Pielke Sr. on the quality of global surface stations

Pielke Sr. on the quality of global surface stations” (2011-08-14). The Stupid that won’t die! Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., an actual denialist climate scientist, reminds us of Anthony Watts’ “outstanding report” on the siting quality surface temperature stations used in the US Historical Climate Network, Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?. (Oops, “Page Not Found”. Are the Heartland Institute lobbyists shuffling that embarrassment off to the side?) The “scientific” follow-up was Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

You remember the “outstanding report” that Anthony kept promising would prove how dishonest conventional climate scientists were except… it didn’t? And the ground-breaking paper that… confirmed the conventional scientific conclusions about global warming. But he sure did a good job collecting amateur photos of weather stations.

So Dr. Pielke is going to do a home slide show too! Prepare for an onslaught of “random” photos of weather stations. Maybe he and Anthony can obscure the failure of their shared project with a new flood of irrelevant amateur photos? Sounds like a great way to keep heads bobbing in time.

Earth’s Climate System Is Ridiculously Complex – With Draft Link Tutorial

Earth’s Climate System Is Ridiculously Complex – With Draft Link Tutorial (June 30th, 2011). I’m waaay behind commenting on Anthony Watts’ anti-science, but this post recently came to my attention. Gosh, if the Earth’s climate is so “ridiculously complex” how could we possibly really know anything? We might hurt our thinkin’ muscles trying to figger it out.

The Earth rotates! It orbits the Sun! There’s gravity! The Sun shines! Volcanoes and hot springs are hot! Cosmic rays rain down, as do comets! Funny, I didn’t notice any references to the much-discussed greenhouse effect.

Most importantly; even though the Earth’s climate is “ridiculously complex” it is absolutely clear that all changes are completely natural.

WUWT reader and obsessive googler “Just The Facts” has assembled a collection of mainly Wikipedia entries to prove this point, but it seems to me that he’s unintentionally shown the exact opposite. Climate scientists are well aware of our climate’s complexity, and are able to integrate the processes quite well. Thanks, Facts.

Of course denialists are waging a fighting retreat using the “complexity” and “imperfection” arguments, so a huge list of anything is useful for waving in the air. I think Winnie-the-Pooh said it best:

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

Climate scientist Michael Tobis tries to inject a little reality to the comments, but faces a determined onslaught of ignorance as well as the usual  passive-aggressive moderation by Anthony and his staff. Eventually solar scientist Leif Svalgaard gets chokes on the ignorance and starts correcting them.

The comment by “Thomas S”, third one in, wins today’s booby prize: “Holy….!! This post will go down in history as the post that killed the AGW debate once in for all.” I wouldn’t put money on that, Thomas.

Himalayan Sherpas as climate proxy

Himalayan Sherpas as climate proxy. (May 1, 2011) Anthony Watts reposts a “Bishop Hill” (Andrew Montford’s pseudonym) blog item mocking researchers for asking Himalayan Sherpas about changes in their environment (Biology Letters, April 2011). Anthony ‘piles on’ with a link to a twenty year-old anthropology book.

As reported by Richard Black of the BBC, apparently only about half of the villagers questioned reported that summers were starting earlier than they did ten years ago. This means the other half couldn’t be bribed to lie by the corrupt researchers I guess.

Their top line conclusions are that villagers are noticing signals suggestive of climate change.

Warmer weather, drying water sources, the advance of summer and the monsoon, new insect pests, earlier flowering of plants… all consistent with the basic idea of a warming world.

Anecdotal evidence is a favorite denialists talking point, but only when it goes their way. They like to report one person recalling that the beach height is exactly the same as when they were kid, but not when 250 people report about when flowers bloomed. Just a few days ago Anthony and his teammates were touting an opinion poll.

Selective as always, Anthony tells us about an imprecise research method but fails to mention that ways of successfully using it exist. Weak “remembered data” is better than a lack of data. Social anthropologists and social scientists live in that sphere and know how to use it with caution.

Yellowstone’s supervolcano – worse than we thought

Yellowstone’s supervolcano – worse than we thought“. This is how Anthony Watts smears a paper-thin crust of science on his blog: he pastes in a random general science press release. In this case, a University of Utah study has provided a more detailed geophysical image of the volcanic hotspot beneath Yellowstone National Park, which seems bigger and potentially more deadly than previously thought.

Quoth the press release:

University of Utah geophysicists made the first large-scale picture of the electrical conductivity of the gigantic underground plume of hot and partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano. The image suggests the plume is even bigger than it appears in earlier images made with earthquake waves.

The Yellowstone volcanic plume. New image on the left. Photo Credit: The University of Utah.

Hey, science! At the moment it’s effectively quiescent, but the theoretical consequences are no further away than a Discovery Channel dramatization. To further quote the University of Utah:

The hotspot finally reached Yellowstone about 2 million years ago, yielding three huge caldera eruptions about 2 million, 1.3 million and 642,000 years ago. Two of the eruptions blanketed half of North America with volcanic ash, producing 2,500 times and 1,000 times more ash, respectively, than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. Smaller eruptions occurred at Yellowstone in between the big blasts and as recently as 70,000 years ago.

This particular copy-and-paste implicitly stokes the denialist meme that humans are too puny to have any impact on our climate. If that volcano goes off then switching to wind power will have been a meaningless effort. All that fussing would seem pretty foolish if something like that happened, so why bother?

Just don’t consider the curious fact that the regular and ongoing impact humanity is having on our environment is probably on the same scale as these kinds of improbable freak catastrophes denialists tell us we should really be worrying about.

Sea Ice News #32 – Southern Comfort

Sea Ice News #32 – Southern Comfort. Anthony Watts tries to explain why he’s been avoiding the topic of Arctic Sea Ice. Apparently because the precipitous drop in Arctic Sea Ice, which Anthony is careful not to display until the end of his post, isn’t nearly as interesting as the statistically insignificant rise in Antarctic Sea Ice. Even though Arctic conditions are primarily affected temperature and Antarctic conditions are primarily affected by ocean currents.

Cue bold-faced muttering about “healthy skepticism”, hidden data (oops! it was there all along) and wounded references to nasty scientists making accusations of breathtaking denialist ignorance. Oh, and apparently Tamino’s takedown amuses Anthony.

Dr. Ray Bradley’s amazing photo

Dr. Ray Bradley’s amazing photo“. Anthony Watts presents us with chilling evidence of scientific fraud: Professor Ray Bradley’s faculty website photo! Got him! And thus the grand conspiracy unravels.

Dr. Ray Bradley's Faculty photo, showing 'evidence of deception'.


Is a staff photo scientific evidence? No.

Does Anthony realise that this informal photo doesn’t even show the entire chart? That, cunningly, Dr. Bradley’s body is concealing some of the details? No. (That’s the clue that Anthony missed.)

1200 words about nothing at all, with even more in the comments praising Anthony’s revelation… Just another day at WUWT.

By the way, why is Dr. Bradley earning denialist attention? He’s the climate scientist that Dr. Wegman plagiarized and misrepresented in his 2006 Report and had the nerve to complain about it. Anthony and crew are looking for ways to make him uncomfortable.

Antarctic sea ice increase not linked to ozone hole

Antarctic sea ice increase not linked to ozone hole. Anthony Watts has discovered a two paragraph news report about a paper in Geophysical Research Letters titled “Has the ozone hole contributed to increased Antarctic sea ice extent?” Here’s the paper’s heart:

Contrary to expectations, our model simulates a year-round decrease in Antarctic sea ice due to stratospheric ozone depletion. The largest percentage sea ice decrease in our model occurs in the austral summer near the coast of Antarctica, due to a mechanism involving offshore Ekman sea ice transport.

Ooh, they’re talking about computer models! Anthony hates computer models, he’s totally going to tear them a new one! Wait, why is he as quiet as a church-mouse? This particular computer modeling happens to be useful to denialists, so it gets accepted unquestioningly.

The Antarctic ozone hole. From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

So which is right, this new climate model or the older ones that linked ozone depletion to increased Antarctic sea ice? Anthony doesn’t seem to care really, he just wants to shout that there is ‘no global warming.’