MSM Finally Questions "Unprecedented" Nature of Greenland Ice Melt

As WUWT readers are aware, there has been a great deal of attention paid by the main stream media to the extensive melt on the Greenland icecap that occurred during July (for example, see here, here, here, here, and here).  The topic was addressed here at WUWT in two postings here and here.  Anthony noted in the later posting that Andrew Revkin was almost alone in taking a more nuanced and skeptical view of the unprecedented nature of the event and has taken a fair amount of heat in comments for his effort.

 I’m sure it will confirm the worst suspicions of some of Anthony’s critics, but Fox News has just posted an article on line:  NASA’s claim that Greenland is experiencing “unprecedented” melting is nothing but a bunch of hot air, according to scientists who say the country’s ice sheets melt with some regularity.

 A heat dome over the icy country melted a whopping 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet in mid-July, NASA said, calling it yet more evidence of the effect man is having on the planet.

 But the unusual-seeming event had nothing to do with hot air, according to glaciologists. It was actually to be expected.

 “Ice cores from Summit station [Greenland’s coldest and highest] show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” said Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

The writer of the article contacted Anthony for comment:

 “It’s somewhat like the rush to blame severe weather and drought on global warming,” Anthony Watts, a noted climate skeptic and the author of the Watts Up With That blog, told FoxNews.com. “Yet when you look into the past, you find precedence for what is being described today as unprecedented.”

 Read the whole article here.

I’m sure our readers don’t really need to have it pointed out that the melting event did not melt 97% of Greenland’s ice sheet, but rather occurred over 97% of the surface area  of the ice sheet and that the melting event has ended.  We will undoubtedly be treated to that 97% statistic for a long time to come.

 H/T to commenters PRD and David L. Hagen

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Solar input this summer is no different (even fractionally lower) than decade ago, what is different is the nearby SST, which is currently at peak of the 65 year natural cycle .
The SST is the trailing, while the atmospheric pressure is the leading indicator.
Greenland ice melt isn’t foretelling the future, it is a delayed reaction to the past absorbed energy.

Physics Major

97%? Isn’t that the same as the percent of scientists in the “consensus”?

theOtherJohninCalif

Fox is MSM, and they frequently interview Mucho Kooky who is pro-AGW. But they are the least strident of the MSM as pertains to AGW. So, one element of the MSM who airs one doubting article isn’t a bow wave. I hope it’s a start, but none of the other media groups will pick this up.

FerdinandAkin

97% of the surface area. It was not that long ago the alarmists were lecturing that it was volume, not surface area that mattered.

glen martin

“melted a whopping 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet”
So Washington D.C. is now underwater? We’re saved!!

JJ

NPR just had a report, parroting the ‘unprecidented’ line.
In same breath, they mentioned the 150 year melt cycle. They asked the scientwit (Jason Fox) what this current melt event means in the context of that observed cycle, and instead of answering that question the jackass launched into the ‘we expect these events will be more common in the future’ warmist talking point.
We know that it is happening, because we expect it to get worse. This is ‘science’.

AnonyMoose

When journalism’s pressure to produce an “exclusive story” exceeds political pressures, the truth will appear. …except this is Fox News, where journalism already does exceed political pressures.

D. J. Hawkins

glen martin says:
July 26, 2012 at 11:52 am
“melted a whopping 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet”
So Washington D.C. is now underwater? We’re saved!!

We wish!

Pamela Gray

I believe we will be seeing this same metric for Spring and Summer melt ponds on floating Arctic ice. And it WILL be unprecedented! If surface melt can be detected on Greenland’s icesheet, it can be detected on Arctic ice. The headline will read something like, “97% of Arctic ice surface has melted!”

PaulH

Wow, “melted a whopping 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet in mid-July”? Just, wow. Yet another example of the pitiful state of scientific and technical journalism that fills the old-style media. One steaming pile of *bleep* stacked upon another.

Billy Liar

Physics Major says:
July 26, 2012 at 11:37 am
Yes, it’s the climastrologists favorite number! Well, except when forecasting the future where 90% spells certain doom; OK, very likely doom.

highflight56433

““Ice cores from Summit station [Greenland’s coldest and highest] show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” said Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.”
Kind of like a certain solar cycle.

Bill Marsh

I’m familiar with trying to engage some of my more pro-AGW aquaintances on this issue.
Here’s a post by one of them that I responded too (knowing it was a lost cause, but the post was just too much for me.
His post:
“Fun Fact: Never in recorded history has more than 55% of Greenland’s icecap experienced summer melt. This year? 97%. But there is no global warming. ”
My Response:
“Your ‘fun fact’ is absolutely erroneous. The facts are that Greenland’s ice cap is not experiencing ‘melt’, the surface of Geenlands ice cap is (and that is what the 97% figure refers to). The two are ENTIRELY different. If 97% of Greenland entire ice cap melted it would immediately raise sea levels by about 2 feet. Has that happened? Greenlands surface melt occurs EVERY year, just in different proportions. I know the article stated “unprecedented’ surface melt, but, if you read the article, the author states, ““Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.” I’m not sure, but last time I checked, ‘unprecedented’ doesn’t mean ‘once every 150 years’. ”
His response:
“Apparently Bill, you said it occurs regularly. But in 1889, it did not reach 97%. BTW, the earth experienced a volcanic winter in 1887-1888. Can you say that didn’t affect weather patterns the next year? You’re a damned fool Bill. Sue for a refund.”
Okay then.

highflight56433

“melted a whopping 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet”
Every Manns dream… 🙂

PRD

*FAINT*
My FIRST hat tip!!
We won’t worry about how many years of reading this site it took me to learn what H/T meant.

James P

“97% of the surface area”
Which equals what? 1% of the volume?

Bryan A

I can’t help but wonder about the MSM (even Fox News). While in the first paragraph the Fox News article states that the NASA claim of “Unprecedented” Melting is unfounded, it makes a very grievous error and states in the second paragraph that 97% of the ice sheet has melted.
Even the Pro-truth (skeptic) Fox News can get their facts skewed

Eric Webb

Wow, climate alarmists love 97, and yes, it was also used in the consensus argument as well, both similar, in that they are poor statistics with little factual basis behind them, but what they lack in facts, they make up in agenda.

Jake

To the Warmistas Fox News is not MSM. They consider Fox another limb of Big Oil, Koch, and the RNC or whatever other nefarious organization the Warmers believe is paying Fox this week.
Likely if they see it at all they will just snicker and say “Faux News again” Most people that watch Fox already have a healthy amount of skepticism.

Usually it takes a few decades in Greenland for enough overburden to accumulate to seal the air bubbles in the firn layer. But events like this would quickly freeze over and instantly seal everything beneath. This might complicate the dating of ice core CO2 readings, if sometime there’s a 20 year lag, and sometime no lag at all.

The great thing is that now, whenever the doomsayers cry that the greenland ice cap is going to melt, we can say “So what? 97% of it already melted back in 2012.”

Patrick

Actually, to be accurate let’s acknowledge that the contra statement by the glaciologist seems weak. She says it happens about every 150 years based on ice cores from the summit. It seems to me that if you want to claim there is melt over 97% of the icecap, you need to base this on cores from around the icecap. What she may have meant was “Ice cores from the summit indicate it gets warm enough to melt ice at the summit about every 150 years. We assume that when it is warm enough for melt at the summit that it is warm enough to cause melt over 97% of the icecap.”

Matt Bergin

Funny I keep looking at the summit base cam and so far I don’t see any water. As far as I can see the snow doesn’t look like it has melted. The outside temp is -12C. Not a whole lot of swimming going on 🙂

JJ

Bill Marsh says:
“Apparently Bill, you said it occurs regularly. But in 1889, it did not reach 97%.”

And he has the horse-drawn satellite data to prove it!
Geeze, what maroon.
Your response to him was too long, and too complex. You need to talk a lot slower and spoon feed things one at a time morons like that. Start by explaining that, when he sees any variation of the word “record” used in refrence to climate, he needs to find out what time period that refers to. “Never in recorded history” does not necessarily go back any further than last week, let alone to any period before he was born.

RobertInAz

CBS on Sky news last night also said 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet had melted, I thought it was a dishonest if not an unusual way to phrase what actually occurred.

RobertInAz

Looks like all of the MSM articles have been cleaned up a little.

John F. Hultquist

Everyone knows, or should know, that 42 is the correct number. Where the ‘97’ keeps coming from is a mystery. But maybe one has to be older than 42 and younger than 97 to know this. Still, the following is true:
“We will undoubtedly be treated to that 97% statistic for a long time to come.” Just remember, that is not the correct answer. (And if this made very little sense to you, search for the number 42.)
Woodworkers have a saying: “Measure twice, cut once.”
NASA and other agencies need to have a rule, maybe:
“Write, review, rewrite, get a second opinion, rewrite, wait a day, think about it, rewrite, make sure the headline writer is onboard, then okay a press release.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRD says “We won’t worry about how many years of reading this site it took me to learn what H/T meant.
Thanks for that. It got a big laugh from me. Funny how the unexpected remarks will do that.

Fox has skeptics on their shows regularly like Joe Bastardi and Chris Horner. I like to believe that’s why they’re the #1 in cable news by a long shot.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

I’m sure our readers don’t really need to have it pointed out that the melting event did not melt 97% of Greenland’s ice sheet, but rather occurred over 97% of the surface area of the ice sheet and that the melting event has ended. We will undoubtedly be treated to that 97% statistic for a long time to come.

If melting of 97% of the ice cap surface has ended, does that mean 97% of Greenland’s surface water has frozen in just the last several weeks? This rate of freezing is unprecedented!

pokerguy

I would not call Fox MSM, at least from the standpoint of most AGW adherents. Found the post title misleading. Got me all excited as I expected to see a link to ABC news or AP or something along those lines.

highflight56433

With warmer than average (like there is such a thing) water surround west and east Greenland (http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom_new.gif) why would we not expect some summer melting in excess of average normal norms. More land for Ted Turner’s paranoia of an over populated world. 🙂 He, by example, could go to Oregon and volunteer his early exit.

Ally E.

97%, huh. They really like that figure 97%. I guess it sounds so almost-total but leaves a bit of wriggle room (just in case its needed). But, wait, they can’t hit us with a 97% melt claim (volume, not area) because where did the water go? We’re all supposed to experience massive flooding, right? So if that didn’t happen, they can hardly claim it did. Or, better fun maybe, we can say, “97% melted? It’s gone? Good! That gets rid of the ice problem. The water – what, evaporated? Okay, whatever – but we don’t have to worry about being drowned anymore.”
They can’t have it both ways. Oh, silly me, they’ll try for it all the same. Of course they will.

Jon

Here’s a fun fact: If you read the original stories (at least on NYTimes, NPR, and USA Today), NASA never said this event was evidence of global warming. This is a straw man.

highflight56433 says:
July 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Old ‘cool colours’:
http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif
New ‘hot colours’
http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom_new.gif

michael hammer

I think this has already been commented on but to re-iterate. I think this claim can be used to advantage. The claim of rising sea levels is based on ice emlt in green land and antarctica (arctic ice is over water so its melting wont change sea levels appreciably). The warmists have made claims of by how much sea levels would rise if all the ice in Greenland would melt and I think it was around 6 meters, So now they claim 97% of it has melted. I think one should ask, if 97% of it has melted then why is there not 6*0.97 meters of sea level rise. So was the claim that sea levels would rise by 6 meters if greenland ice melted a false claim or is the claim that 97% of it has melted a false claim? One has to be wrong and if false claims like this are made and not corrected how can one believe any claim made by these people.
Their answer will of course be that a reported simply got it wrong and its not what they claimed. Actually true but it will still look like a cop out, scaremongering they tried to get away with – especially if one goes on to ask, why they did not speak up to correct the error.

Editorial comment: WUWT in two postings here and here.
I humbly suggest disuse of the “here” and replace it with a linked date. It’s a link. We know it is (here-follow the link). If the hypertext actually contains content, such as a date or company name, the text is so much richer.

Based on reductionist logic a severe a toasting o’er 97% of Greenland should be extrapolated across the globe which means that: as the ice o’re green land — flows like water o’re the damn dam — the plains in Spain — are blackening as bad — as a Cajuns gone mad.

“But in 1889, it did not reach 97%” They had better satellites at that time §.-)

Phil.

Matt Bergin says:
July 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm
Funny I keep looking at the summit base cam and so far I don’t see any water. As far as I can see the snow doesn’t look like it has melted. The outside temp is -12C. Not a whole lot of swimming going on 🙂

Suggest you try again on Saturday, it may be melting again then.

sophocles

The MSM said:
“97% of the ice sheet melted …”
===========================
Uh oh!.
It’s early!
My Ark isn’t finished yet!
Don’t just stand there!
Panic!
NOT.

Kaboom

Can we somehow merge those 97% with the 97% of scientists recognizing global warming as catastrophic and man made? As in “97% of scientists claiming man made global warming is catastrophic are having a meltdown”?

Robert

I think that 97% of climate scientists use a lot less than 97% of their brains at least 97% of the time!

E Gardarsson

Since day one, amazingly, the media up here (in Iceland) has talked to glaciologists and/or meterologists when running stories on this, every single one of whom has been hesitant to blame this on climate change. Instead, they’ve spoken of unique weather conditions coinciding with the warmest part of summer along with albedo effects of volcanic ash from Iceland and Saharan sand combined with lack of cloud cover due to said weather conditions.

Wonderstar

As a comparison. Wikipedia says “If the entire 2,850,000 cubic kilometres (683,751 cu mi) of ice were to melt, it would lead to a global sea level rise of 7.2 m (23.6 ft).” The 2,850,000 cubic km would be 2.85 * 10^18 liters, needing at least 9.5 * 10^20 kJ to melt (at 334 kJ/kg). Lake Superior has 12,000 cubic km of water, needing 2.7 * 10^19 kJ to boil away (a bit more to heat it up to boiling). So melting the Greenland ice cap needs the heat to boil 35 Lake Superiors. If the Solar energy is 173 Petawatts (10^15 watts, and each watt is a joule per second), the whole earth gets 1.5 * 10^19 kJ per day, and someone would need to focus all the suns energy on the Greenland ice cap for 63 days to melt it.

Marian

The NZ Herald the AGW/CC PR propagandist also parrotted the same Greenland melting trash today.
It’s a reprint of the UK Independent article by Steve Connor titled: The big thaw: Greenland ice cover is melting away.
The NZ Herald has changed the headline to:
Greenland’s surface melt shocks NASA.

matthu

The way to counter this BS is to say “Wow! 97% melt. Did anyone notice a rise in sea level?”

Brian H

97% melted 0.00001%! Oh, noes!