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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Anthony Watts Really Thinks Global Temperatures Rose and Fell by Sixty Degrees Celsius in the Holocene?

Sou | 12:37 AM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment

Update: The UK Met Office has responded.  See below.

So  No, it would seem...

...he thinks it rose by up to fifteen degrees Celsius in the Holocene (Richard corrected his workings but Anthony hasn't corrected his), which is really silly.

Anthony Watts has made a new 'sticky' post, making false claims about the UK Met Office.  Apparently some chap in deep denial, Doug Keenan, has once again been harassing the UK Parliament again with dumb questions. (Why doesn't he ask a scientist, I wonder.)

Richard Telford has crunched Doug's numbers and this is what he found.

Is Anthony Watts as dumb as he looks?  We know he protested the Marcott study but does he really think this? This is what Doug Keenan and Anthony Watts seem to think happened to temperatures during the Holocene, putting Doug's 'statistics' to work.

A rise of  5 to 15° Celsius:

Anthony Watts very foolishly tries to preach to and put down Associate Professor Richard Telford, when richard telford says:
May 27, 2013 at 7:26 am  “Met Office has set the cat amongst the pigeons”
More of a red herring than a cat. Only Keenan cannot tell the difference.
REPLY: Mr. Telford, who is on the government climate science payroll, would do well to embrace this: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary  tip jar, speaker fees and Heartland Institute handouts depends upon his not understanding it!” 
- Upton Sinclair
Okay, I modified Anthony's quote slightly but don't you think it's a better fit?

When Richard points out:
If you have to stoop to using ad hominem arguments, you could at least ensure that the ad hominem is correct. The salary of academics is not dependent on their opinions – a concept known as academic freedom.
Anthony responds in typical illiterati fashion, showing he doesn't even know what an ad hom attack is, let alone what was the global temperature range of the Holocene:
REPLY: A famous quote is an “ad hom” LOL!. Yes no dependency, sure, no ‘publish or perish’ until such time you get that cushy deal known as tenure, where you can be free to be as loony as Paul Ehrlich without fear of losing your job. It doesn’t work that way in the real world outside academia my friend. – Anthony

For readers who might not be familiar with it, this is what Marcott et al (2013) found for the Holocene. Note the difference in the temperature scale:

And this is where we are heading:

Adapted from Jos Hagelaars


The UK Met Office has published their reply to the Parliamentary Question asked on behalf of Doug Keenan.  In short, their response is: "What a dumb question."

You can read their longer version here.


  1. The name "Doug Keenan" rang a vague bell, so I Googled a bit and came upon this item.


    Doug Keenan who “admits he has no expertise in tree-ring analysis” has used a Freedom of Information request to force Queen’s University to give him proprietary Irish tree-ring study data that covers a 7000 year time span.


    Keenan hopes to somehow prove that the Irish tree-rings are evidence of a widespread medieval warm period. Dr. Baillie has published a study with his colleagues showing that Irish oaks record temperature changes poorly, so good luck with that.

    Anthony says “It will be interesting to see what independent analysis shows.”

    "It will be interesting to see what independent analysis shows." Hmmmmm....

    What independent analysis?

    Keenan got his hot little hands on that tree-ring data-set over 3 years ago. That means that he has had 3+ years to perform his own independent analysis of the data and publish his own results (in a journal, or even just on his own blog).

    But in my (admittedly less than comprehensive) on-line search, I can't find any evidence that Keen has done much of anything with the data.

    Perhaps it's time to start asking individuals who have gotten data via FOI demands questions like: "It has been XXX years since you got that data -- how's your analysis work going? Do you have any results you'd like to show us yet?


    1. Well, the Irish settled in the USA and even as far as Australia. So I guess you could argue that Irish oak trees influence both hemispheres. Pretty close to the whole world in fact.

    2. More to the point: are these Irish tree ring samples from high latitude pines on the tree line, which are the only trees that are *potentially* reliable as paleo thermometers (there are other criteria as well)? Oh, wait... I see from the linked article that they are oaks. Good luck with that.

      Or is it more likely that because Ireland is smack in the middle of where this alleged MWP was that is the reason these trees were chosen? Because the MWP wasn't global.

      Keenan was, IIRC, also responsible for the fracas that was caused by accusing Phil Jones and a Chinese scientist of colluding to manipulate the surface station data for some locations in China. He is a political animal, not a scientist.


  2. Thinko correction:

    But in my (admittedly less than comprehensive) on-line search, I **couldn't** find any evidence that Keen has done much of anything with the data.


  3. Funny (peculiar) that. I always thought deniers sent FOI requests

    a. to feel important and boast about their prowess on denier blogs

    b. to harass scientists who do real work, and prevent them from getting on with their job

    c. to fill in their otherwise dull day

    d. to speculate on denier blogs how the information they get will PROVE once and for all that climate science is a HOAX

    e. never move past the speculation with any evidence

    f. never even open the package of information they receive

    g. if they are really ambitious, to get famous enough for their bravery in writing a letter to a real university to win a spot on WUWT with an illiterate and incomprehensible article about an impending ice age - with a few coloured drawings.

    I had no idea that anyone ever expected them to actually use the information the scientists gave over days of their time putting together and sending to them.

    1. You mean, the "skeptic" results that I've been anxiously waiting for all these years ("skeptic" paleoclimate reconstructions from Dr. Mann's data, "skeptic" global-average temperature results from the CRU data that was pried from Phil Jones' hands, etc.) are never going to appear? Not even in Energy and Environment?

      Is that what you are telling me? Why, I'm just crushed with disappointment. ;) ;)


    2. Remember how just a few years ago McIntyre obtained Ural region tree ring data from a Russian scientist under false pretenses, ran some cursory analysis on it, and... surprise, no hockey stick!

      Only thing was, that particular batch turns out to have had trees that are not sensitive to climate. The scientist was enraged that McIntyre didn't tell him why he wanted the samples. He could have told McI that they were not fit for purpose in the first place.

      But in the end, it makes no difference. To the likes of McI or Watts, if any random set of tree ring samples from anywhere on the planet doesn't show a hockey stick, that then proves that AGW is all a hoax.


  4. Sou, you forgot the most important point: h. if the request is delayed or not approved, it means that the university tries to hide evidence of fraud.

  5. The Met Office has replied, saying "what a dumb question!" - only they used more words. (See update)


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