Odd Man Out

In a recent post Anthony Watts highlights the difference between the GISS global temperature for Nov.2010 and that from UAH (i.e., the UAH TLT or lower-troposphere temperature), saying:

I was working on a general report yesterday, but in checking background for it, I discovered this recent missive from Dr. Hansen. I suppose when your agency is the “odd man out”, you feel a need to explain yourself. Note the difference in November 2010 global temperature anomaly metrics:

UAH: 0.38 GISS: 0.74°C

Yes, I’d try to explain that too.

But surely, Watt’s knows the reason already, doesn’t he?

GISS and UAH are computed using different reference baselines. GISS data are relative to the 1951-1980 baseline while UAH are relative to a 1979-1999 baseline. Since the GISS data are relative to a colder baseline period, of course they’re numerically higher.

A reader asks:

Smital says:

December 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

“UAH: 0.38 GISS: 0.74°C”

You know that they have a different reference period??

Several other readers quote the question, and Watts finally replies:

Ken Hall says:

December 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm

““UAH: 0.38 GISS: 0.74°C”

You know that they have a different reference period??”

You mean Hansen is including July figures with Novembers? Like when he used September’s for October in 2007?

I would not be surprised.

REPLY: Hansen is using an outdated base period. 1951-1980 to calculate anomaly, whereas other metric are using more recent periods. – Anthony

Apparently Watts believes that the GISS baseline is “outdated” (and by implication, inferior), as well as that the difference between GISS and UAH data needs “explaining.”

What Watts fails (or just refuses) to get is that it really doesn’t matter. Really! He also seems oblivious to the fact that if you want to compare two data sets, you must use the same baseline. Seriously, folks. If you want to compare GISS and UAH, or HadCRUT3v and RSS, you have to put them on the same baseline or your comparison is meaningless.

Here’s an idea: let’s do a meaningful comparison instead.

GISS data cover the time period 1880 to the present while UAH only cover end-of-1979 to the present. Here they are during their period of overlap:

Clearly their changes are similar but not identical. Here’s the difference between the two data sets, together with a 12-month running mean (in red):

I’ve noted that two of the recent times GISS has been lower than usual relative to UAH are during the 1998 and 2010 el Nino events, and one of the times when GISS was higher than usual (relative to UAH) was during the 2008 la Nina. This suggests that the UAH series shows exaggerated response to el Nino/la Nina events, compared to the GISS series.

Of course, for meaningful comparison we should put both series on the same baseline. I selected 1979.0 to 2000.0, reset both series, and got this:

The present value of GISS in comparison to UAH is nothing at all out of the ordinary. In fact it’s in perfect accord with the idea that during the recent el Nino, the GISS-UAH difference would be less than average, but now that we’ve transitioned to la Nina the GISS-UAH difference will be above average. Explain that to Anthony.

Compute 12-month running means of the baselined data and you get this:

Again it seems that the UAH series has a more exaggerated response to el Nino/la Nina than GISS.

As I’ve done before, I computed a multiple regression of temperature as a function of el Nino/la Nina (as represented by MEI, the multivariate el Nino index), volcanic forcing, and a linear time trend. This computes coefficients for the influence of each factor, as well as a best-fit lag for each influence.

An interesting result is that the MEI coefficient (strength of the temperature response to MEI) was much higher for UAH data than GISS data, just as expected from the preceding graphs. For GISS, each 1 unit of MEI warms the globe by about 0.069 deg., while for UAH it’s about 0.133 deg., nearly twice as much. The difference is strongly significant, so it seems that tropospheric temperature responds to the el Nino/la Nina phenomenon more strongly than surface temperature does.

Meanwhile, Watts promises “I’ll have another post on this.” Can’t wait.


103 responses to “Odd Man Out

  1. Antiquated Tory

    Complete non sequitur, but this XKCD made me think of your blog. http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/convincing.png

  2. The thing is, Watts could criticize publishers of both data sets for using a postdated baseline. An 1880-1960 baseline would more reasonably exclude the past half-century of extreme warming, and contemporary year-over-year changes in annual temperature anomalies would appear less severe when expressed in fractional instead of absolute terms.

    Of course, choosing such a baseline would be a tacit admission that global warming, you know, exists.

    The choice of a baseline that already builds in a good deal of global warming is somewhat misleading (to folks who don’t get the whole baseline-is-arbitrary idea). I’d guess it’s chosen because the more contemporary values are subject to less uncertainty for some reason?

  3. At least he’s being consistent in his ignorance of what a temperature anomaly is; that’s oddly comforting. Even after it’s been pointed out to him over and over again. Of course his readers are that much worse, which is why his blunders get embraced so readily. “Outdated base period”. lol
    As a note, even if they had used the same baseline, Watts still wouldn’t be justified in calling out GISS without providing other analyses to compare them to. How would one know which was the *odd man out* when you are only discussing two numbers?

    • Simple: in Wattsworld, the higher figure is always the odd one out, except in the case of figures from the past, where the reverse applies!

  4. Watts just can’t get his head around the simplest math. Criminy, he’s dumb.

  5. Tamino, no need to post this, but here’s a challenge (I think you will both enjoy and hate it):
    I’m not very good at stats and the like, but this paper:
    rings all alarm bells: poorly written, non-referenced bold claims, and a lot of attempts at supposed regression and correlation analysis that just appears to be…not right.

    Might be more challenging in showing Watts wrong…I mean, that’s like shooting fish in a barrell.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Marco, this is no less fish in a barrel than Watts. And BTW this whole journal looks suspect.

      • I know, I know, but we all remember how Gerlich&Tscheuschner are still thrown around, despite that being published in an equally obscure journal.

  6. Watts just can’t get his head around the simplest math.

    Arithmentic fail.

    No need to say more …

  7. Well, no need to say more unless one wants to spell “arithmetic” correctly. :(

  8. Watts goes on to expand on why he thinks “Hansen is using an outdated base period. 1951-1980 to calculate anomaly” in the comments after his article, here:
    “Jack Greer says:
    December 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm ”

    He ends, “using 1951 to 1980 GISS is thirty years behind the “climate normal” times. If I wrote a peer review paper today and used old base periods it would get tossed on that basis alone. But hey, if you are the GISS king of climate science, any old base period goes for your work. – Anthony”

    Is Watts really writing complete nonsense, or have I missed something?

    PS – I must confess, Watts’ “If I wrote a peer review paper today” seems about as inappropriate way of starting a sentence as I were to write “If I were awarded the Nobel prize in physics …”

    • Don’t be so modest!

      The Odd Man Out
      –by Horatio Algeranon

      The odd man out
      Is apt to shout
      “Jim Hansen’s an outdated lout”

      Or that “The surface station temp
      Is elevated by burning hemp
      And from the record should be exempt.”

      Or that “The NOAA is corrupt
      For having surface stations dropped
      To hide that global warming stopped.”

      Or that “The ice is now returning
      After brief hiatus, we are learning,
      And really not worth our concerning.”

      The odd man out,
      Is all about
      Sowing the seeds of climate doubt.

  9. it seems that tropospheric temperature responds to the el Nino/la Nina phenomenon more strongly than surface temperature does.

    I think this temperature amplification in the troposphere is expected from water vapor feedback and the related tropical tropospheric amplification.

    [Response: But: the amplification doesn’t seem to be the same for different warming factors. It’s biggest for el Nino, less for volcanic forcing, and no statistically significant amplification for greenhouse-gas warming.]

    • Well, how about pure thermal inertia? Got to be more at the surface than on Channel 4 of AMSU. Greenhouse forcings would even out because they involve longer timescales, volcanic forcings, I’m guessing–no, I’m not! I’ll chicken out on them in a rare moment of discretion.

  10. Is Watts really writing complete nonsense, or have I missed something?

    Watts is writing complete nonsense. If the base period’s held constant for a particular anomaly dataset, you can compute trends etc from the data without knowing the what the base period actually is. The baseline figure falls out of the computation. I can look at an old paper or blog post, and do arithmetic on anomalies I find there with current data or other old writings. “+0.64C” is “+0.64C” no matter when it’s written.

    If you change the base period periodically, even simple calculations like computing a trend would require you to check and account for the changing base periods. Instead of just writing “+0.64C” or the like when discussing a particular dataset, you’d have to document the base period being used at the time the discussion’s taking place (be it a blog post or serious publication). Yes, if you change the baseline, you could change all the online published anomaly data you keep to reflect that change, but you can’t go back and rewrite old papers, etc.

    It would be a mess.

    Watts has made it clear before that he has no idea of what an anomaly is or why constant baselines are used. It’s been explained to him more than once, and when it’s been explained to him, his attempts to refute the explanation make it clear that he suffers from:

    Arithmetic fail.

    • Yep, thanks, that’s how I saw it.
      I’m tempted to remark that I could, just about, understand how someone completely new to such things could become so confused – I’ve met a few online – but how can anyone in his position and experience be so? And I conclude that he knows full well the nonsense that he writes, but it doesn’t matter any more. Anything, however absurd, however divorced from reality, is fodder to his loyal troops as long as it tells them what they want to hear. It’s all a scam, they cry, with echoes from mobs throughout the centuries: “the worst are full of passionate intensity”.

    • Or arithmentic fail.

      No offense, dhog, I just really like that coinage for AW.

  11. Zach:

    The baseline period has to be *within* the dataset. No one knows what the UAH would have shown in 1880.

  12. Also arctic amplification and warm/cold anomalies in Eurasia due to stronger/weaker polar vortex are greater near the surface than in the troposphere, both contributed to the very warm november 2010.

  13. This reminds me of that idiotic post where Watts produced histograms of all the major temperature data sets to see if they have a “good balance of natural variability” (quoting from memory) and noted that GISS’s histogram of anomalies were skewed towards positive anomalies. Of course, what did he infer from that? Take a guess. Amateur fail. You’d think that after all the stupid mistakes he’s made in the past and all the criticism he’s taken for it, he’d at least learn something, anything! Apparently, not.

  14. Truly epic fail from Watts yet again. Failing to understand why the numbers were different the first time around is one thing, but to then defend that failure whent he obvious is pointed out to him is staggering. Shooting fish in a barrel hardly even covers it, but well done Tamino for keeping shooting.
    I saw from a post by a skeptic elsewhere that Watts’ old buddy ‘steven goddard’ is making the same claim. I wonder in which direction the misinformation flowed – hopeless to idiotic, or idiotic to hopeless?

  15. “If I wrote a peer review paper today and used old base periods it would get tossed on that basis alone. ”

    Much of the very best humour is unintentional.

  16. I absolutely disagree, Watts is not stupid, he’s been told about base lines over and over again, it’s not a difficult concept to understand, he knows about them full well and yet he post this crap over and over again. It’s time to stop giving him the benefit of the doubt by thinking he’s just stupid.

    No it’s much more serious than, it’s an outright intentional and disingenuous campaign of sowing doubt and disinformation whenever and where ever possible. He’s makes money from it (advertising on his website, no doubt donations from you know who) because there is a huge audience with vested interests lapping it up. In my books he’s the lowest of the low, because global warming is real and is going to reek untold misery mainly on the third world countries, misery that’s going to be partly thanks to Anthony Watts.

    A lot of people are doing a lot of good in the world, Anthony Watts chose to go another way… keep up the good work Tomino

    • Greg,

      I think you are absolutely correct. Watts is choosing to do this, willingly and knowingly. He is obviously receiving some kind of reward for doing so, whether it is financial or simply receiving the accolades of his followers. What is sad is that so many believe him.

      dhogaza, I like “arithmentic fail”–it is captures the idea of both arithmetic and mental and possibly moral failing.

    • Orwell saw all of this decades ago.


      Or even more of a match:


      Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

  17. Greg:

    No it’s much more serious than, it’s an outright intentional and disingenuous campaign of sowing doubt and disinformation whenever and where ever possible.

    Oh, he’s dishonest and stupid – there’s nothing mutually exclusive about that, you know?

  18. Skimming the comments, I noticed that despite having Chris Colose, Steve Mosher, and others point out his error, Watts keeps digging himself a deeper hole-o-dumb. It’s not like he’s never been told what “anomaly” means.

  19. Good work, Tamino!

    I have recently put in WUWT a comment with links to this post. I hope that WUWT readers visit this blog, so they could appreciate the beautiful graphs here.

    Meanwhile, La Niña is really cooling things here in Lima, Peru. How is the weather where you live?

  20. Failing to understand why the numbers were different the first time around is one thing, but to then defend that failure whent he obvious is pointed out to him is staggering.

    I think Greg is right. Instead of addressing the rather simple matter in comments, he introduces red herrings. He must by now know about anomalies and baselines. Aside from the comprehensive instruction he’s received from commenters over the years, he’s been writing a paper on the US temp record (apparently).

    The smart thing for him to win the ‘argument’ is avoid this issue.

    No point pressing him on the matter – even when baselines are matched, GISS’ Novemeber 2010 anomaly is higher than UAH. That’s all that is needed to enlarge a molehill.

  21. Steve Mosher posited that the GISS baseline is defensible because the period (roughly) has the largest number of stations with 15 years continuous records. I thought the period was chosen because it had the lowest 30-year trend in the record.

    Anyone know the GISS reason for that choice of baseline?

    • Michael Hauber

      Hansen started studying Co2 and warming in the late 70s, and published at least two papers during the 80s which specifically looked at temperature history, and predicted Co2 warming for the future. A baseline of 1950-1980 includes the most recent possible complete decade when he published these studies. The warming in GISS against this baseline is warming that has been observed after Hansen originally published these predictions.

  22. David B. Benson


    While a larger troposphere response is highly believable (surface temperatures include SST), I’d want to see a comparison with RSS, trusting it much more than UAH.

  23. In the light of greg’s comment above, I would agree – I don’t actually think it was accidental that Watts made the error, or that he’s not intelligent enough to realise. I wonder if he ever feels a twinge of social responsibility or remorse for the extra climate disruption or sea level rise that his website has directly and deliberately contributed towards by delaying action?

    • HIghly doubtful. There is a high level of cognitive dissonance being exhibited by Watts that overrides any sense of responsibility.

  24. @Mitch — I get that. I’m talking about what’s apparently the GISS data set that pops up at NASA if someone does a Google search for temperature records. Not having read any of the literature backing it closely (scanning Hansen 2006 at the moment), there’s no intuitive reason why the 1951-1980 period should be the baseline as oppose to some earlier period. It’s a period without much change in temperature, but that doesn’t mean it was normal. In fact, it looks quite abnormal next to the temperature increase throughout 60 years of the 20th century and the decrease from ’40 to ’50. The error bars given for 1890 aren’t large enough to suggest that you couldn’t extract a reliable estimate of the mean for a 30-year period that predates global warming.

    Choosing a later baseline exaggerates warming in a slight sense… I could say that the planet is twice as much warmer today as it was only 20 years ago relative to “normal” if “normal” is the GISS data set. It would only be 50% warmer than normal relative to twenty years ago if I consider 1880-1910 “normal”. But, like I said, to make the argument that this is somehow an unfair presentation of the data would require Watts to admit that the 1880-today data set is backed by reality.

    • Zach – your concern that “Choosing a later baseline exaggerates warming in a slight sense” only makes sense if one doesn’t understand what the anomalies are. They in no way give any indication that period A is X% warmer than period B. If that were true then one could argue that using celsius instead of fahrenheit for the scale understates the amount of warming – which makes no sense at all.

    • I’m not an expert but I would assume that each dataset has it’s baseline established relative to the time when they began compiling the data. When did GISS start putting together their data? The 1980’s? And obviously the UAH has to use a more recent baseline because their data only goes back to 1979.

      Wouldn’t a more recent baseline be more exact because of better records? But once you set a baseline you would not ever move the baseline.

  25. Thanks Tamino, that was brilliant! The post shows what a difference a relatively simple statistical analysis will make when done & presented right.

    I can see Mr Watts is in some distress now — he’s now agitated to stage I of his blog rage routine: cyberstalking .edu domain posters and being nasty on them.

  26. FWIW, I found a recent explanation on the choice of baseline period.

    The GISS analysis uses 1951–1980 as the base period. The United States National Weather Service uses a 3 decade period to define “normal” or average temperature. When we began our global temperature analyses and comparisons with climate models, that climatology period was 1951–1980. There is considerable merit in keeping the base period fixed, including the fact that many graphs have been published with that choice for climatology. Besides, a different base period only alters the zero point for anomalies, without changing the magnitude of the temperature change over any given period. Note also that many of today’s adults grew up during that period, so they can remember what climate was like then. Finally, the data for a base period must have good global coverage, which eliminates periods prior to the 1950s.

    Click to access 2010_Hansen_etal.pdf

    GISS started publishing temperature data in 1981. Where Anthony sees an opportunistic choice for propgandistic purposes, GISS have merely been consistent.

    A Watts:

    “You see if [GISS] used a more recent base period, then this graph, the most widely cited one on AGW on the planet, would have a different look to it. It’s all about presentation for public consumption.”

    Talk about projection…

    I noted at WUWT that UAH have maintained their 20-year reference period, even though they now have 30 years of data.

    (Yes, I ignored my own advice)

  27. g2-b31f1590b0e74a6d1af4639162aa7f3f

    This reminds me of that idiotic post where Watts produced histograms of all the major temperature data sets to see if they have a “good balance of natural variability” (quoting from memory) and noted that GISS’s histogram of anomalies were skewed towards positive anomalies.

    That post was published nearly three years ago! (Linky http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/02/28/a-look-at-4-globaltemperature-anomalies/

    So it appears that Watts hasn’t learned a darned thing in nearly three years!

    To put things in perspective, let’s look at what my cat has learned in the year since I adopted her as a kitten.

    1) She has learned to recognize the distinctive crinkling sound of a cat-food bag.

    2) She has learned to recognize a can of Fancy Feast by sight.

    IOW, my cat has learned two more things in one year than Anthony Watts has learned in nearly three.

    • That was the post that caused Watts to kick me off WUWT.

      He posted an article accusing GISS of cooking the data, because of the skewed histograms. He posted a followup. The articles were truly absurd – they are still there, but have since been edited to make them look less idiotic. His responses in the comment threads have also been edited.

      Dozens of people pointed out the base line issue, and told Watts he needed to retract his accusations and retract the articles.

      Anthony promised a third article, which would explain how the GISS baleline choice really did matter, and why.

      About 3 months later, I posted at WUWT, asking Watts when he was going to get around to that third article (as of today, not yet).

      Watts responded by banning me from WUWT, and than going back and erasing every single post I had ever made over there – a year or more of history. All posted under moderation, so they were all comments that he had approved, every one. Hundreds of comments.

      Tells you everything you need to know about Anthony Watts.

  28. Next on WUWT: using projected temperatures for 2100 as the baseline. That way, you get a negative anomaly, thus disproving global warming.

  29. Buried in the muck, someone made the point which occurred immediately to Eli, that Tamino and Watts are wrong. Well, Tamino is wrong and Watts is WRONG as Tamino has shown, but not all baselines are equal. Perhaps better put some baselines are more equal than others, while the others are simply necessary.

    To understand this, consider the meaning of the word baseline, a value which some variable has when there is no change in the forcing. The best baselines for time series are constant (plus noise, indeed, one of the virtues of a constant baseline is the ability to estimate noise easily), and in that sense the period before ~1900 and that between 1940 and 1980 are superior.

    However, reality intrudes and there were no MSUs before 1979, so comparison requires using post 1979 baselines. As to the WMO convention, well, they are meteorologists and so is Watts, at least by reputation.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      “there were no MSUs before 1979”

      …and there were no MFUs before WUWT.

    • But that isn’t the definition of a baseline here. It is simply an arbitrary value chosen to calculate the anomaly from.

      There are many valid methods of choosing the zero point. The method of taking an average from part of the existing data is simply the one with the most benefits. For example, it is robust against minor revisions to the data, since the movement of the baseline will be very small. Also, it is easy to directly compare other datasets that use the same baseline, without having to worry about all the minutiae of the technical details of the observations.

      30 years is seen as a good choice for reasons that have been gone into before.

      If we were picking a baseline today, I think it’s possible that using an entire century would be chosen over trying to define a period that doesn’t include the change we are interested in. Generally, a longer baseline is better (if the data is equally reliable) but choices based on “change” are highly subjective and are going to vary depending on what factors are of interest.

      • IEHO, in this context zero point is a better use than basline, but what does Eli know. The point is that it is arbitrary, but also misleading to pick a baseline without reference to an unforced period IF the response is non-linear. Students fitting exponential responses learn this the first week of lab.

    • Baselines for anomalies might be simple enough, but even Eli Rabett has been known to make silly errors when it comes to monthly anomalies (you need to follow that thread for a while).

  30. @barry
    yeah, that is the actual reason for the chosen GISTEMP baseline. It is so simple. But, that does not fit into WoW (World of Watts) and of other “skeptics”.

    One can like the GISTEMP reconstruction or dislike it. Maybe it has its flaws, but the algorithm and the results are certainly reasonanble. However, it is “funny”. IMHO, GISTEMP is the best documented and most open surface data set. There is even a free re-implementation. I mean, you cannot do it better in terms of openess. And still, some people keep screaming such bullshit about it. That reveals a lot about those people.

  31. Maybe Anthony Watts has come up with a new statistical concept. The “20 year moving baseline.” ;-)

  32. More WUWT goodness (linky http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/12/hansen-feels-the-need-to-explain-why-giss-is-high-in-the-midst-of-frigid-air/#comment-549607):
    So….. Heeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrres Anthony!

    REPLY: “The statement, “UAH: 0.38 GISS: 0.74°C,” shows a lack of this essential understanding, and claims of an “outdated base period” represent a clear diversionary tactic with no relevance to the matter at hand. ”

    Umm, sorry, no you are wrong about that. You see if they used a more recent base period, then this graph, the most widely cited one on AGW on the planet, would have a different look to it. It’s all about presentation for public consumption. GISS knows what they are doing, by keeping the 1951-1980 base period for anomaly calculation, they ensure that their graph is always offset more than every other metric, and thus appeal to the people who subscribe to the CAGW worries. An again I say: You can’t trust a man who uses his public paid position to protest, getr himself arrested, and then be the gatekeeper of data.
    I assume from your tone that you are OK with post facto adjustment of data? Would wellesley.edu tolerate such a thing?

    I see you have a website that says “what Climate Deniers fear most”. How professional of you to denigrate others with that distasteful term that is just another way of saying “holocaust deniers”. How sad for you Mr. Griffith that your “explanations” start with such disgust. Again would wellesley.edu tolerate such a thing?

    Let’s find out. – Anthony

    • “Let’s find out. – Anthony”

      The term ‘HIV/AIDS denialism’ has been in use since before 2000. Good luck with that Watts, but I guess intimidation is the real goal anyway.

    • I see Mr Griffith handles himself very well. (Part of) his response December 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm :

      “[A detailed rebuttal then]…
      …You [Watts] have yet to correct your comparison for the November 2010 UAH and GISS data, nor have you actually addressed that it is entirely incorrect to compare them using different base periods. Instead, you have talked about how using an “outdated” base period somehow makes James Hansen even more scandalous, that the GISS dataset is fundamentally flawed (without mentioning that it is corroborated by all the other datasets), and you have tried to smear me by suggesting that by labeling somebody a “climate denier”, I am labeling them a holocaust denier. The first two points do not surprise me, but the third is insulting, absurd, and inappropriate to the conversation that we should be having.”
      Having now obviously failed at his attempted intimidation Watts replies:
      “REPLY: You are right about #3 you shouldn’t be using the word “denier” as it is in fact insulting. May I suggest you take it off your website to prove that you are on the level? – Anthony”

      Odd indeed.

      • Ooh, shall we hold a contest for a term to replace it?

        How about Deluded, Ideologically Blinkered Fool?

        or the ever popular Ignorant Foodtube?

      • And the prizes would be:

        2nd place: a guest post at WUWT
        1st place: banned @ WUWT

  33. Oh, another online threat by Anthony … how unsurprising.

  34. This is hilarious, Anthony claims it was all a game:

    Actually yes [regarding correcting his post], but not right now, as this post was bait for a social experiment, hoping to gather lots of comments to use in the next story, and you are all doing a splendid job. Tamino went after it too, but that’s generally predictable anytime GISS is mentioned, and he and many of you have provided what I need. All this covered in the next post on this, probably sometime around the end of December. Thanks for playing!

    This reminds me of William Dembski's behavior when getting caught lying a few years back:

    The previous postings were a bit of street theater. I now have what I needed.

    Eerily familiar …

    • “Thanks for playing!” -Anthony Watts

      LOL what a maroon!

      He’s just realized how much credibility he’s lost even with his moderates to the point where he’s now had to back peddle and claim that it was intentional – I guess at least some of your audience isn’t as gullible and stupid as you think huh Anthony?

  35. Watts has been making this error for about 2 years now.


    And even though some have attempted to correct him, he still makes the same mistake. At this point, either he’s being deceptive or has no ability to learn anything beyond remedial elementary school math. And it’s NASA’s fault for that.

    I personally can’t comprehend someone in his position being that ignorant, especially given the numerous attempts to inform him of the error, and given that most of his readers can’t figure out the significance of a base period, and the ones that can don’t seem to care (any NASA-bashing is always good), he doesn’t have much incentive to be accurate.

  36. You guys really want to have a laugh?

    “REPLY: Actually yes, but not right now, as this post was bait for a social experiment, hoping to gather lots of comments to use in the next story, and you are all doing a splendid job. Tamino went after it too, but that’s generally predictable anytime GISS is mentioned, and he and many of you have provided what I need. All this covered in the next post on this, probably sometime around the end of December. Thanks for playing! – Anthony”


  37. Anthony cries pretty well when he’s looking for sympathy. But denial is a well established phenomenon, and squealing about the comparison to holocaust deniers (also popular with Canada’s Rex Murphy) is cute but unconvincing. Cherry picking evidence and ‘experts’, selective skepticism, the invention of problems (base periods) out of nothing, liberal use of ad hominem combined with acute sensitivity to any criticism: it goes back (at least) to the ancient Greeks and the tension between philosophy and rhetoric. Sad to say that it works (with the right audience)– but I recall a rhetorician from grad school days who would try to tussle with some of us philosophers. He didn’t get very far with anyone who could tell an argument from an ad misericordiam (or a hawk from a handsaw).

  38. Stephen Baines

    When I want to distract people from something really embarrassing, I always find it is a good strategy to point at someone else and yell “Hitler!”

    Apparently, Anthony does too.

  39. How can the man continue to make this same elementary mistake?

    His understanding has not progressed at all since his anomaly histogram fiasco. Same mistake.

    By the way: in GISS’s methodology, the choice of the baseline is pretty much inconsequential; it’s cosmetic and irrelevant to the trends. But in the more simple methods to calculate anomaly (CRU’s CAM), the initial choice of baseline is important. In the CAM, if a station lacks data in the baseline period, you can’t use that station at all. GISS avoids that issue with their reference station method. Also, in the CRU method, too short a baseline period could cause difficulty. Of course, once you’ve calculated anomalies using CRU’s method, you are free to re-baseline the result using any baseline you want; the trends won’t change.

  40. As for why the MSUs amplify ENSO in comparison to the surface measurements, but not the long term warming: Whoever can decisively crack that nut will win much admiration. Satisfactory resolution of that issue is well past due.

  41. I do agree that choice of baseline should be duly taken into consideration when comparing these data (and currently Anthony Watts seems to have failed in doing so). Further, I do agree that as soon as a baseline of an adequate length is chosen, the calculation of trends becomes independent of the baseline per se.

    But I do NOT think that choice of baseline is a trivial matter. When the data are visualised and “travels” from the scientific to the political realm (in a broad sense -including NGO’s with various sets of normativity) the baseline from which ANOMALIES are calculated may become more significant than the scientific community acknowledges.

    In Cod we trust

    [Response: Methinks this is bullshit.]

    • I think it’s a valid point that the know-nothingerati tend to misunderstand numbers and are influenced by choice of baseline and whether a number seems “big”. This includes many media outlets (just pray they don’t mix up F and C).

      But the implication that a choice can be made by scientists to influence this – fat chance.

  42. In His follow-up I hope Anthony examines how his dedicated go for it too (on every thread).

    The place gets more like Denial Depot all the time.

    WUWT @ Anthony de Poe’s?

  43. It’s somewhat refreshing to see Watts formally admit, albeit obliquely, his irrelevance to any serious discussion of climate.

  44. I find Watts’ visceral reaction at every use of the term “denier” very interesting. I get called far worse repeatedly while posting on climate related issues but I let it roll off my back. Anthony takes it personally and lashes out.

    Carl Jung once said, “Fanaticism is always a sign of repressed doubt.” I think that’s playing out in spades with Anthony. At one point he was just running his site, as Peter Sinclair once put it, as a “kind of junior woodchuck society”, for weather station sightings. He’s continually getting progressively more desperate in his desire to see global warming be wrong. And the more it’s turning out to be right the more desperate and extreme he gets.

    Something has to snap at some point.

    • He has an extremely thin skin.

      When criticized for making schoolboy errors, he tends to focus on the fact that he’s being criticized by mean anonymous people, instead of simply addressing the substance of his error.

  45. So Watts is admitting the deceptive information he’s posting is just trolling or flame baiting. Tell that to the folks he duped. His garbage is spread very quickly to various corners of cyberspace.


    Looks like the hole he dug just got a little deeper.

    “this post was bait for a social experiment, hoping to gather lots of comments to use in the next story, and you are all doing a splendid job. Tamino went after it too, but that’s generally predictable anytime GISS is mentioned, and he and many of you have provided what I need. “

    • Judging by what this guy has written or re-posted on this site………….he’s not to bright!

    • “[Tamino] and many of you have provided what I need”….a fricken education!

    • Correct. Rod doesn’t have a clue. He is merely a child like puppet who repeats what he has heard elsewhere constantly contradicting himself.

  46. Wood for Trees has a terrific note on their site regarding baselines located here.

  47. Here’s a video reenactment of Anthony’s post:

    [Response: Please folks, no more embedded video.]

  48. I apologize.

    [Response: No need. I just don’t want a flood of embedded videos. Yours was funny.]

  49. NOAA/NCDC November data is in. Looks like another “odd man out”, for the baseline-challenged among us…


    • I’m surprised there isn’t more interest in this. After October people were openly speculating that 2010 would not be the warmest year on some series, but it appears November went its own way. I’ve read in a couple of places that December is also tracking very warm.

      Is there now a possibility that HadCRUT could get a new warmest year?

      I remember once in a comment response to a question about falsification that Gavin indicated 20 years with no new warmest year would do it, and he linked to an article that included a discussion of the probability of one year exceeding all series and the probability of exceeding one series (probably GISS.)

      I don’t understand this stuff as well as I should, so I probably have much of that wrong, but I took him to mean a new warmest year for NCDC, GISS, and HadCRUT would be pretty significant.

  50. Anthony takes it personally and lashes out.

    He snipped me when I lightly remarked on the insincerity of posting with ulterior motives. I don’t use the term denialist over there (or anywhere else, much), but that didn’t stop Anthony including an admonition for it in his reply. I received the ‘anonymous coward’ title, and looks like he’s banned me again. Quite an overreaction.

    • Ah yes, the choice “AC” badge. But didn’t you get the memo? You ‘re only allowed to fight a bully on his own terms.

      I can’t wait for the follow-up post.

    • Banned multiple times eh? Clearly he is copying creationists, where people used to get anned 2 or 3 times from forums and the creationists didn’t think that was an issue.
      Not that all denialists are that stupid mind you, which is the real problem.

    • I posted something similar there in response to his “social experiment” comment. That comment didn’t make it past moderation even though I thought it was a fairly tame comment.

      I think Watts is genuinely embarrassed by his schoolboy mistake. But he’s reacting, again, in a manner consistent with cognitive dissonance. His world view just is not matching the reality growing around him and he reacts like a cornered animal.

      • Let’s not forget that his world-view also includes him in the role of the greatest scientist ever. Part of the whole narcissistic thing.

  51. Barry at least you were not called a w**nker! Here’s Mr Watts at his best verbal behaviour, by his own words. (Myself is under the handle of Virveli below) I don’t want to know what human experiments he was supposedly conducting here. From what I know, I’d call him a nascissistic sociopath.


    quote begins/
    Anthony Watts says:
    September 23, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Janet and others,

    You should simply ignore “Virvelli” He’s just another coward who takes pot shots from the comfort of anonymity. Concentrate on the important things, like keeping your home. Don’t waste time on this wanker. It’s just a diversion.
    Virveli says:
    September 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Mr Watts, any time you’ve calmed down a bit– would you happen to have the document ready to show please?

    REPLY: Oh I’m plenty calm. I’m not the keeper of any documents, and you are of course wrong to ask, but that’s your MO as coward, set up impossible straw men. So nice to see that you’d like to have these people thrown off their land for arbitrary smell laws.

    Here’s the deal. The Thompson’s are going to lose their home, they’ve been upfront about it. put their name to everything. Complied with everything asked. I’m tired of people like you making accusations and conducting smear campaigns from the comfort of anonymity in Finland.

    Either put your name to your words or shut up. Troll bin filtering applied henceforth. – Anthony
    /quote ends


  52. Same Ordinary Fool

    This post and its predecessor critique two in a WUWTian four-part series attacking 2010’s right to become the hottest year in the GISS record. The others are:

    “Tisdale K.O.e’s GISS’s latest ‘warmest-year nonsense'” Dec12, by Bob Tisdale

    Presumably the title refers to what was also Steve Goddard’s favorite objection, and what is only briefly mentioned here:
    “GISS deletes SST data from areas with seasonal sea ice and extends land surface data out over the oceans (Arctic and Southern) with its 1200km radius smoothing.”
    The actual sea ice extents and volumes would themselves seem to provide physical Arctic support for GISS in this hottest year race of 2005 v 2010.

    “Arctic Oscillation spoiling NASA GISS party” Dec15 by Joseph D’Aleo

    Anthony misfires. Hansen et al actually agree with D’Aleo that the current northern winter weather is not a consequence of the reduced Arctic sea ice. And think that the hottest year competition will possibly end within the margin of error.
    Anthony still hasn’t noticed the irony. He is trumpeting the winter extremes of cold and snow that are occurring in western Europe and eastern North America…at the beginning and at the end, of what may be a hottest year. And in which this November was the hottest November in the GISS record.

    Four posts with the same focus demonstrate his determination to ‘prepare’ his followers, for a future without ‘cooling’.
    And suggest that we can measure the importance of this situation to him, by the steps he is willing to take, as shown by the inanity of the arguments.

  53. Today @ WUWT Mr Watts implies (among many other curious things) that the precipitation in the Mojave Desert is a significant factor in the level of Lake Mead.

    Because the USGS finds that the PDO is a significant factor in the Mojave annual rainfall totals Mr Watts surmises that the USGS seems to “think” that the PDO is the most significant factor Lake Mead’s level dropping dramatically during the 21st century even though the PDO was has been positive almost as much as it has been negative over this period. (A point he sidesteps by citing a PDO graph that ends in 2000.

    Watts de Poe

  54. Same Ordinary Fool

    Lake Mead is never mentioned in WUWT’s given reference, “Precipitation History of the Mojave Desert Region, 1893-2001.” Also, most of the Mohave Desert in California and Nevada is not in the watershed of the Colorado River.

  55. Stephen Pruett

    Anthony Watts really attracts attention here, doesn’t he? I wonder if the assumptions of evil intentions and deceptions toward climate scientists and toward Watts and supporters could both be mostly wrong? I think both sides want to compare the data.

    I don’t buy conspiracy theories … [edit]

    [Response: Then you should berate Anthony Watts, Joe D’Aleo, Steve McIntyre, Steve Goddard, Christopher Monckton, the SPPI, the “CO2 is life” CEI, etc. etc. etc. — they’re the ones who originated, and continue to spread, conspiracy theories about some grand plan by climate scientists to defraud the world for personal profit, political power, and to install world government based on socialism. Watts and D’Aleo even published a document for SPPI in which they explicity accuse NOAA scientists of deliberately fudging the temperature data, when they hadn’t even done the analysis — but when I (and others) did we proved them wrong.

    Take your comment where it’s needed, not here.]

  56. Take your comment where it’s needed, not here.

    Another stocking, another well-deserved lump of coal :)

    Don’t forget folks like Tom Fuller and Steven Mosher when you make lists of climate conspiracy nuts, who published a book and have profited over the climategate-proves-fraud-and-conspiracy meme.

    Or Bishop Hill and “The Hockeystick Illusion”.

    Those who directly profit by writing books libeling climate scientists are in some ways the worst of the bunch.

    • I’m thinking that Santa should turn green and quit trafficking in coal. Some renewable fuel, I’m thinking. Maybe cow dung patties in the stocking. After all, it is renewable, and poor Indians have been cooking over it for years. I like it: bullshit for the bullshitters.

      Merry Newtonmas

  57. All I want for Christmas is for sense to prevail, the truth to be really heard where it matters and (metaphorically) for us as a society to take our fingers from our ears–then roll up our sleeves and get to work.

  58. From Anthony’s reply to barry 12/13/10 7:53 pm:

    “… All this covered in the next post on this, probably sometime around the end of December. Thanks for playing! – Anthony”

    Did I miss it? I suppose it’s not late *yet*…

    A Happy New Year to y’all here.