This is Glacial Tap

Español: Glaciar Arhuay ubicado en el centro d...
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From McGill University , hmmm, where have we heard this water supply threat from receding mountain glaciers before? Children just aren’t going to know what glaciers are.

Glacial tap is open but the water will run dry

Retreating glaciers threaten water supplies

Glaciers are retreating at an unexpectedly fast rate according to research done in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca by McGill doctoral student Michel Baraer. They are currently shrinking by about one per cent a year, and that percentage is increasing steadily, according to his calculations.

But despite this accelerated glacial shrinking, for the first time, the volume of water draining from the glacier into the Rio Santa in Northern Peru has started to decrease significantly. Baraer, and collaborators Prof. Bryan Mark, at the Ohio State University, and Prof. Jeffrey McKenzie, at McGill, calculate that water levels during the dry season could decrease by as much as 30 per cent lower than they are currently. “When a glacier starts to retreat, at some point you reach a plateau and from this point onwards, you have a decrease in the discharge of melt water from the glacier,” explained Baraer.

“Where scientists once believed that they had 10 to 20 years to adapt to reduced runoff, that time is now up,” said Baraer. “For almost all the watersheds we have studied, we have good evidence that we have passed peak water.” This means that the millions of people in the region who depend on the water for electricity, agriculture and drinking water could soon face serious problems because of reduced water supplies.


Looks like we are dealing with another Lonnie Thompson clone. Here’s the handbill for a lecture on the topic, it seems this press release is a bit dated. From his Facebook page, it seems the dastardly connection to big oil is alive and well.

It’s so bad there, locals have taken to whitewashing the Andes:

Inhabitat reports:

Eduardo Gold is one of 26 people around the world to win the World Bank’s “100 Ideas to Save the Planet” contest and his dream is to bring back Peru’s glaciers from the effects of global warming. Mr. Gold is not a scientist — though some might think he’s a genius, others that he’s got a couple of screws loose — but he’s using the cash prize from the contest to whitewash three mountains just west of Ayacucho, Peru in hopes of bringing back melted glaciers that once hung there, high above the village of Licapa. In the past two weeks he and his team of four men have used a mixture of lime, egg whites and water to turn the Chalon Sombrero peak white. They’ve successfully whitewashed two hectares in the past two weeks and they’ve only got 68 more to go.

The USGS reports that it is a volatile area, so volatile in fact that large engineering projects have been put in place to mitigate aluviónes  (glacial floods). Wikipedia has this entry:

During the dry season from June to November, the Santa River provides only a little water for irrigation, drinking water and hydroelectric power. A couple of water reservoirs have been established to control the fluctuation of the river. Upstream of the hydroelectric power plant of Huallanca, the Río Santa watershed covers an area of 4,900 km², downstream another 7,300 km².

I wonder how much effect these might have had? No mention in the McGill press release. Here’s USGS take on the area From Feb 1999. There’s no mention of “climate change”.


Glacier Hazards

Since 1702, more than 22 catastrophic events have resulted from ice avalanches that have caused outburst floods from glacier lakes. The floods, known in Perú as aluviónes, come with little or no warning and are composed of liquid mud that generally transports large rock boulders and blocks of ice. The floods have destroyed a number of towns, and many lives have been lost (table 4). One of the hardest hit areas has been the Río Santa valley in northern Perú (fig. 11). Of these catastrophes, the most serious were the aluviónes that destroyed part of the city of Huaraz in 1725 and 1941, as well as the aluvión that resulted from the failure of Lago Jancarurish in 1950. In addition, two destructive, high-speed avalanches from the summit area of Huascarán Norte (6,655 m asl) in 1962 and 1970 destroyed several villages and caused the deaths of more than 25,000 inhabitants. Reports of these catastrophic glacier-related events include those by Morales Arnao, B., (1966, 1971), Chiglino (1950, 1971), Lliboutry (1975), Plafker and Ericksen (1978), and Hofmann and others (1983). Figures 6 and 12 give some idea of the effect of the Huascarán avalanches. Figure 13 shows the 1951 flood from Lago Artesoncocha into Lago Parón.

Figure 11.–The locations of the many natural disasters, glaciological in origin, that have caused deaths or property damage in the Río Santa valley of Perú since 1702. See table 4 for additional information.

Locations of  glaciological disasters, Rio Santa valley

Table 4.–Natural disasters in Perú that were glaciological in origin (see fig. 11)

No. Cordillera Area Description Date
1 Blanca Huaraz Floods destroyed part of the city of Huaraz. 4 March 1702
2 Blanca Huaraz Earthquake, ice avalanche, and floods damaged the city of Huaraz. Approximately 1,500 people were reported missing; only 300 people were left alive. 6 January 1725
3 Blanca Yungay Avalanche from Nevados Huandoy. Floods destroyed the town of Ancash, and 1,500 people were reported to have perished. At the same time, an earthquake also took place. 6 January 1725
4 Blanca Huaraz Slides and floods affected the village of Monterrey, destroying houses and fields; 11 people missing. 10 February 1869
5 Blanca Huaraz Flood in the town of Macashca. Many people were reported to have died. Rajucolla levee was broken. 24 June 1883
6 Blanca Yungay Ice avalanche from Huascarán impacted Shacsha and Ranrahirca. 22 January 1917
7 Huayhuash Bolognesi Aluvión from Lago Solteracocha in the Pacllón basin. 14 March 1932
8 Blanca Carhuaz Aluvión from Lago Arteza (Pacliashcocha) into the Quebrada Ulta (Río Buin) near Carhuaz (Kinzl, 1940). 20 January 1938
9 Blanca Pallasca Aluvión from Lago Magistral affected the town of Conchucos. 1938
10 Huayhuash Bolognesi Aluvión from Lago Suerococha impacted Río Pativilca causing damage to agricultural fields and town of Sarapo. 20 April 1941
11 Blanca Huaraz Aluvión from Lago Palcacocha damaged the city of Huaraz. Approximately 5,000

people died. The new part of the city was destroyed.

13 December 1941
12 Blanca Huari Aluvión from Lagos Ayhuinaraju and Carhuacocha caused by an ice avalanche from the Huantsan peak damaged the town of Chavín. Many people died. 17 January 1945
13 Blanca Huaylas Aluvión from Lago Jancarurish above the Los Cedros drainage basin. Destruction of the Central Hidroeléctrica del Cañón del Pato, the highway, and part of the railway from Chimbote to Huallanca. 20 October 1950
14 Blanca Huaylas Aluvión from Lago Artesoncocha into Lago Parón (two events). 16 June and 28 October 1951
15 Blanca Huaraz Aluvión from Lago Milluacochan into the Quebrada Ishinca drainage basin. 6 November 1952
16 Blanca Huaraz Slides and flood from Lago Tullparaju affected Huaraz city. 8 December 1959
17 Blanca Yungay Avalanches and aluviónes from Huascarán Norte. About 4,000 people died; 9 towns were destroyed, one of which was Ranrahirca (Dollfus and Peñaherrera del Aguila, 1962; Morales Arnao, 1962). 10 January 1962
18 Blanca Huari Ice avalanche from Nevado San Juan above Lago Tumarina (Quebrada Carhuascancha, Huantar District); 10 people died in Chavín. 19 December 1965
19 Blanca Yungay Rock and ice avalanche from Huascarán Norte severely affected the city of Yungay. Approximately 23,000 people died. The same day another avalanche took place between Lagunas Llanganuco. 31 May 1970
20 Blanca Huaraz Small avalanche from Tocllaraju near Paltay into Lago Milluacocha. 31 August 1982
21 Blanca Yungay Small ice avalanche from Huascarán Norte reached the Ranrahirca fan. 16 December 1987
22 Blanca Yungay Small ice avalanche from Huascarán Norte reached the Río Santa. 20 January 1989

Figure 12.–Sketch map and profile of the area affected by the 1962 and 1970 aluviónes from Huascarán Norte in the Cordillera Blanca (modified from Plafker and Ericksen, 1978). See also figure 6.

Sketch map and profile, alluviones from Huascaran Norte

Figure 13.–Flood from Lago Artesoncocha (1951) into Lago Parón in the Cordillera Blanca near Caraz.

Flood from Lago Artesoncocha

These catastrophes influenced the Government of Perú to establish an Oficina de Obras Seguridad (Security Works Office) to prevent or mitigate avalanches and floods from glacial lakes. Several glacial lakes have been drained by using two traditional methods, the first by excavating a channel through the morainic dam and the second by building tunnels through the moraine. Where the first method is employed, a channel through the top of the moraine is gradually and carefully excavated so that the water behind the dam is allowed to drain safely through the channel and into the stream below. When the water is drained to the desired level, a permanent concrete drainage pipe is constructed within the moraine. Next, the moraine is rebuilt to its original level by using compacted earth, which is covered in turn by rock and concrete. The permanent outlet provides drainage and a normally low water level, whereas the dam provides protection in case of avalanches and floods. The second method digs or drills tunnels through the morainic dams or surrounding rock; the tunnels are left open to prevent the glacier lakes from forming in the future. In both methods, great care must be taken to prevent uncontrolled drainage of the lake because of the possibility of catastrophic flooding. Construction is difficult because most sites are situated at elevations of 4,000 m or higher.

The first method was used successfully on Lago Llaca and Lago Shallap above Huaraz and on Lago Hualcacocha above Carhuaz (figs. 3, 14). The second method was used on the moraines of Lago Tullparaju above Huaraz and Lago Safuna, northwest of Nevados Pucahirca, and in the drilling of the Parón Tunnel above Caraz through granitic rock 50 m below the water surface, as well as the tunnels on 513 lakes above Carhuaz (fig. 3).

Drainage outlet, Lago Hualcacocha
Figure 14.–Construction of a drainage outlet for Lago Hualcacocha above Carhuaz to prevent catastrophic outburst floods.

A, First, a channel is carefully excavated through the morainic dam, and a permanent concrete drainage pipe is constructed within the moraine.

B, Second, a channel is built to drain the water safely to the stream below.

C, Third, the moraine is rebuilt to its original level by using compacted earth, and this is covered by rock and concrete. The permanent outlet provides drainage, and the dam provides protection in case of ice avalanches or morainic rock slides.

After more than 30 years of continuous work, the program appears to be successful because no destructive floods resulting from the breakout of glacial lakes have occurred in the Cordillera Blanca since 1972.

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December 20, 2011 8:51 am

“and that percentage is increasing steadily, according to his calculations.”
“according to his calculations”
Please show your work !!! (as my high school math teachers would always say !!)

December 20, 2011 8:53 am

Generally glaciers tend to be more a reflection of precipitation than temperature. When you see glaciers retreating it is often due to a lack of snow in winter and sometimes an increase in rain in summer.

December 20, 2011 9:01 am

If you are dependent upon water from glaciers, then you are dependent on shrinking glaciers.
Don’t complain when they shrink, complain when they stop shrinking.

December 20, 2011 9:06 am

As a man who has considerable experience in hydrology, dam design and construction and water management let me state the necessary facts . . .
1. Run off is a function of precipitation and catchment area.
2. Glaciers act as dams/reservoirs that delay run off but don’t actually generate river flow per se.
3. The further downstream from the glacier one goes the smaller the proportion of the river flow is generated by the melting glaciers.
4. The growth and shrinkage of glaciers is a function of precipitation and temperature.
I would be very interested in knowing what the flow rates are at the foot of the glacier. My guess is that the flow is not terribly significant compared to that from normal rainfall in the larger/lower catchment area.

December 20, 2011 9:15 am

Most of the water needs of the communities to which the glaciers drain are not met by glacial melt but by the regular seasonally melting snow plus rain.
Glacial melt itself is a complex function of albedo, air and surface temperatures from the tongue upwards into the higher elevation, interaction with runoff and the rockbed, exposure to wind, melting by and freezing of rain and a variety of consequences of snowfall (compacting, icyfication, filling in of crags, avalanches etc):

Phillip Bratby
December 20, 2011 9:18 am

Keith Battye. You old skeptic you. You don’t get a PhD and future funding unless you predict dire consequences.

Phillip Bratby
December 20, 2011 9:20 am

“A couple of screws loose” is the correct answer.

Skeptic Tank
December 20, 2011 9:26 am

If, instead, temperate glaciers were advancing and covering populated areas, what would we do? Attempt to terra-form the planet with increased CO2 output … or move?

December 20, 2011 9:26 am

I’m not sure how the idea that glaciers contribute to water resources has got about but the idea is completely false. The equation on which all hydrology is based is:
Runoff = Precipitation – Evaporation – Increase_in_storage.
‘Storage’ can be in soils, aquifers, snow, glaciers, etc.
If glaciers are stable, they contribute nothing to flow: if increasing to a reduction in flow: if shrinking to an increase in flow.
There are of course secondary factors: a white glacier reflects more heat than bare earth. There can also be a change in the annual distribution of flow; without winter snow and a spring melt more of the runoff will be in winter rather than in spring or summer. Overall though, the effect on total runoff will be minimal.

James Sexton
December 20, 2011 9:27 am

lmao, so they drained glacial lakes, and now they’re concerned they might run out of water……. 😐
I’d laugh and point, but I don’t have enough index fingers for this beautiful piece of idiocy.

December 20, 2011 9:34 am

Okay, let’s say you have a 100 ton glacier (tiny!), and it is melting at a rate of exactly 1 ton per year (1%). Next year it is 99 tons it melts off another ton which is 1.01% of its mass. Mein gott! It is accelerating!
I hate it when people play games with percentages.
In any case, as glaciers get smaller, which they have been since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) ended, they will have more surface area to their volume, which would make any sort of ablation look like it is “accelerating” even when the conditions are exactly the same.

Hector M.
December 20, 2011 9:36 am

The Andean glaciers are certainly retreating, but they are retreating since the most recent glacial maximum attained in 1680-1730 (date varies by latitude from South to North). But Andean glaciers represent a minuscule proportion of the area covered by the Andean ranges: their typical total area is less than 1 square km: vastly more rain falls on the surrounding rocks than on the peaks where it is likely to freeze. The total amount of water frozen in Andean glaciers is not likely to rise the sea level perceptibly in case it completely melts.
On the other hand, the impact of such melting on Andean crops is not significant. In the Alps or the Himalayas snow and rain fall copiously in the winter, and melt away during spring and summer thus providing water for crops downstream. In the tropical Andes of Peru and Bolivia (and Northern Argentina and Chile) the opposite is true: rainfall falls in the (Southern Hemisphere) summer (from October- November to March-April), with a dry or nearly dry winter season extending from April to October. Rain falling upon the mountains is more likely to freeze in winter (at any rate, it is likely to freeze at lower elevations during winter), but little rain falls on the Andes during winter. Crops are typically planted in November and harvested not later than April. No Andean crops are grown from April to November, and anyway any melting of glaciers would happen during summer, and water that failed to melt in summer is unlikely to melt in winter.
The current wave on secular retraction of glaciers since around 1700 may cause some lower-elevation glaciers to disappear, of course: the Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA) has increased by about 300 meters since around 1700 (see refs), and is generally at about 4500 meters above sea level (masl), and therefore glaciers situated in mountains not reaching higher than 4500 masl are likely to lose their glaciers, while higher peaks are likely to see theirs reduced. Recent global warming may have slightly accelerated the rate of retraction, but curves covering 4 centuries suggest the acceleration has been small, and noticeable only in Bolivia (where the ELA is lower due to higher latitude S).
The main consequence to be taken care of is the occasional formation of proglacial lakes in some of the melting glaciers. Several such lakes (mostly quite small) have been formed during recent decades. Those lakes may undergo ruptures and bursts with potentially harmful consequences (avalanches). To prevent that, at least 35 proglacial lakes in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru have been already been protected with dykes and other reinforcements, and other such works are underway (see Some of the water in those lakes is now also used for irrigation downstream.
At those altitudes (around 4000 meters above sea level) every 100m of additional elevation decrease temperatures by about 1°C, This has the important effect of displacing upwards the limits of agro-ecological zones, thus permitting crops to be planted at higher altitudes. This is already visible in Bolivia, where large swaths of the High Plateau (typically 3700-4200 masl) now receive more rainfall than 30-50 years ago, and have fewer frost days in summer, thus enabling formerly natural grazing land to be planted with alfalfa for sheep or with quinoa for export as well as other crops such as barley. Natural pasture has also improved, especially at the yearly minimum (around September, before the rains) where animal-holding capacity was at its lowest. The same effect is starting to show in the continuation of the High Plateau in Southern Peru, north of Lake Titicaca. All in all, a tendency towards warmer and wetter climate (with smaller glaciers) is likely to be good for agriculture at high altitude.
Some recent references on Andean glaciers’ long term variability:
Jomelli, Vincent; Vincent Favier, Antoine Rabatel, Daniel Brunstein, Georg Hoffmann & Bernard Francou, 2009. Fluctuations of glaciers in the tropical Andes over the last millennium and palaeoclimatic implications: A review. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.10.033.
Solomina, Olga, Vincent Jomelli, Georg Kaser, Alcides Ames, Bernhard Berger & Bernard Pouyaud, 2007. Li¬ch¬enometry in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru: “Little Ice Age” moraine chronology. Global and Planetary Chan¬ge 59(1-4):225-235.

Steve from Rockwood
December 20, 2011 9:37 am

McGill University. A good friend of mine teaches there. The last time I had a beer with him he complained that students aren’t interested in geology any more. They want to study environmental science or become GIS desk jockeys. I wanted to hire one of his geology students – he didn’t have any. For three years running.
Carleton University. Another good Canadian University. Some of the students are starting to wonder about environmental science. We interviewed someone who can’t find an environmental job (not even in the Government). Thinking about migrating over to mining. Moving over to the dark side. We’re sponsoring the NSERC application for a MSc thesis. The smart ones always go first. I’ve hired 4 of them since 2004. Two of them now work in the mining industry pulling in $100,000 + a year. That’s a lot of carbon.
White washing the mountains. The irony is killing me. First the IPCC reports and now this? You can’t make this stuff up.

December 20, 2011 9:39 am

Very interesting article. The following piece is closely related, as some days ago someone elsewhere quoted this piece from Sceptical Science;
It was regarding the disappearance due to ‘global warming’ of the Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia.
I pointed out that glaciers had been melting for hundreds of years-generally from around 1750-with some further advances in the early 1800’s.
In 1940 this glacier was already only .22km squared and I asked for evidence that it was the 18000 years old that has been quoted.
Professor Anderson wrote this article and I said I would follow the references up, which I have now done
The glacier has only been monitored since the 1990’s although there is a well respected observatory on top of the mountain, established in the 1940’s
I have examined a number of articles;
this is a small extract from it (pay wall)
This about Andes glaciers in general;’
and this very detailed account;
My surmise is that Chacaltaya was a fragmentary glacier that advanced during the LIA and has now reverted to being one of the fluctuating smaller ice packs that have occurred since the MWP.
This fluctuation is thought to be due to lack of precipitation not high temperatures.
Professor Anderson, who works in La Paz as an economist writing and advising on various topics including deforestation, has given me permission to quote our email exchange-my email first
“Good evening Professor Andersen
I was interested to read your article here concerning the Chacaltaya glacier
I am a climate change historian in the UK who lives very close geographically to the Hadley Centre who you cite in this article. Indeed I spent several days at their archives recently researching my latest article where I reconstruct Central England temperatures to 1538
In it I cite the decline and advance of a number of glaciers around the world to support my hypothesis that temperatures have been generally rising since the start of the Instrumental record in 1659.
I was interested in your article as it sounds to be a similar situation to Mount Kilimanjaro whereby AGW is blamed when the cause of the melting seems to lie elsewhere.
My question to you is if you had been able to authenticate that the glacier was 18000 years old as claimed? Many glaciers seem to come and go over the years especially when they are relatively small and I wondered if this one fell into this category?”
This is her reply;
Dear Tony,
Thank you for your e-mail. I can see you have become as fascinated by the topic as I have.
To answer your question: No, there is no way to verify that the Chacaltaya was 18000 years old. I certainly haven’t claimed it to be, and I am pretty sure you are right that it falls into the category of small glaciers coming and going depending on natural variations in temperatures, precipitation and cloud cover. This is especially so because it is a tropical glacier in an area where all precipitation falls in summer, while the sun is blazing from a clear blue sky all winter. This makes the glacier inherently unstable. Unlike Nordic glaciers, for example, which can accumulate mass in winter and lose it in summer, thus theoretically maintaining some kind of long run equilibrium, these tropical glaciers cannot accumulate mass in winter, as there is no precipitation. Rather, they are bound to lose mass during winter due to the lack of protective cloud cover. Thus, they can only gain mass if there are many consecutive summers of unusually cold, wet and cloudy weather. This evidently happens from time to time, but I think Chacaltaya is a prime example of the category you mention.
Best regards,
Lykke E. Andersen, PhD
Scientific Manager
Conservación Internacional Bolivia
Calacoto, calle 13, nº 8008
La Paz, Bolivia”
As an aside it seems that the observatory appears to be seeking a new role as can be seen by this from their web site. I thought the reference to cosmic rays especially interesting bearing in mind the interest in Svensmark’s work.
This from the research station at the top of the Chacaltaya glacier
“1952: The Cosmic Ray Laboratory is officially created, as a branch of La Paz University
• 1950- today: Several joint experiments (USA, Italy, Japan, Brazil,UK, …) are carried out at MCL with important contributions to Cosmic Ray Physics
• Health research at high altitude was performed by international teams
• The “competition” of particle accelerators (since 60’s) and satellite born instruments decreased the relevance of MCL in elementary particles research.
• At present, some old experiments continue in operation and an important new one is being carried out, linked to the Auger project (LAGO = Large Aperture Grb Observation
later on in the article;We propose the MCL as a new international center for climate change observations, with the aim of:
• hosting and operating instruments for atmospheric research
• developing agreements for carrying out jointprojects at MCL in the area of climate research.
• integrating international networks for climate change research, like SHARE and GAW
We suggest for the new commitment the “explosive” name of C-4: Chacaltaya Climate Change Center”
Precipitation is a vital element in glacier formation and disappearance and I think we are too quick to point to rising temperatures as the cause of melting.

Brian H
December 20, 2011 9:56 am

But will they all be gone by 2035?

Hector M.
December 20, 2011 10:15 am

Entirely concur with climatereason. It is precipitation more than temperature that affects variation in tropical Andean glaciers.
It is interesting to note, by the by, that AR4 ensemble projections foresees an increase in summer (and annual) precipitation over the tropical Andes (). and Notice that these AR4 figures are drawn in terms of percentage change in precipitation, which is misleading because any decrease or increase during the dry season, even if by a significant percentage such as 30%, is not likely to be important at all, because little rain falls during the dry season anyway; no figure with the corresponding amount of projected change in rainfall, measured in mm/yr or mm/mo, was published by AR in this context or for this region).

December 20, 2011 10:17 am

I assume you were fishing for this Anthony.
This is Spinal Tap:

December 20, 2011 10:27 am

Hahaha, I live just upstream from a glacially excavated lake 4 miles long and 288 ft. deep. Somehow it stays full year round, even though there are now almost no glaciers in the whole of the ~12 mile long drainage basins south – but there is some year round snow now returning to the mountains south. The lake is somewhat unique in that it has a “terminal moraine” at its north end where it drains and has an about 15 ft. dam there to increase water storage for irrigation and to create a little control of the lake’s level for tourism season. But the other moraines to the east and west elevate another 700 ft higher along its length. So the lake’s depth could be increased pretty easily probably by another 100 ft., you know, by building something called a “higher dam”. Of course, this elevation would wipe out my house and about a 1/4 mile? long amount of “Wilderness” to the south. But, hey, anything to prevent “the destruction of creation”, right? [Hansen]
There are also many “caldera” lakes and high “hanging meadows” higher up in the Wilderness which somewhat resemble that ‘frightening’ wikipedia picture above.
Anyway, my fellow Climate Refugees, “Run for it now, before it’s too late!”

Martin Brumby
December 20, 2011 10:30 am

“and that percentage is increasing steadily, according to his calculations.”
In plain English that should be “according to a computer model with no predictive validity, based on dodgy and cherry picked, adjusted and homogenised data and on an incompetent statistical analysis.”
But hey! That’ll put plently of Grant money on the table!

December 20, 2011 10:40 am

Tropical glaciers are a proxy for ITCZ and monsoon derived precipitation. Shrinking tropical glaciers mean less precip due to convergence of mT with cT air masses. Less such convergence may imply lower interior temperatures in tropical and semi tropical continental interiors, and, lower energy levels within the Trade Winds. Seems like all of this is an indicator of long term cooling.

Brent Hargreaves
December 20, 2011 10:44 am

“Children just aren’t going to know what glaciers are,” writes Anthony. Triffic, an allusion to Dr. David “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is” Viner’s classic.
Maybe this’ll enter the language like “….gate” has. How about: Children just aren’t going to know what a beach is, what coral is, what birdsong is, what…

December 20, 2011 10:47 am

“In the past two weeks he and his team of four men have used a mixture of lime, egg whites and water to turn the Chalon Sombrero peak white. ”
I wonder what would have happened if an oil company had done that? Smeared the countryside with egg and lime? Greenpeace and WWF would be all over them. I certainly hope the egg and lime is sustainable.
May I come up with an advice? Magnetize the stuff. That will help.

John West
December 20, 2011 10:48 am

Hector M. says:
“The Andean glaciers are certainly retreating, but they are retreating since the most recent glacial maximum attained in 1680-1730 ”
Hector, you must have the dates wrong. This would suggest a SH glacial maximum at about the same time as the NH temperature minimum known as the Little Ice Age. We all know the LIA was just in the NH, Mann told us so. Please adjust your dates to conform with settled science. /sarc

December 20, 2011 10:49 am

Whitewashing the mountains?
Better be careful – comparing satellite images before and after will make it appear there’s been growth.
And, looking at it tomorrow would not show loss. You’d see a stable field, unaffected by CAGW.

December 20, 2011 11:01 am

I don’t understand how the peer review process can miss the obvious: the researchers seem to just ignore history entirely.

December 20, 2011 11:08 am

“he and his team of four men have used a mixture of lime, egg whites and water” Unfortunately by eating the egg yolks 3 species of lizards have become extinct due to cholesterol poisoning.

Theo Goodwin
December 20, 2011 11:12 am

Keith Battye says:
December 20, 2011 at 9:06 am
“3. The further downstream from the glacier one goes the smaller the proportion of the river flow is generated by the melting glaciers.”
You nailed it totally, Keith. When someone claims that a shrinking glacier will eventually cause a decline in the level of the river that it feeds, you must ask them where in the river the decline will be seen. Will it be seen 100 miles down the river? 1000 miles? Does the river flow through an all year around permanent desert?
Take any major river and you will find that the river’s source contributes about 1% to the volume of water found in the river a few hundred miles down river. Rivers are fed almost entirely by the watersheds that they flow through and not by their sources. Warmists overlook this fundamental relationship whenever they claim that loss of glaciers will mean loss of water supply down river. The relationship is so obvious that the Warmists who ignore it are either hardcore CAGW propagandists or else they are delusional. The number of glaciers whose loss means loss of water for a lot of people down river is probably nonexistent but certainly no more than 1% of glaciers.

Louis Hooffstetter
December 20, 2011 11:13 am

At the risk of sounding callous, There are places on this planet where people just shouldn’t try to live. Examples include the bases of glaciers, the flanks of active volcanoes, and the middle of deserts and ice caps. Sam Kinnison said it best:

Hector M.
December 20, 2011 11:16 am

the dates are correct, as estimated from lichenometry and morraines by two independent set of researchers in different parts of the Andes (one predominantly French, the other mainly German). See my Jomelli reference. As Dr Michael E. Mann has famously said about MWP, warming (and cooling) was not probably synchronous around the globe. And remember that the advances and retreats of glaciers are not chiefly governed by temperatures but by precipitation, which is not perfectly correlated with temps.

Gil Dewart
December 20, 2011 11:16 am

Good discussion. It is also worth looking at the ice-rock interface (surface and sub-surface) and the glaciers’ internal dynamics (including such phenomena as “glacial surges”).

Hector M.
December 20, 2011 11:26 am

And forgive me for ignoring your /sarc, since many people may actually think that such an argument as you sarcastically propose may be correct, so I thought a straight answer would be best.
Best wishes

Roger Knights
December 20, 2011 11:28 am

What’s the temperature trend in Peru? In the mountains? (I’ve read that the Southern Hemisphere hasn’t been warming.)

Gary Swift
December 20, 2011 11:37 am

Well, I wonder what the people who did this study would have to say about the above article:
Apparently, ice sheets have a history of both growth and retreat, even on relatively short time scales. Once again, it seems that current climate conditions are neither unprecedented nor alarming.

December 20, 2011 11:49 am

I did some climbing in the Huascarán area in 1971 and saw some of the devastation caused by the 1970 avalanche. The temporary tin-roof shacks still littered the countryside, a reminder of the unforgiving nature of this type of event.

December 20, 2011 11:51 am

“Where scientists once believed that they had 10 to 20 years to adapt to reduced runoff, that time is now up,” said Baraer. “For almost all the watersheds we have studied, we have good evidence that we have passed peak water.”
I’ve always wanted to say it, so here it is: IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT!!!
peak water omg

December 20, 2011 12:00 pm

So let’s see, any precipitation that does happen to fall in the Andes will be made toxic by bacteria fed by egg whites?

Christopher Hanley
December 20, 2011 12:02 pm

This is off-topic, but icy news just the same.
Attempts to reenact Mawson’s 1912 Antarctic landing have been forced to turn back due to the thick pack ice.
“I’ve never seen it like this.” was the comment of a veteran of 50 trips to Antarctica, including five to East Antarctica over 14 years:

December 20, 2011 12:03 pm
December 20, 2011 12:14 pm

When I the headline for this post I assumed it was a play on “This is Spinal Tap” re. Glaciergate. Perhaps not such a misapprehension as far as the science is concerned?

December 20, 2011 12:15 pm

19 Dec: UPI: Central Asian glaciers resist warming
The mountains in and around the Himalayas are so high, unlike in the Andes, the Alps or the Rockies, that even in summer temperatures remain below freezing and most of the glaciers don’t melt away at all, Richard Armstrong, a geographer at Colorado University’s National Snow and Ice Centre, told Inter Press Service.
“It doesn’t make much difference if it gets a little warmer up there because it’s still far below zero,” he said.
In a study of a part of what is called High Asia, researchers found 96 percent of the water that flows down the mountains of Nepal into nine local river basins comes from snow and rain, and only 4 percent from summer glacier melt…
Read more:
19 Dec: UK Telegraph: Jonathan Pearlman: Cold Australian summer sees swimwear profits plummet
Australia’s coldest summer in decades has dampened the mood for Christmas shopping and led to plummeting profits for swimwear and clothing stores

December 20, 2011 12:16 pm

Painting mountains white sounds like “sympathetic magic”. I cannot believe that albedo could be affected meaningfully on a purely local level. “The theory of sympathetic magic was first developed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough. He further subcategorised sympathetic magic into two varieties: that relying on similarity, and that relying on contact or ‘contagion’:
If we analyze the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion. From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not ” From Wiki, of course. Voodoo dolls are a form of this magic.

R. de Haan
December 20, 2011 12:20 pm

They simply don’t give up don’t they.
Unfortunately they are strong proponents of recycling.
So now we have this perpetuum mobile of climate scams.
It will only stop the moment they’re out of money.

December 20, 2011 12:28 pm

White washing mountains… genius!
It sounds like an idea that came straight from the mouth of the Nobel Prize winning U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu…

December 20, 2011 12:30 pm

There certainly have better not be many people depending upon the runoff from that glacier whose drainage culvert is posted above. That tiny culvert is worthy of a creek, not a river.

December 20, 2011 12:33 pm

in the fifties i lived in glacier country about 55 miles north of Missoula Montana.
yes glaciers do melt during the winter, although at a very, very reduced rate.

December 20, 2011 12:33 pm

Of course if we get more snow in our Warming World (as they predicted when they said, “Children won’t know what snow is.”) glaciers will obviously shrink.

December 20, 2011 12:37 pm

Those rocks being white washed sure don’t look like they have seen any glaciation. They look more like the result of freeze-thaw fracturing on a formation experiencing active orogeny.

Hector M.
December 20, 2011 12:40 pm

According to the IPCC projections, the Southern Hemisphere as a whole is expected to be warming this century in its tropical section, albeit much less than the Arctic. What is actually not warming (and gaining ice) nor expected to warm, is Antarctica. IPCC sea level projections expect Antarctica to DETRACT water from the oceans (about 12 cm during the century, for a total rise averaging 34 cm across scenarios).
However, detection of temperature trends is difficult for a country such as Peru, or for that matter Bolivia. Stations are sparse, series are not long, urban effects may be large, and Peru is a large country with several climate systems (and microclimates). It is, furthermore, strongly influenced by El Niño. I do not know of recent analyses of temperature trends for the country as a whole, but there might be some. The High Plateaux in Southern Peru (and Western Bolivia) seem to be receiving more rainfall and a reduction in summer frost days, as compared with several decades back, which suggests some warming. I have not found references to similar phenomena in middle and Northern Peru, or in its Eastern (Western Amazonia) region.
Retraction of glaciers since the 18th century and more recently may be linked to some warming (rebounding from LIA) besides the effect of precipitation. However, IPCC models seem to suggest that warming in that region would entail MORE precipitation, not less. So attribution is not clear.

Rob R
December 20, 2011 12:42 pm

I hate to throw ice in the face of several commenters but some rivers have multiple glacial sources. So the total percentage of river flow derived from glaciers can be significant in some situations. Otherwise I agree with most of the reaction to the post.

Kelvin Vaughan
December 20, 2011 12:48 pm

Skeptic Tank says:
December 20, 2011 at 9:26 am
If, instead, temperate glaciers were advancing and covering populated areas, what would we do? Attempt to terra-form the planet with increased CO2 output … or move?
No in that case the conclusion would be that CO2 cools the planet and we must stop producing it.

kbray in california
December 20, 2011 1:31 pm

Don’t give a dam….
The first world stores precipitation behind dams and reservoirs, to be trickled out slowly for agriculture and irrigation. The form of precipitation is irrelevant, it all eventually gets stored if it falls upstream. Rain in lieu of snow is in reality only bad for the skiers. California does not need glaciers or snow to have irrigation water all year long.
The third world needs to get with the program and build a few big dams.
In any case, don’t give ’em a dam, let ’em build it themselves.
Dam it.!

December 20, 2011 1:58 pm

“we have passed peak water” :)))))

Crispin in Waterloo
December 20, 2011 2:01 pm

Ron Manley says:
Runoff = Precipitation – Evaporation – Increase_in_storage.
‘Storage’ can be in soils, aquifers, snow, glaciers, etc.
If glaciers are stable, they contribute nothing to flow: if increasing to a reduction in flow: if shrinking to an increase in flow.
You are 100% correct. Thanks for saving me the trouble to write. The problem is that Climate Math is ‘different’. You start by putting the answer on the right side of the Equals sign then add elements and factors on the left, inserting various + – / * as needed or necessary to get the answer on the right.
You will recall the famous, “He used the wrong method but got the right answer anyway.” The only way that can be defended is to use Climate Math where the answer (CO2=Bad!) is the inevitable consequence.
Having read of the extraordinary antics of Enron in the promotion of the CAGW meme and their funding of every ‘green’ yahoo they could manipulate into promoting their ghastly capitalist/monopolist agenda I now realise that Enron Math is the same as Climate Math and in fact Enron may have invented the concept because the answer is always going up. Read on:
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies and the economy grows.
You retire on the income but continue making a popular specialty yogurt with local berries to keep you occupied.
You have two cows.
You worship them.
You don’t have any cows.
You claim all Indian cows belong to you.
You ask the US for financial aid, China for military aid, British for warplanes, Italy for machines, Germany for technology, French for submarines, Switzerland for loans, Russia for drugs and Japan for equipment. You buy cows with all this then claim exploitation by the world.
You have two cows.
You sell one and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You profess surprise when the cow drops dead. You put the blame on some nation with cows & naturally that nation will be a danger to mankind.
You start a war to save the world and grab the cows to pay for the weapons use and start a Cow Exchange trading milk futures.
You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You have two cows.
You reengineer them so that they live for 100 years, eat once a month and milk themselves. The milk is bland and sold as ‘vegetarian milk’.
You have two cows.
They are both mad cows.
You have two cows.
You don’t know where they are.
You break for lunch.
You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you.
You charge others for storing them.
You have two cows.
You redesign them so that they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create cute cartoon cow images called Cowkimon and market them worldwide.
you have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 17 cows.
You give up counting and open another bottle of vodka.
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim full employment, high bovine productivity and arrest anyone reporting any actual numbers.
You have two cows.
You don’t know economics.
You choose one of them as the leader of your country and the other one as the president. That is not the same position, in Iran.
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows applying a new clause in the Renewable Energy Act (cows are obviously self-renewing or they wouldn’t be producing milk).
The milk rights of the six cows (but not the milking rights) are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by your CFO who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with a preferential option on six more.
Now do you see why a company with $62 billion in assets declared bankruptcy?

Interstellar Bill
December 20, 2011 2:24 pm

Back when I was a solar water-heater manufacturer
we would paint the roofs white so the glare would help heat the water.
Even the most expensive, specialized roof paint
was yellowed and dull after two years of solar UV.
I expect that stuff they’re using will UV-degrade quite fast
and wash off in the next rain. Talk about futility.

December 20, 2011 2:39 pm

Love the updated Cow Economics. Nice work.

December 20, 2011 3:03 pm

“…we have good evidence that we have passed peak water”.
And have passed greenhouse gas.

Interstellar Bill
December 20, 2011 3:06 pm

Before magicians was primitive man,
whose science was in fact these two principles.
If it looks like it crawls it’s probably alive,
so similarity is an obvious guide to reality, not magic.
Fear of contagion and rituals for preventing it
are quite rational in a Stone-Age world rife with a plethora
of deadly viruses, bacteria, and protists,
against which no dilution is 100% effective.
And there’s also the microscopic eggs of parasites.
Contagion superstitions evolved precisely against those enemies.

December 20, 2011 4:03 pm

The “This is Spinal Tap” really is more comical than I think was originally intended…
As Spinal Tap’s popularity waned, they found themselves opening for Puppet Show. (the IPCC?)
….And like An Inconvenient Truth, This is Spinal Tap was also a fake documentary!
Want some more? Al Gore and Spinal Tap’s producer Rob Reiner are buddies.

December 20, 2011 4:16 pm

Glaciers act as buffers – if the glacier keeps its size, it releases amount of water equal to precipitation over its area. By trying to restore the glacier, they’re just trying to decrease amount of water in the river for a number of years to allow the glacier to grow up again using that water. The question is whether that’s really what they want to achieve. And even if the glacier completely melts, the river will still bring amount of water equal to precipitation. So there is the question what they should really be concerned about – the glacier because they like it a lot, or the amount of water in the river because they need it?

Jay Davis
December 20, 2011 6:36 pm

Thanks Crispin, between you and Sam Kinison I laughed so hard I had a coughing fit and had to use some of my precious CFC inhaler.
Whenever I read “research” like Baraer’s, I have to question how much real background research was done first. Do these people even do any? Unless the history of the area being studied is known, and I mean really known, how can anyone come to any conclusion about what is happening now? This ebb and flow could run in cycles, over which the only control man has is to move away when the water decreases, and move back when it increases. Populations have been reacting to such “climate change” by doing just that for as long as man has been on this planet.

December 20, 2011 7:05 pm

Does not rain but snow falls over there, if and when rains over there then snow is finished.
Snow is not added regularly over there as it used to be in old days. snow melting is not due to global warming, it has never been warm enough on the glacial regions, they are still in sub–zeros
temperature which is much much colder than required temp to melt them. glacial pressure is
thawing the ice that is in contact with the rock below, that is how rivers originate.
For details please click on my name.

Brian H
December 20, 2011 7:42 pm

Stark Dickflüssig says:
December 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Of course if we get more snow in our Warming World (as they predicted when they said, “Children won’t know what snow is.”) glaciers will obviously shrink.

Yeah, the “of course”es and “obviously”es sorta get into a mental car crash right off the bat, don’t they?

December 20, 2011 7:45 pm

Apparently the general public is beginning to mistrust ‘scientists’. Some of that mistrust may have have its origins in religious beliefs and some may arise from the constant bombardment received from popular media in terms of “half a glass of wine increases your chances of (fill in your favourite bugbear)”. Personally, I have no problem with science until I see the abbreviations ‘Prof’ or ‘Dr’ in the context of climate research.

Crispin in Waterloo
December 20, 2011 8:02 pm

I have an even longer version explaining economics as viewed by other groups but that one is long enough. Yes, people move as is proven by the uncovering of ancient villages as the glaciers in the Alps recede. Some are 800 years old, and if the retreat continues, 1000 year old habitation sites will be exposed. Kind of like the Greenland settlements.

December 20, 2011 11:05 pm

5,300 year old frozen natural mummy. Found in September 1991 in a melting glacier. It had to be at least as warm where he was found 5,300 years ago.
No, it really doesn’t have to have been as warm 5,300 years ago. Similarly, it doesn’t really have to be warmer now than it was then.

December 20, 2011 11:12 pm

“But despite this accelerated glacial shrinking, for the first time, the volume of water draining from the glacier into the Rio Santa in Northern Peru has started to decrease significantly.”
How can the volume of water draining from a glacier “decrease” at the same time that the glacier is melting at a steadily “increasing” rate. Where is the extra water going? Maybe the missing water is hiding with the missing heat. I mean, if the missing heat can bypass the atmosphere and the ocean surface to hide in the deep oceans, why can’t water from melting glaciers bypass rivers and streams and go directly into the deep oceans, too?

Brian H
December 21, 2011 1:21 am

Louis says:
December 20, 2011 at 11:12 pm

How can the volume of water draining from a glacier “decrease” at the same time that the glacier is melting at a steadily “increasing” rate.

Good catch.
Either the melt is decreasing, or the glacier has little to do with the flow of the Rio Santo.

Brian H
December 21, 2011 1:24 am

JJ says:
December 20, 2011 at 11:05 pm
5,300 year old frozen natural mummy. Found in September 1991 in a melting glacier. It had to be at least as warm where he was found 5,300 years ago.
No, it really doesn’t have to have been as warm 5,300 years ago. Similarly, it doesn’t really have to be warmer now than it was then.

Yes, it really does. Considering his clothing and location, certainly. He was not about to climb and traverse the glacier now blocking the pass. The whole thing was open. So it was warmer, much warmer.

John Marshall
December 21, 2011 2:16 am

It would seem that Kilimanjaro is renewing its glaciers. Snow cover has shown an increase in the latest pictures. So increased snow falls.

December 21, 2011 3:08 am

Umm, if the glaciers are melting and the people below them are dependent on meltwater, then presumably their retreat is a natural consequence of their melting, which has presumably been going on for a long time?
I don’t recall any reports along the lines of “Global warming improves post-war irrigation – saves millions of lives”.
I think it is rather more realistic to say that mountains cause heavy precipitation which results in rivers and people live on the rivers. You don’t need glaciers – if you are relying on glaciers net melting then you are relying on something inherently likely to pass over time.
The longest river in Britain is the Severn. It starts in the Cambrian mountains of Wales and flows all year round – but there is no glacier at the top. The mountains simply ensure that incoming weather systems are forced higher over the mountains causing them to dispense with the rain contained within them.

Steve from Rockwood
December 21, 2011 6:30 am

DocWat says:
December 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm
DocWat, that is very impressive in that the wind-generated electricity will travel along high voltage lines that cost local taxpayers nothing. I’m resisting calling this project the exception that proves the rule but my hat goes off to your community. Congratulations.
My favorite line from the article is:
“Electricity that runs through the Grain Belt Express won’t be sold in Kansas, and there will be no cost to taxpayers or electric ratepayers, the company said, nor is it getting any incentives from the state.”
One thing that is a bit disconcerting (and seems to be a growing problem in America) is that the permitting process will delay construction to about 2017. Ouch.

chuck nolan
December 21, 2011 6:30 am

Brian H says:
December 21, 2011 at 1:24 am
Yes, it really does. Considering his clothing and location, certainly. He was not about to climb and traverse the glacier now blocking the pass. The whole thing was open. So it was warmer, much warmer.
The referenced article says the had a coat and maybe snowshoes.

Dave Springer
December 21, 2011 7:48 am

It would be interesting to know what percentage of readers recognized teh pun in the title from its similarity to “This is Spinal Tap”.

Dave Springer
December 21, 2011 7:56 am

Viv Savage line in the movie This is Spinal Tap: “Quite exciting, this computer magic!”

December 21, 2011 10:00 am

Brian H says:
Yes, it really does. Considering his clothing and location, certainly. He was not about to climb and traverse the glacier now blocking the pass. The whole thing was open. So it was warmer, much warmer.

You’re making a lot of assumptions that you are not adequately identifying and evaluating. This is affecting the validity of your conclusions.
First, we dont know that the “whole thing was open” and don’t have firm reason to believe that it was. Otzi’s body was found by people walking around …
Second, whether it was open then or not does not conclusively determine that it was warmer then than now. Or, as some warmists would like to argue, that it was cooler then than now.
Glaciers take time to form, and time to disappear. They form and disappear for reasons not limitied to temperature. Insofar as formation and disappearance are related to temperature, they act on absolute temperature points, not relative temps. These facts confound attempts to determine the relative temperature between two points in time at some location, based simply on the presence or absence of a glacier at that location at those discreet times.
We hear this crap from uneducated warmists all the time. They point to a piece of driftwood recently uncovered from beneath a glacier and proclaim “This means that it is warmer now than at any time since that tree died 10,000 years ago”.
No, it does not.

Tim Clark
December 21, 2011 12:36 pm

Table 4. Glacierized percentage of watershed areas. Years in italics are derived from publications (Kaser and others, 2003; Mark and Seltzer, 2003; Georges, 2004).
The others (2002 and 2009) were computed using ASTER satellite imagery. The specific acquisition dates for selected ASTER images were 1 August 2001, 25 May 2002, 17 June 2002, 13 July 2003, 28 May 2009, 11 June 2009, 13 July 2009, 29 July 2009, 7 August 2009 and 29 May 2010.
The historical values for Querococha are from Hastenrath and Ames (1995) and cover slightly different time periods indicated in parentheses. @ period and 90–09 represent the average rate of ice area loss for the periods 1930–2009 and 1990–2009 respectively.
ALERT: The increased significant amount of ice loss from 1990-2009 was determined from data following an instrumental change (to satellite”, with the caveat: “A limited number of initial parameters (Table 2) were adjusted to obtain the best possible fit between projected and measured variables at the study watersheds.” Where have we seen this before?

Gil Dewart
December 21, 2011 12:44 pm

Geo-cryo-mass movement connection: the Yungay avalanche disaster of 1970 was triggered by the Great Chimbote earthquake. There is a general association between glaciers-mountain ranges-tectonic activty that should not be ignored.

Tim Clark
December 21, 2011 12:52 pm

An interesting side-note—the statistical process used in this paper was first proposed by Henry B Mann in 1945, subsequently amended to the Mann-Kendall test. Henry Mann had one son.
Mann married Anna LÃffler on July 19, 1935, and had one son Michael.
Could it be?

CRS, Dr.P.H.
December 21, 2011 2:31 pm

“Glaciers are retreating at an unexpectedly fast rate according to research done in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca by McGill doctoral student Michel Baraer. ”
Put him in one of my classes. MASSIVE FAIL!!
Glaciers have been generally retreating since the end of the last Ice Age. Sometimes, they surge, other times they pull back. We don’t know why, but rising temps seem to have nothing to do with it.

December 21, 2011 4:08 pm

RE: Mann married Anna LÃffler on July 19, 1935, and had one son Michael.
Could it be?
Unless at least 20 years passed between marriage and having a son, probably not.

Bill Parsons
December 21, 2011 7:11 pm

we have passed peak water.

I know how you feel. After a certain age, everything just goes to hell…

Tim Clark
December 22, 2011 9:56 am

“SteveSadlov says:
December 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm”
I was thinking he may have had an extended gestation period.

Doug Proctor
December 24, 2011 5:03 pm

How much do glaciers actually supply to the river system? Each year the rains bring about 1100 mm to the oceans; at a 2 mm/yr rise, you can see the amount is immaterial. It is not even measureable: again, the rise attributable to glacier melt is modelled, not observed.
I have gone down rivers sourced in glaciers. Near the glacier the flow is minimal. Downstream, where the river rises in volume, the water is sourced in rainfall and snowfall that annually melts. The raging rivers are virtually all recycled rain or snowmelt.
Glacial melt as affecting river discharge is a demonstrable myth. It is rain and melting snow that fill the rivers of the world.
A little thinking is all it takes. Satellites, computers, slide rules/calculators, Phds, goatees and wire-rimmed glasses are ways to disguise policy for facts. Glacial “melt” is not the primary mechanism of ice cap disappearance, but sublimation: there are no new Mississippis being created, nor are the Alpine glaciers gushing forth, overflowing their banks and drowning villagers.

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