Global Warming - Misleading Newspaper Article
Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change
Washington Post - Sunday, January 29, 2006; Page A01
This was the main front page article for Sunday!
It is another example of a highly one-sided article that
actively tries to mislead everyone.
There are only a few statements that contradict the main thesis.
The title itself is a mis-statement of the facts -
it is still not clear if the current warming is long term or not.
| Warming Faster
| James E. Hansen
| Ice Lost, Ice Gained
| The Gulf Stream
This is the first phrase of the first sentence of the article
Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm
What a bunch of crap.
But this statement is at the top of the front page of the Sunday edition.
As a result, most people will simply assume that it is true.
- It is still NOT clear that the Earth is warming
- It is highly unlikely that human activity is having any detectable
effect on the climate
The debate has been intensifying because Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted.
is another dooms day prediction ... except that there is still no evidence that it is true.
James E. Hansen
This article is actually a sounding board for James E. Hansen, a vocal proponent
of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect.
James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, last week confirmed that 2005 was the warmest year on record, surpassing 1998. Earth's average temperature has risen nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, he noted, and another increase of about 4 degrees over the next century would "imply changes that constitute practically a different planet."
James E. Hansen produced a web page
indicating that he has
supported the anthropogenic greenhouse effect since before 1988 and testified before congress.
Of course, the data presented to congress only goes back to only 1960 (this usually means ... no real data)
and shows only a warming trend. It conveniently omits any useful data.
"It's not something you can adapt to," Hansen said in an interview. "We can't let it go on another 10 years like this. We've got to do something."
When discussing the probable increase in global temperature, Hansen says
This last occurred about 3 million years ago, when the earth was a much different place. The East Coast, for instance, was nearly 100 kilometers inland; Florida was completely underwater.
But he conveniently forgets to remind the reader that 20,000 years ago, the sea level was about 400 feet
lower than it is today and that 800 years ago, the planet was about
1 degree Fahrenheit warmer than it is today.
In other words,
surpassing 1998 is no big deal, surpassing 1200 AD is worth talking about.
In 3 paragraphs of the Washington Post article, Hansen claims that the Bush administration
is trying to keep him, and other scientists, from speaking to the press.
This is Hansen's current crusade - a simple web search finds many articles on this topic.
this quote from
The Nation (an anti-Bush site)
implies to me that he is more wind than facts.
"A NOAA scientist cannot speak with a reporter unless there is a 'listener' on the line with him or her," Hansen said, adding, "it seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States. The claim is that the 'listener' is there to protect the NOAA scientist. If you buy that one, please see me at the break; there is a bridge down the street that I would like to sell to you."
New NASA Policy Backs Free Discussion by Scientists - Hansen can now say what ever he wants.
Ice Lost, Ice Gained
Here is one quote that indicates that maybe things aren't really all that bad.
While both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets as a whole are gaining some mass in their cold interiors because of increasing snowfall, they are losing ice along their peripheries.
So some ice is being lost and some is being gained - that sounds like a normal decade.
The paragraph continues with
Greenland's current net ice loss is equivalent to an annual 0.008 inch sea level rise.
I have not found any evidence that we are able to measure
sea level with that kind of accuracy (0.008 ~ 2mm).
This is a
sea level change map covering 7 years.
Notice that some areas have an increased level and that others have a decrease.
NASA claims that
it MAY be possible to measure sea level changes to an accuracy of 1 mm/yr or better.
The Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream is mentioned 3 times, for instance,
one paragraph says
Many scientists are also worried about a possible collapse of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, a current that brings warm surface water to northern Europe and returns cold, deep-ocean water south. ... According to ... simulations, there is a 50 percent chance the current will collapse within 200 years.
and then, 9 paragraphs later, it says
... that about 8,200 years ago, a very sudden cooling shut down the Atlantic conveyor belt.
As a result, the land temperature in Greenland dropped more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit
within a decade or two.
It's interesting that the article does not say if the "simulations"
predicted that the problem was caused by global warming or global cooling
(though the context implies that global warming will cause it).
It is also interesting that 9 paragraphs separate these 2 apparently contradictory
And how many billions of dollars should we bet on a 50% chance?
If computer models (simulations) were really that good, we would know how many hurricanes
there will be for the next 10 years and what day they will hit land ...
don't think so.