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    you know what grows on shrubs?..., 2009-12-01 17:38:07 | Main | shit my dad says..., 2009-12-04 16:01:32

    Did the IPCC authors misread 2350 as 2035? Maybe it'd help to actually read what they'd referenced:

    Over on Roger Peikle Sr.'s blog there's a triumphant gotchya about how the IPCC misquoted some paper, moving the impending doom of the Himalayan glaciers ahead 300 years, the post was picked up by Jonah Goldberg and is presently snowballing into an orgasm of stupidity across the intertubes:

    Where did this number 2035 (the year when glaciers could vanish) come from?

    According to Prof Graham Cogley (Trent University, Ontario), a short article on the future of glaciers by a Russian scientist (Kotlyakov, V.M., 1996, The future of glaciers under the expected climate warming, 61-66, in Kotlyakov, V.M., ed., 1996, Variations of Snow and Ice in the Past and at Present on a Global and Regional Scale, Technical Documents in Hydrology, 1. UNESCO, Paris (IHP-IV Project H-4.1). 78p estimates 2350 as the year for disappearance of glaciers, but the IPCC authors misread 2350 as 2035 in the Official IPCC documents, WGII 2007 p. 493!

    So we have a raging debate about impending glacier melt-down because of sloppiness of some IPCC authors!

    First, why the fuck ask Cogley? The fucking footnote is right there on page 493. Go look at the IPCC document, WGII 2007 p. 493, where it says,

    Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world (see Table 10.9) and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005).

    Well, that doesn't look much like a reference to Kotlyakov, 1996. Maybe WWF, 2005 references Kotlyakov, 1996? WWF (WorldWildlife Fund), 2005:An overview of glaciers, glacier retreat, and subsequent impacts in Nepal, India and China.WorldWildlife Fund, Nepal Programme, 79 pp., which says:

    As discussed in the thematic introduction to this regional status review, there is particular concern at the alarming rate of retreat of Himalayan glaciers. In 1999, a report by the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI) stated: "glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high". Direct observation of a select few snout positions out of the thousands of Himalayan glaciers indicate that they have been in a general state of decline over, at least, the past 150 years.

    Maybe the WWF misquoted the ISCI '99 report? Obviously they're not quoting Kotlyakov's 1996 paper from the same group, since nothing in that quote resembles anything in K'96. Who is Nature and Science, 4(4), 2006, Anthwal, et al, Retreat of Himalayan Glaciers repeating, for that matter?

    In the last 25 years a second 0.3ºC warming pulse caused northern hemisphere temperatures to rise to unprecedented levels in the last 1,000 years, with the 1990s representing the warmest decade and 1998 the hottest year of the millennium. Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high.

    According to this the ICIS'99 quote can be attributed to Ajay K. Naithani et.al. of said working group, not Kotlyakov. The Independent and Christian Science Monitor reported on the same 1999 study at the time, here and here. Syed Iqbal Hasnain, another author of the '99 report, was actually just quoted defending his own numbers a month ago in a skeptic's rag. Nobody's been misquoted, as the WWF was quoting a different report, as was the IPCC, so nobody typoed anything.

    It does seem to be a popular prediction based off "current rates", whatever they were, and the warming - like the IPCC report does in fact mention - has caused increased precipitation during the winter which has contributed to some recovery/slowdown, but whatever:

    Kotlyakov 96 isn't referenced directly in either the IPCC report or the WWF report or Anthwal et. al.. Furthermore its 2350 projection is premised on a temperature rise in Central Asia of 1.5C by 2350 (from their 1990 temperatures, at that), which on an offhand google search is more than a few degrees less than is expected by the end of this century by said IPCC. For that matter, K96 says:

    There has been a dramatic shrinkage-----d late even at catastrophic rates—in the glaciation area of the Tien Shari Mountains and within Central Asia. This results in a growing intensity of deglaciation-derived runoff and in its volumetric increase. The increment maximum (relative to 1975) is to be attained by the year 21100 [sic, 2110, it's an OCR doc], with a 3.5- fold increase in the absolute volume of melt-derived runoff; this volume will be declining with subsequent warming. The scope of the glaciation area decrease is impressive indeed. Glaciers will remain only in the high mountain parts of Central Asia, in compact glaciation areas....

    The degradation of the extrapolar glaciation of the Earth will be apparent in rising ocean level already by the year 2050, and there will be a drastic rise of the ocean thereafter caused by the deglaciation-derived runoff. This period will last from 200 to 300 years. The extrapolar glaciation of the Earth will be decaying at rapid, catastrophic rates—its total area will shrink from 500,000 to 100,000 km² by the year 2350. Glaciers will survive only in the mountains of inner Alaska, on some Arctic archipelagos, within Patagonian ice sheets, in the Karakoram Mountains, in the Himalayas, in some regions of Tibet and on the highest mountain peaks in the temperature latitudes.

    Which, well, what the fuck, what's the difference? It still sounds like the sky is falling, even if a few hunks of ice are left loitering around on a mountaintop in Tibet.

    I would like to thank Dr Madhav Khandekar for putting his expertise to work by expertly not bothering to glance at the in-line footnotes and inventing other footnotes out of thin air in order to swirl up a temptest in a teapot. Here I was worried I might actually have to start reading Peikle's website, as it wasn't immediately obvious that it would be a waste of my time. It took two visits.

:: posted by buermann @ 2009-12-02 12:19:46 CST | link

      I agree that the construction they made to the 2350 article by Kotlyakov is far fetched but I think this paragraph in the IPCC report should have been better referenced.

    posted by ChrisH @ 2010-01-03 12:28:18 | link

      If the problem was the quality of their footnotes I'd agree, but the disagreement is with a footnote the cranks pulled out of the air. Better footnotes aren't going to help people who don't check them, preferring to make up their own.

    posted by buermann @ 2010-01-04 12:02:56 | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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