Said my wife, appalled. But I can, you know. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen:
“Oh man, oh man, why dost thou plough
So hard upon the Lord’s birthday?”
The farmer answered him with great speed,
“To plough this day I have great need.”
His arms did tremble through and through,
Until that he could no longer plough.
The ground did open and he fell in
Before he could repent his sin.
His wife and children are out of place,
His beasts and cattle now all are lost.
His beasts and cattle they die away
For ploughing on the Lord’s birthday.
Exhibit A is a pic from Aunty about the recent West-Ant-is-warming-so-Steig-was-right-all-along paper from Bromwich; see RC for more details. And what I want to say is: this pic is inevitably totally misleading to at least 99.9% of the audience, particularly when captioned “The data from Byrd Station shows rapid warming on the west Antarctic ice sheet”. How many people are going to read the sideways text on the scale saying “Temperature correlation with Byrd station”? Very few, and even fewer are going to understand it.
The pic shows (as the sidebar says) the temperature correlation between temperature variations at Byrd, and those elsewhere. Its the annual mean, and its from ECMWF reanalysis rather than from observations (it has to be not-from-obs, because its a field available everywhere; they could have plotted it over the sea too if they’d wanted to). They don’t even say (as far as I can tell) whether its from de-trended anomalies or not. But anyway: the only point of the pic is to show you that temperature variation at Byrd is fairly representative of temperature variation over much of West Antarctica (although because the re-analysis will have used Byrd, and won’t have been corrected by much else, I’d be inclined to wonder how reliable that is). The colour scale makes it hard to see (the portion of the colour bar including zero correlation should be white, obviously) but the correlation over the rest of Antarctica is near-zero. Fair enough: West Antarctica is meteorologically isolated from East Antarctica. Somewhat more surprisingly it appears to be isolated from the Antarctic Peninsula.
What the pic doesn’t show is warming. For all that particular pic shows, W Ant could be warming, cooling, or staying the same. because its just a correlation map. I can only assume that Matt McGrath is a bit clueless, as this isn’t the pic you’d choose to illustrate an article about temperatures going up. He meant to use fig 2, which I helpfully include below: