Anthony Watts

Anthony Watts

 Credentials

Anthony Watts studied Electrical Engineering and Meteorology at Purdue University, but has been unwilling to state whether he graduated. [1], [2]

He is a former television meteorologist.

 Background

Anthony Watts is best known as the founder and editor of the popular Watts Up With That (WUWT), a blog that primarily publishes articles skeptical of climate change. He is also the owner of the weather graphics company ItWorks. He is the founder of Surfacestations.org, a project with the stated purpose of documenting the siting quality of weather stations in the United States. According to documents released in 2012, Watts has received funding from the Heartland Institute.

Watts previously worked as an on-air meteorologist for WLFI-TV in Lafayette, Indiana, and later joined KHSK-TV in 1987. In 2002, Watts left his position as a television weatherman to devote time to his private business, ITWorks. He returned to work part-time at KHSL in 2004, and has also been the chief meteorologist for KPAY-AM (an affiliate of Fox News) since 2002. [21], [22]

Watts admits “I'm not a degreed climate scientist” on his WUWT profile, and his primary credential appears to be an American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval. This does not mean that Watts is “AMS Certified” as some sources have inaccurately claimed. The AMS Seal of Approval is a discontinued credential that does not require a bachelor's or higher degree in atmospheric science or meteorology.

Watts's “About” page mentions neither his Purdue attendance nor whether he graduated. Watts has refused to say whether he graduated, and a number of direct queries to Watts to find out if he graduated from college were rebuffed. [1]

Stance on Climate Change

  • Watts describes himself as a person who was “at one time been fully engaged in the belief that CO2 was indeed the root cause of the global warming problem.” [3]
  • “While I have a skeptical view of certain climate issues, I consider myself 'green' in many ways…” [1]
  • “I would call myself what some people describe as a 'lukewarmer' in that the CO2 effect that people have done thousands of studies on is in fact real. However, it is not a crisis. The reason it is not a crisis is because most people do not understand the logarithmic nature of the CO2 response in our atmosphere.” [23]

Key Quotes

August 20, 2013

“How is the IPCC 95% certain one side [of the graph] is caused by man and the other is not?” [32]

“The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable.” [4]

“I believe that our [man-made] contribution [to climate change] may be far less than has been postulated. Our measurement network has been compromised—not intentionally, but accidentally and through carelessness.” [5]

“Antarctic ice is above normal. And the global total amount of sea ice is above normal. So it's not disappearing any time soon.” [23]

Key Deeds

December, 2012

WUWT covered a “Leak” of the Independent Panel on Climate Change's AR5 report. Blogger Alec Rawls claims that the leak, for which he was the originator, contains a “game-changing admission of enhanced solar forcing,” while Anthony Watts called it a “bombshell.” Alec Rawls is a blogger with no scientific experience who had volunteered to review the report. [24], [25], [26]

IPCC author Dr. Richard Klein of the Stockholm Environment Institute commented that “It beggars belief to see how people, apparently without relevant knowledge, could make up such nonsense and get the blogosphere buzzing.” [27] Media Matters also investigated, and talked to Dr. John Abraham of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team who said even if cosmic rays did have an effect on global temperatures that “they would currently be having a cooling effect.” [28]

July, 2012

Anthony Watts released a pre-publication paper titled An area and distance weighted analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends which disputes previous findings that the position of surface stations had no effect on temperature readings with regards to global warming. According to Watts, “The new rating method employed finds that station siting does indeed have a significant effect on temperature trends.”

The press release, published at the Watts Up With That blog suggests that the study demonstrates that “half of the global warming in the USA is artificial” and that “U.S. Temperature trends show a spurious doubling due to NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments.” [19] This is a variation on the argument originally proposed by Anthony Watts after his implementation of the “Surface Stations” project, but which has been since refuted. Skeptical Science reviewed the paper and found that overall “the conclusion is not supported by the analysis of the paper itself.” [20]

May 21 - 23, 2012

Anthony Watts was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's 7th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

DeSmogBlog researched the co-sponsors behind Heartland's ICCC7 and found that they had collectively received over $67 million from ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers and the conservative Scaife family foundations.

June 30-July 1, 2011

Keynote speaker at the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change. [6]

March, 2011

Watts recently praised the Berkeley Earth project, which was chaired by Richard Muller and set out to “resolve current criticism of the former temperature analyses, and to prepare an open record that will allow rapid response to further criticism or suggestions.” The study also evaluated Watt's concerns about weather station locations. 

Watts had declared he was “prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.” Muller testified before congress on March 31, 2011 where he released preliminary results showing “a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups [NOAA, NASA, and the Hadley Center Climate Research Unit (CRU)s].” [7], [8]

Muller addressed Watts's concerns, mentioning how “Many US stations have low quality rankings according to a study led by Anthony Watts. However, we find that the warming seen in the 'poor' stations is virtually indistinguishable from that seen in the 'good' stations.”
      
Instead of accepting the results as he promised, Watts dismissed the hearing as “post normal science political theater.” And one of the regular contributors on his site dismissed Professor Muller as “a man driven by a very serious agenda.”

2011

According to documents from the Heartland Institute, the think tank paid Watts $88,000 for his efforts on the “Weather Stations” project in 2011, with additional funding promised for 2012.

The project would take data fromthe National Aeronautics and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and convert them “into easy-to-understand graphs that can be easily understood by weathermen and the general interested public.”

March 2010

Spoke at the Heartland Institute's Fourth International Conference on Climate Change. [9]

Oct 2010

In October 2010 the Christian Science Monitor published an Op-Ed by Watts likening climate contrarian Hal Lewis's resignation from the American Physical Society to the excommunication of Martin Luther. [10]

The American Physical Society strongly disagreed, saying “In light of the significant settled aspects of the science, APS totally rejects Dr. Lewis' claim that global warming is a 'scam' and a 'pseudoscientific fraud.'” [11]

November, 2009

Watts Up With That was one of the first blogs to receive the link to a set of illegally obtained files from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU). These files would later be viewed as 'Climategate' or 'Switfthack,' after a group of climate change skeptics including Steven Mosher,  Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, Patrick Condon, Lucia Liljegren, Charles Rotter and Anthony Watts had gone through the stolen material and released information that they purported to suggest a controversy among climate scientists.

The individual who obtained the e-mails hacked onto RealClimate.org, a site maintained by climate scientists Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann and others, and then proceeded to upload the file “FOIA.zip.” He then commented on ClimateAudit.org, listing his name as “RC” at 10:54 GMT on November 17 along with the comment “A miracle just happened.” Approximately 12 hours later, a comment that linked to the same file (this time located on a Russian FTP server) was posted at WattsUpWithThat.com. Charles Rotter, also known as Charles the Moderator or CTM did not initially approve the comment, but notified Anthony Watts. The hacker proceeded to comment on other, lesser-known climate change skeptic blogs including the Air Vent (run by Patrick Condon), as well as on a blog titled Climate Skeptic.

Charles Rotter, volunteer moderator at WUWT made a CD copy of the file and forwarded it to Steve Mosher at around 9:36 pm PST on November 17, while Watts was traveling in Europe at the time and said that he didn't look at the file. At this time, Mosher began analyzing the emails for their validity and discussed them with Steve McIntyre. On the 19th, Mosher posted a comment on Lucia Liljegren's blog, as well as one on Climate Audit (Steve McIntyre's blog). Within the same hour, Rotter of WUWT made a comment on the Bishop Hill blog with the username “devilinthedetails.” Liljegren saw the comment and created a new post, saying that “Steve Mosher alerted us to an interesting development.” Mosher also e-mailed Tom Fuller, a blogger at Examiner.com and messaged Andy Revkin at the New York Times via Facebook. [29]

An hour after the first comments by Steve Mosher and Charles Rotter, and the hacker made a new comment at WUWT asking why the story hadn't gotten widespread attention. Rotter, in his role as moderator, replied to the comment with the following message:

“A lot is happening behind the scenes. It is not being ignored. Much is being coordinated among major players and the media. Thank you very much. You will notice the beginnings of activity on other sites now. Here soon to follow. ~ ctm

Mosher later posted four of the emails on Liljegren's site. One of these new e-mails contained the now well-known “hide the decline” phrase that would soon become the primary message repeated by the conservative media. Anthony Watts posted on the story from the Dulles airport on his way back from Europe.

According to Watts:

“I've seen the file, it appears to be genuine and from CRU. Others who have seen it concur- it appears genuine. There are so many files it appears unlikely that it is a hoax. The effort would be too great.”

It wasn't long before the story spread to a wide range of other skeptic blogs and news sources.

July 2009

When Peter Sinclair posted a “Climate Crock of the Week” video featuring Anthony Watts, Watts complained under YouTube's copyright infringement guidelines to have the video taken down. The video debunks Watts' work discrediting the U.S. Temperature record. [12]

See the video below:



Watts responded to the video on his blog, describing it as “the worst job of fact-finding I had ever seen,” and how it reminded him of “really bad work from greenhorns out of reporters school.” He goes on to explain why he accused Sinclair of Copyright infringement, and additionally accuses the National Climactic Data Center (NCDC) of their their own copyright infringement for using his data that he explains was not yet in the public domain. [13]

The video was later reviewed by a number of US copyright experts who found that it contained nothing that could be construed as anything but fair use.

Peter Sinclair also responded, stating that “In accordance with established YouTube guidelines I filed a 'counternotice', affirming, 'under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.'” The video was subsequently restored.

June 2009

Spoke at the Heartland Institute's Third International Conference on Climate change representing SurfaceStations.org. [14]

March 2008

Spoke at the Heartland Institute's 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. His presentation was titled “A Hands-On Study of Station Siting and Data Quality Issues for the United States Historical Climatology Network.” [15]

2007 – Ongoing

Created Surfacestations.org in response to what Watts describes as “a massive failure of bureaucracy to perform something so simple as taking some photographs and making some measurements and notes of a few to a few dozen weather stations in each state.”

Surfacestations.org is a grass roots organization that uses volunteers to collect information on weather stations that are part of the United States Historical Climatological Network (USHCN) and Global Historical Climatological Network (GHCN).

Watts believed that with information collected by the project he would be able to demonstrate that “some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment.”

The results were not as Watts expected. A NOAA analysis of the Surface Stations data showed “no indication from this analysis that poor station exposure has imparted a bias in the U.S. temperature trends.” Watts' claims were also thoroughly debunked in a “Climate Crock of the Week” video. [16]
 
August, 2007

Registered Watts Up With That (WUWT), a blog which provides “News and commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news by Anthony Watts.” [17]

Watts is the editor and primary contributor to the blog, while other authors have included climate change skeptics such as Roger Pielke Senior and Pielke Jr.

There is a blog devoted to debunking Watts's regular posts at WUWT. The blog, titled “Wott's Up With That” is run by Canadian Geologist Ben Lawson.

Nov 1995

Signed the Leipzig Declaration which states that “there does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide. In fact, most climate specialists now agree that actual observations from both weather satellites and balloon-borne radiosondes show no current warming whatsoever.”

 Affiliations

  • Intelliweather Inc. — Owner.

 Publications

Anthony Watts has published at least one article in a peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of Geophysical Research, on the findings of the Surface Stations Project:

 

His most notable publication appears to have been published by the Heartland Institute and Watts' own SurfaceStations.org:

  • “Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?” (PDF).

The report suggests that certain climate-monitoring stations may yield inaccurate data due to their proximity to buildings, air conditioners or concrete. Watts suggests that due to the improper placement of some of these stations, climate models based on this data may also be flawed.

 Resources

  1. About,” WUWT. Accessed February, 2012.

  2. Does Anthony Watts have a college degree?”, Warming101 Blog, October 27, 2009.

  3. Anthony Watts. “Gore to throw insults on 60 minutes,” WUWT, March 27, 2008.

  4. Anthony Watts. “Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?” (PDF), SurfaceStatoins.org, 2009. Retrieved February, 2012, from server at Watts Up With That (blog).

  5. Evan Tuchinsky. “Watts, me worry?”, Newsreview.com, December 6, 2007. Archived February 23, 2012, with WebCite.

  6. Anthony Watts,” International Conference on Climate Change (climateconference.heartland.org). Accessed February, 2012.

  7. Paul Krugman. “The Truth, Still Inconvenient,” New York Times, April 3, 2011. Archived February 23, 2012, with WebCite.

  8. Resources,” Berkely Earth Project. Accessed February, 2012.

  9. “4th International Conference on Climate Change” (PDF), The Heartland Institute. Retrieved February 23, 2012, from Lawrence Gould's website on the University of Hartford web server.

  10. Anthony Watts. “Climate change 'fraud' letter: a Martin Luther moment in science history,”  Christian Science Monitor, October 19, 2010. Archived with WebCite, February 23, 2012.

  11. APS Comments on Harold Lewis’ Resignation of his Society Membership” (Press Release), American Physical Society, October 12, 2010.

  12. Joe Romm. “The video that Anthony Watts does not want you to see: The Climate Denial 'Crock of the Week',” Climate Progress, July 29, 2009.

  13. Anthony Watts. “On Climate, Comedy, Copyrights, and Cinematography,” WUWT, July 30, 2009.

  14. Speakers,” Heartland Institute Third International Conference on Climate Change. Archived July 14, 2010.

  15. Watts-NYC-2008,” Surfactstations.org. Accessed February, 2012.

  16. Kevin Grandia. “Debunking Another Climate Change Crock: What's Up with Anthony Watts? [video],” Huffington Post, July 25, 2009.

  17. WHOIS Results for wattsupwiththat.com,” Network Solutions.

  18. Contact,” KPAY 1290. Accessed February 23, 2012.

  19. New study shows half of the global warming in the USA is artificial,” WattsUpWithThat, July 29, 2012.

  20. Watts' New Paper - An alysis and Critique,” SkepticalScience, August 2, 2012.

  21. Everybody's Business,” NewsReview.com, June 17, 2004.

  22. Contact,” KPAY-1290. Accessed January, 2013.

  23. Talking Climate Change With Anthony Watts,” Stories In The News, April 22, 2009.

  24. Early Drafts of Next Climate Report Leaked Online,” Scientific American, December 14, 2012.

  25. IPCC AR5 draft leaked, contains game-changing admission of enhanced solar forcing – as well as a lack of warming to match model projections, and reversal on 'extreme weather',” Watts Up With That, December 13, 2012.

  26. The real IPCC AR5 draft bombshell – plus a poll,” Watts Up With That, December 14, 2012.

  27. Climate scientists dismiss IPCC 'leak' linking warming to cosmic rays,” RTCC, December 17, 2012.

  28. Scientists Debunk Conservative Media's Spin On Leaked UN Climate Report,” MediaMatters, December 21, 2012.

  29. Climategate—The CTM story,” Watts Up With That, January 13, 2010.

  30. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Anthony Watts.

  31. Anthony Watts,” SourceWatch Profile.

  32. When somebody hits you with that new 'IPCC is 95% certain' talking point on global warming, show them this,” Watts Up With That, August 20, 2013.

[x]

DIE you maggot,” reads one of the hundreds of emails from climate science deniers that have dropped into philosopher Lawrence Torcello’s inbox in recent days.

“Fortunately, your kind will be marched to the wall with all the other leftist detritus,” says another.

Others accuse Torcello, an assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Department of...

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