‘Atlasgate’ deepens: NSIDC rejects being a specific source of The Times Atlas 15% Greenland ice loss claim

The Guardian has this article up today:

The claim was this:

“for the first time, the new edition of the (atlas) has had to erase 15% of Greenland’s once permanent ice cover – turning an area the size of the United Kingdom and Ireland ‘green’ and ice-free.”

“This is concrete evidence of how climate change is altering the face of the planet forever – and doing so at an alarming and accelerating rate.”

The Guardian article says this about the recently released atlas:

“But a spokeswoman for Times Atlas defended the 15% figure and the new map. “We are the best there is. We are confident of the data we have used and of the cartography. We use data supplied by the US Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.”

I wrote to NSIDC to confirm this, my regular contact Dr. Walt Meier was out of the office, but Dr. Julienne Stroeve responded with this statement:

Statement from NSIDC regarding the Times Atlas citing NSIDC as the source of its information on Greenland:

NSIDC has never released a specific number for Greenland ice loss over the
past decade. However, we archive and distribute several Greenland data sets
and imagery. While it is possible that the Times Atlas obtained data from
NSIDC, they may have made their own interpretation of the data, independent
of advice of NSIDC.

While mass loss in Greenland is significant, and accelerating, the loss of
ice from Greenland is far less than the Times Atlas indicates. People
interested in this topic should refer to the peer-reviewed literature for
the latest published studies estimating ice loss in Greenland.
For further information or questions, contact NSIDC at 303-492-1497 or
nsidc@nsidc.org.

###

NSIDC joins the reports on WUWT of the  Scott Polar Research Institute and the Danish Meteorological Institute in distancing their organizations from the 15% claim.

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112 thoughts on “‘Atlasgate’ deepens: NSIDC rejects being a specific source of The Times Atlas 15% Greenland ice loss claim

  1. As do all uber-Lefties, the Warmistas double-down on their lies when called out on them.
    Perhaps copies of the bogus Atlas will become collector’s items, souvenirs of the Global Warming Hoax. “Look children, at how crazy they were back then, just as the Great Cold was ramping up.”

  2. I’m sure it is a simple mis-use of comparing a snow covered max time of year versus a snow min time of year.
    /I don’t have a better explanation

  3. “While mass loss in Greenland is significant, and accelerating,”

    Is 0.1% over 12 years now “Significant”?

    It kind of redefines the normal use of term in our post normal science.

    In most cases, a significant loss would be taken to mean 10% or more over a reasonable time period.

    Before, the invention of post normal science, a loss of 0.1% over 12 years would simply be regarded as insignificant or just “noise” in the data!

    In post normal science, every time a gnat farts we have a significant event!!!!

  4. This is a kind-of subtle programming/propaganda, like the Met Office changing the colour of their map from green to brown. The last time I flew over the UK, it was very definitely green!

  5. NSDIC do well to put their “safe pair of hands” – Dr. Julienne Stroeve in to bat on this one.
    Dr Stroeve has IMHO worked very hard to “tell it as it is” rather than follow the meme that has bordered on invective that some in the arena have resorted to.

    It would appear that the Times Atlas is wrong, that the source it references confers that it is wrong. So fix it, print a correction, and then, to retain any confidence find out and report what went wrong.

    NSDIC should stay well clear until Times Atlas explain what happened. Unless of course Times Atlas continues to infer that they could not have represented NSDIC supplied data in any other way.

    Buy popcorn, this will run.

  6. I would not have been surprized for NSIDC to exclaim, “furthermore, Christopher Moncton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchlely is not a member of the House of Lords.”

  7. How many other publications such as this Times Atlas are out there right now – publishing similar outrageous lies – ready to be included as ‘grey literature’ sources in AR5?

  8. While mass loss in Greenland is significant, and accelerating
    Julienne, I’d like to see the evidence for either of these claims… I find it difficult to believe that sea levels are declining at 5mm/year while at the same time Greenland is losing ice mass. I would believe thinning at the edges and increasing at the center, and I suppose it’s possible for Greenland to be losing while someplace else picks up the ice mass, in an extremely large way.

    What alpha of significance is used for mass loss and acceleration of same?

  9. The ice loss in Greenland is even less than 0.1% in 12 years. According to the Danish Meteorological Institute less than 268 billion tons ( corresponds roughly to 295 km3) of ice were lost from 2003-2008 (of course they formulated it as if it was a lot …). The Greenland ice sheet according to wikipedia is approximately 2,850,000 km3. I.e at most about 0.01% of the ice sheet was lost in 5 years.
    To make a rough comparison one could assume that 10 million km2 of the Arctic sea every year freezes and melts again. Assuming the average maximal ice thickness is 1m , we have that every year 10.000 km3 of ice comes and goes in the Artic sea. (This is probably a too low estimate)

  10. So they are in full panic and BS mode. When the warmists start turning on each other it is the end game.

  11. JJ Your comment actually raises a very deep issue.

    One of the findings of the InterAcademy Council (IAC) Review of IPCC’s processes and procedures (available at

    http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/report.html )

    was that IPCC had used information from sources which had not been peer-reviewed or critically evaluated. (Reading between the lines, it seems likely that some of this may have been written by IPCC authors themselves! How neat is that? Writ your own reference material!)
    Couple this with “biased treatment of genuinely contentious issues” and a lack of any formal criteria for selecting published papers for inclusion in the analysis for AR4 and what you have is
    a prime example of CHERRY-PICKING.
    For over 20 years I worked in a government regulatory agency and when a company presented a literature review to support its case, the agency routinely expected to see full documentation of the following viz.
    what date was the search performed?
    which databases were searched?
    what time periods were covered by the search?
    what search terms were used?
    what boolean logic was used?
    what was the justification for this search strategy?
    how many citations were retrieved at each stage of the search?
    what were the final selection criteria for inclusion/exclusion of papers for further analysis?

    Such documentation is considered necessary to preclude cherry-picking and ensure that the literature search is comprehensive, objective, robust and repeatable. Did the IPCC do this?
    Emphatically NO. Will this be done for AR5? I seriously doubt it.

  12. Let’s see, according to my records, NSIDC reported a maximum Arctic Sea ice extent of 15.4 million square kilometers in March of 1999 and a minimum, so far, of only 5.52 million square kilometers in August of this year, thus one could honestly say that we have lost 9.88 million square kilometers or 64 percent of the arctic ice extent over this exact time period and claim NSIDC as the source of that result. Quite a ‘shocker!’

  13. In re: Jeremy at 3 PM on the 10% factor. When I worked at MIT
    Lincoln Lab one of my Group Leaders, Glenn Pippert, used to
    say, “In order for a difference to be a difference, it must make
    a difference.” Yes, these tiny effects are close to noise.

  14. Last I looked, sea levels were falling. That means water/ice is accumulating somewhere. If not Greenland, then where?

  15. Another “misunderstanding” that the crowds will cheer, more certain with each linesman’s error that the home team is the winning team.

    We have the warming bias of UHIE.
    We have the warming bias of Hansen’s Arctic computations.
    We have the warming bias of not using satellite data in data sparse areas.
    We have the warming bias of historical data “adjustments”.
    We have the warming bias of Greenpeace opinion in place of no data.
    We have the warming bias of the Times Atlas “cartographers”, who, like Mann and Trenberth, prefer pictures insides their computers to observation.

    In all of the IPCC Gore story, is there any area where errors tend towards more cool and less worry? Has there ever been a statistic that later proved UNDERestimated?

    I am an industrial “scientist”, in that I am paid to produce a science-based image of the world that has to be true enough, often enough, to make money. When what I do appears to be going in the right direction ALL THE TIME, I get very nervous. God is not so generous with His fortunes; not only must you work hard to earn them, you must accept occasional setbacks and disappointments.

    How I wish I were in the warmist climate business! Everything they do takes them down the path of glory, even if a few times it is a misstep. You could make a reputation and a house by the sea with that sort of divine help.

    Oh, wait. They do.

  16. mike g says:
    September 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Last I looked, sea levels were falling. That means water/ice is accumulating somewhere. If not Greenland, then where?
    ———————————————————————————————————————-
    It is on child minding duties, looking after Trenberth’s heat, so far no nappy rash, but there have been a significant number of tantrums!

  17. They’ll likely print an obscure correction somewhere and leave the original as is, where it’ll be cited by numerous hucksters for years to come.

  18. Where do you guys get “sea level is falling from”?

    I just took a quick look and got this:

    Certainly doesn’t look like it’s falling in that graph (or plenty of others like it)

  19. Michael, there are many publications about the current rate of mass loss, a quick google search will find several of them.

    Between 1961 and 1990, a period in which the Greenland ice sheet was thought to be in relative balance, the annual accumulation on the ice sheet was approximately 700 Gt per year, balanced by roughly 220 Gt per year lost through runoff (Ettema et al., 2009) and another 480 Gt per year through solid ice discharge (Rignot et al., 2008). Since that time, the mass loss has accelerated (see recent paper by Rignot et al., 2001). The increase in mass loss is a result of enhanced surface melting (e.g. Abdalati and Steffen, 2001; Box et al., 2006; Tedesco et al., 2008; Fettweis et al., 2011; Tedesco et al., 2011), dynamic thinning along the ice sheet margins (Krabill et al., 2004; Pritchard et al., 2009) and increased ice discharge rates of outlet glaciers (Rignot and Kanagaratnam, 2006; Luckman et al., 2006; Stearns and Hamilton, 2007; Howat et al., 2008).

    Currently, Greenland is losing mass at about a rate of 150 Gt per year, or about one third of a millimetre of sea level rise per year. That means in the 12 year period from 1999 through 2011 that the Times Atlas analysed, meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet has contributed roughly 3 mm to global sea level rise – not one meter.

  20. oops, that recent reference on the mass loss is supposed to be Rignot et al., 2011 (Rignot, E., I. Velicogna, M. R. van den Broeke, A. Monaghan, and J. Lenaerts, 2011: Acceleration of the contribution of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L05503, doi:10.1029/2011GL046583.)

  21. Is “rebuke” the right word? Spanking is a rebuke. Saying “Not us” is a refusal. “Not us” is also a “denial” but then NSIDC would be deniers.

    REPLY: Changed to “rejects”, not my best today, still taking vicodins for ear infection pain – Anthony

  22. John B:

    Sea levels are falling based on the newer satellites measuring sea level: ENVISAT and Jason 2

  23. John B says:
    September 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Where do you guys get “sea level is falling from”?

    I just took a quick look and got this:

    Certainly doesn’t look like it’s falling in that graph (or plenty of others like it)

    Maybe it’s because you’re stuck in 2010 or maybe because you ought to do more than “take a quick look”.

    http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/en/news/ocean-indicators/mean-sea-level/products-images/index.html

    (click the time serie button)

    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html

  24. Willem de Lange says:
    September 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    John B

    Look at the current version of the same graph at source …

    http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/index.php

    ——————–

    Ah, OK.

    But hold on, I keep hearing that 30 years (arctic ice loss) isn’t long enough to determine a trend. But hear you are saying what, that about 12 months is? What will you say if/when the next uptick comes along? If it doesn’t, I’ll eat my hat. If it does, will you?

  25. The trouble here is that someone from the Greens or an obscure labor parliamentarian will cite the Atlas and no one in our press are smart enough to question the statement so it becomes fact. The press have more to answer for than either the scientists or the parliamentarians.

  26. C’mon, John B…it’s not that hard.

    Very slo-o-o-o-wly now…

    “I….was….wrong.”

    It’s good for the soul…really.

  27. This is Eastern Greenland. Not a map but reality:

    It is a flight from Nerlerit Inaat Airport to Kulusuk over the eastern area of Greenland which the atlas shows as brown. It is both beautiful and very very white.

  28. Julienne Stroeve says:
    September 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm
    That means in the 12 year period from 1999 through 2011 that the Times Atlas analysed, meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet has contributed roughly 3 mm to global sea level rise – not one meter.
    =============================================================
    So Greenland added 1/10th of an inch to sea level rise in 12 years……
    …and sea levels started falling…..and CU added .3mm/yr…which is 3.6mm for the 12 years…to try and make it back up…
    …and sea levels are still falling

    God, we have a leak……………

  29. Yes, I was wrong. I had no idea that anyone could possibly look at just the last 12 months of data and claim they were seeing something significant. How silly of me.

  30. Julienne, Thanks for the links, I’ll have a look at those. 0.3mm/yr seems pretty reasonable given the long term trends. 150GT of water spread out over the area of Greenland gives about 2.46″ average ice loss per year. Seems rather unremarkable given the huge variation in temperatures the island (especially the east coast) has seen over the last few centuries. I’m pretty sure it’s still piling up in the center, so the coasts must be offsetting that somewhat.

    Hope to read a few of those tonight.

  31. In my opinion, the Times is certainly within their rights to publish an inaccurate atlas. I won’t buy one or suggest other buy it either; but, people who make reference to it in the future will now know that it is inaccurate and can’t, in general, be trusted (well, as least as far as Greenland is concerned).

  32. Yes, I was wrong. I had no idea that anyone could possibly look at just the last 12 months of data and claim they were seeing something significant. How silly of me.

    Even more remarkable is that the magnitude of the sea level drop is “unprecendented”.

    Odd that it escaped your attention.

  33. John B says:
    September 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm
    Yes, I was wrong. I had no idea that anyone could possibly look at just the last 12 months of data and claim they were seeing something significant. How silly of me
    ===========================================================

    The latest sea level numbers are out, and Envisat shows that the two year long decline is continuing, at a rate of 5mm per year.

    Julienne says that Greenland is contributing .25mm/yr, and CU is adding .3mm/yr

    http://www.real-science.com/uncategorized/sea-level-continues-historic-decline

  34. John B says:
    September 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    > Yes, I was wrong. I had no idea that anyone could possibly look at just the last 12 months of data and claim they were seeing something significant. How silly of me.

    I assert that there are many features in climate that need to be studied at several time periods. Short time periods are necessary to study some short term effects, e.g. ENSO, long periods are needed to tease a trend out of noisy data, e.g. the recovery from the little ice age.

    The decade scale change in Greenland’s climate disclosed by ice cores means that there are some aspects of Greenland’s climate that merit relative short sample periods.

  35. Hmm. I went looking for the Editorial Board at http://www.timesatlas.com but didn’t find it. Perhaps atlases don’t have editorial boards, thought there ought to be some group that decides which maps go in and which don’t. I was just wondering if there was a familiar name on the board.

    You’d think someone would do some verification before putting out a map with such a big change. Perhaps it’s just another example of data showing warming/melting is accepted as must be true and hence doesn’t need fact checking.

    It’ll be interesting to see where this ends up.

  36. Ric Werme says:
    September 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm
    I assert that there are many features in climate that need to be studied at several time periods.
    ====================================================================
    and I assert that nothing is “normal” where we are right now……..

    How can anyone look at this, and put that little “normal” line right at the top…….

  37. Somewhat surprisingly, the BBC’s Richard Black has written a remarkably straight-forward spin-free story on this issue:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14969399

    This story comes several days after the Time’s Atlas’ claim was made on BBC World during an interview with a Time’s spokeswoman, a claim then accepted without challenge by the BBC interviewer.

    Curiously, the Time’s Atlas is a subsidiary of HarpersCollins which is in turn is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation the owner of Fox News.

  38. John B says:
    September 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    “Yes, I was wrong. I had no idea that anyone could possibly look at just the last 12 months of data and claim they were seeing something significant. How silly of me.”

    So you can look at 2 years of actual observational data, showing a sea level fall which is clearly impossible if the ice on Greenland is melting at the claimed rate, and you see nothing significant?

    Perhaps you would find yet another model run more significant than reality?

  39. Slashdot points out that a sciencemag update suggests that maybe the atlas misinterpreted a map of the central ice, which omitted glaciers near the coast.

    http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/09/19/1847255/Atlas-Takes-Heat-For-Melting-Glacier-Claim

    “Now glaciologists are left trying to figure out how not understate the importance of the extent glacial ice melt, while at the same time correcting the error.”

    Oh, yes, must be careful to not commit heresy!

  40. So in the ‘warmista’ tradition, I’m looking forward to the resignation of Time’s editor and its editorial committee, and the recall and pulping of the atlases. Anything less would be unacceptable.

  41. Streetcred says:
    September 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm
    “So in the ‘warmista’ tradition, I’m looking forward to the resignation of Time’s editor and its editorial committee, and the recall and pulping of the atlases. Anything less would be unacceptable.”

    ________________________________________________________

    No letter of apology to Kevin Trenberth?

  42. A commenter here http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/warmists_rub_out_the_ice/

    Said this: “I have the 1997 edition of The Times Atlas of the World. I have just examined the map of Greenland and it is identical to the one shown above.

    I don’t think the publishers have redrawn the map at all. They are just pretending that they’ve got it right by quoting the alarmists’ figures.”

    Wonder if this can be verified?

  43. The globalonyologists are starting to sound like my kids in the backseat of the car. “DID NOT!…DID TOO!”, etc…etc. At which point, if we were in the car and I was trying to drive safely over the din of their arguing, I used a fly swatter on em.

    So here ya go…

    WHUMP WHAP WHAP!!!!

  44. Pamela, not sure you understand what happened with the Times Atlas. No scientists appear to have been consulted in their “new” map of Greenland. Even a graduate student would have caught the mistake they made.

  45. Julienne Stroeve says: “oops, that recent reference on the mass loss is supposed to be Rignot et al., 2011 (Rignot, E., I. Velicogna, M. R. van den Broeke, A. Monaghan, and J. Lenaerts, 2011…”

    Thank you for correcting the reference.

  46. BTW…here is the abstract from the Rignot et al. (2011) paper:
    Ice sheet mass balance estimates have improved substantially in recent years using a variety of techniques, over different time periods, and at various levels of spatial detail. Considerable disparity remains between these estimates due to the inherent uncertainties of each method, the lack of detailed comparison between independent estimates, and the effect of temporal modulations in ice sheet surface mass balance. Here, we present a consistent record of mass balance for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets over the past two decades, validated by the comparison of two independent techniques over the last 8 years: one differencing perimeter loss from net accumulation, and one using a dense time series of time-variable gravity. We find excellent agreement between the two techniques for absolute mass loss and acceleration of mass loss. In 2006, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets experienced a combined mass loss of 475 ± 158 Gt/yr, equivalent to 1.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr sea level rise. Notably, the acceleration in ice sheet loss over the last 18 years was 21.9 ± 1 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 14.5 ± 2 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica, for a combined total of 36.3 ± 2 Gt/yr2. This acceleration is 3 times larger than for mountain glaciers and ice caps (12 ± 6 Gt/yr2). If this trend continues, ice sheets will be the dominant contributor to sea level rise in the 21st century

  47. Julienne Stroeve says: September 19, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Dr. Stroeve, your comments and observations are very much appreciated here. Despite Dr. Trenberth’s “Ah Hah!” moment regarding his missing heat, the very recent recorded decline in sea hight suggests that something is very wrong: the models, the measurements, the understanding. Keep up the effort.

  48. Julienne. Thank you for conversing with us sceptics!

    IanW, I & others have long maintained that even if a global temperature were possible to be measured, it is the wrong metric!

    It takes no account of energy where a small, maybe immeasurable, change in a humid area may make a measurable change in a less humid area.

    DaveE

  49. Miss Rhode Island is real and she is happening now. Maybe she can grow some tomatoes up there as a feature for next year’s edition.

  50. Kim, thanks for the link. I was not aware that they recovered a P-38 from the ice sheet. Quite an endeavor for sure! I have used steam drills (similar concept as what they used to retrieve the plane pieces) to drill holes in the ice to secure towers. I’m somewhat surprised that much of the aircraft survived, given the fact that the ice sheet is constantly flowing. That the aircraft was buried nearly 300 ft deep is not too surprising. One time when I was camped on the ice sheet for 3 weeks, my tent sunk by 6 ft during that time. I had to dig out every morning, not so much from new snowfall but from wind-deposited snow.

  51. The NSIDC has indeed found discrepancies in the data and will in due course modify the maps. However, the difference in the old and new maps will be nowhere near 15% as can be seen from the explanation given by NSIDC under the heading “Known Problems with the Data”.

    In June 2001, NSIDC discovered errors in the data values for ‘surface_5km’ (DEM). Because the ice thickness grid is subtracted from the DEM to produce the bedrock elevation grid, the incorrect DEM data resulted in inconsistent values for ‘thick_5km’ (ice thickness grid) and ‘bed_5km’ (bedrock elevation grid). NSIDC obtained corrected copies of all three grid files from Bamber to ensure consistency and accuracy among all grids.

    Future Modifications and Plans
    Bamber plans to update the ice thickness and bedrock grids with newly acquired radar echo sounding data within the next two to three years. The new data should improve coverage and accuracy, particularly near the margins. Also, he will update the DEM with ICESat data about 6-12 months after the launch of ICESat. This will only make a marginal improvement in accuracy over most of the ice sheet but will, in particular, improve the accuracy in the marginal areas on steeper slopes, as well as some of the non-ice covered areas that currently only have digitized cartographic coverage.

  52. Julienne Stroeve says:
    September 19, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    BTW…here is the abstract from the Rignot et al. (2011) paper:
    Ice sheet mass balance estimates have …………….. In 2006, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets experienced a combined mass loss of 475 ± 158 Gt/yr, equivalent to 1.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr sea level rise. Notably, the acceleration in ice sheet loss over the last 18 years was 21.9 ± 1 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 14.5 ± 2 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica, for a combined total of 36.3 ± 2 Gt/yr2. This acceleration is 3 times larger than for mountain glaciers and ice caps (12 ± 6 Gt/yr2). If this trend continues, ice sheets will be the dominant contributor to sea level rise in the 21st century.

    =================================================================
    Dr. Stroeve,
    Have you guys figured out how much water would stay in both land masses if the ice were to ever melt? Most of Greenland’s ice sits on top of land 300 meters below sea level. And the lowest point in Antarctica is within the Bentley Subglacial Trench, which reaches ~ 2,555 meters below sea level.

    So, even if it all melts, obviously a substantial volume of water will remain on both. Given ice occupies more space………

  53. Dear Dr. Stroeve,

    Pretty cool huh?
    But what I was wondering…If 235 feet of snow / ice covered it since 1944. Well, my Grandpa was a Marine on those islands in the Pacific in 1944. Some say are now gonna sink. WUWT please?

    Thank you

  54. Did Atlas check if the permafrost at Hvalsey has melted yet?

    Ya know, like it was back in the MWP when the Vikings dug the graves there.

  55. Hi James, I’m not sure. It’s not something I’ve personally looked into, nor have I read anything that calculated how much water would remain on land if all the ice were to melt. Of course one would expect lakes to form if all the ice were to melt because so much of the land is below sea level. I can imagine how bad the mosquitoes would be in summer…they are quite bad as it is along the margins of the ice sheet in summer! :)

  56. Kim, the mass balance of an ice sheet (or glacier) is governed by accumulation minus mass loss from runoff and ice discharge (as well as sublimation). But it’s not only snowfall that results in local mass accumulation. Greenland is a windy place, and the winds that flow down the ice sheet are constantly transporting snow (thus the reason why in 3 weeks I had already sunk 6 ft into the ice). My first time in Greenland we spent a couple of days digging out the semi-permanent huts at Swiss Camp, and after a few days, the huts would be buried again under 8 ft of snow because of snow-drift. So an obstacle on the ice sheet, such as an aircraft could be completely buried in one year (or less). Thus, it’s not at all surprising it was found that far beneath the ice.

  57. @Julienne Stroeve

    As others have said, welcome and thank you for your input.

    Are you aware that HarperCollins are fingering your organisation for their mistake?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8774623/Times-Atlas-makes-absurd-claims-about-shrinking-of-Greenland-ice-sheet.html

    “A spokesman for HarperCollins said its new map was based on information provided by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

    The spokesman said: “Since The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World 10th Edition, in 1999, we have had to erase 15 per cent of Greenland’s once permanent ice sheet.

    “This is based on information provided by the much respected and widely-cited National Snow and Ice Data Center (Atlas of the Cryosphere, Boulder, Colorado USA)”

    A good wigging is in order, IMHO.

  58. Hector, yes we are aware and we’re trying to get figure out exactly what they did – what data source they used, what processing they did, etc. Obviously we are not too happy about it (and nor or any the glaciologists who study Greenland). I would have thought if they found such a large difference in the extent of the ice sheet that they may have talked to some of the glaciologists who study Greenland to get their feedback before publishing the map. Or have talked to NSIDC aobut their results, or at the very least have done some literature review to see if their map was consistent with other results of changes in the Greenland mass balance. From what I understand, it appears they used the 5-km ice thickness product produced by Dr. Bamber (and distributed by NSIDC) to make their new map but ignored the caveats in the data set as mentioned above by Frank White (http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nsidc0092_greenland_ice_thickness.gd.html#usageguide).

  59. Julienne Stroeve says:
    September 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Hi James, I’m not sure. It’s not something I’ve personally looked into, nor have I read anything that calculated how much water would remain on land if all the ice were to melt. Of course one would expect lakes to form if all the ice were to melt because so much of the land is below sea level. I can imagine how bad the mosquitoes would be in summer…they are quite bad as it is along the margins of the ice sheet in summer! :)
    =================================================
    Yes, from my time spent in Alaska as soon as spring break up hit, out they’d come! I still have nightmares about huge swarms mosquitoes swooping in to carry me off and…………. I never imagined that one could see a swarm of mosquitoes from a distance.

    At any rate, its too bad about the fact that we haven’t quantified how much water would remain on the land. I was hoping to share some cheerful news with Dr. Hansen and perhaps alleviate some of his anxieties. It has the poor man stressed something awful. He’s engaged in some rather bizarre behavior lately for a man of his position, and I’m concerned for his mental health! :-)

    Thanks Doc, its always a pleasure,

    James

  60. Dr. Stroeve,

    Thank you for your comments on this matter. Many of us are sincerely appreciative of your contribution and perspective on this issue at hand. Your descriptions and explanations will have a better venue than previous venues.

    My question follows haikyu Kim’s, “Does the ice accumulation from the wind and sleet affect the boundary layers for core samples?” or “Does the 3wk of 6ft of wind accumulation ice become discriminaned from a normal snowfall (i.e. determining a heavy precipitation from a heavy wind year)”?

  61. Julienne Stroeve: “Currently, Greenland is losing mass at about a rate of 150 Gt per year, or about one third of a millimetre of sea level rise per year. That means in the 12 year period from 1999 through 2011 that the Times Atlas analysed, meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet has contributed roughly 3 mm to global sea level rise – not one meter.”

    Can Dr Stroeve confirm that ice loss of 150 Gt per year is equivalent to about 0.6% per century? Total Greenland ice = 2.85m km3 = 2.57m Gt. at this rate it will take 17,133 years to melt all of Greenland’s ice.

  62. So you are telling me the deposit I just made on the plot of land in Greenland is likely lost?

    Seriously now, this post and comments, especially by Dr. Stroeve, is fascinating. So, I went to the NSIDC ‘scientists’ page where I did not find a photo of her in Ice-garb. WUWT? Care to point us to a few research photos, Dr. J?

  63. Yet more proof that the CAGW hoax is a combination of Phrenology, Phlogiston, Eugenics and Lysenkoism.

    20 years of propaganda has created a mindset that will be very difficult to shift.

    Thanks Al, you are now in the same league as Stalin but without the deaths.

    Give it time though as we head into the new little ice age.

  64. John B says:
    September 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm
    “Yes, I was wrong. I had no idea that anyone could possibly look at just the last 12 months of data and claim they were seeing something significant. How silly of me.”

    Problem being John is that the models show it going up! Once again an abject fail! ITs a bugger when reality trumps GiGO huh!

    My the “Gates” are coming thick and fast now!

  65. Interstellar Bill says:
    September 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm
    As do all uber-Lefties, the Warmistas double-down on their lies when called out on them.
    Perhaps copies of the bogus Atlas will become collector’s items, souvenirs of the Global Warming Hoax. “Look children, at how crazy they were back then, just as the Great Cold was ramping up.”

    Sorry Bill, this was more about right wing financiers using dodgy information to make money from climate change knowing that catastrophe will always sell better than facts. While it may be old hippies who promote climate change, it’s the right wing financiers who are making the money. Remember, it’s not the hippy crew flying into Cancun for conferences on private jets.

  66. I was amazed to read in my newspaper that the Atlas was wrong and over exaggerated the effects of global warming. I was expecting them to just print that the greenland icecap had melted 15% over the last 12 years due to man made global warming.

  67. Can anyone explain how even the most alarmist forecasts of future warming, ie up to 8°C, could possibly melt the kilometres thick Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets that are at -31°C and -51°C respectively?

  68. They are wriggling!!!!!
    ““But a spokeswoman for Times Atlas defended the 15% figure and the new map. “We are the best there is. We are confident of the data we have used and of the cartography. We use data supplied by the US Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.”

    Maurizio Morabito has an interesting take on Times Atlas over at

    http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/

  69. What a proud boast. The best there is!

    Sorry but the best maps I have come across, as an RAF navigator, were the US Pilotage charts as used by the US Air Force. Better than the topographical charts produced by the RAF. At lease these both told the truth.

  70. “Since The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World 10th Edition, in 1999, we have had to erase 15 per cent of Greenland’s once permanent ice sheet.”

    Is this a redefining of ‘permanent’?

  71. Gareth Phillips says:
    September 20, 2011 at 12:13 am

    While it may be old hippies who promote climate change, it’s the right wing financiers who are making the money.

    Right, the Commies certainly don’t know how to make money, but they sure do know how to appropriate it and redistribute it to themselves!

  72. The publishers of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World have released this statement today regarding the erroneous statement about Greenland ice in the press release for the new edition:

    “The Times Atlas is renowned for its authority and we do our utmost to maintain that reputation. In compiling the content of the atlas, we consult experts in order to depict the world as accurately as possible. For the launch of the latest edition of the atlas (The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, 13th edition), we issued a press release which unfortunately has been misleading with regard to the Greenland statistics. We came to these statistics by comparing the extent of the ice cap between the 10th and 13th editions (1999 vs 2011) of the atlas. The conclusion that was drawn from this, that 15% of Greenland’s once permanent ice cover has had to be erased, was highlighted in the press release not in the Atlas itself. This was done without consulting the scientific community and was incorrect. We apologize for this and will seek the advice of scientists on any future public statements. We stand by the accuracy of the maps in this and all other editions of The Times Atlas.”

    http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/News_and_Events/News/Pages/Clarification-on-The-Times-Comprehensive-Atlas-of-the-World-13th-edition.aspx

  73. I too applaud Dr. Julienne Stroeve for trying to maintain some level of scientific honesty at the NSIDC. But two questions remain unanswered: 1) Did the Atlas Times really print this map “independent of advice of NSIDC”? I don’t believe it. and 2): Why is Dr. Stroeve having to explain how “data supplied by the NSIDC” was erroneously misinterpreted to show 15% of Greenland’s Ice has disappeared? The buck stops with NSIDC Director “Dr. Death Spiral”, Mark Serreze. He the ne who should step-up and explain how his organization allowed this ‘mis-communication’ to happen. Since Dr. Stroeve is doing Serreze’s job for him, I suggest she be appointed Director of the NSIDC!

  74. Sea level fell by 10 mms over the past 2 years instead of increasing by 6 mms.

    Greenland had a warm year in 2010 and a warm winter 2011 but has had a cool summer melt season in 2011. Did the ice mass balance increase in the last year given the sea level reduction?

    Extra rain could have fallen on land in the last 2 years instead but 8.0 extra mms/yr of rain falling on land and not making it to the ocean is a significant change (well only 0.8%) but the numbers had been very stable prior to this.

  75. Vincent Guerrini PhD says:
    September 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    BTW its looks like one of the GREATEST and EARLIEST increases in NH ice extent to date (DMI records anyway) http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php
    So what does this mean?

    Personally, I don’t attach any meaning to short term variations, other than the arctic ice-melt is freezing up again very nicely, as I predicted :) – emphasis on “again”.

    Of more immediate interest to me is if the cold snap we’re seeing will persist and we’ll get early snow here in the Northeastern US?

  76. Currently the Times Atlas does not even show the correct coastline of Greenland even though it has been known since the 70’s and is shown here.

  77. What do you guys think?

    Is there a correlation between La Nina years and a short term trend in sea level?
    I expect with the next El Nino, that sea level rise will resume.

    Also, if all the ice in Greenlands ice cap melts, wouldn’t you expect some isostatic bedrock rebound? Just that I think that the “Greenland is a bowl, so even if all the ice melted, it would stay in place theory” is a crock.
    Even now, as the map Berényi Péter posted shows, areas as low as 50-500 meters exist which would allow for most of the melt water to reach the sea.

  78. The very fact that someone would even discuss claim of a 15% Greenland ice loss is incredible. It’s a well-known figure that by melting all of Greenland’s ice, the sea level jumps by 7 meters or so. So if 15% were 15% of the volume – and 15% of the area wouldn’t be too far from that because the thickness may be approximated by a uniform function – then the sea level would have to jump by a meter. The actual jump of the sea level in a decade is about 3 centimeters which is 30 times lower (and not all of those 3 centimeters are due to Greenland).

    Some people have lost common sense if they ever had one. What is the dumping ground where the 15% claim was collected is one question. But another question is why every single person around the atlas etc. failed to see that this is complete gibberish.

  79. Matt, from what I’ve read in the scientific literature, since about 1992 there has been an estimated total of 2500 Gt of mass lost from Greenland. Quite a bit of this happened from speed-up of ice discharge from the outlet glaciers, with an increase of 30% observed between 2000 and 2005 alone (e.g. Moon and Joghin, 2008; Luckman et al., 2006; Stearns and Hamilton, 2007). Today it seems that mass loss is just about equally split between ice discharge and surface ablation and subsequent runoff (Shepherd and Wingham, 2007; van den Broeke et al., 2009).
    As to how long it will take the melt the entire ice sheet…that would require an assumption on how the mass loss rates will continue into the future, something we don’t know. I wouldn’t expect the mass loss rates to remain constant however.

  80. Louis Hooffstetter says:
    September 20, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Louis, it does indeed appear that they did this without any consultation from anyone at NSIDC. It seems they used an ice thickness map that we distribute and ignored the caveats clearly stated with that data set (see: http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nsidc0092_greenland_ice_thickness.gd.html and scroll to “usage guidance”). That is most unfortunate. It does highlight however the importance of understanding the limitations of any particular data set and the conclusions that can be drawn from that data.

  81. intrepid_wanders says:
    September 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Dr. Stroeve,

    Thank you for your comments on this matter. Many of us are sincerely appreciative of your contribution and perspective on this issue at hand. Your descriptions and explanations will have a better venue than previous venues.

    My question follows haikyu Kim’s, “Does the ice accumulation from the wind and sleet affect the boundary layers for core samples?” or “Does the 3wk of 6ft of wind accumulation ice become discriminaned from a normal snowfall (i.e. determining a heavy precipitation from a heavy wind year)”?

    Intrepid, that’s a good question and I’m afraid I do not know the answer to that question. It’s a bit outside my area of expertise and I’m not 100% up-to-date on ice core analysis studies. I would expect that snow drifts introduce “noise” in the ice core records, as well as other processes such as sublimation and ice flow. Dr. Richard Alley would be the one to talk to for more information.

    Also, note though that an obstacle on the ice sheet, such as an aircraft, or my tent, will be buried faster because of the way snow drifts accumulate around an obstacle…

  82. Dear Dr. Stroeve,

    Wouldn’t the plane landing 235 feet below the now accumulated ice mean it was warmer in 1944?

    I’m pretty good at science :) As is some of my friends.
    What advice can you give for someone who likes the environmental sciences i.e. climate etc – but is afraid of the politicization of science?

    There are some in climate science – that seem…hmmm more than just nasty.

  83. Kim, it’s not that simple. The plane may have crashed in the accumulation region of the ice sheet (I didn’t check the location of the crash), or in a region with strong katabatic winds that transport snow from the higher elevations down the ice sheet.

    If you like environmental science then I say you should study it. Climate science is about understanding the Earth-atmosphere-ocean processes, and it’s fascinating work. There are always going to be a few nasty folks in every field, I don’t think it has anything to do with climate science.

  84. “What do you guys think?”

    No, they live in an echo chamber.
    But they will endlessly argue the validity of crap from that bastion of truth the Murdock Media empire.

  85. I am NOT a global cooling, err, global warming, err, climate change advocate.
    1. Do not poop where you eat. Let’s make the most REASONABLE reduction in pollution possible, BUT must be fact based.
    2. Would any invest their retirement nest egg in the “Global Climate Change” company based upon the “facts” that are given? If you would not, then use simple common sense.
    3. The Health Hazards of not going Nuclear by Petre Beckman cites science facts. Nuclear power is a great mid term alternative to increasing coal power.
    4. Solar is a great alternative if you don’t mind paying 2-3 times more for your power. That’s why it’s a great option in Germany. Wind turbines now reveal significant aviary animal death rates.
    5. Let private industry spearhead research. If any company developed an energy production system that that was significantly less polluting and had cost savings they would make massive profits, millions times more than oil companies could bribe them to keep it secret. (sarcasm)
    6. Global Climate Change advocates should set an example, not constantly produce far more waste than the average consumer in their socioeconomic peer group. And yes, Global Climate Change advocacy is a very profitable “profession”, rather than having to do real work. (ok, my bias)
    7. In the end-make changes you can easily, efficiently and cost effectively do, pollute less, recycle, cycle (consume) less and use common (or uncommon as it were) sense.
    I’m pretty conservative, so we conserve, minimize pollution and have a “carbon footprint” about half what our “eco minded” friends do.

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