Sunday, February 19, 2012

Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts have trouble reading beyond headlines

Here's another post I dug up on Goddard's site, claiming a February 20, 1969 NY Times article said "Arctic Soon to Be Ice Free".  That's a twist of the actual headline that said a single "Expert Says Arctic Ocean Will Soon Be an Open Ocean".  Watts has the article.

What's clear in the article is that the "expert" wasn't a climatologist but a polar explorer, and that experts disagreed with him.  One of the subheadings said "Other Specialists See No Thinning of Ice Cap" and the second sentence in the article says "interviews with a number of other specialists have shown a widespread belief that the progressive shrinkage of the Arctic pack ice over the last century has reversed itself, at least temporarily."

If you read the whole article, it talks about bad things that would happen if the ice disappeared and then extensively quotes experts who deny it's disappearing.  The article lead unduly emphasizes one man, but from the second sentence onward it's not too bad.

Near the end the NY Times actually says this:  

Until recently there was a suspicion that the warming trend of the century before 1940 was a byproduct of the industrial revolution.  Carbon dioxide, produced by combustion, makes the atmosphere less transparent to infra-red radiation, thus trapping heat like the roof of a greenhouse. 
There is evidence that the carbon dioxide content of the world's air has risen from 10 to 15 per cent during the last century.  However, the cooling trend of recent years indicates that other factors are at work, including perhaps the volume of dust and smog in the air.  This tends to reduce the solar heat reaching the surface.

It's been clear for years that denialists are wrong in claiming a scientific consensus predicted future cooling in the 60s and 70s.  The mainstream media at that time, most notably Newsweek, misunderstood the science of the time, but this article indicates that some of them accurately reflected the accurate science.

Steve Goddard, by contrast, can't report much anything accurately.  I think I've had enough of him.


Anonymous said...

According to a 1972 article in the Christian Science Monitor, Belchen asserted that "a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000."[26]

"As one of the world's foremost Arctic experts, Balchen was sought out by numerous companies and government agencies including Canada and Norway."

Mr. Balchen was more than a "polar explorer", according to Wikipedia.

by Hardy Cross

Anonymous said...

It's usually editors, not reporters, that compose or choose the headline.

- The mouse that snored

Brian said...

HC - nothing in the wiki article describes expertise on climate. I assume a lot of self-learned knowledge of Arctic weather, which isn't the same.

Gaz said...

Isn't it refreshing to read a newspaper story relating to climate science that's actually written in a balanced, non-inflammatory style, uninfected by FUD?
Pity it was February 1969 not Febuary 2012.

Neven said...

You've had enough of good old Steve Goddard? You lasted long, my bunny friend!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

I think Steve Goddard provides some of the most up to date, accurate information on the arctic. True believers have tried tirelessly to trick and lie to make people think Anartica is losing ice but it is in fact gaining. And since it is so much bigger than the north pole, it makes true believers look truly stupid.

Dikran Marsupial said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, thanks I needed that, post of the day! ;o) ...

hangon, just checking... you wern't being serious were you?

KAP said...

Balchen is one of the most interesting people of the 20th century. Flew Byrd across the Atlantic a month after Lindbergh; first to fly over the South Pole; dropped supplies to the Norwegian resistance in WWII; rescued downed airmen in Greenland; one of the founders of SAS airlines.

tonylearns said...

I spent a year arguing with Steve, as it was not possible to have a discussion. Never once admitted any error on even the most obvious and bizarre point. We once had a week long argument about whether an atomic blast on Bikini would kill EVERY coral. Since he had said that in his post he could not back off and made the most absurd comments to support it. then just changed the topic. I am pretty sure I have the record for the most times being called an idiot on his site.
I actually follow SUYTS site, which I think is much more interesting, and while just as strong an ideologue as Steve, his denier posts are more intelligent and more thought out.