Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Fraud Behind Anthony Watts's "pHraud"

MWAcompilationOfGlobalOcean_pHJan82014You may have seen the recent claims that ocean acidification is all a fraud, because some graduate student dug up old data that shows it was variable (and sometimes low) in the past.

"...the oceans are not acidifying," Anthony Watts wrote. "(For another day, Wallace found that the levels coincide with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.) As Wallace emphasized: “there is no global acidification trend.”"

Now, any monkey can look at this graph up there to the right, with points helter skelter and no error bars, and wonder about the quality of the data from decades past.

But not Watts, who misses no opportunity to accuse real actual scientists of "fraud."

Anthony Watts wasted no time in labeling this "pHraud," because that's who Anthony Watts is, who he has always been, and who he will always be.

Watts doesn't try to understand the science, he just wants to destroy it.

He's a taker, not a maker. He only wants to burn, not to create.

Watts seems to have spent no time at all inquiring about the data behind this claim. He seems to have no idea what good data is, and why.

Of course, any person past high school physics knows this graph is suspicious, and would immediately ask of its origins and about the quality of the measurements of ocean acidification from many decades ago.

And that person might ask the person who created the graph: where are the error bars?

The person who created that graph is Mike Wallace, apparently a graduate student at the University of New Mexico (my undergraduate alma mater; their quality has obviously dropped).

You would find that Mike Wallace isn't interested in simply answering the question about error bars or his science -- he expects the questioner to dig all around for the answer himself, or to buy it from him for $2000 (see below).

Wallace is a graduate student who has a great deal to learn about the world of science. As far as I can tell, Wallace also hasn't made much of an effort to determine the quality of these data, let alone communicate about them responsibly. He hasn't tried at all to warn Watts+ that charging "fraud" is in no way appropriate, given the obvious issues here with data quality.

His graduate education is off to a rough start.

In fact, the fraud taking place here is that of Anthony Watts, and Thomas Lifson at (quote-unquote) American Thinker. And Mike Wallace too.

So you can see the quality of the science fraudsters like Wallace and Watts are putting out -- without the slightest regard for quality. For science. For people.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: mwa <>
Date: Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 5:52 PM
Subject: Re: your data on ocean acidification
To: David Appell <>
Cc: Marita <>

Hi Dave,

I've considered your request and, along with your lack of effort to follow up on the crucial information I recommended that you review, and given the questions I've also posed to you which you haven't answered, I have to think at this time that your query is not authentic.

Please note that you have emailed to my business site.  For me as a business person, who is not funded by any for the ocean pH data work I have pursued to date, I do offer a package of additional supporting material to the crucial information that I have already directed you to (which you have neglected to visit).  I charge $2,000.00 US, in advance for this additional information at this time. That information consists of a series of .csv files containing the data I extracted from WOD and a few other sources, and which I used for my curve development.  In those files, I also have included some basic statistical parameters.

One of the numerous reasons I had for asking you to visit my site was because it wasn't clear what type of error bars you are seeking.  Had you gone where I recommended, you might have learned eventually that my curve wasn't from a model but from the data.  Typically error bars are associated with the need to compare model results with actual data.  My plot did no more than represent in a standard way, the actual data I extracted from the NOAA WOD.  Another reason why I invited you to visit my site is because through the related posts, you would see how I went further than that minimal activity and began a long term exercise (still a work in progress) to profile in more detail the actual data.

Or perhaps you were seeing information on experimental/measurement error etc associated with the data prior to entry into the NOAA WOD?  For that information please go to the source, as it is the WOD's responsibility, if any, to report that.   Finally I hope you are aware that many time series data products are posted online and used by many scientists, without error bars.  This another reason that I feel that you don't appear to understand the nature of your own request.

In summary, you don't appear to understand what you are requesting and you don't appear to be interested to learn. Moreover you don't appear to be responsive to my own questions which were important to me to ask. This is in sharp contrast to the journalist I favor working with, Marita Noon.  Marita has put extensive time in to understand, question, and process the data that I've already pointed you to.  Then she produced a set of news articles which accurately reflected the sequence of events regarding many of the Feel2899.pdf issues.  Please GOOGLE 'feel2899.pdf' if you remain unaware of this source.  Marita's good faith efforts were much appreciated by me, and I took the perogative to not charge her anything for the information I provided.

As I said, you are welcome to purchase the data package I've produced, or if you want to continue to correspond with me via my business site and ask questions about my field of hydroclimatology (which includes ocean pH), then my fee for the remainder of this calendar year is $500/hr for private citizens or any other out of state (NM) customer. Please consider our email exchanges to date as my free initial consultation, which is now concluded.

For further communication, we can Skype if you like, but payment will be required in advance and I must work in a reasonable business hour time slot.
If you wish to purchase a product or service accordingly, please email back and I will provide you payment details.

Mike Wallace

On Dec 26 2014 9:27 PM, David Appell wrote:
Mike, thanks for your reply.

My question is simple: are there error bars for your graph (yes or
no), and, if yes, why they aren't on the graph? I'm not going to do an
"intensive review" of your site to answer a basic question the
graph-maker should have answered himself.


PS: I have no idea who "Feel289.pdf" is. I assume that, if you used
their data, you asked them about uncertainities.

On Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 3:50 PM, Mike Wallace <> wrote:

Hi Dave I would be happy to see how I can help after Xmas
In meantime please consider an intensive review of all relevant pages and posts at my site. You should find error bars proposed for my first time series plot where I only had a handful of points to work from. The rest of the posts are all about the rich datasets that I later explored.  Accordingly after you are more familiar with that material then you might want to rephrase questions or add more etc.

Have you also requested error bars from the authors of Feel289.pdf?

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: David Appell
Date:12/24/2014 4:10 PM (GMT-07:00)
Subject: your data on ocean acidification

Mr. Wallace,

Hi. Do you have error bars for your OA graph that begins in 1910? [4]


David Appell, freelance science writer
w: [1]
t: @davidappell
b: [2]
p: 503-XXX=XXXX [3]
m: Salem, OR


David Appell, freelance science journalist
w: [1]
p: 503-XXX-XXXX
m: Salem, OR

[3] tel:503-XXX-XXXX

David Appell, freelance science journalist
p: 503-XXX-XXXX
m: Salem, OR


John said...

Is there a peer reviewed journal in which Wallace's graph appears? It seems not. And there is no simple way to extract from him the ID of the client for whom he produced it.

Of course, there is no hint as to the proportion of WOD sources relative to the mysterious "a few other sources" used to construct the graph.

It is really not clear what this graph is about. But its title, "20th Century Ocean pH," suggests it is data from the entire ocean at depths <200m. It is not clear why this should have any meaningful relation to Feely's local data from Aloha Station. Not to mention that Feely's pH data is accompanied by nearby atmospheric CO2 level data ... and Wallace's is not.

That is, why couldn't Wallace, an apparent WOD-wizard, simply extract from the WOD the data he demands (from 1910 to 1985) from Aloha Station, or nearby, to try to make his point about Feely's observation?

Presumably because if he had, then the standard FOIA/email drama would not have needed to unfold, not to mention that it would be the only legitimate comparison to make and, thus, reek too much of actual science. (I’d have to guess that he actually did as I suggest and found it, literally, not profitable, that is, he proved Feely absolutely correct.)

BUT, just as he insists that Feely has ignored data prior to 1985 at Aloha Staion, Wallace himself, seems to ignore his own, stunning, reproduction, he claims on a global scale, from the mid 1980's to the present, of Feely's observation of a local drop in ocean pH.

Here a couple tidbits on Noon, perhaps not the objective, disinterested observer Wallace purports. 

1) Heartland Institute “expert”:

2) a pro-fracking stint on Dailey show:

So we have here no more than a classic, denialist scenario: pick one paper from among the entire literature, attempt to discredit it with neither verifiable, nor relevant, data AND the support/legitimize the facade with the assistance of “media” lackeys.

Wallace’s business model seems to be classic also: support of clients' pre-determined conclusions, for astronomical fees, by manipulating tax-payer funded data. Next he'll be raving about the dangers of creating dependence on government hand outs ... and getting amply quoted by Noon.

Note: The "feel2899.pdf" article (not feel289.pdf) is at the following link:

John Puma

quantpalaeo said...

Even a brief look at the WOA data shows that it is not appropriate to take the mean of each year's data as the spatial and seasonal availability of data varies widely.
There are also concerns about data quality for the early data.
That Wallace and Watts don't realise or don't care about these problems does not enhance their credibility.

Dano said...

I was going to e-mail you about this but forgot. AFAICT this started at CFACT by Marita Noon.

Anyway, it is much thinner than most of these FUD campaigns so shouldn't last long, and very easy to dispel for lurkers. For committed denialists, of course, nothing will convince them.

Tons of evidence out there other than the totem they are trying to erect - this is their standard totemization technique.



Victor Venema said...

This post explains very well why the method of Wallace does not work.

Imagine how people would cry if scientists would do such sloppy "work".

Victor Venema said...

Sorry, missed comment of QuantPaleo above.

Jay Alt said...

An international, decades-long effort was made to measure global CO2/ pH values over oceans. Feely analyzed & then summarized that huge dataset. Better and more reproducible measurement methods were developed. The results included an estimate in global average pH which rising CO2 has produced - 0.1 pH decrease over ~100 yrs. Impact of Anthropogenic CO2 on the CaCO3 System in the Oceans R Feely et al 2004

All their conclusions have since been confirmed by other researchers. The estimates of earlier average ocean pH come from ocean models and estimated exchanges between ocean & atmosphere.

Wallace is not the least bit credible. His long consulting practice suggests he may have been paid to produce another worthless, denialist result

Oakden Wolf said...

I did this evaluation: