Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, July 02, 2007

Kilimanjaro Rebuts Klimate King Gore

The Klimate King, Al Gore, likes to stand in front of images of Mt. Kilimanjaro and proclaim the global warming is behind its shrinking snowcap.

It's powerful imagery, because before and after photos exist. What he doesn't tell people -- probably because he didn't really research this stuff, he just compiled it -- is that the snows of Kilimanjaro were shrinking long before Hemingway wrote The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and that the temperature at the top of the peak does this one really inconvenient thing: It never raises above freezing.

Here's a report on this inconvenience for the Klimate King's konsideration:
[M]ost scientists who study Kilimanjaro's glaciers have long been uneasy with the volcano's poster-child status.

Yes, ice cover has shrunk by 90 percent, they say.

But no, the buildup of greenhouse gases from cars, power plants and factories is not to blame.

"Kilimanjaro is a grossly overused mis-example of the effects of climate change," said University of Washington climate scientist Philip Mote, co-author of an article in the July/August issue of American Scientist magazine.

In fact, Dr. Mote wishes Gore wouldn't hype Kilimanjaro because he fears it will discredit more valid global warming theories, which he ascribes to.

So if cruising in your Hummer isn't the cause, what is? Simple: Cyclical climate trends that have nothing to do with we mere humans:

On Kilimanjaro, ice loss seems to be driven by two factors: a lack of snowfall and sublimation, the same process that causes freezer burn by sucking moisture out of leftovers.

Researchers believe Kilimanjaro's glaciers formed about 11,000 years ago, when the region was undergoing a period of wet weather that allowed snow to accumulate. But even before the first Europeans reached the summit in 1889, the weather has been dry in Eastern Africa. There simply hasn't been enough snowfall to keep up with the loss of ice due to sublimation, [U. of Innsbruck glacier expert Georg] Kaser explained.

Sublimation, caused by exposure to sunlight and dry air, occurs when ice essentially skips the melting step and evaporates.

Kaser, who climbs Kilimanjaro twice a year to gather data, says the ice topography shows little evidence that melting is anything but a minor force. Jagged spires and cliffs made of ice up to 120 feet tall are not softened around the edges.

Will Gore revise his book with its next edition? Will he pull the slides from his PowerPoint?

I bet no. If he starts doing that kind of stuff, it will require a substantial rewriting and thinning of his tome and that would be ... inconvenient.

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