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Author Topic: Do Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public?  (Read 2534 times)

paul.fr

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'Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public, say experts

Met Office scientists fear distorted climate change claims could undermine efforts to tackle carbon emissions

Experts at Britain's top climate research centre have launched a blistering attack on scientific colleagues and journalists who exaggerate the effects of global warming.

The Met Office Hadley Centre, one of the most prestigious research facilities in the world, says recent "apocalyptic predictions" about Arctic ice melt and soaring temperatures are as bad as claims that global warming does not exist. Such statements, however well-intentioned, distort the science and could undermine efforts to tackle carbon emissions, it says.

In an article published on the Guardian website, Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, calls on scientists and journalists to stop misleading the public with "claim and counter-claim".

She writes: "Having to rein in extraordinary claims that the latest extreme [event] is all due to climate change is at best hugely frustrating and at worse enormously distracting. Overplaying natural variations in the weather as climate change is just as much a distortion of science as underplaying them to claim that climate change has stopped or is not happening."

She adds: "Both undermine the basic facts that the implications of climate change are profound and will be severe if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut drastically."

Dr Peter Stott, a climate researcher at the Met Office, said a common misrepresentation was to take a few years data and extrapolate to what would happen if it continues. "You just can't do that. You have to look at the long-term trend and then at the natural variability on top." Dramatic predictions of accelerating temperature rise and sea ice decline, based on a few readings, could backfire when natural variability swings the other way and the trends seem to reverse, he says. "It just confuses people."

Pope says there is little evidence to support claims that Arctic ice has reached a tipping point and could disappear within a decade or so, as some reports have suggested. Summer ice extent in the Arctic, formed by frozen sea water, has collapsed in recent years, with ice extent in September last year 34% lower than the average since satellite measurements began in 1979.

"The record-breaking losses in the past couple of years could easily be due to natural fluctuations in the weather, with summer ice increasing again over the next few years," she says.

"It is easy for scientists to grab attention by linking climate change to the latest extreme weather event or apocalyptic prediction. But in doing so, the public perception of climate change can be distorted. The reality is that extreme events arise when natural variations in the weather and climate combine with long-term climate change."

"This message is more difficult to get heard. Scientists and journalists need to find ways to help to make this clear without the wider audience switching off."

The criticism reflects mounting concern at the Met Office that the global warming debate risks being hijacked by people on both sides who push their own agendas and interests. It comes ahead of a key year of political discussions on climate, which climax in December with high-level political negotiations in Copenhagen, when officials will try to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto protocol.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/11/climate-change-misleading-claims
« Last Edit: 12/02/2009 09:01:38 by Karen W. »


 

Offline justaskin

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Re: Do Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public?
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2009 01:54:44 »
I don't know if the public is mislead as the public by and large is pretty smart.That is why the predictions of the GW/CC crowd are becoming more alarmist because the general public is not buying their message.
Now the MSM that is another mater they jump on the latest scare faster than a seagull on a chip.To paraphrase Lincon.
You can fool some of the people all the time.
You can fool all the people some of the time.
But you can fool the MSM all the time. ;D ;D

Cheers
justaskin
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Do Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public?
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2009 01:54:44 »

 

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