Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Anthony Watts Is Sad

Some, not Eli to be sure, have often suspected that without Papa Pielke to protect him, Tony Watts can dig some very deep holes for himself, and as one of the recent contretemps has shown, even Papa can fall into the bunny hole.   

Still, Tony (Eli can call you Tony. can't he Willard Anthony?), has outdone himself with his Antarctic Surface Station project.  This now features in the comments on Open Mind, but Big City Lib has a good precis.  Tony was trying to claim that weather stations in the Antarctic, and specifically on the Antarctic Peninsula which has had a huge amount of warming, were influenced by the presence conglomorations, even cities of people, and he posted the picture to the left.  In this case the crowing and attaboys of the usual suspects crowed, awakened the wrong beast, who wrote
August 26, 2012 at 2:49 am
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!!!

The first rule of successful blogging is to know when to hold em and when to fold em, but you can always double down, and thus the bunnies have observed an new world record in the Gish Gallop.  As this faux pas was pointed to by several, Tony began to unravel
REPLY: It illustrates that weather stations in Antarctica and heat generating/using humanity are in proximity, the same thing happens in the Arctic, such as at the DEW line stations, where they’d “make up temperatures” rather than brave going outside at times.
Not hard to understand really, people don’t place the weather stations so far away from the huts that they have to risk death to get a reading in subzero temperatures and white out blizzards. – Anthony
REPLY: First you have to prove that temperature rise measured inland at the Peninsula is manifested in the sea water temperature or above the ice, and show that it in fact made them collapse. Air temperature > water temperature isn’t a strong transfer – Anthony
REPLY: No dumkopf, there is no UHI since there’s no “urban” in Antarctica. That’s your made up farce. I’m saying that weather stations, like the one shown, are almost always next to human habitation where it is warmer. Really how hard can it be to understand this, especially with a photo?- Anthony
at which point Nick Kermode appeared
Anthony says:
“How hard can it be to understand this, especially with a photo?”
That photo has been well and truly been proven inadmissible. Can you admit your mistake then provide us some information that proves your point? Cheers
REPLY: It illustrates that weather stations in Antarctica and heat generating/using humanity are in proximity, the same thing happens in the Arctic, such as at the DEW line stations, where they’d “make up temperatures” rather than brave going outside at times.
Not hard to understand really, people don’t place the weather stations so far away from the huts that they have to risk death to get a reading in subzero temperatures and white out blizzards. – Anthony
Eli knows you bunnies could go over there and read the stuff, but this is too good to leave to the Watts Up and it continued to death spiral
Nick Kermode says: August 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm
Anthony, Ian reported earlier in the thread that the thermometers housed near camps were used for local weather only, as information for pilots and how many layers of thermal underwear to don. The temperatures measurements used for climate information are automated and “use the ARGOS data relay system, carried by the NOAA series of near-polar orbiting satellites.” negating the need for what you suggest. Im sure Ian from above would have some excellent info for you given his position within the Australian Antarctic Division. Your photo does not support in any way what you are suggesting. Have attached a link to a good site that includes a link to a page that discusses the known possible problems with the types of thermometers and sensors used in Antactica. It hasn’t been updated for some time so you may have something to contribute/ some issues may have been resolved in further study. In any case creating a dialogue with Ian may be helpful as I don’t understand why you keep referencing that photo and hypothesising about poorly sited stations when an on the ground first hand scientist tells us that they are not even used for climate related data.
REPLY: “The temperatures measurements used for climate information are automated and “use the ARGOS data relay system, carried by the NOAA series of near-polar orbiting satellites.” negating the need for what you suggest. ”
Ummm, no. Argos didn’t come into being till the mid 2000′s, and nearly all climate data before that back to the first camps in Antarctica came from Stevenson Screen type stations. While there may have been some near term improvements the fact the the stations for decades prior were near human habitation because they were required to be manually read. For example: http://www.discoveringantarctica.org.uk/alevel_2_1.html
And one of the oldest ones: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/earth/antarctica/antarctic-conservation/blog-archive/image.php?src=http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources/nature-online/earth/antarctica/blog-archive/images/meteorological-screen-545.jpg&from=/nature-online/earth/antarctica/blog-archive/?cat=14&paged=8
Meteorological screen used by Captain Scott’s expedition nearly a century ago – it stands about 65m behind the expedition base at Cape Evans and would have been used to capture some of the earliest information on weather on the continent.
And here’s a stamp showing a Stevenson Screen station in Antarctica: http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/dev/hillger/BritishAntarctic.319.jpg
Here’s one from 1935: http://www.freezeframe.ac.uk/collection/british-graham-land-expedition-collection/p51-8-a094
Here’s the longest record in Antarctica, at Mawson: http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-and-working/stations/mawson/this-week-at-mawson/2011/this-week-at-mawson-21-october-2011
Still a screen there. Still inside the camp.
Many of the newer automated stations have their own problems, such as getting buried by snow, which makes them report warmer temperatures. Sorry, you kids just don’t know what you are talking about. – Anthony
Well, like Nick said, Ian was lurking
Ian says:
Anthony – I think you are confusing ARGO (robotic ocean buoys that measure temperature and salinity at depth) with ARGOS (satellite based data relay system). ARGOS has been around since at least the early 1980s: large scale ARGO deployments only really started in the early 2000s.
Most Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in Antarctica use the ARGOS data relay system – since the satellites are near-polar orbiters, you gets lots of passes at high latitude and almost hourly measurements. Yes – snow accumulation does alter the height of the AWS surface above the surface if the stations are not maintained. But because of the persistent and strong surface temperature inversion over the ice sheet, this means that the measured temperatures get COLDER (not warner) as they get closer to the surface. (I question who does and who does not know what they are talking about).
The AWS are almost all in very remote sites (hundreds of kilometres from heated buildings). The record from AWS does only extend back about 30 years, and manned stations or proxies (ice cores, etc) are needed for longer records. But over the last 30 years or so, the trends from the AWS and the manned stations are consistent.
and after Nick twisted the knife, Tony galloped
Nick Kermode says: August 28, 2012 at 5:49 am
Ian is correct Anthony. ARGOS has been used in Antarctica since 1984. Your assertion that any measurements before 2000 were taken using Stevenson Screens is incorrect. A very quick google will tell you that.

Then show it. Don’t make me do your work for you. – Anthony
and Nick obliged only to get more chaff
Nick Kermode says: August 28, 2012 at 5:58 am
http://aws.acecrc.org.au/background.html ……..to add to above
REPLY: So? It doesn’t prove your point. See below. – Anthony
Eli will omit the rather long reply, only to provide the denoumont
Nick Kermode says August 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm
“Most Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in Antarctica use the ARGOS data relay system”
I said “are automated and use the ARGOS data relay system.
Ians comment mentions AWS and both are very specific that it is the data relay system not a plural of the ARGO system. Please read things more carefully to avoid confusion.
Wait for it





Anthony Watts says: August 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm I don’t see every comment that gets posted on this blog we have a team of moderators so I never saw the original I only saw yours


Sou said...


Tony has got a bit out of control lately, he loses it more easily (anger issues) and saying really dumb things.

I've recently been banned (one of a long line of the banned) after pointing out he confused a reference by the California Governor to conditions in Lake Tahoe (Lake water temperature among other things) with the air surface temperature record.

The nail in the coffin was my criticising his lampooning of
Bill McKibben as payback for Bill graciously forgiving Watts for falsely accusing him of deleting tweets.

It seems to me what's needed is a constant stream of people who understand / accept science to keep up the good work, to replace all the people Tony bans when they irritate him too much (by correcting his endless mistakes).

Dan Satterfield said...

I long ago quit reading his craziness. I do find it telling that the number one blog on climate denial is hosted by someone who never bothered to get an undergrad degree in the field of meteorology...

bill said...

Priceless indeed! Truly a popcorn moment.

But it sure does it serve to keep the discussion away from the other pole!

It's notable that the likes of Nova and the Bishop have been managing to diligently avoid that (rapidly-thawing) Woolly Mammoth in the room. I mean, it's not like it's the most remarkable thing going on in the climate or anything... ;-)

I confidently predict many more such small Denier farces playing to less-and-less packed houses over the next decade.

(PS - recaptcha has become absurd. Are robots really that smart? We'll have to start writing software that can read the bloody things!)

dbostrom said...

Meanwhile, Watts gains a new admirer:

I think very highly of Watt's surface station work...he has revealed how problematic many (most) of our surface stations are, as well as the poor QC work done by NCDC over the years. A national embarrassment, really

What's really embarrassing is seeing somebody like Cliff Mass dive into what looks like a swimming pool but is actually a blue tarp covered with 3" of water.

Track the tragedy as it unfolds here.

Trying to help avert disaster by posting comment with a list of publications debunking Watts was futile; Cliff doesn't like my company anymore, not since I disagreed w/him about Skeptical Science being "a big disappointment" because SkS mocks Christy. Boo-hoo.

Lars Karlsson said...

I still think that this post about anomalies from 2008 is Tony's best ever.

When it comes to digging holes, Tony is not exactly a newbie.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the last surfacestations.org fiasco. A month ago, Watts promised to post a revised paper "in the next day or two", McIntyre wrote he would publish his analysis "in the next few days".

Maybe Watts is trying to find another site classification system that would prove his point...

Steve Bloom said...

McI got Watts to pull his draft instead, so expect nothing on the former's end. The question now is whether anyone who knows anything is willing to help Watts salvage his reputation by helping him put together some sort of submissible paper based on that material.

Nick Stokes said...

There was a similar WUWT post in 2009, where a picture supposed to show a badly placed NIWA weather station in Wellington turned out to be an air quality monitoring station in Auckland, providing data for the Auckland Regional Council. But it didn't matter.

Marion Delgado said...

Cliff Mass is an ideologue. First, last and always. An excellent fit for Watts and it's true love. For both of them, science is whatever their missive from the RNC says it is this morning. And if that's different tomorrow morning, so much the better. the old reality was getting kind of boring.

badger badger badger said...


I hadn't known Mass to have a distorting political slant, but then I haven't followed him too closely or for long. The only swipe at climate science before seemed to be complaining about the relative lack of computing power for NWP, but that didn't seem unreasonable. Is there more of a history there?

Marion Delgado said...

Dan Satterfield I agree about recaptcha - it used to be two words, one of which was the captcha and the other of which you were digitizing and didn't have to get that close. It still says helping to digitize old scanned texts but I wonder, actually, how much "help" it can be if the software rejects as many answers as it takes?

badger badger badger: Cliff May takes a different tack from Watts, but that simply qualifies him to be a better handler than Pielke. His weather work is the main thrust of his blog, and it's in no way ideological, though when he discusses climate there he makes a real effort to extract as much doubt and as little AGW problems as possible. But other places he's quite disparaging of both scientists and popularizers if they don't hew to his Judy Curry-like stance that the truth is always in the middle between Monckton/Heartland and the climate science consensus. At any given time.

Sou said...

As Tony said today, when he posted his article berating the EPA for protecting the environment, reading WUWT "might make you mad".

Anonymous said...

BigCityLib said on his thread:

Except that, this past weekend, Anthony Watts may have hit bottom."

Nah, unlike Arctic sea ice, which will soon enough reach zero and will then go no further, Watts can go subterraneanly deep into negative territory.

You just watch him.

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually fascinated about how much Watts thinks that an unheated hut housing two men would actually bias the reading of a nearby thermometer, even if said instrument was recording data for global climate analysis, rather than for local weather indication.

Let's just assume for a moment that the 'guilty' station was used for what he claims. Really, just how much would it skew the results? Not only at that local station, but in concert with repeated measures over time and space.

Watts obviously has no inkling of just how robust many data can be in the face of particular, seemingly important problems. As I noted at Open Mind, if Watts had physics on his side such that a few shivering humans could up the Antarctic temperature record to any detectable degree, the implications for true urban heat islands are staggering.

Although I noted above that Watts is entirely capable of mining the depths of the Wells of Stupid for ever greater nuggets of unbelievability, I wonder whether there might be at some point in the near future a 'dissappearing' of some of the more hilariously nonsensical threads on WWWT.

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Sou said...

I doubt it, Bernard. It hasn't happened often so far.

Justin Kruger and David Dunning found that people like Tony aren't at all aware of how wide of the mark they are.

See their hypothesis, particularly point 3.

spilgard said...

Mr. Watts has inadvertently stumbled upon the explanation for alleged north polar ice melt and warming amplification. As the ice shrinks, the polar bears are compressed into a smaller area, thus creating an Ursine Heat Island (UHI) effect and a possible feedback mechanism for enhanced melting.

Look for the landmark game-changing paper that I intend to publish on this subject, as soon as I've taught myself some statistics by placing a statistics book underneath my pillow. The final nail is approaching the AGW coffin, if only space to drive it can be found between all of the previous final nails.

Anonymous said...

Spilgard. You are completely WRONG. Raymond Pierrehumbert already discovered time ago it is the Ursine-Albedo feedback, due to the clustering of white bears, similar to pierrehumbert's sheep-albedo feedback.

Ray's fanboy.

J Bowers said...

"Ursine-Albedo feedback"

But aren't more of them browner these days? Is their fur melting and they're having a Greenland ice sheet moment?

Anonymous said...

Where I live out in the woods of Nova Scotia I always thought it was rural. After reading a lot at WUWT, I am both scared and confused.

The problem is deep in the woods. There's a little blond girl and a bunch of bears. Just around the corner an old lady bakes children in her oven. And there is a granny, a girl in a red hoodie and a couple of wolves and some pigs. The problem is that there is a thermometer nearby.

Now with the kid baking, the huffing and puffing the truing and froing through the woods and bears eating the thermometer must be affected. More ursine around?


Anonymous said...

Horatio would just note that

It was sad, Oh Tony
It was sad, Wattsupwithya
It was sad when that great ship went down...to the bottom of the....
Tony's and Steves, sense and logic took their leaves.
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Lewis said...

Eli, supposing you look at filth the likes of Willard with the perspective that they get paid per minute of your time they manage to mop up ?



Jeffrey Davis said...

Does anyone know him socially? The humorlessness, temper, and lack of self-perception seems to be classic symptoms of an Aspbergers sufferer.

(something different than captcha, please.)

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lumpus Spookytooth, phd.

wow! nailed him! Even if it is 4 years late.

I mean, its not like you hold your side to any standards. Paul Erlich, Al Gore.

Let's compare and see what is a bigger mistake, shall we?

Paul Erlich's population predictions-total fail.

Al Gore: 3 years, 150 days, 7hrs and 24min until the planet heats up beyond capacity.

"Larry David says, "You know, Al is a funny guy, but he's also a very serious guy who believes humans may have only 10 years left to save the planet from turning into a total frying pan."

so. The man who used the wrong picture, versus the 2 who made massive, global predictions.

also, Gore never refuted what Larry David said Eli, so you can claim all you want somebody else said it, Gore never corrected him.

Jim Eager said...

Shorter Stubbytooth:

"Sputter..., sputter..., Al Gore is fat."



Tony should return shortly from the Black Rock Desert, where he's gone to prove the warming hoax arises from siting thermometers downwind of Burning Man.

cRR Kampen said...

Please, Jeffrey, Asperger is a talent, not a Watts. Evaluate more bona fide scientists please.

Gaz said...

Irrespective of the heat output of a the unheated hut with two shivering scientists inside, I'm still a bit perplexed about how it's supposed to affect the trend unless it moves a little bit closer to the thermometer every year.


There's so much I don't understand.

Robert Murphy said...

"Al Gore: 3 years, 150 days, 7hrs and 24min until the planet heats up beyond capacity."

Absolute nonsense. He never said that the world would heat up "beyond capacity" in ten years. He said we had ten years to take action or it would be too late (too difficult) to stop the warming to come over the next century. You are arguing against something he never claimed - it's a complete fiction.

Jim Eager said...

"it's a complete fiction"

Ah, but that's exactly what Stumpytooth comes here to disseminate; complete fiction, fantasy and disinformation. Oh, and anti-tax vitriol. Why he bothers to waste his time doing so here, of all places, is the mystery. Obviously he has way too much free time on his hands that he can't think of a productive use for, not that that's a surprise.

ligne said...

of course, if the scientists really wanted to prevent contamination, they shouldn't have made their tents red: everyone knows that red things are hotter.

Anonymous said...

Watts is a dangerous fool, inaccurate and virtually hell-bent on toeing the party line when it comes to climate change.

We all know his tiny sphere of 'influence' is dying, but what of it? The blind will follow the blind and both will fall into the ditch.

We will always have some idiot deniers among us, even as we watch the last of the ice melt in the Arctic 'forever' (on human time scales). They'll find some dumb-ass reason to claim why it all disappeared.

George Jetson

Anonymous said...

There are photos of actual weather stations actually used for climate purposes on the actual peninsula.


No buildings in sight. I successfully posted the link at the offending thread.

"Not hard to understand really, people don’t place the weather stations so far away from the huts that they have to risk death to get a reading in subzero temperatures and white out blizzards." – Anthony

Really, Anthony? They use helicopters to get to some of those weather stations (more pictures). And the AWSs don't look like any Stevenson screen I've ever seen.

brer rabbit

Nick Kermode said...

Hi there, not mentioned but perhaps the funniest part of that particular discussion was when Anthony, after spectacular errors and high school misunderstanding said "you kids just don't know what you are talking about".

His hubris is in a league of it's own.