U.S. Temperature: Anthony Watts plays “hide the incline”

There’s been quite a bit of publicity about planet Earth hitting its hottest yearly average temperature on record — for the third year in a row. The New York Times ran the story on page 1:


Climate deniers don’t like that. Over at his WUWT blog, Anthony Watts doesn’t want to believe that 2016 was the hottest year. He protests that it’s only because groups like NASA and Berkeley Earth estimate the temperature in the Arctic even though there aren’t very many stations there. Odd that he doesn’t mention it’s also the hottest year on record in the HadCRU data (Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit in the U.K.), despite the fact that they simply omit the Arctic altogether.

Watts also protests that it’s not a record-hot year for the U.S., saying this:

As for the Continental USA, which has fantastically dense thermometer coverage as seen above, we were not even close to a record year according to NOAA’s own data.

He supports that claim by showing this graph:


How pathetic of Anthony Watts to resort the the perennial climate denier game “hide the incline” with the predictable climate denier tactic “show such a short time span there’s no context.”

The NOAA data to which Watts refers (annual average temperature for the 48 states of the contiguous U.S.) begin with the year 1895. Yet Watts only shows us what happened since 1996. Why is that? — especially since his topic is “close to a record year”?

Maybe it’s because if you look at the whole record, 2016 seems like it IS “close to a record year”:


The 2016 value isn’t the highest. But it is 2nd-highest. Isn’t 2nd place “close” to 1st place? Apparently, not in Anthony Watts’ imagination.

My opinion: there are two things at work here. First: Watts is so strongly governed by his bias that he decides anything which suggests heating, anywhere, must be wrong. Hence he’ll look at #2 and say it’s “not even close” to #1.

Second: it’s now becoming so obvious that global heating continues apace, that climate deniers are getting desperate — and in their desperation they’ll frantically propose arguments that are embarrassingly idiotic.

Seriously, Anthony: is this the best you can do? Does the latest news hurt so much that you’ll go scraping this far below the bottom of the barrel?

Just my opinion, of course.

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18 responses to “U.S. Temperature: Anthony Watts plays “hide the incline”

  1. Also, Watt’s claim of “Continental” US is incorrect. He’s shown only contiguous US. I believe if you add Alaska, making it really the continental US, 2017 is the record.

  2. I’m reasonably sure that Watts made a similar argument against 2012 not being the USA record back then

  3. What happened to Watts’ promise to accept the results of the Berkeley Earth project? I know, I know; I’m being funny.

    • methane madness

      Bit like Rump’s promise to accept election result… only if he liked it.
      Great to see Rump has ended global warming by disappearing it from White house website.

  4. As for the Continental USA, which has fantastically dense thermometer coverage as seen above…

    Logical fallacy. Watts needs to grok the concept of local oversampling, and how is affects (or doesn’t) our ability to comment statistically on the planet.

  5. #2 is not close to #1.

    #2 is close to #1.

    The difference between denial and skepticism.

  6. After a bunch of whinging about lack of temperature measurements/interpolation in the arctic, someone posted

    “Try this interpolation

  7. “Together, the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. occupy a combined area of 3,119,884.69 square miles (8,080,464.3 km2), which is 1.58% of the total surface area of Earth.”


    Watts has a problem. Rump has a Chief of Staff who manages the website and has a problem. Their mutual problem is reality and the Philip K. Dickj quotation is IMO, appropriate


    I expect nothing from them, and I get it.


  8. “I expect nothing from them, and I get it.”

    Well, nothing good, anyway.

  9. methane madness

    I expect the worst from them. Rump has already been talked out of using Fission once and as the power goes to his head, it won’t happen again.
    I’m guessing as his con-job becomes more obvious he will take the traditional route of distraction via a fission based interaction with the Han. Ironically the last salvation from 1300 gt of Chutchki methane as a fission winter re-freezes the Chutchki sea Clathrates.

  10. I just wanted to leave a note to say Thank You! You do some truly heroic work, facing against these deniers. Is there some way I can help? ( my personal donations budget is getting stretched thin these days )