The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project has released it’s findings. Like many previous efforts to synthesize existing land surface temperature data to estimate changes over time, this new group found that the terrestrial portion of the earth has indeed warmed – on average – by ~ 1C since the 1950s. In the graph below (from BEST) land weather station data compiled by four groups are plotted together. Data from BEST matches well with NOAA, NASA and HadCRU records:
HadCRU tends to underestimate recent warming because it’s coverage of the Arctic – which has seen the most warming – is spotty.
Both the BEST crew and the broader scientific community was surprised by their findings since BEST included several notorious climate change skeptics and deniers (including project leader, Berkeley Professor Richard Muller) and $150,000 in funding from the anti-science Koch brothers.
BEST also included some widely-respected scientists and received funding from across the spectrum. Thus the BEST report represents an even broader consensus on the reality of man-made global warming. Maybe I am being too optimistic, but I think this could be a watershed moment in the climate change “debate”. There will always be science deniers and vested interests that refuse to accept this and many other factual realities. But it is getting harder and harder to do so and still be taken seriously. Even the conservative Economist magazine is now on board: they conclude their review of the BEST project by stating “the world is warming fast”.
You can view and download BEST content including code, their new merged dataset, graphs, team composition, funding, goals, reports, manuscripts in review and other resources here. Kudos to them for the nice, easy to navigate website (by climate science standards) and their very high degree of openness.