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It's taking me a while to get back to blogging and there's a lot happening in the world to distract. I couldn't help but notice there is a lot of extreme weather around the world, the terrible floods in Japan, for example. If you're wondering how these examples of climate change are affecting climate science deniers, it's making them even loopier than normal.

Airport UHI disease breakout in Africa
Over at WUWT, Anthony Watts found another airport that had a sudden attack of airport UHI disease. You'll remember how there was an outbreak in Greenland back in 2013. This horrible disease only strikes on very hot days, apparently. Not even that. It only strikes on the very hottest of days according to Anthony's research. He said he his amazing finding was "based on hours of combing Google Earth and other sources". Yes, he really did spend "hours" trying to figure out a reason to discount a temperature reading for a weather station in Africa. He decided that on the particular day of the very high weather reading, possibly a record high reading, the weather station decided to act up.

Once again he didn't explain just how it acted up so much more than on any other day, why on this particular day the higher reading couldn't possibly have been higher than the reading taken on another day. He put it down to aeroplanes. He didn't show that there was an aeroplane anywhere near the weather station that day. Nor did he show that there has never been another day without an aeroplane at that airport. He just decided that for some inexplicable reason, the weather station cannot possibly have measured the temperature properly but just on that particular day.

Weird, huh?

Irrational and angry in the Californian heat
Well, if you think that was weird, how about this.

Anthony lives in California so you'd think he'd have been able to feel the heat of the past few days, and seen that there are awful fires raging. You'd think he could garner some sympathy for his southern neighbours. But no. He's decided it wasn't real and that the weather stations in California must have been playing up.

Now any sane, rational person would know that even if a weather station is not placed in an ideal location, it's reasonable to compare one reading with another from the same weather station. Not according to Anthony.

By his reckoning, if a thermometer measures a reading on one day that's hotter or colder than that measured by the same instrument on another day, one cannot say that the hotter (or colder) reading meant that it was actually hotter (or colder).

Tell that to your oven thermometer, or your fridge thermometer :)

That's not the worst of it. The weather has really gotten to poor heat-struck Anthony Watts. He became a tad angry with Nick Stokes for pointing out something similar. This is what happened when Nick Stokes pointed out that Anthony's chosen thermometers aren't used for climate monitoring purposes:
Climate science is not involved here. This is a newspaper, in its local section, telling people about the daily temperature records at their local station. People read thermometers long before climate science was a thing.

July 8, 2018 7:09 pm
Bullshit Nick. NOAA puts these into the database, then NASA GlSS etc. Why don’t you just go on record saying you don’t give a damn about accuracy in data collection. Sheesh #$=(%:!
July 8, 2018 7:38 pm
“then NASA GlSS etc”
The USC station is in GHCN Monthly because it is a long term record, and so it is recorded by GISS. Burbank has not been there since 1966. Van Nuyts, Santa Ana are not in GHCN-M at all. And GHCN is what climate scientists mostly use. GISS just passes along information from GHCN (except for their UHI treatment).
July 8, 2018 8:25 pm
So effing what Nick? The point is the DATA IS CORRUPTED AND BIASED. But you can’t bring yourself to admit that. You aren’t an honest researcher. Your own bias blinds you.
These stations get used in homogenization, and their errors collectively bias the entire climatic record upward.
Truly Nick doesn’t give a damn about accuracy in data collection. He’s a paid troll.
I’m really done with you. Go away.

Nick is correct and Anthony is spouting nonsense, of course (in case there's a lurker here who has trouble figuring out what's what.)

There's more, showing how deniers are extremely intolerant of extreme heat. Nick Stokes pointed out that it's quite valid for a reading to be compared to another reading from the same instrument in the same location:

“The all time record high temperatures for Los Angeles “
Was there a claim of an all-time record there (this year). The LA Times article listed a number of daily records for various stations. But I don’t see how that could be disqualified. Stations seem to have a daily record for every day of the year. If you disqualify this one, why would the last one be better? It seems to me that if stations are reporting temperatures, somewhere there will be a maximum that people will note, and I don’t see how that can be prevented.
-8 Reply
July 8, 2018 8:15 pm
That’s the problem Nick, you can’t see anything. Just shut up, really. Your comments are literally beyond belief these days and clearly you are trolling. Clearly you don’t give a damn about accuracy in measurement, only the resulting numbers as long as they fit your narrative.
8 Reply
July 8, 2018 8:19 pm

Just "shut up, really". That's the best that Anthony can come up with when the obvious is pointed out to him. He doesn't want anyone being rational on his blog.

Perhaps because it only got to 95 F on Sunday where Anthony lives, he can't envisage a place nearby where the temperature reached 116 F.

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Here's a small example of why one should avoid getting their science from pseudo-scientists. Eric Worrall is criticising an experiment that was designed to determine the impact of higher daytime temperatures on bees.

The scientists put some bees into boxes painted white and some into boxes painted black and monitored them for a couple of years.

Eric thought he found a fatal flaw. His criticism was this:
The team seem to have logged daily maximum temperature inside the boxes, but I didn’t see any attention to daily minimum temperature. Painting the boxes black would have caused higher maximum temperatures from absorption of sunlight in the daytime, but the black painted boxes would also have radiated heat faster at night.
Just in case you thought, maybe Eric was talking about the faster rate of cooling as the sun went down, he's not. He added a sentence so you'll not make any mistake:
So it seems possible that much of the damage to the bees in the black boxes was caused by colder night time temperatures, rather than warmer daytime temperatures.
Wrong! Both boxes would have around the same minimum temperature during the night.

Eric either didn't study radiation or he played up during the class and wasn't listening. Can someone tell him that in most places, the sun doesn't shine at night. Even if it did, the black boxes would absorb more sunlight and be warmer.

Perhaps Eric doesn't know that radiated heat from the boxes is in the infra-red range and the external colour of the boxes makes virtually no difference. The white boxes are the same as the black boxes when it comes to infrared radiation. In the daytime there is a heat difference because the white boxes reflect sunlight (visible spectrum), while the black boxes absorb it. Black boxes get hotter during the day. At night the temperature of both will eventually get to be the same as that of their surrounds. The black boxes won't get any colder than the white.

Don't just take my word for it, for the physically challenged there's even a paper :)

I'm not offering an opinion on whether the study itself is a good one or flawed, or whether the conclusions are sound. If you're interested, you can read the abstract and press release. I just wanted to point out that the criticism Eric leveled is no criticism and to show, again, that one shouldn't get their "science" from WUWT.

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Summary: May 2018 was the fourth hottest May on record. The 12 month period to May 2018 was the third hottest June to May period on record.

According to GISS NASA, the average global surface temperature anomaly for May was 0.82 °C, which is 0.09 °C less than the hottest - May 2016.

Below is a chart of the average of 12 months to May each year. The 12 months to May 2018 averaged 0.82 °C above the 1951-1980 mean, which was 0.19 °C cooler than the 12 months to May 2016.

This makes it the third hottest June to May 12 month period on record after 2016 and 2015.

Figure 1 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the 12 months to May each year. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

Next is a chart of the month of May only. This May was also 0.82 °C above the 1951-1980 average and was the fourth hottest May on record. It was 0.09 °C cooler than May 2016, which was 0.91 °C above the 51-80 mean. Hover over the chart to see the anomaly in any May:
Figure 2 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the the month of May only. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

Where was it hot?
In April, although of course, much hotter overall than it was just a few years ago, it was very much hotter than normal in parts and very much cooler in other parts. In May something similar happened up in the northern hemisphere, though without the same extent of extremes. Move the arrow at the left to the right to compare May with April.

Figure 3 | Maps showing mean surface temperature, anomalies for May and April, from the 1951-1980 mean. Data source: GISS NASA

Year to date chart
For the record, here is the year to date progressive chart. You need to understand what it is to make sense of it. The chart below shows the average temperature for the year at each point on each separate line on the chart. The topmost line is 2016. The fat black line with dots, which goes to May, is 2018.

For each year at January, the point is just the anomaly for January. At February, the point is the average anomaly for January and February. At May, it's the average of January to May inclusive - all the way to December, which is the average for the whole year.

So the 2018 year shows that the average for the period January to May is 0.83 °C. This is 0.33 °C lower than the average year to date for May 2016, toward the end of the massive El Nino. It is 0.17 °C lower than the average year to date was in May 2017. It's a tad ahead (by 0.01 °C) of the average year to date to May in the next hottest year, 2015. The average over the entire 2016 year is 0.99 °C (the point marked for December on the 2016 line) and this year is not expected to be another hottest year.

Figure 4 | Progressive year to date global mean surface temperature anomaly. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

If there is another El Nino this year, which could be on the cards, then it's not out of the question that 2018 would end up the third warmest year on record, ahead of 2015.

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David Archibald is someone who often predicts the world is about to get very, very cold. He's not a denier, he's a disinformer. He tells lies. One of the many who Anthony Watts promotes on his climate conspiracy blog WUWT.

I couldn't let this one pass, because this time he was claiming it hasn't warmed in Australia in 40 years. He's wrong. It has.

Below is a chart showing the surface warming from data recorded and analysed by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, one of the foremost climate and weather offices in the world. It includes a LOESS smooth (red line) and a linear trend line from 1979 to 2017.

Where has it warmed in Australia?
The Bureau of Meteorology has a lot of information on temperature and precipitation and other data relating to weather and climate. There is a map showing how the mean temperature has changed across the continent since 1970. Two tiny pockets in the north west have cooled a tad. Most of the country is heating up a lot.

The latest 10 year period is 0.5 C hotter than it was forty years ago
There's more. Below is a decadal chart of the above, which makes it even easier to compare the average 10 year temperature of four decades ago with that of the most recent 10 year period.

As you can see, the most recent 10 year period had an average surface temperature 0.5 C higher than the 10 year period forty years ago. That's a lot. That's the average increase over the entire continent.

Now what David used to support his claim was the temperature of the lower troposphere as estimated by the UAH team. Here is what David wrote:
Australia’s atmospheric temperature has been a paragon of stability. There has been no increase over the last 40 years. Since global warming has to start in the atmosphere, there has been no global warming in Australia. No Australian under the age of 40 has experienced global warming. Given the way the Sun is going, they are likely to miss out altogether.

He's wrong. He's telling lies. I'll show you the decadal chart of UAH data for the lower troposphere over Australia using the same data that David says he used.

So David lied. Even for UAH, the lower troposphere was 0.49 C hotter for the latest decade than for the 10 year period forty years ago.

There is another data set. It's the one put together by the team at Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). That data doesn't show the air over Australia. What they show are the changes in the air over the latitudes 20 South to 70 South, which covers all but the very top part of Australia and a lot of the ocean below (down to Antarctica). Here is a decadal chart:

The RSS data for this latitude range shows the most recent 10 year period as being 0.41 C hotter than that forty years ago. Bear in mind that these data cover the entire latitude band, which is mostly ocean. The land warms faster than the ocean and, in any case, this isn't the surface (where we Australians live), it's measuring the temperature up to about 10 km above the surface, with most weighting at around 2.5 km up in the air.

If there's anyone who mistakenly thinks that WUWT is a science blog, let this be another lesson for you. It's not. It's a blog where people who want to disinform the public go to post misleading articles and ridiculous comments. It's full of wacky conspiracy theories, appalling pseudo-science and fringe right wing politics. It's got nothing to do with climate science.

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The other day (was it only yesterday) Anthony Watts predicted that newly-appointed Jim Bridenstine would soon lose his job as head of NASA (pictured right).

Anthony was relying on an article by James Delingpole on a competitor site of WUWT, Breitbart. James wrote scoffingly, quoting Mr Bridenstine:
I read a lot”?
What was Bridenstine thinking?
What indeed - reading for heaven's sake. Who in their right mind would read? Not James Delingpole, that's for sure.

Yep - Fake sceptics "have just kind of made their stuff up"
James, who said, on a BBC program that he doesn't read scientific papers, "It is not my job to sit down and read peer-reviewed papers because I simply haven’t got the time…. I am an interpreter of interpretations", added:
Does he seriously want to put out the message that the primary difference between the climate skeptic position and the climate alarmist position is that the latter group has done the most thorough reading, whereas the skeptics have just kind of made their stuff up from the top of their heads?
I'd say that's about it, wouldn't you?

(You can try your luck watching the BBC program if you missed it. It doesn't work for me and the BBC in its wisdom has removed most of the YouTube videos, though not all snippets.)

Delingpole on climate science : the money shot - YouTube

Jim Bridenstine at his nomination hearingNow young Anthony Watts was enthusiastically predicting the demise of Mr Bridenstine and headed up his copy and paste with this pronouncement:
Wow, “say anything” to get the appointment, then reverse your position. I see a “you’re fired!” Trump moment in the not too distant future.
So I investigated to see just what was the "anything" that Jim Bridenstine said to get the GOP majority to support him. Did he reject climate science to toe the party line? Not at all.

As reported at SpaceNews.com, Jim Bridenstine was cautious at his nomination hearing but he did confirm that global warming was extremely likely to be the result of human activities. Here is what was reported:
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) asked Bridenstine if he agreed with the statement that “climate warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.” Bridenstine responded with “yes.”

Bridenstine was reticent, though, to agree with questions by Schatz and other senators about whether human activity was the primary cause of climate change. “Human activity absolutely is a contributor to the climate change that we are currently seeing,” he said. Asked by Schatz if it was the primary cause, he said, “It’s going to depend on a lot of factors, and we’re still learning more about that every day.”

Jim Bridenstine actually reads! (Drain the swamp)
Below is the nub of what Anthony Watts and James Delingpole objected to - that Jim Bridenstine changed his view about climate change after listening to experts and reading. What true blue denier would take heed of experts in a subject and who the heck reads anything these days, let alone science? From the Washington Post:
In the interview, Bridenstine said there was no single event that cause him to change his thinking. As chairman of the Environment subcommittee, he said he “listened to a lot of testimony. I heard a lot of experts, and I read a lot. I came to the conclusion myself that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that we've put a lot of it into the atmosphere and therefore we have contributed to the global warming that we've seen. And we've done it in really significant ways.”

Before heeding experts, Bridenstine used to rely on denier blogs
Now Anthony and James might not have kept up with the change in thinking of Bridenstine. Back in 2013 he sounded like your average numbskull at WUWT, talking about medieval warming, raising furphies like hurricanes and tornadoes, and claiming that "global temperatures stopped rising ten years ago" (i.e. back in 2003). Perhaps the fact that temperatures have continued to rise prompted him to investigate real science.

From the WUWT comments - Is Anthony Watts working with the US government on science?
From reading the replies at WUWT, it's clear that science deniers will turn on anyone who decides they prefer fact to fiction. Anyone who doesn't support wacky conspiracy theories is suspect.

There was a little gem in the comments, which everyone seemed to ignore. (WUWT-ers don't take all that much notice of what their host says.) Paul Black wrote, as part of a longer comment:
June 11, 2018 2:26 pm
Good. At least we don’t have NASA and the EPA run by anti-science lunatics.
Well, they do have Willie Happer advising the president, too…imagine Anthony Watts working with the US government on science! (shudder)...
And Anthony Watts replied, suggesting he is working with "the Swamp"!
June 11, 2018 2:34 pm
There’s no need to imagine it. Shudder on.
You read it here first - assuming you don't visit WUWT :)

The comments include several from a couple of people trying to educate those who refuse to be educated. They were shouted down by many more comments from various people spouting a lot of pseudo-science babble. That's the whole point of denier blogs. They are an outlet for people to protest and reject reality, which is all too much for their little minds to handle.

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Tim Ball is Anthony Watts' pet conspiracy theorist. He's an utter nutter of the first order. He was the first-named author of a book denying the greenhouse effect (pictured right).  Anthony Watts never mentions that, although he has a policy that "WUWT is a slayer free zone". Anthony only implements this policy on very rare occasions, and always exempts Tim Ball.

Today I'll just write about one thing, and it's not about Tim's main preoccupation (anti-semitic conspiracy theories). This time it's about manipulation.

Manipulation is a curious word. It sends shivers down the spine of every science denier yet they flock to blogs like WUWT where manipulation of the gullible is the only stock in trade.

Anthony Watts posted an article with the usual nonsense from Tim Ball (climate science is a hoax, a communist plot, a conspiracy for world domination by persons sometimes named, sometimes not). In it, Tim opened with this sentence:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the people who formulated the structure that directed their research, constantly manipulated the data and the methods to predetermine the results.
The first thing to wonder is how thousands and thousands of multiple generations of scientists all over the world managed to conspire to get results that point to the same conclusion. We are causing global warming. That's some conspiracy, isn't it. Tim doesn't say how this works, but he doesn't have to. His fans are all conspiracy theorists too, and believe that everyone is out to get them. Oh, except for Donald Trump who can do no wrong even when he's hurting them very badly.

The second thing you might wonder about is this bit about manipulating the data. If you're a scientist, you know that working with oodles of data requires one to process them. Manipulating data is what scientists do. What they don't do, unless they are dishonest, is "manipulate data and methods to predetermine the results". Anyone who does that is eventually found out and the result is not pretty.

It's not easy to get results to show something other than what the data points to. One must either fabricate data or leave out inconvenient data. Then you'd be faced with having to explain why your results differed from that of everyone else who has collected data. (Science deniers do both which is one reason they cannot get any consistency between their various, usually conflicting, stories.)

You might or might not be aware that Tim Ball, in the dim distant past, wrote a couple of papers that were published in the scientific literature. This is an abstract of one of them, co-authored with  Roger A. Kingsley and published in 1984, when he had a teaching gig in the Geography Department at the University of Winnipeg:
As a result of affiliation between the Hudson's Bay Company and the Royal Society a relatively large number of instrumental temperature records are available from York Factory and Churchill Factory on the southwest of Hudson Bay beginning in 1768. The nature of these records, details of the instruments and information about the observers are presented....
So far so good. Tim put together some temperature records he got from a couple of factories on the Hudson. But wait. He struck some obstacles:
The major difficulty with the records is that the number of observations and the time of observation varied considerably.
So what did he do? He manipulated the data, using "adjustment factors". My oh my. That sounds just the sort of thing of which he doesn't approve.
Adjustment factors were calculated for all of the combinations using a modern record maintained at the Churchill airport.
It gets worse. How many deniers have you come across who castigate scientists for "splicing" records? Well, that's exactly what Tim Ball said he did:
By combining the Hudson's Bay Company record with data recorded by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after 1852, and up to 1910, a long and relatively continuous record of daily and monthly average temperatures has been created for Central Canada.
Wow! What do you reckon. How can Tim hold his head up among the paranoid conspiracy crowd? Not only did he manipulate the data, he spliced records of two factories with records from the RCMP (which surely are part of the elite swampy establishment about to take over the world).

Just thought you'd like to know that Tim Ball, possibly before he descended into utter nutter conspiracy land, briefly worked with temperature records, splicing and dicing them.

I won't bother with the rest of his article. It's just Tim moaning to WUWT-ers that CO2 isn't really increasing because, despite all the evidence showing CO2 is increasing, climate science is a hoax. Or something like that. That's mixed in with all sorts of his usual nasty conspiratorial thoughts about scientists who still do science.

From the WUWT commentsThere aren't a lot of comments yet. However, Tim has at least one wacky conspiracy fan at WUWT. His name is Frederic, and he very politely (or obsequiously?) wrote:
June 11, 2018 2:21 am
Thank you Dr Ball. I always read carefully all your articles. You are my go-to source for learning about 1)the science of climate and 2)the politics of the climate-change-scam.

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Judith Curry, who used to be a scientist and is now science denier, has asked a question: "How can the fundamental disagreement about the causes of climate change be most effectively communicated?"

She claims there is a fundamental disagreement on what is causing the climate to change. She doesn't cite any people who disagree with the fact that increasing atmospheric CO2 is causing global warming. She just asserts that there is "fundamental disagreement".

Nor does she explain what she thinks the fundamental disagreement is over, although she hints in a mockup of a slide that she thinks something other than the massive increase in CO2 is causing global warming. What that is only she knows, or doesn't. If she does she isn't saying, which is typical of deniers.

Judith Curry in climate chaos
Like most deniers, Judith loves to waffle. For example, she wrote about what she calls "climate chaos" and CO2 being a "small wedge that projects onto these modes". By "these modes" she was referring to "climate chaos is noise that averages out". If anyone thinks they can make some sense of this, please take a shot.

Figure 1 | Judith Curry's climate confabulation. Source: Judith Curry's blog.

Tip 1: Stick to the science
Here's a tip for Judith. Skip the right hand side and expand on the left hand side. She got some of the left hand side of her slide right. Most of the recent warming is caused by the increase in CO2. CO2 forcing is amplified by the increase in water vapour. It's a simplified explanation but not bad for a novice. The thing is, climate isn't chaotic as in unpredictable, it's weather that's chaotic. Weather can only be predicted a few days out. Climate defines the boundaries of the weather (rain, dry periods, temperature, wind etc.). Climate might seem chaotic, to some people, while it's changing because those boundaries are changing, but that's what climate change is all about.

Tip 2: Wait for Scott Pruitt's "evidence"
Another thing Judith might try is to wait and see what Scott Pruitt tells the judge. The EPA has been ordered to provide the documentation on which Pruitt relied when he said that CO2 isn't the main factor driving global warming.

Science is too complicated for Judith Curry
I think Judith's trying to get away from her uncertainty meme and shift to an argument that "it's all too complicated and hard". She noticed that some people at her second favourite blog, WUWT, criticised her for being too wimpy and uncertain. She made excuses, basically saying that this is based on a US government hearing at which she and Michael Mann were quizzed. She was basically saying that the Democrats on the panel knew enough science to ask good questions to ask of Mann, implying that the Republicans on the panel were all gooses and couldn't think of any science to put to her.

The fact people criticised her for being too uncertain isn't surprising. Her main claim to fame is that she used to be a climate scientist so people expect her to have some understanding of climate and say what she does know, not tell everyone how she still doesn't know anything.

What scientists say and what people hear
From what I gather, Judith hasn't quite grasped what a scientist means when they talk about uncertainty. It's understandable that people who've never studied science don't know what it means as scientific jargon. There are lots of terms used in science that lay people use differently. Here's a sample from a paper by Richard CJ Somerville and Susan Joy Hassol:

Figure 2 | What scientists say and what the public hears. Source: Somerville and Hassol 2011

Susan Hassol says she now has 150 words used by scientists that may be expressed differently so the public can better understand what is being said.

Judith got a lot of tips. 552 at last count. They included a lesson in chaos theory from a denier, with some amusing results; advice on further reading (Sun Tzu); and the predictable CO2 causes nothing and scientific research is a waste of time. I expect that comment made Judith wonder if she'd wasted her entire working life. Then again, that's the sort of response she encourages on her denier blog.

If you've got a tip for Judith about how to best toss "it's all too complicated for me" onto a single slide, post it below in the comments.

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Bushfire Mount Beauty 11 December 2006
It would be nice to think that wrong headlines like the one below are the reason for the decline in WUWT readership. Thing is, headlines that don't reflect a copy and pasted article are par for the course at WUWT. The headline is: "Claim: Global warming to make more lightning caused fires, but only in the Northern Hemisphere."

Anthony Watts got his north and south mixed up. The paper is about an increase in lightning caused fires in the southern hemisphere. So far, no-one at WUWT has noticed (archive here).

Notice, too, that Anthony continues his "claim" prefix. He does that with most of the press releases he copies, showing that he doesn't "believe" science and wants his readers to think that science is nothing but a hoax.

This latest WUWT article is a copy and paste of a press release about a new paper on fires caused by lightning. (No attribution or link at WUWT, but Google is helpful.) The new paper posits that there will be an increase in such fires in the southern hemisphere as the world warms more. The bottom line is:
The study found that the natural influence of the three climate modes (ENSO, IOD and SAM) on fire activity was stronger during the 21st century than during the last couple of decades of the 20th century as a result of anthropogenic warming. That trend is expected to continue...

...During the onset of the 21st century, lightning-ignited fires were tightly coupled with upward trends in the SAM and rising temperatures across the Southern Hemisphere.

SAM is the Southern Annular Mode and is described by the Bureau of Meteorology as  "the north–south movement of the westerly wind belt that circles Antarctica, dominating the middle to higher latitudes of the southern hemisphere". When it's positive, the winds move south toward Antarctica so southern Australia gets more high pressure systems (drier etc). When it's negative, the westerly belt expands upward toward the equator and there are bigger storms across Australia. It's more complicated than that - you can read more on the BoM website.

The work is interesting and particularly relevant to where I live (Victoria, Australia), which is prone to disastrous fires.
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According to conspiracy blogger Anthony Watts, nefarious forces have been responsible for the slowdown in his blog traffic. He put up an article about how he reckons his blog has been "under attack by a variety of forces".  The short version is that he's got WordPress to transfer his anti-environment blog onto their cloud platform.

There's more conspiratorial paranoia, too. He wrote in part:
"In the short term this migration may mean some interruptions of service, in the long-term this should ensure that WUWT continues to reach audiences worldwide without interruption or interception by some of the nefarious forces that operate from the shadows trying to reduce the impact this website has. It will also toughen the site against attacks."
Just thought I'd let you know that this nefarious force will soon be on its way back from the shadows to play its small part in reducing the ruinous impact of climate science deniers on our precious world. (Other obligations have kept me away for longer than I expected.)

Is this the start of an ice age at WUWT?
For no particular reason some time ago I started looking at trends in "hits" at WUWT. Bear in mind that "hits" are not the same as the number of site visits, let alone unique visits to the website.

Every time a file is called the site registers a "hit", so the hit count doesn't just include robots (such as Google, Yahoo etc), it also means that for a page with lots of images, adverts etc, a single page view can result in dozens of "hits". When Anthony Watts claims "At present, WUWT stands at 353 million views" he's wrong. It's not "views" it's "hits". At least that what his webcounter shows it as.

The webcounter shows "353,453,527 hits". When a person opens the home page they download umpteen files - images, adverts, widgets etc. so that 353,453,527 hits is more like 3 million views. Over the eleven years or so since WUWT began, this would be an average of about 23,000 page views a month. The number of people who regularly visit the site would depend on how many pages the average conspiracy theorist looks at. If they read an article, they have to click through at least one page each visit. (There are probably a couple of hundred people who post a "thought" on a WUWT article at least weekly, though I've not counted them, and maybe ten times or more that number who lurk.)

While there are nothing like the number of "visits" that Anthony claims, the site is nevertheless probably the biggest climate conspiracy site on the internet. It would yield some decent pocket money each month from advertising revenue and more from donations. That's probably why Anthony is complaining about WUWT losing popularity.

So on that subject, as I said, I started looking at the numbers from the "hits". Below is a chart showing the number of hits by month from July 2013 to the present.

The hit count this year is dropping almost to that of 2013. The high point for WUWT traffic was back in 2014. Is it coincidence that the ice age so often promised at WUWT didn't come and some fans became disenchanted?

In the next chart, which shows the changes more clearly, I've extrapolated the annual "hits" for 2013 and 2018 (based on actual data recorded for months shown above). The other years are actuals from the WUWT counter.

I suggest dividing the number of "hits" by anything up to around 100 to get the number of page views. A single visitor will probably view at least two pages each time they visit so you can pick your own number to divide by to get the number of site visits and the number of unique visitors. Both will be smaller again.

Going by the trend, I'd say Anthony has some reason to be concerned. The popularity of WUWT does appear to be on the decline. The question is, is this merely a pause or hiatus or is the public really cooling on climate conspiracies?

Further reading
Hits Or Pageviews? - article on OpenTracker (This is not a commercial for OpenTracker. I know nothing about it. The article is worth reading if you want to learn a bit more about web statistics.)

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This is rich. A climate science denier on Twitter wrote a sarcastic tweet, and Anthony Watts is irate.

No he's not irate that the denier was sarcastic. What he's irate about is that Gavin Schmidt, the Director of GISS at NASA didn't call it out.

Anthony Watts wrote a whole article on his blog at WUWT complaining that Dr Gavin Schmidt didn't repudiate this person. Here's the tweet in question (click the link to see it in context):

No reasonable person reading that tweet would take it at face value. It dings all sorts of alarm bells. Then again, whoever accused a "climate hoax" conspiracy theorist like Anthony Watts of being "reasonable"?

Here is some of what Anthony Watts wrote:
Wow, this is really something. Three days after a declaration about “faking climate science” to be “more emphatic” Not a peep from NASA GISS head Gavin Schmidt.

That’s a troubling omission of condemnation, especially since both sides of the climate debate should be condemning this. Science is no place for “faking graphs”. Period.
Anthony added:
I’ve said before (after the OIG report slammed them) that NASA GISS is wasteful and redundant, and should be closed. Now it appears they may be under mendacious leadership as well.

Apart from his dumb claim that there are "sides" of a "climate debate" (trying to assert climate "hoax" conspiracies are somehow legitimate), Anthony is now blowing out of all proportion the fact that the head of a climate agency didn't bother responding to a dumb tweet from a denier - one of Anthony's own kind.

There are any number of reasons why Gavin Schmidt may not have replied to the silly tweet from @o_glyndwr1404. Here are some of them, you can add other reasons in the comments.
  • Dr Schmidt may have blocked or muted the account and not seen the tweet.
  • He may have thought that calling out every denier on Twitter would take up too much of his time.
  • He may figure that replying to a denier (especially one with only 90 followers) is not worth his energy.
  • He may have been waiting for Anthony Watts to fall for Owain's trick tweet :)

Here are some other tweets from climate conspiracy theorist, Owain Glyndwr @o_glyndwr1404 (re the name, see this Wikipedia article):

Perpetuating the myth that climate science is a warmist hoax, a scam:
Warmists get paid far more to hold their views. Global warming is a $1.5 trillion ANNUAL industry. All the people on that payroll have a vested interest in keeping dullards like you believing in the scam.
— Owain Glyndwr (@o_glyndwr1404) March 1, 2018

Falsely claiming that NASA scientists fake data:
If space is the best way to do it, then I have some great news for you: nasa have been caught out faking data to support climate change which is clearly NOT happening. So that means we have nothing to worry about. They faked the data to keep that $2bn rolling in.
— Owain Glyndwr (@o_glyndwr1404) February 18, 2018

Making the ridiculous claim that climate change is fiction:
If the "science" you're looking for is "climate change", then it is filed under "fiction".
— Owain Glyndwr (@o_glyndwr1404) January 23, 2018

So Anthony Watts was up in arms that Gavin Schmidt didn't chastise a science denier for making a sarcastic tweet. That's a turn-up for the books!

From the WUWT comments
The reaction to Anthony's explosion of indignation wasn't overwhelmingly supportive, although it's not clear that anyone figured out that Owain Glyndwr @o_glyndwr1404 is a climate denier.

Keith was first to reply and stood up for Gavin Schmidt:
April 9, 2018 at 9:53 am
Eh ignoring trolls is usually a good idea

Joel Snider didn't investigate, but took Anthony Watts and "Owain Glyndŵr" at face value.
April 9, 2018 at 12:02 pm
Except that wasn’t a troll, was it? That was a like mind, impatient with us skeptics.
Schmidt doesn’t want to discourage THAT.
Just like Mosher isn’t over at all the alarmists sites, telling them to tone it down, or correcting their math.
John Bell wrote something about "faking graphs". I've no idea what he was talking about.
April 9, 2018 at 10:03 am
Once you are faking graphs it is no longer about truth, but power, money and control.
Curious George seemed to be the only one who figured the tweet was made in sarcasm, though it's not clear that George knows that the tweeter is a fake sceptic and conspiracy theorist:
April 9, 2018 at 10:08 am
Mr. Owain Glyndwr was probably sarcastic.
It would appear that Ernest Bush didn't know that "Owain Glyndŵr" is a "climate hoax" conspiracy theorist:
April 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm@Curious – LOL@you. Progressives don’t have the sense of humor to even be sarcastic.

owenkellogg should have realised that this was a clue that "Owain Glyndŵr" is playing games and is in fact a denier:
April 9, 2018 at 10:06 am
Not to mention getting the cliche wrong. “Means justify the ends” just confirms his ignorance.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Potchefstroom is undoubtedly wrong. I'll bet that "Owain Glyndŵr" as a dyed in the wool, real live denier, is revelling in the fact he or she got a whole article at WUWT.
April 9, 2018 at 10:30 am
Oh my, oh my, oh my! They are going to regret that tweet.
Now we have the triple travesties of hidden declines, redefined peer review and faked temperature charts (as if Gavin proffering an annual global temperature record of 0.001 degrees with 38% confidence wasn’t fake enough).
The CO2 concentration is shooting up. The temperature isn’t. If your bread and butter is claiming they rise together, I guess the only destination left is the corner of Crap-Data Crescent and Libel Lane. 

Finally, john eyon, is a wake up to "Owain Glyndŵr". A rare instance of a WUWT reader who actually checks things out (unlike the blog owner):
April 9, 2018 at 10:57 am
you might check Owain’s tweet history – he actually appears to be be a Right-wing anti-Alarmist troll (i was skimming his tweets and found it hard to pin him down) – if so – it’s kinda depressing that he wouldn’t hesitate to post a tweet in which he might have been trying to define the flaw in Gavin’s graphic 

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