Phillip Done, a reader of this web-log, reviews a recent article in New Scientist:
“The 27 August 2005 New Scientist (NS) has an article Global Warming: The flaw in the thaw.
It examines recent developments in worldwide glacial retreat. 79 out of 88 glaciers surveyed were retreating. The phenomenon of glacial meltdown is heralded by climate change protagonists as the “canary in the mine” for climate change.
What else do you need to know. But the article has something for everyone and maybe the climate change guys surf to the front at the end. The paper is instructive in that it discusses the complexities of climate change science and difficulties with untangling natural trends and CO2 induced warming.
Basically the glaciers started meltdown started before the global warming flux should have kicked in.
In another twist, the recent rewrite of the radiosonde data means that Kilimanjaro needs another look. Global warming theorists now have a better mechanism.
El Nino muddies the signal for glaciers in the tropical Andes making
However many glaciers which slowed their rate of melting in the mid-1900s have now accelerated away with a vengeance. But there are always off regional exceptions such as seven glaciers in California’s Mount Shasta.
Does it matter anyway – is all this of just academic interest. Well the worry appears to be that peripheral ice sheet melting around Antarctica and Greenland is now proceeding rapidly with surface water getting in the bottom of the glaciers further speeding up their movement. The breakup of the Larsen ice shelf will allow more rapid glacial movement – up to eight times has been recorded. Sea level rises are predicted.
I commend the NS article to you – it has something for both sides of the debate.”
Calvin Jones says
It has nothing against human caused climate change at all! To quote “There is a strong link between conditions on Kilimanjaro and global warming” and it goes on futher “any interpretations of our findingd toward ‘no climate change’ are entirely wrong”. I was just waitning for some skeptic to mis-represent the article, all it says is that the retreat of individual glaciers cannot be accurately ascribed to climate change, but the whole pattern clearly can! This is as expected from a complex system, this is why climate change is a better term than global warming.
Phil Done says
Well I tend to agree but the article did say in part in the earlier text:
“Global warming just doesn’t explain it all. Many mountain glaciers around the world started shrinking in the 19th century, long before human-induced climate change could have had any impact.”
And for the Andes glaciers where El Nino may have a part – there lingers the intriguing possibility that the increase in El Nino frequency is related to global warming – still being debated…
However the later discussion said that the recent melting are very much in line global warming and known mechanisms….
At least we non-skeptics can hold multiple interacting factors in our minds …