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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Horrible, awful, devastating fire in Fort McMurray Alberta

Sou | 6:30 PM Feel free to comment!

Yesterday I heard the dreadful news about the devastating fires around Fort McMurray Alberta. Not long afterwards, the evacuation notice spread to all residents of the town and its surrounds - around 80,000 people.  The entire city was evacuated. That's the largest ever fire evacuation in Alberta, probably Canada and maybe even in the world. The latest I've read is that the winds have shifted and the evacuation notice has spread to communities south of Fort McMurray, including one evacuation centre, as indicated in the video in the tweet below.


To evacuate from Fort McMurray there's really only one road, Highway 63 as the map below shows. It's about 434 km to Edmonton. To shift 80,000 people plus out of harms way would have been a garguantan task. Some went to sites considered safe outside of Fort McMurray, and various evacuation centres. I don't know where the whole 80,000 people went to - that's a lot of people to accommodate.

Spoof or genuinely nuts? Another conspiracy theory at WUWT about shrinking glaciers

Sou | 3:15 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

The latest conspiracy theory at WUWT is of "preposterous" claims that glaciers are disappearing. More specifically, someone called Roger Roots doesn't "believe" that glaciers in Glacier National Park are shrinking as quickly as scientists say they are. The evidence? He can't find the old web pages from USGS.

If you've visited the USGS website since the 26 April this year, you'll have seen that it's rolling out a new website, with the modern format suited to tablets. From the new site:



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sunstroke hits Jim Goodridge at WUWT, and is CO2 cooling the sun?

Sou | 8:12 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

Sunstroke isn't fun, it mushes the brain. That's what's happened at WUWT today. There's a very weird article that Anthony Watts has posted, written by Jim Goodridge who long ago was State Climatologist in California. He started work at the US Weather Bureau in Sacramento in 1950, so he's probably in his late 80s. In that role, he did some good work from what I've read. If Anthony Watts knew him and cared, he'd never have let him post this article about sunspots. The article was very short and very wrong and is archived here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Climate Hustle = "blah". The message: Attack the scientists since you can't dispute the facts

Sou | 8:10 PM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment

Reports from people who went to see Climate Hustle suggest it was typical Marc Morano, the 2012 climate misinformer of the year. The take-away message reported was "If the science isn’t on your side, attack the messenger". Shades of the shameful attack on Senator John Kerry by Marc Morano some years ago.

Anthony Watts gave a few half-hearted plugs to the film, saying it was a popcorn movie - well, sort of :) Judith Curry gave it faint praise, not saying much about what she thought of it, but telling readers that her daughter liked it - because it had her photo in the background. (Judith was taken with Marc Morano's charm, which I understand he can lay on thickly and easily, in the manner of other people sharing his personality traits.)

An internally inconsistent straw man from the Cornwall Alliance

Sou | 6:21 PM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

A few months ago the pseudo-religious science-denying cult the Cornwall Alliance posted a bunch of denialist videos on YouTube. I didn’t watch most of them, though a few hundred people have.  One of them did catch my eye. It had the title: Greener on the Other Side - Attacking the Person, Not the Argument, Is Wrong.

I liked the message, however it struck me as a possible example of a straw man logical fallacy. Still, I wondered if there were going to be examples given where the research was sound, but was criticised solely because of the funding source. (I realised it was probably too much to hope that the Cornwall Alliance would be telling fake sceptics to stop attacking climate scientists and instead read their research.) Anyway, I watched the entire one minute and thirty second video almost through to the end (missing only the final long promo). I thought I'd check to see if the argument was supported by examples or if it was just another logical fallacy typical of science deniers.

There weren’t any examples given. It was pure straw man through and through. However it turned out to be more than just a straw man fallacy. The very short video contradicted itself. Below is the transcript so you can see for yourself.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Climate Feedback pounds the facts, Paul Driessen and CFACT pound the table at WUWT

Sou | 12:39 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

There's a saying that pops up from time to time when deniers moan how their denial falls on deaf ears. Caerbennog mentioned it a little while ago when he read about yet another denier boasting how he became afflicted with the Dunning-Kruger effect. The modern version** goes like this:

If you have the facts on your side, you pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, you pound the law. If you have neither on your side, you pound the table.

Climate Feedback pounds the facts


There have been a few things happening lately that brought to mind this lawyerly saying. They go to different parts of the advice. The first part, about "pounding the facts" has been put into practice in a coordinated fashion by a collaboration of scientists: Climate Feedback. They have been working together for some time and are now looking to crowd-funding to employ a Scientific Editor to help expand the effort.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A good answer by James Hansen to a poorly formed question from an ideological denier, Dave Begley

Sou | 11:37 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts has copied and pasted an article (archived here) from some dumb denier blog called Powerline. The article was written by a bloke called Dave Begley, who confesses he's a science denier on ideological grounds. Dave went to a talk by Dr James Hansen at Creighton University, which was held in advance of a shareholder meeting of Berkshire Hathaway.

Dave thought that he was "not only the only conservative, I was also the only person who was thinking clearly and critically". I'll let you decide whether he has the ability to think clearly and critically on the subject of climate change. Dave claimed:

I have never heard such nonsense in my life. He gave a rambling and incoherent presentation for nearly two hours. Three times he forgot the question or lost his train of thought. Since the Jesuits taught me logic, I could easily identity his use of the context, bulls-eye, omission and appeal to authority fallacies.
Dave Begley doesn't give any examples of what he regarded as "use of the context, bulls-eye, omission and appeal to authority fallacies". His own article was one long fallacy of personal incredulity, mixed in with some inaccurate reporting.

Why nights can warm faster than days - Christy & McNider vs Davy 2016

Sou | 8:16 PM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment

At WUWT, Anthony Watts has written about a new paper by John Christy and Richard McNider, which was published in Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. The researchers were looking at trends in summer-time maximum temperatures centering the analysis on three cities in Alabama, and using stations in Alabama and Tennessee. The purpose was to come up with a methodology to construct "long-term datasets by accounting for heterogeneities or changes in the observed time series without the use of station metadata".

There was a press release for the paper, which seems to have been picked up by almost no-one, except WUWT (archived here). In it the authors say:

In addition to creating some arcane mathematical tools useful for creating climate datasets, the team also found daytime high temperature data is less likely to be contaminated by surface issues — such as deforestation, construction, paving and irrigation — than nighttime low temperatures.
However I cannot find anything in the paper that supports that specific finding of contamination, or not strongly so.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Do the hustle...

Sou | 10:59 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment

I've been a bit tied up lately so you can talk about anything. A few deniers are talking about this, or something.




Rumour has it that Sarah Palin didn't get to see what she has been raving about.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Raucous stupidity at WUWT with Charles G. Battig

Sou | 1:34 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

While Anthony Watts is away there have been some articles at WUWT. The latest one was a copy of a letter by a conspiracy theorist called Charles G. Battig. He's appeared here before in an hysterical frame of mind. Charles retired some time ago to take up science denial. In his letter to the Editor (archived here), he starts by claiming that stupidity is not a handicap in politics. That may be the case or not. It's a handicap when trying to make points that contradict all known science, which is what Charles Battig does. He wrote:

Behind these claims is the unsubstantiated assertion global climate change is driven primarily by manmade CO2, and that there is a magic CO2 knob to set climate to a Utopian level. 
First of all, science shows that global temperature, and hence climate, is controlled by the amount of atmospheric CO2. That's been known for a very long time. Back in the 1800s there were even newspaper articles in remote rural Australia, that informed people of this known fact. As for his "Utopian level", Charles just made that up. The fact is that for all of civilisation the global mean surface temperature varied only slowly and over a small range. We are now pushing it way above anything we as humans have experienced before, since we evolved. Whether or not Charles or anyone else regards civilisation as Utopia, we're moving out of it.