Sunday, November 22, 2009

Global warming is NOT killing turtles in Costa Rica

I was browsing around the web looking into some of the Climategate accusations and responses, and I ran into this chart on the Wikipedia sea level rise page:
This isn't a Global-Warming-Denier chart: "This image, created with sea surface height data from the Topex/Poseidon and Jason-1 satellites, shows exactly where sea level has changed from 1993 to 2008 and how quickly these changes have occurred."

Costa Rica is down near the Panama Canal, at the skinniest bit between North and South America. The turtles that the New York Times claims are being threatened due to rising sea levels are on the West coast of Costa Rica. And, at least in the last 15 years (the Topex/Poseidon satellite was launched at the end of 1992, so 1993 is the first full year of data), sea levels there have NOT been rising.


jpo said...

So technically the NYT article attributed the drop in population to rising sea levels *and* warmer temperatures, along with haphazard development. So establishing that sea levels haven't risen substantially in the region isn't quite the same as saying that they're not affected by climate change generally.

Also, nowhere in the article does it claim that either rising temperatures or rising sea levels are killing turtles. It claims that these things are causing populations to drop, an entirely different proposition.

I submit that "Global warming is NOT killing turtles in Costa Rica" is just as inaccurate and sensationalistic as the headline in the original article. Just sayin'.

Gavin Andresen said...

I think to be as sensationalistic as the NY Time headline I would've had to have used "Global Warming Saving Turtles."

But yes, you're right, I'm a headline hype hypocrite. Thanks (really!) for pointing that out.