Posted by: Rosebud | April 16, 2010

From NOAA news…bad math?


Okay, this poor methodology is right on the web page for anyone to see.  Who’s doing these calculations? Either a right brain handled the writing and muddled the math or…something worse….  First the citation from the NOAA news web site:

Arctic sea ice covered an average of 5.8 million square miles (15.1 million square kilometers) during March. This is 4.1 percent below the 1979-2000 average expanse, and the fifth-smallest March coverage since records began in 1979. Ice coverage traditionally reaches its maximum in March, and this was the 17th consecutive March with below-average Arctic sea ice coverage. This year the Arctic sea ice reached its maximum size on March 31st, the latest date for the maximum Arctic sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979.

Specifically, let’s look at the records source, 31 years since 1979, so 31  data sets. 

Then the statement: “this was the 17th consecutive March with below-average Arctic sea ice coverage.”

Then we’ll check the math methodology.  So if this was the 17th consecutive March that takes us back to 1993 when the trend started.  There are only 14 years from 1979 to 1993. So they are comparing an average developed over 14 years to data 17 years in the future.  Hello, my left-brain is freaking out, tell me I missing something because at first read, this is pitiful analysis. 

Basically, after you exceed the sample of data used to create the average you need to recalculate the average.  Perhaps the scientists are doing that and the right brain utility that is the author of this release simplified that.  But, by simplifying it, the right brain corrupted the data.

And, of course, it is quite meaningless data.  So the oceans have a warming trend over 17 years?  Are you really going to claim its caused by human generation of CO2? Is the human CO2 somehow different from the volcanic CO2 that is spewing forth canceling air travel over Europe? You want to do something about the temperatures of the Ocean? I think you just might be over-estimating our power!

If you still like anecdotes about ice, don’t forget about Lake Erie: it froze over this year for the first time in 14 years.

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