Apparently Governor Brown, you’ve never visited the weather station at Lake Tahoe

Apparently Governor Brown, you’ve never visited the weather station at Lake Tahoe” (2012-08-13). Anthony Watts gets his shorts in a knot because the Governor of California, whom he derisively refers to as “moonbeam” says that “Global warming’s impact on Lake Tahoe is well documented.”

Now if there’s one thing Anthony likes it’s a tasty cherry-pick. His (unqualified) buddy Russ Steele has done the ‘sciencey analysis’ for him too! It’s all laid out on Russ’ website, concerned with “AGW Defeat” as well as security, liberty and property.

First Russ/Anthony decides that the Governor is referring to a particular Lake Tahoe weather station, one that they can spin to their own benefit.

Then he declares that the rise is all “Urban Heat Island” effect – a tennis court was built nearby in 1980! Actually, as Anthony knew, the courts were built in 1973 and can’t be honestly linked to the alleged artificial 1980 change in temperature trend. Which kinda happened globally, so that’s one heck of a tennis court.

Next, it’s also all bad weather station siting. There’s a fire barrel nearby, it must burn constantly! Anthony, of course, has no evidence about how long the fire barrel has been there, how often it was used, or at what time of day it was lit in comparison to the times of measurement. Still, fire barrel!

Next, he selects some other stations that show a different temperature trend (still up though, unless you squint… which Anthony does). This is the one thing that could be a legitimate argument, but of course he restricts himself to selected weather stations that suit his argument, not a scientifically legitimate regional comparison. Doing that might not make his case…

Finally, he declares that the scientists involved are “political hacks”. Surely if this was likely to stick he’d start and finish with this. And maybe demonstrate it clearly.

Well! Done and dusted for Anthony. A disused fire barrel and tennis courts in place long before a disputed temperature trend started have proven, once and for all, that there is no Global Warming. Never mind that his argument never rises above vague, un-verified supposition.

Note: This post was written so that comments made in a recent but unrelated post could be associated with the correct topic. It’s just run-of-the-mill denialist noise on Anthony’s part.

P.S. Love Anthony’s ominous reference to a critical commenter’s personal details, gleaned from IP address snooping. Classic passive-aggression and misdirection!

15 thoughts on “Apparently Governor Brown, you’ve never visited the weather station at Lake Tahoe

  1. Watts is unbelievable.

    Part of the watts post :

    ‘As you can see there was a significant jump in temperature starting around 1980. A jump that is not evident in other sites around Lake Tahoe and the Sierra. Some investigation revealed that 1980 was about the time a concrete tennis court was installed next to the surface station. According to the condo property manager that an investigator spoke to said the court was installed in the “early 80′s”, though she was not there at the time. This tennis court heats up during the day and gives up energy at night, warming the area. According the grounds keeper, he picked up trash during the day and burned it at the end of the shift, leaving a warm burn barrel to increase the night time temperatures.”

    Watts comment in the same thread in reply to a comment that the tennis court dates back to 1973:

    1980′s That is an older post by Russ Steele, I didn’t make the claim in this post. BTW when accusing me of factual inaccuracy it is always good to get your own facts straight first. 1973 or 1980′s doesn’t matter to the station siting rating.

    Yes you did watts it was part of your claim that the temperature stepped up after it was built in the 1980’s.

    [The “it wasn’t me!” defense. – Ben]

  2. Anthony knows his readers won’t bother to check the press release from which he quotes, which has nothing to do with a weather station in a tennis court. The Governor’s press release states:

    Global warming’s impact on Lake Tahoe is well documented.

    • In 2010, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed that over the last 25 years, the world’s largest lakes, including Lake Tahoe, have been steadily warming, some by as much as four degrees Fahrenheit. This is seven times faster than air temperatures have risen over the same period in some cases.
    • That same year, researchers at UC Davis studied the impacts of climate change on the Lake Tahoe basin and concluded that there will be a continuing shift from snowfall to rain, earlier snowmelt and more runoff; an increase in drought severity, especially toward the end of the century; and a dramatic increase in flood magnitude in the middle third of the century.
    • In 2008, a UC Davis study predicted that climate change will irreversibly alter water circulation in Lake Tahoe, radically changing the conditions for plants and fish in the lake.
    • In 2005, researchers found that Lake Tahoe is warming at almost twice the rate of the world’s oceans because of global climate change.

    Here is a UC Davis website that monitors the lake:

    And it provides a link to the 2012 State of the Lake report, released this month:

    Click to access StateOfTheLake2012.pdf

    As for his providing private information about posters – Watts commonly engages in bullying to threaten people who show him up for what he is.

    • Someone associated with SkS made the riotously-funny observation that, daily, Watts increasingly reminds him of Otto, in a “Fish Called Wanda.”


  3. I love how he prefers data sets starting in the 90s to determine whether there was a temperature jump in the 80s. And, of course, perpetually ignores the issues raised by those few skeptical commenters who haven’t been banned yet.

  4. Should add that Watts confusing a tennis court with a lake is not unusual for him. He isn’t the brightest spark in the universe.

    [True! But it’s surprising how little it takes to ignite a fireball of confusion and paranoia. – Ben]

  5. Is it usual to place fire barrels on wooden pallets in the US. No wonder you have so many wildfires.

    In his latest misdiretion wuwt turns to the uk and the siting of thermometers, and picks on a nearly grade one site. No concrete, small bulding at least 15 metres away, water 70metres+.

    According to watts the mud flats at 61metres are going to be bad. powerstations at 5km, motorways at 5km are all going to heat this station.

    Funny thing is I always thought warmed air rises, so it would have to be damned windy to get heat to travel 5km without mxing.

    The other slight snag with his analysis by photo is that those little wooden houses (cotton regional shelers / stevenson screens) for the thermometer have to be proof against 6000C radiation from the sun so a wall heated to 70C should have little radiative effect.

    And finally, I think he has banned so many now that there is no longer dissent on his web site (Leif Svalgaard still does his best however). He even now bans people using web anonymisers (tor)!

    • Actually,the fact that the fire-barrel is on a wooden pallet suggests that it is moved by fork-lift or pallet jack from the enclosure for use elsewhere…then put on the pallet and returned to the enclosure for safekeeping. So Watts’ premise is questionable on this score as well.

      I don’t know why he keeps doing it to himself. A thick head and a thick hide,I guess.

      • “I don’t know why he keeps doing it to himself. A thick head and a thick hide, I guess.”

        Ego, megalomaniacal tendencies, Napolean complex, a power trip of seeign his mindless minions chortle on and exhalt Wattsy’s latest drivel, or that he simply knows that, unlike the vast majority of us working science stiffs, his website *truly* is a gravy train.

  6. Of, course, studies of the lake and its food chain are based on measurement of water temperature. What happened at the weather station is not important for documenting the effects of climate change on the lake. I study lakes and it should be obvious to most that water temperatures change slowly over time and with depth and are much easier to measure than air. temperatures. I reviewed a couple of the studies by the UC Davis group and their research is excellent.

    • BillD: Yeah fine but how do we know somebody didn’t throw a burn barrel into the lake?

      [I thought I saw one floating in the background of one of Anthony’s holiday snaps, but it was just Corel Paint-ed in. – Ben]

  7. Just to state the obvious, I think the increasingly absurd tone of WTF just now has everything to do with the crashing Arctic sea ice. I can’t wait to see what happens there if it should turn out that the reflooding of New Orleans along with the devastation of much of the adjacent Gulf coast become the backdrop to Romney’s acceptance speech.

    Please keep up the good work, Ben, thankless though it must seem at times.

  8. More hilariousness has ensued, with Watts pointing to the UHI on Antarctica. A commenter on WUWT notes:

    Ian says:
    August 26, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Dear WUWT

    I guess I owe the world a humble apology for personally contributing so much to the urban heat island in Antarctica, and hence to misinterpreted climate records.

    The badly sited meteorological screen in your photo is at an Australian summer camp in the Northern Prince Charles Mountains, near Mt Jacklyn – in the background. Temperatures measured here were for local information of pilots and field parties only – it is useful to have an idea of how many layers of clothes to put on before exiting your Antarctic shelter. Temperatures here were only measured for less than 2 months over a couple of seasons and have NEVER been used for any climate record.

    This photo was taken in the 1988/89 austral summer when I, and a colleague Andy, lived in the UNHEATED shelter nearest to the meteorological station. I didn’t realise that I was so hot that my body heat could influence temperatures measured on the Antarctic Peninsula, thousands of kilometres away. It must have been Andy!!!


    [Hilarious! – Ben]

  9. I also had personal information posted about me after making some less than appreciative comments on Watts’ site. It kind of freaked me out. It wasn’t Watts who posted it though, it was one of his regular brainwashed fan club. I suspect this is pretty much SOP for them. They are a very paranoid bunch.

    [But, but, Anthony tells us that only denialists are ever victimized! – Ben]

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