The Daily Mail have misused an eminent scientist's work to try and imply he supports their pathetic theory that the cold snap means global warming is a myth.
The Mail today published a piece suggesting that scientists believe the current cold weather in Britain is the start of a downward trend in temperatures that challenges global warming theories.
Their article, “Could we be in for 30 years of global COOLING?”, begins:
“Britain’s big freeze is the start of a worldwide trend towards colder weather that seriously challenges global warming theories, eminent scientists claimed yesterday. The world has entered a ‘cold mode’ which is likely to bring a global dip in temperatures which will last for 20 to 30 years, they say.
“Summers and winters will all be cooler than in recent years, and the changes will mean that global warming will be ‘paused’ or even reversed, it was claimed.”
The Mail are rather belatedly picking up on a piece of work authored by scientist Mojib Latif, which suggested that because of long-term fluctuations in ocean temperatures, there may be a pause in warming over the current decade, with average temperatures not rising relative to the previous decade.
To give some context, it is generally accepted in the climate science literature that predicting what temperatures will do over relatively short time periods, like a decade, is very difficult. The critical point is that whatever happens over the next decade, it doesn’t undermine scientific certainty that the longer-term trend in global average temperature is upwards.
The Mail continues:
“The predictions are based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They are the work of respected climate scientists and not those routinely dismissed by environmentalists as ‘global warming deniers’.”
Indeed, Latif is a respected scientist engaging in careful, peer-reviewed work. While many other climate scientists differ from his view that temperature rise will stall over this coming decade, such disagreement is part of legitimate scientific debate on a topic (decadal variation in temperatures) that isn’t well understood.
Unfortunately, with Latif’s work as a hook, the Mail engage in all-out misrepresentation and editorial sleight of hand:
“Some experts believe these cycles – and not human pollution – can explain all the major changes in world temperatures in the 20th century. If true, the research challenges the science behind climate change theories, and calls into question the political measures to halt global warming.”
The misrepresentation here is that Latif believes nothing of the sort, and so his work can’t ‘challenge the science behind climate change theories’ or call any current response to climate change into question.
Indeed, quoted in the Guardian, Latif seems completely mystified by such an interpretation of his work:
“Mojib Latif, a climate expert at the Leibniz Institute at Kiel University in Germany, said he ‘cannot understand’ reports that used his research to question the scientific consensus on climate change.
“He told the Guardian: ‘It comes as a surprise to me that people would try to use my statements to try to dispute the nature of global warming’ … He added: ‘There is no doubt within the scientific community that we are affecting the climate, that the climate is changing and responding to our emissions of greenhouse gases.’
So fairly clearly, here we have yet again an article from the Mail that displays breathtaking scientific illiteracy, brought on by a burning desire to misrepresent climate science.
Our guest writer is Christian HuntLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.