But Wait – There’s More Science! Headlines: Climate Study
Posted by Joseph Moore on March 9, 2013
Last post talked about how the headline writers misrepresented the contents of the study of temperatures, how a commentary on what current climate models say is appended incoherently to end of the study (evidently – no link given), and how a scientist (Mann) not associated with the study but famous for promoting the ‘hockey stick’ graph provides all the commentary. Not saying global warming isn’t real, here, but am saying this approach – not distinguishing between fundamental data and the models that flow from and must account for data, then handing over the commentary to someone who wasn’t even involved in the study and whose objectivity is at least questionable – is dishonest and fundamentally anti-science.
But, today, it gets worse. It’s almost as if somebody somewhere read criticisms like mine and a light bulb went off: That study – I do not think it says what you think it says. So, we get a rewrite that quotes even more heavily from Mann and ignores a fundamental aspect of the data reported yesterday – that current temperatures are only warmer than 75% of the temperatures over the last 11,500 years. These are not the warmest times since human culture arose. Climate change enthusiasts need to explain what mechanisms accounted for the previous warmer periods and then show why they can be dismissed as causes of current increases in temperature *before* they can credibly assert that human activity is the sole or major cause of the current uptick in temperature.
So, let’s ignore that aspect, and give Mann a pulpit and a microphone, and assert that not only does this study not raise basic science questions (How can you say you’ve modeled climate when some of the data you would have to have wasn’t even available until this study? How come it used to be warmer sometimes without human intervention? How come you append model results onto the end of a basic data-gathering study?) but it reinforces the position your publication has taken.
Here you go:
Which happens to be exactly what the study, at least as reported yesterday, did not say.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave.
And check this action out:
The evidence shows a downward trend of temperatures that reversed 100 years ago, indicating Earth was either heading toward a mild ice age in the years 1550 to 1850, or it was continuing to cool naturally. Then the advent of the industrial revolution and the emission of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels seemed to reverse the trend.
Sooo – how was a trend that happened between 460 and 160 years ago reversed by a trend that started 100 years ago? A reporter wrote that and an editor read that and they both thought ‘good to go’? This is simply incoherent. Also notice how the risk of an ice age is minimized – “mild”? That reminds me of Bill Walton’s quip: minor surgery is surgery on somebody else. To sum up: Ice sheets covering huge portions of currently populated or farmed land? Mild problem. Sea levels rising to flood low-lying coastal areas? Major problem that calls for a world government with totalitarian police powers.