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.’

Admission of unfair dealings by DEC to the Thompsons

Admission of unfair dealings by DEC to the Thompsons. The “tragic” Thompson family feed-lot saga in Australia continues; the Department of Environment and Conservation heavies may have blinked! But is it “governmental abuse”, or are the Thompsons being held up as martyrs because they expressed denialist sentiments and drew the wrath of intolerant environmentalists?

Maybe that’s why Anthony Watts is taking such an interest, it’s a two-fer! Oppressive government (by the way Australia’s “Liberal” parties are an analog for America’s Republicans, so you might want to re-think some of the invective) and fascist environmentalists! Delicious.

Well, they’re both the final nail in the coffin for AGW, right?

21 complaints about farm smells and an idiotic bureaucracy – enough to ruin a life, a livelihood, and a family home

21 complaints about farm smells and an idiotic bureaucracy – enough to ruin a life, a livelihood, and a family home. Anthony Watts offers more outrage about the bureaucratic wrangling over the Thompson family’s farm in Western Australia.

“Is there a vendetta by some green elements of the DEC [Department of Environment and Conservation] against the Thompsons?”

Los Angeles laughs at recent “invisible summer” AP article

Los Angeles laughs at recent “invisible summer” AP article. With the return of Fall in the northern hemisphere we also see Anthony Watts return to brainless anecdotes about cold weather somewhere. And, of course, reflexive complaints about particular weather stations.

Los Angeles had a cold summer, but now it’s having a heat wave. Perfectly normal, right Anthony?

New discovery may lead to a malaria vaccine

New discovery may lead to a malaria vaccine. This will make Indur Goklany happy, because malaria is what we should really be focussed on, right? Anthony Watts got so worked up on that comment thread that he banned a critic that he’s still trying to argue around.

Why did Anthony and so many of his commenters feel the need to co-opt Rachael Carson? The comments in this post still talk about “the lies of Rachael Carson”, claim that Carson was “a Malthusian” and continue to compare her to Hitler. Was she Al Gore’s mother? Hilarious.

So Australian scientists have identified how the malaria parasite to attach to and enter red blood cells. Excellent development, but it doesn’t change the fact that Anthony and Indur have enthusiastically milked the distraction of malaria and DDT use for their own ideological purposes.

Sorry, no get out of jail free card for you Anthony. Way too much recidivism.

More follow up on the solar-neutrinos-radioactive decay story – experimental falsification

More follow up on the solar-neutrinos-radioactive decay story – experimental falsification. A surprising report last month by physicists that claimed to have detected a variation in radioactive decay rates, which they attributed to solar neutrinos. The NIST has overturned this finding, concluding that the tiny variations arose from environmental conditions during the original study.

This means that you can never trust scientists. They’re sloppy and biased! Instead, trust the keen skepticism of Anthony Watts, he mumbled about this when the report first came out.

An update on the plight of the Thompsons

An update on the plight of the Thompsons. Oh, the plight! The comedy of Anthony Watts’ sudden burning interest in an Australian farmer’s family continues. Why, oh why is there “no help from the usual [alarmist] suspects and their flocks”? (Oops, there goes “the high ground.” Again.) Are Anthony and his denialist friends the only people who care about ordinary people? Umm, perhaps its time for Anthony to come clean and admit that his topics and motivations are entirely political.

Maybe things aren’t going too well on the denialist front in spite of Anthony’s ever-louder declarations that victory is near. His much-loved Viscount Monckton has been rather brutally revealed as a dishonest buffoon, the deluded Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli’s harassment of climate scientists has been laughed out of court, the cherished Wegman Report has been dissected and shown to be puffed up nonsense full of incompetent plagiarism, misrepresentation and even old-fashioned padding. This little tempest is a good distraction.

Frankly, I have some sympathy for the “honest hardworking” Thompson family (that link’s a kook factory) but no opinion on the core issue of farming regulations. The fact that they have been taken up with such vigor by fanatical strangers is a pretty dodgy sign though. Tough luck, apparently, for the millions living in, say, Bangladesh. Wrong color? Wrong politics? Wrong religion?