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.
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.
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.
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?