Global Warming - Balanced Newspaper Article
First half of 2006 warmest on record in U.S.
MSNBC - July 18, 2006
This article was different than usual because
However, the facts are still a little misleading and the authors obviously still
want to blame people even though they say that many scientists don't agree.
- It contains mostly facts
- It does not BLAME humans for the problem
| Humans and Warming
This article is better than most specifically because it provides
a lot of hard facts. However, the facts are not sufficient to
draw a proper conclusion. Instead, the article interprets the facts for you
in a way that most people would not notice or object to.
The 12 months from July 2005 to last June were ranked as the warmest such period at 55.3 degrees, or 2.5 degrees above the 20th century average.
implies that 55.3 degrees is extremely hot.
However, stating that some temperature is 2.5 degrees above average really
has no meaning - you must also provide the normal spread.
For instance, if the three sigma annual variation was 2.4 degrees,
then 2.5 degrees is no big deal.
However, if the variation was 2.0 degrees, then 2.5 could be a big deal
... or not, depending on other (also missing) information.
Basically, this is an example of how to distort the truth by providing
only a part of the data.
Note - three sigma is a statistical concept meaning that
99.73 percent of the measured values are that close to the average.
A two sigma range would contain 95.45 percent.
an average value without some kind of range conveys no real information.
Humans and Warming
Near the end, the article says
Many scientists believe humans are at least partly to blame for this warming
which I interpret as really meaning
Many scientists believe humans couldn't change the climate even if they wanted to
In other words,
this is really a variation on
- Is the glass half full or half empty? - and you can spin it either way.
Perhaps the recent
Al Gore propaganda film
convinced a lot of real scientists to finally speak up
and disagree with the politicians.
There is a significant amount of evidence that the planet started warming
around 1650 AD. There is also evidence that human society has had
no effect at all on the rate of warming.
In the article, "at least partly to blame" indicates that the author
has decided to listen to scientists instead of politicians,
but the spin indicates the author's bias.
Overall, this article is much better than most.
- Lots of data
- No politics
- Minimal hype
- Are the news agencies starting to get it
- Are they just toning down the rhetoric
- Or is this a start of an actual reversal - an admission that there is
not enough CO2 in the atmosphere to make any difference
(Change positions slow enough and no one will notice)