The 'science' of global warming
For example, here is Milstein's lead (all emphases in this post are mine):
The eerie "dead zones" that suffocated marine life off the Oregon coast in recent summers are unlike anything recorded over the past 50 years and could be driven by stronger winds that might reflect global warming trends.Could be. Might. But remember, the debate on global warming is over. There's no doubt. We have an overwhelming consensus.
Here's a rewrite that seems equally valid:
Despite claims that they are a recent phenomenon, the eerie "dead zones" that suffocated marine life off the Oregon coast in recent summers have been known to local fishermen for many years. In addition, there's little evidence that the zones are tied to global warming, much less that stronger winds are somehow tied into warmer temperatures.Even though Milstein is quoting an article in the journal Science, he calls it a "conclusion" despite its lack of certainty.
I do credit the headline writer for ignoring Milstein's lead and telling the truth -- " 'Dead zones' off coast tell no tales" -- and give Milstein points for including Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson in the story. Thompson, a commercial fisherman and three-term state Democratic legislator, told Milstein that he's skeptical about the zones being a recent phenomenon. "Fishermen have known for years that you don't fish in that area in the summer. We just didn't go there," he said.
As we keep reading, we see that the waters off the Oregon coast "may be coming to resemble other areas of ocean off South Africa and Chile -- where low-oxygen, or "hypoxic," conditions are more common and may themselves be worsening."
So isn't it equally fair to say they may not be coming to resemble other low-oxygen areas, and may not be worsening?
We see that lead author Francis Chan searched 50 years of records to find previous evidence of such zones, and "found little evidence before 2000 of such severe low-oxygen conditions along the undersea shelf that traces the central Oregon coast, and no evidence of the conditions pressing so close to shore."
But that means he did find some evidence that this has existed in the past. What is that evidence? Why has it been discounted?
We see that in 2006, crabs crowded coastal bays, "probably to escape the low-oxygen waters."
So is it fair to say we don't know why crabs crowded coastal bays?
And finally, in two of the last three paragraphs (#16 and 17) of Milstein's story, we see this:
Global warming is expected to heat the air over land more than over the ocean, creating the potential for the increased differences in temperatures to drive more winds, [Jack Barth, an OSU professor of oceanography and co-author of the research] said. That might fuel more upwelling, although it remains difficult to blame any single phenomenon on global warming.
"We don't have proof of the climate change signal, but the physics is consistent," Chan said.
In other words, we can't find a link to global warming, but we're going to push for that conclusion because it fits with the "overwhelming consensus."
Labels: global warming