bogus Greenland 'news'

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bogus Greenland 'news'

Jeffrey Kargel
Dear Cryolisters: A discussion amongst colleagues, particularly Graham Cogley and myself, and others, 
leads us to think that this Greenland story will soon or is beginning already to go viral.  We think that
glaciologists, especially those doing Greenland research, need to be proactive in quashing this
misinformation. In my opinion, you should take it seriously enough to contact your media contacts
and just express your scholarly opinion that this story is false, and then douse them with 
real data and a synopsis of what really is happening.  The risk (guarantee?) is that if
we don't counter it, the public will be further misled into thinking that the baby (the real Greenland and
real data) is dirty bathwater (this Guardian story), get confused about  what is science and what is not,
latch on to their favorite blogger or politician, and come up with some very peculiar ideas that have no
bearing on reality. A bogus story going one way will result in an equally bogus political claim the other
way; the siege against science will continue onward, all because some hasty reporter and another
hasty cartographer decided they would write a science news story on something they have no clue about.

Greenland experts, please step forward and kill this story now. Like they say about campfires, douse
every last coal before you leave.

Jeff Kargel
Department of Hydrology & Water Resources
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85742

Global Land Ice Measurements from Space
www.glims.org
520-780-7759

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Re: bogus Greenland 'news'

Jeffrey Kargel
Laurence, somehow the link didn't transfer through in my message. I will insert it directly here:
And Gordon: You noted that since scientists were not quoted, it shouldn't be a problem. In a proper world, that's true, and that is a sharp distinction from IPCCs '2035' for sure. I am just trying to think like a climate change denialist blogger or reporter; what would they do about this, how would they make it look as though it's science at work, and is faulty? Or think like an honest journalist just digging into what they might consider to be a good reference book. So the stories hit the media, and then what? The bloggers go crazy. The politicians go even crazier. And then scientists say, "Oh, yeh, we knew that was wrong, but it was so wrong that we didn't think to counter it."  That is how I used to think. But if we have learned one thing in the last 2 years, it is to be proactive. Get the facts out.  Get a scientifically solid synopsis out, and do it again and again, because the misinformers (those dedicated to the task and those stumbling into it) will do so again and again. Just ask yourself, who has the upper hand in framing public opinion these days? Scientists or bloggers/politicians? Scientists and scientific methodology used to be respected. It was a comparative few scientific errors, and a whole lot of misinformation by non-scientists, that have caused wacky ideas to take charge in the most bizarre way. There is everything right with legitimate questioning by policy makers and holding the scientists' feet to the fire.  But it gets to a point where you have clarify what is science and what is not science, because otherwise other people with an agenda will define it for everybody and use that twisted definition to their own purposes.

OK, maybe I over-react (Gordon), but I don't think so. I have a bad hunch that this story is going to play like crazy, and it will take a life of its own. Better to kill it dead, and use it as an opportunity to get the real story out. The story will still be played poorly by some people, but at least we can get solid thinkers straight.

--Jeff

From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
Subject: RE: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:52:47 -0700

I didn’t see a link or identity of the story we were being warned about here.

 

Dr Laurence Padman

Earth & Space Research

Corvallis, OR, USA

 

padman @esr.org

(541) 753-6695 (work)

(541) 250-1440 (cell)

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Kargel
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 4:25 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'

 

Dear Cryolisters: A discussion amongst colleagues, particularly Graham Cogley and myself, and others, 

leads us to think that this Greenland story will soon or is beginning already to go viral.  We think that

glaciologists, especially those doing Greenland research, need to be proactive in quashing this

misinformation. In my opinion, you should take it seriously enough to contact your media contacts

and just express your scholarly opinion that this story is false, and then douse them with 

real data and a synopsis of what really is happening.  The risk (guarantee?) is that if

we don't counter it, the public will be further misled into thinking that the baby (the real Greenland and

real data) is dirty bathwater (this Guardian story), get confused about  what is science and what is not,

latch on to their favorite blogger or politician, and come up with some very peculiar ideas that have no

bearing on reality. A bogus story going one way will result in an equally bogus political claim the other

way; the siege against science will continue onward, all because some hasty reporter and another

hasty cartographer decided they would write a science news story on something they have no clue about.

 

Greenland experts, please step forward and kill this story now. Like they say about campfires, douse

every last coal before you leave.

 

Jeff Kargel

Department of Hydrology & Water Resources

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ 85742

 

Global Land Ice Measurements from Space

www.glims.org

520-780-7759


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Re: bogus Greenland 'news'

David Mayer
In reply to this post by Jeffrey Kargel
Dear Cryolisters, 

I have found additional information that indicates the 15% number did not come from the Guardian but rather, originated with Times Atlases.

I found a story about the atlas on a blog run by the Natural Resource Defense Council.  They were a bit more specific than the Guardian about what the 15% number refers to: "Cartographers erased roughly 15 percent of the ice shelf that was once thought to be permanent." (emphasis added).  This is interesting because the Guardian article says the 15% number refers to "permanent ice cover" that's been lost.

But wait there's more! The post also includes a video from the Times Atlas' YouTube account in which the publishing manager of Times Atlases, Jethro Lennox says  "...the Greenland ice cap, we've seen a dramatic reduction of about 15%." (emphasis added)

Here's a link to the blog post:

Here's a direct link to the video that's embedded in the blog post:

The comment about Greenland occurs about 90 seconds into the video.

Cheers,
David Mayer
Graduate School of Geography
Clark University
Worcester, Massachusetts

On Sep 15, 2011, at 7:25 PM, Jeffrey Kargel wrote:

Dear Cryolisters: A discussion amongst colleagues, particularly Graham Cogley and myself, and others, 
leads us to think that this Greenland story will soon or is beginning already to go viral.  We think that
glaciologists, especially those doing Greenland research, need to be proactive in quashing this
misinformation. In my opinion, you should take it seriously enough to contact your media contacts
and just express your scholarly opinion that this story is false, and then douse them with 
real data and a synopsis of what really is happening.  The risk (guarantee?) is that if
we don't counter it, the public will be further misled into thinking that the baby (the real Greenland and
real data) is dirty bathwater (this Guardian story), get confused about  what is science and what is not,
latch on to their favorite blogger or politician, and come up with some very peculiar ideas that have no
bearing on reality. A bogus story going one way will result in an equally bogus political claim the other
way; the siege against science will continue onward, all because some hasty reporter and another
hasty cartographer decided they would write a science news story on something they have no clue about.

Greenland experts, please step forward and kill this story now. Like they say about campfires, douse
every last coal before you leave.

Jeff Kargel
Department of Hydrology & Water Resources
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85742

Global Land Ice Measurements from Space
520-780-7759
_______________________________________________
You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]


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Re: bogus Greenland 'news'

Smellie, John (Prof.)
Dear All,
regrettably I agree with David as I watched a Times Atlas rep on BBC primetime Breakfast TV a few days ago here in UK, announcing the launch of the new atlas. She chose to highlight - wait for it - the huge changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet, showing the presenters the huge new areas of brown (ice free was implied). I don't recall any figure used for ice melt but it seems like it is the Atlas folks who are promulgating this info. Given that they have already published the attas and it is not cheap, I suspect they will be very loath to retract for commercial reasons.
Regards,
John Smellie

Department of Geology
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH
UK

----------------------------------------------------------------
"All Models are wrong. Some models are useful."
    George E.P. Box [British 20th Century statistician]
________________________________________
From: [hidden email] [[hidden email]] On Behalf Of David Mayer [[hidden email]]
Sent: 16 September 2011 03:01
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'

Dear Cryolisters,

I have found additional information that indicates the 15% number did not come from the Guardian but rather, originated with Times Atlases.

I found a story about the atlas on a blog run by the Natural Resource Defense Council.  They were a bit more specific than the Guardian about what the 15% number refers to: "Cartographers erased roughly 15 percent of the ice shelf that was once thought to be permanent." (emphasis added).  This is interesting because the Guardian article says the 15% number refers to "permanent ice cover" that's been lost.

But wait there's more! The post also includes a video from the Times Atlas' YouTube account in which the publishing manager of Times Atlases, Jethro Lennox says  "...the Greenland ice cap, we've seen a dramatic reduction of about 15%." (emphasis added)

Here's a link to the blog post:
http://bit.ly/oxUuvt

Here's a direct link to the video that's embedded in the blog post:
http://bit.ly/o8YaIR

The comment about Greenland occurs about 90 seconds into the video.

Cheers,
David Mayer
Graduate School of Geography
Clark University
Worcester, Massachusetts
[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>

On Sep 15, 2011, at 7:25 PM, Jeffrey Kargel wrote:

Dear Cryolisters: A discussion amongst colleagues, particularly Graham Cogley and myself, and others,
leads us to think that this Greenland story will soon or is beginning already to go viral.  We think that
glaciologists, especially those doing Greenland research, need to be proactive in quashing this
misinformation. In my opinion, you should take it seriously enough to contact your media contacts
and just express your scholarly opinion that this story is false, and then douse them with
real data and a synopsis of what really is happening.  The risk (guarantee?) is that if
we don't counter it, the public will be further misled into thinking that the baby (the real Greenland and
real data) is dirty bathwater (this Guardian story), get confused about  what is science and what is not,
latch on to their favorite blogger or politician, and come up with some very peculiar ideas that have no
bearing on reality. A bogus story going one way will result in an equally bogus political claim the other
way; the siege against science will continue onward, all because some hasty reporter and another
hasty cartographer decided they would write a science news story on something they have no clue about.

Greenland experts, please step forward and kill this story now. Like they say about campfires, douse
every last coal before you leave.

Jeff Kargel
Department of Hydrology & Water Resources
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85742

Global Land Ice Measurements from Space
www.glims.org<http://www.glims.org>
520-780-7759
_______________________________________________
You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>

_______________________________________________
You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
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Re: bogus Greenland 'news'

Jeffrey Kargel
Cryolisters,
Thanks for stirring to action.  This will be my last post on this topic.  The matter is well in the hands of the Greenland experts. But I need to close my remarks by apologizing to The Guardian for having suspected them of poor reporting; from the evidence in hand, it is evident they were just reporting what a venerable institution, The Times Atlas, had published. The Guardian took the Times Atlas as an authority, which I can understand given the high-quality nonpolar cartography they've done over the years. Second, from what several people have reported through Cryolist or privately, the immediate source of the 15% mistake is the Times Atlas. Finally, considering John Smellie's points below, maybe the Greenland experts among Cryolist and GLIMS could take a kinder, gentler approach than I have taken, and offer the Times Atlas a whole section's worth of cartographic and satellite image based results documenting changes; let them have that for free plus a good citation of sources (if copyright is not an issue).  That way, maybe they would have a face-saving way to replace the Greenland section they now have, and everybody would be better for it.

Good luck solving this one.

--Jeff Kargel 

> From: [hidden email]

> To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]
> Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 08:04:59 +0100
> Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
>
> Dear All,
> regrettably I agree with David as I watched a Times Atlas rep on BBC primetime Breakfast TV a few days ago here in UK, announcing the launch of the new atlas. She chose to highlight - wait for it - the huge changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet, showing the presenters the huge new areas of brown (ice free was implied). I don't recall any figure used for ice melt but it seems like it is the Atlas folks who are promulgating this info. Given that they have already published the attas and it is not cheap, I suspect they will be very loath to retract for commercial reasons.
> Regards,
> John Smellie
>
> Department of Geology
> University of Leicester
> University Road
> Leicester LE1 7RH
> UK
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> "All Models are wrong. Some models are useful."
> George E.P. Box [British 20th Century statistician]
> ________________________________________
> From: [hidden email] [[hidden email]] On Behalf Of David Mayer [[hidden email]]
> Sent: 16 September 2011 03:01
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
>
> Dear Cryolisters,
>
> I have found additional information that indicates the 15% number did not come from the Guardian but rather, originated with Times Atlases.
>
> I found a story about the atlas on a blog run by the Natural Resource Defense Council. They were a bit more specific than the Guardian about what the 15% number refers to: "Cartographers erased roughly 15 percent of the ice shelf that was once thought to be permanent." (emphasis added). This is interesting because the Guardian article says the 15% number refers to "permanent ice cover" that's been lost.
>
> But wait there's more! The post also includes a video from the Times Atlas' YouTube account in which the publishing manager of Times Atlases, Jethro Lennox says "...the Greenland ice cap, we've seen a dramatic reduction of about 15%." (emphasis added)
>
> Here's a link to the blog post:
> http://bit.ly/oxUuvt
>
> Here's a direct link to the video that's embedded in the blog post:
> http://bit.ly/o8YaIR
>
> The comment about Greenland occurs about 90 seconds into the video.
>
> Cheers,
> David Mayer
> Graduate School of Geography
> Clark University
> Worcester, Massachusetts
> [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
>
> On Sep 15, 2011, at 7:25 PM, Jeffrey Kargel wrote:
>
> Dear Cryolisters: A discussion amongst colleagues, particularly Graham Cogley and myself, and others,
> leads us to think that this Greenland story will soon or is beginning already to go viral. We think that
> glaciologists, especially those doing Greenland research, need to be proactive in quashing this
> misinformation. In my opinion, you should take it seriously enough to contact your media contacts
> and just express your scholarly opinion that this story is false, and then douse them with
> real data and a synopsis of what really is happening. The risk (guarantee?) is that if
> we don't counter it, the public will be further misled into thinking that the baby (the real Greenland and
> real data) is dirty bathwater (this Guardian story), get confused about what is science and what is not,
> latch on to their favorite blogger or politician, and come up with some very peculiar ideas that have no
> bearing on reality. A bogus story going one way will result in an equally bogus political claim the other
> way; the siege against science will continue onward, all because some hasty reporter and another
> hasty cartographer decided they would write a science news story on something they have no clue about.
>
> Greenland experts, please step forward and kill this story now. Like they say about campfires, douse
> every last coal before you leave.
>
> Jeff Kargel
> Department of Hydrology & Water Resources
> University of Arizona
> Tucson, AZ 85742
>
> Global Land Ice Measurements from Space
> www.glims.org<http://www.glims.org>
> 520-780-7759
> _______________________________________________
> You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
>
> _______________________________________________
> You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]

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FW: bogus Greenland 'news'

Jeffrey Kargel
John,

I am breaking may vow not to post any more on this topic, but your email message indicated that you wanted your comments posted, and we definitely welcome your comments. I am one of the instigators of the vigorous discussion going on with Cryolist; actually, several people poicked up on it before it came to my attention and were wondering what to do about it. I would not recommend waiting til Monday; I'd think this is a working weekend for the Guardian. I have contacted CNN and the New York Times; others have contacted BBC and other outlets. The glaciology crowd is mobilized.  All this is a good thing, because it enables an opportunity to get the reality out there in front of people. Reality is dramatic enough, even if there are big gaps in our knowledge of Greenland; no sensationalism is needed to convey the dramatic changes to the cryosphere occurring as a result of rapid climate change (anthropogenic global warming with overprinting by natural cyclic and random fluctuations). In Greenland, it's a really complex story, because tidewater outlet glaciers don't behave in stable or linearly changing ways.  But the rapidity and enormity of changes occurring in Greenland are dramatic enough; just the facts convey that. We await a response from the Times Atlas, but the glaciology community is generally sensing that this was a huge committed error and are concerned that it will sound to the public as though it is some kind of science story.  It is not science, and the glaciology community agrees with that.  A few of our community think that this is a tempest in a teapot.  My goal is to make it that way as much as possible and reduce the damage to public understanding of the issues.

I am well aware, through the correspondence on this matter, that the Guardian was merely reporting what the Times Atlas was saying.  We already have the videos and marketing statements that it was the Times Atlas, not the Guardian, who was ultimately responsible.  However, I do have a much less severe admonition to the Guardian (and just about all other news media outlets).  At a time when climate change issues are so politicised, including all the myriad impacts on the cryosphere and other components of the Earth System (that would include people), and science is so misunderstood by the public, news reporting outlets really need to be talking to scientists about science stories before they publish.  Greenland will come up again and again in your reporting; so you should have on file a bunch of names of Greenland scientists.  Just please consult with them.  They do this for a living.

Maybe the media can also see that scientists are not out to skew the truth or make a story to enrich our grants. We dedicate our lives to understanding the workings of the Earth; we simply want reality, as best we can measure and model and interpret it, as objectively as humanly possible, to reach the public in a form that is both understandable and accurate. 

Sincerely,

Jeff Kargel
+1 520-780-7759

> Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 16:58:50 +0100

> Subject: Fwd: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> From: [hidden email]
> To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]
>
> Dear Jeffrey,
>
> maybe you want to talk to the Guardian directly and get something
> written in their paper about all this. I couldn't help myself and so I
> forwarded your emails through Cryolist to them. It's because I know
> one of them. Anyhow, perhaps you should email John below?
>
> Have a good weekend,
>
> Andy Hodson
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: John Vidal <[hidden email]>
> Date: 16 September 2011 16:03
> Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> To: Andrew J Hodson <[hidden email]>
>
>
>
> Folks, sorry i cant post this but, if someone could pass it round...
> I would send you the cast iron evidence that the Times said "15%
> (300,000 sq km)" but i dont have it to hand (wait till Monday?)
> I do think there's a serious discussion for the cryologists to have
> with the Times editors, and am very happy to report that . It just
> needs someone to start it, and please copy me in....
> V best
> John Vidal
>
> HAVE IT TO HAND. I THINK THERE'S A SERIOUS DISCUSSION TO BE HAD WITH
> THE TIMES, AND I AM VERY HAPPY TO WRIE THAT UP/ BLOG, ONE SOMEONE
> STARTS THE DISCUSSION WITH THEM.
>
> On 16 September 2011 15:30, Andrew J Hodson <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > OK - here's your apology! Did you get in touch?!
> >
> > Give my regards to Juliette if you see her
> >
> > A
> >
> >
> > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> > From: Jeffrey Kargel <[hidden email]>
> > Date: 16 September 2011 14:00
> > Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> > To: [hidden email]
> >
> >
> > Cryolisters,
> > Thanks for stirring to action.  This will be my last post on this
> > topic.  The matter is well in the hands of the Greenland experts. But
> > I need to close my remarks by apologizing to The Guardian for having
> > suspected them of poor reporting; from the evidence in hand, it is
> > evident they were just reporting what a venerable institution, The
> > Times Atlas, had published. The Guardian took the Times Atlas as an
> > authority, which I can understand given the high-quality nonpolar
> > cartography they've done over the years. Second, from what several
> > people have reported through Cryolist or privately, the immediate
> > source of the 15% mistake is the Times Atlas. Finally, considering
> > John Smellie's points below, maybe the Greenland experts among
> > Cryolist and GLIMS could take a kinder, gentler approach than I have
> > taken, and offer the Times Atlas a whole section's worth of
> > cartographic and satellite image based results documenting changes;
> > let them have that for free plus a good citation of sources (if
> > copyright is not an issue).  That way, maybe they would have a
> > face-saving way to replace the Greenland section they now have, and
> > everybody would be better for it.
> > Good luck solving this one.
> > --Jeff Kargel
> >
> > > From: [hidden email]
> > > To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]
> > > Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 08:04:59 +0100
> > > Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> > >
> > > Dear All,
> > > regrettably I agree with David as I watched a Times Atlas rep on BBC primetime Breakfast TV a few days ago here in UK, announcing the launch of the new atlas. She chose to highlight - wait for it - the huge changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet, showing the presenters the huge new areas of brown (ice free was implied). I don't recall any figure used for ice melt but it seems like it is the Atlas folks who are promulgating this info. Given that they have already published the attas and it is not cheap, I suspect they will be very loath to retract for commercial reasons.
> > > Regards,
> > > John Smellie
> > >
> > > Department of Geology
> > > University of Leicester
> > > University Road
> > > Leicester LE1 7RH
> > > UK
> > >
> > > ----------------------------------------------------------------
> > > "All Models are wrong. Some models are useful."
> > > George E.P. Box [British 20th Century statistician]
> > > ________________________________________
> > > From: [hidden email] [[hidden email]] On Behalf Of David Mayer [[hidden email]]
> > > Sent: 16 September 2011 03:01
> > > To: [hidden email]
> > > Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> > >
> > > Dear Cryolisters,
> > >
> > > I have found additional information that indicates the 15% number did not come from the Guardian but rather, originated with Times Atlases.
> > >
> > > I found a story about the atlas on a blog run by the Natural Resource Defense Council. They were a bit more specific than the Guardian about what the 15% number refers to: "Cartographers erased roughly 15 percent of the ice shelf that was once thought to be permanent." (emphasis added). This is interesting because the Guardian article says the 15% number refers to "permanent ice cover" that's been lost.
> > >
> > > But wait there's more! The post also includes a video from the Times Atlas' YouTube account in which the publishing manager of Times Atlases, Jethro Lennox says "...the Greenland ice cap, we've seen a dramatic reduction of about 15%." (emphasis added)
> > >
> > > Here's a link to the blog post:
> > > http://bit.ly/oxUuvt
> > >
> > > Here's a direct link to the video that's embedded in the blog post:
> > > http://bit.ly/o8YaIR
> > >
> > > The comment about Greenland occurs about 90 seconds into the video.
> > >
> > > Cheers,
> > > David Mayer
> > > Graduate School of Geography
> > > Clark University
> > > Worcester, Massachusetts
> > > [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
> > >
> > > On Sep 15, 2011, at 7:25 PM, Jeffrey Kargel wrote:
> > >
> > > Dear Cryolisters: A discussion amongst colleagues, particularly Graham Cogley and myself, and others,
> > > leads us to think that this Greenland story will soon or is beginning already to go viral. We think that
> > > glaciologists, especially those doing Greenland research, need to be proactive in quashing this
> > > misinformation. In my opinion, you should take it seriously enough to contact your media contacts
> > > and just express your scholarly opinion that this story is false, and then douse them with
> > > real data and a synopsis of what really is happening. The risk (guarantee?) is that if
> > > we don't counter it, the public will be further misled into thinking that the baby (the real Greenland and
> > > real data) is dirty bathwater (this Guardian story), get confused about what is science and what is not,
> > > latch on to their favorite blogger or politician, and come up with some very peculiar ideas that have no
> > > bearing on reality. A bogus story going one way will result in an equally bogus political claim the other
> > > way; the siege against science will continue onward, all because some hasty reporter and another
> > > hasty cartographer decided they would write a science news story on something they have no clue about.
> > >
> > > Greenland experts, please step forward and kill this story now. Like they say about campfires, douse
> > > every last coal before you leave.
> > >
> > > Jeff Kargel
> > > Department of Hydrology & Water Resources
> > > University of Arizona
> > > Tucson, AZ 85742
> > >
> > > Global Land Ice Measurements from Space
> > > www.glims.org<http://www.glims.org>
> > > 520-780-7759
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> > > To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> > > To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> > > To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> > > To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> > To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> > To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]
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Re: bogus Greenland 'news'

Jeffrey Kargel
John,

Wow, what a refreshing sense of responsibility.  I understand clearly where your responsibility begins and ends, and I understand very well your points, and I agree with them, including your point about honoring the Times Atlas for the great work they are characteristically/historically known for doing. Their polar maps have never been their strong suit, and this shows in spades (pardon the pun) with the newest Atlas and especially their treatment of it. The situation is not exactly like the IPCC (there have been no scientists involved, to my knowledge, except in the response; though little does the public understand that); but in both cases you have time-honored organizations (IPCC and Times Atlas) and well-deserved stellar reputations that are tarnished by gross errors in a small part of the total works. But if IPCC "2035" taught us one thing, it is not to take this magnitude of error lightly or wait too long to make corrections.

In terms of the Greenland map, all I have seen so far is the Guardian article, but it's enough to provide two tip-offs that the map is seriously in error; and this is not just me writing, but there are other glaciologists who agree and have been part of the discussion on Cryolist and privately. 

(1) The biggest point (the problem) is that the brown coloration in the newer map is far extended relative to what it was in earlier maps.  It is not easy to know, without the Cartographer's input, what the brown represents.  I give the benefit of the doubt that it represents just discolored ice (soot and dust darkening, or surface melting), but this is not what the Times Atlas says it is: they say that the growth of brown (the 15% loss of white ice) is due to loss of permanent ice cover, as you have mentioned and others have mentioned.  I am sorry to say that I don't know what the real number is, but from spots around the perimeter where measurements have been made, and considering that some areas have shown little to no retreat, the total retreat is somewhere under 1% in area over the 12 years.  You can quote this as a qualitative estimate (an educated guess), but so much better would be if you contacted the Greenland experts who have done the work there. Or they can contact you, as I am sure they will. We await Times Atlas response, but we glaciologists are generally of the view that the cartographers might have chosen to omit the outlet glaciers and just drew a semi-random line that takes in most of the ice sheet but leaves out the difficult-to-map details at the perimeter.  The outlet glaciers are enormous by any standards, and no glaciologist or glacier-oriented cartographer would or should omit them, and when looking at DIFFERENCES, such omissions in one map, and not so much in the other, dominates the calculation of change (erroneously so). So we are utterly puzzled. But omitting those "crinkly edges" (as one glaciologist put it) is one thing, just a cartography issue; by claiming a 15% loss of permanent ice cover, it ventures from Atlas issues to making a grossly misleading claim that sounds like science but is not science. 

(2) A minor point for this discussion, though a solid tip-off to glaciologists that the map is of poor quality, is that the topographic contours on the surface of the ice sheet have become very rugged, unrealistically so.  Whereas it is known that melt zones have generally expanded over much of Greenland during summers in recent years (a great thing to report on-- ask the folks at NASA), and meltwater running off the ice sheet will tend to produce valleys and channels, they cannot possibly become so deep so quickly, as implied.  I cannot make out the contour interval, but the implication is clearly that the eroded valleys are in the hundreds of meters depth, all formed, you would think by comparing maps, in 12 years.  This is patently not the case and is not even possible physically. Two reasons: the total energy needed to melt that much ice is clearly not available, even in a global warming world that we have today.  Secondly, if magically you carved channels that deep, they would tend to close by flow.  The flow speeds are fast enough that closure would tend to occur pretty rapidly; probably not complete closure in 12 years, but enough to keep the ruggedness shown in the map from developing. 

So I am a glaciologist; I am not a Greenland or ice sheet expert but a mountain glacier guy. Please go talk to the Greenland guys and gals, and also of course the Times Atlas. Furthermore, in any correction or retraction, I hope you take pains to make clear the Greenland's ice and ice all over the world really is disappearing rapidly and the consensus view is the climate change, mainly anthropogenic, is a major (not the only) cause.  By glaciological/historical standards, what is happening to the world's ice is extraordinary, though not unprecedented. For instance, the end of the Ice Age saw more protracted times of melting at rates comparable to what we see now for the past century, and the end of the Little Ice Age was also no small deal.

I am really sorry for my harshness of tone; after having spent 4 months of my life dealing with the "2035" IPCC fiasco, and many other months on other media/PR disasters, and then having seen public misunderstanding and policy redirections emanate from that, I have a hair-trigger response mechanism. I don't want to let glaciology stories run their course without glaciologist interaction.

--Jeff Kargel 
+1 520-780-7759


Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 18:01:43 +0100
Subject: Re: FW: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]

Dear Jeff, 

thanks for your email. I am glad that you have seen the marketing and other materials that the Times distributed to the media. This is the source of most of what i wrote and I am sure what everyone else has reported, too.

 It's actually quite hard to know what to do in these circumstances. We are not academically equipped to sort, sift and judge all the decisions made by Times's catrographers, and while some of us may be aware that there are other interpretaions of the ice data they use, the usual protocol if to publish what a reputable organistion says without asking too many questions.

 We might not agree with it, we might indeed think the work is is unusual or even wrong, but with a highly reputable publisher like the Times we have little option but to take their word. But we are not their fact checkers.  

Contrariwise, we would treat anything sent to us by any organistaion that in the past has provided us with duff info or which we know has a particular agenda or axe to grind with extreme caution, and possibly we would not not use it at all.  

The Times has, over 100 years, truly established itself as one of the  the most comprehensive and authoritative atlases in the world. To my knowledge their work has not been criticised in this way before, and as far as I know they have no political agenda . They are serious geographers who work with , they say, the best availaiable information. We would assume that they only work with peer reviewed science . 

What you are saying is serious and must be investigated. However,. Could you - or someone - please forgive me, but i havent got access to your list at the moment and you this could already have been done -  let me know exactly what is wrong with the Times maps?  Is it the figures that they use, or the catrography which is wrong? Be as precise as you like. These arguments can then be put to the Times and we will print both points of view as soon as possible. 

 I am more than happy to write another piece saying that groups of eminenet cryologists are in profound disagreement with the Times atlas, but i need to know exactly the complaint. Has a letter been sent to them? Have they replied? Are you demanding a retraction?  Can ou let me see the correspondednce. 

As I say, I am happy to take this up. But in this case please dont blame the messanger!

Best wishes

John Vidal
Wales

w

On 16 September 2011 17:22, Jeffrey Kargel <[hidden email]> wrote:
John,

I am breaking may vow not to post any more on this topic, but your email message indicated that you wanted your comments posted, and we definitely welcome your comments. I am one of the instigators of the vigorous discussion going on with Cryolist; actually, several people poicked up on it before it came to my attention and were wondering what to do about it. I would not recommend waiting til Monday; I'd think this is a working weekend for the Guardian. I have contacted CNN and the New York Times; others have contacted BBC and other outlets. The glaciology crowd is mobilized.  All this is a good thing, because it enables an opportunity to get the reality out there in front of people. Reality is dramatic enough, even if there are big gaps in our knowledge of Greenland; no sensationalism is needed to convey the dramatic changes to the cryosphere occurring as a result of rapid climate change (anthropogenic global warming with overprinting by natural cyclic and random fluctuations). In Greenland, it's a really complex story, because tidewater outlet glaciers don't behave in stable or linearly changing ways.  But the rapidity and enormity of changes occurring in Greenland are dramatic enough; just the facts convey that. We await a response from the Times Atlas, but the glaciology community is generally sensing that this was a huge committed error and are concerned that it will sound to the public as though it is some kind of science story.  It is not science, and the glaciology community agrees with that.  A few of our community think that this is a tempest in a teapot.  My goal is to make it that way as much as possible and reduce the damage to public understanding of the issues.

I am well aware, through the correspondence on this matter, that the Guardian was merely reporting what the Times Atlas was saying.  We already have the videos and marketing statements that it was the Times Atlas, not the Guardian, who was ultimately responsible.  However, I do have a much less severe admonition to the Guardian (and just about all other news media outlets).  At a time when climate change issues are so politicised, including all the myriad impacts on the cryosphere and other components of the Earth System (that would include people), and science is so misunderstood by the public, news reporting outlets really need to be talking to scientists about science stories before they publish.  Greenland will come up again and again in your reporting; so you should have on file a bunch of names of Greenland scientists.  Just please consult with them.  They do this for a living.

Maybe the media can also see that scientists are not out to skew the truth or make a story to enrich our grants. We dedicate our lives to understanding the workings of the Earth; we simply want reality, as best we can measure and model and interpret it, as objectively as humanly possible, to reach the public in a form that is both understandable and accurate. 

Sincerely,

Jeff Kargel
+1 520-780-7759

> Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 16:58:50 +0100

> Subject: Fwd: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> From: [hidden email]
> To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]

>
> Dear Jeffrey,
>
> maybe you want to talk to the Guardian directly and get something
> written in their paper about all this. I couldn't help myself and so I
> forwarded your emails through Cryolist to them. It's because I know
> one of them. Anyhow, perhaps you should email John below?
>
> Have a good weekend,
>
> Andy Hodson
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: John Vidal <[hidden email]>
> Date: 16 September 2011 16:03
> Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> To: Andrew J Hodson <[hidden email]>
>
>
>
> Folks, sorry i cant post this but, if someone could pass it round...
> I would send you the cast iron evidence that the Times said "15%
> (300,000 sq km)" but i dont have it to hand (wait till Monday?)
> I do think there's a serious discussion for the cryologists to have
> with the Times editors, and am very happy to report that . It just
> needs someone to start it, and please copy me in....
> V best
> John Vidal
>
> HAVE IT TO HAND. I THINK THERE'S A SERIOUS DISCUSSION TO BE HAD WITH
> THE TIMES, AND I AM VERY HAPPY TO WRIE THAT UP/ BLOG, ONE SOMEONE
> STARTS THE DISCUSSION WITH THEM.
>
> On 16 September 2011 15:30, Andrew J Hodson <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > OK - here's your apology! Did you get in touch?!
> >
> > Give my regards to Juliette if you see her
> >
> > A
> >
> >
> > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> > From: Jeffrey Kargel <[hidden email]>
> > Date: 16 September 2011 14:00
> > Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> > To: [hidden email]
> >
> >
> > Cryolisters,
> > Thanks for stirring to action.  This will be my last post on this
> > topic.  The matter is well in the hands of the Greenland experts. But
> > I need to close my remarks by apologizing to The Guardian for having
> > suspected them of poor reporting; from the evidence in hand, it is
> > evident they were just reporting what a venerable institution, The
> > Times Atlas, had published. The Guardian took the Times Atlas as an
> > authority, which I can understand given the high-quality nonpolar
> > cartography they've done over the years. Second, from what several
> > people have reported through Cryolist or privately, the immediate
> > source of the 15% mistake is the Times Atlas. Finally, considering
> > John Smellie's points below, maybe the Greenland experts among
> > Cryolist and GLIMS could take a kinder, gentler approach than I have
> > taken, and offer the Times Atlas a whole section's worth of
> > cartographic and satellite image based results documenting changes;
> > let them have that for free plus a good citation of sources (if
> > copyright is not an issue).  That way, maybe they would have a
> > face-saving way to replace the Greenland section they now have, and
> > everybody would be better for it.
> > Good luck solving this one.
> > --Jeff Kargel
> >
> > > From: [hidden email]
> > > To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]
> > > Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 08:04:59 +0100
> > > Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> > >
> > > Dear All,
> > > regrettably I agree with David as I watched a Times Atlas rep on BBC primetime Breakfast TV a few days ago here in UK, announcing the launch of the new atlas. She chose to highlight - wait for it - the huge changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet, showing the presenters the huge new areas of brown (ice free was implied). I don't recall any figure used for ice melt but it seems like it is the Atlas folks who are promulgating this info. Given that they have already published the attas and it is not cheap, I suspect they will be very loath to retract for commercial reasons.
> > > Regards,
> > > John Smellie
> > >
> > > Department of Geology
> > > University of Leicester
> > > University Road
> > > Leicester LE1 7RH
> > > UK
> > >
> > > ----------------------------------------------------------------
> > > "All Models are wrong. Some models are useful."
> > > George E.P. Box [British 20th Century statistician]
> > > ________________________________________
> > > From: [hidden email] [[hidden email]] On Behalf Of David Mayer [[hidden email]]
> > > Sent: 16 September 2011 03:01
> > > To: [hidden email]
> > > Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'
> > >
> > > Dear Cryolisters,
> > >
> > > I have found additional information that indicates the 15% number did not come from the Guardian but rather, originated with Times Atlases.
> > >
> > > I found a story about the atlas on a blog run by the Natural Resource Defense Council. They were a bit more specific than the Guardian about what the 15% number refers to: "Cartographers erased roughly 15 percent of the ice shelf that was once thought to be permanent." (emphasis added). This is interesting because the Guardian article says the 15% number refers to "permanent ice cover" that's been lost.
> > >
> > > But wait there's more! The post also includes a video from the Times Atlas' YouTube account in which the publishing manager of Times Atlases, Jethro Lennox says "...the Greenland ice cap, we've seen a dramatic reduction of about 15%." (emphasis added)
> > >
> > > Here's a link to the blog post:
> > > http://bit.ly/oxUuvt
> > >
> > > Here's a direct link to the video that's embedded in the blog post:
> > > http://bit.ly/o8YaIR
> > >
> > > The comment about Greenland occurs about 90 seconds into the video.
> > >
> > > Cheers,
> > > David Mayer
> > > Graduate School of Geography
> > > Clark University
> > > Worcester, Massachusetts
> > > [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
> > >
> > > On Sep 15, 2011, at 7:25 PM, Jeffrey Kargel wrote:
> > >
> > > Dear Cryolisters: A discussion amongst colleagues, particularly Graham Cogley and myself, and others,
> > > leads us to think that this Greenland story will soon or is beginning already to go viral. We think that
> > > glaciologists, especially those doing Greenland research, need to be proactive in quashing this
> > > misinformation. In my opinion, you should take it seriously enough to contact your media contacts
> > > and just express your scholarly opinion that this story is false, and then douse them with
> > > real data and a synopsis of what really is happening. The risk (guarantee?) is that if
> > > we don't counter it, the public will be further misled into thinking that the baby (the real Greenland and
> > > real data) is dirty bathwater (this Guardian story), get confused about what is science and what is not,
> > > latch on to their favorite blogger or politician, and come up with some very peculiar ideas that have no
> > > bearing on reality. A bogus story going one way will result in an equally bogus political claim the other
> > > way; the siege against science will continue onward, all because some hasty reporter and another
> > > hasty cartographer decided they would write a science news story on something they have no clue about.
> > >
> > > Greenland experts, please step forward and kill this story now. Like they say about campfires, douse
> > > every last coal before you leave.
> > >
> > > Jeff Kargel
> > > Department of Hydrology & Water Resources
> > > University of Arizona
> > > Tucson, AZ 85742
> > >
> > > Global Land Ice Measurements from Space
> > > www.glims.org<http://www.glims.org>
> > > 520-780-7759
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
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> > > _______________________________________________
> > > You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
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> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> > To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> > To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > *******************************************************************************************************************
> > Professor Andy Hodson,
> > Cold Regions Biogeochemist,
> > Director of Environmental Sciences,
> > Department of Geography,
> > University of Sheffield.
> > S10 2TN,
> > UK
> >
> > +44 114 2227950
> > http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/geography/staff/hodson_andy/index
> > ***************************************************************************************************************
>
> Please consider the environment before printing this email.
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> --
> *******************************************************************************************************************
> Professor Andy Hodson,
> Cold Regions Biogeochemist,
> Director of Environmental Sciences,
> Department of Geography,
> University of Sheffield.
> S10 2TN,
> UK
>
> +44 114 2227950
> http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/geography/staff/hodson_andy/index
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