British tabloid offers completely misleading and inaccurate claim that globe is 'cooling'; Fox 'News', Limbaugh and their reliable stooges help spread the irresponsible reporting like herpes...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2013, 6:11pm PT  

Dear incurious dupes, stooges, patsies, pawns, chumps, rubes and suckers of the Climate Change Denial Industry: Please study the animated GIF below (courtesy of Skeptical Science) carefully.

That chart could help you become less of an incurious dupe, stooge, patsy, pawn, chump, rube and/or sucker of the Climate Change Denial Industry, which is the fully-owned subsidiary of the Fossil Fuel Industry, which also happens to be the most profitable industry in the history of civilization. (Remember that whole "follow the money!" thing you folks like to parrot when you believe you're being clever and think you're debunking global warming, but are actually only debunking yourselves? Yes, please do "follow the money" in this case. No, the money ain't going to the scientists, it's going to the Fossil Fuel Industry. If scientists were only interested in money, they'd be making the big bucks working for the Fossil Fuel Industry which is dying to pay for science that discredits global warming!)

But, I suspect you aren't really worried about continuously embarrassing yourselves at this point, now that you've surrounded yourselves with similarly incurious dupes who support the confirmation bias you seek for your disinformed contrarianist blather on a daily basis.

Yes, the dupes, stooges, etc., have a fresh scam they've fallen for this week, which they've been spreading broadly amongst themselves and others of late. It stems from a wildly (and purposefully) misleading article by David Rose in the British tabloid Mail on Sunday with this purposely misleading headline (the only part of the article, if any, that the dupes and stooges likely bothered to read anyway):

Of course, you'll be stunned to learn that both the headline and article are misleading (at best) and that the incurious dupes, stooges, pawns, chumps, rubes and suckers of the Climate Change Denial Industry have nonetheless, as usual, fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

I debunked it cursorily during the very top of yesterday's Green News Report, but could only touch on it very quickly given the time constraints of the radio podcast. Seeing as how this latest con is being touted in the wingnut media, it deserves a slightly more detailed response here as well --- if only for future reference, as these phony denialist memes live on (and on and on) for some time in the denalist community, like herpes, no matter how thoroughly they are debunked.

"Global warming, yes, it's finally dead!," incurious dupe Greg Gutfeld of Fox "News" embarrassingly and inaccurately declared this week in trumpeting the Mail article, followed with this insanely inaccurate assertion...

"There has been a 60% increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice, compared with this time last year. That's an increase! A million square miles more ice!," Gutfeld claimed (video here), before adding with unconcealed delight at his own misplaced sense of cleverness: "That means all predictions, computer forecasts have been wrong. Thank you."

As I noted in the Green News Report, Gutfeld is not even close. The "60% increase" both the article and Gutfield cite is an increase over last year's record low Arctic sea ice minimum extent. It also refers only to the extent --- or area --- covered by ice, not the volume --- or thickness --- of it. The extent is the size of the area of Arctic ice visible on the surface, as seen by satellites and such. It tells us little, if anything, about the actual amount of ice that actually exists there.

As BRAD BLOG commenter "Dredd" pointed out, "What throws deniers off is an understanding of the concepts of 'area' vs 'volume'". He goes on to explains in his blog item "How Fifth Graders Calculate Ice Volume", that "One has to do with how much surface area an ice sheet covers, the other has to do with how much ice volume there is in that ice sheet."

Indeed, as Dredd correctly cited, scientists have found that "Arctic Ice Volume has halved since 1983", and has not rebounded as suggested by the denialists this week, as seen in this helpful graphic...

Not satisfied, of course, with simply citing the wildly misleading Mail report, Rush Limbaugh took that misinfo to another level, even lying about it to his listeners. Limbaugh falsely claimed that the findings show "the Arctic ice sheet is at a record size for this time of year. They told us the ice was melting in the Arctic Ice Sheet. It's not. There's a record amount of ice, in the modern era, for this time of year."

No. It's not "at a record size", Rush, though the surface area is larger than last year at this time. And yes, the ice is melting in "the Arctic Ice Sheet". For the fact- and/or truth-impaired Rush Limbaugh listener's and other similarly duped suckers, here's another chart for ya with actual science on that matter (courtesy of the Polar Science Center):

I suspect even the denialist dupes, stooges and suckers can read the above chart well enough to understand they are being lied to when Rush tells them that "the Arctic Ice Sheet" is "not" melting.

I'll not bother to offer a full scientific debunking of Rose's (and Gutfield's and Limbaugh's and all the other stooges') absurd claims. Others with more expertise have already done so, if you'd like to study a mountain of actual science on it. (See Tom Yulsman's "With Climate Journalism Like This, Who Needs Fiction?", or Max Greenberg's "Conservatives Can't Quit Tabloid Science", or Phil Plait's "No, the World Isn't Cooling", or John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli's "Arctic sea ice delusions strike the Mail on Sunday and Telegraph", or, as usual, the most detailed, SkepticalScience.com's "Arctic sea-ice 'growth', a manufactured IPCC 'crisis' and more: David Rose is at it again," by John Mason.)

The central point here is that there is variability, year after year, in Arctic sea ice extent, just as there is with similar measures of global climate change. We don't have, nor do scientists expect, a strict, straight line increase or decrease in these measurements year over year. It's the easily observable trend lines over time that are the concern. Here's another animated GIF chart, again courtesy of SkepticalScience.com, to help you (and the deniers and their patsies) understand how that works:

See how the anomalies (the variation in temperatures from the median, not the actual temperatures themselves!) have slowed over the past 10 or 15 years in the "How 'Skeptics' View Global Warming" part of the chart above? That's what the dupes and stooges are referring to when they declare, inaccurately, that "Global warming has stopped in the last 15 years! It's actually getting cooler!," as you may have heard from them a lot of late.

No, it's not getting cooler. The globe continues to warm at an alarming pace. But the rate of change, as compared to the median in that warming, has slowed of late for land temperatures, thanks to cyclical variabilities, as seen in the chart above. The overall disturbing trend continues, as seen in the "How Realists View Global Warming" part of that chart.

Furthermore the chart above only details surface land temperatures when most of the planet's heat is actually stored in the oceans...

...And those oceans, according to scientists in 2012 continue to warm at an alarming rate, as clearly seen here...

Rose makes a whole bunch of other false claims in his Mail article on several related matters, including the assertion that "the continuing furore caused" by the paper's "revelations" have "forced the UN's climate change body to hold a crisis meeting."

In fact, that too is a lie, according to the body in question, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which issued this statement [PDF] in the wake of Rose's piece:

Contrary to the articles the IPCC is not holding any crisis meeting. The IPCC will convene a plenary session to finalize the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, in line with its normal procedures, in Stockholm on 23-26 September 2013. The session has been scheduled for several years and this timetable has been repeatedly publicized by the IPCC.

Sigh...

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Finally, a word about David Rose, the reporter credited with the piece discussed here, as well as the Mail's similarly inaccurate and wildly misleading article last year, claiming (falsely) "Global warming stopped 16 years ago". At the time, that article, published smack dab in the middle of last year's record-breaking Arctic sea ice minimum, was thoroughly debunked by SkepticalScience.com, which described the tabloid and Rose as "notorious for publishing misleading (at best) climate-related articles" and detailed how the claims they were making were "entirely fabricated."

By his own admission, Rose reported false claims of Iraqi WMD from intelligence sources who, he claims, misled him during the run-up to the Iraq War. At the time, he supported the invasion, though he now says that is to his "everlasting regret".

This is a reporter, it seems, who is quite easily fooled, or one who is blatantly dishonest. I'll not hazard a guess as to which may be the case for now, but it seems that he has a penchant for reporting "facts" that he'd like to believe are true, in a way that confirms his own preconceived bias...or hope. As journalism professor Tom Yulsman notes in his own dismantling of the recent Rose/Mail article at Discover Magazine, "That’s not journalism. It’s activism."

At one point or another, it seems he must have been a responsible and good investigative journalist. He was the author of the meticulously reported (or, perhaps meticulously edited and fact-checked?) September 2005 Vanity Fair article on FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. His most recent contribution at that magazine seems to have been in January of 2012, however.

What has happened to him in the years since then? I've got no clue. I don't know if it's actually his own reporting in the Mail that is so insanely wrong and/or misleading, or if his editors there rewrite it to make it as such, since they can count on the Fossil Fuel Industry denialists ensuring that such stories, no matter how demonstrably inaccurate, will result in huge website traffic thanks to all the pawns and stooges out there seeking confirmation bias for their wildly disinformed belief that global warming, and the decades of peer-reviewed science related to it, from thousands of scientists all across the globe, is little more than a "hoax."

Either way, it's exceedingly disappointing. The fact that Rose did not correct his utterly false Daily Mail story last year, claiming the world has been "cooling" over the last 15 years, and that he even refers to it in the latest article --- and that he has not left the Mail between then and now --- would suggest that it is he, not his editors, responsible for the horrible journalism. That, of course, only helps to discredit all of his previous journalism as well, unfortunately, even at outlets where serious fact-checking, like Vanity Fair (presumably), still exists.

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The much quicker --- and funnier --- version of my debunking of Gutfield's absurd claims based on Rose's false article, can be heard at the very beginning of the Thursday, 9/12/2013 Green News Report. You can listen right here, if ya like...

'Green News Report' w/ Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen
September 12, 2013


Click to listen (or download)
More info on today's report here...

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UPDATE 9/16/203: Apparently not shamed in the least by getting the Arctic ice story completely wrong, David Rose and the Mail on Sunday followed up with another round of wholly inaccurate link-bait again this weekend. Details on their latest pile now here...