A journalist takes objective look at global warming

For the past week there has been a new spat of articles written about human caused global warming, instigated by an op-ed (subscription required) written by scientist Richard Muller in the New York Times, where he wrote:

Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream press has jumped on this op-ed and the public release of new data by Muller’s team as further proof that the debate over global warming is settled and we should all bow to our governmental overlords and agree to any regulations they propose to save the planet.

Not so fast.
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Another global warming scientist is accused of hiding the decline

The lead scientist in a recent climate study has been accused of hiding the fact that the global temperature has been flat for more than a dozen years.

The new study, led by Richard Muller, had taken raw land data and re-analyzed it in an attempt to clear up the doubts caused by the climategate scandal. In an announcement last week, Muller claimed that their work had proven that the climate had been warming continuously since 1950.

Now, another climate scientist, Judith Curry, has accused Muller of failing to point out that his same re-analysis had also shown that climate temperatures have been totally flat for the past 13 years, even as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise. As Curry told the Daily Mail, “This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting. Whatever it is that’s going on here, it doesn’t look like it’s being dominated by CO2.”

Curry is also accusing Muller of going to the press to spin the results in favor of global warming, before the research was complete.
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An independent study of climate suggests the climate has warmed 0.9 degrees Celsius since 1950

An independent study of land temperature records by a team led by Richard Muller concludes that the climate has warmed 0.9 degrees Celsius since 1950.

Does this prove that human-caused global warming is happening? No, not even close. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed, and others have not yet been able to duplicate its results. Also, a warming trending since 1950 can be caused many things, and it is only a very short snapshot of a vastly longer movie.

Nonetheless, it does appear that real science (open data, honest analysis, and a willingness to entertain opposing viewpoints) is beginning to return to the field of climate research. For this we should celebrate.