Misrepresenting Data

Published July 13, 2006

In his July 11 column in The Journal, Paul Guggenheimer claims Al Gore’s recent global warming movie “lays out irrefutable scientific facts” in a “non-partisan way.” Guggenheimer and Gore claim:

That a clear connection exists between global warming and Hurricane Katrina. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as prominent climatologists such as hurricane guru William Gray, say no such connection exists.

That global warming has caused a record number of tornadoes in the Midwest. In fact, the National Weather Service reports that this hurricane season, for the first time in more than 50 years, there were no tornadoes reported in the central Nebraska-Kansas hurricane alley.

That ice fields are melting in Greenland and Antarctica. In fact, while some ice fields are melting, the Greenland ice sheet is in approximate balance, and a vast majority of the Antarctic ice sheet is growing.

That the snow pack atop East Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro is about to disappear. In fact, East Africa temperature measurements show a long-term cooling trend in the Kilimanjaro region. Scientists have proven that Kilimanjaro’s snow pack is shrinking because area residents have converted the rain forest at the base of Kilimanjaro into farms and rangeland, resulting in drier updrafts that result in less snowfall atop the mountain.

Rather than misrepresenting the data and gratuitously calling all those who disagree with him “right wingers” who consider Joe McCarthy a “hero,” Guggenheimer should check the scientific facts.

James Taylor (Sioux City North High School Class of 1985), managing editor, Environment & Climate News, a monthly publication of the Heartland Institute, a non-profit public policy organization based in Chicago.