Thursday, February 11, 2010

New York Times Headline Person I

I generally criticize the slant of www.washingtonpost.com headlines, but this New York Times headline is uhm very Ballanced

Climate-Change Debate Is Heating Up in Deep Freeze

The article by John Broder clearly explains that the debate is between climate scientists on one side vs politicians and media personalities on the other.

Every single scientist quoted in the article notes that, to the extent that the recent blizzard on the mid Atlantic US provides evidence on global warming it supports standard models of human caused warming. As far as I can tell from the article, all such models imply increased precipitation on the area.

The article contains a brief reference to global warming skeptics which clearly refers to the very very few actual climate scientists who are skeptics. However, Broder doesn't have a quote from an actual climate scientist who doesn't think that, to the very limited extent it provides any evidence, the blizzard weakens the skeptics case.

Among scientists there is a difference of emphasis between those who note that the blizzard supports the standard models and those who note that a few days weather provides almost no evidence on climate change. In effect all scientists quoted agree that the blizzard provides evidence in support of standard models but, being only a few days weather on one region, only a little.

This view is supported by citations of predictions of higher precipitation made before the blizzard. There really couldn't be a stronger case that the blizzard is not evidence in favor of global warming skepticism.

A reasonable headline would be "All interviewed scientists agree that Inhofe is full of it" or "standard global warming models predicted increased snow" or something.

Instead the disagreement must be presented as a debate in which headline skimmers are not informed that one side in the debate consists of people with no expertise making claims inconsistent with all published evidence.

I do mean inconsistent as in known to be false (unless the blizzard is a collective halucination or something). The evidence in question is the published predictions of standard climate models. The empirical support for the models is strengthened by the blizzard. To claim otherwise is to make a plainly certainly absolutely 100% false claim about the published predictions of models. It is, of course, possible that humans are not causing global warming, nothing is ever proven beyond all doubt in science. However, it is not possible that Sen Inhofe's claims are accurate, because he made a false claim about the relationship between models and currently available data.

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