Archive for the ‘BEST’ Category

More BEST (but still not peer reviewed)

October 21, 2011

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:

"Comparison of the Berkeley Average to existing land-only averages reported by the three major temperature groups." The differences in the late 20th Century arise from different definitions of "land" used by the four groups - the paper says that global averages match better in this period but I couldn't see that figure in the papers - if it's not there, it'd be nice to add it.

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.

A little bit more on BEST and Watts

March 31, 2011

I wrote a short post recently about the hot air surrounding the new surface temperature record being compiled at Berkeley.

One of the issues was the data sample that was used in preliminary BEST analysis that was being discussed.

UPDATE (31/3/2011 11:58am): Carbon Brief have some graphs to show how similar the 2% sample is to NOAA, GISS and HadCRU.

It seems that Watts was mistaken about the 2% sample of BEST data being from Japan. He updated his post in the last few days:

“ERRATA: I made a mistake regarding the 2% figure, I misheard what was being presented during my visit with the BEST team at Berkeley. As many of you may know I’m about 80% hearing impaired and the presentation made to me was entirely verbal with some printed graphs. Based on the confidentiality I agreed to, I did not get to come back with any of those graphs, notes, or data so I had to rely on what I heard. I simply misheard and thought the 2% were the Japan station analysis graphs that they showed me.

I was in touch with Dr. Richard Muller on 3/28/2011 who graciously pointed out my misinterpretation. I regret the error, and thus issue this correction about the 2% figure being truly a random sample, and not just stations in the Japan test presentation shown to me.”

It’s just a shame that he didn’t notice the contradiction between the BEST statement (“random”) and his own understanding (“Japan”) before writing his post and shouting down commenters asking for clarification (i.e. “Ah I see you are immediately back to wasting everyone’s time…“).