Bronze-level articleAnthony Watts

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Not just a river in Egypt


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♫ We're not listening ♫
Watts "debunking" Al Gore alarmism.

Anthony Watts is a former meteorologist and notable global warming (AGW) denier. He claims to have subscribed to AGW years ago before he saw the light and became a denier. He also claims that he is otherwise an environmentalist. This makes him something of an AGW concern troll. He is the proprietor of the Watts Up With That (geddit?) blog, usually shortened to WUWT or, as it is sometimes affectionately nicknamed, LOLWUWT or WTFUWT. In the wake of Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit fame co-winning the 2007 Best Science Blog prize, the contest yet again made a mockery of itself by giving Watts the same award in 2008. He also runs Surface Stations, a database of pictures and data on weather stations.

Although Watts has made appearances on both Glenn Beck[1] and Sean Hannity's[2] shows, he is among the less nutty of the prominent deniers, concentrating instead on statistical bullshitting. This usually involves him pulling out some regional proxy data and using it to stand in for global reconstructions of temperature and saying, "Look, it's cold somewhere!"


Surface stations

Ironically, Watts has done more to strengthen the scientific facts behind AGW than refute them (guess he really is an environmentalist). A conservative think tank, the Heartland Institute, published his "academic" work based on the Surface Stations data claiming that NOAA's weather stations did not meet regulatory code and had collected unreliable data that exaggerated maximum temperatures.[3] Watts' data, however, was collected by volunteers using only microsite data. When the data was reviewed in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, the authors found that the stations Watts flagged as unreliable were the opposite direction. They had actually underestimated the maximum temperatures.[4] Good catch, Watts!

In 2011, he was back again, claiming to have new "research" that would prove the unreliability of the weather stations and shake the very foundations of AGW theory. In fact, when the paper was finally released, it came to essentially the same conclusion as the Menne et al study: Minimum temperatures at a number of stations were biased slightly upward and maximum temperatures biased slightly downward, thus canceling out the bias when averaged.[5]

In March of 2011, Anthony Watts appeared to stake his entire stance on the reliability of surface temperature data on a single upcoming study: the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study (BEST), an independent temperature record to be constructed using over 39,000 unique stations. On March 6th, Watts said on his blog:

"... I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong. I’m taking this bold step because the method has promise. So let’s not pay attention to the little yippers who want to tear it down before they even see the results."

However, when BEST's results confirmed the reliability of preexisting surface temperature records, Watts backpedaled[6]. Apparently, he was only willing to stake his claims on an independent study if it came to the conclusion he wanted.

Since then, he's stuck to bullshitting and making Al Gore jokes on LOLWUWT.

See also

External links


  1. Watts on Beck
  2. Watts on Hannity
  3. Anthony Watts (2009). Is the US Surface Temperature Record Reliable? Heartland Institute.
  4. Menne et al. (2010) Reliability of US Surface Temperature Records. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 115
  5. Anthony Watts Contradicted by Watts et al
  6. Watts, Surface Stations and BEST
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