Friday, September 27, 2013

Anthony Watts goes to SkepticalScience

Sou | 3:54 AM Go to the first of 11 comments. Add a comment

This past day or two Anthony Watts has been looking to SkepticalScience's "Most used climate change myths" for ideas on what to post.  He seems to have been using it as a crib sheet.  The following WUWT articles are all from the current page of WUWT - dated from the 24 September to 26 September:

3 "It's not bad" Anthony Watts put up an article by Matt Ridley who was arguing that the benefits of global warming will outweigh the costs until the end of this century.  I wrote about this here.

6 "Models are unreliable" Bob Tisdale uses Anthony Watts' blog to try to sell his books.  His latest attempt is to write a whole book around this denier myth! (WUWT article archived here.) I've covered this argument of his in the past here, for example.

7 "Temp record is unreliable" A guest article today by Jim Steele trying to argue that raw temperatures shouldn't be adjusted.  He even managed an "algore is fat" jibe! (or close!)  Zeke Hausfather popped in with some words of wisdom to help set him straight.  I don't know if he succeeded. It would be quite a challenge. (Archived here.)

15 "Ocean acidification isn't serious" Anthony Watts tried to tell people it's not a problem because the oceans won't turn into acid by the end of the century! I've covered that one here.

25 "Sea level rise is exaggerated"  Don Easterbrook tried that on today as I've already discussed.

It's undersea volcanoes!

Anthony did manage to come up with one original idea.  (Not really original, I used to come across it in my days among the science deniers at HotCopper, too.)

It's underwater volcanoes - that one is so weird it doesn't even rate a mention in skepticalscience.com. Anthony Watts pastes a quote (archived here):
If the oceans are warming up, this implies that the Earth must absorb more solar energy than it emits longwave radiation into space. This is the only possible heat source.
And then speculates that the oceans are heating from underneath:
The only heat source? There’s also undersea volcanic activity, which we can barely track, and we are just now discovering the largest undersea volcano on Earth. Has there been an increase in global undersea volcanic activity? We simply don’t know. However, thanks to satellites, we are just beginning to see:
How the oceans are managing to hide all the new hot water from all the new volcanoes underneath all the cold water and then sneak it up to the surface is anyone's guess.  And why all this extra heat isn't showing up unexplained somewhere in the system - as Anthony would say "we simply don't know"!


  1. We could have a sweepstake on what he'll do next. I think it's number 11: they predicted an ice age back in the 1970s.

  2. It seems a bit self defeating to do myths that have already been so comprehensively debunked!

    1. KR

      Perhaps it's an environmentally-friendly effort to recycle?

  3. The quote Dullard used in regard to the oceans heating up come from RealClimate, here:

    1. Just curious, but you say “This is the only possible heat source.” Does not volcanism provide a source? The interior of the earth is a heat source, and there is poor understanding of the heat flux, its magnitude and how it varies over time. We continue to “discover” vast, active volcanoes in the deep oceans, could they not have an impact on ocean heat content and via that the atmospheric heat content? Some parts of the continental USA have a heat flux of the order of 10Wm-2, perhaps there are similar areas of high flux in the deep oceans?

      [Response: Not an absurd question, but in practice net geothermal heating (including volcanoes, mid ocean ridges etc) is about 0.075 W/m2 - some 20 times less important than human CO2 increases. - gavin]

    2. Not only that, but they would have to show a trend in geothermal heat fluxes. I don't think they can do this.

    3. well they reckon that the ice on top of greenland is being melted with the heat from below so i suppose that anything is possible in the world of crazy


  4. A guest article today by Jim Steele trying to argue that raw temperatures shouldn't be adjusted.

    OK, let's run raw temperature data through a very straightforward area-weighted anomaly averaging routine and see how those results stack up against the official NASA/GISS "meteorological-stations" index.


    The official NASA results are plotted in red; the "raw-data/simple-anomaly-averaging-routine" results are plotted in green. Not a whole lot of difference between the two sets of results, is there?

    I even calculated covariance and R^2 statistics for the NASA vs. raw data results (covariance=0.985, R^2=0.966).

    Data "adjustments" are simply not required to confirm the global temperature trend reported by NASA.

    BTW, the algorithm used to generate the raw data results is straightforward enough to be taught to students who've had a couple of semesters of introductory computer programming.

    Tis a shame that Watts and his followers, in all their years of "scrutinizing" the global temperature data, never managed to figure out how to do anything like this.


    1. Caerbannog. It is true that also without homogenization, there is a clear trend in the global mean temperature and that an important aim of homogenization is to get more reliable local and regional data.

      However, NOAA now uses a much better homogenization method as they did before and also found biases in the global mean temperature. In the GHCNv3 dataset, the trend in the global mean temperature in the raw data is 0.6°C per century and in the adjusted data it is 0.8°C per century. For details see Lawrimore et al. (2012). The main reason is probably that past temperatures were too high due to larger radiation errors, especially in the time before Stevenson screens were used.

      If there is a bias in the climate record, homogenization can improve the trend estimate, but will normally not remove the bias fully. This has been show using a test dataset in Williams et al. (2011). Thus the real bias in the temperature record is likely larger and thus the real temperature increase as well. I am trying to quantify this at the moment.

      Lawrimore, J.H., M.J. Menne, B.E. Gleason, C.N. Williams, D.B. Wuertz, R.S. Vose, and J. Rennie, 2011: An overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network monthly mean temperature data set, version 3. J. Geophys. Res., 116, no. D19121, doi: 10.1029/2011JD016187.

      Williams, C.N. jr., M.J. Menne, and P.W. Thorne, 2012: Benchmarking the performance of pairwise homogenization of surface temperatures in the United States. J. Geophys. Res., 117, art. no. D05116, doi: 10.1029/2011JD016761.

  5. It sounds like Jim Steele is saying temperature data from thermometers and satellites should be ignored and instead tree rings should be used to determine temperature trends. Am I misreading his comments?

  6. "Underwater volcanoes" was one of Ian Plimer's climate myths. It was responsible for his major faceplant in the Lateline debate with George Monbiot.



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