This is what passes for analysis in National Geographic, a magazine that is supposed to be fact-based. In an article about the current flooding in Colorado, we read:
Drought tends to harden the soil, she said. When rains do come, less of the water can absorb into the ground, so it quickly runs off the land.
Similarly, fires can lead to worse flooding, because they remove vegetation that can slow down and trap rainfall, Postel said. (See “Fire and Rain: The One-Two Punch of Flooding After Blazes.”) In 2012, the Boulder area was afflicted by the Flagstaff Fire. In 2010, the Fourmile Canyon fire caused damage to Boulder County worth $217 million.
Well, that makes sense. It’s also something we already knew. But then the writer has to bring in climate change as the cause. And note who he quotes as an expert: The president of the United States. Is there anything he doesn’t know?
Scientists have warned that increasing frequency and severity of wildfires and droughts may be symptoms of climate change, as much of the planet warms. That, in turn, can lead to more floods.
In June, President Obama told an audience at Georgetown University, “Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times. But we also know that in a world that’s warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet.”
So our expert, a.k.a. the president, says it’s climage change. Because the world is warmer. But wait–there’s more!
Udall said that while current science can’t pin any particular extreme weather event to climate he[sic] change, this week’s flooding is likely a reflection of global warming, at least in part.
The connection, he said, “might be 10 percent or it might be 90 percent, but it isn’t zero percent and it isn’t 100 percent.”
Oh, well, that’s settled then. Evidence? None. Scientific proof? None. But it’s definitely global warming that caused the flooding.
National Geographic is not the magazine it used to be. But then, when you politicize science, nothing good comes of it. This is what now passes for scientific thought:
“Between the fires last year and this year, the unprecedented and continuing drought in the Colorado River, and now this shocking event,” he continued, “climate change feels very real to me.”
And who is the person behind the quotes in this article?
University of Colorado, Boulder law school professor Brad Udall has long written and lectured about water issues in the American West.
Ah. An academic. Well. The science is settled.