Global surface temperatures………Credit: Berkeley Earth Project
The Global Warming controversy is ended. Right.
Take a look at the graph above. It shows the results of global temperature measurements over a span of some 100-200 years as compiled by four groups: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), United Kingdom Meteorology Office Climatic Research Unit (hadCRU), and the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project. Notice that the graph lines are almost identical and they all show a strong trend in global warming.
This is not exactly news, is it? No, but one line in the graph of particular interest is from a report that is making its way toward official release. It’s important because the data for that line on the graph is from those skeptical of scientific measurement of global warming. The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project was begun by University of California physics professor Richard Muller, a man highly critical of the manner in which climate scientists were gathering and manipulating their data. Initial project funding included sources that generally contribute to climate change denial. Muller’ stated goal was to establish an independent source of climate data that would be thoroughly vetted for bias and error.
The Berkeley team, ten scientists led by Robert Rohde, a specialist in climatology with large data sets, included Saul Perlmutter, this year’s Nobelist in physics. The goal was to assemble a merged set of climate data from surface weather stations, check it for various errors, bias, or other distortions, analyze it with new and existing statistical methods, and provide public access to all the data and results. The result of the multi-year project is a database of 1.6 billion records of climate data, and a report that is now available at the website [Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature], which is heading for peer review and publication. Though not final, this is the official report.
The report is based on data collected from about 40,000 weather stations around the world. It will be difficult to impugn the source, as the Berkeley project explicitly stated that the quality of weather station reporting was sufficiently reliable and more importantly did not reflect the contention that modern ‘urban heat islands’ (the heat generated by cities and roads) affected a significant number of measurements. I would say that this data was also subjected to scrupulous statistical analysis, although that will have to wait for the peer review process to be validated. The essential results, in the words of Dr. Muller:
“Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK,” said Professor Muller. “This confirms that these studies were done carefully and that potential biases identified by climate change sceptics did not seriously affect their conclusions.”
[Source: BBC News]
The findings of the Berkeley project agree that the global temperature has increased 1 degree Celsius since 1950 and the trend is up. In short, global warming is real.
So here we are in 2011, more than twenty years after the first warnings about the rise in global temperatures, and most people in the United States still think there is no global warming. The Republican Party has virtually enshrined climate change denial as part of its platform. At the same time, the U.S. military is planning for the effects of global warming on world politics and conflict. The energy industry is preparing a full-scale development of the Arctic petrochemical fields as the ice recedes, and plans are already in motion for shipping routes through the Arctic seas. Many countries, especially island states around the world, are making plans for rising coastal waters. This is what some like to call cognitive dissonance, the discrepancy between what people choose to believe and what is actually happening around them.
Will the addition of one more global warming report, albeit from a group inclined to be skeptics, have an impact? Watch your favorite media outlets. Will the results be highlighted? Will they be mentioned even once? Then judge for yourself.