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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Silly chart day at WUWT - from Jan Zelman

Sou | 12:34 AM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment

In the umpteenth protest at Cowan and Way (2013) at WUWT (archived here), I came across the chart below.

Source: A fake sceptic at WUWT called Jan Zelman

It's got to be one of the silliest charts I've seen.  The chart is described as being an amalgam of the temperature at twenty weather stations in Antarctica.  Where those stations are located there is barely a clue. It's certainly not a gridded data set representing Antarctica as a whole. We're told it includes three stations in the interior.  But where the rest are who knows.  There is no attempt to distinguish between Western and Eastern Antarctica.  But even leaving that aside, even if you made the assumption that this was somehow representative of a continent with vastly different climatic zones (which I doubt), what I thought was really funny was:
  • the line drawn from 2005 to the present and the bold statement that it's cooling - and yet 2007 and 2011 are the two hottest years in the chart.  And the fourth hottest year since 1997 was in 2009.  So three of the four hottest years have been since 2005.
  • it's put up to "prove" that Cowtan and Ways' conclusions regarding the Arctic are wrong.  And it's at the opposite end of the world!

Silliest WUWT chart comparisons

The chart above is a long way short of being the silliest ever at WUWT.  Those would have to include the charts that Anthony doesn't dare draw from the words that are written because they are just too, too silly.  Like this one derived from David "funny sunny" Archibald's work:

And the charts from denier Don Easterbrook, where he variously reckons the temperature on the top of the Greenland ice sheet "correlates" with surface temperature of the entire world or is the same as. And denier Don's "predictions" of global surface temperature like the one  below:

Or maybe this one from Anthony Watts, copied from the wacky "journalist" Christopher Booker fits in there somewhere too. I've added some notes to illustrate just how silly it is.

More on Cowtan and Way

You can read Cowtan and Way here - it's now open access.  And if you want to see it explained, as well as an article here at HotWhopper, there have been quite a few other/better articles about it, for example:

From the WUWT comments

A small sample from the scientific illiterates at WUWT. (Archived here.)

Like most of the fake sceptics who comment at WUWT, RichardLH hasn't the first clue about Cowtan and Way when he foolishly says:
December 4, 2013 at 3:18 am
I would have been much more impressed that Cowtan & Way had got something of interest if they had managed to align the two data sets they were using (UAH and HadCRUt4) before they did any of their infilling.
The fact that we still have not achieved even that small measure of agreement to date says an awful lot about climate science.
The two data sets are supposed to be representative of the same ‘Global Temperature over time’ after all.

First off, his comment misses the whole point of the paper.  Secondly, the two data sets are not representative of "the same" - one is land and ocean surface the other is varying heights in the troposphere. Thirdly, let's compare UAH global lower troposphere with HadCRUT4 global surface temperature anomalies.  Contrary to what Richard implies, they are not so different are they.

michael hart says he wonders what's the point because when the ice blocks move around the surface temperature in the Arctic will change - or something:
December 4, 2013 at 3:34 am
I keep wondering if I’m missing something critical. If you use kriging to infer absent data-points from near by (or not so near by) data points, how does that work in a dynamical system? I could see the value maybe where one was inferring, say, ore concentration in geological deposits, because the ore will still likely be there when you go to dig it up.
But when, for example, ice melts and/or moves elsewhere under the influence of wind-/currents-/salinity-/temperature-changes, what can you learn about the system by kriging as though the variables are fixed or vary in a constant and predictable manner? Or is learning about a dynamical system not the point of the exercise?

AndyG55 says he wishes the world would stop warming.  Don't we all!  He thinks the world will stop warming if we stop measuring the temperature.
December 4, 2013 at 2:54 am
“The future of science, democracy and the genuine environmental movement depends on the end of the AGW inanity. Get out of the way.”
Well said Konrad.. It is WELL PAST time that this myth was destroyed.. and the funding stopped.
Once the funding stops, people like KR can get on with their lives (without climate funds) and stop trying to defend the indefensible.

Kevin Cowtan and Robert G. Way (2013), Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society,


  1. > Where those stations are located there is barely a clue

    Its not hard to guess. They're in a chain around the coast, a few on the Peninsula, and Vostok, Amundsen-Scott and perhaps Byrd in the interior.

  2. Zeman has now flooded the comment threads with more foolishness - after stating that "I was not much interested in their methods" and erecting multiple strawman arguments (UAH tropical trends? Not incidentally, the C&W analysis doesn't _use_ any UAH trends), he's now flatly accusing C&W of deception stating " I very much suspect a scientific dishonesty is at play here."

    And he's making repeated arguments based on temperatures since 2005! There isn't enough data since 1998 to reach statistical significance for trend identification, and making claims from half that amount is simply absurd.

    It's sad, even (I dare say) for WUWT.



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