Falling Awake

Just Darts Since 2009

A response to edarrell

For the past four or five weeks in a row, I’ve promised a post about the state of knowledge regarding global warming.  What was the temperature in the past, what is it now, is it now out of the ordinary, etc.  It turns out, that’s hard work.  I may, in the future, break that subject down into short manageable pieces.

In the meantime, I posted a piece about a week ago about the lack of hurricanes hitting the U.S., and how embarrassed the weather forecasters should be.  It was a chest-beating post, but it caught the eye of one “edarrell”.  Go to the post and read the comments.

Back?  Good.  Edarrell proceeded to inform me of wild weather taking place all over the globe.  He or she seems to have a great talent for research.

Unfortunately, scientists never consider anecdotal evidence when they are trying to prove a claim.  edarrell may link to several posts about abnormal weather.  He (or

she) may continue on, and link to 100,000 stories about abnormal weather occurring somewhere around the globe, but it wouldn’t convince me.

I only pointed to two articles in my post, and I doubt that I’ll be able to find any others that support my position.  Surprisingly, it’s very rare for reporters to cover weather that didn’t happen.

It’s bias.  Not left-wing bias, but news-gatherer bias.  Where is the story in seasonable weather?  Reporters make money by travelling to, and reporting on, places that are experiencing abnormal conditions.  A story about average weather really doesn’t have a chance to make the news, does it?

For every story I hear, from Ottowa to Moscow, about abnormal weather, I have to assume that the weather is normal in every other place on Earth.  Otherwise, some reporter would be telling me about it.

Right?

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5 responses to “A response to edarrell

  1. edarrell December 6, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    Airlines pay at least millions — maybe billions — annually to predict the weather world wide. One issue is whether the beaches will be warm enough and sunny enough in St. Tropez; another issue is whether the skiing will be better in Alta, Utah, than Squaw Valley, California. If you wish to claim there is bias in the world-wide reporting of global warming, the airlines (and other travel venues) should have solid evidence of it.

    Go, make the case. The data are there, if you’re curious.

    I was simply pointing out that the weather extremes which should be occurring if global warming is happening, are occurring. Our recent relative dud of a hurricane season for the U.S. doesn’t change the massive hurricane that hit Mexico (coming from the west), or the massive hurricanes that struck elsewhere instead of the U.S., or the fact that other other weather extremes continue unabated.

    Learning of weather in other parts of the world is probably a bit hap-hazard. It’s the old Indian ferry story — you know, ferry sinks, 2,000 dead, but it gets one paragraph in the local paper, on page A-11, because the big story is the snake loose in the old folks home, and the home town team won a big upset last weekend. Why would you expect to hear the weather from around the world, all the time?

    During the Clinton impeachment, Alaska threatened to secede from the nation, and there was a huge drought in 15 states, all of which was completely missing from most newspapers. How many wheat farmers do you know in Montana anyway? Why would it be any different for your newspaper’s editor?

  2. Gerald Bostock December 8, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Rats! I was hoping I’d goad you into doing some research for me.

    I’m going to do my best to get to this, probably after Christmas, so have a merry one, until we talk again.

  3. edarrell December 10, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    I’m hoping to push along discussion. What research is it you need — I’ll bet there are any number of people who might have it handy, or can point it out for you.

  4. Gerald Bostock December 10, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    Okay, off the top of my head:

    1. Mean global temperature c. 1940.
    2. Any information on the Medieval warm period
    3. How warm was it when dinousars ruled the earth?

    If you could provide me with this information, and with *links* so that I could delve into the data, too, I would be very grateful.

    By the way, you’re a guy, right? I hate the “he or she” nonsense.

  5. edarrell December 16, 2006 at 10:23 am

    In the midst of grading — ends of semesters at all schools where I teach.

    “Mean temperature” has some different definitions. But there should be solid records from the Royal Observatory in London, or the equivalent meteorological group, the similar bunch in Paris, and from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which would include the old National Weather Service (NWS) records. If it’s not online, sources should be pointed out. I gather you’re not in the U.S., so a Depository Library may not be available to you. Also, there are any number of papers in specialized journals. You can search tables of contents for Nature and Science online.

    Geology and paleontology texts may be the best sources of prehistoric weather. Fossils tell a lot.

    I’ll see what I can do about links.

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