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« Academic freedom for me, but not for thee | Main | Duarté on Verheggen et al. »

BEST bet on a tie

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project have reported their results for 2014:

The global surface temperature average (land and sea) for 2014 was nominally the warmest since the global instrumental record began in 1850; however, within the margin of error, it is tied with 2005 and 2010 and so we can’t be certain it set a new record.


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Reader Comments (47)

Exactly what places are they using to get this average and how close together are they. Also are they using the same places and 'fixes' as they did for previous years because if they don't then we can all see the usual stitch-up that CliSci uses to keep the gravy train rolling.

Jan 15, 2015 at 9:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

"constructed an estimate"

Says it all to me.


Jan 15, 2015 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Another way to look at this is BEST announcing the 'pause' has lasted at least since 2005 in their temperature record while WMO is still denying the 'pause' even exists. Lovely kerfuffle. This must be why SKS puts Richard Mueller on the same misinformers list as Judith Curry. And here I thought it was because of his 'hide the decline' Berkeley lecture on YouTube.

Jan 15, 2015 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

"The'margin'of'uncertainty'we'achieved'was'remarkably'small'(0.05'C'with'95%' confidence).""

I don't recall, as I was leaning over the side of a ship in a howling gale getting a bucket of water to dip the thermometer in, anyone shouting down from the Bridge, " Cadet, make sure you read that thermometer to the nearest 0.05 of a degree so that The Berks can spout utter bullcrap in 45 years time about the margin of error."

Jan 15, 2015 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

This is as opportune time as any to ask.
Why reduce the entire globe to a single temperature value? It doesn't answer any but the broadest of questions.

It makes a little more sense to me, to measure each hemisphere independently to the other. We know each pole is the opposite of the other. Each ocean drives the weather almost independent of the other earth locals.

I would be very interested in seeing if/how the temperatures oscillate with each other. Relationships could be more easily derived with other world patterns. PDO, El Nino etc.

It might be even more interesting to break the globe into weather regions. I'm not sure if this is possible. But seeing how temperatures relate to dominant weather patterns in a region seems like a far more useful metric than a single value for the entire globe.

Jan 15, 2015 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

Greg, Berkeley data has hemispheric and other regional divisions for land data. It also has grided data from where you can extract any region:

Jan 15, 2015 at 9:49 PM | Registered CommenterPatagon

"Greg, Berkeley data has hemispheric and other regional divisions for land data"

... but you won't see those on TV.


Jan 15, 2015 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

"2014 was nominally the warmest since the global instrumental record began in 1850" ... so what?

So what that natural variation has produced the warmest year on record?

Jan 15, 2015 at 10:06 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

"2014 was nominally the warmest since the global instrumental record began in 1850"

Does that mean that the instruments that were used in 1850 are as accurate as those used now? Bollocks, I've got a replica Fitzroy Barometer, and the thermometer is only graduated in single degrees, not 100ths of a degree.

Jan 15, 2015 at 10:37 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

'optiize'. Somewhere a proofreader's going to get a pinch.

Also, Top 10 warmest years. Why not Top 25? Top 50? The instrument record goes all the way back to 1850. That's 165 years ago. I am interested to see the whole list cos I'd like to know when the most recent 'hottest year ever' happened that was pre-1980. Can't seem to find it on BEST site. Maybe Mosher can help.

Jan 15, 2015 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterWB

From certainty, to possibility, to insinuation. This is the trend.

Jan 15, 2015 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Meanwhile, if the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice continues to grow at its current record rates, I am 100% confident that polar bears will be salmon fishing in Scottish rivers, and penguins will be serving hot drinks to frozen whale watchers on Copacabana Beach.

In ten years time, children in the UK won't understand why we used to eat icecream.

Jan 15, 2015 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@ MikeHaseler

It isn't natural variation, it's MAN MADE variation, by fiddling, adjusting and using computers in GIGO mode.

Maybe 0.05 ± 0.1 - climate "science" shown to be devoid of logic, common sense, integrity and any science.

Jan 16, 2015 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

"Nominally the warmest" is a lot better than claiming it's the warmest. Not bad, considering the source.

Jan 16, 2015 at 1:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Have they made their data available for download anywhere?

Jan 16, 2015 at 3:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

Yep the temp thing was always PR not science
- Notice how an upward trend was trumpeted in the media cos that was different from what "selected scientists" said was normal. That "the selected scientists" then said that science was settled and that an upward trend is the new "man made" normal. Yet when the realworld trend moved away from this normal ..somehow this is NOT worth trumpeting in the media !!
- But global temperature never did really matter much anyway as it was just a proxy (the trend for the state of the energy in climate system) for a proxy (the state of the energy in climate system in 50 years time)
- The Bottomline : what REAL WORLD matters is whether in 50 years time the potatoes grow or not.
(and on average across the planet, cos one particular spot could be in a natural 7 year cyclical drought).
Doesn't matter the date of the first day of spring or autumn really. It doesn't matter if the next year is 2C different from the previous year..Doesn't really matter the number of penguins or polar bears or's just whether the potatoes grow or not.

Jan 16, 2015 at 4:12 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The planet has been warming for the past 300 years since the Little Ice Age, when would the warmest years be?

Jan 16, 2015 at 4:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterClive08

Given the Bishop's frequent appeals to statistics, and the appointment of a mining statistician to oversee the GWPF, one awaits their reckoning what chance there is of the three warmest years in a period of 16 decades falling in its last ten years?

BEST's principle has given the matter enough thought to adduce an explanation.

Jan 16, 2015 at 6:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Temperature is an intensive variable. Enough said.

Jan 16, 2015 at 6:39 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Slightly OT. Is it true that if you go back and look at each of NOAA's state of the climate reports for previous years and then re-run their data the divergence between the published report for the year and what the data reports gets bigger with each passing year as the data gets re-adjusted?

Jan 16, 2015 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF


Has news of the phenomenon of long-term persistence arrived at Harvard's physics department yet?

Jan 16, 2015 at 8:14 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

It does suspiciously sound like they are seeking out press attention. Press attention can translate into financial gain. I'm sure they would be unimpressed with such an observation, though.

Jan 16, 2015 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

Then why was the US the 38th warmest? Was the UK measured from the IOW why did they not lead with the story about the 38th in the US. Pure rubbish.

Jan 16, 2015 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterFred Sage

Is "Statistics" different in the mining industry from in other fields?
We know it is in climate science because they make it up as they go along and they need a proper statistician to show them where they've ****ed up.

Jan 16, 2015 at 8:54 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Jan 16, 2015 at 6:08 AM | Russell

You forgot the bit about a warming trend for 16 decades (and more). Given the context, recent warm years aren't surprising.

Jan 16, 2015 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

'The global surface temperature average for 2014 was the warmest since the global instrumental record began ''
That is the headline they know is going to come out of this , they shoot they score .

Odds on next year we see the same claim regardless of the actual facts ?

Jan 16, 2015 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Jan 16, 2015 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Exactly, we appear to be in a warmer era in more recent times which we can see goes back into the 1700's at least. It would be more interesting to try and find some better evidence of how this compares with other warmer periods during the Holocene (and other times). I'm just about to move from the UK->Tropics - so I'm potentially looking at >30 degrees of global warming in under 12 hours, I assume that will be fairly disastrous.

Jan 16, 2015 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Only the satellite records are useful post-1979. The other records were only ever meant to estimate temperatures before 1979 and based on the pathetic state of sea surface temperature records that are responsible for 70% of the globe it is a very poor estimate indeed.

That so much media attention is paid to the Best, Hadley and Giss datasets that seem only to include adjustments that always increase the warming trend rather than reduce it - an unlikely scenario to put it mildly - merely tells us that the desired policy is driving the 'science'.

Jan 16, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Heya. I don't mean to be all self-promoting, but this post made me look at a couple things so I figure you guys might be interested in what I came up with. People who know me know I've never been impressed by the BEST project, but I think everyone should be able to agree if BEST wants to publish its conclusions for 2014, it ought to publish its results for 2014.

And when it does so, it really ought to keep a copy of its old results available for people to look at. As it stands, there have been at least four different versions of BEST's global land record, and BEST makes no effort to allow people to compare them.

Heck, I'm not even sure some of the results it used for its published papers are actually available on its site anymore.

Jan 16, 2015 at 10:18 AM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Russell stumbles over attribution. The higher the sensitivity, the colder we would now be without man's beneficial, and fortuitous, intervention.

Jan 16, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

When did "warm" become a bad word?

Every dictionary reference I can find seems to imply that being warm is a universally good thing, except when something is supposed to be hot.

Jan 16, 2015 at 11:27 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

You know there is a Pause because the propaganda switched from rates of increase to the latest value relative to previous values. Even if temperatures start to fall the latest value will continue to be amongst the highest "since records began" for many decades.

Jan 16, 2015 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Be careful what you wish for , Bish-

It's hard for a physicist to listen to an erstwhile skeptic's appeal to 'long term persistence' without recalling what Sir John Maddox did to homeopathic claims of long term persistence in 'memory water '

But we digress- best let BEST 's lead investigator speak for himself.

Jan 16, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Going to be reported on the BBC website, is it..?

Thought not.

Off-topic but related - can't remember the source of the quote but I think you'll like it:

'Statistics is the career choice of those who cannot stand the excitement of chartered accountancy...'

Jan 16, 2015 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Are we talking about this Richard Muller?

"I was never a skeptic [...] I never felt that pointing out mistakes qualified me to be called a climate skeptic."
- Richard Muller, 2011

Jan 16, 2015 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphcconception

We are still in the warming phase of the Holocene. Every year, every decade, every thirty year climate cycle should, on average be a record warm temp. Why do warmists get giddy over warm record temps as proof of cAGW and why do skeptics get so defensive???

Jan 16, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterO2bnaz2

"...adjustments that always increase the warming trend rather than reduce it - an unlikely scenario to put it mildly - merely tells us that the desired policy is driving the 'science'.

Jan 16, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

But they do reduce past temperatures. If we wait a few years then GISS for this year may well be adjusted down again, conveniently making some lebensraum for a new "record". It has happened before, as many point out. It's a card that can be played almost indefinitely if temperatures were to remain stable.

Jan 16, 2015 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

No , graphconception, , we are talking not of Richard Mueller, who makes perfect sense of the data in question , but our eminent host , God grant him a good deliverance from credulity.

Jan 16, 2015 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

"We are still in the warming phase of the Holocene."

Hmmm. Why do you think this? No. Absent AGW as an external forcing the planet we would be in a cooling phase (say last 1000 years).

Related to topic some interesting graphics here.

Jan 16, 2015 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterOnbyaccident

As we start a new year, what are the prophets saying about this year? I guess the warmists are saying it will warm, with their fingers crossed, but apart from their models which surely have lost credibility by now, I have no idea what they really think. The solar people are predicting rapid cooling but perhaps not for a couple of years. Sceptics, I guess are saying that whatever it does, it will not match the warmist claims. Is that about right?

Judith Curry is saying that the hiatus may continue for a decade, maybe two. That surprised me, but only because I though our ever changing climate would not stay static for long.

It would be interesting for those of a polarised view on this site to have the courage of their convictions and put on the record what you think the temperature will be by the end of this year. Perhaps we need an agreed temperature for this year to get things going but I suspect that is more complicated than it sounds. Maybe His Grace will decide the criteria. This is really only going to be of interest if you think the change will be dramatic. Maybe no takers, then, which would tell us something.

Of course, those who get it completely wrong should be prepared to tell us what they thought and why it wasn't right. That would be the penalty.

Just a thought, but it could be serious fun, if that is not an oxymoron.

Jan 16, 2015 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Because of Sismic activity and tectonic plates movment you can't set a realistic set datum point for measuring sea levels.
Have to be the centre is the Earth relative to the centre of the Sun fixed point in space from that centre out to the ocean bed crust then to the level of the sea . It's like trying to calculate the volume of water in a bath attached to the roof of a car whilst driving over a broken cobbled streets in a earthquake in the middle of a bombing raid.

So polar ice melt water should measure it as increased volume in the oceans. So an extra 1 cm rise in sea level what is that in equivalent volume increase of oceans or tonage of polar ice melt or area in square Kms of coastal land loss remembering the land masses are not stable. Someone cleverer than me do the math

Jan 16, 2015 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Jamspid: that is a point I have tried to make at other times in the past. I have been involved with the measurement of liquid levels in containers on unstable platforms; even quite small containers can give a huge range of probable levels. Quite how the totally unconstrained surface of the sea can be measured to an accuracy of millimetres (about 1/25th of an inch) does seem to be a ridiculous premise, to me. It is an attempt to bamboozle people with pretentions of super-accuracy – utterly fallacious, but it allows the academics to feel good about themselves.

Jan 16, 2015 at 9:35 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Russell: what chance there is of the three warmest years in a period of 16 decades falling significantly below that predicted by the CMIP5 RCP4.5 model mean?

Jan 16, 2015 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterigsy

About the same as that of their falling below the Antikythera 2-D Analog Cosmos model mean, Igsy.

You go to the Bayesian Climate Wars with the priors you've got.

Jan 17, 2015 at 4:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Whatevever temp Obama wants NASA's Gavin Schmidt can deliver ...Steve Goddard says it's recent tampering that' s done it
.. He's put up 5 blog posts within last 48 hours about it..including : NASA/NCDC Fraud Released Right On Schedule
-- NASA's spiel makes me think they spend much more on PR agencies than the science ..FOIA that baby

Jan 17, 2015 at 9:43 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

So the volcanoes aren't cooling the planet then. Gosh this climate science stuff is so confusing.

Jan 17, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Mikky (Jan 16, 2015 at 11:57 AM): don’t be too sure of that. When the temperatures fell into the Little Ice Age, they plummeted. Should that happen, I suspect there will not be as much gloating about how beneficial the cold is as they are gloating over the supposed (and fallacious) harm that warming is doing.

Jan 18, 2015 at 4:50 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

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