IPCC's Pachauri's "voodoo science" claim comes full circle

WUWT readers may recall that when the “Himalayan Glaciers will melt by 2035” error was first revealed, IPCC chairman Rajenda Pachauri famously labeled claims of the mistake “voodoo science”and then had to retract that slur later.

Now it appears there hasn’t been any melt at all in the last 10 years. I never thought I’d see this in the Guardian:

The discovery has stunned scientists, who had believed that around 50bn tonnes of meltwater were being shed each year and not being replaced by new snowfall.

The study is the first to survey all the world’s icecaps and glaciers and was made possible by the use of satellite data. Overall, the contribution of melting ice outside the two largest caps – Greenland and Antarctica – is much less then previously estimated, with the lack of ice loss in the Himalayas and the other high peaks of Asia responsible for most of the discrepancy.

Full story here

h/t to more people than I can name – Anthony

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Looking at the plot of ice thickness changes from the GRACE data (from the NASA press release that spawned this story), it appears parts of the Himalayan area is actually gaining ice:

Changes in ice thickness map Changes in ice thickness (in centimeters per year) during 2003-2010 as measured by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, averaged over each of the world’s ice caps and glacier systems outside of Greenland and Antarctica. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Colorado

› Full image and caption

Here’s a zoom in on India:

Average yearly change in mass, in centimeters of water, during 2003-2010, as measured by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, for the Indian subcontinent. The dots represent glacier locations. There is significant mass loss in this region, but it is concentrated over the plains south of the glaciers, and is caused by groundwater depletion. Blue represents ice mass loss, while red represents ice mass gain.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Colorado

UPDATE: Here’s the Univ. of Colroado press release:

303-492-8349

University of Colorado at Boulder

CU-Boulder study shows global glaciers, ice caps, shedding billions of tons of mass annually

Study also shows Greenland, Antarctica and global glaciers and ice caps lost roughly 8 times the volume of Lake Erie from 2003-2010

IMAGE:A new CU-Boulder study using the NASA/Germany GRACE satellite shows Earth is losing roughly 150 billion tons of ice annually.Click here for more information.

Earth’s glaciers and ice caps outside of the regions of Greenland and Antarctica are shedding roughly 150 billion tons of ice annually, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The research effort is the first comprehensive satellite study of the contribution of the world’s melting glaciers and ice caps to global sea level rise and indicates they are adding roughly 0.4 millimeters annually, said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study. The measurements are important because the melting of the world’s glaciers and ice caps, along with Greenland and Antarctica, pose the greatest threat to sea level increases in the future, Wahr said.

The researchers used satellite measurements taken with the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, a joint effort of NASA and Germany, to calculate that the world’s glaciers and ice caps had lost about 148 billion tons, or about 39 cubic miles of ice annually from 2003 to 2010. The total does not count the mass from individual glacier and ice caps on the fringes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets — roughly an additional 80 billion tons.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at all of the mass loss from all of Earth’s glaciers and ice caps with GRACE,” said Wahr. “The Earth is losing an incredible amount of ice to the oceans annually, and these new results will help us answer important questions in terms of both sea rise and how the planet’s cold regions are responding to global change.”

A paper on the subject is being published in the Feb. 9 online edition of the journal Nature. The first author, Thomas Jacob, did his research at CU-Boulder and is now at the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, in Orléans, France. Other paper co-authors include Professor Tad Pfeffer of CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Sean Swenson, a former CU-Boulder physics doctoral student who is now a researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

“The strength of GRACE is that it sees everything in the system,” said Wahr. “Even though we don’t have the resolution to look at individual glaciers, GRACE has proven to be an exceptional tool.” Traditional estimates of Earth’s ice caps and glaciers have been made using ground-based measurements from relatively few glaciers to infer what all of the unmonitored glaciers around the world were doing, he said. Only a few hundred of the roughly 200,000 glaciers worldwide have been monitored for a decade or more.

Launched in 2002, two GRACE satellites whip around Earth in tandem 16 times a day at an altitude of about 300 miles, sensing subtle variations in Earth’s mass and gravitational pull. Separated by roughly 135 miles, the satellites measure changes in Earth’s gravity field caused by regional changes in the planet’s mass, including ice sheets, oceans and water stored in the soil and in underground aquifers.

A positive change in gravity during a satellite approach over Greenland, for example, tugs the lead GRACE satellite away from the trailing satellite, speeding it up and increasing the distance between the two. As the satellites straddle Greenland, the front satellite slows down and the trailing satellite speeds up. A sensitive ranging system allows researchers to measure the distance of the two satellites down to as small as 1 micron — about 1/100 the width of a human hair — and to calculate ice and water amounts from particular regions of interest around the globe using their gravity fields.

For the global glaciers and ice cap measurements, the study authors created separate “mascons,” large, ice-covered regions of Earth of various ovate-type shapes. Jacob and Wahr blanketed 20 regions of Earth with 175 mascons and calculated the estimated mass balance for each mascon.

The CU-led team also used GRACE data to calculate that the ice loss from both Greenland and Antarctica, including their peripheral ice caps and glaciers, was roughly 385 billion tons of ice annually. The total mass ice loss from Greenland, Antarctica and all Earth’s glaciers and ice caps from 2003 to 2010 was about 1,000 cubic miles, about eight times the water volume of Lake Erie, said Wahr.

“The total amount of ice lost to Earth’s oceans from 2003 to 2010 would cover the entire United States in about 1 and one-half feet of water,” said Wahr, also a fellow at the CU-headquartered Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

The vast majority of climate scientists agree that human activities like pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is warming the planet, an effect that is most pronounced in the polar regions.

One unexpected study result from GRACE was that the estimated ice loss from high Asia mountains — including ranges like the Himalaya, the Pamir and the Tien Shan — was only about 4 billion tons of ice annually. Some previous ground-based estimates of ice loss in the high Asia mountains have ranged up to 50 billion tons annually, Wahr said.

“The GRACE results in this region really were a surprise,” said Wahr. “One possible explanation is that previous estimates were based on measurements taken primarily from some of the lower, more accessible glaciers in Asia and were extrapolated to infer the behavior of higher glaciers. But unlike the lower glaciers, many of the high glaciers would still be too cold to lose mass even in the presence of atmospheric warming.”

“What is still not clear is how these rates of melt may increase and how rapidly glaciers may shrink in the coming decades,” said Pfeffer, also a professor in CU-Boulder’s civil, environmental and architectural engineering department. “That makes it hard to project into the future.”

According to the GRACE data, total sea level rise from all land-based ice on Earth including Greenland and Antarctica was roughly 1.5 millimeters per year annually or about 12 millimeters, or one-half inch, from 2003 to 2010, said Wahr. The sea rise amount does include the expansion of water due to warming, which is the second key sea-rise component and is roughly equal to melt totals, he said.

“One big question is how sea level rise is going to change in this century,” said Pfeffer. “If we could understand the physics more completely and perfect numerical models to simulate all of the processes controlling sea level — especially glacier and ice sheet changes — we would have a much better means to make predictions. But we are not quite there yet.”

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Which brings us back to this, and linked SciAm article that billions depend on glacier water was ‘hyperbole’
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/25/another-climate-fail-new-research-casts-doubt-on-doomsday-himalayan-water-shortage-predictions/
Scientific American: New Research Casts Doubt on Doomsday Water Shortage Predictions
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=research-casts-doubt-doomsday-water-shortage-predictions
extract:
“He agreed that overstatements about the impacts are rampant in the Himalayas as well, saying, “The idea that 1.4 billion people are going to be without water when the glaciers melt is just not the case.
From the Andes to the Himalayas, scientists are starting to question exactly how much glaciers contribute to river water used downstream for drinking and irrigation. The answers could turn the conventional wisdom about glacier melt on its head.
Yet, scientists complain, data are often inaccurately incorporated in dire predictions of Himalayan glacial melt impacts.
——————–
Prime Minister Gordon Brown (copenhagen time)
“In 25 years the glaciers that provide water for 3/4 of a billion people will disapear entirely”

Harold Ambler

Fluctuations in glacier size are an outstanding way to scare the hey out of people, most of whom simply don’t know that such fluctuations have taken place before and are quite normal during interglacials. Most people also don’t know what an interglacial is, of course. If they did, and thought hard about the word, and about how fortunate they are to live during such a time, they would sleep better at night. Many thanks to all who have been supporting the cause of useful information versus the cause of terror, useful information being here: http://amzn.to/xam4iF

Jason

This isn’t going to just stun scientists. This will also stun my climbing friends and acquaintances who swear that they’ve see this first hand. I can’t wait, I envision a bowl of hemlock on my next trip.

TFNJ

What is being measured in northwest india, south of the glaciers? The caption says mass loss, in cm of water. Is erosion of rocks, measured in cm of water?

John Marshall

Some people forget that Dr. Pachauri is not a scientists. He trained as a railway engineer and then obtained a PhD in economics, which is not by any means a scientific study. He cannot by any criteria be viewed as a climatologist. He also gains from any carbon trading or green energy through business connections within his family.
He is not a fit man to be chair of the IPCC.

Expect a full-on assault on the data!

D Boon

Same for Antarctica; loss on the peninsula, slight gain on the rest of the continent (plot on their website).

Although this provides yet another of Trenberth’s reverse onus tests of hypothesis, it frightens me. Global cooling, which seems to be occuring, is a “bad thing”. Global warming is a “good thing”. As those in Europe are discovering to their dismay, cold kills and kills quickly. The problem with being a skeptic is the inevitable pyrrhic victory is manifest in the type of change that will be expensive to adjust to and detrimental to humanity with or without adjustment. The example here: Glaciers grow as less snow melts and downstream water availability drops.

AGW_Skeptic

The alarmists nearly succeeded with the hoax. Consider this…
Bogus papers (pal reviewed) and the IPCC scare the populace into drastic taxes and reductions of personal freedoms. After the fraud and the penalties are enacted, reports begin to surface that the oppression is working. Taxes are saving the environment.
Look how the glaciers have been saved. Temperature rise has been averted. Severe weather events have subsided. Sea level rise has halted. More taxes and government control must continue for further improvement.
Scary how close they came to pulling it off! Long live ClimateGate.

Michael Reed

Okay, all you ice observers out there. Consider these two quotes from the Guardian article:
Prof John Wahr of the University of Colorado said: “People should be just as worried about the melting of the world’s ice as they were before.”
Bristol University glaciologist Prof Jonathan Bamber, who was not part of the research team, said: “The new data does not mean that concerns about climate change are overblown in any way.” He added: “Taken globally all the observations of the Earth’s ice – permafrost, Arctic sea ice, snow cover and glaciers – are going in the same direction.”
So what’s up with that? Is the earth’s ice melting or not. Should I be worried or not?

“But ther is still serious consern”
They just cannot resist minimising any good news.
Ther certainly is serious concern but it is related to the quality of climate science rather than non-melting glaciers.

Latimer Alder

Yes – even to publish such stuff must have caused much anguish at the grudina. But they managed t find a few stooges to reiterate that this shocking news did nothing to diminish concern about global warming and the usual irrelevant tosh about 1.5 billion people getting their water from rivers that start in the Himalayas
I also note that their moral courage didn’t extend so far as to invite comments under their ironically titled ‘Comment is Free’ (aka ‘Komment macht Frei) policy.

Also some concern about my spelling “there” “Concern”

David Bailey

I feel cautiously optimistic that papers like the guardian are willing to run stories like this. The BBC also seems to have eased its censorship a little recently.
Perhaps these news outlets can see the end of the AGW scam is close, and they need to start to change their stance!

rc

“The discovery has stunned scientists”
There we have it, climate scientists are stunned (not enlightened) when the data doesn’t match the model.
Surely they can fix the data.

Harriet Harridan

Couldn’t have anything to do with the lack of warming in the lower troposphere could it? 🙂 I think Christie and Spencer are due (several) apologies from the warmistas.

But, but, but … only this morning, the newspaper told me that satellites have measured sea level rises of 12mm/year due to melting ice.

There are no glaciers south form Ganges river, or..?

Cliff Maurer

Damian Carrington reports the NASA finding that “the contribution of melting ice outside the two largest caps – Greenland and Antarctica – is much less than previously estimated”. But the estimate of annual ice loss for Greenland and Antarctica is more than 400 cu km per year (averaged over longer than 7 years) compared with less than 200 cu km per year reported by the same source in 2008. What explains the discrepancy?

Rajendra Pachauri is to me a climate vampire, he sucks out all the science from a research leaving it gasping for air.

Alexej Buergin

For those who understand a little bit of german here is one of Angela Merkel’s genius-advisors, Schellen-Huber, explaining that “it is easy to calculate that the Himalaya ice will be gone by 2035”.

(Schellnhuber is the pompous, Rammsdoof the arrogant one.)

MarcH

From the Nature article: “The total contribution to sea level rise from all ice-covered
regions is thus 1.4860+/-26mmyr-1”
From the Guardian article: “His team’s study, published in the journal Nature, concludes that between 443-629bn tonnes of meltwater overall are added to the world’s oceans each year. This is raising sea level by about 1.5mm a year, the team reports, in addition to the 2mm a year caused by expansion of the warming ocean.”:
Satellite observations of sea level rise for the study period (January 2003 to December 2010) show a rise of about 14mm-or about 2mm per year (see http://sealevel.colorado.edu/).
Given the GRACE study is on the mark, this appears to indicate there has been only 3.5 mm of rise (only 0.5mm per year) that can be attributed to expansion of the ocean due to warming. In other words there has been very little warming of the ocean over this time period. Seems this is also supported by the Argo data that shows ocean warming has flat lined since the early 2000’s.
Or have I missed something?

MikeH

Get ready for all of the But, But, But.. Look at North and South America!!! Look at Iceland! That WAY overshadows the Himalayas! Right idea, wrong glacier. comments…
Not wanting to listen to the fact that documented changes in a lot of these areas has been going on for 150 years or more (Alaska for example)..
But I will ask, the banter back and forth about Greenland was that the glaciers were receding (AGW) but the icepack was getting thicker (Skeptic). Greenland is mostly neutral, loss at the northern colder area, any ideas?

Pete in Cumbria UK

It says…..
….rated over the plains south of the glaciers, and is caused by groundwater depletion. Blue re…. My bold.
Would that explain the observed and relatively trivial ‘Global Sea Level Rise’, where exactly did that groundwater go?
So, if we take away the effects of UHI and also try to remove the effects of recent (50, 60,70 years) land use changes, is there an underlying planetary cooling trend?
Do we REALLY have something to worry about?

Hmmm. No word on this from the hyperactive tweeter Richard Black of the BBC. No comment yet on the BBC science stories. You can bet your life that if the results had been in the alarmists favour this would have been the top story of the day…

Lew Skannen

Now that this kind of thing is appearing in the Grauniad it really must be the beginning of the end.

DirkH

The Guardian disappoints. – gavin

I am not sure I understand this NASA map of India.
It shows blue where there is no ice, and never was any ice.
If they are measuring the loss of ground water mass, how do we know, which data corresponds to glaciers and ice, and which data corresponds to other things?

brc

Did he ever retract the ‘voodoo science’ claim? I thought they just issued a correction and an apology for the error, not an apology for the insults to people who had actually, you know, studied the glaciers.
This story has put a rocket on the ‘climate rapid response’ teams – they’re everywhere saying ‘but yes they are still melting’.
To which the obvious question is then : maybe so, but is it co2 causing this? And is it really a problem?
As for the original modelling – you’d think that much extra meltwater might have, maybe, showed up in some rivers as extra flow?

Glaciers are only a water source when they lose mass. If a glacier is losing mass, there’s more water downstream. If it is growing, there’s less. And, if a glacier melts completely, what do they think happens to the precipitation that used to feed the glacier? Do they think it stops falling just because there isn’t any ice there? Idiots.

The total global ice mass lost from Greenland, Antarctica and Earth’s glaciers and ice caps during the study period was about 4.3 trillion tons (1,000 cubic miles), adding about 0.5 inches (12 millimeters) to global sea level. That’s enough ice to cover the United States 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) deep.

Wait a second,,, If there was 12 mm of sea level rise from ice melt from 2003-2010, then there was little or no steric sea level rise from 2003-2010. Total sea level rise over that period was only ~14 mm (slope = 2.03 for 2003-2010). If there was no significant steric sea level rise from 2003-2010, how could Trenberth’s missing heat be hiding in the ocean?

SayNoToFearmongers

Shame that the Guardian couldn’t bring itself to allow comments on the article, but the fact that they published it suggests that this sinking ship has a rapidly increasing number of large rodents missing from its roll call.

Steve Keohane

Interesting. How is Antarctica neutral when it is accruing ice? The Antarctic link claims massive loss, not on the map…but that was 2009 propaganda from the Guardian?
Had an article in the Denver Post about the Rocky Mtn. glaciers adding more ice, 11/1/11. The Denver Post says that article no longer exists. They must be picking up the pace on processing history, keeping it up to date and all. Here is a cached page link:
http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=%2bDenver+Post%2c+%2bglaciers%2c+%2bRocky+Mountains&d=4655392801754912&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=c9a1a289,be1a68ca

Voodo is misspelled.
It should be voodoo

Michael Reed

Bamber says: “Taken globally all the observations of the Earth’s ice – permafrost, Arctic sea ice, snow cover and glaciers – are going in the same direction.”
He doesn’t mention Antarctica. Is this an intentional omission by another scaremonger? I thought most of Earth’s ice mass was in Antarctica, which has been increasing. This would offset supposed losses in the Himalayas and elsewhere, wouldn’t it?

John Brookes

I presume corrections have been made for the Himalaya’s still pushing up.

DirkH

Alexej Buergin says:
February 9, 2012 at 4:39 am
“For those who understand a little bit of german here is one of Angela Merkel’s genius-advisors, Schellen-Huber, explaining that “it is easy to calculate that the Himalaya ice will be gone by 2035″.”
Wonderful, thanks! After I have seen the according page in the IPCC AR4,
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch10s10-6-2.html
it was indeed very easy to calculate that they completely botched their prediction. But hey, I’m only a humble programmer, not a quantum physicist like mastermind Schellnhuber!
Are all quantum physicists unable to do simple arithmetic?

richard verney

Robert Wille says:
February 9, 2012 at 5:35 am
/////////////////////////////////////////
Glaciers impede water flow. They act as water storage devices. If the glacier was not there, the glacial basin would become a river basin and providing that rainfall patterns were not altered, there would be greater amounts of water down stream, mot less.
Rainfall patterns are unlikely to be altered significally since they more often than not are the consquence of the interaction between geological features such as mountain ranges and their position relative to the oceans which geographical features do not change over time (by which I mean human measurements of time as opposed to geological time).

richard verney

David Middleton says:
February 9, 2012 at 5:46 am
/////////////////////////////////////
They can’t have it both ways.
This is always a problem when examining data and explains why AGW proponenets do not like a detailled examination of the data; it frequently leads to inconsistencies with their position which undermines their ‘cuase’..

Roger Knights

David Middleton says:
February 9, 2012 at 5:46 am
If there was no significant steric sea level rise from 2003-2010, how could Trenberth’s missing heat be hiding in the ocean?

Good catch.

richard verney

The claim with respect to the Himalayan Glaciers melting was always rediculous. Given the sheer volume of ice and their altitude (think adiabatic lapse) and the prevailing temperatures, there is no possibility that these glaciers could disappear in thousands of years. Claims of hundreds of years is stupid, claims measured in decades boarders on the insane. What concerns me most is that the claims were so patently flawed, how could any scientist reading the claim not have picked up on how rediculous and hence flawed the claim was. It beggars belief that it could have found its way into the final version of the IPPC report. The fact that this claim was re-itterated by politicians demonstrates what little grasp they have on reality. This may explain why Gordon Brown was so financially inept, it would appear that he has no practical grasp of numbers.
The scientists who backed the claim do not appear to have given consideration as to the mechanism required to melt such a huge volume of ice. EG:
(i) Was it supposed to be temperature driven, if so what were the prevailing temperatures, how had these changed over time and are they predominantly below the freezing point of water? If the prevailing temperatures are predominantly below freezing point, they could not drive (or at any rate not quicly drive) glacial melt.
(ii) Was it directly due to increasing levels of DWLWIR brought about by increasing levels of GHGs in the atmosphere. If so, does ice absorb DWLWIR, or does it reflect it? If ice absorbs little DWLWIR and mainly reflects it then increasing levels of DWLWIR could not drive the glacial melt.
(iii) How much energy is required to melt the glacial volume of ice, and where is that energy coming from?
To me, none of this appears to have been well thought through. How people jumped on the bandwagon of this particular claim demonstrates the stupidity of man and what mass hysteria can do for cognitive thinking.

GregS

Whenever you read about GRACE and diminishing ice, look for the word Sublimation. Look hard because you will never find it in the press. Sublimation is the process of transition of a substance from the solid phase to the gas phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase. We all know it as “freezer burn”. It is why your hamburger “dries out” in the freezer if you do not seal it properly.
The significant amount of Arctic and Antarctic ice loss is because of sublimation, not melting, and is more indicative of regional drying than regional melting.
The irony is that a warmer world is wetter world and we can therefore expect more ice in the Antarctic and Greenland interiors – thus lowering, not raising see-level.

Anyone else notice that Antarctica isn’t losing any ice, not that we didn’t know that already?

David

David Middleton says:
February 9, 2012 at 5:46 am
The total global ice mass lost from Greenland, Antarctica and Earth’s glaciers and ice caps during the study period was about 4.3 trillion tons (1,000 cubic miles), adding about 0.5 inches (12 millimeters) to global sea level. That’s enough ice to cover the United States 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) deep.
Wait a second,,, If there was 12 mm of sea level rise from ice melt from 2003-2010, then there was little or no steric sea level rise from 2003-2010. Total sea level rise over that period was only ~14 mm (slope = 2.03 for 2003-2010). If there was no significant steric sea level rise from 2003-2010, how could Trenberth’s missing heat be hiding in the ocean?
==============================================
David, climate science papers are not teleconnected, so what happens in one is not relevant to another. Also, data from models, being more important the observations, trumps observations.
Besides, this is from Grace gravity readings, and by the time their models predict how much mantel is being condensed into the increasing mountains, they will adjust the data and proclaim that the 2035 date for glacial loss is correct after all.

Capell

Hang on a second!
Just a few weeks ago we were discussing Hansen’s paper:
Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/29/hansens-sea-shell-game/#more-55615
In that he cites the Antarctic and Greenland ice mass changes reported in a paper from Velicogna on Grace data: Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE (GRL 2009)
This paper reports:
“The best fitting estimate for the acceleration in ice sheet mass loss for the observed period is -30 ± 11 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and -26 ± 14 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica. This corresponds to 0.09 ± 0.03 mm/yr2 of sea level rise from Greenland and 0.08 ± 0.04 mm/yr2 from Antarctica.
Hansen takes their analysis further and claims “5-year and 10-year mass loss doubling times.”.
And here we are, a few months later, and it’s all change!

John

Not a fan of these map projections – even the Miller Cylindrical show – they exaggerate the polar areas.

CodeTech

Personally I’m aghast that a mainstream publication such as The Guardian would publish something that says “less then”. Apparently they’re not much into proof reading.
This again reminds me of the gnashing and wailing we heard in Calgary some years back. Apparently someone noticed that most of our drinking water comes from glaciers, and the glaciers are shrinking. Their conclusion was that we should use less water…

Steve from Rockwood

Grace does not measure ice thickness loss in cm or water loss in mm. Some scientist at NASA has run the measurements through a model.
It’s interesting to compare the position of the Grace anomalies relative to the edges of the tectonic plates. Why so many larger anomalies at these boundaries? Is this where ice accumulates?

SasjaL

Some things just “are”!
Mother Earth is constantly changing her dress. Don’t like fashion – tough luck!

tommoriarty

I find the last image (GRACE map of mass change for the Indian Subcontinent) to be the most interesting.
Here’s why…
The image shows a nice contrast between mass gain in the Himalayas and the much greater mass loss on the plains due to ground water extraction for irrigation purposes. That mass loss on the plains translates into sea level rise, because that water eventually makes it to the ocean. The ground water extraction is not a function of global warming, yet it raises the oceans.
There is another phenomenon that affects the sea level and is not a function of global warming. Water that is stored in artificial reservoirs lowers the sea level because that water would otherwise move to the oceans.
So, ground water extraction and artificial reservoir storage are the opposite sides of the same coin.
Vermeer and Rahmstorf (PNAS, 2009) reasoned that a model equating global temperature to sea level rise rate should have a correction for water storage in artificial reservoirs because it is not really a function of global warming. Providing such a correction causes sea level rise projections to be higher. However, they did not provide a correction for ground water extraction, which would make sea level rise projections lower.
It turns out that the two effects are of the same order of magnitude. By some estimates the ground water extraction (which Vermeer and Rahmstorf did not correct for) is larger than the artificial reservoir correction (which they did correct for).
This is not a small matter. Adding a correction for ground water extraction to their model makes a huge difference to the resulting sea level rise projections. For some reason Vermeer and Rahmstorf have not gotten around to publishing this effect. (Maybe it’s because it greatly lowers their projections. Just sayin’.) But I have incorporated the correction into their model and you can see the results here …
http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/rahmstorf-2009-part-9-applying-three-corrections/
and here…
http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/rahmstorf-2009-off-the-mark-again-part-10-sea-level-projections-exaggerated-by-factor-of-2/