Speaking of Attribution

Speaking of which, WBZ-TV in Boston reported on the surface stations issue here .

The image looked familiar to me.


  1. Paul Penrose
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    That article seemed reasonably well balanced to me. My only complaint was that it made it sound like the adjustments made to account for UHI, TOBs, etc. were without controversy. Other than that I thought Ms. Michaels captured the essence of the debate and explained it in a way that most readers could understand.

  2. MarkB
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    WBZ news runs a constant stream of “Are your children safe on the school bus” type stories to keep soccer moms in a state of permenant panic – and regular watchers. I”m not surprised that they would go with this story, although next week they are just as likely to run an “Is global warming giving you skin cancer” story.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    you missed the point about attribution. Look at the image. Then look at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1687

    • PhilH
      Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#3), Well, at least somebody in the drive-by media is reading climateaudit.

  4. Scott B
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    Not only did they fail to attribute it to you. They attributed it to themselves. I notice they are extremely careful to correctly identify their images from Getty Images and other sources…. While it’s nice to have someone closer to the real media writing about climate science issues, this would infuriate me if it was my work.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Scott B (#5),

      You’re right. The image is attributed to WBZ, this is even clearer if you click the image. WBZ did modify the image – they added the label “ADJUSTED”. 🙂

  5. MarkB
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Honestly, I care less about attribution than I do about the subject. The attribution can be corrected – at least they are covering the story.

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    They have two hyperlinks in the paragraph that link to CA.

    View the U.S. raw temperature trend over the last century (1900 to 2000). Notice the large area of bluish color indicating a cooling trend over the southeastern states. The overall trend is roughly 0.3 degrees F.

    Compare this with the U.S. temperature data adjusted by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The overall trend is a 1.2 degree F rise over the last 100 years. This figure includes adjustments made for time of observation, for station history, for equipment, the urban heat island, and for missing data.

  7. Tim
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    I would be willing to forgive Miss Michaels just for the fact I’m astounded a television reporter can understand this, much less put it in an understandable clear format for viewers.

    But then again, I didn’t put the time into it you did, so I can see why you’re justifiably upset.

  8. Tim
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    Have you contacted the reporter? I think you could make an ally here. Obviously if she’s open to the other side, it would be helpful. I think if possible, you could have her contact you as a source for future stories and get on her good side. While her faux pas is J-school 101 party foul, I feel like if it were a polite, friendly reprimand instead of a biting one, you could have a pretty young lady journalist signed on to the cause. And who doesn’t just love those!

  9. compy
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 3:36 PM | Permalink


    While we are talking about people not saying your name, I assume you have seen the following recent comment by Dr. Mann at RealClimate: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/06/a-warning-from-copenhagen/langswitch_lang/pl#comment-127626

    It seems clearly aimed at you without, of course, mentioning your name.

    • Andy L.
      Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

      Re: compy (#11),

      Wow — and the odd thing is that he’s right! The models will fail to “make out-of-sample predictions over an independent test period not used in the training of the model”. For example, they might fail a simple r2 test.

  10. Tim
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    Sorry. I now realize upon second look she links DIRECTLY to climateaudit for the gifs. Geez.

  11. Wansbeck
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Compy #11, thanks for spotting that.

    I’m afraid that I have been spending too much time down the pub and rambling too much but this had led to the discovery that the poster, Mark, appears to be the troll, yeah_whatever, who has been amusing Bishop Hill on the Richard Black blog about the latest Met Office model.

  12. John A
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 6:14 PM | Permalink


    Hopefully you’ve contacted the editor to request proper attribution.

  13. deadwood
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Steve, the Globe article actually links to your site for the two maps you mention in #7. Not exactly attribution, but at least tacit acknowledgment.

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    IRe: Tim (#9),

    I’m not “upset”. There was nothing un-cheerful in my post.

    It’s nice to see that a blog post from 2 years ago was of interest to her.

  15. John F. Hultquist
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    The Boston TV page claims a broken link for me at 6:52 PM PDT.
    Maybe they are fixing it.
    Or . . .
    Perhaps WBZ doesn’t expect Canadians to find out they stole your stuff. You are west of the Hudson, for heaven’s sake.

  16. Jack
    Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 8:40 PM | Permalink


    As a new reader to your site, and to Mr Watts, I am glad to have found that the spirit of evaluating what is said, is still alive. I have just started to play with the individual station data by downloading some of the info you quoted in the article 2 years ago. I was wondering if you could point me to where you have posted the complete data for the full US Map used in your graphic.

    I can build a script to download it again to replicate what you did, however if you have made the data into an excel type of structure and published it, I would be very happy to use your copy, verses recreating it all myself. However, if necessary, I will gladly download it myself if you are not making the data available.

    I feel that an open source data base of the raw unmodified info should be made available to anyone who is interested in looking at it. I have some spare servers around which I can store stuff on. I can make an open source DB of the data available if its not.

    I am pondering including the major weather networks that are available, once I get my first DB of weather station reports built and stabilized in SQL. The idea is to build up a global list of weather networks, and include them all. A user could then check which networks to compare and or build their own blended DB of reporting stations based on X qualifications. The CPUs and HD space to do this is insignificant today’s IT world. That this info is not easily available by reporting sources is surprising.

    I will be in your debt, if you can make the data available that you quoted in the 07 article.

    Best Regards,


    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: Jack (#19),

      The map is from USHCN data which is available.

      The data comes in large packages. If you’re interested in experimenting with the data, I’d urge you to forget Excel and learn R or Matlab.

      I have some scripts in R that collate the data online. CA/scripts/station.

      USHCN has changed its methods since 2007 and these scripts need refreshing.

  17. Anthony Watts
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

    Blame me, I turned her on to this data. Steve, you may recognize this lady, she and I had about a 10 minute sit down conversation at Heartland NYC right after our panel while you were speaking to a group on the other side of the room.

    I’ll give her a call and ask for proper attribution on your behalf. – Anthony

  18. Stan
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    Be careful guys, someone will trap you in a Turkish bathhouse…till you come up with the “correct” conclusions )), just checkout this Hollywood “blockbuster”, reallity stranger than fiction..)

    The Steam Experiment (2009)

    Plot summary:
    A former professor (Kilmer) concocts a brutal experiment in order to get the word out on the effects of global warming. By trapping six people in an urban Turkish bathhouse, he vows to overheat his hostages unless his global-warming hypothesis is published on the front page of his local paper.

    Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1289437/plotsummary IMDb »

  19. Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Hello everyone…I was just today plugged into this discussion. As Anthony indicated, I was pointed to these images through my work with Anthony and his volunteer while covering their research. I am happy to provide correct attribution on our web site as soon as I can. Before everyone “attacks” the media, know there are hard working journalists who do try to dig beyond the global warming rhetoric. As a degreed meteorologist, I spend most of my time forecasting and doing storm coverage. I fought hard to produce this story and to get it on TV during a ratings period in the coveted 11pm time slot. I would hope this critical discussion trumps concerns of the gritty details of specific attribution. Still, I agree–a correction will be made. I appreciate this being brought to my attention. Please know, in NO way were we trying to attribute the graphic image to WBZ.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

      Re: Mish Michaels (#23),

      Thanks for the cordial comment. As I noted above, I wasn’t bent out of shape about this.

      The only reason that I brought it up was the preceding post where NOAA had refused to say Anthony’s name see Say My Name – Watts Remix , which contained a reference for blog readers to the earlier post Say My Name where Hansen told a documentary maker that their policy was not to utter my name.

      See: http://noteviljustwrong.com/

    • Hoi Polloi
      Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mish Michaels (#23), Kudos to Miss Micheals. I can imagine how hard it is in the current mainstream journalism to publicize a different view away from the usual AGW stories. She deserves full support instead of grumpy messages. Hats off for a brave and beautiful lady.

  20. D.R. Williams
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    Here’s hoping that Miss Michaels continues to set an example by acting professionally and following the science.

  21. Fred
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    and another kudo to you Mish . . . well done & keep up the good fight to provide balance to the AGW orthodoxy/storyline. As per an early comment in the thread, I also thought your story was balanced and intelligent.

  22. Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Mish isn’t the problem. The problem is a group of people (not the journalists) have developed a policy of not specifying who they are “rebutting”. This praciice has several effects:
    1) It permits them to distort the argument the “rebut”. That is, they end up rebutting strawmen.
    2) It prevents readers from finding the actual argument advanced by those who are being “rebutted”.

    Generally, journalists don’t expect that their sources are actually taking pains to not name sources. If they are in any hurry at all, it doesn’t occur to them to say “Could you name a specific person who you are rebutting?”

    In this case, NOAA published what appears to be a “rebuttal”, without necessarily naming who they are rebutting. Obviously, they intend to rebutt someone– otherwise why would their talking points even exist?

  23. Mark T
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    Lucia wins the thread.


    • Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#30),

      Re: Mish Michaels (#23),

      The no citation situation created allows the NOAA (and others) to pretend a lack of credibility of those critiquing – I’m not talking about your article but rather official responses. Its done with the intent of keeping those who have questions on the fringe rather than addressing the real and accurate concerns. While those here who spend their own hours are used to it, Anthony Watts is nearing completion of the first step in what is in my opinion one of the most important projects in global warming science. The govt. is nervous, he hasn’t even reached any conclusions as yet and already they are replying to him without mentioning his name.

      With our government proposing spending literally trillions of dollars on global warming, shouldn’t they have at least spent a paltry couple million on verifying temperature station quality?

      I hope when the time comes, you will help get the word out on Anthony’s results.

  24. Evan Jones
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    Also my fault.

    Mish is a brick. It was a blast to work with her.

  25. Evan Jones
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    And no, Mish is not part of the problem. She’s part of the solution.

  26. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    Mish isn’t the problem. The problem is a group of people (not the journalists) have developed a policy of not specifying who they are “rebutting”. This praciice has several effects:

    Both Mr.McIntyre and Mr.Mann (and cohorts) are obsessed with eachother, which in human perspective is perfectly understandable. Anthony Watts is referred to in the article, which is already a huge gain. Let’s not all people brush with the same comb and welcome any reasoned voice into the Climate Arena.

    • Mark T
      Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

      Re: Hoi Polloi (#34),

      Both Mr.McIntyre and Mr.Mann (and cohorts)

      Technically, it should be Dr. Mann. He worked long and hard to earn that title… ahem. 😉


      • Hoi Polloi
        Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

        Re: Mark T (#39), duly noted…

      • Mike Lorrey
        Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

        Re: Mark T (#39), Actually Mark, I shall refer to him as “Dr.(but not a REAL Doctor) Mann”….

  27. Mike Lorrey
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Yes, Mish has also interviewed Dr. Soon at Harvard, which is available on the WBZ website, and his contentions, echoing Dr. Eddy, that climate change is solar driven and the quiet sun indicates a cooling climate. She’s doing great work of debunking the AGW mythologies and any viewers in the Boston metro area should let WBZ know what a gem they have in her.

  28. Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    I thought it was quite humorous what comment #4 said, At least someone in the drive-by media took notice of climateaudit. Anyway though, I think that Mish isn’t bad at all. Some of the comments above seem to be really upset about her. But I too believe that she is part of the solution. She’s getting the word out there.

  29. freespeech
    Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    What a pity the article contains the pseudo-words “asphault” and “laytex”, it tends to put a fairly strong limit on how seriously to take what is written.

  30. Evan Jones
    Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

    Spelling is so last millennium.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Jun 28, 2009 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

      Re: Evan Jones (#38),

      wtf is a milennium? Is that when weather becomes climate? Ah, I get it.

  31. andymc
    Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 3:57 AM | Permalink

    Re #25 (Say my name)

    Hansen sounds like one of those superstitious Shakespearian actors who are afraid of saying the name, “Macbeth” instead preferring the phrase, “The Scottish Play” (or maybe the “Scottish Name” in your case.)
    I’m reminded of an incident in the brilliant 80’s series, “Blackadder” in which Blackadder upsets some actors who are invited to the Palace in order to teach the Prince Regent on how to deliver his speeches.
    Read on…
    (With attribution from the following website) http://humour.50megs.com/blackadder/ba34.html

    E Edmund Blackadder
    B Baldrick (a dog’s body)
    K and M (Keanrick and Mossop, the actors)
    PR Prince Regent

    There is a rapping at the door. Blackadder walks down the stairs.
    Baldrick looks up from his silver-polishing.)

    B: Is that the door?
    E: Oh, don’t worry, it’s just the actors.

    (Continued rapping. Blackadder pours himself a cup of tea.)

    B: My uncle Baldrick was in a play once.
    E: Really?
    B: Yeah, it was called *Macbeth*.
    E: And what did he play?
    B: Second codpiece… Macbeth wore him in the fight scenes.
    E: So he was a stunt codpiece. (sips his tea) Did he have a large part?
    B: Depends who’s playing Macbeth.
    E: Oh, incidentally, Baldrick – actors are very superstitious. On no
    account mention the word *Macbeth* this evening, alright?
    B: Why not?
    E: It brings them bad luck and it makes them very unhappy.
    B: Oh, so you won’t be mentioning it either?
    E: No… well, not very often.

    The Prince’s Lounge

    E: You should have knocked.
    K: Our knocks, impertinent butler, were loud enough to wake the hounds of hell!

    (The actors give Blackadder their hats.)

    K: (to Mossop) Lead on, McDuff.
    M: I shall…

    (They enter. Blackadder dumps their hats on the floor and kicks them into
    the hall.)
    M: ..lest you continue in your quotations and mention the name of the
    “Scottish Play”.

    K: Oh-ho… never fear, I shan’t do that. (laughs)
    E: By the “Scottish Play”, I assume you mean *Macbeth*.

    (The actors perform a ritual warding off of bad luck.)

    As: Aahhhhh! (slapping each others hands, pat-a-cake fashion) Hot potato,
    off his drawers, pluck to make amends. (pinch each others noses)
    E: What was that?
    K: We were exorcising evil spirits. Being but a mere butler, you will not
    know the great theatre tradition that one does *never* speak the name
    of the “Scottish Play”.
    E: What, *Macbeth*?
    As: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off his drawers, pluck to make amends. Ohhh!
    E: Good lord, you mean you have to do *that* every time I say *Macbeth*?
    As: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off his drawers, pluck to make amends. Owwww!
    M: Will you please stop saying *that*! Always call it the “Scottish
    E: So you want me to say the “Scottish Play”?
    As: YES!!!
    E: Rather than *Macbeth*?
    As: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off his drawers, pluck to make amends. Owwwwww!

    (Prince George enters.)

    PR: For heaven’s sake, what is all this hullabaloo, all this shouting and
    screaming and yelling blue murder? Why… it’s like that play we saw
    the other day, what was it called… umm..
    E: *Macbeth*, sir?
    As: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off his drawers, pluck to make amends. Owwwwww!
    PR: No, no, it was called Julius Caesar.
    E: Ah yes, of course. Julius Caesar… not *Macbeth*.
    As: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off his drawers, pluck to make amends. Owwwwww!
    E: Are you sure you want these people to stay?
    PR: Course, I asked them, didn’t I, Mr. Thicky-Butler.
    K: Your Highness, may I say what a great honour it is to be invited?
    PR: Why certainly…

  32. Tim
    Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    Kimberly Strassel has a very good article in the WSJ today on the administration’s efforts to ram through cap and trade now since the number of skeptics is growing rapidly on AGW.


  33. Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    That article seemed reasonably well balanced to me. My only complaint was that it made it sound like the adjustments made to account for UHI, TOBs, etc. were without controversy. Other than that I thought Ms. Michaels captured the essence of the debate and explained it in a way that most readers could understand.

  34. Paul Coppin
    Posted Jun 28, 2009 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    From Mish’s bio:

    Mish has a Master’s degree in Technology in Education from Harvard University. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Cornell University in New York. Mish was named “Young Alumni of the Year” by her college at Cornell University in 2004. Mish was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from Regis College in May 2005. Mish received the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Broadcast Seal of Approval in 1997.

    Clearly, no dummy.

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