Himalayan Glaciers Gone by 2035? IPCC Mistaken

By Arnoldy, Ben | The Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2010 | Go to article overview

Himalayan Glaciers Gone by 2035? IPCC Mistaken


Arnoldy, Ben, The Christian Science Monitor


The 2035 Himalayan glacier doomsday date in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was a mistake, say Indian scientists. But debate continues over how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting due to global warming.

First, the good news: Himalayan glaciers are not likely to disappear by 2035, as originally claimed by a widely-publicized United Nations report.

The bad news? Scientists did not challenge the spurious date for years and some now warn that, in fact, our understanding about Himalayan glaciers rests on thin data.

Over the past week, it emerged that the doomsday date found its way into a 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) not from a peer-reviewed study but from an interview published in the New Scientist 10 years ago. That article attributed the prediction to Syed Iqbal Hasnain, a noted Indian glaciologist, who denies he put forth such a date.

Dr. Hasnain said this week he saw the mistake 10 years ago but did not seek a correction because it did not appear in a scientific journal. Other Indian scientists, after debunking a similar claim about melting glaciers in response to an Indian Parliament inquiry, also did not seek out the press with the information, says Rajinder Ganjoo, director of the Institute of Himalayan Glaciology at the University of Jammu.

"Perhaps we thought it was not important at the moment or maybe that the IPCC was a big dinosaur," he says. Asked if he has felt political pressure, he declined to comment further.

The IPCC draws upon some 2,500 scientific reviewers and basks in the prestige of a Nobel Prize, while Indian glaciologists number barely more than a dozen. And the task ahead of them is, well, Himalayan.

"As of today, there are roughly 50 glaciers that have been worked scientifically," says Dr. Ganjoo. "Frankly speaking, 50 glaciers are absolutely a tip of the iceberg to get an idea about the other 9,500 [Himalayan] glaciers. I think it will take us ages to do work on each and every glacier."

Hurdles abound. Many glaciers lie above 18,000 feet, making them virtually inaccessible. The mountain range also falls along tense international borders between India, Pakistan, and China. India has classified decades of glacial data gathered by the Geological Survey of India. Ganjoo's work on the Siachen glacier - where Indian and Pakistani troops periodically trade potshots - required special permissions from defense officials.

A consensus has emerged among scientists that the data gathered so far generally shows glaciers on the retreat particularly in the northeastern Himalaya. But there remains debate over why they're shrinking, and at what rate.

Some of that debate has been hashed out in the scientific journals. Ganjoo sides with a faction that argues there are so many factors involved in glacial melt that a finger cannot yet be pointed at rises in atmospheric temperature - i. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Himalayan Glaciers Gone by 2035? IPCC Mistaken
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.