Thursday, April 10, 2008

BBC rewrites warming story to satisfy activist.

This is one of those twofer stories. That’s where you get two stories for the price of one. Let us start with how the BBC first reported this story. To get the original we had to go to a cached version of it since pressure was put on the BBC immediately to rewrite the story.

Basically the story announced that: “Global temperatures this year will be lower than in 2007 due to the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said. This would mean that global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory.”

Over the next couple of hours the headline on the story changed, twice. And the content was shifted around with new sentences added. Why this flurry of rewriting?

The PC Police over at “Campaign against Climate Change” (a ludicrous name if you think about it) got involved and started demanding changes and making threats. It asks readers to “challenge any piece of media that seems like it’s been subject to sp;in or scepticism.” No one must question the faith! More importantly no one must publish anything that sounds like it questions the faith. And any comment that seems to question the divine wisdom of the Church of Anthropogenic Warming must be surrounded by a wall of claims saying it does not deny the divinity of the warming models.

The Campaign against Climate Change got into gear the moment the BBC article appeared -- literally within a few minutes. Jo Abbess of this “activist network” wrote the author demanding he “correct” his piece. She was offended he mentioned that “a minority of scientists” question warming alarmism and says that there are “very few actual scientists” who do this. That is easily proven false and there is no evidence showing what most scientists believe one way or another.

She was pissed off that the BBC said that global temperatures “will be lower than in 2007.” Actually the BBC was quoting the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Society. And Mother Abbess then resorted to falsifying facts to make her case. To prove that 2008 won’t be cooler than 2007 (which was already cooler than the previous decade+) she noted that “the ocean systems of temperatures do not change in yearly timescales, and are massive heat sinks that have shown gradual and continual warming. It is only near-surface air temperatures that will be affected by La Nina, plus a bit of the lower atmosphere.”

What is the lie there? Simple: the oceans have not shown “gradual and continual warming” as this activist claims. What they have shown is cooling. This article in Geophysical Research Letters shows: “A new estimate of sampling error in the heat content record suggests that both the recent and previous cooling events are significant...” It says that the ocean temperature decrease “represents a significant loss of heat over a 2-year period amounting to one-fifth of the long-term upper-ocean heat gain between 1955 and 2003...” Under the Argos System some 3,000 robotic sensors were scattered in the world’s oceans to take the temperature accurately. That took place in 2003 and in the years since there has been NO warming at all but a cooling. Mother Abbess was telling a porker when she claimed the ocean’s have had “gradual and continual warming.” Well, continual in the sense of ignoring the best data collected over the last five years.

The BBC author first resisted the “activist network” noting that he was quoting the official from the WMO and he wrote: “There are scientists who question whether warming will continue as projected by IPCC.” He said there was no reason for a “correction”.

Mother Abbess then wrote back saying she was going to get other activists involved in educating this poor science reporter. She also wagged her finger at him: “I think it is highly irresponsible to play into the hands of the sceptics/skeptics who continually promote the idea that ‘global warming finished in 1998’, when that is so patently not true.” Actually the skeptics note that warming trends stopped in 1998 which is not the same thing as ended. Ended means it is finished and can’t restart. I don’t know anyone who says that we can’t have further warming trends. All that is is being said is that for ten years now the trend has not supported the warming alarmists.

Mother Abbess preaches, “I think it’s counterproductive to even hint that the Earth is cooling down again, when the sum total of the data tells you the opposite. Glaringly.” Please note that for ten years there has been no warming. For the last year and this year it appears that global temperatures will cool. Mother Abbess says that one shouldn’t even “hint” that these facts exist. The public must be deceived.

Now the BBC reporter gets defensive. He says that “sceptics have jumped on the lack of increases since 1998” and this can’t be ignored. So the BBC has to run stories admitting the facts but denying the skeptics any ground otherwise “people feel like debate is being censored”.

Mother Abbess responds saying that the headline and lead have to be changed to put the attacks on skeptics near the top of the article lest people get confused and not accept the true, revealed word of God as the warming modellers have written it. That the article is about the earth cooling for the next year is immaterial. It has to attack the skeptics hard right at the beginning in case people don’t read the whole article. At this point she is suggesting a political strategy.

Abbess repeats the false claim that “the oceans have been warming consistently” and says “we’re not seeing temperatures go into reverse, in general, anywhere.” I’m not sure how you can have “in general, anywhere”. The first implies an average of all places and the second refers to a specific location. But the fact is that, whatever the cause, the evidence is that global temperatures dropped last year and are expected to drop again this year. I wouldn’t use an imprecise phrase like “go into reverse” to describe the climatological process. It is far more complex and can’t be described by automotive references.

Mother Abbess assures the BBC reporter that “this is an issue of emerging truth” which will show “the desperate plight of the planet.” She implores him to embrace the faith and “reverse the main BBC Online channel for emerging truth.” She tells him it “would be better if you did not quote the sceptics” and that she thought he was educated enough to know “when you have been psychologically manipulated” and that his story implies he is “an unreliable reporter.”

Then she turns to the threats. She tells the reporter she intends to send “your comments to others for their contribution” unless he immediately asks her not to do so. And she warns him: “You may appear in an unfavourable light because it could be said that you have had your head turned by the sceptics.” Please note that we are supposedly discussing facts of science yet Mother Abbess is talking about one’s “head turned by the sceptics” much the way a Grand Inquisitor might note that some denied the divinity of Jesus or doubted the Trinity.

At this point the BBC reporter caved and wrote back: “Have a look in 10 minutes and tell me you are happier. We have changed headline and more.” Mother Abbess bragged: “The BBC actually changed an article I requested a correction for.”

How did the BBC rewrite their story in order placate this “activist” and her demands?

In the original story it mentioned the “cooling effect of the La Nina current”. The phrase “cooling effect” was taken out entirely and it was now referred to as merely the “cold La Nina current”.

Also moved was the reference to scientists who disagree with warming alarmism. The original said that the “cooling effect” prompted “some to question climate change theory.” That reference was moved down several paragraphs. The reason to move it down was given by Mother Abbess. She told the BBC that many readers don’t read past the first couple of paragraphs so anything farther down in the story is often ignored. In response the BBC moved the reference of skeptics down several paragraphs where Abbess had noted it is likely to be ignored.

The original story said “global temperatures have not risen since 1998.” That may be true but that is not acceptable. So that sentence was deleted. In it’s place the story then read: “this year’s temperature would still be way above the average -- and we would soon exceed the record year of 1998 because of global warming....”

Notice how all the rewrites are in the alarmist direction. The existence of skeptics is deleted entirely. The fact that there has been NO increase in temperatures for ten years has been entirely deleted and instead people are told how “new record high temperature[s]” should be expected “within five years.”

I don’t know if the eight years of no warming, followed by two years of cooling, are a trend or a blip. Neither does anyone else. The only way to tell is wait for more time to pass. But what is obvious is that the claims that we shouldn’t judge what is happening “by one year” are dishonest. They are dishonest because what is under discussion is one year on top of nine other years. It is a decade contrary to warming theory that is under discussion not a one year anomaly. What is clear is that the BBC rewrote a science article to satisfy a political activist not a scientist.

How many years does it take to be a trend? I personally had not made much of the current state of temperatures until recently. I knew about the current state of affairs for some years now but didn’t comment much on it because I wanted at least ten year of comparison. And I think ten years is worthy of note and indicates potential problems for the warming theory. I don’t say it “proves” anything just that it is worth consideration and contrary to what we ought to see. I also note that the cooling oceans for the last half decade also ought not be happening and call into question the theory as it stands. It is not impossible that plausible explanations for these anomalies could be found.

I wonder what Mother Abbess and her activists would do when they discover that a paper published on-line by the British government says “a global temperature decline of 1.5º C is predicted to 2020” due to shifts in the solar cycle. Of course, they could be wrong as well. Only time will tell -- but, of course, we are supposed to take “urgent” action “now” “before it’s too late.”

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