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The settled science of unsettled science

14 Jul 2021 | OP ED Watch

The heat dome episode also exhibited two classic alarmist tropes. One was the old you-can’t-blame-it-on-climate-so-let’s-do-it-anyway trick. And the other is that the settled science is worse than it is. Thus from Global News: “The unseasonably hot weather has many asking whether the heat wave can be attributed to climate change. Climatologists are wary of trying to attribute any specific extreme weather event to climate change — though the evolving field of event attribution is beginning to change that. But there is wide agreement among scientists that there are links between the changing climate and the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.” As for settled science, NBC announced that “With global warming making heat waves and other extreme weather events both more likely and more severe, this week’s sizzling temperatures may herald a climate reality that scientists thought was still decades in the future.”

Craig Welch in National Geographic produced this version of the can’t blame it but let’s: “This weather pattern is complex. But the whole phenomenon has been worsened by climate change.” The Globe editorial on coal discussed elsewhere in this week’s items had “No single weather event can be directly tied to climate change, but it’s worth noting that Western Canada is currently suffocating under a ‘heat dome.’ The B.C. village of Lytton on Sunday reached a searing 46.6 C – the hottest in Canadian history, and the highest temperature ever recorded anywhere on Earth north of the 50th parallel. Coal remains a primary threat in climate heating.” Nudge wink.
Exactly how much is “coal” contributing to “climate heating”. Whose coal? How much have temperatures risen since 1890 or 1940 and how many heat domes has it caused? These are not trivial questions outside the cherry orchard. It’s one thing to say if it warms up by 3°C there will be dramatic, measurable differences, and quite another to say it has warmed by 0.8°C and the place is a constant blaze.
As for the settled science Maclean’s demanded to know “In light of the extreme weather on Canada’s West Coast this summer… What will it take for popular opinion to catch up with the terrifying science? We talk to Canada’s top climate change experts.” Which might be the wrong question since we keep hearing that it’s worse than scientists predicted. So maybe the question is what it will take for the science to catch up with the science.

One comment on “The settled science of unsettled science”

  1. What the hell is a heat dome? It sounds to me like another silly word invented by journalists to frighten everybody & indeed it is . It's just another word for what used to be called a summer anticyclone. The name has been changed to make it sound more ominous & fit in with the narrative of global warming. Nothing new here at all. In winter these anticyclones, or regions of high atmospheric pressure cause intense cold. Allan Watts website has an interesting article (https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/07/06/was-global-warming-the-cause-of-the-great-northwest-heatwave-science-says-no/) on the recent heat wave on the North American Pacific coast. It occurred within a region of high pressure as most summer heat waves do-like the one we are experiencing in the UK at the moment.

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