Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Update: Mt Everest melting! But who says it's so?

(According to ABC sources)
In early June we requested ABC substantiate claims it made in its report titled, Melting ice making Everest climbs dangerous, that: "Studies show temperatures are rising faster at Mount Everest than in the rest of South Asia." We requested ABC provide details of the studies. ABC have now replied with the following (the full reply is shown with the original post):
Received 2 August 2010
"On receipt of your complaint, we have investigated whether it could be established that a significant error had been made that warranted correction, as required by section 5.2.2(c)(ii) of the ABC’s Editorial Policies. Audience and Consumer Affairs note that studies do appear to show temperatures are rising faster at Mount Everest than in the rest of South Asia, as illustrated in Table 10.2 of the Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007: In view of this, we are unable to conclude that a significant error has been made which warrants correction. However, should you have specific further information which you feel is relevant to our decision on this point, we would be happy to consider it."
We have sent ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs the following email:

The ABC report states: "Studies show temperatures are rising faster at Mount Everest than in the rest of South Asia." You have now provided the IPCC table 10.2 as a reference for this information, however for South Asia this table indicates temperature rise in Sri Lanka at "2°C increase per year in central highlands " while the annual increase for the Himalaya is given as "0.09°C per year in Himalayas". Clearly the values for Sri Lanka greatly exceed those of the Himalaya, and Sri Lanka, not the Himalaya, is the area where temperatures are rising faster in South Asia. Clearly both trends are also worthy of further journalistic inquiry for if continued both would greatly exceed IPCC forecasts.

Can you please now amend the article, firstly to include the source reference you refer to, and secondly to correct the factual error?  It is a pity that I have been privy to this information and Audience and Consumer affairs research and other audience members have not. 

Table 10.2 can be viewed directly at:

South Asia 
0.68°C increase per century, increasing trends in annual mean temperature, warming more pronounced during post monsoon and winter 

0.09°C per year in Himalayas and 0.04°C in Terai region, more in winter 

0.6 to 1.0°C rise in mean temperature in coastal areas since early 1900s 

An increasing trend of about 1°C in May and 0.5°C in November during the 14 year period from 1985 to 1998 

Sri Lanka 
0.016°C increase per year between 1961 to 90 over entire country, 2°C increase per year in central highlands 
We wait ABC's reply. In the meantime we are investigating the source of the warming trends proposed for the Himalayas cited by the IPCC. The three references provided for the Himalaya trends in Table 10.2 are as follows:

Shrestha, A.B., 2004: Climate change in Nepal and its impact on Himalayan glaciers. Presented European Climate Forum Symposium on “Key vulnerable regions and climate change: Identifying thresholds for impacts and adaptation in relation to Article 2 of the UNFCCC”, Beijing.

Shrestha, A.B., C.P. Wake, J.E. Dibb and P.A. Mayewski, 2000: Precipitation fluctuations in the Nepal Himalaya and its vicinity and relationship with some large scale climatological parameters. Int. J. Climatol.20, 317-327.

Bhadra, B., 2002: Regional cooperation for sustainable development of Hindu Kush Himalaya region: opportunities and challenges.Paper presented at the Alpine Experience – An Approach for other Mountain Regions, Berchtesgaden.
Strangely and contrary to IPCC practice, only one of these is peer reviewed and it deals with precipitation, not temperature; the other citations are conference presentations. The actual temperature values quoted in the table originate from the following paper:
Shrestha, Arun B.; Wake, Cameron P.; Mayewski, Paul A.; Dibb, Jack E.. Maximum Temperature Trends in the Himalaya and Its Vicinity: An Analysis Based on Temperature Records from Nepal for the Period 1971--94. Journal of Climate, 9/1/99, Vol. 12 Issue 9 pp:2775-2786
This paper makes for interesting reading. It appears that the stations used to calculate Himalayan trends come from east Nepal and on face value these do not appear to confirm the warming trends claimed. We intend to post further on this in the near future.
Quick update: the closest weather station to Mt Everest used in the Shrestha et al 1999 paper is Chialsa, 59 km away. ABC's claims that "Studies show temperatures are rising faster at Mount Everest than in the rest of South Asia" are based on a study that has no data at Mt Everest!


  1. We have ABC warmist bias and BBC warmist bias. Whatever happened to impartiality, integrity and investigative journalism?

  2. Whatever the slight temperature increase, the temperature at the height of Everest would still be below 0C due to its height. So there can be no melting. Ice can reduce due to sublemation, direct evaporation to the atmosphere, but this requires direct sunlight. If ice had decreased then it is due to reduced precipitation probably caused by deforestation.

  3. AR4 in itself is not a credible resource. It is a collection of information, not a study in itself. A very poor collection in my opinion. And, what happened to investigative journalism? There's no money in saying that everything is going to be ok. It's only news if we are all on the brink of destruction. I'm glad people are finally using their own thought processes and not simply swallowing whatever garbage is being fed by the media.

  4. carbon soot fallout from burnt fossil fuel attracts heat as its colour is dark! This has been found to accelerate snow melt! you can find this soot all over the planet.

  5. if we S___t in our own backyard we have to live in it you know!!!!


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