Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Anthony Watts And Surface Stations: The Wait Is Still On

AGW Denier Anthony Watts releases his report (.pdf here) on American Surface stations before attempting to analyse his own data. As one of his readers writes:

It seems there now 11% of the stations is considered “good” or “best”, and an additional 20% is considered “fair”. The question that now arises is: When you only take temperatures measured by these stations, how would the average temp graph of the twentieth century look? Does it differ, and how much? Is a warming trend still visible?

Damn good question. And one that you would think Anthony would attempt to answer in the report itself. So why not? Why wait? Because Anthony already knows the answer, and he doesn't like it.


wattsupwiththat said...

Mr. Murphy, if you are going to criticize me, at least learn to spell my name correctly.


Despite your repeated pronouncements of failure, this project goes forward. Neilsen Gammon’s assumption that you quote in the past was wrong then because there are so few CRN1 and 2 stations at the 300 level that the survey did not have a representative sample of the best stations because the network is so flush with badly sited ones. He had no way of knowing that, but seeing the results first hand, I did.

That’s the problem with armchair data sampling, you really don’t know firsthand what you’ve got unless you are there in the data measurement environment.

With 300 stations, yes it looked a lot like GISTEMP then. Sure it would have been easy to stop there as many like you suggested, but the goal here is a census, not a sample. And with samples that are geographically widespread and diverse, as some people correctly pointed out early on we got the “low hanging fruit”. Getting the best rural stations requires persistence and effort. Getting the best stations surveyed is what it is all about. Finding the CRN1/2 stations is critical, because they represent the unbiased data. With over 900 surveyed now, the makeup is quite different.

You’ll have to wait until my next paper is published to find out just how much. Until then, the project continues as before.

- Anthony Watts

wattsupwiththat said...

Thanks for fixing the spelling of my name in the title.

lenny said...

"You’ll have to wait until my next paper is published ..."

I wasn't aware that you had anything published. Could you tell me what issue of which publication you last paper is published in?

bigcitylib said...

*cough* Heartland *cough* *cough* Institute

BigCityGlib said...

The cognitive dissonance of the Warmonger Crowd has turned from amusing to pathetic.

Lives ruined believing Gore & Henson, anti-religious zealots just substituting Gaiaism for traditional beliefs.

And now their cherished emperor is looking butt ugly & naked.

And now that the planet is cooling down, with a very quiet sun and a good potential for another Minimum era, the Believers of the Church of Al Gore (may he get richer from his scam) have nothing left but cherished ideas and the faulty science orthodoxy that fueled their hatred of mankind.

Don't worry Anthony, BCL has to publish this kinda stuff because he is suffering from classic Leftoid Liberal Small Brain Syndrome.

Ti-Guy said...

I've completely lost the plot on this. Is this the project that involves legions of innumerate Americans taking photos of weather stations while waiting for the Rapture?

bigcitylib said...

That's the one.

rabbit said...

The problem is that the overall quality of the weather stations is so bad that it becomes silly to infer anthing from them. It's akin to using a dirty test tube and then trying to compensate for the dirt afterwards in the statistical analysis.

I know that scientists have tried to salvage some trustworthy results by identifying the good stations, but skepticism is fully warranted here.

I do research myself. I know that when a project goes pear shaped, it's an act of desperation to try to fix it after the fact. If a researcher presented data that was mostly rubbish, and then tried to convince me that we could infer something meaningful from it because some of it was good, I would tell him to start over.

Ti-Guy said...

The problem is that the overall quality of the weather stations is so bad that it becomes silly to infer anthing from them.On what evidence do you base this conclusion, Mr. Science?

bigcitylib said...


When indy researchers recreated the same time-series using a subset of the stations classified as "good" they came up with the answer already given with the allegedly bad stations mixed in. Ie the official GISSTEMP story.

Nielson-Gammon (the fellow Watts mentions and who I have written about a couple of times) is a real scientist, a collaborator with Pielke Sr., another real scientist who is of the skeptical bent, and he essentially said that Watts could have done a perfectly valid analysis a year or so ago.

Watts is a retired weatherman who publishes via the Heartland Institute. Who d'you wanna believe?

Ti-Guy said...

I'm still wondering on what evidence Dr. Rabbit based that assertion.

C'mon, science-lover. Show me the goods.

Steve Bloom said...

Ironically Watts couldn't manage to spell Nielsen-Gammon correctly.

Actually BCL's pronouncements have been of continued stupidity rather than failure. As he says, within its own terms the Watts project has long since failed.

Lenny correctly observes that there's never been a paper, so referring to a "next" one is another exercise in unreality.

For anyone who hasn't been following this, be aware that the rating exercise is wholly unscientific since the system Watts uses was intended for siting new stations for the completely different CRN system rather than rating existing HCN stations. It can be done, but the results are meaningless.

When rabbit says "I know that scientists have tried to salvage some trustworthy results by identifying the good stations" it proves he doesn't know what he's talking about. As BCL mentions, a non-scientist (a Canadian engineer, as it happens) took Watts' initial set of stations and falsified the hypothesis. Note that it wasn't just that the "good" stations were reasonably consistent with GISTEMP, but that the "bad" stations weren't bad. IOW Watts is wrong for all significant values of wrong.

Paul S said...

Steve, as we have already have high quality temperature data provided by the USHCN, what exactly is the purpose again of the Climate Reference Network??

Steve Bloom said...

HCN is high-quality for temps over large regions, but starts to be shaky for certain other purposes, e.g. doing climate projections for small regions. In addition to reliably high-quality single-site temp data (due to redundant sensors), CRN stations gather much more temp data (via continuous monitoring throughout the day), add different kinds of data (humidity, wind speed), and are in continuous satellite contact with the data centers.

Also note that many CRN stations have now been in place long enough to begin to use them to validate nearby HCN stations, although Watts isn't very interested in that. Amusingly it turned out that his worst offender HCN site in Tucson tracked quite well with the nearby CRN station. While it's probably true that the HCN station has a degree of microsite bias, it didn't occur to Watts that the desert terrain outside Tucson would have thermal characteristics pretty similar to the urban HCN location.

James said...

Anthony Watts, you are a fraud.

I just read the article "The Antarctic Wilkins Ice Shelf Collapse: Media recycles photos and storylines from previous years" and had to find out more about what kind of moron would write it.

Heartland Institute? How many space missions do you science wizards have under your belt?

Seriously, Mr Watts' article was not designed to spur thought. It was not an honest misinterpretation of satellite evidence. It was a deliberate fraud aimed at people too ignorant to know the difference between an ice shelf and pack ice. Oh, and BTW, media sources often use "stock photos" (gasp!).

Arguing with a guy like Mr Watts is akin to arguing with a fencepost. His agenda is to raise questions and doubts. He is out to try to win his argument at all cost. He could give a rats ass about facts our truth. A person like that cannot be reasoned with...period!

wottsupwiththat.com said...

May 2011 comes and we find Anthony's ground-breaking paper has been accepted by a real scientific journal (The Journal of Geophysical Research).

The conclusion? Err... The original scientific conclusions were correct.

And he still can't spell John Nielsen-Gammon's name.

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