Himalayan melt impacts

by Judith Curry

A new publication in Nature Geoscience projects an increase in runoff from Himalayan catchmants during the 21st century, despite a decline in glacier size.

Rising river flows throughout the 21st century in two Himalayan glacierized watersheds

W.W. Immerzeel, F. Pelliciotti, M.F.P. Bierkens

Abstract. Greater Himalayan glaciers are retreating and losing mass at rates comparable to glaciers in other regions of the world. Assessments of future changes and their associated hydrological impacts are scarce, oversimplify glacier dynamics or include a limited number of climate models. Here, we use results from the latest ensemble of climate models in combination with a high-resolution glacio-hydrological model to assess the hydrological impact of climate change on two climatically contrasting watersheds in the Greater Himalaya, the Baltoro and Langtang watersheds that drain into the Indus and Ganges rivers, respectively. We show that the largest uncertainty in future runoff is a result of variations in projected precipitation between climate models. In both watersheds, strong, but highly variable, increases in future runoff are projected and, despite the different characteristics of the watersheds, their responses are surprisingly similar. In both cases, glaciers will recede but net glacier melt runoff is on a rising limb at least until 2050. In combination with a positive change in precipitation, water availability during this century is not likely to decline. We conclude that river basins that depend on monsoon rains and glacier melt will continue to sustain the increasing water demands expected in these areas.

Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo1896, 2013. [link] to abstract

From the Utrecht University press release:

One of the big unknowns of climate change predictions — and one that has led to considerable contention — lies in knowing the future of water runoff from the Himalayas. The snow- and ice-rich region supplies water for billions of people in Asia and is sometimes referred to as the Earth’s “Third Pole.”

A study out yesterday in Nature Geoscience by Walter Immerzeel, a physical geographer at Utrecht University, suggests that, in at least two major Himalayan watersheds, river flows and runoff should rise until 2100.

They found that in both watersheds, runoff from glaciers should increase until the 2040s or 2060s, later than previous estimates, depending on which climate scenarios are applied.

There is still considerable uncertainty in the finding that runoff will increase through 2100, Immerzeel noted, because global climate models vary widely in their projections for future precipitation in the region.

In the paper, Immerzeel points out that his new finding contradicts previous work he has published, suggesting that runoff in the Indus and Ganges basin would decrease. At least for now, this is good news for people and farmers who rely on that water, he said.

“Strong increases in water demand are projected in the Indus as the food production needs to grow to feed the quickly rising population,” Immerzeel said. “An increased water availability from the mountains may help to sustain this growing demand.”

Immerzeel plans to research how the timing of water availability might shift in his own future research. The researcher also pointed to the need to examine how extremes, such as floods, landslides and glacier lake outburst floods might change along with the climate.

Webster and Jian

Addressing some of the Immerzeel’s future research interests, Peter Webster published a paper several years ago in Proc. Roy. Soc. entitled Environmental prediction, risk assessment, and extreme events:  adaptation strategies for the developing world.   The relevant excerpt from the abstract:

 Based on imperfect models and scenarios of economic and population growth, we further suggest that flood frequency and intensity will increase in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and  Yangtze catchments as greenhouse gas concentrations increase.  However, irrespective of the climate change scenario chosen, the availability of fresh water in the latter half of the 21st century seems to be dominated by population increases that far outweigh climate change effects.  Paradoxically, fresh water availability may become more critical if there is no anthropogenic climate change.

Circum Himalayan Riparian Threats

Several years ago, my company CFAN wrote a report on this topic for Office of the Secretary of Defense; the material may be somewhat outdated, but here is the intro paragraph:

Major rivers originating in the Himalayas include the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Irrawaddy, and Yellow Rivers.  Their combined drainage basin is home to 3 billion people, including Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.  The headwaters of these rivers lie in the Himalayas in Tibet, parts of which are under the control of the People’s Republic of China.  Given the large and growing population of South and Southeast Asia and the increasing demand for water for irrigated farming and industry, transboundary disputes over water are ongoing and are significant and growing concerns, particularly if a major drought looms in the future.  These disputes are central to food security, energy needs and resources and the future of water resources in the region.  Riparian security issues are key for two major rivers in the region – the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers – and climate change (particularly drought) might act as a threat accelerant in riparian conflicts in South Asia.

Text from my 2010 Congressional Testimony:

Arguably the biggest global concern regarding climate change impacts is concerns over water resources. This concern is exacerbated in regions where population is rapidly increasing and water resources are already thinly stretched. China and South Asia (notably India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) are facing a looming water crisis arising from burgeoning population and increasing demand for water for irrigated farming and industry. China has been damming the rivers emerging from Tibet and channeling the water for irrigation, and there is particular concern over the diversion of the Brahmaputra to irrigate the arid regions of Central China. China’s plans to reroute the Brahmaputra raises the specter of riparian water wars with India and Bangladesh.

The IPCC AR4 WGII makes two statements of particular relevance to the water situation in central and south Asia:

“Freshwater availability in Central, South, East and South-East Asia . . . is likely to decrease due to climate change, along with population growth and rising standard of living that could adversely affect more than a billion people in Asia by the 2050s (high confidence).”

“Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005).”

The lack of veracity of the statement about the melting Himalayan glaciers has been widely discussed, and the mistake has been acknowledged by the IPCC.  However, both of these statements seem inconsistent with the information in Table 10.2 of the IPCC AR4 WG II and the statement:

“The consensus of AR4 models . . . indicates an increase in annual precipitation in most of Asia during this century; the relative increase being largest and most consistent between models in North and East Asia. The sub-continental mean winter precipitation will very likely increase in northern Asia and the Tibetan Plateau and likely increase in West, Central, South-East and East Asia. Summer precipitation will likely increase in North, South, South-East and East Asia but decrease in West and Central Asia.” 

Based on the IPCC’s simulations of 21st century climate, it seems that rainfall will increase overall in the region (including wintertime snowfall in Tibet), and the IPCC AR4 WGII does not discuss the impact of temperature and evapotranspiration on fresh water resources in this region. The importance of these omissions, inconsistencies or mistakes by the IPCC is amplified by the potential of riparian warfare in this region that supports half of the world’s population.

For the past week, the climate news world has been abuzz on the topic of climate change and conflict.  A question that needs to be asked is what is the risk of  highly confident consensus statements about future climate change impacts, like the Himalayan glaciers melting in 2035, of provoking conflicts? And if these confident projections turn out to be wrong . . .

As a I stated in my recent  Congressional Testimony:

I have found that the worst prediction outcome is a prediction issued with a high level of confidence that turns out to be wrong; a close second is missing the possibility of an extreme event.

JC summary

Owing to the high population that is rapidly growing and the high level of societal vulnerability, the South Asian region ranks among the most volatile in terms of potential adverse climate variability/change impacts.  Immerzeel and colleagues have done a careful study on topic having substantial socioeconomic and security implications.  Immerzeel has carefully stated the uncertainties, and provides context for the uncertainty in terms of his previous paper that found the opposite conclusion.

IMO, the IPCC AR4 got off pretty lightly for its error regarding the Himalayan glaciers, given the potential for this disastrously wrong forecast to have caused conflict in the region.  I hope that especially WGII will be more careful next time.

197 responses to “Himalayan melt impacts

  1. the Himalayan glaciers melting in 2035

    You know that started off as a typo for 2350, right?

    And the confidence expressed? That got lost in the grey literature, too.

    Sort of like the kind of typo problems and overconfidence one could find in Morgan “Brazilian” and Pielke’s paper.

    • A typo is not the issue, it is how the claim was so uncritically embraced and trumpeted into AR4 and other places that are supposedly “peer reviewed” for scientific accuracy:

      does Lonnie Thompson correct his own mistakes in the scientific record?

      • Bart R gives us a nice insight into his process of ratiocination.
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      • Skiphil | August 8, 2013 at 12:11 am |

        His name’s BAzilian, not BRazilian.

        He’s an Irish expert on international finance and development of some sort, IIRC.

        It’s a perfectly understandable typo for Dr. Curry to have made. And the many elementary errors in the field of development economics made in B&P’s paper from the previous topic?

        It’d be easy for someone who knows nothing about development economics to accept these wild claims.

        Sure, the IPCC in AR 4 had that, and perhaps as many as 5 other errors as egregious in it’s 20 lbs of printed documents.

        IPCC AR 5 is said to be even heftier. Likely, someone will find another half dozen typo-level errors in its depths in the next half decade, too.

        But I can find as many errors as serious in any half page of our host’s blogposts, on any given day.

        Why can’t you?

      • “But I can find as many errors as serious in any half page of our host’s blogposts, on any given day.

        Why can’t you?” – Bart

        Ditto-headism

      • They got it from an unreliable source. They did not catch a critical typo that changed the date forward by more than 300 years. Tell me again how many 1,000’s of experts review the IPCC reports? And the “typo” showed up twice in the same paragraph. Then they let it be broadcast all over the world by the MSM and did not say a word. It was up to the skeptics and a few mainstream climate folks to point out it was badly off. Poor science. In fact, advocacy masquerading as science.

      • John Carpenter

        how many times can an error exist
        before its allowed to be seen?

        how many times can a man turn his head
        pretending he just doesn’t see?

        Yeah Bart, that was one heck of a typo… but if it looks like something the presumably many reviewers thought it should look like, then I can see how it would make it through. Do you think there might have been some personal bias in those reviewers or do you think they all honestly missed it? Worse yet, maybe there was no real review at all, just a cut and paste mishap? No matter how you slice it, it doesn’t really reflect well on the their review process does it?

      • What’s perhaps most amazing about that error is that the huge contradiction between reality and the projection is fully visible on that page of the IPCC report. Anyone with slightest tendency towards quantitative thinking should have noticed immediately that the year 2035 cannot be even close to the truth, when the data given in the table and shown in the satellite image about glacier retreat are taken into account

        Just look how much the glacier terminus shown in the satellite image has retreated in 220 years or during the previous 30 years.

        To realize that contradiction the reader need not no anything about the glaciers. Still that got trough.

      • Steven Mosher

        “But I can find as many errors as serious in any half page of our host’s blogposts, on any given day.”

        Bart That what review is all about.

        When a document is heavily reviewed by professionals from all over the world one should expect it to have fewer mistakes than a blog post reviewed by the likes of us.

        Plus the issue isnt mistakes. the issue is the response to the mistakes.

      • Easy and obvious response, moshe: It was a typo but we’re all still going to die. Look at the low information voters like Bart who’ve bought into that meme.
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      • Steven Mosher | August 8, 2013 at 10:52 am |

        So are you saying the IPCC AR4 had the same intensity of errors as is typical of a blog? Any blog? CE?

        I reject that fingoism on the patent and overwhelming evidence otherwise.

        And what response do you see to the catching of such egregious errors from Curry, other than Pachauri-like double-down voodoo defensiveness?

        And in all this, people are overlooking that Dr. Curry promoted a scam paper by an oil tycoon who makes his money by exploiting the poorest of the poor with megaprojects they don’t want and his partner, Pielke Jr. who ventured into a field he has zero credentials in, lending his credibility to a shark, while getting even the author’s name wrong.

        If the paper had been authored by a similar pedigree, would Dr. Curry have told us the authors were Kroch and Pielke?

        This Pielke’s pulling a McKitrick over people’s dyskeptical, gullible, eyes. Or more like Bazilian is pulling a McIntyre, since I doubt Pielke has the skepticism necessary to prevent being used by a skillful manipulator.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Skiphil, what is most important to me is the error was pointed out during the peer review process. The IPCC simply failed to handle the reviewer’s remarks in any reasonable fashion. Then when the AR4 was published and criticized for this error, the IPCC defended the text!

        That’s more damning then the error itself.

      • John Carpenter

        “And in all this, people are overlooking that Dr. Curry promoted a scam paper by an oil tycoon who makes his money by exploiting the poorest of the poor with megaprojects they don’t want and his partner, Pielke Jr. who ventured into a field he has zero credentials in, lending his credibility to a shark, while getting even the author’s name wrong.”

        Attention Joshua, Bart just pulled a ‘mommy mommy, Curry and Pielke Jr did it toooooooooooooooooooooo’

        Bart, you backed the wrong horse and now your looking like the back side of it. There is no good defense of the poor reviewing process and there has been no RCCA of the process either. Quit trying to make this steaming pile smell like a rose.

      • Bartringoism (n): The failure of a neologism to be adopted by anyone, despite its authors repeated, annoying use.

      • Which one or ones, TerryMN?

      • Steven Mosher

        “Sure, the IPCC in AR 4 had that, and perhaps as many as 5 other errors as egregious in it’s 20 lbs of printed documents.”

        The error Nic lewis found was not typo level.

        It lay at the heart of the most important calculation.

      • Nic sure upped the tempo of the dance. Shreds of cut rugs stretch as far as the eye can see.
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      • Steven Mosher

        Brandon Shollenberger | August 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        Skiphil, what is most important to me is the error was pointed out during the peer review process. The IPCC simply failed to handle the reviewer’s remarks in any reasonable fashion. Then when the AR4 was published and criticized for this error, the IPCC defended the text!

        That’s more damning then the error itself.

        #############

        Dont confuse Bart, nobody would defend a mere typo level error.

        He read harder. I bet he even read the review comments that we fought to get online Via FOIA

      • “But I can find as many errors as serious in any half page of our host’s blogposts, on any given day.”

        As “serious”? Are you drunk? You are comparing a blog with the IPCC’s AR 4.

      • That cannot be, Brandon. Bart R has declared it a typo, so It. Must. Be. True.

        Really, Bart should be made to memorize and write the first rule of holes 200 times on a chalkboard, for his own good. What a maroon.

    • Problem is that many people recall how bad this is and most still don’t know it was wrong. I mean really, really, wrong.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘It turns out the 2035 estimate came not from a peer-reviewed scientific paper but from an interview conducted in 1999 by New Scientist magazine with the Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain. The article, which included a “speculative” claim by Hasnain that the Himalayan glaciers could vanish by 2035, then became part of a 2005 report by the World Wildlife Fund — and that report, apparently, became the source for the IPCC claim. For his part, Hasnain says he was misquoted in the New Scientist article and claims that he had said that only a subset of the Himalayas’ glacial cover might be gone in 40 years. (In my own interviews with Hasnain for a recent TIME article on Himalayan melting, he made no mention of 2035 and emphasized the need for more field research before we could be certain just how quickly the glaciers were disappearing.)

      Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1955405,00.html#ixzz2bLo1lx6Y

      • Heh, 2350 was just the sort of excuse Bart R would fall for.
        =========

      • Nice. So when Bart R. says all should “know” that 2035 was just a typo for 2350, he’s making stuff up. Interesting, he sounded so certain….

      • Uncertainty doesn’t enter his world. Lucky guy.
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      • willard could amuse himself with the origin of the typo meme.
        ============

      • The really insidious thing about this lie is that 2350 is frightening, too, but just as unsupported. And nevermind attribution. That’s a slam dunk, right?
        ==========

      • Chief Hydrologist | August 8, 2013 at 1:01 am |

        So let me see if I understand this right. The object lesson you take from an article in Time that suggests an article in New Scientist was inaccurate and poorly researched is to trust Time’s claims without question?

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8387737.stm

        http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001065/106523e.pdf

        Do you happen to have a better source?

        Possible Hasnain misread, misremembered, mistyped or was misquoted by New Scientist on a reference to the 1996 paper, in 1999?

        Whatever the case, quibble.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Quibble? The typo was a quibble – a fabricated one at that. I can apparently say ethically challenged but not fraud so I wont.

        ‘(Errata)
        Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world (see Table 10.9) and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005).’

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch10s10-6-2.html

        Sure we would all like to reference reputable sources like the WWF.

      • Here is another article on the Himalayan error. It says even the reference to the WWF was an error.

        http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2010/02/anatomy-of-ipccs-himalayan-glacier-year-2035-mess/

      • steven | August 8, 2013 at 6:55 am |
        Here is another article on the Himalayan error. It says even the reference to the WWF was an error.

        http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2010/02/anatomy-of-ipccs-himalayan-glacier-year-2035-mess/

        Thanks Steven,

        Now I can clearly see that it was not just one “typo” but actually about 15 different examples of false information in a variety of crappy sources and the “experts” in the IPCC simply copied and pasted from a whole slew of grey sources without checking the veracity of any of it or apparently using any critical thinking skills. Sounds like Bart R.

      • Bart R is an innocent victim of the curse of bias, a lethal example of which is in steven’s link above. Three and a half years on from that wonderful analysis, Bart R dutifully recites the narrative, and the IPCC stumbles on its clumsy way.
        ================

      • kim | August 8, 2013 at 9:38 am |

        Victim of the curse?

        Wow. Talk about a storm of dittoes.

        How again are you proposing that what I’ve said in any way conflicts with Bidisha Banerjee and George Collins’ conclusions and recommendations, which I found pretty impressive.

        They are, after all, the reason I developed my catchphrase, READ HARDER:

        The offending paragraph about Himalayan glacier retreat was widely quoted in the media, without their first having adequately checked the sources used by IPCC. Perhaps this same tendency explains why most blogs and newspapers have reported incorrect and fragmentary versions of the IPCC’s errors in this case.

        ..because they don’t READ HARDER.

        We expect a great deal from the IPCC process, and, at least as far as Section 10.6.2 goes, those expectations were not met. How much can we also reasonably expect from serious science journalism?

        We can reasonably expect it to READ HARDER.

        The curse can be vanquished. ..if responsible people READ HARDER. Perhaps both scientists and science journalists can learn from the best practices of each other’s professions. ..to READ HARDER. IPCC professional copy-editors could double- and triple-check facts, especially when expert comments raise questions. ..they ought READ HARDER. Moreover, IPCC could better append corrections to the original text where needed. (While the IPCC has retracted the paragraph in question, one can still download 10.6.2 without any indication that it contains an erroneous paragraph.) .. because that would help their audience READ HARDER.

        Finally, experienced journalists are comfortable talking with both natural and social scientists. This controversy reveals a disconnect between IPCC Working Group I (which got the glaciology right), and Working Group II (which allowed the erroneous paragraph to slide). .. because that’s what happens if you don’t READ HARDER.

        Furthermore, science journalists and their editors, notwithstanding the economic pressures facing the media, need to resist inevitable temptations to base major conclusions on single sources of information without sufficient verification, which Chettri, Pearce, the WWF, the IPCC, The New York Times, the Sunday Times, and many papers quoting them have all done in different ways. .. because they didn’t READ HARDER.

        Ultimately, there is a common lesson for both scientists and the media: the need to drill down to original sources. ..which you do, when you READ HARDER. This extra effort is vital in reporting on such complex and critical issues: It could help avoid future runaway quotations – like the claim that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 – and enable science, the media, and society to focus on real environmental problems, such as glacier melt which continues around the world. ..which you’ll know is still extremely well-founded and serious, if you READ HARDER.

        The IPCC’s Himalayan glaciers mistake in the end can encourage stricter editing, closer scrutiny, and more transparency in the review process. In that case, the mistake will have served a valuable function. .. by reminding people to READ HARDER.

      • READ HARDER, you say, yet you promoted it as a typo. I should READ you HARDLY.
        ====================

      • kim | August 8, 2013 at 10:28 am |

        Promote?

        Promote?

        Further the progress of, support or actively encourage, give publicity to so as to increase sales or public awareness?

        WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

        I’m not promoting an ancient typo, I’m using it to argue against such sloppy, inept, by now inexcusable continuation of the practices that fostered and inflated such a mistake into a virulent corruption of knowledge and reason.

        And I’m pointing out that this fortunately rare type of incursion of stupid in the IPCC reports is practically modus operandi at CE.

        How do you cherry pick out one single word in one sentence and turn it into the opposite of the whole comment so glibly?

        Is it perhaps because you’ve had so much practice?

      • A crystal diamond of obduracy; Bart’ll never melt. I thank you for broaching the question; it’s been a helpful discussion.
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      • Now turn the question, Bart; how much else of the IPCC’s stuff is affected deleteriously by such biased processes? willard could well wonder here, where?
        ================

      • “Sure we would all like to reference reputable sources like the WWF.”

        No doubt Bart R thinks using the WWF as a reference was a typo too. >.<

        Pachauri and others not only repeating, but trumpeting the mistake as if it were fact, without the slightest amount of critical thinking is actually much more damning than the original error.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It is still not a typo. It is citing an unreliable source. A source that is emphatically not science. Try to think simpler bart – it all becomes clear if you just give up trying to hide the simple truth in some ethically challenged obfuscation.

      • Steven Mosher

        carrick

        Bart has a simple explanation: its typos!!

        And, great philosopher that he is, he will wave newton and einstein at you if you suggest that it might be a bit more complicated.

      • Here was Bart R’s point about typos:

        > The offending paragraph about Himalayan glacier retreat was widely quoted in the media, without their first having adequately checked the sources used by IPCC. Perhaps this same tendency explains why most blogs and newspapers have reported incorrect and fragmentary versions of the IPCC’s errors in this case.

        This is not unlike this rediscovery:

        There is a growing divide in how conservatives and liberals in the USA understand the issue of global warming. Prior research suggests that the American public’s reliance on partisan media contributes to this gap. However, researchers have yet to identify intervening variables to explain the relationship between media use and public opinion about global warming. Several studies have shown that trust in scientists is an important heuristic many people use when reporting their opinions on science-related topics. Using within-subject panel data from a nationally representative sample of Americans, this study finds that trust in scientists mediates the effect of news media use on perceptions of global warming. Results demonstrate that conservative media use decreases trust in scientists which, in turn, decreases certainty that global warming is happening. By contrast, use of non-conservative media increases trust in scientists, which, in turn, increases certainty that global warming is happening.

        http://pus.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/04/01/0963662513480091.abstract

        We should expect recursive requests for ALL THE DATA and furious audits.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Wow – what a maelstrom of motivated reasoning. The particular passage was a stupendous error in judgement in referencing the WWF for a Himalayan factoid.

        And then we get back to the pissant progressive vs. enlightened. classical liberal dichotomy. Guess who’s right? Well just about no one I think.

        Climate – everyone is wrong
        by Robert Ellison
        February 15, 2010
        A climate computing revolution

        Mind you the headline was the editors – http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/02/ellison

      • Bart R
        Your claims of a typo are more bogus after you cite the BBC and 1996 paper, not less. BBC article says that the IPCC actually used 3 other docs for their report and the 1996 paper was not one of them. The 3 docs they cited all referrred to 2035. Some other guy found that a different paper that actually said 2350 which IPCC did not cite and apparently either wasnt aware of it, or didnt decide to include as their reference. This paper wasnt found in 1999 or any other time, it was found after AR4 issue became controversial. So as far as IPCC is concerned they _DID NOT_ do a typo. They got the 2035 figure right, that was in the reference they cited. Their fault is using absolute bogus reports as source for their report without doing the appropriate peer review on those source documents. Their fault most certainly _IS NOT A TYPO_. Apparently you DONT read harder. You should try reading your own references some time. Apparently the only reason you put you references is to shut people up claiming it supports you , with the hope that no one would read it carefully and call you on it.

    • Bart R

      Typo?

      How about when IPCC chairman Rajenda Pachauri labeled claims of the mistake “voodoo science”?

      Max

      • manacker | August 8, 2013 at 2:54 am |

        You seem to be thinking I’m defending the typo.

        I’m not.

        It was hugely stupid. Truly, massively wrong. A failure of intelligence and critical thinking and scientific acumen. It wasn’t even the only one in AR4.

        AND YET.

        And yet.

        If you remember only one thing, it should be that errors at least as large fill every topic here, easily spotted and easily shown to be at least as wrong and at least as serious.

        I’m not here to pillory Dr. Curry. Everyone makes mistakes. Heck, I often purposely make mistaeks in my comments, Persian flaws and testimony to how poor reading skills are.

        I’m providing a useful and valuable service; fact checkers and proof readers can be expensive; their critiques are often far nastier than anything I ever say, and they’re often not terribly good, either.

        Witness the 1000’s of eyes on the IPCC AR4.

      • Well, I’m amused that fact-checker you fell for the typo meme.
        ===============================

      • Ooh, the nice little frame you’ve put yourself into. In the first comment you push the typo meme, and now there is an admission that you don’t defend it.

        No uncertainty in Bart’s World because he doesn’t hear dissonance.
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      • kim | August 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |

        A typo galloping through six years of media and causing a rather glaring and self-contradictory error in a major report isn’t defensible. But it is understandable, and it can be used as an object lesson in fact-checking.

        I’m not claiming to be a very good fact checker. I don’t pretend to put a lot of time into it. Dr. Curry’s gross and patent errors of fact aren’t generally nearly so hard to unwind as a six year long trail of confusion and ineptitude.

        Heck, CE hasn’t even been open six years yet.

        Where from pointing out how easy it is for what likely was a minor mechanical error to balloon when fanatics and idiots get hold of conclusions drawn from it, do you get to that sterile plain you suppose to be Bart’s world?

        Get a map. And read it harder.

      • You are your own GPS and the signal is clear. Admirable, really.
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      • kim | August 8, 2013 at 10:35 am |

        Witty. False. Wrong.

        It’s not hard to see where Dr. Curry gets it from. She’s blending into her surroundings. It’s just protective kimoration.

      • I don’t think I would call it one minor error. You have a lack of fact checking, use of improper literature, citing the wrong literature, and ignoring the comments of expert reviewers just from a rough recall of what I read. Perhaps there was more but I think that is enough to say it was very poorly done.

      • They printed a bible once that said, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

      • He’s not going to get it. If he did, his IPCC world would dissolve.
        ==============

      • Steven Mosher

        Bart R.

        I’m trying to follow your argument that the mistake originated as a typo.
        As I have an advanced degree in this sort of text detective stuff
        and get paid to do this sort of thing, could I trouble you to spell out the argument in detail with references to the source documents.

        Trust me, I will read hard.

      • My tray of type fell off the table and I’ve plumb lost track. This particular episode is valuable for the lesson in IPCC process, and the diagnosis of bias as the curse. To his credit, Bart sees, now anyway, the egregious errors in this particular instance. To his discredit, he fails to generalize in order to understand the way in which unconscious bias has perverted the IPCC vision and mission, and seduced climate science in the process.
        =============

      • steven | August 8, 2013 at 10:44 am |

        From tiny diseased acorns do mighty twisted, bent, corrupt oak trees grow.

        Steven Mosher | August 8, 2013 at 10:58 am |

        Fact check the thread you replied to point counterpoint. It’s all there to a level appropriate to blog comments. Trouble yourself all you like.

      • Steven Mosher

        Bart

        ‘If you remember only one thing, it should be that errors at least as large fill every topic here, easily spotted and easily shown to be at least as wrong and at least as serious.”

        you forget the critical differences

        1. This blog has no formal review by experts
        2. This process happens in days, not years.
        3. This blog is done for free, you get what you pay for
        4. No governments rely on this.

        So, pick any blog post you like. Employ a lead author. Invite reviewers.
        Have them do two formal reviews.

        Then we will compare the errors.

        Further, If the IRS came to you and told they made a mistake in your audit, would you tell them that was ok because your wife sucked
        at balancing the check book.

      • If I had something to remember from this discussion, it is that nobody answered Bart R’s point, which was that the editorial practice of “this reminds me of” followed by thematic ringtones, however witty, might be well be suboptimal.

        We should not expect anything else from Climateballers.

        We should play the ball where it lands.

      • Steven Mosher

        “If I had something to remember from this discussion, it is that nobody answered Bart R’s point, which was that the editorial practice of “this reminds me of” followed by thematic ringtones, however witty, might be well be suboptimal.

        Well since bart made several points folks are free to pick the shot they want to play. have you never played in a best ball? He hits a lot of shots and people are free to come along and play the game from any one of those shots.

        if he wants people to play one shot in particular, then he needs to be clear. Like so

        1. Judy does typos.

        then we can all play that shot as it lies.

        #######################

        We should not expect anything else from Climateballers.

        oh sure you should. If bart wants to make one clear point as opposed to scattered ramblings, evryone will pounce on that point and play it as it lies

        ##############

        We should play the ball where it lands.

        jeez, you never heard of winter rules, or ground under repair.

        Plenty of reasons why one doesnt have to play the ball where it lands.

        try another game

      • Bart has a valid point.

        The unaddressed question, which skeptics are quietly bypassing, is how many errors would one expect in a document the size and depth of AR4.

        Skeptics are quietly trying to push the idea that it’s zero. But I don’t see where they have proven that.

      • Steven Mosher | August 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm |

        Come into my office. Shut the door. I’m afraid we have to discuss our arrangement. This is difficult for me. I’ve never faced this situation with one of my fact checkers before.

        When you came to me and begged me to let you fact check for me this morning, you didn’t mention you had a previous background in this area. It appears on first sight that you have a prejudice regarding the whole 2035 issue, and are — lamentable though this phrase is — treating it as a sacred cow. Your lack of candor erodes the trust and confidence necessary in a fact checker.

        Further, you presented yourself as having substantial credentials in the field, which we have since been unable to verify. We find others with similar names to have graduated in law — hardly a recommendation for a fact-checker — or to have been expelled from Stanford’s PhD program, but no Steve Mosher with an “Advanced Degree In This Sort Of Text Detective Stuff”, and with all goodwill in the world, this has increased skepticism you’re quite ready for the job.

        Further, the attitude and approach, the unwillingness to play the ball, the pick-and-choose as you will method, fails to meet any standard at all of stewardship of fact and truth. Moreover, we’ve found that the claims of being paid to do “this sort of thing” is rather a broad misrepresentation of the actual. I’m sure I can spare us both the embarrassment of a recitation.

        Steve, I’m afraid I have to say, you’re fired.

        On the way back to the clubhouse, feel free to carry my jockstrap. I’d ask John, but it appears he has his hands full with Pielke’s.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You don’t need a fact checker Bart. You need a team of semanticists and a supercomputer working around the clock 7 days a week. You would be left with nothing to say – which is the case now but simply obscured by verbiage.

      • lolwot, “Skeptics are quietly trying to push the idea that it’s zero. But I don’t see where they have proven that.”

        It is not the number of mistakes it is how they are dealt with. One of the Indian members of the work group was quoted as saying to the effect that the “typo” was left in because it would inspire action. The IPCC report should be scientific not “inspirational”. The gray literature, with or without “typos” tends to be “inspirational”.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html

      • > He hits a lot of shots and people are free to come along and play the game from any one of those shots.

        People are also free to wear sunscreen while doing so.

        This freedom in picking and choosing is quite important indeed. Filibustering, to name one variety of picking and choosing, is an essential part of American democracy. Racehorsing is another major variety.

        As long as it does not obfuscate the main point, there’s no harm done in choosing and picking. Reminding the main point is therefore good practice. Sound book keeping should be welcome by auditors of all trades.

      • “One of the Indian members of the work group was quoted as saying to the effect that the “typo” was left in because it would inspire action. ”

        I checked your link. He wasn’t quoted as saying anything about a typo.

        Daily Mail, David Rose.

      • You know before complaining about IPCC errors and fact checking, climate skeptics might want to clean their own house.

      • lolwot, “I checked your link. He wasn’t quoted as saying anything about a typo. ”
        My “typo” was in quote indicating that the term typo is questionable. The term “to the effect” means I was not providing a direct quote. So let’s look a little closer at what was quoted. David Rose’s first paragraph, “The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

        What Rose used as a quote, “Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”

        Dr. Lai didn’t call it a typo if Rose quoted him correctly.

        “encourage them to take some concrete action.” Sounds inspirational to me.

        Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html#ixzz2bQmPfQ3

        Since you noticed that Dr. Lai didn’t use the term typo, let’s just call it a fabrication. A little white lie to drum up some IPCC cash. Playing the system. You decide.

      • lolwot, A little cleaning house,

        “A noble motive, perhaps, but totally inexcusable.”
        Science news http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/55556/description/IPCCs_Himalayan_glacier_mistake_not_an_accident

        “The IPCC asserted in its 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would likely melt by 2035 due to global warming, prompting great alarm across southern and eastern Asia, where glaciers feed major rivers. As it turned out, that prediction was traced to a speculative magazine article authored by an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, which had absolutely no supporting science behind it. Hasnain worked for a research company headed by the IPCC’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri. IPCC’s report author, Marari Lai, later admitted to the London Mail, “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policymakers and politicians and encourage them to take action.”

        Forbes – http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/02/24/yes-we-should-defund-the-u-n-s-intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change/

        How’s your house looking?

      • captdallas 0.8 or less | August 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm |

        Is this the same David Rose who carries Benny Pieser’s GWPFstrap?

        The one multiple scientists — including our own Dr. Curry — have accused repeatedly of manifold misquoting and manipulation of what they said?

        And you’d rather parrot Rose than think for yourself because why?

        What Lal had been saying to everyone else but Rose at the time was that the Himalayas are water source to a huge fraction of the world population, and a section on affects of climate change on the region was therefore mandated. That the people selecting and reviewing sources on that section fell down in a spectacular way on their fact-checking doesn’t alter the fact that the Himalayas are indeed where water for a huge fraction of the world population comes from, and that indeed there are profound risks associated with climate change to the water supply of the region.

        By 2035 are the Himalayas going to be glacier free?

        That’s pretty ludicrous.

        Are people in the Himalaya watersheds going to have to wait to 2035 before climate change has profound effects on their water?

        The evidence indicates that’s already happening right now with monsoons and droughts and floods, and that changes in Himalayan glaciers are playing a present and significant role in risks to these populations.

        Getting 2035 wrong was among the more minor of the faults with AR4, which is proving to have been much too conservative in many of its conclusions, much too linear in its reasoning, much too inconsistent in following through from premise to conclusion, and much too restricted in what it looked at and what urgency to ascribe to action, errors or no.

        Won’t it be interesting to see how much AR5 repeats these mistakes?

      • BartR, “Getting 2035 wrong was among the more minor of the faults with AR4,”

        Intentionally getting 2035 wrong is one of the stark realities of United Nations politics. Pachauri is Indian and has his business practices based on his Indian experiences. The Forbes article dug deeper and found that the source of the 2035 was linked to Pachy and that Dr. Lai let the 2035 go to encourage more concrete action. They played the system. You should know that they would play the system. Instead you sweep the realities under the rug with your milquetoast “Western” version of Kumbaya fair play. IPCC has a stronger political side than it does a scientific side.

        Putting wet behind the ears naive PhD’s in charge of building an IPCC consensus was dumb and the reputation of the IPCC suffers from throwing them to the wolves. Notice how Pachy has the Wolfman thing going on :)

      • captdallas 0.8 or less | August 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

        Yawn.

        You still nostalgic for the old days when crap like this flew with anyone at all outside the cult?

        Get over it.

        Or prove the Himalayas and their glaciers aren’t key to water supplies and climate for a large fraction of the human race, and that changes in the Himalayan glaciers due industrial dumping of CO2E isn’t a major risk factor for these people.

        But you’ll have to learn to frame a valid case first, because by the looks of it you don’t know how.

      • BartR, “You still nostalgic for the old days when crap like this flew with anyone at all outside the cult?”

        So now everyone is completely trustworthy unless …. what? Trust but verify and it was verify that Pachy had an agenda. No big deal, you should never blindly trust anything. I btw have several billion in carbon credits I will sell you for cents on the dollar along with a new bridge for you to live under.

        Can CO2 have an impact on the water resources for nations near the Himalayas? Of Course, but likely not a major glacial melt impact due to air temperature by 2350 with ocean heat uptake currently at ~0.8 C per 400 years.

        Here is a neat new graphic from BEST

      • Captdallas

        Interesting graphic from BEST. It would be more interesting though to see two warm periods compared, say the 1920″s or 1930’s to the decade just ended
        Tonyb

      • Tonyb, “Interesting graphic from BEST. It would be more interesting though to see two warm periods compared, say the 1920″s or 1930′s to the decade just ended.”

        It looks like they are adding a lot of new bells a whistles so who knows.

        For the Tibet region, it does look that much different than the 40s.

        Then there is that pesky secular trend. What did you call it? The long slow thaw?

      • captdallas 0.8 or less | August 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm |

        Nice that you’re trusting and verifying BEST. Well done.

        Could you possibly explain how it’s releva.. oh. Nevermind. Forgot my audience.

        RELEVANCE.

        Who cares that some nutters got 2035 wrong, or even 2350 wrong. We’ve drilled down to the original research, and seen an extraordinary addition to the data and analyses since, and drilled down to the original work for those, and can verify that there’s serious risk increase, at no benefit.

        Isn’t that the one thing we should remember?

    • kim | August 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |

      The meme of repeating that a thing that isn’t a meme is a meme, is that a meme?

    • Normally I wouldn’t use crude athletic terminology in Judith’s exceptionally thoughtful and classy blog, but BartR kind of deserves this:

      Bart, you can’t carry Roger Pielke’s jockstrap.

      • Steven Mosher

        I just threw up a little in my mouth

      • When a coach, at the end of a lecture on disappearing athletic grey t-shirts, remarked that ‘Athletic equipment doesn’t grow on trees’, my brother contradicted him by decorating the coach’s front lawn tree with several hundred jock straps for Halloween.
        ==============

    • Quote: “Strong increases in water demand are projected in the Indus as the food production needs to grow to feed the quickly rising population,” Immerzeel said. “An increased water availability from the mountains may help to sustain this growing demand.”
      Wow, just in time, too.
      Wait…what happens after the glaciers are all melted?? Will there still be enough water in all those rivers to sustain food production for those billions of people??

    • At some point someone should mention that Pachauri, while head of the IPCC, also headed a consultancy called TERI that was bidding on a project to study ice melt and water issues in the Himalayas. He was told about the mistake but didn’t disclose it until the bid was decided. TERI was awarded the project. When the facts of the matter were revealed the contract was rescinded.

      Pachauri may have been a victim of his own motivated reasoning. Or he could have just been flat out dishonest.

      • C’mon, Tom, he didn’t make that typo. He’s completely innocent in all this mess. I blame Bush.
        =================

  2. I, P, & B base regional precipitation forecasts off GCMs with no regional skill? Might as well rain dance.
    =============

  3. rising river floods problems used to be solved by building new dams – dams improve the climate – prevent floods and droughts – and hydro + electricity

    now floods are used for fear-mongering…?

  4. IPCC AR4 got off pretty lightly for its error regarding

    They always get off lightly for errors regarding almost everything.

    Temperature and Sea Level are well in bounds of the past ten thousand years and they always get this terribly wrong.

    Climate Scientists don’t complain because they would get kicked out of the Consensus Clique.

    Media don’t complain because all bad news is good news.

    Politicians don’t complain because they need problems to get money.

    There are some of us out here who are complaining and we are gaining ground. THANK YOU JUDITH CURRY. You are helping us a huge bunch.

    • Agree that thanks should go to Judith Curry for helping shine the light on some of the “consensus team” shenanigans.

      Max

  5. The changes in forecast runoff from the Himalayan regions seem to depend heavily on climate models. These all seem to over-estinate
    global temperature rises and ignore the on/off nature of climste change, so how reliable are they to forecast future run-off?

    The northern hemisphere is consistently warmer than the southern, although the southern is mostly oceans and so has more heat storage than the northern. This may account for Artic and Antartic temperature and melting differencrs

  6. I finally understand why Chicago didn’t get the ’16 Summer Olympics. Not enough snow. Heh, maybe it was too much snow.
    ===========

    • He also called Jacksonville, Savannah, and Charleston ‘gulf ports’. I think the Teleprompter is plotting a coup.
      =================

      • Be careful, I don’t think you can use “teleprompter, plotting, and coup” in the same sentence without NSA having a looky see :),,,,,,

      • Heh, Putin’s been watching my performance on the balance beam for years now. Besides, your life is being crawled by robots, and they have a soft spot for bots like me.
        =================

      • Maybe he meant “golf ports”

  7. We conclude that river basins that depend on monsoon rains and glacier melt will continue to sustain the increasing water demands expected in these areas.

    Oh, how horrible – more good news!

    A travesty!

    Max

    • Yes, let’s not forget several new studies carrying good news about Greenland’s ice, in particular the one about Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise in the last interlacial, the Eemian, where Greenland was 6 to 8 degrees warmer than today for 7,000 years (and somewhat warmer than today for another 8,000 or so).

      Yet Greenland only contributed 2 to 4 meters to sea level rise over all that time. Call it 3 meters, 10 feet, 120 inches, divide by 70 centuries, and you get about 2 inches a century. Amazingly good news! Yet in Revkin’s blog about it, Richard Alley and Jason Box bent over backwards to say that this really wasn’t all the good news it seemed to be (Rivkin to his credit didn’t bite).

      If you believe that humans will get a handle on CO2 emissions within the century, and temps will be elevated for about 2 centuries total, Greenland contributes 3 to 5 inches over 2 centuries, max (because temps likely won’t get to 6 to 8 degrees higher than today, celsius, on Greenland).

      The mainstream media didn’t to my knowledge understand that this was great news, or if they did, they kept it to themselves. Why not?

      If anyone knows of NBC or ABC or CNN carrying this as good news, please tell me, and my hat will become edible.

      • If Greenland didn’t contribute as much it doesn’t mean sea level rose less than thought. It means a greater role from Antarctica.

      • Or it could mean you delusional warmists don’t have a clue about what actual global sea levels are, to anywhere near the precision you claim.

      • No it couldn’t mean that. Estimates of sea level in the Eemien are independent.

      • Lolwot, if we have 7,000 years of 6 to 8 degrees warmer than today in Greenland, and the equivalent in Antarctica, you are right.

        I’m more optimistic. I think that even if we do my preferred policy — and I do agree we are warming, and I do agree that CO2 and methane and black carbon and reduction of sulfates all bear responsibility, and I do agree that we have to reverse this trend at some point in the next 30 or 40 years — that we will stop adding more CO2 about 2050 or 2060 and start reducing annual CO2 additions around 2070 to 2080, and we will have about 2 centuries of temperatures elevated less that in the peak 7,000 years of the Eemian. In this scenario, Antarctica might add, not subtract, ice mass, but whatever happens, it won’t be much.

        My preferred scenario, my proposed policy, is to stop raising everyone’s electricity prices by industrializing rural areas with wind machines, and to put more $ into accelerating solar. Within 20 years solar will become as cost effective, in my view, as alternatives, and when that happens, deserts across the world will gradually add power, and building roofs, then building windows, will add power. If we have had 40 years of reduced semiconductor costs (Moore’s Law), it is hard for me to see Silicon Valley fail to so something similar for solar, especially since they have put a lot of $ into it.

  8. Models, models models are absolutely of no use whatsoever because they have regularly been shown to fail.
    Common sense tells me that the Himalayan Glaciers will still be there in 2035 despite the weasel words used by the fragrant IPPC about warming continuing at the current rate.
    My model shows me that by 2035 we will all be flying helicopters and having sex four times a day. (Credit to Clive James)

  9. Oh oh … long-term -middle-term-pro-jec-shun-.A Naychur-
    geo-scient-ist- suggests that run-off fron glaciers should
    increase until the 2040’s 0r 2060’s , later than previous
    es-tim-ashuns depending-on-witch-climate-scenarios-
    are-applied.

    Oh fool-ish humans, not so good at pre-dick-shuns, –
    cheque- the -reckord-but-that-does-not-in-hibit-us –
    from-actin’-like-the-oracle-in-a-Greek-tragedy.
    Bts

  10. Thx Streetcred,
    I have enjoyed yer sharp-repartee at Joanne Nova.
    Beth-the-serf

  11. Dr. Strangelove

    Isn’t the Himalayan glacier water crisis exaggerated? Why not use groundwater? 20% of world’s fresh water is underground. This is 170x larger than volume of surface water. Drill deep wells and desalinate the groundwater. A new revolutionary technology of reverse osmosis using isobaric energy recovery devices has dropped the cost of desalination to 0.2 cent per gallon. Pretty cheap. Even poor countries can afford it. It’s the next big thing in technology and business. With this technology, they can also tap seawater which is virtually inexhaustible.

  12. This sounds like a good thread fer review.
    Bts

    • We need to talk about the really critically important issue: they shouldn’t call those mountains “Himalayan”; they should call them “Heralayan”.

      Priorities.

  13. Judith, you write “IMO, the IPCC AR4 got off pretty lightly for its error regarding the Himalayan glaciers,”

    But the scientific community, including yourself, did not condemn the IPCC at the time. It was left to us denier/skeptics to do that job. I wonder what you will say about the SPMs to the AR5 when they are released in September.

    • Jim, good point about the skeptics making noise. Perhaps this was one of the many issues that prompted Judith to create a blog where these kinds of things could be discussed by intelligent people.

      I do know that the glaciological community was very upset by the Himalayan 2035 goof. Graham Cogley and many others put together a big listserve to discuss what to do about such an obvious error, and succeeded in getting the attention of the top IPCC people, way too late.

      The other thing to think about is whether the IPCC is a scientific or a political organization.

      Yes, you are very likely to agree with me that it is a political one. But so many innocents out there still think it is scientific at its core. That is why, when people ask why I think that it is political, I remind them of the head of the IPCC calling the Indian scientist’s hard work “voodoo science.” I remind them that the head of a scientific organization would first say he would check the science, not try to slander a scientist in the media.

    • Jim

      There is a Moroccan proverb which I think sums up the deafening silence from many in the climate science community who seem in awe of the reputation and work of others and perhaps did not speak out as they should; It can be applied especially to the proxy reconstructions by Dr Mann

      . It is this;
      “if at noon he says it is night, will you say; behold, the stars?’
      tonyb

  14. David Springer

    If there is no Himilayan water for the people then let them drink Perrier!

  15. The “Himilayan water issue” does not seem like an issue that the US needs to get involved in at all. Seems like the nations potentially impacted should build more dams.

  16. While I am glad that Immerzeel’s projections have reversed course, I still have to question their accuracy since they are based on models that themselves have shown little predictive ability.

    Webster’s comment is probably the most important: concerns about population should dominate our thinking. That problem is even wicked-er than the potential for climate change. But the answer for both may be the same.

    If the standard of living of the developing the world increases, eventually their population growth will plateau (and if they follow the developed world’s historical path, may actually decrease). At the same time (again based on historical S-curves), we can expect their per capita energy usage to plateau. Thus, the shortest distance between now and a lower carbon future may well be through a state of increased CO2 generation, at least in the developing world. In that case, what we do about fossil fuels in the US becomes more and more irrelevant.

  17. I never understood the “Himilayan water issue”. Rivers are not fed by glaciers, but by the precipitations. Glaciers are irrelevant.

  18. Rich nations solve water problems by re-use of grey water and desalination.
    It’s when you impose or enhnce poverty that you create a “water problem”.
    Impediments to energy developemant causes or prolongs poverty.

  19. Now some, not Eli to be sure, might think that melting glaciers would produce a lot of run off, you know, that’s kind of what melting does.

    • Apparently not enough, considering the dropping water table in India.
      ================

    • And, where do glaciers come from? Are they dropped from heaven like mnna ?
      Glaciers are fed by precipitations.

    • Glaciers are simply slow moving rivers of ice.

      Like with all rivers, what goes in eventually comes back out.

      No “voodoo science” there.

    • From memory, I would have to dig for the source, Himalayan glaciers provide about 4% of annual runoff in the region’s rivers. The monsoons do the rest.

      • How has that region done in building infrastructure to protect people from damage from those annual floods and to retain water to be used when it isn’t raining? LOL–yea, the problem is CO2….

    • I’m still looking for the journal articles, but I did find this quote, apparently from a presenation at the AGU a few years back:

      “As we have calculated, melting glaciers (specifically, negative mass balance components of the melt) contribute an estimated 1.2% (perhaps factor of 2 uncertain) of total runoff of three of the most important drainages, the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra combined. The seasonal flow regulation influences and the negative mass balance is more important in local drainages close to the glacier sources, where glaciers can dominate the hydrology in arid regions, but on the scale of the subcontinent, glaciers are secondary players in looming hydrologic problems, which stem more from population growth and inefficiency of water resource distribution and application.”

  20. “IMO, the IPCC AR4 got off pretty lightly for its error regarding the Himalayan glaciers, given the potential for this disastrously wrong forecast to have caused conflict in the region.”

    I find that whole sorry episode emblematic of how the IPCC goes about its business. You have to be purposefully blind not to see that there’s something deeply amiss with their process. R.P.’s arrogant dismal of critics of the Himalayan glacier claim, as practitioners of ‘voodoo science” when of course he had to have damn well known they were correct, is prima facie evidence of bad faith.

    • At the time, he was arrogant enough to believe he could push it through. And yet, the arrogance persists; now it’s ‘flat-earthers’, ‘science deniers’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’ instead of ‘voodoo’ practitioners.

      Similarly, for some the arrogance remains, witness the Lewandowsky’s and the Cook’s and the whole den at SKS. A good question is do those arrogant denizens have the same self-consciousness as did Pachauri that he was lying and bluffing?

      A good one to ponder.
      ============

      • The answer, my friend, is straw blowing in the wind.
        ==================

      • Kim, I think the answer is yes, at least on some level. Otherwise, they wouldn’t feel the need for such tactics.

        “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

        “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

        M Crichtoni

      • Who can tell, when results have been obtained correctly, or that reproducible results really tell, what the scientists who have obtained those results claim.

        No one has been authorized to do that. The only judge on that is the consensus of the scientific community.

      • The ‘consensus’ has been artificially torqued; it is now naturally relaxing.
        ============

      • The ‘consensus’ has been artificially torqued; it is now naturally relaxing.

        How do you know?

        The controversy between main stream scientists and skeptics is largely just on the limits of correct unforced consensus. Both sides have strong views on that, and I haven’t seen much progress towards mutual agreement on that. All the measurements of the extent of consensus through questionnaires and other similar methods are just publicity stunts.

        Digging deeper into the substance and trying to understand the arguments and justification presented for them helps in forming an own estimate on the limits of reliable enough scientific knowledge. Without that you can just pick your favored side or authority and not question that.

      • How do I know? Pekka, your process of rationalization is almost as amusing as Bart R’s.

        No, no, Pekka, the fear of catastrophe is not easing. We are all going to die horrible guilt ridden deaths.
        ============

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Pekka Pirilä:

        No one has been authorized to do that. The only judge on that is the consensus of the scientific community.

        No. So no. Everybody gets to make their own judgments. The “consensus” is merely a reflection of many personal judgments. It has no more inherent validity than the judgments of anyone in or outside of the consensus. The fact more people share one particular view in no way indicates that view is correct.

      • Brandon,

        The disagreement between what you write and what have tried to say is largely semantic.

        The consensus that I wrote about is the one that allows for writing textbooks of basic physics without the need of stating repeatedly that this is not fully confirmed, but just a view of the author.

      • Heh, as if the ‘Summary for Policymakers’ were a basic textbook of physics. Houston, we have a Pekka trubbles.
        =============

      • Guys like pekka, well meaning people of substantial intellect, no doubt just can’t see it. It’s a kind of color blindness, or tone deafness. Perhaps it’s related to a lack of what’s now referred to as emotional intelligence. All these cries of “denier” and “flat-earther,” and “we don’t have to listen to opposing voices because we’re part of a consensus,” in response to arguments that are certainly valid and well thought out, if not necessarily correct, is just so obvious in its disingenuous intent and design.

        I’m truly sorry for those who can’t see this,

      • Summary for the policymakers is not for scientists or students, it’s for policymakers. It’s a compromise report that’s finalized to be acceptable to all the government representatives who go trough it line by line. It has to take into account the work done by the WG’s, but it has to take into account many other considerations as well.

        The result is, what one can expect from the process and the requirements.

      • pokerguy,

        I admit my blindness, at least concerning your most recent comment. I really don’t understand at all, what you want to say.

      • “pokerguy,

        I admit my blindness, at least concerning your most recent comment. I really don’t understand at all, what you want to say.”

        Precisely. Thanks for making my point for me. There’s really no point in belaboring the issue. If you don’t get it by now, you never will.

      • Pekka,

        What he’s trying to say is that you are just another interwebs jockey who’s let his imagination get the upper hand.

        Andrew

      • It’s easy to understand that he want’s to tell that I’m somehow naive, but then what’s the evidence that he has any substance behind his claim.

        I can easily choose to consider him just incapable of understanding the situation or misinterpreting totally what I think or write. This is, what I indeed, do. I don’t get any reason to even reconsider my thoughts.

      • Pekka, I don’t know you, nor anything about you beyond the few comments I’ve read, but you seem naive with respect to certain obvious tactics on the part of alarmists. Will you at least concede from the standpoint of optics, that R. P.’s arrogant dismissal of well-founded outcries of “foul” in relation to the IPCC’s ludicrous and false Himalayan glacier claims, was in hindsight, pretty terrible.

        Will you further concede that this arrogant dismissal says a little something about the IPCC and its process?

      • I have presented my views on points that are not dependent on guesswork of what has happened.

        Near the top of this thread I tell, how unbelievable the error is in my view. Letting such an error pass through tells that the quality control of the IPCC report failed severely at least on that part of WG2 report that discusses regional impacts. I emphasize that, because I do think that those parts are also other ways perhaps the lowest quality ones of the whole AR4. These chapters seem to suffer more than most both from lack of quality research and of conflicts of interest.

        In February 2100 I wrote on my own site:

        The task of the second working group is to assess impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. The field to cover is extremely wide and diverse. Many of issues that come up have not been studied extensively. If any serious research is done at all, it is often done by one group only and not necessarily published in peer-reviewed publications, or when some peer-review has been applied it may be more superficial that typical for physical sciences. The task of the WG2 has therefore been very different. The review cannot be based on assessing independent studies on same issues. It is also likely that the existing research is often been motivated by arguments that are not productive of best objectivity. This leads to a definite risk of significant bias, but the importance of this bias may be impossible to estimate.

        and

        Conflicts of interests and direct links between political opinions and selection of research subjects or the way results are presented are also a very serious obstacle for unbiased presentation of much the research in the fields covered presently by WG2 and WG3.

        The regional chapters are probably even worse than the rest of the WG2 report.

        Many people involved in the IPCC work hoped that Pachauri would step down from his position, but politics got certainly involved, in particular the fact that he’s from India. Nationalities are an essential issue when international organizations like IPCC choose or dismiss chairmen. That’s politics, not science.

  21. In late 2009, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a sixty-page discussion paper by glacier expert Vijay Raina, who had a track record of forty years of glacier fieldwork and research. He concluded that the glaciers were not retreating abnormally, neither through global warming nor anything else. On November 9, 2009, New Delhi Television brought Pachauri on to its evening news to defend the IPCC report.[38]

    Q: Are you questioning this report’s credibility completely?

    Pachauri: I am questioning this evidence. They are totally wrong. This is one government report. The IPCC uses thousands of scientists and uses peer-reviewed literature … [Raina’s report] is, if I may say so, voodoo science, this is not science.

    Q: The Minister says the IPCC report is “alarmist”.

    Pachauri: I don’t think he has any business questioning a body that has established its credentials over the last 21 years, and whose reports are accepted by every government of the world including India.

    Q: Are you willing to sit down with the Minister … ?

    Pachauri: No, I will not sit down with the Minister … If this report is all that solid, let them publish it, let it go through a peer review process … I question these [Raina’s] findings completely. They don’t make sense to me at all.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Pachauri: No, I will not sit down with the Minister … If this report is all that solid, let them publish it, let it go through a peer review process … I question these [Raina’s] findings completely. They don’t make sense to me at all.”

      Where was willard?

      • They don’t make sense to me at all.”

        That’s actually pretty funny. Just goes to show, Brandon certainly isn’t particularly unique.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Keep up the smear campaign Joshua. It really makes you look good.

    • Heh, peer review. Had I hacked, that interview would be enough to tip me over the edge and release a damning indictment of climate science peer review. Anonymously, mind you.
      ==================

    • Note that this:

      > They don’t make sense to me at all.

      is not exactly

      > You don’t make any sense.

      Also note that Pachauri did offer

      ***

      Here’s where I saw this interview:

      http://tthomas061.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/the-fictive-world-of-rajendra-pachauri/

      Seems that the source comes from this video:

      No video. No citation. No attribution. Well played, Dennis!

      BTW, where can we find Vijay Raina’s report?

      ***

      Still, we duly commit that Pachauri’s act was suboptimal, and we remind that Chewbacca lurks into everyone’s mind recesses, including soft-porn novelists.

      • Let’s finish that sentence:

        Also note that Pachauri did offer a challenge to Raina: to publish his report.

        Would it be worthwhile to have Raina come here and do a Reader’s Digest?

    • As noted above, Pachauri was bidding on a study to measure ice melt and runoff through his consultancy at the time. They won the contract but it was rescinded when all this came out.

  22. Steven Mosher

    “Paradoxically, fresh water availability may become more critical if there is no anthropogenic climate change.”

    Can I get some credits for causing the warming that benefits the free riders who use the water I helped to unlock from its frigid state?

  23. I know how to get the Himalayan glaciers to actually melt by 2035. Send David Appell and Bart R over. The hot air generated by the two of them could get it done by 2015.

  24. Pekka Pirilä | August 8, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    Who can tell, when results have been obtained correctly, or that reproducible results really tell, what the scientists who have obtained those results claim.
    No one has been authorized to do that. The only judge on that is the consensus of the scientific community.

    How many times have we been over this. Pekka, you are dead wrong. The ONLY judge is the empirical data. Period.

    • The data alone is just a meaningless set of numbers. They get meaning only through interpretation by scientists. The scientists may perform that interpretation correctly or erroneously. Who can tell, which is the case. That’s where the scientific process enters.

      When an experiment is replicated independently enough and often enough getting results that agree well enough, then we have reached a firmer level of knowledge. But who tells, when that has occurred?

      • Pekka, you write “The data alone is just a meaningless set of numbers. ”

        Garbage. When you do a controlled experiment in physics you know EXACTLY what the numbers mean. When the experiment is replicated, and the values agree with each other within the error limits, then you know precisely what you have got. A consensus in physics is absolutely meaningless. How many examples do you want of past consensuses which turned out to be wrong?

      • Jim,

        You do, because you are working in the realm of consensus. There are no well defined controlled experiments until the consensus has reached the required level.

        Whether an experiment is a controlled experiment is decided by consensus.

        Often there are no problems, but that means just that the consensus is universal. Then there are a little weaker cases where some scientists remain skeptical, and then there are even weaker ones ..

        This is a continuous scale from universal consensus through a weaker consensus to speculative.

  25. Why do some people try to defend the indefensible?
    the 2035 quote came from a piece of grey fluff (Or should that be red/green fluff?)
    It gets stuffed into the IPCC’s tome, because it fits their requirements, a good bit of “OMG, we’re dooming the planet, repent now, pay your tythes, buy your indulgencies”.
    When it’s pointed out that it’s an error, it’s defended to the last by the IPCC’s figure head. No “Let’s check that, hmm, you’re right,it’s a typo.”
    Anyhow, leaving that to one side, how much of the paper under discussion here, is more modelling?
    How accurate are these models?. We’ve seen that GCMs are wholly inaccurate, regional models are even worse.
    Doubtless, this paper will be classified as “Scenerios” rather than “Predictions”.
    More climatalogical rubbish.
    Climatology is to Meterology as Astrology is to Astronomy.

  26. Theo Goodwin

    In the past, some researchers have written about rivers as if they work in the same way that a faucet works; that is, researchers assume that the river is determined by its source. Then they worry that problems found in the source will cause problems for the entire length of the river. But the vast majority of rivers are determined by the many watersheds through which they flow. The Nile might be a notable exception because it flows through various degrees of desert for most of its length. By contrast, the Mississippi River flows through varied but rich watersheds for its entire length. If the Mississippi River were obstructed by a dam at Minneapolis the long term impact would not be noticed at St. Louis and would be undetectable at New Orleans.

    I hope that the relative importance of watersheds and the relative unimportance of the source have been taken into account by the modelers. I hope that the old error has been fully expunged from today’s research. I regret that I do not have time to do the checking myself.

    • Theo, a copy and paste from above:

      ———-

      I’m still looking for the journal articles, but I did find this quote, apparently from a presenation at the AGU a few years back:

      “As we have calculated, melting glaciers (specifically, negative mass balance components of the melt) contribute an estimated 1.2% (perhaps factor of 2 uncertain) of total runoff of three of the most important drainages, the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra combined. The seasonal flow regulation influences and the negative mass balance is more important in local drainages close to the glacier sources, where glaciers can dominate the hydrology in arid regions, but on the scale of the subcontinent, glaciers are secondary players in looming hydrologic problems, which stem more from population growth and inefficiency of water resource distribution and application.”

      • Theo Goodwin

        Good work, John. The point that folks should take away is that the watersheds, not the rivers, are the proper subject of scientific inquiry about the availability of water for irrigation and such purposes. Glaciers have some effects on watersheds that are near them but the important rivers mentioned above flow through watersheds that have little or no association with glaciers. I encourage readers to enjoy Google Earth and view the rivers.

    • Theo, I emailed a glaciologist who I guessed might have given the AGU presentation to which the link is now dead. I won’t use his name because he didn’t ask to be part of this conversation. I put the quote from the AGU in front of him and asked if he knew the source, if it sounded right to him. Here is his response (in a private email):

      “I think that statement (or something very similar) is in something I wrote, as I recognize those words. I came up with the first “1%” number but that was a really rough calculation about 10 years ago. I think the number that you give here, 1.2%, is probably from Graham Cogley and is much better.”

  27. “Here, we use results from the latest ensemble of climate models”
    Yawn

  28. David L. Hagen

    How can the GCM precipitation predictions be validated?
    Can such small difference be distinguished from the very large natural variations?
    Natural variations cause monsoon failures resulting in major droughts and massive famines. e.g. see famines recorded in Maharasthra India from 1397 to 1948.
    A Millennium of Monsoon Failures, Droughts and Famines By Ananda Gunatilaka

    “the Monsoon Asia Drought Atlas (MADA), which also provides an absolutely dated, annually resolved reconstruction of Asian monsoon spatio-temporal variability over the past 1000 years. . . . The major finding of MADA is that historically recorded monsoon failures/excesses in the past 150 years have been exceeded in intensity and duration many times during the past millennium. The Atlas picked the Ming Dynasty Drought of 1638-1641- the worst in 500 years in northern China and its recorded final collapse in 1644; the Strange Parallels Drought (SPD 1756-1768), the East India Drought (EID 1790-1796) and the late Victorian Great Drought (VGD 1876-1878).

    See contemporary reporting of famine in India.
    e.g. 1770 Bengal famine – 10 million deaths, 1877 India famine – 6 million deaths

    For a glimpse into the intricacies of monsoons and drought see
    Asian Monsoon Failure and Megadrought During the Last Millennium
    Edward R. Cook et al. Science Published 23 April 2010, Science 328, 486 (2010) Supplement

    Until GCMs can predict such natural variations and their small predicted changes from CO2 be validated, they provide little credibility in predictions.
    Asian farmers are likely to welcome the greater primary productivity and precipitation from more CO2 and not notice ivory tower boffins having heart attacks over their predictions of future catastrophies.
    Restore integrity of rigorous science to climate science.

  29. > The importance of these omissions, inconsistencies or mistakes by the IPCC is amplified by the potential of riparian warfare in this region that supports half of the world’s population.

    It was also amplified by think tanks, echo chambers, rosy journalists, and concerned ClimateBallers.

    It still is.

  30. It is funny, that is peculiar, people and governments forget how Chinese aggression and capture of Tibet in 1951 was a water issue. There are pictures of Mao Zedong swimming the breadth of the Yangtze River on an annual basis and claiming after the swim that “he who controls Tibet controls China. Control of the headwaters of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers control an important agricultural region of China.

    “China has been damming the rivers emerging from Tibet and channeling the water for irrigation, and there is particular concern over the diversion of the Brahmaputra to irrigate the arid regions of Central China.”

    The conflict currently bandied about as “will take place” has already been fought and China won. When negotiations failed, Chinese military over ran the Kingdom of the Dali Lama, decimating a quasi-secular government, and removing all political and military obstructions to control of the headwaters to Yangtze & Yellow Rivers.

    A disarmed and war weary USA and UN were pinned down in a stalemate war on the Korean Peninsula with part of the 5 million person army of China hurling across the Amnok and Tumen Rivers in support of North Korea’s quest of the South, while another Chinese prong invaded the Himalayan heights.

    The involved and impacted Asian countries have no leverage to negotiate with China for water rights. Its a done deal.

    It is unlikely that India will invade China to get Tibet back into their sphere or influence.

    With the control of water, it is more likely than not that China will become the bread basket for Asia/SouthEast Asia furthering their influence, this time economically and eventually politically.

    Pretty far sighted of Mao Zedong. China still reveres Chairman Mao, and for good reason.

  31. Is it feasible to built dams to store water in time of drought, provide power to an undeveloped and help control floods in rainy seasons?

  32. > Based on the IPCC’s simulations of 21st century climate, it seems that rainfall will increase overall in the region (including wintertime snowfall in Tibet) […]

    The expression “it seems that” and “will” arguably do not mix well.

    The argument seems implicit.

    The chain of reasoning rests on empirical details that have arguably been swept under the rug.

    The uncertainty of that argument is arguably understated.

  33. Wow.

    When I hear Himalayas, I seldom think sacred cows, but the reaction to 2035’s holy state in the annals of denialism clearly shows religious zeal alive and well, lest any mention the taboo word “typo” or the unholy anti-number 2350 to these dyslexic, dyskeptic armchair climate warriors.

    If a minor typo, ill-researched and ill-developed magazine article in the gray literature, bad logic and bad reference checking can lead to such a bizarre explosion of outrage more than six years later, then shouldn’t we take the lesson that equally bad — especially much worse — practices right now in Curry’s Twitsophere are simply unacceptable?

    The excuse of mommy-mommy-the-IPCC-did-it-too, the but-the-Himalayas-melting-by-2035ism, these are not acceptable defenses of the utterly shoddy, repeated, blatant, patent practices here.

    CAN’T EVEN GET THE ‘OIL TYCOON’S’ NAME RIGHT.

    Here. Here’s a link:

    http://erg.berkeley.edu/publications/Recent_Publications/Faculty/Dan_Kammen/journalofenergy.pdf

    Bazilian was the UN funnel for a $200 million venture capital fund for what turns out to be primarily natural gas, oil and coal development, pushing taxpayer-funded ‘modern smartgrid’ megaprojects.

    http://www.oecd.org/sd-roundtable/papersandpublications/Background%20Paper%20RTSD%20June%202013.pdf

    Have you spotted the Persian flaw yet?

    http://www.feem.it/userfiles/attach/20122291657384NDL2012-012.pdf

    The UN programs for “Sustainable Energy” – Pachauri fully on board – don’t even have a mandate for non-carbon fuels as part of the mix of subsidized new ‘energy’ megaprojects they’re pushing in LDC’s.

    • > [S]houldn’t we take the lesson that equally bad — especially much worse — practices right now in Curry’s Twitsophere are simply unacceptable?

      This reminds me of Junior’s op-ed which starts like this:

      James Inhofe (R-OK) is an irresistible attraction to many in the climate debate. A commenter has pointed out that the Senator has released a report — his latest of many — in which he indicates that his staff will be looking at whether climate scientists have broken any laws, based on the CRU emails. In my view this sort of announcement is what you do when you don’t think that the law has in fact been broken. If he had any evidence of law breaking he’d be acting not via announcement. So I think that it is just a bit of clown-like bluffing, serving up red meat for the partisans, but little else.

      http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.ca/2010/02/red-meat.html

      This reminds me of Junior’s op-ed because of its title.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      wow – what an incredible little space cadet you are. I merely corrected your error. It was not a typo but incredibly poor science in referencing WWF for a Himalayan factoid.

      You then embark on a song and dance that has dominated this post – the only bizarre explosion of rabid obfuscation comes from you.

      There are much more fundamental errors in AR4. 0.2 degrees C increase in temperature in the first decades of the 21st century. A 3 degree rise this century based on models that can’t – theoretically – tell you anything of the sort. As the modellers know perfectly well – and say so again and again.

      Is the IPCC fraudulent or merely ignorant? Aye – there’s the rub.

    • The IPCC was notified of the error and sat on it, even… ‘denying’ it…

  34. A post about changes in projections of glacier melt in the Himalayas is turned into a full throated defense of the AR4, and even climategate?

    What’s next, explaining how Hansen’s ’88 predictions were really right after all, the hockey stick was accurate, hiding the decline was fine, and there is no “C” in CAGW?

    • One does not introduce a slippery slope with “what’s next”, GaryM.

      Its populist effect might be suboptimal, as people are now free to introduce about anything.

      But what?

      I guess we’ll see.

    • One does if one enjoys watching warmists careening down the slope out of control.

  35. Here is what they say: “We show that the largest uncertainty in future runoff is a result of variations in projected precipitation between climate models.” The IPCC had a completely wrong prediction in their last report. Now these guys project the flow rates to 2050 but they don’t even know which of their models is any good. Why should I take them seriously? Their conclusion “…that river basins that depend on monsoon rains and glacier melt will continue to sustain the increasing water demands expected in these areas.” does not even depend on models, Basically they just let the nature take its course and hope for the best. I could make the same prediction without using supercomputer time or visiting Tibet.

  36. Walter Carlson commented on Himalayan melt i said: ”Wait…what happens after the glaciers are all melted??”

    glaciers cannot melt completely – they constantly melt and in the same time NEW ICE is created. Ice doesn’t stop creating just to suit the propaganda

    • Only if there is enough precipitation which freezes on the glaciers, and yes, glaciers can completely melt if there is not.

      • Eli Rabett | August 13, 2013 at 12:07 am said: ”’Only if there is enough precipitation which freezes on the glaciers..”

        WRONG! Most of glaciers renew their ice by freeze-drying the moisture from the air ;; same as the old fridges used to make ice without snowfall or rainfall in the kitchen. It’s important to have moisture in the air / not dry air. Dry air can eat the ice without turning it into liquid

        WATER VAPOR IS CONSIDERED AS EVIL, BY THE EVIL CULT:::

        http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/water-vapor-h2o/

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  38. This is caused by the chinese rape of the land.
    Their actions cause microclimate that causes the melt.

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