Although a normal monsoon has been forecast for South Asia this year, and rains have begun normally in many parts of the region, people are still anxious about the rainy season that lasts for four months.
Their anxiety has to do with the uncertainties surrounding the timing of the monsoon in recent years.
While the debate continues over the role of climate change, scientists have also been looking at the possible role of soot and urban smog pollution in disrupting this weather system.
Emphasis added. Paraphrase: “Scientists have been debating the respective roles of certain climate forcings and climate change in this instance of climate change.”
OK, everybody. These things have different meanings:
anthropogenic climate change
anthropogenic climate forcing
anthropogenic global warming
global climate change
The best name for “the problem” is “climate disruption“, which is shorthand for “dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system“.
I am not sure I know how to reframe the offending sentence. Admittedly (if I understand their meaning) it is awkward. Perhaps:
“While climate change on the global scale may play a role, scientists have also been looking at the role of local mechanisms such as soot and urban smog in disrupting the monsoon.”
The use of the word “debate” was presumably unnecessary and feeds right into denialist tropes.
Ramanathan’s result suggested a large reduction of solar radiation at the Earth’s surface simultaneous with the warming of the lower atmosphere increases atmospheric “stability”. It also slows down the hydrological cycle and reduces rainfall during the monsoon.
“Also”? What does “stability” mean in this context? Oh, I have no idea so I’ll put it in quotes.
This is the worst of it though:
“The consequence of these contrasting processes needs to be understood before arriving at conclusions on the aerosol impact on a regional climate system,” the INCCA said in its statement.
But one of the experts in the recent UNEP/WMO report, Chien Wang of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said there was no confusion on the issue.
“I have to indicate that the basic conclusion that black carbon aerosol forcing over South Asia is large enough to perturb the monsoon system is reached by all the studies so far, therefore there is no different opinion here,” he told BBC News.
The basic mechanism is agreed, and there is work to be done on quantifying it. There is nothing here resembling what a journalist would call a “debate” which is Wang’s point. Such debate is rare in research meteorology. This is not because meteorologist march in lock step on pain of excommunication. It is because meteorology is actually a mature science.
The point about monsoons and aerosols is interesting, but WTF?
Increasingly I think journalism is too important to leave in the hands of journalists.