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BBC Response To Svalbard Complaint

November 22, 2022
tags:

By Paul Homewood

You will all no doubt recall this dishonest report from the BBC a few weeks ago:

 

 image

Deep inside the Arctic Circle, the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is home to the world’s northernmost permanent settlement, Longyearbyen, which is estimated to be heating at six times the global average. So what is being done to save it?

Experts from the Norwegian Polar Institute are among those who calculate it is heating six times faster than the global average.

The consensus is that the temperature in Svalbard has jumped 4C in the past 50 years.

Wildlife and human life are now in a struggle to survive. This is why Limstrand’s congregation is praying for help.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-63387233

As I inconveniently pointed out at the time, Svalbard’s climate is only marginally warmer now than eighty years ago, but temperatures plummeted in the 1960s, which was of course the time which the BBC chose to make comparisons from:

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.files.wordpress.com/2022/11/image-2.png

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2022/10/28/bbc-worried-that-svalbard-is-as-hot-as-in-1922/

Needless to say, I filed a complaint with the BBC about their omission of temperature trends prior to 1960. As usual they have tried to fob me off at the Stage 1 level with this response:

Thank you for contacting the BBC about the article : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-63387233

We have looked at your email, the article and other sources of information on this topic.
As I understand your complaint, it is about the claims concerning the rate of warming of Svalbard and your email’s claim that the report ‘omits the crucial information that the climate at Svalbard underwent massive cooling during the 1960s, and that current temperatures are no higher than they were in the 1920s to 1950s’.
To substantiate the warming at Svalbard, the BBC’s article referred to one source within the article in the extract below:
Experts from the Norwegian Polar Institute are among those who calculate it is heating six times faster than the global average. The consensus is that the temperature in Svalbard has jumped 4C in the past 50 years.
The Editorial Guidelines recognise the BBC can report the views of credible and named individuals and organisations so long as such views are appropriately attributed. In the case of this article, readers would have understood it presented the informed views of the Norwegian Polar Institute and would have judged what was written accordingly.
The article describes a ‘consensus’ on the temperature rise, so I thought I’d include at least one other survey in this email.
https://www.miljodirektoratet.no/globalassets/publikasjoner/m1242/m1242.pdf
This study was carried out on the effects of climate change on Svalbard and Longyearbyen by The Norwegian Centre for Climate Services (NCCS), which is a collaboration between the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, Norwegian Research Centre and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. Their study Climate in Svalbard 2100, published in 2019 contains many facts about the rate of warming in the area.
Here are two extracts for your information.
From 1971 to 2017, a warming of 3 – 5°C has been observed (less in the south, more in the inner fjords), with the largest increase in winter and the smallest in summer. For RCP8.5, the ensemble median projections from regional models and statistical downscaling indicate an increase in annual mean temperature for Svalbard of almost 10 °C from 1971-2000 to 2071-2100.
Especially the northern Barents Sea has experienced a rapid climate shift and is described as the “Arctic warming hotspot” where the surface warming and loss of winter sea ice is the largest in the entire Arctic.”

There is also a section on sea ice which considers the thickness over time periods and areas where sea ice has already reduced.

Here is an extract from the section on sea ice:

‘The sea ice conditions vary from region to region and from year to year. West of Svalbard, the properties of the West Spitsbergen Current play an important role for the sea ice in the western fjords. The inflow of warm Atlantic water to the fjords have strong impact on the local ice conditions. In the last decade, the fjords on the west coast have been almost ice-free in the winter (Muckenhuber et al., 2016). East of Svalbard, the East Spitsbergen Current transports Polar water and sea ice southwards, causing this region to be ice-covered most of the year. In the last decade, the whole Barents Sea, including the area east of Svalbard, has been icefree for several months in the summer and autumn.’

Not every BBC article can include all the information every reader would wish to see in it. It is the job of the BBC’s news editors to make decisions about the content of news stories.  I have not fact checked your information about ‘massive cooling’ during the 1960s but I did consider whether, if true, the omission of this information would undermine the article.  In view of the context and information laid out above in this email, I do not think that it would.

I have also attached an article from Euronews, which recently reported from Svalbard.  Of course, the output of other media organisations does not affect the BBC’s editorial decision making, but I thought it may be of interest to you.  It includes a segment on Ny-Ålesund – the northernmost human settlement on Earth, which has a year-round research station and is home to 18 scientific institutions from a host of countries.
https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/07/26/polar-opposite-how-climate-change-is-altering-the-arctic

I hope this email taken with our first response helps to resolve your concerns about the article and thank you again for contacting the BBC again.
Kind regards
Quentin Smith
BBC News

The response does not address my complaint at all.

They spend most of the reply trying to prove that the climate in Svalbard has got warmer since 1960, but this was never in dispute.

Their only defence of the omission of all relevant facts is that BBC News Editors can choose to include whatever they want!

As for the comment that “but I did consider whether, if true, the omission of this information would undermine the article.  In view of the context and information laid out above in this email, I do not think that it would”, it is simply absurd, given that the article is all about the “race to save Svalbard”. Most independent observers would agree that the fact that Svalbard was just as warm a few decades ago was highly relevant.

Naturally I have responded to the BBC and moved the complaint to Stage 2.

40 Comments
  1. 186no permalink
    November 22, 2022 12:33 pm

    Paul, I am sure they will inform you of the procedure if “stage 2” does not answer your complaint either. I think you are more well versed than me in actions that can be taken with The BBC Complaints Deflection Process post “stage 2” in the event of another (failed) attempt to answer your complaint; hopefully, it that is needed, you will get the chance to hear from their Executive Complaints Unit. I am still waiting, many weeks later, for The BBC ECU to respond to a complaint I made about factual and cited sources re: SARS COV2 scamdemic, which also resulted in me being blocked (without notification) from BBC HYS participation (admittedly they beat me to it). Keep going “pulling back the curtain” as TH would say, sterling effort.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      November 22, 2022 12:56 pm

      ” which also resulted in me being blocked”

      If you question the creed, you must be excommunicated
      Works in every religion !!!

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      November 22, 2022 6:04 pm

      I complain, and appeal, to the BBC mainly about renewble energy propaganda. The last time about Hornsea 2 and using average output and pretending it generates all the time. I was told my complaint had no merit because they’d ask Oersted who confirmed the numbers. Not only that but Dogger Bank is in “high wind speeds of >10 m/s average wind speed across the zone”. Average is irrelevant, it’s how often it’s just above or below cut-in.

      I’m now complaining about this item:
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-63707463
      Which is typical BBC hype and omission.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        November 22, 2022 6:27 pm

        Ooh, lots of pretty containers full of lithium batteries!
        I wouldn’t want to be downwind of that lot when – not if – it goes up in smoke.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        November 23, 2022 8:45 am

        Average – it could be too low to generate and too high to generate every single day but the perfect 365 day average! The BBC misuse averages all the time and I suspect most of it is from utter ignorance of either maths, the subject or both.

  2. 1saveenergy permalink
    November 22, 2022 12:57 pm

    Well done Paul, keep at it.

  3. P Dean permalink
    November 22, 2022 1:47 pm

    Point the BBC to this analysis of a dozen atlantic arctic stations.
    https://briangunterblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/arctic-sub-arctic-temperature-trends-1/

  4. Ray Sanders permalink
    November 22, 2022 1:48 pm

    Looks like our Quentin Smith is a real scum bag. Give him hell Paul.
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12162745/bbc-slammed-exec-promoted-bullying-claim/

  5. November 22, 2022 1:57 pm

    The BBC are arrogant because they don’t have to be concerned about generating their income from their ‘customers’. Hopefully their hubris will be followed by their nemesis.

  6. Tim Spence permalink
    November 22, 2022 2:40 pm

    ‘Quentin Smith’ is probably Quentin Smythe Ponsenby trying to sound middle class. Do the BBC have a monopoly of Quentins, Ruperts and Tarquins?

    • 186no permalink
      November 22, 2022 4:22 pm

      Dunno, but Simon Sharma certainly thinks the sun gleams through the CO2 induced haze of their corporate sphincter judging by the interview, or rather review of his latest tome…..a series in the offing for the history luvvie?

  7. Julian Flood permalink
    November 22, 2022 2:52 pm

    Paul, the egregious Beeb with its circumlocutions is a sideshow. Some sea areas are warming at an anomalous rate. The question then is why? Are huge clouds of CO2 floating over Lake Tanganyika, Michigan, Baikal, Superior? Are mini Maxwell demons pumping megawatts into the Red Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Sea of Japan. Has a Hell Vent opened up beneath the Sea of Marmara?

    Or does a water body polluted with oil and/or surfactant warm as evaporation reduces and the albedo of the smoothed surface drops? Does a water body overfed with agricultural dissolved silica and fertiliser runoff, and sewage dumping grow huge oleaginous phytoplankton blooms which smooth.. etc etc.

    JF
    (No, I don’t know, but someone should at least look. Who knows, they might find the cause of the 1910 – 1940 warming and the reason for Professor Tom Wigley’s blip*.)

    *WWII

  8. Mad Mike permalink
    November 22, 2022 3:42 pm

    Well done Paul but I’m going off topic again.

    Apparently ” I was a mistake” to say that wind energy would get cheaper and cheaper. Apparently this was recently said by non other than the CEO of Vestas which is a major wind turbine manufacturer. apparently the industry “went too far” with cheap or free electricity pledges. No shit. Perhaps the BBC might run a story on that.

    https://joannenova.com.au/2022/11/now-they-tell-us-wind-power-giant-says-it-was-a-mistake-to-say-renewables-would-only-get-cheaper/

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 23, 2022 8:48 am

      A classic story of our time – it takes a sharp spike in gas prices to make wind competitive but such a spike makes manufacturing wind turbines far too expensive.

      It’s almost as if everything in an economy is connected in a complex way that makes simplistic solutions unlikely to work.

  9. Mad Mike permalink
    November 22, 2022 3:44 pm

    It should read “It was a mistake” of course but the original text looks good as well.

  10. November 22, 2022 3:45 pm

    We’re all right behind you Paul. Keep us posted.

  11. catweazle666 permalink
    November 22, 2022 3:55 pm

    A classic example of the good old maxim “if you can’t dazzle them with science, baffle them with BS”.

    • 186no permalink
      November 22, 2022 4:25 pm

      ….because as an old soldier who literally had “seen it all” told me many times. “bullshit baffles brains”. ( expletives, many, deleted ) RIP JH.

  12. Broadlands permalink
    November 22, 2022 4:53 pm

    Here is the question being asked: “So what is being done to save it?”

    As far as anyone can tell, this was never mentioned or discussed. It’s all about the warming and not about the solution. It almost always is.

  13. liardetg permalink
    November 22, 2022 5:08 pm

    Oh, way back in April 2016 the ‘ massive complaint’ had a chapter on the BBC’s treatment of complaints. “a mixture of ignorance, sophistry and disdain’. I’m always a bit sad that that 162 page catalog of BBC sins incl. a decade or two of Attenboro’ scientific error (Ch 8) never really hurt the Beeb. It should have done. It’s on this website btw.

  14. Cheshire Red permalink
    November 22, 2022 5:12 pm

    Lying by omission has apparently been standard practice at the BBC for many years.

    They can’t be sued for something they didn’t say. Always handy if you’re looking to avoid defamation cases and the like, not to mention bury inconvenient facts or stats that blow a hole in your article.

  15. November 22, 2022 5:17 pm

    The Arctic has warmed, Climate just came out of the Little Ice Age.
    Climate has warmed into this Modern Warm Time, as it did when warming into the Medieval Warm Period out of a previous cold time,\.
    Climate has warmed into this Modern Warm Time, as it did when warming into the Roman Warm Period out of a cold time before that.
    Climate just came out of the Little Ice Age, it is supposed to be warm now.

    Sequestered ice in and around the Arctic depletes during cold times because the evaporation of water in the Arctic Ocean is prevented by Sea Ice and snowfall does not maintain the Polar Sequestered Ice during cold periods.

    Vikings moved into Greenland early in the Medieval Warm Period and lived there several hundred years. It snowed more because the Arctic Ocean was warmer and thawed. The more ice pushed the Vikings out of Greenland as the more ice advanced and caused the Little Ice Age.

    As climate alternates between cold times with frozen sea surface and warm times with thawed sea surface, the Arctic Region and Settlements in and near the Arctic do experience the Largest differences in Temperature.

    History and Data Verify that The Little Ice Age was Much Colder than the Medieval or Roman Warm Times and this Modern, Natural Warm Time is warmer than the Little Ice Age. The Arctic will stay warmer with more thawed Arctic Ocean while ice is yet again rebuilt on the ice sheets and glaciers.

    This Modern Warm Time is the Coldest Warm Time in Ten Thousand Years.
    Greenhouse Gases are useless for warming, Climate has not approached Medieval Warming, has not Approached Roman Warming, has not Approached the warming of any other warm time in fifty million years.

  16. Joe Public permalink
    November 22, 2022 5:19 pm

    Quentin Smith is only used for responses to awkward buggers.

    Welcome to the club.

    BBC slammed for ‘promoting’ exec who ‘verbally abused and humiliated’ colleagues https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12162745/bbc-slammed-exec-promoted-bullying-claim?utm_source=native_share&utm_medium=sharebar_native&utm_campaign=sharebaramp

  17. November 22, 2022 5:24 pm

    I posted a comment, it went to a sign in page, I signed in. The comment I tried to post did not show up, I tried to post it again and got a notice back that I had already posted that comment. I refreshed the page and my comment still did not show up but again got the notice back that I had already posted that comment. I will wait awhile and try again.

  18. November 22, 2022 5:33 pm

    Nothing needs to be done to save the Climate, warm times have happened before, between every pair of cold times in history, climate is self correcting, snowfall in the Arctic during warm times is much more, ice sequestering is more during warm times, history and data shows that after the ice is rebuilt, the ice advances and causes a colder time, the upper limit of temperature is bounded, the thermostat setting that turns on the Arctic Snowfall is the temperature that sea ice thaws, it is already snowing more with Arctic Ocean Effect Snowfall.
    Look at over six feet of Lake Effect Snowfall in Buffalo New York, a few days ago, that is nothing when compared the Arctic Ocean Effect Snowfall.
    It will take a few hundred years of more Arctic Ocean Effect Snowfall to rebuild the ice sheets and glaciers, then the ice will advance, as always before.

  19. November 22, 2022 5:47 pm

    Here is my comment that still has not shown up. I will make a few changes, here and there and try again.

    Climate just came out of the Little Ice Age, of Course the Arctic has warmed.
    Climate has warmed into this Modern Warm Time, as it did when warming into the Medieval Warm Period out of a the cold time that had followed the Roman warm time.
    Climate has warmed into this Modern Warm Time, as it did when warming into the Roman Warm Period out of a cold time before that.

    Climate just came out of the Little Ice Age, it is supposed to be warm now.
    Sequestered ice in and around the Arctic depletes during cold times because the evaporation of water in the Arctic Ocean is prevented by Sea Ice and snowfall does not maintain the Polar Sequestered Ice during cold periods.

    Vikings moved into Greenland early in the Medieval Warm Period and lived there several hundred years. It snowed more because the Arctic Ocean was warmer and thawed. The more ice pushed the Vikings out of Greenland as the more ice advanced and caused the Little Ice Age.

    As climate alternates between cold times with frozen sea surface and warm times with thawed sea surface, the Arctic Region and Settlements in and near the Arctic do experience the Largest differences in Temperature.

    History and Data Verify that The Little Ice Age was Much Colder than the Medieval or Roman Warm Times and this Modern, Natural Warm Time is warmer than the Little Ice Age. The Arctic will stay warmer with more thawed Arctic Ocean while ice is yet again rebuilt on the ice sheets and glaciers.

    This Modern Warm Time is the Coldest Warm Time in Ten Thousand Years.
    Greenhouse Gases are useless for warming, Climate has not approached Medieval Warming, has not Approached Roman Warming, has not Approached the warming of any other warm time in fifty million years.

    CO2 increase has increased food production all over the earth, CO2 increase has caused much proven good in how it makes green plants grow better and causes green plants to utilize precious water more efficiently.

    The supposed harm from CO2 has never been proven, that evil theory was locked into Peer Reviewed Consensus, long before enough was known about causes of Climate Change to make that judgement.

    The people who grow green plants, the people who depend on any green plants for their very life, should file lawsuits against all the people who are trying to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, lowering CO2 would cause starvation, people and other creatures have befitted from the increased food production, for the improved growth of trees, people taking that away should be punished.

  20. catweazle666 permalink
    November 22, 2022 6:00 pm

    Lots of interesting geological timescales graphs here:
    https://www.c3headlines.com/temperature-charts-historical-proxies.html

  21. Ian permalink
    November 22, 2022 10:41 pm

    Don’t you just love how they cite the RCP8.5 to bolster their claim?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 23, 2022 8:52 am

      I don’t understand why a model is used at all? They have data. Any model is hindcast using the data. It’s entirely stupid.

  22. avro607 permalink
    November 22, 2022 11:09 pm

    Going back some years now Paul,but I recall a problem with adjusted Icelandic temps that you outlined in a blog.You apparently asked them why the adjustments-but they never replied.Is that still correct.If they did not do so then they are still using adjusted temps.
    And as you have shown,1922 was rather hot.

  23. dodgy geezer permalink
    November 23, 2022 5:49 am

    There is no point complaining. I have done it many times. You will meet a blank wall at all stages – there will be no intention to address your concerns whatsoever. All you are doing is wasting your time and providing a justification for the BBC to raise its request for more of your money to employ and encourage the climate activists who they employ in their complaints section.

  24. Brian Mead permalink
    November 23, 2022 8:48 am

    Keep up the great work Paul. Give those BBC chappies hell..

  25. Phoenix44 permalink
    November 23, 2022 8:55 am

    They entirely avoid the point. If some areas cooled more than others in the recent past, then it is likely they will now warm more than others. It us simple reversion to hhe mean. But they are including the reversion as “warming” but it is not. Either the scientists are too dumb to understand or they are frauds.

  26. November 23, 2022 9:25 am

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/guidelines/accuracy/
    The BBC is committed to achieving due accuracy in all its output. This commitment is fundamental to our reputation and the trust of audiences. The term ‘due’ means that the accuracy must be adequate and appropriate to the output, taking account of the subject and nature of the content, the likely audience expectation and any signposting that may influence that expectation [1].

    Well my expectation of BBC due accuracy is pretty low
    so they can say any nonsense they like.
    I have no idea how you could measure the global temperature. Where would you stick the thermometer. What does a global average mean and what use is it.
    So you measure the hottest parts and the coldest parts and the parts in between.
    Do you do this for different seasons and years at different heights. Do you include the oceans and how deep. Then you average all these numbers out and come up with a number that does not represent anything. Then you compare other local time and place specific numbers to this averaged miss mash.
    Then they say this is scientific.
    Then base action and spending policy on your conclusion.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      November 23, 2022 12:58 pm

      “The BBC is committed to achieving due accuracy in all its output.”

      Is that true or did you hear it on the BBC?

  27. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 23, 2022 11:29 am

    You can’t win.
    They have reported an ‘expert’ opinion, to that extent the story is ‘true’.
    It’s the expert/opinion that they have selected to report that is the bias.
    It is the lack of historical temperature/climate history context that is the bias.
    It is the repeated pattern of the same strategy with all the BBC’s climate coverage that is the bias.

  28. PAUL WELDON permalink
    November 23, 2022 12:33 pm

    From page 31 of the report referenced by the BBC reply:

    ‘To project future climate for the archipelago of
    Svalbard is a challenge due to two main reasons.
    (i) global climate models have a coarse horizontal resolution of typically 100×100 km2, thus they
    are not fit-for-purpose to resolve key atmospheric
    processes, such as atmospheric circulation and its
    interaction with the ocean and sea ice or the topographical influence on the airflow (Koenigk et al.,
    2015). (ii) Sea-ice concentration and extent is often
    overestimated for the present climate in ESMs. This
    may lead to a large, probably unrealistically high,
    temperature increase when the sea-ice cover around
    Svalbard will have been disappeared in a future
    climate. Despite improvements of the sea-ice
    representation in ESMs, there is still a large spread
    between the models in calculating present and
    future climate conditions (Stroeve et al., 2012;
    Koenigk et al., 2014).
    Climate models are used to simulate the state of
    the Earth’s climate for both the past and the future.
    They are able to reproduce observed large-scale
    phenomena, such as major wind systems and
    temperature patterns, based on many grid boxes.
    However, global climate models have a minimum
    skilful scale due to the way they are constructed,
    which means that individual quite coarsely sized
    grid box calculations are subject to substantial
    inaccuracies. This means that global climate models
    provide only limited information about the character
    of local climate (e.g. for Spitsbergen, Bjørnøya, and
    Hopen). ‘

    I would therefore suggest that the report should be taken with a rather large dose of salt!

  29. catweazle666 permalink
    November 23, 2022 1:03 pm

    Totally off topic, I recently discovered another alternative radio station to the BBC – Boom Radio, which plays exclusively 1950s and 1960s pop, run by old DJs from that golden era.
    I listen to it on the Internet via https://www.boomradiouk.com/player/ but I believe it is also available on digital radio too.

  30. November 25, 2022 5:07 pm

    A major contributor to the temperature anomaly mentioned in: “Svalbard – the race to save the fastest-warming place on Earth” is the massive geothermal plume emerging in its vicinity, making the BBC article even more misleadingly, dishonestly inaccurate: https://phys.org/news/2020-12-newly-greenland-plume-thermal-arctic.html

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