For the past two years, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature team at University of California, Berkley has been sorting through two centuries of temperature readings, over 1.6 billion in all.
That information is all now in a database that, among other things, resulted from,
removing duplicate numbers, tossing out clearly erroneous records—such as temperatures above 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit—and fixing Celsius readings mislabeled as Fahrenheit.
What is interesting here is that the Berkeley team released all of their results to the public before a peer review, and, since the release, as a result of input from other scientists, certain information has been updated and corrected in the open.
So, what do we know now? Unambiguously, she says, that depends.
…Berkeley Earth’s trend graphs, which reflect some modeling, show temperatures continuing to rise since the late 1990s. But the raw numbers show no definitive evidence of an increase in that time.
… fluctuations in the land temperature for the past 13 years make it extremely difficult to say whether the Earth has been continuing to warm during that time.
[m]uch of the U.S. and Northern Europe has cooled in the last 70 years, Berkeley Earth found. So did one-third of all weather stations world-wide, while two-thirds warmed.
Using that information, Berkley concludes that we are indeed warming, but, maybe not.
[S]keptics aren’t convinced because it depends how concentrated those warming sites are. If they happen to be bunched up while the cooling sites are in sparsely measured areas, then more places could be cooling.
Then again, a weather station that was in an undeveloped area 70 years ago, but which is now surrounded by a concrete city, would clearly provide a higher reading today than 70 years ago. But that may only prove that concrete structures now surrounding the station absorb heat, or, it could prove that the earth is warming.
So, based upon this conclusive data, I think it only reasonable to believe that the earth’s climate may or may not be warming or cooling or changing.
Kudos, however to Berkeley for assembling this data, fixing obvious errors, and generally, letting scientists not only comment, but changing their research findings due to those comments.
Let the discussion begin.