Low Information Reporters…and Even Lower Information Scientists

October 2nd, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I’ve seen a couple reports of scientists diverting attention from global warming (which went on vacation about 15 years ago) to the increase in the ocean heat content instead. They mentioned how all of that heat which has been accumulating in the ocean, if released at once, would warm the atmosphere by hundreds of degrees.

While theoretically true from an energy conservation standpoint, such a thing could never happen, of course.

This is what I told a reporter today, who just posted a story on the dubious reporting by CBS among others. The Second Law of Thermodynamics would not allow moving energy from a heat reservoir that is 0.1 deg C warmer than “normal” (whatever that is) and create hundreds of degrees of atmospheric heat from it.

We could throw our hands up and blame reporters…except that the hundreds-of-degrees claim started with people who should know better. Marc Morano reminds us that Stephen Hawking made a claim in Leonadro DiCaprio’s box office bomb “The 11th Hour” that Earth could become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 deg. C (100 deg. C boils water). (BTW, I think DiCaprio is an awesome actor).

Now, I’ve heard this Hawking guy is pretty smart. But…Really? As I recall, Venus has around 230,000 times as much carbon dioxide as Earth’s atmosphere. In contrast, we are worrying about what might happen when we reach 2 times as much CO2 as we had before. The difference between 2 and 230,000 is pretty darn big. Maybe Professor Hawking should stick to theoretical physics.

I’m reminded of Al Gore’s claim on late night TV that the Earth has a temperature of millions of degrees only a couple kilometers down in the ground.

Now, when the masses hear such drivel from people they admire — people who should know better — is it any wonder that so many people are scared out of the minds over global warming? I once got an e-mail from someone in Europe who was positively despondent, almost suicidal, over the fate of the Earth.

I really worry about the fate of a society where people are no longer capable of thinking critically. And it’s only hump day!! Sigh.

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