Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Warming Wednesdays: New York Times obfuscation

That's the headline in a recent Times article. Here are the 7th and 8th paragraphs of the story:

California has been warming along with most regions of the United States, and temperatures in recent months have been markedly higher than during the 1976-77 drought. In fact, for some of the state’s most important agricultural regions, summer lasted practically into January, with high temperatures of 10 or 15 degrees above normal on some days.

The consequence, scientists say, has been that any moisture the state does get evaporates more rapidly, intensifying the effects of the drought on agriculture in particular. “We are going through a pattern we’ve seen before, but we’re doing it in a warmer environment,” said Michael Anderson, the California state climatologist.

That is, the drought as we are living it, is unequivocally shaped by climate change. What is in doubt is how much of this particular drought's origins and effects should be attributed to periodic variations and how much to the incontestable reality of global warming. That human-induced general temperature increases are playing a role is simply not in doubt.

The headline is willfully misleading.

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