Claim: Sharknado Might Damage Climate Credibility

Yipes! Great White Shark, South Australia pictures underwater photos

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Conversation is worried that climate disaster films like Sharknado might damage the credibility of climate scientists, because sometimes the characters in such movies use scientific sounding language to discuss preposterous fictional climate disasters.

Why ‘Sharknado 4’ matters: Do climate disaster movies hurt the climate cause?

At their heart, however, the “Sharknado” films are stories about climate change, albeit in a way that is scientifically flawed to a comical degree. It’s a genre – climate disaster films – we decided to explore as an emerging mode of communication in society.

Fiction helps us understand reality

It’s explained in the original “Sharknado” that climate change has created an unusually strong tropical cyclone approaching Southern California. The sequels backed away from that explanation, whether out of a desire to avoid courting political controversy or simply because the creators felt that sharknados needed no explanation, we can’t be sure. But casting climate change as a catalyst for extreme, globally threatening natural disasters is a move characteristic of a small but growing genre of climate disaster films.

To get a better sense of how fictional disaster films shape environmental attitudes, I (Lauren) conducted an in-depth analysis of 18 disaster films featuring climate change. The results of my research show that most of these films make only tenuous connections between climate change and natural disasters, which affects how people react to them.

Terminology related to climate change and extreme weather is often misused, and it’s not uncommon to see films that use the term “climate change” or “global warming” to refer to completely different phenomena – some of which are physically impossible and could happen in no world. For example, one film uses climate change to discuss a buildup of methane gas in the atmosphere that is predicted to ignite, incinerating all life on Earth.

The results from focus groups I held with participants who watched one of three representative disaster films confirm that these scientifically dubious depictions of climate change dilute any perceived environmental message in climate disaster films. Most participants were unconvinced – often with good reason – that anything shown in the films could happen in the real world and did not see much of an environmental message.

It’s worth noting, however, that “The Day After Tomorrow” was an exception within the larger climate disaster film genre, both in terms of its production value and its (relatively) detailed discussion of climate change. Low-budget films like “Sharknado,” which stray very far afield from climate science, likely pose different possibilities for both misinformation and engagement with climate change. The question, then, is how to best tap into this potential while avoiding the pitfalls.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/why-sharknado-4-matters-do-climate-disaster-movies-hurt-the-climate-cause-63155

I suspect films like Sharknado are more about mockery of establishment climate narratives, than about promoting concern. The credibility of climate as an urgent issue has long since passed. When given a choice between different issues, people consistently rate climate as one of their lowest priorities.

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163 thoughts on “Claim: Sharknado Might Damage Climate Credibility

  1. … Today (Feb. 8, 2016), a study published in Nature Climate Change looks at the next 10,000 years, and finds that the catastrophic impact of another three centuries of carbon pollution will persist millennia after the carbon dioxide releases cease.
    The picture is disturbing, says co-author Shaun Marcott, an assistant professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a nearly inevitable elevation of sea level for thousands of years into the future.
    Most climate projections now end at 2300 at the latest, “because that’s the time period most people are interested in,” says Marcott, a expert in glaciers and ancient climate. “Our idea was that this did not encapsulate the entire effect of adding one to five trillion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere over the next three centuries. Whereas most studies look to the last 150 years of instrumental data and compare it to projections for the next few centuries, we looked back 20,000 years using recently collected carbon dioxide, global temperature and sea level data spanning the last ice age. Then we compared past data to modeling results that extend 10,000 years into the future.” …

    (Source: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/08/marcott-discovers-that-its-tough-to-make-predictions-especially-about-the-future-while-saying-its-worse-than-we-thought/ )
    And let’s not forget “carbon pollution” and “run-away temperatures” and “millions of degrees… and… .”
    Damage their credibility.
    Lol. They have nowhere to go but up. They are in the credibility abyss.

    • And then there’s Parmesan essentially lying (or is she really that dumb?) about why butterflies live where they do.
      And Muller (or whatever his name is) who pretends he’s a skeptic to promote his dodgy BEAST (Berkeley Extrapolated and Simulated Temperature) sc@m.
      And what about “high school physics” science projects by Gore & Nye concocted out of thin air using film editing tricks?
      And on and on ……
      (and I just realized that the Marcott inanity included “carbon pollution”….. well, they say it often enough, lol)

      • Janice, to answer your question: they are really dumb. These are all people that have the trappings of the educated and informed, but they really don’t know how things work. They probably haven’t got a clue about simple processes that we use everyday, like internal combustion, simple types of leverage and mechanical advantage, and probably would be dumbfounded if you showed them that white vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent. I run into more and more people like this all the time working as an ombudsman between state agencies and the townships within our county. I’ve had to dress-down more than a couple arrogant state employees who think that they “know it” just because they went to a seminar. It helps that I have a PhD to tack onto my name, because these apparatchik types do have a certain deference, even though I have to sling a lot of B.S. in the process.
        For them everything is framed in terms of their personal sensibilities rather than the more realistic view that “the laws of nature don’t really give a crap what you think.” … (roughly paraphrased from R. Crumb)
        . … so, to repeat myself, I think they are really dumb.

      • Good point (and hang in there — oh, boy, that’s a lot of aggravation!), Mark.
        Ignorance + Pride = a deadly combination.

      • To Mftmw’s point. I used to design instrumentation for the telescopes on Mauna Kea and we had to reconfigure the ring that holds the secondary mirror which weighs about 2,000lbs and something like 10′ in diameter. The PhD in charge of the project was claiming we didn’t need to build a cart to move it around as ‘all you have to do is pick it up by the cg and you can you can move it with a finger’.
        When asked how we were supposed to get it off the truck and into the shop he replied ‘we can carry it, I load more than 500 lbs of soda into my car when I go to costco by myself’. When told he wouldn’t be able to lift it he disagreed and said it was a waste of money to build the cart.
        Needless to say we build the cart, got it into the shop, and then put it on the floor. He walks over and stupidly tries to lift it and then responds ‘wow that’s heavy’ when he couldn’t budge it.
        PhD’s are pretty much clueless outside of their specialty in my experience (and sometimes within), there are exceptions, but they are rare. So when it comes to something that involves several disciplines like climate science or coming up with a practical solution to a real world problem, they don’t stand a chance of getting it right.

      • Mummykicks,
        No doubt you have heard the old saw about how a PhD is 99% perspiration from jumping through all the hoops.

      • Hi Janice. I have wondered exactly the same thing. Why do they have to resort to deception if their theory is correct? They should just plug on doggedly until the evidence bears out their story. This “thousands of years” nonsense is just the same – and easily shown to be untrue. If one looks up the planet’s plant uptake of CO2, and the atmospheric total, one finds that plants would completely strip the atmosphere of its CO2 in about 20 years, if it were not replenished. Decades is the time scale. No way exists that a disturbance with a decadal decay time has consequences thousands of years out.

    • I’m making all my climate bets on 2300 weather/climate. If I’m wrong, I’ll gladly pay off, but you have to come by in person to collect. If you are wrong, you can send me a check.
      Ain’t it just wonderful when your science can’t be checked for centuries?

    • Yep, with all the chaos in world politics and the economy, I am worried about the climate 3000 years from now. Just wanted to point out that 3000 years ago the Bronze age was just ending…

      • The professor was just explaining that scientific projections are that the Sun will burn out in about six billion years when a student in the last row leaped up to shout “Professor, when did you say the Sun would burn up?” The professor repeats that the best estimate is about six billion years. The student relaxes: “That’s a relief, I thought you said six MILLION years.” (Old story, I know.)

    • Hi Janice! I’m surprised Shaun Marcott is being so stingily conservative. I mean, just a 10,000 year projection? Why can’t he give us a projection all the way out to when the sun has used up its hydrogen, turned into a white drawf, and along with the solar system gets eventually sucked into the black hole at the center of the Galaxy. Maybe he could even project beyond that, and speculate what impact carbon pollution will have when the force of gravity arrests the outward motion of all the galaxies and reconstructs them into a black hole singularity waiting for the next Big Bang. Think of it, human activity negatively (well, of course) altering the very face and makeup of the entire physical world, the current and future universes out to infinity. Let’s aim high in our scientific Armageddon.
      Nice hearing from you Janice. I do have one bone to pick, though. I know you favor hot Chevys. I would be tempted to agree with you, but I cannot. The King, the absolute King of all muscle cars is a … Dodge, or a … Plymouth? Yep, if it’s got one of those beautiful (and how) 426 HEMIs lurking, and snorting, and rumbling, under the hood, and gathering the sheer power to arrest the outbound motion of the galaxies.

      • Hi, Tom,
        Fun post (“negative,” of course, lol). Yeah, if you’re going to tell a l1e…. Heh.
        Re: Chevy’s (and Plymouths). Well, you know a lot more about the whole area than I do, and Hemis are, I realize, admired by fans of all makes. However! Chevy has one thing that, regardless of which engines are best, sets it just a bit above Plymouth/Dodge: style. Well, seriously. Plymouths are just sort of ugly. (shrug)
        It’s the same thing with Honda v. Toyota: Hondas just look so much better.
        I hope you get out to a drag race or too before the rains set in back there…. Just — do — it!
        Your WUWT friend,
        Janice

      • Tom, the king of all hot cars is my daughters tricked out Golf VR-6 turbo. I didn’t believe it until we got it at the track, but it did turn 3 quarters in an average of 12.36, with the fastest trap at 127.

      • Use to love Chevy. Had a ’67 Chevelle 396 Super Sport that was a fun car long as long as you went in a straight line. It got a little dicey on the curves. Then I got a ’72 Vega GT. Engine lasted exactly 40k miles before throwing a rod through the side of the block. You couldn’t give me a Chevy now. Of course Ford had the Pinto back then, which wasn’t much better, so I guess both were due to the bean counters and lawyers taking over both companies.

  2. Or at least mockery of Al Gore’s climate disaster film …
    Disaster films became a film genre with The Posiden Adventure, but the theme is far older. Drama is about conflict, and if the opposition isn’t other people, then nature is the alternative. Disaster films have been really reaching, with few exceptions, for disasters big enough for film makers ambitions.

      • I think we have the beginnings of an idea for a movie script here.
        A horror movie, “The Cold and the Dark”. A little girl tries to ring her grandmother. We see the grandmother: frozen. Throughout the movie, these two images recur. At the end, the girl is dead too, and we pull back to the ice-encrusted wind turbines. Anyone know a good agent?

      • How about “The Empty Sun” about the multiple disasters caused by a grand minimum? Like no wind to power the turbines? It could end with someone on horseback riding up to a turbine where a sand dune reached up and blocked the rotor, stalling the last working turbine on the planet. Then the camera can turn upward to zoom in on the sun and zoom in to fill the screen with its spot-free horror until the texture of the faculae is visible.
        The second sunspot-free period this year has ended with a small, quiet spot. Should we root for it to fade or grow?
        http://spaceweather.com/images2016/29jul16/hmi1898.gif

      • That would actually be a possibility if we relied on wind power.
        https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028063.300-wind-and-wave-farms-could-affect-earths-energy-balance/
        “Using a model of global circulation, Kleidon found that the amount of energy which we can expect to harness from the wind is reduced by a factor of 100 if you take into account the depletion of free energy by wind farms. It remains theoretically possible to extract up to 70 TW globally, but doing so would have serious consequences.
        Although the winds will not die, sucking that much energy out of the atmosphere in Kleidon’s model changed precipitation, turbulence and the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. The magnitude of the changes was comparable to the changes to the climate caused by doubling atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide “

      • For the past four months, that’s been the reality. The wind turbines south of my house rarely turn. Winds under 10 mph day after day after day. If it weren’t for those “evil” fossil fuels, everyone would be living the Kerry dream of no air conditioning, among other things. Four months of no wind. Should be easy to turn that into a disaster film. Heck, one day without IPhones and watching the freezer contents melt should make a
        two hour thriller.

      • M Simon commented: “…I look forward to the “not enough wind to make electricity” disaster films….”
        You joke but this is not funny. The way industrial centers are spaced around the world we are very close to the tipping point of wind cancellation. As each center produced more CO2 in their respective vertical columns the high pressure areas caused by the heat will very slowly attract the low pressure air masses to a very small concentration and cancel each other out. Or maybe it’s the other way around but it doesn’t make any difference it will still happen and we are all doomed. Don’t forget you read it here first.

      • I envision a film made in Australian about a desperate group of yuppies forting up around the world’s last working windmill and surrounded by a crazed band of deniers riding in gas guzzling SUVs. The yuppies are using solar powered weapons to fend off the deniers who throw Molotov cocktails. The movie ends with the yuppies being massacred by the deniers when a total eclipse of the sun occurs. I suggest for the title — Mad Al, An Inconvenient Truth.
        Eugene WR Gallun

      • Me too – and SOON, so that people might actually have that inner alarm bell go off and start THINKING about the abject stupidity of “Climate Change” policies directed at reducing CO2 emissions.

    • Somehow I don’t think junk popcorn “scawwwy mooooviez” are a big cultural driver. More like a groping opportunity for bored teenagers who’ll have forgotten the plot by the time they get back to their car. BTW, “climate scientists” screw their own credibility quite well without any help from Hollywood.

      • Plot? What is this “plot” of which you speak? You think Goatbussers 2016 had a plot? PC Hollywood don’t need any steenkin’ plots!

    • There have been disaster films for a long time, like the classic Bogart movie Key Largo, or ones like The Titanic, or The Hindenburg, In Old Chicago, or fictional ones like Crack In The World, The Night The World Exploded, various Japanese films like Gorath, or even Godzilla.
      When The Poseidon Adventure came out, it was only the latest in the sub-genre of maritime disaster movies.
      Just sayin’.

    • Climate activism does seem to give gullible, frightened people something to virtue-signal and grandstand about and generates enough unquestioned panic and worry in the media to justify (just by chance, I’m sure) witch-hunting, more government control and the spending of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.

      • The AGW gullible get an adrenaline high: a combination of feeling fearful about the future, virtuous about themselves, and hateful towards infidels, an emotional triple-whammy. They’re nothing more than addicts in denial. To learn the facts would threaten their ability to get blitzed, so don’t bother trying to educate them. That’s like trying to pry booze away from alcoholics, except that most alcoholics are too honest to feel virtuous about drinking.

      • Imagine the angst of a climate activist who finds himself in a sharks gut with a chainsaw, knowing that if you can only pull the cord, AND there’s enough air in the gut to sustain the spark in an internal combustion engine, you’ve got your salvation right there in your own hands. And though the idea of killing an innocent beast who only ate you because it’s in its nature, bothers you, you also understand that the shark is now many kilometers away from the sustenance of its home in the ocean, and there’s no public infrastructure to return this poor animal quickly to its home, so it will inevitably die. Killing the beast ceases to be an issue, so now, it’s you or him. But is that really true. Now you must also consider the CO2 emissions from the chainsaw engine. They will kill everyone, yourself included. So, in the end, you decide that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one and you make a selfless sacrifice for the good of all, and choose to die in agony as the shark’s digestive juices dissolve you into necessary nutrients that will nourish a soon-dead shark. If only you’d been carrying a cordless electric chainsaw, charged with solar or wind power when that shark ate you. And as you die, your last thought was If Tara Reid had only seen this selfless, altruistic side of you, maybe she would have slept with you, or at least let you have copped a feel.
        – copyright 2016 Mickey Reno (don’t you be stealing my movie plot for Sharknado III, Climate Terror)
        ps. to anyone who thinks “The Day After Tomorrow” is a ‘great’ movie, you deserve to be mocked.

      • Mickey
        EPIC RANT!
        Sharks, chainsaws, digestive juices, CO2, ethics of killing an animal that ate you, Tara Reid (especially Tara Reid). If you can just squeeze in something about trucks, railroads and a dog, I believe you will have hit all the cultural totems.

      • “ps. to anyone who thinks “The Day After Tomorrow” is a ‘great’ movie, you deserve to be mocked.”
        Well, it’s a great comedy movie. I love the deadpan delivery of lines about ludicrous physics (e.g. sooper dooper cold air spiraling down from the stratosphere). AFAIK, it’s still the only live action film in which Our Heroes are pursued by an ice age. In my book, it’s a classic. A for humor, F- for science. 🙂
        And don’t forget, it inspired the hilarious South Park episode “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow”.

      • Mickey Reneo; Too late for the plot to Sharknado 3 “Oh Hell No” Already at “the 4th Awakens” Watched it last night. Love non-pretentious campy movies with cheesy special effects.

  3. Eliminating big sharks is sort of like eliminating wolves from killing livestock . My uncle, whenever he caught a shark when deep sea fishing, always killed it before throwing it back. They eat the fish you are trying to catch – was his rational…

    • Not sure where to start with that idea but… here goes.
      First, livestock and wild populations are totally different. There are more animals of the livestock species today than ever before in the past, specifically because people own and value them. Wild populations are shrinking because no one owns them and protects them as their own property. Very few ocean species are bred and raised for human consumption. The number of fish in the sea isn’t diminishing because of sharks but because of humans.
      Second, did your uncle kill other fishermen? They also eat the fish you’re trying to catch. In fact, they’re eating far more of those fish than the sharks are so, applying that “rationale”, you’re uncle should have killed every fisherman he came across before throwing them into the sea.
      Finally, the picture with this article is of a great white shark. Their preferred food is seal. Seals also eat the fish you’re trying to catch so, killing great whites actually means more fish getting eaten by seals. Did your uncle also kill any seals that he came across?
      My point is: your uncle didn’t know a damn thing about marine biology, he just killed sharks because he didn’t like them.

      • Not buying it that “wild populations are shrinking.” Where I live, we currently see DAILY a large variety of birds, mammals, and fish that were rare to non-existent here in the 1960’s through ’80’s. In some cases, like wild turkeys, they had not been seen since the early Colonial period (late 1600’s) and are now flourishing, having been reintroduced as the habitat reverted to mostly forest rather than cleared fields.
        Herons, egrets, all kinds of hawks, every kind of shorebird, warblers and finches–and fish you could almost walk on in Long Island Sound last summer. But no dot-org. ever got a check written to them because things are going just GREAT, right? 😉

      • Sorry if I wasn’t as clear as I obviously needed to be. I was talking about the wild populations of species we humans consume. Things like tuna, cod, sardines, etc. If you don’t think they’re in decline, show me your statistics. Everything I’ve read says otherwise. I don’t doubt that wild populations of species we don’t eat are doing just fine in many places.
        The reason for my post was not to signal my virtue (being an omnivore I’m as guilty as anyone). It was to point out the flaw in the “wolf in the livestock” analogy and to reason to absurdity the idea that killing sharks will help boost fish stocks, leaving more for fishermen.
        People come up with all sorts of absurd rationalizations for destroying things they don’t like.

      • Diver Jim
        Great line “…did your uncle kill other fishermen? They also eat the fish…”.

      • Reality Check,
        Back when I lived where rattlesnakes were more common than here in the Midwest, I made it a point to only kill the rattlesnakes I saw but didn’t warn me they were there. But, I always ate them so that they served some purpose besides increasing the bacterial population.

  4. I think we can give people a little credit. To look at science fiction, readers can distinguish the political views in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Blowups Happen” from the simple optimism of Star Trek or the political non-entity of Star Wars, or even most of Asimov’s tales, which deliberately avoided politics.
    Climate change is no different. Sharknado won’t harm climate science any more than the Hulk’s radioactive origin harmed nuclear power.

    • I suspect you are underestimating the Hulk’s readioactive origin effects. Look how easy it is to convince people any amount of radiation will kill them. Then there’s GMOs, destined to create four-eyed babies and sheep that look like cattle with 6 legs. Once an image gets in people’s heads and even a tiny bit of fear and doubt is introduced, it’s almost impossible to get people to change their minds.
      I suspect that showing a film of Godzilla can push people in the direction of wanting nuclear outlawed, especially if shown right after a nuclear plant leak. The images entwine and remain, impervious to all reason.

      • Reality check – I fear you are correct. Look at the number of people who object to irradiated food, even though it would drastically improve food safety and reduce spoilage.

      • Point, but if anything, its use in fiction is a symptom of the wide distrust rather than the source.

    • @ benofhouston
      Well now, me thinks we can give some of the adult people a little credit, …. but not all adults.
      But the adult population isn’t what worries me the most.
      It is the adolescent population, … the 6 to 18 year olds.
      And that is because those “Sharknado” themed science fiction movies will “confirm” what they are now being taught in the Public Schools.
      “DUH”, did not many Public School Systems make the “viewing” of Al Gore’s “IT” documentary mandatory?

      • You must be surrounded by a better bunch of thinking adults (Houston). In the heavily populated portions of Oregon, wrt common sense, giving the typical adult a little credit will cost you a lot.

    • benofhouston
      Given the recent Pokemon Go craze (not to mention the Kardashians), you may be vastly overvaluing the demonstrated capabilities of “people”

      • Don’t make me sic my venosaur on you, Javert. It’s a fun, silly game for people to have fun silly battles. It’s hardly any worse than any other popular entertainment, and as people are actively participating, it makes more sense than professional wrestling or most other sports.

  5. Um, I realize that many (if not all) alarmists hold the same opinion of their fellow man as Gruber (so stupid they will believe health care costs will decrease as health care is used more frequently!). HOWEVER. Are there really people out there who believe anyone sees Sharknado as anything other than “so bad its good” entertainment?
    Maybe the problem is that people who are foolish enough to believe the AGW claims might just be foolish enough to believe Sharknado could happen. Compared to some of the alarmist claims, Sharknado seems almost sensible.

    • AllyKat,
      One of the worst “so bad its good” movies was “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”Hopefully, most sane people realized it was fake too.

  6. So Sharknado and CAGW are all genre from the same low budget flicks , well except Sharknado because at least it was believable !and CAGW cost more .

  7. I can assure any climate scientist reading this that “Sharknado” has not lowered my opinion of climate science and most of its practicioners.

      • Markstoval, in case Ro — HA! (heh) doesn’t return, he or she is in the Commonwealth, so, likely “British,” I think, but, living in Australia IIRC.

      • Born in Britain, brought up in Australia, back to Britain and used it a base for a long time, lived in a variety of other countries, back in Australia now.

    • Just like that film about the Moon breaking in pieces and consequently falling on the Earth had a “detailed discussion of gravity”.

    • There are positive references in the Climategate emails 🙂
      e.g. Climategate Email 0486.txt

      Laura,
      Very difficult call given I haven’t seen it. How about ……..
      “We need to distinguish between good film-making, good science and good politics. The Day After Tomorrow is a great film which, while taking its starting point from science, ends up telling a dramatic and entertaining science-fiction story. The point is well made, however, that political decisions by governments and personal lifestyle decisions by all of us, can and do alter the sustainability of life on this planet. The climatic extremes portrayed in the film must not be taken literally as a scenario; but we would be foolish to ignore the key message that the future of the Earth is in our hands.”
      I think it is also important for me to know how this quote will be used, and whether it will be edited.
      Mike

      • “I think it is also important for me to know how this quote will be used, and whether it will be edited.”

        Hahaha. Someone thinks his every word will go straight into Mickey’s Little Red Book.

    • The only people I know even INTERESTED in a “detailed discussion of climate panic, er, ‘change'”, are the kale-smoothie-sucking, Prius-driving, Fitbit-wearing, donor-class wannabee corporate geeks who purse their lips and clutch their pearls about “the Planet.” Forty years ago they were dropping acid and reading Marx and Kafka. They have to be seen doing Good Works in public to get their “lifestyle” brownie points from their globalist overlords lest they get fired for being less than Earnestly Concerned. Incredibly tedious lot!

  8. “For example, one film uses climate change to discuss a buildup of methane gas in the atmosphere that is predicted to ignite, incinerating all life on Earth.”
    Isn’t the incineration of all life on Earth one of the outcomes CAGW is warning us about? If it gets the message across, why should they care about how it is done. Isn’t that the theme: The ends justify the means.

    • I don’t think methane building up and incinerating the earth is that far off. If the Arctic melts, isn’t that what will happen? All that methane we hear about all the time. /sarc

      • You really should see “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” Complete with flaming Van Allen belts menacing all Earth with a thermal runaway. (Saved by nuclear weapons, thank goodness.) Very droll supporting role for Peter Lorre.

    • Agreed. A shame because she was so gorgeous in “American Pie” and “Josie and the Pussycats”.

    • I went on a multistate tornado chasing college tour this spring (superb, BTW). One of the students bought the film and we watched it in the vans on the way “home.” Super duper laughably bad.

    • The original was commissioned by/released on SyFy, so most people saw it for “free” as part of their cable/satellite package. I think the same is true of the sequels. I think the only people who pay to see it at select screenings are essentially attending watch-parties.

  9. What’s this? Genius film studies graduates questioning the sophistry and effectiveness of climate alarmism?

  10. “Do climate disaster movies hurt the climate cause?”
    The movies might hurt the cause; but the real harm to The Cause is that there is a “Cause” and that climate “scientists” are playing politics rather than science.
    This “science by politics” scheme has been going on so long and in more than just climatology that science itself is nearly dead. Other than mathematics, it is hard to think of a field that is not dominated by some vision that just happens to support the vision of the paymasters who dole out the money.
    The nation-state has an inverse Midas Touch; everything it touches turns to ideology and bias rather than unbiased science. My prediction is that science can not recover. God help us if engineering ever goes down this dark path.
    Disclaimer: I think medical science (and big pharma) led the way down the path to the dark side years before climatology became important to more than a handful of people world wide. Still, climatology made up for its late entry into the propaganda business.

    • …God help us if engineering ever goes down this dark path….
      Electrical engineering already has. Much of Western Europe is no longer able to generate adequate amounts of cheap energy.
      God help us, indeed….

    • “Do climate disaster movies hurt the climate cause?” ….
      “Does this dress make me look fat?”

  11. Let us not forget about the loon fest in Philly this past week, when the participants keep going gaga every time one of the speakers ranted on about climate change, even when their female version President Snow wannabe stirred the pot. It’s apparent that all the gullible gravitated towards Philly last week.

    • Luckily for the dems that Sanders and Hillary were able to keep Al Gore away from Philly.
      One thing they didn’t need was a snow storm in July due to the Gore Effect right in the middle of a CAGW lecture from ignorant political dems.

  12. ” But casting climate change as a catalyst for extreme, globally threatening natural disasters is a move characteristic of a small but growing genre of climate disaster films.”
    wtf??
    its EXACTLY the drivel the agw mob yammer in every damned media release..someone send the idiots a mirror!

  13. science itself is nearly dead
    But that’s OK because we have computers and the internet now!
    God help us if engineering ever goes down this dark path.
    Well, a LOT of engineering is being off-shored to countries where people typically don’t ask a lot of uncomfortable questions and are eager to please. It only takes a few years of this before the now-unemployed expertise leaves the profession for good and the only people remaining are brown-nosers, yes men, button-clickers and administrative staff.

  14. Climate change movies do damage but not in the way they think.
    There’s the hero complex, where warmists see themselves as the good person in the movie, whereas reality is a lot more subtle. I certainly have never seen a movie where the lead is a bumbling incompetent who repeatedly makes silly mistakes and offends people until nobody listens.
    They need a greater understanding of what things have actually benefited mankind and fossil fuels come very high up the list. It might mean they’d have more humility about what they ask for. It might wake them up to the idea that in condemning everything made possible by ready energy, they are antagonising a large percentage of society who are involved in production and consumption.
    Movies are all about not having time to cross the tees but the enormity of the issue makes due diligence essential. We don’t scramble from one emergency to another and people have the time to work out when the scientists are bullsh…ing for effect and/or no more inclined to cut CO2 than the rest of us. Scientists don’t have the advantage of being good looking, smooth tongued Hollywood icons and even if they were, we’ve had all out lifetimes to realise that the quality of the delivery is no measure of the value of the idea. Ask the UK Bremain side if the public can make up its own mind regardless of the slickness and weight of the anti Brexit arguments. PR is at it’s best persuading people to buy something they already want.
    Movies give an unrealistic impression of how easy problems are to solve or who would be hurt by the solutions. Warmists are curiously wedded to the idea that it’s fossil fuel magnates that stand between them and public support. In their dreams. They need to step away from the movies and join everyone else in the real world.

    • Great post. We’re now living in times of light speed communications-enabled Reality Theatre where there’s a relentless battle to dominate the narrative. Greatly enhanced communications technology is a wonderful tool for deception and manipulation by sophists with an agenda.
      As Chrichton said, “In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.” And certainly, “The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.
      https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5194.Michael_Crichton

    • “Scientists don’t have the advantage of being good looking, smooth tongued Hollywood icons …”

      Careful now. You’re setting yourself up as the target of Mickey Mann’s next lawsuit.

      • MP, I agree. When I read the comment “Scientists don’t have the advantage of being good looking, smooth tongued Hollywood icons …” the first thing that came to mind was Mikey (Squirrel Cheeks) Mann. I’m not sure why, Mikey is neither a scientist nor good looking.

    • I’ve pointed this out before on WUWT. Fishing boats vanish. Prof. Tanaka discovers the cause is a giant radioactive clam. Authorities ignore him until it starts eating the Tokyo Tower. Prof T. And maybe one or two other nerds work out how to destroy it. Hero destroys it, and gets off with Akemi, Prof. T’s beautiful daughter. (Professors always have beautiful daughters, and the crazier the professor, the more beautiful the daughter.)
      But this is where the Warmists fail to think clearly. The Hero isn’t some nerdy scientist. He is Tatsuya, the handsome young airforce officer. The Warmists will be left to sweep up the disgusting corpse while Tatsuya and Akemi blissfully head off into the sunset.
      The best thing WUWT could do would be to persuade the Warmists that they are not going to get the girl. Then they would give up.

  15. I suspect films like Sharknado are more about mockery of establishment climate narratives, than about promoting concern.

    I would make it more general.

    I suspect films like Sharknado are more about mockery of the establishment …

    Whenever they didn’t think they would be beheaded, writers have mocked the establishment. Consider Jonathan Swift. Consider Gilbert and Sullivan.
    Leslie Nielsen was so funny because he looked so much like a serious establishment guy while being silly.
    Folks who take themselves too seriously are fair game for comedians but they don’t seem to like that very much. 🙂

  16. I think the influence of climate change is being under-estimated. Pretty sure detailed study would provide conclusive scientific evidence that climate change is the primary cause of zombie movies. To be clear, not the cause of zombies, but zombie movies. We all know zombies have nothing to do with climate change.

  17. But even film economic “disasters” like Water World start with their premise of climate disaster.
    Today’s series of the kid-kill-kid “rebellion against the city” began as its assumption that the seas rose hundreds of feet (due to climate change – what in ten years?) and began the original wars.

  18. Oh good grief. The Sharknado movies exist because people are afraid of being eaten by sharks but don’t mind seeing people come face-to-face with sharks in unbelievable settings.
    That, and to affirm that the sequels are never as good as the original.
    The Day after Tomorrow had a stated goal of getting people to talk about CAGW, but the movie was so awful scientifically few people did. Besides, people liked seeing New York City freeze to death. It saved us from the spectre of Trump for President. Now there’s a disaster movie subject.

    • Well, Ric, I’m not thrilled about Trump, but I will vote for him. A male chauvinist patriot versus Hillaryzilla — I’ll take the man (with his faults — and strengths) over the monster every time. The one makes me wince, the other makes me fear for the life, liberty, and happiness of my country.

      • Janice Moore,
        I’ve never commented on your comments before, but I love reading them. I’m commenting on this one because, not to take the thread to far OT, but I agree with you and could not have said it any better (besides, I always wanted to comment on one of your posts and this looked like a good one). :>)

      • Phil R, Thank you! And, thanks for the affirmation — nice to know you “get” me. Wow! Your comment was a nice little present to someone who needed something happy to happen today 🙂 Thanks for taking the time. Janice

  19. What movie could do more damage than the headline seeking bad science we are subject to on a daily basis? How about this from Nature:
    “Apollo Lunar Astronauts Show Higher Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: Possible Deep Space Radiation Effects on the Vascular Endothelium”
    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep29901#t1
    So much new cardiovascular insight… from such a tiny group. Now that’s science!

    • Yeah, I was thinking they need to replicate the study with a larger cohort. And younger.
      And I don’t see any discussion about NASA irradiating the Apollo astronauts as part of moon landing hoax. Shouldn’t that be one of the alternative hypotheses?
      Or, perhaps this shows the long term effects of getting too little exercise in a cramped weightless command capsule.

      • If one of the 3 Apollo veterans who died of cardiovascular disease had died instead in a car accident then the headline premise would have disappeared. Does anyone consider sensitivity studies these days?
        Here is just another case where some interesting theories were being studied, and a headline was sought to perhaps capture additional funding. And public confidence in science takes another tiny blow to the chin. Sociologists would call that normalization I suppose.

      • Ric Werme

        Or, perhaps this shows the long term effects of getting too little exercise in a cramped weightless command capsule.

        I would add the many more MONTHS of forced “lay on your back doing mission simulations” on the capsule simulators, modules and horizontal couches in Houston training facilities. There is a six (ten to one?) to one ratio of flight time to training and simulation time. Even more time getting suited up and measured and weighting (er, waiting) around in meetings and doctor visits and travel times. Even a assembly linie worker in a automated factory moves more than an astronaut.

      • sciguy54,
        I made this comment way farther down, but I think it is appropriate here.
        Sociology – one group of people studying a group of people who don’t need studying by a group of people who do.

      • Or, perhaps this shows the long term effects of getting too little exercise in a cramped weightless command capsule.
        They could exercise ad lib with wearing bracers using mass inertia as counterparts – nothing to see here, drift along.

      • Phil
        In fairness to Sociology I must note that one of my most important undergrad courses (engineering!) was a Sociology class on the construction of and use of studies. My instructor pulled the curtain back and revealed many of the abuses we see every day. Life changing knowledge gained at age 20.

    • The study sample size was seven astronauts, since that’s all who have died after going into deep space. Four died of cardiovascular disease, an above average rate, leading to the headline. If only three had died from that cause, it would have been a rate below average, generating a headline extolling possible health benefits.
      No reputable person, be he scientist or journalist, would touch this. Someone was just in dire need of publicity and a headline.

  20. If ‘The Day After Tommorrow” is the best of the bunch then they are in bad shape. I couldn’t help laughing through the whole movie. Completely preposterous.

  21. Why worry about movies when Al Gore Mr. Mann the Ship of Fools etc. etc. is enhancing skepticism around the world?

  22. I, for one, appreciate that The Conversation is coming around. They suspect Sharknado was a grotesque parody. They might be on to something.
    And it is great to see “The Day After Tomorrow” upheld as the scientific gold standard by which those other films are judged, proving that climate is an easy game to play. Who knew that this was even possible? Waiter, can we see the code for the computer model please? Who knew that hurricanes would obligingly elongate and distort themselves like vermicious knids near the poles so they would appear to be circular on a Mercator projection map? But why stop there! Let’s tile the whole damned planet with himicanes, hericanes and ittybitty-canes, the better to resemble the eyes of a vengeful God! All white and wooly like that lamb with the howevermany eyes in the Book of Revelations. Those eyes are looking at YOU accusingly! Avert your gaze and buy carbon credits.

  23. Before dismissing the impact of a climate disaster movie, I think we should remember a quote from Scott Adams: “You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public”.

  24. The Conversion sez:
    At their heart, however, the “Sharknado” films are stories about climate change
    No, those made-for-tv movies are just plain stupid.

  25. Paraphrasing from above : “It’s not uncommon to … use the term “climate change” or “global warming” to refer to ….. phenomena – some of which are physically impossible and could happen in no world.”
    Sounds like the typical alarmist claims to me – pretty much on the same level as Sharknado. Too funny !

  26. I think it terribly unfair to be so down on Sharknado. It really could happen. I have a model……..

    • lol, Mr. Pattullo. And so do Huey, Dewey, and Louey (et al.) and The Seven Dwarfs (a.k.a. “the team”) and Daffy Duck and Wile E. Coyote and Little Bo-Peep and Wee Willie Winkie and about 3 dozen other clowns. And THEY ALL SAY THE SAME THING!
      Such agreement cannot be mere coincidence.
      Must be right.
      Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! — Not. 🙂

      • Oh, and Mr. Pattullo, here’s the memo you missed: Whenever you talk about sharknado, remember, team, it is always “and this is highly certain to happen unless we build lots of windmills and all ride our bicycles everywhere we go.” Cheers.

  27. All along I thought it was data manipulation, presentation of scenarios as predictions, manufactured consensus, sophomoric scare tactics and failed predictions that were wrecking the credibility of climate science.
    Sit back and view the aftermath, climate science. Sharknado IS what you have become. Remember you thought it was a good idea to enlist the help of Hollywood in support of your cause.
    Be careful what you ask for. Even Cameron can’t pull a rabbit out of this hat.

  28. The Conversation is not even worth reading, might as well rad John Cook’s diary for all the difference of opinion there would be. They sanitise comments too weeks after you post. They purged my comments from the Gerghis article even though, cos FOI emails refuted what Gerghis was claiming in the article.

    • The Conversation clearly has a leftist agenda and it is rare to see anything that isn’t clearly out in ‘left field.’ However, I have not noticed any of my comments being deleted, even after several months. I offered a conservative viewpoint article on gun control and did not even get the courtesy of a “Thank you, but no thank you.” They are unapologetically liberal. Perhaps if some of this troupe were to comment on their climate articles they would get a dose of reality to deal with. They are really engaged in propaganda and they might be more selective in what they choose to publish if many people were to routinely take them to task.

  29. If the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, presented by Matt Damon, can use sciency words, there is no reason why Sharknado can’t.

    • That Sci-Fi Channel has really gone down hill in the last few years.
      It’s sad, because there are probably more science fiction plots out there in book form than any other subject. Really good science fiction plots.
      Some genius could turn these stories into a mountain of wealth, if they did it right, which means turning a good book, or short story, into a good screenplay, which is not automatic.

      • “That Sci-Fi Channel has really gone down hill in the last few years.”
        it happened when they went from SciFi to Syfy aka the syphilis channel.
        Off topic but you should watch Tales from the Script to find out how screenplays get bastardized by production. It was eye-opening.

  30. Well Halibutnado would be more credible but who is going to be moved to climate action by the prospect of a month’s worth of fish dinners being dropped on them? Nope it’s going to have to be ‘Sharknado’s forever even if people look back on them as being silly.

  31. Will NO ONE think of the Sharks?! I am aghast at the story….not once did they think of those poor sharks being sucked up into a tornado, or forced into low orbit, or made to actually USE the LA Freeway system filled with a torrential 6″ of fresh water! How many sharks have to die to get their message through! And lets NOT go into the immense sacrifice of the shark in the finale of the first Sharknado. That shark was killed just so the protagonist could escape from it’s stomach with a chainsaw! The sheer amount of animals that movie slaughtered was intolerable and their focus is getting an environmental message through?! HOW DARE THEY SLAUGHTER THE INNOCENT for the masses!
    I think that about sums up the worth of the entire article don’t you? In all seriousness….there is a SHARKNADO 4!!! OMG! I can’t wait to pop the corn, sit back with a beer, and laugh myself silly…all while pointing out the ridiculousness of the situation, the shoddy post production and of course tearing apart Tara Reid’s complete lack of acting. Should be fun!

  32. I feel their pain. Movies like “Ghostbusters”, and “Mars Attacks” hurt the science behind ghostology and ufology. These represent grave threats, and need to be taken seriously, but these movies actually cause more skepticism, not less. There oughta be a law.

    • ‘Ghostbusters… Hurts the science’
      True, look what ‘Spaceballs’ did to the Force. I just don’t believe anymore.

  33. Does this t-shirt make me look fat? No, it is the fat that makes you look fat.
    Here it is the same:
    Does sharknado make them lose credibility? No, it is their bad science that makes them lose credibility.

  34. Didn’t the shark in Sharknado make his film debut in the television series “Happy Days?”

  35. The premise makes sense.
    Slasher movies have really trashed the reputation and good name of psychopathic killers the world over.
    🙂

  36. There’s just too much freedom of speech in the world. We should prevent Hollywood and anyone else from writing scripts and creating content that hasn’t gone through a review board of scientists of some kind, and I mean a board that’s been carefully screened to assure the world’s governments that they follow consensus science. /s

  37. Sharknado could be easily stopped with a sharknado tax. just like CAGW. In fact I was always a bit disappointed in Sigourney Weaver in not spotting the obvious merits of an Alien3 tax

  38. They are still desperately looking for reasons why the sheeple haven’t bought the “climate change” meme. Yeah, it’s those darn climate disaster movies. Go with that.

  39. As I remarked to the authors of The Conversation sharknado article (and strangely the only comment at the time), the real risk is that the public will come to distrust science because of all the ‘fiction’ that may not come true. I wish my crystal ball was a clear as all those forecasting CAGW.

  40. the authors are a professor (I think) of Sociology and a Public Communications quack.
    Sociology – the study of a group of people who don’t need studying by a group of people who do.

  41. Not even remotely possible.
    Sharknado has MORE scientific credibility than do climate scientists.

  42. Worrying about how a movie like Sharknado made destroy the credibility of climate change science, is akin to worrying about how the Three Stooges may impact the credibility of the medical community. They have already started down the slippery slope of irrelevance.
    “Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!”

  43. The Conversation is worried that climate disaster films like Sharknado might damage the credibility of climate scientists,
    NOPE. The “climate scientists” are doing that quite well all on their own. Mind you,you have to have credibility to start with. And just as an afterthought,how can you damage something which does not exist?

    • Yes that is my immediate reaction – in order for them to be concerned about “climate science” (in the “Man(n) made” sense, of course) to have its “credibility” CHALLENGED would first require it to have some credibility to start with. Nobody but the completely uninformed about the Earth’s climate history ever endowed the ridiculous notion of catastrophic human induced climate change with the slightest bit of credibility.

  44. “The Day After Tomorrow” was a complete joke as there cannot be a hurricane or cyclone based on a cold engine model. Hurricanes are bases on the difference in temperature between the surface (warm) and upper atmosphere (cooler). It cannot be based the reverse. The temperature decreases of buildings and other objects is simply impossible as the materials could not transmit kinetic energy that quickly between phases.

  45. You mean the alarmists don’t get their “science” from Hollywood climate disaster movies?

  46. I love it when the absurd is embellished by the absurd (and you get to figure out which “absurd” is which).
    But, really, this was all built in at the beginning. When I first saw “An Inconvenient Truth,” I almost guffawed out loud at the point when, in Gore’s list of animals extinct because of global warming, I saw a picture most clearly of a coelacanth. Think about it: extinct, right? It would serve Gore right to be bitten by one…
    At least the producers, directors, actors, and viewers of the “sharknado” movies know that they are fiction.

  47. I really appreciate it when disaster movies spit right in the face of the Eco-Fascists. My favorite example of this is a subtle line from the latest Godzilla (2014), when Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Serizawa says…
    “The arrogance of man is believing that man is in control of nature, and not the other way around.”
    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

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