Hot Dog Bites Skeptical Man: Koch-Funded Berkeley Temperature Study Does “Confirm the Reality of Global Warming”

Four new papers confirm that “the world is warming fast,” as the Economist summed it up. One paper finds that “the effect of urban heating on the global trends is nearly negligible.” Another finds that the work of the scientist-smearing denier Anthony Watts is pure BS.

Okay, that’s all “dog bites man” stuff, which is to say, not news in the least. The news is that this work was funded in part by Charles Koch, a leading funder of deniers, and two of the key authors are well-known smearers of climate scientists, Judith Curry and Richard Muller. Hot dog!

Climate Progress actually broke this story back in March — 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.” That was based on an email Climatologist Ken Caldeira sent me after seeing their preliminary results and a public talk by Muller confirming:

  • “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.”

But now the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study have completed their “independent” analysis of all of the temperature stations and found a rate of warming since the 1950s as high NOAA and NASA and faster than the (much maligned) UK Hadley/CRU data:


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.

If there is any news here it is that Watts has been demonstrated once and for all to be an “anti-scientist” — not just someone who routinely smears scientists, but someone who represents the negation of the scientific method. No facts can change his conclusions. He is a science rejectionist — and an uber-hypocritical one, as we’ll see.

Watts had famously promised “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.” He and other deniers even started working with BEST to influence the outcome, as I first reported here: “Bombshell: Climate Science deniers claim to have full access to Berkeley temperature study work-product — and are now working with the Berkeley team!

But BEST just released a whole paper devoted to debunking Watts’ life work — his effort to smear climate scientists by accusing them of knowingly using bad temperature stations to rig their results. NOAA had debunked Watts 2 years ago (see here), of course. But now it’s friendly fire trained on Watts.

Here’s what the BEST paper found:

An analysis team led by Anthony Watts has shown that 70% of the USHCN temperature stations are ranked in NOAA classification 4 or 5, indicating a temperature uncertainties greater than 2C or 5C, respectively….. From this analysis we conclude that the difference in temperature rate of rise between poor stations and OK stations is –0.014 ± 0.028 C per century. The absence of a statistically significant difference between the two sets suggests that networks of stations can reliably discern temperature trends even when individual stations have large absolute uncertainties.

This is precisely what NOAA had found: “Clearly there is no indication from this analysis that poor station exposure has imparted a bias in the U.S. temperature trends.”

Needless to say, Watts has imploded on his blog,

His big strategy for attacking his fellow confusionists: “There’s only one problem: Not one of the BEST papers have completed peer review.”


That wins the award for perhaps the most hypocritical statement ever made by a denier. Watts has spent years attacking the integrity of scientists based on nothing but his un-peer-reviewed nonsense.

Watts is the person on the Internet most responsible for viciously smearing scientists and spreading disinformation on global warming, particularly disinformation on the surface temperature record. He 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, on Memorial Day 2010, 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 this March, 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.

But now Watts has exploded because BEST has released its results before completing peer review! Talk about the pot calling the kettle “unscientific.” Why should peer review matter to Watts? The peer-reviewed literature has disproved everything he has ever written.


Watts laughably titles his post, “The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project puts PR before peer review” failing to get that this headline eviscerates his entire climate career. He has always put PR before peer review. Indeed, he has made a career out of attacking the peer review process, publishing numerous posts this year attacking it directly!

And then he can’t help but going after the centrist Economist magazine for running with this story:

One willing participant to this PR blitz, that I spent the last week corresponding with, is James Astill of The Economist, who presumably wrote the article below, but we can’t be sure since the Economist has not the integrity to put author names to articles:

… And, The Economist still doesn’t get it. The issue of “the world is warming” is not one that climate skeptics question, it is the magnitude and causes.

Oh, no, The Economist didn’t put a byline on its piece. They must be part of the conspiracy.

And you see another falsehood. Plenty of “skeptics” question warming. Just this month, Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal published Koch-fueled disinformer Robert Bryce asserting, “Regardless of whether it’s getting hotter or colder — or both — we are going to need to…..”

Anyway, the magnitude is now pretty much settled, and Watts had agreed to “accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.

As The Economist ends its piece:

At a time of exaggerated doubts about the instrumental temperature record, this should help promulgate its main conclusion: that the existing mean estimates are in the right ballpark. That means the world is warming fast.

I wonder who The Economist could possibly be talking about when they write “At a time of exaggerated doubts about the instrumental temperature record.” Ah, but just like they didn’t byline the article, they didn’t identify the exaggerator-in-chief, Anthony Watts.

Finally, it always bears repeating that if BEST were just the work of Muller and Curry, it would have no credibility:

  1. Muller is the author of widely debunked books, blog posts andWall Street Journal op-eds. He himself has actually worked to undermine credibility in well-established science and doesn’t have a great grasp of basic climate science (see here) or energy (see “here). He makes up crap entirely (see “Muller makes up story about Al Gore, Ralph Cicerone, and polar bears”). And he can’t help libeling real climate scientists, like Michael Mann (see here). As Mann writes, “Anyone who thinks that Richard Muller has any credibility at all should see this recent video report by Peter Sinclair, which shows him clearly lying about the science and the scientists. There is no room for such dishonesty when it comes to discussions of science.” Many other climate scientists have shared similar views with me.
  2. Judith Curry is one of the most debunked climate scientists in the country (see Schmidt and Annan and Steig andVerheggen, and CP for starters).

But the rest of the team — including lead scientist Robert Rohde and the incomparable Arthur Rosenfeld (Former California Energy Commissioner) — apparently kept them in line.

In any case, there’s no real need for anyone to cite their work because it just confirms what has been in the literature for many years — the planet is warming fast as we know through multiple lines of evidence, including the well-vetted surface temperature record.

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