By the Time the Science Filters Through the News
The snow is falling outside the window (again), and upon my desk, figuratively speaking, John Miller has dropped a study showing that Democrats are more likely than Independents or Republicans to believe that astrology is scientific. The group most likely to believe otherwise — and to know both that the Earth revolves around the sun and that it takes a year to do so? Conservative Republicans.
The finding is particularly timely, because I was mulling over Seth Borenstein’s AP article in today’s Providence Journal:
The Arctic grew 8 percent darker between 1979 and 2011, [Ian Eisenman, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California,] found, measuring how much sunlight is reflected into space. …
[Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland] and University of Colorado ice scientist Waleed Abdalati, who was not part of the research, called the work important in understanding how much heat is getting trapped on Earth.
How such an article could fail to note the interesting facts that Arctic ice is up, in recent years, and that Antarctica has been at historic highs, I don’t know. The intellectually curious conservatives who read this site might be interested to play with this interactive chart on Arctic sea ice “extent.”
“Extent” means the area covered by sea ice, and what one sees is that, while there may have been some downward shift over the decades, 2007 brought a rather sudden downward drop. I’m not sure what to make of that, but it seems like a result that would at least require some work to reconcile it with the idea of a gradual human-caused warming trend and self-reinforcing ice coverage decline.
The world’s an interesting place. It’s too bad the New England Democrats who read the Providence Journal don’t get to ponder it before they turn to the horoscopes on page C6.