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D.C. Feels Chill; Media Embraces Warmth

Dan Stillman @ 12:20 AM

After topping out only in the upper 30s yesterday afternoon, we'll do about 10 degrees better today. Still, a steady wind will make for quite a chill in the air.

Today and Tonight

Today: Mostly sunny and windy. Expect morning temps in the low 30s and wind chills in the mid 20s as you head to work or school. Afternoon highs should reach the upper 40s, but the wind chill will remain a factor throughout the day. Tonight: The wind will take a break overnight as temps drop into the low 30s, upper 20s in the 'burbs, under partly cloudy skies.

Pictured: A dusting of snow falls last night in Oakton, Va., by photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Astros at Nationals
May 23, 2006 -- 7:05 p.m. -- RFK Stadium
First PitchBot. of the 9thWeatherChance of Rain
67F59FClear and Breezy5 %
Crisp, Beautiful evening for baseball. Bring a light jacket or sweater for the latter half of the game.

Tomorrow and Beyond

Tomorrow: A tad warmer and a little less windy than today, though still a bit of a breeze in the air. Partly sunny with highs in the low 50s. Tomorrow night: Cloudy with a flurry possible and lows in the low-to-mid 30s. Friday and the Weekend: High temps will continue to have trouble making it out of the low 50s. A chance of a daytime shower or nighttime flurry here and there, but no widespread areas of precipitation to break our developing drought.

Confusion on the Web

The headline of a story on the front page of caught my attention yesterday. It read, "Wintry Storm Expected in Area," and linked to a story posted at 9:45 a.m. The article stated that "a winter weather advisory remained in effect, according to the National Weather Service. Up to another inch of snow is possible tonight, with the mercury falling several degrees below freezing, perhaps disrupting Wednesday morning's commute."

I found this story quite interesting since NWS had cancelled the winter weather advisory for the metro area as of 9:14 a.m., and had removed all mentions of accumulation from its forecast as of 9:07 a.m. Even more surprising, an 11:57 a.m. update to the article continued to claim that a winter weather advisory was still in effect.

Not until a 1:36 p.m. update did the story change its tune: "Predictions of a snowstorm in the Washington area on the first full day of spring seemed to be melting away this afternoon, as the National Weather Service lifted the winter weather advisory it had previously issued for the region."

Poor reporting by the Post? Yes, considering they were more than four hours late in noting that the winter weather advisory had been cancelled. But I have a feeling NWS is partly to blame as well. That's because at least until 11:30 a.m. yesterday -- the latest I was able to check -- NWS was still showing its 4:24 a.m. forecast on its main metro area forecast page. That outdated forecast called for a winter weather advisory through 7 p.m. and accumulation of "an inch or two" mainly on grassy surfaces.

Pictured: Screenshot from yesterday of

Media Moves to End Warming Debate

The tide is turning in the media's portrayal of the global warming debate. And in an increasingly loud and more unified voice, science writers are telling us that the debate is over.

Back in January of this year, the Washington Post ran an A1 story headlined, "Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Reparable Change." Straying from the more traditional approach of giving equal time to both sides of the issue, staff science writer Juliet Eilperin led with, "Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend."

Meanwhile, as Steve noted last week, the Washington Post recently reviewed three books on climate change. Two are written by magazine writers -- Eugene Linden, who covered climate science and global warming at Time, and Elizabeth Kolbert, whose book is based on a series she did for the New Yorker. The other is by a scientist, and the review itself is authored by science writer Thomas Hayden. All three books say that global warming is for real and that humans are a major contributor.

Hayden writes in his review: "The degree of scientific certainty is now more than adequate to justify immediate action, says Linden, who attributes the ongoing state of inaction to a synergy between 'cautious scientists interacting with cautious policymakers, all to the delight of naysayers who hold that no action is necessary.' Unfortunately, that interaction is often mediated by journalists, who, when it comes to global warming, might just be the most cautious party of all. Kolbert and Linden are good journalists and far too experienced to fall for the equal-time canard, whereby the voices of the tiny fringe of scientists who dispute that humans are affecting climate are amplified out of all proportion to their relevance."

Indeed, after years of reporting that seemed to bend over backwards to include viewpoints from all angles of the global warming debate, science writers appear to have finally picked a side.

To be certain, the media doesn't always get the story right (see weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq war), and sometimes doesn't get the story at all (see steroid use by professional baseball players in the '90s). So the question is, is it time we trust the people whose job it is to accurately represent the scientific consensus regarding global warming and climate change -- the science writers who cover these issues day after day, study after study?

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