Sunday, July 29, 2012

Watts et al: Clunk


That, to me, seems to be the sound of the drama queen's preprint hitting the Internet. First of all, it's exactly the kind of paper that most needs peer review: based on a lot of judgements and classifications and nitty gritty details that only siting wonks can evaluate. (So does a paper like BEST's -- but their conclusion is nothing surprising.)

And it just doesn't compete with the narrative -- record US heat, the US drought, BEST -- that is quickly sweeping by. It smells a little desperate. If it withstands peer review, then it's worth a good look. Until then it looks like PR, which is, of course, exactly how it's being delivered.

(Can I just say that delivering science as PR, or PR as science, is off-putting and worrisome, whether it comes from private groups or professional journals like Nature.)

Then there are the inconvenient facts that

(1) USA48 is 1.6% of the Earth's surface area, and

(2) the trend of the USA48 lower troposphere, as measured by satellites as calculated by UAH, is 0.23 ± 0.08 °C from 1979 to present (95% confidence limit, no correction for autocorrelation). Satellite measurements almost completely avoid the urban heat island problem.

Then, of course, there is the rank hypocrisy:

Anthony Watts, Oct 11 2011: "The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project puts PR before peer review"

Not to mention: Anthony Watts, Oct 30 2011: Why didn’t Berkeley Earth wait for peer review?



Kaustubh said...

What a hoot!

Gillian said...

Watts 'paper' looks a lot like a "Look! A squirrel!" response to Mullers NYT announcement.

Like medieval castles, the Denier citadel has several defences. When one is breached, defenders fall back to the next line. Except for the few that get stuck in No Man's Land. Blogged here...

Everett F Sargent said...

Well given this new 2010 siting guidance, I'll be waiting for the entire list of stations used including all distance and angle measurements, surface material compositions, etceteras, taken annually of course, going all the way back to 1895.

Sorry Tony the Tiger, but 2D digital photos taken over these past few years just won't do.

Russell said...

I expect Watts cohort to move on from galactic cosmic rays to targeting the Urban Height Island effect, in which lapse rate errors arise from barometers sited in high rise cooperatives by elitist city slickers

Ten Mile Island said...

What a hoot!

ZZMike said...

"... record US heat, the US drought ..."

Weather is not climate; climate is not weather.

When temperatures drop below freezing, nobody pays any attention, but when there's a heat wave, "It's Global Warming and we're all Doomed!".

MAX Redline said...

Still haven't outgrown the knee-jerk ad hominem attack mode, have you, David? Small wonder that you're largely regarded as lacking credibility.

Dano said...

FUD purveyors: making it up because they have nothing else!!!1one!!

Still haven't outgrown the knee-jerk ad hominem attack mode, have you, David?

The 'ad hom' weapon is weak amongst the reality-based community. Amongst the dullards, it is standard.

Ad hom: you are wrong because you are a clown.

NOT ad hom: you are wrong because A, B, C. And you are a clown.

Denialists and gullibles: predictable.