Four Corners’ snow job on Arctic ice
ABC 4 Corners ignored inconvenient truth
about Arctic ice levels
ABC 4 Corners ignored inconvenient truth
A Four Corners crew has travelled with the Fairfax environmental preacher-reporter Marian Wilkinson to the Arctic to observe melting ice. Her report ran on the ABC last night and in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age yesterday morning.
July in the northern hemisphere is certainly a very good time to experience the phenomenon of ice melting.
Marian Wilkinson on ABC1
But Fairfax and the ABC did not give us the full story about “global” warming. Wilkinson used that age-old journalist’s tool “never let a fact stand in the way of a good story”.
The melting ice in the Arctic is evidently the “canary in the coalmine” when it comes to predicting the future of the planet unless we take urgent action to save the world, according to Wilkinson.
“As the sea ice melt accelerates, the debate over the role we humans are playing has been heated,” she declared.
Rubbish. What Wilkinson didn’t tell us is that far from “accelerating”, NASA satellites have found that Arctic Sea ice coverage this year is more than one million square kilometres greater than last year’s. It is also greater than the average of the last three years and 10-20 centimetres thicker than in 2007. According to the Danish Meteorological Institute, which monitors ice levels across the Arctic, including the Danish territory of Greenland, “we have to go back 15 years to find ice expansion so far south”.
But Wilkinson filled her program with selective information and ludicrous claims like this one from Ted Scambos of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre: “We could have an ice-free Arctic by 2012″. In just three and a half years there will be no ice in the Arctic, not even in the middle of winter. Nonsense.
Snow coverage in North America this winter was greater than at any time in recorded history. China had its coldest winter in 100 years.
“If you want to see climate change happening before your eyes” declared Wilkinson, “go to the ends of the earth.”
But Wilkinson and Four Corners need not have travelled so far from home (and could have reduced their own climate-changing carbon footprint at the same time), but they might not have liked the “canary in the coalmine” of global warming they would have found at the nearer “end of the earth”.
NASA has discovered that the amount of ice in Antarctica has actually been increasing.
In the study, published in the Annals of Glaciology, Claire Parkinson of NASAs Goddard Space Flight Centre analysed the length of the sea ice season throughout the Southern Ocean to obtain trends in sea ice coverage. On average, the area where sea ice seasons have lengthened by at least one day per year is twice as large as the area where the sea ice seasons have shortened by at least one day per year.
In other words, Antarctica and the sea ice areas around it are getting colder. Had Wilkinson and Four Corners travelled to that other “end of the earth” – Antarctica – they would have found evidence of global cooling.
Wilkinson spoke to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre for her story. If she had bothered to ask about Antarctica, they would have told her that Antarctic ice has actually grown by one percent per decade. And her report was quite dishonest in mentioning Antarctica – “just like the Antarctic is the refrigerator of the southern hemisphere” said scientist Mark Serreze – without mentioning that it is actually cooling.
Parkinson’s study found that the Ross Sea had, on average, ice sea seasons that were getting longer. The Ross Sea is the part of Antarctica closest to Australia and New Zealand.
So, the polar area closest to Australia, the Ross Sea, is getting colder not warmer.
And what happens in the Antarctic is far more important because Antarctic ice is 20 times as voluminous as Arctic ice. Wilkinson stated that the Arctic will export change to the rest of the world. Then why won’t the much larger, cooling Antarctic also export cooler weather to the rest of the world?
Wilkinson concludes her report by claiming that “as the sea ice fails to recover, there are concerns it will become one of the tipping points pushing the planet to faster climate change.”
What about 20-times-the-size Antarctica’s cooling as a tipping point for a cooler world?
But Wilkinson and Four Corners have followed that other age-old journalistic practice – start from your conclusion and then seek evidence to back it up.