I see the Washington Post has a story today headlined “Scientists Report Further Shrinking of Arctic Ice,” which notes that, um, there are about 400,000 square miles more Arctic ice today than a year ago.
So, obviously some spinning is in order, and WaPo is up to the task. They couch this the same way the press have been treating the recent, ongoing cooling trend: compare things today to a historical average, and then our temperatures are no longer dropping but “above the long-term average.” So even though Arctic ice is gaining mass over last year, the fact that it is below the long-term average means that it is on the verge of diasappering. Funny how one year, five years, and so on are very, very meaningful when warm, dry, or not so icy, but long-term averages are the only useful metric when nature doesn’t behave as the political agenda would prefer.
There’s an awful lot more ice up north this summer than there is balance in this story, too. Juliet Eilperin managed to contact World Wildlife Fund — not one but two sources — Greenpeace, and someone from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) who says, without any explanation of how she got there (given that there is more ice this year than last) or the time period about which she speaks
“If we continue to lose ice at this rate, we will best” the 2007 record, said Julienne Stroeve, an [sic] research scientist. ”We’re going to lose that ice, so we’ve got to understand what this means for the rest of us.”
Apparently, no one was available to put things in perspective.
The article cites the fact that ursa maritimus were seen swimming — 60 miles, even – as evidence of stress. So not only does WaPo assume polar bears are dumb but maybe we should name them something different. That’s followed by all sorts of talk about increased airborne observation of swimming bears, though seeing more of them would be consistent with the ice being below the running average — if above last year’s level. That’s neither scientific nor meaningful, but pure advocacy.
Greenpeace humorously notes “We never get good news about the polar bears.” Gosh, they’re right. Wonder why that is. Anyway, here’s some: the bears’ populations have boomed . . . though that’s just proof that they’ll face stress feeding themselves.
This article seems to simply be WaPo’s assistance to get public comment on the Unified Synthesis Product I previously noted, and which is now being held up until the underlying work is at least performed, much to the green groups’ anger, per Greenwire. But that comment period originally closed on August 14; Eilperin says that’s when the document was released, and that comments are being received until September 25. But I don’t see anything on the climatescience.gov or NOAA websites announcing an extension of the comment period. Calling NOAA yielded voice mail and no reply yet (it is also coming up on a week since I asked a specific question about some suspect credentials claimed by the author team’s co-chair). More on that later.