Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Denialists love to parse the language of others in the hope of a ‘gotcha’ moment. If only people could just read between the lines they’d see there really is a Grand Climate Change Conspiracy. Steve McIntyre, for instance, provides numerous examples of said parsing.

Super Awesome Award-Winning SCIENCE blogger Anthony Watts similarly loves the ‘gotcha’. Unfortunately, as Tamino demonstrates, he’s not the most cluey fella. Or in any way consistent, when it comes to it. For example; witness a letter on Watts’ site written by Ross Hays attempting to debunk the recent work of Steig et al. concerning warming in Antarctica.

Tamino shows why Ross is, at best, a little confused. At worst, completely full of cow dirt.

But what is Watts’ reply when Hay’s inaccuracies are bought to light?

Commenter D. Patterson asks:
Anthony, what is the basis for Ross Hay’s statement: “December 2006 was the coldest December ever for McMurdo Station”? When was it lower than -81C?
Anthony replies:
I don’t know, perhaps he’s got some inside information we don’t know about. It would seem odd to me, that a person familiar with the working of the press and science (having been a meteorologist for CNN and working in a science facility) would make such a statement, knowing that it could easily be refuted, if he didn’t have some basis for it.
Maybe he’s got some ‘inside information’!! WTF!! Were the thermometer’s children being held by Antarctic separatists, who threatened that the littleuns’ll swim with the penguins unless the temperature is reported as -60C rather than -257C, only to be overheard by Hays who’d snuck outside for a sly ciggie?

Or is there some other sort of ‘inside information’?

After all, he was a meteorologist for CNN and worked in a science facility. What is the possibility of a TV meterologist being a little less than honest?

Patterson persists:
Agreed. Tamino, however, challenged the claim using a graph indicating the McMurdo temperature for December was -60C and nowhere near the lowest December temperatures. Tamino appears to be using a monthly mean temperature. Daily minimum temperatures have been at least as low as -81C in 1977 according to HADCRU. Perhaps Ross can shed some light on Tamino’s challenge of Ross’s comment?
To which Anthony replies:
I’ll ask. Being a balloon met, he may have been referring to any level of the atmosphere and just didn’t qualify his comment well. Most of our discussion has been “grounded” so to speak, on surface data.
Hmmmm…..didn’t qualify his data well. Monthly temperature could actually mean daily. Could have been any level of the atmosphere.  

Here’s my thinking McMurdo station existed on the…what is it….surface, and doesn’t exist on....um...other levels.

But I haven’t spent a summer in the Antarctic. No day-to-day experience.

Hay's reply, if it ever occurs, will be interesting.  Not holding breath.