Don’t believe all the climate headlines

Steve Connor of the Independent has written a fascinating article today.  ‘Don’t believe the hype over climate headlines’ is about a story that ran in the paper ten years ago with which ‘climate contrarians have been making much of’.

Steve makes some fine points about the difficulty for scientists and science journalists to find a balance between writing interesting stories that catch the eye of the reader (the fundamental job of a good journalist) and the difficulties and conveying all the tiny caveats and nuances that go with science stories, especially those about climate science.

The case Steve refers to is about the likely chances of snowfall in the future under climate change. The headline used 10 years ago was “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”, but I can assure you that no self respecting climate scientist would ever make such a bold statement, not today or ten years ago.

The reason for this is quite simple – that kind of statement is just not true when taken out of context of the whole article that deals with all those caveats and nuances that can be so hard to understand.

The bottom line is that snow was and still is never going to vanish from our weather, although how often we see snow may well change. Snow and cold are part of the natural variability of our changing day-to-day weather.

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