Last updated on 2011.05.05
The oil-magnate Koch Brothers have been pouring money into the Berkeley Earth Science Temperature project to find the flaws in the science underlying the general consensus about climate change. On March 31, lead researcher and climate science skeptic Richard Muller reported to the House Science and Technology Committee that, from the 2% of the data they've reviewed so far, the Berkeley project is finding that Muller and the Kochs are wrong and that prevailing climte science is right:
...Muller unexpectedly told a congressional hearing last week that the work of the three principal groups that have analyzed the temperature trends underlying climate science is "excellent.... We see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups."
...Anthony Watts, a former TV weatherman who runs the skeptic blog WattsUpWithThat.com, wrote that the Berkeley group is releasing results that are not "fully working and debugged yet.... But, post normal science political theater is like that."
Over the years, Muller has praised Watts' efforts to show that weather station data in official studies are untrustworthy because of the urban heat island effect, which boosts temperature readings in areas that have been encroached on by cities and suburbs.
But leading climatologists said the previous studies accounted for the effect, and the Berkeley analysis is confirming that, Muller acknowledged. "Did such poor station quality exaggerate the estimates of global warming?" he asked in his written testimony. "We've studied this issue, and our preliminary answer is no."
I suspect the Koch brothers are just playing a trick on us. They assembled a team of sloppy scientists. Muller and his team will report that their analysis of climate science data affirms the consensus. The Kochs can then turn around and say their scientists are rotten, which naturally disproves everything they say. Presto! Climate science denial saved!
Never mind the spectacle of the deniers cutting loose Muller and other scientists whom deniers have viewed as authoritative when the scientists say things that affirm the deniers' failing worldview.
Arguably related: Undergraduate number crunchers at Hamilton College find that liberals make more accurate predictions than conservatives.