Good news, bad news, webstats, and the anti-scientific deniers at WattsUpWithThat

The good news is that March seems to have set a record in traffic, with more than 150,000 unique visitors and about 300,000 visits.  I probably had some 1.4 million page views.

I use two hedges “probably” and some” because Webstats — especially page views — are, of course, notoriously hard to quantify and different software gives you different numbers.  I use Google analytics Urchin 6 for page views, which is supposed to be pretty accurate .

The bad news is that the anti-scientific denialist website, WattsUpWithThat, from retired TV weatherman Anthony Watts, just noted, “Another record month at WUWT“:

This month was 1,478,801 page views. This is up significantly from both January (1,324,097) and February (1,168,852).

I see no trace of intentional humor in Watts’ statement, but it is unintentionally quite ironic.  Watts, of course, spends a great deal of time attacking NASA for supposedly asserting a false precision in its temperature data.  NASA’s data, however, has many independent checks — and is supported by vast quantities of observations on global warming (see, for instance, “World’s Glaciers Shrink for 18th Year” and “AGU 2008: Two trillion tons of land ice lost since 2003“).

It is absurd to publish one’s page views to 7 significant digits without caveats — even 2 is stretching it.  Yes, the fact that your web stats program shows an increase in page views from month to month is reasonable evidence they may in fact be rising — but of course the fact that your temperature stations show an increase from year to year are apparently not any evidence that temperatures are rising, even if confirmed by multiple independent sources.

Interestingly, there is one independent source that suggests Watts’ page views and mine are in fact the same (and hence possibly around 1.4 million).  If you go to the Web traffic ranking and comparison site Alexa, go to page views, and type in, you’ll get this graph:

So at best I am just negating the disinformation Watts is spreading.  Sigh.  And lest there be any doubt, WattsUpWithThat is in fact an extremist anti-scientific denialist website, as his recent posts make clear.

I had previously diagnosed Watts as a victim of anti-science syndrome (ASS) based on his decision to reprint approvingly one of the most anti-scientific denialist posts around:

Shocker: Huffington Post carries climate realist essay

Congratulations to Harold Ambler, who frequents here in comments, for breaking the climate “glass ceiling” at HuffPo. This essay is something I thought I’d never see there. Next stop: Daily Kos? – Anthony

This was a (largely unsourced) collection of denier talking points that have been long ago been utterly debunked here, at Skeptical Science, and also see here: “HuffPost scores a 100 on the Inhofe Scale“.  In particular, Ambler asserts in his second paragraph — and Watts approves — [italics in original and in reprint]:

Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that “the science is in.” Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind.

Such a statement is anti-scientific and anti-science in the most extreme sense. It accuses the scientific community broadly defined of deliberate fraud — and not just the community of climate scientists, but the leading National Academies of Science around the world (including ours) and the American Geophysical Union, an organization of geophysicists that consists of more than 45,000 members and the American Meteorological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (see “Yet more scientists call for deep GHG cuts“).

Such a statement accuses all of the member governments of the IPCC, including ours, of participating in that fraud, since they all sign off on the Assessment Reports word for word (see “Absolute MUST Read IPCC Report: Debate over, further delay fatal, action not costly“). And, of course, Ambler’s statement accuses all of the leading scientific journals of being in on this fraud, since the IPCC reports are primarily a review and synthesis of the published scientific literature.

No serious science-based website could reprint and endorse Ambler’s entire litany of disinformation and that paragraph especially.

But this is no isolated incident.  Watts recently posted a defense of the laughably anti-scientific Cato ad attacking Obama and recent climate science by none other than Roger Pielke, Senior.  Apparently Pielke and Watts think that it is scientific to assert as one’s primary argument, “We, the undersigned scientists, maintain the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated,” and then cite as the first footnote in your defense a study that concludes, “warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models.” And remember the current generation of models is predicting catastrophic warming this century:

RealClimate also has an excellent debunking post (here).  But while Pielke (and Watts) mention my post and RealClimate’s, they never respond to a single point we raise.  [I’ll post more on Pielke’s cherry-picking piece later.]

Last week, Watts reprinted an article on the recent NOAA-led study for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, “Reanalysis of Historical Climate Data for Key Atmospheric Features: Implications for Attribution of Causes of Observed Change.”  That study (“The Product”) states:

The Product also assesses current understanding of the causes of observed North American
climate variability and trends from 1951 to 2006. This assessment is based on results from
research studies, climate model simulations, and reanalysis and observational data. For annual,
area-average surface temperatures over North America, more than half of the observed surface warming since 1951 is likely due to anthropogenic forcing associated with greenhouse gas forcing.

That is a pretty standard climate science conclusion.  And, indeed, the Watts post itself notes,

Most of the warming [worldwide] is the consequence of human influences,” said Martin Hoerling, a NOAA climate scientist.

In fact, Hoerling was a co-chair of the editorial and production team.  So what was the blaring headline on the Watts post on this study (font size in original):

Recent NOAA Study: Climate change not all man-made

Cites Natural Causes

Seriously!  Talk about dog bites man.  Who has been asserting that all of the recent warming and all of the recent climate change was man-made?

But people eat it up this parade of disinformation, misinformation, and noninformation — just read Watt’s comments (on an empty stomach).

So that is the good, the bad, and the ugly for today!

UPDATE:  Another WattsUpWithThat post debunked (see here).

77 Responses to Good news, bad news, webstats, and the anti-scientific deniers at WattsUpWithThat

  1. caerbannog says:

    Folks who aren’t totally convinced that Anthony Watts is a complete bonehead should take a look that this recent Watts blog post:

    If you compare Watts’ take on the paper mentioned in that post with what the paper actually says, you will come to have a much better appreciation of what a complete buffoon Watts is.

    Watts conveniently provides a link to the paper (which he has obviously not read or understood). Follow the link to the paper, spend a few minutes skimming it, and and just shake your head in amazement with how badly Watts got it wrong.

    And of course, the usual precautions involving hot beverages and nasal passages apply.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, if one takes the time to look at the situation:

    # of peer-reviewed climate science articles supporting AGW vs. non-supporting AGW – my estimate 99%+ support AGW.

    # of recognized science organizations (e.g., AAS, AGU, NASs) supporting AGW vs. non-supporting AGW – my estimate 100% support AGW.

    This doesn’t mean that there isn’t uncertainty, but clearly the peer-reviewed science is including uncertainty as it “attempts” to inform policy e.g., IPCC.

    The media clearly doesn’t reflect our current peer-reviewed scientific understanding of AGW.

    Members of Congress in denial – not sure what “planet” they live on and where they expect the “7th generation” to live.

  3. P. G. Dudda says:

    Off-Topic: I just noticed that the “ice bridge” helping to hold the Wilkins Ice Shelf just broke apart. It lasted longer than I thought it would, but there it is. Time to update your maps to read “Wilkins Sound”.

  4. ecostew says:

    Anonymous was mine – AAS should be AAAS – sorry.

  5. David B. Benson says:

    Anyone seriously interested in climate change policy will probably want to read Brian Fagan’s “The Long Summer: how climate changed civilization”. Here is a review:

  6. Jim Eager says:

    Re the Wilkins Ice Shelf, if you enlarge the sat photo that P. G. Dudda linked to it looks like the ice bridge, though slim, is still there, at least in that photo.

  7. Jim Eager says:

    Reuters is currently reporting it’s gone:

  8. ecostew says:

    Jim – it is going, what is your point. It’s been going for some time>

  9. Jim Eager says:

    Yes, we all know that it was going to go sooner or later, but it’s final demise has been falsely reported several times before.

    Sounds like this time it is for real. The only point is that it is a current news item.

  10. ecostew says:


  11. in denial says:

    Wow! Raw envy and jealousy are really pathetic and ugly when unbridled as in this post. I clicked on your website hoping to get a view of some of the global warming arguements but instead came face to face with the same old spitting, drooling ‘Olbermann’ style ad hominem attacks (“bonehead, buffoon, unscientific deniers”) that so typify the angry left. Tell me, what is it about your political agenda (let’s be real, that’s what AGW is) that causes you to be so hateful? You social engineers disguised as scientists get so cranky when challenged or exposed…

    I wonder why there are so few posters here? It could be a personality flaw.

    Patiently awaiting your ad hominem attacks,
    In Denial

    [JR: Well reasoned, well argued, and well documented appropriately-named commenter! Stick around and learn some science.]

  12. David B. Benson says:

    in denial — I recommend you read the history in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

  13. Jim Eager says:

    And what would you call “angry left” and “social engineers disguised as scientists” and “AGW is a political agenda?”

    You’re going to have to do much better than that if you ever want to be taken seriously.

  14. MarkB says:

    Some more bad news / good / odd news

    Bad news:, a white supremacist site, is soundly beating both sites.

    Good news:, a great site that lists the latest scientific studies on a variety of topics, including global warming, is something like 10 times ahead of everyone.

    Or to put things into perspective, is about as popular as the WattsUp blog. Unlike WattsUp though, National Enquirer on rare occasion gets something right.

    By striking a sort of sensationalistic populist chord, Watts has proven himself to be an effective propagandist, which isn’t hard to do when there are millions of frothy-mouthed ideologues eager to digest any material, no matter how poor the quality, that supports the thesis that global warming is a government hoax.

  15. paulm says:

    …Talk about BLOG bites man.

  16. paulm says:

    Great cartoon in the Guardian….Save the Economy screw the Climate….

  17. Gail says:

    I see increased traffic both on this site and also a denier site as good news, because it means the interest in the topic is rising, which may lead to at least some people being educated on the topic of global warming.

    They doth protest too much!

    Joe, “Hell and High Water” arrived in the post office box this morning and I was interested to read that your interest on the subject was influenced by your family experience with Katrina.

    More and more people are going to find that they are personally affected by climate change. Hopefully it will happen soon enough – even though that means more disasters – that we will reach a critical mass of public opinion in favor of action.

  18. paulm says:

    Oh dear more big fires….

    Have we reach the threshold temp for this now? Are our forest doom whatever we do now? And what does this mean in terms of mitigation?

    Climate change ‘fans Nepal fires’

  19. ecostew says:


    At this point (now), we need action. I agree with you, but the Obama Administration must pursue what it can in terms of mitigating AGW, and aggressively!

    In fact, Obama can be well down the road on mitigating AGW without “cap & trade/carbon tax” with his policies and budgets, if Congress gets smart.

  20. Gail says:

    Ecostew, as with other so many other important progressive strides, the solution may lie in the courts, since our elected representatives in the House and Senate are by and large, useless. If the EPA is allowed to function as they should, they can regulate CO2 as an environmental hazard.

    Paulm, the reality and implications of drying forests has been hideously underestimated by not just the news media and the scientists, but the foresters and conservationists. The fires in Australia, California, Greece and now Nepal are a harbinger of things to come.

    It grieves me.

  21. ecostew says:


    I basically agree, if the Executive Branch exercises its authority, we can be well on our way to mitigating AGW. I do not understand why the Ds in control of Congress didn’t get it.

  22. Lou Grinzo says:

    Watts’ “creative” use of headlines reminds me of a story I heard from a teacher in high school. He said that the Soviet Union reported that in some international competition the SU came in second, and the USA came in second to last, with no other details provided. Of course, only two countries were in the competition…

  23. Gail says:

    Perhaps because Ecostew, so many are DINO’s (Democrats in Name Only)?

    Our best hope is that the Republican/conservative contingent follows its recent self-destructive path and further marginalizes itself by pandering to the fundie base. This will make “moderate Democrats” tend to look more favorably upon efforts to mitigate climate change and make it less of a partisan issue.

    In this dire, soul-crushing era, one of the rare moments I find solace with reliable regularity is in following the Sarah Palin expose blogs. Let me recommend palingates dot blogspot dot com, (trying to avoid moderation purgatory here by avoiding too many multiple links!) theimmoralmajority dot blogspot dot com, threebrain dot blogspot dot com and the ORIGINAL, INIMITABLE, RECENTLY OUTED ANONYMOUS brave and almost, in her gentle soft-spoken way, our Alaskan Emily Dickenson: themudflats dot net.

    Bravo from a mudpuppy!

    And to the rest of you, enjoy.

  24. Rick says:

    I hope it turns out that the consensus is wrong on CO2 effects and we don’t get some kind of fast approaching climate disaster.

    But – If it’s coming, it’s coming. The thing is – 7 Billion people are burning stuff to make heat and that is going to cause a lot of CO2 emissions and there is nothing – there is no way – no possible way for any Government or any collection of Governments to mitigate the burning of stuff by the 7 Billion …. Well maybe 10 000 well placed Hiroshima bombs would do it, but there is no way to stop the burning while being nice.

    no way. no how. – The human race does not get together and fix the climate. The human race burns stuff.

  25. Ray says:

    “Every nation has its war party… It is commercial, imperialistic, ruthless. It tolerates no opposition”.
    Robert M. La Follette

    WUWT is science oriented, content is science based, the site won the well earned best science blog of 2008. Democracy by increasing clicks as opposed to the sequestered and increasingly shrill tantrum displayed by this and other dwindling AWG sites who’s sole appearant purpose is to damage the credibility of those in opposition.

    And please picture an ice bound world where ice shelve did not break off but continued to grow into the oceans, where graciers did not calve but closed off the eastern US seaports. Lets hope they continue to do break off or melt.

  26. Jim Eager says:

    Apparently Ray resides in an alternate reality.

  27. Harrier says:

    With regard to forests, I continue to believe that the best course of action might simply be to take the forests where the rains will be. I know that’s easier said than done, but reforestation and afforestation in the sites where climate change will be increasing rainfall could, if conducted intensively, counteract the subsequent loss of forests due to lack of rainfall elsewhere.

  28. Watts has no political agenda; no siree, absolutely objective science there.

  29. paulm says:

    This looks more like something hitting a brick wall than a hockey stick…..

  30. paulm says:

    Natural mechanism for medieval warming discovered

    (pls can we post at least 2 links:)

    [JR: You can post 2 links. It just gets (temporarily) moderated. Best spam catcher I have.]

  31. hapa says:

    i remember the first time we triggered a catalytic reaction in the lab by showing a lump of platinum our website’s certified traffic analysis. we knew then the true potential of internet advocacy.…

  32. Bob Wright says:

    The deniers serve a purpose, Joe. I have found myself trying to re-understand carbonate buffer chemistry and what wavelengths of infrared are absorbed by CO2 and water, and how the models work… .mostly because of denier posts. IMHO (ancient BA chemistry), the science is sound, and the evidence too strong to be coincidence.

    We are still sewing the seeds of a low CO2, if not entirely green, economy with renewables and nuclear power. Its happening even if carbon taxes get shot down. When the poop really hits the fan in 20 years, we will at least have these energy sources to ration. China and India are another question. The leadership there doesn’t seem to understand impact of what is already happening and effecting their climate and fresh water supply.

    Even though the web has gone denier happy, the owner of the most powerful conservative influence in America (Murdoch, Fox Entertainment News) has had a climate change epiphany, and is gradually reigning in the we scowl-you howl pundits regarding climate change. Will Jack Bauer drive a Prius next fall? Maybe Obama’s hybrid Escape? At least biofuel in the Suburban?

  33. Gail says:

    Harrier, I’m not against planting trees and it would be a very good thing to do so in terms of carbon sequestration. But what I fear is that it isn’t simply a question of shifting trees from some areas receiving less precipitation to others that receive more. It’s the extreme weather that concerns me, because I think it’s going to be difficult to find species that will survive the swings in heat/cold and wet/dry that are part of a warming planet. The planet is not warming evenly, which will make every place on earth a different and unpredictable habitat as winds and storms reflect the uneven heating of land and sea.

    What I see locally is that we are not technically in a drought because the overall precipitation is considered acceptable, since it is only measured by aquifer level and not frequency or soil moisture content. We have longer periods of no rain or snow and then short heavy bursts that run off the parched ground and flood the waterways.

    One forester told me to be more optimistic because trees are quite hardy. In fact, I think the opposite is true. I think plants with the longevity of trees are exquisitely evolved to occupy exactly the niche they are in, and are acutely sensitive to any disturbing of that environment.

    Another factor that make planting trees problematic, at least where I live, is the voracious deer. It simply cannot be done on a mass scale unless the deer population is severely reduced.

    In a changing climate many other opportunistic diseases, pests, and fungi are attacking the trees, and shrubs for that matter. At this point I will feel fortunate if we can continue to grow crops.

  34. caerbannog says:

    “In denial”,

    Did you actually read through the paper that Watts linked to? For your convenience, here is the direct link to the paper, a paper that Watts is claiming discounts the link between CFC’s and ozone depletion:

    Can you summarize in your own words what the paper really does say about the CFC/ozone-depletion link?

  35. Jim Eager says:

    Time lapse video of the Wilkins breakup yesterday:

    Click on “full size version” for more detail. It wasn’t just the waist of the ice bridge snapping, the entire southern portion of the bridge disintegrated.

  36. caerbannog says:

    One forester told me to be more optimistic because trees are quite hardy. In fact, I think the opposite is true. I think plants with the longevity of trees are exquisitely evolved to occupy exactly the niche they are in, and are acutely sensitive to any disturbing of that environment.

    The forester is right in that *mature* trees are quite hardy. A mature ponderosa pine can withstand years of nasty drought. The problem is, though (and a problem that the forester probably overlooked), is that *young* trees (especially seedlings) are far less hardy. You can have conditions where mature trees can hang in there just fine, but where not enought seedlings are surviving to provide the “next generation” of mature trees.

  37. MarkB says:


    Doesn’t surprise me. Watts can’t go a week without sniping at Al Gore for no good reason. It’s interesting to note that his site has received substantially more hits since after the election. I think when the Denier-in-Chief was in office, global warming denial was more benign (relatively speaking of course). Now the floodgates are open and the ideologues are coming out in full force – seeking more material that confirms their belief that global warming is a hoax.

    Ray writes:
    “…the site won the well earned best science blog of 2008. Democracy by increasing clicks…”

    That would be an appeal to popularity…and contrarians complain about appeal to authority. Trusting the popular opinion of non-expert ideologues in the blogosphere vs the general consensus among experts.

  38. Gail says:

    Dear Caerbannog,

    You reinforce my point. Ponderosa pine are EVOLVED to withstand long periods of drought. Honey locust, black walnut, maples and oaks and the many other species native to the Eastern US are not. Here, both the younger trees (those that predate the deer population explosion) are expiring along with the magnificent old specimens around old farmhouses and along hedgerows of fields that were spared the clear cutting in the colonial times.

    They also are evolved to have much colder winters during which they should go completely dormant until spring. When we have balmy weather in January they break dormancy prematurely, if they ever went dormant at all, and then get hammered by any subsequent deep freezes. You can actually see the bark splitting and peeling. This year, even the leaves of evergreens like boxwood, azalea, laurel and ivy succumbed to this phenomena and have turned brown and shriveled up. And the pines are shedding needles.

    There is no reason to expect these swings in weather to improve or stabilize given the upward march of the global warming trend. I expect these effects will intensify and although some perennial vegetation will limp along, eventually it will be wiped out.

  39. dhogaza says:

    Can you summarize in your own words what the paper really does say about the CFC/ozone-depletion link?

    The funny thing about that thread was that after 100+ posts proclaiming that this new paper by Lu proves that CFCs don’t cause ozone depletion, we were victims of yet another scientific fraud, etc etc it was pointed out that Anthony and friends totally misunderstood the paper.

    The response?

    Silence. Lu no longer a hero of modern science worthy of praise, apparently.

    And, yes, the article was still on the front page of WUWT at the time, I checked because i thought perhaps the thread died due to having fallen to the second page. Nope.

    Those people are just strange. Ray’s a good representative …

  40. @ Jim Eager…

    That time lapse photograph you linked to was devastating.

    I’m watching it, and thinking… I’m not seeing it, it looks like it’s still there to me… and then BANG. Holy Sh*t, Batman!

    An area the size of Connecticut just seems to vanish.

  41. Jim Eager says:

    No where near the size of Connecticut, Richard. The ice bridge was less than 10k at its widest, but it was indeed devastating none the less.

    You can see the development of a few cross cracks over the last few days of March, then a whole new system of length-wise cracks had developed by April 2, and then bang, as you say, on April 4 as the whole thing just collapsed and began to spread out.

    As Timothy Chase just pointed out at RealClimate, Wilkins is 5° south of Larson B, and just 5° north of where the West Antarctic Peninsula ends and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet begins.

  42. Susan says:

    Actually, every hour and every day they succeed in wasting a lot of good people’s time is a success for the denial movement. And they have misled a lot of people. Anna points out that it will be wrenching for them to abandon the big lies they’ve been fed.

    On Obama, I’m hoping, since he is intelligent and logical, and employs a good few good people, that as soon as he has time he will embark on an adult education program, which I think him likely to and capable of doing.

    OTOH, it is nice to see people who can tell fact from fiction. I do get sick of pointing out that WAWT is a crock.

  43. Susan says:

    Here’s more bad news in case you all need a downer:

    “Will dams on Amazon tributary wreak global havoc?”
    “The Xingu River, the largest tributary of the Amazon, runs wide and swift this time of year. Its turquoise waters are home to some 600 species of fish, including several not found anywhere else on the planet. A thick emerald canopy of trees hugs its banks, except in places where man has carved out pastures for cattle.
    “Now man, in the form of the Brazilian state power company, wants to harness a section of the Xingu by building the world’s third-biggest dam.
    “Called the Belo Monte, the dam would drown 200 square miles of tropical rainforest — an area equivalent to the sprawling city of Tucson, Ariz. — and would flood the homes of 19,000 people. It would be only one of more than a dozen dams that the Brazilian government is planning to construct on tributaries of the Amazon, the world’s mightiest river….”

    To the batmobile, Robin!

  44. Jim:

    I was referring to the ice shelf itself as being the size of Connecticut (or Jamaica, as the BBC states), not the bridge… In looking at the time lapsed photography, it does seem like some of the shelf has already disintegrated and followed the bridge into the sea, but not nearly as much as I had originally thought.

  45. in denial says:

    Thanks for accepting my post and thanks for the sarcasm. I always appreciate a good jab…

    David B. Benson,
    I clicked on the link and read the summary. Interesting stuff with more than a little apparent misinformation and hyperbole but informative. I’ll try to read more as time allows. Thanks.

    Jim Eager,
    I would call them observations, not personal attacks. This is clearly a leftist blog or would you ‘deny’ that. I mean, read the postings. Just wondering, is everyone who disagrees with you on any subject awarded the “denier” label? And when referencing the “deniers” their seems to be plenty of anomosity. To those actual climate scientists posting here, acccept my apology, I’ll add “and scientists bent on social engineering” or do you ‘deny’ that this movement seeks to change the details of the way we live our daily lives? Now, as far as AGW being a political agenda, it appears to be all about winning, much like a political campaign, as opposed to discovery. Otherwise, you would welcome, nay invite open and active debate. Instead ‘you’ shun opportunities to debate by arrogant and ignorant statements like “there is no debate” or “the science is settled”. Or by calling anyone who disagrees with you a “denier”. And “if you ever want to be taken seriously”, you need to distance yourselves from the truly crazy comments from Mr. Gore such as the Arctic ice cap disappearing in five years and the sea level rising twenty feet in this century and encourage open debate. Furthermore, in Dr. Romm’s recent ‘debate’ with Marc Morano, several times he shouted that Morano was making stuff up without a single example. At the very least, those are very poor debating skills. The topics about which I have strong feelings and opinions I’m eager to debate; particularly if the facts are on my side. People on the extreme left rarely will debate and on those rare occasions when they will, it quickly turns into attacks such as “you’re making stuff up”…

    Hey, at least the war on prosperity is going well!

    in denial

  46. Martin says:

    In Denial,

    what makes you think that there hasn’t been debate on AGW? In fact, it’s been debated in the scientific literature for decades. It’s just that for some time now it’s been apparent that the debate is settled. Or do you believe that the most unorganized group of people in the world, the scientific community, is pulling some giant hoax? I can just imagine the department meetings where that was decided on….

    But thanks for all your sage advice.



  47. caerbannog says:

    In denial,

    Did you look at the paper at yet? You know, the paper that, according to Anthony Watt, made a case against the CFC-ozone-depletion link? Have you been able to determine what the paper really does say about CFC’s and ozone-depletion?

    If not, why not?

    It should take you only a few minutes to read and understand enough of that paper to determine what it really has to say about CFC’s and ozone. And being that you have enough spare time today to post to this forum multiple times, certainly you have a few minutes to spare to look through that paper to see how badly Watt blew it.

    So far, you have avoided any substance in favor of cheap rhetoric here. Let’s see if you have what it takes to address some real substance by giving us your perspective on the paper that Watt so badly misunderstood.

  48. David B. Benson says:

    in denial — No misinformation in Weart’s book; he is a professional historian of science.

  49. in denial says:

    Oh, I don’t know. Maybe just because I’ve not heard of or seen any these debates. I’m not big on reading scientific literature. So, could you refer me to just a few of said debates with true opposing views. Humor me. I know that in your world “it’s apparent that the debate is settled.” In my world, not so much. It’s apparent that there are scholarly scientists who are yet not convinced, you know, “deniers”. Are they too involved in some diabolical hoax? Perhaps funded by some malignant corporation like Exxon or worse (hissss), Haliburton? Refer it and I’ll read it. Thanks in advance…

    So I clicked on the link and (to the best of my limited ability) read and tried to understand what was proposed in the letter. It is admittedly way over my head. I’m a small business person, not a scientist. And I haven’t read Mr. Watt’s interpretation. Having said that, what seems to be a recurring theme is found in the statement “they provide strong evidence of the CR-driven reaction as the dominant mechanism for causing the O3 hole.” I’m going to venture a wild guess that you won’t like what I saw in the letter. Go ahead and take me to school. BTW, “cheap rhetoric” is about all I can afford in these difficult economic times (-:

  50. caerbannog says:

    Having said that, what seems to be a recurring theme is found in the statement “they provide strong evidence of the CR-driven reaction as the dominant mechanism for causing the O3 hole.”

    Read the paper and you will find out what the CR’s must react with to cause the ozone depletion. You will also discover that I was actually being charitable to Mr. Watt when I called him a bonehead and a buffoon.

  51. MarkB says:

    In Denial writes:

    “I’m not big on reading scientific literature. ”

    Well, that partially explains the denial. How many WattsUp readers actually read the scientific literature?

  52. Dan B says:

    In Denial;

    My father was a research chemist in the era when scientists were revered. They brought advances that amazed the American public. My uncle was in charge of the division of Goodrich that designed the space suits for the Apollo mission – and the vehicles that could safely navigate polar ice. My other uncle designed the Lunar and Mars Explorers.

    I grew up eating and breathing science, cutting edge science and the managerial capacity to turn knowledge into technologies that transformed America from a vast food basket into a world economic force.

    Your disdain for “scientific literature” dishonors my family and their dreams that made this a great country.

  53. Lewis says:

    I would think the denialist sites would show more traffic largely from getting more views from those who have accepted AGW.

    When you or other sites point out a posting on a denialist site I tend to click to it. I suggest that the opposite is less so.

    I’m not certain though, do denialists link to acceptor sites as often as acceptor sites link to denialist sites?

  54. papertiger says:

    In the mean time the ESA sent a satellite to Venus. Unfortunately from the perspective of the batch of climate alarmists who two decades ago brought us the “ozone hole” over Antarctica, there is very little of interest on Venus except for it’s South Pole Vortex.
    So they try to keep it on a low key, filling up the ESA Venus Xpress homepage with trivialities like models of the spacecraft, descriptions of the instrumentation package, and over emphasis on orbital insertion manuevers.
    Anything to distract the causual visiter from the planetary scale polar elephant in the room.
    It’s well they should bury the science, because if people saw the images of Venus’ polar vortesice (as in both poles) too often they might take note of how eerily simular they are to Earth’s polar votex, which is supposedly man made.
    Then those plain folks might ask why it is when Venus and Earth both exhibit the same relative thinning of atmosphere over their respective poles that the government lobbiests, and to a lesser degree their on the dole scientists, insist that Earth’s polar vortex is entirely unnatural.

    THE Euros don’t want to open that can of worms. Pity about the science, but on the bright side it only costs them one willfully blinded interplanetary satellite.

  55. Jim Eager says:

    Papertiger, are you deliberately confusing the polar vortices with the ozone hole, or are you merely doing so out of ignorance?

  56. Jim Prall says:


    I have to side with Jim Eager on this one. The polar vortex is a natural phenomenon. The “ozone hole” occurs *within* the polar vortex, but it is the result of human emissions of chloro-fluorocarbons or “CFCs” such as Freon(TM) from both refrigeration systems and in the past as propellant in spray cans.
    There is naturally almost no chlorine in the upper atmosphere, but the big surge of manmade chlorine compounds in this century has left lots of it in the stratosphere. We have direct measurements of this from balloon and aircraft sampling, plus remote sensing by sattelite instruments that can use spectrograms to show what chemicals are present at a distance.
    Chlorine in the stratosphere is a catalyst for the breakdown of ozone. The chlorine is not consumed in this reaction – it stays around to keep acting on more and more ozone molecules over time.
    The polar vortex, the extreme cold of the months-long night of the polar winter, and the formation of polar stratospheric clouds set the stage for the newly introduced chlorine to activate the reaction that breaks down ozone.
    Fortunately the scientific community detected this problem and worked through their debate over the explanation and the supporting evidence. The Montreal Protocol came about after leaders accepted that scientific case and agreed to ban chlorine-based spray can propellants and to phase out CFCs over a fairly short time. Now spray cans have Something Else(TM) that does not contain chlorine, and they still spray just fine. The air conditioning industry complained, but they have been able to adapt and are largely complying with the ban. (I heard on CBC Radio today that hockey arenas across Canada are facing a large one-time expense to replace their CFC-based chillers with chlorine-free systems.)
    The levels of chlorine in the stratosphere have stopped increasing and should gradually drop over time.
    A handful of vocal opponents continue to challenge the conclusions of the atmospheric chemists on this, which strikes me as pretty futile since both the scientific AND the policy debates on this came and went years ago. They missed any chance to prevent the adoption and implementation of the Montreal Protocol. Are they really hoping for a revival of the CFC industry? Who is their audience for that kind of far-too-late criticism?
    I’ve met some of the people at our university who built and installed instruments able to measure stratospheric ozone levels and attended a course on atmospheric chemistry. The instruments work, the measurements by different approaches all point to the same conclusions. Nobody came into this hoping to attack the CFC industry, and those I’ve met certainly don’t show any desire to turn back the clock on modern civilization.

    Jim Prall
    Toronto, Canada

  57. Jim Prall says:

    Oh, and just to be clear:

    When I said “A handful of vocal opponents continue to challenge…” I was thinking of groups like SEPP and Dr. Fred Singer. I was not referring to Prof. Lu.

    The linked paper by Prof. Lu specifically talks about “halogenated molecules” – i.e. ones containing Chlorine or Fluorine atoms. His new idea is that galactic cosmic rays could be a source for the high-energy electrons to drive the catalytic reactions of those molecules acting to break down ozone. This only applies because the Cl and Fl are present in the first place.

    Just so we’re clear about that.

  58. Jim Eager says:

    ‘in denial’ wrote: “Maybe just because I’ve not heard of or seen any these debates. I’m not big on reading scientific literature.”

    How odd that that has not prevented you from formulating and holding a strong opinion on the science then.

    If not based on an understanding of the science, then on what is that opinion founded?

  59. Jim Eager says:

    It may come as a shock to ‘in denial’ and others of his ilk, but debate within science is wholly unlike what we know as debate in the more general sense.

    Scientific ‘debate’ is not based on the persuasiveness of rhetoric, nor on the winning of points or arguments, it is based on the persuasiveness of evidence from observation and measurement of physical reality. It does not take place on television or on a stage in a public hall or on the pages of popular media before an audience wholly uneducated and unqualified to even follow what is being debated. It takes place in the pages of professional science journals and at scientific symposia where competing hypotheses and evidence to support them are presented. It takes place when a scientist’s peers reproduce their experiments and observations and either substantiate or refute their conclusions. It takes place as other scientists make new observations and find new evidence that either supports or refutes the predictions of a hypothesis.

    Naturally, this process takes considerable time–years, even decades–and takes place in multiple individual journal issues and at multiple symposia. Only after successfully undergoing multiple rounds of challenge, testing and refining, and reformulation and representation does an hypothesis become part of the accepted scientific consensus, and only by weight of the actual evidence.

    Attempting to compress this drawn out scientific process into a one hour public debate or dueling op-ed columns is meaningless, even worse than meaningless since it is not scientific truth that will win out, but rather the most compelling debater. It would end up being just another step in the politicization of a purely scientific issue.

    If you want a public debate, then stick to what can be debated: what to do in terms of public policy about the challenge of global warming/climate change. But make no mistake, attacking the science and the potential severity of that challenge is not debate, it is just denial, and denial abdicates your seat at the debate. Then all you are left with is a seat with the sniping rabble in the audience.

  60. in denial says:

    Dan B.,
    I’m not sure how you extrapolated my “not big on reading scientific literature” comment into dishonoring your family or their dreams. Calm down or double up on the meds. I don’t read medical journals but have a huge respect for the medical profession. I don’t read papers from the astro physics field but am in awe of what they do. My youngest son has two science degrees, one in microbiology; my younger brother has degrees in oceanography and chemistry; my grand-daughter is majoring in environmental studies. I’m not anti-science. I’m just not a scientist. However, I do question science with overt political agendas. Thanks to your family for using science to actually improve our lives.

    Frankly, it was one of the realist (“denialist”) sites which drove me to this alarmist (“acceptor”) site. It’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it…?

    Jim Eager,
    My conclusions are based on the best available information and the patent obsurdity of many of the claims and proposals of the AGW promoters. As there is not enough time for me to become a climate scientist, I’m still waiting for links to just a few of those hundreds of debates which have taken place over the last many years showcasing true opposing views regarding “global warming” (or is it now “climate change”?) so that I may form opinions “based on an understanding of the science.” I think we would at least agree that this is probably one of the most important topics of our day.

  61. in denial says:

    Jim Eager,
    Thanks for the ‘explanation’. I now understand why so many of my “ilk” compare AGW to religion replete with dogma and exclusivity. Ask no questions; question no conclusions; accept our ‘gospel’ or face hellfire (perhaps literally). I can be dismissed. I’m just a seeker. I can be relegated to “the sniping rabble in the audience” but what to do with the credentialled scientists who number in the hundreds perhaps thousands who vehemently disagree with the conclusions of your “ilk”? How about if we call them names (bonehead, baffoon) or question their motives by implying they work for “big oil” or use other methods of marginallizing them. We could even “out” them and get them fired. Or we could invite them into the “debate”. I used to think that science thrived on inquiry and invited opposing views. And I disagree with your excuse that “Attempting to compress this drawn out scientific process into a one hour public debate or dueling op-ed columns is meaningless, even worse than meaningless since it is not scientific truth that will win out, but rather the most compelling debater. It would end up being just another step in the politicization of a purely scientific issue.” It is obviously already highly politicized. If you and your “ilk” are comfortable with the science and the conclusions reached why would you not seek a forum to argue them? Facts are kind of stubborn. Anyhow, I guess what you are saying is for me to not hold my breath for any upcoming debate between a
    qualified “alarmist” and a qualified “denier”. Thanks for your comments.

  62. Jim Eager says:

    in denial, why don’t you just bellow at the moon while you’re at it, it will be just as effective.

    If you haven’t made a serious attempt to read about and understand the science of global warming/climate change then you can hardly claim that your conclusions are based on the “best available information.”

    if you actually want to read about the science then you can’t do better than start here:
    Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming

    And if you are serious about wanting to sort out the actual scientific debate, here are two tools that will allow you to do that:

    Most-Cited Authors on Climate Science

    Google Scholar

    Don’t expect anyone here to spoon feed it to you since you’ve already proven that you will just spit it back into their face.

  63. Bob Wallace says:

    in denial –

    The is a point in any scientific discussion where the data piles up so high on one side of the argument that the issue is settled and people move on. We no longer debate whether the Sun revolves around the Earth, or whether the Earth is flat or round.

    At this point in time the vast majority of climate scientists have looked at vast amount of data and agree that the Earth is warming, that the warming cannot be attributed to increases in solar heating, volcanic activity, nor any other factor than an increase in “greenhouse” gases.

    If someone can present some strong data that suggests that the Earth is not warming or that something other than atmospheric conditions are causing the warming then the debate will begin again.

    You’re coming off as the guy who has just emerged from a long sleep in a wooded glen and is busy arguing that bad air causes malaria.

    You’re not entertaining, nor are you contributing. You’re just being a PITA.

  64. David B. Benson says:

    in denial — You’ll find aspects of the scientific “debate” recorded in Weart’s book.

  65. Martin says:

    In Denial,

    I’m SO very sorry that you don’t like the way science works. What you’re asking for is sorta like asking the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks to figure out which is the better team by having the best player on each team participate in a three-pointer shoot-out.

    That’s my simile and I’m sticking to it.



  66. papertiger says:

    Hey Jim Prall.

    There is a flaw in your ointment.
    You said, “There is naturally almost no chlorine in the upper atmosphere, but the big surge of manmade chlorine compounds in this century has left lots of it in the stratosphere. We have direct measurements of this from balloon and aircraft sampling, plus remote sensing by sattelite instruments that can use spectrograms to show what chemicals are present at a distance.”

    Yes, there are measurable amounts of chlorine compounds in the atmosphere, but the chlorine compounds in of themselves are not catalysts. You even said it yourself. It is free chlorine molecules which are the necessary ingredient, and these are in short supply to account for polar ozone depletion.

    I suppose it just sounded so good and easily fixed to blaim chlorine compounds, that our scientists never bothered to measure the photolytic rate of decay until well after the consensus had found it’s prefered goat. Nobel prizes were divvied up and protocols were signed, then only very
    recently did NASA Jet Propulsion Labratory do the science to figure out if the chlorine catalyst theory held water.

    Pope, Hansen, Bayes, Fiedl, and Sanders study shows it doesn’t.
    Ultraviolet Absorption Spectrum of Chlorine Peroxide, ClOOCl

    Abstract: “The photolysis of chlorine peroxide (ClOOCl) is understood to be a key step in the destruction of polar stratospheric ozone. This study generated and purified ClOOCl in a novel fashion, which resulted in spectra with low impurity levels and high peak absorbances. The ClOOCl was generated by laser photolysis of Cl2 in the presence of ozone, or by photolysis of ozone in the presence of CF2Cl2. The product ClOOCl was collected, along with small amounts of impurities, in a trap at about −125 °C. Gas-phase ultraviolet spectra were recorded using a long path cell and spectrograph/diode array detector as the trap was slowly warmed. The spectrum of ClOOCl could be fit with two Gaussian-like expressions, corresponding to two different electronic transitions, having similar energies but different widths. The energies and band strengths of these two transitions compare favorably with previous ab initio calculations. The cross sections of ClOOCl at wavelengths longer than 300 nm are significantly lower than all previous measurements or estimates. These low cross sections in the photolytically active region of the solar spectrum result in a rate of photolysis of ClOOCl in the stratosphere that is much lower than currently recommended. For conditions representative of the polar vortex (solar zenith angle of 86o, 20 km altitude, and O3 and temperature profiles measured in March 2000) calculated photolysis rates are a factor of 6 lower than the current JPL/NASA recommendation. This large discrepancy calls into question the completeness of present atmospheric models of polar ozone depletion.

    Suddenly we need another mechanism to explain the ozone hole. This is why Anthony Watts is posting about the topic, and why climate progress will always be in the lag. Joe believes everything he is told (or paid to believe) and the ozone hole is “settled science”; out of bounds; beyond questioning.

    Don’t listen to him Jim, or one day you will wake up to find everything you know about global warming is wrong too.

  67. Jim Eager says:

    Held up because of three links since 3:33 this afternoon, so here it is in three parts:

    in denial, why don’t you just bellow at the moon while you’re at it, it will be just as effective.

    If you haven’t made a serious attempt to read about and understand the science of global warming/climate change then you can hardly claim that your conclusions are based on the “best available information.”

    if you actually want to read about the science then you can’t do better than start here:
    Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming

  68. Jim Eager says:

    And if you are serious about wanting to sort out the actual scientific debate, here are two tools that will allow you to do that:

    Most-Cited Authors on Climate Science

  69. Jim Eager says:

    Google Scholar

    Don’t expect anyone here to spoon feed it to you since you’ve already proven that you will just spit it back into their face.

  70. in denial says:

    David B. Bensen,
    Thanks. I’ll take you at your word that it’s not AGW hype or propoganda and give Weart’s book a read. I’ll expect to find a balanced approach with opposing views. If not, I’ll be back. Despite what the haughty Mr. Wallace says, there are clearly well reasoned opposing views.

    Hey man, I’m SO sorry you just couldn’t seem to find any of those elusive debates. I was hoping…

    Bob Wallace,
    Your statement “You’re coming off as the guy who has just emerged from a long sleep in a wooded glen and is busy arguing that bad air causes malaria.” is so right on the mark. I mean – exactly! Thanks! What causes malaria is a parasite carried by a mosquito (sorry if that seems condescending – not intended) which was once very effectively controlled by DDT. Well…scientists, after I’m sure much “scientific discussion” with the subsequent “data piles” decided it was “settled” that DDT was causing irreparable harm to wildlfe so…it was banned. Afterall, it was “settled” was it not? The result has been millions of deaths of the most vulnerable (children and the elderly) in the poorest of places on earth and now there is apparently some dispute as to the perceived harm of DDT. The AGW agenda along with it’s proposed ‘fixes’ has the potential of similar consequences. Pardon me if I don’t trust you with the lives of millions. BTW, I find you very entertaining…

  71. Jim Eager says:

    Now we get DDT myths from in denial.

    Richard, this poster is putting on nothing more than a feigned desire to ‘learn.’

    He’s nothing but a baiting troll.

  72. caerbannog says:

    In denial, here’s a suggestion: STFU

  73. Anonymous says:

    “He said that the Soviet Union reported that in some international competition the SU came in second, and the USA came in second to last, with no other details provided. Of course, only two countries were in the competition”

    Well, that’s one more country than gets invited to take part in the ‘World Series’!

    BTW, I notice some contrast in the level of debate here (and on most other AGW sites) and on Anthony Watts’s site. At least there, no tells dissenters to “STFU”…

  74. James P says:

    Sorry that wasn’t meant to be anonymous – just finger trouble.

  75. MikeEE says:

    Jim Eager,

    Sorry, but “in denial Says” is right. And he is very obviously right. DDT did control mosquitoes, it was banned, and millions of people die.

    caerbannog, nice mouth (fingers) you’ve got there. That would have been snipped at a more reputable site.

    All, clearly the models aren’t accurate; the temperature hasn’t been following any of the predictions. That means the science isn’t settled. There are so MANY, MANY unresolved questions about the whole AGW mythology this argument could go on forever. Do we really know what the past temperature and CO2 records look like? Do we know what it is right now? Do we know the true impact of what a change in climate would mean? How should the improved conditions be weighed against those that worsen?

    Until I hear something pretty convincing, I can’t see spending 100’s of billions or trillions of dollars on this.


  76. James P says:

    I’d like to see a convincing rebuttal of this article by Andrew Bolt:

    [JR: Just read this blog or]