Anthony Watts (blogger)

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For other people called Anthony Watts, see Anthony Watts.
Willard Anthony Watts
Watts in OZ 2010.jpg
Anthony Watts speaking in Gold Coast, Australia, June 2010
Born 1958 (age 56–57)[1]
Nationality American
Alma mater Purdue University(no degree earned)
Occupation Blogger
business owner
former meteorological technician
Years active 1974-present[2]
Known for Viewpoints on climate change

Willard Anthony Watts (born 1958) is a former broadcast meteorologist from the USA,[3][4] president of IntelliWeather Inc,[5] and founder of the Surface Stations Project, a volunteer initiative to document the siting and maintenance of U.S. weather stations.[6] He operates Watts Up With That?, a weather and climate change[a] blog that focuses on the global warming controversy and his opinion that the human role in global warming is insignificant. It is described by climatologist Michael E. Mann in The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars as having "overtaken Climate Audit as the leading climate change denial blog".[7]

Education and career[edit]

Watts attended classes at Purdue University, but did not graduate and has stated that he does not hold a degree in climatology.[8][9][10] He states that he started his broadcast career by assisting with the setup of a radio program for his high school in Indiana. [2] In 1978, Watts became an on-air meteorologist for WLFI-TV in Lafayette, Indiana.[11]

He joined KHSL-TV, a CBS affiliate based in Chico, California in 1987.[11][12] He stopped using his first name "Willard" to avoid confusion with NBC's The Today Show weatherman Willard Scott.[11] Watts temporarily resigned from KHSL in 2001, but was able to negotiate more personal time to devote to his private business, ITWorks.[13] Then in 2002 he left KHSL to focus on ITWorks full time.[14] Watts has been the chief meteorologist for KPAY-AM, a Fox News affiliate based in Chico, California since 2002.[10][15][16]

Watts has been the director and president of IntelliWeather Inc. since 2000.[5]

Watts was a member of the Chico, California school board from 2002 to 2006.[17][18][19] In 2006, he was briefly a candidate for county supervisor, to represent Chico on the Butte County Board of Supervisors, but withdrew his candidacy due to family and workload concerns.[20] In 2010, Watts went on a speaking tour to 18 locations around Australia.[21]

Climate change opinion and activities[edit]

View of climate change[edit]

Watts has expressed a skeptical view of anthropogenic CO2-driven global warming.[22][23][24][25][26] He believes carbon dioxide plays a much smaller part than the sun in causing climatic change.[27][28] Watts is "green in many ways",[29] mainly to get the United States "disengaged from Middle East Oil."[30]

Watts has said that he had "at one time been fully engaged in the belief that CO2 was indeed the root cause of the global warming problem," but changed his thinking when he "learned more about the science and found it to be lacking."[31]

In a 2012 interview, Watts described his view as follows: "we have some global warming. No doubt about it, but it may not be as bad as we originally thought because there are other contributing factors."[32]

Watts is a signatory to Manhattan Declaration which calls on world leaders to "reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change" and abandon "all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2".[33]

After describing his concerns about the siting of US weather stations, Watts continued the interview saying "Yes, we have some global warming, it’s clear the temperature has gone up in the last 100 years. But what percentage of that is from carbon dioxide? And what percentage of that is from changes in the local and measurement environment?"[32]

Climate change blogging[edit]

Watts established the blog, Watts Up With That? (WUWT) in 2006. The blog is focused on the global warming controversy, in particular, Watts skepticism about the role of humans in global warming.[29][34][35][36][37][38][39] [40][41][42] In a book published in 2013, climatologist Michael E. Mann characterized Watts as a "climate change denier", and stated that Watts's blog had "overtaken climateaudit as the leading climate change denial blog."[7][a] Columbia Journalism School writer Curtis Brainard has written that "scientists have repeatedly criticized [Watts] for misleading readers on subjects such as the reliability of the U.S. surface temperature record."[43]

In 2008, WUWT won an internet voting-based Wizbang Weblog Award for the "Best Science Blog".[44][45] The Wizbang Weblog Awards are billed as the conservative response to the Bloggies, which are also internet voting-based, and which WUWT has also won. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, WUWT took first place in the Bloggies Best Science Weblog category, and in 2013 won overall best blog. In 2010, science writer and British journalist Fred Pearce described WUWT as "a soapbox for the largely sceptical news and views" of Watts, and "perhaps the most visited climate website in the world."[29]

The Guardian columnist George Monbiot described WUWT as "highly partisan and untrustworthy".[46] Leo Hickman, at The Guardian's Environment Blog, also criticized Watts, stating that Watts "risks polluting his legitimate scepticism about the scientific processes and methodologies underpinning climate science with his accompanying politicised commentary."[47] In 2013, Hickman wrote in The Guardian Environment Blog that 13 of the 17 blogs nominated for the Science or Technology category for the Bloggies "were either run by climate sceptics, or popular with climate sceptics". When asked about concerns that the awards were being gamed, Bloggies founder Nikolai Nolan said that "legitimate science blogs don't want to make an effort to compete."[48]

Surface Stations project[edit]

In 2007, Watts launched the Surface Stations project, in which volunteers take photographs of weather stations forming part of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network to record their condition. In March 2009 The Heartland Institute published a paper authored by Watts, in which he argued that the surface temperature record in the United States was inaccurate and that the actual temperature was lower than reported. Using pictures and other information from over 650 volunteers participating through his website, Watts showed that many surface weather stations were situated near artificial heat sources such as pavement and air conditioners, but did not show any comparison of the data from these sites and the data from well situated stations.[49][50] Watts stated, "The reliability of the whole surface temperature record is called into question".[51]

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) investigated the matter. While acknowledging the suboptimal conditions of many stations, NOAA concluded that the overall effect was insubstantial. To the very limited extent that there was any measurement bias, it was in the opposite direction of what Watt expected: stations that were considered poorly situated reported slightly cooler temperatures.[50]

Watts was co-author with climatologists John Nielsen-Gammon, John Christy and Roger A. Pielke, Sr. on a paper with Souleymane Fall as lead author, which found that mean temperature trends were nearly identical between poorly sited and well-sited stations, but poor siting led to a difference in estimated diurnal temperature range. The poorly positioned stations led to an overestimate of trends in minimum temperatures, balanced by a similar underestimate of maximum temperature trends. This meant that the mean temperature trends were nearly identical across the stations.[52]

Watts said he would accept the findings of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST), but in 2012 it released a paper confirming previous results that surface temperature is rising. Richard A. Muller, founder of BEST, directly addressed Watts' concern about the condition of weather stations, saying, "we discovered that station quality does not affect the results. Even poor stations reflect temperature changes accurately." Watts then released a draft paper which, he said, showed that poor station quality had produced "spurious" results.[53]

Connection with Heartland Institute[edit]

The Heartland Institute published Watts' preliminary report on weather station data, titled Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?.[12] Watts has been featured as a speaker at Heartland Institute's International Conference on Climate Change, for which he acknowledges receiving payment.[54]

Documents obtained from the Heartland Institute and made public in February 2012 reveal that the Institute had agreed to help Watts raise $88,000 to set up a website, "devoted to accessing the new temperature data from NOAA's web site and converting them into easy-to-understand graphs that can be easily found and understood by weathermen and the general interested public."[55][56][57] The documents state that $44,000 had already been pledged by an anonymous donor, and the Institute would seek to raise the rest.[54] Watts stated, "Heartland simply helped me find a donor for funding a special project having to do with presenting some new NOAA surface data in a public friendly graphical form, something NOAA themselves is not doing, but should be. I approached them in the fall of 2011 asking for help, on this project not the other way around."[58][59] and added, "They do not regularly fund me nor my WUWT website, I take no salary from them of any kind."[58][60]


  1. ^ a b Sources include:[61][62]


  1. ^ "School board shakeup". Chico News & Review. October 31, 2002. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  2. ^ a b Watts, Anthony. "FAQS: Why do you blog?". Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Watts, Anthony. "About | Watts Up With That?". Watts Up With That?. 
  4. ^ Black, Richard (15 February 2012). "Openness: A Heartland-warming tale". BBC News. 
  5. ^ a b Scherffius, Andrew et al. (4 April 2013). "High School Students Debate Climate Change: Adapt or Geoengineer?". Scientific American. 
  6. ^ Steigerwald, Bill (April 22, 2009). "Talking Climate Change With Anthony Watts". SitNews. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  7. ^ a b Mann, Michael E. (2013). The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. Columbia University Press. pp. 72, 222. ISBN 978-0-231-52638-8. 
  8. ^ Watts, Anthony. "About Anthony". Watts Up With That. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Grant, John (2011). Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions, and the War Against Reality. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1616143991. ...there's no record of him having graduated, however, and he's been reticent in discussing this. 
  10. ^ a b Tuchinsky, Evan (December 6, 2007). "Watts, me worry?". Chico News & Review. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  11. ^ a b c "Anthony Watts, Meteorologist". KHSL-TV. Archived from the original on March 6, 2001. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  12. ^ a b Watts, Anthony (2009). Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable? (PDF). Heartland Institute. ISBN 978-1-934791-29-5. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  13. ^ Gascoyne, Tom (September 6, 2001). "Forecast: Less Anthony Watts?". Chico News & Review. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  14. ^ Smith, Laura (January 31, 2002). "Forecast: No more Watts for KHSL". Chico News & Review. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  15. ^ "Anthony Watts: Chief Meteorologist". KPAY-AM. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  16. ^ "KPAY 1290: Contact". KPAY-AM. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  17. ^ "Chico Unified School District: Board of Education". Chico Unified School District. Archived from the original on April 25, 2003. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  18. ^ "November 5, 2002 General Election Results". Butte County Election Office. Retrieved 2002-07-09. 
  19. ^ "November 7, 2006 General Election Results". Butte County Election Office. Retrieved 2002-07-09. 
  20. ^ Indar, Josh (March 16, 2006). "One out, one in, one on". Chico News & Review. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  21. ^ AAP (June 10, 2010). "Climate sceptic to tour". The Weekly Times. Retrieved 2012-07-09. [dead link]
  22. ^ Watts, Anthony. "About Anthony". WattsUpWithThat. ... I have a skeptical view of certain climate issues ... 
  23. ^ "Climate Skeptics Stay Unswayed". New York Times date= October 21, 2011. ... one of those skeptics, Anthony Watts, had written ... 
  24. ^ Michels, Spencer (September 17, 2012). "Climate Change Skeptic Says Global Warming Crowd Oversells Its Message". PBS. ... one of the nation’s most read climate skeptics 
  25. ^ Kintisch, Eli (April 6, 2011). "Q&A With Richard Muller: A Physicist and His Surprising Climate Data". Science Magazine. ... prominent skeptic blogger Anthony Watts, a bête noire for most climate scientists ... 
  26. ^ Lott, Maxim (January 10, 2013). "Hottest year ever? Skeptics question revisions to climate data". Fox News. Climate change skeptics such as blogger and meteorologist Anthony Watts ... 
  27. ^ Anthony Watts. It's the Sun, stupid,, April 6, 2007.
  28. ^ Ryan Olson, Scientists warm up to Watts' work at the Wayback Machine (archived September 27, 2007), Chico Enterprise Record, 2007.
  29. ^ a b c Pearce, Fred (2010). The Climate Files: The Battle for the Truth about Global Warming. Guardian Books. p. XVI. ISBN 0852652291. 
  30. ^ Anthony Watts. Pipe Dream or Viable Energy?, October 19, 2007.
  31. ^ Watts, Anthony (March 27, 2008). "Gore to throw insults on 60 minutes". Watts Up With That?. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  32. ^ a b Michels, Spencer. "Climate Change Skeptic Says Global Warming Crowd Oversells Its Message". PBS NewsHour. 
  33. ^ Anthony Watts. The 31,000 who say "no convincing evidence" for human induced climate change, May 19, 2008.
  34. ^ Morello, Lauren (December 14, 2012). "Early Drafts of Next Climate Report Leaked Online". Scientific American. ... a popular skeptic blog, "Watts Up With That?" 
  35. ^ Samenow, Jason (May 12, 2011). "Say goodbye to the sunshine". Washington Post. The conservative/skeptic blog WattsUpWiththat ... 
  36. ^ Schneider, Birgit; Nocke, Thomas (2014). Image Politics of Climate Change: Visualizations, Imaginations, Documentations. ... on Anthony Watts' skeptical blog "Watts Up With That?" ... 
  37. ^ Moran, Michael (February 3, 2010). "Eureka's Top 30 Science Blogs". Times Online. Watts Up With That? by Anthony Watts: One of the more entertainingly sceptic blogs ... 
  38. ^ Coady, David; Corry, Richard (2013). The Climate Change Debate: An Epistemic and Ethical Enquiry. ... the well-known skeptic website 
  39. ^ Harvey, Fiona (March 9, 2010). "Politicising and scare tactics cloud the issue". Financial Times. Mr Watts is at the centre of a loose network of internet sites where sceptics criticise climate change science. 
  40. ^ Kirilenko, Andrei; Stepchenkova, Svetlana (May 2014). "Public microblogging on climate change: One year of Twitter worldwide" (PDF). Global Environmental Change. The most authoritative climate change skepticism web sites included Watts Up With That? 
  41. ^ Elgesem, Dag; Steskal, Lubos; Diakopoulos, Nicholas (December 2014). "Structure and Content of the Discourse on Climate Change in the Blogosphere". Environmental Communication. Routledge. ... the skeptical blog 
  42. ^ Lott, Maxim (March 5, 2015). "Google works to rank sites based on ‘truthfulness’". Fox News. ... Anthony Watts, who runs Watts Up With That, a popular blog that is skeptical of global warming claims ... 
  43. ^ Brainard, Curtis (2015). "2.13 The changing ecology of news and news organizations: implication for environmental news". In Hansen, Anders; Cox, Robert. The Routledge Handbook of Environment and Communication. Routledge. p. 172. ISBN 978-1-134-52131-9. 
  44. ^ "The 2008 Weblog Awards - Best Science Blog". Wizbang. 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  45. ^ Madrigal, Alexis (2007-11-09). "Dueling Sites Top Conservative Run Weblog Awards". Wired. 
  46. ^ George Monbiot (15 May 2009). "How to disprove Christopher Booker in 26 seconds". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  47. ^ Leo Hickman (24 February 2010). Academic attempts to take the hot air out of climate science debate "Academic attempts to take the hot air out of climate science debate". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  48. ^ Hickman, Leo (1 March 2013). "Climate sceptics 'capture' the Bloggies' science category". 
  49. ^ Mann, Michael (Oct 1, 2013). The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. Columbia University Press. p. 27. 
  50. ^ a b Henson, Robert (2 May 2011). The Rough Guide to Climate Change. Penguin. 
  51. ^ Olson, Ryan (June 29, 2007). "Watts' up? Spotlight shines on local weatherman's latest research". Oroville Mercury-Register. Archived from the original on July 5, 2007. 
  52. ^ Fall, Souleymane; Watts, Anthony; Nielsen-Gammon, John; Jones, Evan; Niyogi, Dev; Christy, John R.; Pielke, Sr., Roger A. (2011). "Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research 116 (D14120). Bibcode:2011JGRD..11614120F. doi:10.1029/2010JD015146. 
  53. ^ Donald, Ros (3 August 2012). "'There's plenty of room for scepticism' – climate study author Richard Muller". The Guardian. 
  54. ^ a b Gascoyne, Tom (February 23, 2012). "Leaked documents hit home Climate-change scandal has a local connection". Chico News & Review. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  55. ^ "2012 Fundraising Plan" (PDF). The Heartland Institute. January 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  56. ^ Hickman, Leo (February 15, 2012). "Climate sceptics – who gets paid what?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  57. ^ Watts, Anthony (February 15, 2012). "Some notes on the Heartland Leak". Watts Up With That?. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  58. ^ a b Hickman, Leo (February 15, 2012). "Leaked Heartland Institute documents pull back curtain on climate scepticism". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  59. ^ Burleigh, Nina (February 17, 2012). "Secret papers turn up heat on global-warming deniers". Salon. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  60. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (February 14, 2012). "Leak exposes how Heartland Institute works to undermine climate science". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  61. ^ Dunlap, Riley E.; McCright, Aaron M. (2011). Dryzek, John S.; Norgaard, Richard B.; Schlosberg, David, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford University Press. p. 153. ISBN 0199566607. "the most popular North American blogs are run by a retired TV meteorologist ( 
  62. ^ Farmer, G. Thomas; Cook, John (2013). Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis: Volume 1-The Physical Climate. Springer Science & Business Media. One of the highest trafficked climate blogs is, a website that publishes climate misinformation on a daily basis. 

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