We thought Climategate was bad.
News comes from London that the inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization set up by the United Nations, would retract a statement warning that most of the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035 due to climate change. The statement was made two years ago when the IPCC issued a report that claimed to have incorporated the latest and most detailed scientific research.
“Glaciers in the Himalayas 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,” the authors wrote in the report.
An article in The Economic Times states, “In the last few days, the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.” That report, in turn, was based on a telephone interview with Syed Hasnian, an Indian scientist, who later said the claim was speculative and not based on any formal research.
But wait – it gets better. Another report from the BBC states that the scientists may also have used a 1996 article by VM Kotlyakov that mentions 2350 as the year by which there will be “massive and precipitate melting of glaciers.” J. Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University, brought the Kotlyakov report to the news agency’s attention, noting his astonishment that none of the 10 authors of the 2007 report could spot the error.
“I do suggest that the glaciological community might consider advising the IPCC about ways to avoid such egregious errors as the 2035 vs 2350 confusion in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, another scientist claims that the Earth is entering a mini-Ice Age, according to Fox News. Mojib Latif, a professor at the Leibniz Institute at Kiel University in Germany, thinks the cold snap the United States endured in early January is indicative of cooler temperatures to come based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the world’s oceans.
However, this 30-year deep chill will just be a blip in the larger climate cycle, he said. Changes in ocean currents known as the North Atlantic Oscillation are responsible for the cooling effect; ironically, Latif also said that fluctuations in these currents could be responsible for the increase in global temperatures in the last 30 years.
Naturally, some are blaming the cold temperatures on global warming. Mike Serreze, a senior research scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, agrees that ocean variability contributes to variations in surface temperatures but disagrees with Latif’s conclusions. “This is just the roll of the dice, the natural variability inherent to the system,” he said. “We are indeed starting to see the effects of the rise in greenhouse gases.”