George Will Misrepresents Climate Change Study, Part Deux

Carl Zimmer has posted an interesting response to the points that were raised repeatedly in yesterday’s comment thread on George Will’s climate change column: A Wrinkle In Ice (or Not).

In his reply to me, Chapman explained that the two research centers, NSIDC and ACRC, both use the SSMI satellite readings, but they have different methods for building their time series. Chapman and his colleagues at ACRC use a composite of three sequential days for their ice cover readings. If a swath of data is missing on one particular day, they can go back to the previous day’s concentrations. If there are still missing regions, they go one more day back.

“Missing regions or swaths of data have always occurred from time to time in the SSMI record, which is why we set it up this way,” Chapman explained.

Despite the recent trouble with the SSMI satellite, Chapman said the three-day-composites have still been meaningful. “As one check, we have been comparing our time series with those from the independent data source AMSR-E. They are just about identical so we are comfortable that our time series remain solid. Our time series and therefore the statement are unaffected by the recent satellite problems. If the sensor degrades a lot more, our numbers will be affected, but to date, they are not.”

I then asked what he thought about the Washington Post’s support of Will’s claim about ice. (To recap again, their support was decidedly roundabout. A January 1 post on a blog called Daily Tech claimed that global ice cover in late 2008 were unchanged from 1979. In response to that blog post, the Center posted a pdf on their web site explaining that “observed global sea ice area, defined here as a sum of N. Hemisphere and S. Hemisphere sea ice areas, is near or slightly lower than those observed in late 1979.” But then the scientists also explained that climate models predict a decline in Arctic ice, but are less certain about Antarctica, with some even suggesting an increase–making measurements of global sea ice not terribly relevant to the question of climate change. The Post ignored that part.)

Here’s Chapman’s reply:

Since their statements were based on the end of the previous year, and more importantly the end of 1979, the statement ‘global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979′ just didn’t make sense any more. We have received 80-100 emails from confused people who had read George’s column and looked up the graphs on the Cryosphere Today [one of the center’s web pages] and said they came to a different conclusion, or, could we point them to the report that said that Feb 1979 and Feb 2009 sea ice area was nearly the same. We had to post the current and corresponding 1979 values to avoid the inconsistency that readers were noting. After doing some googling, it appears that Daily Tech article got repeated on a lot of blogs, so it’s not surprising George Will came across it at some point. Still it was sloppy for them to not double check with the original source and it really points out the danger of making any conclusions on climate change based on any two days in history. I really wish they would have contacted us at some point to avoid this.

Our goal is to present the data in as concise and useful format as possible for interested users. Whether the Washington Post decides to publish a correction is up to them.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2021-06-05 2:51 pm PDT
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Cash.app Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Half-Mast Notice: Mass-Murder in Highland Park, Illinois Highland Park, Illinois is in Lake County, not Chicago as some reports have indicated. It is one of the ten wealthiest cities per captia in the United States, and the site of numerous films which require settings in mansions. ...
Anymouse 🌹🏡😷
18 hours, 48 minutes ago
Views: 115 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 •
Goleta Park Our Sunday GetawayWe drove 80 miles up to this favorite spot. The weather was nice, the tides accommodating, and the waves calm. Too calm. Instead of ocean and beach, we shot wildlife in the brackish creek.
Rightwingconspirator
1 day, 16 hours ago
Views: 176 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 4
Tweets: 1 •
Train Songs Nine
A hollow voice says Vaccinate the world!
3 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 267 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 •
Train Songs Eight
A hollow voice says Vaccinate the world!
3 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 309 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 •
Train Songs Seven
A hollow voice says Vaccinate the world!
3 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 263 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 •
Train Songs Six
A hollow voice says Vaccinate the world!
3 days, 20 hours ago
Views: 262 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 •
Train Songs Five
A hollow voice says Vaccinate the world!
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 607 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 6
Tweets: 0 •
Train Songs Four
A hollow voice says Vaccinate the world!
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 600 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 4
Tweets: 0 •
Train Songs Three
A hollow voice says Vaccinate the world!
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 558 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 4
Tweets: 0 •
Snarky Puppy - Trinity (Extended Version) Snarky Puppy never lets you down, they always come out bright and enthusiastically high on the sounds. Snarky Puppy - Trinity (Extended Version)From Snarky Puppy's new album, Empire Central (September 2022, GroundUP Music)Stream/Buy: orcd.co Written by Mark LettieriArranged by ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 2 days ago
Views: 817 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 2 •