Glaciers slowing and growing, according to reports in BBC News and Nature News 15 April 2012 and Science NOW and ScienceDaily 3 May 2012.
A research team at National Centre for Scientific Research and the University of Grenoble has studied satellite data from the Karakoram mountain range, north west of the Himalayas that includes K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. The researchers used data from 1999 and 2008 and concluded that during this time the glaciers have slightly increased in mass. This goes against the trend for glaciers in other parts of the world. Kenneth Hewitt, a geographer at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario commented: “There’s no question that Karakoram glaciers are holding their own, but exactly why that is, we don’t know”. According to Nature News: “Several studies hint that the climate in the Karakoram may be cooling, contrary to the trend in most of the world. Between 1961 and 2000, weather stations in the region recorded an increase in winter precipitation and a decrease in average temperatures during the summer. And during the same 40-year period, average flow volume for one of the region’s rivers, which is fed by glacial meltwater, was 20 percent below normal”.
Meanwhile, Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, and his colleagues studied satellite data about Greenland glaciers from the first decade of the 21st century and found a complex mixture of uneven movement of the glaciers, with acceleration of some glaciers being balanced by the slowing of others. In southeastern Greenland about 43 percent of the glaciers sped up in the first half of the decade, but around 25 percent slowed down by more than 15 percent from 2005 to 2010. These new results have led to climate scientists revising estimates of the effect of melting Greenland ice on sea levels from 46.7 cm to 9.3 cm by 2100.
Editorial Comment: The message of relentless melting of the world’s ice continues, but as the research above reminds us, the situation is more complex than that, with ice melting in some places yet forming in others. The media are very quick to publicise decline in the Arctic sea ice over the last few decades, however we rarely hear about the increase in Antarctic ice over the same period. (Check National Snow and Ice Database records here )
It is also interesting to see where the media put their emphasis when complex results are reported. ScienceDaily’s headline on the Greenland glacier story is: “Increasing Speed of Greenland Glaciers Gives New Insight for Rising Sea Level”. ScienceNOW’s headline is: “Whoa There! Some Greenland Glaciers Slowing Down”.
Politicians who have been sucked into the “we caused the climate to do this so we can fix it,” will throw our money away in useless attempts to play God as they bedevil mankind with poverty. Whatever is happening to the world’s ice, there are large and complex forces at work, and we should be studying those in order to understand and live with changes that history tells us have happened time and time again to the world’s climate and environment, rather than relying on computer models based on man-made ideas and claims that we can change the world’s climate and oceans.
Evidence News 16 May 2012
“Global Warming Melts Away”. For an excellent summary of real trends in global temperatures using publicly available data from official climate sources, see Global Warming Melts Away by Randall Hoven.
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