Saturday, October 22nd 2011, 3:44 AM EDT
The group's conclusions were clear - Earth's temperature IS rising. Their result also tallied with previous climate change studies
■ Analysis of all available historical data from weather stations and ships
■ Mathematically 'weighted' so researchers could include all data, even awkward results
■ World warmed by 0.911 degrees centigrade in last 50 years
■ Amalgamates results from 10 data archives
■ Research team includes Nobel-winning physicist
■ No conclusion on what has caused warming
The Earth is definitely warming up, a large-scale independent study has concluded.
The research by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group - which was largely composed of researchers new to climate science, including Dr Saul Perlmutter, who recently won the Nobel prize for physics for his work on dark energy - analysed all available temperature records.
Despite it concluding that the temperature of our planet is rising, many remain sceptical of the theory that global warming is a man-made phenomenon.
They say that the latest findings are simply evidence that the earth is going through cycles during which the average temperature fluctuates.
But Berkeley group's analysis of 1.6billion temperature reports from weather stations and ships confirmed that over the past 50 years, the world's land surface warmed by 0.911 of a degree centigrade. This tallies with previous estimates by Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The group's conclusion is not about the causes of climate change - whether due to man-made emissions or natural cycles. It's purely a statistical analysis - but a more far-reaching one than previous studies. The group's four papers are still under review by fellow scientists. Publishing them at this early stage is a highly unorthodox step.
The study head, physicist Richard Muller, said there were 'legitimate issues' with previous studies, but said, 'My hope is that this will win over those people who are properly sceptical.'
The researchers added 32,000 new weather stations to the existing climate data, including many more readings from Africa, Asia, South American and Antarctica
The group's approach is highly rigorous - and their algorithms are designed to deal with the inconsistent climate data provided by some weather stations, and to mathematically 'weight' data according to its accuracy. All available information has been used in the group's analysis.
Previous studies have been criticised for 'pruning' data by hand.
The case for climate change has also been damaged by revelations such as 2009's 'Climategate' when emails between University of East Anglia climate researchers were exposed by a hacker, and included references to using figures selectively to 'hide' a 'decline'.
The group added 32,000 new weather stations to existing data, including many more readings from Asia, Antarctica, Africa and South America. Eighty per cent of earth's surface is within 200km of at least one of the stations used in the study.
The worldwide approach ensures data isn't tainted by effects such as 'urban heat islands' - the warmer local climate in cities.
Click source to read FULL report from Rob Waugh
See also: BEST: What I agree with and what I disagree with – plus a call for additional transparency to prevent “pal” review
- Anthony Watts - WUWT