Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

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joebartels
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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 BobP » Nov 04 2009 7:04 am

nonot wrote:They didn't believe he would fall off, that's another myth that's been propagated by schoolchildren.
I stand by my statement most people in the 15th century were ill it er ate and scientists disagreed back then. I know many cultures thought the world was round not only the Greeks.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 04 2009 9:48 am

Rob, you're not alone. There are many of us with scientific credentials that are not just playing anything on the Internet, either. One needn't do research day in and day out to actually understand the science. We all took the same basic classes and have that same basic knowledge base. In fact, a lot of us in the fields of applied science see the effects of these issues, first. Climatologists may have the big picture, but I can give very real examples of the human toll already paid by severe weather shifts and the disasters that have ensued. Most of my immediate family went the research route and they can all attest to various pieces of this puzzle, as well. I think the problem isn't the message, it's the packaging.

Finally, let's get a little more practical about all of this. Saving energy saves money.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 04 2009 10:49 am

Jeff MacE wrote:Rob, you're not alone. There are many of us with scientific credentials that are not just playing anything on the Internet, either. One needn't do research day in and day out to actually understand the science. We all took the same basic classes and have that same basic knowledge base. In fact, a lot of us in the fields of applied science see the effects of these issues, first. Climatologists may have the big picture, but I can give very real examples of the human toll already paid by severe weather shifts and the disasters that have ensued. Most of my immediate family went the research route and they can all attest to various pieces of this puzzle, as well.
Jeff, I hope I didn't come off implying that anyone was playing anything on the internet here. I know that there are lots of scientific people here on HAZ (people in the medical field come to mind right away). I was just trying to add a bit of levity a la George Clooney's "I'm not a doctor, I just play one on TV." Apologies if I came off wrong there.
I think the problem isn't the message, it's the packaging.
I agree with that completely.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 04 2009 10:50 am

PageRob wrote:
Jeff MacE wrote:Rob, you're not alone. There are many of us with scientific credentials that are not just playing anything on the Internet, either. One needn't do research day in and day out to actually understand the science. We all took the same basic classes and have that same basic knowledge base. In fact, a lot of us in the fields of applied science see the effects of these issues, first. Climatologists may have the big picture, but I can give very real examples of the human toll already paid by severe weather shifts and the disasters that have ensued. Most of my immediate family went the research route and they can all attest to various pieces of this puzzle, as well.
Jeff, I hope I didn't come off implying that anyone was playing anything on the internet here. I know that there are lots of scientific people here on HAZ (people in the medical field come to mind right away). I was just trying to add a bit of levity a la George Clooney's "I'm not a doctor, I just play one on TV." Apologies if I came off wrong there.
I think the problem isn't the message, it's the packaging.
I agree with that completely.
Not at all, just showing solidarity! :D
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 04 2009 10:54 am

Right on brother. :) That's the downside of the internet - no inflection like the spoken word.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 04 2009 11:47 am

I know it! I think we need a HAZ Jamboree for everyone to get together and argue about naked gun-toting college kids hiking on a receding glacier without a SPOT! :sl:
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by writelots » Nov 04 2009 12:03 pm

It seems to be that this debate over whether global climate change is a political or scientific issue is somewhat moot. Just as with religion, science cannot be separated from politics - our decisions on what is right, what is wrong, and what benefits the greater good are impacted by both. It is simply weak rhetoric to say that because a topic is politically charged, it can not be researched objectively. Were Galileo's observations flawed because they disagreed with the political climate of the day? How about Darwin's? Global climate change is a legitimate scientific finding, which is still debated in scientific circles because that's how it's done. Debate on a issue does not automatically render it "untrue", in fact, the debate inevitably strengthens and solidifies the theory by eliminating weak evidence or explanations.

I highly recommend the book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jarred Diamond. It is an incredible, multi-disciplinary look at the pattern of society success and failure as a factor of how those societies interacted with the natural environment. It identifies amazing patterns that have deep ramifications for us today.

Just because I feel like adding it, my personal belief is that - like all aspects of the natural world - we don't have a sufficient understanding of the greater "system" of the environment. The myriad of factors that are contributing to global climate change - both man made and natural - would likely boggle the most complex computer system. But we DO need to address what we're going to do about it - as a global society. Every man for himself has never been a winning strategy when it comes to the cosmos. 8)

And Jeff: I'll come to the Jamboree, but I think the argument about which Mexican food restaurant would cater might take all year!
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by RickVincent » Nov 04 2009 2:06 pm

Way too much focus on global temperature...not enough focus on pollutants. If you want to get political, lets not forget about the polluting and trashing of Southern Arizona by illegals that is damaging our wilderness and hiking trails. Not to mention the boneheads who leave their trash, beer cans and grafitti spewed across the trailheads like I saw on my recent trip to Icehouse Canyon. I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out what happened to the "anti-pollution" lobby. They seem to have been wiped out by the global warming alarmists.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 04 2009 2:15 pm

Rick Vincent wrote:Way too much focus on global temperature...not enough focus on pollutants. If you want to get political, lets not forget about the polluting and trashing of Southern Arizona by illegals that is damaging our wilderness and hiking trails. Not to mention the boneheads who leave their trash, beer cans and grafitti spewed across the trailheads like I saw on my recent trip to Icehouse Canyon. I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out what happened to the "anti-pollution" lobby. They seem to have been wiped out by the global warming alarmists.
The Border Patrol funnels them into those sensitive areas...on purpose. If we were really serious about protecting places like Organ Pipe we wouldn't allow an entity working on our behalf to continue to ignore those places and even make an active effort to force those crossing into them.

What's more - the Border Patrol and customs have done untold amounts of damage to sensitive ecosystems and trails by ripping through them however and whenever they please. I'm not for an open border but I would like all the facts laid out if we're going to point fingers.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by JimmyLyding » Nov 04 2009 2:46 pm

More on this issue.
*It scares me that so many people in this country buy into the idea that the theory of global climate change is being put forth by Al Gore and scientists in an attempt to hurt our way of life. This makes no sense. "Hi, I'm Al Gore, and I hope you watch my movie and buy my book because it will help you harm your quality of life."

*It also scares me that so many people in this country buy into the argument that science is a religion. That idea is ludicrous, and the only reason it gets traction with some people is because they can't come up with science-based arguments to counter those put forth by actual scientists.

*What scares me the most is how so many people in this country view environmental issues. A lot of people seem to view environmental issues as they do their favorite football rivalry. Wildcats root for the Sun Devils to lose, and vice versa. Many Americans are against what the environmentalists are for as a matter of course even if it runs counter to their own self-interest. "I don't want emissions regulated at my local power plant [even if it means my family and I have to breathe in more mercury, sulphur, and other things that are bad for respirating organisms]."

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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by chumley » Nov 04 2009 4:14 pm

rally_toad wrote: 1. The mean global temperature is not rising.
2. Human beings have no effect on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
3. There is no correlation between Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and global climate.
1. This isn't an issue. Depending on the timeframe in question, most agree there is at least some global warming.
2. I don't know that there's much argument here either. Our society produces carbon dioxide. Lots of it.
3. Here's the point of real disagreement. Data shows that CO2 levels have increased. Except that the way we collect CO2 data today is obviously different from how we determine how much CO2 there was hundreds, thousands, millions of years ago, it seems to be an accepted fact that there's more CO2 now than there was before. So scientific studies have concluded that temperature and CO2 increases are correlated. Hard to argue that, look at the graph (we've all seen it). But does one cause the other? That's a theory which is supported by the correlation. What is not studied (at least not on any significant scale) is any other data that might be correlated to temperature increase or C02 increase. Because we know so little about our climate, our planet, and our solar system that its impossible to correlate to data that we don't have. I don't know what it is. Clouds, sunspots, magnetic fields, gravitational pull from other universes? Who knows.

Its the old argument: roses are flowers, and roses are red, therefore flowers are red. If that's all the data you have, then its a true statement. But once you introduce more data (lets call them daisys and tulips) then all of a sudden the whole hypothesis is wrong.
Jeff MacE wrote:Science is NOT religion, sir...not even close. Pseudoscience may be analogous to a religion for some, however.
True. My point was overstated. Obviously science is not religion, however there is belief that goes into a scientific hypothesis before it is then proven (or attempted to be proven). Facts are gathered to prove or disprove a hypothesis. Discovery is rarely something that is completely new, but rather something that is found to be different than that which was previously established.

Creationism vs evolution is the grand poobah. Creationism is based on faith in a (scientifically unprovable) higher power to at least "get the ball rolling". Evolution is based on a faith that there was always something there. I've never seen any scientific study that can explain how this all started. Big bangs don't happen from nothing. Or at least scientists can't explain how absolutely nothing can explode and suddenly there's matter that can further evolve. There are hypotheses out there, but they have not and can not be proven with the data we currently have. So that takes a belief or faith in something that can't be proven. That was my reference to science being religion.
JamesLyding wrote: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.
I think it is naïve to think that pandering politicians, think tanks, and corporations only benefit from one side of this debate. There are trillions of dollars to be made by plenty of evil corporations (who will certainly draw pandering politicians and their think tanks) who will jump on board whichever side they think they can make the most money on. Oh, and anybody who thinks that the USA is evil, irresponsible, greedy, immoral, etc. Those people also benefit from the human-caused argument. Yes, that's a political argument.
PageRob wrote: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!
I agree with this too. Just today there's all kinds of new news about the planet Mercury. Apparently we just gathered all kinds of data that contradicts all the data we had before. It was an established fact (scientific consensus?) that Mercury was a planet with basically no iron on its surface. Well, now we have data that seems to disprove that entirely. (Rob I concede I read this in the newspaper, and not in a published paper, so I may be missing some details). My point is that scientists know amazingly little about Mercury. And the data they had before lead to a conclusion that is totally different from the conclusion drawn when more data became available. We know more about Earth's climate. But relatively speaking, not much more.
Vaporman wrote: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.
Yes, data is the key to science. And I notice that we haven't stopped collecting data on the climate. Logic tells me that is because scientists think there is more to learn about our climate. I subsequently draw the conclusion that we don't know enough about it now. (I know, that's a big mental leap to make).

In the US, we have reliable surface temperature readings dating back basically 100 years. Around the rest of the world ... much less. On the oceans ... even less time. We are basically talking about a few decades of very limited data. Sure there are studies in ice cores and tree rings that can be used to support a hypothesis, but it is hard to argue that is really good data.

Next, there are so many factors that are not known. Solar flares have been mentioned. I've seen studies relating to lower percentages of reflective cloud cover which increases the amount of sun which hits (and heats) the Earth's surface. There's Earth's magnetic field which is supposedly weakening. Animals migrate based on the magnetic field. We don't know how or why, but we know they do. Is it possible that the climate can be affected by it too? I don't know. I'm just asking.

When humans try to mess with nature, we usually learn how insignificant we really are. Lets suppress forest fires. (Um, turned out to be sort of a bad idea). Let's eliminate wolves from an ecosystem because they're killing our cattle. (It never occurred to anybody that this one element of the cycle was critical to so many other things that it caused huge unintended changes to other species, plants, even reducing wetlands/riparian areas. Seriously, did anybody think that eliminating wolves would cause previously fertile river valleys to dry up?)
azpride wrote: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.
This is something that absolutely everybody should agree on.
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.
There are a lot of things here.
I couldn't agree more. I will gladly share a pint, hike, or a campfire with anybody here. And I typically enjoy listening to and understanding viewpoints that may differ from mine. :thanx:
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 04 2009 5:18 pm

This has been a wonderful, albeit sometimes heated, discussion! I am not going to participate because I don't know enough about it. I really should read several good books on the topic. (So those of you who are participating, please feel free to mention some titles.)
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 04 2009 5:59 pm

chumley wrote:Creationism vs evolution is the grand poobah. Creationism is based on faith in a (scientifically unprovable) higher power to at least "get the ball rolling". Evolution is based on a faith that there was always something there. I've never seen any scientific study that can explain how this all started. Big bangs don't happen from nothing. Or at least scientists can't explain how absolutely nothing can explode and suddenly there's matter that can further evolve. There are hypotheses out there, but they have not and can not be proven with the data we currently have. So that takes a belief or faith in something that can't be proven. That was my reference to science being religion.
As an aside, evolution says nothing about the origin of life, simply what happened after the first simple life came into being. There is Abiogenesis, which is pretty soundly supported by experimental evidence, but unrelated to evolution per say.
I agree with this too. Just today there's all kinds of new news about the planet Mercury. Apparently we just gathered all kinds of data that contradicts all the data we had before. It was an established fact (scientific consensus?) that Mercury was a planet with basically no iron on its surface. Well, now we have data that seems to disprove that entirely. (Rob I concede I read this in the newspaper, and not in a published paper, so I may be missing some details). My point is that scientists know amazingly little about Mercury. And the data they had before lead to a conclusion that is totally different from the conclusion drawn when more data became available.
That is far out!
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by chumley » Nov 04 2009 6:25 pm

Yeah I'm not a scientist. Abiogenesis may be well-established. I just question the science behind where the biological soup came from. I might have been talking about cosmogony? (a word I admit having never heard of until I just looked it up)

And Mercury isn't nearly as far out as Pluto, which scientists have decided isn't a planet anymore anyway. :D
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 04 2009 6:42 pm

chumley wrote:Yeah I'm not a scientist. Abiogenesis may be well-established. I just question the science behind where the biological soup came from.
The exact conditions of early Earth that lead to the creation of organic molecules and simple proteins have been recreated may times in the lab in what has become a classic experiment.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Vaporman » Nov 04 2009 6:44 pm

PageRob wrote: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.
You make some great points Rob. :) Doing a quick google search, I was able to find this and appears to be saying the same theory that I read before:
http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/PRL48701.pdf
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 04 2009 7:50 pm

Right on, thanks Brian.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 04 2009 8:36 pm

Interesting read, thanks!
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by joebartels » Nov 04 2009 9:01 pm

I was searching around for why (or so it seems the majority) environmentalist continue to burn fossil fuels. Couldn't find an answer to that but this seemed interesting.
Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type_to_Y2004.png
Years of production left in the ground with the most optimistic proved reserve estimates (Oil & Gas Journal, World Oil)
* Oil: 43 years (43 years using levels and flows above*) ["above" is in the page below]
* Gas: 167 years (61 years using levels and flows above)
* Coal: 417 years (148 years using levels and flows above)

ripped from wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by dysfunction » Nov 04 2009 9:05 pm

I think the 'why' is contained more in the lack of other 'acceptable' fuels. I would say that without hesitation that there are very few people willing to give up all their modern conveniences to eliminate their energy needs. There are more who may be willing to 'get off the grid', but even then it's a significantly low percentage from what I've seen. Of course, initial cost of many of these systems could very well be why.
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