Saturday, August 17, 2019

Desperate Deniers head for the clouds at WUWT

Sou | 3:23 PM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment
My last article was a report of the latest surface temperature, from NASA. This one is about the lower troposphere changes - and denier dross from WUWT.

I've not spent much time at WUWT in recent months (or here at HotWhopper). The articles there have changed a bit since Anthony Watts took time off. There are a lot more political articles and fewer science articles. Charles the Moderator is in charge but doesn't have a lot of people to write - it's mainly childish Eric Worrall and a petrol-head called David Middleton. Most of the regular WUWT contributors from days gone by have disappeared (justthefacts, Bob Tisdale, Tim Ball etc., and Anthony Watts himself.)

These days, when Charles copies and pastes a press release about a scientific publication, he doesn't have to add the dog-whistling word "claim" at the front of the headline. WUWT readers are now very well trained and understand that if there's a scientific press release it means they are expected to add comments along the lines of "climate science is a hoax" (repeated 100 times or they are put in detention).

To bring you up to date, Anthony Watts has got himself a gig at The Heartland Institute (so he can sit around and do pretty well nothing and get paid for it, as far as I can tell. The pay can't be all that good. He's still begging money from his readers.)

Hottest month on the surface, but look at the clouds, sez Kip Hansen

I headed over to WUWT today and, sure enough, deniers still occasionally move off pro-Trump articles to deny science. Kip Hansen is protesting the fact that last month was the equal hottest month on record and hottest July on record. He's saying - don't look at the surface, look up at the sky. If he looks up far enough, into the stratosphere, he'll be able to say "it's cooling" with some justification :D. (The stratosphere cools while the troposphere warms.)

Below shows why deniers stick to UAH lower troposphere data and reject any and all other temperature records, including surface and RSS lower troposphere. It's a plot of GISTEMP surface data, RSS lower troposphere and UAH lower troposphere. Note that the last data point (2019) obviously is an average of January to July 2019, so it's not a full year of data.

Data sources: GISTEMP, RSS, UAH

Looking at the linear trend, UAH is 1.3 C a century, RSS is 2 C a century and GISTEMP is 1.8 C a century (since 1979). Which is the odd one out?

There are hints as to why there is a divergence between the latest versions of UAH and RSS in this article I wrote some time back: 101 conspiracy theories about troposphere temperature: the RSS love affair is over. There is more here: The mid-troposphere has been warming faster than you thought. It's mainly to do with ageing satellites.

There's one more point worth thinking about. The troposphere tends to accentuate bursts of warming, such as El Nino spikes. In addition, temperature is just one indicator of climate change and doesn't mean a lot on its own except when it exacerbates heat waves, wildfires and droughts. Other effects include rising seas, stronger storms and bigger floods (a more vigorous hydrological cycle) and melting ice. Then there are flow on effects, like migration (humans and other animals), food production and so on.

From the WUWT comments

Well, it's a while since I've ventured into the sewer, but here goes:

The greenhouse effect denier, commieBob, thinks the planet warms and cools by magic, or gravity or something. Weird, eh?
August 16, 2019 at 6:52 pm
We continue to warm up out of the Little Ice Age. So what if July were the warmest in 500 years? Is that not what you would expect?
The alarmists should not get away with ascribing perfectly normal climate variability to humanity. It’s the same kind of superstition that demands human sacrifices to the volcano gods … exactly the same … think about it.

Kurt asks what's causing the warming. No-one at WUWT has the right answer. Is he being provocative? (Hint: think CO2)
August 16, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Has anybody else noticed that in the most recent revision of the RSS dataset, for both of the 1998 and 2016 big El Ninos, the temperatures after each event never dropped below the point that the temperatures were at before the event? Is this just coincidence, or can anybody think of an explanation?

Smart Rock has a conspiracy theory, which is not novel for deniers. Climate science is a hoax. Oddly, he doesn't wonder why global temperatures have dropped in the past sometimes, like after 2016.
August 16, 2019 at 7:28 pm
No surprise here. In fact, I’d have been surprised if they didn’t make it the hottest month ever. They need it to keep up the constant flow of climate alarmist news that’s getting to be more like a torrent now.
They also need it to make sure that 2019 is the hottest year ever. These things take advance planning, don’t they? I mean, come next January, if they hadn’t got all the data lined up every month, they might have to go back and rewrite history. Not that rewriting history would be such a problem, there could be a few discreet instrument failures that didn’t show up until they audited their data. Or just change the data anyway and see if anyone notices. Drop the uncorrected data into the memory hole.
That's enough.


  1. Replies
    1. The audience is shrinking a bit, but there's still a fair demand for nonsense from "climate hoax" conspiracy theorists.

    2. I am led to believe that these days it's as much Watts Up With Trump (from Moscow's perspective) as it is the five year old's version of RealClimate.

    3. That seems a fair comment, Andy.

      Sometimes the WUWT fans express disappointment that Trump hasn't destroyed enough of the USA and the world. I don't think too many have vowed allegiance to Kim Jong Un yet, like Trump has, although some might be loyal to Putin. /sarc

  2. I cannot read WUWT comments. I physically gag. Thank you for being the "medical examiner" sifting through the rotting evidence and presenting a more clinical view.

  3. Sou, you forgot to mention Roy Spencer and John Christy who maintain UAH pretty much invented satellite temperature measurement, and did much of the original research. Roy Spencer received a special award from the American Meteorological Society in 1996 for "for developing a global, precise record of earth's temperature from operational polar-orbiting satellites, fundamentally advancing our ability to monitor climate."

    1996: AMS Special Award "for developing a global, precise record of earth's temperature from operational polar-orbiting satellites, fundamentally advancing our ability to monitor climate."
    1991: NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal
    1990: Alabama House of Representatives Resolution #624
    1989: MSFC Center Director’s Commendation

  4. So you can still surprise me, Eric. Yes, those two did do early work but I'm surprised you're begging me to draw attention to the big blunder I picked up which highlighted their deceit and deception, how they've made a habit out of downplaying global warming, and all the major errors they made in the UAH reporting.

    You clearly want me to comment on how all the awards you listed were before the rather ignominous backdowns when Spencer and Christie didn't account for orbital decay as identified by other scientists in 1998 (see ref 1) or the sign error identified in 2005, when they got the diurnal correction back to front and upside down (ref 2), when those two had to acknowledge their major errors in their calculations, but only under protest after other people had written about them in the scientific literature.

    1. Wentz, Frank J., and Matthias Schabel. "Effects of orbital decay on satellite-derived lower-tropospheric temperature trends." Nature 394, no. 6694 (1998): 661. https://www.nature.com/articles/29267

    2. Mears, Carl A., and Frank J. Wentz. "The effect of diurnal correction on satellite-derived lower tropospheric temperature." Science 309, no. 5740 (2005): 1548-1551. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/309/5740/1548

    I didn't mention Frank Wentz and Carl Mears who produce the RSS data.

    Neither did I mention the GISSTEMP team of James Hansen (who you may have heard of, who developed GISTEMP), Reto Ruedy, Avi Persin, Michael Hendrickson, Dr. Makiko Sato, and Dr. Ken Lo and Dr. Gavin Schmidt.

  5. Scientists whose work has had to be corrected by other people multiple times are the best scientists now according to Eric. You couldn't make it up.

  6. Sou, I'd be interested on your take on the Alan Jones/Jacinta Ardern brouhaha, and of not only the misogyny but the climate change denial that underpins it. Jones has been baiting the conservative public to the point that discussion of the science and of mitigation becomes untenable - continuing the status quo of the last several decades...

    It's an appalling state of affairs.

    1. For people outside Australia, Alan Jones is a radio shock jock in Sydney, who provides fodder for outrage in the same way that Andrew Bolt from Melbourne does in column and tv show.

      His comment "shove a sock down her neck" was unacceptable. I'd be interested to know how much notice his listeeners take in what he says. I suspect many if not most take him with a grain of salt. Ratings indicate he has a lot of listeners, but AFAIK it's a breakfast show. Of the people who have the radio on in the background while they have breakfast, how many people actually hear what he says compared to those who have one ear out for the news, weather and traffic reports. And of those who do, how many just shrug and say "Oh, that's just Alan Jones being outrageous again"?

      What I thought more pernicious were the comments of the deputy PM, Michael McCormack about Pacific Islanders, along the lines of "let them pick fruit". And the comments of Penny Wong, with her "trust me" tweet, around the same time as her saying they wouldn't sign a commitment to get out of coal.

      Again, for those in the rest of the world, Senator Penny Wong is widely regarded as one of the most respected and clear-headed Australian politicians. She often makes statements supporting action on climate. The Australian Labor Party as a whole talks commitment to acting on climate change but, possible because of it's strong link with trade unions, can't let go of coal. Many of us thought Ms Wong was different. She's now come out as being as bad as the rest of them.

      This was my reaction to her comment on Insiders:
      OMG - of all people I'd have thought Penny Wong would understand it's essential that we move away from coal.

      Is it time for despair?


      And shortly after, my reaction to her "trust me" tweet:
      Sorry Penny. You've just lost ours. You need a plan for the transition away from coal and you need to tell us (and the world) what it is. Otherwise you're in the wilderness for decades while Australia (and the world) burns.


    2. Perhaps "pragmatic" is the word you are looking for?


    3. No. It's not. It's no more pragmatic than staying in a fast-burning building instead of heading for safe shelter.

      It's hardly pragmatic to not have a plan, including targets and timelines, for the inevitable transition out of coal. It's ostrich behaviour, as well as being shockingly irresponsible to Australia and the world and, some would argue, immoral.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Well, I do see your point, if you are into the 'nice token gesture but won't actually make a measurable difference' approach.

      I'd certainly agree with you on the approach Australia should take; "make all the right noises, but move the feet very slowly".

    6. It's not like you to misrepresent me, marke. As you know, it's completely at odds with my position on this (as anyone can see in the above).

      What made you do it?

    7. I see now Alan Jones figured he didn't raise enough hackles and has doubled down on violence toward New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

      He's losing advertisers and, if Macquarie Media carries out its threat, he'll lose his job. (Maybe that's his goal.)

      Then he and all his mates can carry on muttering something about "free speech" giving them the right to incite violence.

      Given the state of the world, I have a feeling things will get worse before they get better.

    8. Given the state of the world, I'm not sure how things can ever get better...

  7. Here's a solar company touting the great future solar has, but also explaining the problems of transitioning from coal. Funnily enough, they're the same problems the coal and power companies mention: higher prices now, and much higher prices in the future as new distribution infrastructure is required.

    1. That's the risk, isn't it. Coal can't compete with the much cheaper renewables, but to modernise the power supply requires modernising electricity distribution as well as generation.

      That's only partly what I'm talking about when I say the government and opposition need to plan for the inevitable transition. On the export front, it's at least as urgent. There needs to be a plan for labour markets, education, retraining, population shifts etc. for people moving away from coal jobs and into other areas of the economy if we want to avoid an economic (and social) shock.


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