World Climate Report: lying by omission

So whats new you ask? Well nothing, but its worth pointing out. The issue in question is What do we learn from Glaciers in the Highest Altitudes In The Alps? which found (quick reminder) that though low-altitude glaciers were retreating, the very highest ones on Mt Blanc were not, because ablation is negligible there, because its too cold.

This was on CCnet (thanks J), which seems to have picked it up from World Climate Report. Which spends so much of its time wurbling that it doesn’t have space to quote bits of the paper such as the shrinkage of numerous glaciers in the Alps over the last century is reflected by field observations [Haeberli, 1995; Haeberli et al., 1998; Haeberli et al., 2002; Ohmura, 2004; Vincent et al., 2005] and satellite data [Paul et al., 2004; Berthier et al., 2004]. These studies show that glaciated areas below 3000 m a.s.l. have been strongly affected, especially over the last 2 decades. Or even bits of the conclusions such as Over the next 100 years, according to climate warming scenarii, a significant part of precipitation could become rain above 4300 m a.s.l. which could warm up the deep firn and ice. Some studies show that substantial warming of the firn temperature at shallow depths has taken place over the last few decades [Lu¨thi and Funk, 2001; Suter et al., 2001]. Should this warming reach the bottom ice, the ice dynamics would be greatly modified

No, it spends all its time on the lack of retreat, and fails to put this into any kind of context. There is nothing there that is a direct lie (though the insinuation that the IPCC’s Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres. Widespread decreases in glaciers and ice caps have contributed to sea level rise should be reconsidered is an indirect one) but the overall impression is misleading.

11 thoughts on “World Climate Report: lying by omission”

  1. Well, the disscusion on RP’s Climate Science goes on and RP states:

    “I also assumed the vast majority of glaciers were retreating. However, as documented on Climate Science (with more information coming in future postings), this is not the case.” Hmm… Mauri Pelto whould not be happy to read this.

    Willian, shouldn’t we move RP from the category of climate sc(k)eptic to climate septic(k)??? 🙂


  2. Now both Mauri and Stephan Harrison have been moved to point out that RP Sr. is executing pirouettes on the nose of a very large shark. The latter says he has unpublished data (which he won’t divulge at this time) showing many non-retreating glaciers. This can be added to his similarly secret data showing a recent drop-off in ocean warming. The world waits.


  3. Eli Rabett wrote:

    Shame William, right there on the Wikipedia is the figure from glaobal warming art which puts the lie to all this. Since I copied and used it myself, Eli will blogwhore. We are going to enjoy this.


    The map from GlobalWarmingArt is really good. However, I always like looking at things from different angles, so consider putting it together with the chart for global glacier mass balance at the bottom of this page:

    State of the Cryosphere: Glacier Balance
    National Snow and Ice Data Center

    My one complaint regarding the chart is that it doesn’t really give you an indication of how much inventory we have left.


  4. Timothy, if I understand correctly an accurate total mass figure isn’t available since only a sample of glaciers have been measured in that way. Also, loss or gain in a given glacier can be measured without knowing what its overall mass is.


  5. Just to note for posterity that I eventually figured out that the Alps study RP Sr. was going on about referred to accumulation zones only. The associated lower parts of the glaciers weren’t examined in this paper because they’re already known to be melting. So, was this cherry-picking or just plain misrepresentation? You be the judge.


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