Posts tagged ‘Anthony Watts’

New Business Opportunity: Lolo's Eagle and Waffles Next to Large Solar Plants

From ReWire via Anthony Watts

A test of a solar power tower project in Nevada resulted in injuries to over one hundred birds, the federal government is reporting, though the project's owners say they've fixed the problem.

On January 14, during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nevada, biologists observed 130 birds entering an area of concentrated solar energy and catching fire. That's according to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management in Reno.

Evenson suggested that the birds may have been attracted by a glow the concentrated solar energy created above the project's sole tower.


According to Evenson, workers testing the plant moved approximately a third of the project's ten thousand mirrors to focus sunlight on a point 1,200 feet above the ground, approximately twice the height of the power tower at Crescent Dunes.

The test started at 9:00 a.m. on January 14, Evenson told Rewire. By 10:30, biologists working on the site began noticing what have become known as "streamers," trails of smoke and water vapor caused by birds entering the field of concentrated solar energy (a.k.a. "solar flux") and igniting.

By the time the test ended for the day at 3:00 p.m., biologists had counted 130 such "streamers." A subsequent test on January 15 reduced the number of mirrors aimed at the focal point above the tower, said Evenson, and that apparently ended the injuries to birds.

Oops.  It is amazing how solar gets a pass on things that other industries would be hounded into bankruptcy over.  ExxonMobil was fined by the Feds for 85 bird deaths at the company's natural gas facilities.  These deaths were spread out over 5 states and over 5 years.  This solar plant killed at least 130 birds in one location in 6 hours.  ExxonMobil was fined $7000 per dead bird.  Anyone want to bet on what the solar guys will be fined?  Vegas has set the over-under at zero.

Eeek! PBS Showed a Skeptic

Apparently PBS planned to air a few minutes with climate skeptic Anthony Watts, which they previewed in a blog post.  This caused a major freak out among its viewers, who are not used to being confronted with views that don't comfortably align with those of their peer group.  Apparently PBS viewers distrust their own judgement so much that they can't let themselves even view skeptical material, I suppose because it is like that alien on Star Trek that drove anyone who looked at it insane.

PBS is apologizing like crazy, and felt the need to link nine past shows and articles where it has totally conformed to the climate gospel, so there is absolutely no cause to question their ideological purity.

Environmentalist Stick-Up

This is one of the most incredible things I have seen in a while.  I will describe the video, but it is only a bit over a minute long and you should definitely watch it.

The clip below is an outtake from the environmentalist movie "Crude", which purported to document the environmentalist's case against Chevron in Ecuador.  Apparently, between takes of earnest and un-selfinterested environmentalists saving the world from greedy corporations, these self-same environmentalists discussed lying about the science and duping the courts in order to score a big payday for themselves.

The video is doubly interesting because, as Anthony Watts explains, the woman in the video taking money to make up untrue findings was recently confirmed to the NAS, where there is a good bet that we will see her as the source for "evidence" that fracking is contaminating groundwater.  These three folks are all the subject of a civil suit from Chevron but all three should be subject to criminal charges for fraud and conspiracy.

Plasma Rain

A little astronomy pr0n for you today, a video clip of plasma rain on the surface of the sun, via Anthony Watts.

Did the World Overlook a Volcano Eruption?

An interesting story told by Anthony Watts, of trying to figure out if an seemingly extinct volcano erupted in Antarctica last October.  No definitive answers yet, but a reminder that  even in a world of billion dollar particle accelerators, amateurs still have a role in science.

Air Conditioning Is Causing Global Warming

Yep, I admit it, air conditioning may indeed be causing us to measure higher temperatures.  Here is the historic temperature plot of Detroit Lake, MN, one of the thousand or so measurement points in the data base that is used to compute historical warming in the US.

Look at that jump in the last 10 years.  It must be global warming!  Can't possibly be due to these air conditioning units installed around 2000 and venting hot gas on the temperature instrument (in that round louvered thing on the post).

More from Anthony Watts, who is leading the effort to document all these stations. You too can help.  The odds are you live less than an hour from one of these stations -- take your camera and add it to the data base.  Its fun!

Incredibly, the global warming community still argues that documenting the quality of the installations used in the official global warming numbers is unnecessary.  More air conditioners blowing on official temperature measurements hereWorst temperature installation found to date here, "coincidently" at the site with the highest measured 20th century warming.

Nothing Sinister Here. Move Along.

A while back, I discussed an effort by Anthony Watts to create a pictorial data base of the US Historical Climate Network, the 1000 or so temperature and weather sensors whose data are used in historical climate numbers, including IPCC and NOAA and GISS global warming data bases. 

Already, this effort has identified numerous egregious installations that call into question the quality of historical temperature measurement.  Note here and here and here and here.  The whole data base is at and my humble contributions are here and here.  Was 2006 the second warmest of all time, or did 2006 have the most hot exhaust blowing on measurement instruments?

Roger Pielke, a climate scientist in Colorado, reports on an odd response by the NOAA to this effort:

Recently, Anthony Watts has established a website [] to record these photographs. He has worked to assure that the photographs are obtained appropriately.

As a result of this effort, NOAA has removed location information
from their website as to where they are located. This information has
been available there for years.

There are a few USHCN stations at people's homes, so in some cases there may be privacy concerns, but most all of the ones I have seen are at public locations, from fire houses to ranger stations to water plants.  Pielke offers up a logical solution for where there are privacy issues:

"over 4 years ago there was a big push in the Cooperative Observer
program to make sure that all 7000+ sites across the country were
photodocumented. All 120 Data Acquisition Programs were equipped with
high quality digital cameras. Most took photos. However, at the higher
levels where they were developing the upload and archive system for the
photos the issue of observer privacy was raised and as best we can tell
the result was that those photos were not archived and certainly are
not available."

This is a very disturbing development, as individuals in NOAA's
leadership have used their authority to prevent the scientific
community and the public access to critical information that is being
used as part of establishing climate and energy policy in the United

The solution to this issue is, of course, straightforward. Either
make the photographs where datasets are being used in research (i.e.
the HCN sites), available, or permit others to take them. Privacy
rules, such as not publishing the names and addresses of the observers,
should be made, however, the photographs themselves, viewing the site,
and views in the four orthogonal directions must be public. Volunteers
who are HCN Cooperative Observers need to either grant this permission
or not volunteer.

If you observe the state of climate science at all, you will know that any measurement (e.g. satellite or radiosonde temperature measurements) that conflict even the slightest with the main story line of anthropogenic global warming are subjected to intense and withering scrutiny.  Even the tiniest source of error or methodological sloppiness in these conflicting data sets cause global warming zealots to throw out the data as flawed.  It is instructive that perhaps the sloppiest data set of all is the surface climate measurement system they use primarily to support their case, and it is one they show absolutely no interest in scrutinizing, or letting anyone else scrutinize.

Signal to Noise Ratio, Part 2

Anthony Watts and Steven McIntyre make an interesting observation, using an example temperature measurement point in the US and Global Historical Climate Network (the network that most historic global warming estimates are made from).

Over time, temperature measurement points, even those nominally in the same town, tend to change.  The measurement technology changes (from bulbs to electronics) the location can move across town, and towns with their heat islands can encroach.  As a result, scientists try to make guesstimate corrections to the historical data to take these events into account. 

Taking just one example measurement point, at Petaluma CA, Watts and McIntyre show how two different adjustment approaches by scientists at this location change the historic warming measured by over 1.5 degrees C.  Note that this "noise" is more than twice the value of the estimated "signal" -- the estimated 0.6 degrees C global warming over the last century.

More on signal to noise ratios in global warming measurement.

Anthony Watts Discovers a New Element

From Watts Up With That:

The discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has been tentatively  named Governmentium.

Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant  neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it  an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces  called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like  particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is  inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one  reaction to take over four days to complete when
it w ould normally take less  than a second.

Of course, there is much more.  Enjoy.

And, don't miss the chance to contribute to Watt's grass roots climate project / scavenger hunt.  Its fun and it contributes a lot to climate science.  I have contributed two sites so far -- I wrote about the first one here.

Climate Scavenger Hunt (No Climate Expertise Required)

Anthony Watts is offering an opportunity to help out climate science and participate in something of a climate scavenger hunt.  What is considered the most "trustworthy" temperature history of the US comes from a series of temperature measurement points called the US Historical Climate Network (USHCN).  There are perhaps 20-25 such measurement points in each state, usually in smaller towns and more remote spots.  Some of these stations are well-located, while others are not - having been encroached by urban heat islands of growing towns or having been placed carelessly (see here and here for examples of  inexcusably bad installations that are currently part of the US historical temperature record).

Historically, climate scientists have applied statistical corrections to try to take into account these biasing effects.  Unfortunately, these statistical methods are blind to installation quality.  Watt is trying to correct that, by creating a photo database of these installations, with comments by reviewers about the installation and potential local biases. 

He has created an online database at, which he explains here.  Your faithful blogger Coyote actually contributed one of the early entries, and it was fun  -- a lot like geocaching but with more of a sense of accomplishment, because it was contributing to science.

So why is it a scavenger hunt?  Well, my son had a double header in Prescott, AZ, which I saw was near the Prescott USHCN station.  Here is what I began with, from the official listing: 

PRESCOTT (34.57°N, 112.44°W; 1586 m)

That looks easy -- latitude and longitude.  Well, I stuck it in Google maps and found this.  Turns out on satellite view that there is nothing there.  So I then asked around to the state climatologist's office - do you know the address of this station.  Nope.  So I zoomed out a bit, and started doing some local business searches in Google maps around the original Lat/Long.  I was looking for government property - fire stations, ranger stations, airports, etc.  These are typically the location of such stations.  The municipal water treatment plant to the east looked good.  So we drove by, and found it in about ten minutes and took our pictures.  My entry is here.

Not only was it fun, but this is important work.  In trying to find some stations in several states, I actually called the offices of the local state climatologist (most states have one).  I have yet to find one that had any idea where these installations were beyond the lat-long points in the data base.  If we are going to make trillion dollar political choices based on the output of this network, it is probably a good idea to understand it better.

Air Conditioning May Be Causing Global Warming

But maybe not the way you think. 

Via Anthony Watts, Oregon State Climatologist George Taylor sends in a picture of one of the official temperature measuring sites that feed into the databases that are used to track global temperature. 

Here is the official temperature plot from "rural" Forest Grove.  Note the "global warming" that really takes effect around 1984.


Of course, this change might (just call me a holocaust-denying skeptic) be due instead to the fact that the adjacent building installed an air conditioner about 1984 that vented hot air on the thermometer.  If you have never seen one, the vented white box on about 4 foot legs and the small white cylinder on the metal pole next to it are the weather station station. 


Of course, setting the measurement station on a pad of hot asphalt and next to a reflective building are also best practices for getting a thermometer to read high.  The aptly name Mr. Watts has been running a great series on temperature measurement issues in his blog - just keep scrolling.

Update: Andrew Watts found the location on Google maps when I could not, probably because I was looking for a semi-rural area outside of town.  But apparently, this is one of the fastest growing communities in Oregon, and, like with many measurement spots over the last 100 years, a hotter urban environment has enveloped the measurement point.  The location is on the left, and I zoomed straight out on the right, so the location is still in the center.


In 1900, this thermometer was measuring the temperature of miles and miles of pasture.  Today, it is measuring the temperature of acres of asphalt in the middle of a growing city.


Jim Goodridge, via Anthony Watts, has a 102 year temperature change plot for California.  These temperatures are without all the black-box corrections made by climate scientists - just straight out is the temperature going up or down.  Check out the map of California.  Skeptics often argue that some of the global warming we measure may actually just be the urban heating effect from asphalt and concrete and buildings and machinery impinging on measurement sites.  See if you can see the pattern.