Oh no, not this Kilimanjaro ice rubbish again!

Gore started this. Note to journalists everywhere: IT’S THE EVAPOTRANSPIRATION STUPID!

See this article to understand why linking Kilimanjaro glacier retreat to small changes in global temperature is just flat wrong. The plains around Kilimanjaro have gone through years of deforestation. Less trees > less evapotranspiration > less snow.

Don’t believe me? Here’s news of a recent study from Portsmouth University Of Mt. Kilimanjaro ice waving us good-bye due to deforestation. Here’s another peer reviewed study from UAH saying the same thing.

File:Mt. Kilimanjaro 12.2006.JPG

Mount Kilimanjaro - Trees put moisture into the air via evapotranspiration, upslope winds precipitate it on Kilimanjaro. Image: Wikimedia

From News.com.au

Agence France-Presse

The ice sheet that capped Kilimanjaro in 1912 was 85 per cent smaller by 2007, and since 2000 the existing ice sheet has shrunk by 26 per cent, the paleoclimatologists said.

The findings point to the rise in global temperatures as the most likely cause of the ice loss.

Changes in cloudiness and precipitation may have also played a smaller, less important role, especially in recent decades, they added.

“This is the first time researchers have calculated the volume of ice lost from the mountain’s ice fields,” study co-author Lonnie Thompson said.

Mr Thompson is the professor of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University.

“If you look at the percentage of volume lost since 2000 versus the percentage of area lost as the ice fields shrink, the numbers are very close,” he said in the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While the yearly loss of the mountain glaciers was most apparent from the retreat of their margins, Mr Thompson said an equally troubling effect was the thinning of the ice fields from the surface.

The summits of both the Northern and Southern Ice Fields atop Kilimanjaro have thinned by 1.9m) and 5.1m respectively.

The smaller Furtwangler Glacier, which was melting and water-saturated in 2000 when it was drilled, has thinned as much as 50 per cent between 2000 and 2009.

“It has lost half of its thickness,” Mr Thompson said. “In the future, there will be a year when Furtwangler is present and by the next year, it will have disappeared.

“The whole thing will be gone.”

The scientists said they found no evidence of sustained melting anywhere else in the ice core samples they extracted, which date back 11,700 years.**

They said their findings show that current climate conditions over Mt Kilimanjaro were unique over the last 11 millennia.

See the story at news.com.au

=========================

** There wasn’t organized farming near Kilimanjaro until the last century. Farming preparation clears trees, trees evapotranspirate mositure. Less trees, less moisture.

File:Surface water cycle.svg

Image: Wikimedia

No surprise then they don’t see it in the ice core record. It is simply bad science to not consider land use issues looking you in the face while you drill ice cores on the slopes. – Anthony

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71 Responses to Oh no, not this Kilimanjaro ice rubbish again!

  1. crosspatch says:

    You see, climate change in general and global warming in particular result in an increase of global codswallop. Every once in a while the supply of codswallop becomes depleted and the “conventional wisdom” needs a fresh injection as is the case here by the French Press Agency.

  2. Back2Bat says:

    Has the extra crow been ordered? Will there be enough?

  3. Doug in Seattle says:

    Once again, science takes a back seat to politics.

  4. Ron de Haan says:

    They recycle all the old debunked AGW cows, get used to it.
    The advantage is that we have all the counter publications available for re-use immediately. Makes life easy, doesn’t it.

  5. Jeremy says:

    OT: Anthony, not sure if someone else hasn’t submitted this, but it seemed worth discussion here on you blog. Apparently the hockey stick is making it’s way into college textbooks:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/30/perceptible-shift-to-politics/

  6. ShrNfr says:

    And all this loss with the temperature at the top of the mountain being below 0 C. Amazing what global warming will do isn’t it?

  7. Just The Facts says:

    Here’s CNN’s version of the same story, only with pretty pictures:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/11/02/kilimanjaro.glaciers/index.html

    So wondering what happened to basic fact checking and journalistic integrity, I decided to do a bit of research into CNN’s writer Azadeh Ansari and found that she was also responsible for this incisive piece “Meat for Sex?”;

    http://scitech.blogs.cnn.com/2009/04/08/meat-for-monkey-sex/

    along with various other disassociated garbage:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/04/24/climate.change.eskimos/index.html

    http://noolmusic.com/cnn_videos/global_warming_threat_cnn_com_writer_azadeh_ansari_explains.php

    So apparently CNN’s Azadeh Ansari is an entertainment writer versus a real journalist…

  8. SSam says:

    Ahem…

    “Meyer, the first explorer to climb the mountain, observed that in 1889 the crater floor was almost entirely covered with weathered ice, commenting “the volcanic activity of Kilimanjaro is now a thing of the past; there is no trace even of fumaroles”

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v153/n3885/abs/153454a0.html

    And a touristy site states:

    “Fumaroles still emit gas in the crater on the main summit of Kibo, but the mountain is considered an inactive volcano.”

    http://www.romartraveler.com/ROMAR07/Romar07Pages/Africa/Kilimanjaro.html

    So… let me see if I have this right. In 1889 Meyer notes that there are no active fumaroles on the VOLCANO Kilimanjaro, and a modern day tourist site notes that there are. That would seem to indicate an increase in activity. (meager that it is) We have snow/Ice disappearing on a volcano… and it has to be AGW.

    Yeah… right.

    I wonder if anybody has done any interferometric peeks at it so see if it may be swelling.

  9. Sherri from Atlanta says:

    I think our friend “AL” needs to get his swimsuit and head to Beijing. I mean, he is so sure about global warming…right? It has snowed for 6 consecutive days and is freaking everyone out…biggest and longest snow in the last 128 years. Ok “AL”…go swimming. I will buy him the airline ticket, if I can watch.

  10. mhw says:

    Fewer Trees

    not less trees

  11. Ray says:

    I’m telling ya… it because of all those hot heads from Hollywood going up the mountain for The Cause…

  12. Britannic no-see-um says:

    Above the melt altitude, he should read up on snow-ice ablation by sublimation in cold (sub-zero) temperatures particularly in strong sunlight, strong winds and in dry air. Work was done in the Moroccan Atlas I think.

  13. Minister for Common Sense says:

    It would seem to me that this Professor Thompson is just being a [snip]..like most of them are these days.

    I used to think the title professor was attained after a lot of hard work and demonstration of a certain amount of ability and had respect in the community and amongst peers. But not anymore.

  14. Arn Riewe says:

    I thought this one had a stake through the heart. Obviously more zombie science.

    Anthropogenic yes, climate change no. An obvious need for global governance to outlaw axes and saws. But remember, when axes and saws are outlawed, only outlaws will have axes and saws.

  15. SteveBrooklineMA says:

    This is great news! In 2001, the NYTimes reported that the ice on Kilimanjaro would be gone in 15 years.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/19/world/a-message-in-eroding-glacial-ice-humans-are-turning-up-the-heat.html

    Today CNN says we have two decades

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/11/02/kilimanjaro.glaciers/index.html

    So we’ve gained about 15 more years!

  16. rbateman says:

    And you wonder why there is a Party in Alaska that wants to secede from the Union. They don’t feel safe from the Energy Pirates any more.
    Meanwhile, in Steaming Equatorial Fairbanks, Alaska it is –
    11.7 °F
    Scattered Clouds
    Windchill: 12 °F
    Humidity: 74%
    Dew Point: 5 °F
    Wind: Calm
    Tonight
    Increasing clouds. Lows zero to 15 below. Coldest in sheltered valleys. Northeast winds 5 to 15 mph.

  17. George E. Smith says:

    Well I would say that the current climate conditions are unique all over the earth, for at least the last 4.5 billion years, so nothing special about the last 11,700 over KMJ being unique. Gaia never repeats herself.

  18. rbateman says:

    I know, let’s go to Clyde, Baffin Island, to check on Leanord Nimoy’s “In Search of the Coming Ice Age” bellweather:

    -4 °F
    Clear
    Windchill: -15 °F
    Humidity: 55%
    Dew Point: -17 °F
    Wind: 5 mph from the SW
    Tonight
    A few clouds. Low -24C(-11F).

    Mt. Kilimanjaro story is so 5 years ago summer reruns.

  19. SteveSadlov says:

    This would make a great proxy for reforestation in that area. Time to get on it.

  20. Pamela Gray says:

    Sherri from Atlanta, ewwww. Just, ewwww.

  21. evanmjones says:

    What, more Kili-vanilli?

  22. Roger Knights says:

    Here’s a link to Wikipedia’s entry for prof. Lonnie Thompson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonnie_Thompson

    Here are extracts from that entry:

    Rolling Stone magazine says that there is no person in the world that has spent more time above 18,000 feet than Lonnie Thompson.[4].
    His observations of glacier retreat (1970s–2000s) “confirm that glaciers around the world are melting and provide clear evidence that the warming of the last 50 years is now outside the range of climate variability for several millennia, if not longer.”[5] In 2001, he predicted that the famed snows of Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro would melt within the next 20 years, a victim of climate change across the tropics. Return expeditions to the mountain have shown that changes in the mountain’s ice fields may signal an even quicker melting of its snow fields, which Thompson documented had existed for thousands of years. Thompson and his wife both served as advisers for the Academy Award-winning 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, Jr., and some of their work was referenced in the movie.
    Honors and awards
    2001: Thompson was featured among eighteen scientists and researchers as “America’s Best” by CNN and Time Magazine.
    2002: Thompson was awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    2002: Thompson was awarded the Vega Medal by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography.
    2005: Thompson was elected to the National Academy of Science.[2]
    November, 2005: Thompson was featured in a “Rolling Stone” article, “The Ice Hunter”.
    2005: Thompson was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, an honor often regarded as the environmental science equivalent to the Nobel Prize. [3]
    February, 2007: Mosley-Thompson and Thompson were jointly awarded the Roy Chapman Andrews Society Distinguished Explorer Award at Beloit College, Beloit, WI. [4]
    May, 2007: Thompson is named to receive the National Medal of Science. [5] This honor is the highest the United States can bestow upon an American scientist. It was presented to Thompson by President Bush in July 2007 (Award year 2005). [6]
    2008: Mosley-Thompson and Thompson share the $1 million Dan David Prize (Future category) with British researcher Geoffrey Eglinton.
    2008: Thompson was listed as one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment.[6]
    Lonnie Thompson has been awarded 53 research grants from the NSF, NASA, NOAA and NGS and has published 165 papers.

  23. Norm/Calgary says:

    Considering that AGW is supposed to have the least effect in the tropical areas, this stands out as another blatant lie. Deforestation is the probable cause (due to overpopulation of course), but AGW is absolutely 100% NOT responsible. The temperature at the top of Kilimanjaro is NEVER above freezing so it ain’t melting, it’s sublimation where the ice changes to water vapour due to higher winds, another cause of deforextation.

  24. frank says:

    There is an article in the Scientific American a few years back that explained in great and compelling detail why the ice on Kilimanjaro is melting. It has to do with the chopping down of trees on the slope. It has nothing to do with GW as the temp. never gets above freezing. The ice sublimates and is not replaced because the air rising from lower levels is dryer than before

  25. Simon says:

    It can’t be that bad otherwise Pen Hadow would be there with his tape measure.

  26. Rhys Jaggar says:

    There’s a full page article in today’s Independent newspaper in the UK on this too.

    Clearly, global co-ordination of agreed party lines is being fed to the compliant media outlets….

  27. John says:

    This story is running on the AP now. The latest tactic is to post these fear monger pieces where you cannot comment or email the author to refute them.

    Anthony, can you contact the AP to correct the record?

  28. Kate says:

    It’s all over the British press today. Another day, another load of alarmist hogwash. The alarmists certainly believe in recycling. They’ve been recycling this rubbish story for years.

  29. RR Kampen says:

    “Deforestation of the mountain`s foothills is the most likely culprit because without forests there is too much evaporation of humidity into outer space”

    Interesting. Does only Kenian water disappear into outer space? Or would it be a bit more true to say that virtually none does?

  30. MartinGAtkins says:

    Mr Thompson is the professor of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University.

    In other words he’s an environmentalist who got his qualifications by turning up at a university who’s policy it was to dish out impressive titles to anyone who could manage a worm farm.

  31. vandenbudenmayer says:

    In case anyone wants to read it, here is the original source in PNAS:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/30/0906029106.full.pdf

    Near the end of page 4:

    “Over recent decades there has been a continual transformation of the landscape surrounding Kilimanjaro into agricultural land, thus, unraveling large-scale climate forcing from regional forcing caused in part by landscape changes is difficult.”

  32. Leon Brozyna says:

    Gee. I wonder why so many media outlets are losing viewers/subscribers? Could it be that people are catching on to the lies, myths, and urban legends that are being pedaled as news? Journalism has gone from being a respected and trusted profession with high ideals, honesty and integrity to a field akin to that of a used car salesman — and all the respect and chicanery that is associated with that profession. This retread of a fictional short story ranks [both verb & adjective] with the hockey stick, hurricanes, polar bears, and penguins.

    If any one of these alleged environmental journalists had a couple of neurons to rub together between their ears, they would use the plight of Kilimanjaro as an example of one of the consequences of rain forest deforestation. Kill the rain forest ~ kill the snows of Kilimanjaro.

  33. Tom in Florida says:

    Roger Knights (22:19:01) : “Here’s a link to Wikipedia’s entry for prof. Lonnie Thompson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonnie_Thompson
    Here are extracts from that entry:
    ” …Lonnie Thompson has been awarded 53 research grants from the NSF, NASA, NOAA and NGS …” ”

    There in lies the smoking gun!

  34. Thomas Gough says:

    OT, but Anthony but this may be of interest. BBC today, Tuesday

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/8339652.stm

    One Tim Nicholson is made redundant; he claims because of his Climate Change views. His solicitor says:-
    “Essentially what the judgment says is that a belief in man-made climate change and the alleged resulting moral imperative is capable of being a philosophical belief and is therefore protected by the 2003 religion or belief regulations.” As in UK that is.

    TTG

  35. edaniel says:

    There’s a short summary in the NYT here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/world/africa/03melt.html

    Quoting bits from Georg Kaser attempting to set the information right:

    ” But Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the Institute for Geography of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, said that the ice measured was only a few hundred years old and that it had come and gone over centuries.

    What is more, he suggested that the recent melting had more to do with a decline in moisture levels than with a warming atmosphere.

    “Our understanding is that it is due to the slow drying out of ice,” Dr. Kaser said. “It’s about moisture fluctuation.” ”

    Quoting bits from Dr. Thompson that close the article:

    ” But Dr. Thompson emphasized that the melting of ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro was paralleled by retreats in ice fields elsewhere in Africa as well as in South America, Indonesia and the Himalayas.

    “It’s when you put those together that the evidence becomes very compelling,” he said. ”

    So, according to Dr. Thompson, the dominant physical phenomena and processes responsible for an observed response are unimportant and unworthy of consideration. Equally unsettling is the fact that he has linked all observed responses to a single, and in this case wrong, process.

    This is not science.

    When your Great Global Surface Temperature Totem, the Totem with the most Mojo ever in the entire history of the entire planet, loses its Mojo, “Go for the ice”.

  36. Bill Tuttle says:

    Rolling Stone magazine says that there is no person in the world that has spent more time above 18,000 feet than Lonnie Thompson.[4].

    He should consider using oxygen next time. He needs his few remaining brain cells…

  37. Patagon says:

    I wonder why comparative images so many times have one of very poor quality, in this case the most recent one.

    If we look at figure 5 of the paper at: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/30/0906029106.full.pdf , the most striking feature is the loss of ice on the upper section. That is revealing. A melting glacier tends to loss more ice at the lower tongue. Ice loss at the top is an indication of decreasing accumulation (less snowfalls, more sublimation).

    What is also revealing is the lack of attention to the most important feature of the site: We have a tiny glacier on top of a Huge volcano, with fumarole activity reported often elsewhere, yet there is not a single mention to geothermal heat, not even to rule it out … interesting.

  38. J von says:

    I am no scientist, but I find it interesting that they never present detailed analyses of temperature changes over time on Kilimanjaro, when they present these findings. Are they saying that the temperatures up on the mountain have risen so much that the snow/ice is melting away? If so, by how much and when? Is it warmer winters, or shorter winters and longer hotter summers. I don’t “get” the story.

  39. A few more things will be melting away and not necessarily ice. Among these Copenhagen. :-)

  40. I wonder how much smaller the ice cap was in 1912 compared to say, 1850, at the end of the Little Ice Age?

  41. Vincent says:

    Roger Knight:

    “Here are extracts from that entry:. .”

    The two interesting things that emerged from the biopic are

    1) The attempt to find some figleaf of credibility for Gore’s trashed documentary by inclusion of the words “Academy award winning documentary”- an exercise in futility and oxymoron if ever there was, and

    2) That no amount of campaign medals can help the blind to see – the consensus on kilamanjaro is that it is a land management problem. Solution to problem – build some nice meaty power stations so these poor people don’t have to grub up their environment for energy. Now that would be green.

  42. Glenn says:

    In Boxer’s capntrade markeup meeting this morning, Deleware’s Sen Carper used Kilimanjaro as an example of GW .
    It’s hard to watch this senatorial silliness, about as much as would be to watch a baby play with a razor blade. These irresponsible people either can’t or do not care to even try to get to the real state of scientific knowledge on the subject. Yet they are willing to further endanger the whole economy of the US. I have never seen such smug attitudes in any group in Congress as this bunch of Democrats. It borders on insanity.

  43. Ric Werme says:

    Science News has the story too, see http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/49038/title/Mount_Kilimanjaro_could_soon_be_bald

    They have a photo, credited to “Thompson et al./PNAS 2009″ that looks like a photoshop fake. There are some interesting ice photos from Kilimanjaro, the CNN story has some, but I wouldn’t be surprised if none of this photo is from there.

    I don’t have time to investigate further today, maybe tonight.

  44. me says:

    [snip false email address - university coward - see the policy page]

  45. John Nicklin says:

    “Although it’s tempting to blame the (Kilimanjaro) ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit.” Nature

  46. me says:

    hmpf, fine.

    @Anthony
    two questions:
    * have you read the actual paper? The authors described and discussed several possible factors in detail, inclusive percipitation, land use, cloudiness, etc etc. and of course, higher temperature. Why do you accuse them to do bad science?

    * where can I find your detailed analysis about the percipitation, cloudiness, temperature trends in this area and in the area of other tropic shrinking glaciers? What are your sources? Your little picture is a little bit embarrassing, isn’t it? Can you write up a nice post about it with all the stuff: sources, uncertinaty, alternatives, possibilities, etc etc.

    REPLY: The press release cites the paper but does not give access to it, you should ask the very same questions of journalists who use the press release without reading the paper. That is the real issue. Why give them a free pass while demanding that I’m the only one that must read the paper and not use the press release info?

    All the press stories say: the cause is global warming, if Thompson can’t get the message correct, then yes it is “bad science”. Further Thompson has refused to provide key data for replication of earlier studies.

    Read more here:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1552 (Thompson refuses data requests)

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2328 (Thompson and Gore)

    So yes, anytime a researcher refuses to provide data for replication, it is “bad science”. Don’t like that label? Get Thompson to produce the data.

    The picture is fine, it is from Wikipedia. If you don’t like it, I suggest you get it changed there.

    – Anthony

  47. Ken Roberts says:

    It is a stunning sight to see

    The ceremony

    Of the Donning of the Robes of certainty

    Mere mortals we

    Made witness to the birth

    Of a new spiritually

    Enfold the Earth

  48. LarryOldtimer says:

    Just goes to show that A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing ( people who have only a little knowledge about something often make big mistakes becuase they think they know more than they actually know … )

  49. me says:

    @Anthony
    I read an article about the paper in a German Newspaper, they give a link to the original paper and I read it. I was interested in it because I was remembering the other factors that were discussed here or also in other blogs like RealClimate. They authors discussed many points after presenting the results of the ice observations. There are surely many different factors which have an influence to the glaciers there. The authors concluded that percipitation and land use, cloudiness play a smaller role and warming plays a larger role. They give valid reasons for it. Other scientist may and do see it differently. That is science. This is good science. This is scientific discussion.

    This is also in the press release that you showed:

    “The findings point to the rise in global temperatures as the [b]most likely[/b] cause of the ice loss.
    Changes in cloudiness and precipitation may have also played a smaller, less important role, especially in recent decades, they added”

    But you say: IT’S THE EVAPOTRANSPIRATION STUPID! How can you be absolutely sure?

    PS: sorry, for my english.

    REPLY: read the two papers I cite in the article. here’s another from Nature in 2003

    http://www.nature.com/news/2003/031124/full/news031117-8.html (paywall)

    excerpt from Nature’s Betsy Mason, “Although it’s tempting to blame the (Kilimanjaro) ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit.”

    Forests at the base of Kilimanjaro have been steadily disappearing for decades.

    “Without the forests’ humidity,” Mason reports, “previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine.”

    – Anthony

  50. Hu McCulloch says:

    This AM’s local paper has an AP story reporting uncritically on the new PNAS article by Lonnie Thompson saying that the Kilimanjaro ice field melting is unprecedented in the past 11,700 years.

    The New York Times has a similar article, but the reporter, Sindya N. Bhanoo, also got a second opinion:

    But Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the Institute for Geology of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, said that the ice measured was only a few hundred years old and that it had come and gone over centuries.

    What is more, he suggested that the recent melting had more to do with a decline in moisture levels than with a warming atmosphere.

    “Our understanding is that it is due to the slow drying out of ice,” Dr. Kaser said. “It’s about moisture fluctuation.”

    The title of the NYT article itself expressed that the science is perhaps unsettled: “Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Ice Cap Continues Its Rapid Retreat, but the Cause is Debated.” (NYT 11/3/09).

  51. Glenn says:

    me (10:29:09) :

    “hmpf, fine.

    @Anthony
    two questions:
    * have you read the actual paper? The authors described and discussed several possible factors in detail, inclusive percipitation, land use, cloudiness, etc etc. and of course, higher temperature. Why do you accuse them to do bad science?

    * where can I find your detailed analysis about the percipitation, cloudiness, temperature trends in this area and in the area of other tropic shrinking glaciers? What are your sources? Your little picture is a little bit embarrassing, isn’t it? Can you write up a nice post about it with all the stuff: sources, uncertinaty, alternatives, possibilities, etc etc.”

    Sorry, that was five questions. Here’s one for you. What is “percipitation” and “uncertinaty”?

  52. me says:

    @Anthony
    you see, the other authors say the deforestation is more likely. Thompson says, warming is more likely. May be both is more or less correct and both factors play a role. That is my conclusion as layman.

    To be a university coward has its advantages: the article of Betty Mason cites also Thompson about the future of the glaciers and of course, it references Thompson et al in Science 2002. Maybe, it is not bad science what Thompson et al do (Science is almost always teamwork). Think about it.

    Thank you for the discussion.

    REPLY: It boils down to who do you trust, A guy who Al Gore says is his pal in AIT that won’t provide data for true scientific replication, or people who have done work independently of the hype surrounding Gore? Easy choice for me. Further weather stations in the area don’t show a significant regional signal.

    I can’t believe that you aren’t concerned by Thompson’s failure to provide data for replication, I think you choose to ignore it because his conclusion suits you. – Anthony

  53. Glenn says:

    The article referenced:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/30/0906029106.full.pdf+html

    Curiously, edited by none other than James Hanson. Authors include Thompson and Hardy.

    “Over recent decades there has been a continual transformation of the landscape surrounding Kilimanjaro into agricultural land, thus, unraveling large-scale climate
    forcing from regional forcing caused in part by landscape changes is difficult.”

    Of course, they *try* to do just that, although in this paper not much more than mention of “regional forcing” is mentioned. This ends up in the news as “global warming did it”.

  54. NoAstronomer says:

    How are conditions on the other peak?

  55. Glenn says:

    me (11:31:05) :

    “you see, the other authors say the deforestation is more likely. ”

    Scientifically speaking, what constitutes “likely” is a problem for those that want to attribute this glacial melting to global warming but are unable to quantify “likely”, or “some” or “part of”. If you can find where deforestation has been ruled out, or natural variability ruled out scientifically, or any combination (including “global warming”) quantified, you’re left with deforestation, what is actually *known* to have happened, and what is actually causing ice loss, which is not directly a temperature increase of the ice, but of other factors such as humidity. Reasons for these factors, such as air current patterns, past ocean temperatures, regional temperatures, have not been positively identified as being responsible, nor have changes (either known or inferred) in these factors been shown to be caused by “global warming”.

  56. me says:

    @Anthony
    I do not agree, it is NOT about trust. I do not believe. There is no black or white in science. I do not personalize research, results, and science. But, that is only my opinion. Actually, I believe only in two things: honesty in science. There is honesty, “believe” “me”, hihi. ;) And the big urge to find new things, to understand the world, to be better than the related work, to improve knowledge. In this environment, you cannot find a big conspiracy.

    Okay, again, thank you for the discussion and sorry, I have to improve my English.

    REPLY: “Honesty” in any form is moot without data verification. If Dr. Thompson wants trust, he should make his data available as requested. – Anthony

  57. Cold Lynx says:

    Strange it is
    The ice at Kilimanjaro was formed about 11.000 years ago AFTER the last ice age.
    When the earth was going into a warmer period.

  58. commonsense says:

    That’s why is called “CLIMATE CHANGE”, and not just “Global Warming”.

    CLIMATE is temperature PLUS HUMIDITY, RAINFALL, WINDS, CLOUDS , etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    An UNPRECEDENTED DROUGHT is certainly something than can be called “Climate Change”

  59. Kevin Kilty says:

    Ric Werme (10:00:37) :

    Science News has the story too, see http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/49038/title/Mount_Kilimanjaro_could_soon_be_bald

    They have a photo, credited to “Thompson et al./PNAS 2009″ that looks like a photoshop fake.

    I have never seen anything like it at its scale. Looks very suspicious, but this isn’t like 60 Minutes and the faked National Guard letters, so it’s not like there will be any reprecussions from a photoshopped picture. This is science after all.

  60. Kevin Kilty says:

    My significant other has a master’s in glacial geology from Michigan State and she thinks it’s a faker.

    REPLY: Clarify please, Anthony

  61. Kevin Kilty says:

    1) While it is difficult to get a sense of scale, she says it appears not thick enough (50m or more) to be a piece of a glacier. It is more like a short pile of snow on a gravel surface, rather than a tall piece of ice on a cobbled surface.

    2) The talus at the base of the object looks more like snow than ice. One would not expect talus at the base of a remnant receding through sublimation. The layers in the thing make it look more like a portion of a cut though snow with a rotary.

    3) She says that ice blocks separated from a receding glacier that persist and make kettles are not shaped thin and tall like this one. These isolated remnants are more block shaped. (My engineer/physicist eye tells me that sharp edges vanish quickly with melting, but sublimation can make scalloped shapes with some sharpness to the surface. )

    4) I don’t see the shadows as being right. The shadows on the ice remnant seem to come from Sun at a high angle, almost overhead, but the shadows on banks of the gullies come from a lower sun ahead of the camera.

    5) Also patterns in the clouds appear to change right next to the ice above it and on its left side. It is almost like someone used the healing tool on these areas. At the interface between the ice and the soil there are many long horizontal trends, whereas the soil surface elsewhere is blocky, and covered with cobbles.

    Perhaps it’s all a coincidence. I wish someone who knows more about editting images would weigh-in.

  62. Glenn says:

    Kevin Kilty (20:14:10) :

    Ric Werme (10:00:37) :

    “Science News has the story too, see http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/49038/title/Mount_Kilimanjaro_could_soon_be_bald

    They have a photo, credited to “Thompson et al./PNAS 2009″ that looks like a photoshop fake.

    I have never seen anything like it at its scale. Looks very suspicious, but this isn’t like 60 Minutes and the faked National Guard letters, so it’s not like there will be any reprecussions from a photoshopped picture. This is science after all.”

    Since the date of the article, text of the article and caption indicates the pic is from the current online paper ahead of print and since the pic is not in the full access online paper or supplemental, it was not from “Thompson et al/PNAS 2009″.

    It may have been provided to the reporter by one of the authors, the only pics I found are from “recent fieldwork” on Hardy’s website:

    http://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/tanzania/oct09/

    Closest is picture 26 in “recent fieldwork”. Not quite as “shocking” as the sciencenews pic.

    REPLY:
    I did an extensive search for this photo in PNAS in the orginal article, plus the SI for the article,

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/30/0906029106.full.pdf

    http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2009/11/02/0906029106.DCSupplemental/0906029106SI.pdf

    plus the Ohio State Newsroom, and I found it here:

    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/lonkilipnas.htm

    It doesn’t look quite the same, but it does appear to be the same ice structure, perhaps taken at different times from a slightly different angle, possibly in a different season. – I don’t see any reason to suspect a fake. – Anthony

  63. Glenn says:

    “This Ohio State University handout image shows one of a growing number of isolated remnants of ice spires that were once full glaciers in the crater of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.”

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-11/03/content_8907855.htm

    “Credit: Ohio State University”

    http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/3109/kilimanjaro-snow-vanish-20-years

    So it appears that the sciencenews caption was misguiding, but probably not intentionally. It appears that if anyone photoshopped the pic it was no one in the press, and since it appears to have been officially sourced to the press from Ohio U or Thompson, it is genuine.

  64. Kevin Kilty says:

    Ric Werme and WUWT:

    I got up this morning and dug through older issues of American Scientist. There is an article by Mote and Kaser (Vol 95 July-August 2007) which shows photos of these glaciers, and there are occasional features exactly like this one. They are close to the glacier edge, and the way this photo was taken it looks like a completely isolated feature, but I withdraw any suggestion I made that it is fake.

  65. Kevin Kilty says:

    However, my significant other returned from her walk early this morning to explain to me one again that these “glaciers” are only about 40 m tall, and are 10m too thin for the internal deformation required of a glacier. Thus, technically they are “snow fields” and not glaciers. This probably explains why they look so like a pile of snow, with granular talus at the base, rather than like a block of ice. She grumbled that anyone with a special theory to prove always points to these snow fields (like Saint Mary’s Glacier–a snowfield in Colorado) and calls them glaciers, but they are not glaciers.

    So there. We are all correct.

  66. hotrod says:

    e procurement software comparison (01:57:19) :

    Spam

    Larry

    [Thanks. Trashed. ~ E]

  67. bob says:

    Funny all this argument over if it’s a glaciers or compacted snow fields if land use has contributed to the melt and perhaps not global warming. Makes me wonder about the sanity of everyone when all the ice is gone who gives a rats back side. There will simply be water shortages for folks. Climate change is real in the long run if coastal cities go under water supplies disappear and whole migrations of millions of people start immigrating all over the world will it matter if it’s CO2 or deforestation any combination of human caused climate influences. The crap still hits the fan.

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