SOPA: Watts Up With That?

Most netizens will be aware that today is a day to protest SOPA, the controversial “Stop Online Piracy Act” bill introduced in the United States House of Representatives in October 2011 but not yet passed.

In essence, SOPA would give content creators a tool to enforce copyright by, among other things, blocking access to “infringing” websites. The driving force behind this are wealthy corporate interests in the music, television and film industries. The concern is that this will be used as a tool for suppressing free speech by simply alleging copyright infringement.

In the context of climate denialism you’d think that Anthony Watts, who often rails against imagined suppression and censorship of “climate skepticism” would be particularly concerned. But no. Crickets over there on an issue that Anthony would have us believe is fundamental to his activities.

Perhaps Anthony sees an easy way to harass people expressing views he doesn’t like and tool for impeding his critics. He’s tried, comically, to use copyright infringement as a weapon in the past.

2012-01-19 Update: I track Anthony’s blog by RSS feed, which apparently didn’t include his post about the horrors of SOPA. It ends with a press release from conspiracy enthusiast Senator Jim Inhofe, who has in the past seemed eager to use the power of his office to intimidate. Anthony’s late-in-the-day take on the issue turns out to be predictable, as are many of his reader comments are about how SOPA is intended to help the Obama communists crush individualism. Progressive resistance is more nuanced; SOPA is a gift from beholden politicians to media conglomerates intent on protecting their profits that, through ill-design, places free speech at risk. Isn’t that the same thing?

The IPCC gives me a shock

The IPCC gives me a shock” (2011-12-16). Anthony Watts boasts that as eminent ‘citizen-scientist’ he’s been appointed to the IPCC:

I’ve been appointed as an expert reviewer for the IPCC AR5. I’ve viewed the invitation letter and it’s the real deal.

His “qualification”? He found a web page and entered his e-mail address.

Nobody recruited me, I was not invited by IPCC to apply, I was given a tip by another skeptic on the application page – Anthony

Anthony’s also been appointed customer-in-line #53 by his local butcher and has found the mailing address for submitting  letters-to-the-editor at the Carmichael Times. It’s the trifecta!

His readers (some of them have received the golden ticket too) don’t seem to understand the difference between writing a scientific report and being allowed to whine about same. Are they one of the cool kids now or is it a trap?

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!

A new perspective on climate science and wind power

A new perspective on climate science and wind power (May 5, 2011). Anthony Watts adds a stock photo of a wind turbine to his copy-and-paste of Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. blog post hailing “a new perspective” on wind power. Apparently there isn’t as much wind power available as some people think. Perhaps the “new perspective” is that we should stop wasting our time on any of them dumb alternative energies.

I have to ask, why the un-ending denialist hate-on for renewable energy? Conceptually it’s completely independent of efforts to address global warming. Shouldn’t free-thinking libertarians be proud of man’s ability to take what he wants from the world around him? I guess they’re fixated on the “oppression” of people who own oil company stocks. I wonder who led them down that path? Also, why are they so determined to consider each renewable energy source in complete isolation? We don’t have to choose between wind power and solar. Each renewable energy source will contribute to our needs, it’s the cumulative generation that matters.

Pielke first draws our attention to Miller, Gans and Kleidon (2011), who use “a simple back-of-the-envelope estimate to illustrate the natural Earth system process hierarchy that could result in wind power extractability from the atmospheric boundary layer” to estimate that available wind power is “in the range of 18–68 TW and are notably less than recent estimates that claim abundant wind power availability.” We forgot friction! Everyone’s been doin’ it wrong. Dump those computers and go back to your envelopes, everyone.

In fact, Wikipedia tells us that current wind power generation is about 196 GW (0.2 TW) and accounts for  2.5% of total electrical generation. So even the pessimistic estimate Pielke likes shows that, in theory, wind power could entirely meet our global electrical needsThe same Wikipedia entry tells us that the conventional available wind power estimates range from 72-1700 TW, which means that Miller et. al. are merely pegging the low-end of existing estimates. How is this a “new perspective” on wind power?

Next Pielke also points out a paper one of the above authors, Axel Kleidon (submitted PDF here), that he seems to suggest deprecates renewable energy. But Kleidon is really identifying the limits of available energy and advocating efficient conversion of renewable energy sources:

The only sustainable way to meet the increasing needs for free energy by human activity would seem to use human technology in such a way that it would enhance the overall ability of the earth system to generate free energy.

I wonder if those who argue that “man is too insignificant to impact our climate” like this quote from Kleidon’s submitted paper:

it is evident that human activity as an earth system process is far greater and significant in comparison to natural processes than what it would seem using other, more traditional measures.

Pielke’s post seems more like a chance for him to show the polite response of the paper authors to his correspondence.

The Madden – Julian Oscillation

The Madden – Julian Oscillation. Anthony Watts discovers that our atmosphere sloshes! There are currents everywhere! This means that there is no Global Warming, it’s all natural oscillations!

Anthony pastes in a 1998 atmospheric science web textbook chapter to show his new knowledge, in particular about the short-period (40-50 days) tropical Madden – Julian Oscillation. But he must have choked on this sentence, unless he never read it:

Notwithstanding its complexity and dependence on convection, the essence of the MJO (its periodicity, structure and zonal asymmetry) can be simulated in a GCM.

That sounds like a vindication of Global Circulation Models… They’re evil, corrupt, and always wrong!

NOAA’s End Game on the 2010 Hurricane Season

NOAA’s End Game on the 2010 Hurricane Season“. Gee, Anthony Watts’ use of the phrase “end game” suggests that NOAA’s failing at hurricane prediction. Them dumb scientists don’t know nuthin’!

Or we can struggle all the way past the NOAA article title and read the subtitle: NOAA’s Prediction for Active Season Realized; Slow Eastern Pacific Season Sets Record. Exhausting, huh?

Hurricanes Karl, Igor and  Julia.

Hurricanes Karl, Igor and Julia on Sept. 16. Source: NOAA

What does increased hurricane activity reflect? Warmer oceans.

People Living in Glass Planets

People Living in Glass Planets“. Anthony Watts and crew have given up seriously pretending that the “greenhouse effect” doesn’t exist. Willis Eschenbach posts a guest article explaining to the WUWT readers why it is sort-of theoretically true. Don’t worry though, Willis assures the WUWT readers that there are still plenty of nit-picks that they can shout about.

Of course Anthony’s quite happy to let their readers deny the greenhouse effect in website comments. This is really about creating “plausible deniability” for Anthony himself.