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Friday, March 23, 2012

Steve Milloy/Anthony Watts stuck in stupid gear -- post graphs manipulated to show whatever they want, then accuse climate scientists of manipulating graphs

Anthony Watts Misleading His Readers About Surface Temperature Record

by "Another Nail In The Coffin..." blog, March 19, 2012

I want to continue documenting the misleading anti-scientific posts at WUWT for anyone sitting on the fence so to speak. I want to make this very clear why Anthony Watts and his blog are a menace to the truth and to science and is more likely to mislead than educate. Surface Temperature Records are a topic that I bet Anthony Watts would like to think he is a master of. Yet as we shall see he makes shocking error after error -- and all errors are conveniently in one direction: against science and scientists.

This concerns his recent hackjob about HadCRUT4.

Watts posts the following graph. Apart from this being a piss poor graph without dates or labels (good enough for WUWT it seems) there are some deeply disturbing points in its fabrication I'd like to raise.

Watts:  Data plotted by Joe D’Aleo. The new HadCRUT4 is in blue, old HadCRUT3 in red, note how the past is cooler, increasing the trend. Of course, this is just “business as usual” for the Phil Jones team.

What Watts means by the "past is cooler" is that over the period ~1975-2000 the blue line (HadCRUT4) in the graph is lower than the red line (HadCRUT3). But here's a proper comparison of HadCRUT4 and HadCRUT3 by the Hadley Centre. Notice that it's the period post-2000 that is warmer in HadCRUT4. The period 1975-2000 is about the same.

So why does the D'Aleo graph Watts has posted show the opposite? It's because D'Aleo for some reason (insert your theory here) shifted HadCRUT4 upwards so that the period post-2000 matched with HadCRUT3. What's disturbing about this are the following points:
  • The Met Office graph above clearly shows the periods the adjustments affected which also shows Watts claim that the "past" was adjusted down is false. How has Watts not seen this graph? Did he not research HadCRUT4 before posting on HadCRUT4?
  • Joe D'Aleo made a plot comparison of HadCRUT3 and HadCRUT4 even though such a graph by the Met Office above already existed. Why?
  • Watts used D'Aleos plot rather than the Met Office one. Why?
  • If Joe D'Aleo had plotted the entire HadCRUT3 and HadCRUT4 he would not have been able to offset them incorrectly. The error would be obvious.
  • But Joe D'Aleo didn't plot the entire records. Why? He chose to start the plot in ~1975...
  • Dates aren't labeled on the graph making it harder to spot this.
And Watts has the gall to write:  Of course, this is just “business as usual” for the Phil Jones team.

It Gets Worse

Watts: Here’s the older HadCRUT data set from 2001, compared to 2008 and 2010. The past got cooler then too.

Except the graph Watts posts for 2001 is Northern Hemisphere onlyNot Global. Yet the graph Watts posts claims it's global - but it's WRONG. The graph is from the following 2003 paper which updated HadCRUT to 2001:

In short Watts is comparing HadCRUT 2001 Northern Hemisphere with HadCRUT 2010 Global and claiming the difference is due to adjustments. Shouldn't he know better on this subject?

Watts: On the other side of the pond, here’s the NASA GISS 1980 data set compared with the 2010 version. More cooling of the past.

Bullshit again. He's made another mistake. Why does anyone take him seriously at all?

Again notice the graph Watts posts has no sources. Is that because he doesn't want people to be able to check what the graphs show? Imagine the fuss Watts would make if scientists did this! Now either Watts doesn't know the sources of this graph and is pushing out unverified smears or he does know the sources and is deliberately misleading people. Because here is the source of the NASA GISS 1980 dataset in his graph (the lower plot):

It's from this paper:

Small problem with that graph: ITS LAND ONLY. And Watts is comparing it to GISS 2010 GLOBE LAND+SEA.

Seriously. How can he get away with making mistake after mistake? I hope fence sitters might finally wake up and realize just how misleading WUWT is after reading this catalog of errors. Just to drive the point home I've crudely overlaid GISTEMP 1980 on GISTEMP Met stations only as of 2009 so we can see the huge adjustments Hansen has made to the past data that Watts alleges:

Ha that's the massive adjustments is it?
Folk over at WUWT just don't BOTHER going to the papers and comparing the datasets properly and finding out there are no massive changes. Instead year after year they happily push out the same junk graphs without checking them because it supports what they want to believe. They remain immune to any corrections. They just ignore them and post the same false graphs again another time.

Again: Why does anyone take these people seriously?
And finally let's witness the arrogance of Anthony Watts after he makes such a load of errors documented above:

Watts: In the private sector, doing what we see above would cost you your job, or at worst (if it were stock data monitored by the SEC) land you in jail for securities fraud. But hey, this is climate science. No worries.

It's ironic see? If anything it would be Watts who would be in jail after that stunt with the above graphs. Not scientists. 

Watts: And they wonder why we don’t trust them or their data.

Again more irony! Who has demonstrated a reason to distrust them and their presented data?

Here's the thing: In Watt's arrogance he puts forward a kind of authority. We don't see him questioning his own abilities when he pushes his "manipulations" claims. Instead people take it at face value that the graphs he is posting are genuine GISTEMP and HadCRUT comparisons, when they are not. In other words, people are misled in the most heinous way: they are misled to dismissing scientists as frauds.

Even if we assume ignorance, which we must, consider that Surface Temperature Records are supposed to be Watts' bread and butter subject and yet he hasn't learnt a thing it seems. Over all these years he still hasn't figured out the actual story about adjustments made in the past and he is still pushing false claims about station dropoff (see the 2nd graph caption). He could probably continue on course for another 1,000 years and not learn a damn thing about the subject. He seems quite literally stuck on stupid. 

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