When The Register published a piece from Steve Goddard about how the Arctic Ice was “refusing to melt as ordered“, denialists were jubilant.

Goddard claimed “other data sources show Arctic ice having made a nice recovery this summer”, finishing his article with the superior assertion that other reports were “not based on solid science”.

We never knew how the author came up with his conclusions. That is, until now.

It seems Goddard measures the Arctic ice by counting white pixels in satellite pictures, and forgetting to consider projection distortions (is Greenland bigger than Africa?).

To his credit, Steven Goddard retracted from his previous position in an update in the same Register article:

“Dr. Walt Meier at NSIDC has convinced me this week that their ice extent numbers are solid. […] It is clear that the NSIDC graph is correct, and that 2008 Arctic ice is barely 10% above last year – just as NSIDC had stated.”

What about the hundreds of blogs that jumped to Goddard’s bandwagon and repeated the mistake, spreading misinformation around?

Interestingly enough, Goddard’s conclusion could be right by wrong means. It is possible that 2008 will not break 2007’s record, that we reached a tipping point, and that from this year on the sea ice will increase to previous levels. Possible, yet very improbable.

Artice sea ice extent