Jul 29 2012

Berkley Players’ Theater Of The Absurd

Published by at 12:45 pm under All General Discussions,Global Warming

Lord Mockton does a scientific smack-down on the apparent PR stunt that is the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature Project.  The BEST Project is devoid of science and full of theater for the scientifically challenged. In an absurd announcement this weekend, the man playing the lead role as an AGW skeptic-turned-IPCC-groupie, Professor Muller has concluded his initial faux resistance to Al Gore’s siren song was all wrong, and in fact humanity has caused the last 250 years of warming (coming in at a ho-hum 1.5° C, or a tortoise blazing pace of 0.06° C/decade). How did he come to this stunning conclusion (as opposed to the more obvious conclusion the Earth warmed from the Little Ice Age – the coldest cold snap since the last glacial period)? Here is the basis for his new Chicken Little suit:

The greatest error in the Berkeley team’s conclusion is in Dr. Müller’s assertion that the cause of all the warming since 1750 is Man. His stated reason for this conclusion is this: “Our result is based simply on the close agreement between the shape of the observed temperature rise and the known greenhouse gas increase.”

No Classically trained scientist could ever have uttered such a lamentable sentence in good conscience.

Pure idiocy.  Sounds like something akin to the Scientology of Neurosurgery. Want to know what happens when people draw bold conclusions from a casual and shallow glance at data? This is what happens:

In the Challenger accident, it was the dismissal of classic and prudent engineering and science that led to a horribly wrong conclusion. A casual glance at existing test data, some wild extrapolations by people who had a desired outcome, and you end up with 7 dead American heroes. One of the reasons I have zero tolerance for the crap that passes as science in the Church of Al Gore/IPCC climate science is the fact it is an insult to real scientists and engineers who are held to standards of proof, confidence and error analysis that AGW fails on its face. It is this politicized posing as science/engineering that ends up in disaster that is repulsive. For Challenger, people wanted to explore the universe, for IPCC they want to save the planet. Both illustrate why motive needs to remain out of science and one must stick to provable, repeatable, and unambiguous facts.

Mockton applies the true scientific method to tear into what has to be a grand PR stunt from the Berkley Players:

Natural variability, therefore, is sufficient to explain all of the warming since 1750. No other explanation is necessary. Accordingly, it is not legitimate to claim, as the Berkeley team claim, that in the absence of any other explanation the warming must be attributed to CO2. That claim is an instance of the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental logical fallacy of argument from ignorance. It is not sound science.

Dr. Müller’s assertion that fluctuations in solar activity are too small to have any effect on the climate is fashionable but erroneous. At the nadir of the Maunder Minimum, the 70-year period from 1645-1715, there were almost no sunspots. During that solar Grand Minimum, the Sun was less active than during any other similar period since the abrupt global warming that ended the last Ice Age 11,400 years ago. The weather was exceptionally cold both sides of the Atlantic: the Hudson in New York and the Thames in London frequently froze over in the winter.

It is worth noting, in passing, that solar activity increased quite rapidly from the Grand Minimum of 1645-1715 to the Grand Maximum of 1925-1995, peaking in 1960, during which the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years.

I.e., solar behavior is linked to the last great cold snap in over 10,000 years, and the warming that followed. The Little Ice Age’s passing is still occurring. Why is this not the true reason for the warming that has not even returned us to the warmth of the Medieval and Roman Warm periods?

Since CO2 emissions have risen at a record rate during the past 15 years, it necessarily follows that the failure of the planet to warm at all over that period points to a natural influence strong enough to overcome – at least temporarily – the rather weak warming effect of the large additional volume of CO2.

What might that natural influence be? Step forward the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a naturally-occurring warming and cooling cycle. In 1976, the PDO switched suddenly from its cooling to its warming phase. Global temperature rose rapidly till late in 2001, when the PDO switched just as suddenly to its cooling phase, since when there has been no global warming.

I.e., Muller’s lazy eyeballing of data aside, there are recurring, cause-effect, historic correlations between the temperature record and the PDO that align with the temp record – where CO2 levels have diverged. Doh!

The global temperature anomalies since 1850, compiled by the Hadley Centre for Forecasting, show three periods of warming that lasted more than a decade: 1860-1880; 1910-1940; and 1976-2001. … Yet in all three periods the warming was at the same rate: just 0.17 C° per decade.

Conclusions: CO2 levels have been rising, but  temperature is not since the last POD chamge. Temperature is following the PDO cycle, showing the same response every time – meaning that can be NO measurable human effect on global temperature since it is now the same as prior to the industrial revolution.

But even more than this, where’s the beef?

Every biologist is familiar with the concepts of evolution and adaptability, as well as reality of ecosystem and population dynamics and resilience. Since every day we experience temperature changes much larger than 0.6°C (the century rise claimed by Muller and his band) – not to mention the range we experience over a year -  it is obvious this barely measurable (and I would argue this resolution at a global scale is in fact impossible) rise is not signaling the end of humanity or life on Earth.

So even if true, why panic? Like I said, theater of the absurd.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Berkley Players’ Theater Of The Absurd”

  1. Layman says:

    Great piece AJ. I originally came to your site because I liked the simple down to earth way you debunk the AGM myth. When it comes to climate science I am untrained (hence, Layman) and I appreciate direct, straightforward, easy to understand analyses. I’ve always thought that it folly for some men to believe that the actions of humans can overcome nature (on a planetary level). Tides, volcanic activity, ocean currents, and that great big glowing yellow ball in the sky efftect our climate globally, not man, although we can make minor changes on a local level, i.e. pollution or urban heat sinks (UHS).

    Speaking of UHS, have you had a chance to look at the paper put out Friday by Anthony Watts, et al on Watts UP With That? almost all US temperature data is compromised by HHS and when adjusted (using the methodology created by the “experts”) there is no warming in the US. And if there is no warming in the US then how can there be “Global Warming”?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/#more-68286

  2. AJStrata says:

    Layman, Reading the paper now. Had a rare day off!

  3. Layman says:

    AJ: I think page 52 of the Powerpoint preso might be a good figure to import. I think it shows the single biggest point of this analysis, i.e. NOAA is artificially bumping up (adjusting) the data to show significant warming when very little exisits.

  4. [...] quirky poseurs playing a role to hide their inner beliefs (see Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, Professor Muller of the BEST and Barack Obama for examples). But once exposed, they will be rejected by the Tea Party [...]