Update - see below. Judith Curry has decided to join forces with the loony camp. [Sou: 5:30 pm 2 July 14 AESDT]
This is a follow-up to Anthony Watts idiocy with regard to the US temperature record. You can read about his lead up tantrums here and here.
After all his mistakes of the past few days, topped off by this latest gaffe, Anthony Watts' reputation as far as the US temperature records go should be in tatters. Except he has no reputation with anyone who counts for anything. He's just another denialist blogger.
Lost for words
Today Anthony Watts is lost for words. So lost that when he found out that NCDC/NOAA had responded to a query from Politifact, he just posted the response "without comment" (archived here). The response from NCDC was, unsurprisingly, that their algorithms are working as intended. You can read it in full in the archived WUWT article. It is just as Nick Stokes and others wrote.
Anthony peevishly wrote "The NCDC has not responded to me personally, I only got this by asking around." Yeah, you'd think that after Anthony's lunatic rantings at all and sundry and misrepresenting the NCDC they'd at least have paid him the courtesy of writing to him, the "bigger than Ben Hur" denier blogger, "personally"!
He stomped about for at least three hours trying to figure out how to get back at the NCDC/NOAA for ignoring him and his anti-science blog. "How could they do that?" He fumed. "I just put in a huge amount of effort telling my readers how bad and unscrupulous and wrong and positively evil the NOAA is and they ignore me."
The fact that it was Anthony who was so dreadfully wrong in almost everything he wrote about the US temperature record would have been beside the point. He wanted to stir up a hornets' nest, but the hornets flew off over his head. He wasn't worth even a little sting.
Anthony Watts takes a swipe at his engineering buddies
After three hours Anthony was still lost for words, but he came up with a sneaky way around this. He decided to say it with pictures. So he put up lots of big photos (archived here). Most of them were of engineering disasters. Given a huge (dis)proportion of Anthony's denier fans are engineers this may not go over well.
Anthony took particular aim at his fellow deniers, the Gang of 49 who are retired space engineers and astronauts. This motley lot pride themselves on rejecting climate science, though they can't do simple arithmetic and know nothing about climate. Anthony doesn't care if he shoots them down. He's prepared to drop a few allies in his quest to prove that all climate science is wrong. Here's a list of his pictures that PROVE the US temperature record is wrong.
- some early NASA rockets - would these have been NASA rockets designed by some of the Gang of 49 who Anthony promotes from time to time?
- the Mariner - that surely would have involved some of the Gang of 49 deniers
- the Mars Climate Orbiter - again, were any of those dismissed engineers close to the Gang of 49?
- the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse - which wouldn't endear him to his engineering buddies,
- the de Havilland Comet, that's a bit risky. Some of Anthony's engineering fans would be old enough to have played a part in that one.
- the Titanic - that's probably safe enough. The people who designed the Titanic wouldn't be around any more. And I don't know that he has any admirers from the ship-building industry.
Anthony Watts - incompetent or deceitful?
While being told that “all is well” and and that “our algorithm is working as designed”, it is easy to discover that if one tries to plot the temperature data for any city in the United States like Dallas Texas for example you get plots for high temperature, low temperature, and average temperature that are identical:
Max/Min data to come at NCDC
Weaknesses of the U.S. Climate Division Dataset: The U.S. Climate Division Dataset does not contain monthly maximum or minimum temperature or any variables/indices derivable from daily data. Temperature data is adjusted for time of observation bias, however no other adjustments are made for inhomogeneities. These inhomogeneities include changes in instrumentation, observer, and observation practices, station and instrumentation moves, and changes in station composition resulting from stations closing and opening over time within a division.
NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.
If you click on the "our public FTP site" link you'll find this, in black and white (my emphasis):
May 13, 2014
NCDC is planning to provide access to nClimDiv maximum and minimum temperature data coincident with the release of the May 2014 climate summary in mid-June.
These data will be accessible from several of NCDC's products, including Climate at a Glance, and will also reside on our CIRS ftp site:
This isn't clear if it refers to monthly data or annual. On the NCDC charting web page annual data definitely has monthly max and min as well as average. So it may be that monthly data still is not available - or it's two weeks late. In any case, is it worth all the aggro that Anthony dished out? Does Anthony even know that it's ClimDiv data that he's looking at? What's he planning to do with monthly max and min data for Dallas between 1970 and 2000 - which is the chart he got all hot and bothered over? I'd say he could probably use USHCN data if he wanted to. [Para amended slightly a few minutes after posting.]
Shall we put Anthony's flap down to incompetence or is he deliberately leading his readers astray?
I'd say if you want any specialist advice on the US temperature record, avoid WUWT and Anthony Watts!
From the WUWT comments
Rhoda R doesn't know anything about US surface temperature but wants to join in the chorus and says:
July 1, 2014 at 8:19 pmeditstet has nothing to add but adds it anyway and says:
Did anyone ask what the design goal was that these algorithms were designed to meet?
July 1, 2014 at 8:19 pmeditstet follows it up with another meaningless one-liner says:
Ah, well, that certainly simplifies things.
July 1, 2014 at 8:23 pmpokerguy has nothing to say but says it anyway:
Or maybe NOAA scientists took the song Night and Day too literally.
July 1, 2014 at 8:28 pm
“…working as designed.”
Well that’s a relief.
July 1, 2014 at 9:08 pm
Anthony, call them on the max min avg mistake. They might respond since obviously and embarassingly wrong.
You just called them on much bigger climate temp issues, and were ‘blown off’. Time to escalate. And not just here. “algorithm does what we intended” is going to be one of those salient moments all round. What a lovely intent statement in any court of law able to convict.
davidmhoffer mistakenly thinks the NCDC has something to do with the Hubble telescope. Either that or he wants Anthony to stick the boot into the Gang of 49 some more, and says:
July 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm
Aw, you left out the Hubble Telescope. I think it a most appropriate example for no other reason that every single component and sub-assembly worked exactly as designed. It was only the fully assembled device that failed to work properly.
i sense the same mind numbing denial of the obvious in this case. The algorithm no doubt did work exactly as designed. That by no means proves that the design achieved an output commensurate with actual results, and, as the trends above show, it is quite possible to have an algorithm that works as designed yet, as part of a larger system, like the Hubble Telescope, produces incorrect information that is wildly and completely obviously wrong. Sadly, a quick look at the original photo from Hubble was enough to convince a rank layman that something was wrong. I don’t think a quick look by the MSM will have the same effect.
Update: Curried potatoes anyone?
Judith Curry has decided to pitch her tent alongside the unsavoury "Steve Goddard" and ignorant Anthony Watts (archived here). As every year passes (and as she herself admits), she shifts further and further into loony land. She's trying to portray absolutely nothing as a "political hot potato", based solely on the ignorant ravings of petulant, thwarted deniers.