More on BEST and how it was collated, see http://climateaudit.org/2011/11/01/closing-thoughts-on-best/ with a hint there is a calibration problem in the methodology. The same subject is examined in an earlier post, the day before, at http://climateaudit.org/2011/10/31/help-robert-rohde-locate-argentina/ which is the nub of the problem.
At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/01/a-short-anthology-of-climate-change/ was provoked by the preliminary BEST results and as the first surge of indignation simmers down a bit we can appreciate just how good this guest post by Tony Brown is – and its relevant to the UK as it makes use of the Central England Temperature Record, the longest running instrumental record in the world. The global warming data as used in the various models, which include GISS and BEST, are compared to the CET record which goes back to the 17th century – as well as various pieces of temperature/ climate knowledge that preceded the advent of computer models. The CET data shows the Little Ice Age, or the latter part thereof, but in the early to mid 18th century it also shows a remarkable piece of warming, unparallelled in the whole of the record. However, the rise in temperature, which can be graphed as a continuous process, also displays evidence of several short lived cold spells – and even then, in the midst of a series of cold winters there was the occasional very mild one – as in 1620, at the depth of the Little Ice Age.
See also http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/how-long-is-a-long-temperature-h… and http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/02/climate-czechgate-pragues-klementinum…. for further comment on the subject. Tony Brown goes on to discover that the coast along the eastern seaboard of Greenland was clear of ice in the 1820s and sea captains record the Arctic was open to shipping for the first time in 400 years at the same time. This implies that 400 years previously it had been open – which coincides with the Viking settlements in Greenland. These things more or less dismantle the AGW meme that current low ice extent in the Arctic is something novel, that has never happened previously – or at any point in the Holocene (according to the more fanatical and blind followers of the faith). He goes on to quote incidents from the life of Dickens, the articles and books of Hubert Lamb, and various records of navies. In the year of 1831 there was a summer heatwave (in Britain) and 1839-41 was known as the 'hungry years' due to crop failure. The sowing of corn did not germinate and for several months there was no rain. A few years later there was too much rain and various parts of north west Europe were affected by potato blight – affecting mainly the poor and disenfranchised. In the late 19th century the cold weather returned with a vengeance – there were massive famines in India, for example. Modern climate charts tend to begin in the middle or towards the end of the 19th century – they purposely avoid the earlier half of the century (it could be argued). A warm period in the 1920s and 1930s, coinciding with the dustbowl event in the US, also resulted in a well known episode of ice melt in Arctic waters – studiously avoided by the AGW crowd (see for example www.arctic-heats-up.com/chapter_1.html). The Met Office has access to lots of printed records from ships logs to the CET data (in their library) but claims there was little variability in temperature prior to the 1980s and 1990s. It is also a peculiarity that the IPCC people have their HQ in Geneva where the Little Ice Age was very prominent in so far as some glaciers grew so rapidly they steam rollered farms and hamlets out of the way. Yet, the symbol of the IPCC is still that iconic hockey stick invented by a team of climate scientists bent on eliminating the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age from history, air brushing them out of existence (in their computer simulations). The piece ends by noting the climate variability experienced between 250 and 600AD. Excellent gathering of evidence that is irrefutable to a fair minded person.