Swiss ETH: Glaciers melted in the 1940’s faster than today

From ETH Zurich: The stupefying pace of glacier melt in the 1940s

https://i0.wp.com/www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/091214_gletscherschwund_su/091214_gornergletscher_L2.jpg

In the 1940s, the glaciers were melting at a faster pace than today. An image of the Gorner glacier. (Image: Matthias Huss / ETH Zurich)

The most recent studies by researchers at ETH Zurich show that in the 1940s Swiss glaciers were melting at an even-faster pace than at present. This is despite the fact that the temperatures in the 20th century were lower than in this century. Researchers see the main reason for this as the lower level of aerosol pollution in the atmosphere.

In Switzerland, the increase in snow in wintertime and the glacier melt in summertime have been measured at measurement points at around 3,000 metres above sea level – on the Clariden Firn, the Great Aletsch glacier and the Silvretta glacier – without interruption for almost 100 years. As part of his doctoral work, Matthias Huss used this unique range of measurements to examine how climate change in the last century affected the glaciers. The work was carried out under the supervision of Martin Funk, professor and head of the Department for Glaciology at the Laboratory for Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (‘VAW’) at ETH Zurich, who is also co-author of the study.

A glaciologist on the way to work on the Silvretta glacier (Image: Matthias Huss / ETH Zurich)

A glaciologist on the way to work on the Silvretta glacier (Image: Matthias Huss / ETH Zurich) (more pictures)

Solar radiation as the decisive factor

In its work, the research team took into account the solar radiation measured on the Earth’s surface in Davos since 1934. Studies over the past two decades have shown that solar radiation varies substantially due to aerosols and clouds, and this is assumed to influence climate fluctuations. Recent years have seen the emergence of the terms ‘global dimming’ and ‘global brightening’ to describe these phenomena of reduced and increased solar radiation respectively. These two effects are currently the subject of more and more scientific research, in particular by ETH Zurich, as experts feel that they should be taken into account in the climate models (see ETH Life dated July 9, 2009)

The new study, published in the journal ‘Geophysical Research Letters’, confirms this requirement. This is because, taking into account the data recorded for the level of solar radiation, the scientists made a surprising discovery: in the 1940s and in the summer of 1947 especially, the glaciers lost the most ice since measurements commenced in 1914. This is in spite of the fact that temperatures were lower than in the past two decades. “The surprising thing is that this paradox can be explained relatively easily with radiation”, says Huss, who was recently appointed to the post of senior lecturer at the Department of Geosciences at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.

On the basis of their calculations, the researchers have concluded that the high level of short-wave radiation in the summer months is responsible for the fast pace of glacier melt. In the 1940s, the level was 8% higher than the long-term average and 18 Watts per square metres above the levels of the past ten years. Calculated over the entire decade of the 1940s, this resulted in 4% more snow and ice melt compared with the past ten years.

Furthermore, the below-average melt rates at the measurement points during periods in which the glacier snouts were even advancing correlate with a phase of global dimming, between the 1950s and the 1980s.

Less snow fall and longer melt periods

The researchers arrived at their findings by calculating the daily melt rates with the aid of climate data and a temperature index model, based on the half-yearly measurements on the glaciers since 1914. These results were then compared with the long-term measurements of solar radiation in Davos.

Huss points out that the strong glacier melt in the 1940s puts into question the assumption that the rate of glacier decline in recent years “has never been seen before”. “Nevertheless”, says the glaciologist, “this should not lead people to conclude that the current period of global warming is not really as big of a problem for the glaciers as previously assumed”. This is because it is not only the pace at which the Alpine glaciers are currently melting that is unusual, but the fact that this sharp decline has been unabated for 25 years now. Another aspect to consider – and this is evidenced by the researchers’ findings – is that temperature-based opposing mechanisms came into play around 30 years ago. These have led to a 12% decrease in the amount of precipitation that falls as snow as a percentage of total precipitation, accompanied by an increase of around one month in the length of the melt period ever since this time. Scientists warn that these effects could soon be matched by the lower level of solar radiation we have today compared with the 1940s.

Reference

Huss M, Funk M & Ohmura A: Strong Alpine glacier melt in the 1940s due to enhanced solar radiation. Geophysical Research Letters (2009), 36, L23501, doi:10.1029/2009GL040789

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140 thoughts on “Swiss ETH: Glaciers melted in the 1940’s faster than today

  1. Going on denying what you know is true with these false stories… I will pray for you :(

    REPLY: False? Doubtful. Tell it to ETH Zurich research, the source of this story, see what they tell you, then report back. – A

  2. That’s pretty interesting! Of course, the paper has two parts: the very statements about the super-catastrophically rapid Alpine warming in the 1940s (because we have a catastrophically rapid Alpine warming today) and hints about the causes.

    The explanations of melting for various glaciers across the world seem very diverse. I wonder to what extent this diversity of causes is real, and to what extent it shows that the people are just randomly guessing. In particular, I doubt that all these Alpine observations can be attributed to the Sun.

  3. …it is not only the pace at which the Alpine glaciers are currently melting that is unusual, but the fact that this sharp decline has been unabated for 25 years now.

    Dang. Still *another* decline to hide…

  4. I smell the old gambit: “In our neck of the woods, things are not fitting the AGW pattern. But in every other neck of the woods, we believe they are… so we will explain our findings in those terms… and anyway, our grant money depends on us supporting AGW…”

  5. Steven Frost (00:16:44) :

    Going on denying what you know is true with these false stories… I will pray for you :(

    A rather ironic surname methinks;-)

  6. “but the fact that this sharp decline has been unabated for 25 years now.”

    I wonder how well the rate of decline matches Briffa 1998 results for declining temperatures after the 1940’s ?

  7. Robert van der Veeke (01:04:09) :

    @ Steven Frost (00:16:44) :

    You could always burn a few witches, it did not help in the past, but if it makes you feel better

    CROWD: Burn! Burn her!
    BEDEMIR: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
    CROWD: Are there? What are they?
    BEDEMIR: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
    VILLAGER #2: Burn!
    CROWD: Burn, burn them up!
    BEDEMIR: And what do you burn apart from witches?
    VILLAGER #1: More witches!
    VILLAGER #2: Wood!
    BEDEMIR: So, why do witches burn?
    [pause]
    VILLAGER #3: B–… ’cause they’re made of wood…?
    BEDEMIR: Good!
    CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah…
    BEDEMIR: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
    VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
    BEDEMIR: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
    VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.
    BEDEMIR: Does wood sink in water?
    VILLAGER #1: No, no.
    VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!
    VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
    CROWD: The pond!
    BEDEMIR: What also floats in water?
    VILLAGER #1: Bread!
    VILLAGER #2: Apples!
    VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!
    VILLAGER #1: Cider!
    VILLAGER #2: Great gravy!
    VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
    VILLAGER #2: Mud!
    VILLAGER #3: Churches — churches!
    VILLAGER #2: Lead — lead!
    ARTHUR: A duck.
    CROWD: Oooh.
    BEDEMIR: Exactly! So, logically…,
    VILLAGER #1: If… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood.
    BEDEMIR: And therefore–?
    VILLAGER #1: A witch!
    CROWD: A witch!
    BEDEMIR: We shall use my larger scales!
    [yelling]
    BEDEMIR: Right, remove the supports!
    [whop]
    [creak]
    CROWD: A witch! A witch!
    WITCH: It’s a fair cop.
    CROWD: Burn her! Burn! [yelling]
    BEDEMIR: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?

    Cheers

    Mark

  8. Steven Frost

    I hope your idol is stronger than the rest cos he perhaps could stop all the global warming and let us drive our SUV and live with much reduced tax.

    If he isn’t then please don’t waste your time praying for me it won’t help.

  9. With all this GW talk, I must say I never enjoyed shovelling snow as much as today. We got 8″ here in the northern plains of Germany, the most people can remember getting in a long time. I shovelled snow 4 hours (I did the whole damn street) and enjoyed every second of it.
    Back to the Alps,
    I don’t put much stock in single reports.
    But if we find more reports from different locations around the globe in the 1940s, then maybe we can start to put a picture together. The 1922 Arctic melting report was quite interesting, I admit.

  10. Speaking of ice… slightly OT, but the Dutch are getting excited with all the weather (not climate) of late because there is a chance that the Elfstedentocht could go ahead this month. This is a rare occurrence requiring cold weather to freeze canals so that the (almost) 200km race can go ahead:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elfstedentocht

    They are predicting -15 Celsius lows in the coming week:

    http://www.schaatsen-kopen.nl/category/elfstedentocht-2010/

    The main issue will be clearing the snow off the ice to get a better surface for skating. I note the following article talking about the upcoming weather and the notably quiet sun of late:

    http://www.stichtingmilieunet.nl/andersbekekenblog/klimaat/klimaatnieuws-grote-kans-op-elfstedentocht.html

    My Dutch is a tad rusty but I am sure Babel or the like can come to the rescue

  11. >>Steven Frost (00:16:44) :

    >>Going on denying what you know is true with these
    >>false stories… I will pray for you :(

    Pray, no doubt, the Great God of Global Warming (genuflect, genuflect).

    Or perhaps to his prophet, Great Gore (peace be upon him). The prophet who was illiterate (scientifically) but yet managed to transcribe the great wisdom of Convenient Truths. This is surely one of god’s signs.

    .

  12. Steven Frost.

    If any AGW sceptic changes their mind to your point of view, it won’t be your prayers that do it, it’ll be because of hard evidence.

  13. Steven Frost (00:16:44) :

    “Going on denying what you know is true with these false stories… I will pray for you :(“

    Oh, do you mean stories like the polar bear numbers are up since the 1950s?
    ttp://www.polarbearsinternational.org/ask-the-experts/population/

    Do you mean stories like glacial melt due as much to soot as to warming?
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/himalayan-soot.html

    Do you mean stories like in 2009 Arctic ice thicker than expected?
    http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/research_aircraft_polar_5_finishes_arctic_expedition_unique_measurement_flights_in_the_central_arc/?cHash=e36036fcb4

    Do you mean stories like The UN IPCC warning that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035 is wildly inaccurate?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8387737.stm

    I could go on and on you know. Please learn to chill out Mr. Frost, which should be quite easy at the moment. Bbbbrrrrrr :o)

  14. [sorry, too rude to let through. ~ctm]

    And after a little research it appears that Steven Frost, Robert Soros, and Aimee Gardens are the same troll.

    Consider yourself banned.

  15. Juraj V. (00:51:58) :

    Thank you, Juraj V. The graph you cited is very beautiful; the relation between the glacier and AMO is quite clear.

  16. Its a bit to early to call for a eleven-city ride in the Netherlands, if the predictions are right we are still talking about 2 weeks minimum before this skating event can be held.

    But if it does, than the country will come to a standstill :D

  17. “temperature-based opposing mechanisms came into play around 30 years ago. These have led to a 12% decrease in the amount of precipitation that falls as snow as a percentage of total precipitation, accompanied by an increase of around one month in the length of the melt period ever since this time. Scientists warn that these effects could soon be matched by the lower level of solar radiation we have today compared with the 1940s.”

    A nicely ambivalent final paragraph… :)

  18. So their homogenised temperature model ‘proves’ temperatures were higher in the 90s than the 40s.
    Data proves that the glaciers melted faster in the forties.
    So in the 40s the sun’s radiation delivered more ice-melting energy without raising air temperatures….
    The whole premise here is a crock of ctm-bane!!

  19. Strange:

    Sun gone a bit quiet and we’re having cold winters.

    CO2 on the other has continued rising since 1998.

    AGW is a pile of poo

  20. Well, yes, it’s that very ambivalence which lends the article its weight. Ambiguity is the stuff of research – you find little enough of it in mere doctrine.

  21. On the eastern islands, Edgeøya, Barentsøya and Nordaustlandet several large ice caps are found. Due to low air temperatures and low precipitation most glaciers in the dry interior of Spitsbergen move rather sluggish, only 1-2 m per year and therefore are only little crevassed. In the more humid regions along the coasts, however, glacier velocities of more than 10-30 m per year and large crevasses are frequent. A significant number of glaciers in Svalbard from time to time advance with extraordinary high velocity, up to several kilometers during 3-6 years. This surge-behavior is characteristic for at least 30% of all glaciers in Svalbard and possibly up to about 60% of all glaciers displays this kind of behavior from time to time, with a recurrent interval of 50-100 years. A 30 km wide sector of the large ice cap on Nordaustlandet, Austfonna, between 1936 and 1938 experienced at surge advance of more than 20 km into the ocean. This is presumably the longest surge advance ever recorded at any glacier on this planet.

    (A Geographical-Historical Outline of Svalbard
    by Dr. Ole Humlum, UNIS, Department of Geology, Svalbard, Norway; (www.unis.no))

    Out of context perhaps, but does this surge behaviour have any relationship to the behaviour of water drops on a sloping sheet of glass? (surface tension)

    The scale is wildly different, but so is the physical state of the H2O.

    If so, we may have another factor in glacier behaviour. Whether or not, maybe the surge pattern is more common, and not a function of temperature.

  22. Anthony,

    I found this article from January 2. 2010 to be focused, accurate and important. It’s written by Neil Frank¹.

    Climategate: You should be steamed
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6795858.html

    Kind Regards,

    Invariant

    ¹Neil Frank, who holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University in meteorology, was director of the National Hurricane Center (1974–87) and chief meteorologist at KHOU (Channel 11) until his retirement in 2008.

  23. Piers Corbyn’s newsletter says the Dutch ice skate is ‘a near certainty’.

    He’s predicting the whole of January to be bitterly cold, with the second half colder than the first half.

  24. The Cryosphere Today site has changed their presentation of polar sea ice from the most recent year to the past two years. If they had used 3 years, the increased ice coverage since 2007 would have been more obvious.

  25. tallbloke (02:40:07) :

    ““temperature-based opposing mechanisms came into play around 30 years ago. These have led to a 12% decrease in the amount of precipitation that falls as snow as a percentage of total precipitation, accompanied by an increase of around one month in the length of the melt period ever since this time. Scientists warn that these effects could soon be matched by the lower level of solar radiation we have today compared with the 1940s.”

    A nicely ambivalent final paragraph… :)”

    Tallbloke, that is just the obligatory nod to the “Man made CO2 is Evil” gods required to get the paper published and ensure future funding. Note there is no research or data attached to the statement.

    It would be interesting to survey the “pro-AGW” papers published since 1990 and figure out how many have that type of meaningless blurb tacked on so the paper would be published. I bet many of the so called “pro-AGW” papers do since I have seen it enough that it has caught my notice.

  26. Thanks for the article. It will be interesting to see other research like this that suggests there was dimming of solar radiation at high latitudes since mid last century. And not surprising to read that despite the dimming, the melting of the glacier is progressing along with the rise in temperatures.

    Hope to see more like this here.

  27. OT:
    Early last year would you have expected to read the following in one of the UK’s MSM about the Met Office?

    Mail on Sunday

    “Its supercomputer makes 1,000 billion calculations a second – then tells us to expect a mild winter. But what would you expect from a ‘scientific’ organisation that for 20 years has been dominated by climate change zealots, and whose current chairman is the former boss of the World Wildlife Fund?
    ……..
    Furthermore, the likes of Manchester and Aberdeen airports, which were once grass airstrips, are now vast stretches of concrete, ramping up temperatures well above the surrounding countryside. This is known as the urban heat island effect.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240082/It-gigantic-supercomputer-1-500-staff-170m-year-budget-So-does-Met-Office-wrong.html

  28. Juraj V. (00:51:58) :
    Temperatures in 40ties were almost as high as today.

    I was just going to add a similar comment. In fact, there are now very many hints from different places (e.g. temperatures in Australia and New Zealand, and the russian Barents sea temperature article here on WUWT) that temperatures around 1940 were similar to today’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if a revised global temperature record would show the same: That the difference between the previous warm period of ~the fourties and the current is very small, and probably statistically unsignificant.

  29. is that temperature-based opposing mechanisms came into play around 30 years ago. These have led to a 12% decrease in the amount of precipitation that falls as snow as a percentage of total precipitation, accompanied by an increase of around one month in the length of the melt period ever since this time. Scientists warn that these effects could soon be matched by the lower level of solar radiation we have today compared with the 1940s.

    If the solar radiation is at a lower level, then it stands to reason that the melt season is reduced. I’m having great difficulty figuring out what they are warning about. Is it increased melt or is it a rapid advance? If it’s the latter, this sounds like a job for the Catholic Church.

  30. For people who wonder whether Swiss temperatures have warmed during the past 50 years, one can consult the long term, raw and unhomgenized record of monthly temperatures readings in Lake Zurich.

    http://homepages.eawag.ch/~living/downloads/2003/Livingstone%202003.pdf

    The original source of these data are the Zurich water supply company. The warming tend is very strong and the author (David Livingstone) points out that the lake warming is mainly associated with less night time cooling (warmer nights), as might be expected if increased CO2 was acting as a green house gas.

  31. Speaking of Cryosphere Today… Will they ever update the NH seasonal sea ice graph? It’s the one on the top right. Someday I just know it will be updated. Of course, it is alot scarier if they just leave it like it is.

  32. Espen and JurajV

    There is no need to try to detect hints about the 40’s warming the data is there for all to see

    http://climatereason.com/LittleIceAgeThermometers/

    Have a browse round my web site starting with Stockhom Sweden-where the uplift in the 30/40’s can be clearly seen -now look to the left hand scale (the 1740’s) and then go to Uppsalla Sweden where the 1720’s warming can be clearly seen. Stockholm didn’t show it as as the records didn’t exist at that time. The Uppsalla long record demonstrates the regular climatic cycles very clearly.

    The 1920’s to 1940’s were also a time when the Arctic ice melted substantially ( a much more frequent occurrence than is admitted).

    An article on this event and the earlier melting in the 1820’s can be seen by going into ‘articles’ from the home page of the link above.

    There is also an article here about the UHI effect in Stockholm putting the recent warming into perspective.

    Tonyb

  33. “Studies over the past two decades have shown that solar radiation varies substantially due to aerosols and clouds, and this is assumed to influence climate fluctuations.”
    —-

    Do these aerosols and clouds happen to include something going on north,east, south and west of there, for most the study period, called WWII? I ask because that might have had something to do with the melting of the glaciers since they’ve ruled out change in temperature as the primary correlation.

    Any chance there is some study somewhere that looked at the change in composition of downwind aerosols as a result of cities burning out of control and particulate from stuff being blown to smithereens on daily basis for half a decade?

  34. My experience of going to Switzerland since 1989 is that a significant number of winters had less than normal early season snow. That’s likely the stuff that turns into solid ice as it will consolidate, compact and bond through a few months.

    Late snow is more likely to melt the next summer, particularly if temperatures are warmer than normal.

    So my take on the past 25 years is: less winter snow, warmer summers = BIG MELT!

    The last two or three winters were snowier early in the winter, but the summers were still warm. So maybe a period of reduced retreat may occur. Or maybe not.

    But if winter snows stay higher and the summers cool a bit, then the trend might disappear.

    I guess the next 25 years will start to tell us who will be right.

  35. again..they manage to Ignore the 1930’s heat issues? the fact that non icebreaking traders did 2!! trips a year round the arctic in 30?( or 1 or 2 havent got the book handy that names and dates them)
    a whole lot like removing the MWP?
    yesterday I got this

    http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/757.html
    today I find this item above..
    .with the below story on the links..

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2008/0710-overseas_pollution_hitting_the_us.htm

    gee day 3 of 2010 and they are pushing soooo hard to keep the fear factor and blame high..
    hmm? if 10 to 12% of asias crap hits the USA, well what percentage of yours does EU get?
    Just a thought.
    you know glass and stones etc:-)

  36. Jimbo (04:12:29) :

    Mail on Sunday

    “Its supercomputer makes 1,000 billion calculations a second – then tells us to expect a mild winter. But what would you expect from a ’scientific’ organisation that for 20 years has been dominated by climate change zealots, and whose current chairman is the former boss of the World Wildlife Fund?”

    I did not know that Met Office chairman Robert Napier was a hardcore green (apparently so), and it does explain their emphasis on AGW politics:

    http://www.wired-gov.net/wg/wg-news-1.nsf/0/6B977BA56614AE5C802573930047847A?OpenDocument

    Biography

    Robert Napier is Chairman of the Board of the Met office. He was Chief Executive of WWF-UK, the UK arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature from 1999 to April 2007. Before that he spent 16 years at Redland plc, where he was successively Financial Director, Managing Director and Chief Executive.

  37. Mark Fawcett (01:55:11) :
    “You could always burn a few witches, it did not help in the past, but if it makes you feel better”

    Actually, it did work for the Little Ice Age!

    Pope, Innocent the VII discovered the cause of the problem … witches were causing the bad weather.

    About 50,000 witches were burned over the next few 100 years or so … and, the weather finally began to warm!

    The Pope’s LRWF simulation models (Long Range Witch Forecasts) were correct … reduction of witches led to warmer weather and improved crops. (ignore the adoption of root crops …. turnips and potatoes. )

    Those who opposed the Pope’s theory were labeled “Witchcraft Weather Deniers” and were burned too.

    Attribution

    Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 18, Number 1—Winter 2004—Pages 215–228

    Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe

    Emily Oster

    http://home.uchicago.edu/~eoster/witchec.pdf

    In the Papal Bull that opens the Malleus,(1484) Pope Innocent VIII recognizes the power of witches in the destruction of crops, writing:

    “It has indeed lately come to Our ears . . . many persons of both sexes . . . have blasted the produce of the earth, the grapes of the vine, the fruits of the trees, . . . vineyards, orchards, meadows, pasture-land, corn, wheat, and all other cereals. . . .”

    In addition, the Malleus contains a chapter detailing the powers of witches with regard to the weather, titled

    “How they Raise and Stir up Hailstorms and Tempests, and Cause Lightning to Blast both Men and Beasts.”

    This chapter ends with a line that leaves no room for doubt about the perceived power of witches:

    “Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that, just as easily as they raise hailstorms, so can they cause lightning and storms at sea; and so no doubt at all remains on these points.”

    It has long remained a mystery why the witchcraft trials re-emerged in the mid-sixteenth century, and why they did so with such force. The textual evidence shows us why it would be possible in this time to believe that witches controlled the weather. Moreover, the evidence on climate change suggests that important and noticeable weather changes during this period would have severely affected food production.

    Temperatures began to drop around the beginning of the fourteenth century (after a 400-year “medieval warm period”), and the world was warming again by the early 1800s. The coldest segments of this “little ice age” period were in the 1590s and between 1680 and 1730 (Fagan, 2000). The temperature over the period was about two degrees Fahrenheit lower than it had been in previous centuries. This decrease was large enough to leave Iceland completely surrounded by ice and to freeze the Thames in England and the canals in Holland routinely—both otherwise unheard-of events.” end quote

  38. Glaciers are made of WATER. When climate is warm, water evaporates from the oceans and freeze at high altitudes; when climate is cold there is less evaporation and, consequently, less ice is expected.
    This is the “water cycle”. Did someone change it?

  39. Nice to have confirmation. I have posted several times over the years that it is obvious to anyone who spends a lot of time in the Swiss Alps that glaciers melt in bright sun when the surface temperature (about 5feet above the ice surface) is below freezing, and remain frozen under overcast when the surface temperature is as much as 2 degrees Celsius above freezing. Also local skiiers are well aware that snowfall in the ’80s and ’90s in the Alps was significantly less than in the ’70s. (I wasn’t there in the ’50s or ’60s). More insolation, less precipitation, glacier meltback. It is not necessarily a product of GW, and not quite rocket science. Murray

  40. To Juraj V and Espen: Your conclusion that the difference between the forties and the current (temperature) is statistically insignificant can be documented by identifying only those stations world-wide whose period of record starts before 1940. Using GISS Station Data I found 422 stations (excluding the US avg which showed no increase)) whose average temperature increase was 0.2 deg C.

  41. The most recent studies by researchers at ETH Zurich show that in the 1940s Swiss glaciers were melting at an even-faster pace than at present. This is despite the fact that the temperatures in the 20th century were lower than in this century. Researchers see the main reason for this as the lower level of aerosol pollution in the atmosphere.
    Take all those researches back to 3rd. grade of the elementary school to learn the water cycle and forbid them to watch discovery channel!

  42. OT Anthony, have you seen this from Bishop Hill?
    Bishop Hill A climategate snippet on urban heat islands
    Jan 3, 2010
    Climate While reading the Climategate emails, I chanced upon a message to Phil Jones from a Chinese researcher, Yan ZhongWei inquiring if the great man would like to be a co-author on a forthcoming paper.

    Hi, Phil,

    Attached please find a draft paper about site-changes and urbanization at Beijing. It may be regarded as an extension of our early work (Yan et al 2001 AAS) and therefore I would be happy to ask you to join as a co-author.

    Regarding your recent paper about UHI effect in China (no doubt upon a large-scale warming in the region), I hope the Beijing case may serve as a helpful rather than a contradictory (as it may appear so) reference.

    The urbanization-bias at BJ was considerable but could hardly be quantified. I suspect it was somehow overestimated by a recent work (Ren et al 2007). Please feel free to comment and revise.

    I’ll check and complete the reference list, while you may also add in new references

    Cheers

    Zhongwei

    Well if the paper appeared contradictory, showing a substantial UHI, then I wanted to know about it. This appears to be it. Here’s the abstract:

    During 1977-1981 the Beijing (BJ) meteorological station was at a suburban location. In 1981 it was moved to a more urban location, but in 1997 it was subsequently moved back to the same suburban location. The daily BJ temperature series, together with those from 18 nearby stations, form a unique database for studying how site-change and possible urbanisation influences affect climate changes at a local scale. The site-change-induced biases were quantified, between 0.43 and 0.95°C, based on comparisons between multi-year-mean seasonal temperature anomalies at BJ and the mean of those from a cluster of nearby stations. The annual mean urban-suburban difference was 0.81°C around 1981 and 0.69°C around 1997, indicating a growing urbanisation effect in the suburban compared to the downtown area. The linear warming trend in the adjusted (for site moves only) BJ temperature series during 1977-2006 was 0.78 °C/decade. Comparing with several rural and less-urban sites, we suggest that the BJ records include an urbanisation-related warming bias between 0.20 and 0.54°C/decade, likely about 0.30°C/decade, for the recent few decades. The climatic warming at BJ between 1977 and 2006 is likely, therefore, to be about 0.48°C/decade. Caveats for using these estimates were discussed.

    2 comments

  43. From the story: “This is in spite of the fact that temperatures were lower than in the past two decades.”

    I wonder — are these temperatures as measured at the glaciers or are they referring to temperatures measured in the cities of Switzerland and thus hopelessly contaminated by urban heat island effects, air conditioners near by etc. If the latter, perhaps the temperatures at the glaciers were actually warmer in the previous period.

  44. For a little context:

    There was indeed a global warming period from 1979 to 1998, thanks to the natural cycles of the oceans and sun – which had produced a similar warming from around 1920 to 1940, and a cooling from the 1940s to the late 1970s. In the adjustments made by all the data centers, they cooled off the 1930s and 1940s warm blip by adjusting land and ocean temperatures down, and elevated the late 20th century and this decade.

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/climategate_and_just_like_that_the_warmings_gone/

    Look in the climategate emails for “warm blip”, and judge for yourself if one of the basic premises of this paper, that it was “cooler in the 1940s” is valid post Climategate.

  45. The Great Gods of Global Warming have failed us once again. At least here in Germany. Is it for the american prophet is the wrong prophet? Is it for he is called like the cold of the dead? Get Steven Frost to explain it to us skeptics! Say, Steven, where is your global warming when we need it most? Is it hiding in the oceans, in the trees, in the core of the ice, is it on a mountain in Hawaii?

    Just kidding ;-)

  46. So their homogenised temperature model ‘proves’ temperatures were higher in the 90s than the 40s.

    Data proves that the glaciers melted faster in the forties.

    So in the 40s the sun’s radiation delivered more ice-melting energy without raising air temperatures….

    The whole premise here is a crock of ctm-bane!!

    State changes are isothermal. So they have that out.

  47. Gail Combs (04:02:07) :

    “It would be interesting to survey the “pro-AGW” papers published since 1990 and figure out how many have that type of meaningless blurb tacked on so the paper would be published.”

    I’ve noticed the same thing. In some cases I’ve seen it in papers which are full of sound science and have next to nothing to do with global warming.

    One example that springs to mind was a well done paper about the differences in water’s density at temperatures near freezing, comparing fresh water to brackish water and then to salt water. This had a remote connection with thermohaline circulation, I suppose, but the actual paper was not about thermohaline circulation or melting at the poles or any such vast and topical subject. It was just about the density of water, pure and simple. However, after an elegant article, there was that obligatory paragraph you speak of. In my mind I did not see it so much as a ploy to seek funding, as a sort of politically correct genuflection, like bowing to a king.

    I wonder if some scientists put those paragraphs on going wink-wink nudge-nudge to each other, and also write them in a manner where they can be snipped out of the paper, when the political climate changes, without effecting the body of the work.

  48. If Man can cause the earth to warm, how come we can’t do it during the winter, when we burn exponentially more fuel to keep our houses warm?

    Why would our evil CO2 production not make our winters warmer? Why should it be cold at all if we are creating a greenhouse?

    By definition a greenhouse has consistent temps throughout the year.

    In case you haven’t noticed, it’s freezing across most of the northern hemisphere.

    Where is this global “warming?”

  49. I’ve suspected for some time that reduction of air pollution in the developed world starting in the 70s has been a contributor to artificially increasing the trend line of warming since then. On a larger time scale this of course is just moving in time when the warming was going to happen (in other words, I’m NOT suggesting that we shouldn’t have cleaned up the air). But it is still an important point to consider, because it might make the ’70s to now trend higher than it otherwise would have been which can lead to artificially overstated assumptions about the future trend.

  50. The print edition of today’s New York Times said that the national average temperatures in 2009 ranked as the 26th warmest since 1895. Some of those warmer 25 years may have been when those glaciers were melting.

  51. This cold snap appears to be over the whole northern hemisphere. This is China today.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8438235.stm

    As I mentioned recently, this ‘global’ (northern hemisphere) event is caused by the northern jetstreams moving into lower latitudes. This leaves a great region of slack pressure systems in the north, and a disconnect between the tropics and the northern hemisphere. There are no intense low pressure systems to bring us warmer tropical air from Mexico.

    It matters not how much TSI the tropics receive from the Sun, if that energy is not transported to the norther latitudes. So – Lief please note – Solar TSI is largely irrelevant for this weather/climatic set-up.

    If this sort of pattern establishes itself in the summer too, summers may be marginally hotter but much drier. Active low pressures normally bring cooler and wetter weather to Western Europe.

    .

    I’m thinking in terms of Jupiter here. Jupiter has bands of weather that are totally disconnected from each other. There is no particular reason why the terrestrial jetstreams should wave and so allow low pressure systems to migrate from the tropics to the northern latitudes. If we have a Jovian weather pattern for a while, the northern latitudes would get quite cold each winter.

    .

  52. Since anything that contradicts the dogma of CAGW is heresy, scientists must throw in those phrases to keep from being burned at the academic stake.

  53. Gail Combs (04:02:07):

    It would be interesting to survey the “pro-AGW” papers published since 1990 and figure out how many have that type of meaningless blurb tacked on so the paper would be published.

    “Know ye the mark of the Beast.”

  54. Allan M (03:19:45) :
    “A significant number of glaciers in Svalbard from time to time advance with extraordinary high velocity, up to several kilometers during 3-6 years.”

    Svalbard temperatures have been rather volatile with one of the largest anomalies.
    Source: British Met Office

    NUUK –Greenland
    For benefit of the reader from NUUK –Vestgronland (New Year greetings) I have incorporated chart for NUUK.
    Temperatures changes are normalised in respect of values for 1990.

    In this chart west coast is for Nuuk, east for Tasiilaq.

  55. >>> Jimbo (04:12:29) :

    Thanks, Jimbo. A very good article from the Mail on Sunday.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240082/It-gigantic-supercomputer-1-500-staff-170m-year-budget-So-does-Met-Office-wrong.html

    Also the Sunday Times satirist, Rod Liddle, had a very funny piece mocking the ‘climate change monkeys’ and their inability to predict the coldest winter ‘since mammoths stalked the Lincolnshire wolds’.

    You know a political ship is sinking, when the cartoonists and satirists start putting the boot in.

    .

  56. That is pretty obvious in USA record as well. When you see NOAA raw data, the difference between 1940 and today is about 0.1 C or less. A large part of so called “unprecedented global warming” since 1975 was fabricated by various sorts of “adjustments”.

  57. Good data, decent analysis, bad interpretation and summary, and worse conclusion. Not enough was done in correlating data with all known variables, and getting the most current data on the variables. This is sloppy writing and appears to be related to an administrative push to get an article in print so they can justify the next round of grant applications. I’ve seen it and experienced it. Wouldn’t be surprised if resurrected articles are forthcoming. Re-working data is a money-making endeavor. If you can get at least 10 articles out of one set of data, you and your project will be re-funded. But it is a bad incentive to write articles. And the first one is usually the worst one. It is done quickly and with little thought of accuracy because, “it don’t matter”. If researchers were confined to one in-print article per data set, I think they would be more inclined to get it right.

  58. @Jimbo

    Do you mean stories like The UN IPCC warning that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035 is wildly inaccurate?

    IPCC was wrong, in reality 2350 was the right year in question ,.)

  59. Ivan (07:52:42) :

    “That is pretty obvious in USA record as well. When you see NOAA raw data, the difference between 1940 and today is about 0.1 C or less. A large part of so called “unprecedented global warming” since 1975 was fabricated by various sorts of “adjustments”.”

    I wonder how many recent scientific studies have been badly screwed up because they rely on “adjusted” and “homogenized” temperature data from CRU et al. That is the real crime done by these propagandists. There maybe a large body of science out there that will have to be redone because the temperature sets the scientist used were bogus.

  60. On topic comment:

    One my first (and only) trip to Germany and Switzerland in 1972, we spent a night in a grand hotel that was built at the terminus of the Rhone Glacier. On the walls were some of the original artwork of the original research tracing the glacier’s movement. Ever since then I’ve been inordinately fond of that glacier. I likely need to get out more and meet some others. (I did bicycle through the Lake Louise area in early July 1974 – Grand Hotel, smallish glacier, and very cold lake, and fresh snow not very close to my altitude.)

    I looked for and found a nice reference resource for it and other Swiss glaciers.

    http://glaciology.ethz.ch/messnetz/glacierlist.html
    This has a list of all glaciers whose length and area are being tracked. You can select a particular year to see the changes for that year.

    http://glaciology.ethz.ch/messnetz/glaciers/rhone.html
    This describes the Rhone Glacier, and has a graph of length and rate of change between 1879 and 2009. The retreat in the 1940s really stands out. The retreat in before 1910 was faster than in recent decades, but it may have been in the flat valley then. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rh%C3%B4ne_Glacier has some paintings and photos.

    It would be nice if they included the altitude of the terminus too.

    OT comments:

    Don B (03:57:31) :

    > The Cryosphere Today site has changed their presentation of polar sea ice from the most recent year to the past two years. If they had used 3 years, the increased ice coverage since 2007 would have been more obvious.

    True, but it is nice to see some work on their site, though an error in their interactive map is still there. I’d alway been galled that their graph was two years wide but only showed the last year. My weather station web page used to have a past 24 hours display of temperature, it was greatly improved when I changed it to display 48 hours. It would be nice if they included the anomaly on the same graph.

    Invariant (03:21:26) :

    > I found this article from January 2. 2010 to be focused, accurate and important. It’s written by Neil Frank.

    I’m not sure how important it is in the grand scheme of things, but count it as another score for MSM recognition that AGW isn’t settled science and may be wrong. Hasn’t the Houston Chronical printed some other skeptical pieces in the past few months?

    Neil Frank, in my estimation, was the best director of the NHC they’ve every had. I particularly appreciated his blunt assessment of coastal condos and the damage a coast-hugging hurricane could do to them. I wonder how he would have handled the step increase in Atlantic activity in 1995.

  61. Gail Combs (04:02:07) :

    It would be interesting to survey the “pro-AGW” papers published since 1990 and figure out how many have that type of meaningless blurb tacked on so the paper would be published. I bet many of the so called “pro-AGW” papers do since I have seen it enough that it has caught my notice.

    More interesting still would be to assign proportions to these papers to find out what proportion of the vast body of evidence is fluff. I think that we would be surprised by the results.

  62. The most recent studies by researchers at ETH Zurich show that in the 1940s Swiss glaciers were melting at an even-faster pace than at present. This is despite the fact that the temperatures in the 20th century were lower than in this century.

    really ! Let us see the GISS date.

    Innsbruck
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=603113200001&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    Basel
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=646066420010&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    Geneve-Cointr
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=646067000001&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    ST.Bernard
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=646067190010&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    etc

    There where some very warm years together between 1945 and 1950.
    There was also a peak in sunspots.
    http://spaceweather.com/glossary/sunspotplotter.htm?PHPSESSID=6uo1mddldd8lct11gjnhbf6vh6

    Coincidence? I don’t no.

    greetings

  63. jgfox (05:35:33)

    Nice quote from the Papal Bull from Pope Innocent VIII. One recognisable theme is this line:

    “and so no doubt at all remains on these points”

    In today’s parlance, the “science is settled” concerning witches.

  64. The Swiss glaciers have melted back many times in recent history, as evidenced by the trees melting out of them today. Nothing unprecidented going on there.

    Subfossil remains of wood and peat from six Swiss glaciers found in proglacial fluvial sediments indicate that glaciers were smaller than the 1985 reference level and climatic conditions allowed vegetation growth in now glaciated basins. An extended data set of Swiss glacier recessions consisting of 143 radiocarbon dates is presented to improve the chronology of glacier fluctuations. A comparison with other archives and dated glacier advances suggests 12 major recession periods occurring at 9850- 9600, 9300-8650, 8550-8050, 7700-7550, 7450-6550, 6150-5950, 5700-5500, 5200-4400, 4300-3400, 2800-2700, 2150-1850, 1400-1200 cal. yr BP. It is proposed that major glacier fluctuations occurred on a multicentennial scale with a changing pattern during the course of the Holocene. After the Younger Dryas, glaciers receded to a smaller extent and prolonged recessions occurred repeatedly, culminating around 7 cal. kyr BP. After a transition around 6 cal. kyr BP weak fluctuations around the present level dominated. After 3.6 cal. kyr BP less frequent recessions interrupted the trend to advanced glaciers peaking with the prominent ‘Little Ice Age’. This trend is in line with a continuous decrease of summer insolation during the Holocene.

    http://hol.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/5/697

  65. Pamela Gray (07:56:30)

    “If you can get at least 10 articles out of one set of data, you and your project will be re-funded.”

    In the trade they call this “salami-slicing”.

  66. Either my reading ability is declining or these authors do not write well.
    ——————————

    Ralph (07:31:14) : Ralph, you wrote: “There is no particular reason why the terrestrial jetstreams should wave…”

    Maybe you could explain what you mean with this idea. Maybe you could find a Web reference that purports to explain why the jet streams do have wave patterns – and how that reasoning differs from your own, which isn’t stated in your comment.

  67. Chylek Petr, Chris K. Folland, Glen Lesins, Manvendra K. Dubeys, and Muyin Wang: 2009: “Arctic air temperature change amplification and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation”. Geophysical Research Letters.

    The abstract reads

    “Understanding Arctic temperature variability is essential for assessing possible future melting of the Greenland ice sheet, Arctic sea ice and Arctic permafrost. Temperature trend reversals in 1940 and 1970 separate two Arctic warming periods (1910-1940 and 1970-2008) by a significant 1940-1970 cooling period. Analyzing temperature records of the Arctic meteorological stations we find that (a) the Arctic amplification (ratio of the Arctic to global temperature trends) is not a constant but varies in time on a multi-decadal time scale, (b) the Arctic warming from 1910-1940 proceeded at a significantly faster rate than the current 1970-2008 warming, and (c) the Arctic temperature changes are highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) suggesting the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation is linked to the Arctic temperature variability on a multi decadal time scale.”

    http://climatesci.org/2009/06/01/new-paper-arctic-air-temperature-change-amplification-by-chylek-et-al-2009/

  68. @Jimbo (04:12:29) :

    “Its supercomputer makes 1,000 billion calculations a second – then tells us to expect a mild winter. But what would you expect from a ’scientific’ organisation that for 20 years has been dominated by climate change zealots, and whose current chairman is the former boss of the World Wildlife Fund?”

    Maybe that’s why the climate models incorporate a newly discovered phenomenon called greenian motion where the atmosphere and oceans all move to positively re-inforce CO2 greenhouse effects and also cause every place on earth to become environmentally worse off as the average global temperatures increase.

  69. phlogiston (09:00:45) :
    Pamela Gray (07:56:30) 10 articles or salami-slicing

    Also, the analogy of spokes of a wagon wheel is used. Adjust your title and the “slant” of the material to fit 10 different publications and/or regional publications.

    These (sometimes more than 10) articles have titles that read as though the words are permutated, and the paragraphs likewise. Freelance writers do the same thing because the low cents/word pay will not fund your work if you only publish once.

  70. Ice can also retreat due to sublimation, no melting is required.

    Changes in air circulation patterns and water content in the local atmosphere can also affect glaciers.

  71. It’s going from “Hide the decline” to “Jack the increase”.

    At what point do we call for global legal action–when more than half the temperature records have been found to be “fudged”?

    That’s the tipping point I’m looking for.

    I’d say those we’ve entrusted to keep tabs on the weather have a lot of explaining to do!

  72. Re: the genuflections to orthodoxy in scientific papers, this reminds me of some scientific papers and theses published in the Soviet Union even in the ’80s. The authors, usually in the first paragraph, managed to link the most arcane scientific investigations (yeast genetics, elementary particles) to Marxism-Leninism. It was routine, nobody cared, but you could lose your job without it.

  73. “jgfox (05:35:33) :

    Mark Fawcett (01:55:11) :
    “You could always burn a few witches, it did not help in the past, but if it makes you feel better”

    Actually, it did work for the Little Ice Age![…]”

    Thanks jgfox! That’s a fascinating connection!

  74. You could always burn a few witches, it did not help in the past, but if it makes you feel better.

    Nonsense. All sorts of jobs were saved by witch burning.

    REPLY: These were the “shovel ready” jobs of that era no doubt. -A

  75. I wonder to what extent this diversity of causes is real, and to what extent it shows that the people are just randomly guessing.

    One must also consider the timeframe. Haven’t glaciers been on a serious melting trend since around 1650?

  76. If people are just randomly guessing would you not expect them to be correct once in awhile?

    I think the missing glacier ice is showing up in Antarctica – teleportation or some such ‘the science is not well understood’ thing.

  77. I can understand ignoring or hiding the MWP, it blows the whole thing.

    But for some reason, people keep ignoring the “dust bowl” years too.
    All the wet years that came first, enticing people to farm.
    Then the drought that lasted until the middle 1940’s.

    Do people really think it was not world wide? only happened in Oklahoma?

    Now they would also blame that on ‘global warming’.

    When the truth is, it’s all just weather and climate changes.

    I also have to wonder if all the people that think climate should not change,
    have any clue that climate is the primary driver of evolution.
    It’s climate changing that has given them all of the endangered species they collect money for.

  78. Steven Frost (00:16:44) :

    “Going on denying what you know is true with these false stories… I will pray for you :(”

    Yeah, sure, put in a good word for me with Pope Albert, say a few Hail Joneseys… a little fire and brimstone from the Right Reverend Jim Hansen…

  79. phlogiston (08:58:03) :

    jgfox (05:35:33)

    Nice quote from the Papal Bull from Pope Innocent VIII. One recognisable theme is this line:

    “and so no doubt at all remains on these points”

    In today’s parlance, the “science is settled” concerning witches.

    Very appropriate given Al Gore’s failure a a divinity student and zeal for denouncing of skeptical counter-revolutionaries.

  80. In the 1976 November edition of the Natioanal Geographic (p594) is a set of photos of the Hintereisferner and Kesselwandferner glaciers in the Austrian Alps. The photos were taken in 1903, 1929, 1940, and 1956. The Glaciers are joined in the 1902 photo and appear to retreat with each photo. In the 1956 photo the Hintereisferner is only just visible, having retreated a mile from it’s furthest advance and stopping well before the Kesselwandferner glacier.
    Current photos show the Hintereisferner reaching down as far as the 1929 photo.

  81. It did happened in 1700s that when a glacier advanced and threatened a village in French Alps, an Archbishop was called to stop it. It did work.
    What will the folks do when the glaciers will advance this time? Call some bureaucrat from Brussels? heheheeeeee.

  82. TonyB (04:54:44) :

    That is good info, thanks for the work. Just a comment, not a criticism, I have noted on many, many temp graphs that the natural rise in temps appears to be still on, though slowing, or at best levelling out ready to turn down but nowhere near any sort of downslope. Do you agree?

  83. JonesII (06:13:51) :

    Yet again you show your lack of physical knowledge. You are, of course, basicilly correct ie warmth – evaporation, cold – freezing but you forgot very cold = no cloud = sunshine = sublimation. You also did not mention latent heat of evaporation, etc

  84. BillD “the lake warming is mainly associated with less night time cooling (warmer nights), as might be expected if increased CO2 was acting as a green house gas.”

    I thought warmer evenings (and days no warmer than usual) is ther perfect UHI signature. All the extra concrete and ashphalt gives of their heat at night after being warmed by the sun during the day.

  85. Goverment and academia in the Pacific Northwest like to lecture/alarm the public on AGW caused glacier retreating.
    Like so many other non- linked observations this is supposed to be evidence of AGW.
    They rarely mention, or pass off as meaningless, the period of glacier expansion. Roughly 1950-1975.

    It appears we may now be headed into another similar period.

    Glacier me this.

    http://www.mountaineers.org/NWMJ/07/071_Glaciers.html

    Glacier Advance in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s
    The 20th century’s second substantial climate change began in the mid-1940s, when conditions again became cooler and precipitation increased.

    The Coleman Glacier on Mount Baker was noted to be advancing in 1948 and in short order all of the mountain’s major glaciers were advancing as well, by 480m on average. In 1950, Richard Hubley of the University of Washington initiated an aerial photographic survey of glaciers in Washington to document changes, and this was continued through the 1970s.

    All the major Rainier glaciers advanced during this period. A wave of ice was noted moving toward the terminus of Nisqually Glacier in the 1940s, prompting it to begin advancing ten years later. Thomas Nylen recently determined from photographs that the Nisqually had advanced 700 to 800m by 1979. During the advance of this heavily debris-covered glacier, visitors watched young vegetation being buried by the advancing terminus.

    Photography shows that approximately half the North Cascade glaciers advanced between 1950 and 1979. Among the 11 Glacier Peak glaciers that advanced, terminal moraines were 300m further downslope on average.

    http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/north%20cascade%20glacier%20retreat.htm

    Chocolate Glacier advanced from 1950-1979 some 400 m.

    North Guardian Glacier is a type 1 glacier that advanced 160 m between 1950 and 1979.

    Dusty Glacier is a type 1 glacier on the right in both images. The glacier advanced 280 m from 1950-1979.

    Ermine Glacier at left (Post) in 1955 was advancing. This type 1 glacier advanced 170 m from 1950-1979.

    Ptarmigan Glacier advanced during the 1960’s

    Kennedy Glacier is a Type 1 glacier that advanced 330 m between 1950 and 1979

    Suiattle Glacier retreated more than any other Glacier Peak glacier after the Little Ice Age, but stopped retreating by 1955 and advanced slightly during the 1970’s

    Eldorado Glacier covers the expansive slope on the east side of Eldorado Peak. The glacier is thin and on steep smooth granitic rock. The badly crevassed lower section of the glacier advanced during the 1950-1975 period

    Ladder Creek Glacier is a type 1 glacier that advanced 105 m from 1950 to 1979

    Lower Curtis Glacier is an avalanche fed glacier on the south side of Mount Shuskan. It advanced from 1950 to 1980.

    Deming Glacier (Post 1979) advanced dramatically during the 1950’s

    Easton Glacier was the slowest Mount Baker to begin to advance after 1946, beginning its advance in 1955.

    Boulder Glacier was noted to be advancing by William Long in 1954. The glacier advanced m more than any other on Mount Baker by 1975

    Park Glacier advanced vigorously from 1950-1975.

    Coleman Glacier in 1979 (Post) and in 2008. In 1979 the glacier had just completed its advance begun in 1948. The Roosevelt Glacier on left almost merged with it and The Coleman stretched across the Glacier Creek in the valley bottom.

    Squak Glacier at left in 1990 had completed a vigorous advance and had retreated just 35 m from its 1970’s advance position

  86. A curious last paragraph that speaks of 12% decrease in precipitation over the last 30 years.

    I wonder (just my contrarian nature, you know) whether this 30 years has any relationship to the interrelationships of the AMO, AO and NAO.

  87. BillD (04:40:38) says:
    ‘For people who wonder whether Swiss temperatures have warmed during the past 50 years, one can consult the long term, raw and unhomgenized (sic) record of monthly temperatures readings in Lake Zurich.’

    The following data sets are for Zurich from the NASA GISS. The first link is for localised max temp data (close enough to the raw data), the second is homogenized (adjusted) max temp data. Note the difference with earlier years.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/STATIONS//tmp.646066600003.1.1/station.txt
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/STATIONS//tmp.646066600003.2.1/station.txt
    The graphs are at:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=646066600003&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    (for localised) and
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=646066600003&data_set=2&num_neighbors=1
    (for homogenized).
    Which one is correct? How much warming can you really see at the ‘raw data’? Why adjust earlier temps down by so much?

  88. “Why adjust earlier temps down by so much?”

    Because you have to adjust both ends – earlier down – later up
    to show a rapid incline.

    My bone on contention has always been with the earlier data adjusted colder.
    It’s harder to adjust recent temps and not get caught, obviously.

  89. Ric Werme
    There is (was? – its been some years) a small hotel at the east end of the town of Gletsch with a photo from about 1860 of the Rhone Gletscher just outside of town, down in the valley, probably 300 meters below where the face is now. Another reason for faster melting in the 1940s is that the glacier face was at considerably lower altitude. You are right. Altitude data should be included.

  90. ““Nevertheless”, says the glaciologist, “this should not lead people to conclude that the current period of global warming is not really as big of a problem for the glaciers as previously assumed”. This is because
    it is not only the pace at which the Alpine glaciers are currently melting that is unusual, but the fact that this sharp decline has been unabated for 25 years now. Another aspect to consider – and this is evidenced by the researchers’ findings – is that temperature-based opposing mechanisms came into play around 30 years ago. These have led to a 12% decrease in the amount of precipitation that falls as snow as a percentage of total precipitation, accompanied by an increase of around one month in the length of the melt period ever since this time. Scientists warn that these effects could soon be matched by the lower level of solar radiation we have today compared with the 1940s.”

    This is the kind of unsubstanciated statement and convaluted reasoning all scientific PR releases must have in their reports to maintain their government funding, especially when their actual results didn’t support the global warming mantra. What they proved was that the glaciers in question melted faster in the 40’s than they are now and that these particular glaciers(out of the over 140,000 in the world, of which only 340 or so are measured over any long term period) are still melting. The whole last paragraph above constitutes an unproven theory at best and doesn’t make any sense with the rest of the press release, other than as global warming propaganda.

  91. Some of the technical discussion here may have merit. The point re glacial retreat is old news. Early in 2009 (if I remember rightly) the BBC told of the speed of melting glaciers. So what? I thought. The figure given was about one-tenth that given for the 1940s in a book of genuine scholarship that has long deserved republication: Times of Feast, Times of Famine, by Emmanuel La Roy Ladurie published in English in 1972 (one waited far too long to see it mentioned in Plimer’s Heaven + Earth). It’s a bit dated on some matters (Maunder for instance) but is otherwise outstanding.

  92. it is not only the pace at which the Alpine glaciers are currently melting that is unusual, but the fact that this sharp decline has been unabated for 25 years now.

    But it ebbs and flows in 30-year cycles, probably with a bit of a lag. There was a lot of warming from 1975 – 1998. We may be in for a bit of cooling, at least for a while. Plus, the “natural recovery” from the Little Ice Age could end at any moment (or not). (This is not to say that Man in general or CO2 in particular has no effect at all.)

  93. The biggest parameter concerning glaciers (both high and low levels) is precipitation and evaporation. Many places in the Alps remain below freezing year round. The lack of summer time precipitation is due to either changes in the AMO and NAO. Recent archeloglical finds in the Alps uncovered relics going back to the Roman Empire before the time of Christ. They also found relics from Medeval pilgrims. These relics were for centuries covered by tonnes of ice. It is likely that long term positive AMOs and High NAOs from AD900 through AD1300 kept summer storm tracks bottled up in the high latitudes.

    Other glaciers, such as those in the Himalayas and Andes are strongly correlated with changes in ENSO. It’s like the temps above 18000AGL go above freezing. Precipitation is the key.

  94. So they have 100 years of data and on that basis are drawing conclusions about glacial longevity? Seems to me that changes in glaciation probably occur over at least centuries…there is a reason we use the adjective “glacial” to imply very slow-moving. (Except for those sudden surges–I think we have a new epithet for Robin: “Galloping glaciers, Batman!”)

  95. Stephen Richards

    I think we have several things going on.

    First is that a specific micro climate is being measured at a specific location.

    These tend to move over the years often to an airport,then so an entirely different micro climate is being measured. (you get a very good indication of this at the Adelaide readings which moved to a known warmer location 10 years ago-although temperatures have continued to decline).

    Secondly you hae a specfic UHI facvtor-very understated in most cases
    Thirdly you have raw data that is adjusted-often in a perplexing manner. (See Chiefio)

    So taking all those elements into account plus actual observations and records I think it is doubtful if temperatures everywhere are still rising.

    tonyb

  96. Ian George,

    GISS gets their data from NCDC which has already ADJUSTED it. GISS then DEadjusts some of NCDC’s adjustments.

    In other words. GISS data is WORTHLESS!!!!!

  97. It is worth noting that the cause of the high melt rates on several swiss glaciers has been better quantified in the Huss and others paper, however, the high melt rates of these glaciers in this interval has been acknowledged in peer reviewed publications from 30 years ago. Note figure 2 and 3 from the link below. Indicating the trend of high melting and mass loss in this interval. The original sources for the chart is noted as Kaser (1978).
    http://www.interpraevent.at/palm-cms/upload_files/Publikationen/Tagungsbeitraege/1996_1_65.pdf
    Also note the Swiss Glacier Commission which has published annual reports for a long time, has a chart indicating the same trend for Silvretta Glacier
    http://glaciology.ethz.ch/messnetz/massbalance.html
    This does not belie that the current trend is seeing prolonged exceptional melt that is causing intervention in some cases.
    http://glacierchange.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/stubai-glaciers-protective-blanket/

  98. A few years ago, my daughter and I drove the Icefields Parkway in Alberta Canada. This is a highway from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park (and as an aside, the most beautiful drive in North America). Approximately half way along this drive, one passes the Columbia Icefields – there are a number of glaciers here but the one that is featured with a visitors’ centre and snow cats that will drive you up the mountain is the 4 mile long Athabasca glacier. The glacier is receding and there are markers at various points that show where it was located in years past. While I was there, I got into a discussion with some folks there and they were bemoaning the effects of ‘glowbull warmongering’ and how the ice recession demonstrated this so clearly. Shortly thereafter, we were in the visitor’s centre where they show pictures from years gone by…. I quickly pointed out to these folks that the movement of ice up the mountain was essentially consistent and had been since the first recorded visit to the area in (and going on memory here) approximately 1850. Glowbull warmongering? I doubt it unless you want to believe that GW has been happening virtually consistently since at least 1850…. http://www.explorerockies.com/columbia-icefield/

  99. Come on, you bloggers. This is supposed to be a scientific blog and yet about an eyeball half of the above posts are speculation often dressed up as fact.

    You have to keep your thoughts pure if you wish to contrast evidence-driven science against belief-driven science.

    All that I get from this thread is that many bloggers have only vague ideas about the causes of glacial movement. We have no glaciers in Australia, I am not at all expert, so I make no scientific comment. Simply, I lament that I have not learned new science containing a lot of value.

    If you are speculating and looking for feedback, please say as much.

  100. Geoff Sherrington,

    I agree, and I’m not a glacier expert either. So let’s cut to the chase: is anyone here claiming that a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is the primary cause, or even a minor cause, of glacier retreat?

    Answer yes to either one, and you’ll be asked to quantify it. Otherwise it’s speculation.

  101. Geoff, I don’t regard this as a scientific blog primarily. It is mainly a blog to air views contrary to the science or to try to find flaws in science (usually without success). That is why it is refreshing to see an article on a scientific paper – not just that it is a scientific paper but also because the observations and findings enunciated by the paper support rather than conflict with global warming (unsurprisingly).

    It may be a random one-off quirk for WUWT, but it could also signal a shift in this blog to be a bit more open to science itself.

    The silliness of some of the responding posts indicate to me that many visitors came to this site expecting something else and are a bit confused about how to comment on this article.

  102. Sou (18:57:21):

    WUWT “…is mainly a blog to air views contrary to [climate] science or to try to find flaws in science…”

    That’s a pretty accurate definition of a scientific skeptic.

    Science is never settled. Questioning is always warranted. The problem comes in when those who purport to know the answers refuse to divulge those answers to the public that paid for them.

    However, your implication that comments here “conflict with global warming” qualifies you for a George Orwell doublespeak award. I don’t recall ever reading a comment here that claims there is zero global warming. Or zero climate change, for that matter. Both occur constantly, and both are natural. The canard appears when global warming is definitively attributed to human emissions. That has yet to be empirically established.

    And it’s getting harder, not easier, to verify what’s actually going on with the climate. Those claiming to be privy to how the climate works have stated, in writing, that they would destroy their data before they would turn it over in response to a legitimate FOIA request.

    Could it be that your assumption that WUWT is not ‘open to science’ is a random one-off quirk of your own, and that you’re simply projecting?

    And of course, there are other blogs so heavily science oriented [eg: CA] that it’s hard for the average person to keep up. Is that why you’re here instead? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  103. Sou
    I absolutely agree with you. I am sure it is a complete coincidence that the climategate emails show that the CRU was discussing ways to adjust out the “warm blip” in the 1940s, and that there was an inexplicably high melt rate in the 1940s that required a novel explanation other than temperature.

    We unwashed will never understand these kinds of subtleties because we are too stupid.

  104. Geoff Sherrington (18:32:55) :

    Come on, you bloggers. This is supposed to be a scientific blog and yet about an eyeball half of the above posts are speculation often dressed up as fact.

    You have to keep your thoughts pure if you wish to contrast evidence-driven science against belief-driven science.

    —…—…

    “Keep OUR thoughts pure?”

    What? Who are you to decide what any group engaged in factual discussions and criticisms of the scientific process may – or may not – “think” about any given subject?

    Science is driven by facts and analysis: Your “pure faith (in AGW theories)” is the “religious side” of this discussion that prohibits analysis, hides data, exaggerates what little trends are actually present,and threatens skeptics.

  105. And after a little research it appears that Steven Frost, Robert Soros, and Aimee Gardens are the same troll.

    Was the snipped comment something about “the planet exploding like a kitten in a microwave”?

    REPLY: [ Don’t know. Different shift, different moderator. -mod ]

  106. Another case of cold weather supposedly triggered by warming. And the article reads more like a fund raiser than journalism.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/03/peru-mountain-farmers-winter-cold

    “In a world growing ever hotter, Huancavelica is an anomaly. These communities, living at the edge of what is possible, face extinction because of increasingly cold conditions in their own microclimate, which may have been altered by the rapid melting of the glaciers.”

  107. sillybooks

    Thanks for this link. Yes I do have that one in my store iof 1920/1940 arctic records. I hope to use it when I get round to writing the next article on ‘Arctic ice variation through the ages’.

    Tonyb

  108. BillD (04:40:38) :

    Thankyou for the link, because without it one may get the wrong impression of the authors conclusion from your comment.

    “contradict the modelling results to the extent that the increase occurs at about the same rate as the increase in daily minimum air temperature, and therefore more steeply, not less steeply, than the increase in daily mean air temperature”.

    “Although the recent prevalence of warm winters in Europe MAY BE PARTLY attributable to global greenhouse-gas warming, it is ALMOST CERTAINLY also related to the currently prevailing
    persistently positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) (Hurrell, 1995). Assuming this to be so, we might expect the NAO in the near future to revert to a less positive state on average, resulting in generally cooler winters, and hence in more normal hypolimnetic temperatures”.

    I may be wrong, but hasn’t the NAO already flipped to negative since this paper?

    Bill, thanks again for the link, I found the paper informative. But it may be a good idea not to draw selective conclusions. That may best be left up to the reader.

  109. I know this is not really on topic, but hey, I did the best i could.

    There hasn’t been a update on arctic sea ice extent since 12-29-09 @ :
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    So I thought I would get creative and create a flipped version of the graph and super impose my own predictions on it. You can find it at:

    For some reason, just flipping the graph over just makes more since for me. Seeing the graph rise to maximum see ice melt puts things in a better perspective I think. I included an approximate date and value for this years Arctic Sea Ice Extent.

    If anyone else feels the same way about the appearance of the graph seemingly more appropriate flipped like this, I’d like to hear your comments on it.

  110. Interesting page from the CRU about NAO:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/nao/

    “Looking further ahead, there is the possibility that climate change may induce a change in the state or behaviour of the NAO. Unfortunately, the global climate models that are used to study anthropogenic climate change do not yet give unequivocal predictions for the future of the NAO, linked to the fact that the NAO is related to the tracks of Atlantic storms, and predictions of storminess changes are also currently uncertain.”

    Look at how the NAO was positive from 1900-1945ish, then went negative for 20 years, then positive again. Hmm…

    The science is still, apparently settled though.

  111. Anthony

    Congratulations on the well-deserved attention you’ve gotten. May you always have the bandwidth you need!

  112. Decided to check it out – the glacier face is now 440 m above the 1860 level. that’s about 1500 ft higher. Surprise at continued rapid melt for 30 years or so? During that time more road got paved, a big parking lot got paved very near the glacier terminus, a 15.4 km rail tunnel was dug from1972 to 1982, road traffic from the mid 1940s to the mid 1990s increased by more than factor 10, and in the mid 70s they started cruising a gallery into the glacier every summer so tourists could walk into the galcier. There are so many contributing factors besides temperature and aerosols (measured 3 nicroclimates away) that the paper is probably meaningless.

    [REPLY – Heh. Sounds like a “CRN4” glacier. They really ought to find better sites for those glaciers! ~ Evan]

  113. Forgot. There is also the question of decadal changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. What has been the relative frequency of “foehn” winds that bring Sahara sand to the Alps and deposit it in great red swatches on the high snowfields? Much more analysis needed to draw conclusions.

  114. Sou,

    You’re seeing and projecting what you want seen and projected.

    ANY scroll through this site at anytime reveals extensive science and analysis from the many contributors. The posted links to additional material, studies and reports adds layers to what you too conveniently fail to recognize.

    IMO, your rotten ice depiction of the content here is a deliberate misrepresentation.

  115. BillD

    Why is thegraph truncated at 1998? What is the history of the site? Why did you think this showed anything?

  116. My outing last year to Gorner, Matterhorn and other glaciers did not reveal anything alarming. Many areas were open in the zones of organized pistes and unofficial off piste usage was not particularly dangerous with few crevasse issues and ample snow pack.

  117. The glasiers in New Zealand are advancing and have done so since the mid 1980s. For the preceding 200 years they were retreating.


  118. http://www.cmiae.org/Resources/glaciers-lichens.php

    Illecillewaet Glacier in British Columbia’s Glacier National Park (Canada) has retreated 2000 mtrs since first photographed in 1887.

    Below From the Gore fairytail, his retreat starts at 1980, wonder why.

    The only constant is change,

    Enter glacier bay and you cruise along shorelines completely covered in ice just 200 years ago. Explorer Capt. George Vancouver found ice in 1794, and Glacier bay was a barely indented glacier. That glacier was more than 4000 feet thick, up to 20 miles or more wide, and extended more than 100 miles to the St Elias range of mountains. But by 1879 naturalist John Muir found that the ice had retreated 48miles up the bay. By 1916 the Grand Pacific Glacier headed Tarr inlet 65 miles from Glacier Bays mouth.
    Such rapid retreat is known nowhere else. Scientists have documented it, hoping to learn how glacial activity relates to climate change.

    http://www.pbs.org/edens/glacierbay/ice.html
    http://www.seatrails.org/pdf/USFS_SE_Guide.pdf

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