“News Corp: overwhelmingly misleading” – the damning indictment of Murdoch’s media empire

[Hat tip Media Matters]

“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.” George Orwell

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UOCS) has just published a damning study of the incredibly distorted character of News Corporation’s (News Corp.) climate science reporting.   

Analysing the accuracy of how the science is reported within the pages of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and on Fox News during a recent six month period, UOCS found overwhelming evidence of a persistent and systematic campaign of deception:

Instances of denigration go beyond inaccurate claims, to express a lack of trust in scientists, scientific institutions, and their conclusions, or to characterize the acceptance or rejection of climate change as an ideological (as opposed to a scientific) issue. Our team found clear examples of denigrating climate science in both the media outlets examined.

Titled “Is News Corp. Failing Science? Representations of Climate Science on Fox News Channel and in the Wall Street Journal Opinion Pages” (A. Huertas and D. Adler) this 30 page report provides further understanding on how Rupert Murdoch and his media empire have distorted the public’s understanding of climate change.

Indeed, this “war on science” waged by News Corp. prompted one scientist to state it has cost humanity several decades mitigation efforts. So prevalent is climate change scepticism within News Corp. it lead Rolling Stone magazine to name Murdoch as one of the chief architects of organised denial:

“Murdoch’s entire media empire, it would seem, is set up to deny, deny, deny. The Wall Street Journal routinely dismisses climate change as “an apocalyptic scare,” and Fox News helped gin up a fake controversy by relentlessly hyping the “climategate” scandal — even though independent investigations showed that nothing in the e-mails stolen from British climate researchers undercut scientific conclusions about global warming.”

With this in mind, let’s turn to the methodology of the study and its results.

Fair and balanced? Study methodology

The writers of the study took a “snapshot” of content from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal

“This snapshot analysis examined six months of Fox News Channel content and one year of representations in the Wall Street Journal opinion section based on keyword searches for the terms “climate change” and “global warming.” Our team examined transcripts and articles to determine whether these media outlets mentioned climate science, action on climate change (personal action or government policies), both, or neither.”

The results are not surprising to those familiar with News Corporation’s contempt for facts and the almost missionary zeal in which this media company has set out to cast doubt on the science.  

Indeed, one can make the argument – as David McKnight does in his excellent book – that this can be attributed to the barely concealed ideological prejudices of Rupert Murdoch.

Fox News: 93% of 40 representations of climate science misleading

More often than not, a picture can say more than 1000 words:

 

Yes, the graph is correct: only three incidents of accurate reporting. What more can be said about the “fair and balanced” nature of Fox News?

News Corps. pattern of behaviour: misleading, cherry picking and mocking

The study categorised the type of misrepresentations into five broad categories. For those of us intimately familiar with how News Corp. frames climate science it comes as no surprise:

  • Broad dismissal of the scientific evidence
  • Disparaging climate scientists
  • Disparaging or mocking climate science as a body of knowledge
  • Cherry picking individual facts or findings of question overall consensus
  • Debates or conversations where misleading claims drown out accurate ones

And while this pattern of mischaracterisation and deception were attributed to editorials in the WSJ and on Fox news, one can easily apply the same to News Corps. Australian holdings: The Herald Sun; The Australian; The Daily Telegraph.

Within the pages of these newspapers the “war on science” has been relentless, unceasing and equally deceptive.

Industrial scale misinformation: the legacy of Rupert Murdoch and News Corp.

The authors of the report end with a call for News Corp. to “reform” their reporting of the science and the reality of climate change:

“Representations of climate science on the Fox News Channel and in the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal should be informed by an honest assessment of how cultural worldviews about the role of government affects people’s perception of scientific expertise and evidence on a range of issues, including nuclear waste, mandatory vaccination, and climate change (Kahan, Jenkins-Smith, and Braman 2010). These cultural biases in processing scientific information ought to be understood and examined, especially by media figures with strong ideological identifications and opinions who take their responsibilities to the public seriously.

The reasons for this are vital:

A great many politicians, columnists, and other public figures from across the ideological spectrum accurately convey climate science to audiences and understand the difference between science and policy. Their voices should be amplified, not ignored…”

While a worthy call, I see it as naïve: News Corp has “dug own it’s grave” on the climate change issue.

In order to “reform” it would need to remove or censor the dozens, if not hundreds of journalists, editors and other staff engaged in what can only be called “industrial scale misinformation”.

Such is the reach – and extent – of this $32 billion media company that it seems almost wistful to ask it to simply “report the facts”.

To start “truth telling” would also entail the management of News Corp. both publically and privately acknowledge error and the attendant accountability that implies.

This act of accepting responsibility seems antithetical to the very nature of this company, its management and culture.

Conclusion

Some months ago I wrote a piece on Murdoch and his empire in response to the hacking scandals and the issue of climate change:

“Murdoch’s legacy will not simply be the broken and dysfunctional culture of News Corporation.

His most lasting legacy will be the damaged climate and a world of 2 degrees plus. For decades, News Corporation has waged a pitiless and deceitful campaign against scientists and the public understanding of the climate change.

Murdoch charged News Corporation with a missionary zeal to spread his free-market ideology. The doctrine was preached by his army of journalists and television presenters. Across the globe the likes of Andrew Bolt, Terry McCrann, Chris Mitchell and Glenn Beck spread the Word of Murdoch.

And the Word was: the market cannot fail.

We should remember that when super-charged bush fires burn our forests to ash and devastate small communities across Australia.

Remember the role News Corp. played in misleading and deceiving the public over the coming Australian summers.

When ever increasing numbers of people begin to ask “Why weren’t we told?” point them to the pages of News Corporation’s newspapers. Climate change is real – and yet for decades News Corp. has reported it as a hoax, a fad or the product of shadowy cabals.

And what is the price of this wilful denial, conscious deception and disparagement of the science and scientists?

Look at the tens of thousands of record high temperatures, the warming oceans and rapidly disappearing Arctic sea ice: this is the Murdoch legacy writ large.

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63 thoughts on ““News Corp: overwhelmingly misleading” – the damning indictment of Murdoch’s media empire

  1. Nick says:

    Well, what a surprise. News Ltd has sacked its last well qualified science reporter.

    And they syndicate opinionated fools like Andrew Bolt across their papers.

    Bolt’s latest effort on the environment front is ” Greens kill forest company [Gunns]. Pity about the jobs ”

    These realities are ignored by Bolt’s quick cut’n’paste excuse for an opinion piece:-

    Global Financial Crisis effects continue. Low price for the commodity. High Australian dollar. Bought timber assets at height of market,now overvalued. Overextended loans for over-sized pulp mill proposal. Competition from lower cost domains. Poor prices for proposed pulp-mill output. Distance from global markets. Collapse of managed forestry schemes. Unable to attract investors,despite attention.
    And Gunns employs half the number of workers it did a few years back. Pity about the jobs…

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      I’ve just started an analysis of Herald Sun reporting on climate change, adopting the same methodology of the UOCS paper to see what the results tell us: I’m drafting a post and paper with results for this week.

      Here is a quick overview of methodology:

      Database: Westlaw (contains full text of newspaper articles from across the globe)
      Newspaper: Herald Sun
      Date range searched: 1/1/2012 to 31/6/2012

      I chose this six month period as it was the lead into the introduction of the “carbon tax”. The following search terms and number of document results listed are as follows. I used a mixture of conventional terms (climate change) and disparaging terms to get a feel for their entire coverage.

      Search terms and result:

      1. “climate change” – 126 documents
      2. “global warming” – 46 documents
      3. “warmist” – 6 documents
      4. “agw” – 0 documents
      5. “cagw” – 0 documents

      I decided not to use the search term “climate” as it yielded far too many search results; also because the word climate can be used in broad and generic fashion. Terms 1 and 2 are commonly accepted terminology used by both “sceptics” and “believers” and were used as exact word phrases.

      I’ve excluded the 50/50 and reader letters and focussed on the articles and op-ed pieces News Ltd. journalists – however the letters and reader comments deserve their own treatment and analysis due to how the HUN editors use these to frame the conversation and promote the idea of climate scepticism as being more widely held than actually is.

      There is overlap between the documents containing the phrases “climate change” and “global warming” – so I’m merging those search results. So far I’m looking at a document sample size of around <100 documents. I believe this gives me a sufficiently sized sample for analysis.

      I'm applying the following criteria for evaluating how these articles frame or reference climate change:

      1. Negative – casts doubt on validity of the science or is disparaging towards the science/scientists/activists
      2. Neutral – the issue is mentioned in passing and neutrally
      3. Accurate – reporting the science as in journals etc.

      So far: of the 1million readers/subscribers and often sets the agenda and discussion for local news and the average individuals understanding of the science.

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Ok , prelim results so far: JUST TWO articles report science accurately. I need to look in more depth, but that’s around 98% misleading and disparaging in a major Australian daily with a circulation of >1 million.

      • Nick says:

        Does search term “sea level” scare up any articles not already captured?

        • uknowispeaksense says:

          I think in this sort of thing you need to keep the terminology broad enough that more specific terms have an equal chance of turning up in the results. If you start with one specific term, it potentially introduces bias. I’m not saying there is a bias but it opens up the possibility of bias. For example, you could search for “arctic sea ice” and find a different distribution simply because it might be harder to argue with something so apparent. If Mike wants to look at subsets of the data he has by singling out “sea level” or “arctic sea ice” that’s fine. Besides, i think you would be hard pressed to find an article about a specific effect of global warming that doesn’t include the term global warming or climate change.

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        @ Nick – I did think about specific terms. That would be interesting in terms of investigting how specific issues are treated. But UknowIspeaksense is correct: I wanted to cover a broad based issue.

        For example: a search of Tim Flannery on HUN reveals much the same material, but would distort search results by excluding those articles he is not referenced.

        What I’ll put up will be a little crude – acknowledged – but I believe sufficient to indicate bias or not within the HUN repporting and framing of the issue.

  2. uknowispeaksense says:

    One statistic that would be awesome but impossible to get hold of would be rejected letters to the editor. Of course I am merely speculating but I can imagine that not only would there be a difference in the proportions of rejected letters but also the quality.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Some do get through – which is why I’m going to treat that analysis as separate and try and determine the ratio between supportive/disparaging. Some incredibly framing going on at the HUN.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Ok, here is a rough form of the matrix I’m applying to HUN reporting on climate change during the six months leading up to the implementation of the “carbon tax”:

      HUN MATRIX

      Thoughts? Comments? Criticism?

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Column 1 “Accurate” needs work I think…

      • uknowispeaksense says:

        I think it looks good. The accurate column doesn’t need any work. Where I think you might get an issue is with the articles that unintentionally misreport science just through scientific illiteracy. There could be articles that have a neutral tone but are just garbage. It comes down to intent. How you deal with them needs some thought. The other thing too that you need to take into consideration after you have all the data, is the relative contribution of individual authors. Using some hypothetical numbers, let’s say 60 out of 100 articles fall into the misleading category. What if 30 of them are from one prolific author who only writes about climate change and the remaining 30 are from a handful of others who write about a variety of subjects? A statistician can help with that finer detail. Given however that the editor has the final say, gross figures regardless of authorship will tell a story one way or the other.

  3. Watching the Deniers says:

    @ Uknow

    That’s where I’m heading: of the disparaging/misleading Andrew Bolt and Terry McCrann are disproportionately represented (count wise). It will be raw/prelim at best and I’ll seek some input from more statistical minded friends of mine.

    The category of “un-intentionally misrepresent” could be factored in under the heading “misleading”.

    I’ve already excluded the neutral articles that appear to be just “garbage” in where the phrases relate to a) the title of Fed and State gov ministers b) some famous persons mentions the word “climate change” into conversation etc.

    I’m focussing on articles where the science – validity or not – is contested.

  4. Eric Worrall says:

    It is the height of arrogance to assume you have a monopoly on truth.

    News Corp is speaking to a large and growing segment of the audience. They take positions with which many on this blog clearly disagree, but which many people believe or sympathise with.

    Perhaps instead of shooting the messenger, you should be looking at where your message went wrong.

    A good place to start would be the alarmist obsession with preventing the expression of competing views. Take for example the hysterical reaction to the brief appearance of Anthony Watts on PBS recently. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/21/bizarre-reactions-to-my-pbs-interview-continue-pbs-ombudsman-to-publish-criticism-of-my-inclusion-into-pbs-newshour/

    Was it really worth organising a 20,000 (or whatever) strong petition, to try to pressure PBS into never allowing Watts to speak again?

    As a skeptic (or “denier”), I find this inexplicable and bizarre. I don’t feel the need to organise a petition every time I see Michael Mann speak – at most I might feel a mild passing urge to throw a few rotten tomatoes at the TV. I’d much rather Mann’s position on various issues was in the open, so his scientific flaws were obvious for all to see.

    There is evidence of a similar obsession in the Climategate emails, for example this gem, in which Phil Jones suggests calling Soon and Balunas Astrologers, in my opinion to ridicule or damage their professional reputations. http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1061300885.txt&search=astrologers

    Why does the “truth” need to be protected with dirty tricks, and manic efforts to shut down dissenting voices, if in fact it is the truth?

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Claim: “It is the height of arrogance to assume you have a monopoly on truth.” – straw man argument, I said I had no such monopoly.

      Claim: “News Corp is speaking to a large and growing segment of the audience.” – audience share does not equate to truth.

      News Corp is a $32bn entertainment company. It’s is not a science or research body. It conducts no research.

      Given that the UOCS report show both the WSJ and Fox News are over 95% wrong on the science it is only natural to question – as a true skeptic would – their message. And how is questioning and research “dirty tricks”? When a media and entertainment company tell me climate science is wrong, and the world’s scientific community shows me the evidence I have a right to question and investigate.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Suggesting that Newscorp is engaging in a war on science, because of the prejudices of Rupert Murdoch, is a denial of the possibility that Murdoch might be right. To me at least this equates to a claim that people who share your view have a monopoly on truth.

        I can think of several catastrophist scientific fantasies which dominated the scientific establishment, often for decades, and in the process often led to immense loss of life. So denying the possibility that the alarmist view of climate change might be just another catastrophist scientific fantasy to me is tantamount to an unsupported claim that people who share your viewpoint have a monopoly on truth.

        I agree that audience share does not equate to truth, but this also applies to scientific consensus – which historically is often wrong, especially when science becomes tangled with politics..

        News Corp conducts an immense amount of research – they research background material for stories, and discover new stories. Murdoch is the manager of a global media business, which effectively means he runs one of the world’s foremost intelligence agencies, with a budget on a similar scale to many national security agencies.

        I doubt Murdoch wants to leave a smoking ruin of a world to his children.

        If he has severe doubts about the legitimacy of alarmist climate science, then it is unreasonable to simply dismiss such doubts as unwarranted prejudice.

        I don’t deny the UOCS position on Murdoch’s coverage of climate issues. What I question is the legitimacy of the UOCS position, and the legitimacy of UOCS itself as a body qualified to express such an opinion.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/07/friday-funny-the-newest-member-of-the-union-of-concerned-scientists/

    • uknowispeaksense says:

      “It is the height of arrogance to assume you have a monopoly on truth.”

      And it is the height of wilful ignorance and scientific illiteracy to think News Corp present the truth.

      “News Corp is speaking to a large and growing segment of the audience.”

      If that is true, then the people who wrote the film “idiocracy” were psychic. Seriously though, if that is true, then that is a reflection on the poor state of science education and critical thinking skills in society. The true irony of so-called sceptics is that you never question any of the tripe that News Corp and Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre, Steven Goddard, Jo Nova etc spew out. If you had even a modicum of true scepticism and some basic science training you would realise that they are feeding you garbage. No, you can drop the sceptic tag and take up the denier one.

      “at most I might feel a mild passing urge to throw a few rotten tomatoes at the TV. I’d much rather Mann’s position on various issues was in the open, so his scientific flaws were obvious for all to see.”

      This is a really interesting statement and really highlights your juvenility. Mann’s position is in the open. Try reading some if his papers. All the data he uses is publicly available and his methodologies in the public domain. Many studies testing his methodologies have come back showing it is sound. Just because you refuse to accept it doesn’t make it wrong. Like a typical denier it never even occurs to you that you might be wrong and before you go and claim that we who accept the evidence are the same, here’s the big difference. We wish we were.

      “There is evidence of a similar obsession in the Climategate emails, for example this gem, in which Phil Jones suggests calling Soon and Balunas Astrologers, in my opinion to ridicule or damage their professional reputations”

      Tell us all genius, how were private emails between two scientists meant to damage the reputation of two scientists who everybody with any expertise could instantly see had damaged their own reputations and the reputation of ajournal with severely substandard science? They were private emails, not meant for public consumption. That hardly seems like a plan for damaging reputations.

      “Why does the “truth” need to be protected with dirty tricks, and manic efforts to shut down dissenting voices, if in fact it is the truth?”

      The truth needs to be protected from the dirty tricks paid for by dirty money from dirty professions. The dissenting voices are not interested in the truth, either because of their vested interests, their backward illiterate ideologies or their scientific illiteracy.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        You are missing my point. Your assumption is that the dirty tricks are performed by skeptics. which is tantamount to asserting that you have a monopoly on the truth.

        Your characterisation of my skepticism as “denial” is also telling – yet another assertion that an alternative opinion can only be based on ignorance, not a reasoned evaluation of evidence yielding a different conclusion to your own.

        As for Mann being open, teasing out the details of Mike’s Nature trick was anything but easy, and required years of painstaking effort by talented researchers, to piece together what he did. I could also quote many examples in the Climategate archive of scientists discussing various ruses for preventing skeptics from obtaining details of data and method, but I’m going to assume you already know what they are.

        Your statement “If you had even a modicum of true scepticism and some basic science training you would realise that they are feeding you garbage. No, you can drop the sceptic tag and take up the denier one.” is also an assertion that you have a monopoly on truth.

        There are vast uncertainties in modelling the climate system, and the alarmist position is based on a rather narrow range of possibilities which has yet to be established (the unproven assumption that CO2 forcing would be amplified by large positive feedbacks from increased water vapour). If climate modelling was settled, why is it necessary to spend such vast sums on further research? The wide range of climate sensitivities quoted in IPCC reports (from around 2c per doubling to 7c+) shows that this issue, one of many, is anything but settled.

        • uknowispeaksense says:

          I certainly don’t hold any monopoly on the truth and I await eagerly a raft of papers with good solid sound science that have gone through the scientific conventions of peer review and publication that demonstrate that we humans are not affecting the climate and that it is all natural. That would truly make my day and make me rejoice and I would gladly change my position. But keep in mind, there is a lot that would have to be overturned from atmospheric physics, solar physics, ocean chemistry, geomorphology, paleobotany, ecology, biology etc etc etc. I am yet to see anything other than a few that nitpick about finer details that deniers like to blow up and misrepresent..

          “There are vast uncertainties in modelling the climate system, and the alarmist position is based on a rather narrow range of possibilities which has yet to be established (the unproven assumption that CO2 forcing would be amplified by large positive feedbacks from increased water vapour). If climate modelling was settled, why is it necessary to spend such vast sums on further research? The wide range of climate sensitivities quoted in IPCC reports (from around 2c per doubling to 7c+) shows that this issue, one of many, is anything but settled.”

          All you have done is demonstrate how little you know about modelling. In all modelling their are assumptions. It’s the nature of the beast because you are dealing with a number of unknowns.That is also why you have confidence limits on any predictions. Crikey you set confidence limits on simple experiments where all assumptions are known and variables controlled. So yes, you must have confidence limits when modelling anything and climate is tricky. However, hindcasting the models has proven quite accurate.

          Anyway,nothing I say is going to change your mind and with the modelling question,you are up to about 5 denier canards and that’s about the limit of my tolerance. All you needto do is chuck in the CO2 is plant food one and you’ll have the boxset. it’s past my bedtime anyway.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          There is a very good paper on this issue in the latest edition of Nature Climate Change. It looks at how media bias and distorted reporting has undermined people’s understanding of climate models:

          Communication of climate projections in US media amid politicization of model science | Karen Akerlof Katherine E. Rowan Dennis Fitzgerald & Andrew Y. Ceden, Nature Climate Change , (2012) | doi:10.1038/nclimate1542.

          But of course, its from Nature and scientists. Must be wrong eh?

      • catweazle666 says:

        The truth needs to be protected from the dirty tricks paid for by dirty money from dirty professions. The dissenting voices are not interested in the truth, either because of their vested interests, their backward illiterate ideologies or their scientific illiteracy.

        I couldn’t agree more.

        Shame you lot have chosen the dirty, scientifically illiterate side, isn’t it?

        Sooner or later – probably sooner – you lot are going to have to face the fact that you have been well and truly had.

      • Nick says:

        Catweazle,you are having yourself on. A host of physical observations supports AGW. If people reject surface thermometry,then they have to deal with satellite measurement,observation of glacier retreat worldwide,and the dating methods that show this retreat to have reached in many cases terminus minima not seen for 5,000 to 7000 years. If people reject the physics,you will usually find they have no idea of the implications for other phenomena and working technologies.

        Eric Worrall’s account of the deconstruction of Michael Mann’s statistical work is wrong. “years of painstaking effort by talented researchers” is hyperbole. A few statisticians have commented on it,one amateur with a blog of fanatics has been obsessed with it. Wegman,now a discredited plagiarist,did not analyse Macintyre’s assessment for himself. That’s documented truth. Macintyre’s ‘narrative’ totally dominates and distorts the value of one paper twelve years old. While rejectionists,using Macintyre’s views, have elevated MBH 99 to iconic status,science has moved on. Mann has,too,whether you wish to further mythologise him. Don’t trust dendrochronolgy? Dendrochronologists have professional reservations about it too,which is why results are always presented with caveats. And palaeoclimatology has many more techniques available to grapple with the past.

        Rejectionist obsession with a few such ‘precious baubles’ speaks volumes about their unwillingness to really engage with the breadth of the science.

    • Nick says:

      A few points:

      -There actually is such a thing as truth,Eric,and it can be determined with good faith and care. “The Australians War On Science” is a reality that has been carefully documented by comparing source material with the printed result,very much the way Prof.John Abraham parsed Christopher Monckton’s presentations. Paper by paper,calculation by calculation. If close readings of source papers do not support journalists constructs…then journalists and editors have failed to supply the truth. It’s as simple as that. Any way you scratch it,News Ltd has often showed a contempt for the truth.

      -Sometimes such erroneous work is a result of incompetence,but when the same kind of slanted ‘interpretation’ starts appearing regularly,it is simply agenda dominating truth. The common agenda is creating ‘false balance’,elevation of false experts, and attempts to alarm readership. Alarming readership is often a priority over informing readership.

      -A compounding issue for the media is their lack of accountability,and unwillingness to correct in a timely and prominent way. There are many cases of paper authors being fobbed off by editors. Media often play the free-speech.protect sources card–worthy values if genuinely applying–to reject criticism.

      -Anthony Watts’ views have been carefully and considerately analysed and rejected by statistical work. In fact, Watts was a co-author on a paper that rejected his own allegations. Work has been done specifically to test his claims,claims he says are ignored or high-handedly rejected. None of this has given him pause for thought. That 20,000 should petition for his public correction is testimony to the perceived destructiveness of his long running campaign against climate science,scientists characters and motivations and his rejection of the truth.The truth is established in US temperature trends, and it is worth defending.

      s .

  5. […] these come from denier dens but this time in response to a post about the biased reporting in NewsCorp over at Watching the Dneiers, came the following doozy. It is a small part of a larger comment, most […]

  6. john byatt says:

    both catz 666 and Eric miss the point of the war on science by Murdoch or condone the misrepresentation of scientific papers,

    example

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/07/the-australians-war-on-science-70/

  7. john byatt says:

    2 years ago Eric made this statement

    Eric Worrall Says:
    November 1st, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    No Jan, there is a difference between an author of fiction writing a serious essay, and a politician claiming his fiction is fact.
    The oceans haven’t risen, and the icecaps haven’t melted. “An Inconvenient Truth” is
    a work of fiction, just like “The Day After Tommorrow”.

    Bet you feel a bit of a dill Eric after the massive melt of the Arctic this year,

    “oceans haven’t risen” is a statement of your own ignorance.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      John, the arctic might have melted a little, due to an unusual weather event http://tinyurl.com/9ctz79h

      But the Antarctic icepack is growing dramatically, and currently breaking records, as the NSIDC graph below shows.

      Why do you guys focus on the Arctic, but hardly ever mention the Antarctic?

      I stand by my statement Al Gore’s film is a work of fiction. Didn’t Al Gore predict the Arctic would be ice free by now? Still an awfully long way to go, and you can’t expect a convenient weather anomaly every year.

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        1/ Cherry picking
        2/ The “Look over there a badger!” tactic of misdirection
        3/ Provide the EXACT quote from Gore for you claim. Go on, easy to Google it. I have. Waiting.

        Eric – it’s a bit like saying “Why are you worried about that house on fire when the one next it is fine?” Becauase that house is burning and putting the other houses at risk (BTW that’s an analogy before you start attacking it)

        In fact, a great deal of people are focussed on Antartica as the link you have provided from NSIDC proves – it is being watched. You have unwittingly undermined your own argument.

        So if NSIDC is your authority, you accept their position on global warming?

        Like how the North American drought is the worst in 800 years: http://nsidc.org/news/press/20120730_draught.html

        The study, titled “Reduction in carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America,” indicates that the major drought that struck western North America from 2000 to 2004 severely reduced carbon uptake and stressed the region’s water resources, with significant declines in river flows and crop yields. It was published on July 29 in Nature-Geoscience. NSIDC scientist Kevin Schaefer is a co-author on the study, along with Christopher Williams of Clark University. The study was led by Christopher Schwalm of Northern Arizona University (NAU).

        Researchers found that the turn-of-the-century drought was the most severe region-wide event of its kind since the last mega drought 800 years ago. “The turn-of-the-century drought may be the wetter end of a new climatology that would make the 21st century climate like mega-droughts of the last millennium,” said Schwalm.

        Under normal climate conditions North America absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere due to plant growth, offsetting to anthropogenic carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. “Our study shows the turn-of-the-century drought reduced plant uptake by half in western North America,” said Schaefer.

        The current drought that has currently engulfed country is as intense in the western United States as the turn of the century drought, but also includes large portions of the Midwest and Eastern United States.

        Climate models indicate drought conditions in the American West may be the new normal as the planet warms, expanding the region that is already chronically dry. “This will not only reduce carbon uptake,” says Schaefer, “but will also would trigger a whole host of significant water resource challenges in a region already subject to frequent water shortages.”

      • uknowispeaksense says:

        You do realise that it is only deniers who elevate Al Gore to climate scientist status? it is symptomatic of your desire to recognise non experts as experts to suit your ideology. Al Gore is former politician doing what he does. I put him in the same boat as the darlings of the denial movement like “Lord” Christopher Monckton and Ian Plimer.
        Now, I would hardly call the new record Arctic melt “little”. It is the latest endpoint in a rather spectacular decline of over 50% since 1979. I can understand why you would like to throw in the latest squirrel of the Antarctic. It’s the way to maintain wilful ignorance. The latest Antarctic sea ice extent data is being completely overblown by the denial community as a massive new record when in fact it falls well within the margins of error for long term averages,unlike the arctic melt which is some 4-5 SD’s away from the average. Anyway, have you bothered to find out why the Antarctic sea ice extent is at the higher end of the error margins? I’ll give you a tip. it has a lot to do with decreased salinity in the waters around the Antarctic due to increase meltwater in the Summer resulting from increased mass ice wastage of the Antarctic land ice sheet amongst other things.

      • john byatt says:

        The trend in the melt did not alter prior to or after the storm in the arctic, it remained on the same trend from the 1st of august,

        We seem to have had three convenient weather anomalies in the past five years.
        It really does not matter much what the weather in the Arctic does anymore as global warming accounts for 75 to 95 percent of summer melt season

        Please provide reference from Al Gore that the Arctic would be ice free by now

        You post an NSIDC graph so why do you not accept the NSIDC explanation?

        http://nsidc.org/icelights/2012/01/11/sea-ice-down-under-antarctic-ice-and-climate/

  8. psy-fi says:

    uknowispeaksense mentioned Solar physics.

    The standard model of a thermonuclear Sun dominated by the gravitational force, formed in the first half of the last century, failed to predict many observations made later by advanced instruments and space borne probes.

    The Sun is cooler as we go deeper into it and Sun spots are cooler areas. This would not be true if the standard model was correct. It should get cooler as we get from the interior to the surface. The opposite is observed.

    Charged particles from the Sun continue to accelerate beyond the inner planets, defying standard gravitational models.

    Upper layers of the Sun’s atmosphere rotate faster than the lower layers, and Sun’s equatorial regions rotate faster than the higher latitudes. Both observations are a reversal of predictions by the standard model.

    According to calculations based on the standard model the Sun should be an oblate sphere, it turns out to be almost a perfect sphere.

    There are many more examples of the models failure to predict observations and we all know that a theory that cannot predict deeper observations is either wrong or incomplete. I think the failure of this model should make us question the standard climate models because the Sun is the most important element in climate.

    If the Sun cannot be accurately modeled and its behavior predicted, neither can the climate.

    • john byatt says:

      For global warming, this is all you need to know

      Over the last 30 years of global warming, the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. Sun and climate are going in opposite directions. This has led a number of scientists independently concluding that the sun cannot be the cause of recent global warming.

      One of the most common and persistent climate myths is that the sun is the cause. This argument is made by cherry picking the data – showing past periods when sun and climate move together but ignoring the last few decades when the two diverge.

      “If the Sun cannot be accurately modeled and its behavior predicted, neither can the climate.”

      logical fallacy, “because X is true then Y must be true”, slippery slope

      • Eric Worrall says:

        As a recent peer reviewed paper by Soon and Briggs shows, at least one important climate factor, daytime maximum temperature, tracks solar variation very closely.

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/6/global-warming-fanatics-take-note/

        Their point, that you simply cannot draw a correlation between CO2 and temperature which is anything like as strong as the correlation between solar and daytime maximum is well made.

      • Nick says:

        Soon and Briggs,Eric? An opinion post in a newspaper. Not tested by their peers,though dismissed by the one solar expert allowed to post on WUWT. Their solar curve post 1960s is at odds with all others I’ve seen…and they provide no justification for that.

        Is their point well made,or just made before a suitable audience?

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          I’ve got a post on the Soon/Briggs paper ready to go… the “peer reviewed” research they cite is Soon’s. It’s hilarious actually.

      • Nick says:

        Oh,there you go,Eric. They derived their solar plot from Fritz-Christensen and Lassen 1991,which has been rejected by subsequent analysis such as Laut 2003….and also by Lassen himself in a paper in 1999. So their correlation is an artifact of deliberate selection of data known to be flawed

        No wonder they did not attempt peer-review. The Washington Times has an interesting corporate history BTW.

      • psy-fi says:

        Perhaps I didn’t say that very well, or maybe you misunderstood me.

        To say that a model incorporating a previously discredited model cant be expected to be predictive is not a logical fallacy.

        I don’t think you mean it when you say ‘all you need to know’ and I will ignore your counsel. I want to know as much as possible, it increases data resolution and refines the relationships between facts. I shared some knowledge about the Sun, but you ignored it said only a single fact is relevant. Then you said some scientists claim that because x is true, y must be true. If I said my local area has cooled, therefore gw is false, you would rightly say that is a fallacy, but you don’t apply the same logic to knowledge of the Sun and space environment. You are avoiding the points I am making so I will ask you directly:

        Do you think the standard model of the Sun and space environment is accurate?

        If not, do you think this affects the accuracy of the climate models based on it?

  9. john byatt says:

    Looks like a death spiral Eric more than an anomalous weather event

    http://neven1.typepad.com/.a/6a0133f03a1e37970b017744cf5360970d-800wi

    .

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Go on John, give us an “ice free Arctic” prediction. The string of failed ice free predictions by alarmists is long and embarrassing.

      • john byatt says:

        Have a bit of sense eric, the models do not predict and ice free arctic till about 2070
        how does that fail?
        the models do not predict and ice free seasonal arctic till about 2040, how does that fail
        Wadhams predicts a one day iconic ice free arctic 2015/2016, how does that fail

        where is your Al gore quote?
        It would help if you blokes had clue what you were talking about, oh well,

        • Eric Worrall says:

          So the latest estimate is 2070? Not really an imminent emergency then. And not really scientifically falsifiable either – few of us will be alive in 2070.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          “…few of us will be alive in 2070”

          My child will be. And many other children. Charming. Just charming. Classic quote of the cranky old white guy.

          Pretty much says it all really.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          My baby girl will hopefully be alive in 2070 as well, and hopefully her children. I care about the world she grows up in, which is why I don’t want democracy to be subverted by climate lies.

          Several of your climate heroes have called for the suspension of democratic process to address the climate “emergency”.

          e.g.

          David Suzuki’s call to jail politicians who disagree with him
          http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=290513

          James Hansen’s suggestion that a dictatorship is best hope of solving the climate crisis
          http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/18/hansen-would-rather-have-us-ruled-by-china/

          And many similar calls by people who should know better.

          There are several cases in history where democracy has been suspended to address what was portrayed as an emergency. It rarely ends well.

          The funny thing about suspension of democracy is the politicians who receive dictatorial powers are rarely enthusiastic about relinquishing them. And such outrageous behaviour by leading climate “heroes”, of itself calls into question their motives.

          Perhaps the suspension of democracy is the real goal. Power corrupts, and the prospect of absolute power must be an awful temptation.

      • john byatt says:

        First you say that the string of failed ice free predictions is long and embarrassing,

        can you justify that statement? No

        Some of us here do care about future generations Eric,

        An Ice free Arctic is a positive feedback that may occur decades earlier than the models predict, but do not claim that they have already predicted an ice free state then jump to “I don’t care anyway” what on earth are you doing here if you do not care?

        .

  10. john byatt says:

    psy-fi, are you nuts,

    “To say that a model incorporating a previously discredited model cant be expected to be predictive is not a logical fallacy”

    no sense whatsoever,

    climate models do not incorporate a previously discredited model

    where do you get this nonsense?

    • psy-fi says:

      My sentence makes perfect sense. Climate models include the effect of the Sun based on the thermonuclear/gravitational model. That model does not correspond to observations of the Sun. Climate models simulate an environment with a Sun that does not really exist.

      Please answer my question🙂

      • uknowispeaksense says:

        Could you please answer mine?

        Could you please explain exactly how the sun is treated in current climate models and how it should be in terms of what is measured?

    • psy-fi says:

      I’m not nuts and I am not talking nonsense. Either you know exactly what I’m saying and are avoiding my questions or you don’t understand my point. Ill try again, its simple:

      Climate models incorporate the thermonuclear/gravitational model of the Sun. The thermonuclear/gravitational model fails to predict observations. Therefore any climate model that assumes the thermonuclear/gravitational model of the Sun is unlikely to accurately predict the future of the system in its entirety.

      Would you agree?

      • uknowispeaksense says:

        Interesting. I’m not sure I understand. Could you please explain exactly how the sun is currently modelled in climate models and how it should be? You know, like what it is they measure to develop themodels and how that is incorrect.

      • psy-fi says:

        Thanks uknowispeaksense,

        I don’t think the measurements are incorrect, I trust they are as accurate as the technology allows, thats why I used several measurements of the Sun to illustrate my position.

        In climate simulations the Sun is treated as a massive nuclear fusion reaction powered from within. Observations indicate that this is not the case. The deepest temperature observations of the Suns surface are around 6000 Kelvin and further out to the bottom of the corona its up to 2 million. Thats the reverse of the gradient expected.

        This seems to indicate that whatever process powers the Sun is occurring at or near its surface, in the region where the Sun interfaces with the cosmic medium. but I’m not trying to promote any particular theory of the Sun here, I’m just pointing out that since our assumptions about the Sun and its relationship to the space environment and the planets have been proven wrong, computer simulations based on those assumptions will never correspond to reality, and we should not expect them to.

        As for what should be measured, first we would need a better theory on the Sun’s power source and the space/Sun/planet relationship that can account for the unexpected characteristics of the Sun, a theory that predicts the observations, then apply that to our own planets interactions with the cosmic medium and its effects on climate.

        I hope that answers your question.

        • uknowispeaksense says:

          It does and it doesn’t. You failed to demonstrate that you actually know how the climate models as they currently stand, work. What is it scientists measure in regards to the sun, that they incorporate into the models? This is a very simple question that even my teenage niece knows the answer to. Next, how do they measure it? Finally, Hindcasting the models using this data has proven remarkably accurate. How do you explain that if the data is, as you are suggesting, incorrect?

      • john byatt says:

        answer the question
        “Could you please explain exactly how the sun is currently modelled in climate models”

        In climate models

        try again

      • psy-fi says:

        Sorry, I misunderstood your question, I thought you asked which solar model was in use and why I doubt the data used in climate models.

        I don’t understand the equations or know every physical law that applies to climate models. I just trust that the data is good, the instruments used to gather it are working perfectly, the equations are sound and every possible care is taken to accurately predict the future of the system with a nuclear furnace at its core.

        To answer your questions:

        – What is it scientists measure in regards to the sun, that they incorporate into the models?

        The known detectable energy that we receive from the sun. I don’t question its validity.

        – how do they measure it?

        With instruments that measure energy and provide the finest possible information the technology allows. I don’t question the quality of the detection methods.

        – Hindcasting the models using this data has proven remarkably accurate. How do you explain that if the data is, as you are suggesting, incorrect?

        Thats cool, I accept that. Again, I am not suggesting the data is incorrect. The data is fine.

        If there is more I should know about climate models that would impact on my viewpoint, please fill me in.

        p.s. chill out a bit🙂

        • uknowispeaksense says:

          Initially you said,

          “There are many more examples of the models failure to predict observations and we all know that a theory that cannot predict deeper observations is either wrong or incomplete. I think the failure of this model should make us question the standard climate models because the Sun is the most important element in climate.

          If the Sun cannot be accurately modeled and its behavior predicted, neither can the climate.”

          Now you say,

          “Thats cool, I accept that. Again, I am not suggesting the data is incorrect. The data is fine.”

          So, the solar model is wrong but the data used for modelling climate is fine? The problem psy-fi is that the two things have no relevance to each other. The sun could be a square rotating at a squillion miles per hour and purple and while it would make a difference to model inputs and subsequent outputs it would make NO difference to HOW the climate is modelled because the data that is used is the energy that arrives here and what happens to it once it does, not HOW it gets here. Now, while it is difficult to predict some of the finer nuances of the Sun, that is the nature of modelling because you are trying to look into the future and as such there are plenty of logical assumptions that need to be made. That’s what modelling is. It’s the nature of the beast and that is why there are often wide confidence limits set. With the Sun, historical data is of a fairly high standard and it generally follows some fairly predictable patterns.

          Finally, I find it difficult to chill out a bit when I am discussing climate change with someone who is clearly out of their depth and doesn’t know it.

      • psy-fi says:

        Thank you for answering one of my questions uknowispeaksense.

        I would think the mechanics of transmission are relevant models of any energy system, critical even. Its difficult to stop thinking of the Earth as a small rocky spheroid irradiated by, but otherwise isolated from a distant thermonuclear reaction, but I think the observations of the Sun I mentioned, that you don’t want to talk about, should be considered in climate models, thats all. I think including the how of the suns power and especially where it originates would make them work better.

        When you said:

        ‘I certainly don’t hold any monopoly on the truth and I await eagerly a raft of papers with good solid sound science that have gone through the scientific conventions of peer review and publication that demonstrate that we humans are not affecting the climate and that it is all natural. That would truly make my day and make me rejoice and I would gladly change my position. But keep in mind, there is a lot that would have to be overturned from atmospheric physics, solar physics, ocean chemistry, geomorphology, paleobotany, ecology, biology etc etc etc. I am yet to see anything other than a few that nitpick about finer details that deniers like to blow up and misrepresent..’

        When you mentioned solar physics as a science climate models depend on for their integrity I just decided to point out that there is plenty of data about the Sun and its place in the system being modeled that should have overturned the standard physical solar models when it was discovered, calling any other model that incorporated it into question.

        Unfortunately most people don’t know about the things we have learned about the Sun that are often the reverse of the standard models predictions because the consensus on theories created a century ago (in a stone age of information compared to our current abilities when it comes to space or solar observation) has become so ingrained that it is preventing progress in astronomy and many other fields that feel pressured to conform thier models and theories to the assumptions of modern cosmology.

  11. uknowispeaksense says:

    and now we get to the heart of it. Eric is concerned about about NWO. Lewandowsky is bang on.

    • john byatt says:

      OWG is a biggy with the fundamentalists, creationists,
      Eric comes across as such but they rarely admit it.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Yep – I think we are seeing a robust model of conspiracy ideation in relation to climate change scepticism emerging.

      Or: “Its not a conspiracy, but….”

  12. john byatt says:

    Eric “James Hansen’s suggestion that a dictatorship is best hope of solving the climate crisis
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/18/hansen-would-rather-have-us-ruled-by-china/

    Hansen made observations about China, I agree with those observations.

    .

    • Eric Worrall says:

      I’m concerned about the toxic effect of a pseudoscientific crisis on democratic politics. As evidence I provided a couple of quotes by leading alarmist figures, demanding authoritarianism as an appropriate response to the climate crisis.

      I said nothing about OWG, or any other the other bizarre conflations of ideas which Lewandowsky asserted anyone who disagrees with him subscribes to.

      If you guys can only see people whose views differ from your own in terms of conspiracy nut straw men, perhaps its time you looked in the mirror.

      John, your statement that you agree with Hansen’s call for a dictatorship to solve the climate crisis is disturbing. There is a name for people who prefer to silence people they disagree with by force – and that is why you want the Hansenkan dictatorship, isn’t it?

  13. john byatt says:

    Eric you have been making claims about predictions that the ice would already be gone by now,
    that Al Gore said that
    and that Hansen called for a dictatorship.

    so far you have not been able to to cite one statement of support for any of your nonsense.

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