Battle of the Headlines: “World’s Ocean Temps Warmest Ever Recorded” vs. “Arctic Sea Ice Is Again on the Rise”

The first headline for USA Today, atop veteran science writer Seth Borenstein's story for the AP, was inspired by world-wide records from the National Climactic Data Center. As the story said:

WASHINGTON — The world's oceans this summer are the warmest on record.

The National Climatic Data Center, the
government agency that keeps weather records, says the average global
ocean temperature in July was 62.6 degrees. It is the hottest since
record-keeping began in 1880. The previous record was set in 1998.

Meteorologists blame a combination of a natural
El Nino weather pattern on top of worsening manmade global warming. The
warmer water could add to the melting of sea ice and possibly
strengthen some hurricanes.

The second headline, atop the entertaining denier site Watts Up With That, leads to a post from Anthony Watts that begins:

Yesterday I looked at JAXA data and ventured that:

“Arctic sea ice melt appears to have turned the corner for 2009″

The Sept 15th JAXA Arctic Sea Ice extent graph was published this evening
about 8PM PST (and updated overnight which is the image now shown) and
shows an increase in sea ice for the second day in a row. It seems
clear that Arctic sea ice is now on the rise.

Read with a modicum of attention, and it's quickly apparent why sea ice in the Arctic is on the rise…winter is coming, and fall is nearly here!

So — ignore the long-term trend!

Oy. Could a more obvious, flat-footed way to avoid facing the truth about global warming be imagined? Ignore that man behind the curtain — winter is coming! 

For those who want a little reporting with their facts, Dot Earth helpfully labels a graphic from NOAA:

Adds Andrew Revkin, dead of climate reporting, adds pointedly:

Variations in polar sea ice on short time scales, up or down, are
essentially meaningless, my contacts studying the cryosphere always

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

One thought on “Battle of the Headlines: “World’s Ocean Temps Warmest Ever Recorded” vs. “Arctic Sea Ice Is Again on the Rise”

  1. Andy does manage to make climate reporting seem stressful (for him, anyway), but apparently it hasn’t been fatal quite yet. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: