the magnitude and push up the uncertainties in the final report.  Okay.

But then he repeats something he wrote earlier:

I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.


Caldeira says the analysis supports “in all essential respects the historical temperature analyses of the NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU.”  Even Mosher says, “I believe BEST will confirm … the answers given by CRU and GISS are largely correct.”

And project chair Muller has stated what the main findings are:

  • “We are seeing substantial global warming”
  • “None of the effects raised by the [skeptics] is going to have anything more than a marginal effect on the amount of global warming.”

That directly contradicts Watts.

So the question is, will Anthony Watts keep his word and concede, finally, that there has been substantial warming in recent decades and that the results given by CRU and GISS are largely correct.

Or will he find a way to change the final results?

‹ Media stunner: New York Times partners with Shell Oil to peddle elite access

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58 Responses to Bombshell 1: Climate science deniers claim to have full access to Berkeley temperature study work-product — and are now working with the Berkeley team!

  1. Richard Brenne says:

    I rarely disagree with your headlines, but there aren’t enough hops in the world to create the beer goggles that would allow me to see Muller, Mosher or Watts as bombshells.

    [JR: Well, this isn't a bombshell to regular CP readers. But so far the media has missed this entirely. This whole elaborate, expensive effort has just been completely upended by Muller, Mosher and Watts.]

  2. Mike says:

    The BEST-gate you could ask for.

  3. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Of course, in fact, it’s not ‘first’ but constant, persistent and unapologetic. I figured that the denialists would attempt to spin this study if it came up with rational results, and so it is transpiring. They are so predictable, no? And note how, with an audience of devoted Rightwing authoritarian Dunning Krugerites, one need never be consistent, honest, rational or sensible-just ‘on message’.

  4. Wonhyo says:

    This only strengthens the extent to which Watts is discredited among CP readers. However, to the community of demises and the larger demographic of uncertains this only obfuscates the reality. That’s all the demises need to sustain their cause.

  5. MarkB says:

    I think the Mosher/Watts attention seekers are just ticked that they couldn’t report the preliminary results first. They thought they would have the inside scoop on that until mean ol’ Joe came along and ruined the party. The most intriguing line is Watts asserting that he knows more about the project’s results Caldeira. And how would he know that? Transparency, please, Mr. Watts.

    The BEST project itself appears to be rather uninteresting. Funded partially by Koch, lacking transparency, filled with many non-climate scientists, and lacking a formal review, I hardly care whether they decide to embrace science or not, and I’m not sure why Joe is bothering with them other than to needle the deniers. Until the results appear in the peer-reviewed literature, it should be taken with a grain of salt.

  6. Paulm says:

    BEST of times. Worst of times.

  7. nen says:

    Re #5
    “I think the Mosher/Watts attention seekers are just ticked that they couldn’t report the preliminary results first”

    yeah that’s how I read it too

    But what’s most interesting is how much access it turns out these guys have to the supposedly unreleased data and product.

    Muller really is an unknown quantity. In the video I’ve seen he says Hansen should not be offering predictions of the coming year’s annual global temperature anomaly because he’s maintaining the very record he’s predicting. Muller gets on that point as if it’s somehow unethical or scientifically wrong, which is ridiculous on several levels.

  8. Mike says:


    Discrediting WUWT is not hard. They just posted an article claiming seals have ESP. Seal-gate?

  9. Jeff Huggins says:


    I’m a Berkeley alum, in the sciences/engineering (chemical engineering), and at this point I am deeply embarrassed — and frustrated or even angry — about Berkeley’s name being associated with what seems to be a mess in terms of politics, conflicting messages, leaks and counter-leaks, bad judgment (having to do with the matters of bad judgment associated with the effort’s set-up, funding, and organization in the first place, that Joe pointed out), and so forth. What a mess! Embarrassing.

    It is also unfortunate — although understandable, I suppose (to a degree) — that things have come to this: publishing information early, in part to flush out deniers and make sure they can’t alter or spin the results. It all reminds me of Albert Einstein, who only (and with great reluctance and concern) recommended development of the Atom Bomb here in the U.S. out of concern that one would be developed elsewhere first, even as he would not have recommended it at all if it weren’t for that threat. So now the situation has devolved to this, has it? In order to prevent the deniers from altering or incorrectly spinning the eventual results, a leading climatologist and CP feel the need to publish them early. If that’s the case, then given the stakes involved I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done the same. The stakes are big, and the other side has been playing hard-ball behind the scenes for far too long — and getting away with it.

    I would say this: I half-suspected that some of this (early publication) had to do with preemption and with flushing-out any “intent deniers” who might otherwise try to influence the results. So, I’m glad that Joe is admitting to that. But it’s unfortunate that the whole situation has come to a point where that sort of hard-ball is deemed necessary. IF the study had been organized in good judgment, and had been managed without leaks, and had not opened itself up to the perception (among deniers) that they might be able to influence the results, then none of this would have been possible or even considered. And that brings me back to my feeling, at this point, that the whole thing is a mess — or at least has been conducted in messy fashion — and I’m embarrassed that it’s associated with the name Berkeley.

    Soon, can we drop this messy situation and simply wait until the actual results are published? Can we ask the study’s leaders, staff, and funders to act diligently and to not leak or spin or pre-spin or counter-spin? Is that too much to ask?? Or will the situation continue to devolve until people are breaking into the offices and grabbing for any documents, charts, and e-mails that can be found, with flashlights, to be published the next day on one blog or another?

    For the reasons that Joe mentioned weeks ago, this study involved bad judgment from the beginning. Too bad.


    U.C. Berkeley, class of 1981, chemical engineering

  10. Neal J. King says:

    I also think that the sensible thing to do is just wait until the results have reached finality, and are published, along with the methods and access to them.

    I personally do not care who saw what earlier than publication: as long as the data-processing methods & data are clearly and accurately shown, and can be accessed & repeated by others, I do not care if Watts, Mosher or Spiderman saw them earlier; as long as they are not allowed to introduce undocumented changes to the algorithms, fiddle with the input values, or pour milkshakes into the computers.

  11. Joe, I don’t know how you manage to maintain such quality in your writing while at the same time being so prolific a writer.

    But more to the topic at hand, I am a little surprised that anyone takes Anthony Watts seriously after John V. of his group did a statistical analysis showing essentially the same trend for temperature using only sites that by Watts’own criteria are poorly sited as when using only sites that by his criteria are well sited. That was September 2007.

    Mosher’s argument was invoked there as well — that we needed to wait until all of the data is in. But I am not aware of Watts having ever finished his project — the project with which he made his name, arguing that the temperature records are unreliable given the poor quality of some of the sites.

  12. caerbannog says:

    Those who think that the BEST project’s additional surface temperature data will change global-average temperature results significantly should have a look at this plot — http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/782/gissvs1of10ghcnstations.jpg

    The plot shows an ensemble of global-average temperature time-series, where each temperature time-series was computed from a random 1 out of 10 selection of GHCN land temperature stations. For each run, a random-number generator was used to select the stations with a 1 out of 10 probability for each random-number “trial”. Basically, I recomputed global-average temperature results a bunch of times while throwing out 90 percent of the GHCN data at random each time.

    The GHCN stations were selected completely (pseudo)randomly, with no attempt to maintain uniform global coverage.

    To provide a basis for comparison, the official GISS land-station results are plotted along with the random “1 out of 10 station” results. For clarity, the GISS temperatures are plotted the foreground (red) scan, as indicated by the legend. (The legend labels for the other scans are just cryptic gobbledygook generated by the program that I wrote — don’t pay any attention to them).

    What you can clearly see is that all of the “1 out of 10″ results agree reasonably well with the NASA results. In fact, most of them show a bit more warming than the NASA results do. (So much for idea of NASA “cooking the books” to exaggerate the global-warming trend).

    So if throwing out 90 percent of the currently available temperature data doesn’t change the results very much, then adding a bunch more data (data that are largely redundant, due to the long temperature-anomaly correlation distances) is highly unlikely to have a noticeable impact on the results.

    Expecting the BEST project to upend the current global surface temperature record would be rather like tossing a coin another 1,000 times with the expectation that the head/tail ratio would start to deviate significantly from 50:50.

  13. Mike Roddy says:

    Thanks for the detail here, Joe.

    It’s interesting that Watts has become the fossil fuel companies’ go-to global warming denier. He is, after all, a cartoon character, with little education, no relevant technical knowledge, and an abrasive, volatile personality. It tells us something that he is the best guy they could come up with.

    Watts appears on Fox from time to time, along with Joe Bastardi, who is even weirder. Monckton got too ridiculous even for the oil companies. This cast of characters should tell us that it’s our battle to lose.

    As strange as Muller’s speeches are, the data from BEST are going to prevail. When this latest vindication of the science appears in full, it should be up to people like Joe, McKibben, Caldeira, and Schmidt to go on the offensive, and refuse to continue to engage obvious frauds.

  14. malcreado says:

    Abandon all hope!

    From CNN:
    Coal mining on public lands will expand in the coming months in Wyoming, as the federal government makes more coal-rich land available for lease by mining companies.

    “Coal is a critical component of America¹s comprehensive energy portfolio, as well as Wyoming’s economy,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at a news conference Tuesday.

    The leases are expected to bring in between $13.4 billion and $21.3 billion in leasing bids and royalties to the federal government and the state of Wyoming. Wyoming will receive 48% of those revenues, with the rest going to the federal government.

    The four tracts of land in northeast Wyoming’s Powder River Basin are expected to yield about 758 million tons of coal, Salazar said.

    “Wyoming is the No.1 coal producer from public lands, contributing more than 400 million tons annually to our domestic energy supply, providing nearly 40% or the coal used by power plants nationwide to provide electricity nationwide,” Salazar said.

  15. Steve Bloom says:

    I can only suspect that Our Judy is responsible for passing along information to Mosher and/or Watts.

  16. Prokaryotes says:

    “Coal is a critical component of America¹s comprehensive energy portfolio, as well as Wyoming’s economy,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

    Comprehensive fossil, the other not so much.

  17. bill says:

    re mike @#8

    Interestingly – and depressingly – re the ‘psychic seals’ paraded at Watts, not only are a remarkable number of triumphalist conclusions being drawn from the barest sketch of a premise, but I counted no less than 5 ‘hilarious’ references to clubbing and eating the seals by about 1/3rd of the way down the comment thread (at which point my capacity for intellectual masochism gave out). I’d be pretty confident that the equivalent number on a ‘warmist’ thread on the same topic would be zero…

  18. ianash says:

    Our disingenous mr mosher posts on collide-a-scape:

    “steven mosher Says:
    March 23rd, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Let’s see if I can clarify. I’ve been in intermittent contact with BEST for a few months. Nothing special, just passing on some of the things I had found in the past couple years.. datasets, concerns, etc. Judith made the introduction.

    Zeke and I made a visit to discuss a few things with them. So they shared some very preliminary charts. 2% stuff. And we discussed what stage they were at in the project. We met with a good number of the team. I volunteered to do some R coding. They work in Matlab. I also volunteered to pass a couple papers along that covered some issues. We exchanged some mails, primarily on what I needed to get working on the data formats. Zeke wrote a nice piece on our visit over at Lucia’s. I was gunna write one, but Zeke did a complete job, so what’s the point.

    Romm then writes a post reporting that Ken had read the draft paper. This made no sense to me given the briefing that Zeke and I had received. The full data set had not been run through the algorithm, especially one key part, a really cool part.. So the idea that there was a draft paper made no sense to me. maybe the methods part could be written, but hardly the conclusions. Anyways I did some checking and turns out that ken was reading another paper the team was working on.. not the surface stations paper. At least thats the best info I have. Now, Im told that Romm is foaming at the mouth. sheesh. what a marroon.”

    [JR: Another amazing reveal. Of course, he can't even figure out I'm delighted at this unintentional transparency my posts have led to! Bring on the auditors to demand the email trail.]

  19. John Mason says:

    There was a man on the ‘net called Watts
    Who thought he could call all the shots
    But when the planet responded his logic absconded
    And he just tied himself up all in knots

    I’ll get my coat…

    Cheers – John

  20. CTG says:

    Dear Mr Watts,

    Under the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request you to divulge all written and electronic correspondence between yourself and the BEST project over the last two years…

  21. So I guess the denier camp strategy will be to flip to “it’s too late to do anything about global warming”

  22. BBHY says:

    “it’s our battle to lose”

    We are doing a great job of losing. Check with the US Congress and see what they are up to.

  23. C. Mather says:

    re caerbannog @#11

    The picture is pretty, but I would like to have more details. Have you posted a more detailed description and your code?

    C. Mather

    bill @#16
    Thanks for the HTML for implementing a reference.

  24. Ed Hummel says:

    I can’t believe the Main Stream Press isn’t covering this soap opera. I thought they liked soap operas!

  25. Bob Doublin says:

    Given the Right Wing’s propensity to make stuff up and alter the evidence (Planned Parenthood, that woman in Georgia, the NPR scam, Swift Boat etal), can someone make sure that multiple copies of this data set exist and are in the hands of a wide variety of people-some unknown to the general public just in case something happens to the original? I am very,very serious about this and don’t think it’s paranoid in the slightest.My post did start out as a snark but as I wrote it my feelings about it changed completely.

  26. caerbannog says:

    C. Mather says:
    March 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

    re caerbannog @#11

    The picture is pretty, but I would like to have more details. Have you posted a more detailed description and your code?

    C. Mather

    You can grab a working snapshot here — http://forums.signonsandiego.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=8148&d=1297963834

    It’s not polished or pretty (consider it an ongoing “under construction” hobby project), but it gets the job done.

    Info/documentation can be found in the program’s “Usage” statement and in the program header file.

    Compiles with g++ on Linux boxes, Macs and Windows/Cygwin machines. Output is in .csv format (import into Excel or OpenOffice to generate data plots).

  27. caerbannog says:

    Another quick note — a couple of other times when I’ve posted my “hand rolled” temperature results to message boards, I’ve gotten slightly snippy to downright obnoxious “we want to examine your code/methods” replies.

    Each time, I responded by posting a link to my code. And you know what? I never heard from those skeptics again. I have no idea whether they even tried to “audit” my results.

  28. Anne van der Bom says:

    Anthony Watts says: “I’ve also seen a lot of other things, some things Caldieira hasn’t seen that the BEST team has shared with me.”

    Does anybody believe that? IMO it is pure bluff.

  29. Mike Roddy says:

    malcreado, thanks for the heads up about Salazar, who has always been a Blue Dog Western land plunderer, in spite of his public efforts to have it both ways.

    More troubling was Obama’s choice of him. No wonder he didn’t fight for the climate bill.

  30. Kelly O'Day says:

    Here is my comparison of UAH and GISS monthly anomaly trends using a common baseline (1981-2010).

    The station based GISS series and satellite based UAH series are similar in both cyclical pattern and trend. Each confirms the other.

    Anyone who wants to check the anomaly trends for themselves can use my CTS.csv file to plot the 5 major global anomaly and 14 other climate series (PDO, Nino34, etc) themselves.

  31. Wit's End says:

    Meanwhile the Obama administration has gone from disappointing …:


    [JR: Sad.]

  32. BlueRock says:

    What we see here is a group of not very bright people creating Byzantine labyrinths and then getting lost in them. Sweet justice.

  33. Zetetic says:

    @ caerbannog #27:
    LOL! I’m not surprised most of those making such requests probably wouldn’t know what to make of it anyway.

    To them any results that contradict dogma, must be a result of cheating since the possibility that they may be wrong is never actually considered. They’re just hoping to say “got you!” and have been trained to ask for data whenever something contradicts their dogma (even if they don’t understand it). Too bad that they haven’t been trained to question that which does agree with their dogma.

  34. Andy Hultgren says:

    Hey all,

    Looks like there are some new FAQs up at the BEST website including one referencing Anthony Watts involvement in the project.

    “NEW – There have been many criticisms of station quality. How can you be sure that your results will be good if you are including stations that do not meet NOAA’s criteria for station quality?

    One of the elements that we plan to study is temperature records from just the very best sites (as classified by Anthony Watts and his team) contrasted with the poorer sites. We will include this comparison when we release our analysis…”


  35. MarkB says:

    The Salazar announcement is very disconcerting, but to put it into perspective, it’s around 7 months of U.S. coal consumption.


    Most new coal power plants have been blocked in recent years.

  36. Re: “One of the elements that we plan to study is temperature records from just the very best sites (as classified by Anthony Watts and his team) contrasted with the poorer sites. We will include this comparison when we release our analysis…”

    Uh, this has already been done, and it turns out that the poor sites actually lowered the average temp slightly. Watts had always claimed that these poorer sites would skew the results higher — not so!

    So, what the heck are they planning to do?

  37. MarkB says:

    On the Watts project, such an analysis has already been done and published.


  38. John McManus says:

    Recently there was some mock outrage and loud noises concerning Jones?Wahl/Mann. One wondered why now?

    Watts and the rest of the deniers must have been horrified at the intended publication if the BEST results., After all they agree with Jones. Even so, a couple of honest men saw the need to get the info off the island before it could be corrupted.

    We see part of the master plan. HEY LOOK OVER THERE. WE will probably hear the next part soon. The sound will be Tony and Steve moving the goal posts.

  39. Its sad when the drama eclipses the science, but I suppose I’d be naive if I didn’t expect it from climate blogs.

    The funny thing is that, drama aside, the BEST team is doing some really interesting work. Robert Rhode in particular (whose work as DragonsFlight on wikipedia has contributed to its excellent articles on climate change) has developed some innovative methods to combine fragmentary records and deal with the manifold inhomogenities in the temperature record.

    Lets wait till their results are published to render judgement. Based on what I’ve seen, I would be rather surprised if the results differ much on a global level from NCDC/Hadley/NASA, but they should provide a good resource for improving regional temperature assessment, as well as for folks interested in analyzing issues like UHI that require a highly sampled field.

  40. caerbannog says:


    LOL at this (my favorite denier response)! ;) ;) ;)

    (Linky http://forums.signonsandiego.com/showpost.php?p=4300364&postcount=11 )

    Here’s a suiggestion for you- since you’ve always done little other than to appeal to authority, and scream out words such as “REKNOWNED”,”ACCREDITED”, and “PEER REVIEWED” regarding your eco-scientist menagerie, along with perjoritives directed toward skeptics on a daily basis, why not publush your C++ source code here via text or link (prefereably with comments and perhaps YOUR algorithm) along with your open office spreadsheet template, so that it too can be reviewed? there are many people here who are software savvy, and in some cases, have access to professionals who are system architects, analysts, or IT auditors that can give it a once or twice over “smell test” for valdity and lack of self serving massaging…

  41. nen says:

    “CTG says:
    March 23, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Dear Mr Watts,

    Under the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request you to divulge all written and electronic correspondence between yourself and the BEST project over the last two years…”

    You say it as a joke, but seriously why aren’t skeptics being publicly bugged like this? Sometimes I think our “side” is too polite.

    Test them using their own rules. Call it an “audit” if you like. A different new kind of audit where we are auditing the honesty of the skeptics. Hold them up to their own “rules” and watch to see if they break them.

    You won’t even need FOIA requests. If they don’t provide the info willingly run with the story that they are refusing to hand over scientific correspondence and data. Make them look like they are hiding something. If you do get emails, you can look for something “wrong” in them.

    It’s lose-lose for them. But that’s just the silly game they’ve been playing against scientists. And don’t be at all polite in the demands. Be blunt and to the point with a self-important tone.

    “Mr Watts, I intend to audit your recently published paper to look for problems and then write those problems up on my blog. Please send me all data relating to your paper ASAP.”

    And when he provides data, send back requests for even more specific data. Question how values were obtained and demand whatever intermediate files were used.

    Lets see how they like taking it. I bet they won’t like it very much, but what can they do about it? If you are lucky they might have even lost some intermediate workings.

    There’s a lot to be said for bugging skeptics like this. Even Spencer gets off lightly with the fact that he hasn’t released the UAH source code. We are all just too nice because we realize we don’t need the source code. The skeptics do too, but they howl anyway if Hansen or Jones haven’t released source code.

    Muller who kind of isn’t a skeptic could be nevertheless educated in the way of the denier too by leveling a tongue in cheek assault on BEST using the same silly tactics the deniers use against GISTEMP. He might come to understand why Dr Hansen calls them jesters. Judith Curry could perhaps be asked to make available all the data from a really old paper she authored. Cuz I kind of need to audit it.

    Maybe I should set up a blog and do this, it is afterall very very easy to do what the skeptics do: Just idly shoot off email demands and accusations based on careless analysis.

  42. Steve Metzler says:

    3. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And note how, with an audience of devoted Rightwing authoritarian Dunning Krugerites, one need never be consistent, honest, rational or sensible-just ‘on message’.

    CP’s most incisive commenter, right on target, as usual.

    Speaking of which, if you haven’t already done so, well worth your while to spend an evening or two reading Bob Altemeyer’s excellent psycho-sociological treatise to put where we find ourselves now in (dour) perspective:

    The Authoritarians

  43. Zetetic says:

    @ caerbannog #40:
    LOL! Yes it’s always funny how denialists mistake citing a scientific consensus for an argument from authority!

    Let me guess…the poster never got back to you after you posted your data and algorithm?

  44. Lars Karlsson says:

    Slightly OT, but this magnificent blunder by our friend Willis Eschenbach over at WUWT hasn’t got enough attention.

  45. J Bowers says:

    @ Nen 7

    Thanks for the WUWT seal article.

    WUWT is the Climate Fortean Times.

  46. RT says:

    It is worth remembering that Muller and most of the scientists affiliated with Berkeley (Berkeley Lab)are bound by the terms and code of conduct of this institution. This is reinforced with Berkeley Labs acting as a participating organization in this activity. As has been seen in many cases in the past, where academics attempted to side step these checks and balances, the institute to which they are primarily employed has the right and sometimes the obligation, to investigate potential malfeasance, fraud or manipulation of data.

    My strong suggestion is that anyone who is concerned with the direction that this so-called “independent study’ is heading should not waste their time with contacting Muller et al. The best approach is the Director at Berkeley Labs (Paul Alivisatos) and make a formal complaint of bias. Given the high degree of funding from the Dept of Energy, an approach direct to DoE may be useful – at least to get Alivisatos moving.

    Beyond that, the student and academic body at Cal and Berkeley Labs are worth calling on for action – they know rats when the smell them and the smell has been getting very rodentine from Muller lately.

  47. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Steve Metzler #42, thanks for that link to Altemeyer-he is incisive and precise, and the prognosis is frightening. The appendix concerning the Tea Party Movement immediately reminded me of two manifestations of the same tendency, Goethe’s feared ‘ignorance in action’, made even more hideous with a strong leavening of imbecility and desperate incomprehension, that have occurred here in Australia recently. In the first instance we had a public meeting in Griffith, an irrigation town in New South Wales. It was ostensibly to ‘discuss’ the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which had been bi-partisan policy for some years, intended to scientifically investigate the best way to save our major river system (puny besides yours’) from ecological ruin, after ten years of deep drought and decades of over-exploitation.
    The meeting was a fiasco. Just as Altemeyer says of your ‘town-hall meetings’, the head of the research team was shouted down by individuals bellowing foul-mouthed abuse, throwing objects as if in a fit of childish fury, leaping and capering as if possessed or in the throes of ergotism, and the whole pretty spectacle (worsened, I’m certain, by the presence of TV cameras, which brought out the celebrants’ worst amateur thespian tendencies)topped by a ritual book burning of the offending bulky scientific report (beyond their comprehension to understand, surely, so itself simply a PR gesture)that must have brought back happy memories for any superannuated fascists watching.
    Then, the second instance, just this week, with the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, a wannabe demagogue pretty much unlike any I can recall here, who was outside Federal Parliament egging on a crowd of fringe Rightists, local Larouchists, superannuated part-time antisemites, now more comfortable with Islamophobia, and a heavy preponderance of senile delinquents, the Dunning Krugerite tendency who astutely observe that a carbon tax means charging the masses for every exhalation. These paragons had been gathered together to protest the Government’s pretty lame carbon price, a tax that will morph after a few years into a trading system (God help us!)which prospect, no doubt, has the local offices of Goldman Sachs and UBS salivating at the prospects. The whole proceedings was a sort of ecstasy of hatred, aimed at Gillard, the PM, who was described mostly as Ju-Liar, ‘the Witch’ or ‘the Bitch’ and at the Greens. A witch-burning without (for now) the bonfire.It was a pretty unsavoury affair that appears, so far, to have rebounded against Abbott as a sign of poor judgment.
    Of course the proof of that pudding will be known at dinner time ie the next Federal election. Both demonstrations were pretty much a cavalcade of all Altemeyer’s characteristics in full, florid, display. And central to both was the role of the inciter, the not so hidden hand stirring the possum, as we say here, if we wish to affect a ‘fair dinkum’ persona. In the first it was the Murdoch apparatus, in the second that same malevolence plus talk-back radio demagogy, we seemingly having produced, in typical ‘unnatural selection’ fashion, an even more toxic and pernicious type of Rightwing rabble-rouser in that hideous ‘communication’ medium. There’s the real danger, I think. Ignorance, fear, the craving for an authority figure to follow, blindly, the sheer visceral detestation of the other side, desperation driven by economic stress (really caused by the Big Boys of really existing market capitalism, but crudely and effectively channeled into hatred of numerous convenient scapegoats)all bubbling away as a witches’ brew set to boil over in the most ugly and destructive manner. All it needs is a conscienceless media to keep the incitement going and a sufficiently desperate political leader with no scruples over how he gains power, and, well, as Tony Abbott said, himself, of the death of a soldier in Afghanistan, while condoling the soldier’s comrades, ‘Shit happens’.

  48. chek says:

    Judith Curry may be paid to consider Watts and Mosher as “legitimate” authorities, but just who are those self-appointed, uncredentialled ,sef-publicising blowhards to be “advising” anybody?

    If BEST is pandering to every knuckleheaded buffoon with or without a Koch badge that wanders in off the street then it’s already fatally compromised in pursuing serious science.

  49. Mulga your posts are beacons of sanity and rational exposition which nail the nuggets of truth time after time and your #48 is no exception. I have had the misfortune to cross swords with some of your countrymen on the Intertubes (C. Eli) and have been astonished at the prejudice based upon ignorance that goes for their argument.

    Astonished until I recall that your country spawned Plimer, Carter, Mad Max and Murdoch the results of latter’s propaganda coming over so well in that recent BBC documentary Meet the Climate Sceptics (shame I have not been able to find a still viewable version), you know the one – where Monckton and Plimer were clowning around in the outback poring acid on rocks and setting a bad example by carrying the acid in a still originally labeled soda bottle.

  50. Bernard J. says:

    RT (March 24, 2011 at 7:14 am).

    Sadly, if Wegman’s, Curry’s, Plimer’s, Carter’s, and others’ institutions are any indication, Berkeley might be rather slower to address issues of any academic inappropriateness than one would traditionally have expected of a reputable institution.

    A plague on all their houses…

  51. Neal J. King says:

    Again: As long as everything is properly documented, what is the concern with whom Muller talks to?

    1) If someone fusses with the algorithms or the raw data, if the study is as transparently organized as claimed (open access to data and data-analysis algorithms), don’t you think someone will be smart enough to catch it? In that case, Muller and BEST (and Rohde and Caldeira) go down in flames.

    2) If the BEST results are NOT transparently organized, then it will have conspicuously failed in its original goal. Muller & BEST (and Rohde & Caldeira) go down in flames again.

    3) If the BEST results are (as seems to be the case) in-line with conventional wisdom, the WUWTers will have no cover: their input and concerns on the data and analysis have been voiced and taken into account. They won’t have a fall-back (at least with respect to the past).

    4) In the (apparently unlikely) case that: a) the BEST results are NOT in-line with conventional wisdom; and b) the BEST study IS transparently organized; and c) all the smart people in the climate-science world CANNOT find the problem in the analysis: THEN we have a problem. But in that case, the problem is with climate-science, not with the WUWTers or Muller.

    So I fail to see the problem: I am confident that, if Muller is so foolish as to try to pull a fast one when he’s promised to do a complete and transparent study, there is enough attention and enough sharp-eyed climatologists to shoot him out of the sky, say within 3 weeks.

  52. Neven says:

    When Mosher went over to meet the BEST team did he bring copies of his magnum opus that is supposed to “swamp the conventional wisdom on climate change”? Who knows, maybe they’ll be in the sequel! Provided it makes a quick buck of course.

  53. caerbannog says:


    It’s been over two months, and the crickets are still chirping….

  54. caerbannog says:

    Having done a bunch of “hobby-experimentation” with the GHCN data, I find myself mostly in agreement with Neal J. King@52.

    I’ve “sliced and diced” the raw and adjusted GHCN data in almost every way imaginable, and I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to get results that are inconsistent with the NASA/NOAA/CRU global temperature results.

    Process rural vs. urban stations separately? You get similar results.

    Process raw vs. adjusted data? Once again, similar results.

    Process all stations vs. the just the stations currently reporting data? (i.e. to test the deniers’ “dropped stations” claims.) Once again, you’ll get very similar results, demonstrating that the “dropped stations” claim is a bunch of BS.

    Throw out 90 percent (or even more) of the GHCN stations at random? You *still* get results consistent with NASA/NOAA/CRU.

    So for those who are concerned, I’ll just say “relax” — to get global-average temperature results that are inconsistent with the NASA/NOAA/CRU published results, you’d have to “cheat” so blatantly that an on-the-ball science/engineering/compsci college freshman would have little trouble unmasking you.

    By endorsing the BEST project, deniers are essentially saying, “So you tossed a coin 1,000 times and got results consistent with a 50:50 head/tail ratio? Well, we are going to prove you wrong by tossing that coin another 10,000 times.”

    In terms of global-average temperature results, the BEST project really amounts to nothing more than another 10,000 coin-tosses. And folks “in the know” already know how that is going to turn out…

  55. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Lionel #50, I have been ashamed and not a little amazed for some years at how Australia has become a world centre of idiocy and self-delusion. I think the rot has a lot to do with Murdoch, where we produced an historically and globally significant force for ill, the dominance of the Right in our narrowly based economy, the cowardice and betrayal of the ‘social democratic’ Labor Party, the eleven dreadful years of the recently endured Howard regime, the nadir, so far, for this country in moral, spiritual and intellectual malevolence and decay,and the rise of richly endowed Rightwing ‘think-tanks’. We had, for a few years, back in the 80s and 90s, a society somewhat respected in the world, but we have returned to a state of crass provincialism, dominated by delusions of our superiority. We see ourselves more and more, in a sad sort of atavistic throw-back to the days of the yore when the British Empire ‘waved the rules’, as a beacon of ‘Western Civilization’ in an ocean of non-European inadequacy. Our society is riven by tides of racism, xenophobia, ideological hatred and brutal class conflict as the have-nots scrabble for the scraps left over by a plutocracy growing arrogant and ever more demanding in their certainty of total dominance. In foreign affairs our obeisance to the US is now so craven and absolute, so unquestioning as to be beyond embarrassing. It will come to an end-all intolerable situations do, but I expect something worse to follow.

  56. Mulga, I don’t want to spoil your day but it appears that your countrymen have lowered to the non-challenge of a gigantic Powerpoint based Gish Gallop of ‘whacked moles’. Should I feel the hand of Plimer there, he having been the victim of such when debating Creationists?

    John Cook has more details, A climate ‘Gish Gallop’ of epic proportions

  57. It is actually worse than that for Plimer. His arrogance and sloppy research meant he failed at taking on the creationists as well.