CJR Finds Scientific Opposition to Linking Hurricanes and Global Warming

A surprising report from the George Soros-funded Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) revealed several scientists oppose the way the media have tried to blame hurricanes on man-made climate change.

CJR used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to acquire emails “sent from or received by six hurricane researchers or forecasters” which included the terms “global warming” or “climate change.” The May 2, article written by Rob Verger indicate CJR was looking to see how scientists talked to the media about Hurricane Alex and “whether climate change should be blamed.” Verger said the emails showed a “heated online discussion among scientists.”

Because it was far earlier than a typical hurricane, Alex drew attention to itself and media climate alarm. The Washington Post described it Alex as “rare,” and turned to Weather Underground’s Jason Masters who tried to make the global warming point.

“It is unlikely that Alex would have formed if these waters had been close to normal temperatures for this time of year,” Masters wrote (and the Post quoted).

Christian Science Monitor was even more blunt, asking in its headline “Is climate change to blame for rare January hurricanes?”

“With the unusual occurrence of Hurricane Alex as an out-of-season hurricane, there have been a couple of meteorologists stating to the media that manmade global warming helped to cause the hurricane. Such statements are not, in my opinion, factual.” National Hurricane Center science and operations officer Chris Landsea said in a Jan. 18, 2016, email acquired by CJR.

Landsea told CJR he was similarly disturbed by how strongly former vice president Al Gore linked Hurricane Matthew to climate change in October 2016. Gore’s claims made Landsea “cringe, because there’s some links but it’s much much more subtle than he is insinuating.”

Hurricane Matthew wasn’t the only thing Gore has gotten wrong. After his climate alarmist film An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2007, a British court identified at least eleven material falsehoods, including attributing Hurricane Katrina to climate change.

In promotional footage of Gore’s follow up film, An Inconvenient Sequel, slated for July 2017, release Gore twisted and rewrote his earlier claims about what would cause massive global flooding including flooding of New York City in order to try to claim Hurricane Sandy proved him right.

While CJR’s report cited stories written by The Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor erroneously linking specific hurricanes to climate change, it failed to identify the overarching climate alarmist agenda pushed by the liberal media.

CJR also overlooked the very same claims coming from supposedly independent journalism websites, which are actually funded by the left and cover environmentalism and climate from the left. For example, InsideClimate News, which received a Pulitzer Prize from Columbia University for investigative journalism attacking ExxonMobil — something CJR itself has done multiple times.

InsideClimate linked Hurricane Sandy to climate change in 2012, and proclaimed “Global Warming May Send More Hurricanes to Northeast U.S.” in December 2016.

Another website, DeSmogBlog, connected 2011’s Hurricane Irene to climate change, criticized people skeptical about a connection between climate change and Hurricane Sandy as “merchants of doubt,” and criticized then-President Obama for not talking about climate change enough on Katrina’s 10-year anniversary.

Unlike DeSmog and InsideClimate, lefty-environmental site Grist admitted there was no “straightforward” way to link hurricanes to climate change in 2015. But it still claimed there are ways scientists can determine “the role of warming in hurricane activity.” A year later, in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Grist claimed it “brought the weather deniers out of hiding.”

CJR didn’t call out any of those websites for their hurricane stories.

Even as it sought to share scientists’ complaints about media coverage of hurricanes, CJR failed to identify the leanings or alarmist agenda of people they interviewed.

Penn State University director of Earth System Science Center Michael Mann told CJR that just because a hurricane hasn’t been proven to be linked to climate change “doesn’t mean the connection doesn’t exist.”

Waiting until after a formal study has been done to blame climate change is a “dangerous precedent to set,” Mann claimed. CJR failed to criticize that as promoting an agenda rather than science.

Penn State investigated Mann in 2009 for his role in creating the infamous Hockey Stick graph. Media outlets like NPR, Politico, Reuters, The Associated Press and The Washington Post supported a 2014 FIOA request against Mann.

Mann’s alarmism is so ingrained he suggested that climate skepticism could be a “crime against humanity” in May 2014.

CJR praised Climate Central chief scientist Heidi Cullen for her role in a “World Weather Attribution team that seeks to turn around results within about a week of weather like a heat wave or cold wave, which are two of the easiest events to tie to climate change.“ Her work, according to CJR, has allowed scientists to publicly blame weather phenomena on climate change.

Cullen is a long time climate alarmist, who opposes skepticism among the ranks of meteorologists. In 2007, she wrote, “If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval.” The AMS Seal of Approval was used to give legitimacy to TV meteorologists.

She used Weather.com and Google Earth to promote her views about global warming through visual models in 2008. Cullen also made claims about the relationship between tornadoes and climate change which has been debunked.

Aly Nielsen
Aly Nielsen
Alatheia Larsen is a staff writer and research analyst for MRC Business.