Reposted with permission from WUWT – My thanks to Anthony Watts
I have some quiet time this Sunday morning in my hotel room after a hectic week on the road, so it seems like a good time and place to bring up statistician William Briggs’ recent essay and to add some thoughts of my own. Briggs has taken a look at what he thinks will be going on with the Berekeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST). He points out the work of David Brillinger whom I met with for about an hour during my visit. Briggs isn’t far off.
Brillinger, another affable Canadian from Toronto, with an office covered in posters to remind him of his roots, has not even a hint of the arrogance and advance certainty that we’ve seen from people like Dr. Kevin Trenberth. He’s much more like Steve McIntyre in his demeanor and approach. In fact, the entire team seems dedicated to providing an open source, fully transparent, and replicable method no matter whether their new metric shows a trend of warming, cooling, or no trend at all, which is how it should be. I’ve seen some of the methodology, and I’m pleased to say that their design handles many of the issues skeptics have raised and has done so in ways that are unique to the problem.
Mind you, these scientists at LBNL (Lawrence Berkeley National Labs) are used to working with huge particle accelerator datasets to find minute signals in the midst of seas of noise. Another person on the team, Dr. Robert Jacobsen, is an expert in analysis of large data sets. His expertise in managing reams of noisy data is being applied to the problem of the very noisy and very sporadic station data. The approaches that I’ve seen during my visit give me far more confidence than the “homogenization solves all” claims from NOAA and NASA GISS, and that the BEST result will be closer to the ground truth that anything we’ve seen.
But as the famous saying goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Different methods yield different results. In science, sometimes methods are tried, published, and then discarded when superior methods become known and accepted. I think, based on what I’ve seen, that BEST has a superior method. Of course that is just my opinion, with all of it’s baggage; it remains to be seen how the rest of the scientific community will react when they publish.