7/03/2014

"False Hope" by Michael Mann

An article by Dr. Michael Mann about  global warming has been a hot blogosphere topic. Dr. Mann has been involved  in a couple of libel cases, so I am not about to say anything about the author.  Global warming is pretty controversial, lately we even read articles about all sorts of hurricanes, flooding,  locust plagues, and the California drought  being caused by this scourge.

Photograph: Two men not fishing
 in California (from time.com)

However, I think I can avoid legal hassles if I only discuss the article, and Scientific American´s Editorial Policy. 

I think the debate may have started when some bloggers, for example Watts, at  http://wattsupwiththat.com/  pointed out the article had a funny looking temperature graph.

The “trick” appears to be the use by Mann of Northern Hemisphere temperatures in an article discussing a global problem.   As it turns out, the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing more warming, mostly due to exceptional warming poleward of 60 degrees latitude North.  This means folks living in Alaska, Northen Siberia, the Northwest Territories in Canada, and Scandinavia are experiencing  much warmer weather (or climate, if you will).

Great Britain used to have hippos swimming in the Thames, so it´s possible if the planet keeps warming we may see hippos in Cook Inlet, the Thames, and the Ob River in Siberia.

Photograph: Large hippos not swimming 
in Cook Inlet  (from ibtimes.co.uk)

If you want to see how these controversies go, try this at Wattshupwiththat:  


where you can read a post  about Mann´s article.

For the other side of the story (one could call it a response) try this


This site is called “Openmind”.

Photograph: Open brain surgery from Mirror UK

My bottom line? I think Mann´s  article,  "False Hope", is a load of crap. It  doesn´t amount to much as a scientific article. However, it is a masterpiece of propaganda. The article shows a graph of Northern hemisphere temperature, then it moves on to claim the world will cross a danger threshold (about one degree C above today´s temperature) in 2036.

The famous graph and claims  from 
“False Hope”at Scientific American.

So, this is the way it works: 

First I show you a graph using the Northern Hemisphere temperature trend. Then I clutter it with a bunch of lines taken from my computer model. I shade in the 2 degree C “catastrophic warming” line, wave my arms and “demonstrate” using this visual aid how the Northern Hemisphere will hit the fan in 22 years. Then I switch tracks and state the world will cross the 2 degree boundary (remember this boundary is set versus the temperature back in 1750, it´s about ONE degree C versus today´s average temperature). Hell, to put it bluntly, the article manages to scare you into thinking the world´s temperature will go up 1 degree C in 22 years! Neat, isn´t it?

My collage from the False Hope article, showing  the 
key sentences which initially scared  the hell out of me
 (taken from Scientific American). 

Did I get it wrong? That´s an interesting question. Reading through that article one comes out with the impression the world temperature will increase at least 1 degree C in 22 years. Some readers may even think it´s 2 degrees C in 22 years. And most of them will be sure the prediction applies to the whole planet....Huh? 

Instead we may ask: was the article,  and in particular the graphic, prepared to confuse the audience into thinking the world is likely to cross a 2 degree C threshold in 22 years? Or was it simply a case of a scientist writing stuff he thought a normal reader could descifer?

That´s something you guys will have to trash out, because I´m too old to get into a fight cage with a bunch of youngsters to fight over “he said no he said” in a politically charged atmosphere where both sides can use lawyers as shock troops.  

You see, my  large caliber  bullets are being used up in the fight for human rights, trying to save Venezuelans and Cubans from communist dictatorships, and this global warming topic is just a hobby.

Venezuelans protesting Maduro´s  communist 
dictatorship.   Most people don´t care. 

Now the question moves on to Scientific American´s editorial policy. What the hell are they doing to that magazine? If  Scientific American is turning into a political propaganda organ, is it possible the magazine´s  owner is also using “science propaganda” in its other publications?  Let´s skip over the corporate mumbo jumbo: these guys publish Nature and Nature Climate Change.  

Article about carbon tax at "Nature Climate Change" 

The chief editor is a highly educated (and somewhat controversial) gentleman named David Campbell (see Reference below). And this makes me wonder, does David Campbell have a certain  agenda he wants  to plug at Nature and other magazines he controls?

References 

Businessweek description of Nature America, Inc.

Guardian article about David Campbell, Nature´s chief editor

Berkeley Earth Comparison of Climate Models versus Data

If you are interested in the original Scientific American  picture, as shown in the "Open Mind" blog, go here


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