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December 13, 2008

Climate Science Strikes Again: Retroactive "Adjustment" of Sea Ice Data?

Anthony Watts noticed something interesting in the Arctic ice data. As you know, 2008 was widely touted as the year when the North Pole would be ice-free. That turned out not to be the case (not even close!), and reported ice levels recently returned to about normal after 2007's below-average level.

Until, without comment or explanation, the data was changed retroactively. Below is a comparison of the chart provided by Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, which records the sea ice data, on December 10 and the chart provided on December 11:


Image courtesy Anthony Watts at http://wattsupwiththat.com.

Anthony writes that this could be a simple computer error or an "undocumented adjustment" but, whichever it is, NANSEN needs to make an explanation.

My only issue with the idea that this is nefarious adjustment is that it is too obvious, owing to the size of the change. People were bound to notice and wonder what happened. I think we can all agree that this is a data issue; the Arctic did not in fact suddenly and retroactively lose 500,000 square kilometers of ice.

Click on over to WattsUpWithThat for additional comparison gifs and commentary. Hopefully an explanation or correction will be made by NANSEN on Monday.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:26 PM

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