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« Case not Proven | Main | Gorathon - the slideshow »
Saturday
Sep172011

Glaciologists condemn Guardian "misinformation"

The Guardian has been reporting details of a new atlas, which reports 15% ice loss in Greenland, ascribing the changes (bien sur) to global warming.

The world's biggest physical changes in the past few years are mostly seen nearest the poles where climate change has been most extreme. Greenland appears considerably browner round the edges, having lost around 15%, or 300,000 sq km, of its permanent ice cover. Antarctica is smaller following the break-up of the Larsen B and Wilkins ice shelves.

I'm therefore grateful to Tamsin Edwards for pointing me to this thread on the Cryolist email list.

Dear Cryolisters, especially media people 'listening' in: No doubt this 'news' story and Atlas are going to be repeated far any wide. THIS IS NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING. THIS IS NOT SCIENCE. THIS IS NOT WHAT SCIENTISTS ARE SAYING. Greenland specialists, people like Michele Cittero, Peter Ahlstrom, Leigh Stearns, Gordon Hamilton, Waleed Abdalati and many more have documented what actuallyIS happening in Greenland, and it involves some incredibly rapid changes, mainly increasing melting, thinning, andretreat; and slight thickening in some sectors, but overall Greenland is a story of massive, rapid retreat. Special dynamics are at play, and probably climate warming as well. However, this Guardian story is ridiculouslyoff base, way exaggerated relative to the reality of rapid change in Greenland. I don't know how exactly the Times Atlas produced their results, but they are NOT scientific results. Therefore, media be warned: play on this story at your own serious risk of losing credibility. I am certain that the scientists mentioned above, and many others,will respond with actual data, throughly peer-reviewed publications, and lots of data to show what is happening.It isa dramatic story, many dramatic stories. But don't believe this Guardian article.Sorry, Guardian. I used to just grin and bear it when things like this happen. But the IPCC fiasco and the whole'sad chain leading up to it, where media played on media and NGO's played on each other, without actual sciencein the loop, leads me to believe that there is no such thing as being too critical with the media. This Greenland story is not science; did I say that already? OK, now somebody can figure out where the new brown or the lossof old white came from. Not from proper treatment of data, that's for sure. Thanks to Jim Torson and Graham Cogley for bringing this new 'news' to my attention. It is a crisis of misinformationonly if the media or politicians fail to consult with scientists.

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Reader Comments (132)

BBD, you say “It's interesting that various people thought my comments were worth reading until they started to disagree with the content”. However, I think this shows a major misunderstanding on your part of people’s reactions to your posts.

I cannot speak for others but my reasons for wondering about your ‘change’ have more to do with style than content. Your inability to answer a straight question with a straight answer and your insistence on then telling us all to “read the following link” has now become your trademark. I don’t know if this is because you teach or lecture for a living, but your techniques strike me as those of a pedagogue who is unwilling, or unable, to engage people in a direct manner, while your attempts at misdirection suggest you may have studied a little psychology or politics somewhere along the way.

I suspect that your interaction with ‘dana1981’ had something to do with your recent ‘enlightenment’, though the tendencies I now see could well have been there all along: unnoticed because you ideas were fairly well aligned with my own and so went by without too much question.

You may be interested to know that I do follow many of your links but tend to ‘interpret’ the information they present in a somewhat different manner, which is why I remain rather sceptical of the CAGW meme. I therefore tend to agree to disagree with what you say but give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to your style as I assume that you’re just eager to spread your new enlightenment to those who have not yet ‘seen the light’. However, I will continue to question your comments when they seem to go beyond the bounds of reason, just as I’d expect you or anyone else to question mine.

Sep 19, 2011 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

"I suspect that your interaction with ‘dana1981’ had something to do with your recent ‘enlightenment’"

Awww...You mean this is all about BBD impressing a potential date? lol My advice is to take him/her out for green-movement approved ice-cream food product (yogurt) and get to know each other a little better. ;)

Andrew

Sep 19, 2011 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Dave Salt

I cannot speak for others but my reasons for wondering about your ‘change’ have more to do with style than content. Your inability to answer a straight question with a straight answer and your insistence on then telling us all to “read the following link” has now become your trademark. I don’t know if this is because you teach or lecture for a living, but your techniques strike me as those of a pedagogue who is unwilling, or unable, to engage people in a direct manner, while your attempts at misdirection suggest you may have studied a little psychology or politics somewhere along the way.

You what? You seriously think this?

I put more time and effort into providing detailed, referenced answers to people here than is strictly sane. There is a comprehension problem here, Dave.

Misdirection my arse. Now I'm certain. You're comprehension is abysmal, and you are projecting that shortcoming onto me. Rejected.

And no, I don't teach or lecture for a living. As you may have noticed, I lack the patience for it.

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Bad Andrew

For the last time, either grow up and start posting sense, or give us all a rest. You are not as clever as you think you are.

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"Your comprehension".

See - I'm so irritated I can't even type straight.

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"You are not as clever as you think you are."

I know this already. And Global Warming is still a hoax.

Andrew

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

BBD, I was trying to give you an honest opinion and, please believe me, I wasn't trying to wind you up.

I could be wrong (I often am) and may indeed have completely misjudged you. However, I can only call things as I see them so, if there's still someone following this thread who agrees that I am way off beam on this one, would you please jump in and say so?

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

AGW is a hoax.

That's your 'reasoned' position. Not even the scientific scepticism of a lukewarmer, just straight-up rejectionism.

You are truly lost in space. It's a frightening spectacle.

Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's wrong. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's wrong.

Only children think this way.

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"That's your 'reasoned' position. Not even the scientific scepticism of a lukewarmer, just straight-up rejectionism."

Prove me wrong, smart person. ;)

Andrew

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Dave Salt

I'm not evasive. I'm not dishonest. I'm not anything, really. Sometimes people ask questions that simply cannot be answered in a blog comment, so I link to external sources that would dispel the mysteries if people bothered to read them. Instead, I am criticised (and not only by you) for 'not answering the question' and providing too many links.

Sometimes I feel like eating my own face.

And Dave, asking for someone else to jump in and agree with you is rather self-serving in a transparently obvious sort of way.

Of course someone will come along and agree with you against me. Obviously. And it will probably be BA.

Non of which changes the fact that I am not evasive. In fact quite the opposite. I try harder than most to provide proper answers to questions here, sometimes in the face of considerable hostility from several commenters at a time. You should try this sometime. It's not at all a pleasant experience.

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Andrew

Honestly, with you, it's like talking to a cat. Tone is all you pick up. All else sails over your little head. So why bother?

Sep 19, 2011 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"Honestly, with you, it's like talking to a cat. Tone is all you pick up. All else sails over your little head. So why bother?"

BBD,

I'm reading this and I don't see any attempt by you to prove anything. Guess my opinion remains an option as a valid conclusion.

Andrew

Sep 19, 2011 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Andrew

I've done enough by way of linking to detailed explanations of the physical properties of CO2 and the essential radiative physics underpinning the greenhouse effect.

What I don't ever recall from you, and which would be helpful now, is your explanation as to why al these many decades of work are wrong.

You, not me, constantly assert things without providing one bit of supporting evidence. So for once, why don't you do some work. Let's have it: the Tao of atmospheric physics according to Bad Andrew.

I'm all ears.

Sep 19, 2011 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD, I’m at a loss for words so let me repeat my original comment.

You said "This season's summer ice melt tied with 2007 as the most extensive loss during the satellite era". I then pointed out that when I look at these plots I think your use of the term 'tied' may be a bit of an exaggeration...
http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

Now, bearing in mind that this thread relates to data being misinterpreted in order to exaggerate the effects of global warming, I ask you again: do you think that the observational data presented in the plots supports your statement?

Sep 19, 2011 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

"I've done enough by way of linking to detailed explanations of the physical properties of CO2 and the essential radiative physics underpinning the greenhouse effect."

BBD,

You've offered speculations based on dubious sets of numbers. I require more than that to commit a belief in something. If you can provide some EVIDENCE that something is going on with the climate that is worth my concern, my mind is wide open, ready to be filled with new knowledge based on the EVIDENCE you can provide.

I on the other hand, need to provide nothing. No one has to read to anything I comment.

Andrew

Sep 19, 2011 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

"...or even if you’re the same person that use to post as BBD,..."

I've been confronted with this question as well.

The reasonable BBD is now hiding behind the snarky BBD.

AGW - the scientific theory is interesting, intriguing and endlessly fascinating in the socio-politcal ramifications it has spawned, as an object of study.

AGW, the socio-politcal and the techno-bureaucratic movement itself - is a complete hoax.

Western democracies, it seems, have no internal resistance mechanisms for ideological constructs that employ the 'proper channels' to advance their aims. Maybe the US is an exemption, but one can never be sure. Germany, UK, New Zealand and Australia are all in the grip of this nonsense.

Ms Shub Niggurath and I recently watched a video on the New Zealand ETS scheme. She was so upset, so incredulous that she couldn't even complete it.

Sep 19, 2011 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Dave Salt

I explained my position clearly at Sep 18, 2011 at 4:23 PM. Please just have another look and what I said, including the immediate acknowledgement of error and the detailed explanation of why it really wasn't much of an error worth arguing about.

I maintain that ice melt this season was closely comparable to 2007, which is generally agreed to be something of a landmark year for melt. Are you seriously arguing that I have misrepresented this in any sense that matters?

Once again, please go back to the comment at Sep 18, 2011 at 4:23 PM and re-evaluate whether I am trying to misrepresent or exaggerate in order to 'exaggerate the effects of global warming'.

Sep 19, 2011 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

What BBD says to Bad Andrew:

Here's lots of evidence and sciency stuff.

What Bad Andrew says to BBD:

It's all lies.


What BBD says to BBD:

You're wasting your breath here, mate.

Sep 19, 2011 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"Here's lots of evidence"

Where? Let's see it. (He asked, expecting no evidence)

BBD, you are the guy behind the counter in the Cheese Shop skit aren't you? lol

Andrew

Sep 19, 2011 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Shub

AGW - the scientific theory is interesting, intriguing and endlessly fascinating in the socio-politcal ramifications it has spawned, as an object of study.

AGW, the socio-politcal and the techno-bureaucratic movement itself - is a complete hoax.

For once, we sort of agree about something.

Science and public policy are not natural bedfellows. The bastard offspring are not a pretty sight. The effects on policy-making, particularly energy and emissions regulation are disastrous.

Sep 19, 2011 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD, you've done it again!

Rather than giving me a straight/simple answer, you direct me to something else that's supposed to provide me with an answer but is actually... oh, what's the use!

TILT --- GAME OVER

Sep 19, 2011 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Dave Salt

Umm?

I maintain that ice melt this season was closely comparable to 2007, which is generally agreed to be something of a landmark year for melt. Are you seriously arguing that I have misrepresented this in any sense that matters?

Sep 19, 2011 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Aggregated Arctic sea ice data are available here.

Sep 19, 2011 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"Are you seriously arguing that I have misrepresented this in any sense that matters?"

I guess that depends on whether you think misrepresentation matters?

Sep 20, 2011 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Here is my take...there's a map like the Times Atlas' on Wikipedia...only thing, it's about ice sheet thickness, and only when >10m...

Sep 20, 2011 at 1:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

BBD
I know I'm not alone in finding many of your comments to be judgemental, self riteous, virulent, authoritarian and far too long. Like many people I skip your comments as soon as I identify their author - which is usually rather quickly. This is a shame, as I'm sure you have one or two pertinent points to make. Why not give us a break, hold your counsel on occasion, and get out more?

Sep 20, 2011 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

PFM

Why don't you address the question posed above, or keep quiet? I do not care what you think about me. I do care about truth vs misrepresentation, which is what is being discussed here.

Sep 20, 2011 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

not banned

I guess that depends on whether you think misrepresentation matters?

Unbelievable. Why do you write things like this?

Sep 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The publishers of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World have released this statement today regarding the erroneous statement about Greenland ice in the press release for the new edition:


The Times Atlas is renowned for its authority and we do our utmost to maintain that reputation. In compiling the content of the atlas, we consult experts in order to depict the world as accurately as possible. For the launch of the latest edition of the atlas (The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, 13th edition), we issued a press release which unfortunately has been misleading with regard to the Greenland statistics. We came to these statistics by comparing the extent of the ice cap between the 10th and 13th editions (1999 vs 2011) of the atlas. The conclusion that was drawn from this, that 15% of Greenland’s once permanent ice cover has had to be erased, was highlighted in the press release not in the Atlas itself. This was done without consulting the scientific community and was incorrect. We apologize for this and will seek the advice of scientists on any future public statements. We stand by the accuracy of the maps in this and all other editions of The Times Atlas.

Sep 20, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Accuracy of the map? Hanlon has blown that excuse out to the ocean already. Why is ice-covered Greenland terrain brown, and correspondingly less ice-covered Iceland terrain white? Why can't they just issue a corrected map? And who's in charge of press releases?

Sep 20, 2011 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

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