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21 October 2011

FollowUp 4: Republican Denial of Climate Change

The vast majority of scientists have ascribed to climate change for a long time.  Most Republicans have relied on a small minority who either deny the research or a few who are merely skeptical.  One of the greatest skeptics was Richard A. Muller, a physicist who decided that he needed independent (under his own control) corroboration of the facts.  Dr. Muller set up Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) to analyze more than one and a half billions pieces of data and determine the real state of the climate.  The initial four papers from BEST were released for peer review yesterday.

The article in the Economist concludes that the Earth is warmingMother Jones magazine breaks it down with the following points

  • The earth is indeed getting warmer. Global average land temperatures have risen 0.91 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years. This is "on the high end of the existing range of reconstructions."
  • The rate of increase on land is accelerating. Warming for the entire 20th century clocks in at 0.73 degrees C per century. But over the most recent 40 years, the globe has warmed at a rate of 2.76 degrees C per century.
  • Warming has not abated since 1998. The rise in average temperature over the period 1998-2010 is 2.84 degrees C per century.
  • The BEST data significantly reduces the uncertainty of the temperature reconstructions. Their estimate of the temperature increase over the past 50 years has an uncertainty of only 0.04 degrees C, compared to a reported uncertainty of 0.13 degrees C in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
  • Although many of the temperature measuring stations around the world have large individual uncertainties, taken as a whole the data is quite reliable. The difference in reported averages between stations ranked "okay" and stations ranked "poor" is very small.
  • The urban heat island effect—i.e., the theory that rising temperatures around cities might be corrupting the global data—is very small.

BEST has all of their data and methodology available online (link above).  The surprise to skeptics is that the new data matches very closely to the data which was under scrutiny with "climategate".

It is time for Republicans to accept science.  The facts are apparent, even to those scientists who were once dubious.  Thanks to Talking Point Memo for the heads up.

1 October 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
10 October 2011, FollowUp 1.
11 October 2011, FollowUp 2.
17 October 2011, FollowUp 3.

27 October 2011, FollowUp 5.
30 November 2011, FollowUp 6.
29 January 2012, FollowUp 7.
15 February 2012, FollowUp 8.
18 February 2012, FollowUp 9.
2 March 2012, FollowUp 10.
11 March 2012, FollowUp 11.
4 June 2012, FollowUp 12.

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