1 February 2009

The Big Melt Gets Worse

Posted by Dan Satterfield

A new report, released by the United Nations Environmental Program, has some more alarming climate news in it. The glaciers of the world are monitored by the WGM. Take a guess….yup. It’s the World Glacier Monitoring service. Funded by the WMO and others.

The big news in this report is not so much that the galciers worldwide are in retreat. The real news, is that the rate of retreat in most areas has increased dramatically. I think of the statement by Lonnie Thompson (Tropical glacier expert at Ohio State-perhaps THE world expert on tropical glaciers). He said “These glaciers are remnants of another (past) climate.”


While there are still a few extremists, in the political world, who still think the Earth is not warming, most non scientists now understand that the evidence is overwhelming. (Surprisingly, I still get a few emails from this crowd). What most of the public does not understand, is that the rate of change is itself increasing. This is also true of the current sea level rise.

Scientists making predictions, are by their very nature, prone to be very conservative. This is true for synoptic forecasters like myself, (Sometimes much to the frustration of the promo folks) and it’s very true for the Climate Scientists who write the IPCC reports. There has actually been frustration among some politicians about the Arctic Ice. It’s disappearing much faster than the IPCC projections. The Climate folks point out (correctly) that they gave a range, and that the rise is in the upper limit.

A lot of climate projections are turning out to be in that category. In other words, the IPCC report, derided by skeptics, is indeed wrong. It’s worse.


So, back to the ice. I am attaching a few graphics. Something to keep in mind here.


The glaciers in the Himalayas are the source of water for about one Billion people.

Reports like this are the place to get Climate info from. Anything on a politically slanted web site, is likely to be nearly worthless. You should always ask yourself about the credentials of the person making a claim. Have they published recently about Climate in a peer reviewed journal.

(Yes, there are those who believe that people  who disagree are being blocked from publishing. That kind of conspiracy stuff is just laughable. We really landed on the Moon too.)

The images here are from the WGM report released by UNEP. The report is here.