Read the report from today's news below and then the skeptical report from India below that. Although it happens all the time, the term "local warming" seems to be entirely absent from the Greenie vocabulary. Note that the central United States experienced local COOLING during the 20th century
The principal glacier of the world's biggest tropical ice-cap could disappear within five years as a result of global warming. The imminent demise of the Qori Kalis glacier, the main component of the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, offers the starkest evidence yet of the effects of climate change, one of the world's leading glaciologists said today. Although scientists have known for decades that Qori Kalis and the other Quelccaya glaciers are melting, new observations indicate that the rate of retreat is increasing, Lonnie Thompson, of Ohio State University said.
When he visits this northern summer, he expects to find that the glacier has halved in size since last year, and he believes that Qori Kalis will be gone within five years. "This widespread retreat of mountain glaciers may be our clearest evidence of global warming as they integrate many climate variables," Professor Thompson told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Francisco. "Most importantly, they have no political agenda."
The Quelccaya ice-cap, covering 44sq km in the Cordillera Oriental region of the Peruvian Andes, is the world's largest tropical ice mass. Qori Kalis, its biggest glacier, has receded by at least 1.1km since 1963, when the first formal measurements were made from aerial photographs. The rate of retreat has increased: between 1963 and 1978, it shrank by 6m a year, a rate that has now risen tenfold.
Professor Thompson predicted six years ago that the celebrated snows of Kilimanjaro would be gone from Africa's highest mountain by 2015, and he now thinks that that estimate may have been too conservative. He said: "Tropical glaciers are the canaries in the coalmine for our global climate system, as they integrate and respond to most of the key climatological variables - temperature, precipitation, cloudiness, humidity and radiation."
A critical piece of evidence from almost 50 scientific expeditions to seven shrinking tropical ice-caps points to global warming as the reason for their decline. In all but one case, snowfall has increased as ice volume has fallen. More snow should mean advancing glaciers, unless rising temperatures are melting the extra precipitation and the ice tongues themselves. The fate of tropical glaciers globally will have an impact on water supplies relied on by more than 4 billion people.
INDIAN GLACIOLOGISTS QUESTION GLOBAL WARMING ALARMISM
Believe it or not. There are only about a dozen scientists working on 9,575 glaciers in India under the aegis of the Geological Society of India. Is the available data enough to believe that the glaciers are retreating due to global warming? Some experts have questioned the alarmists theory on global warming leading to shrinkage of Himalayan glaciers.
VK Raina, a leading glaciologist and former ADG of Geological Society of India is one among them. He feels that the research on Indian glaciers is negligible. Nothing but the remote sensing data forms the basis of these alarmists observations and not on the spot research. Raina told the Hindustan Times that out of 9,575 glaciers in India, till date, research has been conducted only on about 50. Nearly 200 years data has shown that nothing abnormal has occurred in any of these glaciers.
It is simple. The issue of glacial retreat is being sensationalised by a few individuals, the septuagenarian Raina claimed. Throwing a gauntlet to the alarmist, he said the issue should be debated threadbare before drawing a conclusion.
However, Dr RK Pachouri, Chairman, Inter-Governmental Panel of Climatic Change said its recently released fourth assessment report has recorded increased glacier retreat since the 1980s. This he said was due to the fact that the carbon dioxide radioactive forcing has increased by 20 per cent particularly after 1995. And also that 11 of the last 12 years were among the warmest 12 years recorded so far.
Surprisingly, Raina, who has been associated with the research and data collection in over 25 glaciers in India and abroad, debunked the theory that Gangotri glacier is retreating alarmingly. Maintaining that the glaciers are undergoing natural changes, witnessed periodically, he said recent studies in the Gangotri and Zanskar areas (Drung- Drung, Kagriz glaciers) have not shown any evidence of major retreat. "Claims of global warming causing glacial melt in the Himalayas are based on wrong assumptions," Raina, a trained mountaineer and skiing expert said.
If he is to be believed, currently only about a dozen scientists are working on Indian glaciers. More alarming is the fact that some of them are above 50. How can one talk about the state of glaciers when not much research is being done on the ground, he wondered. In fact, it is difficult to ascertain the exact state of Himalayan glaciers as these are very dusty as compared to the ones in Alaska and the Alps. The present presumptions are based on the cosmetic study of the glacier surfaces. Nobody knows what is happening beneath the glaciers. What ever is being flaunted about the under surface activity of the glaciers, is merely presumptions, he claimed.
His views were echoed by Dr RK Ganjoo, Director, Regional Centre for Field Operations and Research on Himalayan Glaciology, who is supervising study of glaciers in Ladakh region including one in the Siachen area. He also maintained that nothing abnormal has been found in any of the Himalyan glaciers studied so far by him. Still, he wondered on the Himalayan glaciers being compared with those in Alaska or Europe to lend credence to the melt theory. Indian glaciers are at 3,500-4,000 meter above the sea level whereas those in the Alps are at much lower levels. Certainly, the conditions under which the glaciers in Alaska are retreating, are not prevailing in the Indian sub-continent, he explained.
Another leading geologist MN Koul of Jammu University, who is actively engaged in studying glacier dynamics in J&K and Himachal holds similar views. Referring to his research on Kol glacier ( Paddar, J&K) and Naradu (HP), he said both the glaciers have not changed much in the past two decades.
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