Undoing 'The Curse' of a Chain of Errors
See Editor’s Note Introducing this Feature
On the heels of the Copenhagen climate talks – whose scant accomplishments reveal that climate change science may be no match for international politics – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds itself in a scientific controversy of its own making.
The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report’s malformed paragraph on Himalayan glacier melt has prompted intense, and warranted, criticism of the IPCC review process. This criticism has come not only from climate science skeptics or contrarians. It’s generally clear that the ungrammatical, internally contradictory two sentences – which reproduce errors found in improperly cited sources – shouldn’t have made it into the first draft of the report, much less the final.
Broadcast Charges Leveled at NOAA, NASA Labs
A San Diego TV station’s mid-January one-hour broadcast reporting that two key federal climate research centers deliberately manipulated temperature data appears to have been based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the key climatology network used in calculating global temperatures.
Independent TV news station KUSI in San Diego aired a story challenging current scientific understanding of climate science and offering “breaking news” of government wrongdoing based on work of Joseph D’Aleo, a meteorologist, and E.M. Smith, a computer programmer.
Common Climate Misconceptions
It’s no surprise that as much of the U.S. hit was with an unusual January cold spell, hyperbolic warnings of an impending ice age would be close behind.
The British tabloid The Daily Mail recently misrepresented the work of a prominent German climate scientist, Mojib Latif, to suggest that “The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years.”
|Will Outer Banks’ existing dunes withstand future sea level rise?
The concept of sea level rise for much of the public may suggest an image of the world’s oceans as something like a bathtub, with melting glaciers as the faucet.
“The media have this idea in mind that sea level due to climate change is a uniform, global thing,” says Glenn Milne, a geophysicist at the University of Ottawa and lead author for a recent review in the journal Nature Geoscience on the causes of sea level change.
“That’s the Waterworld kind of misconception, ” he says, “and in reality it’s going to be very different than that.”
When a Tree Falls
In Camille Feanny’s neighborhood workers busily repair homes and patch or reinstall roofs and windows after drenching storms last fall nailed the Southeast.
As she stares out her window, she’s dismayed: No rush to install new insulation, or solar panels, or double-paned windows.
“There are tax credits for installing and rebuilding your home in an energy-efficient way. The government is pouring billions into this,” Feanny said. “None of my neighbors knows anything about it.”
It’s a bitter irony for Feanny. She lives in Atlanta, home of CNN, where for nearly a decade she had worked on the network’s science and environment unit. That news unit was trimmed back for years and then unceremoniously dumped a little over a year ago, in what is the most prominent example of a science and environmental reporting team getting tossed aside as the traditional news industry sails stormy seas.
But How, How Much, Where Still TBD
Less than a year after launching its newly reorganized reporting team designed to enhance the paper’s focus on environment and climate change, The New York Times finds itself without the two long-time science desk reporters – Andrew C. Revkin and Cornelia Dean – who for years provided the heart of just that coverage.
DURHAM, N.C. – When Jay Hamilton was in the market for a new hybrid car last summer, Google knew it.
As he scoured the Internet for the best deal, Google’s algorithms connected him to advertisements for hybrids. Now Hamilton, a professor of economics and public policy at Duke University, argues that similar targeted advertisements could provide a new funding model for public affairs journalism – including coverage of climate change.