Analysing the complete hadCRUT yields some surprising results

Analysing the complete hadCRUT yields some surprising results” (2011-08-04). Anthony Watts learns from a post by right-wing “Global Warming Policy Foundation” lobbyists about a post by Luboš Motl that proves that 30% of the Earth has cooled. Run from the Ice Age! Or something like that.

After five years of denialist pretense that the data was being hidden from them (because they had to go to the trouble of requesting it from the various national meteorological organizations that owned it) the unified release of the global data set used by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia has forced them to switch to a new fake numbers game. Expect a lot more of this kind of transparent misdirection, designed to keep the uninformed public distracted. Expect Anthony to make a big fuss about it each time.

Luboš Motl's plot of HADCRU3 data showing historical warming or cooling trend.

Look at how much of that cRaZy blue there is!

So if we are to believe Motl, the Earth is actually 30% cooler than it was 77 years ago. Run from the Ice Age! No wait; some places have cooled even though most other places have warmed, so it’s not global warming. No wait, it’s that the HadCRUT3 temperature data comes from weather stations that only represent particular small areas, so it can’t tell us anything about global temperature. (Dang! They should have just used that one temperature station that records the whole planet.)

Err, maybe this is why scientists use statistics? To collect and objectively interpret large data sets with complex trends and arrive at an objective understanding.

Hold on. Is Motl really trying to make the point that unless every station shows a warming trend then we can’t claim that there is global warming? Is his point really so dogmatically stupid? Maybe, because in spite of his self-declared brilliance Motl has to admit that he got “standard deviation” mixed up with “root mean square“. Unfortunately he says “I don’t have the energy to redo all these calculations – it’s very time-consuming and CPU-time-consuming” but I’m sure it’s a wash, huh?

Anthony Watts and the “Global Warming Policy Foundation” are certainly happy to overlook this, because to them the fact that 30% of the recording stations show a cooling history apparently makes their heads reel. Not climate scientists however. Only an idiot would expect a trend to be uniformly expressed throughout a complex natural system.

Oh, that’s right. We’re talking about Anthony Watts, aren’t we?

Pielke Sr. on new Spencer and Braswell paper

Pielke Sr. on new Spencer and Braswell paper” (2011/07/26). Who’d ‘a thunk that Roger Pielke (the dad who’s a grumpy scientist, not the son who’s just a grumpy economist) would, again, sing the praises of Dr. Roy Spencer’s latest paper proving, again, sort of, that there is no global warming? Anthony Watts is excited enough by this startling development to copy and paste Pielke Sr.’s insights.

Dr. Pielke Sr. intones that Dr. Spencer’s paper, On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance in Remote Sensing, “raises further questions on the robustness of multi-decadal global climate predictions”. Yes, it’s the final nail in the coffin of global warming alarmism! Again! This time, for real! Oh, they have to be smart questions? Oops. Remote Sensing, for their part, is a new journal that seems more interested in publication fees than ensuring the scientific credibility of their papers.

Not yet referenced by Anthony, there’s also an enthusiastic “so there!” article in Forbes magazine. Right-wing climate change denying Heartland Institute lobbyist James Taylor sings the praises of right-wing climate change denying scientist Dr. Spencer, also tightly associated with Heartland Institute, in a right-wing climate change denying magazine! It stirs the soul to see all the pistons firing together so smoothly but using “alarmist” in 15 times, in practically every sentence, shines the spotlight in a presumably unintended direction.

So, what about Dr. Spencer’s science? Do clouds really cause climate like Spencer keeps saying? Is the Earth really failing to warm up quite as much as alarmist scientists say it is?  This is just a laugh-at-Anthony-Watts’-lies blog, so today I’ll simply point out some of the criticisms from around the web.

Synchronized shouting seems the only tactic left to the denialists.

2011-08-01 Update: Climate Progress weighs in on Spencer’s science that Pielke Sr. likes so much. Climate Scientists Debunk Latest Bunk by Denier Roy Spencer.

2011-08-10 Update: John Timmer covers Spencer’s paper in the larger context at Ars Technica – Climate change: cloudy, with a chance of competing realities.

2011-09-02 Update: More embarrassing fallout for Spencer covered at Ars Technica – Editor who published controversial climate paper resigns, blasts media.

2011-09-07 Update: Well this hasn’t taken long. Spencer’s ‘final nail in the coffin of AGW’  has completely unravelled. Turns out his crayon version of atmospheric physics has in fact proven the validity of current “alarmist” climate theories and models! Thanks Roy. That’s what happens when you work backwards from a baseless conclusion and ignore logic. Thanks for wading through the stupid, Dr. Dessler (preprint here, watch a video summary here).




The long[-]awaited surfacestations paper

The long awaited surfacestations paper (May 11, 2011). Hosannah! The great day has arrive-ened! Anthony Watts’ paper, Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends, is in press at the Journal of Geophysical Research. The global warming house of cards has fallen-ed!

Just look at some of these definitely-no-global-warming quotes in what Anthony has pasted in from co-author lead-author Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.’s blog (emphasis mine):

Q: So is the United States getting warmer?
A: Yes

Q: Has the warming rate been overestimated?
A: The minimum temperature rise appears to have been overestimated, but the maximum temperature rise appears to have been underestimated.

Q: What about mean temperature trends?
A: In the United States the biases in maximum and minimum temperature trends are about the same size, so they cancel each other and the mean trends are not much different from siting class to siting class.

Yowza! Game over? Oops.

What a lame exercise in irrelevant nit-picking. After years of just you wait squawking, even Anthony and company’s best spin boils down to whining about bluntly negligible data quality issues. This isn’t even backyard fireworks level excitement. Shame on you, Anthony.

Still, you have to feel a bit sorry for him. He’s not lead author on ‘his’ paper because he doesn’t have the statistical chops for even this damp squib. Dr. Pielke tries to give him a libertarian head-pat though:

The Surface Stations project is truly an outstanding citizen scientist project under the leadership of Anthony Watts!  The project did not involve federal funding. Indeed, these citizen scientists paid for the page charges for our article.

Of course we have to remember what the big picture is here. After all this scientific-paper-of-the-century is just about US temperature data and global warming is, um, global. Dr. Pielke has to come clean (emphasis mine):

Does this uncertainty extend to the worldwide surface temperature record? In our paper… …we found that the global average surface temperature may be higher than what has been reported by NCDC and others as a result in the bias in the landscape area where the observing sites are situated. However, we were not able to look at the local siting issue that we have been able to study for the USA in our new paper.

Anthony seems quite pleased with himself, but frankly this own-goal would be embarrassing even as a high school science fair poster. Why Dr. Pielke’s name is attached to this says something about the power of conviction over that of intellect. Sad, because sometimes he has something relevant to offer.

I guess those page charges were just too juicy for the JGR to let slip away.

Update: Anthony’s wounded howls of mistreatment pepper the comment editing. Wait until the scientists respond!

World Opinion on global warming: not so hot

World opinion on global warming: not so hot“. Anthony Watts tells us that a Gallup poll result means that we don’t have to worry about global warming! Whew, saved by public ignorance.

It turns out that if ordinary folks don’t notice climate changes then they didn’t happen. Here are the global poll results that Anthony thinks prove there is no global warming (evidence be damned).

The question was “Temperature rise is a part of global warming or climate change. Do you think rising temperatures are”:

  • Result of human activity – 35% (54% of Canadians believe this, but only 34% of Americans)
  • Result of natural causes – 14%
  • “Both” (i.e. some human causes) – 13%
  • Don’t know/refused – 2%
  • Not aware of global warming – 36%

Anthony Watts prefers not to dwell on the fact that of the “aware” respondents, 48% think human activity is contributing to global warming and 14% don’t. Instead he invokes the ‘noble savages’ argument that more primitive people are more aware of their environment (which is weather, not climate…) and the “not aware” respondents here are keenly insightful.

Also, people in the western world are poisoned by the mainstream media.

Tell us Anthony, how are people supposed to notice a less than 1°C rise over several decades amidst a variety of much larger daily, seasonal, and locale changes?

This poll was about awareness of human activities as a factor, not whether people think temperatures are rising. Anthony has tried to spin both the question and the answers. Nice try.

Greenhouse Thought Experiment

Greenhouse Thought Experiment. A Guest Post from Jeff Condon. Denialists go to great lengths to misrepresent the “greenhouse” effect and direct our attention to partisan television commercials telling us that CO2 is “essential for life”. Mr. Dunning–Kruger Derek Alker, inspired by Tim Ball et. al.’s comic novel Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, sent Jeff an Excel spreadsheet and a really ugly PDF that “ends the AGW scam” (again).

Apparently Derek received a geometric flash of insight into Earth’s shape. Them dumb physicists are ignoring the “back” half! Only they’re not of course…Science of Doom tries to turn the conversation back to reality on Jeff’s “No Consensus” website (sorry, I can’t write that without quotes around it).

But for us, this is Jeff’s launching point for a thought experiment about “the greenhouse”. He considers two Earths (specifically, a happy 1℃ warmer Republican Earth and a miserable colder Democratic Earth). Which will appear “warmer” to an external observer? After-all, a real greenhouse will appear warmer to an external observer. As any Physics 100 student will tell you, the answer is that the two Earths must exactly balance the radiative energy. In = out.

The interesting question is how could one Earth be 1℃ warmer than the other. Who wants to guess?

Sea Ice News #31

Sea Ice News #31“. Anthony Watts discusses Joe Bastardi’s idiotic half-cocked accusation of fraud in the NSIDC’s Sea Ice data. You know your ‘team-mates’ are becoming a liability when even Anthony has to walk back their claims and even try to minimize the damage by admitting things like: “eyeballing can be an error prone activity, and a risky bet.

Anthony has the gall to lay the final blame on the NSIDC for not publishing their daily data. Why, because they release data on a weekly basis, an over-eager denialist might jump to a rash conclusion!

Eyeballing is the only tactic Anthony’s can use to pretend he has a factual point in the Global Warming discussion, isn’t it? Oh, there’s cherry-picking too.

Examination of CRU data suggests no statistically significant warming

Examination of CRU data suggests no statistically significant warming“. Anthony Watts’ ferociously qualified associate A.J. Strata says:

Bottom Line – Using two back-of-the-envelope tests for significance against the CRU global temperature data I have discovered:”


“let me explain how I derived (by eye – ugh!) the two primary pieces of data I used”

Back-of-the-envelope tests? Eye-balling? Does anyone need to read any further? A.J., who seems more like a Tea-Bagger than a climate expert, is apparently working backwards from various printed graphs! This is classic denialist bunk, even down to accusations of “deception off on a global scale”. It’s kind of pitiable watching these obsessions play out in public.

So how did A.J. pull the Global Warming edifice down? He’s taken sets of what he claims are raw country temperature data (well actually pretty much of his own invention as he’s pulling the numbers from printed graphs) and slapped a line on them so he can declare that there is no Global Warming. I think I’ll wait for the cover story in Nature before I join the parade. Although he has been “working on [this] for about a week now”.

For a laugh, here's a cherry-picked sample of the printed temp charts A.J. Strata used to prove that there's been no Global Warming. These are from Mozambique and South Africa.

In the comments we get more examples of Anthony threatening critical commenters when he asks “Onion” about the weather in England. Anthony likes to use information from his website logs to reveal private details of his critics so he can make them feel exposed.