Pacific Glaciers Redux

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I see that Charles the Moderator has posted up the report of the fears of the loss of the Puncak Jaya glacier here on WUWT. Below is a photo of the current state of the glacier, which is in Irian Jaya on the island of New Guinea, north of Australia.

My first thought upon reading the popular article, of course, was … before we join in mourning the dear departed, just how old is that disappearing tropical glacier?

Took a while to find the original study. I had to go through SciHub since this stuff is always paywalled. The study only mentions the total age once, without further comment of any kind:

The glaciers near Puncak Jaya are remnants of glaciers that have existed for ∼5,000 y (37, 38)

OK, five thousand years. And going to the underlying reference (37) I find

There is no evidence for ice on any of the New Guinea mountains between about 7,000 and 5,000 yr BP, and in fact the tree line of Mt. Wilhelm was as much as 200m above its present position from 8,300 to 5,000 yr BP.

So this paper, which is being pushed as being horrible news that somehow shows that the climate alarmists are right about their fantasized impending Thermageddon™, actually proves that the Pacific tropics are not yet as warm as they were five to seven thousand years ago. Doesn’t seem anywhere near as scary that way, does it?

But wait … there’s more. A related question is, how long has the Puncak Jaya glacier been melting? From the study once again …

Likewise, the glaciers near Puncak Jaya have been retreating since the end of the most recent neoglacial period ∼1850 CE.

So the Puncak Jaya glacier melt and retreat did NOT start with the modern increase in CO2, which has occurred mostly since the early 1900s. Instead, the melting started from a natural fluctuation in temperature around 1850. And guess what?

Scientists don’t have a clue why the “most recent neoglacial period” ended ~ 1850 CE rather than 1750 CE or 1950 CE … but they’re more than happy to tell us what the climate will be like in the year 2100.

Gotta love the hubris, at least …

Best to all on a lovely rainy morning, fire season in California is over, the forest I live in is happy, what’s not to like?


PS—As always I ask that when you comment you quote the exact words you are referring to so we can all understand just what and who you are discussing.

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Steve Keohane
December 12, 2019 6:16 am

Thanks Willis. That is similar to my take on the previous article, ie. a lot of the ice we see is just beginning to form since it was a lot warmer when this interglacial started, and has been cooling since as we approach the next glaciation. We see fluctuations in barely forming ice, not anthropogenic interference in climate.

Reply to  Steve Keohane
December 12, 2019 8:07 am

The Eemian last interglacial apparently had a bi-modal temperature distribution, with no large change in atmospheric CO2. According to EPICA ice core data, temperature peaked ~129 kyr ago (perhaps a few degrees above today’s), decreased some, then rose into a smaller peak ~125 kyr ago.

Reply to  Steve Keohane
December 12, 2019 8:20 am

Another paper recently released in Science Daily by Dartmouth:
Research confirms timing of tropical glacier melt at the end of the last ice age
Date: December 11, 2019
Source: Dartmouth College
Findings on ice retreat across the global tropics clarifies how the low latitudes transformed during the end of the last ice age and can help current-day predictions of our own climate future.

They mention the obligatory obeisances to the CO2 cabal:
“Carbon dioxide is what caused the Earth to come out of the last ice age,” said Meredith Kelly, an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth, and senior researcher on the study. “But there are also processes that began before carbon dioxide increased that are important to the overall story of how the period ended, and that’s what we wanted to understand.”

but go on to further say:
“According to the Dartmouth study, glaciers in tropical Africa and South America reached their maximum extents about 29,000-21,000 years ago and then began to melt. This retreat is earlier than the significant rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide recorded at about 18,200 years ago.

The findings demonstrate a trend of increasing tropical temperatures across the planet and suggest that the warming may have been caused by a reduction in the temperature differences between the Earth’s polar regions and the tropics.

At the end of the last ice age in the Arctic, small changes in Earth’s orbit resulted in more solar radiation and warmer temperatures, and caused a retreat of the northern ice sheets. In Antarctica, the change of the planet’s angle to the sun created longer summers. The reduction in the temperature gradient between the poles and the tropics slowed the movement of heat out of the low latitudes to the extreme north and south, making the tropics warmer and resulting in faster loss of glaciers in the region.”

Robert Austin
Reply to  Rocketscientist
December 12, 2019 10:44 am

“Carbon dioxide is what caused the Earth to come out of the last ice age,” said Meredith Kelly, an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth, and senior researcher on the study.

Joe citizen expects that professionals be held to a higher standard of truthfulness when discussing their alleged area of expertise than for the average layman. Statements such as this one made by Kelly which are speculative and not based on solid science are irresponsible and tantamount to lies. I weep for the travesty that is the modern scientific industry.

Reply to  Robert Austin
December 12, 2019 11:31 am

Actually, current prevailing ideas on reasons for exiting the last glaciation are 1) increasing solar radiation in the far northern hemisphere due to Earth orbital drift, and 2) increasing dust deposited on glacial surfaces caused decreased albedo and increased melting. Without increasingly warmer oceans caused by these, there is no reasonable origin for increasing CO2.

Sandy Gilewsku
Reply to  Robert Austin
December 18, 2019 7:43 am

Very well said, a much higher standard is expected when making such profoundly important conclusions.

Alan Chapprll
December 12, 2019 6:21 am

s we see once again ( most notably in Sweden ) HISTORY is missing in modern education

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Alan Chapprll
December 12, 2019 9:20 am

Here in the U.S. they’ve rewritten and simplified history to be a scoreboard of the victims and the perpetrators- who were white, European invaders, plundering the Utopian new world where all was previously well.

Our colleges have repackaged and re-branded Marxism in the product called Progressive Democracy.

They claim that their product is new and untried, robust and sustainable, and will literally “save the planet” from the greed of capitalism. Some of the duller young minds are sucked right in, but many resist indoctrination through simple common sense where I live.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 12, 2019 2:56 pm


Mary Catherine Sears
Reply to  Alan Chapprll
December 12, 2019 9:21 am

Also notable here in the USA.

John Tillman
December 12, 2019 6:22 am

Yet another instance of the global effect of the Holocene Climate Optimum from around 9000 to 5000 years ago, interrupted by the Younger Dryas-like 8.2 Ka cold snap.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  John Tillman
December 12, 2019 11:36 am

Willis Eschenbach – 4 hours ago December 12, 2019

So this paper, which is being pushed as being horrible news that somehow shows that the climate alarmists are right about their fantasized impending Thermageddon™, actually proves that the Pacific tropics are not yet as warm as they were five to seven thousand years ago( Holocene Climate Optimum).

And the area of the Mediterranean Sea is not as warm as it was during the Climate Optimum.

When reading Fox News this morning I found a news item that I believe confirms the lack of glacial melting and subsequent SLR (sea level rise) after the Holocene Climate Optimum ended 4,000+ years ago, to wit:

Minoan Island devoted to the color purple

The finds on Chrysi show the high value placed on the rare purple dye and the flourishing economy of the settlement between 3,800 and 3,500 years ago, during the Protopalatial and Neopalatial periods of the Minoan civilization on Crete.

Archaeologists have investigated the settlement on Chrysi since 2008, revealing various discoveries, including the remains of large carved stone tanks near the waterline on the beach.


Yup, it appears that the Minoans constructed large carved stone tanks near the waterline on the beach 3,800 years ago ……. and they are still situated near the waterline here in 2019 AD.

So, if not around the island of Chrysi (Crete), …. where then is all that dangerous SLR occurring?

Tom Schaefer
December 12, 2019 6:31 am

I’m less concerned about the loss of natural ice in the tropics since the invention of refrigeration and the more general availability of electricity to power it.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Tom Schaefer
December 12, 2019 10:30 am

Ah, that explains the obsession with glaciers that the CAGW extremists seem to have: since they are trying to destroy our electricity generation and distribution system (or at least make so unreliable that modern refrigeration will be impossible), they need an alternative source of ice for their drinks!

Bloke down the pub
December 12, 2019 6:32 am

It’s all about the message. They don’t mind details like the facts, as long as Joe Public gets the right message.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
December 12, 2019 9:29 am

It does seem a lot like the catholic church of old. “We don’t mind you discussing facts, but don’t tell us how to interpret our truth.”

That truth back then was their interpretation of the Bible. Now it is their CO2 story.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 12, 2019 11:57 am

Please skip the Roman Catholic church analogy to the CAGW industry. Stereotypes abound about the church that are every bit as ignorant as the Al Gore – Greta Thunberg – IPCC party line.

For over a thousand years after Rome had fallen and most of Europe had been overrun by barbarians, the wisdom of old was preserved and then expanded upon and by the Reformation the elements of our great modern society had been incubated or preserved and handed over. Those who believe this happened despite the church and not because of it know nothing of history.

Tony Heller has made similar remarks and therefore I have discontinued watching his excellent videos. I could tell you or Tony more of the church’s sins than you two could but then every great institution has its flaws. I refuse to be blind to its greatness.

You may be interested to learn that academic freedom was unequivocally born in the great Roman Catholic universities of the high Middle Ages. Now our secular society is in the process of destroying it.

John Tillman
Reply to  DaveAllentown
December 12, 2019 1:07 pm

Whatever might have been the case at Medieval universities, the Church burnt heretics from at least as early as AD 1022.

During the Albigensian Crusade in Languedoc, some 20,000 men, women and children were massacred by Catholic forces at the AD 1209 siege of Bezier alone.

Protestants later joined in the persecution of heretics. In 1553, at Geneva, Calvin burned Servetus, a scholar with whom he disagreed. And of course heretic-scientist Bruno was burned at Rome in 1600.

Reply to  John Tillman
December 14, 2019 1:38 am

How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by by Thomas E. Woods Jr.,

In How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, you’ll learn:

Why modern science was born in the Catholic Church
How Catholic priests developed the idea of free-market economics five hundred years before Adam Smith
How the Catholic Church invented the university
Why what you know about the Galileo affair is wrong
How Western law grew out of Church canon law
How the Church humanized the West by insisting on the sacredness of all human life

No institution has done more to shape Western civilization than the two-thousand-year-old Catholic Church—and in ways that many of us have forgotten or never known.

John Tillman
Reply to  DaveAllentown
December 12, 2019 1:19 pm

PS: The oldest university in Europe is Bologna, founded in AD 1088, so after execution of heretics by burning had already started.

Reply to  John Tillman
December 14, 2019 2:05 am

How Christianity Created Capitalism

The Protestant Ethic without Protestantism
The people of the high Middle Ages (1100—1300) were agog with wonder at great mechanical clocks, new forms of gears for windmills and water mills, improvements in wagons and carts, shoulder harnesses for beasts of burden, the ocean-going ship rudder, eyeglasses and magnifying glasses, iron smelting and ironwork, stone cutting, and new architectural principles. So many new types of machines were invented and put to use by 1300 that historian Jean Gimpel wrote a book in 1976 called The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages.
All this was made possible by freedom for enterprise, markets, and competition–and that, in turn, was provided by the Catholic Church.

“Things are seldom black and white, even when we wish they were and think they should be.”

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
December 14, 2019 8:42 am


Your comment doesn’t address the issue of academic freedom, to which I replied.

Despite the Medieval ban on usury, elements of a precursor to capitalism, ie mercantilism, did begin to emerge before the Reformation. Mercantilism in the 16th and 17th century evovled into modern capitalism. Medieval bankers found ways around the Church’s ban on interest.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  DaveAllentown
December 12, 2019 1:22 pm

I think you will find on rereading my post that I did not say anything that counters what you have posted. Nor will you find any incorrect statements.

While you are correct, the church did limit scientific freedom at the point where certain famous scientists (i.e. Galileo) tried to tell the church how they should reinterpret the Bible.

John Tillman
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 12, 2019 3:41 pm

Galileo didn’t tell the Church how to interpret the Bible. He sais flat out that it’s interpretation was wrong, as shown by actual observations.

But what got him imprisoned was ridiculing his former friend the pope. He was lucky to avoid Bruno’s fate. As more famous and better connected, and after so many decades of scientific advancement, GG managed not to be burnt alive.

I do take exception to the assertion that Medieval Catholic universities, however that period be defined, practiced academic freedom. Even Aristotle, whose views, re-epicycled through Ptolemy, became doctrinal, was verboten in the 13th century:

After Ptolemy was given the Inquisition’s Good Sciencekeeping Seal of Approval, however, after the 13th century but before Copernicus’ book, published in AD 1543, there wasn’t much in the way of scientific heresy among Catholic academics and scholars to be rooted out and punished.

John Tillman
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 12, 2019 4:32 pm

I’m sorry, but I see no evidence of a concept of “academic freedom” in Medieval Catholic universities. Quite the opposite.

But please present some evidence to that effect. I’d welcome it.

The historical evidence that I can access argues that academic freedom came after not just the Protestant Reformation but the Deist Enlightenment, with its invention of religious toleration.

December 12, 2019 6:36 am

What I don’t understand is how can certain institutions and specific bodies of science get away with long term temperature manipulations and therefore climate adjustment? It is one thing for NOAA to make adjustments to annual/decadal temperature datasets, but to erase a whole LIA or MWP like Mann did with his hokey stick is bizarre that science let them get away with that. How do they erase the Holocene Optimum, which was responsible for the final melting of the last continental ice sheets and get away with that? This is just another example of the kind of manipulation that has corrupted climate science. Clearly the Holocene is incrementally getting colder with each and every step downward if looked at over thousands of years. One of these cool minimums we get every 1000 years or so is bound to stick eventually and the interglacial warmth was nice while it lasted. I am so thankful that the warming is predicted to continue this century, but I would bet we are on our last legs with this interglacial within the millennium.

jim hogg
Reply to  Earthling2
December 12, 2019 6:52 am

“Clearly the Holocene is incrementally getting colder with each and every step downward if looked at over thousands of years.” Now that would be a zinger of a rebuttal if it’s supported by the evidence. Anyone have a graph or data that supports it?

Reply to  jim hogg
December 12, 2019 7:28 am

Here is a short article and graph showing the modest cooling of a few degrees since about 7000 years ago. I thought this was generally accepted science that the Holocene Optimum was warmer by a few degrees…which I guess is the point of this post. And the point of your doubt…are you trying to erase this fact? We are probably very near the end of this interglacial, although the alarmist propaganda says the CO2 levels will halt the next glaciation. I doubt that. This won’t even barely be a blip in the geological record.

Reply to  Earthling2
December 12, 2019 2:04 pm

Spot on. If the Gretins had any ideas to stop the next ice age they would be useful.

John Tillman
Reply to  jim hogg
December 12, 2019 8:14 am
Reply to  jim hogg
December 12, 2019 3:27 pm

You can find this with supporting data in my new book “The solar magnetic cause of climate changes and the origin of the Ice Ages” availably on Amazon. It provides data for every climate change (for which data are available) for the past 800,000 years

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Earthling2
December 12, 2019 7:14 am

Welcome to Climate WonderLand. The place where NOAA, NASA-GISS, CRU, IPCC tell half truths in order to maintain the climate change narrative.
You ask, “How do they get away with lying?”
The Media doesn’t dig anymore. They’ve stopped being journalists, and have become part of the propaganda machine.

Adam Gallon
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 12, 2019 8:11 am

The Media is largely incapable of digging. Digging costs money, unless they’re going to get a return on that (Advertising), then no digging will happen.
Just write up the Greenp!$$ press release, like the BBC do.

Reply to  Adam Gallon
December 12, 2019 8:38 am

Sadly, “journalism” these days amounts to trawling through tweets and presenting a compilation that supports the editorial narrative.

Back in the day, such published tosh could at least be used for lining the bottom of the birdcage.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Adam Gallon
December 12, 2019 9:34 am

Recently here in Canada one of our cabinet ministers (Public Safety?) said gun owners want to have their guns “bought back”. Did any news outlet questions that? NO. They just reported that he said it.

Journalism is dead. I’m not sure it ever was alive, but it is very definitely dead now.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 12, 2019 9:49 am

Not dead, it’s possessed by evil.

Reply to  Adam Gallon
December 12, 2019 2:18 pm

The MSM’s primary mission is the dissemination of Leftist Propaganda… $$Money comes in distant second.

Recently, CNN’s CEO, Jeff Zucker, said publicly that CNN will focus on nothing but Impeachment until Trump is out of office. They’ve lost a ton of viewers, and therefore $Money, but are not changing course…BECAUSE IT’S NOT THE $$$ !!

No, the Leftist MSM is fully invested in the establishment of a future Globalist Socialist Regime with them (the Billionaires) in power running the show.

The sharpest knife in this Globalist endeavor is currently the Climate Crisis Fraud…and Trump stands squarely in the way of its success. Also, Trump is trying to dismantle the Unelected Deep State (close Socialist Allies of the Globalists) that currently controls WAY TOO MUCH of what goes on in Washington. And Trump has his eyes on Academia, and has already signed Executive Orders that pecks away at the Leftist stranglehold. He plans to ramp up his attacks in a second term…so “he has to go”.

It’s not the money…it’s not the fame…IT’S the Socialist Globalist cause…which requires eliminating Free Enterprise and the US Constitution and eventually even eliminating Nations. This stuff is no secret. “They” have written extensively in Academia about this Utopian Future. Most Universities are working in all Departments building academic support and skills for this future. The Science Departments are spearheading the Climate Fraud. And Taxpayers are funding almost all of it.

Their Post Modern philosophy has no regard objective truth (don’t believe it exists). Every human interaction is seen as a power play (charity is done only to feel good…and superior….Love is an illusion and used for gaining power). Dialog…that’s just a tool the White Male Patriarchy employs to oppress….um…everybody that isn’t white or male…So Censorship is used without reservation wherever possible. Even Individual Freedom is anathema to Post Modernists. Everybody in a Group must believe the “right” things. All blacks (and everybody else) must believe the right things about “being bkack”. Individual opinions cannot be spoken if they differ at all from “prescribed” opinions.

This is really happening. This is what Intersectional Group Politics is all about.
The nonsense of Trans male athletes beating real women in competition is part of this. They have silenced most of the population already from speaking out against this obvious nonsense.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  DocSiders
December 12, 2019 4:33 pm

“The MSM’s primary mission is the dissemination of Leftist Propaganda… $$Money comes in distant second.

Recently, CNN’s CEO, Jeff Zucker, said publicly that CNN will focus on nothing but Impeachment until Trump is out of office. They’ve lost a ton of viewers, and therefore $Money, but are not changing course…BECAUSE IT’S NOT THE $$$ !!”

CNN will also block broadcasting news that does not fit their leftists narrative. It seems during the hearing for the Justice Department Inspector General yesterday where he was questioned about the illegal activities of the FBI and Justice Department in their efforts to oust Trump, CNN cut away from the coverage every time there would be favorable testimony for President Trump. So CNN lies directly, and CNN also lies by withholding the truth from their viewers.

My take on the testimony of the Inspector General is the official FBI investigation started with a reference from someone (assumed to be CIA) that Trump’s associate George Popodopolous was conspiring with a Russian agent.

Here’s what happened, imo: Obama told his heads of CIA, the FBI and the Justice Department that he wanted to prevent Trump from becoming president and he asked these people to carry out an operation against the Trump campaign.

The CIA attempted to entrap Popodopolous by sending one of their agents to invite him to go to Britain to give a speech on his particular area of expertise in the energy indurstry and offered to pay him $3,000.00 for his time. This CIA contact mentioned to Popodopolous, once he was in Britain, that he had heard that the Russians had copies of Hillary’s emails.

This CIA contact then sent Popodopolous to Italy to talk to another CIA plant and when he arrived the CIA plant asked Popodopolous if he had heard anything about the Russians obtaining Hillary’s emails, and they had a little discussion about it. And it was this CIA plant that reported that Popodopolous was involved with the Russians, based on this conversation. This was reported back to the FBI and then this was the predicate for the FBI seeking a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. This was all a setup from the get-go.

One interesting note about Popodopolous: He must be a really smart fellow! During his meetig with the CIA plant in Italy, the CIA plant gave Popodopolous $10,000.00 in cash! for some vague reason, and Popodopolous was immediately suspicious and so he contacted a lawyer and turned all this cash over to the lawyer for safekeeping.

Then Popodopolous flew back to the United States where he was met by 12 FBI agents as soon as he stepped off the airplane. They took him and searched him and interrogated him, no doubt looking for the $10,000.00 in setup cash, but our very wise Popodopolous didn’t have anything on him. Now had he had the cash on him, no doubt the FBI would have arrested him and charged him with accepting money from a Russian agent. I’m kind of surprised, given the criminal mentality of these Constitution-busters, that they didn’t just plant $10,000 on him when he got to New York.

Your average, selfish young man of Popodopolous’ age would have stuck that 10 thousand in his pocket! And they would have been in big trouble if they had.

The other thing that stuck out to me about the IG’s testimony is he said the FBI knew as early as January 2017, the month Trump was inaugurated, that the Steele “Dirty” Dossier” was completly unverified and unverifiable, and yet the FBI, Comey and even Rob Rosenstein signed off on the three warrants they sought after Jan. 2017, knowing full well that they were presenting a document to the FISA Court as being true when they knew good and well that not one thing in it was verified.

The people in the Justice Department and FBI who signed off on these warrants while knowing the Dirty Dossier was false should be going to jail. Nothing less will be satisfactory. They deliberately tried to undermine our form of government for political purposes and they deserve an appropriate sentence behind bars as an example to future political criminals.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  DocSiders
December 13, 2019 5:42 am

My apologies to George Papadopolous for misspelling his name.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 12, 2019 9:34 am

So true. How do you expose them?

Rick Kargaard
Reply to  Earthling2
December 12, 2019 8:05 pm

If you are looking for data to support an argument you can usually find it. That is counter to using all available data to develop an argument.
To say it is warming is not a valid argument as there is no data from the future. You can only say it has warmed and only in the context of a finite period. You can say it was warming at some point in the past but again only in the context of a finite period.
There are plenty of past data points that I could use to argue that it has cooled and just as many I could use to argue that it has warmed. There are none that I can use to argue that it is warming or cooling. That would be pure speculation and no more reliable than a seer gazing at a crystal ball, which happens to describe the present art of climate modeling quite well.
History tells us it is likely to cool when it quits warming or warm when it quits cooling. When these events will occur is exceedingly difficult to predict but it is highly likely that they will occur, so my guess is that you are right. That is, however, still just a guess.

Craig Moore
December 12, 2019 6:43 am

Willis, do you have the means to check and see if the glaciers in Glacier Park were similarly affected? Perhaps GP could loan New Guinea their stored signs.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Craig Moore
December 12, 2019 8:03 am

I visited the Gallatin History Musium in Bozeman, MT a few years ago and there was a display describing a melting ice patch in or near Yellowstone National Park where scientists found ancient tree stumps. As I recall, they sampled 27 stumps and determined the variety of tree. The size of the stumps was some 800 ft (can’t recall exactly) above trees of similar diameter in area today. I tried a web search for the data but it must be lower on the search engine algorithm.

Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
December 12, 2019 8:30 am

If they found “tree stumps” under the retreating glacier, one must wonder where those tree stumps came from. Were they scraped from higher elevations or lying in situ, which would indicate more of a static ice field.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Rocketscientist
December 12, 2019 9:41 am

The operative phrase was receding “ice patch,” not glacier.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
December 12, 2019 1:17 pm

Here is link to a paper on the ice patch subject by Craig Lee (U of CO), et. al. from the 10th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Here are a couple of excerpts from the paper:
“Two of the first paleobiological samples encountered at a GYE ice patch consisted of tree stumps in growth position melting out of the bottom of an ice patch on Grass Mountain (Figure 3). The ice patch is above modern treeline. The trees were identified as spruce (cf. Engelmann spruce; J. Lukas, pers. comm. 2006).” (14C age of 7,935 ± 15 years BP and 14C age of 7,955 ± 15 years BP.)
“The Holocene thermal maximum (ca. 10,000 to 8,500 cal yr BP) was as much as 6°C warmer than historic summer temperatures (Miller et al. 2005), which allowed trees to grow at this higher elevation. The trees may have met their demise during the rapid cooling that was underway by ca. 8,500 cal yr BP when their micro-environment filled in with snow.”

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
December 12, 2019 1:37 pm

I posted this on the topic in 2018:
“Here’s museum-quality information you aren’t going to find in the NY City Climate Museum. It’s from the Gallatin History Museum (Bozeman, MT). It describes 27 cross-sections of large-diameter trees recently exposed along the margin of a melting ice patch in eastern Greater Yellowstone. The trees are located ~250 meters above the nearest modern treeline of equivalent size trees. Wood anatomy indicates the trees were all a species of 5-needle pine, with distinct transverse dimpling, suggesting they are most likely whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis).”
This must have been a different ice patch from that discussed in the Craig Lee paper since the tree types differ (spruce vs. whitebark pine).

Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
December 12, 2019 5:09 pm

A similar, but bigger event comes from Sweden.

From my , inspired by a flurry of reports of warmer conditions in the past:

2008 Dec 5: Shrinking Glaciers Reveal Hidden Forests And A Warmer Climate
Uniquely old tree remains have recently been uncovered by the thawing of the rapidly shrinking Kårsa Glacier west of Abisko in Lapland, in northernmost Sweden. The finds show that in the last 7,000 years it has probably never been so warm as during the last century. “If the area hadn’t been covered by a glacier all these thousands of years, these tree remnants would never have made it. The finds yield information indicating that the 20th century was probably the warmest century in 7,000 years. The fact that the climate is so unique during the last century means that we must question whether this could be 100 percent the result of natural mechanisms,” says Leif Kullman, professor of physical geography, who is directing the project. Pines and birches grew on the site of the glacier during parts of or perhaps the entire period between 11,800 and 7,000 years ago. This is shown by carbon 14 dating of the remains of trees that have now been uncovered. During that period, the glacier did not continuously exist, and the climate was warmer than at any time afterward.

December 12, 2019 6:44 am

I’ll echo the Thanks, Willis. And have a happy end-of-fire season.


Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 12, 2019 8:34 am

Yes, here in CA many celebrate the “End of Fire” by bringing combustible trees into their homes and bedecking them with faulty electrical lighting and leaving them on all night while they sleep.

December 12, 2019 6:44 am

🙂 made me smile , looks like thec laimed longtime ancestor worship is only longtime in our time
nice to see youre back on deck Willis.

December 12, 2019 6:45 am

Same deal with the geological tide gauge at Hallett Cove in South Australia compared to the more modern ones at Port Arthur in Tasmania and Fort Denison in New South Wales. One can demonstrate average annual SLR of 16.25mm for eight millenia the aboriginals experienced vs 0.85mm for one and half centuries that whitefellas noticed and guess which lot are doomed? What can you say to that except perhaps this might help with the penny dropping-
Welcome to the touchscreen generation and you just have to mention something spewed forth out of computers and they’ll believe anything and everything the zombies. The only thing that will ever shock them out of their brain dead stupor will be when they can’t charge them with the ever higher reliance on windmills and solar panels.

December 12, 2019 6:59 am

As it happens, my wife and I were recently in New Zealand for 3 weeks, celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. One of our stops was the Franz Josef Glacier. From what I could tell, this is a fairly low elevation glacier at mid-latitude, that hangs on just barely in a place where glaciers would be expected to be short lived. As well, this past March there was a significant RAIN event, more than 700 mm in 24 hrs that caused significant glacier retreat.

Well, no kidding…

The interesting thing is, many of these glaciers have been retreating for more than 120 years, back when atmospheric CO2 was considerably lower, and by my reckoning, very few SUV’s and coal fired power plants.

Reply to  LKMiller
December 12, 2019 7:24 am

The first time I saw the glacier it ended way up almost out of sight from by the car park. The next time, a few years later, I was surprised to see it was right down near the park. Last time I went it was up almost out of sight again. The helpful signage showed pictures of howuch it had retreated from when it came up to the car park.

December 12, 2019 7:02 am

Enviro-wackos worrying about a little piece of ice on an isolated mountaintop? Okaaaayyyyy……

Ian Magness
December 12, 2019 7:11 am

“Scientists don’t have a clue why the “most recent neoglacial period” ended ~ 1850 CE rather than 1750 CE or 1950 CE … but they’re more than happy to tell us what the climate will be like in the year 2100.”
Great quote Willis! Another peach from WUWT to throw at alarmists.

Reply to  Ian Magness
December 12, 2019 7:56 am

This is a retread of the old joke in the Soviet Union: “In Communism, only the future is certain, but the past is constantly changing”.

Reply to  Graemethecat
December 12, 2019 9:42 am

In Soviet Russia, future predictable, past unpredictable.

ht/ Yakov Smirnoff

David Hartley
Reply to  Graemethecat
December 12, 2019 1:18 pm

It’s getting a little like the other Soviet joke ‘believe nothing until it is officially denied in Pravda.’

Bryan A
Reply to  Ian Magness
December 12, 2019 10:14 am

Obvious indicator that the LIA was far more global than otherwise admitted to in Klimate Scientist approved peer reviewed literature

Intelligent Dasein
December 12, 2019 7:22 am

My informal take is that there seems to be a growing proportion of pro-warming articles here on WUWT.

Bill T
Reply to  Intelligent Dasein
December 13, 2019 5:59 am

If you are new here, then you might not know that the issue is not if it has been warming but which time scale your are addressing. From 1850 or so, it has warmed, but from 10,000 or so years ago, it has not. I see the main issues in cherry picking portions of the record (and “data”) to prove a point, such as the tropical glaciers. Plus there is also the shooting down of really bad science. Welcome, BTW

This is a great site to evaluate the latest scare.

Joel O’Bryan
December 12, 2019 7:24 am

The original story, that the PNG glacier could soon disappear, was of course true, but only by half. Telling half-truths in order to mislead is a deception, a lie by omission of (as Paul Harvey used to say) “the rest of the story.”
The half-truth is the Climate Fraudsters’ favorite propaganda device today. Nothing they said was false, just not the whole story as it is known was given. Key facts are omitted that would alter the understanding for the public.
Just another day in climate WonderLand.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 12, 2019 8:36 am

That’s it. The science IS settled like dust HAS settled on the TRUTH.

December 12, 2019 7:41 am

One of my favorite “climate change we’re all gonna die glaciers retreating because CO2” deceptions is the celebrated Columbia Icefield, conveniently situated hard by the Icefields Parkway, on the way to Jasper, Alberta. There, the warmists breathlessly bleat on about climate change and CO2, and of course, that we’re all going to die. Conveniently for science-challenged tourists, warmists have placed stakes in the ground marking the retreat of the venerable glacier.

However, it only takes about 10 seconds (if you are paying attention) that the stakes tell a completely different story than the one the warmists are pushing. Tracking the stakes back toward the highway, one finds that this glacier has been retreating since the late 1800’s.

How inconvenient…

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  LKMiller
December 12, 2019 8:09 am

There is nothing quite so satisfying as watching the warmunists score an own-goal.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
December 12, 2019 8:12 am


Reply to  LKMiller
December 12, 2019 8:35 am

I remember visiting the Columbia Ice Fields as a kid on one of our first holidays off the farm in the early 60’s. Even during that cool period when people were predicting the start of a new ice age, these ice fields had been retreating since the mid 1800’s, which they evidenced by stakes in the ground with signs that said this was where the glacial toe ice was that year, starting in like 1885. As I understand it, these mountain glaciers completely melted at the peak of the Holocene Optimum and only started to reform after the 8.2 KY cooling event. Technically these glaciers, even though they are currently waxing and waning over the centuries now, are the start of the mountainous glaciation that starts with a new glaciation. It takes centuries if not millenniums to see this happening, one way or the other over long time scales.

Our long term future is probably sealed, unless we really try and understand the complexities of long term climate variation and what causes what so that perhaps future civilizations can understand how to technically adapt to it. Perhaps they reflect sunlight from giant mirrors in space to slow down or stop the next glaciation. CO2 might help a tiny little bit, but ultimately it is all about solar insolation energy in, and albedo out. Which is caused by Milankovitch Cycles, and probably solar output that we still don’t fully understand. In this case, time is on our side for our civilizations, probably for centuries to come bathing in precious warmth. Embrace the warmth…like a cat sleeping near a warm stove. Ice Fields

4 Eyes
Reply to  LKMiller
December 12, 2019 12:57 pm

Those stakes won’t be there much longer.

December 12, 2019 7:55 am

Thanks again for the rest of the story and interesting further thoughts of those “cycles-that-must-not-be- named.”

Rhys Jaggar
December 12, 2019 7:58 am

I do not think any glaciers inside the tropics store statistically relevant levels of ice, making their relevance to sea level rise totally irrelevant.

They may affect water supplies in some places if precipitation is seasonal not year round.

Focussing on Antarctica and Greenland seems more fruitful politically, even if a jolly to PNG is probably enjoyable for scientists.

December 12, 2019 8:02 am

Ice melts during warmer times. That’s what ice does. We are in a warmer time (geologically speaking), after having come out of a glacial period, not too long ago (geologically speaking).

As usual, mortal myopia strikes those unwilling to consider the appropriate time scale, and naive attachment to fugitive phenomenon puts childish minds on full display as adult idiots.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
December 12, 2019 8:11 am

… and I know the attitude here towards the Principia guys is not to great [understatement], but consider the content of this particular article and try to look past the source:

The glacial scare is not new, so it seems.

December 12, 2019 8:20 am

Ja. Ja. It is globally cooling…
Click on my name to read my report.

Nick Werner
December 12, 2019 8:58 am

Based on the driller’s log for my well, my home is built on at least 275 feet of glacial deposits that were dragged onto it before the most recent glacier departed. I have no wish to see conditions become more favourable for its return (as it makes its way to somewhere around Spokane WA), and I am quite at ease with the notion that [to paraphrase “Fightin’ Phil” Sheridan] the only good glacier is a receding glacier.

December 12, 2019 8:58 am

Thanks Willis! And it’s good to see you back writing again.

Jeff in Calgary
December 12, 2019 9:24 am

After drilling holes all over the glaciar, they were shocked to find that it receded significantly over the next few years. You know what they say: the act of observing nature changes nature. I think the act of drilling holes may also change nature.

December 12, 2019 9:35 am

“Discovering ancient forests under receding glaciers is not confined to Iceland. Remains of trees dating back to the Middle Ages have been found under the Juneau and Exit Glaciers in Alaska, as well under glaciers in Patagonia.

Tree stumps have also turned up under Swiss glaciers, carbon dated to about 4000 years ago.”

December 12, 2019 9:40 am

By the way Puncak Jaya and the other New Guinean glaciers aren’t in PNG, they are in Irian Jaya, the western, Indonesian, half of New Guinea. None of the peaks in PNG is high enough for glaciers.

Also it wasn’t only tropical glaciers that disappeared during the Early Holocene, all the glaciers in Scandinavia and even all the glaciers in Iceland melted completely, the glaciers started forming again about 5,000 years ago, there too:

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  tty
December 12, 2019 9:50 am

You state “all the glaciers in Iceland melted completely…”. Do you mean glaciers, or glaciers and ice caps? I have a hard time believing those ice caps melted completely any time in the recent geological past.

John Tillman
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 12, 2019 4:47 pm

As usual, Tty is correct:…28.2107G/abstract

Holocene and latest Pleistocene climate and glacier fluctuations in Iceland


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2019 11:29 am

Like many chemical processes, you can think of it as following a logistic curve. It’ll start slow, speed up, hit a maximum, then slow, and then finally stop, when no ice is left. As long as further accumulation and ablation can occur, then it won’t stop. It’ll have a long tail.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2019 11:35 am

In maths, this is called a Stefan problem (yes, the S-B chap). Although the ways ice can form drainage channels etc is a complication.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2019 11:44 am

I guess it would be like many “failures” we find happening in this world… It goes quite slowly at first, and then suddenly.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2019 12:37 pm

Maybe it depends on how dirty the ice is. As ice with embedded dirt melts, a dark layer forms on top and the albedo drops. Then the sheet absorbs more sunlight and melts even faster. Clean ice wouldn’t have that acceleration.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2019 3:39 pm

Glaciers are not static entities–the dynamics of ice flow affects the rate of retreat of a glacier. The rate of retreat of a glacier is determined not only by air temperature but also by the rate at which ice is delivered to the terminus by ice flow and basal sliding. The rate of flow of ice to its terminus is a function of the thickness of the ice (thinner ice moves slower than thick ice). When ice gets thin enough, it stops flowing altogether. So the retreat of a glacier is not linear function of air temperature.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2019 4:19 pm

I wrote a paragraph about this earlier, but it apparently didn’t get posted. The answer to your question is that glacier melting is NOT a linear function of temperature because of the important role of glacier flow that constantly replenishes melting ice at and near the terminus. As a glacier melts and the ice thins, the rate of flow diminishes and the rate of retreat is accelerated. At some point, the ice thins to point that glacial flow stops altogether and the glacier stagnates.
It’s actually a bit more complicated than that because in the early phases of melting increased meltwater at the base of a glacier may increase the rate of flow, while at the same time enlargement of channels in and under the ice may increase rates of melting.

John Tillman
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2019 4:39 pm

Have the highlands of Irian Jaya actually warmed recently?

Or is this another case of ice melt under local non-warming attributed to global warming, as with Kilimanjaro.

December 12, 2019 10:12 am

Willis writes:

“My first thought upon reading the popular article, of course, was … before we join in mourning the dear departed, just how old is that disappearing tropical glacier?”


That was my first question too, the press release and warmists overblown reactions caused me to look for that paper, which I couldn’t find it published.

In a forum, I asked a warmist the question about there that paper was, he didn’t answer it, but continues to be exited about the misleading fears of vanishing glaciers babble.

Now you exposed their entire newsstory as being misleading and dishonest.

Thank you.

Curious George
Reply to  Sunsettommy
December 12, 2019 11:04 am

The New Guinea will never be the same again …

December 12, 2019 10:56 am

Tree line 200-300 meters higher 7000 years ago. Very familiar. In Sweden our tree line also was 200-500 meters higher 7000 years ago. What a coinsidence. We know that the warming wasnt global, right?

Steve Z
December 12, 2019 11:06 am

In the early 1970’s I hiked along the Appalachian Trail in northwestern New Jersey, along the north shore of a small mountain lake called Sunfish Pond, at about 1200 ft elevation, which was strewn with huge boulders, some larger than trucks, which were supposedly left behind by the edge of an ancient glacier. Sunfish Pond is only about a mile east of the Delaware River, which is about 300 feet above sea level at that latitude.

If those boulders were left behind by a retreating glacier, the glacier must have been about 900 feet thick over the Delaware River, at about 40 degrees north latitude, only about 70 miles from the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.

Although it still snows there in the winter, that area is now ice-free about 8 months out of the year, and except for the boulder field, Sunfish Pond is surrounded by mature oak forests.

All those who are terrified of relatively small glaciers melting in the tropics should consider themselves fortunate that the North American continent is no longer buried under 900 feet of ice year-round, and people can live and grow crops north of 40 degrees latitude with 5 to 7 months of a frost-free growing season. It could be, and actually was, much worse.

Reply to  Steve Z
December 12, 2019 11:19 am

And actually, the terminal moraine for the Wisconsin Glacier is considerably further to the southeast, forming the Watchung Mountains in the vicinity of US Hwy 22. I think the ice was considerably thicker than 900 feet at glacial maximum.

John F. Hultquist
December 12, 2019 12:16 pm

Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m [16,024 ft]) is the highest summit of Mount Jayawijaya or Mount Carstensz.
The ice is a bit lower, but still higher than I intend to be ever again — and that was in a plane.

Air flow that can bring precipitation (snow) to such heights is rare.
Anyway, I’m surprised the ice has remained this long after the LIA.

Thanks, Willis.

December 12, 2019 12:16 pm

Willis, my wife brought up an article, Glaciers in the tropics,but not for long .
Two pictures 2017 Dec and 1998 nov.
satellite images showing the shrinkage.
The most striking feature is a massive mine excavation, the Grassberg mine the size of a moon crater near the glacier which was not present in 1998.
Any chance of the shrinkage being accentuated by that?

December 12, 2019 12:21 pm

Please correct the lede paragraph. Puncak Jaya is not in Papua New Guinea. It is in Indonesia (West Papua)

December 12, 2019 12:25 pm

Great piece Willis!! Thank you for bringing your keen insight into an otherwise unremarkable finding that the CAGW crowd would have us believe signals the end of times.

Bryan A
December 12, 2019 12:33 pm

I was wondering about this place…
I can locate the MT in Paupua but the exact glacial location is elusive. I was hoping to find it in Google Earth so I could do some measurements for distance perspective but all I found was the associated Gold Mine a couple miles west of the peak.
I wonder if the local government is simply waiting for the remainder of the glacier to evaporate (probably not much melting above 15,000′ elevation) and open the remainder of the edifice for further mineral exploration?

Any idea of the distance between the East and West Domes?

John Tillman
Reply to  Bryan A
December 12, 2019 1:12 pm

In 2002 the Carstensz Glacier was 1.4 kilometers long by .60 km wide.

December 12, 2019 12:39 pm

“…proves that the Pacific tropics are not yet as warm as they were five to seven thousand years ago. Doesn’t seem anywhere near as scary that way, does it?”

No, it does not seem scary at all. In fact, it seems downright normal to me… but what do I know? I simply make observations and then go have cheesecake and hot tea.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Sara
December 12, 2019 7:10 pm

“…proves that the Pacific tropics are not yet as warm as they were five to seven thousand years ago. Doesn’t seem anywhere near as scary that way, does it?”

I call such things “Climate Myopia”. Barely looking past one’s nose, geologically speaking, and being afraid that the world is about to end.

December 12, 2019 7:34 pm

Otzi the iceman died in late spring/early summer 3300BC [plus or minus a year or two].
He was almost immediately covered by snow and ice [in summer] and stayed covered until 1991…close to 5300 years.

Now that’s a cold snap. Gradual warming in the Tyrol means the climate there now is probably similar to what it was 5301 years ago.

A Crooks
December 12, 2019 8:23 pm

While reading this article I was reminded of a WUWT article on the retreat of Montana’s glaciers from back in 2010.

My particular interest was the link to a USGS figure showing the retreat of Alaskan glaciers since Captain Cook sailed up the west coast (1760?). Something like 100 kms of retreat prior to 1900 according to the figure.

I wasn’t surprised that the link has subsequently died – way too instructive. It is the USGS after all. I hope someone out there still has link to that figure and can reproduce it here somehow.

John Tillman
Reply to  A Crooks
December 13, 2019 3:47 am

Cook searched for the western end of the fabled NW Passage from Oregon to Alaska in 1778, before returning to Hawaii, where he and shipmates were killed the next year.

December 13, 2019 4:19 am

You just jogged me Willis to investigate how far the aboriginals could walk on land around Adelaide before that southern suburbs geological tide gauge showed a SLR of 130M (426.5 feet) between 15000 years ago and 6-7000 years ago and here’s a map of SA with Adelaide on the western side of Gulf St Vincent-
Well all you have to do is check the marine navigation map and look for where the coastline would have been where the depth is now 426 feet-
Well when you do that and magnifying the sea floor map and following it southward lo and behold you find the original coastline is on the Continental shelf and both Gulfs have disappeared and land has swallowed up Kangaroo Island with coast well south of that. That’s some melting of ice at a possible 16.25mm/yr for 8000 years compared to 0.65mm/yr at Fort Denison near Sydney now and 0.85mm/yr average for over 1.5 centuries to 2000 at Port Arthur in Tasmania (and hold that thought John Daly)

Now back to that map of SA and a while ago we take a short camping sojourn around to Port Lincoln (western bottom of Spencer Gulf) but we camp at Fitzgerald Bay/Point Lowly about 20k north of Whyalla further up toward the top of that Gulf and there’s a very interesting and not too common geological phenomenon there-

“Shingle Beach Ridges
The Stranded Shingle Beach Ridges north along the western coastline of Upper Spencer Gulf have been provisionally entered for inclusion as a State Heritage Place in the South Australian Heritage Register. There are only 2 other places in the world registered with similar Shingle Ridges being in Egypt and Scotland.
A geological phenomenon, these stranded shingle beach deposits have been traced over a distance of some 50kms from near the head of Spencer Gulf southwards along its western shore to Stony Point, and provide a distinctive geological feature which is believed to date back to the Pleistocene period.
Consisting of moderately sorted, rounded to sub-angular pebbles and cobbles, the deposits form sinuous, flat topped and well preserved ridges 3-5 metres above present mean sea level.
Most are usually narrow – no more than 10-15 metres wide. In some areas the deposits form cliffs behind the modern beach.
The movement of gravel by present day waves in the northern part of Spencer Gulf is restricted compared with that indicated by the ridges. It appears that the combination of a high sea level (3 metres higher than today), strong easterly winds, and high wave energy dissipation along the shore line, were responsible for the deposits.”

So not only have we experienced 130M rise we’ve subsequently had a 3M drop at some stage and let’s be generous and say it was 1mm/year natural ‘PAUSE/DROP’ that might have occurred over 3 centuries sometime in the last 6-7000 years and now Gaia is rebounding the seas at that rate in reverse or less. Who the Hell knows except some jumped up Gretaheads who take it upon themselves to tell everyone only they know and we’re all doomed as a result. Even if you believe it was all those aboriginal cooking fires and traditional burnoffs to flush out game for 130M you still have to explain that 3M pause/drop in SLR morons. Sound familiar?

Reply to  observa
December 13, 2019 5:31 am

Correction: Actually for only 3 centuries drop it would have been 10mm/yr for the 3M whereas 1mm would have taken 3000 years but you can see their pause problem writ large. Geologists like Ian Plimer must have been aghast at their hubris and mendacity as historical SLR is the one temperature proxy to rule them all-
Remember the vision of the Statue of Liberty with it’s torch sticking out of the sea again guys?

December 13, 2019 10:50 pm

So Gondwanaland hadn’t moved around all that time but-
“Because of the waxing and waning of the polar icecaps, the climate in Australia continued to cycle rapidly between icehouse phases (cold, dry conditions) and greenhouse phases (warmer, wetter conditions.)
During icehouse phases sea levels fell, creating land bridges that would then be flooded during greenhouse phases.
Australia’s plants were already well suited to dry conditions, but the pattern of forests, grasslands and deserts was constantly changing.”
as Gaia does creating the current ambience apparently-

Up 130M and down 3M and nothing to worry about whatsoever folks unless you were a megafauna but now all of a sudden they can pick the anthropogenic signal out of this-
and this-

Something does not compute but we all have to respectfully consider that folks like Greta are upset. Perhaps the data could be homogenised and pasteurised with their feelings in mind?

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