Monday, August 6, 2012

Guest Post by JoNova: All About Herr Muller

By JoNova

The net is boiling this week. Richard Muller tried to get a momentum shift by releasing his big exaggerated news and falsely pretending to be a converted skeptic. The media soaked it up, but the blow-back has burnt them. (Thank you Richard!). Skeptics quickly pointed out he was a phoney skeptic, Anthony Watts released a massive study finally confirming what we've all known about thermometers in dodgy sites. Mullers's daughter (co-founder of BEST) turns out to have always been on the green gravy train. The BEST project appears to have been set up from the start for PR not science. Possibly Fairfax (the dogged one-eyed supporters of alarmism) have finally had a wake up call? For the first time ever, I was interviewed, David Evans got an article published, and to top it off, Fairfax was so embarrassed by the Muller story they pulled it from their sites. Read between the lines. Someone at Fairfax is realizing the climate story is not what they thought. A great week for skeptics! Big congratulations to Anthony Watts for a supreme effort. If you've missed the action, click on these headlines. :-)

It appears skeptics are getting to the Fairfax press (finally!) The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age both ran with Mullers claims of being a converted skeptic who found the world was warming (and the preposterous leap that "therefore" we were to blame). "I saw past the Hot Air on Climate" is gone (The SMH and The Age return a 404 error) The SMH even arranged triumphant artwork, the article was given a big splash. But hello, hello, those articles are disappearing down the memory hole. Presumably neither newspaper is proud of having been fooled by Muller -- the articles were so quickly blown away when skeptics pointed out that Muller was a fake skeptic, and that his results were highly dubious. (Special achievement award to Anthony Watts). It can't help that the other BEST co-founder turned out to have had a career consulting about carbon footprints and green schemes.

Today in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, for the first time, David Evans has been published in the Op-Ed section. Something is going on in those newsrooms...? This article, below, simply makes the point that the models amplify the direct effect of CO2 by a factor of three and that is where the most important uncertainties lie. This key factor in the debate -- which we cover repeatedly on this blog-- has virtually never been made before in these newspapers which are the major dailies for Australia's two largest cities. Any debate about the effects of CO2 needs to start with the fact that most of the warming in the models comes from amplification of humidity and clouds. If the models were right about water vapor, we would have found that missing hot spot. -- Jo PS: The SMH and The AGE have both closed comments already! Have they run out of electrons? Oh my? Or were they afraid the comments looked like a debate?

How independent is this project?  Would BEST have ever seriously published a study showing anything other than a scary warming trend? This is emblematic of how fans of Climate Change Scares present their efforts with half-truths -- lines that are technically "correct" but leave an impression that may be the opposite of the real situation. Elizabeth Muller is listed as "Founder and Executive Director" of the Berkeley Earth Team along with her father Richard Muller. But since 2008 it appears she's been earning money as a consultant telling governments how to implement green policies, how to reduce their carbon footprint and how to pick "the right technologies" - presumably meaning the right "Green" technologies. Mullers Daughter Elizabeth registered "GreenGov" in 2008.

Almost all the coverage of the Muller and BEST results confounds three different points, is poorly researched and mixes up cause and effect. Richard Muller is shamelessly promoting himself as something he is not, and his conclusions are nonsense on stilts that defy rational explanation. Everyone knows hot air rises off concrete, yet scores of people get befuddled by statistics. The maths-talk is irrelevant. If your analysis tells you that thermometers next to combustion engines and industrial exhaust vents is recording global warming — your analysis is bunk, and we don’t need a peer reviewed paper to say so. Muller’s three claims:

1.       He’s a converted skeptic. (Naked, demonstrably wrong, PR.)
2.      The world has warmed by 0.3C/decade. (He’s half right — he’s only exaggerating 100%.)
3.      That it’s mostly due to man-made emissions. (Baseless speculation.)

As far as public policies go the only point that matters is 3, but most of the conversation is about 1 and 2. Worse, most journalists and many so-called scientists think evidence for warming is the same as evidence that coal fired power stations did it. How unscientific. 1. He’s a converted skeptic. No he’s a dishonest alarmist.

What Anthony Watts and Evan Jones have revealed is breathtaking.
This new pre-print paper by Anthony Watts accomplishes so much. Assuming that no major problems are found, the pieces of the jigsaw fit and pass the common sense test. Yes, hot air rises off concrete.
1.       There goes half the warming trend. The most accurate thermometers in the right places are not recording high trends. High estimates come from combining good records with poor ones then adjusting that up.
2.      They show Muller and BEST's latest exaggerated claims of 1.5C are meaningless.
3.      They show that only class 1 and 2 stations (which are placed well, not next to concrete, car-parks, or air-conditioners) give reliable data and the warming trend from these stations is much lower than the warming trend from Class 3, 4 or 5 stations. It's what we always knew -- thermometers near artificial heat sources are measuring artificial warming, but it's not the global kind.
4.      Mueller, BEST, GISS, Hadley and all the others should have removed the data from poor stations entirely. No amount of statistical chicanery can correct the artificial warming effect no matter how you adjust, blend, or homogenize the data.
5.      Worse, the adjusted data shows an even warmer trend than the warmest and worst stations. That casts a very dark shadow indeed. How honest or impartial are the scientists who adjust data from stations with thermometers near air-conditioners and create more warming? Bad stations have been adjusted up, instead of down, and then the good stations were adjusted up to match the now-really-awful-bad ones. The stench of failure and a lack of dedication to the truth in on show...

You don't need a PhD to know that thermometers placed in car parks are not measuring global warming.

Cheers from Jo

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