Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fox News and climate change

Pity poor Fox News. They try to deny the reality of climate change in this headline,  Dems push climate change issue in wake of Sandy, but some scientists skeptical, and yet if you read the article you learn that even they had a hard time finding skeptical scientists.

They did manage to get one meteorologist with NOAA, Martin Hoerling, saying "the immediate cause (of Sandy) is most likely little more that the coincidental alignment of a tropical storm with an extratropical storm." But notice he's not denying climage change, simply saying it wasn't the immediate cause. They also say he said "Sandy wasn’t boosted by global warming" and "the storm merely revealed natural forces at work," but these are not direct quotes, and may simply be someone's interpretation of his actual words. Without a direct quote it's hard to tell.

Other scientists quoted in the article are even less decisive: "The ingredients of this storm seem a little bit cooked by climate change, but the overall storm is difficult to attribute to global warming." This guy seems to be quite clearly saying that global warming was in fact a contributor, and he obviously believes warming exists, which makes him seem less "skeptical" than Fox probably intended.

The article ends on this wishy-washy note: "But the science is anything but clear cut. Michael Mann, a Penn State University scientist who has been studying the climate for decades, said that ocean waters were about 1 degree warmer thanks to manmade climate change, one factor that clearly caused Sandy to swell." In other words, it ends with a reference to a scientist who does firmly believe that climate change exists and impacted Sandy.

It makes you wonder if the headline writers at Fox News actually read the articles first.

ETA: Out of curiosity, I Googled Martin Hoerling (quoted above) and found this useful article. According to it, he is a contrarian who has "published several non-peer-reviewed reports as the lead of NOAA’s Climate Scene Investigators that claim global warming did not influence recent catastrophic extremes." He did, however, find that human-caused global warming was a factor in at least two recent events. So although he doesn't think global warming is at fault for every recent weather event, he does believe that human-caused global warming exists, and is the root cause of at least some events.

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