Climate Change: Declining Sea Ice

Here is an article from NASA on the this year’s ice melt in the Arctic and how that rate compares to recent history. I feel that the intro paragraph has no real “hook” to the article; the author just dives into the facts and doesn’t look back. However, the target audience is probably for individuals that are already interested in this subject and a catchy intro isn’t needed. A plethora of facts and quotes are given, providing credibility to all statements and comparisons made. I’m curious, does everyone think the short video at the beginning of the article provided a meaningful addition to the article? Perhaps it could have even been longer and showed a comparison between other years? I thought it was odd that the second to last paragraph switched gears to the growth in Antarctic sea ice. While the comparison was interesting, it seemed out of place, it left me with questions about the differences in Arctic and Antarctic ice without much explanation as the article wrapped up its very Arctic centered message.

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7 Responses to “Climate Change: Declining Sea Ice”

  1. The short video in the beginning of the article was helpful in making sense of the those large numbers related to the millions of square miles of ice cover and their corresponding dates. However, with no other data to compare it to, it was difficult to understand if this summer had significant decreases in ice cover in the Arctic, as opposed to, let’s say, three decades ago. The video would have been more effective if it was shown side-by-side with a similar video from earlier statistic, perhaps from the summer of 1983. Does anyone think that the article could have added an advocacy component in order to inspire change, or at least give a wrap-up statement for the reader about what should be done next? Is this article meant purely to represent facts, or does it have a secondary purpose?

  2. I find it hard to know if an advocacy component would be appropriate because the article only focuses on facts, like a status update, instead of why the issue is relevant or why it even occurs. I think including those aspects would have to come first before initiating advocacy for change. The author could have explained declining sea ice in relation to climate change or human influence, but instead this article doesn’t have much context. I also wish there was a more personal involvement from the people that were interviewed to make the article more relatable. I think the extension over so much time is part of what makes this issue feel less urgent, so I definitely agree that the video could use more data. Here’s a video I found that I think does a better job illustrating. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGYEZ9H63zA

  3. I think the word “advocacy” in and of itself contradicts what it means to be a journalist, doesn’t it? It implies a bias. Are we as journalists allowed to “advocate” or are we meant to solely report facts? With climate change, especially, this is a sticky subject because according to science, climate change needs to be addressed. Fact. But is it the job of the journalist to do that explicitly, or is it instead the job of the journalist to let the facts do that for us, if the situation calls for it? As for this article specifically, I think it is important to address its audience. This article comes from NASA as opposed to a news source like The Times or the Free Press. Therefore, its audience is only people who went to NASA’s website. So, I’m not sure that the focus of this article is meant to be “climate change” but rather a description of the “downward trend” of sea ice. If “climate change” was its focus, I do think this article would be deceiving because the emphasis on sea ice being “unlikely to break records” overshadows the “downward trend,” which is more relevant to climate change.

  4. I sort of disagree about the article having no hook, I mean the topic sentence isn’t a hook but the headline sure is: “Sea ice this year unlikely to break records, but continues downward trend”; It leaves you questioning whether climate change is slowing down, who wrote the article and how they know this surprisingly positive information about our climate,(even if she dashes our hopes shortly thereafter). In short, the article comes off as, well news and not just another story on climate change which leads back to your posts,Katie and marlenelacasse; The article is on NASA.gov and therefore meant to be for those who are willing to seek out climate related information and looking for statistic-backed articles. However, I can agree that NASA should be more engaging in their articles, I mean unless a robot is writing it, which is highly probable. I also have to be the devil’s advocate concerning the video because I was shown that in an environment class and the data and graphics that were compiled for that model are actually really advanced and took a lot of time to compile, so respect. The end was a surprise, I thought the fact mentioned about the Antarctic having the largest sea ice extent on record deserved a little more attention because it is the opposite of what you expect given the current plant warming conditions and general melting in the Arctic.

  5. I thought that the video at the very beginning was very helpful, as even with all the description in the article it is difficult to visualize the scope how much ice is lost in one year. It would have been nice if they could have contextualized it more, by comparing the ice melting from this year to ice melt from previous years, or from how much is gained during the winters (if any). However, this article stated that ice melt this year was less than it has been in previous years, so perhaps the author was worried this would detract from the overall message. I would say that the tone of this piece was a bit defensive. The initial quote given by Walt Meier sounds as though he is trying to justify something. This is understandable, given that many people still do not believe in climate change. However, the rest of the article does not feel as though it is designed to persuade nay-sayers, but rather give an update to those who avidly follow this issue. I also would have liked more detail about the differences which affect Arctic and Antarctic ice patterns, but it felt as though the author assumed the reader had some background knowledge on these subjects. Sometimes the author did not define a word until after she had already used it several times, as in the case of “ice extent”. This confused me until I read the explanation. That being said, this article was extremely detailed and well-sourced, and would be a good read for someone who keeps on high alert for the issues regarding the polar ice caps.

  6. If you scroll through this article without even reading it, one thing becomes apparent: there are too many numbers. This article was littered with numbers and statistics that distracted from the actual content. While this information is important, I felt as though the point that the author was trying to get across was almost non-existent in comparison to the data. I feel as though the point would have been much better received had the author taken the time to compile the data into one, concise, figure that helps her point; not hinders it. While I am alarmed at the rate at which ice is melting, I didn’t feel immediately threatened. In order to make something like ocean rise more important, authors on the subject must make the readers FEEL the importance.

  7. I agree with the majority here – this is definitely an article that should be devoid of personal opinion, and was right to stick with strictly factual reporting. My one addition beyond what my classmates have added already is that I would have liked to see more side-by-side comparisons with findings of other organizations. Understood, this is on a NASA site, and this basically reads as a press release for recent findings on sea ice, however in the final paragraph the author mentions that the studies at Goddard are only one in many on this topic. It would have been beneficial I think to have included short summaries of these findings as well, even if the end result would be a general scientific consensus between all the studies. Experiments demand replication, and a backup study or two greatly improve the credibility of the work by Meier, Comiso, and crew. I will say that I am reading this with the intention of being skeptical for this class, so that may just be my bias.
    Also, I agree that it would be interesting to hear more about Antarctic ice cover, and I don’t disagree with the article including that bit of information, but that is a subject best explained with its own dedicated article.

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