77 Responses to 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 wattsupwiththat.com, 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:
- M.I.T. joins climate realists, doubles its projection of global warming by 2100 to 5.1°C
- Hadley Center: “Catastrophic” 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path
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).