Tags: US | climate

Data Raise Questions About US Glacier-Melting Claims

Thursday, 08 May 2014 05:59 PM

By Joel Himelfarb

The Obama administration’s predictions of catastrophic climate change ignore a growing body of data suggesting that its claims don’t square with the facts, say critics who point to figures indicating that the planet stopped warming around 1998.

National Climate Assessment released by the White House this week  depicts  potentially dire consequences from  global warming, which it claims “is causing sea levels to rise and glaciers and Arctic Sea ice to melt.”

This tracks with claims from Rachendra Pachauri, chairman of the  U.N.-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who has warned that failure to act could result in large-scale glacier melting with devastating effects for hundreds of millions of people in Asia alone. 

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But the panel’s reporting on the glacier issue has been marred by missteps in the past. Its 2007 report contained embarrassing errors, for example exaggerating the percentage of the Netherlands that is below sea level. The report claimed 55 percent of the country was below sea level, even though the actual figure is closer to 20 percent.

The Associated Press reported that the climate panel’s report erroneously suggested that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035. The actual data indicated that this event would not occur until 2350 – which was apparently transposed as 2035.

The climate data available to date does not demonstrate that any catastrophic melting has taken place or is about to occur. Instead, it shows that the melting of glaciers began slowing
around 1950.

study published by The Cryosphere, website of the National Snow & Ice Data Center, found that glacier melting occurred more rapidly from 1900 to 1950 than during the second half of the 20th century. This conflicts with global-warming theory, which holds that increased emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide would warm the planet and cause glaciers to melt more quickly and dangerously.

In September,
The Washington Post reported that the most recent data show that Antarctic Sea ice “has grown to a record large extent for a second straight year.”

Bavarian Public Television reported last month that permafrost, the soil or rock that remains frozen for more than two consecutive years, in the Alps shows no indication of warming. German meteorologist Dominik Jung wrote in The Huffington Post that Austrian weather data from the Alps shows that winters there have become much colder during the past two decades.

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A few years ago, climatologists counseled  businesses in the Alps to cut their investments in skiing and other winter sport facilities because rising temperatures would render these products  obsolete. Now, according to Jung, local residents want to know what happened to the warming they had been promised.

Athumani Juma, a guide and a veteran hiker at Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, laughed when questioned by a reporter in 2012 about the likelihood that the mountain’s snowcap would soon disappear. He told McClatchy News that glaciers there had stopped shrinking and started growing two years earlier.

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