Errors in publicly presented data – Worth blogging about?

In the prior thread I raised a question of why there was a large downward jump in sea ice extent on the graph presented by NSIDC’s Artic Sea Ice News page. The image below was the reason, dozens of people called my attention to it in emails and comments overnight because in the space of a weekend, a million-plus square kilometers of Arctic sea ice went missing. Note the blue line.

nsidc_extent_timeseries_021509

Click for larger image

When I checked NSIDC’s web site this morning, about 8:30 AM PST  (9:30AM MST Mountain time in Boulder where NSIDC is located) the image was still up. A half hour later it remained. I checked all around the NSIDC web site for any notice, including the links they provide for the data issues.

Learn about update delays, which occasionally occur in near-real-time data. Read about the data.

Finding nothing, and knowing that it was now 10AM in Boulder, which should have been plenty of time to post some sort of notice, I decided to write a quick post about it, which was published at 9:10AM PST (10:10MST) and drove to work.

The corrected image (with the million square kilometers of sea ice restored) appeared on the NSIDC web site just shy of  3 hours later, about noon PST or 1 PM MST.

nsidc_corrected_021609

Click for larger image

About the same time this comment was posted on WUWT by NSIDC’s chief research scientist, Dr. Walt Meier:

Anthony,

We’re looking into it. For the moment, we’ve removed the data from the timeseries plot.

You need to remember that this is near real-time data and there can be data dropouts and bad data due to satellite issues. While the processing is automatic, the QC is partly manual. Thus errors do happen from time to time and one shouldn’t draw any dramatic conclusions from recent data.

I’m not sure why you think things like this are worth blogging about. Data is not perfect, especially near real-time data. That’s not news.

Walt Meier

Research Scientist

NSIDC

ps – FYI, the JAXA data is from a different sensor, so it is not consistent with our data, but it provides a good independent check. If the JAXA data does not show a dramatic change while the NSIDC data does (or vice versa), then it’s likely an issue of missing data or bad data.

First let me say that I have quite a bit of respect for Dr. Meier. He has previously been quite accessible and gracious in providing answers, and even a guest post here.  But I was a bit puzzled by his statementI’m not sure why you think things like this are worth blogging about…. That’s not news

First let us consider a recent event. The BBC ran really badly researched video report just a couple of days ago where the reporter obviously didn’t know the difference between positive and negative feedbacks in the climate. I wrote about it. The video is now gone. Now I ask this question; if nobody speaks up about these things, would the video still be there misinforming everyone? Probably.

The point I’m making here is that in my experience, most reporters know so little about science that they usually can’t tell the difference between real and erroneous science. Most reporters don’t have that background. I say this from experience, because having worked in TV news for 25 years, I was always the “go to guy” for questions about science and engineering that the reporters couldn’t figure out. And, it wasn’t just at my station that this happened, a meteorologist friend of mine reported the same thing happened to him at his station in the San Francisco bay area. I vividly remember one week he was on vacation and I saw a news report about a plane that crashed that had just minutes before been doing a low level run over the airfield as part of a show. The reporter had video taped the plane’s run, and then used that video to proudly demonstrate “as as you can see, just minutes before the crash, the propellers on the plane were turning very slowly”.

The reporter didn’t understand about how a video camera scanning at 30 frames per second can create a beat frequency that give the impression of slowly turning propellers that were actually running about 3000 RPM., and there was nobody there to tell her otherwise. She made an honest mistake, but her training didn’t even raise a question in her mind.

So when I see something obviously wrong, such as a dramatic drop in sea ice on a graph presented for public consumption, I think about a reporter (print, web, or video -take your pick) somewhere in the world who may be assigned to do a story about sea ice today and does an Internet search, landing on NSDIC’s web site and then concluding in the story “and as you can see in this graph, Arctic sea ice has gone through a dramatic drop just in the last few days, losing over a million square kilometers”.

Thinking about Walt’s statement, “ That’s not news” if the NSIDC graph had been picked up by a major media outlet today, would it be news then?

I understand about automation, about data dropouts, and about processing errors. I run 50 servers myself and produce all sorts of automated graphics output, some of which you can see in the right sidebar. These are used by TV stations, cable channels, and radio/newspaper outlets in the USA for web and on-air. While those graphics are there on WUWT for my readers, I also have an ulterior motive in quality control. Because I can keep an eye on the output when I’m blogging. When data is presented for public consumption, in a venue where 24 hour news is the norm, you can’t simply let computers post things for public consumption without regular quality control checking. The more eyes the better.

At the very least, a note next to NSIDC”s Learn about update delays, about how glitches in satellite data or processing might generate an erroneous result in might be in order. And also for consideration, adding a date/time stamp to the image so it can be properly referenced in the context of time.  This is standard operating procedure in many places, why not at NSIDC?

NSIDC and other organizations need to realize that the interest in what they produce has been huge as of late. In NSIDC’s case, they have been promoted from relative obscurity to front page news by the recent unfortunate statements of an NSIDC employee, Dr. Mark Serreze, to the media, that have received wide coverage.

As commenter “just want truth” wrote in the previous thread on NSIDC:

Last year Mark Serreze, of the NSIDC (you may know him), said North Pole ice could be gone in the summer of 2008. He said then “The set-up for this summer is disturbing”. This, of course, was broadcast in all news outlets around the world. Everyone on both sides of the global warming debate was watching Arctic ice totals last summer to see what would really happen. You may have noticed hits on the NSIDC web site were high last summer.

Now Mark Serreze is saying North Pole ice is in a “death spiral”.

You can be certain that Arctic ice data will be scrutinized because of Al Gore and Mark Serreze. A line has been drawn by both. Both have placed it clearly on the radar screen. This is why NSIDC data is worth blogging about–especially since Mark Serreze is employed at the NSIDC.

Mark Serreze 2008 North Pole ice free :

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Story?id=4728737&page=1

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6e3e4VzwJI

Mark Serreze North Pole ice in “death spiral” :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW9lX8evwIw

and

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08282008/news/worldnews/arctic_ice_in_death_spiral_126443.htm

Given the sort of attention that has been heaped on NSIDC, I think blogging about errors that have gone unnoticed and uncorrected by 10AM on a Monday morning isn’t an unreasonable thing to do.

I also think that reining in loose cannons that can do some terrible damage in the media is a good way to maintain scientific credibility for an organization, especially when predictions like “ice free north pole” don’t come true.

I have no quarrel with Dr. Meier, as I’ve said he’s been the utmost professional in my dealings with him. But I do have quarrel with an organization that allows such claims to be broadcast, all the while producing a data source that is now regularly scrutinized by the public and the media for the slighest changes. It’s a slippery slope.

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Anthony, all I can say is: You go boy! Someone must speak up to point out the errors before the reporters blow them out of all proportion!

Good for you, Anthony! Mega-kudos!
In stark contrast to the 1960’s when most of us had no choice but to believe Walter Cronkite when he told us, “And that’s the way it is” in that deep, believable voice, these days there are not only eyes in the sky, but many millions of people with internet access and all that that implies for data questioning, checking, cross-referencing, and publishing.
Ironic, just a bit, since Al Gore tells us he invented the internet. Thank you, Al!

John H

Having much experience with various government agencies I can say they do not like this kind of power in the hands of the citizenry.
To be able to call them on the carpet at a moments notice is too much for their busy little bureaucrat selves to fathom.
They are so seldom held accountable for anything they find it insulting when they are.
They do not view themselves as public employees. More like public bosses.

Beano

Unfortunately the MSM get access to Joe Public – right or wrong or whatever the agenda of the day suits them . Retractions are never made public. Joe Public doesn’t check sites like WUWT. Joe Public is the 30 second gran specialist.
However one overriding thing. Joe Public is very aware of the nightly news weather report. If more T.V. meteorologists were allowed to put in their two bob’s worth maybe a more balanced approach to “climate Change” could be perceived.

Sven

Walt Meyer: “ps – FYI, the JAXA data is from a different sensor, so it is not consistent with our data, but it provides a good independent check. If the JAXA data does not show a dramatic change while the NSIDC data does (or vice versa), then it’s likely an issue of missing data or bad data.”
But JAXA data is constantly and significantly different. NSIDC is showing arctic sea ice to be the same as (or even lower than) 2007 for most of this year. JAXA has it much higher and similar rather to 2008 than 2007.
http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

MC

Anthony,
It is worth reporting! “Blogging is the wrong term. I consider your work “Reporting”. Reporting is a better term for what you do because in my view there are very few in the media who report. The quality of their reporting would be better described as blogging.
If the media would “report” then we would’nt have all this misinformation the public is exposed to by ignorant so called reporters. Rather, you are providing a service that fits true reporting.
If the Dr. had his head in the game he would understand what you are doing and he would not respond with a chip on his shoulder. If he knows better, he should recognize the work you do for what it is.
Maybe we we should refer to your efforts as “Ground and Pound”. Don’t let them off the ground Anthony and keep pounding.

Sven

Further to my on post 22:20:18
And so is Nansen sea ice extent:
http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

J.Peden

Why can’t the NSIDC see the questionable data/graphs as quickly as everyone else can? If there are going to be “errors” made in favor of haste, forget haste. If the NSIDC is going to catch the errors quickly anyway, why put the questionable data up to begin with. If it is not going to catch the posted errors quickly, then why shouldn’t someone else do it so as to minimize any damage which might occur? And why should we accept the premise that the NSIDC is indeed even going to catch the errors itself, when it appears to operate under such a lax and strange procedural logic concerning its own data and its importance.

anna v

Thanks, Anthony, for holding this blog and the way you are guiding it.
It becomes the voice of the hoi polloi, an amplifier gathering the concerns of individuals that cannot be/are not heard when clicking on the “communicate” link of all these data presenting web pages.

James

Anthony, I agree that errors like this are worth blogging about, but you’re previous posting on the ice data may have implied some questionable intent on the part of NSIDC. It would have been helpful if you would have pointed out that this was likely a data error, and not a human/bias error in your first posting. Real-time data source obviously are more susceptible to data errors.
REPLY: I hadn’t realized that anyone read suggestions of “bias” coming from me into that post. OTOH, I was under the gun, being late for work for giving opportunity for the problem to be fixed on it’s own, in which case I would have published nothing. So perhaps in my own haste I didn’t do the best job on conveyance possible. It just seems to me that if you put your organization squarely in the public eye as NSIDC has done, your publicly presented data is your reputation. Why such things aren’t checked and corrected first thing in the morning, and remain 2 hours later, is the true puzzle. – Anthony

Dennis P. Barlow

In today’s environment where any crisis is to be used to further political power grabs, Dr. Meier seems to be extremely insensitive or naive in handling this data. A million plus square kilometers of missing ice is certainly a news worthy item for those who advocate global warming and your suggestion of a warning on real time data errors should be taken to heart and implemented quickly by NSIDC. This makes me wonder what data Mark Surreze uses to back his statements.

If Dr. Meier wanted to add a postscript, it should have been to thank you for pulling his fat out of the fire before any one of a hundred mainstream media global warming alarmists made front page news out of his data glitch. Does this guy really not realize that you saved his bacon?
REPLY: I’ve never thought of it that way (saving bacon), and I expect no thanks. If the data is wrong it needs to be fixed before somebody uses it, simple as that. – Anthony

The point I’m making here is that in my experience, most reporters know so little about science that they usually can’t tell the difference between real and erroneous science.
That’s for sure.
You’re used to being famous by now, so you know every word you say is scrutinized. Sometimes they are taken wrongly by the individuals being looked at. I have as much respect for the NSIDC right now as I I have for any government agency I’ve run into. That’s not to say they don’t need to be watched. Your post will do nothing but improve the QC for next time.
One thing’s for sure the NSIDC reads WUWT, can’t blame ’em.

Ray

Why is the noise for the trace from end of 2008 and now 2009 is worse than all the previous years? If “bad” data passed through their system this time, what about the other times in recent past? Like, what happen in December 2008?

Everything is worth blogging about, heck even the ranting of James Hansen is worth blogging about … whether its newsworthy or not is another question.

Mike McMillan

It’s always good when someone can spot goofs and alert the generator before things get out of hand.
I’m sure govt types in charge of the technical end of things (including Dr H) don’t like having their mistakes picked up by MSM reporters totally ignorant unschooled in the subject, and reported as “Truth”. I’ve seen far too many military and aviation stories mangled by journalism majors, and I’ve often wished I’d had a phone number to call.

anna v

May be this is not out of topic. Back in december, while looking at links given by posters here I saw this intriguing plot in cryosphere:
http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=12&fd=06&fy=2008&sm=02&sd=16&sy=2009
Look at the left december 6 2008 plot.
We had a discussion in the blog at that time.
I sent an inquiry to the link provided then ( I think it was a person, this has changed in the current home page), politely framing my puzzlement and asking if the conclusion of the blog discussion that it is an artifact of the way the satellite data are combined, was true.
I never got an answer. And the plot is still there. It was there in other views in their archives last time I checked.
Is it reasonable that a necklace of beads appears on a scientific plot and there is no discussion of the effect?

papertiger

Vast iceberg breaks off Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctic
Satellite images have revealed that about 160 square miles of the Wilkins Shelf have been lost since the end of February, suggesting that climate change could be causing it to disintegrate much more quickly than scientists had predicted. “The ice shelf is hanging by a thread,” said David Vaughan, of the British Antarctic Survey(BAS). “We’ll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be.” …
… The Wilkins Shelf is now protected by only a thin thread of ice between two islands. It covers an area of 5,600 square miles (14,500 sq km).

Somethings not right here. I read through that whole article by the Times, and not once did it quote Walt Meier on how the break up of 14k sq. km isn’t news worthy.

Kristin

That article is almost a year old. In the grand scheme of things, 160 sq. km. isn’t very big. Antarctica itself is 14,000,000 sq. km. (14 million sq. km) in area.
Antarctica’s sea ice has increased and it’s gotten colder over the last 50 years. The ice extent is running ONE MILLION sq. km. above average. So losing a measly 160 sq. km. (60 sq. mi) isn’t a big deal at all.

Leon Brozyna

A fine, deliberate, rational response to a problem noted on the NSIDC site.
A quick look at the imagery of ice extent should have alerted the most novice operator or intern that something was wrong when large expanses of open water suddenly appeared in the Bering Sea or Hudson Bay (among others). They could have held off putting the data up; NSIDC has skipped days many times in the past.
Even with their caveat about the quality of near real time data, a scientifically challenged reporter would miss that note and just see the first thing that would catch his eye — the sudden disappearance of large amounts of ice — and run with it.

LilacWine

Good onya Anthony. It behoves all organisations and reporters to check their facts before reporting anywhere. It’s the same in medicine. I’m an RN working in Intensive Care. Woe betide the pathology lab that gives us erroneous results we use to then treat patients. Perhaps all organisations and reporters could remember the builder’s maxim: “Measure twice. Cut once.” If all their facts were checked first before making a statement all this kerfuffle could have been avoided and no one would be wiping egg off their face. 🙂

Tim L

why is it when we find an error we bad?
but when they find error in our favor it is keep quite, and fixed fast?
just saying.

J.Peden

Dr. Meier:
I’m not sure why you think things like this are worth blogging about. Data is not perfect, especially near real-time data. That’s not news.
Note the meme, “that’s not news”. Repeating it then makes it true that it’s ok to publish data with errors in it?
What is real news is that Dr. Meier thinks it’s so important to get data out in public quickly, that he is ok with errors in that data. That view is self-contradictory, imo, valuing haste over the value of the product which the haste delivers, which was supposed to be the only reason for the haste.
It’s worth blogging about for the excellent reasons Anthony gives, but also because Dr. Meier is not making any sense as concerns his responsibiliy in making NISDC data available, and he needs to know that in a public way.
A question to Dr. Meier: who wants data with errors in it? Please name these people.

AndyW

You have to assume a basic level of competence for viewers of this sort of site, so it doesn’t worry me that a semi-automated chart sometimes has glitches. It’s not in the same ball park as repeating one months data points for the next and not spotting it for instance as we recently had with global temps 🙂
I think even a reporter who doesn’t know what dilithium feedback is could spot that.
Regards
Andy
REPLY: Ah but there’s the rub, the reporters often don’t have the advantage of knowing about these automation issues, nor do they usually care. Remember, most reporters mine for data and quote nuggets. In depth is not the norm.
“At least 30 people died”…”more than a 50 thousand dollars in damages were reported”…”sources, speaking on condition of anonymity say” and “I did not have sex with that woman” are just as relevant as “over a million square kilometers of sea ice melted in the Arctic”. – Anthony

matty

Give to em Anthony!!

Phillip Bratby

These people in public bureaucracies (BBC, NSIDC, GISS, etc etc) just don’t get the idea of quality control. It’s a concept totally foreign to them.
Well done Anthony; just keep on at them.

Well, it’s a mistake and it’s been fixed (or will be) without anyone dying. Mistrakes happen. Dr. Meier is addressing the glitch and has responded in a polite and professional way, based on his complete understanding of the process; let’s not cast aspersions at him. I’m sure he’ll check everyones lunch boxes at NSIDC’s quitting time during the coming week to make sure no more cubic kilofurlongs, or whatever, of ice turn up missing. There are no villains here, only heroes. Well done, Anthony. Thank you, Dr. Meier.

Brendan H

Leon Broznya: “Even with their caveat about the quality of near real time data, a scientifically challenged reporter would miss that note and just see the first thing that would catch his eye — the sudden disappearance of large amounts of ice — and run with it.”
Which is exactly what Anthony did. Which is not to say that Anthony is scientifically challenged, but does suggest that a desire to be first with a story overcame the requirement for a fact-check.
As a matter of record, the NSIDC caveat was first mentioned by Phil at (20:05:05) on the NSIDC Makes a Big Sea Ice etc thread. So who gets the Pulitzer?
REPLY: Better issue a retraction there Brendan, because if you’ll note who I hat-tipped in the original story thread, it was Joe D’Aleo, who runs the blog ICECAP. For the record Joe D’Aleo emailed me and two other people who run climate blogs at 6:14PM PST the night before with his query “any ideas on why NSIDC has this discrepancy” ? and included this PDF: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Discrepancy_Between_NSIDC_and_Cryosphere_Appears_Again.pdf

From: JDaleo@xxxxx.com
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2009 6:14 PM
To: pielkesr@xxxx.edu ; awatts@xxxxxx.com ; stephen.mcintyre@xxxx.ca
Subject: NSIDC vs Cryosphere discrepancy show up again
Any ideas?

Joe had already posted his writeup on it here. Note the date of his posting. But I waited until the next morning, the 16th, which by that time I had dozens of emails.
So the “desire to be first with a story” that you ascribe to me is erroneous and written without benefit of any facts on your part. – Anthony

CuckooToo

I’ve been asking the same question, “what happens to all the erroneous reports, when they have been shown to be wrong” over at Richard Blacks blog at the Beeb:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/02/fin_words.html

Mick

“I did not have sex with that woman”
Priceless quote Antony!! LOL
That quote sums up AGW.
Please, please do not stop educate me/us about science. What you do is not
“only” reporting, it is science of the highest standard!!
Your blog is “THE NEWS” . For me, and many others 🙂
Thank You!!

Anthony, *yes* it is worth reporting startling data inconsistencies on your blog. And I think it is wonderful that Dr. Meier is open-minded enough to read WUWT and post to the comments. Thank you both for striving for clarity.
I would like to think that the competitive pressure for the various climate monitoring organizations to have the most credible, accurate data will eventually become more important than “generating” numbers that will gain more grant money. The more we learn [from WUWT] about what comprises a high quality data set, the better able we are to evaluate the published data and help motivate these organizations (and our lawmakers) to strive for higher quality results.

Frederick Davies

Keep up the good work, Mr Watts: you have just earned yourself another donation. Have a drink on me tonight.

Brendan H

Anthony: “So the “desire to be first with a story” that you ascribe to me is erroneous and written without benefit of any facts on your part.”
Fair enough. I retract. Even so, there are two important lessons here.
1. In ICECAP, D’Aleo asks the question: “Any answers anyone?” It doesn’t seem to occur to him that the place to go to for answers is the source.
2. The context for the NSIDC figures is the caveats as highlighted by a WUWT poster.
The thrust of the current thread is the matter of topics worth blogging about. Spotting the story is one thing. Reporting about it is another. For anyone with pretensions to be a reporter, checking with the source is a fundamental requirement before the story is run.
If you had held off the story until you received Meier’s explanation, the story would have lost its edge, thus defeating its purpose, which was to stick one up the enemy. I’ve got no problem with that. But don’t confuse advocacy with news.
REPLY:
1. Normally you’d be right. However I suppose we’ve all gotten a bit jaded as of late, since we’ve been exposed to the tactics of Mann, Santer, and Steig, who refuse to divulge source information when asked, and in Steig’s case pretend to have done so, then you discover that he’s only provided an incomplete box of parts. with no instructions, and no bolts or nuts. The climate science community has gotten a reputation for wagon circling due to these scientists. Ask Steve McIntyre.
2. D’Aleo probably would have gotten an answer from Dr. Meier if asked. As would I. The point here is that the error went uncorrected for 18-24 hours or more. By the time I had posted it I figured that surely one of the thousands of people that view the page had dropped an email, as they almost always do. The lesson being taught here is that if you run an automated production system, the very first thing you do in the morning, especially a Monday morning, is to check the output. And check your email. At 10AM MST they still hadn’t done so. In business, an oversight like this would at the least earn a reprimand, possibly even heads would roll if the error cost the company money. In science we got the “this isn’t worthwhile” attitude.
Scientists that produce publicly available data on a production basis should have a care about quality control. If I’m the “bad guy” in pointing out that the quality control is lacking, so be it. But I won’t apologize for doing so after giving them reasonable opportunity to discover and correct on their own. – Anthony

Pierre Gosselin

“not worth blogging about”?
I think this was a a huge blooper and casts the integrity of the NSIDC into serious doubt.
“Well yeah the data was off by a million or so sq. km – no big deal!”
It is a big deal. It’s a huge screw up, and people wondering what kind of operation is being run over there.
I strongly differ with Dr. Meier. And it’s a bit disconcerting that he doesn’t take it seriously.

Bary Foster

Of course it’s worth putting up on a blog. Why not? Go for it Anthony, every time.

How is news made?
When Dr. Serreze was quoted by news agencies as saying Arctic sea ice is in a death spiral, was that an errant comment to journalist in a bar? Was it during a phone interview initiated by the journalist? Or initiated by Dr. Serreze? Or was it the result of a deliberate notice to wire services issued by NSIDC?
I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I suspect the latter. Perhaps I am just cynical.
In any case, Anthony, you are absolutely correct in your judgment that NSIDC should be media conscious and media savvy. Dr. Meier’s defensiveness is naive, and frankly not believable. He should know better, and I suspect he does.
Kudos to you and Mr. D’Aleo. Keep on keeping them honest.

crosspatch

It is worth blogging about but on balance, I think there should be a “one working day” rule where one might bring an oddity to their attention but allow at least one regular working day for it to be looked into. This being a holiday weekend and a fairly popular winter sport weekend, I am actually surprised it was corrected as quickly as it was.
People have, or should have, lives outside of work. It certainly is worth blogging about but in my opinion and in the interest if fairness, the data providers should have at least one working day to sort it out before any whistles are blown.

Mary Hinge

I think the problem here is that the media and bloggers want their information immediately and many scientific establishments have satisfied these wishes by offering websites that give the real-time data, usually from automated equipment. In the past this hasn’t been a problem as the vast majority of people accessing the data usually had some scientific training and understand and accept the limitations of this. As more people become interested in popular science then the ratio of people (including the media) that do not understand the limitations of data collection increases.
On this blog the GISS errors were pointed out and these were subsequently corrected, this is how it should be. The next month, as GISS were putting into place the procedures to help ensure it didn’t happen again, there were complaints that the delay in the figures coming out!
The way scientific institutions should do it is well illustrated by the NPEO. Here is a link to their automatically updated data from JAMSTEC http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/POPS_ctd.html
Note the proviso at the bottom “These data are automatically updated and subject to a variety of errors.”
Maybe this should be obligatory on all automatic data sites.
REPLY: Mary, nicely said. – Anthony

The Science

jorgekafkazar (23:39:55) :
“Mistrakes happen.”
Thankyou for that freudian slip, made my day. 🙂

Brendan H (23:56:59) :
“Which is exactly what Anthony did. Which is not to say that Anthony is scientifically challenged, but does suggest that a desire to be first with a story overcame the requirement for a fact-check.”
—-
Oopsie. Sir Brendan, you should note that the “fact-check” process, and your “first with a story” accusation are exactly opposite:
That it was the NSIDC that was “pushing” the “story” out on the public without checking THEIR facts.
That the NSIDC did not recall or change ANY of their graphics UNTIL the story was caught from the web (many hours after NSIDC released it) and the NSIDC proved wrong.
They (the NSIDC and AGW extremists) are the ones who – in MANY recent press releases – have been “pushing” propaganda on the public by extremist (non-scientific) exaggerations and bad science – in an effort to get the next Nobel Prize, the next grant, the next TV interview.

Chris H

I thought Mark Surreze’s comment about a “death spiral” was pretty funny, just because of the absurdity of it. Hopefully that comes back to haunt him, although I now notice he’s moved predictions of an ice-free North Pole from 2008 to 2030…

Ron de Haan

Anthony,
You are a polite and galant character, but you, anyone, should be very angry by such a remark by a scientist and a representative of a Government Organization.
There web site is up presenting near eal time data.
If something goes wrong there should be an note on the web stating that the current presented data is not correct due….
Arctic Sea Ice is a “hot” topic as many Government world wide are introducing fierce climate legislation.
We can not afford this kind of attitude.
I have downloaded the RSS feed for from the NSIDC site last year and all the links I have received had the alarmist tune, no word about the fast freeze at the beginning of the winter season, no word of the extreme cold this winter, only “bad news”.
Humanity is being screwed these days over a non existing AGW and NSIDC is one of the organizations who are in on the plot.
Yes, I am angry.

Mikey

Speaking of weird disappearing ice, can somebody explain this one to me?
http://tinyurl.com/cpymd3
It’s the latest entry from the Cryosphere Today map compared to two days ago.
I get how the ice around Nova Zembla could go. That’s just thin ice getting concentrated by wind, right? But what happened to the ice in the Sea of Okhotsk? It all just disappeared. Wind wouldn’t explain that, would it. That’s some massive 2 day melt for this time of year, if that’s what happened? And how does that entire sheet of ice in the Bering Sea just suddenly split in two? Can wind do that?
If they’re errors it would be interesting to know how errors like that happen. In fact fact I’d like to know the mechanics of how errors in ice monitoring happen. That would be an interesting little climate news story, I think.

I think it is an entirely appropriate issue to blog about if only to ensure that publicly funded bodies improve their quality control.
As we saw with the GISS data errors this is not an issue that can be taken lightly in today’s world where the media is apt to seize on an issue and make a headline out of. Should the data later be proved to be in error it is rare to find retractions issued and therefore the story typically stands.
Surely the folks at NSIDC should have been put on notice when 1 million sq Km disappears overnight, yet they still published the data. At the very least this is hugely sloppy.
I think it is incumbent on us all to trust nothing in this field and check it out. There should be no question that issues should be blogged about until the folks who publish the data realise that quality control is really important.

Flanagan

OK,
maybe we should sit back and relax – actually nobody in the mainstream press has been talking about that and I guess they would have asked the NSIDC if the melt was real – and their opinion – before publishing anything.
Anyway, the graph which is now presented is not a “corrected” version, it’s simply the same one but cut at the beginning of Feb. So, we’re basically still waiting for the actual mid-Feb values…

pete m

Blogging the error is fine. Did you also email them about it?

Paul Shanahan

AndyW (23:23:36) :
I think even a reporter who doesn’t know what dilithium feedback

It’s logical isn’t it Captain? 🙂

Anthony, I know Mark SErreze’s activities might seem SUrreal… could you correct your misspellings please? – remembering Steig’s “I before E except after C-Ice” brouhaha…
I’ve been continuing to work on a whole page of Polar information with pictures – to help people get the Polar picture into perspective – since the Polar alarmism depends on people’s sheer ignorance of how Polar fluctuations and sea ice normally behave.
Reply: I saw the misspellings when the post first went up earlier this evening and corrected them, and notified Anthony. Somehow the misspellings returned. Anthony, did you cut and paste a revision from a saved version? ~ charles the moderator.
REPLY: Not deliberately, but if we were both working on the piece at the same time, whomever pressed the save button last, that one would be the one presented. That’s probably what happened. Thanks for pointing out the error. – Anthony

Alan the Brit

This is merely another example of the laxity of many modern practices. If this wasn’t picked up by WUWT & your good self, it may never have been. What concerns me more is that Dr Meier & his co-workers didn’t pick up the error immediately. If these people were on the ball, experienced, & with that good old sense of “feel” for something as right or wrong, then they would have spotted it without the potentially embarrassing situation of an outsider bringing it to their attention. The hand should have gone up straight away followed immediately by an apology.
Well done Sir. Never ever stop!
BTW:-) James,
I read no suggestion, hint, indication, intimation or otherwise regarding bias in Mr Watts’ post!

J.Hansford

Anthony. Your justifications are well phrased, thought out and presented. I concur that with your assessment. NSIDC have set themselves up to be scrutinized, thus they must rise to that expectation of them.
Specially as Billions of dollars and a whole paradigm of energy use and society is hanging in the balance….. For that is the reality of the situation.
…. absolutely they can proof read data before 10 O’clock in the morning and make sure it is correct. It is minimum of what is expected of them.

Allen63

An ongoing point of your “blog” seems to be “data errors”. Thus, to blog about a potential data error is “spot on” in your case. Moreover, your reasoning for doing so is sound.