“The attitude was Apollo solved most of these questions and now it’s time to invest in other planetary bodies,” said Chip Shearer, a senior research scientist at the University of New Mexico. “But in science, things aren’t stagnant, and we’re always looking for how to improve a model based on new observations and when to throw one model out because it doesn’t explain enough.”
From an article in today’s Boston Globe.
I’m waiting for the op-eds slamming government funding of the space program (what’s left of it anyway) for supporting “research that is amenable to statistical analyses and models even though everyone knows the clean equations mask messy realities that contrived data sets and assumptions don’t, and can’t, capture.”
I don’t think I’ve posted on this topic before, but I traditionally have followed reporting on the latest “climate studies”, for lack of a better phrase. Here are a few recent ones.
“World still warming up, researchers warn” (AP via Boston Globe, June 29, 2011)
“Study reveals long-term rise in sea level” (AP via Boston Globe, June 21, 2011)
“Scientists See More Deadly Weather, but Dispute the Cause” (New York Times, June 15, 2011)
There are two main causal questions: (1) is global warming caused by humans, and (2) is global warming causing more extreme weather. There are also some other questions of inference: (3) what do most scientists think? (4) And how do we infer that global warming is occurring?
I see lots of reports like those above, but don’t think they really speak to these questions. There is a lot reporting on studies on rising sea level, warmest year on record, etc. So the general message from the media is global warming is occurring. But rarely do they delve into causes or what most scientists think, which seem like the two most important questions.
Of course, these are just impressions and I’m interested if anyone has looked at media coverage of this systematically.