The media is once again hyping an allegedly dire consequence of man-made global warming. This time the media is promoting the ice loss of one tiny fraction of the giant ice-covered continent and completely ignoring the current record ice growth on Antarctica. Contrary to media hype, the vast majority of Antarctica has cooled over the past 50 years and ice coverage has grown to record levels since satellite monitoring began in the 1979, according to peer-reviewed studies and scientists who study the area. (LINK)
Former Weather Channel Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo rejected the hype surrounding the recent Wilkins Ice Shelf collapse in Western Antarctica. “The shattered part of the Wilkins ice sheet was 160 square miles in area, which is just 0.01% of the total current Antarctic ice cover, like an icicle falling from a snow and ice covered roof,” D’Aleo wrote on March 25. (LINK) “We are very likely going to exceed last year’s record [for Southern Hemisphere ice extent]. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is also starting to disappear,” D’Aleo added.
Climate scientist Dr. Ben Herman, past director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and former Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona, stated, “It is interesting that all of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) stories concerning Antarctica are always about what’s happening around the [western] peninsula, which seems to be the only place on Antarctica that has shown warming. How about the net ‘no change’ or ‘cooling’ over the rest of the continent, which is probably about 95% of the land mass, not to mention the record sea ice coverage recently.”
Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., presently senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, chastised the media’s Antarctic reporting as “typical of the bias that many journalists have.” Pielke wrote on March 25, “The media has ignored in their reporting the increase in Antarctic sea ice cover in recent years, with, at present, a coverage that is well one million square kilometers above average.” Pielke added, “Unfortunately, it appears that most journalists just parrot the perspective of the first news release on these climate issues, without doing any further investigation. If this is inadvertent, they need to be educated in climate science. If deliberate bias, they are clearly advocates and the reporters should be clearly and publically identified as having such a bias. In either case, the public is being misinformed!” (LINK)
But the news media sadly tossed out objectivity and balance when it came to this new Antarctic story. Media headlines blared: Bye-bye, Antarctica? (Salon Magazine 3-26-08); Massive ice shelf collapsing off Antarctica (C/Net News 3- 26-08); Slab of Antarctic ice shelf collapses amid warming (Reuters 3-26-08); Ice shelf ‘hangs by a thread’ (Sydney Morning Herald 2-26-08).
True to form, Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein could not allow himself to include any scientists or peer-reviewed studies countering alarm over the allegedly “melting” Antarctic. Borenstein instead hyped alarm by writing on March 27, “Scientists said they are not concerned about a rise in sea level from the latest event, but say it’s a sign of worsening global warming.” [Note: Borenstein has a long history of incomplete reporting on global warming. See here and here. Also see related links section below for examples of the media’s shoddy environmental reporting. In addition, ABC World News Sunday anchor Dan Harris this week produced a low brow smear segment on atmospheric physicist Dr. Fred Singer, a prominent dissenter of man-made climate fears. ABC News violated basic journalistic standards by citing “anonymous” scientists to attack Dr. Singer.