Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unexpectedly Diagnosing Black Hills Monitor

Recently I came across a post at Black Hills Monitor echoing something expressed by the recently passed meteorologist JoAnne Simpson - that there is a supposed lack of "skeptical self-criticism" in climate science. The related idea also expressed in the post is that we may not know as much as we think.

It is a common claim from the climate science rejectionists that one way or another 'we don't know enough.' In this case though the Black Hills Monitor seems to agree with the view expressed by Simpson - there is a lot we don't know, but we know we are affecting climate and should move to stop doing so. Sort of just taking the risk management approach, where the threat may not be certain but the combination of its likelihood plus its potential cost make it prudent to not simply ignore the threat. The writer mentions "believers and non-believers" thus suggesting a desire to fall outside those labels, apparently as a "not sure".

Assuming I have a decent grasp of the view from the writer at Black Hills Monitor, I consider it to be the sort of view that is commonly held but not commonly voiced. Folks talking climate change, especially online, are usually not wishy-washy about it. That post though suggests a writer more like your typical person off the street - not highly informed on climate science, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but also somewhat misinformed, which is concerning.

How do typical random persons get that way? They are likely not inclined to actively seek out information on climate science, so they pick up bits here and there. The scientific consensus gets decent play, but the misinformation campaign trying to claim human activities are not adversely affecting climate does too. So a lot of people end up confused or at least thinking there is more scientific debate than there really is.

Looking at Black Hills Monitor I see the author's statement of military service (as the writer notes the military takes climate change seriously) and a widget for Wall Street Journal opinion articles (one of the leaders of the climate denial brigade). That points toward the author possibly being pulled in opposite directions and thus not really sure which way to go on it.

Of course this is all speculative based on quite limited information. I could not help though but think a bit upon seeing someone talking climate seriously but being rather noncommital.

Next up I will address some misconceptions regarding climate models in that Black Hills Monitor post. With that I can also touch on that supposed lack of "skeptical self-criticism."

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