Thursday, August 03, 2006

Climate for July tests positive

The latest data shows last month may have been the warmest July on record in the conterminous U.S. Don't pop open the champagne quite yet, the verdict is not official until after a bit more data crunching, and the results of Floyd Landis' B sample.

The popular media seems almost as giddy to report temperature records as it is to report positive drug tests by popular athletes. On Wednesday, the NY Times had a detailed explanation of the how carbon isotope, or isotope fractionation, is used to determined whether the testosterone in an athlete's blood was synthetic. If such effort went into explaining things like the reconstruction of past climates from ice cores, using similar logic but with oxygen isotopes, maybe the public would have a better appreciation for climate science.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Simon,

Two news articles may be of interest to you.

1. Following your thought on the warming trend, initial analysis suggests that nighttime summer temperatures in America have been increasing and have been almost 3 times more than the normal in recent years!

http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=10997

2. The UK media was criticised for raising alarm on climate change

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5236482.stm

Echoing your sentiments, I think the media does need to be more thorough in reporting climate science for the news to be taken seriously by general public.

-Vaishali

Simon Donner said...

The print version of the Times article on Landis' drug test even had a lovely diagram comparing the number of protons and neutrons in carbon-12 vs. carbon-13.

The nighttime temperatures are a strong bit of evidence. Note that by 'three times more than normal', the article is saying that nighttime temperatures has been 'much above normal' three times more often in the past five years, not that the nighttime temperatures are three times higher than normal (that would be a problem).

tim said...

Simon, how come you are not reporting on hurricane activities? So far everyone, safe myself, has been predicting more active than last year.

Simon Donner said...

Well, I'm not sure who you count as everyone... the forecasts for this year, at least those released by tropical meteorologists, were basically the same as the forecast last year - 17 named storms according to Bill Gray, 13-16 according to NOAA. Bill Gray has since lowered his forecast to 15 named storms, NOAA to 12-15. You can read it here:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2678.htm

http://typhoon.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/2006/aug2006/index.html

Anyway, for the sake of the Caribbean islanders and coastal US residents, I hope Tim is right (much as that pains me to say).