Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hot Air

On Friday, NBC did a broadcast segment on the current heat wave. Their expert from NOAA said that it was all due to the current El Nino warming current. Normally during the Winter, cold arctic air cools most of the central and eastern US. The El Nino blocks this, pushing the jetstream and the colder air up to Canada and allowing warming air currents to flow across the US.

I was amazed that a broadcast network would allow abit of scientific truth like this to get out. After all, everyone else is saying that this is part of Global Warming. Columnist Thomas Friedman quoted his wife as saying that she needs a Global Warming wardrobe - Winter colors but Summer weight.

I was hoping to find a link to the story but they never posted it as a text article. The closest I could find is this Washington Post article. The first page is full of quotes such as
"I think it's a bit scary. It's too warm," said Ellie Motazedi of Bethesda as she paused during a bike ride.

"Days like this, I worry about global warming, and we're not doing anything about it," said Coby Dolan, an attorney basking in the sunshine on the porch of the clubhouse at the Hains Point golf course. Let the record reflect that he did not appear to be suffering.

You have to follow the link to the second page before you get this quote

"It's very dangerous to blame climate for weather," says Richard Alley, a professor of geosciences at Penn State University.

And finally, at the bottom, you get this

But Dennis Feltgen, a National Weather Service meteorologist, says climate change isn't the culprit. It's El Niño. Warm water in the tropical Pacific, changed wind patterns, lots of balmy air blowing our way from the southern United States.

"We're in an El Niño, which has absolutely nothing to do with global warming," Feltgen says. "It keeps a lot of the cold air locked up in Canada, and makes the West Coast of the United States stormy, which we've seen, and makes the southern one-third of the country wetter than normal."

Meanwhile, someone at NBC must have been appalled that an opportunity passed without warning the world about Global Warming. The word from one of the nation's chief weather predictors is not enough.

Tonight they ran a sort of retraction. They repeated a bit of the original story but then cut to someone who was only identified as Stephen Schneider from Stanford. Schneider said that Global Warming really was responsible for the warming.

So who is this spokesman? A quick Google on his name turned up his web page. It seems that he isn't an unbiased scientist interested in the truth. He is an advocate. In fact, he recently led a seminar designed to teach researchers how to lobby legislators on climate policy.

This is nothing new - a network showing an advocate without labeling him as such. It is just a disappointment that they would backtrack after showig a bit of scientific courage just last week.

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