NY Times Is Unaware of the Distinction Between Weather and Climate

NY Times

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The New York Times apparently doesn't understand the difference between weather and climate.

Eager to criticize President Trump in its news pages last week, the paper of record smugly noted, "It's Cold Outside. Cue the Trump Global Warming Tweet."

"With unusually frigid weather gripping much of the Eastern United States this week, President Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to cast doubt on the reality of climate change, but he appeared unaware of the distinction between weather and climate," the Times wrote.

Leave it to the experts at the Times, who think it's possible for scientists to predict the earth's temperature 100 years from now, to lecture us about the difference between weather and climate.

And these are serious matters, given that we should all be dead by now from global warming. And certainly not something we should joke about.

"Indeed, parts of the East Coast are bracing for record-breaking New Year's Eve temperatures. New York City is forecast to experience its coldest New Year's temperatures since the 1960s," the Times writes, pointing out that Trump is correct.

The Times can't have that.

"But Mr. Trump's tweet made the common mistake of looking at local weather and making broader assumptions about the climate at large," the Times wrote.

I wonder who makes "broad assumptions" about the weather?

Look no further than a day later in the Times. The Sunday Review opinion page declared "How We Know It Was Climate Change," informing us that devastating weather is the direct result of climate change.

"This was a year of devastating weather, including historic hurricanes and wildfires here in the United States. Did climate change play a role?" wrote Noah S. Diffenbaugh, a professor at Stanford. "Increasingly, scientists are able to answer that question—and increasingly, the answer is yes."

So I guess they have evidence that Hurricane Harvey was caused by climate change? Not exactly.

"Consider Hurricane Harvey, which caused enormous destruction along the Gulf Coast; it will cost an estimated $180 billion to recover from the hurricane's storm surge, high winds and record-setting precipitation and flooding," writes Diffenbaugh. "Did global warming contribute to this disaster?"

"The word ‘contribute' is key," he says. "This doesn't mean that without global warming, there wouldn't have been a hurricane. Rather, the question is whether changes in the climate raised the odds of producing extreme conditions."

Diffenbaugh goes on to say that the "contributing factors" were elevated sea levels, and the warm ocean, which he says was influenced by "human-generated warming."

Never mind that a hurricane worse than Harvey hit Texas more than a century ago, long before Americans drove cars. Or that Geophysical Research Letters, a scientific journal where Diffenbaugh serves as editor in chief, published a paper the same day as Diffenbaugh's editorial declaring, "Climate projections continue to be marred by large uncertainties."

Last year his journal published another paper that found the climate models are wrong.

"Global and regional warming trends over the course of the twentieth century have been nonuniform, with decadal and longer periods of faster or slower warming, or even cooling," wrote Sergey Kravtsov of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. "Here we show that state-of-the-art global models used to predict climate fail to adequately reproduce such multidecadal climate variations. In particular, the models underestimate the magnitude of the observed variability and misrepresent its spatial pattern. Therefore, our ability to interpret the observed climate change using these models is limited."

Diffenbaugh seems to agree. "Hurricanes are complicated business," he says. "While there is evidence that global warming should increase the frequency of very intense storms, their rarity and complexity make it difficult to detect climate change's fingerprint."

Someone should tell the Times: Don't make the common mistake of looking at weather to make broader assumptions about the climate at large (just to take a swipe at the president).