Claim: ‘temperature, not snowfall, driving tropical glacier size’, but Climategate emails suggest otherwise

[UPDATE: and it's not just Climategate email, see the analysis by McIntyre added below - Anthony ]

From Dartmouth College and the irascible Lonnie Thompson of OSU, who still ‘publicly’ thinks  in PR that Kilmanjaro and Peru’s Quelccaya glaciers are affected by temperature, not sublimation due to lack of precipitation. See below for the Climategate email that makes nonsense of the temperature claim made in the press release below. Also of note is Thompson’s claim that “PERUVIAN GLACIER MAY VANISH IN FIVE YEARS” made on February 15, 2007, and it was still there in 2012 by this photography.

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Temperature, not snowfall, has been driving the fluctuating size of Peru’s Quelccaya Ice Cap, whose dramatic shrinkage in recent decades has made it a symbol for global climate change, a Dartmouth-led study shows.

The findings support many scientists’ suspicions that tropical glaciers are rapidly shrinking because of a warming climate, and will help scientists to better understand the natural variability of past and modern climate and to refine models that predict tropical glaciers’ response to future climate change.

The study appears in the journal Geology.

Dartmouth glacial geomorphologist Meredith Kelly and her lab team used field mapping combined with the beryllium-10 surface exposure dating method and ice cores obtained by Ohio State University paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson to examine how the Quelccaya Ice Cap has expanded and retreated over the past millennium. It is the first time that a record of past glacial extents has been compared directly with an annually dated ice core record from the same ice mass.

During the last millennium, a significant cooling event known as the Little Ice Age occurred, but scientists don’t know what caused the cooling or its geographic extent. The Dartmouth-led team determined beryllium-10 ages of moraines – or glacier sediments — that mark the past positions of Qori Kalis, an outlet glacier that has been monitored by Thompson since he first visited Quelccaya in the early 1960s. The Quelccaya Ice Cap, the largest ice mass in the tropics, sits 18,000 feet above sea level in the Peruvian Andes.

The results show that Qori Kalis advanced to its late Holocene maximum position prior to 520 years ago and subsequently retreated with only minor re-advances since that time. The comparison of the moraine record with the ice core record suggests that temperature was the driving force of glacial expansion and retreat, says Justin Stroup, lead author and a PhD candidate in Dartmouth’s Department of Earth Sciences.

“This is an important result since there has been debate about the causes of recent tropical glacial recession – for example, whether it is due to temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar irradiance or other factors,” says Kelly, a co-author of the study. “This result agrees with Professor Thompson’s earlier suggestions that these tropical glaciers are shrinking very rapidly today because of a warming climate.”

Furthermore, the ebbs and flows of other glaciers in tropical South America are similar to the Qori Kalis extents, indicating a regionally consistent pattern of past climate conditions. On a global scale, the results suggest that glaciers were larger than present and depositing moraines in both northern and southern hemispheres at about the same time, indicating that the climate mechanisms which caused the late Holocene cooling likely influenced a globally synchronous pattern of cooling.

###

The research, which was funded by National Science Foundation, includes Dartmouth College, the University of Cincinnati and Penn State University.

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OK now read this Climategate email from Phil Jones, who in polite terms, says the claim is B.S. Note the reference to Peru’s Quelccaya glacier which I have bolded – Anthony

5315.txt

date: Sat Sep 18 08:48:09 2004
from: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.xx.xx>
subject: Re: kilimanjaro
to: “Jenkins, Geoff” <geoff.jenkins@metoffice.xx.xx>

Geoff,
The data that are used for the grid box should be within the grid box. They will be low
elevation sites though, and this may be part of the reason. It might be worth seeing if
there is anything in the U/A data – but I reckon there won’t be much in that region.
I’ve heard Lonnie Thompson talk about the Kilimanjaro core and he got some local temperatures – that we don’t have access to, and there was little warming in them. The same situation applies for Quelccaya in Peru and also some of his Tibet sites. Lonnie thinks they are disappearing because of sublimation, but he can’t pin anything down. They are going though.

Lonnie’s email is “Lonnie G. Thompson” <thompson.3@osu.xxx.xxx>
You could try emailing Ellen as well both might be in the field.
Ellen Mosley-Thompson <thompson.4@osu.xxx.xxx>
I’m off much of the next 6 weeks at meetings.
I hear you’re retiring soon – hope all goes well !  I’m sure you’ll still be in the field somewhere.
Cheers
Phil
At 10:32 16/09/2004, you wrote:

phil
<<kilimanjaro.doc>>
we have been concerned that people often use the melting glacier on kilimanjaro as an
example of impacts of man-made warming. you may have seen some stories countering this on the sceptics websites.

I got philip brohan to look at temps there (see attached) and there isnt any convincing consistent recent warming in the station data. but your gridded CRUtem2V does show a recent warming. presumably that is because (as philip suggests) the gridded stuff has influences from quite a large radius, and hence may reflect warming at stations a long way from kilimanjaro?

would you agree that there is no convincing evidence for kilimanjaro glacier melt being due to recent warming (let alone man-made warming)?
be grateful for your help
cheers
geoff
Dr Geoff Jenkins
Head, Climate Prediction Programme
Hadley Centre
Met Office
FitzRoy Road, EXETER, EX1 3PB, UK
tel: +44 (0) 1392 xxxxxx
mobile: 0787 966 1136
[1]www.hadleycentre.xxxx.xx

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit        Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences    Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich                          Email    p.jones@uea.ac.uk
NR4 7TJ
UK
—————————————————————————-

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UPDATE: Nick Stokes responded in comments, I responded, and I’ve decided to add it to the body of this post.

“email from Phil Jones, who in polite terms, says the claim is B.S”
That’s not my reading of it. Jones seems to be saying (contrary to this paper) that Thompson says it’s due to sublimation:
“Lonnie thinks they are disappearing because of sublimation, but he can’t pin anything down. They are going though.”

Sounds like Jones thinks its’ temperature. Maybe he misunderstood Thompson, or LT has changed his view. But it seems Jones then and LT now both think it is temperature.

REPLY: Well I’d expect that, as your confirmation bias for temperature is legendary. The point is that “Lonnie thinks they are disappearing because of sublimation, but he can’t pin anything down.”, now look at this photo of Thompson standing next to an ice spire on Kilimanjaro and tell me with a straight face that’s not sublimation going on ( I assume you understand how sublimation presents itself with ice):

Land Use Change Impacts On Regional Climate Over Kilimanjaro” By Fairman Jr. Et Al 2011 pretty much put an end to that debate. More here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/23/34609/

On Quelccaya, McIntyre did a thorough dissection independent of me, and concluded:

“It seems to me that, among specialists, Thompson is probably standing fairly alone in claiming that d18O at tropical glaciers is a proxy for temperature rather than amount effect. (Because of Thompson’s eminence, the contradiction of his results is mostly implied, rather than directly stated.)


Because the 1998 El Nino was so big, it provides a good test case for temperature vs amount. It seems to me that the negative downspike for the big 1998 El Nino is decisive against Thompson.

The PNAS version of the data left off showing a sort of uptick. The extension to 2009 does not seem to me to be going off the charts.”

Of course, you lost that debate too, Nick, since your mindset can’t seem to grasp that temperature is not the cause. Land use change is, and Thompson is sampling in the wrong place to detect it. (note that all the Amazon deforestation is going on in the east)

Via a comment from Espen on the CA thread:

ScienceDaily report says: ” Most of the moisture in the area comes from the east, in snowstorms fueled by moist air rising from the Amazon Basin. But the ice core-derived climate records from the Andes are also impacted from the west — specifically by El Niño, a temporary change in climate, which is driven by sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific.” (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404142417.htm).

And, as we see, no correlation in 1998 during that super El Nino to bolster Thompson’s claim, in fact, it looks refuted by the data. – Anthony

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53 thoughts on “Claim: ‘temperature, not snowfall, driving tropical glacier size’, but Climategate emails suggest otherwise

  1. How come the CRUtem2V shown warming at the kilimanjaro glacier but local temperatures don’t ?

    Thats the billion dollar question ?

  2. “email from Phil Jones, who in polite terms, says the claim is B.S”
    That’s not my reading of it. Jones seems to be saying (contrary to this paper) that Thompson says it’s due to sublimation:
    “Lonnie thinks they are disappearing because of sublimation, but he can’t pin anything down. They are going though.”

    Sounds like Jones thinks its’ temperature. Maybe he misunderstood Thompson, or LT has changed his view. But it seems Jones then and LT now both think it is temperature.

    REPLY: Well I’d expect that, as your confirmation bias for temperature is legendary. The point is that “Lonnie thinks they are disappearing because of sublimation, but he can’t pin anything down.”, now look at this photo of Thompson standing next to an ice spire on Kilimanjaro and tell me with a straight face that’s not sublimation going on ( I assume you understand how sublimation presents itself with ice):

    Land Use Change Impacts On Regional Climate Over Kilimanjaro” By Fairman Jr. Et Al 2011 pretty much put an end to that debate. More here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/23/34609/

    On Quelccaya, McIntyre did a thorough dissection independent of me, and concluded:

    “It seems to me that, among specialists, Thompson is probably standing fairly alone in claiming that d18O at tropical glaciers is a proxy for temperature rather than amount effect. (Because of Thompson’s eminence, the contradiction of his results is mostly implied, rather than directly stated.)


    Because the 1998 El Nino was so big, it provides a good test case for temperature vs amount. It seems to me that the negative downspike for the big 1998 El Nino is decisive against Thompson.

    The PNAS version of the data left off showing a sort of uptick. The extension to 2009 does not seem to me to be going off the charts.”

    Of course, you lost that debate too, Nick, since your mindset can’t seem to grasp that temperature is not the cause. Land use change is, and Thompson is sampling in the wrong place to detect it.

    Via a comment from Espen:
    ScienceDaily report says: ” Most of the moisture in the area comes from the east, in snowstorms fueled by moist air rising from the Amazon Basin. But the ice core-derived climate records from the Andes are also impacted from the west — specifically by El Niño, a temporary change in climate, which is driven by sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific.” (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404142417.htm).

    And, as we see, no correlation in 1998 during that super El Nino to bolster Thompson’s claim, in fact, it looks refuted by the data. – Anthony

  3. Also of note is Thompson’s claim that “PERUVIAN GLACIER MAY VANISH IN FIVE YEARS” made on February 15, 2007, and it was still there in 2012 by this photography.

    Well, he did use the word “may” which somewhat includes the possibility “may not” as well.

  4. I understand that they link the advance/retreat rates directly to the ice core isotope signatures (d18O, dD) and such, However there is a body of evidence that these isotope ratios in precipation in (sub) tropical areas are not related to temperature at all. There are several seasonal data series that show an inverse corrolation (GNIP database http://www-naweb.iaea.org/napc/ih/IHS_resources_gnip.html ). So it looks that there is enough reasom for a Willis E/Steve M scrutiny audit.

  5. “During the last millennium, a significant cooling event known as the Little Ice Age occurred”

    Not in Peru, surely – I though Mann had shown that the little ice age was restrictied to London and the frozen Thames?

  6. JustAnotherPoster February 26, 2014 at 4:06 am

    How come the CRUtem2V shown warming at the kilimanjaro glacier but local temperatures don’t ?

    The answer is in the emails above. CRU estimate the mean global temperature of the Earth by dividing into a number of ‘gridboxes’. Each one is 5 degrees by 5 degrees. This translates to a very large area in mid-latitudes (about 350 miles by 350 miles). They then determine the temperature for each gridbox by averaging the readings from the stations within it.
    You can see which weather stations are included in the ‘kilamanjaro’ gridbox from google earth . See how here:- http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/06/cru-produces-something-useful-for-a-change/
    Notice, there are only 3 weather stations within the gridbox. Two are in Nairobi, 300 miles away to the north, and one is in Mombasa ,170 miles to the East (which shows cooling). The temperature for Kilamanjro is then determined by taking the average of these three distant, low-altitude stations. It is not going to be a very good guide is it?

  7. “With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity” – WaPo

    Austerity is when you have money to send a team to Peru to determine whether glaciers are receding due to snowfall change, or temperature change.

  8. “This is an important result since there has been debate about the causes of recent tropical glacial recession – for example, whether it is due to temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar irradiance or other factors,”

    The above plus the e-mail revelations tell us that “the science” is not settled and that there is debate about this topic just like there is about most of things related to climate. But did we not just hear from some TV bubble head that the debate was over?

    Climatology is still unable to give us any answers that are definitive on a host of subjects.

  9. Even if the melt is caused by rising temperature, this tells nothing about what caused the rise in temperature, does it?

  10. The findings support many scientists’ suspicions that tropical glaciers are rapidly shrinking because of a warming climate, and will help scientists to better understand the natural variability of past and modern climate and to refine models that predict tropical glaciers’ response to future climate change.

    One single paragraph, and yet so, so telling. Here’s a dissection:
    The findings SUPPORT. They don’t prove anything, don’t even state anything very convincing. Just support.
    Many Scientists. Not all. Not even most. Just many.
    Suspicions. Surely we don’t need to rip that one apart.
    blah blah blah
    refine models that predict because, of course, the models to date have been completely useless.
    future climate change, since the climate change that has already occurred is not only marginal, and marginally noticeable, with no hope of attributing cause, we now have to take their word that FUTURE climate change is still on the table.

    Weasel words. Learn them. Recognize them. Ignore anything that uses them.

  11. “How come the CRUtem2V shown warming at the kilimanjaro glacier but local temperatures don’t ?”

    ———

    I’m surprised that you’re surprised at that….

  12. “an outlet glacier that has been monitored by Thompson since he first visited Quelccaya in the early 1960s”

    Thompson’s C.V. says he got his B.S. in 1970. So unless he took time off before college, I really doubt a Senior or Junior High School student went to Peru to start his study of glaciers.

    His C.V. list his first expedition in 1973 to Byrd Station with the next expedition being in 1974 to Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru. making his first visit in the early 1970s.

    So apparently whoever released the press release has trouble getting simple information right and yet they want us to believe their claims related to complex climate systems. Yeah, I’ll get right on that. /sarc

    Also if the glacier reached its maximum 520 years ago, then most of the time it has been retreating can’t have been human or CO2 caused. If natural climate changes have caused the first 400+ years of retreat why isn’t it reasonable to conclude that the more recent retreat is just a continuation of that natural process?

  13. Then there is this climategate beauty.

    “The most robust feature of all these runs is that the rate of glacier retreat for the second half of the 20th century is always the same, irrespective of the starting point of the climate forcing, and irrespective of whether the 20th century climate was cooling, warming, or stable.”

  14. Athlete says:

    February 26, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Then there is this climategate beauty.

    “The most robust feature of all these runs is that the rate of glacier retreat for the second half of the 20th century is always the same, irrespective of the starting point of the climate forcing, and irrespective of whether the 20th century climate was cooling, warming, or stable.”

    Whoa!

    Glaciers retreat during climate cooling, climate warming, or during a stable climate.

    Does this mean that it is also a “robust” feature that Glaciers will advance at the, uh, times when the climate isn’t cooling or warming or stable?

    Wazzup with that?

  15. “Sunshine can melt ice even when the ambient air temperature is below freezing, by warming the surface of the ice. The same decrease in clouds that meant less snow for the glaciers also meant more sunshine. Even in 2000–2002, as scientists witnessed “strong melting” on Kilimanjaro, weather stations verified that the temperature never exceeded –1.6 degrees C.”

    http://earthshots.usgs.gov/earthshots/Mount-Kilimanjaro#ad-image-9

    The quote is from the link provided. If the temperature does not get above freezing it surly cannot be temperature causing any problems. It is the SUN.

  16. Watts says: “now read this Climategate email from Phil Jones, who in polite terms, says the claim is B.S.”

    So an email in 2004, when the study was essentially beginning, somehow negates the last 10 years of work? Please.

    And anyway, why would _you_, of all people, suggest that Phil Jones, of all people, is correct? Shouldn’t you rejoice in that he proposes incorrect hypothesis like normal scientists?

    REPLY: So in your world, something stated as fact 10 years ago behind closed doors is somehow negated simply because it aged? Please. based on your M.O. here it wouldn’t matter if the same statement was made last week – Anthony

  17. CodeTech says: “One single paragraph, and yet so, so telling. Here’s a dissection:
    The findings SUPPORT. They don’t prove anything, don’t even state anything very convincing. Just support.”

    This is from the abstract: “Subsequent glacial retreat between ∼520 and 330 yr before CE 2009 coincides with the highest net accumulation values of the ∼1800-yr-long ice core record. Therefore, we suggest that temperature, rather than net accumulation, was the primary driver of these glacial fluctuations.”

    Without reading the article, I didn’t, seems the point is that even with more stuff being put into the glacier, it is retreating. So what is left? You have evaporation (sublimation) and temperature. Pick your poison.

  18. Pippin kool says:

    February 26, 2014 at 7:20 am

    And anyway, why would _you_, of all people, suggest that Phil Jones, of all people, is correct?

    Even a stopped analog clock is right twice a day. Hey, even a stopped digital clock gets it right once a day.

  19. OT: Hysterical piece by Michael Mann about a drinking game

    http://www.livescience.com/43660-krauthammer-drinking-game.html

    The highlights: (not clear if all of it is him or the editor)

    Criticizing someone else for having mistakes in their modelling algorithms (while never publishing his).

    Claims that Sandy storm surge was a foot higher because of Global Warming (think he played the drinking game himself before writing). That’s a 150 years worth of the typical 2mm/year sea level rise observed around the world. Must have read that BBC piece about the 1 foot per year rise that we could expect in the next few years.

  20. “So in your world, something stated as fact 10 years ago behind closed doors is somehow negated simply because it aged? Please. based on your M.O. here it wouldn’t matter if the same statement was made last week” – Anthony

    Okay, I’ll bite…what if he _did_ make a statement in an email last week? Should I believe that or should I believe a decade long study that is published? Believe it or not, every word that comes out of Jones’ or Mann’s mouthes are not taken as words of the gods. Interesting words, perhaps, but that is all.

    REPLY: see the update. Now kindly shut up – Anthony

  21. Athlete says:
    February 26, 2014 at 6:20 am
    Then there is this climategate beauty.
    > We can also talk about it next week at AWI: please
    > convince me your model is doing what it should do in
    > the sense that glacier growth and retreat somehow is
    > in accordance with a cooling or a warming,
    > respectively. We might also have implemented your
    > algorithm wrongly, of course, as Ives had to
    > intervene in the code at quite a number of places to
    > avoid all kinds of computer crashes.
    ===================================
    As a software engineer… WOW!! I have a hard time imagining a scenario where a team member supplies some code that, having caused all kinds of crashes, says “no worries, just let me poke around here and there to keep things limping along.” …and we would be okay with that.
    The code would get pulled. Then everything else they ever touched would get reviewed and possibly reverted. Then there would be some discussions about future plans… possibly in long-haul trucking.
    If that little email offers any insight into the behind-the-scenes goings on of their modelling process, well that pretty well explains why they have all been such dismal failures.
    I especially love the line: “…We might also have implemented your algorithm wrongly, of course,..”
    Yeah, wouldn’t want to have some process in place to ensure that software is not integrated incorrectly (wrongly – if that’s a word.) I know academia is a bit of a free-for-all and they almost dislike things that suggest an enterprise approach to ensure quality but – damn – that’s wacked!

  22. Thompson was on the Vice Presidential KindaLike Science Panel appointed by Al Gore and a cited advisor on the Inconvenient Truth book and movie back when you could still pawn off glacial retreat as a function of temperature and ignore land use and precipitation and get away with it. It is a notion so wrong that not even the ClimateGate inner circle can pretend to salvage it.

    The investment in Climate Theology bias is so strong in academia that Thompson won’t be mocked over time, just politely forgotten.

  23. From wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quelccaya_Ice_Cap
    “Lonnie Thompson and his research team have drilled ice cores from Quelccaya that date back almost 2,000 years and have used them to study changes in atmospheric conditions over this period. In these samples, the oxygen isotope ratio, oxygen-18 to oxygen-16, has risen abruptly in the last 50 years, an indicator of regional warming. As the ice cap is retreating, it is exposing almost perfectly preserved, unfossilized plant specimens that have been dated to 5,200 years before present, indicating that it has been more than 50 centuries since the ice cap was smaller than it is today”

    Nothing new then. What casued the cooling 5200 years ago? And what caused the temperature to bumb back now?

  24. I don’t see what the big fuss is about. There has been some modest warming in the 20th century, and temperatures are now, according to a number of measures, higher than they have been since the Mediaeval Warm Period, or just possibly only since the 1930s. Why then should we not expect a certain amount of recession in glaciers? The real question, if some glaciers have been receding at an unusual rate (and define that!) is how much is caused by temperature and how much by sublimation.

    In Kilimanjaro’s case, the temperature trends suggest it is mostly sublimation. Has anyone mentioned what the temperature trend near Quelcaya has been?

    Rich.

  25. Re: Coldlynx
    The cooling of 5200 years ago seems to coincide with the end of the Holocene Climate Optimum. Well at least that is what we used to call it.

  26. If Kilimanjaro and Quelccaya were melting and not sublimating, where is the physical evidence for meltwater runoff?

  27. I thought CAGW was going to make itself felt most as you got nearer the poles? Oh well that’s glacial science.

    Glaciers retreated when the world was colder!

    The Maitland Mercury 1892
    An Alaskan Glacier. The Muir glacier,….. The Muir glacier has once extended much further into the bay, and is now receding every year, while the sources of the ice supply are failing.
    ____________________

    Examiner (Launceston, Tas.) 1906
    IS THE EARTH GETTING WARMER?
    That the earth is growing temporarilly warmer is shown by the mountain gla-ciers….The latest report includes 90 glaciers in the Swiss Alps, in Norway, Greenland, the Caucasus, the Pamir, the North West United States, Western Canada. and Africa, and practically all are grow-ing smaller. In the Savoy Alps and the Pyrenees small glaciers have quite dis- appeared.
    ____________________

    The Brisbane Courier 1908
    SHRINKAGE IN THE WORLD’S ICE MANTLE.
    Prof. T. G. Romney has some very in-teresting things to say in “Nature” on what he calls “the shrinkage of the world’s ice mantle.”There has been a general retreat, he says, of the European glaciers since 1864….. In the French Alps, we learn, sundry small glaciers have quite melted away during the last few years…..
    ____________________

    The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal 1910
    RECEDING GLACIERS.
    “Except over a small area, it is gen-erally understood, the glaciers of the world are retreating to the moun-tains. The glacier on Mount Ser-miento in South America, which des-cended to the sea when Darwin found it in 1836, is now separated from the shore by a vigorous growth of timber. The Jacobshaven glac- ier in Greenland has retreated four miles since 1850, and the East glac- ier in Spitzbergen is more than a mile away from its original terminal”
    ____________________

    ____________________

    The Argus 1912
    A RECEDING GLACIER. HARBOUR BEING MADE.
    A curious natural phenomenon is likely to result in Canada securing a new harbour. An investigation by the Alaska boundary surveyors has disclosed the fact that the Great Glacier, which is situated on Glacier Bay, is receding at the rate of a mile a year, according to measurements taken on the open water…
    ____________________

    Cairns Post 1923
    TEMPERATE ARCTIC
    “The discovery by American seal fishers that of late there has been a remarkable increase in the mean tem-perature of the Arctic, and that in some parts of the Polar basin no ice has been seen less than 9 degrees from the North Pole, agrees with the ex- perience of many Arctic explorers in recent years…”
    ____________________

    The Register News-Pictorial 1930
    WARMER WORLD Weather Physicist Looks Ahead
    The world is growing warmer. Dr. J. W. Humphreys, physicist of the Weather Bureau,…..”There is evidence, however, that the world as a whole is very slowly growing warmer,” he said. “The evidence is that glaciers in all parts of the world have been on the average slowly retreating since the culmina- tion of the Ice Age, and they are still slowly retreating….”
    ____________________

    The Courier-Mail 1934
    WORLD’S CHANGING CLIMATE Unsafe To Generalise
    “The fact that during last year 81 of 100 Swiss glaciers decreased in size did not in any way indicate that the earth was becoming warmer and drier, said professor H. C. Richards, Pro- fessor of Geology at the Queensland University, yesterday, commenting on a message from Geneva concerning a world-wide drought. Even if the ob-servations of Swiss glaciers were con-tinued over a period of 50 years, he said, the data obtained could not warrant any general statement that the world as a whole was becoming drier or warmer…”
    ____________________

    Sydney Morning Herald 1936
    GRIM DISCOVERY. Bodies of War Victims.
    The melting of a glacier 9000 feet up the slopes of Mount Danello in the Dolomites, revealed the bodies of one Italian and 15 Austrian soldiers who were presumably killed in an engagement in May, 1916. All the bodies were in excellent preservation.
    ____________________

    The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 1940
    Greenland’s Climate Becoming Milder
    “Professor Ahlmann was speaking on the collated results of his expedition to north-east Greenland, and he stated that the glaciers there showed clear signs of a change towards a warmer climate. As had been observed in other parts of the Arctic, especially in Spitzbergen, the melting had increased rapidly. By far the largest number of local glaciers in north-east Greenland had receded very greatly during recent de- cades, and it would not be exaggerating to say that these glaciers were nearing a catastrophe.”

  28. “If Kilimanjaro and Quelccaya were melting and not sublimating, where is the physical evidence for meltwater runoff?”

    Isn’t it obvious? It is hiding in the deep ocean.

  29. steveta_uk says:
    February 26, 2014 at 5:06 am

    “During the last millennium, a significant cooling event known as the Little Ice Age occurred”

    My thoughts exactly. Seems to me if nothing else this admits to and confirms that the Little Ice Age was multi-hemispheric and/or global, and by extension the medieval warm period was as well.

  30. For the desperate straw-grasping Warmists, since actual temperatures have refused to budge for some 17 years, they need proxies for warming instead. Thus, if some glacier has receded here or calved over there, it “must” be warming. Either that, or the heat is hiding out somewhere, biding its’ time. With Warmists, you never know what the latest stance will be. Oops, just got changed to “aerosols”.

  31. Yes, the temperature of far inland areas drives Monsoon flow div and curl, and therefore, can impact the amount of snowfall in tropical highlands. Oh, I see, not THAT temperature! (face palm). LOL!

  32. Ah, thank you for reminding me of what I wrote on that thread, I had completely forgotten about it. One should really keep a local archive of what one writes in comments when one invests some work into finding interesting data (this was much easier in the days when USENET was the preferred arena of online discussions, since my newsreader always kept local copies of my postings).

  33. son of mulder says:
    February 26, 2014 at 9:01 am
    If Kilimanjaro and Quelccaya were melting and not sublimating, where is the physical evidence for meltwater runoff?

    The lake at the base of the Qori Kalis glacier!

  34. Anthony,
    “tell me with a straight face that’s not sublimation going on”
    I wasn’t offering my own opinion in my comment; I was trying to find the basis for the heading: “but Climategate emails suggest otherwise”. You quote Jones saying in 2004 that Thompson thought it was sublimation, but apparently Jones disagreed. Then a 2014 paper with Thompson saying that it is temperature. So I can’t see the “otherwise”. The only puzzle is, was Jones right about what LT thought in 2004. Maybe not.

    However, I do have an opinion, which is that sublimation and temperature are not unrelated. Sublimation rate depends on vapor pressure, which is highly temperature dependent. The whole process of ice turning into vapor is accelerated by warming, whether or not melting is an intermediate phase.

    And this latest paper in fact says nothing about sublimation, for or against. It just says warming shrinks glaciers.

    If you look at the history of water there, it falls as snow, then sits around for a long time in the wind, creeping down. Eventually it reaches a lower altitude where what hasn’t sublimed melts. With warming, melting comes earlier, but sublimation is faster too, which may be the dominant effect,.

    REPLY:
    and yet, during the big El Nino of 1998, an excellent test case for temperature, the opposite effect was seen. – Anthony

  35. Two points, here.

    First, the Kilimanjaro glacier has been a post on this site before; and on one of these occasions I wrote that the edge of the glacier looked as though a rotary plow cut it. My wife, with an M.S. in glacial geology, explained to me the the “glaciers” are actually snowfields. They’ve never grown to the thickness needed to become a glacier. I’ll bet these pups have vanished and regrown numerous times in the Holocene.

    Second, the ice spire reminds me of inselbergs along I-80’s Telephone Canyon in southeastern Wyoming made of limestone calved from a limestone layer. These have slide downhill via gravity while riding on loose material. In the case of the snowfields the snow melting at the base of the spire might have provided lubrication for these to have crept downhill and away from the main body of the snowfield.

  36. { The results show that Qori Kalis advanced to its late Holocene maximum position prior to 520 years ago. }

    So we’ve been warming up for 520 years.

    I’d agree with that

  37. Though all the headlines say “temperature, not snowfall, driving glacier size” they fail to mention the fact that the study is talking about the period between 12,400 and 11,600 years ago for Quelccaya glacier. From the study:

    “Therefore, we suggest that Quelccaya recession at 12.4–11.6 ka may have been influenced by warming. This recession occurred contemporaneously with Antarctic warming and increasing atmospheric CO2 (EPICA community members, 2004; Monnin et al., 2001), and is similar in timing to the recession of mountain glaciers in southern midlatitude locations (Kaplan et al., 2010).”

    and

    “In contrast to nearby paleoprecipitation proxy records that register wet conditions throughout the YD, the recession of Quelccaya from the Huancané II moraines occurred by ca. 12.4 ka. Quelccaya recession may have been influenced by Southern Hemisphere warming subsequent to the ACR, rising atmospheric CO2, or, perhaps, other factors such as El Niño–Southern Oscillation variability.”

    So in reality, nothing to see here…please move along.

  38. LOL! That picture of Thompson is THE most convincing sublimation evidence possible. Anytime anyone talks temperature and Kilimanjaro glaciers, that picture should be Exhibit 1.

  39. Having said that re “Nick writes” above, I do believe increased CO2 could well directly increase the sublimation rate through increased DLR which can only be absorbed at the very surface of the water (as ice).

    So for the same reasons DLR cant directly warm the oceans (ie its not absorbed beneath the surface molecules which are evaporating and are cooler than the molecules below them), it can increase the sublimation rate of ice.

  40. TimTheToolMan says: February 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm
    “Sublimation happens below the triple point which is where the vapour pressure is not highly dependent on temperature”

    No, you’re looking at the wrong reference (water). In fact, just below the triple point, vapor pressure of ice increases about 8% per °C. At lower temperature, the proportional increase is even higher. See
    Sec3.4.1.

    In absolute terms the vapor pressure is lower. But sublimation is important because it goes on for very long periods. And if it’s the main pathway of ice loss, then 8%/°C matters.

    The DLR stuff is irrelevant. As in the ocean, the surface is a net LW emitter. DLR part balances the emission.

  41. Nick Stokes, I assume you are aware that ice can “disappear” (sublimate) even when the temperature never exceeds the melting point of ice for months on end?

    I think Anthony’s point is that the decrease in glacial ice in that part of the world is due to less precipitation, that being independent of temperature.

  42. “Of course, you lost that debate too, Nick,”
    Of course, I’m always adjudged loser here. But what I
    established was that the downtick was in fact in the tear beginning July 1999, well after the El Nino.

    But in fact the downtick you show is in d18O, not any measure of ice. Steve is querying it’s use as a proxy. But he got the years wrong.

    Chad Jessup says: February 26, 2014 at 8:27 pm
    “I think Anthony’s point is that the decrease in glacial ice in that part of the world is due to less precipitation, that being independent of temperature.”

    First I’m well aware of sublimation – that’s why I’m quoting ice vapor pressure dependence on T. While what you say might be the point Anthony has in mind, he spoke of sublimation, which is a different issue. It is important, but it isn’t due to lack of precipitation.

  43. “During the last millennium, a significant cooling event known as the Little Ice Age occurred”

    This quote caught my eye too. How big does a cooling event have to be considered significant? 0.5°C hardly seems significant. How about 1°C, is that significant? If a 1°C were considered to be significant how I this different in extent from the warming since the Little Ice Age?

    Is this quoted statement tacit agreement that temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period were similar to the current warm period?

  44. So what is Mother Nature telling us?

    April 2012 Nature Geoscience | Letter Slight mass gain of Karakoram glaciers in the early twenty-first century

    …we calculate the regional mass balance of glaciers in the central Karakoram between 1999 and 2008, based on the difference between two digital elevation models. We find a highly heterogeneous spatial pattern of changes in glacier elevation, which shows that ice thinning and ablation at high rates can occur on debris-covered glacier tongues. The regional mass balance is just positive at +0.11±0.22 m yr−1 water equivalent and in agreement with the observed reduction of river runoff that originates in this area…

    Peruvian Andes

    “Over the past three years,” writes Kirkland, “bitter cold spells and frosts have made life in El Higueron – and throughout most of the Peruvian Andes – increasingly difficult. As paradoxical as it seems, scientists suspect global warming is to blame.”

    “In 2008 and 2009, frigid temperatures descended on Peru in March and April, almost three months before the start of the Southern Hemisphere winter,” Kirkland continues. “The unseasonable cold not only killed livestock but contributed to the deaths of almost 250 children across the country.”

    “The winter of 2010 proved even worse. After temperatures plunged to 46-year lows, the government declared a state of emergency in 16 of the county’s 24 regions. In some areas, temperatures reached 24 degrees Celsius below zero, or 13 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. More than 400 people died, most of them children.”
    (wwwDOT)real-science.com/trapped-heat-freezes-hundreds-south-america

    Feb 17, 2011,
    Record snowfall in HP revives 2,000 glaciers
    timesofindia(DOT)indiatimes.com/home/environment/global-warming/Record-snowfall-in-HP-revives-2000-glaciers/articleshow/7512964.cms?referral=PM

    June – July 2012:
    In the region of Puno, province of San Roman, Peru, due to low temperatures there are 56.312 cases reported for Acute Respirotary Infections (ARI) and 886 for pneumonia, death toll has risen to 31, amongst them dozens of children.

    This winter:
    1 Sep 13 – Snowfall in parts of the southern highlands of Peru has killed more than 25,000 animals and destroyed 137 homes, according to the National Institute of Civil Defense (Indeci).
    (wwwDOT)boliviatv.bo/noticias/internacional/01-09-2013/mueren_mas_de_25_mil_animales_por_nevada_en_la_sierra_sur_de_peru_8f5c90e45ceeba56845861a65217c9bc.htm

    This winter was a major problem in South America – too many to list.

    June 17, 2013
    About 6000 livestock’s and 25 shepherds have been struck in the heavy snowfall which occurred on Narkanda mountain ranges along Chitkul, the last bordering area along Indo-Sino border, as they had gone to graze their flocks and got captured in the sudden snowfall.
    (wwwDOT)himvani.com/news/2013/06/17/6000-livestocks-25-shepherds-struck-heavy-snowfall-narkanda/22280

    Jun 30, 2013
    . It was for the first time in the history of Kinnaur district that the area experienced snowfall in June. The entire area experienced heavy snowfall and rainfall continuously for 72 hours from June 15 to 17.
    timesofindia(DOT)indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Flood-losses-in-Kinnaur-may-be-much-higher-than-estimated/articleshow/20838622.cms

    20 Nov 2013,
    The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has stopped restoration work of Kedarnath Temple, … after the doors of the sanctum sanctorum was closed due to snowfall and severe winter.
    post(DOT)jagran.com/ASI-stops-restoration-work-of-Kedarnath-temple-due-to-snowfall-1384931620

    January 18, 2014
    Cold weather claims 15 lives in UP; Heavy snowfall hits Uttarakhand
    At least 15 persons succumbed under cold weather conditions in Uttar Pradesh as the winter chill gained in intensity in northern India today with dipping temperatures in Jammu and Kashmir and heavy snowfall in Uttarakhand.
    m.indiatoday(DOT)in//story/cold-weather-claims-15-lives-in-up-heavy-snowfall-hits-uttarakhand/1/338553.html
    (Note People were dying in India because of the cold:
    Jan 03 2014 – 3 dead as cold wave intensifies in Uttar Pradesh
    January 3, 2014 – Biting cold wave sweeps Rajasthan -Another beggar was found dead outside Masjid,….

    December 30, 2013 – Cold snap claims 4 lives in Bagerhat
    31 Dec 2013 Dhaka (AsiaNews) – With the arrival of the first cold snap, at least 15 children have died in the northern districts of Bangladesh. Another 50 children were admitted to the Kurigram Sadar Hospital….temperature of -11 degrees Celsius was registered….
    four elderly people died in Morrelgonj upazila unable to bear the biting cold…..

    February 16, 2014
    Shimla: (South of the Himalayas) Heavy snowfall in many parts of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday has bring down temperatures and affected the normal life. The state capital Shimla which experienced the coldest night at minus 2.4 degrees Celsius and key tourist resort of Manali were cut off from rest of the state due to heavy snowfall. People remained without milk, bread, vegetables….
    zeenews(DOT)india.com/news/himachal-pradesh/heavy-snowfall-hit-normal-life-in-himachal_911934.html

    February 26, 2014 Heavy snowfall hits eastern Turkey
    Heavy snowfall and cold weather caused havoc and many roads which connect the villages to the city centers were totally closed across the eastern part of Turkey…. According to the Turkish meteorology; snowfall and cold weather will continue to affect the Eastern Anatolia region at least two more days. Besides of Erzurum, also other cities such as Ağrı, Kars also have gotten heavy snowfall.
    en(DOT)dunyatimes.com/article/heavy-snowfall-hits-eastern-turkey-43302.html..

    I do not think we really have to worry about Glaciers (Unless they start growing outside our doors.)

  45. The Nevado del Ruiz volcano, its ice cap and volcanism

    The existing historical information shows that, on the morning of February 9, 1845, there was an earthquake followed by a large lahar (mudflow) that devastated the eastern slope of [the Nevado del Ruiz] flowing through the valley of the Lagunillas river. This torrent transported from the highest elevations numerous blocks of ice, some of great size, that were observed a few days later floating down the very muddy water of the Magdalena river. (my translation)

    Source: http://w3.ualg.pt/~jdias/GEOLAMB/GAn_Casos/NevadodelRuiz/NRuiz_1.html

    Imagine: icebergs flowing down a large river in the tropics just a few degrees north of the equator!

    I don’t know about Quelccaya, but volcanism in the tropics can also be a mechanism for loss of ice that, because the events happen in just a (geologically) short period of time, may not show up using isotope analysis. It would seem that correlating isotope analysis to glacier growth and recession would have to be adjusted for step effects caused by volcanism, but that data may not exist.

    The study says:

    The snow line [of the Nevado del Ruiz] is located on the western flank at 4900m and at 4800m on the eastern flank. A comparison of recent photographs with 19th Century paintings suggest that these altitudes are currently about 150m higher, which is equivalent to a reduction in frozen (ice and snow) cover, since 1845, of about 64%. (my translation)

    The study says eruptions happen on a frequency of 160 to 400 years and that there have been about a dozen major eruptions in the last 10,000 years. Two of the most significant earthquakes happened on June 16, 1826 and November 16, 1827, which were followed by lahars with a strong smell of sulfur (which suggest a volcanic eruption), which were observed in both the Cauca and Magdalena rivers. There was also a very large eruption on March 12, 1595. The last major eruption was on November 13, 1985, which killed about 27,000.

    In conclusion, the Nevado del Ruiz ice cap, which it is estimated has diminished 64% since the 19th Century, has suffered two major eruptions in that time period. How much of the loss of the ice cap is due to the eruptions and how much is attributable to climate change? I think it is a good question and I wonder how isotope analysis can answer such a question. Should one presume that all ice cap loss is attributed to climate change? How can one measure the ice cap loss attributable to volcanism without some historical record that probably does not exist?

  46. Nick writes “The DLR stuff is irrelevant. As in the ocean, the surface is a net LW emitter.”

    Its absolutely true that the surface is a net emitter but you need to consider the microscopic processes to understand the macroscopic one… Individual molecules at the surface that are close to evaporating are more likely to receive the energy they need when there is more DLR. And they receive that energy directly. The same applies to ice.

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