What do we learn from Glaciers in the Highest Altitudes In The Alps?

You couldn’t get a more perfect example of desperation than:

At the recent International Symposium on “Landform – structure, evolution, process control”, University of Bonn, Germany, June 7-10, 2007, that I attended, there was evidence presented of the retreat of all of the glaciers in the Alps. However, thanks to CCNet and Benny Peiser for alerting me to a paper which provides evidence that one glacial area in these mountains is not retreating. [1] [2]

And the one area that isn’t retreating? That is also very revealing: its the highest glaciers. And why aren’t they retreating? For the obvious reason: its too cold there even if it warms up a bit:

Surface ablation is negligible for these high-elevation areas and the surface mass balance is mainly controlled by snow accumulation.

OK, no surprise there. So what do we learn from this study? That not everything in the world is correlated to global mean temperature. We knew that already. I don’t know what Peiser/CCnet said about it (anyone subscribe?) but the obvious question is, why would skeptic Peiser be alerting people to this paper? Surely not to misrepresent it?

3 thoughts on “What do we learn from Glaciers in the Highest Altitudes In The Alps?”

  1. Beautiful!

    We keep running into this sort of thing with the “skeptics”: they find one case that doesn’t quite fit the trend as of yet and believe that this proves there is no trend. As another recent example of this, see the post at:

    Here’s a graph of trends from Mears and Wentz which shows increasing temperatures over most parts of the world, but declining trends in the Southern Ocean – which seems to flatly contradict the claim in the 2nd Draft (of course, they may cooper this up between now and then).

    Southern Ocean Temperature Trends
    By Steve McIntyre
    Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007 at 1:58 pm
    http://www.climate audit.org/?p=1100

    Then there is Mt. Kilimanjaro, the one mountain which is not losing its ice due to global warming but sublimation (evaporation due to dry air), which the “skeptics” try to use to cast doubt upon global glacier loss having anything to do with global warming. Then there is the one of seven sets of glaciers in the Himalayas (the Karakoram) where the glaciers are actually growing rather than receding (due to a change in the Indian monsoon, I believe) – which results in the following:

    Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny
    June 30, 2007
    BY James M. Taylor

    … along with the manufactured quote presumably from a technical paper:

    “Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame.”

    … which is nowhere to be found in the technical paper to which it is attributed.

    “Desperate” is one of the terms I would use to describe this sort of thing, but there are obviously others.


  2. The glaciers have been melting since the last Ice Age. Melting glaciers should not be used as evidence of global warming. Focusing on melting glaciers is silly and fuels skeptics.


  3. Craig, perhaps you will excuse my skepticism, but do you not have any data on rate of melting of glaciers? Or indeed, any evidence that they have been melting continuously since the last ice age?


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