Our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear” and by Ann Coulter in her latest book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Search my name on the Web, and you will find pages of links to everything from climate discussion groups to Senate policy committee documents — all citing my 2002 study as reason to doubt that the earth is warming. One recent Web column even put words in my mouth. I have never said that “the unexpected colder climate in Antarctica may possibly be signaling a lessening of the current global warming cycle.” I have never thought such a thing either.Doran is not the first scientist to claim that his research was hijacked by the global warming naysayers. Back in May, Curt Davis, director of the Center for Geospatial Intelligence at the University of Missouri-Columbia, objected to an advertising campaign launched by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in which his research was used to suggest that consensus thinking on global warming was dead-wrong. Similar to Peter Doran's findings, Davis's research showed thickening on the Antarctic ice sheet. But as Davis noted in a press release responding to the ads: "It has been predicted that global warming might increase the growth of the interior ice sheet due to increased precipitation" --something Davis says was noted in his paper, but "ignored by CEI in a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public."
Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that period, the rest of the continent was warming. And climate models created since our paper was published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica and the ozone hole over that continent. These models, conspicuously missing from the warming-skeptic literature, suggest that as the ozone hole heals — thanks to worldwide bans on ozone-destroying chemicals — all of Antarctica is likely to warm with the rest of the planet. An inconvenient truth?
Not content to give Davis the last word, CEI countered, incredibly, that the professor failed to understand his own research as well as the nature of their ad, which they said was an attack not on the science of global warming, but on "global warming alarmism." Quote:
What CEI’s ads attack is global warming alarmism, as illustrated by the lopsided press coverage of glacial melting as a worldwide catastrophe. Nowhere in those overheated press reports is there any indication that glaciers or ice sheets might actually be growing in certain parts of the world.The "lopsided press" is a favorite target of both the left and the right, but if you ask me the press is like an armada of unsteady ships, jibing and tacking through a storm of facts. Some of those ships make it to port and others end up on the rocks. Let's go back to the case of Peter Doran, who told Bob Garfield of NPR's On the Media how some media outlets took his findings and drove them into the ground.
PETER DORAN: There were some cases of glorification or sensationalization of the results, especially in the headlines, and if I could read you a few examples, I've got some in front of me. There's one here that says: Guess What? Antarctica's Getting Colder, Not Warmer. New Data May Affect Political Debate over Global Warming. Some other headlines: Scientific Findings Run Counter to Theory of Global Warming. Oh, Dear! What Will the Doomsayers Say Now?Scientists are understandably left feeling frustrated and abused by this state of affairs, and desperate to set the record straight. For his part, Doran leaves no doubt where he stands. He concludes his Op-Ed unambiguously: "I would like to remove my name from the list of scientists who dispute global warming. I know my coauthors would as well."
BOB GARFIELD: CNN ran a story in which the lead anchor began the piece by saying quote "A new study is casting doubt on the widely accepted theory of global warming. Now the strange thing about that CNN piece is they quoted you and another scientist saying well, no this really doesn't in any way discredit the conventional wisdom on global warming, and yet all of the body copy, the reporters' copy in the piece sent out an opposite message.
No doubt, the deniers will find a way to twist and discredit even that straightforward declaration.