Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One? One hundred thousand?


The [London] Times has liberally papered London underground carriages with a fascinating new ad campaign. One poster shows a ship navigating some treacherous icy waters, with the accompanying copy reading:

Climate change has allowed the Northeast Passage to be used as a commercial shipping route for the first time.

Impressive - if only it were true. The Northeast Passage has been opened for commerce since 1934 - and never 'closed'.

Over the years hundreds of thousands of freighters have passed through ...
How warm is the climate? It's so warm it's impossible to fact check a story!

(I'm here all week. Try the veal)

Glad they have all those layers of editors and fact checkers. Filed under the tag "idiots" because they are.

UPDATE 7 October 2009 11:27: Welcome visitors from Tam's place! Boy, I go into a meeting this morning* and come out to find eleventy-zillion of y'all stopping by. I'm baksing in the glow of knowing that she thought my snark was quotable. Teh Snark: I haz it. Thanks, Tam.

Make sure to read Grumpy Student's comment on this, which provides a boots-on-the-ground perspective. I'd also recommend you check out my Junk Science category, which has quite a bit on the whole Anthropogenic Global Warming biz, and why I'm very skeptical. Cliff Notes version: the models don't explain the historical record, researchers often refuse to release their data, and what data is released is astonishingly bad.

* Meeting, (MEET-ing) n. A gathering where the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.


Anonymous said...

As I understand it, what has changed recently is that the ice is now such that ships don't need icebreakers to get through, which is big.


Grumpy Student said...

"As I understand it, what has changed recently is that the ice is now such that ships don't need icebreakers to get through, which is big."

And that's the kind of distinction one can't expect a UK science correspondent to cope with.

I saw exactly this advert on the 'Tube today (I currently live in London) and the best part is that the advert is advertising how much better the Times's science journalism is meant to be than the other UK papers because they allegedly have more dedicated science correspondents.

I think this says a lot more about the quality of the science reporting in UK newspapers than it does about the Times!

Borepatch said...

reflectoscope, it would be interesting to know how much of this comes from improvements in shipbuilding designs and materials (especially steel hulls), and how much of this is because it's warmer.

I'm confident that the writer for The Times would have little to offer on that, other than a blank stare.

Grumpy Student, great point. I'd only add that the chances of getting quality science reporting anywhere is low, even in places like Scientific American, The Lancet, and places you'd expect it. I'm happy to take "incompetence" as an explanation in the general media, but there's something rotten happening in the specialized media.

TOTWTYTR said...

Why is it we keep hearing about warming, but the data says that the world is cooling? Oh, that's right. We just call it "Global Climate Change" and then it can be whatever we want it to be to further the agenda.

Which, by the way is control of the economy and has nothing to do with protecting the environment.

For those keeping track, the sun continues to be below normal quiet with no sunspots again.

*"Meetings, the practical alternative to work."

scotaku said...

I read or watch as much as I care to from sources I choose. Mostly, though, I get my opinions from the general buzz of those who may or may not have seen the actual data, but rather heard something from a friend of a friend.

In other words, I am the public. And I think that we're all doomed. 2012, man. 2012. There's even a movie coming out about it.

Ha-ha srsly, though, I am amazed at how much inertia the AGW idea has. I was speaking with another idiot like myself recently, and he refused to believe that THE SUN had anything to do with it. It's all because of us. Prius driver, of course.

My point? Just that there still doesn't seem to be public conversation on the issue. To my ears, it still sounds like Believers shouting "Heresy!"

Jay G said...

Prius driver automatically means he's bad at math...

Tell him to enjoy his Toyota Smugmobile...

John A said...

Erm, I read the two ships which "did not need icebreakers" were especially built for such conditions - not just general ruck of shipping, even for those waters. Also, they closely followed a group which included icebreakers.

Anonymous said...

I believe a little reading is required. The understanding I have at the moment is that the ice is sorted into first year ice, and ice which is older; it takes a full-up icebreaker to get through the older ice but the first year ice isn't as difficult? Hmm. Being that there is nothing to be done about the problem, all we can do is learn to live with it.


NotClauswitz said...

The National Snow and Ice Data Center released its summary of summer sea-ice conditions in the Arctic on Tuesday, noting a substantial expansion of the extent of “second-year ice” — floes thick enough to have persisted through two summers of melting. - Since it doesn't fit the narrative this will be dismissed as anecdotal "weather."