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Quote of the week #8 – Monbiot: “looks like I’ve boobed”

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Watts Up With That?
Monday, May 18, 2009

The Guardian’s George Monbiot suffers (at his own expense) from excessive zeal in trying to disprove a statement by Telegraph Columnist, Christopher Booker, in his post: How to disprove Christopher Booker in 26 seconds

I set the stopwatch running, pasted “National Snow and Ice Data Center” into Google, found the site, clicked on News and Events > Press room > Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis and discovered that Booker’s claim was nonsense. It took me 26 seconds.

But then a couple of hours later, when commenters on his blog point out Monbiot’s own error in his 26 second rebuttal, he admits he’s “boobed”:

Whoops – looks like I’ve boobed. Sorry folks. As one of the posters on this thread points out, there are in fact two averages in play – 1979-2000 and 1979-2009. It is therefore correct to state that the April 2009 extent exceeds the 1979-2009 average, but not the 1979-2000 average. It remains the case, however, that the data relate to April, not May. Please accept my apologies for my mistake and the confusion it has caused.

He also confused Global and Polar.

Booker’s article said:(underline mine)

“..the world’s polar sea ice is in fact slightly above its average extent for early May since satellite records began in 1979.”

Monbiot’s rebuttal said:

“In other words, Arctic sea ice extent for April is in fact slightly below its average extent since 1979, not slightly above.”

Meanwhile in comments for the Monbiot 26 second rebuttal, some people think the picture of the U.S.S Skate nuclear submarine surfacing at the North Pole in 1959, as reported here. is a fake due to the photo being taken in “twilight”.


One commenter points out the official US Navy record:

Now you are trashing the source of the historical photo of the USS Skate surfacing at the North Pole on 17 March 1959, claiming that such a surfacing could not have occurred on this date.

Check the OFFICIAL U.S. Navy historical archive on site:

Click on MARCH.

Scroll down and you will read for March 17:

1959 – USS Skate (SSN-578) surfaces at North Pole

Proof enough for you?

Apparently not.

The problem with that photo is that it was taken in daylight, whereas the Skate surfaced on March 17, before sunrise at the North Pole. That set off a flurry of troofer factoids trying to turn day into night.

I guess some people don’t understand the period of twilight, how much light would be available, and how B&W long exposure photography works.

Indeed, the discussion has become the Twilight Zone.

This article was posted: Monday, May 18, 2009 at 3:10 am

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