So, do some of those who accept climate change as a reality have a climate-change confirmation bias, a tendency to attribute too much of what they observe to a warming world?
As an informal test, I did some cursory fact-checking on the stories mentioned at the outset. First, the astronaut. His name is Bob Thirsk. He's at the international space station. The Reuters story begins: "A Canadian astronaut aboard the International Space Station said on Sunday it looks like Earth's ice caps have melted a bit since he was last in orbit 12 years ago."
Mr. Thirsk says, "Most of the time when I look out the window, I'm in awe. But there are some effects of the human destruction of the Earth as well."
He adds, "This is probably just a perception, but I just have the feeling that the glaciers are melting, the snow capping the mountains is less than it was 12 years ago when I saw it last time."
The long-term trend of diminishing ice in the Arctic is well-documented. But the valley-and-peak nature of the trend, evident in this graphic, raises the possibility that during past summers, there was less ice compared with today.
During the summer of 2007, for example, Arctic ice reached the lowest extent so far recorded. So if you view photos of only today's ice and 2007's, you might conclude that ice was increasing. But it's not.
In this case, however, I'm asking, could Thirsk have seen what he thinks he saw?
According to his NASA biopage, Thirsk was last in space in June and July of 1996.