Friday, February 16, 2007


Read the report from today's news below and then the skeptical report from India below that. Although it happens all the time, the term "local warming" seems to be entirely absent from the Greenie vocabulary. Note that the central United States experienced local COOLING during the 20th century

The principal glacier of the world's biggest tropical ice-cap could disappear within five years as a result of global warming. The imminent demise of the Qori Kalis glacier, the main component of the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, offers the starkest evidence yet of the effects of climate change, one of the world's leading glaciologists said today. Although scientists have known for decades that Qori Kalis and the other Quelccaya glaciers are melting, new observations indicate that the rate of retreat is increasing, Lonnie Thompson, of Ohio State University said.

When he visits this northern summer, he expects to find that the glacier has halved in size since last year, and he believes that Qori Kalis will be gone within five years. "This widespread retreat of mountain glaciers may be our clearest evidence of global warming as they integrate many climate variables," Professor Thompson told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Francisco. "Most importantly, they have no political agenda."

The Quelccaya ice-cap, covering 44sq km in the Cordillera Oriental region of the Peruvian Andes, is the world's largest tropical ice mass. Qori Kalis, its biggest glacier, has receded by at least 1.1km since 1963, when the first formal measurements were made from aerial photographs. The rate of retreat has increased: between 1963 and 1978, it shrank by 6m a year, a rate that has now risen tenfold.

Professor Thompson predicted six years ago that the celebrated snows of Kilimanjaro would be gone from Africa's highest mountain by 2015, and he now thinks that that estimate may have been too conservative. He said: "Tropical glaciers are the canaries in the coalmine for our global climate system, as they integrate and respond to most of the key climatological variables - temperature, precipitation, cloudiness, humidity and radiation."

A critical piece of evidence from almost 50 scientific expeditions to seven shrinking tropical ice-caps points to global warming as the reason for their decline. In all but one case, snowfall has increased as ice volume has fallen. More snow should mean advancing glaciers, unless rising temperatures are melting the extra precipitation and the ice tongues themselves. The fate of tropical glaciers globally will have an impact on water supplies relied on by more than 4 billion people.


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