Did Media Hype NASA Study Forecasting 110 Degree Summers in the South?

Did you happen to see the reports last week predicting that summer temperatures in the southeastern part of the country could reach 110 degrees by the year 2080?

Well, according to a study just released by the Roger Pielke, Sr. Research Group, the media took “an otherwise interesting and informative research articlepublished in the Journal of Climate and translated it “into an almost hysterical claim of future weather.”

For those that missed it, here is an example of the hysteria as published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday in a piece marvelously titled “Ready for 110 Degrees? NASA Warns Climate Change Could Cook Atlantans” (emphasis added):Peak summer temperatures in Atlanta and the Southeast could reach as high as 110 degrees if climate change continues at its current pace, NASA scientists warned Wednesday.”

Yet according to Pielke, a meteorologist as well as the former Colorado State Climatologist, “only about 25% of the trends were explained by the model" used in the study.

Pielke pointed out that even the Journal’s report questioned the accuracy of the findings quoting directly from it (emphasis added throughout): While the accuracy of the AOGCM projections is disputable, they characterize a plausible representation of the future climate…”

Isn’t that great? Yet, this study was used by the media to create a picture of stiflingly hot temperatures in our country just 70 years from now. This led Pielke to conclude:

These are remarkably serious shortcomings of the model study, yet the news media chose to headline the predictions from it as news without these caveats, and the authors did not correct the media’s misstatement of what their paper actually said (in fact they reinforced them!).

Pielke also mirrored the claims made by Dr. Robert Higgs concerning the reliability of peer reviewed articles:

Equally disturbing (or it should be to anyone who values scientific credibility) is that a peer reviewed journal elected to publish this paper in this form in which untested predictions for decades into the future were presented, yet the global and regional model could not even skillfully simulate recent climate. The publication of such clearly scientifically flawed research conclusions raises questions on whether the journal (in this case the American Meteorological Society Journal of Climate) is engaging in advocacy rather than being a balanced arbitrator of peer reviewed papers. Publishing predictions which are not tested, is not science.

Someone should tell soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore and his sycophant devotees like Sheryl Crow and Laurie David. 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.