How the Wall Street Journal cherry picks science dat

The current coverage by the WSJ, about the ongoing deadly […]

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Climate State

Date Posted:

May 25, 2015

The current coverage by the WSJ, about the ongoing deadly heat wave in India (Temps of 48C), mentioned a study from 2005 about India and extreme weather.

Wall Street Journal 25 May 2015, India’s Blistering Heat Wave Kills More Than 500. Article hides critical info about India’s heat waves.

However, the study Extreme Weather Events over India in the last 100 years (2005), also found:

Reports indicate that 1998 [El Nino year] was noted for severe heat wave and larger number of deaths at different parts of the world. A recent study by Pai, Thapliyal & Kokate (2004) revealed that during the decade 1991-2000 a significant increase in the frequency, persistency and spatial coverage of heat wave / severe heat wave has been observed in comparison to that during the earlier decades 1971-80 and 1981-90.

These changes might be the regional impact of the observed general increase in the global warming during the recent decade (1991- 2000), which is the warmest decade during the past 140 years (WMO 2001). The deaths due to heat wave in Orissa in 1998 has been widely reported as one of the rare extreme epochs over the country resulting in deaths of nearly 1300, of which 650 were from Oriss

Alwar in Rajasthan (East) holds the record for the highest maximum temperature of 50.60 C (123.0 F) on 10 May 1956.

In recent years heat wave induced casualties have some what increased.

Thus, the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) article by author Vibhuti Agarwal, cherry picks the mention of the highest recorded temperature, but leaves out that heat waves become more frequent, significantly increase in number, are more persistent, and result in more deaths. The WSJ probably tries to give the impression that high temperatures are something normal (since they occurred in the past, and were even higher), hence indirectly suggests people should not worry to much.

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Additionally the WSJ falsely asserts that the heat wave did not break any records, when they state But the heat is still off record breaking.

Telangana breaks six decade heat record with temperature of 48 degrees

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Additionally the WSJ is not mentioning climate change at all, despite a record breaking heat wave with a huge toll of life.

Experts have long warned about heat waves fueled by global warming, i.e. recent study for heat waves in America

A 2015 study published in the science journal Nature, reported:Already today 75% of the moderate hot extremes and about 18% of the moderate daily precipitation extremes over land are attributable to the observed temperature increase since pre-industrial times, which in turn primarily results from human influence. For 2 °C of warming the fraction of precipitation extremes attributable to human influence rises to about 40%. Likewise, today about 75% of the moderate daily hot extremes over land are attributable to warming. It is the most rare and extreme events for which the largest fraction is anthropogenic, and that contribution increases nonlinearly with further warming.


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