Global Warming: Deceptive Article in Los Angeles Times
by Rich Deem


Proposed L.A. Times Rebuttal

Mr. Robert Hotz's recent article on the Greenland ice sheets is one of the most deceptive that I have ever read in the L.A. Times. Contrary to the implications of the article ("If the ice thaws entirely, sea level would rise 21 feet."), the most recently published scientific article by Dr. Zwally shows net accumulation of ice on Greenland. The December, 2005 Journal of Glaciology article indicates thawing along the coasts in the amount of �42 Gt a�1, although the increase inland of +53 Gt a�1 more than makes up for that loss. So, overall, ice is actually accumulating on Greenland at +11 Gt a�1 and not contributing to the global sea level rise at all! One would never come away with that conclusion based upon the deceptive title and writing of the L.A. Times article.

Rich Deem

On Sunday, June 25, 2006, the Los Angeles Times published an article entitled "Greenland's Ice Sheet Is Slip-Sliding Away."1 The subtitle said, "The massive glaciers are deteriorating twice as fast as they were five years ago. If the ice thaws entirely, sea level would rise 21 feet." It is true that sea levels would rise a lot if all the ice melted. However, what the article does not tell you is that overall, ice on Greenland is accumulating - not melting! I couldn't believe that the L.A. Times would published such a deceptive article, so I wrote the editor (and the author, Mr. Robert Hotz), but received no reply. Maybe if they got a few hundred e-mails they would think about responding? See below how you can help make them admit the truth.

What's the problem?

The really surprising thing about the Times article is that it is centered around researcher Dr. Jay Zwally, who published the study showing that ice is accumulating on Greenland. The study2 examined the amount of ice on Greenland and Antarctica over the last ten years, using satellite radar altimetry. The Greenland data showed extensive melting of the edges of Greenland's ice sheet (confirming visual observations), but increased ice inland (due to increased precipitation). The net change was snow accumulation of +11 Gt a�1 for Greenland. I have news for the Times - accumulation of snow does not result in sea level rise! This doesn't mean that global warming is untrue or that the sea is not rising. Antarctica is melting at a rate three times faster than snow is accumulating on Greenland. However, the Times should be able to get the data right, since Mr. Hotz interviewed the guy who did the study. Duh!

References Top of page

  1. Robert Lee Hotz. Greenland's Ice Sheet Is Slip-Sliding Away. Los Angeles Times, Sunday, June 25, 2006. Most articles are available for a short period of time. If the link doesn't work, contact me and I can send you a copy of the article.
  2. Zwally, H. J., et al. 2005. Mass changes the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and shelves and contributions to sea-level rise: 1992�2002. J. Glaciol. 51: 509�527.
Last updated June 30, 2006


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