Wednesday, July 25

"97 percent of Greenland ice melted in July"--CBS

NASA issued a press release yesterday, titled "Satellites see unprecedented Greenland ice sheet surface melt"
The melting spread quickly. Melt maps derived from the three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet's surface had melted. By July 12, 97 percent had melted.
SEE, you stupid Deniers?!! We WARNED you that humans releasing CO2 was causing unprecedented global warming!! But you claimed we were fudging the data, and that IF the planet was warming at all, it was part of a normal cycle and not caused by human activity.

So NOW look what's happened (you stupid, bitter-clinger skeptics): As of July 12, 97 percent of the ice sheet's surface had melted! OMG! New York and San Francisco are gonna flood! You should have listened to our warnings!!

And this finding isn't by a few cunning, lying PhDs at East Anglia, or the occasionally less-than-candid Mike Mann, but NASA ! So it's all true, true, true!

What...?

You say Greenland's ice sheet is still there?? Ya say that what the press release was really referring to was that some water was found on the surface of 97 percent of the ice sheet in the middle of July?

And ya say ice core records show this happens every 150 years?

But...but...but the headline said "unprecedented"!! Melting on the surface isn't particularly scary at all!

Wow...it's a good thing the press release explained those little details, because otherwise one of the major networks, relied on by millions of voters for their entire news input--one like, say, CBS--might post a headline like

97 percent of Greenland ice melted in July

...or something equally scary.

Fortunately that could never happen. Cuz, y'know, all those layers and layers of fact-checkers and editors an' stuff.

Okay, sarcasm off. Click the link and you'll see that CBS did indeed run the above header on the network's website. And to ensure everyone got the mislead, they added this helpful graphic (which was in the NASA presser):

See how graphics can help your readers understand complex points more easily?

The white area in the middle of the left panel is ice, right? And in the right panel, just four days later, IT'S ALL GONE!!

Oh, wait...could the red areas represent just surface water? And could it be that half of Greenland is still covered with ice, much of it thousands of feet deep? (Answer: Yes.)

Ya sure couldn't tell that from the CBS (and NASA) graphic, eh?

Ya think that was intentional, or do you think the grossly misleading headline just somehow got by all those editors and fact-checkers?

Wonder which explanation CBS will go with?

Oh, and lest you think this was just a one-off, here's how Time reported it:

Three satellites show what NASA calls unprecedented melting of the ice sheet that blankets the island, starting on July 8 and lasting four days. Most of the thick ice remains. While some ice usually melts during the summer, what was unusual was that the melting happened in a flash and over a widespread area.

"You literally had this wave of warm air wash over the Greenland ice sheet and melt it," NASA ice scientist Tom Wagner said.

The ice melt area went from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent in four days, according to NASA. Until now, the most extensive melt seen by satellites in the past three decades was about 55 percent.

Yes, they do throw in "Most of the thick ice remains," but what percentage of their two-dozen readers catch that, in view of the quote from a "NASA ice scientist" that "you literally had this wave of warm air wash over the ice sheet and melt it" ?

But hey, the networks are absolutely unbiased on this global warming thingy. Just ask 'em.

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