Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Survey says...

So, apparently a survery of scientists around country was conducted recently to see where they stood on global warming. So absolutely no one's surprise, a little under half of petroluem geologists said that the rise in temps had nothing to do with humans. Given the nature of their job, that's to be expected. Unsurprising, nearly all of the climatologists surveyed believed that humans do play a part in the rise in temps.

What might come as a surprise are the meteorologists, of whom 64% believed humans had a hand in global warming. I'm not too terribly shocked by this personally. I think it's real and that humans are playing a part in this. But for meteorologists, "long-term" means seven days out, not seven years or seventy years. Meteorologists study what's happening in the literal tomorrow instead of the figurative one. Meteorologists laugh at 10-day model data.

More interesting would be seeing an expected version of the meteorologists answer, because I imagine that it would be nuanced that that. Meteorologists know as well as climatologists that "weather" is very different from "climate." Just because it's cold or hot in a given week, doesn't discount the overall trend. My guess is that you would get a lot of hedging from the meteorologist set, a bit more "well, it wouldn't surprise me if that was the case, but we really don't have the data, so I'm going to go with no." In a black-and-white survey, that "maybe" would be a "no."

Global climate change is a tricky business. Us meteorologists know that, believe me.

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