bogus Greenland 'news'

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bogus Greenland 'news'

Jeffrey Kargel
Dear all, as several people have mentioned, and while affirming the seriousness of the Guardian article, it is important to connect with the Atlas cartographers to learn exactly what is presented there and how it is presented.  We also need to hear from the Guardian about what their sources provided.  I couldn't care less who their sources are (besides obviously the Atlas), but was the story a direct reflection of what was in the Atlas, or did The Guardian provide "value added" misinformation? Somewhere, things really became messed up. Pity, because there is so much good information out there, and it is visually gripping, consequential to the Earth (and those living on it, at least vulnerable coastal elevations), while also fascinating scientifically.  There are good indications that the newer map is at least partly at fault, probably much more at fault than the older one, if one wants to start most simply and assume that gross errors occurred only once. So the newer map is where I would focus first, as a colleague from UAF indicated with compelling points.  Well, that, and the cartographers.  And Hester's point about a possible simple airbrushing/coloration issue (perhaps) is a good one, which then points more to map interpretation than the maps themselves. So where did "15%" get injected, and why? At the Guardian (or something given to the Guardian), or the Atlas?  I'll break my bank and buy the Atlas if somebody else doesn't have it already.

--Jeff

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Re: bogus Greenland 'news'

Graham Cogley

To fill out the picture a little, here are some of the other web sites (so far, all in the UK) that cover the Times Atlas release and the Greenland story:

http://news.uk.msn.com/environment/atlas-shows-warming-of-the-earth-6

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/15/new-atlas-climate-change
 
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/new-atlas-reveals-changes-to-earth-due-to-global-warming-climate-change/story-e6freuyi-1226138131986
 
http://www.scotsman.com/news/Changing-climate-mapped-out-.6836552.jp
 
http://www.metro.co.uk/news/world/875483-new-times-atlas-reveals-changes-to-earth
 
http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/214234/20110915/new-atlas-map-shows-extent-of-global-warming.htm
 
I haven’t checked all of them, but all those I have seen take the Greenland shrinkage as the lead item. The way in which little nuggets of fact repeat, in the same form of words, suggests strongly that the words come from a publisher’s press release – but that remains to be verified.
 
In passing, 300,000 km2 is 15% of 2 million km2. Somebody didn’t bother to get an accurate number for the area of Greenland (something like 2.15 million) and certainly not for the Ice Sheet (close to or a little more than 1.7 million). So the stories are reporting a loss of 18% of ice-sheet area in 12 years, at 1.5%/yr.
 
I think it is important to squash this before it spreads much further. Journalists who have seen the press release obviously love it, and presumably that is mainly because they think their readers will love it. So it will filter into the popular conventional wisdom, and maybe from there into a future IPCC assessment – who knows? That was the route taken by the Himalayan error, except it didn’t originate from such an authoritative source:
 
From the Atlas web site http://www.timesatlas.com/TimesComprehensiveAtlas/Pages/AtlasDetail.aspx?IDNumber=63021: “The Atlas is relied on and trusted by governments around the world, international organizations including the UN and European Commission and media companies”.

 

Graham.

 

J. Graham Cogley, Ph.D., Professor of Geography,

Department of Geography, Trent University,

Peterborough, Ontario, CANADA K9J 7B8.

 

Tel      +1 705-748-1011-x7686

Fax     +1 705-742-2131

Email  [hidden email]

Web    http://www.trentu.ca/geography/glaciology

 

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Kargel
Sent: September-15-11 9:08 PM
To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]
Subject: [CRYOLIST] bogus Greenland 'news'

 

Dear all, as several people have mentioned, and while affirming the seriousness of the Guardian article, it is important to connect with the Atlas cartographers to learn exactly what is presented there and how it is presented.  We also need to hear from the Guardian about what their sources provided.  I couldn't care less who their sources are (besides obviously the Atlas), but was the story a direct reflection of what was in the Atlas, or did The Guardian provide "value added" misinformation? Somewhere, things really became messed up. Pity, because there is so much good information out there, and it is visually gripping, consequential to the Earth (and those living on it, at least vulnerable coastal elevations), while also fascinating scientifically.  There are good indications that the newer map is at least partly at fault, probably much more at fault than the older one, if one wants to start most simply and assume that gross errors occurred only once. So the newer map is where I would focus first, as a colleague from UAF indicated with compelling points.  Well, that, and the cartographers.  And Hester's point about a possible simple airbrushing/coloration issue (perhaps) is a good one, which then points more to map interpretation than the maps themselves. So where did "15%" get injected, and why? At the Guardian (or something given to the Guardian), or the Atlas?  I'll break my bank and buy the Atlas if somebody else doesn't have it already.

 

--Jeff


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