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Friday, April 24, 2015

More global warming denial from Anthony Watts at WUWT

Sou | 2:13 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

The denial continues at Anthony Watts' blog WUWT. He's written a few words all by himself, for a change (archived here). (In the past four or five months, Anthony Watts has written almost nothing. He's handed his blog over to his readers to post their nonsense instead of writing his own nonsense. )

Source: Skeptical Science

Today Anthony is denying something that's plain - that the world is warming and climate change is happening. He was writing about a new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change, and he topped and tailed it with some words that he wrote all by himself - in what comes across as frustrated denial that the ice age still hasn't cometh.

Global warming will continue in line with long term projections

The paper is by scientists Matthew H. England, Jules B. Kajtar & Nicola Maher of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales. What they did was examine about 200 climate model projections, separating those that showed the sort of slowdown of the past few years from those that didn't.

Matthew England wrote an article about the paper for the Conversation. After pointing out that global warming is clearly happening and that the last "coldest year on record" was more than 100 years ago, he explained about his experiment, writing:
Until now, however, no evaluation has been made of the possible consequences for long-term projections. Specifically, if the variability controlling the current hiatus is linked to longer-term sequestration of heat into the deep ocean, this might require us to recalibrate future projections.
Figure 1: Global average SAT anomalies relative to 1880–1900 in individual and multi-model mean CMIP5 simulations.Blue curves: RCP4.5 scenario; red curves: RCP8.5 scenario. The future projections have been appended to corresponding historical runs at 2006. Lighter thin lines denote individual ensemble members...Source: England15

With this in mind, we decided to test whether 21st century warming projections are altered in any way when considering only simulations that capture a slowdown in global surface warming, as observed since 2001.
As you can see in our paper we looked at this by separating all available future projections into two groups - those that captured the current slowdown and those that did not. We then compared the warming throughout the 21st Century for both groups.
We considered two well-known emissions scenarios taken from the latest IPCC report. The first scenario assumes greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise unabated through the 21st century. The second assumes emissions are reduced to address global warming, peaking by 2040 before declining sharply.
It turns out that the difference between the “slowdown” set and the rest of the projections was negligible by the mid-21st century. And the longer the projections go on, the smaller the difference gets.
Under the high emissions scenario, for example, the difference in average projected end-of-century warming between the two groups of models is less than 0.1C; a tiny fraction of the projected 5C global warming if emissions are not curbed.
This clearly shows that the impact of the current hiatus is effectively non-existent in the context of long term warming. 

Matthew went on to explain that the surface temperature is strongly influenced by what is happening in the oceans, particularly the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). He put up the chart below to illustrate:

Figure 1 | Global average SAT and Pacific trade wind anomalies over the past century. a, Temperature anomalies are shown as the annual mean relative to 1951–1980, with individual years shown as grey bars and a five-year running mean overlaid in bold. Source: England14

That chart is from a paper he got published last year in Nature Climate Change, which I mentioned in an article at the time.

If you look at the chart above, you can see how the surface has sometimes warmed more quickly than at other times, but the temperature is only going one way - that's up!

Anthony Watts has run out of denier drawings

The deniers have run out of new denier drawings for the time being. So Anthony dredged up a couple of irrelevant charts of disreputable provenance. One of them he doesn't even bother labeling except as "various sources" which he claims are from BAMS, but I seriously doubt that. It wasn't from any scientific publication - his caption stated :From The Wall Street Journal, Radiosonde and Satellite (UAH/RSS) data, source, Dr. Roy Spencer. Crikey - that paper is as bad as The Australian when it comes to waging a war on science. Maybe even worse, if that's possible. As for Roy Spencer and his shonky charts...

The other is the monstrosity also put together by John Christy and Roy Spencer (there are almost no scientists who are deniers - it's the same ones who make all the noise). Roy and John are a denier duo who are paid (by the guvmint would you believe - they have no shame!) to monitor satellite data. I've explained how their chart is shonky - here and here and here. Fake sceptics don't care. If they had a finger painting by a two-year-old, which had the shape they wanted, they'd wave it about and shout - look, we're heading for an ice age. (Remember Anthony Watts' "sine wave" hypothesis?)

What Anthony Watts wrote

You'd never know that Anthony Watts spent several years supposedly studying meteorology at a respected university. You would easily guess that he failed to graduate, and pretty well all he does these day is blog science denial for the 8% dismissives, and record weather announcements for a local radio station. You'd probably wonder what motivates him to misrepresent science and scientists. Perhaps his frustrations at university led to a lifelong dislike of anything that says "science". For example, today he quoted from an ABC interview with Professor Matthew England (in blue), but left out an important part of the quote - in bold italics:

SARAH CLARKE: So the forecast was of a predicted rise of 0.7 to 1.5 degrees, is that right?
MATT ENGLAND: That's right, and it's by 2030, so we're halfway through this projected period. And the warming to date is consistent with that projection. And so anybody out there lying that the IPCC projections are overstatements or that the observations haven't kept pace with the projections is completely offline with this. The analysis is very clear that the IPCC projections are coming true. 

Anthony mutters:
On the plus side, at least he acknowledges the existence of “the pause” now, but says it’s irrelevant. Whatever.

Nope. That's not even what Matthew England said. What he and his colleagues found was that a few years of slower warming doesn't signify that global warming has stopped. It will catch up over time. Surface temperature is rising and will continue to do so for as long as we keep disposing of waste greenhouse gases into the air.

If Anthony Watts can be deceitful about something as simple as that, what else will he lie about? Quite a lot - as has been demonstrated amply here and elsewhere. His business is built on deceit, catering to that small segment of the climate blog market who want to be deceived. There Anthony can play the big fish in the little fish bowl.

You'd never know from reading WUWT that, in among his other scientific research, Matthew England has been doing quite a bit of work exploring the reasons for the slower rise in surface temperature. (I just did a Google Scholar search and it returned nine articles authored by Matthew England, in which the word "hiatus" appears.)

BTW in one respect, has Anthony decided to turn over a new leaf? Most of the time he doesn't bother with references or links to scientific papers. This time he made an exception and wrote - making his hostility towards science and scientists quite plain ("these jokers"):
Note: as is typical with these jokers, they don’t bother to give the name of the paper in the press release, so I looked it up. The short abstract reads more like an opinion than science, especially since that favorite buzzword “robust” can’t possibly apply to any future prediction, be it climate 85 years from now, tomorrow’s weather forecast, or the stock market.

The sum total of Anthony Watts' objections 

Here's the sum-total of Anthony's objections to this new paper:

  1. Name-calling: Matthew England is an alarmist
  2. Ad hominem: He has what "looks to be an obsession with “being right” rather than doing careful science, for example" - the example being him telling the ABC back in 2012, that what is happening is not out of line with what was projected to happen. Matthew England has demonstrated that he's right about that.
  3. Irrelevant and shonky charts: Roy Spencer's shonky charts of lower troposphere temperature - which wasn't the subject of the paper. I guess Anthony couldn't quickly lay his hands on any shonky charts of surface temperature, which was the subject of the paper.
  4. His ignorant opinion about a two-sentence abstract: In Anthony's opinion, the abstract read like an opinion not science. He objected to the word "robust".

Here's the abstract - succinct, isn't it:
The hiatus in warming has led to questions about the reliability of long-term projections, yet here we show they are statistically unchanged when considering only ensemble members that capture the recent hiatus. This demonstrates the robust nature of twenty-first century warming projections.

You'd have thought the words "we show they are statistically unchanged" and the words "ensemble members" should have given Anthony a bit of a clue - that the findings are based on statistical analysis of climate model projections. In other words - scientific analysis.

Notice that Anthony doesn't address the paper itself in any of his "criticisms". Not in any of his four main objections. He copied and pasted the press release but in his own criticism, he doesn't refer to the science at all. Not once. You can't even count his objection to the abstract - that was pure bluster, not a criticism of the science.

Anthony just throws whatever limited tools are in his denier arsenal. Anthony knows that all he really needed to do was write the word "claim" in front of his headline and the WUWT rabble would have burst forth. He was feeling magnanimous.

From the WUWT comments

I've pretty well run out of words to describe the appalling ignorance and stubborn denial of facts that WUWT is known for (where it's known at all). Here's a sample from today:

RH decides that the world I was born into was close to an ice age. That's not how I recall it.
April 23, 2015 at 12:25 pm
If this guy is correct, then CO2 based AGW has counter-acted what would have been a devastating, and ongoing, multi-decadal cold period. Far from being catastrophic, AGW has saved us from decades of frigid temperatures, famine, disease and death. The hardest hit would have been the poor, who wouldn’t have been able to pay for heat and food. You’re welcome.
It almost makes one wish the AGW scenario was real.

It's real alright. Take a look:

Data source: GISS/NASA

Jquip, like many people who haven't got a clue about climate science (or economics), doesn't understand that climate models make different projections to see what will happen under different future scenarios - such as that we keep on increasing greenhouse gases, or we stop using the air as a toxic rubbish dump.
April 23, 2015 at 12:54 pm
Because predictions, and with it the predictive power of a theory, permit things to be falsified. Projections have no such restraint and are the domain of psychic hotlines and pseudoscience.

Two Labs pretends to be knowledgable about something or other, but fails to provide the smallest sign that he or she has any math or statistics expertise whatsoever. Just another empty vessel.
April 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm
No, us math (statistics) people are trying to point out to the “climate scientists” where they’re going wrong. But they respond by plugging their ears with their fingers and sing “na na na na na.” It’s frutstrating. And sad, really.

lokenbr is quite convinced that the world will end before 2100 :)
April 23, 2015 at 12:01 pm
“The recent slowdown in the rise of global average air temperatures will make no difference to how much the planet will warm by 2100, a new study has found.”
Unprovable/unfalsifiable statement of the year?

ozric101  builds a strawman. Thing is, we haven't had "10 year cooling trend" and I doubt we will in the foreseeable future.
April 23, 2015 at 2:11 pm
He does not admit the pause, to his biased eye it is a slowdown. If we had a 10 year cooling trend it would not matter to him it would just be another type of slowdown.


The climate ‘hiatus’ doesn’t take the heat off global warming, Matthew England at The Conversation, 24 April 2015

Hiatus in global average temperatures has little effect on projected temperatures in 2100 - Press release, 23 April 2015 available at

Matthew H. England, Jules B. Kajtar, Nicola Maher. "Robust warming projections despite the recent hiatus." Nature Climate Change, 2015; 5 (5): 394 DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2575 (subs req'd)

England, Matthew H., Shayne McGregor, Paul Spence, Gerald A. Meehl, Axel Timmermann, Wenju Cai, Alex Sen Gupta, Michael J. McPhaden, Ariaan Purich, and Agus Santoso. "Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus." Nature Climate change 4, no. 3 (2014): 222-227. doi:10.1038/nclimate2106 (pdf here)


  1. Sou, great highlighting of an interesting result and simultaneously skewering of WUWT, hard to beat that combo!

    Can I just say your new banner ads are a little creepy? They've been alternating between offering me a book I recently read and a specific hotel I recently stayed at! Something online knows a little too much about me, I think...

    1. Thanks Arthur.

      About the ads - yeah, it's all done by computer not a real live person. (Did you book/buy on-line?) When looking into whether or not to try out the adverts, I found out you can opt out or tweak your preferences, which is good - details toward the bottom of this page.

    2. Arthur

      The ad companies suck data from your searches - happens to me all the time.

  2. Well, it's nice to know that there is expert endorsement for the view that transient variability in the rate of ocean heat uptake is unlikely to affect TCR, let alone ECS.


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