[UPDATE: and it’s not just Climategate email, see the analysis by McIntyre added below – Anthony ]
From Dartmouth College and the irascible Lonnie Thompson of OSU, who still ‘publicly’ thinks in PR that Kilmanjaro and Peru’s Quelccaya glaciers are affected by temperature, not sublimation due to lack of precipitation. See below for the Climategate email that makes nonsense of the temperature claim made in the press release below. Also of note is Thompson’s claim that “PERUVIAN GLACIER MAY VANISH IN FIVE YEARS” made on February 15, 2007, and it was still there in 2012 by this photography.
Temperature, not snowfall, has been driving the fluctuating size of Peru’s Quelccaya Ice Cap, whose dramatic shrinkage in recent decades has made it a symbol for global climate change, a Dartmouth-led study shows.
The findings support many scientists’ suspicions that tropical glaciers are rapidly shrinking because of a warming climate, and will help scientists to better understand the natural variability of past and modern climate and to refine models that predict tropical glaciers’ response to future climate change.
The study appears in the journal Geology.
Dartmouth glacial geomorphologist Meredith Kelly and her lab team used field mapping combined with the beryllium-10 surface exposure dating method and ice cores obtained by Ohio State University paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson to examine how the Quelccaya Ice Cap has expanded and retreated over the past millennium. It is the first time that a record of past glacial extents has been compared directly with an annually dated ice core record from the same ice mass.
During the last millennium, a significant cooling event known as the Little Ice Age occurred, but scientists don’t know what caused the cooling or its geographic extent. The Dartmouth-led team determined beryllium-10 ages of moraines – or glacier sediments — that mark the past positions of Qori Kalis, an outlet glacier that has been monitored by Thompson since he first visited Quelccaya in the early 1960s. The Quelccaya Ice Cap, the largest ice mass in the tropics, sits 18,000 feet above sea level in the Peruvian Andes.
The results show that Qori Kalis advanced to its late Holocene maximum position prior to 520 years ago and subsequently retreated with only minor re-advances since that time. The comparison of the moraine record with the ice core record suggests that temperature was the driving force of glacial expansion and retreat, says Justin Stroup, lead author and a PhD candidate in Dartmouth’s Department of Earth Sciences.
“This is an important result since there has been debate about the causes of recent tropical glacial recession – for example, whether it is due to temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar irradiance or other factors,” says Kelly, a co-author of the study. “This result agrees with Professor Thompson’s earlier suggestions that these tropical glaciers are shrinking very rapidly today because of a warming climate.”
Furthermore, the ebbs and flows of other glaciers in tropical South America are similar to the Qori Kalis extents, indicating a regionally consistent pattern of past climate conditions. On a global scale, the results suggest that glaciers were larger than present and depositing moraines in both northern and southern hemispheres at about the same time, indicating that the climate mechanisms which caused the late Holocene cooling likely influenced a globally synchronous pattern of cooling.
The research, which was funded by National Science Foundation, includes Dartmouth College, the University of Cincinnati and Penn State University.
OK now read this Climategate email from Phil Jones, who in polite terms, says the claim is B.S. Note the reference to Peru’s Quelccaya glacier which I have bolded – Anthony
date: Sat Sep 18 08:48:09 2004
from: Phil Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
subject: Re: kilimanjaro
to: “Jenkins, Geoff” <email@example.com>
The data that are used for the grid box should be within the grid box. They will be low
elevation sites though, and this may be part of the reason. It might be worth seeing if
there is anything in the U/A data – but I reckon there won’t be much in that region.
I’ve heard Lonnie Thompson talk about the Kilimanjaro core and he got some local temperatures – that we don’t have access to, and there was little warming in them. The same situation applies for Quelccaya in Peru and also some of his Tibet sites. Lonnie thinks they are disappearing because of sublimation, but he can’t pin anything down. They are going though.
Lonnie’s email is “Lonnie G. Thompson” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You could try emailing Ellen as well both might be in the field.
Ellen Mosley-Thompson <email@example.com>
I’m off much of the next 6 weeks at meetings.
I hear you’re retiring soon – hope all goes well ! I’m sure you’ll still be in the field somewhere.
At 10:32 16/09/2004, you wrote:
we have been concerned that people often use the melting glacier on kilimanjaro as an
example of impacts of man-made warming. you may have seen some stories countering this on the sceptics websites.
I got philip brohan to look at temps there (see attached) and there isnt any convincing consistent recent warming in the station data. but your gridded CRUtem2V does show a recent warming. presumably that is because (as philip suggests) the gridded stuff has influences from quite a large radius, and hence may reflect warming at stations a long way from kilimanjaro?
would you agree that there is no convincing evidence for kilimanjaro glacier melt being due to recent warming (let alone man-made warming)?
be grateful for your help
Dr Geoff Jenkins
Head, Climate Prediction Programme
FitzRoy Road, EXETER, EX1 3PB, UK
tel: +44 (0) 1392 xxxxxx
mobile: 0787 966 1136
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: Nick Stokes responded in comments, I responded, and I’ve decided to add it to the body of this post.
“email from Phil Jones, who in polite terms, says the claim is B.S”
That’s not my reading of it. Jones seems to be saying (contrary to this paper) that Thompson says it’s due to sublimation:
“Lonnie thinks they are disappearing because of sublimation, but he can’t pin anything down. They are going though.”
Sounds like Jones thinks its’ temperature. Maybe he misunderstood Thompson, or LT has changed his view. But it seems Jones then and LT now both think it is temperature.
REPLY: Well I’d expect that, as your confirmation bias for temperature is legendary. The point is that “Lonnie thinks they are disappearing because of sublimation, but he can’t pin anything down.”, now look at this photo of Thompson standing next to an ice spire on Kilimanjaro and tell me with a straight face that’s not sublimation going on ( I assume you understand how sublimation presents itself with ice):
Land Use Change Impacts On Regional Climate Over Kilimanjaro” By Fairman Jr. Et Al 2011 pretty much put an end to that debate. More here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/23/34609/
On Quelccaya, McIntyre did a thorough dissection independent of me, and concluded:
“It seems to me that, among specialists, Thompson is probably standing fairly alone in claiming that d18O at tropical glaciers is a proxy for temperature rather than amount effect. (Because of Thompson’s eminence, the contradiction of his results is mostly implied, rather than directly stated.)
Because the 1998 El Nino was so big, it provides a good test case for temperature vs amount. It seems to me that the negative downspike for the big 1998 El Nino is decisive against Thompson.
The PNAS version of the data left off showing a sort of uptick. The extension to 2009 does not seem to me to be going off the charts.”
Of course, you lost that debate too, Nick, since your mindset can’t seem to grasp that temperature is not the cause. Land use change is, and Thompson is sampling in the wrong place to detect it. (note that all the Amazon deforestation is going on in the east)
Via a comment from Espen on the CA thread:
ScienceDaily report says: ” Most of the moisture in the area comes from the east, in snowstorms fueled by moist air rising from the Amazon Basin. But the ice core-derived climate records from the Andes are also impacted from the west — specifically by El Niño, a temporary change in climate, which is driven by sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific.” (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404142417.htm).
And, as we see, no correlation in 1998 during that super El Nino to bolster Thompson’s claim, in fact, it looks refuted by the data. – Anthony