Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, April 21, 2006

About Time

When the media leaps from catastrophe to dire prediction to sensationalism, and when some scientists use publicity as a grant-writing technique ... well, it sometimes becomes necessary to rein things in. WashTimes tells the story:
Global warming may not be as dramatic as some scientists have predicted.

Using temperature readings from the past 100 years, 1,000 computer simulations and the evidence left in ancient tree rings, Duke University scientists announced yesterday that "the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions."

Supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the Duke researchers noted that some observational studies predicted that the Earth's temperature could rise as much as 16 degrees in this century because of an increase in carbon dioxide or other so-called greenhouse gases.

The Duke estimates show the chances that the planet's temperature will rise even by 11 degrees is only 5 percent, which falls in line with previous, less-alarming predictions that meteorologists made almost three decades ago.
What fun is that? How much better for the media when it gets to lead with stories like these (direct lift from WashTimes):
  • This month, a University of Toronto scientist predicted that a quarter of the planet's plants and animals would be extinct by 2050 because of rising temperatures.
  • On Wednesday, two geophysics professors at the University of Chicago warned those who eat red meat that their increased flatulence contributes to greenhouse gases.
  • Last year, Oregon State University research linked future "societal disruptions" with global warming, while the Carnegie Institution reported that the insulating influence of northern forests alone would raise the Earth's temperature by 6 degrees.
  • In 2004, Harvard University scientists informed Congress that warming had doomed the planet to climatic "shocks and surprises."
Interesting question, that "what fun is global warming" query. A Nexis search of "Duke University" and "global warming" turned up just 13 stories in the last week. That's 13.

By contrast, a Nexis search of "Duke University" and "lacrosse" turned up 795 stories in just the last week.

Tags: , , ,