NASA's Muzzle Hustle

Just a bit over a month ago, December 14, we ran a blog piece on a NASA web page that said the sun is primarily responsible for climate change, and that whatever warming is caused by man's contributions to greenhouse gases is swamped by the effects of the sun and other natural variables.

"The Sun is the primary forcing of Earth's climate system... According to scientists' models of Earth's orbit and orientation toward the Sun indicate that our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling -- perhaps the next ice age...Other important forcings of Earth's climate system include such ‘variables' as clouds, airborne particulate matter, and surface brightness. Each of these varying features of Earth's environment has the capacity to exceed the warming influence of greenhouse gases and cause our world to cool."

In commenting on my own blog item, I said, "The likely outcome is that NASA will either withdraw this statement, or ‘clarify' its position ala the American Physical Society. I wouldn't be surprised if the NASA link stopped working."

Well, the NASA link stopped working.  Here is the link that used to work: http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/big-questions/what-are-the-primary-causes-of-the-earth-system-variability/.  If you try it now, it says "page not found."

Jim Boot looked into this.  Luckily, he was wise enough to save a screen shot of the original NASA page.  He notes that there is still a NASA page that has some of the same words, such as, "The Sun is the primary forcing of Earth's climate system... the Sun drives almost every aspect of our world's climate system and makes possible life as we know it."

But gone is the prediction of coming cooling.  In fact, it now says, "Earth is currently in a period of warming. Over the last century, Earth's average temperature rose about 1.1°F (0.6°C). In the last two decades, the rate of our world's warming accelerated and scientists predict that the globe will continue to warm over the course of the 21st century."

Compare the before and after NASA web pages.

  • Before: "our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling -- perhaps the next ice age."
  • After: "the rate of our world's warming accelerated and scientists predict that the globe will continue to warm over the course of the 21st century."

Do you want to vote on why the old page was removed and the message changed from cooling to warming?

  • (a) "NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review... lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists."
  • (b) "That's not the way we operate here at NASA. We promote openness and we speak with the facts."

Those were the choices when James Hansen claimed he was being muzzled.  Dr. Hansen is the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.  Did the muzzled become the muzzler?
Just a bit over a month ago, December 14, we ran a blog piece on a NASA web page that said the sun is primarily responsible for climate change, and that whatever warming is caused by man's contributions to greenhouse gases is swamped by the effects of the sun and other natural variables.

"The Sun is the primary forcing of Earth's climate system... According to scientists' models of Earth's orbit and orientation toward the Sun indicate that our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling -- perhaps the next ice age...Other important forcings of Earth's climate system include such ‘variables' as clouds, airborne particulate matter, and surface brightness. Each of these varying features of Earth's environment has the capacity to exceed the warming influence of greenhouse gases and cause our world to cool."

In commenting on my own blog item, I said, "The likely outcome is that NASA will either withdraw this statement, or ‘clarify' its position ala the American Physical Society. I wouldn't be surprised if the NASA link stopped working."

Well, the NASA link stopped working.  Here is the link that used to work: http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/big-questions/what-are-the-primary-causes-of-the-earth-system-variability/.  If you try it now, it says "page not found."

Jim Boot looked into this.  Luckily, he was wise enough to save a screen shot of the original NASA page.  He notes that there is still a NASA page that has some of the same words, such as, "The Sun is the primary forcing of Earth's climate system... the Sun drives almost every aspect of our world's climate system and makes possible life as we know it."

But gone is the prediction of coming cooling.  In fact, it now says, "Earth is currently in a period of warming. Over the last century, Earth's average temperature rose about 1.1°F (0.6°C). In the last two decades, the rate of our world's warming accelerated and scientists predict that the globe will continue to warm over the course of the 21st century."

Compare the before and after NASA web pages.

  • Before: "our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling -- perhaps the next ice age."
  • After: "the rate of our world's warming accelerated and scientists predict that the globe will continue to warm over the course of the 21st century."

Do you want to vote on why the old page was removed and the message changed from cooling to warming?

  • (a) "NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review... lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists."
  • (b) "That's not the way we operate here at NASA. We promote openness and we speak with the facts."

Those were the choices when James Hansen claimed he was being muzzled.  Dr. Hansen is the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.  Did the muzzled become the muzzler?

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