What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 19, 2012

And They Omit Some Important Climate Info - Again.

Who's doing this?  You might ask.

As any regular reader of this blog will tell you, it's the editorial board at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Take a look at this from today:
Himalayan glaciers are growing despite "global warming," report French scientists. Damn "climate change deniers," eh?
And what, pray tell, do you think we'll find if we go looking around the data?

Exactly.  We'll find that Scaife's braintrust has yet again failed in telling you, their news-reading public, enough of the necessary information in order for you to gain an accurate picture of reality.  They withhold info and tell an incomplete story hoping you'll think it's complete.

Let's go find the truth.

First there's the science.  Here's the summary of the paper in question:
Assessments of the state of health of Hindu-Kush–Karakoram–Himalaya glaciers and their contribution to regional hydrology and global sea-level rise suffer from a severe lack of observations. The globally averaged mass balance of glaciers and ice caps is negative. An anomalous gain of mass has been suggested for the Karakoram glaciers, but was not confirmed by recent estimates of mass balance. Furthermore, numerous glacier surges in the region that lead to changes in glacier length and velocity complicate the interpretation of the available observations. Here, we calculate the regional mass balance of glaciers in the central Karakoram between 1999 and 2008, based on the difference between two digital elevation models. We find a highly heterogeneous spatial pattern of changes in glacier elevation, which shows that ice thinning and ablation at high rates can occur on debris-covered glacier tongues. The regional mass balance is just positive at +0.11±0.22 m yr−1 water equivalent and in agreement with the observed reduction of river runoff that originates in this area. Our measurements confirm an anomalous mass balance in the Karakoram region and indicate that the contribution of Karakoram glaciers to sea-level rise was −0.01 mm yr−1 for the period from 1999 to 2008, 0.05 mm yr−1 lower than suggested before. [emphasis added.]
An anomalous gain within the framework of a globally averaged mass balance loss.  That's what's going on.

The main author of the paper even says so.  From the Christian Science Monitor:
Glaciers and sea ice around the world are melting at unprecedented rates, but new data indicates that this phenomenon may be lopsided. It seems that some areas of the Himalayan mountain range are melting faster than others, which aren't melting at all, a new study indicates.

Specifically, the Karakoram mountain range is holding steady, and may even be growing in size, the study, published in the April 2012 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, suggests.

"The rest of the glaciers in the Himalayas are mostly melting, in that they have negative mass balance, here we found that glaciers aren't," study researcher Julie Gardelle, of CNRS-Université Grenoble, France, told LiveScience. "This is an anomalous behavior." [emphasis added.]

And so does this data threaten climate science?  Guess again.  From a few paragraphs later at the CSMonitor:
The researchers used satellite photos to analyze the extent of the ice in about a quarter of the total range — about 2,167 square miles (5,615 square kilometers). The photos were taken in 1999 and 2008. The researchers used two computer models to translate the images, revealing the elevation of the glaciers and estimating the extent of the ice.

They found that the glaciers are holding steady and based on the numbers might actually be gaining mass. But Gardelle warns this doesn't mean global warming and glacier melt isn't happening elsewhere.

"We don't want this study to be seen as questioning the planet's global warming," she told LiveScience. "With global warming we can get higher precipitation at high altitudes and latitudes, so thickening isn't out of the question."
And yet to the braintrust this debunks the science.

Tells you alot about the level of scientific literacy over there on the Braintrust.


EdHeath said...

You know, as far as I know, there was a medieval warming period and I suspect things changed, causing disruption in some (perhaps many) people's lives. Of course, at that time people chose to live where the land was at least somewhat fertile (or they could obtain food in some fashion). So presumably people adjusted in some fashion.

Which is to say that climate change appears to actually be kind of complicated. It looks like there will be perhaps some local winners in some places. But overall more of us will lose than win, especially since some people will be unable to migrate to more fertile areas due to national borders (something less in effect in the medieval period).

But apparently conservatives will use the complexity of climate change to try to keep government from taking action that might ameliorate some of the worst effects of climate change. But, then I guess keeping money in the pockets of the rich is more important than helping people.

Ol' Froth said...

The countries most responsible for climate change will suffer the least ill effects, while those who did little to cause the problem, will be hit the hardest.