Reporting on weather/climate changes then and today.

Post 06 February 2018 by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts

About reporting weather news The New York Times (NYT) is unbeatable, at least in some cases. Nowadays it is about global climate change. Consider for example the recent paper concerning: “Climate Change Is Complex. We’ve Got Answers to Your Questions”, by JUSTIN GILLIS Illustrations by JON HAN (Q&A, 2016). Or remember the blog:  NYT- Dot Earth, excellently run by Andrew C. Revkin for nine years until 2016. All texts show a great commitment, thoroughness, and the willingness to get it right. The claim is (Q&A Part 1, No 5): “The warming is extremely rapid on the geologic time scale, and no other factor can explain it as well as human emissions of greenhouse gases.”  Whether that this assessment eventually hold the ground is still subject of debate. When considering another NYT reporting period on exceptional extreme weather situations, doubts are eminent that “human emissions of greenhouse gases” does not cover the climate change debate sufficiently.

The NYT received the Pulitzer Prize 1941 concerning its foreign news report. Indeed the in-depth coverage of war activities and weather condition since September 1939 is outstanding. The amount of information is breath taking. That includes weather, which was at numerous location never observe or a record over a 200 years period.

After an extreme unusual December 1939, a record cold January 1940 followed (see HERE & HERE) It was not the end of unusual frost and snowfall. Europe remained governed by General Frost during the following month February, as illustrated by Fig. 2,4,5,6,8,9, and a few examples selected from NYT reports:

__ February 13; Amsterdam . Europe suffered tonight in the paralyzing grip of the bitterest cold in more than 100 years. (NYT, Feb. 14, 1940)
__ February 13; Copenhagen . The temperature has dropped to 13 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-25°C). (NYT, Feb. 14, 1940).
__ February 13; Baltic countries. In Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania more than 10,000 persons suffered severe frostbite. At least five persons froze to death in the three Baltic countries, where temperatures reached 54 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (- 47.7°C) recently for the first time in 160 years (NYT, Feb. 14, 1940).
__ February 20, 1940; In Sweden all cold records were broken in the last twenty-four hours with 32 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-35.5°C), the coldest since 1805. The previous record in Stockholm was 22 F degrees below zero. Copenhagen tonight 2 degrees above zero Fahrenheit. (NYT, Feb. 21, 1940).

Should these facts neglected when discussing climate change today? That is unacceptable. It is foremost the duty of science to take the matter serious, but an ambitious newspaper should be able to ask questions about the causes of such events. Science would quickly face problems regarding the greenhouse theory. One would pretty soon realize that science is working with confusing explanations and even a serous newspaper as the NYT accepts that unquestioned. Let’s have a look at the Q&A, Part 1-No.1, which reads as it follows:  

“ 1. Climate change? Global warming? What do we call it?

Both are accurate, but they mean different things.
You can think of global warming as one type of climate change. The broader term covers changes beyond warmer temperatures, such as shifting rainfall patterns.
President Trump has claimed that scientists stopped referring to global warming and started calling it climate change because “the weather has been so cold” in winter. But the claim is false. Scientists have used both terms for decades.”

 Nothing in this respect is accurate. At best ‘climate’ is statistic. If science defines ‘climate’ as average weather, ‘climate’ is nothing else as statistic. Moreover weather can be typified into hundred and more items. But science has avoided to come up saying what weather is. The American Meteorology Society offers that weather is “The state of the atmosphere, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities” (More HERE). Try to make an “average” of that and at best you have fake news. The only relevant weather criterion in so far is the rise and fall of air temperature, on a local, regional or global scale. The latter may be called global warming.  

That is all very sad. Changes of weather conditions will continue to occur, and human kind does not understand sufficiently why it happens, how to prevent what man is contributing, and take action to minimize threatening the global natural system anthropogenic. It is shocking that President Donald Trump is questioning the use of the term ‘climate change’ by science (Q&A, Part 1-No.1), and since long challenge “that scientists are engaged in a worldwide hoax to fool the public” (Q&A, Part 1-No.6).Understanding the impact of human ocean uses in all its facets inclusive naval warfare during the World War could prove that Mr. Trump is right. He is hardly the man to understand how weather works, but certainly would claim that he is a genius, because he has said so ever since. A further political disaster.   

 

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