Saturday, 15 September 2012

Getting to them early

Skate (SSN-578), surfaced at the North Pole, 17 March 1959. 

ScienceNews for Kids reports the Arctic melt:-

During the winter, frozen sea ice covers most of the Arctic Ocean. Every summer, a portion of that ice melts away. Government scientists who keep track of those losses during the warmer months now report this summer has been one for the record books.

On August 26, Arctic sea ice cover fell to 4.1 million square kilometers (about 1.6 million square miles). That’s the smallest ice cover ever observed since scientists started using satellite data in 1979 to measure the yearly melt, note researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo.

True as far as it goes, but as this is aimed at kids, it might have been worth noting that the Arctic melts periodically during interglacials, which of course is where we are now. Arctic sea ice is also affected by factors other than global temperatures. But the kids are also told:-

Arctic sea ice plays an important role in Earth’s climate. Unlike glaciers and icebergs, which form from freshwater, sea ice forms when seawater freezes. Usually covered with snow, this ice cools the area around the north pole. The bright-white surface of sea ice reflects sunlight back into space like a giant mirror.

Surely some confusion here between cause and effect. Is this a claim that melting ice causes the warming? It may also have been worth pointing out to the kids how little sunlight the Arctic actually receives - but no. We finish with:-

“It sets us up for another world of hurt next year,” Serreze told Science News.

It sets us up for another world of hurt next year? Are these people real? Unfortunately they are. Not real scientists though. There don't seem to be as many of those as there were in Enid Blyton's day.


Anonymous said...

In Waterstones I idly thumbed some GCSE revision books. Could not help but find the words 'sustainable, climate change = CO2, global warming' sticking out. Perhaps they are magic words, magic words = marks, marks = job, job = loyalty to the cause.

Now this warmist stuff may be true or not, but it seems to me we have a re-run of the evolution/creationism schtick here. The words 'may' and 'evidence' and 'balance' seemed rather lacking.

Elsewhere I came across someone panicking over the disposal of a few pints of conc. sulphuric - sure it's a bit hazardous but to read the blog you would think it was Sarin. Those who peddle the woooo - chemicals are all deadly poison - have done a good job.

A K Haart said...

Roger - the education side of it bothers me, although I suspect kids soon learn to be cynical about these things.

You are right about the chemical phobia - the RSC has been fighting it for decades.