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« Hockey Stick Illusion for US readers | Main | Reviews - 1 »

New Scientist on glaciers

Ten years after publishing some outrageous claims about disappearing glaciers, New Scientist comes clean:

This sudden burst of inquiry from Britain's premier science magazine is certainly welcome. We've had twenty-odd years of, at best dumb acquiescence and at worst dumber cheerleading. What have the New Scientists been thinking of these last two decades?

We are entitled to an explanation too.


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Reader Comments (30)

New Scientist - A headline I spotted a minute ago:
"Major Antarctic glacier is 'past its tipping point' "

Jan 15, 2010 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered Commenteregp

This is already known, isn't it? It was a typo - the glaciologist considered the timeframe to be around 350 years, so in 1999 suggested 2350. Too bad New Scientist made a typo. They didn't pick it up because they have been the global warming alarmist cheerleader for years. So, the IPCC cite an article with a typo and don't pick it up either! What appalling 'peer review'! And now IPCC is defending the indefensible!

Jan 15, 2010 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Yup, it was a typo (see Pielke Sr or my article at PJM) and what's more, as far as I was ever able to determine, New Scientist was the "patient zero" source.

Jan 15, 2010 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Martin

New Scientist,
"now wash your hands please"

Jan 15, 2010 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered Commentercbh

You guys are assuming that 2350 wasn't a typo for 3250. Or 3520. Or 5230. Or.......

Jan 15, 2010 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

I can't help but notice the smaller headline at top left - "The health gaps that shame us all" -, beneath which (if I read it correctly), it says: "We can reduce the health inequalities that divide rich from poor and black from white." This is most likely another example of the kind of politicised science that New Scientist peddles these days, and is a scandal every bit as profound as Climategate - the use of medical science for political ends.

Jan 15, 2010 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank Davis

Not sure if New Scientologist ever had any credibility to lose. I first read it in 1977 and it was like "the world according to Polly Toynbee" in those days.

A weekly collection of leftist stories - some with a bit of science in the background. The "health gaps" story is just one of this week's examples.

Jan 15, 2010 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

And note how they lament the "damage to the image of climate science". Nothing scientific about that.

Compare and contrast a real scientist like Richard P Feynman: "what do you care what other people think".

Jan 15, 2010 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Here's the link for the web version of that New Scientist editorial piece.

I'm not sure it's so much "coming clean" as a CYA measure. Now they're on record as the inured party, or at least can claim so.

Jan 15, 2010 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTed Douglas

I used to read it for the jobs adds (- Never got a single job out of any of them). It was always pretty light weight on the science, so I bought other things for amuzement. There was more and better reading in the Viz.

Jan 15, 2010 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

It took the NS ten years to find the error? Let the finger-pointing begin!

Jan 15, 2010 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean Peake

"...recently been defended by the panel's chairman."

Hmmm, maybe they've been reading Richard North's articles on the chairman and are distancing themselves from him.

Jan 15, 2010 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin B

"You guys are assuming that 2350 wasn't a typo for 3250. Or 3520. Or 5230. Or......."

No, they eventually figured out that the number came from a paper by a Russian scientist and that it was really 2350.

Jan 15, 2010 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTilo Reber

"We are entitled to know why the IPCC used our article based on a false non peer reviewed speculative claim by a some shady Indian glaciologist"

Say wot?? IPCC should think twice using NS articles? IPCC should have checked whether this claim was accurate and peer reviewed? What you say...should the NS do that? Why?

Jan 15, 2010 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

Has anyone sifted the IPCC comments (if available) to see how this made it in? Is it in the actual body of the report or in the much more political (and even less accurate) Summary for Policymakers?

Jan 16, 2010 at 5:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan

Does anyone remember the grand old days of Science Journal, which fell upon hard times and was absorbed into New Scientist without a trace? Remember the sparkling columns from the delightful mind of Gordon Rattray Taylor?
Gone. (Sigh!)

Jan 16, 2010 at 6:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterWayne Richards

I think congrats where congrats are due. Sure, they're implicitly bigging themselves up by pointing out that an article in their mag can become IPCC wisdom, but also fairly asking how on earth IPCC can pick up unsupported articles in the press, even expert press, and not check them first.

As an honest point raising the question in general as to how well do IPCC audit, and a specific dig at Pachauri for defending the unaudited and indefensible, I think v useful article. If it means they look sceptically, even slightly sceptically, at other claims, say unprecedented weather conditions, or Kilimanjaro, or whatever, then good.

Your book is on order! But do I read yours or Mosh's first? :)

Jan 16, 2010 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterHotRod

I hace stopped commenting on Nw Scientist articles as they have a very censorial redactin policy and any even vaguely contrary views don't persist.

Jan 16, 2010 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Harrington

Recently there has been controversy over the possiblilty of glaciers in Britain. In a Welsh newspaper, the Western Mail, there was an article on 11 January about a claim by Dr Alun Hubbard, a scientist at Aberystwyth University’s Centre for Glaciology, that there could be glaciers on Snowdon within 40 years.

‘Glaciers on Snowdon’ warning by climate expert

The reason given for expecting the return of glaciers was that global warming would cause the Greenland ice sheet to melt with the result that the Gulf Stream would be forced further south and north west Europe would freeze.

Just three years ago another Welsh scientist predicted that Snowdon would be free of snow in winter in another 13 years.

Snowdon will be snow-free in 13 years, scientists warn

The reason given was global warming. Therefore whether Snowdon never has snow again or gets covered by a glacier the cause will be the same! Whatever happens the cause will be global warming.

Presumably that is what people mean when they say “the science is settled!” Just imagine how wide the predictions would be if there were no consenus!

Jan 16, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The New Scientist's rhetorical "we are entitled to an explanation" put me in mind of a Daily Telegraph cartoon by Matt on the subject of the House of Commons expenses scandal. It was the one with the caption "As soon as I saw what I had been up to, I knew that the Speaker would have to resign".

Jan 16, 2010 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Peakall

New Scientist should just come out of the closet and become New Age Scientist.

Publishes when the Moon is in the 7th House and Jupiter aligns with Mars.

Jan 16, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred from Canuckistan

And I thought everything put out by the AGW crowd was "peer" reviewed and as such, sanctified, 100% truth, and beyond any form of criticism. I mean, I thought they said it was all the world of God, himself and that there was "no doubt" in the science. That the Science was settled How unsettling!

OH! MY! Oh! MY! What will Al Gore say!

Most likely nothing. Hey, by the way -- has anyone seen Al lately? Did he fall through a hole in the ice, or was he eaten by a polar bear?

Jan 16, 2010 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

"What have the New Scientists been thinking of these last two decades?"
Far too much like hard work - they just regurgitated what they got from certain Team members

"We are entitled to an explanation too."
Won't happen - such people never explain - they just back-pedal furiously.

Jan 16, 2010 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

@ Roy:

That is why AGW, for me, was highly dubious long before climategate: if two totally opposite events are blamed on the same cause, then something (won't call it 'science') is not settled, but questionable.

Jan 16, 2010 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

"A major Antarctic glacier has passed its tipping point, according to a new modelling study."

and we all know how accurate "modelling" is regarding climate eh....

...wonders weather the models they were studying were the page 3 variety

Jan 16, 2010 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete

New Scientist's latest reminds me of the classic line from the move Animal House:

"You f***ed up -- you trusted us!"

Jan 17, 2010 at 6:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurt

Now I remember why I cancelled my subscrition to New Scientist. Week after week I never had a letter published. The final straw came when a politician (leader of the Green Party and a non-scientist) had a letter published and my letter, as usual, went in the bin.

Jan 17, 2010 at 7:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"passed its tipping point"

Past its typoing point, perhaps.

Jan 17, 2010 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
Letter by Australian lawyer, Val Majkus who has written to all of her nation’s Members of Parliament to object to policy decisions being implemented on ‘junk’ climate science. In the letter Val, with a keen legal mind, goes to great lengths to explain the details of her concerns: recently substantiated by leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in England. I hope others will join me in heartily endorsing Val’s campaign for a full public enquiry, i.e. a ‘Royal Commission’ on apparent unethical and/or illegal conduct by certain climatologists
check out the letter and leave a comment

Jan 18, 2010 at 7:27 AM | Unregistered Commenterval majkus

I'm amazed that no-one has picked up on the explicit admission by the New Scientist that the CRU emails were in fact leaked - not hacked or stolen.

To wit: ... the leaked "climategate" emails.

Jan 18, 2010 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterb_C

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