What’s up with the Watts-up man, Anthony?

Posted on June 28, 2010


There is something that professional climate change denier, and weatherman, Anthony Watts doesn’t like to talk about.  At least, he doesn’t seem to mention it on his lecture tours.

These days Brother Anthony is in Oz going about from place to place giving lectures to people who like to attend lectures about things they already believe.

What Anthony Watts himself believes is that climate change is not happening.  His theory, which he continues to propound on his current lecture tour, is that the thermometers are wrong, and therefore the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is wrong because they rely on those thermometers.

(Anthony, there’s much more evidence than just thermometers, you know.  But Anthony isn’t listening.)

So Anthony Watts–not one to be content with theory–with a mighty flapping of gums summoned an intrepid army of researchers with cameras.  They went around the United States photographing weather stations and recording their defects.  So many defects.  Because in the end, only 70 weather stations passed muster.

All the other stations were wrong, said Anthony.  His army rested and was glad.

The Heartland Institute published Watts’ book about it.

The Heartland Institute, if you haven’t heard of them, is an organization that made it’s reputation speaking up for those poor beleaguered people in the tobacco lobby.  They have now moved on to protecting those poor beleaguered people in the fossil fuel industry.  The Heartland Institute is sort of like Robin Hood except from the Sheriff of Nottingham point of view.

Anthony Watts’ astonishing book came to the attention of the people at NOAA, and they replied.  One of the things they replied with is the following graph.  The graph compares the NOAA temperature data with the data from Anthony Watts’ perfect 70 thermometers.  The red line is NOAA data.  The blue line is Watts’ perfect 70 data.

As you can see the lines match.

All Anthony Watts succeeded in proving is that NOAA was already doing–and continues to do–an excellent job assessing climate data, even with imperfectly sited thermometers to work with.

It is kind of Anthony Watts to provide evidence of that.  It’s a sort of a public service, in a backwards, didn’t-mean-to-do-it, kind of way.  We’ll send him flowers, maybe.

But Anthony Watts continues to ostrich the evidence, even though he produced the evidence himself.

When Peter Sinclair did a piece on Watts and his research for the video series Climate Denier Crock of the Week, Watts unsuccessfully tried to get the video suppressed.

And as mentioned before, Watts continues to tour and lecture as if his theory hadn’t been resoundingly rebutted by a peer-reviewed scientific paper.

What’s up with Watts? you might ask.

I guess George Monbiot’s third cast-iron rule of climate change denial applies here:

3.  Never admit that you are wrong. Even when your errors are staring you in the face, do not acknowledge them. Never apologise, never concede.

Yup.  That’s about it, George.  That’s the what’s up, whether and whatever of Anthony Watts.


The first NOAA reply to Anthony Watts:


The peer-reviewed reply to Anthony Watts, printed this year in the JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 115, D11108, doi:10.1029/2009JD013094, 2010, may be found here:


The video by Peter Sinclair that Anthony Watts tried to suppress may be found here: