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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Denier weirdness: Anthony Watts tiny brain explodes when hit with science, and he fails economics, finance and accounting 101

Sou | 6:49 AM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment

Poor little Anthony Watts is having a hard time coming up with interesting things to write about. Maybe it's just the fact that I've been very busy lately, but WUWT is looking very tired and uninteresting to my way of thinking.  Today Anthony does what all good deniers do - he moans about science.

How dare scientists report what has happened!

This time he's up in arms about the fact that scientists have looked very closely at what has happened to global surface temperatures over the past few years, compared it with climate models and found that there is not a lot of difference in the end. The reason is that natural variability, mainly ENSO, has kept the heat in the oceans and hasn't released big chunks for a few years. Climate models aren't designed to mimic every little interannual variation in synch with the weather. Their projections are for longer term trends. As well as that the observations haven't been keeping up with the rapid warming in the Arctic. Add in aerosols and the slightly dimmer sun and what do you get? The models are pretty good.

Anthony is furious that scientists would report this sort of thing. What he's complaining about is a new letter in Nature Geoscience, by Markus Huber & Reto Knutti who did a review of recent work on global surface temperatures. They looked at some of the work done a little while back, where models outputs were reviewed to take account of actual observations (or estimates) of aerosols, volcanoes, solar radiation and ENSO. They also looked at the work of Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way in regard to Arctic temperature trends. They put it all together and came up with what many other scientists have figured - that the models aren't that different to observations once you take all these factors into account.

Well, that was all too much for Anthony's tiny brain to absorb. He can't cope with reality. He's dead against the idea of bringing what's actually happened into account. This is what he wrote (archived here):
This quote from ETH Zurich is actually from another just published post, but it is so grating, so anti-science, that it deserves its very own thread to highlight it.
Here it is:
If the model data is corrected downwards, as suggested by the ETH researchers, and the measurement data is corrected upwards, as suggested by the British and Canadian researchers, then the model and actual observations are very similar.
This is like saying:
If we take all our economic projections for performance as suggested by our financial models, and correct it downwards, and at the same time, if we take all of our revenues and expenditures that are in the red, and adjust them upwards, out company will be on track and our investors will be satisfied.
Except, people go to jail for that sort of thing.

Anthony Watts is no economist, finance expert or accountant

You can tell that Anthony's never looked at a balance sheet and that he hasn't a clue about any of economics, finance and accounting. What does he get wrong? First of all, he's got economics mixed up with finance mixed up with accounting. And you don't have "revenues and expenditures in the red". You're "in the red" if you're bank balance is negative (you've got an overdraft) or your current liabilities exceed your current assets. And one doesn't make economic projections from financial models. You can make financial projections from financial models.

But it's worse than that. Anthony's got it all back to front. If companies don't issue updates to the stock exchange when their circumstances change, well that's when directors can go to gaol. If they try to hide the fact that things went awry in their financial projections and they are suddenly blessed with a much bigger profit or have suffered a huge loss, then they will get into strife.

Thing is, anyone who is monitoring what is expected against what has happened is doing the responsible thing by reporting it. If a financial projection is based on an expectation of high sales because of a upturn in the economy, and then there's a financial crisis - then the projection needs to be revised.

About the paper

If you want to read about the paper that so muddled Anthony's already muddled brain, you can read it at Nature Geoscience if you've got a subs or otherwise have access. Or you can read the press release at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich.

From the WUWT comments

As expected there are gasps and shrieks of indignation that anyone would examine what has actually happened in the world over the past few years. What cheek those scientists have. How dare they look at the data. That goes against everything that deniers hold sacred.

Frank K. is appalled that scientists would report their findings and says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:10 am
This is the most perverted use of the word “corrected” I have EVER seen. Just stunning…

David Johnson is speechless but not wordless and says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:20 am
I am speechless.

 JohnB wonders what all the fuss is about and says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:28 am
A bit of context…
The “downward correction” is to account for the predominance of La Nina over recent years.
The “upward correction” is to account for bias due to lack of arctic temperature stations.

PeterB in Indianapolis doesn't understand that the science was based on what actually happened and says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:28 am
So basically, if we make sh*t up to match what we think is the “right answer”, then we can finally demonstrate that our answer is right! 

grumpyoldmanuk says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:36 am
“Except, people go to jail for that sort of thing.”
Not if they are Chairing a Central Bank they don’t.

Nor if they go by the name of Matt Ridley and chair a bank called Northern Rock.

Louis Hooffstetter says:
August 19, 2014 at 11:23 am
JohnB says: A bit of context…
The “downward correction” is to account for the predominance of La Nina over recent years. The “upward correction” is to account for bias due to lack of arctic temperature stations. Unreasonable?
John, John, John… We can’t adjust the models. They are based on sacrosanct laws of physics. To adjust them would be to “deny the science”. Surely you don’t want to be called a denier.
As for the temperature data, it has been adjusted enought already (way more than enough actually). So here’s what we do: Throw out the adjusted temperature data and use the satellite temperature data instead. Compare that to the unadjusted model outputs and see what you get.
Report back to us to let us know how that works out.

Louis, I'll go one better. Rather than throw away good data, let's compare four temperature data sets, including two satellite measures of the lower troposphere and two surface data. They are remarkable only for their similarity.

Data sources: NASA GISTempMet Office Hadley CentreUAHRSS

All the rest of the comments are much the same. Deniers don't want to see scientists reporting what has actually happened. They can't bear to lose one of their favourite faked memes that "all the models are wrong". They are all in a tizz because the models are most likely pretty right after all.

PS Maybe Anthony's mind hasn't been on his blog because he's putting the final, final, final finishing touches on his brand new "getting older every day" paper that has yet to see the light of day. Go comment about that at Stoat :)

Huber M, Knutti R: Natural variability, radiative forcing and climate response in the recent hiatus reconciled. Nature Geoscience, online publication 17 August 2014, doi: 10.1038/ngeo2228


  1. I am constantly explaining to deniers that the "excuses" for the "lack of warming" are actually reasonable explanations based on empirical evidence. they are absolutely not post hoc rationalizations, and they are perfectly consistent with ACC theory.
    I never suggest that this PROVES ACC , but I just say that saying " All the meodls are complete failures" is not accurate. OHC from ARGO< reduced solar radiation, Aerosols, and predominantly negative ENSO.
    I have yet to receive a response that did not ridicule this. Never with any substance. I just had someone prove that I was lying about ENSO and they showed a graph of ENSO form NOAA mocking me for not accepting research from this warmist source. I then showed him the actual numbers and pointed out that he had included the 90's in the graph, and that indeed ENSO has been more negative than positive since 1998. He did not respond.
    I find it rather sad that , me a high school graduate can so easily recite 95% of the anti global warming rhetoric, and find it rather boring how often I am called a mindless parroter of misinformation, when basically all I do is correct their disinformation.
    Still I am fascinated by people who are so attached to ideology that they have to make reality fit their beliefs.
    I just wandered into Curry land and was awed by the back and forth between Schollenberg and some others, and then compared the interactions with those at ATTP. It seems so obvious where the rationality is playing out. I wonder if Brandon has any sense of how odd it is that he is constantly having these drawn out tangential arguments with so many "warmists" and they are always wrong, as he directs discussion farther and farther away from the actual points.

    1. For that 95% you and Miriam are probably better communicators than most scientists could. It is hard to put yourself in the position of a non-scientist and judge what is difficult and needs to be explained and where more explanation only distracts from the main point.

  2. Remember that it's still summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and many people and organisations are in holiday mode. AW must be hoping that as the populace returns to work in the next few weeks, his rivers of new material will start flowing again.

  3. Where's the best place to go to read up on the real limitations of climate modelling without the distraction of various denialist numpties?

    1. Good place to start is the recent article in Ars Technica-

    2. Thanks for that: it was well worth a read.

    3. In other climate modelling news...

      “Our research has shown climate models indicating a low temperature response to a doubling of carbon dioxide from preindustrial times are not reproducing the correct processes that lead to cloud formation," said lead author from the University of New South Wales’ Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science Prof Steven Sherwood.

      “When the processes are correct in the climate models the level of climate sensitivity is far higher. Previously estimates of the sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of carbon dioxide ranged from 1.5°C to 5°C. This new research takes away the lower end of climate sensitivity estimates, meaning that global average temperatures will increase by 3°C to 5°C with a doubling of carbon dioxide."

      (H/T It's Burning)

    4. You know, I really hope that turns out not to be true.

  4. I once flew lighties. Light aircraft for all you non aficionados.
    It was easy looking out the window where you were going. You could dodge mountains and the ground by just looking! A bit like Fred Berple. Where you have no idea but you manage to avoid catastrophe!
    It was different on instruments. The instructor would place this plastic hood that limited your vision to the instrument panel of the aircraft.
    The major job was to comprehensibly cross correlate ALL instruments to give a picture of the state of the aircraft.
    This becomes difficult when all the plexiglass is white with cloud. My instructor thought I was cheating so he got me to fly into a very big cloud.
    I had no trouble with any commands he made to climb and turn etc. All the windows were white!
    He asked me if I knew where I was and I said the airport is about twenty miles away and on a heading of 280 degrees. I knew what altitude I was at and what was the highest bit of rock that would kill us if we hit it.
    We flew back to short finals with me on instruments. My instructor could see outside.
    The take home message is cross correlation of all instruments!
    If you do not you will crash and burn!


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