Himalaya Glaciers as Studied By Local Scientists
Posted by Jeff Id on February 11, 2010
In response to a recent guest post by Dr. Bhat and the Glaciergate nonsense by the IPCC. I had a unique opportunity to ask what the opinions of himself or local scientists were of the state or future Himalayan glaciers. His reply reminded me very much of the posts here where two state climatologists (George Taylor and Mark Albright) were forced from their jobs recently for presenting real data which did not support the consensus. I’ve written two posts in the past on that situation.
In addition to his email posted below with permission, Dr. Bhat also sent 3 links to pdf’s on the topic which are linked after his letter. These articles include papers on the state of the local glaciers and explanations of their current conditions. As is regularly the case in climate science, there are several alternative explanations for the effects being measured and some politics affecting what portion of the science is being reported.
Writing in response to your mail of 6 Feb, let me tell you that I am specialized in geochemistry and tectonics, not in glaciology. But, as any other geologist, I know the earth has undergone many warming and cooling phases. That is what geologists learn at their elementary level of the subject. It was courtesy one of the co-authors (Chris Smoot) of the book ‘Surge Tectonics’ (Kluwer, 1996) and his colleague (Bruce Leybourne) – both former US Navy scientists — that I became interested in climate science (You may read the attached 2006 article ‘Bushy-Blairy…’ to know more about it). In gist, Smoot and Leybourne noted that each high pressure (HP) and low pressure (LP) cells of the three global oscillation systems that control the world weather are underlain by typical geological structures with vortex geometry and with other typical geomorphological and geophysical characteristics. (Surge Tectonics had already recognized these vortex structures as something not explicable by the mainstream geodynamic concept, the plate tectonics.) Thus, the best studied Southern Oscillation, with which El Niňo is associated, has its HP cell hovering over Easter and Juan Fernandez Islands (two adjacent islands on the East Pacific Rise) and LP cell over the Banda Sea (Indonesia) in the western Pacific Ocean. North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) controlling North American weather patterns, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) controlling European and Siberian weather patterns have a similar underlying geology. In the background of then existing observations by seismologist Daniel Walker — pointing to increased tectonic activity (seismicity, magma upwelling and hydrothermal venting) along portions of the East Pacific Rise preceding by up to six months each El Niňo event studied from 1964 to 1997-98 (thus termed “Predictors of El Niño”) — the observations of Smoot and Bruce made an interesting connection for us. We made an attempt to explore this connection with the study of the European heat wave of 2003, and found some apparent confirmation. We argued for deepening the frontier of climate research to see if sun’s magnetic field via Earth’s Core-mantle boundary processes is somehow linked to climate modulation. However, several proposals for funding by Bruce to explore this link didn’t succeed get us pass through the climate establishment camp guards.
Nevertheless my interest at least in knowing about AGW hasn’t diminished. This interest keeps me talking to, among others, two of my colleagues, Prof. R K Ganjoo and Prof. M N Koul (Jammu University) who have been monitoring some large and small glaciers (Siachen, Drgdrun, Machoi, Kangrez, Naradu) in western Himalayas. Every time, including as recently as yesterday, we talk, they tell me quite different story than what Pachauri and Al Gore and their foot soldiers want us to believe. That also is precisely what V K Raina (author of Forests and Environment Ministry’s Discussion Paper of the health of Himalayan glaciers) told me. Did they they tell any one about their work? Yes, whenever they got any chance, which was hardly ever. But they did publish their results (two attached pdf files here). They were called by Forests and Environment Minister and they did tell him. But when it came to invitation in a conference like the one organized by TERI, Kashmir University and J & K Govt on climate change last year, they were ignored. People from far off, including Hadley Center, were invited but not these two local glaciologists who could have presented real data! I didn’t hear Mr. Raina being there either.
The other part is that I am not oblivious of local history either. In his book ‘The Valley of Kashmir’, Sir Walter Lawrence, a British Govt revenue official writes:
“The old men of the valley declare that the climate is changing, and they are very positive that there are now no such winters as they remembered as boys. In Maharaja Gulab Singh’s time [1846-57] the snow was up to a man’s shoulders, in Maharaja Ranbir Singh’s [1857-85] time up to his knees, but now [Maharaja Partab Singh’ rule] winter passes without any fall of snow. Nearly every man who talks on the subject holds to this belief, and they all say that much less water comes into the valley than of yore. They point to the villages which once grew rice, and to old canals which are now dry, and they maintain that the mountain springs are decreasing and that the climate of Kashmir is becoming milder and more like that of the Panjab.” Lawrence published his book in 1895 and his characters talk of events that started long before humans started sinning on carbon emission. I saw this repeating in my life time — at least from snow up to knees, possibly in conformity with an old Kashmir saying: Karana changes every 36 years. Karana roughly translates to phase. Karana or PDO???
M. I. Bhat
Professor & Head
Department of Geology & Geophysics
University of Kashmir