"G¶ddard¤mmerung: Skeptical Science debunks climate cherry picking on sea level rise"
As the widely discredited WattsUpWithThat has relied more on outside writers who can’t even meet his minimum standards for anti-science disinformation, his Wikio ranking have collapsed. Coincidence? You be the judge.
Certainly WattsUpWithThat is exemplary anti-scientific blogging (see for instance, Wattergate: Tamino debunks “just plain wrong” Anthony Watts). Bizarrely, Watts continued to allow Steve Goddard to post even after he set the record for the fastest disinformer retraction: Watts says Goddard’s “Arctic ice increasing by 50000 km2 per year” post is “an example of what not to do when graphing trends.”
Physicist John Cook of the always insightful website, Skeptical Science, shows how a recent by post Goddard on his own website is the very definition of cherry picking:
A proper understanding of climate requires we consider all the data, the full body of evidence. A common rhetorical technique used to portray a skewed picture is the technique of cherry picking. This involves choosing just the select pieces of data that paint a certain picture, even if the full body of evidence gives the completely opposite result. A vivid example of this is a recent post by Steve Goddard which casts doubt on the fact that we’ve experienced record hot temperatures over the last year, citing falling sea levels in 2010. This is based on the following graph showing satellite measurements of sea levels over 2010:
Early in 2010, global sea levels hit the highest levels on record. Realising this fact is not possible when the only data presented is the following:
Of course, there’s a lot more that can be picked apart in Goddard’s blog post (and readers are welcome to contribute to this process). There’s no discussion of why sea levels might be dropping this year (I suspect it has something to do with the switch from El Nino conditions in early 2010 to La Nina conditions in the middle of the year). There is no exploration of what other factors besides air temperature contribute to glacier ice loss – Robert has explained the complexities of why glaciers loss mass here, here and here.
Instead all we are presented with is strong conclusions drawn from a very short piece of climate data. This is taken from a noisy signal showing many ups and downs throughout the long-term trend of sea level rise. A proper understanding of climate deserves much more than this.
In an earlier post, Cook notes that the full observational record makes clear that sea level rise is accelerating:
To construct a global historical record of sea levels, tide gauge records are taken from locations away from plate boundaries and subject to little isostatic rebound. This has been done in a 20th century acceleration in global sea-level rise (Church 2006) which reconstructs global sea level rise from tide gauges across the globe. An updated version of the sea level plot is displayed in [this figure]:
Figure: Global mean sea level from 1870 to 2006 with one standard deviation error estimates (Church 2008).
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a good website on global climate change indicators, including sea level rise, with this useful figure showing that seas are now rising nearly double the rate of the past century:
Now let’s do a little trend analysis of our own.
As recently as July, Watts was bragging that his website was ranked top blog in the Sciences category by Wikio.
Here are the new rankings:
1 Wired Science – Wired Blog 2 Pharyngula 3 Climate Progress 4 Watts Up With That? 5 Bad Astronomy 6 Not Exactly Rocket Science 7 Why Evolution Is True 8 RealClimate 9 Respectful Insolence 10 Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Note that “The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs.”
Does this collapse in rankings have anything to do with with the large fraction of postings from people who can’t even meet Watts’ minimum standards for anti-science disinformation, notably Steve Goddard and now Tom Fuller? Probably. The best evidence is G¶ddard¤mmerung (twilight of the Goddards?) — Watts seems to have given Goddard the boot from his website. What’s up with that?
- WattsUpWithThat hypes itself with most discredited web metric (hits!) and keeps smearing scientists while demanding others “dial back the rhetoric”
- Watts not to love: New study finds the poor weather stations tend to have a slight COOL bias, not a warm one
- Must-read NOAA paper smacks down the deniers: Q: “Is there any question that surface temperatures in the United States have been rising rapidly during the last 50 years?” A: “None at all”).
- FoxNews, WattsUpWithThat push falsehood-filled Daily Mail article on global cooling that utterly misquotes, misrepresents work of Mojib Latif and NSIDC
- Dust Bowl-ification hits Eastern Australia “” next stop the U.S. Southwest. Anti-scientific WattsUpWithThat says it has “nothing to do with the dreaded Climate Change” and “has an unappreciated benefit”!