Anecdotal Science

ABCNews is asking viewers to submit stories of evidence they have found for Global Warming in their back yard.

Witnessing the impact of global warming in your life?

ABC News wants to hear from you. We're currently producing a report on the increasing changes in our physical environment, and are looking for interesting examples of people coping with the differences in their daily lives. Has your life been directly affected by global warming?

We want to hear and see your stories. Have you noticed changes in your own backyard or hometown? The differences can be large or small--altered blooming schedules, unusual animals that have arrived in your community, higher water levels encroaching on your property.

Show us what you've seen.

So I submitted my story:

I can remember that just five years ago, the summers at my house used to be relatively cool and very wet.  Our summer temperatures never got much above 80 degrees, and it would rain every few days, at least.

The last couple of summers, temperatures have soared as high as 112 degrees at my house, and we have at times gone whole months without rain.

I am terrified at these effects of global warming.  Several of my "friends" have said they think this change has more to do with my move from Seattle to Phoenix, but they are clearly in the pay of the oil companies.

I have explained to them that ABC News and their climate reporting have educated me that small anecdotal blips in the local weather are scientifically valid proof of long-term global climate changes.

For example, my Exxon-butt-kissing friends tried to claim that for over a century, hurricane activity has followed a 20-40 year cycle, and that the recent upsurge in hurricane activity is due to the return of the "busy" end of the cycle.  I know from ABC that in fact our two-hundred years of burning fossil fuels have cause CO2 to build up and lurk in the atmosphere, ready to jump out and increase hurricane activity suddenly in 2005.

Its great to see that ABC has adopted the same lofty levels of scientific proof that are used by the rest of the environmental community.


  1. TC:

    Most excellent!

  2. Captain Midnight:

    "The plural of anecdote is not data."

    That's my favorite phrase when confronted with yahoos who thing that someone's grandpa muttering about the winters he had as a kid has some scientific weight when compared with recorded temperatures of the period.

  3. Sol:

    One of our newspapers this week had a story on how global warming was going to make poison ivy a lot worse. Or at least, that was the slant given the headline and story. When you actually read the details it turns out that added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere makes it grow faster and stronger. As far as I could tell from the article, the actual temperature didn't enter into the equation at all.

    Seems they are so eager to make global warming a big story that they will grasp at anything to make a story fit the template. Ironic thing here is that this story (assuming it's true) will be an issue even if global warming turns out to be BS! It's not really a story about warming, it's a story about carbon dioxide pollution, which is very real.

  4. markm:

    More carbon dioxide is likely to make all plants grow faster. Such as food crops. Of course, the way the reporters will spin that is, "Global warming causing obesity, and it's Bush's fault." But if third-worlders are not starving as much, it must be thanks to the UN and nothing to do with global warming or America exporting better agricultural technology...

  5. Craig L:

    I have seen links to this on several blogs, each accompanied by sardonic submissions similar to yours. I would love to see ABC execs (or interns, I suppose) reading all of them. I predict ABC won't get much of a story out of this.

  6. Janice:

    Hahaha. I read this aloud to someone. This was awesome.

  7. Anon:

    Well, after reading the link, I don't see where ABC is directly claiming that these anecdotes are scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change. In fact, one could actually argue that what they are asking for is readers/viewers to send in their observations that suggest global warming. Is it scientific? Yes and no. Science is based on observations, but obviously these "stories" are not going to have sufficient scientific controls to be useful, other than to suggest possible areas of investigation.

    If you think about the kinds of stories that people might send in, it doesn't seem so ridiculous. If someone sends in something like, "Yeah, well, it seems warmer these years", that is obviously pretty silly. But suppose a small farmer whose family has produced maple syrup for the past 100 years has detailed records of when they have started to collect sap. Suppose they produce a graph that shows a clear trend. That would not seem so silly, would it? (Note that I'm not saying that such a graph immediately means we should start reducing carbon emissions. Far from it.)

    In other words, perhaps we should wait to see what kind of stories ABC publishes before making fun of them. If they publish a bunch of silly ones and try to claim that this is scientific evidence for reducing carbon emissions, then we can make fun of them.

    Furthermore, that there is global warming has never been in question. There are historical records for that. What is in question is HOW MUCH of the global warming is caused by human activities, and what, if anything, should be done about it.

  8. Anon:

    I should also point out that that CO2 levels are increasing is also an established fact. Now, it's possible, in theory, that we are not causing that increase. But the simplest theory for why CO2 levels are increasing is because we are dumping a bunch of it into the atmosphere, and Occam's razor would suggest going with that as a working hypothesis.

  9. Sean:

    haha! sweet! people can be so goofy