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Climate Change: Study by Global Warming Sceptics Confirms That Global Temperatures Are Rising

Posted on the 21 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Climate change: Study by global warming sceptics confirms that global temperatures are rising

Climate debate is heating up with the publication of a new study. Photo credit: takver

A new, independent, comprehensive review of long-term weather records has concluded, in agreement with previous findings, that global temperatures are rising, and that they have risen to the tune of about 1°C in the last 50 years. What separates this study from previous investigations? It has been funded and spearheaded, in part, by scientists and organisations that have in the past been sceptical about the global warming phenomenon, particularly in the wake of ClimateGate.

The study, from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, specifically aimed to reassess the available data, and address the issues that climate change sceptics have criticised in the past. So does this latest development in the climate war finally put an end to the debate, or does the study offer no new conclusions?

Converting the sceptics. Lead author Richard Muller hoped the data will “win over those people who are properly sceptical”, reported Nature. Muller made a distinction between “sceptics” and flat-out “deniers”, who are unwilling to listen to reason. The study shows that the urban heat island effect, which causes temperatures in cities to be higher than rural areas, and which sceptics have claimed could contaminate temperature data, has no statistical effect on the temperature trends. The study also sought to deal with concerns of data fiddling and data “cherry picking”, which has in the past been accused of climate scientists.

Nothing new. Peter Cox, a professor at Exeter University, called the results “not exactly a surprise” in The Guardian, and dismissed the excitement over the study, which only confirms what most scientists already believed.

“It is surprising, however, that the authors believe that this news is so significant that they can’t wait for peer review, especially when their conclusions aren’t exactly revolutionary”, quipped Cox.

No peer-review. The peer review process is a cornerstone of scientific integrity, but BEST have released their findings publicly before they are subjected to the lengthy process. Muller defended this decision, saying it was “part of a long-standing academic tradition”, and hoping to get “much more feedback from making these papers public before publication.”

Missing the point. The New Scientist spoke to some prominent critics of climate science, and the general criticism was that this study is “concentrating on the wrong question.” There is increasingly little resistance to the idea that the planet is warming up, with most sceptics not disagreeing that the climate is changing, but just that it is humans that are causing it. David Whitehouse, science advice to Nigel Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (an institution that Bob Ward of The Guardian has some serious problems with) said, “Everybody agrees that the temperature has warmed.” The debate, it seems, will continue.

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