Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Convenient Omission

Well, this morning Fox Nation links to a lovely bit of ClimateDepot skulduggery:
The New York Times reports that the record cold of 2009 is due to natural variations and even warned skeptics of man-made global warming not to be "buoyed" by the brutal cold. ["Brutal cold"? The temperature in NYC failed to reach 90°F in June or July. Brrr. - ed]
Ok. Fair enough, "natural variations" caused a record cold breaking summer in 2009, according to the Times. But the question looms, how did the paper explain record warmth nearly a decade ago? Surely, if natural variations in climate can cause a record-breaking cold summer, then it would stand to reason that record breaking warmth would have a natural cause as well?

Not exactly. The Times effortlessly attributed record warmth back in 2000 to man-made global warming, noting the warm temperatures were "consistent" with model predictions.
Wow, that does seem pretty bad. But there's this one problem: it's completely false. Let's skip over the fact that the "record cold of 2009" is strictly regional (much of the Pacific Northwest just finished a record-setting warm July) and concentrate on the literal truth of ClimateDepot's claim that the Times "effortlessly attributed record warmth back in 2000 to man-made global warming".

Unfortunately for ClimateDepot, the original Times article explicitly says otherwise:
But while the winter warming trend is consistent with the projections, [NCDC climatologist Mike Changery] added, "the jury is still out" on just what has caused the especially warm winters of the last three years.

Global warming aside, scientists said prime suspects were the natural phenomena known as El Nino and La Nina. These are sea-surface temperature oscillations in the tropical Pacific that touch off changes in wintertime atmospheric circulation.

In different ways, El Nino in 1997-98 and La Nina in the last two winters influenced circulation patterns that kept most of the United States relatively warm most of the time.

(Emphasis added)
This is "effortlessly blaming" global warming? "Prime suspects were the natural phenomena known as El Nino and La Nina"? Srsly?

Now, the ClimateDepot post did—belatedly—add this:
The New York Times article did—belatedly—add "the jury is still out" however on the complete causes of record warmth in 2000.
The difference is that the Times article had an honest headline:
U.S. Sets Another Record for Winter Warmth
ClimateDepot did not:
Media Spin: New York Times Blames 2009's Record Cold on Natural Factors -- But Blamed Record Warmth in 2000 on Man-Made Global Warming!

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