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back to article New sat data shows Himalayan glaciers hardly melting at all

New scientific analysis of satellite gravity measurements has shown that ice is melting from glaciers around the world much less quickly than had been thought. The new research is important as worldwide glacier melt is thought to be one of the main factors which could drive rising sea levels in future. The new results were …

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Anonymous Coward

Aaaaaand let the flamewars begin!

Honestly, if Anthropegenic Climate Change turns out to be real, it won't be anything to do with CO2, it'll be from all the flames coming of register forums

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Angel

@Anonymous C. -- Who?

Is the first cab off the rank's passenger an El Reg editor perhaps?

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Pint

For every action....

You're right, flames beget flames and half the people are spending times arguing instead of doing anything practical, the other half think arguing is practical to stop us doing pointless things.

*in reality* all this arguing is a distractor, and pointless.

Fossil fuels will run out, "sometime", the only argument is when, and that could be 10 years, 100 years or 1000 years - even the most ardent climate denier will recognise that the earth is not laying down fossil fuels as fast as we are consuming and discovering.

So, given that this resource will run out, we need to work out what we're going to do when it's either run out or too rare and expensive to harvest, these solutions will coincidentially also address the climate change concerns.

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Happy

"Researchers visiting the region on the ground"..............

....................couldn't see the wood for the trees.

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Losing 4 billion tonnes a year, plus or minus 20 billion tonnes?

Isn't that basically the same as 'we don't know'? Under that degree of accuracy it could be gaining 16 billion tonnes a year..

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Gold badge

It could, but it still isn't the same as "we don't know". It is, for example, significantly different from the previous estimate of 50 Gt, as mentioned in the article.

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Not an exact science by the look of things.

How can the government tax us for this?

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Not really. It just means the change is so small that they're having trouble measuring it accurately with the tools they're using, but they do know that the change is small.

Yes, the change could be between +16 and -20, but it's more likely to be in the middle of that range. All depends on what's causing the potential errors.

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And economics is an exact science, is it?

Economics is given far more credence in political circles than, say, climatology.

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WTF?

There's also the question of the 21 billion tons lost per year worldwide (excl Greenland and Antarctica). This still seems like a huge amount to someone like me who is ignorant of such things. Can we get that into perspective with how many tons are in the glaciers currently?

For example if all these glaciers hold 1000 billion tons, 21 billion tons lost per year is A LOT, and still worrying even though it's less than previously estimated. If all these glaciers hold 100,000 billion tons, then 21 billion tons a year is pffft

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In fact, it isn't significantly different. 4 +/- 20 may be as much as 24, which is the same order of magnitude as 50, and who knows what the error bars are on the 50. The spin on this article is that the glaciers are hardly melting at all, and the new data supports this hypothesis, but unfortunately it also supports the hypothesis that, actually, they're still melting quite a lot. So it pretty much is the same as "we don't know", and only appears to be newsworthy at all because of this site's AGW-denial policy.

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Holmes

Fail headline

Headline is wrong. They are melting but new extra ice is formed at the top of the mountains and that compensates (probably from more water in the air).

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Anonymous Coward

Quite agree ... and if it wasn't for the water in the air falling as rain then the rivers would disappear as well :-)

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Anonymous Coward

More water in the air

which is in response to higher ocean temperatures. Nature is a zero-sum player.

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I'm so glad you pointed that out. I was thinking that the water was actually flowing up hill.

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Facepalm

Gosh - you mean it's.......a glacier ?

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Thumb Up

Never mind the headline...

Who is the rather comely lass in the cutoffs?

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The problem with extrapolating data from only select or small samples is you exaggerate any errors in that data. Before more countless billions of dollars and lives are laid down in the name of climate change they need to start making their science more water tight

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Coat

Aboslutely.

They need to put this discussion on ice.

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Bronze badge

... a freeze on any new funding, I would have thought.

</groan>

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Anonymous Coward

I agree we should freeze funding for academic climate researchers ...

because then they'd all have to get jobs in industry, and so be much less inclined to follow their personal biases.

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Facepalm

That's true.

They'd be following their employers' biases instead.

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Pint

@Blusox69 -- Correct, but Climate Science is unlike all others! Yuh have to make allowances.

Technical professions, chemistry, physics, civil engineering etc., are unfortunate in that they're underpinned by just science.

However, lucky Climate Science calls on both science and religion for answers. This makes for much more interesting outcomes, its politics are more interesting and it's better funded not to mention that it makes for much more lively dinner party discussions.

'Tis a no-brainer really: what's more likely to keep your dinner party guests awake, scenarios surrounding J. G. Ballard's 'The Drowned World' which would involve amazing scenes of say London sinking under melted polar ice or an erudite discussion on the effect partial differential calculus plays in the derivation of Schrodinger's wave equation?

>;-)

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Anonymous Coward

"foolishness"?

It was a theory based on available evidence. The theory was tested and modified as further evidence became available.

Otherwise known as "science".

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Re: otherwise known as science

Good point, which is why so many people are pissed off by oxymoronic statements that "The science is settled.".

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Anonymous Coward

oxymoronic "The science is settled"

good point, but some science is much more settled than others: would you really claim that (eg) Thermodynamics will be shown to be wrong in regimes where we currently have tested that it works?

And as for the less-settled science - it might not be settled, but still be a better bet than non-scientific speculation on the subject at hand.

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Anonymous Coward

Thermodynamics makes pretty accurate testable predictions

Most of the predictions (when made) from climate science so far have been wildly inaccurate.

That's the difference.

Science means measure, create testable hypothesis, predict, measure, repeat.

It doesn't mean "create untestable hypothesis, done". That's religion.

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Childcatcher

Yes, "foolishness"

It turns out the 2035 figure that has been bandied around by the eco alarmists was a complete ballsup all along.

" The UN panel on climate change warning

that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth

of current levels by 2035 is wildly inaccurate,

an academic says.

J Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario

Trent University, says he believes the UN

authors got the date from an earlier report

wrong by more than 300 years.

He is astonished they "misread 2350 as

2035".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8387737.stm

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Anonymous Coward

who cares about the science?

Research needs settled funding

Politicians need settled fear

As someone once sang...

What's science got to do, got to do with it?

What's science, but second-hand sta-tis-tics?

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Anonymous Coward

That's religion.

You mean like, "random inorganic compounds got together on their own over billions of years and became a highly-complex self-reproducing living organism"?

That sort of untestable hypothesis?

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Facepalm

AC@01:22

"That sort of untestable hypothesis?"

Actually it's not untestable.

And has been

Repeatedly. From inorganic constituents of the primitive Earth environment *upward*.

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What we need

is a couple of thousand 'scientists' living in gas-heated habitats on the glaciers, using oil-powered drilling equipment and oil-powered vehicles to 'study' the glaciers.

That'll speed up the melting.

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Anonymous Coward

Two thousand people keeping warm will melt the glaciers?

HAHAHAHA!

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Stop

Don't you fossil fuel funded deniers understand this is exactly how Climate Change works?

I'll stop worrying when we have the same weather every day for twenty five years.

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FAIL

I do not "deny" climate change exists.

Nor do I receive any funding from the fossil fuel industry. (Quite the opposite in fact.)

I do, however, have little time for the endless Chicken Littles trotted out by the media constantly telling us that the skies are falling.

Yes, the Earth's climate is changing. This is NOT news, and never was. It's been changing pretty much since the Earth formed. It has even been through long periods where the atmosphere was utterly poisonous to today's life-forms. It has seen major glaciations. It has seen major interglacial periods. As this article—among many others—has pointed out, "the science" is most certainly not fully understood. It's getting there, but it is not there yet. That three-letter word right there appears to be something you people don't seem to understand.

The media have been repeating this cheap psychological trick of terrorising its customers for longer than I've been alive—from the "Population Bomb" theories of the 1960s (weren't we all supposed to be wearing gas masks by the early '80s?); the Cold War fear mongers from the '50s through to the '90s; the Energy Crisis of the 1970s; the anti-nuclear brigades who have neatly snookered us today with their ignorance; the incessant demands for our "fookin' money!" from overpaid, under-talented celebrities who appear to believe it's not even remotely hypocritical for the filthy rich to demand money from one set of poor people on behalf of other poor people or they'll DIE, and it'll be ALL OUR FAULT!

The point is, it's always "our" fault. Never THEIR fault. It's NEVER the idiotic short-termist policies of (wealthy) politicians who pull all the social engineering strings, but OUR fault. Even Robert fucking Mugabe is "our" fault, though Christ alone knows how.

Enough! I'm suffering from chronic Fear Fatigue. If you have a problem with that, I'll show you the note from my mum.

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Errr.

"same weather every day for twenty five years"

You mean like...nowhere...ever...in the entire history of the world.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: peter 45

> You mean like...nowhere...ever...in the entire history of the world.

The Atacama Desert has had the same weather for several hundred years at least.

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This is a different spin than every "straight" news item on the subject.

Try Reuters, for example: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/us-climate-sealevels-idUSTRE8171RH20120208

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Thumb Up

Biases aside, this is the perfect example of why everyone should get the information from multiple news sources.

That and taking any journalistic-rehash of a scientific paper with copious volumes of sodium chloride.

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@General Pance

May I suggest you move to Hawaii?

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Silver badge

I was going to suggest the Sahara desert

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Stop

Nothing would please me more

than to know to a certainty that the world was not about to change drastically due to climate change. Unfortunately, the natural system is incredibly complex and, to be frank, we don't understand it very well. Nevertheless, visibly melting glaciers away from Greenland and Antarctica, such as in Alaska, Patagonia and at Kilimanjaro give the lie to the gleeful pronouncements that really nothing of importance is happening.

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Anonymous Coward

Retreating glaciers in the Arctic are uncovering vegetation that has been radio carbon dated to between 1275 and 1300 AD (Miller et al 2012). This means that those glaciers have only grown since that date.

The retreating glaciers on Kilimanjaro are due to changes in precipitation because they stripped the forests from the base and slopes of the mountain. Nothing to to do with CO2 or temperature. I am not aware of a single climate scientists who attributes glacier loss on Kilimanjaro to global warming.

Haven't looked into the Patagonian glaciers (yet)

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Patagonia ashes to ashes

The Patagonia glaciers are probably covered in ash from the recent volcanic eruptions. That would cause them to absorb more sunlight and melt at a faster rate than normal for this phase in the earth's climate.

Maybe the volcano erupted because of man made CO2.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't let reality get in the way of ideology

"been radio carbon dated to between 1275 and 1300 AD "

Here's a funny thing. Climate change denialists love to quote carbon dating for things like this.

BUT when you use the same carbon dating to claim the Shroud of Turin is a fake made in the Renaissance, and the Earth really is a couple of billion years old, they suddenly start crowing about how carbon dating isn't reliable, nor is radioactive decay; it's usually the SAME PEOPLE.

Funny, that.

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FAIL

Funny that, you're making up s**t that is obviously false, just so you can point to a fallacy in your made-up s**t. Way to go!

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Stop

Given the half-life of C-14

your comment is a dangerous half-truth.

C-14 has a half life of approx 5700 years, right? 5730 to be precise, Thomson. Thank you Thompson.

C-14 radiometric dating is capable of reasonable dating within human history, because it can be cross-checked against external historical evidence.

It has it's limitations of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-14 (Wikipedia for speed, only). So it cannot be extrapolated to millions or billions of years via the use of other isotopes.

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Anonymous Coward

Selectively ignoring the "plus" in "plus or minus", eh?

>"Researchers visiting the region on the ground have previously suggested that the Asian mountain ice was depleting at rates as high as 50 billion tons per year, but Wahr and his colleagues' results show losses in the area of just 4 billion tonnes annually. They give the error in this figure as plus-or-minus 20 billion tons, so this much the same as saying that the Asian mountain ice - the planet's "third pole" - was unaffected."

No, it's not. It's saying that it could be losing as much as 24 billion tons OR as little as zero. For you to completely ignore the vast majority of the error range like that and just focus on the bit that you wish to be true is scientifically fraudulent. Frankly, with an error range five times the size of the measured effect, what it's really saying is that their techniques are too inaccurate to draw any conclusion from at all.

Your agenda is showing.

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Of course you can draw a conclusion. You can conclude that the amount of change is smaller than the accuracy of your equipment. And as that is quite a bit smaller than the previously accepted figure you can also conclude that the accepted figure is wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

> No, it's not. It's saying that it could be losing as much as 24 billion tons OR as little as zero.

Plus-or-minus 20 billion does not mean either plus 20 billion or minus 4 billion making the range from 0 to 24. It means exactly what is says and that is it could have gained as much as 16 billion tons OR lost as much as 24 billion tons.

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