The Warmers—-The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight

Last year the Warmers were defending the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report’s conclusion that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035.   Oops, they then said, we meant 2350.  Even so, we are being told that the glaciers were melting and so quickly that the people in Asia would be in big trouble when there was no more melt water.  They believed that melting of Himalayan glacial ice was equivalent to 50 billion tons of water every year.  But now a study  ( lead scientist John Wahr and team) published in Nature tells that the Himalayan glaciers have lost no ice over the last decade. The measurements of global ice for this study were done using satellites.   According to the report:

The reason for the radical reappraisal of ice melting in Asia is the different ways in which the current and previous studies were conducted. Until now, estimates of melt water loss for all the world’s 200,000 glaciers were based on extrapolations of data from a few hundred monitored on the ground. Those glaciers at lower altitudes are much easier for scientists to get to and so were more frequently included, but they were also more prone to melting.

The bias was particularly strong in Asia, said Wahr:

“Their extrapolation is really tough as only a handful of lower-altitude glaciers are monitored and there are thousands there very high up.”

Satellite data for the rest of the world’s glaciers were also measured and the team reported no changes in the melt rate.

Glaciers have been melting for the last 10,000 years.   The question is really— is the present rate particularly unusual?  This study certainly puts into question the warmers previous assertion that it is.  Isn’t this just one more indication that there has been no statistically significant global warming over the past decade.

But whenever a study comes out like this, it is required to say—- nothing has changed, CO2 is still the problem.    Prof Jonathan Bamber, the director of the Bristol Glaciology Centre said:

“The new data does not mean that concerns about climate change are overblown in any way. It means there is a much larger uncertainty in high mountain Asia than we thought. Taken globally all the observations of the Earth’s ice – permafrost, Arctic sea ice, snow cover and glaciers – are going in the same direction.

NOT OVERBLOWN?????  (Just more uncertainty!!)

Professor Bamber also participated in an online Q and A session.  He responded to a question from “On Earth” as follows:

OnEarth. For Antarctica and Greenland the results from this study are in very good agreement with most recent previous estimates of mass loss from the ice sheets so it doesn’t change our view of what these are doing.

I have always had a lot of respect for “most recent previous estimates..” what ever they are.

Are we to assume that much stress is being felt in Asian lands where the Himalayan ice melt is so important according to the IPCC?  If there is no net change in total ice as the study tells us, does that mean there is a vastly reduced melt water flow?  By the way, there are many studies that say the monsoons are the principal source of the water these Asian countries rely upon.

To read more click here and here.


2 responses to “The Warmers—-The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight

  1. “Satellite data for the rest of the world’s glaciers were also measured and the team reported no changes in the melt rate.”

    This is quite simply not true. The results of the study, if you read them, show that the overall mass loss rate for the world’s glaciers and ice caps (excluding Greenland and Antarctica) is −148 ± 30 (including Greenland and Antarctica it’s −384 ± 71). Results are summarised here:

    But if you don’t have access to this site I have taken the liberty of including Table 1 of the article below.

    Table 1: Inverted 2003–2010 mass balance rates

    Recent contributions of glaciers and ice caps to sea level rise
    Thomas Jacob John Wahr W. Tad Pfeffer Sean Swenson
    Nature (2012) doi:10.1038/nature10847

    Region Rate (Gt yr−1)
    Uncertainties are given at the 95% (2σ) confidence level.

    1. Iceland −11 ± 2
    2. Svalbard −3 ± 2
    3. Franz Josef Land 0 ± 2
    4. Novaya Zemlya −4 ± 2
    5. Severnaya Zemlya −1 ± 2
    6. Siberia and Kamchatka 2 ± 10
    7. Altai 3 ± 6
    8. High Mountain Asia −4 ± 20
    8a. Tianshan −5 ± 6
    8b. Pamirs and Kunlun Shan −1 ± 5
    8c. Himalaya and Karakoram −5 ± 6
    8d. Tibet and Qilian Shan 7 ± 7
    9. Caucasus 1 ± 3
    10. Alps −2 ± 3
    11. Scandinavia 3 ± 5
    12. Alaska −46 ± 7
    13. Northwest America excl. Alaska 5 ± 8
    14. Baffin Island −33 ± 5
    15. Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg and Devon Islands −34 ± 6
    16. South America excl. Patagonia −6 ± 12
    17. Patagonia −23 ± 9
    18. New Zealand 2 ± 3
    19. Greenland ice sheet + PGICs −222 ± 9
    20. Antarctica ice sheet + PGICs −165 ± 72
    Total −536 ± 93
    GICs excl. Greenland and Antarctica PGICs −148 ± 30
    Antarctica + Greenland ice sheet and PGICs −384 ± 71
    Total contribution to SLR 1.48 ± 0.26 mm yr−1
    SLR due to GICs excl. Greenland and Antarctica PGICs 0.41 ± 0.08 mm yr−1
    SLR due to Antarctica + Greenland ice sheet and PGICs 1.06 ± 0.19 mm yr−1

    • Thom Chubb
      Thank you for your comments. However, I do take exception to your claim that my comment “Satellite data for the rest of the world’s glaciers were also measured and the team reported no changes in the melt rate” is according to you, “…quite simply not true”. In the text of my posting I used a quote from expert Professor Bamber: “For Antarctic and Greenland the results from this study are in very good agreement with most recent previous estimates of mass loss from the ice sheets so it doesn’t change our view of what these are doing. Now that sounds to me like he thinks there is no change in the melt rate. Because I have not seen the ”most recent previous estimates”, I have to take his word for it.

      I made no claim that the Glaciers and Ice Caps (GIC) were not melting— this has been taking place for centuries. The thrust of the posting was to suggest that there has been a deceleration of the process in the last decade.

      The years covered by the Wahr study were a period of exceptionally high melt rate for many Greenland glaciers according to “Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century” by Camilla S. Andresen, Fiammetta Straneo,et al. in NATURE GEOSCIENCE published online 11 December 2011: “During the early 2000s the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced the largest ice-mass loss of the instrumental record largely as a result of the acceleration, thinning and retreat of large outlet glaciers in West and southeast Greenland. The quasi-simultaneous change in the glaciers suggests a common climate forcing. Increasing air and ocean temperatures have been indicated as potential triggers.” It is also interesting that the authors note: “Our record reveals large fluctuations in calving rates, but the present high rate was reproduced only in the 1930s.”
      Eric Rignot and Pannir Kanagaratnam published in Science 17 Feb.2006 “Changes in the Velocity Structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet”. Reviewing that study would suggest to a non-expert like me, indeed there was by 2005 a large ice mass loss that has since subsided. It appears that there is a response to a global temperature change that is slowing down GIC melt rates.

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