Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Another study in miscommunication - reporting on Karl et al. 2015

I want to make clear that I have a good deal of respect for Jeff Tollefson, on account of how often my searches lead to one of his articles, which are consistently clear and helpful.  I even think this article is fundamentally sound and helpful.  

However, there's one word that's an stellar example of "seepage" whereby scientists and science communicators unconsciously adopt the contrarian meme, rather than getting back to fundamentals and explaining what's happening to our global heat and moisture distribution engine.

Seepage, impacts of a chimera - Lewandowsky, Risbey, Oreskes study

The paragraph had potential for an insightful learning moment, instead it plays right into the Republican campaign of confusion. 

US agency’s updated temperature records suggest that global warming continues apace
Jeff Tollefson  -  June 2015  -

"An apparent pause in global warming (2) might have been a temporary mirage, according to recent analysis. Global average temperatures have continued to rise throughout the first part of the twenty-first century, researchers report on 5 June in Science1.

That finding, which contradicts (1) the 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is based on an update of the global temperature records maintained by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The previous version of the NOAA data set had showed less warming during the first decade of the millennium. ...
(1)  Contradicts what?

Karl had more information at hand then IPCC did.  It's about better information leading to better understanding and more accurate numbers.  

The physical reality is that it is exceedingly difficult to measure Earth's temperature with 100% coverage or accuracy, and while scientists are doing an amazing job and getting amazingly detailed, it'll never be enough for the contrarian hearted.  So, we allow malicious fraudster to rain contempt and slander on respectable professional humans doing their jobs, on account of the difficulty of their task.  It's vicious, mean spirited, and intended to make our public stupid.  While too many communicators unconsciously keep falling in line with their malicious misrepresentations. 

Karl et al. didn't contradict anything, it incorporated new information and offers another step forward in understanding and refinements, and it updates previous understanding, along with raising some new questions.  

NOAA temperature record updates and the ‘hiatus’

Now their paper is filtering through the unofficial peer review process of the community of experts going about their jobs, reading the paper, reflecting on it in light of their understanding.  How much it'll "enrich" their understanding remains to be seen, but regular folks like us ought to appreciate, it's the experts, not the political pundits, or the trash-talking armchair advocates who will make that determination.

"Contradicts" is an awful way to try and convey what learning about our planet is all about.

Besides:  How much of a difference do these refinements actually make to the general understanding?  Here's a different example of how obsessing over fine detail blinds us to the glowering physical reality.

Colorado Floods - statistical certainty vs geophysical realities

(2)  "It's The Atmospheric Insulation"

What about helping people grasp Earth's geophysical reality such as: 
"It's The Atmospheric Insulation"  We are adding to our atmospheric insulation!

The physics (which very clever people learned to measure)
 means that everything under that atmosphere 
will absorb some of that added warmth.  Period!
Measuring those varied temperatures may be next to impossible, 
but why would that change the physics of what's going on?
Yet, this is exactly what the Republican/libertarian AGW fraud against the people is all about.

Senator Inhofe your "Global Warming Hoax" is a hoax !

Archive, Hanscom AFB Atmospheric Studies, Cambridge Research Lab

Who says understanding Earth’s Evolution is irrelevant?

We are witnessing that heat cascading through every facet of our global climate, landscapes and cycles, at varying rates.  Heat gets moved around, measuring it is exceedingly difficult, but communities of experts have been working the problem.  

Explainer: How do scientists measure global temperature?

Monitoring Global and U.S. Temperatures at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information

Also keep in mind that unlike human gods, the geophysics of our planet are consistent and open to serious inquiry, discoverable and knowable.

If you think about it,  it's a gross insult to human capacity to suggest they were not capable of settling this piece of science during a quarter century of intensive independent multi-national atmospheric research.  Research without which an astounding number of modern marvels would be impossible.

Climate Change: Is the Science "Settled"?

Stanford  |  1:39:48  |  May 13, 2010
(Yeah six years ago and more valid than ever)

Unfortunately, agenda driven "think tanks" dedicated to churning out career political operatives; 'echo-chamber-science'; and personal attacks - and we've allowed them to be quite successful at brainwashing and confusing our apathetic masses.  I'm amazed how easily they pulled it off.  
Personal comfort and accepting ignorance over honestly learning about this planet we depend on for everything.  

What ever happened to enlightened self interest?

Concerning Our Failure to Appreciate the Weather

The Republican War on Science

Merchants of Doubt

Moral of the story:  Please, stop falling for Republican/libertarian crazy-making and help explain the complexity and difficulty of getting temperature measurements from every point of the globe.  Help people understand those difficulties and scientists ability measure global temp does not impact the atmosphere's geophysical reality!

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