‘Converted’ Skeptic: Humans Driving Recent Warming
Richard Muller, a cantankerous but creative physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, who once derided climate change research, then dove in with his own reconstruction of terrestrial temperature changes and confirmed substantial warming, has now concluded that recent warming is “almost entirely” human caused.
He claims his new analysis, which is being posted later today for public review but has not yet been peer reviewed (more on that below), provides an even firmer view of human-driven warming than the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here’s the general flow of events, which are — as Keith Kloor noted overnight — “great fodder for the long-running soap opera, ‘As the Climate World Turns.’”
Muller’s team last fall submitted four papers summarizing its review of a vast array of temperature records spanning two centuries to the journal JGR Atmospheres and posted them and supporting data and other material at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature, or BEST, Web site. (The papers have not been published yet and one of my first questions for Muller and his team now is have they been accepted?)
The team’s new strong conclusion about human-generated greenhouse gases driving recent warming is one of several findings in a fifth paper that Muller says is being submitted to the journal and posted on his Web site, as well [this afternoon].
Muller, who has combined P.T. Barnum showmanship and science throughout his three-year project, chose to break the news in an Op-Ed article in The Times (with various leaks and rumors percolating on the Web). There are perils in having publicity precede peer review. For hints of how this could backfire, read on.