In the thread where we have examined the visual discrepancies in sea ice report that concerned a number of people, William Chapman of the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana joined in the discussion today. Mr. Chapman is the man responsible for maintaining the popular Cryosphere Today website, which shows sea ice extent data and visuals for both the Arctic and Antarctic. I asked him a some questions about the website and he graciously responded within the hour.
I asked about the new color scheme and map that had been recently implemented:
Q: What prompted the color scheme change in recent days?
A: I added three new color schemes about 40 days ago (July 11; is that ‘recent’?). I was hoping for more detail in the images “from the satellite perspective” in the images shown on the main page. The AMSR-E data provide more spatial resolution so I switched data sources and color schemes for those home page images. IMPORTANT: The data used for all other timeseries and comparison graphics have stayed the same (SSMI) obviously, to avoid any issues with data inhomogeneity in time. The AMSR-E data source is only used for the high resolution Northern Hemisphere graphics on the main page. I hope to convert the Southern Hemisphere as well over the next month. The AMSR-E is a relatively new platform, so maybe after it has been around for 10-15 years or so, and has a proven track-record, we can switch the timeseries and other data over entirely to that platform. I have included links to the old SSMI images on the main page for those who prefer them or want to compare current conditions to historic conditions (prior to the AMSR-E launch).
The new maps are graphically better, in my opinion, than the older presentation.
But the real surprise came when I asked him about a comment from Al Gore that had been prominently displayed on the Cryosphere today web page for several months. I’ve seen several comments about this appearing to illustrate a potential bias at CT. It went like this:
You’ve heard Al Gore say “The Earth has a fever”? It may also have major tooth decay.
Here is how Mr. Chapman responded:
Q: Why do you have a quote from a politician (Al Gore) on a web page presenting science? This is a question many people have raised.
A: [ I ] didn’t realize it was a concern for many people. All references to Al Gore have been removed.
Kudos to Mr. Chapman for his willingness to consider the issue, and for acting quickly when it was pointed out. You can read the original comment here