Mount Shasta's glaciers- proxy for what?

The photo below I took this weekend on my way back from a station survey in the remote northestern corner of California. It shows Mount Shasta getting it’s first significant snow of this precipitation season here in California.

mt_shasta

Our local progressive weekly recently did a story on Mount Shasta’s glaciers, which have been growing. This isn’t news, but what is news, is the conclusion that was drawn from the growth. Apparently the growth is now being viewed as a sign of “global warming” or “climate change” if you prefer. So now we have glaciers that shrink, glaciers that grow, and these both signal climate change. Thank goodness that has been cleared up.

Unfortunately, the writer and the USGS person both seem to be oblivious to the fact that glaciers are a much better proxy for precipitation than temperature, and that sublimation, not melting, is the primary agent in glacier shrinkage.

North State ice age

Global warming melts glaciers elsewhere, but not at Mount Shasta

By Christy Lochrie

This article was published on 10.09.08. Chico News and Review, here is an excerpt:

First, the good news: Mount Shasta’s seven glaciers are on the grow. The largest, Whitney Glacier, has averaged a 60-foot-a-year growth spree for the past 50 years, according to Dr. Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.Now, the bad news: The 14,000-foot volcano’s glacier growth isn’t a reliable canary in a mineshaft when it comes to global warming woes.

“Mount Shasta is just a local system and does not really tell us much about global warming,” Tulaczyk said in an e-mail. “Everybody should know from their own experience that weather and climate are highly variable in space and time. It is absolutely incorrect to use Mount Shasta as some kind of proof that there is no global warming.”

So what’s up with this volcanic mountain—home to lenticular clouds and, lore says, outer-space lumarians—some 130 miles north of Chico?

Why, while other glaciers are melting like sun-struck snowmen, are North State glaciers plumping?

And what does it mean in the scheme of global warming issues, even as vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin denies that emissions or other man-created factors are to blame for temperature upticks?

Ed Josberger, a researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey in Tacoma, Wash., says North State glacier growth is proof of global warming, even if, on the surface, it strikes a counterintuitive chord. Shifts in weather patterns are likely to heat some places while chilling others.

“In terms of climate change,” he said, “there’s going to be winners and losers.”

Mount Shasta glaciers have grown, in part, because they’re high enough to escape some (about 2 degrees) of the Earth’s warming trends, and the shifting weather patterns have dumped more Pacific Ocean-generated precipitation onto the mountain, explains Andrew Fountain, a geology professor at Portland State University.

Fountain likens a glacier to a bank account: It grows when there are more deposits (winter precipitation) than withdrawals (summer melt). In most of the world, sped by temperature upticks, glaciers are drawing down as melt exceeds wintertime snow and ice.

“If air temperatures continue to increase in this century, the warming will overtake the glaciers,” Fountain said.

When asked if glacier melt is cause for alarm, both Tulaczyk and Fountain say no, but add that the melt is cause for concern.

Read the entire story on the News and Review here

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90 thoughts on “Mount Shasta's glaciers- proxy for what?

  1. What doesn’t “global warming and climate change” explain???? It’s a diminishing set of events… Pretty soon every event will be explained by global warming and climate change (Science and falisfication – whats that?)
    It’s interesting that so many of these reports that discuss sustainability link sustainability to fear of unrestrained population growth.
    Here in Australia, Mothers are paid a $4000 “Baby bonus” when they give birth to encourage population growth back up to “replacement” levels. And it’s working.
    It seems to me that when women are empowered to make their own choices and have access to effective birth control (characteristics of modern, developed, societies) that the birth rate stabilises and so does the population… natural sustainability comes with modern developed societies.
    No need to make a special effort wrt population control.

  2. On the other hand, global warming was primarily responsible for nudity. However, unless you enjoy jumping into nearly frozen lakes (and a few do), this too shall come to pass.

  3. The interior of Greenland and Antarctica never get above freezing, but they could be persuaded to melt if scientists keep repeating the same nonsense over and over again.

  4. My first encounter with Mt. Shasta was in the 70s. The snow and ice was impressive and it was so cool that some thought we were slipping into a mini-ice age. In the late 90s, most of the snow and ice was gone. It was “the warmest in history.” Since 2000, the white stuff has been accumulating and temps have been cooling. Is that so difficult to understand? How can anyone suggest that the conditions of the 90s were due to global warming and the cooler conditions since 1998 were due to global warming as well. Can they have it both ways? Apparently so.

  5. *sigh*
    It never changes, no matter the event, it’s always global warming or climate change or climate chaos. Should the climate see cooling over the next few decades, the chant won’t change. It’s such a belief system; blinders on, brain off, and repeat after me, “It’s global warming…”

  6. Pamela Gray (23:19:16) : On the other hand, global warming was primarily responsible for nudity.
    If one overlays the Old Testament time line on the Holocene Interglacial sea level record as interpreted by Fairbridge an interesting correlation appears. About the time the “first couple” had a bite of the nasty fruit, there was a distinct cooling trend developing. (This around 4000 BC.) Perhaps that part of the story in which they were “ashamed” and resorted to covering up the private parts had more to do with global cooling than any shame at being nekkid.

  7. Leon B said….
    “*sigh*
    It never changes, no matter the event, it’s always global warming or climate change or climate chaos. Should the climate see cooling over the next few decades, the chant won’t change. It’s such a belief system; blinders on, brain off, and repeat after me, “It’s global warming…””
    It used to be witchcraft that explained everything ‘unnatural’………
    So nothing changes, except the climate – naturally!

  8. Pamela,
    About 30 years ago I worked as a wilderness ranger one summer at a 12,000 foot lake deep in a wilderness area in New Mexico. The lake was partially frozen until mid-July and was the only place to bathe. I got used to taking some very quick baths, and only when the sun was shining brightly and the wind calm.

  9. You act like this is something new. Why do you think they changed the name to climate change:P .. The only way that we are ever going to see ‘cooler’ heads prevail is to have a series of totally nondiscript years where its neither heating up, nor cooling down. The longer the disaster takes the less people will buy into it.
    The USA is about to get a lesson in cap and trade though. yehaw! /sarc off

  10. If Mount Shasta’s growing glaciers do not disprove global warming, then they do not prove it either – in growth or decline. But nobody bothers to point that out in the article. AGW is assumed and even advocated for politically. Another typical article.

  11. AGW, whether true or not, is now beside the point.
    The fact that humans cause GW is about to made into law, and violating that law will lead to unfavourable consequences.
    This is really a tough morning for free enterprise.
    Now to climate change, sea levels are not rising, and global temperatures have dropped. The cool PDO phase will make the Shasta glacier grow if anything.

  12. The lastest sunspot appears to be dying off. But a new speck is visible, see bottom left quadrant of the sun.

  13. “Everybody should know from their own experience that weather and climate are highly variable in space and time. It is absolutely incorrect to use Mount Shasta as some kind of proof that there is no global warming.”
    Then it’s not global is it?? OH! OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!!
    Sorry, sometimes I channel Sam Kinison. 😉

  14. Propaganda wins. This isn’t a story based on facts. This is merely one more step in the long march. Global warming and environmental policy are, like elections, ultimately determined by the MSM propaganda machine. Cold is warm. Warm is cold. Whatever. They don’t care. All that matters is that the story must move the political snowball further to the left. Everything else is just “mere details”.

  15. Why is it just more rainfall? What about the regional cooling that shows up on the HCN sites in the region like Cedarville, CA?
    As I recall, they’ve even UHI adjusted the temps from these remote sites because the temps didn’t meet ‘expectations’.

  16. The fairness doctrine will soon be shutting this website down due to it’s anti establishment direction.

  17. Isn’t Mount Shasta supposed to be some kind of mystic power source for the planet? Maybe it’s one of the first places to receive the President-Elect’s healing vibes (“… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…”)
    On a more serious note, I found the following paragraph in Wikipedia about the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand’s South Island, which has also advanced in recent years:
    “The glacier is currently 12 km long and terminates 19 km from the Tasman Sea. Fed by a 20 sqm large snowfield[5] at high altitude, it exhibits a cyclic pattern of advance and retreat, driven by differences between the volume of meltwater at the foot of the glacier and volume of snowfall feeding the névé. Due to strong snowfall it is one of the few glaciers in New Zealand which is still growing as of 2007, while others, mostly on the eastern side of the Southern Alps, have been shrinking heavily, a process attributed to global warming.”
    So there you have it – if glaciers shrink, it’s global warming, if they advance, it’s just a local quirk of the weather or global warming in another form.
    And that’s the magic of the doubled headed coin that is global warming. Flip the coin and it always comes up – global warming. Magic!

  18. There is a nude beach along the Columbia River that grew in nudity and shrank in clothes, gaining ground during the 70’s and 80’s. This summer, as I drove by, I thought I saw a couple of goose bumps peaking out through the brush but that was it. There were no cars in the parking lot. The hot springs in Oregon and Idaho also took it in the shorts…so to speak.

  19. Being a meteorologist , you of all people should understand this article Mr. Watts.
    Geez!
    I thought you were a scientist, but you are nothing but a hack!
    REPLY: You called me a “hack” the last time you insulted me. I urged you to get creative, but here it is again. Is your toolbox of insults limited solely to “hack”?
    BTW what do you do? What qualifies you to be the judge of me? And, what proof do you have that this glaciers growth is proof of global warming and not simply changes in precipitation patterns?
    And why can’t you use your real name when you insult me? Why can’t you stand behind your own words. Sounds like Tasker to me.
    – Anthony

  20. In the 1970’s I worked in MacKenzie Mtns of Canada’s NWT and St. Elias Mtns of Yukon Territory. This was a time of climate cooling, but there was abundant evidence of glacier wasting.
    Glaciers can be proxies of both temperature and precipitation. They can be indicators of local and/or regional climate variation. An yes, when properly evaluated, they can provide evidence of global climate variation.
    The alarmists have abused this topic for some time and will likely continue to cherry pick those examples that favor their agenda. Unfortunately most folks (especially the press) have neither the training nor expertise to see the bias.
    Keep up the good work Anthony. By providing examples such as Shasta, you allow discussion and help educate folks who are willing to be educated.

  21. Dave Bilhaus: Being a meteorologist , you of all people should understand this article Mr. Watts.
    Geez!
    I thought you were a scientist, but you are nothing but a hack!

    Dave, with your obviously superior knowledge on the subject, perhaps you could explain this article to all of us. After all, we skeptics, in addition to being blog-reading nobodies, tend to be a bit dense. We await your explaination with breathless anticipation.

  22. Dave Bilhaus, there is no need to be rude.
    Our author is merely expressing his frustration that “everything is due to climate change” and the obvious problems with their knowledge (saying that glaciers are melting, which they almost never do, subliming directly like snow or laundry on a Siberian clothesline). However, the primary source of frustration is that both growing and shrinking glaciers are considered proof of climate change, leading to a non-falsifiable hypothesis. I’m certain that you understand the problems with scientific inquiry that that entails.

  23. That’s twice that Dave Bilhaus has been incredibly insulting to our host. IMHO, three strikes and you’re out.
    Regarding glaciers, it should be kept in mind that the primary cause of glaciers advancing or retreating is changes in precipitation, not changes in temperature.
    Finally, a little good news. California voters rejected new government subsidies for developing renewable energy technologies and fuels by a 2 – 1 margin. The free market is already developing new technologies, as it always does.
    Once a new layer of bureaucracy is put on the backs of taxpayers, it never goes away, and always grows larger. Good to see that this one is going down to defeat.

  24. “…and that sublimation, not melting, is the primary agent in glacier shrinkage.”
    Sublimation is also explains the transformation of climate science into the specious science of AGW.
    “The number of humans on Earth is large and growing,” he said, “but the planet is not getting any bigger.”
    I beg to differ. Earth is doused with up to 40 tons of dihydrogen monoxide and interplanetary dust and meteorites daily, although the space provided by the growth is not adequate to compensate for the space requirements of additional humans. Global warming will also cause a thermal expansion of the Earth, although again not adequate to accommodate additional humans.
    Another esteemed scientist, Dr. Paul Ehrlich, warned of the dangers of over-population. We humans need not be concerned about the future, there is always a well-meaning scientist who will inform us of our destiny.
    “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines . . . hundreds of millions of people (including Americans) are going to starve to death.” (Population Bomb 1968)”
    Dr. Ehrlich did not know that the growing season would be extended by AGW, resulting in more food for the teeming masses.
    “I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” (1969)
    I don’t know if any of you Brits are betting people, but be advised you are living on borrowed time.
    “Actually, the problem in the world is that there is much too many rich people…” – Quoted by the Associated Press, April 6, 1990
    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” – Quoted by R. Emmett Tyrrell in The American Spectator, September 6, 1992
    “We’ve already had too much economic growth in the United States. Economic growth in rich countries like ours is the disease, not the cure.” – Quoted by Dixy Lee Ray in her book Trashing the Planet (1990)
    If Dr. Ehrlich was a younger man, he may well have had a run at being president of the USofA.

  25. Never mind the glaciers.
    I predict that in one week, November 12, Arctic sea ice will reach its highest level in 7 years. A cold air mass has just moved over the Barent’s Sea, which has up to now been ice free for the most part.
    Concerning our new President, change is coming – and probably is all we’ll have in our pockets soon!

  26. Well, yes, glaciers growing and glaciers shrinking are indicators of ‘climate change’ in that the climate is always ‘changing’, it is never static.
    Why is the fact that a glacier is growing necessarily ‘good news’?

  27. A hack friend of mine says “hackery” is an honourable profession … nothing wrong with being an honest hack, he says. A “useless hack” … now that’s sumpt’n else.

  28. Why is the science not settled on the fact that climate changes and is in fact chaotic? There is a sense of stability in it’s averages – but why is it assumed that it’s a constant – which really is the underpinning principle of AGW (other than a trace gas being solely responsible for the warming we experienced btwn the late 70’s and ending around 2000)?

  29. P Folkens;
    “Perhaps that part of the story in which they were “ashamed” and resorted to covering up the private parts had more to do with global cooling than any shame at being nekkid.”
    Do you mean….’SHRINKAGE”!

  30. Interesting post and responses; a note is posted bringing light to an intriguing natural phenomenon. I just wish there were more reply-posts delving into reasons why this might be; scientific-based discussion of the physical-natural reasons why this might be; perhaps jsut a little less of the “faction”-based opinion?
    As for myself, it is easily concievable that a single causal factor can manifest in multiple, even contradictory responses (depending on spatial-temporal scale). It’s a very complex natural world out there.
    As I understand the reasoning regarding Mt. Shasta specifically, since it pushes 14,000 feet, it is a localized topographic anomoly that provides for a temperature-orographic regime not shared by the surrounding landscape. Increased temperatures in (and over) the Pacific have increased the water vapor load transported eastward. Mt. Shasta, being the high-elevation “sore thumb” catches the increased precip, and since it is so, high, it is not as affected by the local increase of ~1.8 degrees occurring over the last 100 years or so. This does not occurr furthern north in the Cascades because a greater proportion of the rainfall comes in the Spring, Summer and Fall months, so more falls as rain instead of snow.
    This explanation seems completely plausible, no? People too often expect single cause-and-effect in the natural world. As a biologist at least, I know in nature that single cause-single effect phenomena are exceptions, not the rule.
    REPLY: That’s an interesting view of the issue. I would add that we also have had a change in the synoptic scale weather patterns, with the jet stream often oscillating North-South within +/- 100 miles of Mt. Shasta, which is also a contributor. We have not seen as many deep southerly excursions of the jet stream as we used to, hence the drought issues for California. – Anthony

  31. The reason for all these anecdotal “anything is a result of global warming” stories is that there is no smoking gun evidence for it.
    Sure, there is a glacier melting here and there is less summer sea ice there, but that is just about all the evidence there is for global warming.
    There is no smoking gun. There really hasn’t been any kind of substantive change in the climate anywhere in the world. (Maybe a little in the Arctic.)
    The warmers have to use “stretch evidence” to prove their global warming belief. They need to show some real smoking gun evidence instead.

  32. Anthony;
    You need to move to the mid west. I’m convinced that you have waaay to many
    functioning brain cells to remain in Chico. Or anywhere on the left coast for that matter.

  33. I think Crichton’s State of Fear played an instrumental role in giving the skeptic
    side of the AGW issue a big momentum boost. He reminded us that science does not move by consensus, but by challanging existing dogma. His novel also clearly demonstrated the dangers of allowing science to be hijacked by politics. If you haven’t read it already, then you should.
    I’m so saddened by his unexpected departure.
    Can this day get any worse?

  34. Bill Illis,
    That’s why I don’t like people on our side using anecdotes. It’s just not science. Michael Crichton would never tolerate it. It’s grasping at straws.

  35. Pierre Gosselin (09:00:15) :
    “Never mind the glaciers.
    I predict that in one week, November 12, Arctic sea ice will reach its highest level in 7 years. A cold air mass has just moved over the Barent’s Sea, which has up to now been ice free for the most part. ”
    Ive been watching that too. 🙂 But we wont be hearing about it unless they tell us the ice is thin, one year ice and will probably melt quickly:)
    Im holding out some hope for our new pres tho.. his trends seem to indicate that he says what you want to hear and goes his own way after he wins. We shall see his true views soon enough:)

  36. It’s a sad day indeed.
    Best-selling author and filmaker Michael Crichton died unexpectedly in Los Angeles Tuesday, after a courageous and private battle against cancer, his family said in a statement. He was 66.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/05/print/main4575403.shtml
    Reading State of Fear is what made me a AGW skeptic.
    Crichton’s 2004 bestseller, “State of Fear,” acknowledged the world was growing warmer, but challenged extreme anthropogenic warming scenarios. His views were strongly condemned by environmentalists, who alleged that the author was hurting efforts to pass legislation to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

  37. According to Dr. Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.Now, the bad news: The 14,000-foot volcano’s glacier growth isn’t a reliable canary in a mineshaft when it comes to global warming woes. “Mount Shasta is just a local system and does not really tell us much about global warming,”
    I wonder if he had the same observation when Mt. Kilimanjaro was the poster child for AGW? Just askin?

  38. Re: New Zealand glaciers.
    New Zealand glaciers can be categorized into short and long response to climate change. Short being 10 years or less and long being around one years response.
    Short response glaciers flow west and most of them are advancing. Slow response glaciers flow east and all are retreating.
    John D It is not possible for Mt Shasta to have ‘avoided’ the local temperature rise. For the simple reason the air over it was a few hours earlier over the surrounding land. The air over Shasta would have of course cooled due to the lapse rate, but that is a physical process completely unaffected by global warming.
    You, like the person in the article, are claiming something that is physically impossible.
    If there is a difference between measured temperatures around Shasta and at the top of the mountain, it must be due to local factors, likely irrigation.
    Which tells us the world’s climate (or at least the South island of New Zealand’s) has warmed over the last 100 years and cooled over the last 10 years.

  39. Any tree ring studies from Shasta?
    I’ve been on that mountain a lot and there are some gnarly trees on some select slops that might impart some info.

  40. I just loved that quote from Dr. Tulaczyk.
    “Mount Shasta is just a local system and does not really tell us much about global warming,” Tulaczyk said in an e-mail. “Everybody should know from their own experience that weather and climate are highly variable in space and time. It is absolutely incorrect to use Mount Shasta as some kind of proof that there is no global warming.”
    What if I just paraphrase that a little.
    Mount -KILIMANJARO- is just a local system and does not really tell us much about global warming,” Tulaczyk said in an e-mail. “Everybody should know from their own experience that weather and climate are highly variable in space and time. It is absolutely incorrect to use Mount -KILIMANJARO- as some kind of proof that there is — global warming.”

  41. Anthony,
    When will you post the global data for October temp?
    thanks,
    Steve
    REPLY: When it becomes available. neither UAH nor RSS has posted October yet, and GISS/Hadley are usually many days out. – Anthony

  42. http://eospso.gsfc.nasa.gov/eos_observ/pdf/Sep_Oct08.pdf
    A direct quote: Funk and colleagues used a computer model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to confirm their findings. The combination of evidence from models and historical data strongly suggest that human-caused warming of the Indian Ocean leads to an increase of rainfall over the ocean, which in turn adds energy to the atmosphere. Models showed that the added energy could indeed create a weather pattern that reduces the flow of moisture onshore and brings dry air down over the African continents resulting in reduced rainfall.
    Did they forget about the MJO??
    http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap12/mjo.html
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/mjoupdate.pdf
    What line of that last paragraph do you think the press will pick up on>>??

  43. What this article demonstrates is that being a scientist is in no way indicative of a person’s analytical ability:
    “Ed Josberger, a researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey in Tacoma, Wash., says North State glacier growth is PROOF of global warming, even if, on the surface, it strikes a counterintuitive chord. Shifts in weather patterns are likely to heat some places while chilling others.” (emphasis added)
    This statement lacks any semblance of reasoning. Assume, for example, that global warming theory predicts that warming temperatures shift precipitation and temperature patterns such that some local regions get cooler and/or wetter while others get warmer and/or hotter. A subsequent observation that Mt. Shasta’s glaciers are growing is, however, not EVIDENCE of the truth of the underlying theory. It just means that the observation is not necessarily inconsistent with that theory. After all, it is not unreasonable to expect that Mt. Shasta’s glaciers might grow in the event that the theory of global warming is wrong, either in it’s prediction that warmer temperatures cause local cooling regions, or in it’s prediction that the earth on average is getting measurably warmer in response to CO2 emissions.

  44. Phillip_B.
    I respectfully disagree. The temperature of air at high altitude is proportional to air density (decreased atmospheric pressure), since most warming occurs from solar energy absorbed by the ground being radiated back up into the air. The less “air” per volume, the less the heat-capacity. The less heat capacity, the lower temperature. Therefor, it as important that air reaching Shasta has already been over land for an hour or two, than it is that Shasta is more than 4,000 feet higher than any surrounding land surface (and over 10,400 feet higher than surrounding valleys).
    With increasing elevation, temperatures will diminish by 0.6 to 1.0 degree C for every meter-gain in altitude (depending on moisture content). So, figuring that Shasta is as much as 3,200 meters above the surrounding plains (and ~1,220 meters higher than highest nearby mountains), temperatures would be between 19.2 to 32 degrees C cooler at the top than the surrounding plains, and 7.3 to 12.2 degrees C cooler than the nearest tall mountains, regardless of how long air has been over land to the west.
    At that altitude, precipitation in the winter months will fall as snow, so 1.8 degree warming will not affect snowfall up that high.
    The argument stands.
    Respectfully,
    John D.
    REPLY: John I’m going to have to point out that while temperature in fall, winter, and spring months does often produce snow on Mt. Shasta, there is no guarantee that the temperature conditions may be right for producing snow in any given storm. It all depends on the source air mass. For example, a “Pineapple Express” type event would likely produce warm wet snow, or maybe only rain depending on the temperature of the air mass and how it reacts to the Orographic lifting effect of the mountain. Under a specific set of atmospheric parcel conditions, including pressure, temperature, humidity, and the presence of ice crystal nucleii, a 1.8 degree difference for the could in fact determine the type of precipitation that occurs and the elevation at which it occurs.
    In fact, the snow formation on Shasta may often occur at elevations higher that the mountain itself, depending on the atmospheric situation. It may be above freezing, say 35F on the slope and snow could still be formed by orographic lifting/cooling processes and manage to “stick” to the slopes as it falls from above.
    Given that glaciers are a better proxy for precipitation than temperature, the observation that we are getting snowpack additions to the glaciers means that we are getting more snow events at those elevations. I attribute this mostly to synoptic scale weather pattern changes, which are mostly ocean influenced.
    As you point out, nature is never simple, and the connection to increased snow on Shasta might very well begin with circulation changes in the Sea of Japan or any other place west of California. Since we can’t trace the path of water molecules from evaporation to precipitation, one can’t really say with certainty. Likewise, we can’t say with certainty that global warming is in fact the cause of the additional transport of water from source “X” to the mountain top in the form of snow.
    – Anthony

  45. NCDC has October temperatures in the database. Looks like it just showed up this afternoon. The narrative on the main page is still September, though.
    Note that is USHCNv2 data. Looks like October 2008 came in (not sure if NCDC does their own adjustments to USHCNv2) 54.48F which is considerably cooler than last October’s 57.33F

  46. I meant to say that it is NOT as important that air has been over land for for an hour or two before reaching Shasta than it is that Shasta is 4,000 to 10,400 feet higher than surrounding land surfaces…! A detail, but important nonetheless!
    Thanks!
    John D.

  47. In 3 years time the new policies of the US President will have solved the global warming crisis as the world will have visibly cooled for all to see – however the policies will need to be kept on board and enhanced to ensure that the dreaded threat of AGW does not return…
    Al hail the saviour…

  48. global ice back to normal. At this rate NH ice will be likely above anomaly for 2008-09 and antarctica is already. See cryosphere today

  49. Crichton was unique.
    I recently revisited the IQ Squared (IQ2) Global Warming Debate, which took place July, 2007
    He began by criticizing those who swear by the “consensus”, saying that in the past the consensus has been wrong. Referring to the embattled few who held to the notion of plate techtonics contrary to a hostile majority, he argued that a small body of probing and questioning sceptics could be right, and ultimately change the scientific discourse.
    http://freedomchannel.blogspot.com/2007/07/iq-squared-global-warming-debate.html
    Teamed with Philip Stott and Richard Lindzen, who politely argued the science, Crichton’s tone was more indignant as he characterized the global warming movement as a scandalous policy morass created by hypocritical people who would ultimately do a terrible injustice to societies around the world.
    Echoing Bjorn Lomborg’s pragmatic altruism, he warned that trillion-dollar plans of AGW-ers to sequester carbon will squander scarce resources that should be spent helping desperate people in undeveloped countries many of whom lack the most basic needs – of clean drinking water, adequate food, fuel for cooking and heating, and electricity.

  50. Dr. Slawek Tulaczyk said in an e-mail. “Everybody should know from their own experience that weather and climate are highly variable in space and time. It is absolutely incorrect to use Mount Shasta as some kind of proof that there is no global warming.”
    “The 14,000-foot volcano’s glacier growth isn’t a reliable canary in a mineshaft when it comes to global warming woes.”
    Dr. Tulaczyk, please define global climate.
    Dr. Tulaczyk, please define global warming. Is it the uniform elevation of temperatures over the globe due to the anthropogenic CO2 contribution to the atmospheric concentration, even though satellite surveys show that CO2 is not uniformly distributed over the globe? Are environmentally compromised weather stations reliable “canaries-in-a-mineshaft” when it comes to global warming woes?
    Dr. Tulaczyk, you say “…that weather and climate are highly variable in space and time.”
    I have been limited by my thinking that climate is local or regional, but not global. Another misunderstanding that I have is that weather is a component of climate. Certain climates seem to have certain types of weather, with seasonal variations, of course.
    For clarification I consult the IPCC AGW bible:
    Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the “average weather”, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.
    “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” – Robert A. Heinlein
    That clears it up for me: Climate is “average weather” and the two are interchangeable, depending on one’s expectation. I am a bit anxious about what those relevant quantities might be, however.
    I admit, I am confuted by the specious science of AGW.

  51. “” Patrick Henry (23:26:59) :
    The interior of Greenland and Antarctica never get above freezing, but they could be persuaded to melt if scientists keep repeating the same nonsense over and over again. “”
    So how does that work; and specifically, what nonsense is it that you believe can be induced to get the interiors of Antarctica and Greenland to melt.

  52. Philip_B (15:10:35) :
    The Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers – on the west side of the Cook Range – had receded 1000 feet when I visited the South Island in your summer (December) of 1974. The Tasman Glacier – on the east side – was unchanged.

  53. As to how much local climate anecdotal changes get reported as global warming; the MMGWers have an agenda against carbon; and the only thing they can see carbon causing despite the lack of ANY evidence to that effect, is the mythical global warming via the Arhennius CO2 thesis; which to me is now thoroughly discredited; since all the vidence is that CO2 changes are caused by surface temperature changes and not vice versa.
    The MMGWers claim water vapor is only important as a feedback mechanism, since clearly the important CO2 line is nearly saturated, so that 20 times more CO2 can only make a small addition to IR interception.
    But they don’t have any actual evidence that such a feedback actually happens. I’m very familiar with feedback systems and feedback theory (Electronics), and it is well understood that feedback systems with time delays built in between the cause (input signal) and the effect (output signal part of which is fed back to the input) result in limit cycle oscillations.
    So just what climate data records do we have containing CO2 and temperature vartiations; where clearly there is a delay between the data sets that result in limit cycle (extreme to extreme) oscillations.
    I’ve never seen any calculation of supposed climate feedback loops that even compute the time response of such systems; which leads me to conclude that the purported feedback mechanisms either do not exist, or are totally negated by other effects.
    Surely water vapor is perfectly capable on its own of producing any amount of feedback that might occur triggered by CO2 or methane or some other GHG.
    I believe that water vapor leads to a positive feedback warming process, that keeps us from being a solid ice ball; but I’m equally convinced that clouds lead to a negative feedback cooling process, and which one dominates depends on the fractional cloud cover and optical density.
    George

  54. Thanks again Anthony for the link to “synoptic-level” and additional clarification on top of Ol’-Shasta.
    Very interesting, and yes, quite complicated!
    As my old entomology professor used to say, “relax John, nature will always have more imagination than you”..I actually take comfort in that.
    John D.

  55. The AAAS put out a Policy Alert today (Guy Fawkes Day) and in commneting on the coming change in administration; they called for a Science Csar; a Presidential Cabinet Post advising the President on Science.
    Now I’ve study a whole lot of science in many fields, in the 50 years I have been practicing it; and there is no way, I would want to advise ANY President on the whole of Science that may be of government policy interest to any President.
    I believe the National Academy of Sciences, is supposed to have such a fubction already, and such a multi discipline group is far more apporpriate than a cabinet post .
    How would you like it if Michael Mann or James Hansen were suddenly appointed Secretary of science; that would make advising any President on science just orders of magnitude worse than the process is now.

  56. The Blues and Wallowas held onto their snow and ice this summer till it started to snow again this September. That means the glaciers we have will likely start growing again. So far the weather systems we have been getting have been filled with moisture and cold air, dumping snow everywhere in the higher mountains (and now on the lower slopes). By the way, if anyone is interested, take a look at the canyons in the Wallowas facing the Wallowa Valley. The moraine around Wallowa Lake is not the only moraine that is visible. There is another terminal moraine, meaning the glacier melted in place after forming the moraine. Can you spot it?
    http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?map.x=295&map.y=198&minlon=-122.11&maxlon=-116.45&minlat=43.57&maxlat=47.67&mapwidth=354&site=pdt

  57. All I have to say is , I came across that N. Calif. border from Oregon this summerfor the first time. Shasta was spectacular to see. (Mind you my girls only talked about meeting Sleeping Beauty). Scenery is so lost on 6/4/2 year olds.
    cheers

  58. John D.
    since most warming occurs from solar energy absorbed by the ground being radiated back up into the air
    I’ll assume you didn’t set out to mislead by using ‘warming’ in a different way to the context of the discussion where ‘warming’ means ‘global warming’, ie the increase in temperature over time.
    Otherwise nothing you say contradicts my point that Mt Shasta cannot be warming (in the global warming sense) significantly less than lower elevations because the physical mechanism you describe would preclude it.
    GHG warming is an atmospheric effect. Warming at the Earth’s surface by sunlight has nothing to do with AGW. Which was my point about a local effect causing any observed difference. Afterwards, I thought ‘a local near ground level effect’ would have been clearer.
    By way of explanation. Local near ground level warming would be mixed into a much larger volume of air as it rose up Mt Shasta and hence would have little to no efect at the summit. This of course would not be the case with global warming which is throughout the troposphere and mixing would have no effect on the amount of warming between Mt Shasta and surrounding areas.

  59. Pamela Gray (20:55:58) :
    By the way, if anyone is interested, take a look at the canyons in the Wallowas facing the Wallowa Valley. The moraine around Wallowa Lake is not the only moraine that is visible. There is another terminal moraine, meaning the glacier melted in place after forming the moraine. Can you spot it?
    The hills south and south east of Wallowa look to my untrained eyes as though they might be piles of till.
    Bear Creek Road up to Garden Gulch looks like a nice bicycle ride.

  60. Yes Philip..again though it’s the density of air, that diminishes with altitude, that determines heat capacity, and the ability of air to be warmed by radiative warming from the earth surface. And it is this diminished density, and rapid cooling as air is “forced upslope” that results in diminished water holding capacity and localized precipitation (orographic affect).
    My point is that altitude is such a strong factor in determining how much heat a given volume of air can hold (along with composition, e.g., water, co2 content, etc.), that if an area where most of the surface is below 8, 000 feet elevation has warmed generally say 1-2 degrees, and that area has a volcanic knob sticking up to 14,000 feet, then a general regional increase of 1-2 degrees will not diminish snowfall above say…8,000 feet on that volcanic cone because the local elevation on the 8,000 to 14,000 foot surfaces will still be below freezing in the winter. So if there is regional warming…it will be more pronounced at lower surfaces than at higher elevations, relative to the freezing point.
    Again, I’m not saying that Shasta isn’t warming too (afterall there is nothing magical about that peak!), I’m just saying that the further one goes up a 14,000 foot peak, the less likely a 1-2 degree regional rise in temperature will put you over 32 degrees in the winter. So if there is a general increase in the content of water vapor, and a 14,000-foot peak that remains below 32 degrees in the winter, than you’ll get more snow, even in context of a regional increase of 1-2 degrees.
    Again, I think this is quite sound reasoning, no?
    Best regards.

  61. Hint: If you fill the shape with water, it will look exactly like Wallowa Lake. Zoom and you will find the moraine.

  62. Sublimation may well be the primary cause of shrinkage in high arctic glaciers, but only because they are in the deep freeze all the time and so there is no melting. That’s definitely not the case with Mount Shasta though, which is exposed to the scorching summertime sun at a temperate latitude — in that case, ice loss from melting would massively outweigh the loss from sublimation — it’s just common sense, really.

  63. John D.
    Less dense air has a lower heat capacity and so condensation can heat the air easier. I was not sure if this was your assessment or not.
    Your logic for a potential mechanism of Shasta’s advancing glaciers seems sound. However, if so it should extend to similar terrains. I suppose we could check it by looking at all the mountains around the world with similar topographies, elevations and local terrain. Andes, Cascades, SW Alps. I know nothing about this but I would suspect that we would find all kinds of inconsistent trends.

  64. Glacier Peak, WA is another Cascades volcano with, what appears to me, growing glaciers. About five years ago while hiking near the volcano it looked as though the glaciers had shrunk significantly based on old photos showing a heavily-glaciated peak. I didn’t see Glacier Peak again until a few weeks ago, and what a difference. The mountain is completely covered again, and the glaciers looked like they’ve grown significantly. I don’t have any data other than my direct observations.

  65. Just returned from a weather symposium at Bishop. I and maybe one other did not believe in the “climate change” purpose of this meeting. I asked a Glacier Expert re; Shasta. He had no idea why it’s glaciers were advancing but said that glaciers in the Sierras and Cascades were definitely receding. Interestingly, one gal gave a lecture on Rock Glaciers in the Sierras (ice glaciers covered with rock debris) and she thinks they could last maybe a hundred more years due to the insulation of the debris.

  66. A couple months ago, the Anchorage Daily News reported that ice packs throughout Alaska and the Yukon were 20 feet deeper in Aug 2008 than in Aug 2007.
    Which seems to make the Mt. Shasta thing a little less local.

  67. “Cooler heads”–there’s a good title for a skeptical website, or the chapter in a book on the topic of AGW.

  68. Pingback: Glaciers in Norway, Alaska growing again « Watts Up With That?

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