Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Do the skeptics have a point about a 300-year typo in the IPCC?

(Welcome, Just One Minute readers. I appreciate Tom's link, but I'd also encourage you to look at my proposed bets with people who dispute anthropogenic global warming. With a few honorable exceptions, the loudest skeptics have been very uninterested in putting their money where there mouths are.)

Skeptics say:

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!


Let's go p. 493, shall we?

"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)."

http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter10.pdf

The WWF cite:

"WWF (WorldWildlife Fund), 2005:An overview of glaciers, glacier retreat, and
subsequent impacts in Nepal, India and China.WorldWildlife Fund, Nepal Programme,
79 pp."

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 livelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very
high”.

The ISCI is where I run out of direct online sources. But I did find this ref, also from 1999:

"The glacier will be decaying at rapid, catastrophic rates. Its total area will shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 square km by the year 2035," says formerICSI president V M Kotlyakov in the report Variations of snow and ice in the past and present on a global and regional scale.

This is a problem. Back to Kotlyakov's report (p. 66):

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 (see Table 11 ). 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.

If the IPCC's chain of citations does indeed reach back to and rely on Kotlyakov 1996 alone - and I'm not sure that it does - then the skeptics have a point. Worth noting that Kotlyakov assumed linear changes in warmth, which is optimistic under business-as-usual scenarios, but that won't erase a 300-year difference.

UPDATE: Skeptic Tom Maguire gets a little further than me, but no real results. So far it's looking like sloppy work, although the sloppiness isn't with the IPCC but the predecessor citations. Maybe someone else can get a better answer than Tom or me.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Post a Comment