Many thanks to the BBC for (unwittingly?) underlying a case of pro-AGW bias on the AAAS ‘ flagship magazine Science , "the world’s leading outlet for scientific news, commentary, and cutting-edge research ".
(Leading? Yes, but where, one should ask. Leading towards a pre-conceived, data-independent and therefore antiscientific understanding of the world. But here are the details…)
In a sentence, the Editors of Science appear fixated with AGW to the point of forgetting the non-AGW articles that somehow manage to surface in their magazine.
The case consists of 2 "reports " ("brief communications"?) and 1 "perspectives " ("invited commentary"?) from the 8 May 2009 issue ; a little-known climate-change BBC blog with a (positive, free-minded) approach; and a sheepish attitude by the BBC "Science & Environment" staff in reporting news with no trace of any critical approach to the subject.
This is the complete list with links (details at the bottom of the blog):
(a) REPORT #1: The Role of Aerosols in the Evolution of Tropical North Atlantic Ocean Temperature Anomalies (blaming desert dust and not global warming for most of the recent warming of the tropical North Atlantic)
(b) REPORT #2: Basin-Scale Coherence in Phenology of Shrimps and Phytoplankton in the North Atlantic Ocean (suggesting, in the BBC words, that a world without shrimp cocktails is in the making due to global warming, i.e. human-induced climate change)
(c) PERSPECTIVES: Ecology – Some Like It Cold
(d) BBC NEWS SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT: Shrimp tuned to ocean temperature
(e) BBC CLIMATE CHANGE – THE BLOG OF BLOOM: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: theory that Atlantic Ocean is warming due to climate change laid to rest
And here the most likely chronology:
- Science magazine publishes (a) and (b) in the same issue. Note that they are both "reports" and therefore have been given absolutely equal importance
- The Editors of Science overlook (a) (the report blaming desert dust and not global warming for most of the recent warming of the tropical North Atlantic)
- The same Editors invite and publish (c) therefore concentrating everybody’s attention on (b) (the report suggesting a world without shrimp cocktails is in the making due to global warming, i.e. human-induced climate change)
- Likely via an embargoed press release, word about (b) and (c) comes to the BBC, universally (in)famous because of the "importance the organisation places on climate change as part of the news agenda "
- Victoria Gill is tasked to write (d). It is not known if Ms. Gill has read any part of the related Science issue, as in her article there is no mention whatsoever of (a)
- Far away from the BBC News room, the BBC Climate Change – The Blog of Bloom is free of mind enough to notice the relevance of (a) in the climate discourse. Hence they publish a blog (e) about it
IMNSHO, the worst part of the above saga is when the authors of the invited commentary (c) do not mention the non-AGW report (a) at all.
Now, we can of course pretend that it all happened by chance. Or we can choose the simplest explanation, using Ockham’s razor: the bias towards propping up the AGW theory is just very, very strong at Science magazine. There is simply too much very good evidence in that direction.
Time will tell how much such a bias will literally poison all attempts at a scientific approach to climate change/global warming…unless of course the AAAS has intended all along to change their magazine’s title to Anti Science …
(a) REPORT #1
The Role of Aerosols in the Evolution of Tropical North Atlantic Ocean Temperature Anomalies
Amato T. Evan, Daniel J. Vimont, Andrew K. Heidinger, James P. Kossin, and Ralf Bennartz
Science 8 May 2009: 778-781.
Published online 26 March 2009 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1167404] (in Science Express Reports)
[...] Our results suggest that the mixed layer’s response to regional variability in aerosols accounts for 69% of the recent upward trend, and 67% of the detrended and 5-year low pass–filtered variance, in northern tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures.
(b) REPORT #2
Basin-Scale Coherence in Phenology of Shrimps and Phytoplankton in the North Atlantic Ocean
P. Koeller, C. Fuentes-Yaco, T. Platt, S. Sathyendranath, A. Richards, P. Ouellet, D. Orr, U. Skúladóttir, K. Wieland, L. Savard, and M. Aschan
Science 8 May 2009: 791-793.
[...] We conclude that different populations of P. borealis [shrimp] have adapted to local temperatures and bloom timing, matching egg hatching to food availability under average conditions. This strategy is vulnerable to interannual oceanographic variability and long-term climatic changes.
Ecology – Some Like It Cold
Charles H. Greene, Bruce C. Monger, and Louise P. McGarry (8 May 2009)
Science 324 (5928), 733. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1173951]
The northern shrimp, Pandalus borealis, makes up 70% of the 500,000 tons of cold-water shrimp harvested annually from the world’s oceans. Commonly captured in shelf waters deeper than 100 meters, it supports major fisheries throughout the North Atlantic. On page 791 of this issue, Koeller et al. (1) report that the reproductive cycles of most northern shrimp stocks are finely tuned to match the timing of egg hatching with that of the local spring phytoplankton bloom (see the figure). This remarkable degree of local adaptation on a basin scale is achieved by females regulating the initiation date of their temperature-dependent egg incubation period so that eggs hatch on average within a week of the expected spring bloom. Thus, in typical years, eggs hatch at the time of maximum food availability. The potential downside of this reproductive strategy is its sensitivity to climate-associated changes in the ocean environment.
(d) BBC NEWS SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
Shrimp tuned to ocean temperature
By Victoria Gill – Science reporter, BBC News
Stocks of northern shrimp, the essential ingredient in the ubiquitous prawn cocktail, could be badly affected if ocean temperatures rise. Researchers report, in the journal Science, that shrimp eggs hatch within days of each spring phytoplankton bloom – the main food source for the larvae.
(e) BBC CLIMATE CHANGE – THE BLOG OF BLOOM
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: theory that Atlantic Ocean is warming due to climate change laid to rest
The North Atlantic is hotting up fast but it’s not because of climate change, say scientists in the most recent edition of the journal Science. No, it’s because there’s less dust around to keep the water cool. [...]