More goofery: UN Climate Report Confuses Arctic and Antarctic

Yesterday I pointed out how the hockey stick graph had been removed from the United Nations Climate  Report. Now Harold Ambler shows us the document has even more errors.
Guest post by Harold Ambler from Talking About the Weather
An image of Antarctica used by the United Nations Environment Program.

A misidentified image of “Arctic Icebergs” used by the United Nations Environment Program. (Source: Shutterstock)

Things get stranger and stranger with the United Nations’ climate change science compendium published two weeks back.

First, it was learned that the graph indicating temperature for the past 1,000 years had been taken from Wikipedia, where it had been deposited by a non-climatologist. Now, it comes to light that the report features a photograph purporting to show Arctic icebergs melting, when the actual image is of Antarctica.

As I looked through the updated report yesterday, in which the Wikipedia graph has been removed, I noticed that an image looked to have been misidentified. Fortunately for me, the UN had purchased the image on Shutterstock.com, where about an hour’s worth of sleuthing revealed that indeed this was not a picture from the top of the world, but rather from the bottom.

Some will say that it doesn’t matter. I think it does. The United Nations claims to be the steward of the best science on the planet. Wouldn’t one hope that it would have staff capable of differentiating between Antarctica and the Arctic? Of course, global warming alarmists, including those employed at the United Nations, have been using both polar ice caps’ supposed melt as evidence of runaway global warming for years now. Meanwhile, though, Antarctic sea ice has continued to increase in extent throughout the satellite era, and temperatures at the South Pole have slowly fallen.

Nonetheless, the fear-mongers in the media and at the United Nations strive to frighten the credulous into believing that Earth’s southernmost continent is on the verge of catastrophic melt. As for the Arctic misrepresented by the UN’s photograph, how many of the report’s editors even know that sea ice increased in 2009 in the Arctic for the second year in a row? At the United Nations Environment Program, the answer is evidently: none. A map with a list of “climate anomalies” from the last year indicates that 2009 was the second most significant melt in the Arctic. In fact, it was the third lowest melt and may very well represent a turnaround. Only time will tell. Even The New York Times has an article today addressing the seeming good news.

As for that list of “Significant Climate Anomalies from 2008/2009,” the great majority of items listed are weather, rather than climate. An example: the four passages of Tropical Storm Fay across Florida’s coastline. While interesting, Fay’s behavior does not have an apparent, or hidden, relationship to rising co2 levels according to any reputable scientist, nor does it cloak 2008’s quiet Atlantic tropical cyclone season. (For those keeping track at home, 2009’s has been quieter still.)

The recovery from 2007's record sea extent minimum in the Arctic has continued for a second straight year. Only time will tell whether it marks the beginning of a meaningful, long-term recovery.

The recovery from 2007’s record sea extent minimum in the Arctic has continued for a second straight year. Only time will tell whether it marks the beginning of a meaningful, long-term recovery.

Another error in the UN report should give any follower of climatology pause: the Mauna Loa co2 record is shown as “Keeling 2009.” While the graph is rightly referred to by climate professionals as the Keeling Curve, Dr. Keeling has been unable to author any new articles of late, as he passed away in 2005. (Like the other misattributed graph in the report, this one has tell-tale signs that it was simply pulled from Wikipedia.)

The last mistake in the UN report that I will delve into today features a photo of the Hawaiian Islands with a menacing caption about sea levels – trouble in paradise! Here is the text from the caption: “In Hawaii, as the ocean continues to rise, flooding occurs in low-lying regions during rains because storm sewers back up with saltwater and coastal erosion accelerates on beaches. Source: L. Carey.”

There are a few problems here. One: “L. Carey” does not exist, at least not according to the author of the caption. That would be Chip Fletcher, director of the Coastal Geography Group at the University of Hawaii. Reached for comment, Fletcher said that he was flattered that the United Nations report had found his statement in an internal department newsletter to be useful. Two: Fletcher also acknowledged that all of the flooding described by his statement takes place in areas of landfill that are subsiding.

Did Fletcher think that it might be a good thing for the United Nations to note the landfill subsidence when using a single image, and a single statement, to convey the reality of “climate change” in the islands? “Listen, the world is a big place,” Fletcher said. “I have other things to worry about than that.” Were there other locations in the islands that saw such flooding? “Parts of Waikiki have,” Fletcher said. Aren’t those parts of Waikiki also landfill, though? “Actually, they are.”

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Please visit Harold’s website here and leave a nice comment. Tell him I sent you – Anthony

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69 thoughts on “More goofery: UN Climate Report Confuses Arctic and Antarctic

  1. I claim the Arctic and Antarctic are adjacent. I have IPCC reports to show they are in fact coincident. Thanks for the great post. Hawaiian landfill and all it is worse than we thought.

  2. Reflective of the world’s illiteracy when it comes to geography….
    The UN’s standard is so low…nothing with them surprises me.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  3. So. Are we saying that the UN doesn’t know its arse from its mouth? But I’m just a pot hole. Soooo. Okay. By!

  4. Good investigation and well written. This image appears on Shutterstock as ‘textured icebergs with blue and white cyan colors’ and clearly refers to the blue and cyan floating things at the front and middle distance. The white background looks more like snow covered terrain than snow covered ice.
    I am glad that these slip-up’s are being covered as our major Federal opposition party The Liberal Party) is tearing itself apart over whether or not to support any form of climate change policy. The opposition to CC is growing ,or,at least it is becoming more vocal, but is is being displayed simply as a leadership crisis by the media. But at the heart of this ‘crisis’ is conflict over CC.
    The more this ‘silliness’ is exposed the better,it just might tip the scales.

  5. Whatever suits their agenda I guess? Perhaps they think the ends justify the means? I’m always skeptic when a great number of people (a.k.a the United Nations) come together and confer to make economic decisions based on climate. Its proposterous. Why not base the budget on astrology prediction? We all see where this is going, and its going towards finding yet another reason to invent another tax to suck the blood out of the little man.
    Climate change gives food companies a reason for food companies to shrink the size of their packaging while keeping the price the same; ( Google “Food Packaging Shrinking” or compare your peanut butter jar size in 6 months with the one you bought today. )
    Local markets dont give out plastic bags anymore;
    We are nearly forced by law to recycle glass and paper products, which are reused by the same food companies that sold us glass jars and cereal boxes in the first place ( We have PAID for the glass, plastic and paper that we give away for free in our recycle bins . Why then aren’t we SELLING IT BACK? )
    Climate change is just another gimmicky scheme to suck the blood out of our veins. No matter how you cut it, the purpose is to find a way to tax us more, increase inflation and disguise it in different marketing schemes such as “NEW” labeling, inducing guilt by making you feel your killing a beluga with your carbon footprint, etc…
    Saying climate change is abnormal is like saying a beating heart is abnormal.

  6. Great post. Kinda puts you into the mood for these same folks to control energy and thus food distribution via the hoped for mandate from Copenhagen meetings. I shudder at the thought and possibly if indications are correct will millions perhaps billions before it is over.
    Bill Derryberry

  7. Climate change is just another gimmicky scheme
    should have read
    Policies based on climate change science are just another gimmicky scheme

  8. Keith Minto (20:03:19): “… as our major Federal opposition party The Liberal Party) is tearing itself apart over whether or not to support any form of climate change policy. …
    And I note, Keith, that same Liberal Party has it’s own Hockey threatening to become a stick to beat down the AGW alarmists: the only real alternative leader left standing, Joe Hockey…

  9. Nice article Harold! I wonder if Gavin and his gang are ripping the non peer reviewed UN report based on all of its sloppy little mistakes.

  10. Another giveaway that it couldn’t be Artic is that that “expedition”, …what was the name?, oh yeah, Caitlin, measured the arctic ice thickness at about 1.57318944521m thickness [or something like that].
    /sarc

  11. Ben Hoffman (19:56:14) :
    Could be they made the mistakes you claim, but that doesn’t de-legitimize the science. It just makes the U.N. look bad.

    I’d say it calls into question the underlying attention to detail. If they got something that basic wrong, what else have they erred on? Yes it certainly does make the UN look bad, they are supposed to be leading the charge. If you want to be taken seriously, as I believe the UN does, they should pay more attention to these details.
    At least they didn’t use the CGI images from the Day After Tomorrow.

  12. The last mistake in the UN report that I will delve into today features a photo of the Hawaiian Islands with a menacing caption about sea levels – trouble in paradise! Here is the text from the caption: “In Hawaii, as the ocean continues to rise, flooding occurs in low-lying regions during rains because storm sewers back up with saltwater and coastal erosion accelerates on beaches. Source: L. Carey.”

    Whoa. I could see storm drains draining slowly because of back pressure of seawater, but I don’t see how “storm sewers back up with saltwater” during rainstorms unless it’s raining heavily on the Pacific and on on the island. 🙂
    I could see back pressure due a storm surge, but that’s wind, not rain.
    In general, rainstorms should be flushing any seawater in the storm drains back out to sea.
    Grr.

  13. Anyone else read this one?
    Climate Change Triggered Dwarfism in Soil-Dwelling Creatures of the Past
    Ancient soil biota decreased in size by up to 46 percent during period 55 million years ago.

  14. ” “Listen, the world is a big place,” Fletcher said. “I have other things to worry about than that.” ” That’s telling ’em. And to think that some people have the effrontery to suggest that there are scientists who avoid being frank about an issue lest they annoy the Powers That Be.

  15. from the top of the world, but rather from the bottom.
    Please don’t join the ranks of Al Gore, who once wrote the Washington Post to complain that a picture of the Earth was “upside down” because the Northern Hemisphere was on the bottom of the picture. In space all orientations have equal gravitas.

  16. That’s 2 bum pics in 1 week.
    This has all the prestige of a circus.
    How’s your sea level doing these days?

  17. Ben Hoffman (19:56:14) — Could be they made the mistakes you claim, but that doesn’t de-legitimize the science. It just makes the U.N. look bad.
    I call B.S… Could you put out work like that and keep your job? Could any normal person? How many billion$ went into that report, and yet they can’t get it right?
    Thing is, if they can’t get the small stuff correct, what makes anyone think anything else is any more correct? AGW is an argument of details, after all. Certainly after Steve McIntyre’s recent exposure of suspicious science re Yamal we have every reason to think the science is just as shoddy as the report.

  18. R Shearer (19:58:16) :
    Global warming has the power to turn the world upside down.
    Not just that. Listen to Prof. Schellnhuber at

    In German, sorry, but what it says is “„In 2050, earth will be home for 9,4b humans. If all of them would request to have the quality of life, say as Portugal, one of the poorer EU countries, then the world would explode.“

  19. Yup, it shows ice melting, who cares which Pole its at? Its on a par with the constant use by the Media of steam billowing from Cooling Towers at power stations and labelled as “polluting smoke pours from …”
    This is what happens when science is taken over by Media and Marketting morons. Parts of Southern and Eastern England are flooding regularly as well, also trumpetted as “rising sea levels” but it is in fact a combination of Greenstrife/Fiends of the Earth campaigning over the last thirty years to not maintain our sea defences, reclamation on the Dutch Coast and the fact that the island is tilting slowly as the Northern half rises – bouncing back from the ice sheet pressure that held it down for millenia.
    UN having the best scientists? Bah – Humbug! Just the usual collection of Greenstrife and Fiends of the Earth Eco-warriors and their pseudo-science backed up with Media/Marketing Babble.

  20. I would suggest that we count our blessings that the UN is staffed by incompetents.
    in·com·pe·tent (n-kmp-tnt)
    adj.
    1. Not qualified in legal terms: a defendant who was incompetent to stand trial.
    2. Inadequate for or unsuited to a particular purpose or application.
    3. Devoid of those qualities requisite for effective conduct or action. – “my emphasis”.
    n.
    An incompetent person.
    REF: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/incompetents
    Otherwise they might actually be very dangerous.

  21. A proven picture of ice from the south purported to be ice form the north by the most renounced institution on the planet?
    I really need to stop gloating about this kind of stuff. Maybe next year.

  22. Mr Hoffman suggested (19:56:14) :
    “Could be they made the mistakes you claim, but that doesn’t de-legitimize the science. It just makes the U.N. look bad.”
    There are two answers to Mr Hoffman’s observations.
    (1) Those who make policy (and thereby spend our dollars, pounds, euros etc on “green” initiatives) cite UN reports as their justification – not just UN IPCC reports but other UN reports too, as we will see with this one. The message they send is that UN reports are “the” science in this field and justify all sorts of measures that affect the way we live. Errors in those reports de-legitimise that message.
    (2) Any limb of science (or, indeed, any other field of study) is “de-legitimised” by shoddy work that supports a particular hypothesis unless those who propose the hypothesis repudiate that defective work. It is easy to latch onto a report that supports your pet conclusion and claim it strengthens your case. It takes honesty and integrity to say “OK, so its conclusions support my hypothesis, but the body of the work contains such flaws that its conclusions cannot be treated as reliable.”
    Honesty and integrity seem to be missing from so much of the UN’s “work” in this field.

  23. Details, details…
    The un- wants to save the planet; bless their hearts ~ they want to do good. Let ’em break out an animated infomercial with polar bears & penguins dancing around the pole, sipping their soft drinks, flipping through pages of the un-compendium ~ Climate for Dummies.

  24. ” Roger Carr (20:47:55) :
    Keith Minto (20:03:19): “… as our major Federal opposition party The Liberal Party) is tearing itself apart over whether or not to support any form of climate change policy. …
    And I note, Keith, that same Liberal Party has it’s own Hockey threatening to become a stick to beat down the AGW alarmists: the only real alternative leader left standing, Joe Hockey…”
    I am smiling as I write this but we could correct this by having Wilson Tuckey as PM (insert smiley here).

  25. This isn’t news… please wake me up when the UN/IPCC gets something right. Have the adrenalin on standby if they do…
    What a shame that the UN was a little bit too late to be considered for a rpize: http://ignobel.org/

  26. As a creative writing assignment for the production team of 16 and its small army of 63 expert screening panel members and reviewers, the Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 is a timely contribution ahead of the COP15 conference in Copenhagen. The report has a very nice eye-catching graphic. The content is not intended to actually be read. These errors must be embarrassing.
    In any event, what should we expect from the United Nations Environmental Programme with its meager budget of just $280 million? Accuracy? Quality control? A legally defensible publication standard?
    The parent United Nations with its $25 billion annual budget might care to audit its subsidiary UNEP program on behalf of member states who stand to risk even more taxpayers funds at the climate change roulette table.

  27. Citing
    “The last mistake in the UN report that I will delve into today features a photo of the Hawaiian Islands with a menacing caption about sea levels – trouble in paradise! Here is the text from the caption: “In Hawaii, as the ocean continues to rise, flooding occurs in low-lying regions during rains because storm sewers back up with saltwater and coastal erosion accelerates on beaches. Source: L. Carey.””
    This is very incorrect. Honolulu is one of the places on Earth where sea-level is going down the fastest. The trend is clear since 2003. Please check it out in the document referenced in http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2009/07/sea-level-decline.html
    Ecotretas

  28. The UN report from Nairobi refer to a Spanish study on glaziers in the Pyrenees. Two observations:
    – they confuse hectares and square kilometers. The present size of the glaziers is then supposed to be a little more than that of my neighbour’s farm (not a very big one),
    – they actually show figures for a period starting at the end of the 19th century, showing substantial melting a hundred years ago (i.e. supporting the arguments refering to “recovery from the little ice age”).
    Conclusion: The authors are incompetent and honest.

  29. I think that, more important, is the fact that none of this is being reported by the MSM. The explosive revelations regarding the [suspect] use of Yamal tree ring data to create the ‘Hockey Stick’ have been totally ignored. On the other hand any unsubstantiated claims supporting climate change are promptly reported. The hilarious confusion of the press in confusing the Northeast passage and the Northwest passage is just one example.

  30. …on page 17 of the UNEP-pamphlet you can read with explicitly reference to NSIDC:
    „…As the melt season of 2009 began, the Arctic Ocean was covered mostly
    by first-year ice, which formed since September 2008, and second-year
    ice, which formed during the winter of 2007 to 2008. First-year ice in
    particular is thinner and prone to melt more quickly than thicker multi-
    year ice. In 2009, ice older than two years accounted for less than 10
    per cent of the ice cover at the end of February (NSIDC 2009).…“
    by definition of the UNEP ‘mostly’ is put on a level with 49% of the icecover, 2-year old ice is not mentioned and the older than 2 year ice cover is cut into half.
    NSIDC 2009:
    „…This year, younger (less than one year old), thinner ice, which is more vulnerable to melt, accounted for 49 percent of the ice cover at the end of summer. Second-year ice made up 32 percent, compared to 21 percent in 2007 and 9 percent in 2008 (Figure 5). Only 19 percent of the ice cover was over 2 years old, the least in the satellite record and far below the 1981-2000 average of 52 percent.…“
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20091005_minimumpr.html
    The UNEP report is obviously UNtrue (no typo)

  31. Not to worry. perhaps they’ll substitute a picture depicting the plight of Penguins in the Arctic, or Polar Bears in the Antarctic. 😉

  32. If it was deliberate it certainly backfired. I mean, anyone looking at those “arctic” bergs reaching hundreds of feet out of the water will be thinking “thin ice, what thin ice?”
    But then again, I put it down to just complete imcompetence. Can’t these climate people tell the difference? These guys make even amateurs look amateurish.

  33. **********
    Ben Hoffman (19:56:14) :
    Could be they made the mistakes you claim, but that doesn’t de-legitimize the science. It just makes the U.N. look bad.
    **************
    That doesn’t legitimize the science either. What is does do, however, is give everyone reason to question any legislation based on lies like this.

  34. ************
    Leon Brozyna (23:02:32) :
    Details, details…
    The un- wants to save the planet; bless their hearts ~ they want to do good. Let ‘em break out an animated infomercial with polar bears & penguins dancing around the pole, sipping their soft drinks, flipping through pages of the un-compendium ~ Climate for Dummies.
    **************
    I fully expect the next act will feature naked women.

  35. Brace yourselves: The very moment that 2009 curve on the sea ice extent chart crosses below 2008 the alarm bells will sound… It’s even worse than we thought!

  36. Ben Hoffman (19:56:14) :
    Could be they made the mistakes you claim, but that doesn’t de-legitimize the science. It just makes the U.N. look bad.

    The fact that antarctic sea ice has been increasing over a 30 year period, and that arctic sea ice has increased over the last two years, doesn’t delegitimise “science” that claims the Earth’s sea ice is rapidly melting?
    Finding that the areas in Hawaii that are having lowland flooding problems are due to landfill subsistence, rather than sea level rise doesn’t deligitimise “science” that claims the opposite?
    I have always wondered why the AGW movement tries to get away with obvious lies, now I realise that it’s because some folks are are so much easier to lie to.

  37. It is an obvious fact that the IPCC and its affiliates consider themselves omnipotent.
    How could anyone in their right mind deny this?

  38. Steve, I clicked on your penguin/polar bear link as I just happened to be listening to Beethoven’s 9th. The Plar bear in back must have been listening to the same thing, as his head was nodding in synch.

  39. Would it not be useful if this publication was countered with a publication constructed on the same lines with similar photos and diagrams, but with the true facts told? If the publication was endorsed only by respected climate scientists, meteorologists, statisticians and others working in the field, and just stuck to the objective and quantifiable facts and had no suggestion of connections to interested parties, it should carry some weight if it were then to be distributed to the policymakers at Copenhagen, with a message not to take precipitate action. If national representatives then ignored the advice, posterity will have a tail to tell.
    If you need a fighting fund, I would be prepared to start things rolling with my little contribution. You have my email address.
    Colin Porter
    p.s. I am sure that my big brother David will also be happy to contribute.

  40. Icebergs melt? Who knew? I’m glad that the UN told the world about it, I could never imagine that fresh water ice would melt in salt water! I thought all icebergs just floated around forever.
    I recall watching a time lapse video of glaciers calving at Denver International Airport. The video was saying how this showed global warming. I wanted to turn to someone and ask: “I wonder what a healthy glacier looks like?”. Answer: It looks the same dummy! Healthy glaciers calve too.

  41. How good is the United Nations at reforming itself?
    Thursday, October 08, 2009
    By George Russell
    Not good at all, according to a lengthy study this year by U.N. investigators of a grandiose, five-year effort to streamline and coordinate the performance of a $778 million U.N. bureaucracy that is supposed to do what diplomats like to do best: hold meetings.
    According to the report, the bureaucracy’s reform effort so far has been a near-total failure.
    Yes, as is evidenced by lackadaisical UN climate reports.

  42. I followed the link to Chip Fletcher’s newsletter – he is also quite an alarmist: quoting IPCC etc and stating “a sea level of approximately 1 m above present could be reached by the end of the 21st century”
    He obviously hasn’t examined Hawaii’s actual sea level data:
    The rate over the last 80 years is about 1.2 mm/decade and the rate has not changed.

  43. There is an L. Carey who has posted climate information in some magazine comments. I suspect he posted a link to Fletcher’s article in a temporary location, such as a newspaper comment, so we now can’t find the IPCC’s source.

  44. If it’s already been explained, could somebody please tell me how it was noticed that this photo is the antarctic, not the arctic? For a tyro, it’s not obvious.
    Thanks

  45. Aw, heck, come on, Anthony. Its melting, isn’t it? You people just will never give up pointing out irrelevant facts, will you?

  46. lichanos (16:19:18) – He says that it looked misidentified, and he was able to find it in a stock photo site. As for why it looked suspicious, to me it looks like ice flowing off of land (see the rounded shapes in the background) more than sea ice. Antarctica is known for its land ice, and usually that’s what is photographed there. In the Arctic sea ice, it begins as flat thin ice and develops ridged areas. The Arctic sea ice might have rounded shapes if is managed to get a lot of snow, but that is much less likely than that the photo is from Antarctica. There is land ice in the Arctic area, but that also doesn’t get photographed as often as the sea ice. So it just seems more likely for that image to be from Antarctica.
    The phrasing indicates that about an hour of searching was done in one stock photo site. I’m not bothering to check, but I think the report credited that site’s photos. So once he was suspicious of the image, he tried searching in that site for a matching image.

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