Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Is the report of a new record high in Antarctica fake news? Here's how we know

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes
The world scientific community needs to do a better job making their case.

In 2015, Antarctica hit a record 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature ever recorded on the continent. Yesterday, the World Meteorological Association announced the temperature had been "verified," which set off a frenzy of reporting.

An Argentine research station in Antarctica has set a record, but for hype not temperature.

An Argentine research station in Antarctica has set a record, but for hype not temperature.

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- According to the Reuters and the World Meteorological Association, a spot in Antarctica reached 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit on March 24, 2015. The temperature was recorded at an Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctica peninsula. This is also near the northernmost tip of the continent.

While the caveat that anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is very likely to be a real and significant problem, the story itself raises questions.


First, why did it take nearly two years to "verify" this record high temperature? A request for more information sent to the World Meteorological Association has so far yielded no reply, after 24 hours. What does it mean to verify a temperature, and how is this done? Wouldn't the most accurate reading be at the site itself? What was the previous record? Was it something like 32 degrees, or more likely 63.4 degrees? How frequently does the northernmost tip of the continent see temperatures in the 60s? How far back in time do the temperature records go?

Without answers to these questions, we are left with the troubling prospect that the report is more or less, fake news.

Certainly, the temperature record is authentic, and there has probably been some rather scientific verification involving extensive peer review of the data. But why is this such a headline story?

If the temperature had spiked a dozen degrees above normal, then it would be newsworthy. If the temperature had continued spiking for days, weeks and months, it would be a story. But a single point of data is an anomaly. It's an outlier. It isn't a trend or a pattern. It's a curiosity, but nothing more.

The Reuters coverage, which at present is the most highly cited, merely states the fact, then continues to present some interesting, but unrelated facts about Antarctica, like how the continent stores 90 percent of the world's fresh water as ice.

When reporters begin writing trivia, you know they're struggling to create a story.

Even the WMO admits in their own report, this is not as noteworthy as it sounds.

"It is possible, indeed likely, that greater extremes can and have occurred in the Antarctic Region. As with all WMO evaluations, the extremes are identified based on only those events with available high-quality ground-based data."

In plain English, the WMO seems to be admitting this is a non-story and that they only have a fraction of the complete picture.

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Reports like this should be noted, but only as individual facts, and not as headline stories. The cause of combating global warming is undermined by hype, poor communication, snobbery and a general failure by the scientific community to make a persuasive case to the community. While science has the data and the facts, people are rarely persuaded by such information. It's an astounding truth to contemplate, but people are persuaded by emotion and personal interest, not statistical factoids, hence many of the world's problems persist. If you need more proof, just visit Las Vegas.

The bottom line is, if the scientific community wishes to persuade the world of the danger of global warming, then agencies like the WMO need to do a lot better in the PR department. They need to charmingly and persuasively present their case directly to the people, rather than relying on fake news and hyperbole to get attention.

---

The California Network is the Next Wave in delivery of information and entertainment on pop culture, social trends, lifestyle, entertainment, news, politics and economics. We are hyper-focused on one audience, YOU, the connected generation. JOIN US AS WE REDEFINE AND REVOLUTIONIZE THE EVER-CHANGING MEDIA LANDSCAPE.

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

To all our readers, Please don't scroll past this.

Deacon Keith Fournier Today, we humbly ask you to defend Catholic Online's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. If you donate just $5.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online could keep thriving for years. Most people donate because Catholic Online is useful. If Catholic Online has given you $5.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the volunteers who bring you reliable, Catholic information that their work matters. If you are one of our rare donors, you have our gratitude and we warmly thank you. Help Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!