Unprecedented Glacial Chutzpah – just in time for IPCC AR5

From the European Geosciences Union  comes some unprecedented chutzpah with this statement from one of the authors at the end of the press release:

“This study has been conducted with scientific motivations, but if the insight it provides can motivate political decisions to mitigate anthropogenic impact on climate and glacier retreat, it will be an important step forward,”

He even talks about how “Our study is important in the run-up to the next IPCC report”.

arabatel_7111

Antoine Rabatel

Sheesh, what an ego. I’m guessing this kid is linked with some activist NGO, such as Donna Laframboise has pointed out about the IPCC. Meanwhile, it seems some non ego driven science suggests that Andean glacier advance and decline is linked to Pacific ocean cycles: 10,000 years of Andean glacier melt explained

Unprecedented glacier melting in the Andes blamed on climate change

Glaciers in the tropical Andes have been retreating at increasing rate since the 1970s, scientists write in the most comprehensive review to date of Andean glacier observations. The researchers blame the melting on rising temperatures as the region has warmed about 0.7°C over the past 50 years (1950-1994). This unprecedented retreat could affect water supply to Andean populations in the near future. These conclusions are published today in The Cryosphere, an Open Access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

The international team of scientists – uniting researchers from Europe, South America and the US – shows in the new paper that, since the 1970s, glaciers in tropical Andes have been melting at a rate unprecedented in the past 300 years. Globally, glaciers have been retreating at a moderate pace as the planet warmed after the peak of the Little Ice Age, a cold period lasting from the 16th to the mid-19th century. Over the past few decades, however, the rate of melting has increased steeply in the tropical Andes. Glaciers in the mountain range have shrunk by an average of 30-50% since the 1970s, according to Antoine Rabatel, researcher at the Laboratory for Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics in Grenoble, France, and lead author of the study.

Glaciers are retreating everywhere in the tropical Andes, but the melting is more pronounced for small glaciers at low altitudes, the authors report. Glaciers at altitudes below 5,400 metres have lost about 1.35 metres in ice thickness (an average of 1.2 metres of water equivalent [see note]) per year since the late 1970s, twice the rate of the larger, high-altitude glaciers.

“Because the maximum thickness of these small, low-altitude glaciers rarely exceeds 40 metres, with such an annual loss they will probably completely disappear within the coming decades,” says Rabatel.

The researchers further report that the amount of rainfall in the region did not change much over the past few decades and, therefore, cannot account for changes in glacier retreat. Instead, climate change is to blame for the melting: regional temperatures increased an average of 0.15°C per decade over the 1950-1994 period.

“Our study is important in the run-up to the next IPCC report, coming out in 2013,” says Rabatel. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has pointed out that tropical glaciers are key indicators of recent climate change as they are particularly sensitive to temperature changes. The tropical Andes host 99% of all tropical glaciers in the world, most of them in Peru.

The research is also important to anticipate the future behaviour of Andean glaciers and the impact of their accelerated melting on the region. “The ongoing recession of Andean glaciers will become increasingly problematic for regions depending on water resources supplied by glacierised mountain catchments, particularly in Peru,” the scientists write. Without changes in precipitation, the region could face water shortages in the future.

The Santa River valley in Peru will be most affected, as its hundreds of thousands of inhabitants heavily rely on glacier water for agriculture, domestic consumption, and hydropower. Large cities, such as La Paz in Bolivia, could also face shortages. “Glaciers provide about 15% of the La Paz water supply throughout the year, increasing to about 27% during the dry season,” says Alvaro Soruco, a Bolivian researcher who took part in the study.

In their comprehensive review of Andean glaciers, the scientists synthesised data collected over several decades, some dating as far back as the 1940s. “The methods we used to monitor glacier changes in this region include field observations of glacier mass balance, and remote-sensing measurements based on aerial photographs and satellite images for glacier surface and volume changes,” explains Rabatel.

The study takes into account data collected for glaciers in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, covering a total of almost a thousand square kilometres. This corresponds to about 50% of the total area covered by glaciers in the tropical Andes in the early 2000s.

The research was conducted to provide the scientific community with a comprehensive overview of the status of glaciers in the tropical Andes and determine the rate of retreat and identify potential causes for the melting. But the authors hope the results can have a wider impact.

“This study has been conducted with scientific motivations, but if the insight it provides can motivate political decisions to mitigate anthropogenic impact on climate and glacier retreat, it will be an important step forward,” Rabatel concludes.

###

Note

Glacier mass balance is the difference between ice accumulation and ablation (melting and sublimation) in a glacier. Scientists express the annual mass balance in metre water equivalent (m w.e.). A loss of 1.2 m w.e. corresponds to a reduction of about 1.35 metres in ice thickness.

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56 Responses to Unprecedented Glacial Chutzpah – just in time for IPCC AR5

  1. Rich says:

    ““Glaciers provide about 15% of the La Paz water supply throughout the year, increasing to about 27% during the dry season,” and glaciers do that – by melting.

    So the glacier works like a sort of dam. Build a dam.

  2. Richard111 says:

    I understand that all glaciers outside the polar circles are under 4,000 years old. That must have been the last heat from whatever level melted the massive ice sheets over the NH some 12,000 years ago. Surely the ideal optimum global temperature should be close to the temperature of 4,000 years ago. /sarc

  3. davidmhoffer says:

    In their comprehensive review of Andean glaciers, the scientists synthesised data collected over several decades, some dating as far back as the 1940s.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    With some data as much as 73 years old the researchers were able to conclude that the glaciers are retreating faster than at any time in the last 300 years. Only in climate science is it possible to draw conclusions about data you don’t have.

  4. Toml says:

    Wait, is the water supply from melting old glacier ice, or is it just from melting the previous winter’s snow? Unless snow stops falling in the winter and melting in the spring, I don’t see how downstream water supply is affected.

  5. Les Johnson says:

    Thier results match well with the World Glacier Monitoring System.

    http://www.wgms.ch/mbb/sum11.html

    That said, globally, in the period 2010-2011, nearly 25% of glaciers gained mass. Strangely, most of the mass gain was in the US and Antarctica.

    Globally, the ice mass loss is pretty linear, except for an inflection point about the year 2000.

  6. “TROPICAL GLACIERS are key indicators of recent climate change” (my bold)
    The very name suggests that they are key indicators we are/were coming out of a cold period since the tropics and glaciers don’t seem like very good pals. Unless of course you believe glaciers don’t need most of the year to be frozen and snowing.

    I live near and climb on the Columbia Icefields and can’t equate the reasonable temperature for most of the year with continuously existing icesheets. Even at this lattitude, the glaciers seem more like an anachronism than a permanant fixture.

  7. Dave in the Hot North East of Scotland says:

    “the scientists synthesised data collected over several decades, some dating as far back as the 1940s.”
    ….scientific motivation….. does not necessarily equate with scientific methodology….obviously.

  8. Tad says:

    I thought I’d read somewhere about de-forestation having an impact on the Andes glaciers. Does anyone else recall this? Could be I’m just getting confused with Kilimanjaro or some other place.

  9. davidmhoffer says:

    regional temperatures increased an average of 0.15°C per decade over the 1950-1994 period.
    >>>>>>>>>>>

    A study released in 2013 only uses temperature data up until 1994. Something wrong with the last 18 years of data? Is it missing?

  10. It was my general understanding that a glaciers mass growth or loss was based on the amount of snow that had fallen at its source many hundreds of years in the past, and that seasonal weather moderate lower altitude melt rate.

  11. Les Johnson says:

    Interesting. The GMS changes its past records.

    http://www.wgms.ch/mbb/sum11.html

    No positive GMB gains in the one above, but go to:

    http://www.wgms.ch/mbb/sum09.html

    You get a different chart. All three positive years are gone in 2011, and the global mass balance decreases MORE. In the 2009 and 2008 chart, the global loss in the year 2000 was about 6000 mm w.e. In 2011, the 2000 loss is near 7000 mm w.e.

    In a totally unrelated question; where did the accountants go, after Enron collapsed?

  12. Don’t understand Yiddish, sorry.

  13. amoorhouse says:

    ” but the melting is more pronounced for small glaciers at low altitudes,”

    Well knock me down with a feather…..

  14. DesertYote says:

    Tad
    January 22, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I thought I’d read somewhere about de-forestation having an impact on the Andes glaciers. Does anyone else recall this? Could be I’m just getting confused with Kilimanjaro or some other place.
    ####

    I have read papers regarding foliage changes impacting rainfall patterns in Amazonia. One, I had ran across about 8 years ago, while researching the chemistry of the Rio Meta watershed. I’ll see if I can scare that one up. BTW, the fish tank I created from this research was a moderately foliaged jungle stream biotype with a PH of 4.5, CO2 (plant food) generated in tank.

  15. MarkW says:

    Gee, what else happened in the 1970’s that could affect the temperature of mountians within a few miles of the Pacific? Could it have been the PDO shifting to it’s positive phase?

  16. son of mulder says:

    As I understand it the claim is that anthropogenic CO2 has raised global average temperature by 0.8 deg C in the last 100 years. Also the lapse rate is about 0.8 deg C / 125 metres so CO2 ought to be responsible for the shortening of glaciers by 125 meters in elevation the last 100 years. What caused the extra shortening?

  17. jaypan says:

    “scientific motivated” is not the same as “scientific” obviously.

  18. Greg says:

    “The methods we used to monitor glacier changes in this region include field observations of glacier mass balance”

    Well that is a scientific falacy if ever there was.

    They clearly have not been observing the _mass_ of the glaciers. So what they have been doing is making measurements (or more likely guestimates) of some other physical quantities. From Anthony’s note we see this includes water run-off and sublimation (evaporation directly from ice to vapour).

    The former could be estimated from flow in a river, though this will only be approximate at best.
    But how did they make “field observations” of the sublimation??? One wonders.

    Aerial photographs seems a reasonable way to estimate area though guessing the thickness is then required in order to estimate any change in mass.

    The author seems to have clearly show his colours on “global warming” (meaning AGW) the function he sees in this study in helping the need to push for action. Use of the alarmist keyword “unprecidented” when the period of study is a microcosm of geological history is another give away.

    Yet another activist “scientist”.

  19. geronimo says:

    I must look into this glacier thing more. Here’s the thing, global warming will cause more water vapour to go into the atmosphere, which should cause more precipitation, so far I’m on the same page as Julia Slingo Chief Scientist at the Met Office. 5400 metres is around 17,000 ft and the lapse rate is around 2C/thousand feet, so that glaciers they’re looking at will be around 34C cooler than ground level, i.e. in an ambient temperature below 0C, even taking into account the stonking 0.8C rise we’ve seen over the last 150 years. So the glaciers can only be losing ice for one reason. It’s not snowing. Back to the second sentence, why isn’t it snowing when more water vapour is being put into the atmosphere by the warming seas? Anyone know?

  20. Les Johnson says:

    This is a more complete record of GMB, going back to 1988.

    http://www.wgms.ch/gmbb.html

    As late as 2009, the positive years are still there.

  21. The people who comment here are great. In less than one hour they made this report look like
    it was a kindergarden project!!!!!
    Alfred

  22. mkelly says:

    “The researchers blame the melting on rising temperatures as the region has warmed about 0.7°C over the past 50 years (1950-1994).”

    1950+50=2000 not 1994. What happened in the other 6 years?

    What is altitude of the freeze line for this region? I’ll bet there has been a reduction in cloud cover over the time frame they are talking about.

  23. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    Well several hit this nail on the head,

    “The researchers further report that the amount of rainfall in the region did not change much over the past few decades and, therefore, cannot account for changes in glacier retreat.”

    So…there is no threat to the local water supplies at all because it arrives as rain and ends up as liquid in the rivers. If it freezes in winter and is only available in spring, that is a minus, not a plus because La Paz uses water all year round. Like the man said, build a reservoir. Oh, sorry, they already have one.

    http://www.royalhaskoning.com/en-GB/NewsAndDocumentation/Pages/NewdrinkingwatersystemforLaPaz,Bolivia.aspx

    And it is filled ‘during rainy season!’ *Shock* *Gasp*

    If the glaciers are shrinking then the water is being provided at a rate that exceeds its accumulation. And global warming is a problem because….?? So it is melting away a water reserve that is not ‘normally’ available?

    The drying up of rivers if the glaciers melt:
    Typical rubbish logic applied with sciency imprecision to an imagined but non-existent threat making it appear that a melting glacier will interrupt the rainfall in an area where the rainfall is not interrupted. It started with Monbiot talking on his running-dog BBC about how, if the glaciers in the Himalayas were to melt, the Yellow River, the Mekong and many others would ‘dry up’ and all the crops in SE Asia would fail and the whole region would become a desert. *Shock* *Horror*

    Welcome to ‘Guardian and BBC documentary science’. Whatever happened to ‘scientific’ socialism, guys? Has it become socialism with a dash of scienciness? This is your ‘revolution’? ‘Turning’ vain imaginings into future facts? Better let someone else take a turn.

  24. outtheback says:

    Average loss rate in ice thickness 1.35 m since the late 70’s, call it 1980 as start year.
    The glaciers at this altitude are rarely thicker then 40 mtr (as per article above).
    33 years (1980 – 2012 incl.) x 1.35 m equals ?
    According to their own statement and measurements all (most) of these low level glaciers should have been gone some years ago, since they are still there it would seem that the average melt rate over this period is not as much as they say.
    Wonder what the people in this area did for water during the MWP and RWP when the same would have happened.

  25. When interpreted correctly, glaciers and moraines can serve as paleo-thermometers of ancient climates and are thus very useful. However, when they are interpreted incorrectly, they can lead to erroneous conclusions and when coupled with computer modeling (garbage in, garbage out) you can make up virtually any story you like. Although I haven’t had a chance to read the full paper yet, the news releases about it contain a lot of indicators that this paper is full of bad interpretations.
    Glaciers leave a ‘footprint’ (i.e., moraines) when they are stable at one position for any length of time. If a glacier advances over an older moraine, it destroy it, but if a glacier retreats from a moraine, it remains as a footprint of where it has been and, if it is old enough, can commonly be dated using isotope measurements (e.g., 14C, 10Be). Very young moraines can be dated using a variety of other methods. So if you have several moraines marking former positions of a glacier, what does that tell you? Each moraine tells you that the ice was stable at that position long enough to accumulate a ridge of rock debris brought to the moraine by ice movement, much like a conveyor belt. The space between successive moraines records periods of glacial recession. But here is where great care is needed to correctly interpret the moraines. Climate and glaciers do not behave in a linear fashion, if they retreat for awhile, they don’t continue that forever but advance and retreat back and forth as climate changes. Glaciers on Mt. Baker in the Washington Cascade Range advanced far downvalley during the 1880 to 1915 cool period. They retreated well upvalley during the 1915 to 1945 warm period and then readvanced during the 1945 to 1977 cool period, well downvalley from the 1940s ice margin. The climate warmed from 1978 to 1998 and the ice again retreated upvalley. So if you now measure the distance between the 1915 moraine (marking the farthest maximum downvalley extent of ice early in the century at the end of a 30-year cold period) and the present ice margin (marking the minimum ict extent at the end of a 20 year warm period) you could calculate a ‘rate of retreat’ that would be meaningless To get a meaningful rate, you need to compare maximum ice positions at the end of a cool period with ice positions at the end of a later cool period, or compare minimum ice positions at the end of a warm period with ice positions at the end of a later warm period.
    So what do they compare in this paper? Comparison is made between ice margins at 1820, the maximum ice extent at the end of the very cool Dalton Minimum (1790 to 1820) and the present minimum after the most recent warm period (1978-1998). Is it any surprise that there is a difference? This doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been any overall ice recession, it just means that the numbers they get for retreat rates are not meaningful.
    Glaciers all over the world retreated rapidly during warming of the Holocene. How do they reconstruct past tempe ratures for the Holocene? Guess what—climate models (not real data) complete with all the assumptions made in computer models (garbage in, garbage out). They even claim to have “applied past-climate models to find the exact causes of Telata glacier’s variations in volume.” In other words, they think they can find the cause from a computer model. Not good science.
    What about the claim that “Many observations indeed prove that they (glaciers) have been receding substantially for several decades.” No surprises here—glaciers did indeed retreat during the 1978-1998 warm period and there has been overall recession since the 1880-1915 glacier maximum. No big deal—we’re still thawing out from the Little Ice Age of several hundred years ago (at a rate of about a degree per century) and glaciers have been oscillating back and forth during this time. The claim that glacial retreat is “unprecedented” is pure nonsense not supported by the geologic record.
    The bottom line here is that although the paper probably contains some good 10Be data on Holocene moraines and recent observations of modern glaciers, their interpretations of the data are badly flawed.

  26. outtheback:

    re your post at January 22, 2013 at 9:44 am.

    Yes, you are right. And peer review would have rejected the paper from publication on the basis of that fact alone. But this paper was – as its authors admit – for use in the next IPCC Report and, therefore, it was subjected to pal review.

    Richard

  27. DonShockley says:

    “The researchers blame the melting on rising temperatures as the region has warmed about 0.7°C over the past 50 years (1950-1994).”

    Nothing says quality data in a study like not being able to count 1950-1994=45 years (inclusive) and stopping the study just before the non-warming of “the past 18 years”. How do you skip nearly 40% of the stated “past 50 years”?

    Step 1: Decide on the results of your study
    Step 2: Manipulate the data, throw out what doesn’t fit
    Step 3: Publish study via Press Release
    Step 4: Duck the FOIA request for the data
    Step 5: Blame Big Oil and their paid deniers

  28. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    “…the scientists synthesized data collected over several decades, some dating as far back as the 1940s. ”

    I call Bullshit! Making up data in a study designed to support an agenda is not science! It is however a hallmark of ‘Climastrology’! I’m just surprised Michael Mann isn’t one of the authors. We need to call Bullshit on these science abortions every time they occur.

  29. Les Johnson says:

    Don Easterbrook: To add to what you said, this paper also says that natural variability plays a large part in glacier length. In the case of Mt Baker, kilometer length changes can occur without changes in climate, just year to year variability.

    http://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/roe/Publications/RoeONeal_JGlac.pdf

    They also say that in the case of Mt Baker, precipitation accounts for 2-4 times more length change than temperature. In other glaciers, this ratio is reversed.

  30. gymnosperm says:

    Les Johnson says:

    January 22, 2013 at 7:59 am

    ================================================
    Great link.

    The asymmetry with growth in Antarctica, Alaska, and the Cascades is serious food for thought in light of the asymmetry at LGM. A mile on Manitoba and Siberia unscathed…

  31. Theo Goodwin says:

    “The Santa River valley in Peru will be most affected, as its hundreds of thousands of inhabitants heavily rely on glacier water for agriculture, domestic consumption, and hydropower. Large cities, such as La Paz in Bolivia, could also face shortages. “Glaciers provide about 15% of the La Paz water supply throughout the year, increasing to about 27% during the dry season,” says Alvaro Soruco, a Bolivian researcher who took part in the study.”

    Can we once and for all get past this idiocy? If you know nothing about rivers, at least look at a map of a river and soak in what you see. Let’s take the Mississippi as an example. Suppose that you traveled to the source of the Mississippi. The source would be that smallest part of the river that is not a tributary. How much of the volume of the river comes from the source? Maybe one tenth of one percent. The same is true in the Andes. The melting of the glaciers will have little impact on the volume of the river because the river is fed mostly by the water sheds that it travels through.

    What the author claims might be true for the few people living on the very highest fertile land on the side of the mountain. However, his claim should not be about the river but about that particular water shed.

  32. Jit says:

    Playing a little naive melody here, but:
    If a glacier is shrinking, then is not the quantity of water arriving down at the foothills higher? And if the glacier is growing, then less water is appearing downstream. If so, then a return to growing glaciers would mean less available water.

    Unless the losses are weighted towards sublimation.

    Mind you, I would hazard a guess that it would be child’s play to plot glacier losses against deforestation to achieve a similar “link” whether causal or coincidental.

  33. Theo Goodwin says:

    Jit says:
    January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Given the reasoning, such as it is, of the author, you are exactly correct. A shrinking glacier would mean more water downstream and a growing glacier would mean less. Nonsense.

    This shows what graduate education has come to in the so-called field of climate science.

  34. DavidG says:

    The moderator’s ignorance of astrology is exposed when he tries to compare bogus climate science to it. Given that astrology was developed by virtually every civilization on earth and indeed was the foundation for modern astronomy and science, your intended remarks about bad science don’t fly, but rebound on yourself. Find some other comparison please. If it wasn’t for the early astrological studies we wouldn’t have made it to Kepler, Newton, Galileo. Modern physics, finds the astrological maxim, as above so below, useful and true and as we enter into the new Faster than light paradigm, which means signal non-locality, we will find ,many things previously assumed impossible actually are true. As none of us know the whole truth about the universe, Horatio, we will all find many things that don’t fit into our ‘philosophies’!

  35. Theo Goodwin says:

    “The Cryosphere, an Open Access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU)”

    Obviously, that journal is not peer reviewed. And it has no shame.

    Would climate scientists please stop thinking of rivers as irrigation ditches with a manmade source of water at one end? Rivers are the watersheds that they flow through. If the watershed is healthy then the river is healthy. If the river is not healthy then the watershed is not healthy.

  36. Outtheback says:

    richardscourtney says:
    January 22, 2013 at 9:54 am

    We must of course assume that was is meant is that there is now 40 mtrs left. By stating that the glaciers are seldom more then 40 mtrs thick gives the impression that that was the starting point.
    The people there may need to adapt over time.
    The Homo variations have done nothing but adapt since coming out of the woods and by the look of it that is the only (other then death and tax) certainty we have: Adapt or disappear.

  37. rogerknights says:

    The ablation rate of glaciers is affected not only by temperature, but also by relative humidity, cloudiness, and windiness. Dryer, sunnier, and windier weather encourage sublimation.

  38. TomRude says:

    The big laugh came when I looked at the Figure 1b supposed to represent the atmospheric circulation over the region… “westerlies” and “trades”. That’s all. Not a single synoptic analysis during winter, summer, El Nino and La Nina. Nothing, zip, nada.
    A few year old study along the coast of Chili showed that along with higher pressure and colder temperatures affecting the low lying coastal regions in the recent period, mountain regions were experiencing warmer temperatures. It was an obvious case of dynamical warming as a consequence of reinforced MPHs coming from Antarctica, displacing vigorously more warm air along the flank of the coastal mountains…
    Rabatel’s Figure 10 showing the evolution of the freezing line elevation, trending upward since the 1970 climatic shift simply likely betrays a similar reinforcement of MPHs displacing warmer air upward, in turn melting local glaciers, hardly a confirmation of CAGW… in fact quite the opposite.
    As for the glacier/water source claim, this is a rehash of the IPCC/WWF Himalaya claim that was debunked by geographers such as Martine Tabeaud.
    As much as Rabatel’s data are interesting, the assumptions derived from them are preposterous, unsubstanciated and reveal a lack of understanding of meteorological events. Coming from the LGGE, so often critical of Leroux, one can only burst laughing!

  39. Les Johnson says:
    To add to what you said, this paper also says that natural variability plays a large part in glacier length. In the case of Mt Baker, kilometer length changes can occur without changes in climate, just year to year variability.
    dje: THE FLUCTUATION OF MT BAKER GLACIERS IS TIED DIRECTLY TO TEMPERATURE AND THE PDO AND ARE THUS GOOD PALEOTHERMOMETERS. (See Easterbrook, 2011)

    http://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/roe/Publications/RoeONeal_JGlac.pdf

    dje: They also say that in the case of Mt Baker, precipitation accounts for 2-4 times more length change than temperature. In other glaciers, this ratio is reversed.

    DJE: THIS IS ESSENTIALLY A MODEL STUDY. I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY DON’T JUST USE ACTUAL SNOWFALL AND TEMPERATURE RECORDS, WHICH ARE READILY AVAILABLE. THESE RECORDS CONTAIN REAL DATA, NOT ASSUMED, SIMULATED MODEL INPUT.

  40. Jimbo says:

    “Unprecedented glacier melting in the Andes blamed on climate change”

    Unprecedented glacier melting in the Alps. Is it cherry picking season yet?

    The stupefying pace of glacier melt in the 1940s

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/24/the-stupefying-pace-of-glacier-melt-in-the-1940s/

  41. Climate Ace says:

    [snip -rewrite that without the snark -mod]

  42. Climate Ace says:

    TG

    While your points about watershed have some validity, the significant point about glacial meltwater is the season during which it flows. It is the growing season and thus the irrigation season. This may, or may not, depending on where the glaciers are, coincide with peak rainfall and runoff. If not, then glacial meltwater is an especially valuable economic component of a watershed’s water stocks and flows.

    I thought that the suggestion to put dams where glaciers used (upstring) to be is not without merit.

    Of course the news cameras would have fun filming footage of advancing glaciers destroying dam walls.

    Spectacular stuff.

  43. Theo Goodwin says:

    Climate Ace says:
    January 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm
    TG

    “While your points about watershed have some validity, the significant point about glacial meltwater is the season during which it flows. It is the growing season and thus the irrigation season.”

    The contribution of glacial melt to the volume of water found in a river is important for maybe the first 50 miles. At the point of 50 miles or so, there will begin another watershed that will most likely contribute far more water to the river than the glacier ever could. Given a short river of, say, 300 miles length, we are talking about as many as six different watersheds. To make inferences from glacier flow to the volume of water found in the entire river is to ignore the other watersheds and is quite ludicrous. If your topic is glacial melt then your claims should be restricted to the first one or two watersheds.

    A glacier is just one watershed among many for a given river and the level of glacial melt is no more nor less important than, say, changes in cultivation practices in the other watersheds. Glaciers are dramatic and make good propaganda, of course.

  44. Theo Goodwin says:

    DavidG says:
    January 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

    You are not going to revive astrology here. Astrologers’ forecasts or whatever you want to call them are not falsifiable. In addition, the theories used by astrologers’ to make forecasts do not use accepted physical theory in making the forecasts. Finally, all astrology is based on Aristotle’s claim that there is an “unmoved mover” who sets in motion the planets. We know that last one is false, right?

  45. D. B. Stealey says:

    The other Green…

    Look at what’s turning Davos delegates green with envy:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-01-22/what-really-matters-davos

  46. sophocles says:

    Advance, retreat … so what?
    Isn’t that what glaciers do?
    The Franz Josef Glacier (New Zealand) started advancing again in 1997, just when it was supposed to be getting hotter.
    In 2008, it started retreating, just when it was supposed to be starting to get a little cooler (according to Dr P Jones of UEA in an interview with the BBC on 5th Feb 2008, it was cooling at a rate of 0.3 degrees per decade then).

    Advance, retreat … so what?
    It’s what glaciers do …

  47. Lil Fella from OZ says:

    Unless I am mistaken, it is extremely difficult to make a lot of food without water and sunlight. These ‘super environmentalist’ will have to invent something to replace this old idea or humans are going to die in greater numbers. Oh, I nearly overlooked the fact that this is what their long term elitist view wants.

  48. Climate Ace says:

    TG

    The contribution of glacial melt to the volume of water found in a river is important for maybe the first 50 miles. At the point of 50 miles or so, there will begin another watershed that will most likely contribute far more water to the river than the glacier ever could. Given a short river of, say, 300 miles length, we are talking about as many as six different watersheds. To make inferences from glacier flow to the volume of water found in the entire river is to ignore the other watersheds and is quite ludicrous. If your topic is glacial melt then your claims should be restricted to the first one or two watersheds.

    There are such huge variations in watersheds, regiona climates, drainage systems and flow regimes that it is possible to argue almost anything from general principles. So, in a sense, both our points of view are quite sustainable in principle.

    This includes the critical importance of glacial meltwater during the summer irrigation season where that irrigation season occurs during the local dry season.

  49. Theo Goodwin says:

    Climate Ace says:
    January 22, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    You have addressed not one word that I wrote. Do not flatter yourself by responding to me again.

  50. Marc says:

    “Sheesh, what an ego.” -AW

    Hard to know what to say in response to that.

  51. Gamecock says:

    Lil Fella from OZ says:
    January 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Unless I am mistaken, it is extremely difficult to make a lot of food without water and sunlight.

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

    You can make NO food under/on a glacier. I hate glaciers. They make land unusable. Why cry about their disappearance?

  52. MFKBoulder says:

    To Theo Goodwin says:
    January 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm
    …….
    Did you bother to take a look at a map?
    Google would do it.
    The catchment in discussion is only 20 miles upstream from LaPaz.

  53. Tony Mach says:

    “Glaciers are retreating everywhere in the tropical Andes, but the melting is more pronounced for small glaciers at low altitudes, the authors report.”

    Low altitude small glaciers in the Andes, they say?

    Two words I say: Cherry picking.

  54. Betapug says:

    Lykke Anderson takes a closer look at the specific case of the late IPPC posterboy (postergirl? posterperson?) Chakaltaya Glacier and declining local temps and comes up with the more likely explanation of El Nino secondary effects: http://www.inesad.edu.bo/mmblog/mm_20090323.htm

  55. DavidG says:

    Theo Goodwin- you are out of your depth. The system created by humans known as astrology on the funny papers is not what I am discussing, obviously! I am discussing the discipline of the ancients who studied all the phenomena of the heavens they observed, using probably very good methodology to record all this for posterity and they helped give us the scientific method to boot. Don’t be too quick to ridicule what’s beyond your understanding. Are you saying that you know that some kind of astrology is impossible? That would be foolish. Astrology really, is the study of cycles of patterns of recognizing signal in the noise. The ‘as above so below’ maxim means that these people believed there was a connection of the outer universe to the inner man. Are you saying you know better or that they were deluded fools? Astrology is not a theory to be falsified, you sound like a crank here. It is a system of knowledge, a field of exploration. Avant garde physics actually supports the astrological intuition that’s why so many physicists are Platonists. From John Bell to Aspect to Clauser to the superluminal gravity theories of today that call for signal nonlocality, meaning telepathy, remote viewing etc. All that is fact not fiction>

    Who do you think made the Renaissance? It was thinkers like Marsilio Ficino, the first humanist astrologer and author, translator, poet who led the Platonic Academy in Milan at age 19, founded by Cosimo di Medici. The greatest artists of the age studied there. It was Ficino who first translated Plato to make Dante and all the rest possible. From Michelangelo to Titian to Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, they all studied what you scorn as nonsense. History as spoken as to what the results are. Without Ficino no Renaissance, without astrology, no Ficino!

  56. DavidG says:

    Theo Goodwin- I have to stomp this last error
    “Finally, all astrology is based on Aristotle’s claim that there is an “unmoved mover” who sets in motion the planets. We know that last one is false, right?”
    Where did you come up with this astounding ignorance? You think Aristotle invented Astrology??
    No, that is not right, it is not even wrong, to borrow a phrase! Your assumption is so moronic there’s no way to answer it. Astrology goes back thousands of years, When the first megalith mounds were made and the barrows and finally the Giza pyramids, astrology was already old. There is a place in Israel made of 40,000 stones arranged in a Mandala at the center that can only be seen from space that is focused on Sirius. It was built circa 3,000 BC. They knew astrology then. of course it changed as human thinking changed and they never maybe , knew the mechanisms. But do physicists now? No. And there’s a hell of a lot things we don’t know so stop looking down your nose. You are just an interloper as far as science goes compared to these unnamed people.

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