“Unprecedented”, “Unprecendented?” or just reasoning after the facts?

Besides argument 4, that was the subject of last post, there were 10 others. I am not going through the whole list, this is probably (one of) the last in this series. Argument 1 is also equally puzzling. Although I have no problem with the arguments as such, these are worthless in “tearing down” the Washington Post article.

I first wanted to write this as an update to a previous post, but it became much longer than I anticipated and I elevated it to this post.

Here it is (emphasis by the author):

1. The use of the word “Unprecedented.” versus “Unprecedented?”. In my original website post on Wednesday June 29th at 1:46 am EST, and in my YouTube video I used the title “Unprecedented, Jet Stream Crosses the Equator”. I quickly realized that one should really “Never say never” and “Never say always”. Thus, I corrected this erroneous title on my website post later that same day, on Wednesday June 29th at 1:36 pm; and also shortly after that on my YouTube video to “Jet Stream Crosses the Equator, Unprecedented?”. When the Washington Post article came out the next day at 12:43 pm on Thursday June 30th, almost a full day after my title correction, it unfortunately remarked on my original title, and not on my corrected title. I intended to be asking a question, namely, was the movement of the jet stream perpendicular to the equator a new behavior? I was not intending on claiming that it was new, but was asking the question since it seemed to me to be very unusual. Equatorial monsoon winds crossing the equator at relatively low wind speeds are known to occur, but they usually involve wind directions only a few degrees from the equator axis, and not at a 90 degree angle (perpendicular). The behavior that I described in the video seemed very different to me, than that of monsoonal winds.

If the post was published at 1:46 am EST and the title changed at 1:36 pm EST, then it was up for about 12 hours. Knowing that it went viral, who knows how many people saw it … without the question mark. Then using that (later added) question mark as an argument is not very honest. How could those who saw the video within those 12 hours know that he intended to ask just a question? While the title, the url-slug and the video showed no such thing.

Strangely, that question seemed to be: “was the movement of the jet stream perpendicular to the equator a new behavior?”. Which is new to me. I saw the video several times and he didn’t focus on the perpendicular flow at all. He showed all three flows that crossed the equator at that time, without any distinction. Two of them were not perpendicular.

This is how the issue was introduced in the video (at 1:30):

You normally have jet streams in the Northern and in the Southern hemisphere, but they are separate. But in this case we can see the jet stream twisting down here crossing the equator [points to the perpendicular flow over the Pacific Ocean) and rejoining the stream in the Southern hemisphere. You could also see it here [points to the shallow flow over Africa]. You can also see it here [points to the shallow flow over Africa]. This is new as far as I am aware.

That is a really strange way to ask the question: “was the movement of the jet stream perpendicular to the equator a new behavior?”. What was said seems more like a statement that jet streams, whether perpendicular or shallow, crossing the equator is “new” behavior.

My guess is that this intention to ask it as a question came only afterwards, when it became clear that such cross-Equatorial flows were not exactly unusual.

That the Washington Post article only came out a day later is not a strong argument. There is no indication that Jason Samenow saw the post and video only after the change. Samenow clearly researched the issue and contacted five atmospheric scientists for their response before he published his post. That would have obviously take some time. Samenow could well have seen his post before it was changed.

The statement that “it unfortunately remarked on my original title, and not on my corrected title” also supports the notion that Samenow probably saw the original post (without the question mark) and reacted on that.

That equatorial winds crossing the equator are “known to occur” is also something that was discovered only afterwards. In the video no distinction was made between perpendicular flows and shallow monsoonal flows.

That the behavior he described in the video seemed very different than the monsoonal winds is an argument after the facts. In the video he also described the shallow winds as an indication that strange thing were happening with the jet stream. He described both perpendicular and shallow winds, making no distinction whatsoever between the two in the video.

To conclude, I can certainly understand the arguments as such. If new information comes available, it could shine a new light on a subject and this can give new insights. That is understandable. However, the purpose is to “tear down” the Washington Post article. Yet the insights and actions came only after the video was published, so basically these arguments are worthless in what he is trying to use them for.

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