Happy birthday to WUWT – 5 years today

I’ve sort of dreaded writing a post for this day, mainly because it brings out a lot of emotions when I look back over 5 years. I started this blog under the auspices of the local newspaper, the Chico Enterprise Record, 5 years ago today. Originally I told the editor that I wanted to do a broad based gee whiz sort of science blog, and that’s what I set out to do.

I do remember saying that “I’ll try to keep the posts on global warming balanced with other topics”. We all know how that worked out. As a result, I branched out from the newspaper to a better publishing platform than the kludgey Moveable Type the newspaper used, to WordPress and my blog now does more traffic than all the newspapers, radio, and TV stations in my little town combined. Here’s my very first blog post on my old newspaper blog 5 years ago today. A summary and thoughts follow that.

There’s lots I could say, in way too many words, so I’ll just go on a series of bullet points as I think about things.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:

  • I’ve learned a tremendous amount about climate science that I did not know before. Every day here is an education.
  • I’ve broadened my horizons – my opinion and ideas are sought regularly, WUWT is cited worldwide. I find this remarkable and humbling.
  • I have friends all over the world now, something I never had before I started blogging. I wanted a pen pal in grade school, now I have thousands.
  • WUWT regularly beats all other climate related blogs on the planet, I’m particularly fond of the fact WUWT beats RealClimate every day of the week and twice on Sundays in traffic and reach. WUWT is almost always in the top 5 blogs worldwide on WordPress and on Wikio.
  • WUWT has won two “Best Science Blog” awards for which I’m revered by some, reviled by others.
  • Cartoons by Josh – I never thought I’d have a talented cartoonist help me get the word out. Thank you Josh for the laughs and for the biting satire.
  • WUWT has 94.6 million page views now, and will reach 100 million page views soon. This is the 6120th story, there are 705,385 approved reader comments as of this writing.
  • I have people who see this blog important enough to want to help me with it, moderators, guest posters, people who leave tips and email me stories. I’m forever grateful to you all.
  • I’ve written two publications on station siting, one peer reviewed in JGR, the other published by Heartland, which made NOAA react to it because it exposed just how poor their climate network was. A second peer reviewed paper is coming. A federal GAO report this summer confirmed what I discovered; the climate surface observing network is a mess.
  • I’ve seen more of the USA and the world than I ever thought possible. I’ve surveyed hundreds of weather stations in the USA, toured Australia, and seen Belgium to attend a conference.
  • I regularly converse with scientists world wide, and they kindly offer guest posts and articles here. I’m humbled.
  • I’m friends with Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt and aviation pioneer Burt Rutan, heroes of my youth, and now intellectual supporters of my work. I’m humbled even more.
  • WUWT broke Climategate – that was a exhilarating moment, writing that simple post and hitting publish at Dulles airport just before the door closed to my flight to California, then the terror of wondering over a 5 hour flight if I did the right thing and how it would be reacted to.
  • While many won’t admit it, logs and emails show me that scientists, media, bloggers, and some former politicians worldwide read WUWT. While they may hate what I and others have to say here, they can’t ignore it.
  • Al Gore and Bill Nye The Science Guy are (Nye recently responded here) is still mum though, about this: Replicating Al Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment shows that his “high school physics” could never work as advertised.
  • My proudest moment over the last five years? Being mentioned by Matt Ridley in his epic RSA speech just a couple of weeks ago. That was emotional for me.

The Bad:

  • While there’s a lot of good people out there, I’ve realized that there’s a lot of really angry and irrational people out there too that will do everything in their power to see me and this blog denigrated and reviled whenever possible. You know who you are. I have enemies all over the world now, something I never had before I started blogging. It is a strange realization for me.
  • As a result of the first point, sometimes I let my humanity get the better of me, and I’ve written a few things I’m not proud of. To those I’ve inadvertently offended, you have my sincerest apologies. To those who deserved it, you have my regret that I wasn’t more succinct.
  • This blog has taken a measure of my life that I could have spent doing other things. For example, I used to own a fishing boat I’d use on weekends and I used to take real two week vacations where I wasn’t trying to scout out weather stations. My wife and my kids see less of me than they should as I spend way too much time keeping up to date on the latest in climate science and the hoopla surrounding it, relaying it to you all.
  • Running the blog has affected my health; too much keyboard time has added girth, blood pressure, and stress.
  • Running the blog has affected my business, mostly with time and focus, but there’s some ugly parts too.

The Ugly:

  • The 10:10 video, Hansen’s death trains, Greenpeace’s “We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few.” commentary, and Grist’s “Nuremberg style trials for climate skeptics” – ’nuff said.
  • I’ve had a number of incidents where the ugly side of the climate debate has confronted me and my family. This includes a mentally imbalanced woman from Nevada City who has stalked me and interfered with my business and livelihood and a host of cowards who work in the shadows prying into my life because I write things they disagree with. They look for imagined “big oil” connections everywhere, because well, “he just couldn’t be doing this on his own”. Heh.
  • I have evidence that my trash has been collected at my office by somebody other than the trash service. All trash is shredded now, because it really is none of your damn business. If you try it again, please do smile for the new cameras at my home and office and I’ll make you a star right here the next morning.
  • Last year somebody in Toronto setup a fake website just one letter off my business domain name to mirror my own company website, and made a shopping cart that appeared to take orders but delivered no product. It took me months to discover what was going on and to get it shut down. Meanwhile, it damaged my business.
  • Also in Toronto, about the same time my business website was fake mirrored, a former geology student, male model, ladies man, celebrity cook, marathon runner and Mac repairman setup a mirror WUWT blog, also just one letter different than the WattsUpWithThat.com domain name, to regularly write denigrating and juvenile things about me and the people who contribute here. While I can’t yet make a legally binding connection between the two spoof websites that popped up at about the same time from the same city, and it could be coincidence, it is very suspicious. I hope I’m wrong.
  • For daring to ask for a factual correction to a slimy article, it was suggested that I have sex with farm animals, see here and scroll down to the bottom.

In retrospect, while the ugly side of the bizarre world of climate activism is something I’d rather not have experienced, it does tell me one thing: WUWT is being effective, because if it weren’t, there would be no need for these people to do these illegal and juvenile things.

Factoid: I used to be a climate alarmist, but now I’m a skeptic.

Back in 1990, I used to be just like some of the climate activists today. Inspired by what Dr. James Hansen said to congress in his famous speech in June 1988, I felt like I had to “do something”. That culminated in nationwide project with the National Arbor Day Foundation working with TV weathercasters and meteorologists nationwide to convince their viewers to plant trees to offset CO2. In 1990 and 1991, I delivered a video graphics presentation for local TV weathercasters and meteorologist to narrate on this subject for the benefit of their viewers. It was delivered nationally via satellite courtesy of CBS Newspath, where I had done some work and had connections. I can remember browbeating TV people then to carry the program I developed because “it really is the most important thing you can do right now”. A 1990 National Arbor Day foundation report showed that 174 TV stations participated and they mailed out over 240,000 Colorado Blue Spruce seedlings to viewers as a result.  Truly, I felt as if I had “done something”, and I can relate to how many people who feel motivated to “save the planet” must feel today.

Then, in 1996, I saw this graph. And I said to myself, “how does CO2 know which counties to heat more than others”? After that I was no longer much worried about CO2 and climate, but I did become worried that science was ignoring the measurement environment. It wasn’t until ten years later that I did something about it.

Then much later I discovered that Dr. Hansen’s scientific position was so weak in 1988, he resorted to stagecraft. So much for my “save the planet” inspiration from him.

About my experiences with professional climate scientists:

I’ve had interactions with professional climate scientists though these five years, and I’ve taken them for face value in what they told me. In 2008 I visited NCDC at their invitation and in the spring of 2011, I visited BEST in Berkeley. My biggest regret is that I put too much trust in these scientists, because quite frankly I couldn’t believe (at the time) they’d do the things they did related to the station data gathered by myself and by volunteers of the surface station project. Apparently, it was so threatening that in each case, my trust had to be publicly abused so that these scientists could pre-empt my own work. I won’t trust them again, and I won’t be so quick to trust anyone else on the opposite side of climate science again, especially where money and prestige is involved.

I have another paper coming, with a broader perspective, and there’s no way I’m going to share that data ahead of time with these people again. Everybody will have to wait until publication.

What’s to come?

I have ideas for a peer reviewed version of this blog, as well as a new format that will open it up more and allow for a greater variety of publications and interactive media. Look for that in the coming weeks and months. I’m also planning a “letters to the editor” feature, but with a twist. I also hope to take a vacation where I have no electronic tether of any kind that is on my person or can be reached.  I really need to unplug for awhile.

Thank you.

I wish to thank all of you that have helped me, encouraged me, sent me letters of support, and who have offered kind comments. There’s way too many of you to list individually, but know that dozens of people are in my thoughts as I write this. I wish to thank all of the people who visit here every day, and who comment and link WUWT elsewhere to help spread the word.

I must name a few special people though. Please take no offense if you aren’t named. I thank David Little for giving me a start with the local newspaper blog, Steve McIntyre for inspiration, Dr. Roger Pielke Senior for his trust and encouragement, Dave Stealey for keeping the faith, Evan Jones for making lemonade with the Rev’s special Holy Water, Willis for being Willis here, Mosh, Charles The Moderator for keeping me on the straight and narrow, and James Goodridge for helping me see beyond the data. There’s also a very special person I can’t name, but I hope you enjoyed the WUWT mugs and T-shirts I sent.

Most of all I thank my family and friends for enduring my path through the ugly side of climate blogging.

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Martin Brumby

Anthony, you are one of the few great heros we have from the C.21st.
WUWT is absolutely unmissable. Every day.
C’mon, people, hit the tip jar and buy Anthony a well deserved beer! (or three!)

Dave N

Congratulations on 5 years, Anthony!
I’ve been trying to figure out when my first comment appeared here..

Marzo

Happy 5th Anthony!
You remain an inspiration to us – heres to the next 5 (though hopefully they won’t be needed if you get my drift)

Orkneygal

Mr Watts, have you been able to maintain your health through all of these 5 years?
I do hope so.

Dr A Burns

Congratulations for standing up for the truth in the face of the ratbag scammers.

You are doing a fantastic job Mr Watts. I have learned so much from you and the other contributors to this site and I am truly grateful for that. Here’s to an even more successful next five years

pauline

Just a big thank you for all your hard work

Lew Skannen

Bravo Anthony. Top achievement making it down to visit us in Tasmania the other year as well.

Phillip Bratby

Congratulations. You deserve a great honour for your courage and dedication. Nearly 100 million hits say it all.
Best wishes for the future.
Phillip Bratby

Stephen Skinner

Happy birthday and thank you for a really great site.

Gareth Phillips

Penblwydd Hapul Anthony ac Hwyl fawr. Happy Birthday Anthony and the best of luck. You are indeed a star, I just wish us old lefties could claim you!

Scarface

Thanks Anthony! I’m a big fan of WUWT. I’ve learned a lot from it.
Keep fighting the good fight!
Victory is near.

Brian Johnson uk

HAPPY 5TH ANTHONY. WUWT uber Warmists!
Many many thanks for all your hard work – it is much appreciated.
Onward and Upward………

TBear (Sydney, where it has finally warmed up, but just a bit ...)

Good work, mate.
And happy birthday, to the Blog, from Oz.

AleaJactaEst

fortes fortuna adiuuat
and brave you are Sir.
Many Happy Returns from the Die.

Spinifers

Wow. Happy Bday WUWT! It seems more like ten years, but maybe that’s because I check for new posts at least twice a day. 😉
Thank you for all the entertainment and education. And thank you to your family for sharing your time, it is no small sacrifice for them either.
How many other guys can honestly say, “but honey, I have to blog for the good of humanity!!”. Lol.

There’s a beer in the tip jar. Hopefully, there won’t be a need for the intensity of effort you put into this blog in 5 year’s time.

Pity I missed seeing you in Australia. Yours is about the first blog I look at when I get a chance.
Keep up the good work. It is unfortunate that there are so many nasty people around- politics and no ethics. People who lie, stretch the truth and have no ethics normally lack understanding about the subject in question. The latter seems to apply to those who call themselves climate scientists and in particular the team and their fellow travellers. They do not understand the basic thermodynamics, heat transfer, mass transfer, fluid dynamics and reaction kinetics which are engineering subjects. Assessment of climate and weather is complex and no one has complete knowledge but it helps to understand and appreciate the breadth of the basic technology.
I have a lot of time for Willis and enjoy Josh.
Anthony thanks again
PS I use a pseudonom to protect relatives who are doing useful research.

Anthony,
Thank you for being honest and providing some sanity amid the madness of the Climate Change debate.
Congratulations. Here’s to the next five years!

David Schofield

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the whole 5 years. Happy Birthday and thank you.

jason lawrie

In only 5 years you have been able to create this site? From nothing? And apparently,… by accident?
Just shows that speaking the truth, and having the tenacity not to conform can do amazing things!
Now, unplug yourself and take that holiday. You have earned it.
( Would somebody close to Mr. Watts make sure this happens? Force may be required ).

Wil

Happy Birthday from the oil sands City of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. The one and only city in Canada, North America, and many parts of Europe blamed the most of any city on planet earth FOR Global Warming, destroying the planet, CO2 production, and other assorted crimes against David Suzuki, Al Gore, Greenpeace, and other assorted tree huggers.
If anyone on this planet appreciates this site, your personal efforts Anthony, and the quality of the many, many brilliant contributers highlighted here on these pages arming me and providing me with deadly ammunition I use every day – it is us!
Hope you and your contributers have many, many more Birthdays like this one! However, that first post – well – the writing should have been much, much smaller.

pat

many happy returns anthony:
with links and more nonsense
:
15 Nov: Reuters Alertnet: Trust.org: Climate sceptics get less press in developing countries
In the United States, over a third of climate articles published during the study period in selected newspapers reported sceptical standpoints while less than eight per cent of articles did so in Brazil, China and India.
The reasons include a greater willingness to accept the authority of scientific experts, the lack of powerful industrial lobby groups, and different journalistic cultures, according to researchers from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Another factor, suggest the researchers, is that developing countries are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and are focussing their efforts on responding to it, rather than discussing whether it exists or whether human activity is responsible.
The survey, ‘Poles Apart — The international reporting of climate scepticism’, funded by the British Council, was based on an analysis of over 3,000 articles in two newspapers from each of six countries: Brazil, China, France, India, the United Kingdom and the United States…
Bob Ward, director of policy and communications at the UK’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, at the UK’s London School of Economics, said that developing countries, such as China, were also beginning see economic advantages in producing and exporting new technologies designed to adapt to global warming…
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/climate-sceptics-get-less-press-in-developing-countries

You are fighting the good fight, and running the race,
Kia kaha.

Richard Abbott

A happy 5th birthday and thanks Mr Watts for sharing the knowledge that it was not wrong to be a rightful skeptic!

Lawrie Ayres

Thank you Anthony for educating me and others. Without you, Jo Nova and Dellingpole we would be far less wise. We in Australia have seen first hand the lengths to which some politicians, advised by extremely poor scientists and egged on by the most naive and biased reporters, will stoop to push the AGW barrow and it’s imaginary impacts and solutions.
The MSM consistently refuse to publish the graphs that deny AGW and it is on your site we rely for information. Thank you and best wishes.

Congrats, Anthony!
As recently as 2 years ago I never heard of WUWT. Meanwhile it is my absolute favorite and I enjoy it each day.
You’ve done a great work unveiling the oddities and untruths of climate science and I’m sure you haven’t convinced only a few alarmists to reconsider their attitude.
I hope, WUWT will live “long and prosper”, but , Anthony, please keep an eye on your family and your health. Allow yourself relaxation and contemplation. This has the topmost priority!
So I propose a toast to you and the next 5 years of WUWT!
Cheers!

Happy Birthday, Anthony. I too began looking at climate claims in a new light after a talk by James Goodridge. Started me thinking. And while I think it behooves us all to keep an open mind about both (or all… There really are more than two sides to this line) sides of the climate debate, I do come down strongly on the side of scientific freedom. And the examples of scientific intimidation from those who are afraid of healthy skepticism are causing me to lose faith in the process. Your blog is helping me to regain some of that.

KenB

Thanks Anthony and to all your helpers, and a special thank you to your family for the support and joy they give and share through you. It is a changing world and a challenging world that we live in and one where you have shone light and learning. Be proud of what you have achieved and I wish you well in the future.
Thanks for sharing your life in our interests and, in the interest of truth and the advancement of science.

Steve (Paris)

You deserve a noble prize Mr Watts. Anyone know where we can vote?

Congratulations !
My kids at age five: one minute were sweet little angels, the next little horrors.

Peter Plail

A sincere thank you for bursting so many hot air bubbles over the 5 years. Have made a contribution to your holiday fund, it has been well-earned.
Peter

Dunbtokin

thanks for the enjoyment and provocation that you have given me…..you help me rethink the basics….and that is a real achievement.

Laurie

Anthony,
You are a jewel! Thanks for the amazing work you do. But, please, make an appointment with your local gym or swimming pool, twice a week or so. Take the time to get all those tests and treatments we need as we get older. I’d like you to see all of what will come of your work while you are still above ground.
Like you, I’m hearing impaired and have been for 40 years. I know how easy it is to stay away from people to avoid the frustrations of not hearing. How you manage to be so public and out there astonishes me! What courage!
Finally, an old dear bridge friend, who was a survivor of the Bataan Death March, gave me some of the best advice I ever got: “Don’t let the jerks get you down.” Focus on your purpose and the many people who love and admire you, those who cheer at your success! Don’t waste your emotional energy on the others. Fight, if you must, and then forget them.

Mike Shorthose

Only 5 years? Seems like I’ve been lurking about this fine establishment longer than that! Went to see you in Adelaide (Australia) and gained a new appreciation of the kind of individual who can have such a profound effect on the AGW debate. Truth and honesty are traits that are under rated in so much of public discourse – winning seems to be the only measure. Years reading this blog has shown me a consistency in both these characteristics that I admire.
Sincerely
Mike

Pete Olson

Thank you so much, Anthony. It is so comforting to visit a place every day that is not fraught with hysteria; where it’s OK to utilize common sense; and where there is an insistence on civility. WUWT should be – and I hope already is – the poster-child for how-to-run-a-blog. Please accept my gratitude for you do.

Pete Olson

(for WHAT you do!)

edbarbar

I think the biggest thing I take away from WUWT is “No one knows the truth.” The world is too complex, and the real truth is in the “muck and mire.” Sorry about your bad thinking about Muller, and I wish that had worked out better for you. He seems to me to be the most sane “Warmistas” I’ve discussed with: certainly vastly more sane than the religion going on over at Real Climate, or the downright lies from Gore.
And I really enjoyed your deconstruction of the Gore “Science” experiment. How many disciplines were involved in that? From the thermometer “difference” graphics, to the careful replication of the experiment, including finding the same equipment, and using whatever tools you had available to provide a precise replication. While Gore is a polarizing figure, and his believers won’t be dissuaded any more than those who see what he is could agree with him on anything, it would be nice to find someone that sucked up that stupid science experiment and point them to your analysis. But maybe Gore has become irrelevant. It seems he has.
Finally, I’ve always felt there is a big divide in Climate Science. There are the measures, and there are modellers. I’ve often said that “Measuring the earth’s temperature, past and present” is a very difficult task. If the measuring stick is broken, what can one say? In any event, I suspect your efforts helped start BEST, and while I understand you have ethical issues with the BEST leadership, I wouldn’t give up. Sometimes humble people, such as yourself, and as exhibited by the care in which you deconstructed Gore’s experiment, have a hard time with the prima donnas. I hope not all is written in that relationship, though that is for purely selfish reasons of wanting to get better data out into the world, even if it is a source of pain for you.
Meanwhile, I’ve spent hundreds of hours on this site, and have thoroughly enjoyed so many aspects of what you are trying to achieve! Congratulations, and I hope you find fulfillment and continue the excellent unbiased work.
Ed
P.S. I’m also glad this blog has avoided the religious tenor at RC. I suspect that if the strong scientific evidence were provided to you and most WUWT readers that AGW is real, they would agree. Not sure I can say that about Gore, RC, or so many of the religious warmists. So I think you have created a better group of people! (Note, I suspect Muller would also be included: again, despite your reservations, I’m pretty convinced he is a real scientist at heart, at least I hope so!)

Many happy blog returns, Anthony. I’ve been a daily reader for the last three years and your blog has helped educate me in the climate debate. Here’s to the next five years. Raises glass in toast. 😀

Myrrh

Congratulations Anthony – a tremendous achievement by any standards, but building this in the face of the spiteful machinations from those who have none a marvellous testatment to your decency.

Venter

Congratulations Anthony on the wonderful work you are doing.
Keep up the good work.

John in Redding

Congratulations Anthony. Time flies more than ever today. What you built here is nothing short of remarkable! In this strange world where political chants substitute for science and truth, WUWT became a hub where science is what I was taught: a frontier of discovery, wonder, honest critique and open debate. It is no small sadness to look back at the corruption in so many old sources I used to trust. Yet, it is equally heartening to see the expanded access nobody could have imagined when I was in school. Again, truly remarkable.
The thing that stands out most I learned reading this blog:
Never underestimate the weatherman. 🙂

Perry

Anthony,
Your science website has beeen invaluable in persuading certain of my friends to change their minds about CAGW. Those who haven’t, have drifted away and good riddance. Life is too short to have to deal with ignorant and stupid people in one’s personal life.
As Chief Dan George declaimed “Endeavour to perservere.” (Outlaw Josey Wales) “And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the (CAGW) Union.” ;<) Well done!!
Best regards.

Congratulations and Happy Birthday WUWT! It is one special blog and, globally, warmly appreciated. Thank you all your hard work, Anthony.

If WUWT drank beer, I’d wish it a Happy Burps Day. 😉

Happy birthday, may your efforts to bring fact and sense to this debate continue. Speaking for myself, I would like to say a large thank you for everything I have learned reading the posts here.

DaveF

Thankyou for being an island of sanity in a crazy world.

Ivor Ward

Thank you for publishing the information that allows us sentient humans to make up our own minds rather than being force fed the opinions of others by our media hacks.

Shevva

Was going to leave a long post about the respect and admiration you have from me and many others but I’ll keep it simple.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
‘I also hope to take a vacation where I have no electronic tether of any kind that is on my person or can be reached.’ – best place I found is either Frazer Island or the Whit Sundays (best beach in the world).

stevo

“regularly write denigrating and juvenile things”
Oh ho, that’s a good one. Talk about pot calling kettle black!
REPLY: Well, you should know, Cheers, Anthony