This link is to a report from the (US) National Snow and Ice Data Center entitled "A different pattern of ice retreat" which states:
Arctic sea ice extent on July 16 fell roughly between the extent for the same day in 2007 and the long-term average. The spatial pattern of summer ice loss has evolved differently from last year; this reflects the prevailing pattern of atmospheric circulation. Areas of low-concentration ice are also developing at unusually high latitudes.The casual reader would grasp from the headline that ice had retreated, and would read the words "Arctic sea ice extent fell" and is below average, and might even grasp that concentrations of ice are lower at high latitudes. The reader would put these thoughts together and worry that the Arctic really was melting. The message is reinforced when the next paragraph includes "extent was below the 1979 to 2000 average of 9.91 million square kilometers (3.83 million square miles)". My goodness, things really ARE getting dangerously warmer up there.
Imagine, then, my puzzlement when the last sentence quoted above goes on to say , "[however] it was 1.05 million square kilometers (0.41 million square miles) above the value for July 16, 2007.
This IS a different kind of ice retreat, a retreat that GROWS ice coverage by 10%.
The BBC was on the story back in June when 2008 and 2007 areal extents were comparable, and their environment correspondent Richard Black posted this story: Arctic Sea Ice Melt 'Even Faster'. It has not been updated or corrected with the graph that appears at the top of today's blog entry, which shows that the sea ice melt has slowed and in the space of a month has fallen two weeks behind last year's pace.
I may just be imagining bias where in fact there are honest and busy people just trying to do their jobs. But why choose wording like "fell" and "retreat" when in fact coverage rose and increased? And BBC, why not give your worried viewers and readers some reassurance that things aren't as bad as you thought?
Update: BBC admits its own bias.