Finally, some backpedaling on crazy talk about Antarctica, Glacier Ice Sheet Melt, Sea Level Rise, and LAX

Below is a screencap of the “walkback” story headline in the LATimes posted late today.

LATimes_Brown_Backpedals_SLRThis morning, about 5:30AM, I sent a short but succinct letter to the Editor of the Los Angeles Times (reproduced below) regarding the statements made yesterday by California Governor Jerry Brown saying that the LAX and SFO airports would “have to be moved” due to effects from posited sea level rise caused by melting of portions of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet, some 200-800 years in the future. The claim by Governor Brown, was patently ridiculous and I wrote about it here: Governor ‘Moonbeam’ beclowns himself over sea level rise at LAX airport.

LATimes_Brown_Backpedals_SLR

 

Brown’s statement on LAX and SFO airports really didn’t surprise me though, because at AGU 2013, I sat just a few feet away from him during a presentation by Dr. Richard Alley, who made some of the wildest claims on sea level rise I’ve ever seen. I took a photo then and wrote about the experience:

Gov. Jerry Brown talks with Richard Alley just feet away from me.

Gov. Jerry Brown talks with Richard Alley just feet away from me at AGU 2013

I wrote then:

I saw Penn State’s Richard Alley speak, and let me tell you, if you think Michael Mann is annoying, Alley’s certainly a close second. His presentation was simultaneously grating (he shouted a lot) and ridiculous, using bizarre metaphors like this one:

Alley_penguins

Worse, California governor Jerry Brown was in the audience and seemed to be quite taken with Alley’s brand of science and alarmism, particularly Alley’s depictions of San Francisco under water.

I shudder to think what sort of influence Alley’s rantings might have on the people of California via Brown.

Well, we found out yesterday.

Today, we get the walkback to sanity.  The LATimes now says:

An aide to Jerry Brown confirmed Wednesday that the governor was wrong when he said global warming would eventually cause rising seawater to inundate Los Angeles International Airport.

But various sources say that the nation’s third-busiest airport — bordered by the Pacific Ocean — has elevations ranging from 108 feet to 126 feet and is protected by higher coastal bluffs on the west side.

“The governor misspoke about LAX,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the Brown administration.

Environmental officials for Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX, said the airport has an elevation of more than 120 feet. “A 4-foot rise in sea level,” they said, “should have minimal impact on airport operations.”

One of those “various sources” was me, not only from my blog post yesterday, but also from this letter I sent early this morning:

=========================================================

Dear Editor,

A Times story on Governor Brown’s new budget had this title “Brown says rising sea levels could force costly move of LAX” with Brown citing two recent science papers on Antarctic melt saying “If that happens, the Los Angeles airport’s going to be underwater,”.

The science says otherwise. LAX airport elevation is 125 feet, the NOAA Los Angeles tide gauge rate of sea level rise 0.83 millimeter/year suggests that it will take over 40,000 years to reach the runways.

On the Amundsen Sea ice sheets in Antarctica melting, NASA in their press release on the paper said: “The region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters).” They offer a worst case scenario of the entire West Antarctic sheet melting, stating 16 feet (5 meters). Neither scenario affects LAX.

Governor Brown would better serve the public by checking facts before offering baseless alarm.

Anthony Watts
Chico, CA

NOT PART OF THE ARTICLE – REFERENCES FOR THE EDITOR:

NOAA Tide gauge: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=9410660

Elevation of LAX runways: http://www.airnav.com/airport/KLAX

NASA Press release on Antarctic Ice shelf melt http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/news/antarctic-ice-sheet-20140512/

======================================================

I didn’t get an acknowledgement from the editor, and given their “no denier” publication policy, I doubt my letter will run, even though it was entirely factual, because it made both the Governor and the LATimes look bad for not doing basic fact checking.

However, mid-day I did get a nice email from somebody on the other side of the climate debate, editor Douglas Fischer of the Daily Climate, thanking me for the “good catch” and telling me that I had the LA Times newsroom “scrambling…trying to explain how they let this slip through unchallenged”. He said they were going to put my story on the Daily Climate right next to the LATimes story, and they did (thanks Doug):

Daily_climate_Brown

So, at least I have that satisfaction. I urge others to follow my lead: when ridiculous claims are made in the media, challenge them with supportable facts. You may not get an acknowledgment, but the desire to not look stupid is pretty strong, and will have an effect.

 

 

 

 

 

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81 Responses to Finally, some backpedaling on crazy talk about Antarctica, Glacier Ice Sheet Melt, Sea Level Rise, and LAX

  1. Never let science get in the way of alarmism! Good call Anthony!
    Will LAX be open in 200-800 years anyway?

  2. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    “Mis-spoke” Yep. Newspeak for “utterance from a standpoint of total ignorance”….but that wouldn’t sound too good. “Bold-faced BullSh*T” would sound even worse, despite it being EXACTLY that.

  3. Tanya Aardman says:

    Sir you have beclowned yourself! Unclown yourself this instance!

  4. Steve in Seattle says:

    That Tanya, is impossible for the center ring star of the “Circus” .

  5. Mr Green Genes says:

    “The Governor misspoke about LAX”

    which translates as

    “The Governor told a bare-faced lie about LAX but we’re only going to correct it because he’s been found out”

    Don’t worry, citizens of the US, you’re not alone in having politicians who can’t tell fact from fiction. Here in the UK we jail them eventually: take a bow, convicted criminal and proven liar, Chris Huhne, erstwhile Secretary of State for Energy and ‘Climate Change’.

    Having said that, now he’s out and has a regular column in … well, guess which national newspaper? Yes, correct in one, it’s The Guardian.

  6. Peter Miller says:

    Just another example – and there are so many – of populist politicians talking complete BS about so called climate change.

    ‘Save the World’ syndrome should become certifiable for politicians and the world would become a safer and a cheaper place in which to live.

  7. Well done, Anthony. You’re inspirational.

  8. Jimbo says:

    On the Amundsen Sea ice sheets in Antarctica melting, NASA in their press release on the paper said: “The region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters).” They offer a worst case scenario of the entire West Antarctic sheet melting, stating 16 feet (5 meters). Neither scenario affects LAX.

    If the Maldives aren’t worried about opening yet another new airport in 2012 then why should Los Angeles International Airport?

    However, mid-day I did get a nice email from somebody on the other side of the climate debate, editor Douglas Fischer of the Daily Climate, thanking me for the “good catch” and telling me that I had the LA Times newsroom “scrambling…trying to explain how they let this slip through unchallenged”.

    I suspect it’s because they have been conditioned NOT to question any climate claims and to actually stop doing a fundamental requirement of their journalistic profession – fact checking.

  9. Joel O'Bryan says:

    “The governor misspoke about LAX,” said Evan Westrup,…”
    BS.
    Moonbeam didn’t “misspoke” (misspeak). To misspeak means to incorrectly use a word or reference when your intention was different. For example Brown could have “misspoke” if he had said LAX, but meant to say it was SFO would drown, simply mixing up or confusing the two airports in his mind.

    Brown clearly believed what he said at the time applied to the airports (LAX and SFO) that he cited as “threatened” by sea rise. So the Governor’s spokesman really lied to cover for his technically illiterate boss by using the word “misspoke”. What in reality the governor did was “make some crap up for sensational effect” based on the news release of the research he read and his obviously poor math reasoning skills. He thought what he said was true. He did not misspeak.

    That portends badly for the guy who has to figure out California’s broken finances, as California has current debts topping $300Billion (over $234 Billion of which is public worker pensions) with no identified funding source.

  10. Joe Public says:

    It must be so hard for Evan Westrup to admit: “The governor was mistaken about LAX,”

  11. markstoval says:

    It is nice to win one once in a while. I am glad that Anthony forced this retraction. (misspoke indeed)

    The problem is that the mainstream media is all on-board with alarmist scaremongering and we are fighting people who “buy ink by the barrel” (need an updated saying there I guess). How do we get the facts out while the alarmists spread lies, misinformation, and delusions through a compliant mainstream media?

  12. pat says:

    something else the Governor might like to explain to Americans wishing to see the economy get back on its feet:

    14 May: Bloomberg: Coal Missing Boom as Climate Foes Clean Asia’s Backyard
    By Lynn Doan and Mario Parker
    Bowie Resource Partners LLC wanted to export coal from the port of Oakland,
    California, promising thousands of construction jobs and a $3 million-a-year
    payroll in a city whose unemployment rate was almost double the national
    average.
    Oakland’s response: No, thanks…
    The Sierra Club and other environmental groups have scuttled three of six
    coal terminals proposed in the U.S. Pacific Northwest that would have
    shipped as much as 146 million metric tons annually to booming markets in
    Asia…
    Their new rallying cry: Not in your backyard.
    “Climate change isn’t an intangible thing anymore –people are feeling it,”
    Jess Dervin-Ackerman, an organizer with the Sierra Club who lives in
    Oakland, said by phone May 12.”This has become about us enabling other
    countries to do things that aren’t in the best interest of the planet.” …
    China will keep importing coal and much of it will come from U.S. mines via
    Canadian ports where companies including Westshore Terminals Ltd. and Ridley
    Terminals Inc. are sendingas much as 3.76 million tons a month abroad.
    Europe, where half of U.S. coal exports go, brought in 14.9 million tons in
    the fourth quarter, up 4 percent from the prior three months…
    China imported about 360 million tons last year and is expected to increase
    its reliance on the fuel by 54 percent by 2035, according to a Feb. 27 ICF
    International Inc. (ICFI) report. The country has 558 gigawatts of new
    coal-fired power plant capacity in the works, the report shows. Its
    benchmark price averaged 535yuan ($86) a ton as of May 11.
    “Like it or not, the coal is here to stay for a long time to come,” Keisuke
    Sadamori, the director for energy markets and security at the IEA, said in a
    Jan. 29 presentation at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in
    Washington…
    “We can no longer take the impacts of these fossil-fuel developments in an
    isolated way,” Cesia Kearns, a Sierra Club campaign representative who is
    fighting coal exports from Oregon and Washington, said by phone May 12.
    “This ties people together from different cities, different regions and even
    across the Pacific Ocean, to our neighbors in India and China, who are all
    standing up to Big Coal now.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-13/coal-missing-boom-as-climate-foes-clean-asia-s-backyard.html

  13. Jimbo says:

    Guardian – 11 November 2008
    The last days of paradise
    The president of the Maldives wants to buy a new home for all 300,000 of his people, to save them from rising sea levels. But where on earth could they go?

    Maldives President: SUCKERS! Send more money now – and your tourists. ;-) LOL.

    Paul Homewood – September 19, 2013
    Maldives Building Five More Underwater Airports
    News from the Maldives that work is underway on five new airports, with another three in the pipeline.

    Ministry of Transport and Communication has said that the delayed works on five regional airports are now underway. ….

    ——————————

    Centre For Aviation – 10th April, 2014
    Maldivian has an important domestic mission as the government tries to boost connectivity within the country by opening more airports. Maldivian now serves nine airports in the Maldives, including one which opened in 2013, and plans to add another domestic airport after it opens later this year……

    Hanimaadhoo in the north was upgraded in 2012 to handle international services. Maamigili, a new airport that opened in 2011, is also designated to receive international services……

    Maldivian has an opportunity to further expand its turboprop operation as more airports in the Maldives open, giving new options for tourists as the Maldives tourism sector continues to grow rapidly……

    http://centreforaviation.com/analysis/maldivian-plans-international-expansion-with-second-a320-and-potential-new-a330-operation-162352

  14. Jimbo says:

    Isn’t it ironic that the screams of Warmists have actually increased the number of flying tourists, airports and hotels in the Maldives. I bet my bottom dollar the ‘co2 footprint’ for travel to and from the Maldives is up since November 2008. It’s all a big con, don’t fall for it.

  15. EternalOptimist says:

    I expect Anthonys letter was only one of many, although why they chose to publish his rathers than Manns, Trenberths, Jones, Cook , Nutticelli, all of whom I am sure complained about the anti-science being spouted by the good governor

  16. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    Richard Treadgold says:
    May 15, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Well done, Anthony. You’re inspirational.

    Seconded.

  17. Patrick Maher says:

    Governor Brown entered the state of California into what he referred to as an agreement between California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia regarding action to combat climate change.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_24406734/california-oregon-washington-and-british-columbia-sign-climate

    So I contacted my congressman and senators and asked it the congress had granted the states involved a consent decree. All three said that no such consent decree existed.
    Article 1 section 10 paragraph 3 of the United States constitution:
    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress… enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power…
    Clearly the states entered into such an agreement without the consent of congress.
    When I contacted the governor’s office I received a reply telling me that the prohibition has never been enforced. As if that means it’s acceptable to violate the constitution. The governor’s office has no intention of rescinding the unconstitutional agreement and essentially dared me to do something about it. As I do not have unlimited funds and a battery of attorneys who can keep the case from being delayed for 20 years, I guess there’s nothing I can do.
    The biggest weakness of the US Constitution is that there is no way for the common man to enforce it. Since the government can essentially violate it with impunity, what’s the point of even having one?

  18. Twobob says:

    Politicians!
    Mis-speak be-clowned.
    Gor! Shackspear would have loved it.

    ( I keep getting ” you are posting comments to quickly”. Urm no!)

  19. Berényi Péter says:

    However, should Governor Jerry Brown have powerful friends in the airport mover industry, profuse in their campaign spending, the precautionary principle may force him to initiate moving LAX &. SFO to even higher ground anyway. If nothing else, political science tells us that much with extremely high confidence.

  20. sven10077 says:

    It’s always amazing when the “Party of SCIENCE!” acknowledges that they in fact live in the land of hyperbole. It’d be interesting to interrogate them and discover how many really are true believers and how many know they are the keyholders to their little wind up army of minions. I’m thinking 5% or so are in on the gag and they know that ~60% believe them when they say “no breaking news stop! SeaWater has gone to US Army Mountaineering School and will climb hundreds of feet to undo civilization!”

    The “no publish hate facts” in operations ostensibly dedicated to reporting fact is a brilliant cipher for why the United States is imploding and becoming a bigger joke on the world stage than it was in’77.

  21. garymount says:

    Patrick Maher says:
    May 15, 2014 at 1:47 am
    Governor Brown entered the state of California into what he referred to as an agreement between California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia regarding action to combat climate change.

    My British Columbia provincial government has told me that it is a non binding agreement.

  22. izen says:

    While it is certainly true that the sea level rise from the collapse of the WAIS will not directly flood LAX the problem is that much of the access from the coast side will be affected, ie Lincoln Blvd.

    But it is always a mistake to get information from politicians or media which have vested interests in different directions. For the least biased assessment stick to the science.

    http://www.usc.edu/org/seagrant/research/SeaLevelRise_docs/hires_pdfs/City%20of%20LA%20SLR%20Vulnerability%20Study%20FINAL%20Summary%20Report%20Online%20Hyperlinks.pdf

  23. sven10077 says:

    garymount says:
    May 15, 2014 at 2:45 am

    My British Columbia provincial government has told me that it is a non binding agreement.

    That will in all likelihood be cleaved to depending on the party identifiers involved with more dutiful solemnity than the NATO treaty.

    It’s galling isn’t it you can’t call it a “conspiracy” b/c they are so brazen in their extralegal execution of their “faith” it is not cloaked, nor since it is not activity based on any conclusions arrived at via reason a course of action its adherents can be swayed from.

    Canada is in many ways the canary in the coal mine for western civilization now, because despite its sometimes more overt periodic socialist bent it (unlike the United States) has always understood that wealth redistribution requires wealth to be created in the first place.

  24. Richard111 says:

    From the NASA link above:
    “The defining characteristic of West Antarctica is that the majority of the ice sheet is “grounded” on a bed that lies below sea level.”
    So only the ice ABOVE sea level of that ‘grounded ice’ will raise sea level when it melts. How much is that? Be aware 400,000 cubic kilometres of ice needs to melt to raise global sea by just 1 metre.

  25. pat says:

    [snip . . O/T indeed. But interesting so why not put it up on Tips & Notes? . . thanks, mod]

  26. John Slayton says:

    There should be a Pulitzer category for News that Doesn’t Pass the Sniff Test. But the LA Times would have stiff competition. Just in, from the Los Angeles News Group Editorial Board:

    California uses about 14 billion single-use plastic bags each year, of which less than 5 percent are recycled. The state spends $25 billion to collect and bury the waste, but a lot ends up in the ocean, accounting for most marine debris.

    Think about it–that’s $1.79 per bag Read it for yourself:

    http://www.sgvtribune.com/opinion/20140514/plastic-bag-ban-faces-an-even-bigger-fight-breaking-view

  27. Anthony,

    Consider the scientific argument regarding the West Antarctic ice pack.

    Observations:

    1. The glacier is flowing by its own weight down slope and when it meets the seashore the ice pack is depressed below sea level by its own weight. The ice is assumed to have once been grounded as far as a submerged rock bar normal to the direction of motion (sill). The grounded ice pack was locked to the bedrock and moved by shear within the ice.

    (I believe that this is common with fjords both during deglaciation and neo-glaciation.)

    2. Now climate change has cause westerly winds to strengthen so that seawater is being pushed towards the shore over the sill and under the ice pack, thus lubricating the base of the ice. The ice at the sill can slide up and over and then float away because grounded ice moves more rapidly if lubricated at the base, whereas formerly it moved only by shear within the ice.

    3. The novel aspect of the process is the strengthening of the westerlies, which in turn is caused by global climate change or at least by southern hemisphere warming.

    I have some questions that maybe somebody can answer.

    Assumptions:

    a. The grounded ice has volume X and if this ice were to melt, the volume of seawater would then be about 90% of X. Melting of ice that is grounded below sea level will tend to lower sea level, not raise it.

    b. If the floating ice melts, then there would be no change in sea level (Archimedes Principle)

    c. Gravity causes the ice to flow down slope and seawards.

    I conclude:

    I. Any problem would have to be with volume of ice that moves down slope and continues to be pushed offshore.

    Can the ice at the mouth of a glacier accelerate the movement of the entire glacier? The longitudinal profile of the top of the ice landward from the sill should indicate whether or not the entire glacier moves in response to acceleration over the sill..

    Reference: Changes in the longitudinal profiles of glaciers during advance and retreat. http://www.igsoc.org/journal.old/39/133/igs_journal_vol39_issue133_pg582-590.pdf.

    Further assumptions:
    d. The rate of glacier movement is regulated by three main factors: friction at the base of the ice, shear within the ice pack, and the net rate of accumulation of ice at the top of the ice pack.

    I conclude:

    II. That if ice pack is increasing and the additional weight is forcing the ice to accelerate down slope and offshore, then this cannot raise sea level. This is because the same amount of water is being extracted from the oceans to form ice at the top as is being added to the oceans by melt water at sea level. This is the normal operation of the hydrological cycle.

    III. If the ice pack is not increasing, then the weight at the top is decreasing and the rate of flow into the sea is decreasing. The problem will resolve itself by partial or completer melting of the grounded ice with a fall in sea level.

    The Sill

    I ignore the effect of the sill in supporting the ice pack. The way to check would be to derive top-of-ice profiles normal to the sill using Digital Elevation Maps (DEMs)

    Hypothesis:

    What happens at the mouth of a glacier cannot affect long-term sea level. This is very simple physics. Accelerating the speed over the sill will change the longitudinal profile of the glacier but will not change the volume of ice moving down slope..

    Glacier ice is under a lot of compression but has low tensile strength. You cannot pull a glacier downhill. The profile will thin between the sill and the main ice pack if the front of the ice accelerates. But this will have no effect on the mass balance of the glacier as a whole.

    Have I got this right? Or am I missing something?

    If I have got it right, then this paper should be retracted.

  28. Jimbo says:

    More looming problems for California reported yesterday.

    BBC – 14 May 2014
    Water extraction for human use boosts California quakes
    Extracting water for human activities is increasing the number of small earthquakes being triggered in California.

    A new study suggests that the heavy use of ground water for pumping and irrigation is causing mountains to lift and valleys to subside………

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27393811

  29. Leo Geiger says:

    when ridiculous claims are made in the media, challenge them with supportable facts

    Absolutely. Same thing applies to ridiculous claims made in blogs.

  30. Bernie1815 says:

    John: I suspect a “lot” or “most” of the $25 billion cost comes from recycling the 5%!!

  31. maccassar says:

    “…that I had the LA Times newsroom “scrambling…trying to explain how they let this slip through unchallenged”.

    Based on my experience, journalists are a little mathematically challenged. I talk numbers, their eyes glaze over. If they were to raise questions about Gov. Brown’s claim then they would have had to do the math. There is that division thingy. And then that multiplication thingy. Of course if they looked at the NOAA chart there is that conversion thingy from mm to feet. At that point their head would have started to hurt. Better to just believe, for sure, the end of the world is near and Global Warming is causing it.
    The bigger takeaway is that due to bias toward the global warming narrative, they were all too willing to accept the assertion carte blanche without any questions. Their journalistic training took a paid leave of absence.

  32. Greg says:

    “An aide to Jerry Brown confirmed Wednesday that the governor was wrong ”

    When I saw the title, I was about to appaud Sen. for fessing up and admitting he got it wrong.

    But no, he does not have the guts to admit he goofed big time, he gets some “aide” to admit he “misspoke”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

  33. jdseanjd says:

    Does anybody know how to gauge the impact upon the public of the original scare story, compared to the subsequent walkback retraction?

    One of their chief tactics is to maintain a ‘State of Fear’ as Michael Crichton so accurately identified in his best selling novel.

    Nearly 10 years on, this is still by far the best introduction, I know of to the whole climate scare scam.

  34. philjourdan says:

    How they let it slip through is obvious. They are incompetent in their stated profession. But they are not unique in the media. Sadly, they are typical.

  35. JohnWho says:

    Environmental officials for Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX, said the airport has an elevation of more than 120 feet. “A 4-foot rise in sea level,” they said, “should have minimal impact on airport operations.”

    “minimal impact”?

    How about either “no impact” or even “virtually no impact”?

    I wonder if those “environmental officials” could explain what those “minimal impacts” would be?

  36. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    Jimbo says:
    May 15, 2014 at 1:01 am

    I bet my bottom dollar the ‘co2 footprint’ for travel to and from the Maldives is up since November 2008.

    I wouldn’t take that bet, but Governor Brown just might.

  37. dccowboy says:

    Unfortunately, as with all corrections, hardly anyone will see it, so the ‘damage’ is done and the ‘alarmist fellow travelers’ will quote this story for years to come (some of my ‘alarmist friends’ have already blared the news to me with comments like “How can you question the need to take action NOW, with all this new evidence that AGW is real.” It’s truly amazing to me how readily these folks accept pronouncements from political authority in this area, yet they fancy themselves to be ‘rebels’ against the ‘machine’.

  38. dccowboy says:

    Johnwho,

    They just didn’t want to embarrass the Governor. Can you say retaliation via loss of funding if they did?

  39. dccowboy says:

    “But no, he does not have the guts to admit he goofed big time, he gets some “aide” to admit he “misspoke”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.”

    At least he didn’t say he ‘misquoted himself’ as a famous NFL Wide Receiver once did.

  40. thegriss says:

    “Hanimaadhoo in the north was upgraded in 2012 to handle international services.”

    I think Hobart (Tasmania) may eventually get an upgrade to international standard too.

    But I don’t think Tassie is under threat from sea level rise.

    That’s the obvious difference.

  41. John McClure says:

    This is how its “supposed” to work to maintain integrity in Journalism. News Reporters are not in the business of reporting Truth. They report facts relating to a given event or situation. When they get the facts wrong they have an obligation to correct the story. They don’t always do this or bury the corrections but in this case didn’t.

    2 Thumbs Up to Anthony, the Governor (via his Aid), the LA Times, and the Daily Climate.

    Did they respond to your blog post or your Letter to the Editor? It would be fantastic if they review your blog on a regular basis.

    The comment related to their “no denier” publication policy should point out that they are narrowly defining denier as individuals who deny ANY human contribution to warming/climate change and or conspiracy theory nuts. It doesn’t imply that they censor skeptical reviews/opinions which are based on facts.

  42. Pamela Gray says:

    You ever notice that politicians fall over each other on the way to the podium to let their mouths literally drip and drool with spoken statements of impending doom but let their “people” do the talking to correct the statements that were wrong? It’s like politicians don’t come equipped with a reverse gear or brakes, they only have fast forward and turn with the tide signals.

  43. Chuck Nolan says:

    You can’t blame the LA Times.
    The reporter verified the Governor’s comment.
    It’s for sure Moonbeam said it… it’s a fact he said it.
    The LA Times didn’t lie.
    cn

  44. Chuck Nolan says:

    I believe the headline should read “Governor’s Office Corrects Governor’s Stupid Statement.”
    cn

  45. Well done Anthony. But climate scientists ought to be doing this themselves. Their failure to speak up over the hyped Antarctic story damages their credibility.

  46. John McClure says:

    Chuck Nolan says:
    May 15, 2014 at 5:58 am
    I believe the headline should read “Governor’s Office Corrects Governor’s Stupid Statement.”
    cn
    =========
    Chuck Nolan,
    Governors do not have the time to fact check everything. They rely on staff and aids to do this. It’s possible Governor Brown was confusing SLR with Atmospheric Rivers which would have an impact on the Airports and transportation.

    The true cause of this is a poorly crafted press release from NASA. NASA needs to dump their PR team in favor of technical communications professionals. NASA’s educational products and programs should also be Peer Reviewed before entering any classroom. The disinformation or poorly crafted information, which is likely the cause, has to stop!

  47. kenw says:

    “I urge others to follow my lead: when ridiculous claims are made in the media, challenge them with supportable facts. You may not get an acknowledgment, but the desire to not look stupid is pretty strong, and will have an effect.”

    wise words for any situation. For any viewpoint.

  48. Mike McMillan says:

    Thank goodness that LAX will stay stay dry for the rest of Gov Brown’s term.

    Putting floats on a big jet really trashes the fuel economy.

  49. Bad Andrew says:

    “they let this slip through unchallenged”

    My heavens! How on earth did that happen??

    /sarc

    Andrew

  50. Resourceguy says:

    He was advised that there was a risk it might relocate to Texas.

  51. Bill Illis says:

    Thanks Anthony. It really does look like your original article and the letter to the editor was the main instigator in getting this myth corrected. Gov. Brown’s aids are obviously searching news reports and your original article makes it to the top of Google searches.

    And letters to the editor correcting myths does work more often than we think. Not the kind a person is trying to get published in the newspaper, but the ones that are just meant to alert an editor about when his/her news-writers are getting facts wrong. Editors are more concerned about real facts that writers are, although circulation can override this if they are targeting left-wing readers like the LA Times and the Guardian is.

    And there is no doubt Richard Alley contributed to Gov. Brown’s misunderstanding. Alley is appreciated by the warming set (like Brown) because he misrepresents every climate fact he can get his hands on but does it in a reassuring nerdy way. They like their myths and their reassurance. Alley’s temperature calibration of the Greenland ice cores, for example, has set-back our understanding of the northern hemisphere climate history going on 2 decades now, Younger Dryas included. .

  52. Ron C. says:

    On misspeaking:

    Henry Kissinger told the story of his subordinate at the US State department quoted in the press as saying: “The Russian Foreign Minister is an A–hole.” Afterward the subordinate explained that his comment was taken out of context.

  53. Annie says:

    Nice pic of my favourite aircraft (A380) in my favourite airline (Emirates) at LAX. Glad that LAX won’t be drowned!

  54. Resourceguy says:

    ….and it would take 1,000 years to get the permits to relocate it within California anyway.

  55. DaveR says:

    The Governor is obviously not a fool, so did he “misspeak” or deliberately falsify his statement?

    What a lying jerk.

  56. Ralph Kramden says:

    As an alarmist I’m very upset with this backpedaling. This is not in-line with our “lie and exaggerate” or “say anything” policies.

  57. Johnathan Birks says:

    We know exactly how these wild alarmist claims “slipped through” at LAT: they didn’t *have* to slip. As their “denial free zone” policy amply demonstrates, catastrophic groupthink ensures that such claims not only aren’t fact checked at all, they are encouraged.

  58. Taphonomic says:

    If Brown is really worried about AGW he should just shut down LAX and SFO and then he won’t have to worry about all the CO2 being spewed from those jets and airplanes owned by eco-luminaries like Richard Branson, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, et al.

  59. Bruce Cobb says:

    izen says:
    May 15, 2014 at 2:53 am
    But it is always a mistake to get information from politicians or media which have vested interests in different directions. For the least biased assessment stick to the science.

    http://www.usc.edu/org/seagrant/research/SeaLevelRise_docs/hires_pdfs/City%20of%20LA%20SLR%20Vulnerability%20Study%20FINAL%20Summary%20Report%20Online%20H

    Thank you Captain Obvious, about the idea that it’s a mistake to get information from politicians and the media. The trouble is that those already committed to alarmist beliefs, such as yourself, will believe almost anything someone “in authority” tells them, without bothering to fact-check.
    As far as sticking to science, we keep telling you to, but you refuse, and your link is an excellent example of Alarmist drivel.

  60. Chuck Nolan says:

    The real question is where would you move it to and still have an airport in the LA area?
    I would think the governor would consider the land needed and the damage done when you build a new airport. It’s already backed up to the San Diego Freeway.
    I’m pretty sure there isn’t a reasonably flat piece of open real estate within 50 miles capable of supporting an international airport with its extra businesses.
    Try and get that one past the eco money.
    cn

  61. Larry Hamlin says:

    Excellent job Anthony!! Many comments here suggest that it is not worthwhile to try and address these issues with the press. I disagree, It is very important to make every effort to document distortions like this one to create a record of the climate fear absurdities that have been printed in the press. This record and information will be of great value in the future.

  62. george e. conant says:

    Deadly sharp shooting Anthony, excellent.

  63. Reed Coray says:

    Based on Governor Moonbeam’s recent proclamation regarding Global-Warming/Antarctica Ice/LAX-flooding, I invested considerable moolah in the de-mothballing of Pan American Clipper Flying Boats. Now via an aide, the good governor retracts his statement. I want my money back. Does anyone know a good lawyer who can help me sue?

    Bonus points for anyone who can identify the oxymoron phrases in the above. Hint–there are two of them and they both contain the word “good”.

  64. Frank says:

    Andy: You didn’t say anything about SFO, whose runways are currently 9-13 feet above sea level according to this map. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SFO_map.png

    The land under the runways at SFO has already been submerged by SLR, only in this case it happened at the end of the last ice age. That problem was solved by adaptation. With too little flat land near San Francisco for a large airport, SFO was constructed by filling in some of San Francisco Bay.

    Here is the airport today.

    https://maps.google.com/?ll=37.617835,-122.38143&spn=0.060644,0.054588&t=h&z=14

    Here is SFO as it existed in 1943. The seaplane harbor appears to b the same in both views http://ucblibrary3.berkeley.edu:8085/AerialPhotos/airphotoddb/DDB2B-118.jpg

    Here are the construction plans showing that even the 1943 airport was built mostly on land reclaimed from the bay:

    If we could adapt in the 20th century, we can adapt in the 21st century.

  65. CRS, DrPH says:

    Excellent work, Anthony! You beat ‘em at their own game, i.e. the failing “Reality Drop” project of the Climate Reality Project: http://realitydrop.org/

  66. matayaya says:

    Chris Marlow, I am not a scientist but I’m trying. You seem to be saying there will be no sea level rise because as the above sea level ice moves into the ocean, new volumes of ice are being added back on top of the ice, creating an equilibrium. Maybe I misunderstood you. If not, the issue then becomes that aren’t we talking about the ice that has been accumulating for thousands of years. There would be no equilibrium exchange as that goes into the water.
    Also, I think all the focus here on sea level rise has become a red herring to the real point of the subject two studies everyone is referring to. The elephant in the room is that the ocean is getting warmer and that is what is destabilizing the glacier/ice sheet anchoring that reaches down into the ocean.
    Apologies for where I may have misunderstood anyone.

  67. John F. Hultquist says:

    The “Teflon effect” is in play here. Often commonly used in reference to President Reagan when a fiasco during his administration did not “stick” to him personally. Many politicians are treated this way (Brown, the Clintons, Sharpton), folks such as Paul Ehrlich, Charles – Prince of Wales, R. K. Pachauri, David Viner (no snow guy), and others. The “Teflon effect” operates in the opposite manner from the Streisand effect. After tonight’s evening news cycle Moonbeam’s mis-statement will be gone like yesterday’s tide on Dockweiler Beach.

  68. Mike Maguire says:

    Outstanding work Anthony!!!!!

    Now if we could just get similar acknowledgements about other false statements related to global warming/climate change from politicians and scientists, then support for the theory would collapse.

    Unfortunately, they have turned the alarmist dial up a notch in tandem with the presidents political plans to get his climate change agenda/regulations done before his term runs out.

    Regardless, this was one for truth, justice and the American way!

  69. Hello news media! Here’s a weird trick that’s so crazy it might work!

    Give Anthony Watts a call. Every time there’s a crazy world-is-ending climate claim just drop him an email and ask: what’s your take, Anthony?

    You could save yourselves endless embarrassment.

    Because the truth is that Anthony is your original Joe Friday.

    “Just the facts, ma’am.”

    And you could end up comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, just like you say you do.

  70. matayaya says:

    Maybe most folks won’t see Brown’s hyperbolic statement as news simply because we are accustomed to all of our politicians using hyperbole. The discussion should get back to the discussion of climate change in Antarctica.

  71. Billy Liar says:

    matayaya says:
    May 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    The discussion should get back to the discussion of climate change in Antarctica.

    I agree. It’s really getting colder down there and there’s much more ice, isn’t there?

  72. A.D. Everard says:

    That was an excellent letter you sent, and I’m glad to hear it had the reaction it did. Scrambling indeed. I think there’s going to be a whole lot more of that in the coming months and years as everyone, MSM included, try to disassociate themselves from the whole CAGW mess.

  73. Earl Smith says:

    Jimbo says: May 15, 2014 at 3:49 am
    More looming problems for California reported yesterday.

    BBC – 14 May 2014
    Water extraction for human use boosts California quakes
    Extracting water for human activities is increasing the number of small earthquakes being triggered in California.

    A new study suggests that the heavy use of ground water for pumping and irrigation is causing mountains to lift and valleys to subside………

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27393811

    *****************
    This goes against everything I have ever read on the effects of ground water removal.

    In the Brownwood case (community near Baytown Tx) the removal caused the land to sink about 20 feet thus becoming part of the ground beneath Galveston Bay. The remains of the houses can still be seen.

    In the Panex case the INJECTION of waste water (with plutonium and other heavy metals) caused minor earthquakes. A test of the concept of using water to control earthquakes showed that injecting water lubricated the rock causing quakes while removing water froze the rocks in place stopping quakes (temporarily)

    A test on a portion of the San Andreas midway between SF and LA that experiences lots of small quakes was done confirming the effect. A proposal was made to use this effect to have minor quakes on the dangerous portions of San Andreas but it died when the blame for triggering the BIG ONE was considered.

    I realize the BBC has a problem with Science but something just does not ring true about this Nature article.

  74. elmer says:

    The damage has been done, nobody sees the retraction, it’s on page 17 not on the evening newas. Now everybody in California will be running around like Chicken Little.

  75. docstephens says:

    The journalists at Scientific American apparently have the same level of anxiety as Governor Moonbeam. Yesterday and today they posted articles on social media (Facebook, etc.) about the calamitous rise in sealevel resulting from the projected retreat of the Amundsen ice sheet. I dared to counter their distortions in the comments and found myself unfriended, deleted, and banned. I was reminded of that scene in “Planet of the Apes” where the elders held their ears so they would not suffer the pain of an opposing perspective.

  76. rogerknights says:

    matayaya says:
    May 15, 2014 at 11:13 am

    The elephant in the room is that the ocean is getting warmer and that is what is destabilizing the glacier/ice sheet anchoring that reaches down into the ocean.

    Presumably the data on that will come out–it hasn’t so far, AFAIK. It must be pretty skimpy. Who was regularly measuring the deep-water temperatures in that area in the past?

    I wonder if the ice-erosion could be due to the currents just moving faster. Who has or could have measured that?

  77. Richard Barraclough says:

    And in the press on the other side of the Atlantic, the main headline in (Murdoch-owned) The Times, in London, is a rather surprising “Scientists in cover-up of damaging climate view”. It goes on to describe how research which cast doubt on the severity of global warming was deliberately suppressed.

    I’m sure many contributors to this web-site would agree, but it’s unusual to see such a headline in a mainstream newspaper.

  78. TheOtherJohnInCA says:

    I was just hoping someone could explain “Does response to possibility of drunk drivers have any bearing on how fast we decide to warm a world with big ice sheets?”. That photo and caption has been driving me crazy. It almost sounds like random words using a computer program with grammar rules and a dictionary.

  79. george e. smith says:

    “””””…..But various sources say that the nation’s third-busiest airport — bordered by the Pacific Ocean — has elevations ranging from 108 feet to 126 feet and is protected by higher coastal bluffs on the west side……”””””

    Well protection by “coastal bluffs” simply determines how deep the water will get, in the swimming pool, when the ocean decides to come ashore in a storm.

    New Orleans is protected by “coastal bluffs”, but hurricanes go up to tens of thousands of feet. When running a boat in heavy seas, you want the drain plugs out; not in !!

  80. george e. smith says:

    Well I suppose they could always move LAX to Long Beach Harbor. They have video evidence that you can fly the biggest aircraft, anyone wants to build, out of LBH.

  81. Jack Hydrazine says:

    They might be backpedaling, but NASA isn’t.

    Sea level rise forces US space agency to retreat

    http://news.yahoo.com/sea-level-rise-forces-us-space-agency-retreat-042742519.html

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