By Shanika Gunaratna
6 December 2016
“Though we would prefer to focus on our usual coverage of weather and climate science, in this case we felt it important to add our two cents,” the Weather Channel wrote in a post on its website Tuesday.
It firmly denied a claim that overall global temperatures are declining, an idea promoted by Breitbart and spread widely on social media.
The company was specifically concerned after Breitbart — the right-wing opinion website that had been led by President-elect Donald Trump’s chief advisor Steve Bannon — used a Weather Channel video clip atop an article that claimed the last three years of weather patterns represent “the final death rattle of the global warming scare.”
Breitbart is the primary megaphone of the alt-right, an extreme right-wing movement promoting white nationalism that has gained new national stature with Bannon’s involvement in the Trump campaign and future administration.
The Weather Channel explained that, while Breitbart had the legal right to use its video clip through a content sharing agreement, it did not want to stand idly by without addressing the article’s specific, erroneous claims. [more]
6 December 2016 (Weather Channel) – Global warming is not expected to end anytime soon, despite what Breitbart.com wrote in an article published last week.
Though we would prefer to focus on our usual coverage of weather and climate science, in this case we felt it important to add our two cents — especially because a video clip from weather.com (La Niña in Pacific Affects Weather in New England) was prominently featured at the top of the Breitbart article. Breitbart had the legal right to use this clip as part of a content-sharing agreement with another company, but there should be no assumption that The Weather Company endorses the article associated with it.
The Breitbart article – a prime example of cherry picking, or pulling a single item out of context to build a misleading case – includes this statement: "The last three years may eventually come to be seen as the final death rattle of the global warming scare." […]
CLAIM: "Global land temperatures have plummeted by one degree Celsius since the middle of this year – the biggest and steepest fall on record."
TRUTH: This number comes from one satellite-based estimate of temperatures above land areas in the lower atmosphere. Data from the other two groups that regularly publish satellite-based temperature estimates show smaller drops, more typical of the decline one would expect after a strong El Niño event.
Temperatures over land give an incomplete picture of global-scale temperature. Most of the planet – about 70 percent – is covered by water, and the land surface warms and cools more quickly than the ocean. Land-plus-ocean data from the other two satellite groups, released after the Breitbart article, show that Earth’s lower atmosphere actually set a record high in November 2016. [more]