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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fact-checking Barack Obama on climate change 

Yes, another tedious climate change post.

Among many curious moments in Barack Obama's speech in Berlin on Thursday, this line takes Gorean liberties with the facts:

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

"As we speak"? You have to love the royal "we."

In any case, as we write, Barack Obama is just wrong. Sea levels have been declining, not rising, for the last two years.


sl_ib_ns_global



What about drought to farms in Kansas "as we speak"? Again, not so much. With the exception of one "moderately dry" area in the southwest, this year (at least) Kansas has been normal to "exceptionally moist," depending on the part of the state you are talking about.


precipitation index


You don't suppose there is any chance the press will check his facts "as it reports"?

MORE: Via Glenn Reynolds, non-climate facts checked here.


35 Comments:

By Blogger Larry, at Thu Jul 24, 11:32:00 PM:

Press check the facts?

No guarantees that they won't, but it is the way to bet.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Fri Jul 25, 02:36:00 AM:

"any chance the press will check his facts "as it reports"?"

You meant to say "as it shills", right?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 25, 04:24:00 AM:

wow, your inability to read data is amazing.

1. shows a definite TREND towards rising.

2. Precipitation for 6 months is meaningless - show data for the past decade, to see if a TREND also emerges.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Jul 25, 06:55:00 AM:

Of course, Barack Obama was not talking about trends. Had he done so, Anon 4:24, you would be very right to call us out. He was talking about present circumstances. Two of the examples he cites -- sea levels and precipitation in Kansas -- were very poorly chosen. Sea levels, because a long trend has actually been broken in the last two years, and principled scientists are beginning to wonder why. Kansas precipitation, because (1) it has been far from dry recently, and (2) nobody has a clue what will happen to precipitation in Kansas under pressure from AGW, even if it unfolds as the activists claim.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Fri Jul 25, 08:00:00 AM:

show data for the past decade, to see if a TREND also emerges

Were the "dust bowl" years a "trend"?

If so, what triggered them?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 25, 08:18:00 AM:

10 years a trend?

Remind me how old the planet is again ... calling 10 over 6 billion rounding error insults rounding error.  

By Blogger Daniel, at Fri Jul 25, 09:49:00 AM:

Yes sea levels are rising. They have been rising for the last 10,000 years--since the end of the last ice age. The real question is whether the rate of sea level rise has increased or not. There are many studies such as one by Simon Holgate of the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory that shows that the rate of sea level rise is not increasing.

Obama is correct that over time, coastline are disappearing, but this has been happening for 10,000 years.  

By Blogger mythusmage, at Fri Jul 25, 10:04:00 AM:

Then you have parts of the world where it is the land that is rising. Under and around the Baltic Sea for example. As time goes by the volume of the Baltic is shrinking. In the centuries to come cities such as St. Petersburg and Helsinki will become inland cities, and new land for settlement will open up. Dividing up the land between the various countries is going to be fun.

Then you have Antarctica where the rebound could be spectacular.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 25, 10:08:00 AM:

Im not sure you could have chosen a better chart to undermine your sea level point. Looking at that chart the ONE thing you can say is the trend is downward, eh?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 25, 10:12:00 AM:

Hey look, no evidence that gas prices are up either!  

By Blogger Maddad, at Fri Jul 25, 10:36:00 AM:

Obama did not say "as we speak sea levels are trending upwards."

And he picked Kansas because it's one of those states in the middle. He probably couldn't find it on a map, most Germans don't care, and...well, no one important lives there anyway.

To miss the flooding in the midwest this year is really something, but to miss the flooding in Kansas last spring too, well that tells me someone just doesn't care.  

By Blogger Tully, at Fri Jul 25, 11:00:00 AM:

To miss the flooding in the midwest this year is really something, but to miss the flooding in Kansas last spring too, well that tells me someone just doesn't care.

Amen. In central Kansas our "drought" was ten inches above normal for the year by June. I spent time pumping some of it out of the yard--the ground was too wet to absorb it.  

By Blogger Jay Manifold, at Fri Jul 25, 11:04:00 AM:

Oh, the humanity!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 25, 11:12:00 AM:

Zoot alors! How can this be? Why would Obama say YESTERDAY that the oceans are still rising and that droughts still occur? Why, I remember in his magnificent victory speech over Hillary, he proclaimed "This was the moment when the riiiiise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal."

The Angel Obama can not contradict Himself, his magnificence must have caused a rift in the time-space continuum.

Btw, how do Pope Gore's new 10 year plan work? We only have 7 years left until global warming destroys humanity. Shouldn't he have announced a six year plan?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 25, 12:03:00 PM:

Obama picked Kansas and Kenya because they sound good together and mostly because both locations have something to do with him.

Enough of this guy's manufactured bio (Obama actually has nothing to do with Kansas even though he often pretends he does). But do expect "From Kenya to Kansas" to show up soon in the title of some treacly book about the glorious magnificence that is Obama.

Obama's got it wrong. He's not a "citizen of the world" he's the "center of the world." Blech.  

By Anonymous bandit, at Fri Jul 25, 12:17:00 PM:

"any chance the press will check his facts "as it reports"?"

You meant to say "as it shills", right?


As it volunteers for the Obama campaign  

By Blogger J. Raymond Wright, at Fri Jul 25, 12:45:00 PM:

Obama Gaffes abound: check out this article listing some of the most interesting:
http://jraymondwright.blogspot.com/

the last one is a great one, winnie the pooh national security!!! rotflmao  

By Blogger nick, at Fri Jul 25, 12:49:00 PM:

you fucking MORONS

he didnt say last 2 years@!@@@


you racist pigs  

By Blogger fred, at Fri Jul 25, 12:52:00 PM:

does this mean that someone believes the flooding taking place is the salt water from the oceans?
PleAse read up on The dust Bopwl if you think it was or was not a cycle...it was in large measure man-made because of dumb farming. read and then assess, please.

Fact check Obama but why not fact check both candidates? somehow there is a notion that the press gives Obama a break and is harsh on McCain...
want to match Obama gaffes agAinst those of our leading foreign policy expert? McCain dumber by a long shot.  

By Anonymous Mike Kelley, at Fri Jul 25, 01:00:00 PM:

The dust during the 1930's may have been due to farming practices, but the heat was part of a natural cycle and the greatest in recorded history in the central US. Most of the all-time heat records of this region were set in the "dirty 30's".  

By Anonymous Mike Kelley, at Fri Jul 25, 01:04:00 PM:

As for the press adoring Barack Obama, I love this pic:http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/07/021038.php  

By Blogger Gabriel Hanna, at Fri Jul 25, 01:31:00 PM:

Can you explain how your graph shows FALLING sea levels?

The y-axis is labelled "Change in mean sea level" and it is positive since 1998, which means sea levels have been rising since then.

If the chart actually showed mean sea level, you would get a curve coming down in 1994, with the low point at 1998, and increasing since then (a quadratic).

Either you are reading the graph wrong or I am, can you clear it up either way?  

By Anonymous Chad, at Fri Jul 25, 02:10:00 PM:

Anonymous at 4:24am is an absolute scream for displaying a complete inability to read data while calling Tigerhawk out on the same.

The trend on that chart is indeed upwards, but a trend is a change over time. Since Tigerhawk gave you a two year time frame of 2 years, his trend is demonstratively downwards. Learn how trends work before you start bantering.

And, for the record, since the Cretaceous the seas have been in remarkable declining trend. If not then the "drought stricken" Kansas would still be under an epicontinental sea.  

By Anonymous Hal, at Fri Jul 25, 02:10:00 PM:

If you look at the blue line on the sea level graph, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that sea levels fell from 2006 to 2007, and have risen since the low in 2007?

And Gabriel, although the caption is "delta MSL" they mean to show the change in MSL from some arbitrary datum (i.e. zero point). The axis is not a rate of change, it is absolute sea level. The delta is just to remind you that the zero point is arbitrary.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Jul 25, 04:28:00 PM:

"Obama is correct that over time, coastline are disappearing, but this has been happening for 10,000 years."

Until he's elected, of course.  

By Anonymous Weather Girl, at Fri Jul 25, 09:23:00 PM:

Of course it's all about him - magic man, the Obamessiah. See - Boston and Beijing, Arctic and Atlantic, Kansas and Kenya - it's BARAK in code!

Not to worry, though, all these minor gobal issues will disappear if The One is elected. All will be sweetness and light.  

By Blogger Gabriel Hanna, at Sat Jul 26, 02:43:00 AM:

I'm still not seeing how that graph shows a decline.

If you want to show that the se level has declined, I think a sensible graph would be one that stats with "zero" two years ago and shows what the sea level is now.

To me it looks like that graph is saying that the change in the mean sea level went from 24 mm in 2206 to 30 mm now, and I can't see that it's somehow magically a decrease, unless zero is different for every point.

A graph that needs this much explanation is a very poor one to use to illustrate a point.

At any rate, if those green dots are really averaging lower in 2008 than 2006; well, that's consistent with the sea rising trend for the previous ten years. For example, look just before 1998 to just after, there is an even bigger decrease, but overall it has gone up.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 27, 03:28:00 PM:

I'm reading all your's comments and I wonder how is it possible nobody even questions the graph of the global sea level. Are you all serious.
So I am expected to believe that today science is able to measure the GLOBAL MEAN SEA LEVEL with the precision > 1mm - please, look at the graph!
Do we also know with the same precision if the continents are rising or falling? - you must agree, that if they are rising faster than the sea level, then there is nothing to worry about!
What else are we able to measure globally! Oh, I forgot. We know the global mean temperature with the 0.1 degree precision for hundreds of millennia back in time! Real miracle!
Congratulations to all the true believers in global warming, I envy you, truly able to believe everything.

Somebody ready to shout with me: "The King is naked and you are all fooled"  

By Blogger nick, at Sun Jul 27, 03:59:00 PM:

and when did you get your degree in Meterology?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 27, 05:32:00 PM:

the same day, you did!
this way we both have the same right to accept or refuse the theory  

By Blogger mythusmage, at Mon Jul 28, 02:09:00 PM:

The American Midwest is dry not because sea levels fell, but because the land rose. That's right, the U.S. has midriff bulge.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 29, 12:42:00 AM:

Wingnuts love to skew data, slay paper tigers and knockdown self-created strawmen. IMO, Obama was simply appealing to the weak minded partisan nature of BushCo supporters, climate change deniers, and loyal 28 percenters of GOP/Bushie/McSame scumbag minions. UNAMERICAN TRASH.

My advice, come to Tavarua and see our coastline disappear before your eyes. Save your pathetic mincing of words and see your worst fears confirmed, OBAMA IS CORRECT.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Sep 18, 10:26:00 AM:

that is not true that water level is declinig  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Nov 05, 11:19:00 AM:

You got owned yesterday. Go cry now.  

By Blogger nick, at Wed Nov 05, 11:34:00 AM:

the least squares is stil trending up!

you lost an election because you are morons  

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