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Earth Science

New Photos Show 'Devastating' Ice Loss On Everest 895

Posted by timothy
from the heatin'-up-the-whole-outdoors dept.
Simmeh writes "The BBC reports on new photos of the Himalayas taken from exactly the same position as ones from 1929 and compares the ice coverage. The Asia Society, which did the groundwork, are quoted as saying, 'If the present rate of melting continues, many of these glaciers will be severely diminished by the middle of this century.' I guess the previous claim wasn't too unrealistic."
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New Photos Show 'Devastating' Ice Loss On Everest

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  • by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Monday July 19, 2010 @12:56AM (#32947658)
    AGW.

    What, who?

    Please, if your using a TLA [wikipedia.org] add a link so those of us who are not into whatever it is your talking about can find out what the Fsck your talking about.

    Thank you.
  • by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:11AM (#32947724)

    Anthropogenic Global Warming.

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:20AM (#32947778)
    the fact that you think this is actually evidence is all anti AGW people need to prove their point....
  • This makes sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by hopejr (995381) on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:23AM (#32947790)
    Nepal's power is run from hydro installed by the Russians many years ago. The generators are on the rivers that contain run-off from the Himalayas. I used to live there ('99-'01) and there was enough problems with lack of water then for us to have many brown outs. But lately, friends over there have been telling me that the power has been out for weeks on end, with hospitals, etc, having to constantly run their diesel generators, increasing the already excessive amount of pollution in the air, especially around Kathmandu. They've been saying that it's because the rivers have had hardly any water in them, which is caused by the decreasing amount of ice on the mountains.
  • Re:I am not scared (Score:4, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:39AM (#32947862) Journal
    "When it comes to size you have to stop thinking about the Earth, 12,752km diameter, and think about the atmosphere, 90% within 50km of surface."

    And most (but not all) of the stuff that affects climate happens in the troposphere (bottom 5km).
  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:41AM (#32947868)
    Unfortunately, the images in TFA are a bit misleading, as they are not taken from the same point. If you look closely, you'll find that the black and white image only starts about 20% into the left of the color image, and similarly the color image ends too soon, about 20% on the right of the black and white image.

    To visually compare the images properly, the color image needs to be turned into grayscale, and the two images need to be cut so that they can be properly superimposed. When this is done, the loss is a bit less impressive, but still noticeable in the valley if not on the mountains.

  • by Paua Fritter (448250) on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:42AM (#32947872)

    Dude, get off your high horse for a moment and check out the photographic exhibition website where they say that we are talking about 100m (actually they say "320 vertical feet") of ice that's been lost in Rongbuk glacier. That's a lot of ice, and is far more than anything attributable to seasonality.

    http://sites.asiasociety.org/riversofice/comparative-photography [asiasociety.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:08AM (#32948190)

    You would like to think that they get omitted, but your questions have been addressed.

    1. But the fly in the ointment is that the CO2 levels *lag* the temperature changes by 40 to 50 years.

    This has been answered [grist.org].

    2. The major greenhouse gas in our atmosphere isn't CO2. It's H2O.

    This has been answered too [grist.org].

    3. There seems to be some viking farms being uncovered in Greenland.

    They have covered this one as well [grist.org].

    4. And finally, the polar ice on Mars seems to be also shrinking.

    Wouldn't you know it, they forgot to omit this question [grist.org].

    Seems to me that the global warming crowd have a bit of a secondary agenda running that has nothing what so ever to do with actual global warming.

    That's right, because the big companies behind the denialist movement couldn't have any agenda!

    When the above independently verifiable but inconvenient little facts are explained, then I will consider the GW crowd to have done due diligence and be worth listening to.

    So will you change your opinion now, or just ignore all this and move on to other pesky facts that the so called "warmers" have allegedly failed to mention.

  • by alexibu (1071218) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:13AM (#32948206)
    1. Time lag disproves causality - true, but irrelevent, past changes driven by temperature caused co2 changes. This time we are driving with Co2 and causing temp changes. Coupled system - both effect each other. This is not good news as CO2 begets more temp which begets more CO2 and so on, also these changes happen much slower in past so who knows what happens this time when ocean thermal reservoir catches up.

    2. H20 vs CO2. Yes lots more water - difference is that there arn't oceans of CO2 lying around H2o is in equilibrium with liquid water. We couldn't have any effect on H20 concentration directly if we tried. It would rain out if we added it or evaporate out of oceans if we took it out. CO2 on the otherhand is just the right powerful lever to pull and we are yanking it like it's never been yanked before in the history of earth - certainly since mammals were evolved anyway. CO2 also begets H2O which aggreed is most of the greenhouse effect. CO2 is a forcing H2O is a feedback.

    3. Viking farm anecdotes. Climate changes - this was not a global phenomenon, and is interesting but doesn't disprove AGW.

    4. So you are arguing the point about the temperature record on earth but you think that there is sufficient data on mars global temps to make that statement and use it to disprove AGW (one of the greatest scientific efforts ever) ? Thats just silly.

    They have done due diligence but unfortunately - we have to watch the earth get stuffed seriously and rub your face in a post civil society - stuffed planet for you to get it. Plus we actually have to get it before major problems happen because of the decade time lags between action and response in the climate system and the political, engineering time lags, and tipping points.

    Some of these points were probably worthy of discussion during the early 1990s.
    Maybe this is one of the most important subjects out there and is worth more of your time investigating than just learning enough to parrot other ignoramuses.
  • The Ground Realities (Score:5, Informative)

    by tanveer1979 (530624) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:19AM (#32948236) Homepage Journal

    Since I live very close to himalayas, I can say with confidence, that things have changed quite a bit.
    Is it global warming/regional warming or no warming, I dunno.
    But over the past 6-7 years these changes have forced farmers to change crop cycles, modified travel plans of seasonal roads, etc., etc.,

    Basically, in the Western himalayas, around November, snowfalls would start, seasonal roads would close by december, and jan feb were heavy snowfall months, with some in April and may.

    Now from past few years, there is hardly any snow during December and even January, which leads to lousy apple crop.
    Then in feb, it snows some, and in April may and june, well heavy snowfall in higher reaches.
    This kills the standing crop.
    The entire north India reels under heat wave as there is hardly any winter rain. We start getting summer in feb instead of April.
    The mountains start getting snow.

    So is it warming or cooling. No idea, but its a big change from what has been happening since 1900 or so(when record keeping started).

    Winter rain, at the correct time, and winter snow at correct time is very important for healthy crops. all this cycle change has led to big problems.
    To add to that, monsoon summer rain has also reduced. Thankfully, this year, though a bit late, monsoon is mostly adequate, but then here also instead of sustained rain over few days, most places get a cloudburst like havoc creating spell, and then its humid and dry. The dams will get filled up, but areas depending only on rain will suffer.
    Such rains also lead to big landslides.

    Part of the blame is on local deforestation, and micro climate change in the Himalayan region due to rapid commercialization and deforestation. Since protecting the environment is not yet a major election issue, its just a lip service on world environment day, when we switch of lights for an hour(and then get the routine 10 hour power cut due to overload of AC).

    So all in all, pics or no pics, the local weather in western himalayas has changed. Hopefully, this weather pattern will stabilize, and farmers will switch there crop sowing times. But since its still too erratic, its a big problem.

    As for global warming, when I see the temperature records for the region since 1900, the average temp has been rising steadily in most places, but whether this warming is caused by humans or not, I dunno. I am not a climatologist and like many people here, I will refrain from posting my theories on the changes.
    All that matters to many, is that its getting hotter and drier, and rainfall patterns are shifting alarmingly.
    Many glaciers in central himalayas are indeed receding, and its a fact. Not that they are warmer now, but because from past few years, there has been little winter snow in these areas.
    The ski slopes of Auli, which used to be snowed out in winters, now are devoid of snow many times. Last year Auli did not get a snow season.
    This year in June higher reaches of himachal got a few feet of snow. Not unusual, but definitely unusual in the peak of summer!

    So the weather is changing, but who is changing it I dunno. I hope it can be fixed, because it causing a lot of food supply problems. Fruits are out of reach of many, and if this continues, even cereals will become precious.

  • by PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:23AM (#32948254)

    These are pretty reasonable questions, but I've seen them answered before. I'll take a crack at them here:

    1. Yes, there is a definite positive correlation between CO2 levels and global temperatures. Using ice core samples, tree growth rings, etc., this has been confirmed. But the fly in the ointment is that the CO2 levels *lag* the temperature changes by 40 to 50 years. Excuse me? The "cause" of the global warming happens "after" things warm up? That little datum all by its lonesome is rather hard to dispute.

    CO2 has lagged global temperature changes in the past, but that doesn't mean it can't lead in the future. The geologic record has no precedent for the rapid rise in atmospheric CO2 we've seen since the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, the magnitude of previous warnings can only be explained by the CO2 rise: it didn't start the fire, but it kept it burning.

    2. The major greenhouse gas in our atmosphere isn't CO2. It's H2O. Yup, plain old water. The effect of the CO2 is about 1 percent of the overall greenhouse effect. And of that 1%, mankind is contributing a much smaller percentage.

    Water is a significant greenhouse gas, but it precipitates out of the atmosphere so readily that it's not as concerning as CO2, which can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Also, 1% is a very low figure for the total heat absorbed by CO2. I think it's more in the 15% neighborhood (but I'm only lightly fact-checking myself here, so please correct if I'm wrong). The larger issue is that global warming is a 1% type of problem. That extra percent can cause significant climactic changes, even if it appears numerically small.

    3. There seems to be some viking farms being uncovered in Greenland. Yup, the glaciers are melting and in the process exposing abandoned farms. Hmm. Seems to me that if there were farms where there's currently glaciers, that would imply it being much warmer in the past.

    We do know that some regions have been warmer in the past, so it's entirely plausible that it was warm enough to farm there. It may have been a localized phenomenon, also. The issue with the current climate is that we're currently looking at a very rapid temperature increase, with few brakes in sight and possible feedback loops. We probably don't want to race past "farms in Greenland" and into hot water.

    4. And finally, the polar ice on Mars seems to be also shrinking. Guess those probes we've sent there have had a massive effect on Mar's temperature as well.

    Nobody (sane) ever claimed that there was only one variable affecting climate, so Mars could very well be warming for reasons totally different from ours. Climate models don't show that solar effects could account for all Earth's recent warming, AFAIK.

    The bottom line is that we understand most of the major climate forcings, including CO2, and can model climate with enough accuracy to say that the globe is increasingly, if gradually, warming, and will continue to do so if we continue to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. There are climate fluctuations in the record, but they're useful more in calibrating the models and understanding climate as a whole, because CO2 release on a modern scale simply has not happened before.

    Seems to me that the global warming crowd have a bit of a secondary agenda running that has nothing what so ever to do with actual global warming.

    I don't have an agenda other than that people attempt to understand and accept what's happening, physically, when deciding on an appropriate political response. Personally, I'd like to see more efforts on deploying concentrated solar power, photovoltaics, wind turbines, and electric vehicles.

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:3, Informative)

    by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:32AM (#32948280)
    Yep. And I had another number wrong. its should have been 90% of the atmosphere is within *7km* of the surface not 50km. But as you point out almost everything that affects life is within 5km.

    After I hit submit I found a site that made a really easy analogy.

    If the Earth was the size of an apple (the fruit) the atmosphere would have the same thickness as the peel at that scale.

    That really puts it into a perspective people can wrap their head around with a bit less effort.
  • Snow cover (Score:3, Informative)

    by dargaud (518470) <[ten.duagradg] [ta] [2todhsals]> on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:35AM (#32948300) Homepage
    Talking as a mountain climber, and trying to put the discussion back on topic (I see 141 comments, mostly trolling and inevitable answers), I'll just say that comparing pictures for snow covers is misleading, even when taken at the same time of the year. A few inches of snow can be enough to make it appear as if you have lots more. Only depth samples and yearly layer comparisons can give you hindsight. Even comparing the length of a given glacier over time can be misleading: if it rains a lot, it will lubricate the bottom interface between ice and rock and the ice will flow faster, hence a longer glacier (for a while).
  • by jcupitt65 (68879) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:38AM (#32948306)

    This is a standard list of objections, all of which are addressed by every "top ten climate myths" list every science magazine has ever published.

    For example, here's the New Scientist (the UK equivalent of Scientific American) list:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462-climate-change-a-guide-for-the-perplexed.html [newscientist.com]

    It answers all your points (I think) and several others as well.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:44AM (#32948328) Journal

    Yes, there is a definite positive correlation between CO2 levels and global temperatures. Using ice core samples, tree growth rings, etc., this has been confirmed. But the fly in the ointment is that the CO2 levels *lag* the temperature changes by 40 to 50 years. Excuse me? The "cause" of the global warming happens "after" things warm up? That little datum all by its lonesome is rather hard to dispute.

    The whole reason why GW is perceived as so dangerous is that it is a positive feedback loop - warming up means more CO2 means more warming up. Historically, some other reason for warming (e.g. Sun) would also trigger that cycle, so no surprise there.

    The major greenhouse gas in our atmosphere isn't CO2. It's H2O. Yup, plain old water. The effect of the CO2 is about 1 percent of the overall greenhouse effect.

    H2O is in equilibrium - if you add more to the atmosphere, the excess will fall out as precipitation. But if you add more CO2 to the atmosphere, it stays there. We don't care about the part that cannot change no matter what happens, it's just "always there" (similar to ocean albedo, for example). But that "tiny 1%" can grow practically indefinitely, and what's worse, it's that positive feedback loop again, so the effects are exponentially proportional to the amount we add, rather than linearly.

    There seems to be some viking farms being uncovered in Greenland. Yup, the glaciers are melting and in the process exposing abandoned farms. Hmm. Seems to me that if there were farms where there's currently glaciers, that would imply it being much warmer in the past.

    Yeah, it's called a Medieval warm period [wikipedia.org], and it was pretty much localized to North Atlantic. The mean surface temperature during it was actually below what we had 40 years ago. Other places were actually much colder. North America had some major droughts, by the way - I presume you're planning your move to Greenland already?

    And finally, the polar ice on Mars seems to be also shrinking.

    Mars has different atmosphere and different orbit, and its caps are covered by frozen CO2 - dry ice - which likely changes their interaction with everything else. Also, the observed changes in the caps mostly have to do with dry ice, not with water ice.

    Overall, it's a system that plays by entirely different rules which we don't presently understand anywhere nearly as well as those on Earth, so it's unclear what - if any - relevance it has to Earth GW discussion. Anyway, here [nasa.gov] is one take on why the Martian caps shrink.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:45AM (#32948340) Journal

    The difference, of course, is that glaciers are much more stable, even on geological timescale. It's not something that can reasonably be compared to a pile of snow in your backyard.

  • by frank_carmody (1551463) <pedrogent AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:58AM (#32948400)

    I RTFA and it mentions the date '1921' not '1929' as appears in the summary.

  • by Tom (822) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:42AM (#32948622) Homepage Journal

    Before you yell "get it right" to others, and then ramble on about "just two data points", how about reading TFA ?

    oh, look:

    He has not only followed in the footsteps of Mallory but also those of Italian photographer Vittorio Sella, whose work spanned the 19th and 20th Centuries.

    The result is a then-and-now series of photographs from Tibet, Nepal and near K2 in Pakistan - all of which show glaciers in retreat.

    It appears that there are lots more than just two data points. It's just the /. summary and maybe limited space or journalistic choice at the BBC that made them pick out only one specific picture set to show.

  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:48AM (#32948634)

    "It takes quite a bit of arrogance to believe that humanity can change the Earth's climate that much, that fast."

    Earth's surface: 510,072,000 Km^2
    Earth's population: 6,856,832,000

    Mean earth surface per inhabitant: 0,074 Km^2/habitant, or, to give it in "real international standards units", about 13,7 football fields.

    Do you really think it takes too much arrogance to imagine that a single man can alter 13,7 football fields within his lifetime through farming, mining, driving, building, etc.?

    As opposed to the sun which has a surface area of 6088000000000 Km^2 ?

    That's 887 Km^2/habitant, or 164,377 of your "real international standards units" (football fields).

    Do you really think it takes too much arrogance to imagine that the variations in radiation from a superheated ball of gas at 5505C (9941F) might, just possibly, have some bearing on the situation ?

    The sun may very well may have a bearing on the situation but you are not going to convince anybody that digging and pumping up billions of years worth of sequestered carbon over the last 60-70 years and releasing it into the atmosphere with wild abandon had no effect at all. But let's put the climate debate aside for a moment. He was talking pretty generally about the way that humans are affecting their environment. Facts like a drop in the wold tiger population from 100.000 at the beginning of the century to a mere 3000 today can hardly be blamed on the sun, there are huge areas of dead ocean where nothing survives in any numbers you can make a profit from catching and selling, the list goes on... Changes like that are undeniably due to human excesses, mismanagement, corruption, greed and very little else.

  • by mrcaseyj (902945) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:49AM (#32948640)

    Before the climate gate emails were released I had heard of the "hockey stick" but I didn't look into it because I thought it was probably just anti-science oil company propaganda. But after hearing about the trick to "hide the decline", I looked into it more. Climate scientists wanted to get rid of the medieval warm period because if temps were just as warm in the recent past, then there couldn't be much worry about today. So they found some tree rings that showed temps were cool back in the medieval warm period. Problem was that some of these trees were saying that temps were also cool during the last 50 years. Instead of eliminating these lying trees from the data set, they covered up the inconvenient data for the last 50 years from the lying trees with thermometer measurements and left us to think that these lying trees were telling the truth about the temperatures 1000 years ago.

    There seems to be two main defenses given by the climate science community for these cover ups. One is that some of the trees don't show this "divergence" from the thermometer temperatures. But if it is true that they have trees that give good data, then why not exclude the trees that lie? They can't claim they're reluctant to cherry pick the trees because this whole temperature from tree rings procedure demands picking out trees that are growth limited only by temperature and not anything else like water or CO2, and therefore cherry picking is inherently part of the process. And besides, even if they ought to leave the lying trees in, that's still no excuse to "hide the decline" in the final results.

    The other defense is that other studies by other researchers using other proxies, like sediments, have come to similar conclusions about the medieval warm period. But that's kind of like saying "My methods may have been corrupt, but my good buddies who have defended my corrupt methods, have gotten similar results in their research." This defense doesn't alleviate my concerns. And even getting correct results doesn't justify corrupt methods.

    If you think my criticisms of the hockey stick are harsh, imagine what the climate science community would think if someone like an oil company used similar methods in some research. Imagine an oil company found the medieval warm period was much hotter than today, but their results were based in part on rings from trees that showed temperatures from the last 50 years were much hotter than they really were, and the oil companies hid the results from the lying trees by replacing them with thermometer temps. But of course nobody would criticize that method if sediment studies from other oil companies showed the same results, right?

  • Re:News Flash! (Score:3, Informative)

    by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:23AM (#32948938)

    Ah yes, recycling [cei.org]... Didn't Penn and Teller do an episode [youtube.com] on that?

    And what does having fewer kids have to do with anything? Are you trying to breed "ecological concern" out of the species in favor of "religious fundamentalism that doesn't believe in birth control and doesn't give a crap about the planet?" Because that's what happening when you have less kids.

  • by cabraverde (648652) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:35AM (#32948998)

    What IS unrealistic to to blame ONLY man to the exclusion of all other contributing factors, which is what the A in AGW and all the real debate is about.

    Straw man weasel alert! No-one (NO-ONE) is saying that man is the only factor in climate change. You are pointing at the relatively small (natural) variation in climate that you could expect to occur over a couple of centuries and using it to spread FUD over the much larger anthropogenic variation.

  • by bunratty (545641) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:36AM (#32949000)
    We aren't blaming only humans. But the consensus is that humans are responsible for most of the warming of the last 50 years [norvig.com].

    This conclusion is endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences, The American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union and its parent organization, the American Institute of Physics, the national science academies of the G8 nations, Brazil, China, and India. and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    The phenomenon of warming caused by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to humans burning fossil fuels was predicted by Arrhenius over 100 years ago [wikipedia.org].

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:07AM (#32949188) Homepage Journal

    So your proof that CO2 causes a SIGNIFICANT rise in temperature is that CO2 causes a rise in temperature. Fantastic. AGW -- the new age anti-science religion.

    The proof that CO2 will causes a significant rise in temperature lies in physics. CO2 is a known greenhouse gas and releasing more of it contributes to the greenhouse effect. Man puts out orders of magnitude more CO2 than volcanism which we know to be a major driver of global climate for a variety of reasons but most certainly including CO2 release. The simple truth is that by your own description the CO2 system is a feedback loop, which is another fairly simple concept today. So basically, you can try to ignore physics, but that doesn't usually work so well for people. If you would like to pretend that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, perhaps you'd also like to pretend that objects at motion do not tend to stay at motion, and throw yourself in front of a speeding bus.

    I bet you deny that CO2 causes oceanic acidification, too.

  • by rjames13 (1178191) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:12AM (#32949224)

    No. It's because you suffer from cognitive dissonance, and any evidence that clashes with your current world view merely reinforces it. In other words, you are walking case example of neuroscience at work [wikipedia.org].

    Hi I'm the Cognitive Dissonance Troll. I'm here to point out that you are incorrectly using the phrase "Cognitive Dissonance"

    Cognitive Dissonance does not mean that people reinforce their current world view because of conflict with a new evidence. What it does mean it that you feel discomfort because there is a clash between your current world view and the evidence the world presents. What a person does with that discomfort is not related to the dissonance, the dissonance is the discomfort.

    Thank you for your time

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:18AM (#32949286) Homepage

    The medieval warm period happened in northern Europe. At a global level there was no "medieval warm period".

    Here's the pesky facts:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period#By_world_region [wikipedia.org]

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/werent-temperatures-warmer-during-the-medieval-warm-period-than-they-are-today/ [realclimate.org]

    Sorry for bursting your cozy little bubble.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:19AM (#32949294) Homepage Journal

    Ah, I see. "Denialism" is what zealots used to call "heresy":

    No, denialism is what we usually call "unwillingness to accept reality". If a truth is inconvenient (it's times like these I hate the name of that movie) then deny, deny, deny. Well, forget Al Bore for a minute and take a look at the science involved. We know what CO2 does. We know we release orders of magnitude more CO2 than volcanoes, and we know their CO2 is a driver of weather. Cancer rates double in the industrial revolution and denialists want to claim that it's because people live longer, but a) lifespans did not increase so very much at this time and b) we now know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the industrial revolution caused positively carcinogenic compounds in the atmosphere to be multiplied several times. It's always the same; the people who have everything invested in a process of raping the earth want to claim that she was asking for it. You don't have to be a coal miner or a logger to benefit from modern industrial society, of course; every time you discard a disposable plastic plate or get your iPhone replaced for some failure that never should have been made you're not only making your own contribution but you're deriving a feeling of security from the ongoing destruction of the biosphere upon which we depend. When your sense of well-being is dependent on believing a lie, you apparently cling to that lie whether it appears to fit the facts or not.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:32AM (#32949390) Homepage Journal

    My initial response was based on a reflexive reaction to the word "denialist". Like most people, whenever I see the word I think of "Holocaust denialism" and the lunatic fringe that attempt to deny the horrible crime that happened to the Jewish people during WWII.

    Are you suggesting that heretofore the word "denial" or "denier" should only be used in reference to Hitler's genocide against the Jews?

    Should we no longer be able to say that the people who don't believe that for which there is extensive evidence are "in denial"?

    Can you give me the list of other words that can no longer be used because they make you think of something bad? Maybe I'll give you "holocaust" because there are already lots of other good words to replace it, but something as simple and basic as "to deny"? That's taking an entire category of description off the table.

    Can you give me another word to describe someone who refuses to accept that for which there is ample evidence? Don't say "skeptic" because skeptics are the ones who require evidence, not the ones who ignore it. I'm specifically looking for a name for someone who refuses to accept any evidence. And "creationist" is too specific. I'm looking for a more general term.

  • Re:News Flash! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:39AM (#32949472) Homepage

    When you live in an area such as Stockholm where you see direct evidence of the most recent ice age and post-glacial rebound it makes you wonder just how much of this warming trend is anthropogenic.

    Ah, yes, that's the problem with climate scientists. They don't appreciate the personal impact of seeing scouring marks on mountains, so they forget that there's been an ice age recently!

    Uh, NO. No one ever said "the current interglacial period was all our fault". Ice ages and interglacials are caused by Milankovich cycles, small variations in the earth's orbit and axial tilt.

    It's just one thing: those orbital anomalies cause only a very, very small change in temperature by themselves. Not nearly enough to move the earth in and out of an ice age. Yet they have been found to be an excellent explanation for them. Why is that?

    Because of climate feedbacks. As white ice sheets melt and turns into dark ocean, the sun absorbs more of the energy striking it. As the oceans warm, their capacity to dissolve gases is reduced, causing them to release higher amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Causing further warming, causing further melting. The earth keeps warming, but all things that become warmer emit more heat radiation. Eventually it becomes hot enough that the heat radiation out is in balance with the additional energy absorbed. But by then the tiny change in temperature from an orbital change has turned an ice age into an interglacial.

    I recommend you start read Uppsalainitiativet [blogspot.com] since you presumably speak Swedish.

  • by hawkfish (8978) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:49AM (#32950270) Homepage

    You mean the poor farmer in Bangladesh will experience the same hardship from sea level rise than a Miami millionaire? One loses his livelihood and the other has to move his yacht pier up 3 feet - yes, that seems about the same.

    Yes, the 2.8mm/year rate of sea level rise is sure to take away the livelihood of that farmer in Bangladesh... he should start running now, or else he may never escape!!!!!

    You don't realize the absurdity of your extremist appeals to emotion BECAUSE YOU DONT EVEN KNOW THE FACTS OF THE VERY SHIT YOUR ARE SUPPORTING.

    No, you don't know the facts of the "shit" you are supporting. To start with, Bangaldeshi farmers can't start running because they live in one of the most densely populated areas on earth and the national boundaries there have been drawn in the 20th century to stop traditional migrations. And while 2.8mm/y may sound like nothing, try to remember that a) it has been going on for decades [wikipedia.org], b) that projection is probably too low [newscientist.com] and c) it is already causing serious problems in low-lying island nations such as Tuvalu [elsevier.com] and the Maldives [bbc.co.uk] as well as in Bangladesh [reuters.com] itself.

    So get your head out of your fat Western ass and start paying attention.

  • Re:News Flash! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rutefoot (1338385) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:59AM (#32950378)
    They use different plastics because they are produced using different methods. The bottle is produced by injection molding the top part with the threading and blow molding the rest. There are many things that have to be taken into account when choosing the right polymer to use (and price is only one of them). The ability to blow mold, the strength of the plastic (ie the ability to stack several cases of water on top of each other, amounting to potentially thousands of pounds), the flexibility (A bottle with little flexibility could puncture easily. The injection molded lid then has to have different characteristics in order to work properly. Trust me, the makers are not stupid. A water bottle is incredibly complex and it takes enormous amounts of knowledge and experience to create. You need understandings of biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and economics to design that little thing that costs pennies to make.

    To summarize: Try and design something that has the following characteristics (which is only a fraction of what is required) then come back and tell me that bottle designers are stupid:

    1)Has to contain a liquid without leaking
    2)Has to be relatively puncture proof
    3)Has to be lightweight
    4)Has to be cheap
    5)Needs to be manufactured quickly and must be able to be produced by machine perfectly every time.
    6)Has to be able to support thousands of pounds while filled with liquid without breaking or deforming (this isn't an exaggeration. Cases of water will be stacked 6 or 7 tall on a pallet then two or three more full pallets will be stacked on top of that.)
    7)Has to be ergonomic
    8)Has to withstand heat and freezing temperatures and the tendency for the liquid inside to expand when frozen
    9)Has to have a unique shape for branding purposes and still meet all the above criteria
    10)Needs to be designed to maximize the quantity on a pallet and in turn maximize the quantity on a truck. Most bottles have short necks for this reason (then go and try and create a short neck that is capable of withstanding weight)
    11) The lid needs to be able to be removed easily, but still is able to withstand the weight, the pressure and the temperature changes without leaking.
  • by ajaxlex (658555) on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:01AM (#32950408)

    in the "what are you going to believe, your own eyes?" department...

    Research in Phenology (the study of the seasonal changes of plant and animal life) shows significant advances in spring activity at points across the globe.

    http://www.scienceonline.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;324/5929/887 [scienceonline.org]
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15592880 [nih.gov]
    http://www.seaturtle.org/PDF/Parmesan_2003_Nature.pdf [seaturtle.org]

    These are supplemented by anecdotal evidence - particularly in higher latitudes - that things are changing rapidly, and that surroundings are changing with in a generations living memory.

    http://harvardmagazine.com/2002/11/the-great-global-experim.html [harvardmagazine.com]

  • by jcaplan (56979) on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:36AM (#32950836) Journal
    The photos in the linked article are small and hard to interpret. Better photos with commentary available at: http://asiasociety.org/OnThinnerIce [asiasociety.org] Also check out the "Then and Now link". It shows several other glaciers in the region and shows measurements of the 300-400 feet (122 meters) loss of thickness of ice in several glaciers.
  • by Coryoth (254751) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:18AM (#32951366) Homepage Journal

    There seems to be some viking farms being uncovered in Greenland. Yup, the glaciers are melting and in the process exposing abandoned farms. Hmm. Seems to me that if there were farms where there's currently glaciers, that would imply it being much warmer in the past.

    Do you actually have a cite for this, because it would be significant news to me -- not the fact that there were Norse farms in Greenland, but that there are Norse farms that are only now being uncovered by retreating glaciers. You see, as far as I know (and I've had an ongoing interest in the Norse settlements in Greenland) all the settlements that were ever mentioned in historical records have been accounted for -- the Eastern and Western settlements. For some time no-one quite believed in the Eastern settlement, until they eventually found it, not quite where people were expecting. So, two settlements known from records, two settlements found. Are either of those settlements under ice? It seems Google maps and satellite photos can come to out aid. Consider these Googlemaps images of the sites for the Western and Eastern Settlements:

      Eastern settlement area [google.com], and Eastern settlment map [wikipedia.org]
      Western settlement area [google.com], and Western settlement map [wikipedia.org].

    Just for reference, here is a zoom of the area of the Brattahlid and Gardar farms [google.com] (two of the largest/richest farms), and a zoom of the Sandnes farm area [google.com] from the Western settlement.

    Want more? How abut on the ground photos of the ruins?
    Gardar ruins [rudyfoto.com]
    Bratthlid ruins [greenland-guide.gl]
    Hvalsey church [rudyfoto.com]

    Obviously not "under ice", but rather sitting in what are nice green pastures (the benefits of being situated in fjords). So can you tell me where the newly discovered settlements that are being revealed by retreating glaciers are to be found?

  • Re:Hubris? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hypergreatthing (254983) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:51AM (#32952668)

    Global warming is part of a cycle. It was warmer in the past, and it was cooler in the past. The water level has risen and fallen in the past as well. What we can't discount is the amount of change that humans have to this cycle. In the last 100 years we've changed the atmosphere more than it's changed over the past 10,000. You can't really fight that fact. How that affects the earth is unknown, hence why people study climate change and try to model predictions. As far as i know we're due for a cooling period, which may have been offset by human activity. Great! Now about that warming period with human activity...

  • Re:News Flash! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @12:01PM (#32952838)

    That *MAY* be true for your neck of the woods, but it is not true everywhere. In many locals at home recycling is very effective at reducing waste and reducing the carbon foot print of the city.

    I have several friends involved in my city's recycling system. By conservative estimates, the city's recycling reduces overall carbon footprint (including energy used to recycle and transport) by 15%. That is also the most extreme conservative estimate. The last independent review put it at closer to 22%.

    Part of this success is that recycling at home is part of a larger system of sustainable living for the city and region. It is at this point part of the local culture and you are more likely to see an average house produce between 50% to 70% recycling and only 50% to 30% trash on any given "trash day".

    Another example you used would be water and soda bottles. Both require a deposit when purchased. That deposit is refunded when recycled (any store that sells them is required to be recycling collections spot). This has resulted in about 82% of these objects being returned for deposit and recycled and an estimated 7% being recycled without deposit returned.

  • by operagost (62405) on Monday July 19, 2010 @12:09PM (#32952936) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather not [venturebeat.com].

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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