Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How not to report about climate science

Exhibit C: Early 21st Century Science Reporting

Reminder: Please do not lean against the glass.

April 7, 2013 (Reuters) - Climate change could get worse quickly if huge amounts of extra heat absorbed by the oceans are released back into the air, scientists said after unveiling new research showing that oceans have helped mitigate the effects of warming since 2000. 

April 16, 2013 (Reuters) -  Scientists are struggling to explain a slowdown in climate change that has exposed gaps in their understanding and defies a rise in global greenhouse gas emissions.


The previous exhibit showed that, in the early part of the century, science reporting often suffered from a problem popularly known as "balance as bias". The journalistic norms of reporting on both sides of the issue led some writers to give equal space to voices representing the bulk of the science community on subject like climate change as to voices representing a few outliers in the science community or industry groups opposed to action on climate change.

This exhibit displays a more egregious reporting error. In the Reuters' article from April 16, 2013 entitled "Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown", the reporters not only failed to interview any climate scientists at all on the subject of the supposed struggle, they failed to check recent articles from their own organization.

NOTE: The apparent slowdown in warming described in the April 16 article may not be familiar to many visitors to the museum. It is, in fact, visible in the global temperature record over the past two centuries if you increase the resolution on your e-glasses, ignore the multi-century warming trend, and focus on the decade in question.


ver1silent said...

Same organization? The two articles are both credited to Alister Doyle.

Rob JM said...

Yes, If the reporter had bothered to check the science of the first article he would have discovered there is no warming in the upper 700m of ocean and that any heat in the deep ocean is unmeasurable with current equipment. Ie the studies are complete BS like normal climate pseudo-science.
Meanwhile you seem to think that opposing opinions should be silenced in contradiction to the scientific method that demands that both thesis and antithesis must be given equal consideration!

very1silent said...

I'm kind of surprised that denialist nonsense, like the above comment like Rob JM is allowed to stay. Ocean heat content has increased quite dramatically, even in the top 700m of the ocean. While the first generation of argo floats couldn't go deeper than 700m, the current ones go down to 2000m.

Not to mention that people have been measuring temperature in the deep ocean using on a less systematic basis since the 1950s.

Simon Donner said...

That's right, the deep ocean data collection methods are sound, and the is fairly clear on this. The previous commenter has, I'll assume, misled by the alternate universe of facts out there on other websites. The notion that "heat in the deep ocean is unmeasurable with current equipment" is simply wrong.