This blog is mostly aimed at a source of criticism and fact checking for the blog 'real science' run by someone who goes by the name Steven Goddard. It is intended that material presented here is informative, neutral, impersonal and well sourced such that any of my claims can be checked and criticized in their own right if necessary.

Friday, 6 September 2013

ibtimes news article: 'Arctic Ocean Losing Sea Ice At An Alarming Rate'

I am often very wary when reading mainstream media articles about sea ice. Not withstanding any 'human global warming' opinions they are prone to over exaggeration of the source material and can come to conclusions that are not even supported by the source (which sometimes aren't even directly given).  Steven is criticising this article:

in this blog post:

Actually the criticism is more directly aimed at NASA, but since we are linked to this article I will have a quick look at whether anything is indeed 'alarmist'.

Now given that the only things given in the blog post are two images, one of simply the title of the ibtimes article: 'Arctic Ocean Losing Sea Ice At An Alarming Rate', one of the (now considered obsolete by a newer graph) dmi graphs showing sea ice at its highest since 2006.

The actual times article can be summarized in the following points:
  • This year was not a record melt year, but the trend is still very much downwards
  • Meteorology has influenced this years higher sea ice levels
  • Antarctic sea ice continues to grow with an upward trend
All of these points are demonstrably correct (although the 2nd requires more work than the other two which are little more than direct observations) , for example this is the August trend in sea ice extent courtesy of the nsdic. Note that although summer sea ice is decreasing faster than winter sea ice the long term trend in both cases is down. 

Now what Steven is effectively doing is concentrating on the last 5 or so points on the graph, and making the observation that 2013 is significantly above 2012. This is also demonstrably true, but to imply any great significance to this such as NASA being incorrect about long term trends is not appropriate. No matter how low the sea ice gets we are still likely to see years that improve on the previous, but unless this becomes consistent it cannot be considered important for long term predictions. 

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