Global Warming “Oops”… And Contradictions.

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Kilimanjaro has long been a “poster boy” for Anthropogenic Global Warming. The doomed mountain glaciers theme was echoed in 2009 by the ever reliable Huffington Post on the eve of the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Conference To Save The World!

The snows of Kilimanjaro may soon be gone. The African mountain’s white peak – made famous by writer Ernest Hemingway – is rapidly melting, researchers report.

And there is always this:

“Within a decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro”

Al Gore, from “An Inconvenient Truth”, 2006

Uhm… WRONG!!!!!!

Science is awesome… especially when it doesn’t do what hard-core extremists want it to do. The authors of the ten year old study that scared the living BeJesus out of the environmentalists, and put Kilimangaro on the list of “All The Great Things Doomed Due To Global Warming” are back-tracking.


The glaciers aren’t melting nearly as fast as they hoped… er thought. Why did I first write “hoped”? Because it seems the predictions made in the paper were not based on science, but on the expectations of the beliefs of many in the warmist / alarmist camp of climate scientists. And when subsequent studies surface that lessen the sense of doom and alarm… I use the term “surface” with some jest, because studies of the type I’m about to explore never seem to surface in the main stream media.

Example: How about this from the University of Washington, which appeared in the American Scientist, titled “The woes of Kilimanjaro: Don’t blame global warming “. Here is a 2009 study by Nathan Torbick that suggested that the ice cap melting was starting to level off. Never heard about it??? Neither did anyone else, at least those who aren’t paying attention to such things.

And I bet you haven’t heard that the Kilinamjaro have been melting for over 130 years, with the biggest known melt off taking place between 1880 and 1953. Here are the melt numbers, complements of the USGS.

Year Area
1880 20 km2
1912 12.1 km2
1953 6.7 km2

1976 4.2 km2
1989 3.3 km2
2000 2.6 km2
2003 2.5 km2

Note, the volume gets smaller because, well, after the massive melt-off of the first half of the 20th century, there simply isn’t as much ice to melt. Here is a 2009 graph of this melt, containing the measures form the USGS, as well a a few peer reviewed studies.


The author of the graph suggested caution – remember this word, as it will be important in just a moment – as one of the studies was considered preliminary at the time. But the graph does suggest the melting was starting to slow… unless you didn’t want to suggest that.

Note that the 2005 estimate shows an increase since 2003. I suspect that this increase is not real, but shows the uncertainties of estimating glacier areas from satellite. In any event, the recent measurements do show that the ice loss rate has decreased or even stopped. After 2000, Thompson’s data was linearly extrapolated to predict the glaciers’ complete demise in 2015 or so

Which brings me to this! Data are just numbers! It’s how you interpret it that counts!!!! The 2002 paper that predicted the loss of all glaciers on Kilimanjaro by 2015 is still out there, and has been widely cited in other studies of Global Warming, never mind Al Gore’s silly self promotional documentary. And only now we learn how the prediction was made…It was a guess!!!

Note this most damning quote.

“Unfortunately, we made the prediction. I wish we hadn’t,” says Douglas R. Hardy, a UMass geoscientist who was among 11 co-authors of the paper in the journal Science that sparked the pessimistic Kilimanjaro forecast. “None of us had much history working on that mountain, and we didn’t understand a lot of the complicated processes on the peak like we do now.”


“None of us had much history working on that mountain, and we didn’t understand a lot of the complicated processes on the peak like we do now.”

So WHAT THE HELL were you doing publishing and supporting this uneducated prediction AS IF IT WAS CERTAIN?????

I wonder if anyone will demand a retraction from Thompson and Hardy?

Well… Hardy seems like a decent guy, but don’t expect one from Thompson, who says this!

The opinions of global warming doubters will change on a dime depending on whether it is cold winter or a hot summer. The only opinion that matters is nature’s. Nature has a way of humbling us all. It still remains to be seen just who that will be in the end”, Thompson said.

Riiiight…. Good Lord! Does he not see the hubris in that statement???… Especially since HE, Lonnie Thompson, is on record saying THIS!

Climatologists, like other scientists, tend to be a stolid group. We are not given to theatrical rantings about falling skies.

Really???? Could have fooled me!

Most of us are far more comfortable in our laboratories or gathering data in the field than we are giving interviews to journalists or speaking before Congressional committees. Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization….

Unless large numbers of people take appropriate steps, including supporting governmental regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, our only options will be adaptation and suffering. And the longer we delay, the more unpleasant the adaptations and the greater the suffering will be.

Sooner or later, we will all deal with global warming. The only question is how much we will mitigate, adapt, and suffer.

Does this sound like the same opinion as this” The only opinion that matters is nature’s. Nature has a way of humbling us all. It still remains to be seen just who that will be” in the end“? How can that come out of the mouth of the same person?

And, you know, it’s not as if it’s skeptics who have been changing “their opinion on a dime“!!!!!!

And to compare climate scientists with “evil skeptics” – From the new Kilimanjaro article: here is what H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow and head of environmental programs at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank based in Texas says:

“The Kilimanjaro predictions were suspect at the time they were made. Critics noted that there was abundant evidence that the snow caps on Kilimanjaro had been in retreat decades before greenhouse gas emissions began to rise dramatically in the middle of the century,…

This doesn’t prove that humans aren’t contributing to global climate change, but it should call into question the confidence we can have in such claims,…

He worries that “costly, big government programs” to quell global warming will do more harm than good, “especially since the costs of these programs are felt now, and fall hardest upon the poor and those least able to absorb higher prices and lower employment in order to maybe stave off a small portion of distant-in-time harms.”

I have a quibble with the second paragraph, as a wrong guess does not “call into question” the validity of climate science. But which guy here seems to be following the proper scientific principle of “caution”?

PS. My favorite quote from the article?

Representatives for Al Gore declined to comment on this article.

And if you want more Global Warming contradictions and changing on a dime moments, here’s this!

Plants move uphill
Plants move downhill

Northern Hemisphere winters warmer
Northern Hemisphere winters colder

Sahel to get less rain
Sahel to get more rain

Hat Tip: Jimbo @ WUWT.

1 Comment to “Global Warming “Oops”… And Contradictions.”

  1. By Jeff Alberts, March 22, 2011 @ 1:35 am

    Most of the glacier melt around the world occurred before the 1950s, as far as I know.

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