Last year Anthony Watts said that it was a certainty that siting differences caused a warm bias:

“I can say with certainty that our findings show that there are
differences in siting that cause a difference in temperatures, not
only from a high and low type measurement but also from a trend
measurement and a trend calculation.”

“The early arguments against this project said that all of these
different biases are going to cancel themselves out and there would be
cool biases as well as warm biases, but we discovered that that wasn’t
the case. The vast majority of them are warm biases, and even such
things as people thinking a tree might in fact keep the temperature
cooler doesn’t really end up that way.”

Now that Watts et al has been accepted for publication we find that his paper says the opposite and gets the same result as Menne at al:

Temperature trend estimates vary according to site classification, with poor siting leading to an overestimate of minimum temperature trends and an underestimate of maximum temperature trends, resulting in particular in a substantial difference in estimates of the diurnal temperature range trends. The opposite-signed differences of maximum and minimum temperature trends are similar in magnitude, so that the overall mean temperature trends are nearly identical across site classifications.

Mind you, if you read Pielke Sr’s spin, you might not notice:

Volunteer Study Finds Station Siting Problems Affect USA Multi-Decadal Surface Temperature Measurements

We found that the poor siting of a significant number of climate reference sites (USHCN) used by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) to monitor surface air temperatures has led to inaccuracies and larger uncertainties in the analysis of multi-decadal surface temperature anomalies and trends than assumed by NCDC.

And on and on for over 600 words about alleged inaccuracies in poorly sited stations before grudgingly conceding

In the United States, where this study was conducted, the biases in maximum and minimum temperature trends are fortuitously of opposite sign, but about the same magnitude, so they cancel each other and the mean trends are not much different from siting class to siting class.

Hat tip: Steve.


  1. #1 ianam
    May 19, 2011

    It’s not just an apology that is required.

    An apology is also due from John Nielsen-Gammon for the malarkey he posted at #63.

  2. #2 ianam
    May 19, 2011

    If he doesn’t it will just confirm how completely unethical the man is.

    There’s a problem with saying that someone who has repeatedly demonstrated some quality will confirm having that quality by yet further demonstrations of the same sort. We get from this a smug sense of superiority — see we were right! But what we really need is outrage, from ourselves and from all who enable such behavior — people such as John Nielsen-Gammon, who here dishonestly put a spin on Watts of acting with integrity, and dinged us for “bashing” the sack of shit.

  3. #3 Uncle Buck
    May 20, 2011

    I read this blog almost everyday, but rarely if ever post a comment. But I couldn’t myself today. These are some of the funniest and sharpest comments I’ve ever seen on a climate blog. Thanks for the laughs.

  4. #4 Eli Rabett
    May 21, 2011

    Something interesting Fall, et al.s out.

  5. #5 rhwombat
    May 21, 2011

    Eli: nice graph(s/ics)!…and the Worzuls…FTW!

  6. #6 Girma
    May 23, 2011

    Best cases for my scepticism of man made global warming

    1) Look at the extremely poor agreement between model forecast and observation.

    2) Look at an identical warming to the recent one 100 year ago.

    3) Look at the oscillation in the global mean temperature data.

    4) Look at a top climate scientist admitting, they give data at their own peril.

    5) Look at the global cooling since 2002.

    Man made global warming is not supported by the data, and the climate scientists themselves have doubts in private:

    6) Yeah, it wasn’t so much 1998 and all that that I was concerned about, used to dealing with that, but the possibility that we might be going through a longer – 10 year – period of relatively stable temperatures beyond what you might expect from La Nina etc. Speculation, but if I see this as a possibility then others might also.

  7. #7 steve from brisbane
    May 25, 2011

    People might be interested to note John Nielsen-Gammon’s latest post:

    which to my mind really shows what odd bedfellows he and Watts are to be co-authors on any paper.

    Seeing Watts was happy to re-post at WUWT JN-G’s post about the DTR aspect of the surfacestations paper, I wonder what’s holding him back from referring his readers to this later post. 🙂

  8. #8 Bernard J.
    June 6, 2011

    Tony Abbott [pwns Tony Abbott](

  9. #9 Bernard J.
    June 20, 2011

    [John Neilson-Gammon was interviewed on Counterpoint today by Paul Comrie-Thomson](

    It’s extraordinary – a lot of talking without actually touching on the fundamental point, until the very end, by which time the idea that the diurnal range was important had been well and truly planted.

    Many denialists would have been left with the idea that Watts had triumphed, even if they didn’t know how this was supposed to have been accomplished.

    “Wrong” really is [the hardest word to say](

    Listen out for how PC-T avoids discussing JN-G’s comments about warming and climate sensitivity near the end, and in fact [twists it during the interview to being a matter of needing more denialist scrutiny](

  10. #10 rhwombat
    June 20, 2011

    Bernard: I can’t listen to Counterpoint. It always ends with chewed door frames and me spitting splinters.

  11. #11 Russell
    June 27, 2011

    I think that the statement on WUWT that “Is the mean temperature trend different from previous estimates?” is answered in the negative” is decisive.

    The smoking gun – of badly-sited thermometers skewing the record – isn’t smoking.

    It seemed a reasonable hypothesis before the results spoke. Isn’t this a good example of scientific integrity: preferring to have one’s pet hypothesis refuted than to have it limp on?

  12. Russell:

    > Isn’t this a good example of scientific integrity:

    Unless Watts unequivocally says “I was wrong and I apologize to the climate scientists whom I have unfairly maligned”, no.

    — frank

  13. #13 Anna Haynes
    July 16, 2011

    Personal comment: the (personal) irony I’m seeing with what Watts did is that superficially it looks like what I did with my thesis results – interpret one way in the thesis, then after rumination&waffling, interpret the other way for publication (which never did occur, fwiw). Moral of my story: structure your research so that when your quantitative-answer-to-a-qualitative-question result comes out akin to Douglas Adams’s “what is the meaning of life” answer (42), it’ll be clear how to interpret it.

    That is all…

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