Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Letter in Shropshire Star: Data use is flawed

Back in December 2009, the Times was forced to change some adverts it had put up in the London Underground claiming that the Northwest Passage had been opened to commercial shipping for the first time that year.

The Northwest Passage is a series of shipping routes through the Arctic sea along the northern coast of Canada and Alaska.  It has been used since the 1930s for commercial shipping and going back further was used by Vikings and others up until the mini ice age in the 15th century.

Here is a letter of mine that was in the Shropshire Star last night in response to an article making the same false claims as the Times.

Data use is flawed

The Shropshire Star reported (Sole Brit boffin in iced sea link study, September 30) that the Northwest Passage is 'usually frozen solid and blocked to shipping' and that 'it has become more passable in recent years as ice has melted'.

Presumably these quotes were lifted directly from a press release written by whichever environment group is behind this study because these are the same false claims that got The Times a slap on the wrist for its advertisements on the London Underground in December 2009.

The Canadian government has been licensing commercial shipping in the Northwest Passage since the 1930s, not 'in recent years' as environmentalists try to claim.

The Vikings also navigated the Northwest Passage 1,000 years ago using their little wooden boats, rather than the big metal icebreakers that are required now.

The Northwest Passage has been freezing and melting for centuries, all part of a natural cycle that has been going on for millennia and will go on for many more.

The climate isn't changing any more than it usually does.

We are just getting better at measuring changes over smaller time periods to the point where the data 'scientists' are using to make their dodgy predictions is completely useless.

You wouldn't calculate the risk of a driver having an accident based on five minutes of their driving history and we shouldn't be calculating the risk of catastrophic changes to our 4.5 billion-year-old climate on a decade or even a century's worth of data. That's not science.

Councillor Stuart Parr