On his site, science writer Chris Mooney recently posted a fascinating pair of graphs, courtesy of collaborator Matt Nisbet, which chart public interest in global warming. As the years march by, the charts show what happens when scientific reports are released, when politics intervene — and when hurricanes strike, as measured by coverage at the Washington Post and the New York Times.
What the graphs show is that in these thoughtful newspapers, political and scientific developments can spur stories, but when hurricanes strike, global warming coverage–and, presumably, public interest–soars.
This is why Mooney’s new book, Storm World, matters — even though the writer takes every possible opportunity to remind readers that we cannot definitively link global warming to any hurricane. The book matters because our fears as a nation do link global warming and hurricanes, and when it comes to modern-day hurricanes the size of Texas, as we saw in 2005, our eyes open wide.
My review continues on Grist…take a look.