I said the vaguest scientists in the world lie by omission, and it’s what they don’t say that gives them away. The “hottest ever” press release didn’t tell us how much hotter the hottest year supposedly was, nor how big the error bars were. David Rose of the Daily Mail pinned down Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS to ask a few questions that bloggers and voters want answered but almost no other journalist seems to want to ask.
Nasa climate scientists: We said 2014 was the warmest year on record… but we’re only 38% sure we were right
Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all
Does that mean 97% of climate experts are 62% sure they are wrong?*
The thing with half-truths is that they generate a glorious fog, but it has no substance. Ask the spin-cloud of a couple of sensible questions and the narrative collapses. This is the kind of analysis that would have stopped the rot 25 years ago if most news outlets had investigative reporters instead of science communicators trained to “raise awareness”. (The media IS the problem). If there was a David-Rose-type in most major dailies, man-made global warming would never have got off the ground.
The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.
Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C.
The margin of error is about a tenth of a degree, so those error bars are 500% larger than the amount pushed in headlines all over the world. Gavin Schmidt of course, is horrified that millions of people may have been mislead:
GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond.
I’m sure he’s too busy contacting newspapers and MSNBC to make sure stories from NASA GISS are accurate and scientifically correct.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk
In the mood for sport? Turn the torch back on the journalists who were too gullible to ask a sensible question. Let’s start asking the ABC and BBC journalists why they didn’t ask “how much hotter was it” and “how big are those error bars”.
H/t to Colin, Gardy.
*And since we’re asking — what’s with the 38% — what are the error bars on that? 😉