In the June 5 global warming cover story in the print edition of the National Review, scientist Curt Davis said author Jason Steorts completely misrepresented his study to argue that Antartica gained ice between 1992 and 2003. Steorts now maintains he omitted the fact that Davis’ study only covered the eastern interior of the continent – and did not consider the western and costal areas that other studies show are losing mass at a rapid pace — “for the sake of brevity.”
In his cover story, Steorts then references a study by Isabella Velicogna that examined the whole continent from 2002 to 2005 and found is was losing substantial amounts of ice. But Steorts provides this rebuttal:
2002 “” the year in which the study began “” was a high-water mark for Antarctic ice, so it’s not too surprising to see some decline since then. Alarmism over Velicogna’s study is on the order of going to the beach at high tide, drawing a line at the water’s edge, and fretting a few hours later that the oceans are drying up.
The original article does not provide a source for the claim that 2002 “was a high-water mark for Antarctic ice” but in an online piece today Steorts said that he was told that information from the CATO Institute’s Patrick Michaels.
ThinkProgress talked to Patrick Michaels this afternoon. Michaels said he was referring to a graph in the study by Curt Davis. ThinkProgress then called Curt Davis. Here is what he had to say:
If Michaels is using my study to claim that 2002 was a high water mark in terms of ice for all Antartica, that is completely wrong. My study result only demonstrated this for the interior of East Antarctica. You can’t use that for Antartica as a whole because the coastal areas of the ice sheet were not included in my analysis. My study clearly stated that the overall mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet depends on the sum of the contributions from the interior and coastal areas.
So it’s the same shell game again. Take a finding for the interior of the eastern part of the continent and pretend the whole continent is gaining ice, even though studies show the western and coastal areas are losing ice at a rapid pace.
Steorts now claims these serious factual errors are immaterial. In his most recent online commentary, Steorts says his article “hinges neither on the question whether Antarctica is presently gaining or losing ice.” That’s odd considering it was promoted on the cover of the National Review with the title “Snow Job: The Truth About the Great Overhyped Glacier Melt.” Seems like what’s happening to the ice is a pretty central point.