Friends of Science billboard ad called misleading

A climate change billboard going up near Bowden is being called cherry-picking and misleading.

A climate change billboard going up near Bowden is being called cherry-picking and misleading.

The electronic billboard will display an ad from Friends of Science, a Calgary-based organization that believes the sun is the driver of climate change.

The sign claims that global warming stopped naturally more than 16 years ago. The group claims to use Remote Sensing Systems global satellite lower troposphere temperatures as their source.

Remote Sensing Systems uses the same data to show an increase in the lower troposphere temperature from 1980 to today. Remote Sensing Systems also reaches the conclusion, on its website, that: “the plot shows global warming of the troposphere over the last three decades, which has been attributed to human-caused global warming.”

Nigel Stuart, a Red Deer College geography instructor, said Friends of Science clearly have an agenda and are cherry-picking facts to fit the agenda.

While Stuart, who runs the college’s weather station, said the lower troposphere data presented by Friends of Science is accurate and the average temperature near the surface has been flat, it doesn’t include the prior years that saw a dramatic increase in temperatures using that data.

“Most of the heat from the sun ends up in the oceans,” said Stuart. “Most of the heating doesn’t end up in the air, about 80 per cent heats the oceans. A lot of what we have to watch is the effect of oceanic oscillations such as the El Nino effect.

“Although on a long-term trend measuring the atmosphere temperature is quite good, you’re only measuring one element and the evidence with the ocean is the heat is still coming in.”

The U.S. National Aeronautic Space Administration data tracking the ocean’s global temperature anomaly, a departure from the long-term average, shows an increase to the ocean’s average temperature every year since the mid-1970s.

“Some of the things they say are very misleading,” said Stuart.

According to its website, Friends of Science wants to educate the public about climate change science. Through that, the group wants to pressure governments to engage in public debates on the scientific merits of the hypothesis of human-induced global warming and the various policies that intend to address the issue.

Controversy over another Friends of Science sign erupted in Alberta earlier this month. Greenpeace said it had a deal with billboard company Pattison Outdoor to display an ad on solar energy in Edmonton that was cancelled. Meanwhile, Friends of Science had an ad saying the sun is the main driver of climate change up on a Pattison billboard.

The ad cycles for six seconds.

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