If anyone is under the wrong impression that Anthony Watts knows something about climate science, this will set you straight. He doesn't. You might have thought that he doesn't "believe" a lot of what he posts. It seems he does. Even the silliest nonsense. I used to think that he didn't read anything he posted, but it appears that he does. Only sometimes. But mostly not. And I was wondering the other day when we were going to get another article from him. He writes so rarely these days, leaving it all up to other people that I was beginning to think that he had quit altogether.
Today he's written a short piece (archived here). What he has called a Quote of the Week. It's not a bad quote I suppose, but there's no reason for a denier to pull it out as a quote of the week unless they are a hard core denier.
Now I've said before that when Anthony Watts decides to write something himself, he usually gets things dreadfully wrong. Today is no exception. He's done a doozy. And he's proven that he does read some of what he posts. He must have read some Denier Don Easterbrook. Or maybe this is a homage to Don.
First the quote. It's in two parts, with some commentary by Anthony before, in between, and after:
While ramping up his own invective to fit as much ad hominem as possible into a single sentence:
“Mr. Sauer parroted baseless talking points that have their origin in fossil-fuel industry-funded climate change denial propaganda, not honest scientific discourse.
Michael Mann says:
“overall warmth of the globe and northern hemisphere today is substantially greater than during Medieval time”
Then the article - Professor Mann was writing about a hit piece from someone called Norm Sauer, who wrongly accused Dr Mann of fraud and fakery and more. (If you must read it, follow the link from Michael Mann's article above.) It was, as Michael Mann said, nothing but baseless talking points, a parroting of the worst denier memes about. I don't think there was an accurate sentence in among the entire opinion piece. And it was so yesterday. So old hat. And Michael Mann was right to respond.
Anthony claims Greenland is the whole world - and gets even more wrong
Anthony Watts did a Denier Don Easterbrook in response, and put up a wrong chart of temperatures in Greenland, which he claimed showed that there was global warming in Medieval times and that it was hotter than today. How nutty is that? This is what Anthony wrote:
Except, there’s that pesky ice core proxy temperature data (proxy temperature data is something Mann embraces for his own Hockey Stick) that says otherwise:Anthony is way wrong. The ice core proxy temperature chart that he put up shows that Michael Mann is right and Anthony is wrong. The temperature on the top of the ice sheet in Central Greenland is higher today than it was in Medieval times.
Let's see what is wrong with Anthony's picture - click to enlarge it:
- First of all, Greenland is not the whole world. Anthony is wrong about that. So his chart cannot prove Anthony's "otherwise".
- Secondly, his chart starts in 1855, so it doesn't show the present. Meaning it cannot prove Anthony's "otherwise".
- Thirdly, I've added the average temperature for the decade ending in 2010. It's probably even higher today. So even if the chart is corrected, it disproves Anthony's "otherwise".
Anthony Watts vs Anthony Watts
10,000 Years – Incorrect Graph – GISP2 – Alley, 2000 The x axis label, “Years Before Present (2000 AD)”, should read Years Before Present (1950 AD)
The Medieval Warm Period was 11,500 years ago?
Recent estimates of the age of the Younger Dryas termination, including those of Hughen et al. (1998) and Gulliksen et al. (1998), and those summarized by Alley et al. (1997b), indicate an age close to 11,500 yr before 1950.
From the WUWT comments
September 23, 2015 at 4:05 pm
Mann appears hell-bent on making himself a laughingstock, with or without the help of Mark Steyn.
J. Philip Peterson wants to know how to estimate temperature from ice cores. Well I don't have time to educate him today. I've written about this sometime or other.
September 23, 2015 at 4:11 pm
Once again, how can you measure temperature for 800 years, 1000 years, 3000 years from an ice core?
As a layman, I don’t understand. The Vikings didn’t have thermometers…please explain how it is done from an ice core?
Aran points out that Anthony's article is nonsense:
September 23, 2015 at 4:18 pm
The graph shown is not a refutation of Mann’s words, since firstly it concerns local temperatures rather than overall temperatures, but more importantly, it ends at 95 years before present, which would either be 1905 or 1855 depending on who you believe. Either way, it is not valid as an argument in a discussion about temperatures today.
M Courtney doesn't believe you can compare past temperatures to present temperatures. I mean literally. He thinks it's not permitted. Is he for real?
September 23, 2015 at 4:27 pm
Nor would splicing current temperature records onto a proxy be valid as an argument in a discussion about the MWP.
You’re right that that would be like Mann’s Nature trick.
But it’s not a legitimate technique that would be used by honest or competent scientists.
Anthony Watts doubles down on his mistakes, and swears that the caption is correct. It's not and he knows it's not. He's been told lots and lots of times at WUWT that the "present" is 1950, as is convention.
September 23, 2015 at 5:04 pmAnd then he posts his slab about temperatures of 11,500 years ago, as if they've got anything to do with temperatures of 1,000 years ago!
Note the caption, it is to the year 2000, the scale is not indicating an endpoint at 95. Note also that the data and graph is from Richard B. Alley, of Penn State, a colleague of Mann.
Nick Stokes weighs in:
September 23, 2015 at 5:19 pm
Aran is absolutely right. The Allen GISP data, as has been pointed out endlessly at WUWT, ends in 1855. Here is none other than AW at WUWT in 2009:
“The ice core data from Greenland doesn’t go past the year 1900”
But BP means before 1950.
Anthony then put up a dinky chart of unknown provenance, which no doubt displeased M Courtney, because someone had spliced what they claimed were current temperatures on GISP2, but weren't. It stopped at minus 31°C, whereas Kobashi et al (2011) reports the temperature of the decade to 2010 as "The current decadal average surface temperature (2001–2010) at the GISP2 site is −29.9°C", which is considerably warmer than it was in medieval times. So Anthony fails again.
References and further reading
Alley, Richard B. "The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland." Quaternary science reviews 19, no. 1 (2000): 213-226. doi:10.1016/S0277-3791(99)00062-1 (pdf here)
Kobashi, Takuro, Kenji Kawamura, Jeffrey P. Severinghaus, Jean‐Marc Barnola, Toshiyuki Nakaegawa, Bo M. Vinther, Sigfús J., and Jason E. Box. "High variability of Greenland surface temperature over the past 4000 years estimated from trapped air in an ice core." Geophysical Research Letters 38, no. 21 (2011). DOI: 10.1029/2011GL049444 (open access)
I've got to go. You can search for Don Easterbrook and Greenland above to see what I mean by the comparison. Here's a couple of relevant links:
- Denier Don is Angry - HotWhopper
- 1934 and other treasured legends of climate science deniers - including the MWP (HotWhopper)
- Easterbrook's Wrong (Again) - by Gareth Renowden at Hot Topic NZ (from 2011)