'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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Interstellar Bill

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.”

RHS

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

Jeremy

“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!!!!

Robinson

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!

Famous 1978 paper “West AntarctIc Ice sheet and CO2 greenhouse effect: a threat of” by Mercer predicting 5K temperature raise in the next 50 years below antarctic circle. It’s in NATURE and had been cited at least 450 times, so how can it be wrong? Temperature graph for the last 55 years at South Pole?
http://www.nerc-bas.ac.uk/icd/gjma/amundsen-scott.ann.trend.pdf
is

Green Sand

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.

R. Shearer

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.”

JJ

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?

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?

Sean Peake

Bugger! After the Dessler/Trenberth affair I find myself out of popcorn.

gnomish

makin paper for the ar5, ubetcha.
more reality adjustment from the climate catamites.

Al Gore will use the Atlas as a source and make the 15% claim in 3…. 2… 1…..

Hans H

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)

Alan Simpson

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

gyptis444

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.

Spector

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!’

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.

mike g

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

Doug Proctor

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.

Green Sand

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!

Gary Swift

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.

John B

Where do you guys get “sea level is falling from”?
I just took a quick look and got this:
http://betternature.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/1992-2010-noaa.png
Certainly doesn’t look like it’s falling in that graph (or plenty of others like it)

Julienne Stroeve

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.

Julienne Stroeve

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.)

DAV

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

Willem de Lange

John B
Look at the current version of the same graph at source …
http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/index.php

DAV

Perhaps, “rejects” would be better than “rebukes”?

hell_is_like_newark

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

John M

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:
http://betternature.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/1992-2010-noaa.png
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

John B

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?

Lawrie Ayres

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.

15%… pathetic. Why couldn’t they go directly for the real thing?

John M

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.

John B

“stuck in 2010”. Love it! Sea level rise is just so last year. And maybe next year, too…

mfosdb

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.

Latitude

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
http://www.real-science.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/67mkut.gif
God, we have a leak……………

John B

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.

Michael D Smith

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.

Frank K.

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).

John M

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.

Vincent Guerrini PhD

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?

Latitude

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
http://www.real-science.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/chart_118.png

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.

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.

Latitude

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…….
http://climatechangedownunder.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/ice-core-data.jpg

John Tofflemire

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.

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?

I’m guessing it means the Mpembe effect

Bill Hunter

Oops!

SteveSadlov

The Ministry of Truth has spoken! Therefore, it is! They said 15%, therefore, it is 15%! /sarc

Peter Wilson

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?