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Posted on on January 22nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

OK, there are disputes among Indian scientists and Indian officials who have connections to Indian oil industry. We knew this all the time and where not happy when under US President G.W. Bush the US pushed out under US business interests push, the scientific head of the IPCC and put in place the proxy Indians. But then, obviously, India is also not homogeneous – so we see internal Indian disputes.
YES – THE GLACIERS ARE MELTING AND NOBODY CAN PREDICT ACCURATELY THE YEAR OF THEIR FUTURE DEMISE – so what? The melting of these glaciers causes floods in the valleys – we know it because we see it. Yes, after they melt there will be draught – that is logic – it is implied in future shortage – that is clear. Those that love oil do not want to let go of it, and those that own refineries do not want to lose their investment – that is clear.
When lots of ice from above earth sites melts it will cause floods on coast line communities – that is clear. The melting of glaciers and the Antarctic ice will cause sea-level rise and floods – that can be sworn by – that is clear. Which island will disappear before 2013 or after – OK – that is not quite clear.
So what all this noise and only the UN can sound retreat – we do not. We also said that the relief of pressure on the tectonic plates because of the melting away of ice can cause earthquakes in areas where the plates meet – like the recent Tsunami belt over the earthquake belt shows. There are no scientific statements on this – only plain logic statements – so what? Yes we stopped short of our statement after the Haiti quakes and said – this one we do not exactly sense how it happened as we do not know of faults in that area. This is our lack of knowledge in this case that calls for help but it does not negate the prior statements. Science is not instantaneous – it requires further thinking and theories and proof if possible – not plain squabbles by industry-backed deniers and knee-jerk reactions by the UN. (our comments to the following news)


SCIENCE, SPHERE, aol, January 21, 2010.

UN Climate Body Eats Crow Over Glacier Warning.

from Theunis Bates, a Contributor.

LONDON (Jan. 20) — It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood disaster movie: Central and Southern Asia are hit by biblical floods when the Himalayan glaciers suddenly melt. After that cataclysm, water no longer flows from the mountains, leaving rivers like the Mekong and Ganges dry and millions facing permanent drought. That was the picture painted by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report, which said there was a “very high” chance that these glaciers would disappear by 2035 if the world kept warming.

But the IPCC, the U.N. body charged with investigating climate change, has retracted that claim after it emerged that its predictions of a sudden melt weren’t based on peer-reviewed evidence, but instead on an article that appeared in the popular science magazine New Scientist in 1999.

Himalayan glacier

Subel Bhandari, AFP / Getty Images
While the Khumbu Glacier near Mount Everest is shrinking, the United Nations admits it overstated the threat of a total glacial meltdown in the Himalayas.

Climate change skeptics have lapped up the scandal, which they’ve already dubbed “Glaciergate,” saying that it further erodes the credibility of climate science already damaged by last year’s Climategate e-mail scandal. Global warming denier Peter Foster, writing in Canada’s National Post, said the error showed how the “IPCC’s task has always been not objectively to examine science but to make the case for man-made climate change by any means available.”

But Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice chairman of the IPCC, said the mistake did not undermine the report’s key conclusions: that the warming climate is accelerating glacial melt and that this will affect the supply of water from the world’s major mountain ranges, “where more than one-sixth of the world population currently lives.”

“I don’t see how one mistake in a 3,000-page report can damage the credibility of the overall report,” van Ypersele told the BBC. “Some people will attempt to use it to damage the credibility of the IPCC; but if we can uncover it and explain it and change it, it should strengthen the IPCC’s credibility, showing that we are ready to learn from our mistakes.”

The argument over the IPCC’s melt date went public last November, when a paper written by Indian geologist Vijay Kumar Raina revealed that there was little consistency in the behavior of the Himalayan glaciers. Some were shrinking, he found, some expanding, and others were stable. If global warming were to blame, he asked, why weren’t they all following the same pattern? “A glacier … does not necessarily respond to the immediate climatic changes,” he wrote. “For if it be so then all glaciers within the same climatic zone should have been advancing or retreating at the same time.”

India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, endorsed the paper and accused the IPCC of being “alarmist” in its predictions. But IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri shot back that Raina’s findings were “voodoo science” and accused Ramesh of repeating the claims of “climate change deniers.”

Embarrassingly, it’s now the IPCC that stands accused of sloppy science, as a rigorous system of fact checks would have kept the controversial assertion out of the 2007 report. The claim first appeared in a 1999 interview between a New Scientist journalist and the Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain, who speculated that the mountain range’s glaciers could vanish by 2035.

Environmental group the World Wildlife Fund then repeated Hasnain’s prediction in its 2005 report, “An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China.” As this was only was a campaigning paper, it had not undergone a thorough scientific review. But its lack of scientific rigor didn’t stop the IPCC using the WWF document as a source.

In chapter 10 of its 2007 report, the IPCC concluded: “Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world, and if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 square kilometers by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005).”

But many glaciologists believed those claims were overheated. As most Himalayan glaciers are hundreds of feet thick, only a sudden, huge spike in global temperatures could cause them to disappear before 2035. “The reality, that the glaciers are wasting away, is bad enough,” Graham Cogley, a glaciologist at Canada’s University of Trent, who played a key role in exposing the flawed claim, told the United Kingdom’s Sunday Times. “But they are not wasting away at the rate suggested by this speculative remark and the IPCC report. The problem is that nobody who studied this material bothered chasing the trail back to the original point when the claim first arose.”

Indian glaciologist Murari Lal, the lead author of that section of the IPCC report, last week rejected claims that the U.N. group had made a serious error. “We relied rather heavily on gray [not peer-reviewed] literature, including the WWF report,” Lal told New Scientist. “The error, if any, lies with Dr Hasnain’s assertion and not with the IPCC authors.”

Unsurprisingly, Hasnain has refuted that attempt to pass the blame. “The magic number of 2035 has not [been] mentioned in any research papers written by me, as no peer-reviewed journal will accept speculative figures,” he said to New Scientist. “It is not proper for IPCC to include references from popular magazines or newspapers.”

That’s a tough but obvious lesson, and one the IPCC is unlikely to forget.

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