Here is a really easy way to tick off a pro-AGW enthusiast: tell him that this winter is expected to be the coldest on record, or that we haven’t had nearly the amount of hurricanes predicted.
You then get a curt lecture on why weather isn’t climate. Yes, you can expect these sorts of events. It is the overall trend you need to watch, and not day-to-day anecdotes. Because, otherwise, you’re just cherry-picking.
That’s fair, you say, just like you can’t say a hungover freshman is perfectly healthy between vomiting heaves.
But then you notice all sorts of stories in the press, popular media, and other venues who describe how yesterday’s drought, tomorrow’s super-hot weather, or that EF4 tornado that hit a county up North are all examples of increasing warming weather.
Wait a moment, you think. Isn’t that the same thing as cherry picking data? Why can’t you use an example of a cold day in Phoenix as an example, while they can use a flood in Bangor? And indeed, you are right. Cherry picking is picking cherries, regardless of which side believes a monopoly on truth.
However, you must note a critical difference: it isn’t scientific establishment doing this, necessarily: you see this pro-AGW cherry-picking from the non-scientists in the Main Stream Media, the Al Gores, the street-corner prophets, the Progressives, and the commenters on websites.
No, the real scientists ought to be producing long-term trend data, analyzing large amounts of variable sources of evidence, and double-checking and triple-checking weather stations.
The problem is of course that while many scientists are doing just that, the signal-to-noise ratio is terribly high thanks to the clowns who think they’re helping. Hint: they aren’t helping.
If something is happening to our climate—and evidence says there ought to be—we need less noise. Less noise from the politicians, who go from 1° rise in average temperature to a thousand-page Cap and Trade bill in days. Less noise from the grant takers, who know that a wiggle in a barometer can mean another year or two of employment. Less noise from the smiling models on the weather updates, who may not realize their hairspray alone could be pumping billions of cubic pounds of CO2 into the air. Less noise from the wannabe science geeks, who are certain that their dogs’s early shedding is the absolute proof the Republicans are covering up.
Let us determine if there is a problem, and only then decide on a solution.