Arctic Ice melt media misinformation retracted

Mon, 2008-08-25 14:53Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Arctic Ice melt media misinformation retracted

The Register reporter Steve Goddard is admitting today that his article last week on melting Arctic Sea Ice (Arctic ice refuses to melt as ordered) is incorrect.

Too bad the damage has already been done. 

In his article, Goddard claimed that National Snow and Ice Data Center plot of Arctic Sea Ice Extent was wrong and that,

“The Arctic did not experience the meltdowns forecast by NSIDC and the Norwegian Polar Year Secretariat. It didn't even come close. Additionally, some current graphs and press releases from NSIDC seem less than conservative. There appears to be a consistent pattern of overstatement related to Arctic ice loss.”

Today, Goddard is retracting the claim:

“… it is clear that the NSIDC graph is correct, and that 2008 Arctic ice is barely 10% above last year - just as NSIDC had stated.”

But as Joe Romm at ClimateProgress points out it may be too little too late. Goddard's article has already caught fire in the climate denier-sphere with over 70 references to the story according to blog search engine Technorati, with titles like:

  • Arctic Ice Grows 30 Per Cent In a Year
  • The Global Warming Theory takes a hit
  • Fishy Data From the Government
  • Here’s another installment about the silliness of “global warming” as posited by politicians and “environmentalists”.
  • Cooking the Books to Cook the Ice
  • Global Warming is about global government and depopulation

Unless Goddard, or intrepid DeSmog readers, have the time to go out and urge bloggers to correct this latest misinformation, it will be popping up as yet another false piece of information on the true state of our planet and the realities of global warming for some time to come. And as the old adage goes , “If you repeat something long enough it eventually becomes true.”

For more on the who's who of the climate denial industry, check out our comprehensive climate deniers research database.


Why the retraction? The warming alarmists have been misstating the case concerning Arctic ice for a long time now.

For the record, Arctic ice is significantly higher this year then last year, which was admittedly a bad year.

There is approx. 750,000 square kilometers more ice today then there was last year on this date.

    Reference #1

    Reference #2

This just in: 750,000 km^2 above last year is still significantly below the observed means.

You say “Global warming stopped in 1998!”
We say “Don’t cherry-pick single years, look at the long-term trend.”
The same reasoning shows up here – record years (high or low, in temperature or sea ice) don’t tell us anything. Only the long-term trend does. (Funny how an inactivist would accuse us of picking a single year in light of the temperature record, but still…)

And guess what?

Regardless of your Global Warming stance, this isn’t anything out of the ordinary, it has to do with ocean circulations.

“Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming,” said Morison.

We say “Don’t cherry-pick single years, look at the long-term trend.”

We say the same thing. Stop looking at a 20 to 30 year blip and yelling “the sky is falling”
Look at truely climatic time periods.
All of them show NOTHING unusual about our current climate.

As for Arctic melting.
What would any sane person expect after it warmed for 20 some years and has only just recently begun to cool.
Good grief, it is soooooooo normal anyone with an IQ above a PITA member can see it. (I wonder about Green peace members though)

How come the peer-reviewed scientific literature disagrees with you? Is it because, “it’s been warm before” is not a refutation of AGW is happening now and will continue to happen? Or is it because publishing scientists are conspiring with people with the IQ of pitas, or whatever. (Note: if you want to hypocritically insult people, at least learn how to identify their group correctly.)

BTW, don’t you think it’s weird to (1) deny that the Earth has been warming up (“cooled since 1998!”, “they adjust the data to make it seem like it’s warming up”, “urban heat islands!”), then (2) to blame apparent warming on changing ocean cycles that only redistribute heat (“get ready for 30-70 years of cold” – I don’t know if you ever got on this bandwagon, but the “we” you reference certainly does), and then (3), as you’ve done above, claim that the last 4 years with anomalously low Arctic sea ice occurred because of recent warming? I think that’s strange.

Ha! So now you want the temperature reconstructions? Are you a fan of Mann all of the sudden? Or perhaps you want a different reconstruction or a different time period – which ones? Badly hypocritical!

So when are we going to see the Goricle admit to his mistakes and take his film out of circulation? Plus give back his Oscar and Nobel prizes?

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

JR, the subject material wasn’t rich enough for you to write something relevant? Or is this one of the 20 or so talking points that you want to repeat? I imagine that when a better documentary film comes along, AIT will just lose its place naturally. Just like a better climate reconstruction that says something different than the one Mann (and subsequent authors) performed, then maybe the hockey stick will disappear. You like competition, right? Well, get to work.

You do realize that Gore’s film was banned from schools in the UK after a court ruled there were too many errors in it.

Wakefield, look at the judge’s ruling yourself:

1) The judge consistently uses scarequotes around ‘error’, drawing upon the plaintiff’s terminology, not his own.
2) The judge made it clear that he has “no doubt that Dr Stott, the Defendant’s expert, is right when he says that…’Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate.’”.
3) He also says “the hearing before me did not relate to an analysis of the scientific questions.” This is a good thing too, since the judge is actually wrong on several of them (as in Gore was right, although I will be the first to admit he could have been clearer in a few of them). One example would be the Thompson ice core graph, in which Gore’s statement DOES reflect the scientific consensus but the judge believes that they don’t fit.
4) The verdict was in FAVOR of An Inconvenient truth, which is still viewable in the UK today.

For the record, the judge’s final verdict was:
I am satisfied that, with the Guidance Note, as amended, the Defendant is setting the film into a context in which it can be shown by teachers, and not so that the Defendant itself or the schools are promoting partisan views contained in the film, and is putting it into a context in which a balanced presentation of opposing views can and will be offered. There is no call for the Defendant to support the more extreme views of Mr Gore – indeed the Government’s adherence is to the IPCC views - but the present package in my judgment does enough to make it clear both what the mainstream view is, insofar as Mr Gore departs from it, and that there are views of “sceptics” who do not accept even the consensus views of the IPCC. The Defendant will not be promoting partisan political views by enabling the showing of AIT in the context of the discussions facilitated by the Guidance Note, and is not under a duty to forbid the presentation of it in that context.
In layman’s terms, showing it in schools isn’t a breach of law at all, and it isn’t banned, although there is a guidance note provided as a caveat (which you can read yourself in the ruling).

Where do you get your information from? It obviously isn’t the primary sources.

You are saying there are no errors in the flim? Major science errors, major errors of fact?

Then tell us about them.

Ian Forrester


1) Had you actually read the judge’s statement, he was not talking about errors, but rather “ ‘errors’ or deviations from the norm”. These are two very different statements – an accepted, dangerous, but low-probability event (high risk) is considered deviation from the norm, but it isn’t an error. The judge said that the Greenland melt claim was a deviation from the norm for that reason, even though it has not been ruled out as happening sooner.

2) I applaud your attempt at redirection and succumbing to Gore’s Law. This post has nothing to do about Gore, and you ignore not only the post but my rebuttal to your garbage, zeroing in on the one talking point you are prepared to discuss, no matter how relevant or accurate that point may be. Bravo, inactivist extraordinare.

I’ll deal with any of your subsequent complaints if and when you address the errors you made that I pointed out above, or when you return to the topic of this thread.

“Mr Justice Burton said he had no complaint about Gore’s central thesis that climate change was happening and was being driven by emissions from humans. However, the judge said nine statements in the film were not supported by mainstream scientific consensus.

In his final verdict, the judge said the film could be shown as long as updated guidelines were followed.

These say teachers should point out controversial or disputed sections.

Without the guidance, updated after the case was launched, the government would have been breaking the law, the judge said. ”

The point of the threat is “coming clean” about errors. So when is Gore going to correct his 35 errors?

So what you said about it being banned was false.

Does the film have these errors?

You do not know what you are talking about. Or are you deliberately distributing false information?

I seem to recall that you claimed that you were a scientist. I hope you were just kidding us. What you are doing is the antithesis of what science is all about.

Ian Forrester

Guess you did not read this list.

Never said I was a professional scientist. But I have published in a science journal.

Do you and the other AGW deniers actually think that we will be persuaded by the junk you continually refer to?

I asked previously if you were either stupid or dishonest. It now seems that you are both stupid and dishonest. There is nothing in the peer reviewed scientific literature that you can refer us to, only the junk and lies put out by the AGW disinformation slime balls.

Ian Forrester

First, and last time. I do not deny AGW, I’m skeptical of it and the wild predictions. If you call me a denier one more time I will reserve the right to call you a liar. Is it possible to even be skeptical of AGW or does your dogma refuse to allow you to accept such a position?

Ian, here is one of the 35 errors. Snows of Kilimanjaro. Gore says it’s because of AGW, yet PEER REVIEWED PAPERS shows it is changes in local land use – cutting down of rain forests. So Gore must be wrong.

Or are you saying that there are no errors in the film at all.

Oh, another: Hurricane Katrina “man made”. But the PEER REVIEWED PAPERS refutes that, even the IPCC says there is no global warming signal in the hurricane record. So this is not an error on Gore’s part?

J.R. Wakefield, you are not a skeptic, you are ignorant. A skeptic needs to have some understanding of the science to begin with.

Well, you are wrong again.

May 1988 Issue of the Journal of Geological Education

I’ve published in a science journal, have you? Do you even know of the university courses I’ve taken? So how can you possibly make such an unfounded claim? The exact same wild claims of future climate with no evidence. And classic dogmatic reaction to being questioned.

Yeah, I know science very well.

JR wrote: Yeah, I know science very well.


I don’t particularly like being unkind, but what you know about science would fit in a thimble. You know nothing about the scientific method, about the difference between peer-reviewed science, and junk science, and you quote discredited sources and blog articles written by morons who can’t hold a candle to scientists like Hansen and Mann. And you spend your days arguing with your betters, with people on Desmog who are real scientists, who teach at universities, and published peer-reviewed studies in respected journals.

None are so blind as those who will not see. You are not a scientist, sir. You are an ideologue. And not a particularly clever one at that.

But I’ll give you a chance. Why don’t you post your CV, educational background, and scientific publications here so we can properly access your qualifications.

I can’t find you in Google Scholar unless you’re a Rheumatologist, but you seem to have published one article in the following journal:

The Journal of Geoscience Education (JGE) is the premier peer-reviewed publication for geoscience education research at the undergraduate and pre-college levels. JGE is the publication of record for NAGT, and serves as the only international forum for the publication of research concerning the pedagogy, assessment, and philosophy of teaching and learning about the geosciences.

It’s hardly Nature, or would you dispute even that?

So please edify us as to why you’re more qualified to talk about this subject than I am.
The difference between you and me is that I can quote real scientific articles and offer citations that support my arguments.

I guess you did not read my paper. I doubt Nature would publish it because it was a refuation of a creationist position. Before I wrote that I had no formal training in geology. I did put together the hypothesis for how haloes form, which no one to date had done. Read it and tell me I do not understand science, and then I can call you a liar.

I’ve taken zoology at UofT, specifically evolutionary biology. My main interest in that area is the change in taxonomy from the Linnean system to the Phylocode. Do you know what that is? I taught myself geology in order to publish that paper, and I taugh myself software development and make a good living at it.

I have read scientific literature for more than 30 years now. So I understand science, and logic. So get off your attempt to belittle me. You only know me from what I have presented here. Thus in no way can you have a clear picture of my abilities. And to assume so is ignorance on your part.

I have PEER REVIEWED PAPERS as my source, and always will. Which I have presented here.

Typical dogmatist, attack the person, ignore the evidence.

I only belittled you because you consistently take pot shots at the people on this site who know this stuff far better than you, and you have YET to offer a single, peer-reviewed scientific article to support any position that you have taken.

I follow your links. I know this to be a fact. So no, my point stands. You don’t understand the scientific method.

I’ve taken zoology at UofT, specifically evolutionary biology. My main interest in that area is the change in taxonomy from the Linnean system to the Phylocode. Do you know what that is?

You’re right, I don’t consider myself a scientist, but by your definition, I am. I possess a bachelor of science, majoring in biology and microbiology (although I took a fair bit of chemisty, too). I have taken graduate level courses in microbiology, biochemistry, and immunology. I was accepted to Dalhousie Medical School, but chose not to become a doctor. I have another degree in journalism, a Governor-General’s Medal, national and international writing awards, and more than one thousand published articles. I’ve taught myself HTML and CSS (though I salute your ability to develop software).

And NONE of that makes me a scientist, or gives me (or anyone like me) the ability to dispute the science of global warming. We can argue about the small details, just as we can argue about the small details of evolutionary theory. But global warming, like evolution, is a scientific fact!

So I understand science as well as you do, and I repeat. You are not a scientist, and the only way you will be taken seriously here is to refer to peer-reviewed scientific studies published in respected journals.

So are these or are these not errors in Gore’s film? Why do you refuse to answer this simple question? Instead you resort to insults. Typical dogmatist.

What is the point of making responses to your denier questions when you will only post some dishonest denier link to refute the honest answer?

I do not like wasting my time with stupid, dishonest liars like you but I will take every opportunity to expose you for what you are.

Did I say stupid, ignorant, lying?

Ian Forrester

“So when are we going to see the Goricle admit to his mistakes and take his film out of circulation? Plus give back his Oscar and Nobel prizes?”

And, he is fat and has a big house. So, climatologists trained in the big fancy universities therefore have it all wrong.

It might be better that they repeat stupid stuff on their ridiculous blogs. They could just as easily make up their own fibs and misrepresentations, and that’s the alternative, I’m afraid. It’s much better when there is a documented source for the error, especially one with a retraction so that in the future folks will know which people are generally reasonable about this stuff, and which people are continually wrong due to ideological reasons. I mean, wasn’t that the purpose of the faked story that a new study refutes AGW?
People could repeat that, but the idea was that it showed how willfully blind they were. Am I wrong here?

Steve L:

You can use WebCite to archive web pages on demand:

Anyway, the inactivists can always say that Goddard was threatened at knife-point by Ninja Inquisitors to recant, or some other similar crap. It’s as if these folks feed on their own errors.

“Ha! So now you want the temperature reconstructions? Are you a fan of Mann all of the sudden? Or perhaps you want a different reconstruction or a different time period – which ones? Badly hypocritical!”

GaryLogic: The universe has been cooling since the big bang. The warming is insignificant on that scale.

That is pretty accurate.
Irrelevent but accurate.

Accurate and it was entertaining. And at what point do historical temperatures become irrelevant?

Pointing out all the many many natural causes that have nothing to do with tiny amounts of harmless trace gases.

Global Cooling: Global Warming has Ended – Many Scientists Say -
August 21, 2008
Scientists and peer reviewed studies show growing concern for cooling

2008 So Far Coolest For at Least 5 Years Says World Meteorological Organization – ‘First half of 2008 the coolest since 2000’

Question for the AGW dogmatists. What would falsify AGW? Can AGW be falsifield? Should the Arctic ice return to normal, as we have several decades of cooling, would you reject AGW theory? How many more years of no cooling will it take for you to reject AGW?

I’ll let Greg speak for me:
Although the whole video is pertinent (actually, the whole video SERIES is, but I’m guessing you won’t sit through six hours of discussion), the direct answer to your claim is at 4:27.

I’m not asking for someone else’s opinion, I’m asking for what it would take for you PERSONNALLY to reject AGW. You can’t answer that?

Actually I have seen his videos, and corresponded directly with him. He is UNWILLING to see any evidence that does not support his position. I’ve sent him many. This says NOTHING to answering my question because this guy is not credible. You like him because you already agree to accept the dogma.

BTW, I have videos in direct reply to some of his earlier stuff. His 4 cell chart to base one’s decision to act or not is grossly too simple. Many have pointed that out to him.

Many of the comments speak volumes of his credibility. Zero.

His falsifiable argument is nothing of the sort. It’s an argument from authority. He won’t reject AGW not because of any evidence presented, but only if the authority of organizations such as the AAAS change their position (just a matter of time now). I have had many discussions with him on this. Just because the POLITICAL arm of the AAAS decided to make their position “official” does not mean that all the scientists in the world accept that position. In fact MANY DO NOT and have publicly stated so.

My question is not one of appealing to authority. Something one must not do in science, but what EVIDENCE or lack of prediction would make you reject AGW? What would the planet do or not do that would make you change to a skeptic?

Tell you what, I’m sure DeSmogBlog would love to see your correspondence with him. Why don’t you send them pictures of it?

You want to see the emails I sent and replies from him? I guess you do not believe me, eh?

Here is one of his replies to me from a post I sent which were just articles he should be aware of.

This message was Feb 10, 2008

Re: Must reads, it IS starting to fall apart
As predicted, you ignored the central question “What if you’re wrong,” and re-asserted your claim.

I’m starting to lump you in with several other people I’ve come across who are your equals in denialist fervor, but my anger towards them turned to compassion when I discovered that they are mentally ill. One had massive brain damage in a car accident, another suffers from a malignant brain tumor, and the third I don’t know what his diagnosis is.

I’m not accusing you of being mentally ill because you disagree with me. I’m just letting you know that the way you come across is strongly consistent with those others, who had enough mental function to present (to themselves and others) what sounds like reasonable arguments, but are unable to see anything which might contradict their established beliefs. It is this inability to acknowledge the possibility of being wrong–this confidence that is so supreme, it isn’t even seen as confidence, because they are just right–that is the red flag. And of course, they can’t see that either. Which is why your last two responses really hit me. I told you that I thought you would dodge the central question, and come back with tangential assertions, and despite my explicit challenge to do otherwise, you did exactly as I predicted, with seemingly no awareness of the significance of that.

I don’t feel superior to you. I’m just sad that you are actively demanding that the rest of us take on the risk of your assessment being incorrect, when you won’t even acknowledge the possibility.

If you really think we’re going back to the dark ages and it’s inevitable because of Peak Oil, then please, make your preparations, and leave the rest of us alone to make ours for the threats we see. If you sincerely believe it’s too late, that catastrophic social collapse is inevitable and immanent, as you’ve described in the past, then it won’t be any skin off of your nose if the rest of us want to rearrange some deck chairs on the Titanic to make ourselves feel better about what we perceive as a threat. It won’t hurt you. Please just leave us alone, and prepare for your reality.

I wish you the best of luck and fortune. For us all.

As you can see he has quite the chip on his shoulders.

And yet you still miss the critical point in that you haven’t answered the “What if you’re wrong?” question. The whole point of risk assessment is to deal with two questions: first, what if you’re right, and second, what if you’re wrong. You haven’t touched the second one at all and respond by getting louder about your certainty. This isn’t very intellectually honest.

This comes to the issue of the Precautionary Principle.

I have written a piece regarding that.

The question is not about being wrong on my part, but being wrong on your part. You are the people presenting a positive position, AGW theory. I’m skeptical of the dogmatic alarmist predictions those who hold to that premise. I do not hold any position to be wrong about as I’m convinced that there is no way to predict what the future climate will be.

Also, I do not have to worry about being wrong on wild predictions that have no basis in fact. Besides, why don’t you raise the alarm about people living along active tectonic zones? It’s predicted that 30,000 people will die when the next big one hits Los Angeles. Why not invoke the PP and move all these people away from such dangerous zones?

But I’ll play along. What if I’m wrong and the earth’s temp rises because of CO2:

1) it will mean longer growing seasons for northern peoples

2) less heating bills in the winter

3) faster growing crops.

4) more moderated weather, fewer violent storms.

Sounds nice, bring it on!

you do not know what you are talking about. You have no clue how science works.

There is absolutely no truth to what you are telling us.

Science has shown the following:

1. carbon dioxide is a green house gas

2. carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere

3. much of the extra carbon dioxide has been shown to be man made

These facts are bolstered by the finding that over geological time scales (millions of years) carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature are related. That is, when carbon dioxide concentrations were high, temperatures were high. As the carbon dioxide levels decreased due to carbon being locked up in sediments and transformed and buried under many thousands of feet of other sediments temperatures decreased as well.

This is verifiable by looking at the scientific literature and was known long before AGW was a concern. In fact any petroleum geologist is well aware of this since it is critical to knowing where to find oil and gas.

If you dispute these facts you are either stupid or are deliberately falsifying the truth.

Ian Forrester

Ian are you capable of posting without being insulting? It is possible for you to have a meaningful debate or is your a priori position that everyone who disagrees with you is either stupid or lying?

1. carbon dioxide is a green house gas

A very small component. And only in lab experiments. Reality has many more factors involved. Question is, when CO2 were 3-4 TIMES the current level in the geological past how come the planet did not cook?

2. carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere

That’s an assumption and not proven.

3. much of the extra carbon dioxide has been shown to be man made

Much is not scientific. How much is much? What percent of the current CO2 emissions from humans? Back it up with peer reviewed papers.

These facts are bolstered by the finding that over geological time scales (millions of years) carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature are related. That is, when carbon dioxide concentrations were high, temperatures were high.

Actually some evidence shows the reverse. Temp came first then co2 increased. The problem for that correlation is that in spite of CO2 increasing the planet has cooled over the past 10 years and now we have CREDIBLE peer reviewed papers popping up that we are headed into a 30-40 year cooling trend. Or do you ignore those because it does not fit the AGW polemic?

Can it be possible that the sun has some effect on our climate? Is it possible that the climate system is so complex that we have yet been able to model it correctly?

You are stupid, a liar, ignorant of science and you insult intelligent people. Do I need to add anything else?

If you don’t want to be insulted then act like a responsible person and stop being so stupid.

Ian Forrester

You want to see all 23 emails I sent him? Some are quite lengthy.

Send some more. That one made him look at least a little bit off his rocker…at least half a cheek.
Would love to hear if he fell completely off in any of the others



Problems caused by climate change are likely already dangerous and global warming may be irreversible, according to a draft science report by a United Nations committee.

The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report, leaked earlier this week to a number of major media organizations, said continued greenhouse gas emissions caused primarily by burning oil, coal and natural gas will probably increase the likelihood of  “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

The New York Times...

read more