HomeWeather NewsNYT: Bomb Cyclone? Or Just Windy with a Chance of Hyperbole?

NYT: Bomb Cyclone? Or Just Windy with a Chance of Hyperbole?

Essay by Eric Worrall

Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if journalistic weather hyperbole got so bad, people started ignoring all the climate change hype?

Bomb Cyclone? Or Just Windy with a Chance of Hyperbole?

When the barometer drops, the volume of ‘hyped words’ rises, and many meteorologists aren’t happy about it.

By Matt Richtel
Jan. 18, 2023

DENVER — Last week, days after a bomb cyclone (coupled with a series of atmospheric rivers, some of the Pineapple Express variety) took devastating aim at California, a downtown conference center here was inundated by the forces responsible — not for the pounding rain and wind but for the forecast.

But there were troubling undercurrents. …

The widespread use of colorful terms like “bomb cyclone” and “atmospheric river,” along with the proliferating categories, colors and names of storms and weather patterns, has struck meteorologists as a mixed blessing: good for public safety and climate-change awareness but potentially so amplified that it leaves the public numb to or unsure of the actual risk. The new vocabulary, devised in many cases by the weather-science community, threatens to spin out of control.

In the end, the linguistic dilemma reflects a larger challenge. On one hand, scientists say, it is hard to overstate the profound risk that global warming poses to Earth’s inhabitants in the next century and beyond. But the drumbeat of language may not be appropriate for the day-to-day nature of many weather events.

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Death by hyperbole? Perhaps climate alarmists should have listened to advice from their fellow traveller Stephen King, before they embarked on a journey of uncontrolled exaggeration.

Nothing is so frightening as what’s behind the closed door. The audience holds its breath along with the protagonist as she/he (more often she) approaches that door. The protagonist throws it open, and there is a ten-foot-tall bug. The audience screams, but this particular scream has an oddly relieved sound to it. ‘A bug ten feet tall is pretty horrible’, the audience thinks, ‘but I can deal with a ten-foot-tall bug. I was afraid it might be a hundred feet tall’.

The artistic work of horror is almost always a disappointment. It is the classic no-win situation. You can scare people with the unknown for a long, long time but sooner or later, as in poker, you have to turn your cards up. You have to open the door and show the audience what’s behind it.

The thing is, with such things as Dachau, Hiroshima, the Children’s Crusade, mass starvation in Cambodia – the human consciousness can deal with almost anything… which leaves the writer or director of the horror tale with a problem which is the psychological equivalent of inventing a faster-than-light space drive in the face of E=MC2.

There is and always has been a school of horror writers (I am not among them – it is playing to tie rather than to win) who believe that the way to beat this rap is never to open the door at all.

Source: Stephen King, Danse Macabre;

This strategic communication failure will be the death of the climate movement. There will always be a core cadre of climate bed wetters who will believe all the hype, no matter how absurd. But for normal people, alarmists have opened the door and revealed a mouse.

There are only so many times people can survive a bomb cyclone or atmospheric river or climate apocalypse, before they start tuning it out, like all the other nonsensical hype we are bombarded with every day of our lives.

At least the New York Times has finally acknowledged that climate alarmist fearmongering has gone so far that even they can’t accept them.  Hopefully, this won’t be the last time the NYT recognizes the serious flaws in the doomsday climate mania.

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