Prozac for the Climate People
or “The Unholy Alliance of Climatologists and Newsmedia”
An additional positive-feedback mechanism in the realm of Catastrophic Climate Change may have gone un-noticed so far.
Look for example at the WMO Statement on the Status of the global Climate in 2006: “persistent extreme heat”, “heat waves”, “record temperatures”, “long-term drought”, “moderate-to-exceptional drought”, “severe drought conditions”, “heavy precipitation and flooding”, “heavy rainfall”, “historic flooding”, “deadly typhoons”, “ozone depletion”, “sea-ice decline”.
One is left shocked-and-awed by such a display of gloom. Even words such as “mild” and desert-area rainfall sounds ominous in the context of the WMO statement.
But wait: where is the list of places where conditions were OK or even good throughout the year, and so went un-reported?
Where is the mention for example of the end of long-term drought in most of the Sahel area, south of the Sahara desert?
In truth, that WMO statement does not report on the “Status of the global Climate”.
It reports on the “Status of everything that was unusual with the global Climate”: very useful indeed, but not to understand the overall picture.
It’s newspapers and magazines that need that kind of stuff. They know they don’t sell on good news. They live off a steady stream of bad news to get as many readers as possible.
And who can be better at providing that than present-day Climatologists?
Yet another unhealthy incentive for people to get noticed by predicting disasters.
A couple of articles on LiveScience point to similar problems in the reporting of Medical studies
[…] Ioannidis said scientists and editors should avoid “giving selective attention only to the most promising or exciting results” and should make the public more aware of the limitations of science.[…] “We all need to start thinking more critically.”
[…] Journalists sometimes go to these conferences looking for the interesting nuggets and a chance to report on potential breakthroughs before the competition. But the media often omit basic facts in stories they report from professional medical conferences, a new study concludes. […] “Readers should approach the news with a healthy skepticism,” Schwartz suggested.