Thursday, August 26, 2010

New York Times: Melting arctic sea ice...again?

Chicago Tuesday PM 24 August 2010

Editors, New York Times


The New York Times Monday, August 23 article "Disaster at the Top of theWorld" describes “Channels through the Canadian Arctic archipelago that were choked with ice at this time of year two decades ago are now expanses of open water....”

This brought back amusing memories of a similar Times article of Saturday, August 19, 2000, John Noble Wilford's "The North Pole is melting" that breathlessly declared: "[A]n ice-free patch of ocean about a mile wide has opened at the very top of the world, ... more evidence that global warming may be real...."

That was followed only four days later by an equally bedazzled climate change enthusiast's Op-Ed "In the (Un)Frozen North" that opened: "The 19th century's dream of an open polar sea has become the 21st century's nightmare."

Five days later, Mr. Wilford wrote another article (Tuesday, August 29, 2000) quoting another expert: "[T]here's nothing to be necessarily alarmed about. There's been open water at the pole before."

Finally, the Times made honest journalists out of themselves with this Correction:

"A front-page article in the August 19, 2000 edition ... about the sighting of open water at the North Pole misstated the normal conditions of the sea ice there...."

There still seems to be a problem with the most recent article's reference to “Channels... choked with ice... two decades ago are now expanses of open water....,”

Folks, the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and you are concerned with sea ice conditions 20 years apart? Simple arithmetic shows that the last 20 years of the earth's existence is equivalent to the last 11 seconds of an 80-year-old geezer's lifetime. If a doctor detected a pulse rate change in that subject over such a period, would he be as concerned as this article is with differences in two sea-ice observations 20 years apart?

Arnold H. Nelson Chicago

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