Guardian Goes “Full Stupid” on Arctic Ice, Contradicts Itself.

The Guardian managed to outdo itself in it’s latest foray into global warming, claiming that Arctic sea ice has declined by three quarters in the last three decades. In a series of “factoids” following an interview with pop celebrity and latest Greenpeace spokesperson for the Arctic ice, Jarvis Cocker, Lucy Seigle, the Guardian’s environment reporter, informed readers that:

Of the Arctic sea ice, 75% has been lost over the past 30 years. Last year saw sea-ice levels plummet to the second-lowest since records began. It is estimated that the North Pole could be ice-free in the summer within the next 10-20 years.

The Guardian. Jarvis Cocker: The Iceman Cometh.

However, the problem with this was not just it’s total departure from both reality and common sense, but the fact that an article in the Guardian only a couple of weeks beforehand had pointed out that this simply isn’t the case. Quoting the Met Office’s Chief Scientist, Julia Sligo, the article noted that such claims were simply “not credible” -

She also said that suggestions the volume of sea ice had already declined by 75% already were not credible. “We know there is something [happening on the thinning of sea ice] but it’s not as dramatic as those numbers suggest.”

The problem, she explained, was that researchers did not know the thickness of Arctic sea ice with any confidence.

The Guardian. Met Office: Arctic Sea Ice Loss Linked to Drier, Colder UK Winters.

In fact, as the NSIDC points out, the extent of Arctic sea ice is very close to the average for the last three decades, not down by 75% as The Guardian’s environment reporter seems to be confused about:

Overview of Conditions
Arctic sea ice extent in April 2012 averaged 14.73 million square kilometers (5.69 million square miles). Because of the very slow rate of ice loss through the last half of March and the first three weeks of April, ice extent averaged for April ranked close to average out of 34 years of satellite data.

NSIDC: Arctic Sea Ice Extent Reaches Near Average in April.

Someone should really help them out over at the Guardian’s environment section. Do you have an hour or two to spare, some basic common sense,  plenty of paper and some crayons?

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17 responses to “Guardian Goes “Full Stupid” on Arctic Ice, Contradicts Itself.

  1. Anthony Watts

    I’m reposting on WUWT so that this reaches a much larger audience – full credit to you of course.

  2. Pingback: The Guardian’s ridiculous claim of 75% Arctic ice loss in 30 years | Watts Up With That?

  3. The old Seadog.

    “It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

    (This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”
    President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817 ( Royal Society Archives)

  4. Aging one hit wonder joins forces with quickly sinking leftist rag; making up lies together; sounds like the best leftist strategy since the OWS STD camps.

  5. Pingback: media…patently stupid | pindanpost

  6. Sensationalist, Distorted Climate Stories Increase As Climate Science Failures Exposed http://bit.ly/GJCqOu

    Princeton Physics Professor: Global warming really population-control movement http://bit.ly/4wx7fR

    Harold Lewis, emeritus professor of physics at the University of California-Santa Barbara, who resigned this month from the American Physical Society after 67 years of loyal membership. His resignation letter said this: “It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.” http://tgr.ph/92YKOp

    Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in history . . .When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, and award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

  7. Pingback: The Guardian’s ridiculous claim of 75% Arctic sea ice loss in 30 years – patently false | Environmental, Health and Safety News

  8. Before you guys get too excited. VOLUME DOES NOT EQUAL EXTENT!
    If you have the same extent as 1970, but the ice is 75% thinner you come up with ….. 75% less volume.
    In th 70′s the locals of the artic dog sled and skidooed all over the artic ocean with hardly one dying from falling through the ice. Now that is a regular occurance even though they have reduced traveling on that same ice greatly. Reason: not everyone suddenly stupid, it is because that ice is so much thinner.

    • This is of course true, but also besides the point i was making. Julia Sligo, the Met Office’s chief scientist presumably understands this distinction. So when she says that claims of a reduction of this size are “not credible” (polite academic-speech for “bloody nutty”) you would hope that responsible environmental journalists would take note, wouldn’t you?

  9. It is interesting that you give so much credibility to JS. I presume you give equal credibility to all her pronoucements, not just the ones that happen to fit your preconceived views? But, JS isn’t an expert on sea ice.

    In this case, it is clear that the Grauniad is talking about volume (when discussing the 75% loss) and that it is correctly reporting the best-known set of figures on this, those from PIOMAS.

    You can verify the Graun’s correctness here: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

    • Not all her pronouncements. Just some of them. See if you can spot the difference:

      On pronouncements regarding empirical data, such as millimetres of rain fallen over a certain land mass, accuracy of satellite data, temperature in upper atmosphere, etc, I certainly credit Ms sligo in accordance with her position as chief scientist at the Met Office. On pronouncements regardinf statistical analysis, projections more than a few days into the future, computer modelling with extremely complex systems, no, i don’t give her pronouncements much credence.

      • Excellent. As you’re aware, the PIOMAS results are a set of data pushed through a complex model. As are the UKMO results that she is talking about. So, by the criteria that you have set yourself, you should be giving her opinions here very little credence.

        So we’re back to the start: the Grauniad has correctly reported the PIOMAS numbers (they were somewhat careless in not starting that they were talking about volume, but almost everyone with a clue very quickly realised that’s what they were: see for example the WUWT thread, where any numbers of commentators noticed this, despite AW’s best efforts to thrown them off the scent). They depart from neither reality (as far as we know) nor common sense. At least, I don’t possess the sort of common sense that allows me to determine Arctic sea ice volume from first principles. Perhaps you’ve got some other source of numbers. What, then, is your (sourced) best estimate for changes in Arctic ice volume in the September minimum period?

      • Not quite, because you’ve mistaken what i said. I didn’t say that i gave “UKMO results” credence I said I gave empirical data greater credence than findings based on computer modelling etc. So when Ms Sligo says that we don’t have sufficient empirical data on which to base a conclusion (in this case, accurate satellite data) I think she’s erring on the side of proper scientific caution and not saying more than can be reasonably supported by the evidence.

        We’re not quite back to square one, though, thanks to the link you provided. Following up on that we can learn about PIOMAS that it is a ” retrospective investigation [which] consists of a model hindcast for more than a half century using ‘reality-based’ atmospheric forcing to drive the model”. Good to hear that this model is “reality-based” (in contrast to other AGW models, perhaps?).

        http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/projections-of-an-ice-diminished-arctic-ocean/retrospective-investigation/

        Perhaps, though, you could take this forward even more though since you are obviously conversant with PIOMAS. I see that by their own data, NH sea ice volume for 1948 was substantially less than 1979 which was the high point for sea ice volume in the NH thanks to the NAO. Given that the findings go back all this way, can you give an educated guess as to why Ms Siegal and other environmental reporters would quote from halfway through the time period and not from the start point? It does seem somewhat arbitrary doesn’t it?

  10. Correction: PIOMAS, not PIOMASS

  11. Dear haunting the library, I see that one of the two comments I posted earlier (about 4:36pm ) has been deleted. I would be grateful if you could “undelete” it)

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