Friday, July 30, 2010

Update: Nothing "unprecedented" in melting ice

The Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica
(British Antarctic Survey)
We questioned the ABC about the appropriateness of using the photo (shown above) to accompany ABC's report titled "Climategate scientists cleared by British inquiry". The photo shows ice shelves in the Antarctic? Surely a photo of Phil Jones would be more appropriate, or perhaps a shot of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit? How about the cover of Andrew Montford's book The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science. Especially given that recent research shows that current ice levels in Antarctica are not unprecedented (see "Reduced ice extent on the western Antarctic Peninsula at 700–970 cal. yr B.P." published in Geology. July 2010, v. 38, no. 7. referred to in our missing news post Nothing unprecedented in melting ice)  AND current sea ice levels around the Antarctic are at record high levels as confirmed by the graph below from the recent NOAA State of the Climate report. Surprisingly this fact was not covered in ABC's "extensive" coverage of this NOAA report. NOAA indicate: During June 2010, the Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent reached its largest extent on record for June, 8.3 percent above the 1979–2000 average. This is the eighth consecutive June with above-average Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent. Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent for June has increased at an average rate of 1.4 percent per decade.
June's Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice extent
Here's the guts of ABC's reply, received 29 July, 2010:
On review, Audience and Consumer Affairs do not agree the image was inappropriate. The image depicted ice shelves in Antarctica; one of the issues that have been raised as part of the ongoing debates around climate change. While noting your concerns, we believe the image was appropriate to accompany a story that reported on the outcome of an inquiry into the quality of research on climate change, prompted by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.
Accordingly, while noting your concerns, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied the image accompanying the article was in keeping with section 5.2.2(c) of the ABC's Editorial Policies. Nonetheless, please be assured that your comments have been conveyed to ABC News management.

1 comment:

  1. In a previous article on Saturday, March 27, 2010 titled "UPDATE: CSIRO shed a little light." a BOM statment is reported as being:

    "It is also worth noting that the period 1961-90 is regarded internationally as the standard reference period"

    Rather than complain about photos, perhaps we should be asking the BOM what they are doing to make other 'scientific' organisations follow the 'internationally as the standard reference period'.

    Maybe the ABC should not be reporting any article from anywhere that does not follow this 'standard'.


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