Monday, April 16, 2012

Mt Everest melting! But who says it's so? Take 3

Lovely to see ABC contradict itself. Earlier this year we asked ABC to provide some evidence to back up claims of worsening climbing conditions on Mt Everest.
We asked them to substantiate the following points, taking into account alternate lines of evidence:
1.Climate change is altering the face of the Himalayas (New sat data shows Himalayan glaciers hardly melting at all)
2. Climate change is devastating farming communities in the Himalayas (A community farm in the Himalayan foothills is drawing people from all over)
3. Climate change is making Mount Everest increasingly treacherous to climb (13-year-old American climbs Everest, calls his mom).

ABC provided the weak reply (below) that ignored the main points. Now a story on ABC Science (Himalayan region bucks glacier melt trend: study) confirms that: "One of the world's biggest glacier regions has so far resisted global warming that has ravaged mountain ice elsewhere, according to scientists."
"But a French team, comparing 3D satellite maps from 2000 and 2008, said the glaciers had not lost mass over this period and may even have grown a tiny bit, at 0.11 millimetres per year."
Oh the irony!

From ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs received March 26.
Thank you for your email of February 26 concerning the story “'Super Sherpa' says climate change may make Everest unclimbable”

The sentence you have referred to and queried was the opinion of mountaineers and was clearly referenced as such. It was backed up by a quote from Apa Sherpa. While he may not be an expert on climate change, he is clearly an expert on what is required to make Mt Everest climbable, which was the point of the story. His opinion was premised on an understanding that the glaciers on Mt Everest are shrinking. That opinion is based on reasonable evidence. It is the assessment of the United Nations Environment Program’s Glacier Monitoring Service   and The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. In relation to the Naturearticle you refer to, the ICIMD points out that the GRACE measurements used in that article do not allow for regional variations where climate change is resulting in shrinking glaciers in some areas due to rising temperatures (including the area in Nepal where Everest is located) but seems to be resulting in growing glaciers in some high altitude regions due to increased precipitation.

Yours sincerely
Audience & Consumer Affairs

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