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Discussion > Glaciergate, again!!

This thread is to assemble info on the IPCC and claims about impending catastrophe related to the Himalayan glaciers, since Pachauri has pushed the issue back into the spotlight. For the past several years alarmists have claimed repeatedly that Glaciergate was nothing but a "typo" (not so) about the date. I have seen many assurances in blogworld that no one would be so foolish as to revisit this issue, except that Pachauri is now doing so in terms little different than the previous "error"....

The original article from a couple of days ago appeared in the Financial Times but is paywalled. It has been picked up by publications in South Korea and India.

Pachauri has learned next to nothing from Glaciergate, and is now pushing more hysteria about Himalayan glaciers while only acknowledging that the 2035 date was a bit too aggressive.....

IPCC's Pachauri is flogging Himalayan glaciers again!!

The glaciers of the Himalayas are melting so fast they will affect the water supplies of a population twice that of the US within 22 years, the head of the world’s leading authority on climate change has warned.

“That’s something to be concerned about,” said Rachendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which this week starts releasing its first extensive report in six years on how the global climate is changing....


“The mistake we made was using that figure of 2035, but that doesn’t in any way reduce the implications of glacier melt across the entire Himalayan range and that’s something to be concerned about, as it was then.”

While the glaciers may not vanish by 2035, he added, the pace at which they are melting is bound to affect vast numbers of people depending on them for water.

Sep 26, 2013 at 5:58 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Pachauri seems to be making the claim just about as dramatic as before, only conceding that there is no basis for claiming that all of the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035. He tries to make it sound like there will be catastrophic melting over the next 22 years, imperiling the water supplies for 750 million people. This is bogus alarmism in multiple respects.

Sep 26, 2013 at 6:00 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Here is the link for the FT article in case anyone has a subscription:

September 22, 2013 7:00 pm

IPCC head warns on Himalayan melting glaciers

By Pilita Clark, Environment Correspondent

IPCC head warns on Himalayan melting glaciers

Sep 26, 2013 at 6:06 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Uh Oh – Pachauri caught out in IPCC 2035 glacier melt issue
Posted on January 29, 2010 by Anthony Watts

WUWT thread on Glaciergate, Jan. 29 2010

Sep 26, 2013 at 6:33 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Here's one question: even if the vast array of 54,000 glaciers in the Himalaya were losing mass (melting year over year), if it would take many centuries to millennia for them to waste away, how could Asian water supplies be imperiled in the short term of decades to come??

i.e., since it is acknowledged by virtually all parties that it was ridiculous to claim the glaciers would all be gone by 2035, and in fact very few (10 or so) have even been reported in peer-reviewed literature to be losing mass, why would the water flows below the Himalaya be reduced in any way?? ice melt PROVIDES water, so long as the glaciers are there in large quantity and mass there is going to be water flowing, and of course the surface of the glaciers gets replenished with winter storms etc.

Sep 26, 2013 at 6:42 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

The BBC quotes Pachauri:

“What we did say about the glaciers was in substance not all that wrong – the glaciers are melting across the globe so that is something we stand by."

I wonder who is measuring all the glaciers around the globe?

Sep 26, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes


There are certainly many glaciers which have retreated since 1850 but that raises questions about causation, since claims about AGW/CAGW depend upon claims about levels of CO2 in the atmosphere only attained after 1950-60 etc. So since a lot of the phenomenon was well underway before AGW could be claimed as the cause, it seems that other "natural" cycles, emerging from the Little Ice Age and so on, are implicated.

Retreat of glaciers since 1850

A lot of glaciers which were at their modern peak extent between 1800 and 1850, so far as is known, were presumably not melting due to AGW in 1850.....

Sep 26, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Sep 26, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Skiphil

Plenty of signs of earlier retreat than that. Look at Glacier bay which retreated loads during the century prior to 1850. And what is the official explanation for that?

Sep 27, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Just a heads up. At least one writer has tried to connect melting glaciers to this years flood disaster speculated to have claimed up to 6,000 lives. (missing presumed dead, a bit dodgy that)

A lake is suspected to have given way and impacted one location, along with massive flooding already occurring. Any link of the disaster to climate change in particular is tenuous. My comment appears under the article.

Sep 28, 2013 at 4:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavidA

Glaciers do melt, if not, the Ganges would be frozen. Choice only of emotive language from Patchy. The evidence for glacier retreat, both hemispheres, is where exactly?

Sep 28, 2013 at 7:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

A map showing the retreating glaciation in Glacier Bay in Alaska since the 18th Century

Sep 28, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

His statement is simply illogical. Is he saying that 750 million people rely on glaciers not melting for their water supply? Huh? How does that work?

The reality is that 750 million people do not rely on glaciers for water. They mostly rely on good old fashioned rainfall, just like the rest of the people on the planet. In mountainous regions, this falls as snow in winter (including a small fraction of it onto glaciers) and in summer it melts and flows downhill as water.

How does he get away with this nonsense?

Sep 29, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

There's a lot of silly things said about glaciers.

Glaciers melt, obviously, when the weather is warm. In Nepal that is the monsoon season i.e. when rainfall is already causing mass flooding.

Sep 29, 2013 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavidA

But once you've got your scary headline, it's all (un)academic

Sep 29, 2013 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Skiphill, the concern is for the billion or more people who rely upon these glaciers. You say that their disappearance will take a long time and that during that time there will still be water in the rivers. But then what? When the glaciers are gone and the rivers are dry what do these people do for water?

Oct 12, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

They want the glaciers to melt, and thus keep up the supply of water. They don't want the glaciers to melt away completely, obviously. Neither do they want them to stop melting and retain the snow melt. Lucky it is just right at the moment. If it changes they will need to adapt. But right now not much is happening, is it?

Oct 12, 2013 at 9:07 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Ten or more percent of humanity will indeed have to adapt to their rivers drying out. Trouble ahead...

Oct 12, 2013 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterChandra


Read this

Oct 12, 2013 at 10:31 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I read it. Here's a piece:

"Nevertheless, the study concludes that climate change will reduce water supplies enough that by 2050, declines in irrigation water are likely to reduce the number of people the region's agriculture can support by about 60 million — 4.5% of the region's present population."

The texts refers to the situation in 37 years, before the glaciers are gone. Like I said, trouble ahead.

Oct 12, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra


Lets see, if we assume the predictions are correct, and that is a huge assumption and not one I would be prepared to place any credence in, then the statement inherently implies a nominal 4.5 % reduction in water availability over a nominal 40 year period, lets say 0.1% per annum, if the human race cannot adapt to that kind of "glacial change rate" then we deserve to die-out. You must lead a miserable life seing doom and gloom on every turn.

Oct 14, 2013 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

OMG! We don't have a single glacier. Does that mean we all died of thirst years ago?

Oct 14, 2013 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Thanks for that link Bish, I think I've got it. The models can't do a good job simulating global-warming; regional simulations are worse; and “Immerzeel notes 'that climate models don't fare well at simulating the effect of warming on Asian rainfall'. They don't fare well simulating rainfall anywhere. They are only just (2010) starting to include satellite data [which is claimed to improve it, but 'probably won't change anything'] on mapping the less-important-than-previously-surmised glaciers . And they are confident that agriculture will only be able to support 5% fewer people in 2050.

So their models are next to useless, but they are also experts on current and future agriculture, hydrology, and technology in foreign lands many thousands of miles away. I have little doubt that pressure on water resources will cause great problems in many parts of the world, but we knew that already and I can't see that this adds much helpful to the total sum of knowledge.

On the doom-and-gloom scenarios, I wonder if their models take account of the increased carbon-fixation and/or water-efficiency of plants as CO2 rises? Or if their agricultural predictions take account of the chances of success of the C4 Rice Project which could potentially hugely decrease the input requirements of the world's most important food crop, allowing more people to be fed with less?

With 'friends' like Greenpeace opposing GM technology, the world's hungry mouths don't need enemies. A government minister yesterday called them “wicked”. I don't think them wicked. I just think they are hopelessly misguided and ignorant, just like the campaign against carbon dioxide.

Oct 14, 2013 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart