Himalayan Glaciers and Schoolboy Science

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change authoritative Fourth Assessment Report made the alarming suggestion that global warming could cause Himalayan glaciers to melt completely away by 2035. The IPCC assessment reports are supposed to be rigorously peer-reviewed by thousands of climate scientists. In November, the Indian Ministry of the Environment issued a comprehensive scientific review [pdf] of the dynamics of Himalayan glaciers which, among other things, concluded:

It is premature to make a statement that glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating abnormally because of the global warming.

The report was immediately denounced by the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, who scathingly dismissed it as "schoolboy science."

Now it turns out that the IPCC's magisterial declaration that the Himalayas would be glacier-free in 25 years was based on a statement from an Indian glaciologist lifted from a 1999 article from popular science magazine New Scientist. Schoolboy science indeed!

BBC News notes:

Some commentators maintain that taken together with the contents of e-mails stolen last year from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, it undermines the credibility of climate science.

You think?

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  • ||

    So there's still a chance I still can go sledding in the Himalayas after 2035? Yessssss!!

  • ||

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  • ||

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  • MJ||

    Do you $28 million burning a hole in your pocket? That's the number I remeber hearing on the radio today.

  • Brian E||

    "Some commentators maintain that taken together with the contents of e-mails stolen last year from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, it undermines the credibility of climate science."

    Quoth Ron: "You think?"

    I don't think it's particularly surprising that the substantial economic incentives at work in the academic industry produced this result. I've been on both sides of the peer review process. I've had good work rejected just because it wasn't advancing the narrative of the hot topic of the moment, and I've been squished as a reviewer when trying to push an author for more justification or data. I've also talked to enough CS postgrads doing grant work on horrible, hacked-up Fortran models (whose source is almost never released with the paper for obvious reasons) to know that models rarely do what the author purports them to do.

    I suspect there's been a lot of energy devoted to covering this particular problem up because it reveals just how much the whole scientific process in academia has gone off the rails (particularly in the modeling- and statistics-dependent fields where experimental verification is in short supply), and just how much of a waste of money chasing fads much of it is. This is doubly so when the possibility of political influence is loaded into the process.

    The question is, Ron, why did you get suckered in to this "consensus" in the first place?

  • ||

    This does not undermine the credibility of climate science. This undermines the credibility of people who quote from non-credible sources.

  • Brian E||

    This undermines the credibility of the political side of it, which frankly shouldn't have had any credibility to begin with.

    The extreme reluctance to release unadulterated source data and source code - to the point of discussing destroying data! - certainly undermines the credibility of climate science. I don't see why I can't download a collection of raw source data with end-to-end traceability on collection and handling processes, along with a set of sources for the models used to support the AGW hypothesis, and examine the whole thing myself. Anything short of that basically boils down to "trust us, we know what we're doing".

  • ||

    Did I say climate politics? Because I could have sworn I said climate SCIENCE...

  • ||

    As practiced by these charlatans, it's the same thing.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    This raised the question, what else has the IPCC lied about?

  • Old Mexican||

    The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change authoritative Fourth Assessment Report made the alarming suggestion that global warming could cause Himalayan glaciers to melt completely away by 2035.

    The Volcano God is angry!

    The report was immediately denounced by the head of the IPCC, Rajendra "Shaggy" Pachauri, who scathingly dismissed it as "schoolboy science."

    Heathens! You shall all suffer the wrath of the Volcano God for suggesting he is not that angry!

    Now it turns out that the IPCC's magisterial declaration that the Himalayas would be glacier-free in 25 years was based on a statement from an Indian glaciologist lifted from a 1999 article from popular science magazine New Scientist.

    The Volcano God shows his anger in strange ways indeed!

  • Old Mexican||

    Some commentators maintain that taken together with the contents of e-mails stolen last year from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, it undermines the credibility of climate science.

    You know, you guys make it difficult to appease the Volcano God with all your second-guessing...

  • enrique||

    Does this mean that Bailey now questions the CO2 meme again?

  • ||

    good. Now all I have to do is convince him that climate change is caused by H2O. True story. Unfortunately, the farm lobby is far, far more powerful than the oil lobby.

  • Adderall Apocalypse||

    hey, let's ask the people in Bangladesh what they think about the climate science... *rolleyes*

    I'm a bit not at all surprised that you put so much stake in the word of "some commentators," when if you really looked at the CRU e-mails, they don't actually do anything to undermine the past 40 years worth of climate research. I also like how you picked this one outrageous, outlying claim as a basis to attack the entire field of climate research. Nice going.

    "I don't see how one mistake in a 3,000-page report can damage the credibility of the overall report," [van Ypersele] said. "Some people will attempt to use it to damage the credibility of the IPCC; but if we can uncover it, and explain it and change it, it should strengthen the IPCC's credibility, showing that we are ready to learn from our mistakes."

    But no, let's go with the anonymous "some commentators"... I'm sure they're the reliable ones here...

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Adderall Apocalypse,

    hey, let's ask the people in Bangladesh what they think about the climate science... *rolleyes*

    Bangladeshi people have not thrown enough virgins to the Volcano God - Volcano God angry with them.

    I'm a bit not at all surprised that you put so much stake in the word of "some commentators," when if you really looked at the CRU e-mails, they don't actually do anything to undermine the past 40 years worth of climate research.

    No, just THEIR research.

    I don't see how one mistake in a 3,000-page report can damage the credibility of the overall report," [van Ypersele] said.

    Yeah, I wish I could get away with that:

    "Ok, I *know* there is a mistake in the balance sheet, but it is only one mistake among thousands of pages, Mr. Sarbanes-Oxley Inquisitor!"

  • Adderall Apocalypse||

    um... what? excuse me? please point out to me the flaw in what I was saying. Tell me where in the CRU e-mails there was any indication of a vast conspiracy to keep a vast body of research out of the public domain that discredited the validity of AGW... thanks...

    Also, they obviously didn't "get away" with that mistake because it was caught and they're correcting it... What are you arguing with me about? =|

  • ||

    I really don't think the guys down at the IPCC are consciously lying or anything like that. I think they just don't have any good data controls or standardization, sloppy processes, and are disconnected from the code on their computers is actually doing (which they don't understand).

  • oaktownadam||

    Which raises the question, why do we accept the conclusions arrived at by those same people, and declare the science "settled"?

    Especially when politicians (who DEFINITELY don't understand the science, or even the process) want to make global policies based on those conclusions.....

  • Adderall Apocalypse||

    and what are you basing this on? =|

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    Well at least they finally came around and apologized for the error.

    U.N. Climate Chief apologizes for glacier error

  • ||

    I think that the planet is slowly destroying itself. And it might no happen in our lifetime but we are falling. And eventually we will hit the ground. Youtube to MP3

  • Treks in Himalayas in India||

    The Himalayas, home of the snow, is the most impressive system of mountains on the earth, and for centuries the setting for epic feats of exploration and mountain climbing / treks.

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