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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Denier weirdness: A howler from Anthony Watts at WUWT

Sou | 4:21 PM

Anthony Watts has written a Quote of the Week. It's what he regards as a "howler". He wrote a headline (archived here):
Quote of the week: a howler from the World Meteorological Organization – what warming?
And this is what he thought was a howler from this WMO press release. He wrote:
Gosh, you’d think they’d check the data before issuing a statement like this (press release follows).
It [CO2] was responsible for 85% of the increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – over the decade 2002-2012. Between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34% increase in radiative forcing because of greenhouse gases, according to the latest figures from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
But, the temperature data tells an entirely different story, look at this plot of all global temperature metrics and trends from 2002-2012 – there’s no warming to be seen!
Anthony goes an posts some monthly temperature charts from 2002 onwards. He doesn't put up anything like this one though:
 Data Source: NASA GISS
Anthony's chosen career is to misrepresent climate science. Mostly he does it by posting idiotic pseudo-science by his "guests", interspersed with really dumb articles by Anthony himself. This article by Anthony falls into the latter category. You'd have thought he'd have learnt by now. Does he really expect that normal people will mistakenly think science denier Anthony Watts knows more about climate than the World Meteorological Organisation?

Anthony is probably assuming that all the extra energy should be displayed as a hotter surface or atmosphere. Yet less than three per cent of the energy goes into heating the atmosphere. Most of it (around 90%) goes into heating the oceans, with some into melting ice, evaporating water and heating the land.

Here is a SkepticalScience.com chart you'll have seen before to illustrate just how much heat is accumulating because we're using the air as a rubbish tip:

 Source: SkepticalScience.com

Anthony Watts loses his cool with Nick Stokes, who had the same reaction as I did. Dumbo Anthony goes all out as a paranoid conspiracy theorist, accusing Nick of being a paid troll. Nick Stokes says:
May 26, 2014 at 9:02 pm“Gosh, you’d think they’d check the data”
What data? They are simply making a perfectly valid statement about CO2 increase and the forcings. You can measure and talk about CO2 concentration without getting into temperature issues.
REPLY: Oh, bullshit, you left out this part: “the warming effect on our climate – over the decade 2002-2012″. Nick Go obfuscate the truth someplace else. Now I’m SURE you are a paid troll. – Anthony

Does this mean that Anthony has finally banned Nick? He's been a thorn in Anthony's side for years. Rarely getting ruffled. Almost never responding to all the flames that get thrown his way. Has Anthony finally decided to rid WUWT forever of any reason and normality and go for pure 100% nuttery?

Anthony wasn't happy to leave it at that. He added a comment to one from the unholy zealot Janice Moore who says:
May 26, 2014 at 9:05 pm
Hey, Anthony! Great minds, heh, heh.
#(:))
REPLY: Yeah, Nick either can’t help himself, as his many years of working for CSIRO has produced an institutionalized reaction to anything contrary to the monthly newsletter, or he’s simply paid to come here and sow obfuscation. Given he’s often one of the earliest commenters for anything contrary to his world view, I expect he has a trigger mechanism setup to alert him so he can derail threads early on with his particular brand of diversion.
Bottom line: increased CO2 forcing with no resulting increase in temperature, means no warming, and WMO believes there was warming. Bad science, just PR – no cookie. – Anthony

David says:
May 26, 2014 at 9:09 pm
Between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34% increase in radiative forcing because of greenhouse gases…
How is that possible? Water vapor is the primary ‘greenhouse’ gas and I don’t think it’s atmospheric concentration changed much. And CO2 levels only increased about 10%.
So where does the 34% number come from?

Michael 2 says:
May 26, 2014 at 9:15 pm
I comprehend Mr. Stokes comment — but if an increase in a forcing is NOT producing an increase in temperature, then somewhere exists a cooling effect that is balancing the forcing such that the “net” is mostly unchanging. It’s not just that the heat is hiding in oceans, something must be exerting a cooling effect, and it may well be the very same CO2 at high altitude whose increased abundance means more radiation into space.
Or something like that. I’ll let the scientists figure it out BUT the claim was global WARMING, not global FORCING.

nc says wistfully, perhaps not realising that probably more than 100% of the warming is from human factors:
May 26, 2014 at 9:28 pm
Did they differentiate between natural and anthropogenic c02 levels? That always seems to be left out.

1. I suppose the poor man knows he has got to wear out the 'no warming since whenever' myth before another El Nino makes it so obviously phoney that even his faux sceptic followers will object to it. But I did love the "monthly one part of the planet's temperature for just 10 years" plot: it is so obvious he's trying to maximise the noise to hide the trend that it really shows up the limited intellect of his followers.

2. So, Anthony had another post yesterday

‘Settled science’ – paper claims the Universe is static, not expanding"

which is a shout-out to a paper by Eric Lerner, a well-known cosmology crank, the point being that "The Science is Never Settled!". The comments section is largely (but not entirely) a crankfest -- I did just drop a comment in there, saying the paper was BS, but that it might serve Watt's purposes because "the whole point of this site is to sow doubt on actual hard-won expertise among people who don’t know any better".

We'll see what happens ...

1. Wow, this is great. Sou, please, please do an archive link and create a post. I would love to comment on this.

An expanding universe isn't recently settled science...this goes back to Hubble in 1929. Maybe Anthony will overturn quantum mechanics next? Our modern day Galileo :)

2. urgh. If WUWT ventures into the realms of cosmology crankery encountered in Usenet forums, it will become even more unbearable.
On the plus side, Lubos Motl will be able to recycle all his theoretical physics rants. Easier to find them.

3. On that thread, another minion (Pompous Git) pointed out that there were fabulously credentialed academics who post at WUWT:

"So, you know better than, oh, let’s say physicist Robert G Brown of Duke, who is not just a member of Faculty Row, but a SuperProfessor and regularly posts here. "

I replied that yes, I do know better -- I'm a professor in an area closer to climate science and cosmology than Brown is, and I still publish papers.

Watts added a note saying that yes, I seem to be a professor. and then he POSTED MY INSTITUTION NAME.

I asked him to take it down, but he said I was "overreacting", despite the fact that my domain name takes my possible identity from a pool of, say 1000, down to maybe a half-dozen, and demanded that I retract my comment about Brown.

I asked him to nuke the comment, but said that I still thought I was right about Brown.

He refused to remove the domain name.

Later on I protested that he was trying to get me to think what he thinks -- "All hail free thought!", I think I said.

Apparently a lot of the regulars, to their credit, got upset with him. He eventually xxx'd it over. I thanked him profusely, and actually sincerely - I think that's the right response when the better angels of someone's nature finally take over.

4. Talking about cosmology, it's a bit disappointing he didn't promote this paper:
http://www.lifescienceglobal.com/images/Journal_articles/JBASV8N1A10-Rivera.pdf

It would have been hilarious to point out the enormous blunder it makes.
Of course, Watts would then probably have claimed it was just to keep his audience sharp or some other weasle excuse for not noticing the error.

5. Marco -- Which enormous blunder? The abstract shouts We are cranks!, so I'm sure there are many to choose from.

6. Screw the bugs, it's earthquakes!

7. Well, yes, the abstract shouts "crank", but the obvious blunder is to equate the change in position of the geomagnetic northpole with a change in obliquity.

The sad thing (for Rivera) is that he already presented the same thing at a conference (Global conference on global warming 2011), and obviously no one decided to point the error out to him.

8. Yeah, after I read the abstract on the way down the hall to the can I thought "Wait -- Did they ACTUALLY mistake the magnetic pole for the geographic pole? Can anyone be so stupid?"

Apparently the answers are "Yes", and "Yes".

9. Watts' tendency to go doxxing those who annoy him made me decide to stop posting there sometime ago.

3. Euan Mearns doesn't believe that the ocean absorbs energy which is slowing global surface temperatures. He recently commented:

"Checking a few facts. The mass of Earth’s atmosphere is 5.15*10^18 kg. The mass of the oceans is 1.4*10^21 (1400*10^18 kg) kg (whole hydrosphere). That hydrosphere is almost 3 orders of magnitude more massive than the atmosphere. Can you or someone else explain the mechanism where a tiny atmosphere that has not warmed for 17 years heats the massive oceans." [http://euanmearns.com/carbon-capture-and-storage-and-1984]

Does anyone have a handy link to some information on this? I've seen a fair bit about how much energy the oceans absorb compared with the atmosphere (e.g. what Sou's posted here), but wondering if there's a good explanation why somewhere (e.g. peer-reviewed). Euan and I can't be bothered looking ;) Thanks all.

1. My unreviewed understanding is that it's a misnomer to say the atmosphere is "warming" the ocean -- rather, the sun warms the ocean. The atmosphere is just insulating the ocean. As CO2 increases, the insulation gets more effective.

That's a 2-box model of ocean and atmosphere. The reality is of course far more complicated, but if I understand correctly, you can do quite well with just two boxes.

2. What numerobis said. The sun heats the ocean with a flux of short wave radiation (aka 'sunlight'). The atmosphere does not heat the ocean, it modulates the rate at which it cools. Adding GHGs to the atmosphere makes it more efficient at preventing the ocean from cooling down.

The fun part (rarely understood by deniers) is the exact physical mechanism, which involves the ocean surface skin layer and conduction - not convection or radiation.

The surface skin layer is about 1mm thick and is a region where molecular forces dominate. Energy can only leave the ocean by conduction across the surface skin layer.

The thermal gradient across the ocean-atmosphere boundary at the skin layer determines the efficiency of conduction. A warming atmosphere reduces the thermal gradient across the skin layer and the rate at which energy leaves the ocean is reduced. OHC increases.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-Increasing-Carbon-Dioxide-Heats-The-Ocean.html

3. Thanks, both :-)

4. "Does he really expect that normal people will mistakenly think science denier Anthony Watts knows more about climate than the World Meteorological Organisation?" - He does and he is right.

1. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/27/first-major-hurricane-in-the-eastern-pacific-ocean-of-2014/

Of course, the fact this was the strongest EPac May storm in the entire registration was taboo.

Meantime, poll in Holland shows 61% believe the following magical antithesis: Climate change has always happened AND climate change is big nonsense. Sic.

The poll reflects the unbelievable luck this country has had with climate change so far. What it means is the price we'll pay when it's our turn will be so much the higher.
We need the 22 billion river floods including 100 drowned. Only chance, and a thin chance at that because the WAIS addition may end the country by the end of this century anyway (dissenters will be asked what price they are prepared to pay).

5. Your temperature chart contains a misstatement: "The 1970s were hotter than any decade beforehand." Maybe you meant any decade in recorded history beforehand?

6. "Anthony's chosen career is to misrepresent climate science. Mostly he does it by posting idiotic pseudo-science by his "guests", interspersed with really dumb articles by Anthony himself."

Why mess with a winning formula?

Regarding Nick Stokes, my short experience is that Watts has a limited tolerance for being shown up on his own website. With me the progression quickly went from snotty replies to parts of posts being deleted to entire posts being deleted to being blocked. It took about a dozen posts over the course of five or six weeks.

Eventually the tears stopped flowing and I moved on.

1. I think Watts really, really wants to ban Nick Stokes but Stokes has established himself there as a reasonable fellow who cannot possibly deserve banning. So, I think, the cry of 'paid troll' is intended as a signal that all the mindless zombie faithful should attack Stokes until he leaves of his own accord.

7. So AW, a man who was to be funded to the tune of $80K US by none other than the Heartland Institute is calling Nick Stokes a paid troll. The usual sociopathic projection. 1. BBD: Much as I detest AW, and think calling Stokes a "paid troll" is ludicrous, I don't think the "$80K" from Heartland is a useful meme. It isn't very much money in research terms. In the US, grants are often 2-3 times the salary requested, to account for benefits, institutional overhead, etc. So, a $50k salary (e.g., postdoc) for just one year is$100-150k. And we've seen that even Koch money doesn't necessarily buy crap (Berkeley BEST).

2. PL

I see your point, but was flagging up the fact that AW appears to be projecting like a firehose. But now you mention it, IIRC AW was going to produce a data visualisation tool for viewing surface temp data. Presumably in essence rather like Nick Stokes' climate plotter. Which he did for free.

USD \$80k is a heck of a lot of money for a climate plotter.

3. Yes, well I think Heartland got their money's worth, even without a data visualization tool!

4. All they got was a tool

8. I left the following at JC's on her latest attack on the IPCC:

"In biology there is the study of behavioral mimicry. Mimicry involves three different roles which a biological agent can perform; model, mimic, or dupe.

We can extend this with very little difficulty to the roles various agents play in the climate change arena:

Actual scientific knowledge.
Misrepresentation of that knowledge.
Those that avidly glom on to the misrepresentations.

If the shoe fits …."

Heartland, NIPCC, WUWT, et al obviously play the roles of mimics and their deluded followers are nothing more than dupes.

9. Sou, in regards to "that probably more than 100% of the warming is from human factors," has there been a peer reviewed paper that attributes the portion of human caused versus natural variability?

1. See this graphic

"Human vs. Natural Contributions to Global Warming"
http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=57

"The percentage contribution to global warming over the past 50-65 years is shown in two categories, human causes (left) and natural causes (right), from various peer-reviewed studies (colors). The studies used a wide range of independent methods, and provide multiple lines of evidence that humans are by far the dominant cause of recent global warming. Most studies showed that recent natural contributions have been in the cooling direction, thereby masking part of the human contribution and in some cases causing it to exceed 100% of the total warming. "

2. Check out this paper

http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/huber11natgeo.pdf

"Greenhouse gases contributed 1.31 ◦ C (0.85–1.76 ◦ C) to the increase, that is 159% (106–212%) of the total warming."

The fact that greenhouse gases have contributed to more than 100% of warming is often overlooked and misunderstood, especially by the professional deniers like Monckton. The reason why is that aerosols have offset this warming.

So in simple math it looks like this

1.3C (Greenhouse gases) - 0.6C (cooling by aerosols) = 0.7C observed warming.

10. Anthony's graphs show no warming since 2002. Are you suggesting that his graphs are somehow a misrepresentation of the temperature record since 2002?

2. "Are you suggesting that his graphs are somehow a misrepresentation of the temperature record since 2002?"

You cannot determine a trend if you use so short a time period that its effect is significantly smaller than the noise in a signal. Which bit in this rather simple principle are you struggling with?

3. "Yet less than three per cent of the energy goes into heating the atmosphere. Most of it (around 90%) goes into heating the oceans, with some into melting ice, evaporating water and heating the land."

What is so difficult to understand about "Most of it (around 90%) goes into heating the oceans"? Does it really have to spelt out to you. Perhaps it needs to be explained with crayon. The oceans haven't slowed at all in regards to temperature increases. Why the focus on less than 3% of the system and then ignore the other 97%? That is just stupid and bird-brained in the extreme!!! This is why Watts and yourself are ignorant and just plain retarded. It doesn't matter how many times it's explained, it never sinks in.

4. Since the temperature record extends to 2014 and Watts's graph stops at 2012 then yes, it is a misrepresentation of the surface warming since 2002.

The denialati window has now closed : it extends from 1998 to 2012 (the last throes of the 2011 La Nina). AR5 will become canonical, ironically enough, and no subsequent events or research are to be contemplated. Squirrels may still be pointed at.

5. It's not that his chart stops at 2012 (the chart I put up of heat content only goes to 2012 as well). It's that Anthony seems to think that CO2 has stopped being a greenhouse gas all of a sudden. That the radiative forcing has stopped forcing all by its little self. That greenhouse forcing got tired of forcing and just gave up the ghost. It got weary of having to comply with physics.

6. I was responding to Skeptical who made no mention of 2012, just "since 2002". It's in my nature to peck at things like that when presented. The fact that Watts misrepresents surface warming as total warming (or remains unaware of the difference, which is enirely plausible) is, of course, what you've addressed in the post. Skeptical still doesn't seem to have got it.

11. 'Climate, grant, alarmist, money, control, government, power, left, CAGW' - autoparody! - the eejit weejit sure works, don't it?

12. If I had to pick between the articles and comments of Anthony Watts, the most viewed source of Global Warming articles on the net, and this semi-anonymous blogger "sou" I would overwhelmingly pick Watts. He provides rational for his positions and doesn't simply rely on denigrating those who disagree with him. This blogger doesn't seem to have anything real to offer on the climate debate.

1. Congratulations, Rocketdan. This comment scored an entry in the HotWhoppery.

I love the irony so much I'll leave it here as well.

This article is about Anthony Watts' attempt to denigrate the World Meteorological Organisation, quoting what he wrongly claims is a "howler". It's about the shallow stupidity of deniers at WUWT. It's about how Anthony Watts attempts to deceive his readers with no "rational" rationale. Plus about where Anthony attempts to denigrate Nick Stokes by falsely accusing him of being a "paid troll" who "obfuscates the truth".

Nick Stokes is one of the very few people who writes about science at WUWT. He's not paid to write about climate science. Who in their right mind would pay anyone to comment at WUWT? The only people who do that are the wacky deniers who pay Anthony.

I wonder if Rocketdan's comment is an example of extreme confirmation bias or a Poe.

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