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NYT Lambasted For Ignoring Louisiana Floods, So They Ran Stories On Global Warming

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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New York Times readers were furious their favorite paper didn’t have any coverage of the devastating floods in Louisiana that have killed 11 people and forced thousands more out of their homes.

So, NYT ran two stories to make up for it, both of which talk about how global warming made the flooding even worse.

“Climate change is never going to announce itself by name,” NYT’s Jonah Engel Bromwich wrote Tuesday. “But this is what we should expect it to look like.”

Bromwich’s article, entitled “Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change,” was published three days after flood waters ripped through southern towns, forcing 30,000 people to be rescued from rushing waters.

NYT published another article on the flooding Tuesday. Reporters detailed just how much was wrecked by intense flooding, and all the lives that were affected, but even that story couldn’t resist adding a section on global warming.

“As Louisiana on Tuesday faced its second catastrophic flood in about five months,,” NYT reported, “climate scientists elsewhere cautioned that the state was unlikely to be the last to confront a disaster like this one.”

“There’s definitely an increase in heavy rainfall due to climate change,” John Nielsen­-Gammon, Texas state climatologist, told the Times. “The actual increase from place to place is going to be variable because of the randomness of the weather. Some places will see a dramatic change.”

“The blend of climate change and development in new areas has led to particularly dire flooding in places where storm­water systems were designed by people who were ‘assuming it was always going to rain the same way as 40 years ago,’ said J. Marshall Shepherd, a professor at the University of Georgia and a former president of the American Meteorological Society,” NYT reported.

NYT published both these articles after readers lambasted the newspaper for largely ignoring the massive flooding events. NYT’s Public Editor Liz Spayd was forced to respond to critics, and admitted they could have done a better job.

“No doubt this is a busy news period, and the fact that it is August compounds the usual challenges of getting available staff to the site of the news,” Spayd wrote Tuesday. “But a news organization like The Time… surely can find a way to cover a storm that has ravaged such a wide stretch of the country’s Gulf Coast. Especially when it has brought devastating floods, once more, to the brave state of Louisiana.”

NYT published its first story on the flooding Sunday, well after the floods had devastated thousands of homes, and put up two more on Tuesday — both those stories talked about global warming’s role in the flooding.

NYT was just one of many news outlets to link the Louisiana flooding to man-made global warming, and like many, argued this is what Americans can expect as fossil fuels continue to warm the world.

Former Vice President Al Gore jumped on the global warming bandwagon, and blamed the flooding in Louisiana on global warming. Gore did the same for flooding in Houston earlier this year.

“These kinds of record downpours — that’s one of the manifestations of the climate crisis,” Gore said Tuesday.

But the latest research doesn’t support claims that global warming is making floods worse.

A recent study by University of Iowa researchers found “the stronger storms are not getting stronger, but a larger number of heavy precipitation events have been observed.”

Researchers couldn’t attribute such events to man-made warming, and instead wrote “the climate variability of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can exert a large control on the precipitation frequency and magnitude over the contiguous USA.”

Another study led by a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded “no evidence was found for changes in extreme precipitation attributable to climate change in the available observed record.”

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