Some documents have been leaked from the Heartland Institute, which detail its funding of various sceptics - Idso, Carter and Singer - together with some funding for Anthony Watts' temperature stations project. They're stolen documents, I tell you, stolen!
There are apparently nine or ten documents, which will no doubt be scanned for evidence of malfeasance. I haven't seen any serious allegations as yet.
There's coverage all over the place. Try here for starters.
Anthony Watts has sent details of the project that Heartland was involved in and his interactions with the Guardian on the subject. This I think is Heartland's description of the project.
Weather Stations Project
Every few months, weathermen report that a temperature record – either high or low – has been broken somewhere in the U.S. This is not surprising, since weather is highly variable and reliable instrument records date back less than 100 years old. Regrettably, news of these broken records is often used by environmental extremists as evidence that human emissions are causing either global warming or the more ambiguous “climate change.”
Anthony Watts, a meteorologist who hosts WattsUpwithThat.com, one of the most popular and influential science blogs in the world, has documented that many of the temperature stations relied on by weathermen are compromised by heat radiating from nearby buildings, machines, or paved surfaces. It is not uncommon for these stations to over-state temperatures by 3 or 4 degrees or more, enough to set spurious records.
Because of Watts’ past work exposing flaws in the current network of temperature stations (work that The Heartland Institute supported and promoted), the National Aeronautics and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency responsible for maintaining temperature stations in the U.S., has designated a new network of higher-quality temperature stations that meet its citing specifications. Unfortunately, NOAA doesn’t widely publicize data from this new network, and puts raw data in spreadsheets buried on one of its Web sites.
Anthony Watts proposes to create a new Web site 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. Watts has deep expertise in Web site design generally and is well-known and highly regarded by weathermen and meteorologists everywhere. The new site will be promoted heavily at WattsUpwithThat.com. Heartland has agreed to help Anthony raise $88,000 for the project in 2011.
The Anonymous Donor has already pledged $44,000. We’ll seek to raise the balance.
And here's Anthony's response to questions from Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian:
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.
They do not regularly fund me nor my WUWT website, I take no salary from them of any kind.
It is simply for this special project requiring specialized servers, ingest systems, and plotting systems. They also don't tell me what the project should look like, I came up with the idea and the design. The NOAA data will be displayed without any adjustments to allow easy side-by-side comparisons of stations, plus other graphical representations output 24/7/365. Doing this requires programming, system design, and bandwidth, which isn't free and I could not do on my own. Compare the funding I asked for initially to get it started to the millions some other outfits (such as CRU) get in the UK for studies that then end up as a science paper behind a publishers paywall, makign the public pay again. My project will be a free public service when finished.
And then this:
DeSmog, as part of their public relations for hire methodology to demonize skeptics, will of course try to find nefarious motives for this project. But there simply are none here. It's something that needs doing because NOAA hasn't made this new data available in a user friendly visual format.
For example, here's a private company website that tracks highs and low records using NOAA data:
NOAA doesn't make any kind of presentation like that either, which is why such things are often done by private ventures.
Golly, aren't sceptics wicked? I wonder why the Guardian didn't mention Anthony's comments?