March 02, 2005

3/2 - Ocean Change: Do we really expect "no change" as the norm?

As important as it is to understand change in the oceans, you also need to keep in mind the question of, "What is the null model?" Basically, what is "normal." Can we really say that what we expect is for nothing in the oceans to change?

This is an infinitely difficult problem. Honest to goodness, here, in today's news is one article about the oceans getting warmer, and another one about the oceans getting colder. It's getting to sound as bad as our Groundlings Senate Hearing on Coral Reefs film. The average reader has got to look at these two headlines and say to themself, "MAKE UP YOUR MIND."

The fact is they are both right -- one is overall global average temperature, the other is just about the deep sea. But still. The real problem is that in sensitizing everyone to "change," there is the serious risk that suddenly ALL changes becomes newsworthy. Which leaves you wondering whether what we're expecting is a world of no change in the oceans. Which would be kinda weird.


It's like the U.S.: Who's gonna win, the red or the blue?

Posted by Randy Olson at March 2, 2005 04:08 AM