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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Monday, October 31, 2011

Media Lies about BEST Study

Timothy Birdnow

We all know the climate change alarmists are liars, but this really takes the cake. This morning, the AOL welcome page had a Huffing and Puffing Post piece with blaring headlines "Global Warming Skeptic Now Agrees Climate Change is Real!" Surprised at this (as the change is invariably away from alarmism) I opened the article.

Who is being touted but Richard Muller. Muller, the man at the center of what is fast becoming a new Climategate scandal.

Muller's own co-author Judith Curry is beside herself at the way Muller and his BEST project have cherry picked data, and the data actually shows a complete standstill in planetary temperatures.

According to the Huffing piece;

"The Associated Press contacted Curry on Sunday afternoon and she said in an email that Muller and colleagues "are not hiding any data or otherwise engaging in any scientifically questionable practice."

But this is a direct quote from Judith Curry;

'As for the graph disseminated to the media, Curry said: 'This is “hide the decline] stuff. Our data show the pause, just as the other sets of data do. Muller is hiding the decline...To say this is the end of scepticism is misleading, as is the statement that warming hasn't paused. It is also misleading to say, as he has, that the issue of heat islands has been settled'

Now, Judith Curry DID walk it back a bit, in that she said Muller didn't purposely obfuscate but that the data shows a clear decline - and that Muller's graph is misleading. She stopped short of calling it purposeful malfeasance. Yet that is not the impression the Huffpo piece leaves.

In fact, Muller's work buttresses the case against AGW; it clearly shows a temperature standstill.

In a follow up post, Curry has this to say about a meeting she had with Muller:

"First, Muller’s title for the WSJ op-ed was “Cooling the Warming Debate,” he intended it to be a conciliatory article regarding how this data set could be used to settle some of the debates surrounding the land temperature record. The “End of Skepticism” title was provided by the WSJ editors. Muller was not happy about this change of title.

Second, the reason for the publicity blitz seems to be to get the attention of the IPCC. To be considered in the AR5, papers need to be submitted by Nov, which explains the timing. The publicity is so that the IPCC can’t ignore BEST. Muller shares my concerns about the IPCC process, and gatekeeping in the peer review process."


"Re the recent trend, Muller reiterated that you can’t infer anything about what is going on globally from the land data, but the land data shows a continued increase albeit with an oscillation that makes determining a trend rather ambiguous. He thinks there is a pause, that is probably associated with AMO/PDO. So I am ok with this interpretation.

With regards to the BEST data itself and what it shows. He showed me an interesting graph this is updated from the Rohde article, whereby the BEST data shows good agreement with the GISS data for the recent part of the record. Apparently the original discrepancy was associated with definition of land; this was sorted out and when they compared apples to apples, then the agreement is pretty good. This leaves CRU as an outlier."


"So all in all, I am ok with what is going on in the BEST project. The PR situation is still a problem, but the media aren’t helping here."

End excerpts.

So Muller has hardly changed his mind, becoming a True Believer. Yet that is precisely how the media is reporting it.

This is a classic leftist trick used by the media; make an outlandish statement, knowing it is untrue (they claim, for instance, that Curry said the data was sound, and that it supports warming) and knowing it will be overturned, but give the casual reader a false impression. They know the truth will not be covered in the media, so when it does come out they can quietly admit error (or not) and nobody will ever hear.

If this doesn't turn the alert observer away from AWG nothing will. Science doesn't have to lie.

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