Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sophisticated Satellites and Other Denier Weirdness at WUWT

Sou | 12:05 AM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment

How's this for a lead in from someone who studied meteorology (albeit didn't graduate).  There is so much wrong in so few words.
I have always found a stark contrast in the way the forecasts of meteorologists on television and radio are limited in accuracy to about a week and beyond that become more speculative while the claims about global warming are always stated in decades. For example, the polar ice caps were supposed to have all melted by now. The daily forecasts are formulated based on sophisticated meteorological satellites. The global warming claims are all based on computer models, not empirical observation and data.
Anthony Watts of WUWT is quoting Alan Caruba, who didn't have to tell us he wasn't a scientist.  Anyone reading the above would know that for certain.

Forecasting a few days of weather is very different to making climate projections.  I can forecast with reasonable confidence several months ahead as, I'm sure, can you.  (It will be considerably warmer in January than it is now, even though we're having a very warm winter!) But I leave it to the experts to forecast tomorrow's weather.  I'll even predict decades ahead with some confidence.  By 2050 the Arctic will be pretty well ice free and January where I (will have used to) live will be a lot hotter than it was this year.  (If I'm still around and wrong, I'll buy you a beer.  That is, if hops can still be grown in these parts, and you come here to collect.)

Deniers love their satellites and hate models.  Well I've got news for Alan Caruba!

Alan says the daily forecasts are "formulated based on sophisticated meteorological satellites".  Satellites don't predict the future.  All they can do is give information about what has happened from the past to the now.  These days weather forecasters use models. They just plug in the latest data, unlike climate modellers. That's why forecasts can go out not just a day ahead, not just three days ahead, but anything up to around ten days ahead now.  And it's why the forecast can change.   Day 7 of the seven day forecast might be different by the time it gets to Day 3, 2 or 1.  And the data doesn't just come from satellite instruments either.  Weather bureaux also get data from land based instruments such as automatic weather stations, from instruments on weather balloons, from instruments on buoys in the sea, from ships and from aircraft.

This website describes how the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) makes rainfall forecasts.  BoM says "Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) or computer models included in the calculation of the rainfall totals and the chance of rain are from" - and lists the places and the computer model names as follows:
  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology ACCESS-R, ACCESS-G
  • US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration USAGFS
  • UK Meteorological Office UKGC
  • Japanese Meteorological Agency JMAGSM
  • European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting ECSP
  • Meteorological Service of Canada CMCGEM
  • German national weather service, Deutscher Wetterdienst DWD
Don't tell Alan Caruba - he'd be terribly disappointed and would never leave his house without a brolly - because he just knows computer models can't be trusted.  And as for feeding in data from land-based weather stations - well he'll probably tell you that can't be trusted either!

Alan Caruba doesn't read science.  Here's proof!

Okay - not proof (science isn't about proof).  Here's the evidence.  I have no idea where Alan gets his crankery from but it's not science.  He wrote that "the polar ice caps were supposed to have all melted by now".  Maybe he just made it up all by himself.  Let's guess why Anthony Watts posted that silliness.  Not because he believes it, but because it's good disinformation for his readers.

Just in case there's a reader who doesn't know the facts - then he's wrong.  There is no reputable scientific source that predicted that the "polar ice caps" would have melted by now.  In fact, the Arctic sea ice is melting much more quickly than was predicted a few years back.  There are no solid predictions for Antarctica that I'm aware of.  But the general consensus (there's that word again) is that the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica are going to continue to warm and the ice there will contribute to sea level rise.

You don't have to look far to find his motive.  On his own blog Alan Caruba writes:
I am, however, a science writer who has followed the global warming hoax since it began in the late 1980s and picked up momentum as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing its computer-based doomsday claims.

Alan Caruba just makes it up as he goes along.  He's effectively denying that scientists have known that CO2 is a greenhouse gas since at least the 1860s.  He denies the work of Fourier, Tyndall,  Arrhenius, Callendar, Plass, Revelle, Broecker, Keeling and many others who were studying CO2 well before the 1980s.  And he can't claim it was a secret known only to scientists - CO2 was discussed in newspapers even in Australia, well before the 1980s.

Caruba comes across as a crank paranoid conspiracy theorist like our old mate from HotCopper, BenBradley.

I couldn't be bothered reading any further.  The first couple of paragraphs was enough to know Caruba is a fiction writer posing as a science writer and I find it difficult to imagine he fools even the most foolish of the 8% Dismissives.

From the WUWT Comments - The Daily Ad HomineMann Competition

Nothing much to report in the comments at WUWT.  A couple of people pulled Anthony up about Alan Caruba's  "sophisticated meteorological satellites" and pointed out that models are used to forecast weather.  The rest of them were too busy competing to win the prize for the most libellous ad homineMann.  That seems to have become a daily event at WUWT.  Anthony hasn't announced the Grand Prize yet.  (Maybe the prize is to share the stage with Tim Ball at an upcoming event.)


  1. Caruba has right-wingnuttery form: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Alan_Caruba

    As for your article, spot on, Sou. Watts seems happy to fill his site with stuff he hasn't read.

  2. Some more morsels of Caruban wisdom:

    "Antihumanism has been around a long time. As Dr. Zubin points out, it has taken the form of “Darwinism, eugenics, German militarism, Nazism, xenophobia, the population control movement, environmentalism, technophobia, and most recently, the incredibly demented climatophobic movement, which seeks to justify mass human sacrifice for the purpose of weather control.”
    So you need to understand that you are no better than a fruit fly and you need to die in order to avoid depleting the planet’s supply of food and its energy resources.

    God knows I would like to ignore or—better still—never have to hear from these climate Nazis, but that is not going to happen so long as The New York Times, the United Nations, and a host of others keep repeating their lethal lies."

    1. Words fail me - and that's saying something!


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