While Muller claims to be a converted sceptic, the real truth is that he was never a sceptic in the first place. While all the media hype surrounds the release of Muller’s data, Anthony Watts from Watts Up With That (WUWT) has exposed Muller’s data as questionable at best. The Anthony Watts paper is linked to in Andrew’s text below, but this is the link to the main Post at the WUWT site that explains how the Muller data cannot really be relied upon. Here in Australia, this Muller story, and the Anthony Watts expose are being covered by JoNova at this link…..TonyfromOz.
ABC Australia presenter Jon Faine today introduced Richard Muller as “one of the world’s leading climate sceptics” who had seen the light. The “champion” of Australian sceptics, who now are shattered by his defection. The guru who’d stopped Australia from accepting what the rest of the world had already concluded – that man was heating the world dangerously.
To his credit, Muller went some way in the interview to denying the billing, but not far enough.
But what was most telling was that Faine had clearly made no attempt to check his propaganda points against the facts. He asserted as fact what was false, and seized on what was useful but not true.
Of course, Faine is not the only warmist to seize on this Biblical metaphor of the Pauline conversion. The Age:
Climate results convert sceptic: ‘let the evidence change our minds’
What has caused the gradual but systematic rise in temperature? We tried fitting the shape to simple mathematical functions (exponentials, polynomials), to solar activity and even to rising functions like the world’s population. By far the best match was to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Just as important, our record is long enough that we could search for the fingerprint of solar variability, based on the historical record of sunspots. That fingerprint is absent.
How definite is the attribution to humans? The carbon dioxide curve gives a better match than anything else we have tried…. These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end scepticism, but they raise the bar…
I still find that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated or just plain wrong.
But let’s now check Faine’s claims against the facts. And as we do, consider: if Faine gets this so wrong, what else has he swallowed merely because it’s confirmed his warmist prejudices?
Richard Muller a sceptic?
In fact, here’s Muller last year:
“It is ironic if some people treat me as a traitor, since I was never a skeptic — only a scientific skeptic,” he said in a recent email exchange with The Huffington Post. “Some people called me a skeptic because in my best-seller ‘Physics for Future Presidents’ I had drawn attention to the numerous scientific errors in the movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ But I never felt that pointing out mistakes qualified me to be called a climate skeptic.”… For his part, Muller doesn’t dispute that human activity plays a large role, but the scientist in him remains uncertain of just how to quantify that…. “The IPCC says that ‘most’ of the 0.6-degree Celsius warming of the past 50 years is anthropogenic. If ‘most’ means between 0.3- and 0.6-degrees Celsius, then that is certainly within the realm of possibility.”
And Muller in 2003:
Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.
Muller was the “champion” and inspiration of Australian sceptics?
False. I’ve critically fact-checked his past claims but never quoted him in support of anything, and nor has any prominent Australian sceptic, to the best of my knowledge. (I did, however, once post a video of Muller discussing Climategate.) In fact, Muller was chosen by warming evangalist Anna Rose to put her side of the argument in I Can Change Your Mind About … Climate. Yes, he was the champion of … the warmists. The opposite of what Faine claims.
Muller’s findings have settled the argument?
False. The opposite.
For a start, there is fresh evidence that Muller’s BEST project relied on poorly sited weather stations which falsely doubled the extent of the rise in the US land temperature:
This pre-publication draft paper, titled An area and distance weighted analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends, is co-authored by Anthony Watts of California, Evan Jones of New York, Stephen McIntyre of Toronto, Canada, and Dr. John R. Christy from the Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama, Huntsville, is to be submitted for publication.
The pre-release of this paper follows the practice embraced by Dr. Richard Muller, of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project …
The USHCN is one of the main metrics used to gauge the temperature changes in the United States. The first wide scale effort to address siting issues, Watts, (2009), a collated photographic survey, showed that approximately 90% of USHCN stations were compromised by encroachment of urbanity in the form of heat sinks and sources, such as concrete, asphalt, air conditioning system heat exchangers, roadways, airport tarmac, and other issues…
All three papers examining the station siting issue, using early data gathered by the SurfaceStations project, …were inconclusive in finding effects on temperature trends used to gauge the temperature change in the United States over the last century….
Watts et al 2012 has employed a new methodology for station siting, pioneered by Michel Leroy of METEOFrance in 2010… Leroy 2010 adds one simple but effective physical metric; surface area of the heat sinks/sources within the thermometer viewshed to quantify the total heat dissipation effect…
Using Leroy 2010 methods, the Watts et al 2012 paper, which studies several aspects of USHCN siting issues and data adjustments, concludes that:
These factors, combined with station siting issues, have led to a spurious doubling of U.S. mean temperature trends in the 30 year data period covered by the study from 1979 – 2008.
Professor Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a former co-author with Muller:
Muller bases his ‘conversion’ on the results of their recent paper. So, how convincing is the analysis in Rohde et al.’s new paper A new estimate of the average surface land temperature spanning 1753-2011? Their analysis is based upon curve fits to volcanic forcing and the logarithm of the CO2 forcing (addition of solar forcing did not improve the curve fit.)
I have made public statements that I am unconvinced by their analysis… Land has warmed substantially more than the oceans; it does not seem that their same model would explain the ocean temperature changes…
No one that I listen to questions that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will warm the earth’s surface, all other things being equal. The issue is whether anthropogenic activities or natural variability is dominating the climate variability. If the climate shifts hypothesis is correct (this is where I am placing my money), then this is a very difficult thing to untangle, and we will go through periods of rapid warming that are followed by a stagnant or even cooling period, and there are multiple time scales involved for both the external forcing and natural internal variability that conspire to produce unpredictable shifts.
Maybe the climate system is simpler than I think it is, but I suspect not.. If the attribution problem was as simple as Muller makes it out to be (curve fitting to CO2 concentration), then why are others wasting all their time with complex modeling studies, data analyses etc as described above?
Jason Samenow, a meteorologist and warmist, says it for most of us:
Regarding this claim that the release of [Muller’s] results prior to official publication was an act of showmanship rather than science, Elizabeth Muller – co-founder and executive director of the Berkeley project and Richard Muller’s daughter – responded that the results were too important to withhold [until they were peer-reviewed] and that the pre-release invites greater opportunity for constructive feedback from colleagues…
The only difference between Muller’s results and the conclusions of the existing scientific assessment literature (such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is that Muller asserts “nearly all” of the recent warming is due to human activities over a longer timeframe whereas existing literature says “most” over a shorter timeframe. The claim that this single study was “too important” to hold back – especially in light of scores of other important studies which received no such pre-publication fanfare – reeks of arrogance on the part of the author team.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.