IPCC’s warning about ice disappearing from mountain tops based on student dissertation

Sunday, January 31, 2010

LONDON - In what may cause fresh embarrassment to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it has emerged that its warning about ice disappearing from the world’s mountain tops was based on a student’s thesis and an article published in a mountaineering magazine.

Earlier, the IPCC had to issue a humiliating apology over its inaccurate claim that global warming will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was based on a “speculative” article published in New Scientist.

In its recent report, IPCC stated that observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa was being caused by global warming, citing two papers as the source of the information.

However, it has emerged that one of the sources quoted was a feature article published in a popular magazine for climbers which was based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers about the changes they were witnessing on the mountainsides around them, The Telegraph reports.

The other was a dissertation written by a geography student, studying for the equivalent of a master’s degree, at the University of Berne in Switzerland that quoted interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.

After the surfacing of the fact that IPCC has been using unsubstantiated claims and sources for its warnings, sceptics have cast doubt over the validity of the IPCC and have called for the panel to be disbanded.

“These are essentially a collection of anecdotes. Why did they do this? It is quite astounding. Although there have probably been no policy decisions made on the basis of this, it is illustrative of how sloppy Working Group Two has been,” Professor Richard Tol, one of the report’s authors who is based at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, said.

“There is no way current climbers and mountain guides can give anecdotal evidence back to the 1900s, so what they claim is complete nonsense,” he added.

However, scientists from around the world leapt to the defence of the IPCC, insisting that despite the errors, the majority of the science presented in the IPCC report is sound and its conclusions are unaffected. (ANI)

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