Sunday, August 13, 2006

Greenland to Melt in 13,000 Years

Well here's the biggest piece of global-warming-the-sky-is-falling hysteria passing as journalism these days at the BBC. Too bad they buried deep in the article the part of the story that actually contradicts the need to publish this in the first place.

The Headline: Greenland Melt 'Speeding Up'
Paragraph 1 (of 15): Satellites show that melting "has accelerated since 2004."
Paragraph 2: If it disappears completely, global sea levels will rise 21 feet.

Paragraph 9: Current melt rate is 57.3 cubic miles per year. (I will assume in good faith that that's held true for EACH of the past three years, and that they're not seriously creating a statistical mean based on 2-1/2 years of data.)

Paragraph THIRTEEN: All this amounts to a current global sea level rise of 0.02 inches per year. (Let that sink in for a sec: POINT-ZERO-TWO inches.)

Conveniently ignored and unmentioned implication: If things hold steady, Greenland's melt will contribute a whole 2 inches to global sea level rise in the next 100 years. The entire sheet will disappear in 13,000 years. Oh, HORROR!!! Quick, start building the sea walls!!!

Unfortunately, the anonymous(?!) author never bothered to provide any context of historical averages of Greenland's ice sheet melt. Okay, so it's sped up since 2004? By how much? Do we know the melt rate 100 years ago? 500? 1000? 10,000?

So since we don't know any of those things, why the "sea levels would rise 21 feet" alarmism at the FRONT of the story? I'm not implying that this isn't important scientific news. I'm not implying that we shouldn't do anything to stem (or reverse) this. I AM SAYING that the journalist has an eco-PC agenda, is willing to misrepresent the data, is BAD at putting things in context, and is perfectly happy to do so, all while hiding behind the protective cloak of BBC anonymity. I name him (or her, since they're anonymous): Pud-knocker.

By the way, on a separate note, is it actually standard in news articles to give every sentence its own paragraph? That strikes me as rather excessive. Whatever.


At August 13, 2006 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. The point is, you see, that the rate of melting is speeding up. The increased rate of change, not the total amount of melting in the past few years, is what's significant.

At August 14, 2006 10:20 AM, Blogger sloWriter said...

Understood. But my point is that sea-level rise of .02 inches per year is practically meaningless ESPECIALLY given that it was previously probably somewhere around .15 inches per year.

That, however, brings up my second point, which is that the author DIDN'T tell us what the previous melt-rate/sea-level rise was.

But I do appreciate the comments. I'm glad to know that SOMEONE'S reading this blog. :)


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