The BEST story rumbles on but still no peer reviewed results.
Instead, they’ve made 4 manuscripts available that have been submitted on their methods, the influence of the urban heat island, temperature records and stations quality for the US and global temperature variations (all 4 links go to pdfs).
This seems to be the key figure:
Here are a few interesting quotes from the papers after a very quick read. From the first paper:
This change [in global land mean temperature] is consistent with global land-surface warming results previously reported, but with reduced uncertainty.
I’d read this as GISS, NOAA and HadCRU being pretty much on the money but they’ve found the same thing using more data (the BEST record goes back to 1800, which is nice) and a different method.
From the second paper:
The small size, and its negative sign, [of the urban heat island effect] supports the key conclusion of prior groups that urban warming does not unduly bias estimates of recent global temperature change.
This pretty much confirms the recent work of Menne et al. (2010) and the Watts paper and will hopefully put this issue to bed. Indeed, the third paper, which specifically mentions Watts in the abstract in relation to SurfaceStations, then goes on to show that US station quality makes little impact on the recorded trend.
Paper four looks at the role of ENSO and the AMO in controlling decadal variability in the temperature data. This looks like the most interesting paper to me so I’ll have a closer look at that soon.
Overall, though, there doesn’t quite seem like enough material for 4 papers here. Maybe they’re trying to make it look like they’ve done more than re-re-re-confirm the results of other groups.