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Monday, May 12, 2014

Anthony Watts @wattsupwiththat makes a fool of himself (again), this time in the southern hemisphere

Sou | 7:09 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

I've often noticed that Anthony Watts doesn't read the articles he puts up on his blog. He doesn't even read the articles he posts himself, let alone his guest articles.

This time he's done it again (archived here), with another "claim" article, getting overexcited thinking he's finally found something that will make scientists look foolish - writing as a preface (my bold underline):
From the Australian National University and the department of “claim anything” comes this reversal over what was said two years ago about Antarctica:
“If this rapid warming that we are now seeing continues, we can expect that ice shelves further south along the peninsula that have been stable for thousands of years will also become vulnerable,” said Nerilie Abram, of the Australian National University.
So which is it? Rapid warming, or not warming as much because the winds are “strengthened by carbon dioxide”? 

Reversal? Not at all. Anthony thinks he's caught the scientist contradicting herself. But it's only Anthony who, as usual, doesn't understand what he's blogged. Compare the above snippet from his two year old article with this excerpt from today's article, which Anthony himself copied and pasted but claims is contradictory (my bold italics):
While most of Antarctica is remaining cold, rapid increases in summer ice melt, glacier retreat and ice shelf collapses are being observed in Antarctic Peninsula, where the stronger winds passing through Drake Passage are making the climate warm exceptionally quickly.

And if Anthony had bothered to read the abstract of the paper that his article was all about (but of course not, Anthony doesn't even link to the press release he copied let alone cite the paper itself), he could hardly have missed this sentence (my bold italics):
We find that the SAM has undergone a progressive shift towards its positive phase since the fifteenth century, causing cooling of the main Antarctic continent at the same time that the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed.  

So there's no "reversal" at all and, as usual, it's Anthony Watts who looks foolish.

As you know, the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica are warming rapidly (think Pine Island Glacier). The east not so much. As well as wondering about his cognitive disorder, you've got to wonder if Anthony Watts realises just how big the continent of Antarctica is. Perhaps he thinks that it's just a tiny island covered in ice. That's if he is aware that Antarctica is a land mass at all, and not floating ice.

The paper itself obviously includes new research, but the fact that the weather patterns in my part of the world (south eastern Australia) are shifting southward has been known for decades. What's new is that scientists have reconstructed the past 1,000 years of annual mean changes in the Southern Annular Mode, using proxy records spanning the full mid-latitude right down to the polar region across the Drake Passage sector. Here's an excerpt from
Until this study, published in Nature Climate Change, Antarctic climate observations were available only from the middle of last century.
By analysing ice cores from Antarctica, along with data from tree rings and lakes in South America, Dr Abram and her colleagues were able to extend the history of the westerly winds back over the last millennium.
"The Southern Ocean winds are now stronger than at any other time in the past 1,000 years," Abram said.
"The strengthening of these winds has been particularly prominent over the past 70 years, and by combining our observations with climate models we can clearly link this to rising greenhouse gas levels."
Study co-authors Dr Robert Mulvaney and Professor Matthew England said the study answered key questions about climate change in Antarctica.
"Strengthening of these westerly winds helps us to explain why large parts of the Antarctic continent are not yet showing evidence of climate warming," said Dr Mulvaney, from the British Antarctic Survey.
"This new research suggests that climate models do a good job of capturing how the westerly winds respond to increasing greenhouse gases," added Professor England, from the Climate Change Research Centre at UNSW.
"This isn't good news for farmers reliant on winter rainfall over the southern part of Australia." 

From the WUWT comments

There aren't many yet and those that are there are largely incoherent nonsense. None of the people commenting so far have read the press release either, just like Anthony. One thing is for sure, no-one goes to WUWT to learn anything from people commenting. (Why do people go there? Is it to have a laugh at the crazy science deniers?)

climatereason as usual shows no ability to live up to his nickname and says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:16 am
Dear Anthony
I would like some funding to continue my research into historical climates.
I am willing to put anything into the title of the submission in order to secure some funding, no matter how fanciful.
However, official researchers seek to be cornering the market in all possible explanations of what co2 can do. We need a brainstorming session with readers here so they can submit some plausible titles, no matter how daft they are on closer examination. The only rules are that the words ‘co2′ ’1000 years’, ‘escalating’ and ‘alarming’ should be somewhere in the title.

LevelGaze could be an admirer of Professor Matthew England's work but, more likely, he is just another WUWT science denier, and says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:18 am
Oh, Matthew England is a co-author.
That tells you everything you need to know.

Jeff thinks the research can't be true, not because he has other evidence, but because he's been told that the world as a whole is warming. He can't conceive that some places might warm more quickly than other parts of the globe. I guess he's never travelled more than a mile in either direction from his front door (and doesn't have a radio or television and doesn't know how to get anywhere on the internet except WUWT).
May 12, 2014 at 12:28 am
If this were true we wouldn’t be worrying about global warming at all. It would be ice age time. The problem is, despite this so-called “consensus,” these people can’t keep their stories straight and literally say opposite things which contradict each other. It’s obvious many of these people have no clue what they are talking about.

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) mutters something meaningless adding, for some reason known only to Otter, lots and lots of dots followed by an interrogation mark:
May 12, 2014 at 12:54 am
Wait… CO2 is trapping cold air over the Antarctic…. but CO2 is causing cold air to break free and flow all over, from the Arctic……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………?

Jones manages only one word. Wonder of wonders, s/he even manages to spell it correctly.
May 12, 2014 at 1:06 am

I missed a few but you get the gist. That's pretty much it.  The sum total of wisdom and intelligence at the scientific illiterati society aka WUWT.

Nerilie J. Abram, Robert Mulvaney, Françoise Vimeux, Steven J. Phipps, John Turner, Matthew H. England. Evolution of the Southern Annular Mode during the past millennium. Nature Climate Change, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2235 


  1. Why do people go there? (to WUWT)

    I know someone who goes there every day, and hangs on every word

  2. Bad news for Ozzies...

    Very interesting research, which I haven't at present the time to read. It looks like the opposite of the WACCy (Warm Arctic Cold Continents) phenomena seen in the Northern Hemisphere, and the associated research by Dr Jennifer Francis into the increasingly meandering jetstream; which would make some sense given the different distribution of land and ocean.

    Also possibly may explain why (denier meme du jour) Antarctic ice is currently at record high levels.

    We go to WUWT because they discontinued the charming eighteenth century tradition of public entertainment tours of the lunatic asylums

  3. The radar readings from both teams show that the grounding line for some areas of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has retreated by as much as 20 miles (37 kilometers) over the past couple of decades, apparently due to the interaction with warmer seas. The main worry is that there appears to be no submerged hill or mountain that could slow down further retreat.

    Rignot said that means the glacial retreat has triggered a process of "positive feedback."

    "We feel that this is at the point where even if the ocean is not providing additional heat, the system is in a chain reaction that is unstoppable," he told reporters

    From NBC NEWS article

    1. I don't really have time to do an article right now, but Anthony has a new article up, in which he shows RSS lower troposphere temperature (which doesn't cover the Antarctic continent) to prove the ice isn't melting or something.

      He also posted a chart of RSS for 70S to 0, saying it was the continent of Antarctica - instead it's practically everything to the equator except Antarctica! (Where's BS?)

      Anyway, his main argument against West Antarctic melting is the equivalent of showing average precipitation numbers for the whole of North America to "prove" that the Californian drought isn't real (and that NE USA hasn't had any floods).

      Deniers have no sense of time or risk. If you told them that seas will rise by two metres in the next twenty years, they'd say to worry about it then and "a lot can happen in twenty years".

    2. The Antarctic glaciers are getting more and more media coverage.

      Just another nail in the planet's coffin. It's all over red rover.


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