While environmentalists continue to monitor the symptoms of global warming, skeptics have turned their eyes towards the way weather data is recorded. While there’s not disagreement left about the global climate getting warmer, the accuracy of the weather stations comprising the U.S. Historical Climatology Network has come into question. The network has been in place for 120 years, and as former TV meteorologist Anthony Watts reports, the poor position of some of the oldest stations could be the source of inaccurate data.
“The best stations get adjusted up to the level of the worst stations,” Watts told FoxNews.com. “It’s like making a temperature smoothie. You put all these different fruits in to represent different qualities of stations and you run it through a blender and you get a milk shake.”
Watts’ analogy refers to the balancing of readings, creating an average using numbers that may be inaccurate from poorly sited stations. Factors that lead to poor readings can be linked to “encroaching urbanity,” as sites that are located near airports, air conditioner exhausts, asphalt are directly influenced by their surroundings. Conducting a survey of what he believed to be the “well-sited” stations, Watts’ analysis showed the planet warming at just 0.155 degrees Celsius per decade, almost half of the 0.309 figure released by the government.
“I believe global warming is real. No doubt about it. Not a bit of doubt,” Watts said. “However, I don’t think it’s catastrophic, or as bad as it’s been portrayed.”
Firm believers in the acceleration of global warming have come to their own findings, however. Richard Muller, a professor at University of California-Berkeley, who used to be one of the world’s most prominent climate-change deniers, released his own study over the weekend, with results that completely contradicted Watts. After analyzing 250 year of temperature records, Muller found that the temperature had increased by around 1.5 degrees Celsius over that time span and about 0.9 degrees in the last 50 years. He went on to blame the actions of man for the steep increase.
“Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real,” Muller announced via an op-ed in the New York Times. “Humans are almost entirely the cause.”
Neither Watts’ nor Muller’s have undergone peer review since their release, but neither of them denies the presence of global warming. Regardless of the rate of temperature increase, further studies will be necessary to determine how human impact on the environment can be reduced.