NYT and WaPo hype Greenland ice cap melt – based on incorrect data

Americans who get their news from the mainstream media that take their directions from the New York Times and Washington Post can be forgiven for suspecting the President Trump wants to buy Greenland because its ice cap is melting. Both newspapers reported that Greenland experienced temperature records in June this year.

The Times hyped scares of melting ice and rising sea levels:

With the hot air moving north this week, Greenland was experiencing its own version of a heat wave. On the southwestern coast, Nuuk, the capital, reported temperatures in the high 50s Fahrenheit, about 10 degrees higher than average for this time of year (55 Fahrenheit is the equivalent of roughly 13 Celsius).

The warmth increased the surface melting of Greenland’s vast ice sheet, which covers about 80 percent of the island. Analysis of satellite data by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., showed that melting on Wednesday extended across 380,000 square miles, or about 60 percent of the total ice area.

That is about four times the median extent for the end of July over the past four decades. But while the extent of melting has been higher than average this year — including a day in June that set an early-season record — it is less than the record 2012 melt season, when warm temperatures persisted for much of the summer and at one point nearly 100 percent of the ice sheet was melting.

Greenland’s ice sheet is nearly two miles thick in places, and if all of it were to melt, global sea levels would rise about 24 feet. Melting has increased in recent decades because of climate change and has been outstripping accumulation from snow, resulting in a net loss of ice. Estimates vary, but a 2018 study found that the ice sheet has been losing an average of nearly 300 billion tons of ice per year this decade, contributing a total of about one-quarter of an inch to global sea level rise over that time.

But Anthony Watts noticed something about the latest scare

Now from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), via the news website The Local, the cooler reality:

Danish climate body wrongly reported Greenland heat record

The Danish Meteorological Institute, which has a key role in monitoring Greenland’s climate, last week reported a shocking August temperature of between 2.7C and 4.7C at the Summit weather station, which is located 3,202m above sea level at the the centre of the Greenland ice sheet, generating a spate of global headlines.  

But on Wednesday it posted a tweet saying that a closer look had shown that monitoring equipment had been giving erroneous results.  

“Was there record-level warmth on the inland ice on Friday?” it said. “No! A quality check has confirmed out suspicion that the measurement was too high.” 

I have been unable to find corrections from either paper.

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