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« Not the BEST | Main | The passing of the Climate Change Act? »


Rich Muller may have an op-ed out, but Anthony Watts has a publication of his own:

A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France’s Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward. The paper is the first to use the updated siting system which addresses USHCN siting issues and data adjustments.

So now you know.

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Reader Comments (147)

“The pre-release of this paper follows the practice embraced by Dr. Richard Muller, of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project”


Jul 29, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

I'm starting a book on how long it takes the BBC to report this....

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

So the stuff Goddard points out everyday is being published.


Jul 29, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Spot the co-author number 3 (more to be added)

Anthony Watts - President, IntelliWeather, Chico, CA, USA
Evan Jones - IntelliWeather, Chico, CA, USA
Stephen McIntyre, - Toronto, Canada
John R. Christy 13 Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL, USA

Mcintyre AND Watts and Christy, should stir the climate world up a bit!!!

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Wooods

I am looking at the methods/results.

Didn't Courtillot perform a similar analysis?

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:38 PM | Registered Commentershub

Interesting and probably important (once peer-reviewed) but is this not simply another re-working of the data of the kind we have grown so sceptical about when shovelled at us by Mann et al.?

OK, this suits the sceptics (me included), but I'm dubious that it moves the science forward much - and I'm certain that the warmists, to the extent that they notice the work at all, will find a different way to reanalyse the data!

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

I do hope the Bishop will explain in plain English the significance of this and what it means in comparison to the BEST results.

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnnabelle

It looks to be important.

The US has one the best thermometer networks. If this is the state of affairs in such a network, you can imagine the magnitude of 'land warming' that will be observed over lesser networks.

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:47 PM | Registered Commentershub

So it's a USHCN siting quality issue. Not exactly world-stopping, far and away over-hyped, not in and of itself anything so revelatory. It's not like siting issues and inappropriate NOAA adjustments are unknown to us. At least, not those of us who keep an eye on Steve Goddard's RealScience site. I'm not happy. My opportunity to get wasted is wasted. I could have gone out.

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

How long before the dud-data denialism starts?

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

And I still don't see why it warranted such histrionics at WUWT - stopping of comments and making of cryptic remarks. I'm sure it's a decent and important piece of work, but what the? As for it having a global impact - no it won't. To the believers this is irrelevant, it won't be reported in the MSM. It will not have the impact that is promised or that it deserves.

This is not the time for the skeptic movement to get carried away with a fiction that they are saving mankind and indulge in self-aggrandising gestures which do nothing but lessen the impact of such a study.

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

In a nutshell bigyin

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

This is not about propaganda but about science. If accepted, the article shows what should really be done, also for the rest of the planet. A spurious doubling is an impressive error. If this will be the global picture, the scientific debate is over. Remember, it all started here. If this were known a few decades ago, AGW would have died in its child bed.

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMindert Eiting

Come on guys, don't you think using an unbiased station classification system to show that land warming trends over an important network (the US) is (a) much lesser than what is officially reported, (b) *sensitive to method of station selection*, an important study?

I know I sneered at the histrionics myself ('Something's happened'), but I think the paper is quite intriguing. Show this to morons who claim that trends over land are greater than those over water because CO2-caused warming manifests first over land.

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Registered Commentershub

I agree the paper is important in its own right, so it didn't require theatrics.

Also, I don't like having my chain pulled. We get precious few moments of joy in this game, being a CAGW skeptic is a long hard war of attrition and ridicule, and I don't like being promised a moment, then it not being delivered.

Sorry. I call them as I see them. I'll read the paper tomorrow when I've gotten over it.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"This is not the time for the skeptic movement to get carried away with a fiction that they are saving mankind and indulge in self-aggrandising gestures which do nothing but lessen the impact of such a study."

Well blow me down, I thought it was. Thanks for putting us (sorry -'me' ) right!

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlleagra

Ah, the Rabbit says that Mullers effort will be considered grey lit to this next ipcc. so does this mean that Watts et al will be in the same boat?

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo G

Alleagra, THEY think they are saving mankind. We're defending truth.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

After thinking about it a bit, I think I see the potentially 'tectonic' import here - this paper shows that every previously published temp record is severely flawed (BEST included). Therefore, any paper (in any field) published using those temp records may need to be re-evaluated. That's a large number.

Since the methods used here (Leroy 2012) have been previously endorsed as the current gold standard by the WMO, this really does look like the current, best analysis that we have. It's not easily dismissed. Not that some won't try.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonasM

I am looking at the methods/results.

Didn't Courtillot perform a similar analysis?

Jul 29, 2012 at 8:38 PM | shub

Courtillot was refused data by the CRU mob and therefore search for an alternative source. He fell upon the french and some européen temperature sites. The analysis he made he presented to the académie scientifique de France as evidence contre AGW. The académie did not accept his analysis as sufficient evidence to alter their view, and that of the government and the EU, of AGW. He and M. Alegro were effectively ignored.

I don't know haw much more evidence has to be presented before this fraud is finished but I suspect an enormous amount. There is so much money embedded in the EU MEPs and Commissioners that they will continue this fraud to very end. Possibly 20yrs.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Well Andy revkin has put this into an update on the bottom of his Muller article. It's a start I suppose....

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo G

GISS loves airports. Now we know why.

"when 377 airport stations are excluded for the CONUS analysis, compliant stations have a 0.124°C/decade trend while non-compliant stations are almost double the trend at 0.246°C/decade. The difference in the SE region grew even larger with compliant stations having a -0.131°C/decade trend while non-compliant stations have a 0.219 °C/decade trend for a difference of 0.350°C/decade."

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Nuttin on RC as of yet.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo G


I believe what Watts et al work does is say that the results Hansen and Muller report are mathematically correct but reflect almost twice the actual temperature changes. He is saying that their methods of adjustment, while previously considered appropriate, are not, in fact apprpriate, and that if they had applied the appropriate adjustment techniques neither Hansen nor Muller would have come to the conclusion re CO2 that they have.

Watts' paper is a get-out-of-jail-free card for every warmist. Based on current knowledge, they have behaved responsibly. Everyone from Al Gore to Bill McKibben has been mislead by the wrong statistical techniques, but, most importantly, not about global warming per se, but the rate of global warming.

Watts' paper could allow a lot of face-saving by the committed but uneasy eco-green, the ones who have worried that the catastrophe we were warned was approaching rapidly still seemed on the horizon and perhaps was a bit further away than we thought. The FACT of CO2-warming is not under attack by their work, but only the MAGNITUDE of the warming - CO2-caused or not.

What Watts et al have done is put into a paper what Richard Treadgold of New Zealand is trying to achieve through a lawsuit with their meteorological services down under: a questioning of the methods by which disparate data is compared. The dispute of Mann and his tree-ring data is similar. Mann has said "This is good data, this is bad data, and I have plugged holes and adjusted for local variation to get longterm trends records are regionally incomplete." Hansen, Gore, Salinger and Mann say that most, if not all local records include global changes. Watts says many local records reflect ONLY local changes, and that including these records distorts the final picture.

It is the RealClimate site that will be most interesting to watch. This subject has been raised many times before with the simple graph of GCHN adjustments over time being the clearest that a warming bias equal to the "worrisome" rise in temperature exists (though justifiable by Hansen/Schmidt). This paper takes the perceived problem to its place of origin: the measurement sites. The data collected is, he/they say, fundamentally corrupted in a manner that subsequent "adjustments" make, in fact, worse. You cannot get any lower challenging a scientist's claims than this, other than saying that the WWF paid them to submit false data.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Proctor

Can't argue with that, TBY.

The whole UHI/land warming issue is contentious enough (I feel in my stupid brain) that the paper could have stood on its own as an important contribution. It didn't require a generalised non-specific rousing of all concerned, which can only be done by hiding the specifics, to draw attention to itself.

Even now as I read Pielke Sr's post on the matter, it is clear to me that science papers merely serve as salvos to be fired across camp boundaries in their pathetic temperature index power struggle, rather than vehicles of communication of the authors' curiosity-driven adventures. This is especially cloying to me (in all likelihood) having been exposed to some of the background issues in this matter.

I mean look at this adversarial language:

Anthony’s new results also undermine the latest claims by Richard Muller of BEST, as not only is Muller extracting data from mostly the same geographic areas as for the NCDC, GISS and CRU analyses, but he is accepting an older assessment of station siting quality as it affects the trends.

Indeed, since he accepted the Fall et al 2011 study in reporting his latest findings, he now needs to retrench and re-compute his trends.

It is widely known that there is no panacea to tackle station siting issues and therefore every one and their uncle have always been using statistical methods to apply blanket adjustments on station series which is then taken to the global average. Watts' method is a step in the right direction but it is still reliant on bulk station classification schemes.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Registered Commentershub

What happens when the new method is applied to a dataset that is "out of sample" to the USHCN being studied by the Watts' team?

It seems to me, for instance, the New Zealand station records could be re-analyzed fairly quickly.

Are there other long term records where the history of station quality can be determined from meta-data, not simply looking at step changed in the temperature trends themselves? If so, how long per station does such a confirmation analysis require?

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterpouncer

The bottom line is on page 45 here:

+0.032 C/decade.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

" is to be submitted for publication."

Get back to us when the peer-reviewed residue sees the light of day in a journal antedating the present Climate Wars .

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

What Shub said. It's very significant that the rate of warming per decade has been found to be between 2 and 3 times lower in the class 1&2 stations (which are of course the best-sited ones) than the "official" rate. This indicates that the NOAA adjustments are greatly exaggerated. In fact, if I read what Watts said correctly, NOAA has used the lower class station values (with poor siting) to adjust the best-class values upwards. Completely arse about face.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael Larkin

I think the real point is that this finishes off the climate models. They have looked increasingly suspect as they were hacked to try to match reality. Now they are shown to be absolutely out of step with reality, with little hope of redemption.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPJP

The key finding is, surely, the NOAA adjustments (direction and size).

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohnbuk

WOW, Pielke, Sr. is quite confident that this paper is "seminal" and a "game changer" -- he must have spent some time in careful review of it before the past 90 minutes to express such high confidence in the paper and details, I would think:

Pielke, Sr. praises Watts et al (2012)

"Anthony has led what is a critically important assessment of the issue of station quality. Indeed, this type of analysis should have been performed by Tom Karl and Tom Peterson at NCDC, Jim Hansen at GISS and Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia (and Richard Muller). However, they apparently liked their answers and did not want to test the robustness of their findings."

"In direct contradiction to Richard Muller’s BEST study, the new Watts et al 2012 paper has very effectively shown that a substantive warm bias exists even in the mean temperature trends...."

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:34 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

It looks to me as though Watts got wind of the Muller announcement and dropped everything he was doing (including his vacation) to pre-release his paper. i.e. To provide some counter to the damaging publicity Muller would create for climate sceptics. I don't appreciate being patronised in this way. Watts needs to tell us exactly why he published this weekend and why it was worth cancelling his vacation.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian

Wow Doug. I tried to say the same thing as you to Gates over at the Blackboard, but your version is far superior to mine. Yes, if this paper holds, the dastardly water vapour effect is gone, meaning the Human Race has time to thoughtfully approach this CO2 problem.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo G

Muller mullered. Its hot in the city tonight.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:44 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Uh Julian, no he doesn't.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo G

No wonder Anthony wanted to devote all his time to this.

I've been reading Muller's bullshit all over the place, with smug comments of "we told you so!"
This might shut them up for a bit.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris S

oh yes, acknowledgement at end of paper:

"Special thanks are given to Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. for inspiration, advice, and technical proofreading of this study"

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:51 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Pielke Pere, he knows where.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I say good luck to Anthony Watts!
Nice paper shame about the hype ^.^

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:58 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I'm glad he cancelled his vacation to put this up. His paper is in sharp contrast to Mullers new info .... oh, wait.

There isn't any new info from BEST (yet). Their site is down. Maybe they will break down their data by region and station quality for once.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

So nobody knew what the announcement was, but just about everyone seems to have been involved in it!

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:39 PM Julian said:

"Watts needs to tell us exactly why he published this weekend and why it was worth cancelling his vacation."

Fer cryin' out loud. You haven't got a clue how significant this is. Put a stopper in it and do one.

Jul 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael Larkin

At first glance this indeed appears to be a substantial piece of work with significant findings. Some people on here, acting as if Watts somehow owes them somethings, need to get over themselves.

Now we wait to see if this paper will simply be dismissed out of hand by the usual suspects (what I consider most likely), or if they will take time to make an proper effort to falsify the findings using robust scientific methods (which appears to a potentially tricky challenge).

At the end of the day, what this does nothing to change is the political agenda and drivers underpinning the whole CAGW movement. While the science goes to and fro the real issue is the coordinated political effort to achieve ends that undermine what remains of democratic structures around the world and replace them with global bureaucratic control beyond the reach of the electorate.

Jul 29, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAutonomous Mind

is counting down to the sks "demolition" of ths, which will then be enthusiastically replicated by BBD.

Jul 29, 2012 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

One of the most telling results from Watts et al's analysis is that their results (estimates) are consistent with satellite measurements. When two radically different approaches to temperature measurement conform, it is more likely that they are correct.

Jul 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRCSaumarez

Well I don't see any direct antithesis to Muller's posturing, this seems to a be a more original claim, but good for Watts. It’s the thing that he has been doing all the time that is original and interesting so bless his dramatics ;)

Jul 29, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

TheBigYinJames and others: rather than complaining, why not take a leaf out of Steve McIntyre's book and say "People, including me, read this the wrong way." Humility is good for us and usually leads in the direction of more truth.

Unfortunately, though, I find I cannot follow my own advice, as I don't think I did read this wrong. I read Anthony's teaser, then read some of the blog speculations. I was deeply unimpressed by the latter - indeed bored. So I went off and did what I would have done anyway this weekend, unburdened by the expectations of the crowd.

As well as, I'm sure, a valuable addition to the science (and as someone says, if it's been this bad in the US what about the rest of the world?) I think this episode is a great opportunity for the climate blogosphere to admit its immaturity. We're not going to change the world for the better this way.

The solution isn't just to do with more use of real names but I sure think it would help.

Jul 29, 2012 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Back story- WUWT on the Jones and Wang 1990 UHI data

Jul 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

I am a little disappointed at those who complain of Mr Watts theatrical release of the information. This is the problem with the entire science/politics nexus, the political ignorance of scientists and the scientific ignorance of politicians. Without the politics the science is useless. At least Mr Watts et al have the process in the right order. Get the science right then politic the hell out of it. What we have had for a couple of decades is science trying to catch up to the politicing of the AGW team.

Jul 29, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Won A Bagel

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