13 November 2014

Some Really Good Science Journalism

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I saw three pieces of REALLY good science journalism today, and (in case you missed one or all three) here they are.

I usually give top marks on science journalism to the BBC, but the best reporting (BY FAR) today on the Rosetta Probe and it’s Philae Lander came from MSNBC host Rachael Maddow. Well worth a watch:

Next is a piece by my friend Bob Henson (who is trying to stay warm in Boulder, Colorado tonight) about a big science debate having to do with climate change. No, it’s not about whether greenhouse gases make planets warmer, or if climate changed stopped in 1998. That kind of talk is for folks who are science illiterate. No, this is about whether or not the cold winters we’ve had over the past few years are (in part at least) due to climate change, and specifically, warming oceans and disappearing sea ice. Bob has a great summary of the science here, and if you read this blog regularly you will recognize some names. As for me, I think both sides are right in this debate!

Click the image below to read some excellent science journalism.

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Lastly, is the news that the NOAA Satellite service got hacked in September (fingers pointed at the Chinese) and how it did cause some model degradation. I can tell you that there were questions (among meteorologists) going around about NOAA computer issues then, and today we learn the real reason behind them. Apparently, NOAA shut down some data feeds and the NSIDC web site until the networks could be made secure. Jason Samenow of the Washington Post (and Capital Weather Gang) has some solid reporting on it.

The worst part of this is that vital data from satellites was not able to be sent to the UK Met office for inclusion in the ECMWF model runs. This is the best global weather model out there, and is relied on by meteorologists around the world. I might add the UK Met office  just bought a new computer system and will be improving their models even more, while the promised upgrade of the NOAA computer system is apparently caught in red tape. It seems our atmospheric science facilities are looking just like our airports when compared to Europe: out of date, and rather shabby looking.