Monday, October 3, 2011

Errors in the Oh zone

Updated below

The first sentence of ABC's alarming report on a hole in the ozone layer above the Arctic reads:
"A hole formed in the ozone layer above the Arctic in the 2010-11 northern winter, for the first time on record."

AM's Climate Commission Groupie TONY EASTLEY states: Scientists have uncovered the first hole to form in the ozone layer above the Arctic.
AM's LEXI METHERELL: In the stratosphere above the Antarctic, a hole has developed in the ozone layer every winter since the 1980s and this year, for the first time on record, one has formed above the Arctic.

While the "hole" certainly appears to be the largest and perhaps "deepest" in recent records, it is plainly not the "First" as the following articles reveal:
Arctic Ozone Hole Is Confirmed But Less Severe Than Antarctic's‎ March 17 1990 Deseret News
"Scientists have confirmed suspicions that an ozone hole recently developed over the north pole that was similar to but less severe that a previously detected hole over the South Pole."
Ozone Hole easing August 19. 1987 The Pittsburgh Press
"A Norwegian scientist who detected an ozone "hole" last year over this remote Arctic region says the atmosphere apparently has recovered."
Studies confirm 2nd ozone `hole' December 25. 1987 Chicago Sun Times 
"BREMERHAVEN, West Germany Scientists here have found evidence that confirms fears of a second hole developing in the Earth's ozone layer, this time over the arctic."

And from the ABC's 2003 story "Earth's Ozone layer begins to repair itself", the following:
"In the 1980s, scientists detected for the first time an ozone hole forming over Antarctica each August, eventually breaking up by December or January. Another hole was discovered over the Arctic - both regions vulnerable to ozone damage."

We have requested the ABC correct their factual error.

UPDATE 27/10/2011
ABC's reply, received October 27:

Thank you for your email of October 3 concerning the story “Hole in ozone forms above Arctic”

As your correspondence raised concerns of a lack of accuracy, your email was referred to Audience and Consumer Affairs for consideration and response. The unit is separate and independent from ABC program areas and is responsible for investigating complaints alleging a broadcast or publication was in contravention of the ABC's editorial standards. In light of your concerns, we have reviewed the story and assessed it against the ABC’s editorial requirements for accuracy, as outlined in section 2.1 of the ABC’s Editorial Policies: In the interests of procedural fairness, we have also sought and considered material from ABC News.

The story stated that the hole in the ozone layer formed recently over the Arctic was the first to be formed. This was incorrect; the story should have reported that it was the first hole in the ozone layer above the Arctic that is comparable in size to those that have formed over the Antarctic.

ABC News apologises for the error. It has been corrected on both the online news site and on the AM site. Editor’s notes have also been published.

Thank you for taking the time to write; your feedback is appreciated.


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