Last week on November 14th and 15th, former vice president Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project let loose with another “24 hours of Climate Reality” in a global TV webcast hosted on USTREAM. The emphasis this year was in trying to make connections between energy use and weather events with the theme being “dirty energy=dirty weather”.
While there’s probably a dirty joke in there somewhere, Gore as usual took anecdotal events such as hurricane Sandy and tried to connect weather and climate with leaps of scientific certitude such as “In fact, all weather events are now effected by global warming pollution.” in a recent Guardian interview. Just a few years ago, attempts to connect weather and climate were laughed at by the global warming crowd and they used the oft repeated maxim “weather is not climate”.
Contrary to Mr. Gore’s claims is a recent editorial published by the editors of Nature, arguably the world’s most influential scientific journal. That editorial came down hard on attempts such as Mr. Gore’s to link weather events to climate change with this declaration:
Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming.
Despite that drawing of scientific line in the sand almost two months before his broadcast, Mr. Gore and his activists didn’t blink an eye at making hurricane Sandy the most recent poster child for climate change, much like Mr. Gore did for hurricane Katrina.
During his “dirty weather” broadcast, Mr. Gore and his team of activists repeatedly tried to convince viewers that energy use is directly tied to weather events such as hurricane Sandy. The logic used is that warmer temperatures produce more frequent and more intense hurricanes.
The reality is that the United States has been in a “hurricane drought”. The last major hurricane (Category 3 or greater) to make a landfall on the USA was hurricane Wilma on October 24th, 2005. That’s over seven years since a major hurricane has hit the USA. Sandy wasn’t even a hurricane when it made landfall, as it had been downgraded to an extratropical cyclone by the National Hurricane Center.
The science and the numbers don’t support Mr. Gore’s assertions yet he presses on with his inflated issue, completely sure that weather events and climate are inextricably connected. Mr. Gore is no stranger to inflating issues like this as his movie An Inconvenient Truth has been demonstrated to contain many such inflated issues, with a judge in England ruling in 2007 that the film contained at least nine factual errors, making it unsuitable for showing in public schools there.
So given that history, the latest revelation about Mr. Gore’s Climate Reality Project isn’t much of a surprise.
Last week, the viewer numbers for his webcast seemed to soar quickly to incredible heights as seen in this screen capture of the broadcast, note the value of 16M circled in red:
Screencap courtesy Dana Nuccitelli and Tamino’s “Open Mind”
That 16 million figure is the views counter for the channel at USTREAM. Mr. Gore and his supporters have claimed these millions of visits represent a success for the broadcast.
But, like with Mr. Gore’s other claims, it folds easily with the slightest scrutiny.
The data gathered from the broadcast doesn’t support the 16 million viewer total. As analyzed by a telecommunications expert it suggests the final number might be inflated, especially since the Gore team apparently had the “current viewers” count removed from the USTREAM video player, leaving only the total views count. If you look at any other USTREAM live feed, you’ll see two sets of numbers, representing current and total viewers. The current viewers count on Mr. Gore’s channel remained in the 10,000-12,000 range during the part of his broadcast where that number was available. The question is, why would they need to remove the “current viewers” counter mid broadcast?
A second independent analysis of the data suggests that some electronic virtual viewers were involved, concluding from a mathematical analysis of the numbers that “At least 85% of total views were bots cycling every 10 seconds.”.
And there’s more, the Internet traffic reporting website Alexa has monitored USTREAM since its inception, logging the visits. Surprisingly, there’s no traffic blip visible on Alexa from Mr. Gore’s event on November 14-15. Traffic rank actually went down during that 24 hour period.
According to a Techcrunch article on USTREAM’s success from March 17th 2011, their biggest day ever was during the Japanese earthquake:
On just the day of the quake Ustream hit 7.2 million views due to all of us who were glued to the stunning and terrifying imagery on the streams, an audience greater than Sheen’s antics and greater than those who watched the Chilean miner rescue.
And that blip of traffic the article refers to from the March 11 2011 Tōhoku earthquake is clearly visible in Alexa’s traffic stats for USTREAM then:
So with a claimed 16 million views for his latest global telecast, why doesn’t Mr. Gore’s “dirty weather report” show up as an even bigger traffic spike on the far right or in the magnified graph above? For that matter, where’s the traffic spike from September 15th of last year on USTREAM where Mr. Gore claimed 8.6 million views? It should be there and be even bigger than USTREAM’s best day ever of 7.2 million views, shouldn’t it? Readers may recall our own “Charles the Moderator” did a takedown of Gore’s USTREAM numbers last year.
And, if USTREAM had a new record day with 16 million views, more than doubling their previous record traffic day of March 11, 2011, don’t you think they would be saying something about it? So far, not a peep.
I suppose it is a matter of whose “reality” you believe, but it seems clear to me that the numbers outside of Mr. Gore’s reality don’t even remotely support his version of it. Readers may recall that Mr. Gore is no stranger to manufacturing his own version of science reality, and sadly it seems his viewership claims are as inflated as his ‘science’.