BEST look at temperature records to date

In an attempt to develop into an honest broker of information about the planet’s climate, the Berkeley Earth project’s first effort is to study all the existing temperature records and current recording stations to develop a data repository and information resource for scientists, policy makers and the public.  The project hopes to resolve current criticism of the former temperature analyses by making available an open record and enable rapid response to further criticism and suggestions.   The first reports from the project are now available online at:  Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature.


The most important indicator of global warming, by far, is the land and sea surface temperature record. This has been criticized in several ways, including the choice of stations and the methods for correcting systematic errors. The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study sets out to do a new analysis of the surface temperature record in a rigorous manner that addresses this criticism. We are using over 39,000 unique stations, which is more than five times the 7,280 stations found in the Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly data set (GHCN-M) that has served as the focus of many climate studies.



The project has released for public review the 4 documents of their methods, analyses and results that have been submitted for review.  The links to the papers:

  1. Berkeley Earth Temperature Averaging Process
  2. Influence of Urban Heating on the Global Temperature Land Average
  3. Earth Atmospheric Land Surface Temperature and Station Quality in the United States
  4. Decadal Variations in the Global Atmospheric Land Temperatures

For the better part of the last 40 years, scientist have invested a considerable amount of time, energy and effort into measuring atmospheric impacts and developing models of the planet’s climate response to anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4,  No2, chlorofluorocarbons) and aerosols and dust and particulate matter.  As a result of these studies, research and modeling a significant number climate scientists, physicists, biologists have evaluated the evidence and simulations and have warned that a warming planet is likely dangerous and potentially catastrophic.  Anyone reading this blog is well enough versed in the policies, predictions and prescriptions to accept that climate change is a major concern of citizens, NGOs, think tanks and governments around the globe.

And, of course, there is a substantial and growing number of individuals and groups that are more concerned with the economic consequences of doing much of anything relative to reducing use of products, services or processes that add GHGs to the atmosphere or instituting controls to clean or scrub emissions before release.  In the past where an industry (e.g. tobacco or nuclear) or individual company (e.g. Union Carbide) has run afoul of public opinion it might have been lonely defender of its practices or products.  In the case of the globe’s climate, there is a significant number of people rightly concerned that any plans or policies that significantly increase the cost of energy overall is problematic.  Assuredly more expensive energy will lead directly to increased consumer costs, higher operating costs for business, more expensive  delivery of materials and products and could ultimately lead to domestic companies moving their operations and jobs offshore.   

As a former scientist, I have to applaud the BEST site, the studies authors and collaborators for a fine job of creating a resource that meets the needs of the science community, policy makers and general public.  And extend thanks to Novim group that is funding the project.  It is a first-rate effort and will prove to be a valuable resource as we continue to research, publish and influence policies that matter to us all.