The fear-mongering mainstream media lapped up the recent claim that the Arctic was warming four times faster than the rest of the planet. The Financial Times called it the “climate graph of the week”, while the New York Times detected the “definitive sign of climate change”, noting it was higher than the two or three times commonly reported in the past. The Guardian didn’t allow strict accuracy to get in the way, claiming the new data revealed “extraordinary global heating” in the Arctic.
All highly implausible, needless to say. As always, it depends what temperature databases you consult, or don’t consult, how you work out the averages, and what years you pick to produce your final figures. Interestingly, the BBC didn’t take the headline bait. Perhaps an inquiring editor at the Corporation took a look at the accurate and comprehensive satellite temperature record and found the claim difficult, if not impossible, to stand up.
It is generally accepted that the Arctic has warmed about twice as fast in recent times as the rest of the planet. As the Daily Sceptic has reported, there are a number of natural variations that explain temperature fluctuations in the Arctic, a process that is clearly observable in the recent and paleoclimatic record. Antarctica, meanwhile, has seen much less warming over the last 50 years, and the South Pole doesn’t seemed to have warmed much at all. Possibly the BBC felt that upping the Arctic ante to four times was a just a push too far, particularly at a time when the local sea ice has been showing steady gains of late.