OFFICIAL COMPLAINT ABOUT ACCURACY
[sent to the Herald online today]
Yesterday the Herald’s Jason Patinkin or an editor said: “The mountains of East Africa that inspired Hemingway are being dissolved by climate change.” There are two things wrong with that statement.
First, climate change cannot destroy rock; the mountains are safe.
Second, the spectacular icecap on Kilimanjaro is “nowhere near melting,” according to a local ecologist only two years ago. This is widely understood—even Skeptical Science (confirmed believers in global warming) admit that Al Gore got it wrong when he claimed in his film An Inconvenient Truth that it was being melted by global warming.
The idea that global warming was eroding the ice was described in 2000 in a paper by Professor Lonnie G. Thompson. Nobody agreed, though, and a long-term study published in American Scientist in 2007 by glaciologists Phillip W. Mote and Georg Kaser rebutted Thompson’s argument once and for all, showing that rising air temperatures were not shrinking the ice.
They found that from 1958 to 2007 temperatures fluctuated between -4 and -7 °C. There was no warming.
Mote and Kaser studied it and other equatorial mountains over many years and not only dismissed climate warming as a cause of the Kilimanjaro shrinkage, they excoriated it, saying: “Indeed, warming fails spectacularly to explain the behaviour of the glaciers and plateau ice on Africa’s Kilimanjaro massif” [emphasis added].
It cannot be stated any plainer than that.
So what IS causing the ice loss? Mote and Kaser observe that glaciers are complex environments. For example, snowfall varies, which affects the amount of solar radiation reaching the glacier. There are other factors, too, which all need careful study to understand what’s happening, but the major factor appears to be deforestation around Kilimanjaro, reducing the water vapour that causes rain and snow on the mountain.
They ask: “Is Kilimanjaro’s ice cap doomed? It may be.” But then, incredibly, they describe how atmospheric warming could help snowfall remain on the icecap and actually increase its size, adding: “Ironically, substantial global warming accompanied by an increase in precipitation might be one way to save Kilimanjaro’s ice.”
The Kilimanjaro summit environment is not as one-dimensional as climate change activists would have us believe, and it is not difficult to discover this. Mr Patinkin was not nearly so diligent as he is meant to be.
Kindly require him to issue corrections to his story or I shall be obliged to complain to the NZ Press Council. This is official notice of a complaint about inaccuracy.
Climate Conversation Group