Friday, February 11, 2011

Tackling Global Temperature Data

It seems that Richard Muller has gone beyond teaching physics for future presidents, and now tackling the issue of global warming. This might be the more difficult task, I would think, considering all the controversy and brouhaha surrounding this issue lately.

He has formed a Berkeley Earth Group with an initial task to compile ALL of the available temperature data of the earth throughout history.

Muller came to the conclusion that temperature data - which, in the United States, began in the late 18th century when Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin made the first thermometer measurements - was the only truly scientifically accurate way of studying global warming.
To that end, he formed the Berkeley Earth group with 10 other highly acclaimed scientists, including physicists, climatologists and statisticians. Before the group joined in the study of the warming world, there were three major groups that had released analysis of historical temperature data. But each has come under attack from climate skeptics, Muller said.

In the group's new study, which will be released in about a month, the scientists hope to address the doubts that skeptics have raised. They are using data from all 39,390 available temperature stations around the world - more than five times the number of stations that the next most thorough group, the Global Historical Climatology Network, used in its data set.

This will be interesting to see. But then, I wonder how many will pay attention to such data and change their minds one way or the other. I think it will be useful to scientists who are in the midst of working in such a field. However, I'm a skeptic in the ability of the average public to be able to decipher pure data. Data, without context, are meaningless. And the majority of the public often do not have the context.


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