Climategate: Imminent Demise of Glaciers Due to ... a Typo!

“Climategate” is now more than the massive misconduct of one research institution.

Following the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) data dump on November 19, many other issues with the political science of climate change are now being let out of the darkness. (See the complete Pajamas Media aggregator and document repository here, and find another PJM exclusive on research misconduct in the climate science community here.)


Most people following the climate change debate are aware that many sources claim that the Himalayan glaciers are disappearing “rapidly” — in fact, that they may disappear by 2035, a mere 25 years from now.

Today, in a guest post at Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.’s blog, Dr. Madhav Khandekar discusses this bit of folk science (Dr. Pielke is also the subject of an upcoming PJM interview).:

The debate over global warming & “rapid” melting of world-wide glaciers and in particular the Himalayan glaciers is once again heating up. There were a flurry of reports, a few weeks ago, in the media and in particular on the BBC (UK) world-wide news service about the Himalayan glaciers melting rapidly in the face of global warming. As this debate was raging, a comprehensive report by Dr V K Raina (Himalayan glaciers: A state-of-the art review of glacial studies, glacial retreat and climate change) was released by the Indian Minister of Environment & Forestry in New Delhi, India.

Vijay Kumar Raina, a senior glaciologist and an avid mountaineer himself, has carefully analyzed some 20 glaciers to document retreat as well as advance of some of the glaciers and has cautiously concluded that it is premature to make a statement that the Himalayan glaciers are retreating abnormally because of global warming. …

IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri reacted angrily citing the IPCC 2007 climate change reports which asserted that the (Himalayan) glaciers are receding faster than in any other part of the world and if the present rate (of melting) continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps even sooner is very high if the earth keeps warming at the current rate. …

[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!


In other words, it appears that the immensely rapid decline of the Himalayan glaciers, so widely reported to be coming in 2035, was originally reported not to happen until 2350.

A flurry of corrections will no doubt be forthcoming.


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