Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

Summary: A respected physicist and climate-change skeptic from the University of California, Berkeley, set out to prove global warming theorists wrong and winds up verifying the warming trend.

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TOPICS: Big Data
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Several major newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, have published columns and editorials over the past week inspired by new research into global warming by a team led by Richard Muller, a physicist from the University of California at Berkeley.

Muller, who has been an avowed skeptic of climate change and global warming arguments, set out to prove the data wrong. Instead, he has published an essay in The Wall Street Journal that pulls no punches about its findings.

"Global warming is real," Muller wrote in his column for the WSJ discussing his findings. "Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that."

Muller's article discusses in fine detail all the reasons why both scientists and the general public have a right to be skeptical, including what he describes as the "largely awful" data quality that is collected by the temperature stations around the United States. The margin of error at 70 percent of those stations, Muller figured, is between 2 degrees and 5 degrees Celsius. What's more, instruments have changed over time and the local environments have changed. All that makes the data questionable, Muller admitted in his WSJ column.

That's why Muller and his team took a different approach, collecting more than 1.6 billion measurements from 39,000 stations around the world. That approach revealed the following: one-third of the world's temperature stations have recorded cooling temperatures, while two-thirds have recorded warming ones. This ratio reflects global warming, Muller wrote: "The changes at the locations that showed warming were typically between 1 degree to 2 degrees Celsius, much greater than the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]'s average of 0.64 degrees Celius."

Muller's team also focused on assessing the impact of so-called urban heat islands (an issue often raised by climate-change skeptics) by using satellite readings to analyze temperature trends for "very rural" locations versus "urban" locations. The analysis mapped closely to the temperature increases reported by other research groups, Muller wrote.

The new data has been submitted for peer review, so it has not been independently verified, but Muller's background as a skeptic certainly lends an aura of credibility to its finding that "global warming is real."

What remains at issue, of course, is the human factor in all this. But as I have written many times before, does that really matter? What matters, to me, is how smart the current generation of humans can be at applying cleantech and other technologies toward halting or reversing that trend.

via The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal

Topic: Big Data

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  • RE: Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

    "What remains at issue, of course, is the human factor in all this. But as I have written many times before, does that really matter?"

    Really? If it's not manmade and highest modern temps (1998) are still lower than 1300 - why are we spending money, time, resources to combat it?
    vgrig
    • RE: Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

      @vgrig

      Exactly! Why try to stop doing something we have no idea has a causal effect? "Because it feels like the right thing to do" is just not good enough and certainly not to the tune of 3 or 4 trillion dollars
      justthinking
    • Spending time and resources...

      @vgrig ...and being asked to make negative changes in our lifestyles too. Meanwhile we have Mr. Al Gore living in his mansion, riding in limos and flying in private jets and saying "it's ok because I purchase carbon credits to offset all that". So Mr. Liberal and his cronies who claim to be "looking out for the little guy" are advocating policies like cap and trade and carbon credits that let the rich continue to live whatever lifestyle they like because they can afford carbon credits. The "liberals" who protest the "rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer" are the ones wanting to adopt these policies that ensure that will happen.

      Oh and by the way, Mr Gore is a partner in a company that trades in carbon credits. So he's advocating for policies that have a direct financial benefit to...wait for it...himself.
      cornpie
  • Collecting more bad data wont help anything.

    The data is still bad and the margin of error still high, especially for satelites. But it really deoesnt matter. The planet will warm and cool just like every other planet in every other solar system. The folly is to think we can do anything about it for any amount of money. We will do as 100's of millions of other species have done for 100's of millions of years. Adapt or die. This will be easy to adapt for, our extremely low tech forefathers did it with no problem. Quit wasting huge amounts of money on it that could be much better spent elsewhere.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Interesting title

    The vast majority of skeptics from the scientific community do not deny warming. What they are skeptical about it the role humans have played in the warming. So this strikes me as a non story.
    andrewjg
    • I agree. We can record temperature to back that.

      @andrewjg

      But is the rise in because of human continued use of fuels and such, or just a coincident that it's happening at the same time?
      William Farrell
      • That's just the point.

        @William Farrell No one knows and yet we have you know who going around saying "the debate is over". Well, no, darn it, the debate is NOT over.
        cornpie
      • When it comes to matters if scientific study

        The debate is never over. Anyone who says that one answer is absolutely correct has left the realm of science for religion. Plus, the earth warming could be great for mankind. No one knows for sure.
        LiquidLearner
      • RE: Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

        @William Farrell

        Umm, the rise coincides with the end of the Little Ice Age. So yes, it is a coincidence. In our previous history, when the planet's temp is warmer, its good for everyone. Plants, animals, and humans all benefit. When the planet gets cold is when people start starving because there isn't enough food and fighting breaks out. (the Vikings had to abandon Greenland previously when it got cold after the planet being warmer than today.)

        The question isn't why is the planet warming currently, it is why is the planet so cold currently when compared to say 70 million years ago when it was warmer?
        admiraljkb
    • Spot on, and

      @andrewjg What if anything can be done to reverse or slowdown any manmade warming.

      Heather, it does "really matter". Trillions of dollars are being wasted on technology that'll have not impact on any warming only to lower productivity and living standards.
      Richard Flude
      • RE: Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

        @Richard Flude Lowering our standard of living IS the point.
        MSFTWorshipper
  • STOP THE PRESSES!

    We're in a warming period. We've had warming periods and cooling periods before. The real crux of the debate is if man is responsible for it. And yet that was not discussed.
    itguy10
  • RE: Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

    Good reporting except that climate change is officially dead;
    occupywallstreet's list of demands does not include climate change because the scientists and the UN's IPCC are demanding "CO2 climate mitigation" in that we let the world banks fund corporate run CARBON TRADING MARKETS (ruled by politicians), manage the temperature of the planet Earth. However they "DO" stress we address the issues of energy and conservation of wildlife etc. but CO2 and climate change and greenhouse gasses are NOT mentioned. Finally, we have some responsible environmentalism.
    mememine69
  • RE: Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

    The academic practice of exaggerating a worst case scenario isn???t really lying because these lab coat consultants call it ???study??? and ???research? So even though climate change is not real, it???s not a lie to say it is real. In this madness of political correctness, the proof that Human???s CO2 is causing a climate crisis is held in high praise as ???consensus???. But everyone one of the thousands of consensus scientists all have a personal definition of climate change???s effects, NEVER the causes. Can you say consultant???s w#t dream? On the other side of the coin, all denier science deals only in proving that we are going to be causing a climate crisis and not the powers of the cosmos anymore. How many scientists to change a light bulb? None, but they do have consensus that it WILL change.
    mememine69
    • What is it going to take?

      @mememine69 <br>What is it going to take for you neo-cons to wake up?<br>You deny the science, even the fact that global warming is happening. Now, human activity and global warming is a "coincidence".

      I do not understand why you are so obtuse. The CO2 levels are at 100,000 year high and you think that this is just a normal cycle. Yes, on a 20 million year scale it is just a cycle. However, in the last 100,000 years there were several catastrophic climate events (like ice ages) that have made a large part of the world uninhabitable. Ice core samples suggest that these events happen very quickly,maybe 20 years. When the climate balance is tipped, bad things start happening.

      With global population at 7 billion, the prospect of food shortages could kill millions of people, cause wars and much worse. <br><br>Please THINK...
      prof123
    • RE: Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

      @mememine69
      Sorry, the opposite is the case, scientists are "conservatives" and state the most likely scenario, not the "worst case".
      gielsJ
  • The real agenda...

    is to alarm people so much that they will pass record carbon taxes and other environmentalist whacko agenda items to cripple our free market capitalism.
    MSFTWorshipper
  • RE: Climate-change skeptic turns skeptical about the skeptics

    Yup, if you want a reliable opinion on [b][i]climate[/i][/b], don't rely on [b][i]climatologists[/i][/b] or [b][i]meteorologists[/i][/b], rely on a [b][i]physicist[/i][/b]--'cause he was a skeptic.

    If you want information on how much smaller we can make integrated circuits before quantum effects dominate, don't ask a physicist, ask a climatologist.

    Certainly seems logical to [b][i]me[/i][/b] ...
    Rick_R
  • Anti-global Warming folks = 9/11 Truthers and Birthers

    It does not matter how much scientific data you provide, the 9/11 truthers will simply edit their arguments to reflect some other way in which the US caused 9/11. The most obvious example is when they first stated that steel melts at 1,600 degrees, so how did the towers collapse without an explosion. When you explain to them that the steel does not need to actually be at a molten temperature before it looses its tensile strength, they found some other thing to cling to. Likewise, AGW folks will cling to the smallest factoid such as one temperature reading out of tens of thousands, dismissing the remaining evidence out of hand.
    Your Non Advocate
    • Two things

      @facebook@...

      Skepticism is the core pillar of science. Scientists should never stop being skeptical and should question everything.

      The question is if we are having the impact some say we are. The buffalo hurds 200 years ago put out more "greenhouse" gasses than our cars do today. It's also been found co2 doesn't have the impact on warming that many thought it did a few years ago.

      Let me ask you this... Whatever happened to the hole in the ozone we were causing 20 years ago, that supposedly would have made it unsafe to go outside by now? Politicians use fear to push the people, man made global warming is likely another fear tactic. But unlike you I'll leave religion for church and continue to keep an open mind. Current climate simulations are woefully lacking.
      LiquidLearner