Tuesday, September 26, 2006

This Global Warming Article Sponsored by...a SUV!

I read two articles about global warming today from CBC News and Voice of America. Surprisingly, the Canadian headline said, "Earth at warmest point in 12,000 years" while the American source stated, "Study: Earth's Temperatures Near Million-Year High". Usually, I would expect the Canadians to be more alarmist about global climate change than the Americans.

Could they both be writing about the same report by Jim Hansen et al?

Enquiring minds at chez badmom read the report and the two articles. Actually, their headlines are much more different than their content. Yes, 2005 was the warmest year of the holocene epoch (the last ~12,000 years). But the VOA article also mentioned that there was only one warmer period in the last million years, a period ~400,000 years ago, but that we would likely surpass that temperature within a few decades. Yowza!

Why the softpedalling at CBC.ca? Could it be because the article web page was sponsored by the "all-new turbocharged RDX", a new small SUV that manages to seat only 4 people comfortably but gets only an "EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway"? (And we all know that EPA mpg estimates are a hoax and overstate actual gas mileage for most drivers.)

Check out the CBC.ca article soon before they pull the Acura RDX banner, sidebar and inline ads.

Lest anyone say that the Hansen article is alarmist and that the weather is nonlinear so there is no cause for alarm, I say you are right. Weather, and lots of things, are nonlinear. Anyone heard of the standard map? You tweak the parameters a little bit and the map shifts in a semilinear fashion. But don't tweak too much or else wild oscillations ensue! Believe me, we don't want to perform this experiment on our home planet.

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