Anthony Watts is a retired meteorologist and climate change skeptic who maintains a blog here. He is also the man behind the Surface Stations project, an attempt to provide physical site survey data for the entire United States Historical Climatological Network (USHCN). Or, to put it less sympathetically, a cheap stunt to stir up muck and provide ammo to the forces of the Climate Change Denial movement.
In any case, last week Dick Little from the Paradise Post wrote as follows re the Surface Stations project:
[Watts is] challenging allegations from NOAA that temperatures are rising. He reports a number of weather stations he checked had thermometers in places that would record higher temperatures than the actual ground temperature. He has a Web site with pictures to back up his research.
Working with Penn State climatologist Dr. Michael Mann, Watts found most of the problems were in urban areas where temperatures are allegedly on the rise. He said rural temperatures appear to be about the same as in past years.
The first thing to note here is that, while Watts cast the goals of his project in neutral terms on his website, every right-wing columnist that comes within 100 feet of him (Hannity and Limbaugh, for example) winds up reporting that Watts is "challenging" the science behind global warming, and pretty darned effectively too.
The second thing to note is the claim in the second paragraph that Watts is collaborating with Michael Mann. I alerted Mr. Watts to this clearly erroneous statement about a week ago, and today Dick Little issued a correction:
One thing more: In my article last week on climate change I wrongfully attributed Anthony Watts working with Professor Michael Mann of Ohio University. He is working with Prof. Roger Pielke of Colorado State.
I e-mailed an apology to Professor Mann who graciously accepted it.
However, the correction itself raises a couple of issues, because although Roger Pielke Sr. has expressed his support for the Surface Stations project, he is a legitimate scientist, a respected climatologist who is probably uninterested in seeing his reputation suffer by being observed in close proximity to what seems to be fast becoming a Climate Denialist tar-baby.
So lets examine the claim Mr. Watts has put forward "working" with Dr. Pielke: temperatures are only rising at problematic "urban" stations, while "rural temperatures appear to be about the same as in past years. "
I wonder if Dr. Pielke would like to through his weight behind these claims, especially in light of the criticism raised against them here and here.
PS. It occurs to me that columnist Dick Little's name will appear in the Paradise, CA phonebook as "Little, Richard" or, even worse, "Little, Dick". But I guess we all have our cross to bear.