Anthony Watts and the Bottom of the Barrel

Not long ago Wormtail Anthony Watts published this post from — who else? — Lord Voldemort Monckton, causing Watts to claim that the premier graph shown as part of Mike Mann’s recent article in Scientific American is wrong. In particular, Watts claimed that the plotted data didn’t correspond to any known surface temeperature data set. Although he didn’t come right out and say it, I got the impression that Watts believed Mike Mann was perpetrating a fraud. Imagine that.

If he’d waited just a few days, he’d have known exactly which known surface temperature dataset had been used.

Here’s the graphic in question (click it for a larger, clearer view):

FalseHope

Watts’ own “go-to guy” for data analysis, Lucius Malfoy Willis Eschenbach, actually digitized the graph of surface temperature in order to show that it doesn’t match known global temperature datasets. Gosh — how could Watts, or Eschenbach, or Monckton, or anybody, possibly have known what dataset was used for the graph in the SciAm article?

Let’s see … they could have read the text on the graph. The part where it says “If the Northern Hemisphere’s surface temperatures rise more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels …” Because the widely accepted surface temperature dataset used is the HadCRUT4 data for the northern hemisphere. Which makes sense, since the zero-dimensional energy balance model which Mann used to make forecasts, is also for the northern hemisphere. Here’s the data from HadCRUT4, compared to the digitized version which Eschenbach estimated:

crut4_nhem

Failing that, they could have read the “More in this article” sections, particularly noting the link to the data and code used for the graph, and for the zero-dimensional energy balance model used to make the forecasts.

Heck, Watts himself could simply have waited a few days. His own readers told him.

What’s the take-home message here? That Anthony Watts and his crew are so eager to criticize global warming that they can’t be bothered to get the facts straight first. Even when it’s easy to do so. Even when there are multiple ways to do so.

I won’t bother to respond to Watt’s directly, I leave that to Mike Mann himself — if he so chooses. But I will say this: when Wormtail, Malfoy, and Voldemort are trying so hard to kill you, you know you’re on the right side.

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22 responses to “Anthony Watts and the Bottom of the Barrel

  1. I get criticism from Watt’s blog now and then. In my view, the best policy is to ignore him. His opinions being far less valuable than a bucket full of saliva.

  2. I generally don’t bother reading posts with the name Anthony Watts in the headline. But the nifty graph caught my eye – thanks.

    It’s a tough call as to how to label Watts – (wordcrafter? propagandist? climate imp?) — it is rude and unfair to call him names. But like a bar fight, we don’t want to join in, but since he is picking the fights, we will watch the dustup from afar. He does waste our time. And that may be the only power he has left – as time-waster/attention-diverter. Worse, I suspect he derives energy from the attention we give him. So my anger changes to pathos. Soon to be disinterest,

    Thanks so much for the chart though… but I have yet to notice that Senor Watts has learned much of anything. Of course, I am not spending much time examining his words.

  3. So who gets to be Dolores Umbridge?

  4. Hey Tamino,
    Would be good if you could expose the fallacies and errors of statistician William ‘Matt’ Briggs with his blog posts. He is a climate change denier and about to release a book on statistics. Has a close relationship with Willie Soon.

    http://wmbriggs.com

    [Response: Been there, done that.]

  5. Michael Hauber

    Curious. I think AW has a genuine point that a headline discussing global temperatures above a chart showing NH temperatures is not totally honest. Even if the first thing said beside the graph is that it is NH.

    And also ironic that he says that if a skeptic did such a thing they’d be exocriated. Yet the article is full of charts comparing global warming rates projected up to 2050 against global warming rates observed up to 2014…..

    [Response: Thanks for missing the point entirely. Watts didn't object to "global" vs "northern hemisphere," he objected to the data not corresponding to any known data set -- even though it's ridiculously easy to find out. But he didn't bother to find out. And that's the point: Watts is much more interested in criticizing Mike Mann than in finding out the truth.

    As for his "global vs n.hem" objection, that strikes me as nothing but an attempt to save face after his own readers pointed it out.]

  6. The world is not going to thank that hapless trio for yet more evidence that they are incompetent. It is time that Watts shut his blog down, it is pointless self-indulgence, beyond parody, and whatever value it had for the fossil fuel industry is spent. I guess Watts is just in it to leach off his credulous audience nowadays.

  7. Martin Smith

    I couldn’t find the “link to the data and code,” but I’m not a subscriber to the magazine; maybe it is only available to subscribers? But, still, the rule seems to have become this: If an article supporting AGW does not explicitly name the dataset used to create a graph, it is ethical to imply that the author is trying to perpetrate a fraud. It’s whack-a-mole all over again. If Mann had labeled the graph with HadCRUT4, the mole would have been the fiddling adjustments used to create HadCRUT4.

    The fake skeptic will always try to raise doubt by calling attention to the first omission found, so it is probably best to do what Mann did and omit something that will quickly be explained by knowledgable readers. This way, Mann expertly gets the point across in the article, knowing that Wormtail, Malfoy, and Voldemort will make themselves look stupid by not doing even superficial fact checking.

  8. I’d like to know if Wormtail, Malfoy, and Valdemort ever think about what happens to all that extra energy that gets absorbed by the system because of what our civilization has been doing for the last two hundred years, never mind that some pretty smart people such, as Michael Mann, have been studying the situation for quite awhile now and releasing peer-reviewed studies on the subject. But I guess that would be too much to ask of true believers in unfettered free enterprise capitalism, unregulated resource extraction, and infinite economic growth (our currently favored drivers of global civilization) that all ignore basic physics. In a just world, such evil idiots would be locked up and put out of circulation, but I guess a “just world” is an oxymoron in our present “Alice in Wonderland” Civilization!

  9. Horatio Algeranon

    “Not long ago Wormtail Anthony Watts published this post from — who else? — Lord Voldemort Monckton, causing Watts to claim that the premier graph shown as part of Mike Mann’s recent article in Scientific American is wrong”

    That would make Mike Mann “Harry Plotter”, right?

    • Horatio Algeranon

      …which, I guess, would make Steven Mosher the Snitch.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      “Harry Plotter and the Climate of Secrets”
      — by Horatio Algeranon

      Harry Plotter rides his stick
      Which turns up at the end
      Don’s his magic cloak
      That hides the warming trend

      But Voldemort means danger
      And so does Golden Snitch
      (An email re-arranger )
      And Lordly Watter witch

    • Horatio Algeranon

      oops, should be “cooling trend”

      So sorry.

      “Harry Plotter and the Climate of Secrets”
      – by Horatio Algeranon

      Harry Plotter rides his stick
      Which turns up at the end
      Don’s his magic cloak
      That hides the cooling trend

      But Voldemort means danger
      And so does Golden Snitch
      (An email re-arranger)
      And Lordly Watter witch

    • Horatio Algeranon

      Should prolly be “Moncktomort”

      PS I doubt this “WordPress” fellow has any idea just how hard it is to write goofy poetry without a way of editing comments.

  10. Michael Hauber

    I didn’t miss the point. I just thought the point was so obvious and basic it did not require further discussion.

    When Mr Watts’ folly is pointed out his response is ‘But Mann’s NH vs Global’. When I mention Mann’s NH vs Global here the response is ‘But Watts is an idiot’.

    • Michael Hauber
      Do bear in mind that the sub-title on the graphic is identical to the sub-title for the Mann article and that such Titles/Sub-titles are usually written by editors not by authors. I would therefore suggest that your position is not tenable. To suggest that Cap’n Watts in his second attempt at a damning accusation “has a genuine point that a headline discussing global temperatures above a chart showing NH temperatures is not totally honest” is as ill-formed as the good Cap’n’s first attempt at exposing malpractice. That first attempt was his explanation for the post-2000 white trace being dishonest – “It’s like ‘hide the decline’ deja vu.”

      I would say that there is ‘a point’ that could be levelled at Mike Mann but it is perhaps too precise for idiots like Cap’n Watts or Midshipman Eschenbach to grasp. Idiots? Examine the comment thread on the Wattupian post. It took them quite a while to pick up on the comment that pointed them direct at the white trace being a genuine measured temperature record.

      And in the process Cap’n Watts messes up the presentation of Lord ‘mad-dog’ Monckton’s excellent essay on the Mann article (excellent in that it makes me laugh).
      I particularly liked mad-dog’s stitching together of the famous 1990 IPCC graphic figure 7.1c (suitably extended to 1980-2000 without a sign of any temperature rise) with an SLR reconstruction from part of Grinsted et al (2009) figure 7b (suitably shorn of the dramatic 21st century SLR – which is the actual take-home of Grinsted et al). Evidently mad-dog is oblivious to the nature of the Grinsted et al figure. He certainly shouldn’t be waving it as proof of a sweaty MWP. Indeed, that figure 7b is based on a very different temperature reconstruction. And anyway it is not a whole lot different to Grinsted et al figure 7a which is based on, goodness, a genuine hockey-stick millennial NH temperature reconstruction from, goodness, Jones & Mann!!

      • Michael Hauber

        Ah, I hadn’t thought about the possibility that an editor had added the global title.

  11. Philippe Chantreau

    On the graph it says, “if the Northern Hemisphere temperatures rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial etc, etc.
    I guess the expectation that anyone would actually pay attention and read everything is unrealistic these days. Global temperatures are rising. The discussion then more specifically pertains to risks associated with Northern Hemisphere rising more than degrees above pre-industrial levels. A graph built from a Northern hemisphere dataset is used. Where is the problem? No kind of debate whatsoever is longer possible in this subject, the deniers are so far gone, communication is impossible. And the thing is, Watts truly is, well, you said it, not me.

  12. Michael Brown

    Somewhat off topic, but can we expect a Tamino post on the Evans & co chartism that is being promoted by Watts and others?

  13. Fernando Leanme

    Maybe what´s confusing about Dr Mann´s article is the words used with the graph itself. It states the world will cross the 2 degree threshold in 22 years. If I were preparing the statement then I would only use the Northern Hemisphere, and then point out it would be the Northern Hemisphere average which crosses over.

    [Response: Read again. The text says, "If the Northern Hemisphere's surface temperatures rise more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels ..."]

    [edit]