From some comments here at HW I discovered that there was a strange exchange at WUWT the other day. I say it was strange, because Anthony said he disagreed with a person while at the same time saying he agreed with him - on the exact same point. Although it was strange, it was not uncommon as far as Anthony Watts is concerned. He doesn't understand what he reads, and doesn't seem to understand what he writes. He also demonstrates one of the telltale signs of a denier (and conspiracy theorist) - simultaneously adopting two mutually exclusive positions.
It started with the headline to the article from David Whitehouse (archived here - see Hotwhopper's Desperate Deniers Part 6): "2015 Global Temp, Or How Some Scientists Deliberately Mistook Weather For Climate"
The headline was over a graphic of Bart Simpson writing "climate and weather are not the same", which David Whitehouse and Anthony Watts should take to heart:
The headline prompted a comment from Harry Twinotter, that it would take a brave person to refer to conditions averaged over the globe for a year or more as "weather":
Harry Twinotter January 23, 2016 at 2:05 pm
I can’t say I understand the headline for this article. It would take a brave person to call conditions averaged over the globe for a year or more “weather”.
Variation is the global climate, yes. Try comparing the global mean temperature of 2014-2015 with the last Great El nino of 1997/98.This was picked up by Brandon Gates, who observed that maybe it is more weather than climate, relating it to deniers who try to argue that a winter blizzard means anthropogenic global warming isn't real:
Brandon Gates January 23, 2016 at 5:49 pm
Harry Twinotter, "It would take a brave person to call conditions averaged over the globe for a year or more “weather”.
Especially compared to, “bbbbut blizzards!”. Compared to the standard, albeit somewhat arbitrary, definition of climate as the 30 year statistics of weather, I’d say it’s more weather than climate.Harry replied that he takes Brandon's point, but still doesn't feel comfortable calling something "global weather":
Harry Twinotter January 23, 2016 at 11:02 pm
Brandon Gates. "Especially compared to, “bbbbut blizzards!”. Compared to the standard, albeit somewhat arbitrary, definition of climate as the 30 year statistics of weather, I’d say it’s more weather than climate.”
I would not feel comfortable calling something “global weather”, but I take your point.
Anthony Watts saw two science-lovers taking up valuable space on his climate conspiracy blog with some sciency debate, and wrote:
Anthony Watts January 24, 2016 at 7:06 am
Weather is local and regional in scope; microscale, mesoscale, or synoptic scale. There’s no such thing as “global weather”, but since both you and Harry are big on disinformation, I can see why you’d embrace something so wrong.
Perhaps it's me that's a bit dim because I don't see the sense in Anthony's retort. It raises a number of questions, including:
- What does Anthony mean by "big on disinformation"? Is he acknowledging that Harry and Brandon do a great service by calling out all the disinformation at WUWT? Perhaps Anthony is admitting he's a science denier and regards all science as "disinformation".
- Is Anthony siding with Harry Twinotter, as would appear to be the case, that Anthony's headline is wrong and that the notion of "global weather" is wrong? If so, why does he suggest that Harry said the opposite to what he did say ("I would not feel comfortable calling something “global weather”"). Is Anthony writing in some kind of double-speak code?
- If Anthony is saying that Harry Twinotter is correct (that one doesn't normally speak of "global weather"), would he also concede that David Whitehouse's article is full of disinformation?
- Does Anthony think that "blizzards" are climate or does he agree with Brandon that blizzards are weather? If so, again, why does he talk about Brandon and Harry being "big on disinformation"?
- Why did Anthony Watts pick out that little discussion to complain about, when there were dozens and dozens of very dumb, very wrong "thoughts" that he could have complained about instead?
- Last but not least, as someone who can't even read a simple temperature chart, shouldn't Anthony Watts get off his high horse?
There's no evidence that "Some Scientists Deliberately Mistook Weather For Climate"
How about David Whitehouse's headline. Is it true that "Some Scientists Deliberately Mistook Weather For Climate"? If they did, David provides no evidence. He doesn't cite a single example. Not one.
Therefore I agree with Harry Twinotter (and Anthony Watts, if he was agreeing with Harry) that David Whitehouse's headline was cockeyed. David was confusing two weather phenomena, the "blob" and El Nino, with climate change as evidenced by the long term increase in global mean surface temperature (among other things).
His error is similar to that which Hollin and Pearce made in their paper in Nature Climate Change. David Whitehouse seemed to be under the illusion that one year's temperature rise alone was sufficient for scientists to agree that climate change is happening. Or at best, he seemed to be alleging that scientists were attributing the entire rise in surface temperature in 2015 to anthropogenic global warming. He's wrong. Some of it was attributed to El Nino. However it's the long term trend, which 2015 added to, that is evidence of climate change.
|Figure 1 | Global mean surface temperature changes over a four year period. Data source: GISS NASA|
Now look at the long term, which unequivocally demonstrates that the world is heating up:
|Figure 2 | Global mean surface temperature changes since 1880. Data source: GISS NASA|
It's the long term trend that scientists are referring to when they talk about global warming.
So when David Whitehouse tries to argue that scientists have confused weather (in the form of an El Nino and a blob) for climate, he is very wrong. He is thinking in terms of Figure 1, while the scientists are thinking in terms of Figure 2.
Look at the evidence
Here are some quotes from media articles to illustrate this:
Global temperatures in 2015 were by far the hottest in modern times, according to new data from American science agencies.By placing the 2015 temperature in the context of "modern times", it's clear that this ABC article is consistent with Figure 2, not Figure 1.
Climate change has surpassed "symbolic thresholds," the organization warns in a report released Wednesday from Geneva, with global surface temperatures set to breach a 1 degree Celsius rise from pre-industrial levels. The previous warmest year was 2014 and the past five years are shaping up to be the hottest such period.Again, this article from National Geographic places the 2015 record (and the past five years) in the context of the rise in temperature from pre-industrial levels. It is consistent with Figure 2, not Figure 1.
From the press release from NASA about the hottest year on record:
The 2015 temperatures continue a long-term warming trend, according to analyses by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York (GISTEMP). NOAA scientists concur with the finding that 2015 was the warmest year on record based on separate, independent analyses of the data.Once again, the article places the 2015 record in the context of the long-term warming trend.
You might ask how was global temperature reported in 2008, when it dropped to a four year low? This is from the NOAA Global Analysis for 2008:
The global January-December temperature for combined land and ocean surfaces was 0.49°C (0.88°F) above the 20th century average, tying with 2001 as the eighth warmest since records began in 1880. Globally averaged land temperatures were 0.81°C (1.46°F) above average, while the ocean temperatures were 0.37°C (0.67°F) above average, ranking as the sixth warmest and tenth warmest, respectively. Eight of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, part of a rise in temperatures of 0.5°C (0.9°F) since 1880. See the global time series.Once again, the temperature for 2008 was placed in the context of the long term record, consistent with Figure 2, not Figure 1.
Can one speak of "global weather"?
I'm not so sure than it's always wrong to speak of "global weather", though I won't be surprised if some experts will correct me. There are lots of websites that report world weather. There's a website that compares weather on Earth with that on other planets. Anthony himself has quoted a tweet from Roger Pielke Jr, saying: "How long does our global good weather luck last?". (Which makes one wonder how Roger missed the all the massive floods, droughts, fires and storms).
A few hours ago, Anthony posted a video that he called "amazing". It was from NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. In one of the files on the GMAO website, was the statement:
Our Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model is used for global weather and climate applications, in assimilation as well as simulationThe Bureau of Meteorology doesn't have the word "weather" in its climate glossary. NOAA does, and describes it as:
The state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, cloudiness, moisture, pressure, etc. Weather refers to these conditions at a given point in time (e.g., today's high temperature), whereas Climate refers to the "average" weather conditions for an area over a long period of time (e.g., the average high temperature for today's date).
So I'll let you argue among yourselves as to whether or when it's ever okay to speak of global weather :)
Whether global weather is okay or not, the point remains. David Whitehouse was wrong. The scientists who spoke about 2015 and global warming did not confuse weather and climate.
From the HotWhopper Archives
- The IPCC climate message is clear based on the evidence: The fundamental flaws of Hollin & Pearce - October 2015
- Desperate Deniers Part 6: David Whitehouse sez it's just a blob and ENSO - January 2015
- Desperate Deniers Part 5 - Anthony "surface station" Watts flunks NOAA temperature chart 101 - January 2016