Glaciologists condemn Guardian "misinformation"
Sep 17, 2011
Bishop Hill in Climate: other

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.

Article originally appeared on (
See website for complete article licensing information.