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 PaleoRob » Nov 05 2009 6:24 am

We would love to go off grid, but not only do two school teachers not make enough money to get going in totally off-grid solar and wind, but local regulations actually make that very difficult. If we lived far enough away to be free of the local regulations, we'd be burning more fossils fuel to get in to our jobs, and that would also cut into our budget (spending more on gas), making it even harder to go off grid.
Now we have a truck that can use Ethanol instead of gas, but there's no where within 240 miles that sells Ethanol at the pump! Mmm...:(
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 05 2009 6:46 am

I had to go through heck down here in Tucson between the building department and TEP to get my solar up and running. They do not make it easy. That was after finally deciding that the cost was worth it. The way things are today in Tucson, you have to really want to be on renewables to make it happen. Until that changes there will be little adoption.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by dysfunction » Nov 05 2009 7:18 am

In response to Jeff MacE:
I can see that, it was a struggle just to get fairly conventional tech like a tankless water heater passed inspections.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by chumley » Nov 05 2009 9:24 am

Jeff MacE wrote:
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.
I'm not disputing that. I'm saying science can't prove what happened before that. (before "early Earth, before our solar system, before all of it.) Just keep going back one step and asking "ok, but where did that XYZ come from?" until you have to admit that something created it. That something may be a "higher power" or it may be a something scientific that we don't yet understand, but it can't be explained with the knowledge we currently have, you just have to believe what you believe.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by dysfunction » Nov 05 2009 9:27 am

I'm not sure why this is such an issue... Faith is faith, science is science. The two can coexist.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 05 2009 9:34 am

dysfunction wrote:I'm not sure why this is such an issue... Faith is faith, science is science. The two can coexist.
Of course they can. I only take issue with the two being compared.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by chumley » Nov 05 2009 9:43 am

dysfunction wrote:I'm not sure why this is such an issue... Faith is faith, science is science. The two can coexist.
Its not that they CAN coexist, they actually HAVE to coexist. Science can't explain everything.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by BobP » Nov 05 2009 9:58 am

I heat from this thread has started to die down :)
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by dan.anderson » Nov 05 2009 11:08 am

Whether you believe man is causing the climate to warm or not, reading the latest IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) "conclusive, we've found the smoking gun" report (AR4) on climate change is incredibly instructive. I got so sick and tired of both sides absolute belief one way or the other I figured I'd do a little research of my own. AR4 claims to contain the most up to date body of scientific data gathered from scientists/governments around the world on climate change data.

I do not have a scientific background, and I don't think one is needed to follow the research from a laymen's perspective. (Though the IPCC went to great lengths to use arcane and uselessly complex language). After reading the nearly 1000 page long report, and following citations to some of the key foundational research, specifically on the earth's global mean energy budget, I've made what I think are a few pertinent observations.

The conclusion is implicit within the research. i.e. The Summary for Policy Makers and the AR4 FAQ assume man has caused GW, therefore the research proves it. The ice is melting, the polar bears are dying, man emits lots of pollutants, therefore man must have done it. No scientific lynchpin is contained in either of these docs, even though you'd think it would be drawn out in crayon for policy makers.

The climate system is obviously complex, and many assumptions are made on how the earth receives/absorbs/exchanges/reflects energy. The more you read, the more variables you discover are involved. Water vapor is by far the most powerful (highest radiative forcing affect )of all the greenhouses gases. Yet the citations underlying the IPCC report's key conclusions admittedly state we don't understand the total affect of clouds on the earth's energy budget. Radiative Forcing is the key scientific concept of man caused GW, so start with that chapter for fun!

Politics & Religion aside, to assume we know with absolute certainty than man has or has not caused the climate to warm is naive, arrogant, and foolish. No doubt we are beginning to understand how our climate system works, but pushing the panic button and spending trillions and trillions of dollars to attempt to mitigate climate change is even more foolish. We could certainly save more lives now with relatively little money by providing clean water and improved malaria treatments for sub-Saharan Africa than taxing Carbon emissions. Carbon taxes have done nothing to reduce Co2 output in Europe.

Carbon based fuel is dirty, exports our nation’s wealth, most of it lies under incredibly dangerous countries/causes or is under state control and can easily be used as leverage against us. Seems to me it would be prudent to develop new sustainable sources of energy to rid ourselves of the pollution and war required to support our reliance on oil. Why do emerging market countries such as China and India get a free pass on the Kyoto Protocol? Is that Politics, Science or Religion?

BTW, Al Gore has set up a new firm with some of his buddies at Goldman Sachs to trade Carbon Credits. He is so selfless it makes me weep......

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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 05 2009 1:02 pm

Why haven't we ratified Kyoto?!
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by dysfunction » Nov 05 2009 1:15 pm

Jeff MacE wrote:Why haven't we ratified Kyoto?!

Because it did not meet political or business goals.
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 05 2009 2:45 pm

dysfunction wrote:
Jeff MacE wrote:Why haven't we ratified Kyoto?!

Because it did not meet political or business goals.
I know; I was being rhetorical... :D
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 05 2009 3:10 pm

"We must not allow a carbon emissions gap!"
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by chumley » Nov 05 2009 5:06 pm

My "best friend" has got to go. :(
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CBS News 11/5/09 4:58 PM

Just Blame the Dog for Environment's Ills
New Study Claims Eco-Footprint of Canines is Greater than SUVs'

(CBS) So apparently Rover whizzing on the carpet isn't the worst thing he does. Not by a long shot. He's also killing the planet.
Maybe that's a little harsh. But, at the very least, he's not helping matters.
That's according to a study titled Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living, which finds that dogs have a greater eco-footprint than gas-guzzling SUVs.

Robert and Brenda Vale, two sustainable-living researchers from New Zealand, authored the study, which was reviewed in the New Scientist. Their conclusions are based on the amount of resources expended to feed household pets -in a medium-sized dog's case it takes slightly more than 2 acres of land to produce the roughly 360 pounds of meat and 210 pounds of grain they consume each year.

In contrast, less than half that amount of land would be required to produce the energy to power an SUV driven a modest 10,000 miles a year, according to the study.

Larger dogs would obviously have a greater eco-footprint; smaller dogs a lesser one.

Cats, meanwhile, have a smaller footprint -roughly a third of an acre -but that doesn't mean they're environmentally friendly either. As the New Scientist notes, "cat excrement is particularly toxic" and has been known to cause brain disease in sea otters off the California coast. (Thanks to cat owners flushing used kitty litter down the toilet, which makes its way out to sea).

But some other scientists are dubious of the study's primary findings.

"When I saw the study I ran some quick numbers," Clark Williams-Derry, chief researcher at a the Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based sustainability thinktank, told the Seattle Times. "The average dog has to eat at least twice as much as the average person for this to be right. People are just heavier than dogs so, I just had to scratch my head at that.

"It doesn't mean dogs don't have a big impact," he said. "But I view it with a healthy dose of skepticism."

But short of getting rid of your pets, what can be done to minimize their environmental impact? The Vales' study suggests modifying their diets to be less resource-intensive.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/ ... 5721.shtml
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 05 2009 5:27 pm

Plus if we didn't have our dogs to pet and comfort us we'd all go nuts and start killing one another, so there would be fewer people to pollute the earth as a result. Yeah, sure, great idea, I'll just run out and plug ol' Molly with the .38...
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by dysfunction » Nov 05 2009 7:11 pm

In response to Jeff MacE:
You'd think with three kids I'd recognize those :sl:
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by soren2004 » Nov 06 2009 9:10 am

"I had to go through heck down here in Tucson between the building department and TEP to get my solar up and running. They do not make it easy. That was after finally deciding that the cost was worth it. The way things are today in Tucson, you have to really want to be on renewables to make it happen. Until that changes there will be little adoption."

Actually, the PV solar panels and wind power are WORSE for the environment. But they are dang expensive, hence why you are allowed to build them.

Remember, PV cells are based on semi-conductor technology. That uses TONS of highly toxic chemicals to produce just a tiny amount of electricity. Given how much energy you put into making the PV cells, you won't break even for almost 2 decades, if at all. That means you contribution to reducing carbon is zero at best, but in reality these systems have increased carbon out put into the environment.

And the average EFFECTIVE lifespan of the cells is somewhere on the order 13-18 years. By 20 years you only getting a fraction of the power out of them. The cost of cells even after rebate requires you to own them for almost 20 years as well.

Then you have to dispose of them. And they are WICKED TOXIC. Yes, you have toxic waste up on your home. I bet they don't tell the people who buy them about that.

Wind power is a complete joke. Those wind generators are responsible completely hosing up the power grid. The entire Texas power grid choked last year when for less than a minute all of those wind generators stopped turning (the wind stopped). Just about fried the entire system. Currently they are running at about 8% wind power. They want to ramp it up to 30%. OMG! Can you imagine the power spikes and brownouts that will cause?

The Spanish system causes serious harm to the French system. The one and only reason why the French and Spanish systems (which are linked) works is because the French system is like 90% nuclear. Nuclear power is ROCK SOLID. But then we run into the toxic waste problem.

The wind generators are also completely unreliable. So remember, you want your refrigerator to run all the time in July, not once in a while. Once in awhile means your milk turns into cheese and your beef grows fungus. If you buy a room full of batteries you are, once again, contributing to the toxic waste problem because the only viable/economical energy storage system at your disposal are lead acid batteries.

If environmentalists were actually serious about this problem, and trust me from an engineering standpoint they are absolutely not, they would be working on energy storage solutions for the competely unreliable wind/solar power systems. You could build two level lakes next to each of these wind farms. When you are generator excess power you pump water up to the top level, when you are low on power, you use the dam to generate power down to the lower level. This is not rocket science and its been suggested for almost 200 years! But no one listens.

The one system that does seem to work better, but not very well, are the thermal storage systems. They use lots of mirrors to focus light on a tower. That tower heats up a huge salt cavern below the power plant. I think they said they *might* get it up to 500F on a good day. That means they might be able to supply power all night, if they had a really good day. In the winter these systems are basicaly going to shutdown.

If you really want to go "off the grid" and help the evironment, you need energy storage and renewable generation. Build yourself an immense water tower. I'm not talking a little farm water tower. I'm talking about the kind they used to have in downtown Mesa (anyone remember the enormous blue tank?). Pump water up to your tank with your generators during the day, and pump it down at night. I'm guessing this kind of system will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And the amount of coal that will be burnt in producing the large water tank,solar cells, wiring, electronics, etc will far exceed the amount of energy you ever get out of the system. So in the end you have actually harmed the environment, but made a few men very very rich buy purchasing all of that hardware. :)

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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 06 2009 9:32 am

soren2004 wrote:Actually, the PV solar panels and wind power are WORSE for the environment.
I disagree with this statement. While yes, solar panels are made of toxic chemicals, and yes you do have to dispose of them, by stating only that you make it sound like other power options don't produce any waste during manufacturing, which is pure bunk.
Given how much energy you put into making the PV cells, you won't break even for almost 2 decades, if at all. That means you contribution to reducing carbon is zero at best, but in reality these systems have increased carbon out put into the environment.
That was true before, but some places are manufacturing solar panels with power derived from solar panels.
And the average EFFECTIVE lifespan of the cells is somewhere on the order 13-18 years. By 20 years you only getting a fraction of the power out of them. The cost of cells even after rebate requires you to own them for almost 20 years as well.
Half true. Break-even point after rebates is about 10 years.
Nuclear power is ROCK SOLID. But then we run into the toxic waste problem.
Very true. And I worry more about its waste products than I do solar waste products.
If you buy a room full of batteries you are, once again, contributing to the toxic waste problem because the only viable/economical energy storage system at your disposal are lead acid batteries.
There are other affordable battery options, actually.
If environmentalists were actually serious about this problem, and trust me from an engineering standpoint they are absolutely not
I think that is completely untrue. You think there are 0 environmental engineers that actually care about the environment?
You could build two level lakes next to each of these wind farms. When you are generator excess power you pump water up to the top level, when you are low on power, you use the dam to generate power down to the lower level. This is not rocket science and its been suggested for almost 200 years! But no one listens.
This is a bad idea. It is in use in California for off-site storage reservoirs, and the reason why it has not been widely used elsewhere is that it is terribly inefficient. Due to the (natural) laws governing energy, you only end up making about 30-50% of the energy from pumping back on the downhill generation. That is a heck of a lot less efficient that battery storage.
If you really want to go "off the grid" and help the evironment, you need energy storage and renewable generation. Build yourself an immense water tower. I'm not talking a little farm water tower. I'm talking about the kind they used to have in downtown Mesa (anyone remember the enormous blue tank?). Pump water up to your tank with your generators during the day, and pump it down at night. I'm guessing this kind of system will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And the amount of coal that will be burnt in producing the large water tank,solar cells, wiring, electronics, etc will far exceed the amount of energy you ever get out of the system. So in the end you have actually harmed the environment, but made a few men very very rich buy purchasing all of that hardware. :)
And it also would not get you off grid, due to the laws of thermodynamics... :doh:
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by joebartels » Nov 06 2009 9:52 am

Nuclear power is ROCK SOLID. But then we run into the toxic waste problem.
Why not rocket it off right into the sun? I guess a misfire would be bad :scared:
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Re: Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 06 2009 10:02 am

I've actually been advocating for this solution as well. My wife hates the idea because of that very potential problem.
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