On October 20th Nature News reported on a new analysis of land temperatures by an independent group. They found the same results as previous analyses – since 1950 the earth has warmed by about 0.9 C. The results have yet to be peer-reviewed, but already reports of their analysis are making some waves.
The analysis was designed to be what can be called a consensus study – an independent group is taking a thorough analysis of the data, accounting for prior criticisms, to arrive at a result that everyone can agree on. Prior to announcing the results, in fact, some global warming skeptics stated publicly that they welcome the independent analysis and would stand by the results. PZ Myers reports on Anthony Watts response – initially saying he would accept the study results, but now considering the study to be fatally flawed.
The point of a consensus study is to bring all sides of a scientific controversy together, account for all criticisms of existing data, and then try to specifically address those criticisms so that everyone can agree on the results. This actually does happen at times, although it does seem that there remain holdouts for the view that “loses” when the new data comes out. The consensus data, however, does tend to marginalize the holdouts.comments (146)