Year 2, Month 10, Day 24: I Pity The Fool

Erstwhile climate skeptic Dr. Richard Muller is changing his tune for the second time this year, reports the LA Times:

Remember when scientists who had cast doubt on global temperature studies boldly embarked on an effort to “reconsider” the evidence?

They have. And they conclude that their doubt was misplaced.

UC Berkeley physicist Richard Muller and others were looking at the so-called urban heat island effect — the notion that because more urban temperature stations are included in global temperature data sets than are rural ones, the global average temperature was being skewed upward because these sites tend to retain more heat. Hence, global warming trends are exaggerated.

Using data from such urban heat islands as Tokyo, they hypothesized, could introduce “a severe warming bias in global averages using urban stations.”

In fact, the data trend was “opposite in sign to that expected if the urban heat island effect was adding anomalous warming to the record. The small size, and its negative sign, supports the key conclusion of prior groups that urban warming does not unduly bias estimates of recent global temperature change.”

Researchers conclude that “[t]he trend analysis also supports the view that the spurious contribution of urban heating to the global average, if present, is not a strong effect; this agrees with the conclusions in the literature that we cited previously.”

The literature they cite is the basis for the conclusion that the Earth has been warming in an unnatural way during the period of human industrialization.

There is another version of this news published by the Wall Street Journal. The comments demonstrate the nut of my letter exactly. Sent October 20:

When scientists change their minds, it means they’ve learned something new and important. This would appear to be the case with Dr. Richard Muller, the no-longer-skeptical physicist from the University of California.

When ideologically driven politicians change their minds, on the other hand, it means they are trying to avoid learning something new. We now have the opportunity to watch this happen in real time, as conservative Republicans who have in the past regarded Muller as an important authority (because of his contrarian climate-change stance) will now rush to rebrand him as a liberal hippie treehugger whose opinions are irrelevant and unrealistic.

Having their most heartfelt beliefs continually undercut by inconvenient facts must be terribly difficult for conservatives. The GOP’s climate-denial cohort must be feeling terribly betrayed by Muller’s act of intellectual honesty. It almost makes one feel sorry for them.


Warren Senders

Ask me whatever you like, Artik, and I will do my best to answer. Are you a human being?

I like your fantastic blog!
Do you have a contact, I would love to ask you something?


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