Richard Muller of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California has gained a solid scientific reputation for his work in astrophysics and particle physics. He also has a reputation for not being afraid of wading into public policy debate. Although not a climate scientist, Muller has published peer reviewed papers that questioned elements of historical temperature data of climate change and is therefore considered a ‘credible’ sceptic.
An expert team was assembled (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project), to analyse historical temperature data since 1800 to address some concerns about the accuracy of the data. Funding came from a number of sources, including charitable foundations maintained by the Koch brothers, the billionaire US industrialists, who have also donated large sums to organisations lobbying against acceptance of man-made global warming.
Initial findings cover the following:
- The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project set out to address criticism to climate change data and present findings for more discussion.
- BEST looked at data from 15 sources totally 1.6 billion records dating back to the 1800s.
- Draft papers of BEST, which took into account issues from climate skeptics, found that after reanalysis there was no change in data.
- The Urban Heat Island effect — the effect that urban areas are warmer due to human activity — was specifically analyzed; BEST found it did not skew results of warming data.
Does this put an end to the arguments from the shrill and well-funded sceptical community? Probably not, but it does show that even under rigorous, independent analysis, the work of the climate scientists holds up and they did not distort their findings to support a particular agenda or policy.