Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Independent Berkeley Earth Study Confirms "Global Warming Is Real"

Oct 24: "Global warming is real," according to a major study by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, just released on October 20. According to a summary, despite issues raised by climate change skeptics, the BEST project finds reliable evidence of a rise in the average world land temperature. The team finds that "the global land mean temperature has increased by 0.911 ± 0.042 C since the 1950s (95% confidence for statistical and spatial uncertainties). This change is consistent with global land-surface warming results previously reported, but with reduced uncertainty."
    The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, an effort to provide an unbiased and independent analysis of global warming to prove or disprove its existence, has release four scientific papers setting out the main conclusions of the study to date (October 2011). The BEST project was created to make the best possible estimate of global temperature change using as complete a record of measurements as possible and by applying novel methods for the estimation and elimination of systematic biases. It was organized under the auspices of Novim, a non-profit public interest group. The papers have been submitted for peer review and cover the following topics: Statistical Methods; Urban Heat Island; Station Quality; and Decadal Variations. The BEST team is making the preliminary results public, together with the programs and data set in order to invite additional scrutiny as part of the peer review process.
    The team explains that existing data used to show global warming have met with much criticism. The BEST project attempts to resolve current criticism of the former temperature analyses by making available an open record to enable rapid response to further criticism and suggestions. The results include the best estimate for the global temperature change and the estimates of the uncertainties in the record. The team indicates that "science is nonpartisan and our interest is in getting a clear view of the pace of climate change in order to help policy makers to evaluate and implement an effective response. In choosing team members, we engage people whose primary interests are finding answers to the current issues and addressing the legitimate concerns of the critics on all sides. None of the scientists involved has taken a public political stand on global warming."
    The team indicates that the most important indicator of global warming, by far, is the land and sea surface temperature record. This has been criticized in several ways, including the choice of stations and the methods for correcting systematic errors. The BEST study sets out to do a new analysis of the surface temperature record in a rigorous manner that addresses this criticism. It uses over 39,000 unique stations, which is more than five times the 7,280 stations found in the Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly data set (GHCN-M) that has served as the focus of many climate studies. The team's aim is to resolve current criticism of the former temperature analyses, and to prepare an open record that will allow rapid response to further criticism or suggestions.
    The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project has the following objectives: (1) To merge existing surface station temperature data sets into a new comprehensive raw data set with a common format that could be used for weather and climate research; (2) To review existing temperature processing algorithms for averaging, homogenization, and error analysis to understand both their advantages and their limitations; (3) To develop new approaches and alternative statistical methods that may be able to effectively remove some of the limitations present in existing algorithms; (4) To create and publish a new global surface temperature record and associated uncertainty analysis; and (5) To provide an open platform for further analysis by publishing our complete data and software code as well as tools to aid both professional and amateur exploration of the data.
    The project is funded from grants and donations. A complete list of donors and the amounts that they contributed is available on the BEST website. The project has received financial support totaling more than $600,000 from the Folger Fund, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates), the Bowes Foundation, the Koch Foundation, and the Getty Foundation. Together, the people who created these organizations span a wide range of political views. Also, the project has received funding from a number of private individuals, totaling $14,500 at this time. All donations were provided as unrestricted educational grants and donors have no influence over the methodology or the published results. The results have now been made public and will be presented with full transparency, and the data are available to those who wish to carry out their own analysis.

    Access a 2-page summary of results (click here). Access the BEST website for complete background, FAQs and related information (click here). Access links to the 4 papers, data sets, summaries, charts, and more (click here). Access the complete list of donors (click here). [#Climate]