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The IPCC is not infallible (shock!)

Filed under: — group @ 19 January 2010 - (Italian)

Like all human endeavours, the IPCC is not perfect. Despite the enormous efforts devoted to producing its reports with the multiple levels of peer review, some errors will sneak through. Most of these will be minor and inconsequential, but sometimes they might be more substantive. As many people are aware (and as John Nieslen-Gammon outlined in a post last month and Rick Piltz goes over today), there is a statement in the second volume of the IPCC (WG2), concerning the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are receding that is not correct and not properly referenced.

The statement, in a chapter on climate impacts in Asia, was that the likelihood of the Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035” was “very high” if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate (WG 2, Ch. 10, p493), and was referenced to a World Wildlife Fund 2005 report. Examining the drafts and comments (available here), indicates that the statement was barely commented in the reviews, and that the WWF (2005) reference seems to have been a last minute addition (it does not appear in the First- or Second- Order Drafts). This claim did not make it into the summary for policy makers, nor the overall synthesis report, and so cannot be described as a ‘central claim’ of the IPCC. However, the statement has had some press attention since the report particularly in the Indian press, at least according to Google News, even though it was not familiar to us before last month.

It is therefore obvious that this error should be corrected (via some kind of corrigendum to the WG2 report perhaps), but it is important to realise that this doesn’t mean that Himalayan glaciers are doing just fine. They aren’t, and there may be serious consequences for water resources as the retreat continues. See also this review paper (Ren et al, 2006) on a subset of these glaciers.

East Rongbuk glacier 1921 and 2008East Rongbuk glacier just below Mt. Everest has lost 3-400 ft of ice in this area since 1921.

More generally, peer-review works to make the IPCC reports credible because many different eyes with different perspectives and knowledge look over the same text. This tends to make the resulting product reflect more than just the opinion of a single author. In this case, it appears that not enough people with relevant experience saw this text, or if they saw it, did not comment publicly. This might be related to the fact that this text was in the Working Group 2 report on impacts, which does not get the same amount of attention from the physical science community than does the higher profile WG 1 report (which is what people associated with RC generally look at). In WG1, the statements about continued glacier retreat are much more general and the rules on citation of non-peer reviewed literature was much more closely adhered to. However, in general, the science of climate impacts is less clear than the physical basis for climate change, and the literature is thinner, so there is necessarily more ambiguity in WG 2 statements.

In future reports (and the organisation for AR5 in 2013 is now underway), extra efforts will be needed to make sure that the links between WG1 and the other two reports are stronger, and that the physical science community should be encouraged to be more active in the other groups.

In summary, the measure of an organisation is not determined by the mere existence of errors, but in how it deals with them when they crop up. The current discussion about Himalayan glaciers is therefore a good opportunity for the IPCC to further improve their procedures and think more about what the IPCC should be doing in the times between the main reports.

Update: This backgrounder presented by Kargel et al AGU this December is the best summary of the current state of the Himalayas and the various sources of misinformation that are floating around. It covers this issue, the Raina report and the recent Lau et al paper.

1,804 Responses to “The IPCC is not infallible (shock!)”

  1. 251
    dhogaza says:

    Ray makes a ludicrous analogy that doesn’t even make argumentative sense. Airplanes and bridges afford the possiblity of repeated, honest to goodness trial and re-trial against their respective models. Test pilots were heroes for taking their risks back in the day.

    And now they’re just considered well-educated engineer-pilots. The first flight of the 787 entailed very, very little risk, less than flying a commercial DC3 decades ago. Why? Those models you scorn, and which Ray so rightly points to. The models that are so good, you know, that the actual airplane flew just as the pilots expected from training in the model-driven simulator that was developed side-by-side with the real thing.

    The general style of reliance on models in climate is simply not the same.

    True, climate change will affect every person on the planet, not just a couple of test pilots and a bunch of investment money.

  2. 252
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Tom flaps his gums: “Airplanes and bridges afford the possiblity of repeated, honest to goodness trial and re-trial against their respective models.”

    So you believed it when your daddy told you in answer to your question “how do they know how much a bridge can take” that they load the bridge up until it breaks and then rebuild it and put less than that weight as the maximum load..?

  3. 253
    Completely Fed Up says:

    ” Rod B says:
    21 January 2010 at 2:49 PM

    The claim that California is producing usable wind power at less than 5cents/kWh (179) has been debunked numerous times.”

    Good trick, because California’s done it.

  4. 254
    Jim Roland says:

    Kevin McKinney at #200,

    GHG emissions are included, not excluded, in the Zah et al. results. The vertical dimension in the x-y scatterplots is total environmental impact and the global warming potential effect on health is a component of this in both methodologies used. As I said though, it’s only one study. However I must correct that the depletion of mineral phosphorus appears to be counted also.

  5. 255
    Completely Fed Up says:

    cptdallas2 “I also have no doubt that GHGs are not solely responsible for all the warming.”

    Neither does the IPCC.

    Go check:

  6. 256
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Lots of reasons why it is not possible to put cheap wind farms on shore in the UK. One of the most important is the cost of land.”

    Uh, there’s land needed for nuclear power stations.

    And the roads to and from them (to get the fuel to them and take away the waste).

    And the reprocessing facilities.



    Plenty of land.

    Now can you graze your cattle on a nuke plant site?


    Grow wheat?




    You can with a windfarm.

  7. 257
    Frank Giger says:

    I wouldn’t worry about Consolidated Coal. A few fat subsidies (okay, fatter subsidies) should fix that. :)

    It shouldn’t be shocking that climate change can manifest itself quickly to anyone studying history. Mammoths embedded in ice with buttercups in their mouths, Otzi being killed on a path across the Alps, covered by a glacier before his body decomposed (only to have the glacier recede enough 3,000 years later to reveal him), towns ground down by glaciers in the Little Ice Age, vinyards in the UK during the MWP, etc.

    With all respect to Saint Patrick, the snakes were never in Ireland to begin with, as when the ice melted it did so quickly enough that the land bridge to the continent was flooded before they could make it there.

    The good news is that we don’t face that sort of dramatic whoosh of upheaval which marked the beginning or end of the last Ice Age; it’s more of a double dip of warming.

    There’s a certain amount of “duh” in the dire predictions for Global Warming disaster, IMHO. Some cities in the SW USA are ill conceived for location and size, and in the long term will go the way of the Anasazi cities nestled in cliffsides for the same reasons the ancient peoples there fled.

    Atlanta’s inherent water resources are far too small to absorb the population growth it has seen on good years; any change long term or short present dire situations. Thinking about mitigation of the problem and sound solutions makes sense without having to drink kool-aid of any flavor.

    The view from South Beach in Miami might be of a giant sea wall, or from an artificial hillock (in much like they filled in the streets of Seattle).

    At any rate, kudoes to RC for addressing the error in the IPCC report in a reasoned manner.

  8. 258
    Don Shor says:

    Completely Fed Up says:
    21 January 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Now can you graze your cattle on a nuke plant site?
    Grow wheat?
    You can with a windfarm.

    Well actually, you can do all those things in the buffer zones around nuclear power plants, too. Grazing and agriculture are normal near nuke plants in California. But the wind farms here have been very successful:
    It is worth noting some of the issues in siting wind farms; they can’t be too close to where people live due to the noise, there is avian mortality, etc. But the cost is lower than other sources of power except, presently, natural gas.
    Since that article was written, another wind farm has been developed in Solano County:

    Some of the turbines there are over 400 feet tall! I live not far away, and you can see them from quite a distance. They are a much more attractive site than the cooling towers of a nuclear plant plunked on a California beach, or an oil derrick offshore.

    Unfortunately, we may be running out of sites for large-scale wind farms in California, and the long transmission lines necessary have proved to be a hurdle. But smaller-scale turbines have potential closer to populated areas.

  9. 259
    Don Shor says:

    Re: wind power costs
    From the same link I posted above (

    “The levelized cost of energy from wind turbines in 1993 was about 7.5 cents per kilowatt/hour. With current wind research and development efforts, the Energy Commission estimates that newer technologies can reduce the cost of wind energy to 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.”

  10. 260
    Ken W says:

    bushy (231) wrote:
    “Please give us sceptics some credit because for the most part we are at least looking at alternative drivers and causes of climate variation as opposed to the closed minded who only focus on CO2.”

    A legitimate skeptic wouldn’t assume that the dominantly held view of scientists from all over the world that have been studying a phenomena aggressively for the past 30 years was wrong. At least not until they did a significant amount of study first (which your post clearly indicates you haven’t done). I’d suggest you start by watching the excellent lectures (under graduate level) from David Archer (University of Chicago):

    That way you can avoid embarrasing yourself.

  11. 261
    Hank Roberts says:

    >> cost of wind power
    > California’s done it

    Citation mumble grumble gnash needed.
    Goose, gander, same sauce either way.

    Someone who cares should make the effort to look these claims up. You want to act smarter than those IPCC WGwhatever Chapter 6 authors, don’t you?


    Here’s why there may be some challenge and some dueling cites — remember, your task, should you want to look intelligent, is to review the literature and provide not just the answer you WANT but the best answer available now.

    Could it be this?

    “According to the Electric Power Research Institute, the cost of producing wind energy has decreased nearly four fold since 1980. The levelized cost of energy from wind turbines in 1993 was about 7.5 cents per kilowatt/hour. With current wind research and development efforts, the Energy Commission estimates that newer technologies can reduce the cost of wind energy to 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.”

    Or maybe it’s this?
    “The cost of energy from larger electrical output wind turbines used in utility-interconnected or wind farm applications has dropped from more than $1.00 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1978 to under $0.05 per kWh in 1998, and is projected to plummet to $0.025 per kWh when new large wind plants come on line in 2001 and 2002. The hardware costs of these wind turbines have dropped below $800 per installed kilowatt in the past five years, underpricing the capital costs of almost every other type of power plant. ”

    Nah. You can do better. You can even collaborate — as long as you both make the effort to find _the_ facts not _your_ facts.

  12. 262
    Dale Power says:

    Response to #231: There is a simple misunderstanding here “Denial Groups” in my meaning means denial GROUPS. Groups that are not interested in science, and not individuals with personal beliefs, but groups paid for by corporate interests to try and sow dissent and falsify an argument in the press without merit.

    As for showing you proof of AGW… Have you read the web site called “”? If you start at the begining and read through it, it will give you more than enough information to convince an informed layman about what is really happening.

    If you are an actual climate scientist then you would likely already have all that information.

    *I know I for one am getting tired of “Deniers” and self proclaimed “skeptics” claiming they haven’t seen proof when they are soaking in the stuff! This entire web-site leads you to scientific information and you can ASK some of the top scientists in the world in the field of Climate science if you have questions or can’t understand something! How rare is that?

    Sorry about the rant there and the teasing (about realclimate) but seriously… Something is very wrong if you can read the things here, the answers and the data and still be asking for “proof positive”. Something wrong with your idea of what constitutes proof.

  13. 263
    Jiminmpls says:

    #256 CFU

    I’m sorry, but you’re wrong on this one. The economics of wind power are always site specific. For many reasons, the UK is not well-suited for onshore wind power. There are many factors that go into site suitability. Large parts of the USA are also deemed unsuitable for any large scale wind deployment. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, because I’m not – but these people are:

  14. 264

    Christy has weighed in at IEEE Spectrum, a widely read publication of a society with hundreds of thousands of members.

    A major point he makes is that satellite data shows too little warming of the upper atmosphere. Any good answers? Posting here and at the IEEE site would be useful. Specifically, any update on this earlier RC take on it? Thanks.

  15. 265
    Tom S says:

    I think a lot of skeptics see the IPCC as an advocacy group with a serious case of group think. Of course it is impossible to nail down such nebulous concept one way or the other.

    One thought I had is, suppose the following line had been put in the IPCC report:

    “The Himalayan glaciers, unlike other glaciers around the world, have been retreating in the past 20 years”.

    The point here is not that this statement is true/false, but that this type of statement would have very likely been investigated and corrected immediately. This is a non-obvious bias, and one that I believe exists in the IPCC group.

    Another example is satellite data that does not match the existing upward trend. It required calibration. Now if the satellite data had matched the trend, or even exceeded it, it would likely be accepted without further processing (until M&M got it anyway).

    AGW proponents are way too sensitive to contradictory information, and either try to suppress it, or explain it away. A red flag to me is the image put out that AGW has ALL the answers and nothing remains unexplained. The scientists don’t say this, but they also don’t go out of their way to correct it either.

    Uncertainity…the big elephant in the room.

  16. 266
    Tom S says:

    Oops, I meant to say:

    “The Himalayan glaciers, unlike other glaciers around the world, have been getting larger in the past 20 years”.

    Freudian slip.

  17. 267
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Models serve the same purpose whether for aviation, architecture or climate science–to provide insight into the phenomena. They tell us if we’re on the right track with the physics we put into them. There is absolutely no reason to trust models in one field and not in another unless you have specific reasons–and no, saying “but the climate is complicated” is not a reason.
    Climate models have been validated in some very impressive ways and reproduce most of the features seen in Earth’s climate. So there is simply no valid reason to distrust them any more than you would any other model. Add to this the fact that even independent of the models, there are mountains of evidence showing we are warming, and the models become our best tools for limiting risk. I would urge you to look into how the modeling is done and the role it plays in climate science. An objective assessment would show there is no rational basis for such qualms.

  18. 268
    Hank Roberts says:

    Well done Charlie Laurel, I followed your link, recommended your post porting some of Gavin’s info, and was fascinated to see the currently most recent post there–January 21, 2010 5:31:31 PM– which adds other good business reason that some data from businesses is provided only with a privacy requirement. Have a look over there folks. They’ve got trolls, of course, but it’s not yet gone septic.

  19. 269
    Russell says:

    I am new to here, and have some questions that don’t seem to have been addressed in the media:

    1. Why is there still warming with a cold sun?
    I am under the impression that the difference between a warm sun cycle and a cold one can make 0.2C difference, this is suggested as happening between 1920-1940 and causing the warming then.
    However in the last 5-10 years the sun has got significantly colder, but there still appears to be warming. How much effect has the sun had on this, and will it affect average temps for the next decade. The 0.2C from the sun getting colder should have cancelled out the 0.2C/decade warming trend temporarily. (I understand that the sun will have to keep getting colder and colder to stop GW entirely and that isnt really possible)

    2. Some comments from this website:
    “The most CO2 in 650,000”
    Their point about the averaging effect smoothing out peaks seems credible.

    3. “Myth: All “extra” CO2 is human”
    and “shifts in 13C/12C prior to 1850”
    I havn’t heard this before.

    Answers would be appreciated.

  20. 270
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Tom S.,
    If your putative assertion of growing glaciers had been in the same WG, I think it would have taken just as long to find. Not a lot of people read these summaries. Most view the discussion of consequences as somehow a sideshow. Actually, I don’t think it would have made any difference.

    Look, Tom, I’ve been to Everest basecamp. I’ve seen some of these glaciers. If I’d have read this, it would have raised my eyebrow. I probably wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to check it independently, so I would have let it slide. After all, it is not a cornerstone on which rests the validity of the theory.

    When someone who did have the wherewithal and the experience read the typo and pointed it out, it was (eventually) corrected. That is how the process is supposed to work–self correction.

  21. 271
  22. 272
    Timothy Chase says:

    Some material regarding global glacier mass balance that may be of interest… I have included links to a couple of very good blogs — which refer those who are interested to recent technical, peer-reviewed literature. Changes in cumulative mass balance may be found here:

    Global Average Glacier Mass Change, 1945-2005 (mass balance)

    … from:

    The IPCC’s 2035 prediction about Himalayan glaciers
    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

    … which got the chart from:

    WGMS. 2008. Global Glacier Changes: facts and figures. Zemp, M., Roer, I., Kääb, A., Hoelzle, M., Paul, F. and W. Haeberli (eds.), UNEP, World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich, Switzerland: 88 pp. (chapter 5, Global glacier changes)

    … and also mentions:

    Zemp, M., Hoelzle, M. and Haeberli, W. (2009) Six decades of glacier mass balance observations – a review of the worldwide monitoring network. Annals of Glaciology, 50: p. 101–111

    Other papers are mentioned, but those should be a good start.

    Regarding both Greenland and Antarctica, you might like:

    GRACE cumulative monthy mass loss from Apr 2002 to Feb 2009 for Greenland

    GRACE cumulative monthy mass loss from Apr 2002 to Feb 2009 for Antarctica

    … from:

    Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet decay, continued
    October 13, 2009

    … which was discussing the paper that is the original source of these graphs:

    Velicogna, I. (2009), Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L19503, doi:10.1029/2009GL040222.

    Incidently, I believe that even the comments in the “thingsbreak” essay may be of considerable interest to some.

  23. 273
    Garrett Jones says:

    re # 235, this is an easy to find source,, you will note the core and surface make up of the sun are rather different. I am sure God will also help you with your anger problem.

  24. 274
    Tim Jones says:

    Re: 231
    “Please provide proof…”

    Just exactly what kind of proof would you find acceptable?

    “Please give us sceptics some credit because for the most part we are at least looking at alternative drivers and causes of climate variation as opposed to the closed minded who only focus on CO2.”

    I think not, not you anyway. In the first place you’ve got it completely wrong when you write “only focus on CO2.”

    “Skeptics are looking for alternative drivers.” Are they using shovels?

  25. 275
    Hank Roberts says:

    152, 165, 235, 273

    Garrett, he’s right, you’re right — and Plimer’s wrong.
    You have to actually look at what Plimer says to realize just how far off the normal sequence his notion is.
    Gavin reminded you of this — did you notice the inline response to your earlier posting?

    Relax. There are about two people in the world, including Plimer, who believes what he seems to believe. You’re not among’em, I’m sure. Nor is anyone here.

  26. 276
  27. 277

    re 261 Hank Roberts,

    Links you provide show (1) six year old data that does not clarify how the accounting is done or how much subsidy is involved.. It boasts of the huge installation at Altamont Pass, which on many sample inspections by me, a large percentage of the rotors are stationary. And (2) 10 year old data that has not panned out.

    State of Portland undertook a massive wind project, and in doing so bamboozled the state voters about how much the subsidy would cost the taxpayers. The state budget office has been found to have fudged the cost analysis. About half the cost was to be supported by free money in the form of tax credits which could be sold to anyone. The developer says he never would have proceeded without the subsidies. This was all revealed a few months ago and was reported in the Portland newspaper.

    (Hank, You out-reference me since I can not give a link — uh maybe not if the linked references are largely meaningless. Perhaps you would discuss references.)

  28. 278
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Winny says: 21 January 2010 at 4:02 PM

    “You unfortunately appear to have forgotten that this is science, not politics. Perhaps you once knew that.”

    The bulk of the important science needed to form a useful conclusion is done, finished to a high degree of confidence. The very fact that you and I are discussing a single selectively highlighted flubbed cite as opposed to anything of substantial importance tells us that this matter has moved solidly into the political realm.

    Find out about the science here:

    For the political part, you’re better off following the news, then fact-checking.

    Again, sorry I was rude.

  29. 279

    re 261 Hank Roberts,

    Also to note from a previous discussion here, the large European projects came along with the help of guarantees that the power would be bought at a much higher than market price. That is also a favorite trick that promoters sometimes forget to mention, but it helps get things going. Wait for that impact to hit home now that money is a little tight in Europe like it is here.

  30. 280
    Yvette says:

    “Something has to be done about the organized denial groups. I don’t know what of course, but SOMETHING needs to be done, before they stall us into inaction for the next century.”

    How true. I unfortunately have to endure the great denier, Senator Jim Inhofe since I live in Oklahoma.

    After reading the news of the error with the 2035 date I recalled reading that 2030 is the date that has been used to say the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone. Someone made a post earlier referencing NASA using the date of 2030 in reference to the Himalayan Glaciers.

    Can anyone direct me to where the 2030 date came from, and is it only a reference for the Glaciers in the Rockies?

  31. 281
    mircea says:

    Dhogaza (251) and Fed Up (250) I work in flight simulation (my company has done the first 787 ffs simulator) and everything that we do must be verified by measurements in the real A/C before it can enter in the simulation. The flight simulators do not extrapolate anything and do not prove anything. All the actions and results of the simulation must be backed by real measurements on the real A/C. One cannot certify a simulation if it doesn’t match the real data. Any simulated malfunction that takes the simulation outside the known flight envelope (i.e. is not measured on A/C) is not valid and it is rejected by the FAA for “negative training”. It is the same thing in designing. One uses the simulators/simulations to orient himself but then everything must be measured in real life (at least scaled models). For example the wings of the A/C are loaded with weights until they break in order to determine the breaking point, even if one has previously calculated that point through simulation several times.

  32. 282
    Don Shor says:

    Yvette says:
    21 January 2010 at 11:07 PM
    After reading the news of the error with the 2035 date I recalled reading that 2030 is the date that has been used to say the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone. Someone made a post earlier referencing NASA using the date of 2030 in reference to the Himalayan Glaciers.

    Can anyone direct me to where the 2030 date came from, and is it only a reference for the Glaciers in the Rockies?

    Wikipedia links to the USGS:

  33. 283
    Rod B says:

    BPL (235), way OT, but my recollection is that there is no where near 28% He in the outer shell/envelope of the Sun. My recollection is that He is virtually 100% in the core even after Red Giant Stage and start of He burning. It’s been a while, though; are you sure?

  34. 284
    TCO says:

    The initial response by IPCC and Pauchari was to double down and to stick with the statement. It took some heat turning up, before they acknowledged the error. I don’t care so much about the error, but about the response when first notified. It reminds me of CBS news spending 10 days sticking by their Memogate story before finally acknowledging that they didn’t have the forensic evidence they had said they did. Not the error, but the recalcitrance at fixing it. Capisce?

  35. 285
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jim, you missed my point there, I was responding to several people who made statements about the cost of wind power, with various numbers but no sources given. I said ‘citation needed’ after trying to find a good source and not finding one — figuring if they want their paragraph to show up in the next IPCC Report, they better get their citations nailed down on their numbers.

    That’s the topic — reliability of the numbers the ICC prints. Seems like an object lesson for everyone to be able to cite sources. I can dream.

  36. 286
    Rod B says:

    Hank (236), One of the two that have been cited before: The California Renewable Energy Sources Act of 2009 calls for a charge from the windfarm provider to the distributor/retailer (delivered at the edge of the windfarm) of $0.125 to $0.132/kWh indexed for inflation over a 20-year contract. Some exceptions call for $0.08 to $0.09, and $0.25 for small windfarms. Assumes no federal subsidies. Folks should quit quoting dreamy futuristic rates that assume super technology improvements and no pragmatic restrictions as if they were real.

  37. 287
    Doug Bostrom says:

    mircea says: 21 January 2010 at 11:17 PM

    You’re speaking about simulators for operational training.

    First the airplane has to be designed, which these days is heavily dependent on models, which are simulations.

    The Boeing 787 has a had a full fidelity simulator up and running for some time, long before the aircraft flew or for that matter complete physical systems integration was completed.

    Thanks to models, newly created aircraft offer only one major area of potential surprise during flight testing, flutter.

  38. 288
    Winny says:

    Yvette (#280)

    The 2030 figure appears to relate to the Blackfoot–Jackson Glacier Basin (Glacier National Park). I can’t find any instance of it being used for the Himalayan glaciers outside the NASA website.

    The figure is used in a 2003 paper published in Bioscience (Hall & Fagre, Vol. 53, No. 2, Pages 131–140). I haven’t read the paper in detail, but basically it posits two scenarios, one with a doubling of CO2 and one with a linear temperature extrapolation. Under the first scenario “the glaciers in the Blackfoot–Jackson Glacier Basin disappear completely by the year 2030.”

    The paper is available online here;

  39. 289

    #281–which would be why climate model output and observations are constantly being compared six ways from Sunday. Model validation is a big area of research.

  40. 290
    Edward Greisch says:

    170 Dr. P.S.Negi.: Thank you. I hadn’t thought about geographical diversity in that area. It really is a large area involving a number of countries. Could you tell us more?

  41. 291
    Edward Greisch says:

    179 Completely Fed Up: You are the one who has the cost figures reversed for wind and nuclear. Let’s talk about glaciers in the region where the Indian subcontinent impacts the rest of Asia.

  42. 292
    EL says:

    51. If you think we have reached peak oil, you may wish to buy a bridge I own in Brooklyn or a Senate seat I control in Mass. Oil, gas and coal reserves increase every year they are measured.

    Discoveries would have to be made in very high and ever increasing frequency because the world has exponential growth rates on fossil fuel consumption. When people think about peak oil production, they would do well to remember that oil is a finite resource.

    #55 rosie hughes said:
    Rosie, while I sympathise with your motives, you seem to have missed an incredibly important point: population isn’t the key factor in increasing consumerism and high energy use. Ironically, it is quality of life that matters most.

    I disagree, and I think Rosie is quite correct. Quality of life is linked into population size. When population becomes high, the resources to support the population is low; as a result, the quality of life is low. For an adventure in history, compare the quality of life for the average person before and after the black death in 1348-1350.

    Kevin McKinney:
    GHG emissions–in which the ethanol is immensely superior.

    What assumptions are you using here?

    nuclear is cheap. This is fact, according to every source I can find. You dispute it based on what, exactly?

    Nuclear is many things, but cheap is not one of them. The fixed cost for nuclear power are through the freaking roof.

    In General

    Some people seem to be confused about computer models. I think the phrase “Computer Models” should be redefined by the scientific community so that confusion can be avoided. Instead of “Computer Models”, the scientific community should use “Computer Assisted Mathematical Models.”

    Too many people think of video games when they hear “Computer Models.” The change in description could communicate a level of rigor that goes into scientific models.
    Just my 2 cents… (and its 3rd world coin)

  43. 293
    Edward Greisch says:

    186 Jimi Bostock: Thanks for the update. Where exactly in Australia? I’m in the central US. I have read reports from Australia that say that wheat has not grown in some part of Australia for some years. I don’t know Australian geography well enough. I also heard that the rice crop failed in Australia last year. Again, I didn’t know Australia grew rice at all. Do you know a URL that has Australian crop reports?

  44. 294
  45. 295
    Edward Greisch says:

    189 Sou: Thanks for the URLs. Looks like the drought didn’t last as long as I was lead to believe. Do you have similar URLs for India? Somebody posted on Climate Progress that India was having a problem with its monsoon rains.
    Would this be a good topic for a big RC post? How and when and where GW will affect agriculture is something to be concerned about.

  46. 296
    Edward Greisch says:

    207 Jim Galasyn: How do you make an artificial glacier?

    208 Kris: No argument. I’m all for eliminating fossil fuel use. Where I am, last year was so wet that 5% or 6% of the corn was not harvested per the local newspaper. Was that due to climate change?

    RC Group: 214 Tim Jones has a point as far as you published. The denialosphere is about to get unlimited funding.

    243 Barton Paul Levenson: Windmills can and have come apart in windstorms. The turbine part is wing-like, enabling that 60 ton machine to fly 1/3 mile. Do you want it landing on your head?

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    Didactylos says:

    “Completely Fed Up”:

    Your link doesn’t say anything about global wind costs. It doesn’t even say anything about where or how it derives the figure it does – except to say “estimates that newer technologies can reduce the cost of wind energy to 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.” Which seems to say very explicitly that this is not a calculation of actual costs. It is speculation. Even then, it appears to apply only to the US, and possibly only to California.

    And my primary source already considers full lifecycle costs, so nitpicking nuclear doesn’t help you. You should also take into account the degree to which other energy sources are subsidised (lots!) but you didn’t even touch on this.

    If you want to make a serious argument, provide some serious facts, please.

    I can’t imagine how you think a page entitled “Overview of Wind Energy in California” applies to the UK, far less the whole planet.

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    Edward Greisch says:

    263 Jiminmpls: Thanks for the wind power map. I notice that the Aleutian islands have superb wind, and lots of big cities are in white spaces with apparently no wind. Wind availability seems to be sort-of inversely proportional to the need for it.

    265 Tom S: “Uncertainity…the big elephant in the room.” Uncertainty is a 2-edged sword. It cuts both ways. We can’t prove that we won’t be extinct in 5 years or that we will be extinct in 100 years if AGW continues. AGW is just too risky.

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    Thank you ccpo after a bit of reading there and on other places I also recommend the following:
    Risks of the oil transition, AE Farell and AR Brandt 2006
    Scraping the bottom of the barrel: greenhouse gas emission consequences of a transition to low-quality and synthetic petroleum resources AR Brandt and AE Farell 2007
    Implications of “peak oil” for atmospheric CO2 and climate PA Kharecha and JE Hansen 2008

    Any one got more up to date info about any of this?