Snow Trolling by Drudge? Or Journalistic Equal Time?

January 4th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Global warming alarmists hate it when things don’t go their way.

MSNBC seems to have more than its share of angry “journalists” lately. Chris Hayes of MSNBC on Thursday complained of the “strange bizarre underworld of climate trolls” who come out whenever the weather is unusually cold.

He was particularly targeting Matt Drudge, who frequently highlights dichotomies, if not outright hypocrisy, in the press coverage of issues…such as global warming and the recent fiasco in Antarctica where a ship of “researchers” going down there to highlight disappearing ice got stuck in a record amount of that disappearing ice. Virtually none of the news outlets covering the story mentioned the (ironic) reason why they were down there in the first place.

Oh, you “snow trolls” know who you are. You are the people who think it’s somehow fair to point to cold waves as evidence against global warming, when in fact we should only be pointing to heat waves in support of global warming. Didn’t you guys get the memo?

Well, apparently the rest of the world didn’t get the memo, either. Here’s the last 10 years of weekly Google Trends search interest for the keywords “weather” and “climate”:

Clearly, interest in weather has been going up; interest in climate has been going down. I wonder why?

If heat waves and droughts really were getting worse, wouldn’t internet search traffic on climate issues be going up? Hmmm? Or was the climate change issue oversold, and now climate fatigue has set in?

Inquiring minds want to know.

29 Responses to “Snow Trolling by Drudge? Or Journalistic Equal Time?”

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  1. Thanks for the interesting Google research Dr. Spencer.
    It seems like it indicates signs of intelligence in the world-wide public. People taking an interest in what affects them (the weather) and not so much on what could or could not happen in the coming 30 or even a hundred years (the climate).
    For those who think that “Weather is climate. More specifically, aggregations of weather are climate. Means, averages, and distributions of daily weather comprise climate.” things are more sedate.

    Quote from “Actually, Weather Is Climate” (William M. Briggs, Statistician & Consultant. Jan. 22, ’10)

  2. RAH says:

    MSNBC is TV hate. They sell derision, divisiveness, racism, in a tabloid manner. Not a single person on that channel is worth watching except to laugh at their day and night histrionics. They all seem to be trying to out do each other like some kind of political/social shock jocks. In a way they are like the climate change alarmists. The more the data and facts turn against them the more outlandish and insulting their claims and actions get. And though I have better things to do with my time generally I do like to watch when events occur that makes their spittle fly as they vent their spleens.

    The fact that since the last election MSNBC’s ratings are in the gutter and heading ever closer to the drain. is a hopeful sign. Without the backing of the likes of ComCast they would have probably already gone the way of the progressive Air America talk radio network and most of the rest of progressive talk radio.

    There is generally no such thing as “equal time” in liberal dominated news outlets be it the AP, NYT, or NBC, or ABC.

  3. Andrew says:

    What I find interesting is the seasonal cycle in the data. Am I correct in guessing weather searching peaks in winter, and climate in summer? I can’t quite tell.

    • RAH says:

      I can’t tell either but it wouldn’t surprise me if searches went up in winter. I know as a guy that drives for a living I am most concerned with the weather during the winter and spring which are the times that bad weather effects my route planning the most.

    • searches go down in the summer for many terms when school is out and students aren’t looking up stuff on the web. We see this “seasonal” effect very strongly at

  4. John says:

    What is the point here? Are you defending your practice of continually running stories about cold weather on a blog that purports to be dedicated to global warming? At the top of your page “Global Warming” appears 4 times and “Climate” once. But scroll down and we see a story about cold weather in North America.

    Are you trying to intentional confuse casual readers about the difference between climate and weather? Or are you consciously trying to even some sort of “score” between articles confusing hot weather with global warming and cold weather with a slow down in global warming. Either way, you aren’t acting like a respectable scientist.


    • RAH says:

      Ha! I don’t remember you or anyone else complaining about the Doc’s articles and videos on comet ISON? Where were you then?

      I wonder if you hold every climate scientist and writer that blogs who has connected everything from tornado, tropical storm, drought, wild fire, and even earth quake occurrences and intensities to climate change to that same standard?

      And how did you miss the fact that the subject matter of this thread is about the public’s changing interest, as quantified by internet subject matter searches, from climate change to weather.

      Not that any of that matters because a person who has a blog has every right to determine what the content of that blog will be. Those that don’t like it move on to others, those that do stay. It’s called free will.

    • Come on, John, I could trash myself much better than that feeble attempt.

  5. Bret says:

    What’s the left axis represent? Surely the maximum volume for each search can’t be the same?

    • Peter Yates says:

      Google says :-
      “Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart. If at most 10% of searches for the given region and time frame were for “pizza,” we’d consider this 100. This doesn’t convey absolute search volume.” .. “..the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100. Each point on the graph is divided by the highest point, or 100. When we don’t have enough data, 0 is shown.”

  6. Peter says:

    John and Bret are right. Roy, you should have included the proxy tree-ring data for google climate searches which would have made the up-side down hockey-stick more obvious.

  7. ren says:

    This solar activity determines the winter in the United States.

  8. ren says:

    The apparent blockade zone polar vortex at altitudes above 20 km, the the zone of the ozone.

  9. bernie says:

    For a while, people somehow (no prizes for guessing how)got the idea that climate change was so important that weather almost did not matter. Nature conspired for a while to make it look that way. In England there were several really benign winters. The way it was played in the media was that not only was this evidence for warming, but that this was the whole point – it was going to effectively abolish winter. We were promised French Riviera winters (dream on).

    No serious scientist of any persuasion would think that a degree or two increase in the averages would make much of a dent in a seasonal swing of some thirty degrees. But Councils responsible for snow clearing actually abolished (or cut to the bone)their supplies of grit and salt! The last few winters have been nasty, which is not unusual in Britain.
    Of course we are very glad of it. We love to talk about our weather -related adventures.

  10. Andrew says:

    Ugh, I was reading an otherwise good piece from the Weekly Standard about Richard Lindzen, when out of nowhere there was a swipe at you, Roy, for your religious views. They are apparently unaware of your work, or the fact that John Christy is not only your colleague but your long time collaborator.

    I’m tempted to write a letter to the editor.

  11. Thomas says:

    ” Virtually none of the news outlets covering the story mentioned the (ironic) reason why they were down there in the first place.”

    For those who want details. Here are the stated goals of the expedition:

    1 gain new insights into the circulation of the Southern Ocean and its impact on the global carbon cycle
    2 explore changes in ocean circulation caused by the growth of extensive fast ice and its impact on life in Commonwealth Bay
    3 use the subantarctic islands as thermometers of climatic change by using trees, peats and lakes to explore the past
    4 investigate the impact of changing climate on the ecology of the subantarctic islands
    5 discover the environmental influence on seabird populations across the Southern Ocean and in Commonwealth Bay
    6 understand changes in seal populations and their feeding patterns in the Southern Ocean and Commonwealth Bay
    7 produce the first underwater surveys of life in the subantarctic islands and Commonwealth Bay
    8 determine the extent to which human activity and pollution has directly impacted on this remote region of Antarctica
    9 provide baseline data to improve the next generation of atmospheric, oceanic and ice sheet models to improve predictions for the future

  12. Doug Proctor says:

    Have you noticed that the MSM has not picked up on the note that the IPCC say connecting extreme weather events to AGW has low certainty or low probability means that saying extreme weather events is NOT connected to AGW has HIGH certainty and HIGH probability?

    We only hear the probability or certainty of linking TO AGW. We never hear of the other side of the coin, the probability or certainty that events or factors are not linked or significant to AGW. And the IPCC has mentioned many of them.

  13. JohnKl says:

    Hi Roy,

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes for all the faux climate panic to become technologically obsolete. Ford motor company announced they will present a new solar hybrid concept car. I’ve wondered for some time how long it would take to allow the sun to recharge electric car batteries. Apparently, Ford developed a new technology that better concentrates light waves on solar panels. Eight hours of sun bathing will apparently charge a car battery the equivalent of four hours plugged into the grid if memory serves. Daily work commutes will soon likely be powered directly from solar radiation captured by on board solar panel collectors. A solar turbo-diesel hybrid or solar gas turbine hybrid sounds nice. It may not be far off.

    Oh! 3d printed car batteries/capacitors may be around before long as well.

    Have a great day!

  14. JohnKl says:

    Hi Roy,

    A quick Internet/google check revealed the solar hybrid mentioned above can go 21 miles all electric, 621 miles total.

    Have a great day!

  15. Rick Adkison says:

    Hopefully MSNBC will soon go the way of the dinosaurs. Did global warming cause that extinction? It gets credit for everything else.

  16. Norman says:

    It seems the media will continue to connect everything bad with “climate change” caused by mankind’s release of carbon dioxide via buring coal and oil reserves.

    Today on NPR they had a report on California’s record breaking dry year and the claim was it was caused by climate change. A recent Scientific American article on dangerous fungus in Washington State that is spreading, it is caused by climate change because of warmer climate in the area favors fungus growth. It is difficult to go a day without some media outlet blaming some terrible condition on climate change.

    The only one that gives the media problems is a polar vortex that sends shivering cold weather into the lower 48.

    Looking at all of Roy Spencer’s satellite era data it shows a wide range of global temperatures, positive some years negative others. Current trend is positive but two years before the 1998 peak and two years after were both negative. If not pure propoganda and scare tactics, it is difficult to see how real science could attribute just bad things to climate change (droughts, floods, etc even though historically these things show no trends one way or the other).

    Final comment. In the media it appears events like a 500 year flood on a river are taking place more often. My thinking is that if you go to the global arena and you have 500 large rivers you would get a 500 year flood event about every year. I think the extreme weather is an illusion created by the massive information we now have that was not available even a generation ago.

  17. “You are the people who think it’s somehow fair to point to cold waves as evidence against global warming, when in fact we should only be pointing to heat waves in support of global warming.”

    Wait, wait, didn’t you know that AGW now causes cold waves, because the CO2 melted polar ice catches a ride heading southward, then disappears into the deep oceans. Cold weather, snow, ice, it’s theory of climate change accounts for all that, and it’s all proof!!!!!! proof, I tell you, that Someone Else driving a fossil fueled vehicle causes Bad Weather!!!!!!1!!!!

  18. Threepwood says:

    I think what is happening highlights Roy’s principle skepticism about global warming (if I understand correctly);
    Not that we shouldn’t expect some, but that the effects are probably benign if not beneficial.

    At least the effects of raising the global temp a few degrees from here are debatable, we have pros and cons to weigh.

    Whereas dropping it a few degrees.. I think all would agree would be disastrous for humanity and nature?

    i.e. isn’t the safety cushion a little thinner underneath us than above us?

    It remains to be seen what the toll will be on people, animals, property, economy from this weather, millions including myself have never experienced these temps, mundane events like breakdowns become life threatening emergencies- here’s hoping people are staying safe- keep plenty gas in your car, if it’s an EV- stay home!

  19. fred schreyer says:

    “Clearly, interest in weather has been going up; interest in climate has been going down. I wonder why?

    If heat waves and droughts really were getting worse, wouldn’t internet search traffic on climate issues be going up? Hmmm? Or was the climate change issue oversold, and now climate fatigue has set in?”

    I thought you were a climate scientist. If I wanted punditry, I would tune in to Rush.

  20. BRKSamurai says:

    I think this has to do with mobile searching.

    When I am out and about I have more concerns with the immediate weather than the long term climate.

    Since the right of smart phones overlaps most of the time period covered, I doubt an accuate measure can be found in this graph.

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