This AP story is making the rounds recently:
River Ice Jams Hard To Predict, Scientists Say
Mar 27, 2009 6:31 PM
[The story reports that] Kate White, a civil engineer at the Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., and one of the nation's leading experts on ice jams [said] climate change caused by global warming likely is changing ice conditions and adding to the unpredictability.
This has been said before, but is worth repeating in light of a flood (take it as a pun if you wish) of this kind of reporting for the last far too many years.
First, a civil engineer is cited as though she is an expert on ‘global warming.’ The problems with that are obvious. Even worse is the role the ‘global warming’ hypothesis is now expected to carry in the news culture.
On very hot days, global warming is always now the culprit. It’s never just summer, when it is often hot in many places in the world. Hot summer days confirm, it is always implied, the global warming hypothesis.
But, paradoxically, so do cold spells. So does an ice jam in a river. So does any storm of any kind. So does some vegetation growing faster than usual. So does EVERYTHING.
While that is all considered good reporting down at AP and their kin, it isn’t science. An hypothesis which is confirmed by any evidence we might encounter is not much good as an hypothesis. It’s as though the suspect in a who-done-it plot is shown to be guilty because she owned the gun or because she didn’t own the gun; because she was at the scene of the crime or because she had never been near the scene of the crime. In other words, the evidence doesn’t matter, she’s just guilty.
If nothing can conceivably count against the hypothesis of global warming, nothing really counts for it, either. We just know its a big, bad problem that must be solved by any means whatsoever.
All of which makes it a lot more like superstition than science.