Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

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Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by joebartels » Nov 02 2009 8:51 pm

By SINDYA N. BHANOO
Published: November 2, 2009

The ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has continued to retreat rapidly, declining 26 percent since 2000, scientists say in a new report.

Yet the authors of the study, to be published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reached no consensus on whether the melting could be attributed mainly to humanity’s role in warming the global climate.

Eighty-five percent of the ice cover that was present in 1912 has vanished, the scientists said.

To measure the recent pace of the retreat, researchers relied on data from aerial photographs taken of Kilimanjaro over time and from stakes and instruments installed on the mountaintop in 2000, said Douglas R. Hardy, a geologist at the University of Massachusetts and one of the study’s authors.

The photographs measure horizontal shrinkage of the ice, and the stakes indicate the reduction in depth. Both are decreasing at the same rate, Dr. Hardy said.

Researchers studying the mountaintop, including those involved in this study, differ in their conclusions on how much of the melting could result from human activity or other climatological influences.

The lead author of the study, Lonnie G. Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, has concluded that the melting of recent years is unique.

In 2000 he extracted deep cylinders of ice from Kilimanjaro’s glaciers and found that the higher layers were full of elongated bubbles — signs that melting and refreezing had occurred in recent years.

There was no presence of the bubbles in the deeper layers of the cores, Dr. Thompson said.

If his dating of the ice core layers is accurate, surface melting like that seen in recent years has not occurred over the last 11,700 years.


But Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the Institute for Geography of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, said that the ice measured was only a few hundred years old and that it had come and gone over centuries.

What is more, he suggested that the recent melting had more to do with a decline in moisture levels than with a warming atmosphere.

“Our understanding is that it is due to the slow drying out of ice,” Dr. Kaser said. “It’s about moisture fluctuation.”

But Dr. Thompson emphasized that the melting of ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro was paralleled by retreats in ice fields elsewhere in Africa as well as in South America, Indonesia and the Himalayas.

“It’s when you put those together that the evidence becomes very compelling,” he said.

Cabinet to Meet on Mt. Everest

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s cabinet will hold a meeting on Mount Everest to highlight the threat from global warming, which is causing glaciers to melt in the Himalayas, an official said Monday.

The cabinet will meet at the Everest base camp this month, just before an international climate change conference in December in Copenhagen, said Deepak Bohara, the forest and soil conservation minister.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and other cabinet members will fly by plane to the 17,400-foot camp, the starting point for mountaineers trying to climb the world’s highest mountain.

Last month, the cabinet of Maldives donned scuba gear and held an underwater meeting to highlight the threat of global warming to that nation, the world’s lowest.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 03 2009 8:57 am

rally_toad wrote:Just remember, vaporman, not only are those scientist liberals godless, they're coming for our guns!!!
I'm a godless liberal scientist and I have more guns than most tea-bag wing-nuts...is that bad? :D
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by dysfunction » Nov 03 2009 9:00 am

In response to Jeff MacE:
Do your liberal friends find you too conservative, and your conservative friends consider you a liberal nut job too?
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by BobP » Nov 03 2009 9:05 am

Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?

Oh wait wrong thread. :D
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by dysfunction » Nov 03 2009 9:11 am

In response to rlrjamy:
:sl: :sl:

thank you.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 03 2009 9:13 am

"That's the way a hardcore Commie works!!" :sl:
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by DarthStiller » Nov 03 2009 9:15 am

rally_toad wrote:lets get some hard scientific articles links from you that support the hypotheses that
1. The mean global temperature is not rising
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/scien ... kin&st=cse

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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by chumley » Nov 03 2009 9:20 am

rally_toad wrote:This has everything to do with our children, giving them a cleaner place to live, where they can still have the same opportunities we have.
I tend to think that our children will have exactly NONE of the opportunities we now enjoy if we establish some kind of "world government" in the name of "science" or "climate" whose main purpose is to limit the freedoms (opportunities?) that you and I still have today.

Never in history has any society succeeded when its ability to produce and use energy has been restricted.

Scientists may have some compelling data in support of human-caused climate change. I've read some reports from both sides of the debate. And I don't know personally, because I'm not a climate scientist. But the argument over human-caused climate change is not a scientific one. It is political. Even in this thread, the citation of science is to support a political view.

Let's not pretend. Scientists attempt to establish facts. Its their job. Politicians take scientific findings and use them to do something positive for our children.

---
rlrjamy wrote:Religion, polictics, and science will always have winners and losers and shades of my turning hair color.
Very true. The problem is that the people who side with one of the three don't recognize that they're all the same. Science IS religion, religion IS politics, and Politics IS about being in power over others.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by BobP » Nov 03 2009 9:26 am

polic tics
opps I forgot the e. ;)
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by chumley » Nov 03 2009 9:54 am

Here's my biggest problem with the debate, as clearly illustrated by the NYT article linked above
And some climate experts worry that it could hamper treaty negotiations and slow the progress of legislation...
What are scientists doing negotiating treaties and pushing legislation?
Involvement in the politics totally undermines any factual evidence gathered during scientific study.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 03 2009 5:27 pm

Science is NOT religion, sir...not even close. Pseudoscience may be analogous to a religion for some, however.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by nonot » Nov 03 2009 6:59 pm

They didn't believe he would fall off, that's another myth that's been propagated by schoolchildren. Contrary to popular belief, the Greeks in B.C. years pointed out that the Earth was not flat due to the round shadow it cast on the moon. It was pretty much accepted by Columbus's time the earth was round, they after all, were on their way to India, not knowing the American landmass existed.
rlrjamy wrote:In response to chumley:
CC sailed the ocean blue in 1492..most people thought he'd fall off. The "scientists" disagreed back then also :o . Some even used a different calendar. Religion,polictics, and science will always have winners and losers and shades of my turning hair color. The lonies from both sides will fight it out and both will profit. Opinions on the internet and in person are just that. But your wrong...The HAZ forum slovez everything :sl:
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by nonot » Nov 03 2009 7:13 pm

http://zfacts.com/metaPage/lib/zFacts-g ... 0-2005.gif

Been increasing since the industrial revolution and has never looked back except during the deconstruction of the Nazi's and Japanese production capabilities after WW2. Stiller's graph shows it's increasing as well, unless your decide that last point headed down has way more significance that it deserves. That's the thing that separates this issue from being scientific and moving into politics, that last point now can be debated by 15000 politicians with meaningless arguments but in 5 years will be nothing more than a scientific curiosity.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by JimmyLyding » Nov 03 2009 8:07 pm

Let's remember that we're all friends here, and that any sort of debate about politics/science/religion/whatever should also include the caveat that the interested parties should be just as good of friends after the debate as they were before the debate.
There are a lot of things here.

*I challenge anyone who has at least basic understandings of physics, ecology, and chemistry to deny global warming/climate change after reading 'The Weather Makers' by Tim Flannery. Human beings have shown a remarkable capacity to change the environment, and possibly the best example is how our species wiped out many of the world's megafauna species at the end of the Pleistocene. Of course one could argue that climate change caused the extinctions of woolly mammoths, megalania, giant short-faced bears, sabre-toothed tigers, North American horses, etc.....and I hope none of us fail to see the irony in what I just wrote.

*Ridiculing Al Gore and his idea that we have had a negative effect upon our planet's climate is counterproductive. It is just as easy to ridicule Sarah Palin for her outright denial of human-caused climate change. At least Al Gore has a good deal of science behind his proposition while Sarah Palin hides behind slogans that some people believe carte blanche. She's a person who thinks that we can drill our way out of foreign oil dependency despite having 3% of the world's petroleum reserves while using 25% of it. She's a person who went to the University of Hawai'i-Hilo, and left because it rains too much for her taste. Why did she think there's a jungle around that small city? The right would ridicule Al Gore and any idea he put forth no matter what it is. The right would ridicule Al Gore for claiming that one shouldn't eat fast food every day because it's a detriment to one's health.

*Chumley brings up some interesting points. I find it hard to believe that some "world government" would be promulgated to hurt our current way of life merely to hurt our way of life. Any sort of multinational treaty to reduce energy consumption, use more "green" energy, and restrict the use of energy that has a modifying effect upon all of us and our future would be done so with the intention of benefitting all of us. Kind of like the World Trade Organization, NATO, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, etc. The idea that there will be some sort of set of international laws that's put in place merely to hurt us rich Western folks makes no sense.

*Science is most certainly NOT religion. Look at who benefits from putting forth the idea that human beings have caused damage to our climate: people who write books, university scientists, and environmental organizations. Look at who benefits from putting forth the idea that human-caused climate change is a myth: oil companies, right-wing politicians who pander to a certain audience, and think-tanks who benefit from both. Do the math.

Alex, I agree that I overstated when I said that climate change caused the "destruction" of the Anasazi culture. However, I would argue that the climate change they wrought upon themselves turned them from a region-wide civilization into bands of people who were somewhat overtaken by the Athabascans who came from the north. The Athabascans who occupied the highlands were hunter-gatherers, and those who became the dominant people north of the central Arizona highlands (i.e. the Navajo) became herders and farmers because a land denuded of forest/Madrean evergreen woodland is not conducive for hunting and gathering. Just as Jared Diamond hypothesized that the Mayans didn't disappear, but rather degraded their environment to the point where they couldn't sustain a large, centralized society and thus became subservient (for lack of a better word) to the Aztecs and their contemporaries who also came from the north.

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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by joebartels » Nov 03 2009 8:20 pm

JamesLyding wrote:Let's remember that we're all friends here, and that any sort of debate about politics/science/religion/whatever should also include the caveat that the interested parties should be just as good of friends after the debate as they were before the debate.
: app :

Reminds me of a great quote I read somewhere... (at the top of each forum page)
If you have an opinion then state it. Supporting your opinion with facts is best. Responding to members you disagree with is permitted if courteous.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 03 2009 8:40 pm

As a scientist (yes, a real scientist, not just playing one on the internet) and now a science teacher, much in this thread saddens me. Now I am not a climatologist, and I have not done ice cores/pollen studies/upper atmosphere sampling/anything else that relates to the climate change research. I am, however, a published scientist, and I know what that all entails.
When someone says, "Oh, some scientists say 'the earth is melting,'" or whatever, I think that most people don't understand it is not just some scientist saying what he or she thinks. The idea would have been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Peer review means that other scientists have looked over the paper and agreed that the experiment or results were conducted without bias or in an objective manner. The scientists looking over the paper don't have to agree with the results - if the data was collected in an unbiased manner, that is the important thing. Citing a NYT article is not the same as citing an actual scientific paper. Journalists tend to spin things, I've noticed, and "dumb down" for the general, non-scientific public. Take for example all the exasperating ads that say "scientifically proven to reduce wrinkles and lines." Total BS. But people are more willing to believe that (since those products are still on sale) than they are to accept actual scientific findings about things like climate change/evolution/etc.
Science is not religion. Facts do not require belief. That is not to say religion is unimportant/irrelevant/etc., but it really tweaks me when people think that science is a religion. Religions are generally unchanging (at least over our lifetimes), whereas science encourages change. It is one of science's biggest strengths - it isn't about someone being right or wrong, it is about the facts. Think about how much scientific thought has changed in the last 50 years!
Will climate change kill off all life on earth? No. Life will adapt and evolve. Will it have a serious negative impact on humankind? Absolutely. Sure you can throw things out like plants needing CO2 and longer growing seasons in the super-fertile Canadian plains, but that is slightly disingenuous because it doesn't offer any negatives like sea level rise in coastal cities, decreased productivity in African farmlands, increased desertification, etc.
Another thing is that one fact does not invalidate a theory. Some glaciers may not be retreating, or even advancing, but on the whole, ice sheets and glaciers are advancing. One or two might be affected positively affected by local weather patterns, but that doesn't mean that the majority of the earth's ice isn't undergoing a massive decrease in volume. Listening to Michael Crichton, the New York Times, a TV news show, a religious figure, or a politician won't actually help you understand any science. Take the time to actually read the science. The papers might be boring or dry, but guess what - its is coming straight from the source, without anyone' twist on it.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PrestonSands » Nov 03 2009 8:53 pm

JamesLyding wrote:Let's remember that we're all friends here...
Word. Family, almost! And again I respond with: "Life is too short, and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend."
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by DarthStiller » Nov 03 2009 9:00 pm

PageRob wrote:a NYT article is not the same as citing an actual scientific paper.
I know, but its the best I could come up with on short notice (and at work). I thought it was enough to show that on either side, no one should be on a high horse on this issue. At the heart of this, we're talking about predicting the weather. The meteorologists can't predict the weather with 100% accuracy next week, let alone in 50-100 years. And we don't think of weathermen as voodoo witch doctors, we know what they do is based on science, as is the argument for global warming/climate change.

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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Vaporman » Nov 03 2009 9:20 pm

Sorry for getting a little carried away with my opinion... :whistle: Yea, I'm not a scientist but I am a concerned citizen that doesn't like the direction his country is headed... :x
PageRob wrote: Some glaciers may not be retreating, or even advancing, but on the whole, ice sheets and glaciers are advancing. One or two might be affected positively affected by local weather patterns, but that doesn't mean that the majority of the earth's ice isn't undergoing a massive decrease in volume.
Assuming the data is being collected correctly and that we have enough of it... Even if the globe is slowly warming and cooling in cycles, we don't fully know if that's because of us or just a natural cycle of the planet or related to the cycles of the sun's solar flares. I've recently read that the solar flares are in a lull right now and will build back up around 2012 and in correlation our global temperatures have slightly dipped since the early 2000s. Sorry, I couldn't find a decent link in a timely manner or the time to fully research it... And even if our release of CO2 is slightly warming the planet, which I highly doubt, that doesn't mean that we shoot ourselves in the foot and regress as a civilization while China dumps loads of pollutants and overtakes us both militarily and economically. :roll:
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by JoelHazelton » Nov 03 2009 10:06 pm

Even if Global Warming isn't real, I don't see why people take such issue with motions to conserve energy. If you don't do it because of global warming, do it because no matter what, everyone can agree that earth's resources are limited.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 04 2009 6:42 am

Vaporman wrote:Sorry for getting a little carried away with my opinion... :whistle: Yea, I'm not a scientist but I am a concerned citizen that doesn't like the direction his country is headed... :x
Nothing wrong with caring about your country. I think that most people on here care about their country, no matter their political view.
Assuming the data is being collected correctly and that we have enough of it...
Always a good question. 1 or two tests is not enough, obviously, but if many repeated tests come back showing the same result, it soon becomes obvious which way the data is heading (supporting or disproving the hypothesis).
Even if the globe is slowly warming and cooling in cycles, we don't fully know if that's because of us or just a natural cycle of the planet or related to the cycles of the sun's solar flares.
Certainly the globe has undergone massive overheating and supercooling in the past (look into snowball earth and the Carboniferous period for examples of each). Is the current warming trend human caused? Well it seems like the correlation between global CO2 and global temperature is pretty strong. Yes, obviously, CO2 is not the strongest "greenhouse gas", but it IS the most abundant, and quantity has a quality all its own. Methane may be 10x stronger than CO2, but CO2 composes about 0.0383% of the earth' atmosphere, whereas methane is only 0.0001745% (quick grabs from Wiki, so maybe not 100% accurate, but pretty close to what NASA lists as well).
I've recently read that the solar flares are in a lull right now and will build back up around 2012 and in correlation our global temperatures have slightly dipped since the early 2000s. Sorry, I couldn't find a decent link in a timely manner or the time to fully research it...
If you do, I'd be interested in reading more. Solar flares are interesting things in their own right, I'd never heard about a correlation between flares and temperature.
And even if our release of CO2 is slightly warming the planet, which I highly doubt, that doesn't mean that we shoot ourselves in the foot and regress as a civilization while China dumps loads of pollutants and overtakes us both militarily and economically. :roll:
That's politics, not science.
A scientific question that has political implications, however, is "Can humans do anything about the increase in global temperatures?"
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