Headline in the San Francisco Chronicle today: “Scientists split on heat wave cause.

Some think culprit is global warming, but jury is still out.”

Headline in The San Diego Union-Tribune: “Don’t blame warm globe on global warming.”

That caught our eye this morning: Two newspapers. Two somewhat similar stories with similar sources. Two very different headlines.

But while we were writing a post about the discrepancies, a funny thing happened. The headline on the Union-Tribune‘s website changed.

New headline: “Heat wave raises concerns about global warming.”

In the Chronicle story, reporter Keay Davidson checks in with Kevin Trenberth, a top global-warming computer modeler at the Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research. Trenberth tells the paper: “I think there are very good reasons to believe that the current U.S. heat wave is at least partly caused by global warming.”

The Chronicle also spells out the other school of thought on the heat wave. Philip Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University tells the paper: “Heat waves have happened for many years (i.e., the Dust Bowl in the 1930s), so to say that this one particular event is caused by global warming is really impossible.”

The Union-Tribune‘s original headline ruled out global warming’s relationship to this heat wave, while its story didn’t. Reporter Michael Stetz wrote: “But climate experts say such temperature spikes may be happening more frequently and more fiercely because of the many decades we’ve spent burning fossil fuels.”


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