Ministry of Truth: Independent Newspaper Channels Orwell.

The Independent, the British newspaper that published the now infamous article in 2000 proclaiming that Snowfalls Are Now Just A Thing of the Past has entered a surreal and Orwellian world with the publication of an article that seeks to reinterpret what the article was actually claiming.

The article by Steve Connor, who in 2008 said it was odds-on that the North Pole would be ice free that year, and who last year claimed the world was running out of helium, says that the story had been unfairly judged by the headline which had been taken out of context. He argues that we shouldn’t take the headline literally as “Headlines are meant to draw people into a story” and therefore cannot reflect the “nuances” of science. To which, you might tempted to respond by asking, well what’s wrong with a headline like “Snowfalls to Become Less Frequent” then?

In what is destined itself to become a much-derided quote in future years, Connor protests that snowy winters are weather not climate and therefore prove nothing, before immediately pointing to Russia’s hot summer as proof of global warming:

The second issue is about the difference between weather and climate. Just as one swallow does not make a spring, one hot summer or cold winter does not prove or disprove climate change. Climate is what we expect over a long period – often too long to be retained by human memory – whereas weather is what we get from one day to the next.

We remember the weather but it’s more difficult to put it into a climate context. Vladimir Putin was once rather scornful of the idea of climate change, saying that Russia could benefit from a warmer world. He changed his tune last summer when record temperatures in Moscow generated fires that engulfed the city in smog.

Steve Connor, Don’t Believe The Hype Over Climate Headlines.

Did you spot the difference there? Hot summers are part of the “climate context” whereas cold winters are not. In other words, all weather is equal, but some weather equals climate change more than others.

And in a truly Orwellian twist, Connor even describes newspaper headlines as not a summary of the story, but rather an “invitation” to read the story:

So a headline saying that “snowfalls are now just a thing of the past” is not a scientific prediction or statement. It is a newspaper headline, and should be treated as an invitation to read the entire story, which in this case clearly pointed out that snowfalls are becoming less frequent in Britain. This is still the case even with the experience of having two snowy winters on the run.

In fact, as Donna Laframboise pointed out some time ago, with the exception of 2002 every single British winter since 2000 has seen heavy snowfall. So Connor’s statement that snowfalls are getting less frequent is a classic of Orwellian spin. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Snow is Global Warming.

My sources tell me that Connor’s next article will address the fact that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, despite what contrarians suggest.

Stay tuned to this blog where I will shortly be discussing the strange case of The Independent’s news story linking global warming and the Asian Tsunami, and its subsequent disappearance down the memory hole . . .

10 responses to “Ministry of Truth: Independent Newspaper Channels Orwell.

  1. Spin, spin, spin.

    So a headline saying that “snowfalls are now just a thing of the past” is not a scientific prediction or statement. It is a newspaper headline, and should be treated as an invitation to read the entire story, …

    Alright then, I’s do just that:

    Independent – 20 March 2000
    By Charles Onians
    “Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries. “

    In the same article:

    Dr David Viner [CRU modeller]
    Independent – 20 March 2000

    “…within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
    Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said. “

    Keeping in mind Charles Onians’ phrase “warmer winters” let’s fast forward to 24 December 2010.

    Expect more extreme winters thanks to global warming, say scientists
    By Steve Connor, Science Editor [Independent]
    “One of the principal predictions of the study was that the warming of the air over the ice-free seas is likely to bring bitterly cold air to Europe during the winter months, Dr Petoukhov said. “This is not what one would expect.””

    On a final note:

    Global warming ‘past the point of no return’
    By Steve Connor, Science Editor [Independent – 16 September 2005]
    “They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.

    The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a “tipping point” beyond which nothing can reverse the continual loss of sea ice and with it the massive land glaciers of Greenland, which will raise sea levels dramatically.”

    Why was 2010 September Arctic sea ice extent higher than September 2007?

    How did the Arctic recover from its past ice-free central Arctic ocean during the past ~11,000 years?

    Have you considered the clouds?

    “So in addition to changing sea ice, we can kind of guess that something must be happening in the atmosphere over the Arctic, too.” Clouds are bright, too, and an increase in clouds could cancel out the impact of melting snow and ice on polar albedo.”

    “Although sea ice and snow cover had noticeably declined in the Arctic from 2000 to 2004, there had been no detectable change in the albedo measured at the top of the atmosphere: the proportion of light the Arctic reflected hadn’t changed. In other words, the ice albedo feedback that most climate models predict will ultimately amplify global warming apparently hadn’t yet kicked in.”

    “According to the MODIS observations, cloud fraction had increased at a rate of 0.65 percent per year between 2000 and 2004. If the trend continues, it will amount to a relative increase of about 6.5 percent per decade. At least during this short time period, says Kato, increased cloudiness in the Arctic appears to have offset the expected decline in albedo from melting sea ice and snow.”

    “The predicted substantial decrease in Arctic summer sea ice concentrations during the twenty-first century may favor cloud formation, which should diminish or even cancel the ice-albedo feedback by shielding the surface.”

    “Water droplets are more effective in reflecting and absorbing solar radiation than nonspherical, typically larger ice crystals (Dong et al. 2001).”
    Columbia University [pdf]

    Other things to bear in mind:
    Nasa says “…aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades.”

    “We conclude that decreasing concentrations of sulphate aerosols and increasing concentrations of black carbon have substantially contributed to rapid Arctic warming during the past three decades.”
    Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century
    [Full pdf paper]

    “Plausible estimates for the effect of soot on snow and ice albedos (1.5% in the Arctic and 3% in Northern Hemisphere land areas) yield a climate forcing of +0.3 W/m2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The “efficacy” of this forcing is ~2, i.e., for a given forcing it is twice as effective as CO2 in altering global surface air temperature.”
    Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos


    “…..the combined effect of winter and summer wind forcing accounts for 50% of the variance of the change in September Arctic sea ice extent from one year to the next (^SIE) and it also explains roughly 1/3 of the downward linear trend of SIE over the past 31 years.”
    Geophysical Research Letters – [Full pdf paper]


    Natural Climate Cycles
    “The analysis suggests that the recent well-documented retreat of ice cover can partly be attributed to a manifestation of the positive phase of the 60–80 year variability,…persistent ice retreat since the second half of the 19th century….”
    Historical variability of sea ice edge position in the Nordic Seas
    See also:
    The Early Twentieth-Century Warming in the Arctic

    • Yep, it’s really quite amazing the lengths they will go to try and excuse and justify what was clearly a totally silly and erroneous prediction.

      No wonder fewer and fewer people take AGW seriously.

  2. It’s only amazing if you believe that the alarmists are engaging in rational debate.

    Their belief system demands a result (the destruction of the unjust and exploitative capitalist system), and they are not interested in the process by which they get there. In their eyes, the end justifies the means.

  3. A year ago I did the tedious work of examining UK snowfall for every year since that Independent piece appeared in 2000.

    2002 is the only year that can be described as having experienced relatively little snow. There appears, therefore, to be absolutely no evidence to support Steve Connor’s new claim that “snowfalls are becoming less frequent in Britain.”

  4. Ah, Mini True is alive an well. Just can’t wait for Mini Love.

  5. “During ze var? I vas a ski instructor. I am Sviss, I have always been Sviss.”

  6. Michael St George

    So, Connor alleges that climate consists of weather over a long period – often too long to be retained by human memory. (Translation: only we warmists have the data, so climate truth is what we say it is)

    Every serious scientific work that I’ve read (most recently Carter: Climate, The Counter-Consensus) informs the reader that intentional scientific convention agrees that climate variation characteristics start to be inferred from a weather data period of 30 years – which is well within human memory.

    Mind you, considering the specious arguments in the remainder of the Connor piece, it’s hardly surprising that he gets this wrong as well.

  7. Can we get more rope to Mr Connor, please?

  8. Terrorists are being brought to justice in civil courts these days…
    Al Gore and the global warming alarmists such as left wing politicians, pseudo scientists, journalists, the Hollywood idiots, have been inflicting psychological terrorism upon a whole generation of children all over the world for the last 15 years.
    These charlatans should be brought to justice as the perpetrators of the biggest scam in the history of this planet.
    The social,financial and psychological damages that they caused are beyond comprehension.
    No criminal organization in history has come even close to having such a desastruous impact on so many people, for such a long time, and make so much money in the process.
    They should not be permitted to get away with it.
    Hundred of billions have been wasted on a fraud, social and economical policies have been altered based on a fraud….the moral authors of this fraud should be in jail for the rest of their lives and their fortune seized.

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