THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A MEDIA ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY THE INDIAN EXPRESS IN SEPTEMBER 2020 WITH THE CLAIM THAT FOSSIL FUELED ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING IS CAUSING HIMALAYAN GLACIERS TO MELT.
PART-1: WHAT THE ARTICLE SAYS: LINK: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/glacier-retreat-in-himalayas-to-cause-water-crisis-study-6601814/
TITLE: Glacier retreat in Himalayas to cause water crisis: study
Studies by ISRO show that approximately 75 per cent of the Himalayan glaciers are retreating at an alarming rate. Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi | September 19, 2020 2:36:17 am
The Himalayan Hindu Kush region has the biggest reserves of water in the form of ice and snow outside the polar regions. A study commissioned by the Observer Research Foundation, published this month, has found that the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayan Hindu Kush region is now affecting the surface water and groundwater availability in the region, and has adversely affected springs a lifeline for the population in hill areas. The study, carried out by Dr Anjal Prakash, IPCC author and Research Director of Bharti Institute of Public Policy at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, says that unless a coherent nationwide policy is developed for springs and Himalayan groundwater, villages and towns in the region will face a severe water crisis in coming decades. Studies by ISRO show that approximately 75 per cent of the Himalayan glaciers are retreating at an alarming rate. These retreats will increase the variability of water flows to downstream areas and endanger the sustainability of water use in the earth’s most crowded basins. Receding glaciers would also have an impact on the rates of groundwater recharge in some areas,” says the study. The decline in groundwater due to anticipated decline of glacial meltwater is likely to affect the Ganges basin the most, it says. Glacial decline is closely related to climate change. The study looks at the interconnectivity between this and the groundwater and surface water in the area. There are 5 million springs in the Himalayas and they are showing a decline because of overuse by an increasing population, but also because of retreating glaciers and depleting ground water levels. This is alarming because the populations that live in the upper and middle Himalayas, in villages and even towns, are dependent on spring water. NITI Aayog has set up a committee to look at springs in the Himalayas. But there needs to be a mission mode policy on this,” said Dr Prakash. In many parts of HKH springs are drying up due to prolonged pre-monsoon drought as a result of climate change, threatening the way of life for local communities and downstream areas,” said Dr Vishal Singh, Executive Director of Centre for Ecology Development and Research. The HKH region extends across 3,500 km over eight countries—Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. It has the biggest reserves of water in the form of ice and snow outside the polar regions, and is the source of 10 of the largest rivers in Asia. About 1.3 billion people directly depend on the HKH ecosystems, including for irrigation, power and drinking water. For the upper Indus basin, glacier melt may contribute up to 41 per cent of the total runoff, 13 per cent in the upper Ganga basin and 16 per cent in upper Brahmaputra. While initially the retreating glaciers will not have a direct impact on water flow in rivers, except in the Indus where 26 per cent flow is from glacier melt, this is likely to change soon, says the study. Climate warming is affecting hydrological regimes in the HKH region because of factors like changes in seasonal extremes, increased evapotranspiration, and changes in glacier volume. However, the study forecasts that in all three basins, there would be a decrease in snow and a rise in glacier melt by the middle of the century. Initially, there will be an increased amount of meltwater available, but this quantity will decline abruptly as the glacier storage is reduced.
PART-2: CRITICAL COMMENTARY
The fearful climate change topic that anthropogenic global warming is melting Himalayan glaciers is no longer credible in the context of its sordid historical past as evident in the related posts and historical notes below.
RELATED POST #1: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2010/07/22/himalayan-glaciers-melting-again/ Himalayan glaciers melting again
In: Bangkok Post | global warming | Nature Leave a Comment
Reference: Our beaker is on the boil, Bangkok Post, July 21, 2010. In its 2007 assessment of climate change, the IPCC had warned that global warming is causing Himalayan glaciers to melt and recede and that this process, unchecked by their prescribed intervention of carbon emission reduction, would dry up Asia’s great rivers including the Yellow, the Yangtze, the Mekong, and the Ganges and leave more than a billion people without water (Himalayan glacier melts to hit billions of poor, Bangkok Post, December 7, 2009). Skeptics were quick to point out that glacial meltwater plays a very minor role in feeding these rivers and that therefore the loss of glaciers would not affect these rivers in the way postulated by the IPCC. The IPCC was forced to make a full retraction of this assessment. Soon thereafter climate scientists started looking for rivers in the region that do depend on meltwater from Himalayan glaciers in order to resurrect their glacial-melt agenda. They came up with the Indus and Brahmaputra rivers as possible candidates on the basis of their dependence on glaciers (Our beaker is on the boil, Bangkok Post, July 21, 2010). The Brahmaputra does receive a greater portion of its water from glacial melt than the Ganges, but at about 8% or so it is still too small a fraction to cause the river to “dry up” without glacial meltwater. The Indus, however, is a different story for there the complete loss of glacial meltwater would cause a 24% decline in flow and that would indeed be a catastrophic impact. There is a small problem with geography, however. The source of these rivers is not in the region where the receding glacier is identified. In particular, the source of the Indus is in the Karakoram range where most glaciers – including the Siachen glacier that feeds the Indus – are growing and advancing and certainly not receding. The assertion that global warming will cause the Indus and Brahmaputra to run dry is based on data from the wrong glacier and is therefore not valid. It is yet another example where climate science has attempted to generalize local data when such generalization is not possible. All glaciers in the Himalayas are not receding. Many are advancing and many more are at steady state – neither advancing nor retreating; but you won’t hear about them from climate scientists because they cannot be used to evoke fear and loathing of carbon dioxide. This kind of fear based activism appears to be an integral and important part of the science of climate science.
RELATED POST #2: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2010/06/17/the-glaciers-in-tibet-are-melting/ Are the glaciers iin Tibet melting?
It is reported that global warming is melting the glaciers in the Tibetan plateau and that this process will cause 1/3 of these glaciers to disappear in 10 years (Global warming spells doom for Asia’s rivers, Bangkok Post, June 16, 2010). The article claims that declining water flow in the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, and in particular, the severe decline in Mekong waters in Southeast Asia downstream of China, are due to the loss of glacial mass caused by global warming and that these changes have doomed 1.3 billion people in Asia to death by global warming. No explanation is offered for why an increase in the melt rate of source glaciers decreases water flow in the rivers they feed instead of increasing it. This story first surfaced in mid 2004 with a warning of “ecological catastrophe” from Tibet’s glaciers that have been melting for the last 40 years as a consequence of climate change and that would continue to melt at a rate of 7% per year and reduce water flow in the rivers fed by the glaciers. As to why an increase in the melt rate does not increase the flow rate in the rivers, it was proposed that global warming was again to blame because it was causing all that excess melt water to evaporate. All of these conclusions were derived from the discovery of a number of ice islands that were assumed to have separated from their glaciers. It was predicted that without human intervention in the form of emission reductions 64% of the Tibetan glaciers would be gone by the year 2050 and all of it would vanish by the year 2100. The year 2100 plays a magical role in global warming theory as some kind of end time when the full wrath of every aspect of climate change doom will be realized. Later the same year in 2004, a different story was floated. It said that a visit to the Zepu glacier in Tibet at an elevation of 11,500 feet showed a torrent of melt water gushing out at an alarming rate and all that excess water was forming the headwaters of a river downstream at a much higher elevation due to global warming. Their data showed that 30 years prior to that date, Zepu was 100 yards thicker. They concluded that what is happening to Zepu is happening to all the glaciers in Tibet and what is happening in Tibet is happening globally. Glaciers are melting all over the world due to global warming with the possible exception of Scandinavia. The story changed again in 2006 when it was announced with a great sense of alarm that global warming was causing sandstorms in Beijing by way of melting glaciers and drought. This version of the story came in the aftermath of the unusually large sandstorm event in Beijing in April 2006 that captivated TV audiences and made headlines around the world; but the effort to sell global warming on the back of this tragedy was ineffective as the expansion of the Gobi desert is historical and a well understood phenomenon linked to over-grazing and other land use issues and not due to melting glaciers. However, the story that the Tibetan glaciers were melting and threatening water supplies to a billion people continued to re-appear in 2007 and 2008 but went on a hiatus in 2009 when excessive amounts of black soot deposits were found in core samples of Tibetan glaciers implying that accelerated melting if any was more likely due to soot than to global warming. Yet another deterrent to hyping global warming with Tibetan glaciers came in early 2010 when it was found that the Tibetan glaciers were unique in that they never got very big but varied in size within a range that was not very large with their temperature sensitivity not very significant even going as far back as the last ice age. Also of note is that there is no evidence that water flow in the Yellow, the Yangtze, or the Mekong is declining in the river as a whole. The only evidence presented is that water flow in the Mekong in Laos and Thailand – downstream of China – has declined. In fact it has, but that could not have been caused by a decline in the flow of its headwaters for that would have affected flow in the entire length of the river and not just in a section thousands of miles downstream. The loss of water in the lower Mekong has received a lot of attention in Southeast Asia and it has been a contentious water sharing issue with China which has built a number of dams upstream but it is not a glacial headwaters issue, nor a global warming issue. No one here would take it seriously that the water problem in the Southeast Asian section of the Mekong would be alleviated by lowering carbon dioxide emissions. Consider also that the Mekong is fed mostly by monsoon rains with a water flow that is highly seasonal. Its flow during the monsoon is 30 times its flow during the dry season. Therefore if there were a climate related decrease in the total amount of water it carries it would have to do with the monsoons and not with glaciers. Coincidentally, climate scientists had made the same error in 2007 when they had said that the Ganges river – which receives less than 10% of its water from glacial melt – would dry up because of melting glaciers. So it is curious to find them attempting to revive the Tibetan glacier story yet again in the light of these data and in the heels of their humiliating retraction of similar false alarms about Himalayan glaciers. It is likely that real evidence of global warming catastrophe is hard to come by these days and there is a certain degree of desperation in the global warming camp to keep the issue alive in the media.
Historical note #1: 2009 LINK http://chaamjamal.blogspot.com/2009/12/reference-giant-climate-fraud-in.html Reference: The giant climate fraud in Copenhagen, Bangkok Post, December 13, 2009: An article breathlessly promoting climate catastrophe hysteria claims that „Himalayan ice is rapidly vanishing and will be gone by 2035 so the great rivers of Asia that are born there will shrivel and cease“ to provide water to a quarter of humanity (Bangkok Post, December 13, 2009). The preposterous and scientifically impossible idea that the Himalayan ice will be gone by 2035 comes from the IPCC which initially cited a research paper that claimed that Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2350. As this statement may not have contained the fear factor that climate alarmism needed, the date has been whittled back to 2035 without explanation and Himalayan glaciers have been gradually expanded to include all Himalayan ice. As for rivers running dry, the IPCC specifically targets the Ganges river claiming it will go bone dry by 2035 because of vanishing ice. Kindly note that the Ganges derives less than 5% of its water from glacial melt.
Historical note #2: 2009: LINK: http://chaamjamal.blogspot.com/2009/12/reference-himalayan-glacier-melts-to.html Reference: Himalayan glacier melts to hit billions of poor, Bangkok Post, December 7, 2009: In 2007, the IPCC issued a report citing data on the retreating Gangotri glacier in the Himalayan mountains that showed that the rate of retreat had accelerated from 19 m/yr in 1971 to 34 m/yr in 2001. They extrapolated the observed acceleration forward and wrote that global warming devastation due to carbon dioxide was only a decade away for people who depend on the Ganges and other rivers with headwaters in the Himalayas. This scenario continues to be widely disseminated in the media (Himalayan glacier melts to hit billions of poor, Bangkok Post, December 7, 2009) in spite of more recent data that show that the predicted acceleration has not occurred; with the IPCC going so far as to vilify Indian scientists who who published the data as climate change deniers. In any case, the idea that glacial retreat in the Himalayas will cause the Ganges river to dry up is inconsistent with the observation that the river derives less than 5% of its water from glacial melt. Also of note is that a gradual decline in overall glacial mass worldwide began in 1850 when the Little Ice Age had mysteriously ended well before fossil fuel consumption and atmospheric carbon dioxide rose to levels that the IPCC has identified with man-made global warming. The melt is not a carbon dioxide issue.
Historical note #3: 2010: LINK: http://chaamjamal.blogspot.com/2010/02/unwinding-of-climate-change-hype-once.html The unwinding of the climate change hype. The once feared hype about catastrophe from carbon dioxide emissions is in ruins. The failure of climate science to make their case at the Copenhagen summit came on the heels of leaked emails from climate scientists that exposed a conspiracy to defraud. Even as the IPCC was in damage control mode to defend itself from these charges, there were further even more damaging revelations of scientific fraud and incompetence. It is now known that scores of their claims about devastation from carbon dioxide emissions including their claim that hurricane Katrina was caused by carbon dioxide emissions, that the Amazon forest will be turned into a savanna, that Africa’s agriculture and coral reefs worldwide would be devastated, that the Himalayan glaciers are melting and will be gone in 25 years, that the sea level is rising and inundating atolls in the Pacific, and that the Arctic will be ice free in 15 years, that that glaciers in the Alps and the Andes are in accelerated and alarming decline; are lies. The IPCC is now busy retracting one scary claim after another apparently in secret as the media that once hyped them have gone silent on the retractions. Even so, the credibility and fear factor of climate science are down. Weaknesses in the global warming house of cards are exposed.
Historical note #4: 2010: LINK: http://chaamjamal.blogspot.com/2010/04/reference-800-flee-eruption-bangkok.html In the heydays of the global warming movement glacial advances were ignored and glacial retreats exaggerated and ascribed to carbon dioxide emissions. Geothermal effects were not considered even after it became known that the melt data on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were taken from a region with volcanic activity under the ice (The fire below, Bangkok Post, April 28, 2008). Now that the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull has erupted and broken through the ice for all to see, can we expect yet another retraction from the IPCC with respect to retreating glaciers in the Arctic along the lines of their retraction of the state of impending catastrophe about retreating glaciers in the Himalayas?
Historical note #5: 2010: LINK: http://chaamjamal.blogspot.com/2010/04/reference-ice-cap-thaw-may-awaken.html Reference: Ice cap thaw may awaken Icelandic volcanoes, April 17, 2010: Global warming scientists have come up with the idea that carbon dioxide causes volcanic eruptions in Iceland. The argument goes that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming, global warming in turn causes glaciers in Iceland to melt, and melting glaciers lighten the weight of the ice cap on volcanoes and thereby trigger eruptions (Ice cap thaw may awaken Icelandic volcanoes, April 17, 2010). It is clearly a sinister attempt to ride the media wave created by the volcanic eruption under the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier and to use that fear factor to sell their war against carbon dioxide. The reality is of course very different. Melting glaciers do not cause volcanic eruptions. Volcanic eruptions cause melting glaciers. We now know that much of the glacier melt that the global warming people tried to pin on carbon dioxide was actually caused by geothermal activity under the ice not just in Iceland but also in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and in Greenland. They have not learned from their prior errors committed while dishonestly overselling the global warming hype and are about to commit Volcano Gate right in the heels of the HimalayaGate retraction.
Historical note #6: 2010: LINK: http://chaamjamal.blogspot.com/2010/04/reference-non-water-flushing-bangkok.html
It has been a long and bitterly cold winter in the Himalayas with record snowfall; and so I was surprised to read in the Bangkok Post that the Mekong River is drying up because „the amount of ice and snow in the Himalayas this winter is less than usual, and much of it melted in January and February“ due to global warming (Non-water flushing, Bangkok Post My Home Magazine, April 22, 2010). Has the global warming juggernaut reached such momentum that even actual weather data don’t matter?