Jon Stewart and his crew at the Daily Show seem to recall a certain amount of noise-making over some emails that appeared to feature scientists behaving badly. So-called 'ClimateGate', of course, turned out to make not a single dent in the science of climate change itself, as numerous investigations have since shown. But the media circus was loud and memorable nonetheless. Why, then, wouldn't those same media outlets flock to cover a story about a hotly anticipated study that confirms the scientific finding that climate change is real and underway? I mean, there's even a juicy angle: Said study was funded by none other than the global warming-denying kingpins the Koch Brothers! Watch:
To clarify a bit, Dr. Muller's study wasn't intended to confirm or debunk Climate-Gate -- that non-scandal involved a series of email correspondences that were stolen from a university server, and showed scientists using some unseemly language to lambast their critics. It also featured some regularly-used jargon that was subsequently misinterpreted as evidence of wrongdoing ('hide the decline', et al). But no less than five investigations into those emails, carried out on both sides of the Atlantic, found that there was no evidence of wrongdoing or scientific malpractice. In other words, that case was closed long ago -- and didn't need debunking.
Dr. Muller, on the other hand, was seeking to investigate another meme held dearly by climate skeptics: That the temperature data collected in the U.S., and around the world, is unreliable because it is routinely measured in urban areas. And urban areas, with more people, vehicles, buildings and asphalt, produce a 'heat island' effect that makes them warmer on average than non-metropolitan areas. Of course, climate scientists already correct for the heat island effect, and take it into account in their models. But skeptics, most famously Anthony Watts, the ex-television meteorologist, still complained that the data was too inaccurate to be trusted.
So Muller set out once and for all to examine the global temperature dataset. Watts, and others, certain that he would find fault with the quality of the records, pledged to accept the findings of his study. The infamous climate denying Koch brothers were overconfident too, and were the primary financial backers of the study. But, as you can see, Muller found that climate scientists had done their homework, and had properly accounted for the temperature flux in their findings -- and confirmed that the globe is indeed heating up.
Now, if only some media outlet besides Comedy Central and green blogs would help spread the word ...