But several prominent skeptic blogs offered harsh criticism of Muller yesterday, even as they praised his former associate Anthony Watts.
Watts, who runs the skeptical blog "Watts Up With That?" has derided the Berkeley Earth results as "post-normal political theater" and "incomplete and rushed, non-quality controlled, error riddled" science. He has repeatedly criticized Muller for posting results on the Web before they have undergone formal peer review.
But yesterday, in a pointed move, Watts released his own non-peer-reviewed findings, which purport to show that poorly sited U.S. weather stations have exaggerated the magnitude of recent warming -- a claim Muller's Berkeley Earth group analyzed and rejected (as did a peer-reviewed, published analysis by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
"Anthony Watts delivers devastating scientific blow to Muller's claims," screamed a banner headline on ClimateDepot, run by vocal skeptic Marc Morano. "Breaking: From BEST to worst in less than a day," began a post on the conservative Powerline blog.
Meanwhile, Judith Curry, a Georgia Institute of Technology climate scientist who co-authored the Berkeley Earth group's first four papers, said she declined to work on the latest analysis because of disagreements about Muller's methods.
"Their latest paper on the 250-year record concludes that the best explanation for the observed warming is greenhouse gas emissions," she told New York Time opinion blogger Andrew Revkin. "Their analysis is way oversimplistic and not at all convincing in my opinion."
Applause, and gentle mocking, from climate scientists
Michael Mann, the Pennsylvania State University climate scientist who created the "hockey stick" analysis of past temperatures, had a very different reaction.
"At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of just a few years!" he tweeted yesterday.
Mann, a favorite target of climate skeptics, later published a fuller reaction on his Facebook page.
"There is a certain ironic satisfaction in seeing a study funded by the Koch Brothers -- the greatest funders of climate change denial and disinformation on the planet -- demonstrate what scientists have known with some degree of confidence for nearly two decades: that the globe is indeed warming, and that this warming can only be explained by human-caused increases in greenhouse gas concentrations," he wrote.
"I applaud Muller and his colleagues for acting as any good scientists would, following where their analyses led them, without regard for the possible political repercussions (they are of course almost certain to be attacked by climate change deniers for their findings)."
In the meantime, the Berkeley Earth group is working to publish its findings, said Elizabeth Muller, Richard Muller's daughter and the project's executive director.
The group has submitted the new paper, and its four previous studies, to the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, she said.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500