Feeds

Massive study concludes: 'Global warming is real'

Climate skeptics dealt 'clear and rigorous' blow

Remote control for virtualized desktops

A massively thorough study – funded in part by a pair of US oil billionaires who are opponents of climate-disruption remediation – has come to the conclusion that the earth is, indeed, warming.

In fact, it's warming just as much as more-limited studies conducted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the UK's Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Change said it was: about 1°C since 1950.

The study – the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project – was set up by a University of California astrophysicist who was concerned about the "climategate" dustup over email messages hacked from the UK's University of East Anglia (UEA) that led many observers to believe that climate data had been fudged to exaggerate global warming.

The core of UC Berkeley scientist Richard Muller's concern was not, however, that the UEA scientists were getting a raw deal; in his opinion they had brought the worldwide criticism upon themselves.

"I was deeply concerned that the group [at UEA] had concealed discordant data," Muller told BBC News. "Science is best done when the problems with the analysis are candidly shared."

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project results

The BEST project's results conform closely to those determined by less-rigorous studies (source: BBC)

Muller gathered together a group of 10 prominent scientists – among them recent Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter – to creat BEST. Funding was provided by such disparate sources as Bill Gates ($100,000) and the Koch foundation ($150,000), the latter accurately described by the foundation managing the funding as an organization "whose animosity towards action on climate change made the Berkeley project look yet more suspicious to some climate-change activists."

The BEST team, however, had a stated goal of neither proving nor disproving global temperature increases. As expressed by project cofounder Elizabeth Muller, Richard's daughter, the goal was to conduct an analysis so data-rich and objective that it would "cool the debate over global warming by addressing many of the valid claims of the skeptics in a clear and rigorous way."

The "valid claims" didn't survive.

For one, skeptics have charged that previous studies were done with selective data sets, but BEST lead scientist Robert Rhode points out that his team's analysis "is the first study to address the issue of data selection bias, by using nearly all of the available data, which includes about five times as many station locations as were reviewed by prior groups."

The data set was large, indeed: temperature data was gathered from 39,028 sites, collected by 10 different sources, resulting in 1.6 billion data points.

Another objection that has been raised is that temperature observations over the decades have been influenced by sensors being encroached upon by human development – the "urban heat island" (UHI) effect. The BEST analysis, however, found this effect to be negligible at best.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.