Climate Rehash

Global Science Report is a weekly feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.”

Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a press release announcing the publication of its “State of the Climate 2012” report. The global media, predictably, are all over it, loving the gloomsaying.

None of it is new. The NOAA report is simply a collection of rehashed stories that have already had their 15 minutes of fame, stories that we (and others) have already commented on, put into perspective, or debunked.

Usually, “Year in Review” type of stories are saved up until the end of the year, but when it comes to climate change—an issue for which the president has declared “we need to act”—once a year is apparently not enough.  So, NOAA’s “Year in Review” comes out at the end of December and then is rerun like old Seinfeld episodes the next summer.

The NOAA press release contains this manner of introduction from its acting head, Kathryn Sullivan:

“Many of the events that made 2012 such an interesting year are part of the long-term trends we see in a changing and varying climate—carbon levels are climbing, sea levels are rising, Arctic sea ice is melting, and our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place,” said acting NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. “This annual report is well-researched, well-respected, and well-used; it is a superb example of the timely, actionable climate information that people need from NOAA to help prepare for extremes in our ever-changing environment.”

It is interesting that she terms the information contained in the report as “timely.”

Below is a list of our comments, each made at least several months ago, on the topics highlighted in her statement.

Sullivan: “carbon levels are climbing”

Us: CO2 400ppm and Growing,  (May 14, 2013)

Sullivan: “sea levels are rising”

Us:  New Research Calls into Question High Rates of Sea Level Rise (December 20, 2012)

Sullivan: “Arctic sea ice is melting”

Us: How Much Sea Ice?  (August 28, 2012)

Sullivan: “our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place”

Us: Global Lukewarming: Another Good Intellectual Year (2012 Edition) (February 4, 2013) 

And we’ll include this as a bonus:

Sullivan: “it is a superb example of the timely, actionable climate information that people need from NOAA to help prepare for extremes in our ever-changing environment”

Us: Averting Disasters (June 21, 2013)

For this administration, when it comes to global warming, no news is bad news. So in times of no news, just repeat the old news. Two can play at that game!