Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Another Inconvenient Truth - Glaciers in Retreat Since 1850

In response to my post Al Gore Melt Down, a frequent critic posted the following:

Dependable Norway. Independable (sic) Major.

How do you use data going back to 1900 to infer retreat started in 1850?
Answer - you don't if you want to be taken seriously.

How do you extrapolate from the Norwegian glaciers to worldwide glaciers?
Answer - you don't if you want to be taken seriously.

Preach on, Reverend.

I replied.

Welcome back. As usual, you didn't do your homework. There are many references to glacier retreat beginning 1850. The Norwegian article was just one of the many, and the reason I referenced it was because it had very nice graphs showing that glacier retreat was very pronounced 1900 to 1940, a long time before CO2 increased.

As for glaciers retreating world wide since 1850, see this reference in

"The Little Ice Age was a period from about 1550 to 1850 when the world experienced relatively cool temperatures compared to the present. Subsequently, until about 1940 glaciers around the world retreated as the climate warmed. Glacial retreat slowed and even reversed, in many cases, between 1950 and 1980 as a slight global cooling occurred. However, since 1980 a significant global warming has led to glacier retreat becoming increasingly rapid and ubiquitous, so much so that many glaciers have disappeared and the existence of a great number of the remaining glaciers of the world is threatened."

link shows that Himalayan and Tran-Himalayan glaciers have been in general retreat since 1850.

The following shows the
advance of glaciers during the Little Ice Age, and then subsequent retreat beginning about 1850.

I hope you enjoy this opportunity to dispel some of the ignorance that Al Gore's apocalyptic pronouncements about sudden glacier retreat caused by man-produced CO2. As you can see from these references, glacier retreat since 1850, glacier retreat after 1900, and surprisingly, some glacier advances during the high CO2 producing years.

What's a global warming alarmist to do?

The following is a Smart Ox bonus not included in the reply above.

Al Gore and the man-caused global warming alarmists have made a cause célèbre of the retreating glaciers of Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro.

According to the Weather Underground (and attributed to

Gore shows an impressive series of "then and now" images documenting the widespread retreat of many glaciers over the past century. Most dramatically, he shows Kenya's Mt. Kilimanjaro, whose 11,000 year-old glaciers are almost gone.

Interestingly, there is ample information available to the most casual researcher that the glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro has nothing to do with man-caused global warming. In fact, the retreat started over a century ago, and most of the retreat occurred prior to 1953. Although Al Gore would be the last to tell you (along with the discredited Weather Underground and, Mount Kilimanjaro does not and could not be associated with global warming, as explained below:

Much of Kilimanjaro's ice is vanishing by sublimation - where ice at very low temperatures converts straight to water vapor without going through a watery phase - rather than by melting...(scientists said).

Further proof, if more be required:

The top of the mountain is returning to its prior state with the retreat of the most recent covering glaciers of the past 11,700 years due to cyclic solar radiation fluctuation. This return to the mountain top's normal state has increased over the past century, with the most recent ice cap volume dropping by more than 80%. In 2002, a study led by Ohio State University ice core paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson predicted that ice on top of Africa's tallest peak would be gone between 2015 and 2020. In 2007, a team of Austrian scientists from University of Innsbruck predicted that the plateau ice cap will be gone by 2040, but some ice on the slope will remain longer due to local weather conditions. A comparison of ice core records suggests conditions today are returning to those of 11,000 years ago. Recent study by Philip Mote of the University of Washington in the United States and Georg Kaser of the University of Innsbruck in Austria indicate that the shrinking of Kilimanjaro's ice cap is not due to global warming but instead driven by solar radiation.

Even absent theories explaining what is happening on Kilimanjaro, the simple truth is that observations for over a century have documented the glacier retreat, and documented that most of the retreat occurred before the onset of increased CO2.

One of the enjoyable aspects of reading the Weather Underground attempt to cover Al Gore’s butt on his Kilimanjaro faux pas was that they had to admit that Gore should explain that his predicted 20-foot rise in sea levels by 2100 has no scientific basis.

He shows animations of what a 20-foot rise in sea level would do to Manhattan, Florida, India, and China. A 20-foot sea level rise is what we expect if all of Greenland or all of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt. Such a 20-foot rise is not expected by 2100, and it would have been appropriate for Gore to acknowledge that the consensus of climate scientists--as published in the most recent report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--is that sea level is likely to rise between 4 and 35 inches, with a central value of 19 inches, by 2100.

Sea levels rose about seven inches in the past century, about what they have risen every century for the past 8,000 years, and have risen a total of over 400 feet in the past 20,000 years after the peak of the Ice Age.

Apparently Gore doesn’t think any of his gullible viewers or supporters will question a prediction which in its own way is more outlandish and indefensible than previous predictions of impending doom.

Paul Ehrlich gave us the Population Bomb, which bombed out on its prediction:

… that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death", that nothing can be done to avoid mass famine greater than any in the history, and radical action is needed to limit the overpopulation.

Then many of the scientists that now alarm us about global warming put us into a rare old panic about global cooling.

For a little comic relief we had dire predictions, including aircraft falling from the sky, because of Y2K.

Apparently scientists want a bigger piece of the crisis prediction game, heretofore based for the most part on a combination of Astrology, New Age ideas, and Bible Prophecy.

Scientists have learned that pedaling future panic sells, at least in terms of grants and book sales.

Same old same old.

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