In this past weekend’s Points section, the DMN ran an essay suggesting that catastrophic climate change — which the piece called global warming — doesn’t cause more big, scary tornados. It made me crazy for several reasons. One, it didn’t tell you who Richard Muller is: a physicist (not a climate scientist) who is most famous for finally converting to the inevitable conclusion that manmade climate change is real after he’d spent years denying this (and taking Koch brother money while doing so). So, he’s famous for admitting what everyone knew two decades ago.
Also, the argument is a straw man: No one is saying that “global warming” (really, catastrophic climate change) is causing more big scary tornados, because the people who study this sort of thing closely know the data doesn’t support making any conclusion. For example, tornados form for reasons besides temperature, and there is no constancy in reporting through the decades (new technology is showing tornados winds could be 100 mph faster than previously measured, for example). Which is why six climate/tornado experts wrote an essay this week showing why the Muller piece is so off-base.
Finally: the column had already run in the New York Times and then been debunked by the very source Muller quotes: Michael Mann! I leave you with what should have been the final word on this subject, from Mann’s piece:
The New York Times does a disservice to its readers when it buys into the contrived narrative of the “honest broker”–Muller as the self-styled white knight who must ride in to rescue scientific truth from a corrupt and misguided community of scientists. Especially when that white knight is in fact sitting atop a Trojan Horse–a vehicle for the delivery of disinformation, denial, and systematic downplaying of what might very well be the greatest threat we have yet faced as a civilization, the threat of human-caused climate change.
Shame on you New York Times. You owe us better than this.