Saturday, July 28, 2012

BEST to announce 2.5 F Warming Since 1750

Ron Bailey is now reporting that BEST's Richard Muller has an op-ed appearing in the New York Times saying that warming has been 2.5°F (1.4°C) since 1750 and 1.5°F (0.83°C) since 1950. The op-ed is said to conclude:
What about the future? As carbon dioxide emissions increase, the temperature should continue to rise. With a simple model (no tipping points, no sudden increase in cloud cover, a response to gases that is “logarithmic”) I expect the rate of warming to proceed at a steady pace, about 1.5 degree F over land in the next 50 years, less if the oceans are included. But if China continues its rapid growth (it has averaged 10% per year over the last 20 years) and its vast use of coal (typically adding one new gigawatt per month), then that same warming could take place in less than 20 years.
Expect the usual complaints that BEST is by-passing the peer review process and heading straight for maximum publicity. (That might be true if there were normal, typical science; clearly global warming, with its immense societal implications, left that domain about 20 years ago.) Their first studies, submitted for peer review to JGR Atmospheres in October 2011, haven't even appeared yet.

Added: You have to wonder about their attempts at attribution, though. Muller writes (or is said to  have written):
How definite is the attribution to humans? The carbon dioxide curve gives a better match than anything else we’ve tried. Its magnitude is consistent with the calculated greenhouse effect – extra warming from trapped heat radiation. These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism, but they raise the bar: to be considered seriously, an alternative explanation must match the data at least as well as does carbon dioxide....
Curve-matching doesn't sound very sophisticated...and you might wonder how it would include various other factors that could be in play at different periods: a warmer sun in the early 20th century, increased aerosols (and perhaps dust from atmospheric nuclear testing from 1945-1970s) mid-century, etc.

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