One of the constant false criticisms deniers make of climate science is that researchers can only get funding for studies that prove climate change is caused by fossil fuels, so they therefore only design and carry out such experiments, and that’s why the overwhelming majority of climate science finds that burning fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gasses are warming the planet.
Which makes the latest disinfo effort from Anthony Watts so amusing, because not only does he set out to do exactly the thing deniers accuse legitimate climate scientists of doing, he’s not even smart enough to figure out how to do it himself!
Much like how he sought to recruit new essays from his audience with their best climate denial takes, but had to postpone announcing winners because Watts got Covid and moved (and definitely not because he needed more time to get entries that weren’t written in crayon on flattened-out tin foil hats before announcing the results of “the ifrst [sic] ever WUWT Essay contest” on Friday), he has again turned to his blog readers for help.
Apparently half-inspired by denier-for-hire Willie Soon’s latest deliverable, which retreads ground Watts covered a decade ago, about how “the final product” of temperature data that’s been corrected, “is so much warmer than stations that have not been encraoched [sic] upon by urbanization and artificials urfaces [sic] such as asphalt, concrete, and buildings,” Watts blogged.
This is the argument that climate scientists have been tricked by the fact that cities are warmer than rural areas and as a result, the temperature record showing warming is actually wrong because really it’s just showing that more thermometers are located at airport runways and next to A/C units blowing hot air on them.
But here’s the thing: Watts and other deniers only “know” that urban areas are warmer than rural ones because of climate science, so while they may think they “discovered” this error, the reality is that scientists have known about the issue all along, and corrected for it, and those are precisely the changes to the raw data that deniers claim are actually making warming look worse. And Watts very well knows that there’s no substance to this theory, because he was personally involved in a research project testing exactly that hypothesis, and despite being funded in part by Koch money, it confirmed the consensus science was accurate.
Which is probably why Watts is not actually trying to prove his hypothesis with a scientific “experiment”, so much as trying to simply assert its validity with a demonstration. That’s where the other half of his inspiration comes from. Back in 2011, Watts set out on a lengthy, time-consuming effort to prove that a video illustrating the “high school physics” of carbon dioxide warming a small glass jar was actually a great big fake, mostly because it wasn’t shot in a single take and Watts himself couldn’t figure out how to make it work. Watts, of course, blames Al Gore for his inability to get a “high school physics” demonstration right.
Now, 11 years later, Watts has come up with the genius idea of combining these two old, failed pursuits, to create a “visualization” of the concept that urban thermometers bias the dataset. He’s thinking about using “red and blue food coloring” in some vials to show how mixing them up clouds the record. “Some lab equipment, some tubing and some pumps will be needed.” He’s not sure for what, exactly, though, and welcomed “a discussion of ideas on how to do this accurately and convincingly.”
Anthony Watts has had ten years to come up with a decent reason for his continued crusade against the climate consensus. And even the financial support he’s getting from the Heartland Institute in recent years doesn’t seem to have given him any fresh inspiration.
Instead, he’s left reliving his glory days- but even those sucked!
He’s struggling to come up with his own “high school physics” demonstration to revive the hypothesis disproven by a project he himself worked on, and a decade later and none the wiser he’s left crowdsourcing ideas from his blog audience who, as it turns out, are not exactly chock full of valuable science-communications advice.