More Climate Misinformation and Factual Errors in the Seattle Times. Should You Care?

From the Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Perhaps I should not read the Seattle Times anymore.  

During the past weeks, there have been several climate-related stories and opinion/cartoon pieces that are just plain wrong.  Clear factual errors, or hyping/exaggerating the impacts of global warming.

And there are dozens of additional examples of profound errors in Seattle Times climate pieces over the years, several discussed in this blog.   Newspapers should be about communicating the truth, not advocacy of a certain politized viewpoint.  

The citizens of a democracy must be well informed about important issues of the day, with newspapers playing an important role.  As shown below, the Seattle Times is failing in its responsibilities.  

Worse than that, the Times has suppressed information contradictory to their problematic information.

Let me provide some recent examples.

Is Climate Change Inundating the Quinault Nation on the Central Washington Coast?

It started with an article about how the Feds are providing funds to move a Quilayute Village away from the coast because of climate change:  The ST claimed that rising sea level and stronger storms resulting from global warming was the cause.

The article is quite specific about this:

And the Seattle Times doesn’t stop there.    Seattle Times editorial cartoonist David Horsey has a “Climate Carol”.   Nearly all of it is wrong.

 And he makes the claim about the Quinault village.  The ocean is rising and coastlines are sinking from climate change.  And yes storms are getting bigger.

The problem?  None of this is true.  And it can be PROVEN not to be true.

Let’s start with the claims that storms on the Washington Coast have increased.  This is not true.  To illustrate below is the plot of the annual maximum sustained wind (blue color) and wind gusts (red line) on the Washington Coast for roughly the last 50 years.   No long-term trend.

The same is true of other parameters (like the lowest pressure on the coast).  Storms are not getting stronger  The UW Climate Impact Group examined regional climate models for the upcoming century (link here) and found no increase in storms in our region: 

“The global model ensemble confirms the results from the regional climate models, with no consistent trend toward more extreme wind storms over western Washington in future climate projections”

What about the claims about sea level going up on the Washington Coast due to global warming?

Well, it turns out that sea level is no rising because the land is rising!  Yes, the ocean water levels are going up slowly as the earth warms up.   But if the land rises, the actual water level on the coast can stay the same or go down.

The coastal terrain of Washington is RISING, with sea level going DOWN or steady.

There are two reasons for this.   One has to do with the deep glacial ice that covered the northern Olympic Peninsula, pushing down the land.  When the glaciers melted out about 16,000 years ago, the land started to rebound upward.  And it is still rebounding.

Along the coast, another geological feature is contributing to the coastal land being pushed up:  the subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate under the North American plate (see figure). As the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate is pushed downward, coastal land is elevated.

In fact, using very sophisticated GPS-derived measurements, the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array has found the area around the Quinault coast village in question is rising around 2 mm per year (see below). 

Based on satellite altimetry, sea level rise offshore has been about 2 mm per year (see results from 1993-2020 below).   Again, global warming is contributing to this.

Based on this information, you would not expect much sea level rise along our coast because the land is rising.  But let’s check the data from NOAA.

NOAA has a sea level trend website with data from three local coastal sites (Astoria, Neah Bay, and Toke Point near Westport).   Neah Bay and Astoria have the longest records (back to about 1930).

Neah Bay, on the northwest side of the Olympic Peninsula, has sea level DROPPING by 1.74 mm a year.  Small uncertainly compared to the trend (+-.27 mm/year)

Astoria has a decline in sea level as well, but much less (.16 mm a year) and the uncertainty is larger than the trend.  

Toke Point near Westport, has a much shorter record (starts mid-70s).  It nominally shows a small rising trend (.38 mm a year), but the uncertainty is large (twice the trend).  The problem with such a short record is the trend would change with a slightly different start date).  For example, starting around 1980 there is essentially no trend.

The bottom line in all this is the Seattle Times’ claims of global warming causing more flooding at Quinault coastal village is clearly bogus.  Sea level is not rising much on the coast (and falling at many locations) and storms that would push water onto the coast are not increasing.

In another blog, I will describe the factual errors in another recent Seattle Times article, claiming that global warming is causing a “tipping point”.for Western Red Cedars.  You will be stunned by how sloppy the article was.

Seattle Times Censorship of Contradictory Viewpoints.

This is, perhaps the first  “Twitter files” for the Seattle Times climate coverage.  On some of their problematic articles, I have occasionally left some comments, providing information about the actual state of scientific knowledge.   I have published over 150 papers, many on Northwest weather and climate.

Imagine how surprised I was to find that the Seattle Times removed all my comments from all articles and froze my ability to leave anymore.   Below is the message.   They were accusing me of providing disinformation about climate change.  

I protested this obvious ploy to silence differing viewpoints and asked for a single example of my making a scientific error.  Crickets.   I finally emailed the management of the Seattle Times and that led to them reversing the decision.

David Horsey is constantly doing editorial cartoons on climate.  The Seattle Times has been unhappy about folks’ comments about his “work” and they now forbid comments.  Here is their message:

Editor’s note: Seattle Times Opinion no longer appends comment threads on David Horsey’s cartoons. Too many comments violated our community policies and reviewing the dozens that were flagged as inappropriate required too much of our limited staff time.

You have to feel sorry for the Seattle Times.   Because it took too much time to moderate/censor the comments about the Horsey work, they kill the ability to leave comments.

I learned a lot about the Seattle Times’ censorship of conflicting views, with their Sea Change article in 2012.   They claimed that increasing CO2 was killing baby oysters in factory facilities.  It wasn’t true and the oyster business has done quite well during the last decade.  But I criticized their science in a blog at that time and they stopped talking to me after that. 

The strange thing is that I used to have a very close relationship with the Seattle Times when they cared about the truth.  When they had dedicated science journalists like Hill Williams and Dedtra Henderson.  They wanted to get the facts right.   But things have changed in the newspaper.

Anyway, the decline of science coverage and the move to climate-change advocacy at the Seattle Times has not been in the best interest of anyone, particularly the Times.  They are misinforming the public.  Global warming is a serious issue that requires a fact and a science-based response.   

4.9 38 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
December 14, 2022 10:19 am

Seattle because Portland needs a bridge to reality.

But seriously your excellent reportage revealing the truth should run on the front page.

michael hart
Reply to  Giving_Cat
December 14, 2022 10:42 am

When I was at the UW for a PhD from the mid 90’s, Seattle could generally be described as “harmless”.

Now, à la Douglas Adams, it seems I have to downgrade it to “mostly harmless”.

December 14, 2022 10:23 am

Interesting that contrary comments have become so numerous that comments are now banned! It is nor surprising, because all indications are that ordinary citizens are slowly coming to realise that “authorities” are mainly supporting the arguments which will lead them towards total control and personal wealth rather than accepting truth!

Curious George
Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 15, 2022 7:56 am

This will bring a flood of new subscribers to Seattle Times 🙂

December 14, 2022 10:34 am

When? When will the Big One (Juan du Fuca) happen? Estimated time? …and that volcano would produce quite a flood if it erupts again.

December 14, 2022 10:34 am

Citizens most be protected from any information the government doesn’t want them to know.

Big brother, here we come.

Reply to  MarkW
December 14, 2022 11:09 am

News papers seem to be the same all over the world .
Short of news today so the editor searches for climate change topics to fill the paper .
We had virtually the same story here in new Zealand .
It was reported that a Maori village was being threatened by sea level rise in New Plymouth and I happened to be down there and we went walking along the coast .
The village is at least 6 meters above the high tide .
The average sea level rise around the New Zealand coast is less than 1.5 millimeters with no sign of acceleration .
One hundred years could see a rise of 15 centimeters and over 600 years to rise one meter .
Yes the village is built on sand and wave action erodes sand but many coastal towns and villages have had to erect barriers to stop the erosion .

Reply to  MarkW
December 14, 2022 11:38 am

Big brother, here we come are.

Citizen Smith
Reply to  MarkW
December 14, 2022 3:37 pm

Seattle Times lies and censorship is bad but feds spending $25 million of our money for climate change relief is just plain fraud. Defund DC.

December 14, 2022 10:38 am

The Seattle Times doesn’t allow empirical data or peer reviewed science that destroys the lies they promote to be seen. The echo chamber the naive are enslaved in must be preserved!

I’ve also had my account put on suspension several times for citing the truth. I’m careful not to violate terms of use. Name calling against me is allowed.

December 14, 2022 10:47 am

Is there any doubt that the MSM is a tool of the Marxists to propagate and sustain AGW and social propaganda? They’ve quietly and successfully gained control/bought the media over the last century.

December 14, 2022 10:51 am

The younger generation “journalists” are a lost cause, I fear. Thier minds have been forever broken by the climate propaganda they have to listen to from progressive professors at most colleges and universities around the country. It is going to be a long battle to restore truth to the debate.

Peta of Newark
December 14, 2022 11:33 am

BBC does that also..
It was/is the nuclear fusion story – I saw it first yesterday morn on the BBC.

At the time, comments were open and a fairly busy discussion was ongoing, all of it of course fawning over how lovely this was and that we were all going to be saved from the hideousity that is: Climate Change.

Me being me, pointed out that their graphic explaining the reactor was in fact ‘Garbage’
That where they showed a Neutron and also ‘energy’ coming out was wrong, that the Neutron and the Energy were/are inextricably linked.
Also that relativistic neutrons are immensly damaging things, while being totally unsteerable and hideously radioactive.
Fine, it swallowed my words
(all 400 characters that is, but I didn’t need or use such a generous allowance)

I revisited the story this morn and the comments are completely vanished, perfectly no trace.
For BBC that’s kinda odd, normally they ‘close to new comments’ but leave whatever there was still viewable.

But on that story, they deleted the lot. Like comments never even happened.

December 14, 2022 11:35 am

Cliff, I admire your herculean efforts to present the recorded facts as always, but you must by now realize that you are debating a RELIGION.

Facts, reality, rationality are just not resident in climate apostles’ psyche.

They’re totally driven by unalloyed BELIEF and EMOTIONAL RESPONSES.

You, to them, are a HERETIC, a THREAT to their cult’s existence.

Since actual physical Inquisitions are no longer lawful, the zealots will instead focus on silencing you in every way they can.

Reply to  Mr.
December 14, 2022 2:34 pm

Not a heretic, more like a heathen, an unbeliever, what the Muslims call a kafir. (note, not the South African term, if you please)

December 14, 2022 12:23 pm

These biased, feed the narrative rags seem to believe they speak with authority to the masses – they don’t – they speak to the same very small echo chamber of lefty, weak minded readers they manage to muster week by week

The vast majority of people living in the science fact challenged West are growing in their scepticism of the climate alarmist agendas and also growing in their understanding of basic energy concepts and the nut zero ideologies, in particular how it affects their pockets

We must continue to call out all media, institutions and individuals who peddle climate doom, lies and deceit – you will not change their deranged, indoctrinated views, but it does give fence sitters food for thought and alternate facts to consider – staying silent is not an option

As an Energy, Power Generation & Distribution HV Project Director / Manager for 40+ years, I love the combat with alarmists – they soon crumble to dust when faced with Engineering facts and realities that they have no counter argument against and no real life experience to relate to, just their narrative from nefarious alarmist sources

Lots of MSM have lost their sense of high quality investigative journalism, looking at both sides and presenting unbiased facts – they are speaking to a declining audience pool as more people search for the truth from alternate sources

Rick C
Reply to  Energywise
December 14, 2022 3:37 pm

These biased, feed the narrative rags seem to believe they speak with authority to the masses – they don’t – they speak to the same very small echo chamber of lefty, weak minded readers they manage to muster week by week”

Case in point -AOC’s Green New Deal climate documentary made ~$80 per theater over the opening weekend. A flop of historic proportions. So it seems the general public recognize a waste of time and money.

December 14, 2022 12:59 pm

As a private company owned by the Blethen family, they have the right to publish whatever they want. You have a right to buy it or not. If you enjoy reading what they publish then buy it, otherwise ignore it. They have a right to reject your views. There is no law to say they their reporting has to be impartial. Hence why this website exists as a parallel information service.

Reply to  Peter4075
December 14, 2022 1:31 pm

This may be true, but it’s sad. And I wonder if the company or its employees sign up to any publicatioon or journalist standards. If so,then what you say is not true. But it’s still sad.

Reply to  Peter4075
December 15, 2022 2:58 am

Newspapers, privately owned or not, should NEVER promulgate provably false information as the Seattle Times is doing.

Reply to  Peter4075
December 15, 2022 1:30 pm

There’s a big difference between not being impartial and not being truthful.

December 14, 2022 1:18 pm

This latest got to be first
Electric cars ablaze on transporter on M1
Several electric vehicles being transported by truck went up in flames on the M1, shutting traffic in both directions.comment image

It doesnot add up
Reply to  vuk
December 14, 2022 1:51 pm

£66,000 Jaguar EVs…

Reply to  vuk
December 14, 2022 2:30 pm

Imagine how many homes you could heat with that fire!

Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 1:19 pm

“Newspapers should be about communicating the truth…”

Ah, now all we gotta do is determine the truth! Ought to be easy. Actually, we’ll never know the truth about anything, in my opinion- so the right job of journalism is to offer different perspectives without judgement other than on the editorial page where opinions are OK. And it should be diverse opinions.

Rud Istvan
December 14, 2022 1:45 pm

The Seattle Times was prominently featured—and not in a good light—in essay Shell Games in ebook Blowing Smoke. I started with their concluding big feature article on ‘ocean acidification’ (OA), then deconstructed their first two big examples. Both were clear cut cases of academic misconduct that their years long ‘in depth reporting’ on OA simply took at face value. I agree with Cliff.

December 14, 2022 1:58 pm

Beach erosion can happen in a lot of places with rising or sinking landforms. They just don’t always have White House PR statements, tax money, and unchecked climate media hype to go with it.

Ed Zuiderwijk
December 14, 2022 3:00 pm

The climate carol also works when you bring it sarcastically. Add the last line: ‘Just that you know’.

Bruce Cobb
December 14, 2022 3:19 pm

Climate change, Climate change
Climate all the way
Oh what fun it is to mock
All the crap the Climatists say, hey!

R Taylor
December 14, 2022 3:52 pm

Sorry, but I feel obliged to correct the closing “Global warming is a serious issue …”. Hopeless, perhaps, but not serious.

December 14, 2022 4:44 pm

From the Horsey cartoon (above)

Where Santa has his workshop
way up at the North Pole,
they’ll soon be planting
palm trees ’cause
the world burns too much coal.

Good luck with that, even if it happened then they would have to be planting their palm trees in open ocean. Just who is the science denier here?

December 14, 2022 4:50 pm

Our local newspaper in Melbourne Australia has editorial pieces from some Australia’s best known “global warming” skeptics – Andrew Bolt, Peta Credlin. Terry McCrann and Rita Pinahi.

Without their contribution, I doubt I would bother reading the newspaper. These four provide some balance and way better than most others. Both Bolt and Credlin have segments on Sky News Australia so it is probably worth watching but I do not subscribe.

Everyone has a choice. I would not pay to read climate propaganda.

December 14, 2022 7:15 pm

People need to understand that the word “community” and “communist” share the same root from Latin communis. or common. Of course, censoring opinion in the opinion section of a newspaper due to content may be considered common, but it is ultimately not wise.

Last edited 1 month ago by doonman
Jim Karlock
December 14, 2022 10:40 pm

I once emailed one of their columnists about his climate dis-information and he eventually told me to take a walk up in the mountains to see the evidence of global warming. That’s it just look around you and it is obvious!

December 15, 2022 3:42 am

Parents should take a page from the climate activist playbook and start suing media corporations on behalf of their children. NPR should probably be high on that list. They have been lying to them and it should not go unpunished.

I hear blatant untruths on NPR regarding climate almost daily, this seems to have become policy.

“ No story touches as many people as climate change. Heat waves, mega-droughts and unprecedented floods are all becoming more intense and frequent. ”

This contradicts known science and cast serious doubt on the credibility of NPR as a whole.

There is no detectable increase in any of the events listed.

How will this be corrected? Why was such a blatant untruth allowed to be published?

Curious George
December 15, 2022 9:04 am

Could the Quinault Indian Nation sue the Seattle Times?

Jeff Alberts
December 15, 2022 9:22 pm

I really don’t get Cliff Mass. He constantly debunks climate nonsense, yet then says things like this: “Global warming is a serious issue that requires a fact and a science-based response.”

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights