LJWorld.com weblogs Dangerous Ideas
Global Warming: The Way Science Works.
You may not realize it but we are getting a good lesson about the way science works, or at least should work. The lesson involves an independent study of planetary temperature data designed to examine some of the global warming skeptic's concerns about the nature of the data used in previous studies on climate change. The new study was conducted by a group of scientists involved in a project called BEST- the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study.
Some of the study's conclusions include the following:
- The heat island effect in urban areas is not biasing the estimates of land surface temperature.
- Poor quality weather stations are also not biasing the global estimates of land surface temperature.
- Adding more temperature data gives results that are consistent with those in previous studies.
- The best fit to to the data-(BEST did not use traditional climate models but a correlational approach) are a model that combines volcanic activity (the effect by the way is to cool climate) and carbon dioxide concentration. Variation in solar input is NOT an explanatory factor in current climate trends.
The BEST group has submitted their analysis and results for publication and what is really admirable have opened up their data sets and analytical methods to public scrutiny. The study by the way was funded in part by the Charles Koch foundation.
Now it easy to say well we knew a lot of this stuff from current work-but an important aspect of science is the confirmatory aspect of science- it's what should enable us to gain confidence in our ideas-while others fall by the way side as not tenable. I don't expect these results to convince every one and they may also be flawed in ways that aren't immediately obvious. But maybe they will nudge the scientific and political debate to where we can have a serious talk about how to deal with global warming.
The BEST Website is at http://berkeleyearth.org/
There is also an interesting commentary from the study's principle investigator who has changed his mind and global warming and it's causes based on the results of the study.