From Steven Koonin in the Wall Street Journal:
“[T]he media goes with this angle: ‘A “doomsday glacier” the size of Florida is disintegrating faster than thought.’ A correct headline would read: ‘Thwaites Glacier retreating less than half as rapidly today as it did in the past.’”
Koonin, author of Unsettled, a book that questions the hype over climate change, discusses two scientific papers on glaciers, one published in Nature Geoscience (one of the subsidiary journals of Nature) and the other in Science Advances (a part of the Science group of journals). They are about “the terminus of glaciers—i.e., where the ice, the ocean and the ground come together.”
This terminus is “a dauntingly complex mix of ice, ocean, land and weather, ” so scientists use ” clever methods to infer past conditions and sophisticated computer modeling to show potential future scenarios.” But reporters miss the nuance.
In one case, he says, the scientists deliberately increased the potential impact of human activity in order to see if any such reaction could occur. They acknowledged this in the paper, but reporters hyped it.
“These papers describe the science with appropriate precision and caveats, but it is a shame that the media misrepresents the research to raise alarm.”
Or maybe just because they are sloppy?