How dare CNN Meteorologist Rob Marciano say Al Gore was wrong in his movie "An Inconvenient Truth?" Apparently, his comments from yesterday that "There are definitely some inaccuracies" in the film generated a lot of controversy and e-mails for the network.
Today was Round Two. And Marciano excelled by showing both sides of a debate Gore says doesn't exist and by pointing out even more of what Gore got wrong. First the wrong: "He does talk about tornados, implying that there's an increase in tornados from global warming, that's not necessarily true," said Marciano.
Then Marciano interviewed two climate experts from opposite sides of the battle, including "science and operations officer of the National Hurricane Center, a big time researcher named Chris Landsea." Landsea explained the limits of the Gorean hype machine. Read on for details and full transcript.
"He told me," Marciano said of Landsea, "the best computer models suggest global warming will cause changes in hurricanes. We should see slightly stronger hurricanes, 5 percent stronger 100 years from now. But the concern that we're seeing drastic increase today due to global warming I think is wrong."
The report concluded with more on the scientific debate. Marciano included the uncertainty about the issue in his final point saying, "the globe is getting warmer and humans are the likely the main cause of it."
The Business & Media Institute has extensively critiqued the media's coverage of global warming in Fire & Ice, which covers a hundred years of coverage of global warming. While journalists have warned of climate change for more than 100 years, the warnings switched from global cooling to warming to cooling and warming again.
There's sure to be more to follow as the Gore supporters try to kick CNN back into line about the issue.
Full transcript of the October 5 "American Morning" segment:
KIREN CHETRY: We were talking yesterday about this British judge who is considering a ban on showing Al Gore's global warming movie in schools, saying that maybe it should come with a disclaimer.
Our Rob Marciano is up next and he responded to that. And it sparked a little bit of debate and a lot of e-mails to our show. First we'll show you a little bit of what Rob said yesterday.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The biggest thing I have the problem with is this implication that Katrina was caused by global warming. The jury is still out. And really the jury is still out. Global warming does not conclusively cause stronger hurricanes like we've seen.
CHETRY: So a lot of you responded to us and wrote in to us and one of you said you thought Rob maybe misinterpreted data in the film.
You did some digging into it, talked to more experts, because it still some things are inconclusive and some things aren't, so clarify for us.
MARCIANO: Yes. It's been a hotly-debated topic for the past couple of years, certainly since '04. We looked into the latest research about global warming being responsible for stronger hurricanes like Katrina. Here's what the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" said about it.
AL GORE (From "An Inconvenient Truth"): And then what happened? Before it hit New Orleans, it went over warmer waters. As the water temperature increases, the wind velocity increases, and the moisture content increases.
MARCIANO: But it's not that simple. I called some hurricane experts to see what they thought. First up is the science and operations officer of the National Hurricane Center, a big time researcher named Chris Lancy.
Here's what he told. He said, "The best computer models suggest global warming will cause changes in hurricanes. We should see slightly stronger hurricanes, 5 percent stronger 100 years from now. But the concern that we're seeing drastic increase today due to global warming I think is wrong."
There are a number of reasons why he thinks that, not the least of which is the global data is not as reliable as what we have around the Atlantic. We're the only country that routinely flies into hurricanes. And that's the only way to truly see how strong a storm is. Atlantic hurricanes count for less than 15 percent of all global storms.
On the other side of the debate is the regional director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Greg Holling (ph). His also a big-timer. He told me, "It's a pity to use a lack of good data as a crutch instead of looking at the total evidence as a whole. The evidence we have about Atlantic hurricanes is that there is a contribution from global warming."
So it's complicated. There's other factors involved. There's humidity, there's wind, pressure fields, dust in the air, the list goes on. There's much more that goes into making a hurricane, Kiran, than just warm water.
CHETRY: What do you think the movie did get right, some of the undisputable things in it?
MARCIANO: He does talk about tornadoes, implying there's an increase in tornadoes from global warming. That's not necessary true. What is an inconvenient truth is the globe is getting warmer and humans are the likely cause of it. So Al Gore's message we should lower emissions from green house gas is a good message.
CHETRY: How about this year's hurricane season, a little bit less than we thought?
MARCIANO: We are pretty much on track, actually a little big above average. We had a couple of suspect storms. You know, we had two big category 5 storms.
But the thing about last year's hurricane season, were slightly below average and that was because we had el Nino, a lot of wind shear. A study that says an increase in wind shear will come as the globe gets warmer, which may decrease hurricanes, so the debate continues and I find it fascinating.
CHETRY: I hope that people were able to get more out of that. Thank you for clearing some of that up.
MARCIANO: Sure, thanks for your e-mails.
Chetry: Just don't say anything for a couple more days. We'll see how things go.
MARCIANO: All right.