Looking down on the snow of Kilimanjaro

By Phil Plait | September 19, 2012 11:00 am

In May, 2012, when the International Space Station was passing over Africa at 8 kilometers per second, astronaut André Kuipers took this stunning picture of Mount Kilimanjaro:

[Click to hephaestenate.]

The stratovolcano is nearly 5900 meters (19,000 feet) high. The iconic "Snows of Kilimanjaro" are transcendently beautiful, but may not be around much longer. The ice is receding, and it’s expected the volcano will be ice-free in as little as ten years. While the recession has been going on for a century now, the past couple of decades have seen phenomenal acceleration in ice loss, just as we’ve seen in glaciers across the planet and in the arctic sea ice as well.

Global warming is doing more than heating the planet and potentially threatening our lives. It’s robbing Earth of its beauty. I wonder for which we’ll be judged more harshly by future generations?

Credits: ESA/NASA


Related Posts:

The ancient shields of paradise
Dating an active volcano. And I don’t mean metaphorically.
Desktop Project Part 20: Angling in on a smoking volcano
Greenland sees unprecedented melting

CATEGORIZED UNDER: NASA, Pretty pictures, Space

Comments (65)

  1. Tell us Phil, all this energy that is being used to melt the glaciers, what will it do when there are no more glaciers to melt?

  2. Thorne

    I was under the impression that the melting was caused more by the deforestation of the lower slopes than by global warming. Though I’m sure that the acceleration of the melting can be attributed to GW.

  3. Renee Marie Jones

    I would not worry too much about future generations, Phil, the insects and the bacteria will go on and life will continue without much caring that we destroyed ourselves. The big-brained environment-changing experiment will have failed and evolution will continue with its more successful creations.

  4. Ray

    I suspect that future generations will wonder why people talked all day long about global warming but continued to use computers whose electricity was generated by carbon-spewing power plants.

  5. kat wagner

    I keep saying the same damn thing – put solar panels on your house and a windmill in your yard, if you have a big enough yard. And everyone has a friggin’ roof unless you live in a tepee. So put solar on your roof. We were in Boise over the weekend and there were bunches of huge windmill components on the way east. Eastern Idaho, where the wind blows like a mofo.

    Even Germany, which has a smaller percentage of sunny days than the US, is installing lots of solar panels. And we need to quit listening to idiots who say windmills spoil the view. Like some of the Republican whackadoos in Eastern Idaho. It’s been a long, hot, windy summer, and our forests are burning – time to make a change, before it’s too late.

  6. Russell Silva

    Phil I think this comment is a little obnoxious: “Global warming is doing more than heating the planet and potentially threatening our lives. It’s robbing Earth of its beauty. I wonder for which we’ll be judged more harshly by future generations?”

    My understanding of the predictions of unmitigated climate change is that they are extraordinarily dire and will mean poverty, hunger, and death for millions. I’d like a snow capped Kilimanjaro as much as the next guy but putting that human cost next to the aesthetic and wondering which will be better remembered seems disingenuous.

  7. george.w

    “I suspect that future generations will wonder why people talked all day long about global warming but continued to use computers whose electricity was generated by carbon-spewing power plants.”

    The solution isn’t to stop using computers (though using more efficient ones helps); it’s to generate the electricity some other way. Our county in Illinois has a lot of windmills, but for some reason people don’t like them. I think they’re beautiful.

  8. noen

    People are working on solutions

    Giant Marble Harvests Energy from Sun and Moon
    http://bit.ly/OavdOz

  9. MattMN

    In a way, from this perspective, volcanos can be viewed as giant pimples/zits on the surface of the earth. Rising up and full of barely contained magma, ready to pop. Beautiful yet gross!

  10. ChazInMT

    I keep trying to point out that Global Warming is still a preferred event to amn Ice Age. Change will happen, if you have half a brain, or less, you can Google the temperature trends for the last 500,000 years and see that the preferred climate is 2 mile thick glaciers covering half of North America. If we have figured out a way to avert this trend by stuffing the air full of CO2, than good for us.

    Seriously, think about what an Ice Age would do!! Look at the facts. We aren’t good enough to keep the temperatures what they were in 1960 when life was ideal here on Earth, it’s either gonna go up, or down. I prefer up.

    If you choose complaining that it isn’t like it used to be….just think how the Dinosaurs felt!

  11. george.w

    “I keep trying to point out that Global Warming is still a preferred event to amn Ice Age.”

    Well there’s a little ray of sunshine. And both of those options are preferable to an ELE caused by an asteroid slamming into the planet.

    Some scientists are concerned that warming would make life better… for sulfur bacteria. That could get really bad.

  12. MadScientist

    Think of how much more beautiful the Antarctic continent would be when it’s as green as the emerald isle! Then again, not many useful plants grow in regions with such prolonged nights and it will probably never get very green. But think of the big boost to the economy when we’ve got to move mega cities from the coast! Come on AGW, do your stuff!

  13. ceramicfundamentalist

    “I keep trying to point out that Global Warming is still a preferred event to amn Ice Age.”

    Ok…it’s just that those two miles of ice were caused by a _slightly_ lower temperature than average. The projected increase in temperature due to AGW will be _enormous_ by comparison. If a tiny decrease in temperature would cause a devastating ice age what would an enormous increase cause?

  14. shunt1

    @5. kat wagner Says:

    “I keep saying the same damn thing – put solar panels on your house and a windmill in your yard, if you have a big enough yard.”

    Please post a picture of your own home and show us how many solar panels and windmills you have on your property.

    I have a cabin cruiser sailboat and solar power is the only way that I can keep my batteries charged. It takes almost six days to charge the batteries enough that I can play my Jimmy Buffett music on the stereo while sailing. With a sailboat, you can not simply “plug into” the nearest tree for an unlimited source of electrical power.

    Have you ever actually had to rely upon solar power?

    How much did they cost you?

    Most of us learned a very long time ago, that it simply was not cost-effective.

    You spent how many thousands of dollars per year, to save a few hundred in electrical costs? I wish I was that wealthy!

  15. shunt1

    @2. Thorne Says:

    “I was under the impression that the melting was caused more by the deforestation of the lower slopes than by global warming.”

    BINGO! At least you have been paying attention.

    If you decrease the available moisture in the air, then there will not be as much snow. But some people have implied that the snow on this specific mountain has “melted” because of human caused global warming.

    Funny how the water vapor feedback of CO2 warming seems to be forgotten…

  16. kat wagner

    @shunt1 – we plan to put solar panels on our camper but for our house, they’re (still) too xpensive. We do what we can: I like to think we live low on the food chain, I recycle everything we can, I have a gonzo compost pile and 2 other composters. My garden is so-so this year. My fight is with people who have the means but go mainstream because it’s easy and doesn’t take any brains. If we had the money, let me tell you, we’d be selling to the grid.

  17. Ohio Mike

    “I wonder for which we’ll be judged more harshly by future generations?”

    I never thought about it like that. Thanks BA (again)

  18. shunt1

    @13. kat wagner

    Thanks for being honest Kat. I was about to tease you about being super rich!

    These concepts sound great when you are using “someone else’s money” but things change when you must purchase those items.

    Solar power on my sailboat was not what I had expected, even with one square meter in surface area. This winter, I will install a wind generator, but that will involve some mechanical mounting issues.

    Wind and Solar power are very important sources of energy in the correct situations. I know, because a sailboat is one of those.

    I hope that you can mount some solar panels on your camper, but please install about twice what you thought you would need. Also, replace all lights with LEDs to save electrical usage.

  19. shunt1

    @14. Ohio Mike:

    “I wonder for which we’ll be judged more harshly by future generations?”

    My guess is that history will eventually learn how many people actually died, who could have been saved by the billions of dollars wasted on this “human caused” global warming fraud.

    Personally, I hope that everyone involved in this fraud will go to prison for crimes against humanity.

  20. noen

    @ shunt1 — I am pretty sure that all sail boats use solar power for propulsion. If you really need to listen to Jimmy Buffett bring your iPod. Surely it can’t take 6 days to recharge an iPod.

  21. shunt1

    @17 noen:

    “I am pretty sure that all sail boats use solar power for propulsion.”

    Does that mean that I no longer have to use SAILS?

    BTW, an iPod does not provide enough power for the speakers, lights (required at night) and other things on a sailboat.

    My marina requires that we use motor control (for safety) when docking. So far this year, I have used a total of two gallons of gasoline. I know all about how to be “energy efficient” and have used all of the concepts. I also know what does and does not work.

    Shaking my head and trying to understand your mentality…

  22. shunt1

    @13. kat wagner Says:
    @17. noen Says:

    Here is Jessica Watson’s sailboat, that she sailed around the world with. She had both a wind generator and solar panels. Please take a look at how large those solar panels were.

    http://www.jessicawatson.com.au/the-voyage

    Jessica Watson will always be my HERO!

    That was her only source of electrical power to charge the batteries. Basics navigation lights, inside illumination and the power required for the radios and GPS receivers.

    Have you ever had to depend upon Solar or Wind power before?

  23. Solar energy is becoming cheaper year by year, at an exponential rate of something like F=x^0.93. We may just have to wait for the brainless, amoral marketplace to accidentally act in everyone’s best interest.

    @14 shunt1: I’ve read your post several times; cannot make sense of it.

  24. shunt1

    23. Zucchi Says:

    Cool, go purchase (with your own money) those solar cells and wind generators for your home.

    Get back to us when you have installed them….

  25. Jose

    Nope.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008AGUFM.C23A0599F

    Studies show local climate in mountain regions are impacted by deforestation at upwind locations. Low land deforestation alters surface energy budget, especially during dry season, altering orographic cloud formation and also surface meteorology at montane locations. While the prior investigations have focused on the effect of low land deforestation on Tropical Montane Cloud Forests, low land deforestation also has the potential to impact alpine glaciers. Retreat of alpine glaciers around the globe has be attributed to global climate change, but at sites such as Kilimanjaro impact of low land deforestation also need to considered. The focus of this study is to address this issue through the use of Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) utilizing satellite data to specify realistic land use change scenarios. The atmospheric fields from the RAMS modeling system will be linked to glacier mass energy balance and ice flow model to study the impact of low land deforestation on glacier retreat. The presentation will include details of model development and initial results from the use of the modeling system.

  26. Steve Morrison

    So where’s the dead leopard? Huh? Huh? Huh? This photo was obviously faked!!

  27. shunt1

    @25. Steve Morrison Says:

    “So where’s the dead leopard? Huh? Huh? Huh? This photo was obviously faked!!”

    That is the best that you could do? No pictures of solar panels on your roof or wind generators in your backyard?

    Nothing about atmospheric moisture and how that forms snow?

    I kinda expected more from you…

  28. Messier Tidy Upper

    @2. Thorne asked :

    I was under the impression that the melting was caused more by the deforestation of the lower slopes than by global warming. Though I’m sure that the acceleration of the melting can be attributed to GW.

    See :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/mount-kilimanjaro-snow.htm

    &

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt_Kilamanjaro#Ice

    &

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=115847

    for a more info on that.

  29. @19. shunt1 :

    @14. Ohio Mike: “I wonder for which we’ll be judged more harshly by future generations?”
    My guess is that history will eventually learn how many people actually died, who could have been saved by the billions of dollars wasted on this “human caused” global warming fraud. Personally, I hope that everyone involved in this fraud will go to prison for crimes against humanity.

    Your guess – which I think is totally wrong – is based on what precisely and what actual evidence do you have for any fraud by the climatologists?

    Do you have any idea how many serious and decent researchers who a wide range of political and personal views you are accusing of criminal and unethical behaviour.

    Do you think Svante Arrhenius was a fraudster when he published the first paper on the Greenhouse effect back in 1896? Or Katherine Hayhoe, evangelical Christian and erstwhile co-author with Republican presidential nominee Newt Gingrich? (Click my name for interview and more.) Do you think NASA’s top climatologist James Hansen is a fraudster? Do you think scientists and science popularisers Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov and Stephen Hawking are involved in or duped by fraud given they all accept the climatological consensus? Do you think that Phil Plait is lying or involved somehow or just duped? How deep and broad do you think this “conspiracy” goes?

    Who exactly are the fraudsters , what basis do you have for such serious charges and why should we treat the conspiracy theory regarding HIRGO not happening any more seriously than the conspiracy theory that the Moon landings didn’t happen?

  30. shunt1

    27. Messier Tidy Upper Says:

    “Your guess – which I think is totally wrong – is based on what precisely and what actual evidence do you have for any fraud by the climatologists?”

    Two very important lines of evidence:

    1) Nobody needs use the media t0 constantly convince people about the theory of gravity. If someone is trying that hard to “sell something” then it is probably wrong.

    2) The historical climate records keep changing…

    NEVER, EVER alter historical data! Once that had been done, then everything else is invalid.

    Yes, I do consider this as the greatest fraud in human history. And those that have supported this fraud should go to prison for crimes against humanity.

  31. Fizz

    @shunt1
    Messier Tidy Upper asked you for evidence, and you have provided nothing.

    1) You’re the one selling stuff. You’re the one who comes on these boards yelling how it’s not true. The scientific consenesus is very strong, you’re the one objecting. 2) You saying the historical climate records keep changing is not evidence. Provide a source. Prove it’s been modified.

    You should go and read the recent research by Richard Muller. He is a physicist who has been a skeptic of human-induced global warming for many years. He was then hired by Charles Koch, the billionaire of the Heartland Institute that denies global warming. After 3+ years of trying to fit alternative theories to the data, analyzing the perceived issues with the models, etc, Muller has become convinced that global warming is real and that humans are the cause.

    It’s very easy for you to search him online and read it all. That’s a well-respected scientist, long-time skeptic that’s been converted.

    So in your world, Muller has now become part of the conspiracy. How’d they get to him? Explain that. And how does the rest of the world get pulled into this? What’s their motive? How do they get around the peer-review process? Are they bribing everyone?

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You’re suggesting nearly the entire scientific community is in on this fraud, so you’d better have some damn impressive evidence. So what is it?

  32. shunt1

    @29. Fizz:

    Are you willing to go to prison, if I can demonstrate that historical records have been altered?

    Yes or no?

    I would suggest that you ask why the GISS database was “adjusted” for S02 emissions…

  33. bad Jim

    This has to be one of the funniest exchanges I’ve ever encountered:

    “I am pretty sure that all sail boats use solar power for propulsion.”

    Does that mean that I no longer have to use SAILS?

    The wind blows at the will of Aeolus! We laugh at your puny science.

  34. Fizz

    @29 shunt1-
    I’m asking you to provide evidence so that i don’t become part of this conspiracy. I don’t work in climate science, i don’t publish peer reviewed papers. I’m just a concerned citizen. Are you saying that anyone who has been fooled should be put in jail? You should be trying to help me, not threaten me.
    Keep in mind, “altering”, in the context that you have presented it, is a deliberate cover-up to misrepresent what is happening. So if this GISS adjustment that you refer to is the one from 2007 via Stephen McIntyre, that doesn’t count. It was a mistake (even scientists are human), it was fixed, and did not change the conclusions.
    But what you have done is present global warming theory as a global two-decade-long (at least) conspiracy, where data has been deliberately changed to modify the conclusions that would otherwise be reached. This is for what i want you to provide evidence.
    So have you read Muller’s research yet? One of his reasons for being a skeptic was exactly what you’re harping about: corrections / modifications / inconsistencies in the climate record. Read it, as i suspect it will counter your concerns in this regard.

  35. noen

    “Shaking my head and trying to understand your mentality…”

    Sailboats all need wind for power and wind is created by the sun warming the sea.

    As for the rest I think you’re ok using a small engine for moving around in harbor or even having a generator for running lights etc.

    No one is saying that everyone has to *eliminate* their use of fossil fuels. Just… Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. I think it’s admirable that you have a sail boat and are trying to use alternate energy sources.

    —————–

    “1) Nobody needs use the media t0 constantly convince people about the theory of gravity. If someone is trying that hard to “sell something” then it is probably wrong.”

    Your argument that if someone uses the media they are wrong is…. hell I don’t know what fallacy that is… I think it’s the WTF?? fallacy.

    “NEVER, EVER alter historical data! Once that had been done, then everything else is invalid.”

    It seems to me you treat science and data as if it were sacred texts handed down from god that must never be altered. The fact is that science is constantly adjusting itself and improving it’s methods, updating equipment, improving collection methods and data. If a new theory comes along or new evidence that requires you make adjustments to previous results then you make them. Why? Because the aim is to get it right.

    “Yes, I do consider this as the greatest fraud in human history. And those that have supported this fraud should go to prison for crimes against humanity.”

    Well you’re just plain wrong about that. There has been no crime and no fraud. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You are just one of many many internet conspiracy theorists who read some crap someone else wrote and swallowed it hook line and sinker.

  36. bad Jim

    Half our fellow citizens think that nearly all the world’s scientists are so obviously mistaken that any fool knows better, or else they’re complicit in a vast conspiracy to enslave us, and the valiant coal and oil companies are our only hope.

    The recurring emphasis on personal virtue (Al Gore is fat! You use electricity too!) is telling. The message that we need to do something about global warming is received as a personal moral criticism, so people react as though they were being told not to masturbate. Stephen King wrote something relevant recently about taxation: whenever he suggested that rich people like him ought to contribute a bit more to the common good, he was asked why he didn’t just write a check, if that was how he felt?

    The idea that some things can only be done if we all work together seems to be missing from a lot of mental toolboxes.

  37. TheBlackCat

    1) Nobody needs use the media t0 constantly convince people about the theory of gravity. If someone is trying that hard to “sell something” then it is probably wrong.

    That is because there is no massive, well-funded campaign to convince people that gravity doesn’t exist. By this logic evolution is false, cigarettes don’t cause cancer, CFCs don’t damage the ozone, and arsenic is perfectly safe.

    And what about the denialists that went to the media first to try to convince people AGW was wrong? Are they also wrong? If you actually applied this rule consistently, you would have to conclude that the side that says global warming is happening and the side that says it isn’t are both wrong. But of course you don’t apply it consistently, you only apply it to the side you don’t like.

    The science side wouldn’t need to use the media to convince people if the fossil fuel and automotive industries weren’t throwing huge sums of money at PR firms that took the debate to the media first.

    2) The historical climate records keep changing…

    NEVER, EVER alter historical data! Once that had been done, then everything else is invalid.

    Oh, well, then I guess the entire field of history is one big fraud then. Are you seriously saying that if someone notices a mistake it shouldn’t be fixed?

    Of course if they didn’t put in the correction, I would bet that you would be complaining that they are ignoring problems with their data. I see denialists making that claim all the time, often the same ones who criticize corrections when they are made.

    Are you willing to go to prison, if I can demonstrate that historical records have been altered?

    Yes or no?

    Wait, what? How does that even remotely make sense? So asking someone to back up their claims with evidence is now a criminal offense? Are you kidding me?

    Yes, I do consider this as the greatest fraud in human history. And those that have supported this fraud should go to prison for crimes against humanity.

    Do you even know what a “crime against humanity” is? Hint: it is not saying things you don’t like. It isn’t saying things you don’t believe. Usually it involves, you know, actually doing something.

  38. @33 Bad Jim: Half our fellow citizens think that nearly all the world’s scientists are so obviously mistaken that any fool knows better, or else they’re complicit in a vast conspiracy to enslave us, and the valiant coal and oil companies are our only hope.
    Heh, when you put it that way, I don’t know whether to laugh… or lose all faith in humanity and take up drinking.

    The recurring emphasis on personal virtue (Al Gore is fat! You use electricity too!) is telling. The message that we need to do something about global warming is received as a personal moral criticism, so people react as though they were being told not to masturbate. Stephen King wrote something relevant recently about taxation: whenever he suggested that rich people like him ought to contribute a bit more to the common good, he was asked why he didn’t just write a check, if that was how he felt?
    The idea that some things can only be done if we all work together seems to be missing from a lot of mental toolboxes.

    THIS. That’s a very good point. I think it’s a symptom of our political ideals (particularly in the United States) running into some cold hard facts about the nature of large numbers and a finite planet. Sure, ideally we’re all free agents who are free not to enter into agreements with whoever we choose, and are free to buy and waste as much stuff as we can afford. But this logic starts to break down when you try and practice it in a real society, which by its nature is increasingly interconnected (and increasingly populated).
    I still think the most brilliant take on the pitfalls of extreme individualism at all costs is this one article from The Onion: “Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth”

    My favorite bit:

    The $440 billion legislation, which would send a dozen high-thrust plasma impactor probes to shatter the massive asteroid before it strikes the planet, would affect more than 300 million Americans and is strongly opposed by the GOP…

    …”The voters sent us to Washington to stand up for individual liberty, not big government…” “We believe that the decisions of how to deal with the massive asteroid are best left to the individual,” King added.

  39. Nigel Depledge

    ChazInMT (10) said:

    I keep trying to point out that Global Warming is still a preferred event to amn Ice Age.

    Maybe so, but both have the potential to reduce the human population by hundreds of millions, if not billions. And just because AGW might be prefereable to an ice age, it doesn’t mean that we should accelerate its onset.

    Change will happen, if you have half a brain, or less, you can Google the temperature trends for the last 500,000 years and see that the preferred climate is 2 mile thick glaciers covering half of North America.

    This timescale is not relevant to human civilisation, which has only existed for about 10,000 years. And over the last 10,000 years, the global climate has been remarkably stable. Or at least, it was until we started greenhouse forcing by burning millions of tons of fossil carbon.

    If we have figured out a way to avert this trend by stuffing the air full of CO2, than good for us.

    Er, no.

    Seriously, think about what an Ice Age would do!! Look at the facts. We aren’t good enough to keep the temperatures what they were in 1960 when life was ideal here on Earth, it’s either gonna go up, or down. I prefer up.

    Really? This is you being serious???

    Let’s look at the facts:
    1) Despite the media hype in the ’70s, there is no imminent danger of an ice age.
    2) And neither was there in the 1970s.
    3) Your concept of the “preferred” climate ignores the present state of increasing global average temps.
    4) Your entire argument is a false dichotomy, because it isn’t a question of letting temps decline or forcing them up – the question is between letting temps remain more or less stable (certainly on the time scale of centuries) or forcing them up, and at what rate we force them up. The current rate of GW is unprecedented. Even if we accept some level of AGW, it is the current rate of change that is likely to be the biggest issue. The same magnitude of change will have a different magnitude of impact if it occurs over one century or two millenia.

  40. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (14) trolled:

    Have you ever actually had to rely upon solar power?

    How much did they cost you?

    Most of us learned a very long time ago, that it simply was not cost-effective.

    Newsflash, troll: in case it had escaped your notice, solar panels have been getting more efficient as the years go by.

    It is true that they are still less “cost-effective” than coal or gas, but that only applies if you attach a zero-dollar value to the state of the environment.

    Also, there are other forms of solar generation that don’t use photoelectric panels at all.

    You spent how many thousands of dollars per year, to save a few hundred in electrical costs? I wish I was that wealthy!

    OK, first, solar panels are a one-off cost. One can expect them to last about 25 years, so there’s no annual cost to them. And if their value is written off over 25 years, it becomes pretty small.

    Second (and this is a pedantic quibble, but I never overlook an opportunity to give a troll a kick), you failed to use the subjunctive case in your last sentence. It should have been “I wish I were that wealthy”.

  41. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (15) trolled:

    Funny how the water vapor feedback of CO2 warming seems to be forgotten…

    Who says it has?

    I’m sure that deforestation has contributed to the decline of snow on Kilimanjaro, but I’m also sure that climate scientists know how to account for (or at least approximate) these interactions and have done so.

    Kilimanjaro is symptomatic of a global trend, and the deforestation of Kilimanjaro’s lower slopes have no influence on that global trend. If atmospheric water vapour content were genuinely declining as you contend, then we should be seeing decreasing temperatures, but we are not.

    Your argument about water vapour was demolished in the previous discussion on AGW, yet you still seem wedded to it. Maybe you need to reevaluate your position (which is what a genuine sceptic would do).

  42. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (21) said:

    “I am pretty sure that all sail boats use solar power for propulsion.”

    Does that mean that I no longer have to use SAILS?

    Do you seriously not understand where wind comes from??????????

  43. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (19) libelled:

    My guess is that history will eventually learn how many people actually died, who could have been saved by the billions of dollars wasted on this “human caused” global warming fraud.

    So, do you have any evidence – anything at all – to even hint that AGW is a fraud?

    If so, don’t keep it to yourself, share it with the rest of us. I guess if you have evidence, it must be pretty compelling to make you publish a comment that is libellous under UK law.

    So, spill those beans!

    To get things started, how about you answer these simple questions:
    1. Who started the AGW “fraud”?
    2. How did they recruit other climatologists?
    2a. How did they recruit every reputable climatologist?
    3. How do they silence whistle-blowers?
    4. How come no retired climatologists have had a change of heart and decided to “publish and be damned”?

  44. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (27) said:

    Two very important lines of evidence:

    1) Nobody needs use the media t0 constantly convince people about the theory of gravity. If someone is trying that hard to “sell something” then it is probably wrong.

    What, so you think because there is a concerted campaign denying the existence of AGW that the rebuttals of that campaign prove AGW to be wrong?

    What medication are you taking?

    2) The historical climate records keep changing…

    NEVER, EVER alter historical data! Once that had been done, then everything else is invalid.

    This is not evidence – it is a claim.

    What records “keep changing”? What were the original published figures, and what have they been changed to?

    It seems like you need a better dictionary: one that defines the word “evidence”.

  45. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (32) said:

    I think it’s admirable that you have a sail boat and are trying to use alternate energy sources.

    I think this depends largely on how far the troll drives to where his sailing boat is moored, and what he drives to get there.

  46. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (32) said:

    “1) Nobody needs use the media t0 constantly convince people about the theory of gravity. If someone is trying that hard to “sell something” then it is probably wrong.”

    Your argument that if someone uses the media they are wrong is…. hell I don’t know what fallacy that is… I think it’s the WTF?? fallacy.

    Hah! Yes. This!

  47. ” I wonder for which we’ll be judged more harshly by future generations?”

    Gosh, do ya THINK?

    These days people talk a lot about “kicking the can down the road” when it comes to fiscal matters and the deficit. For more ominous to me is how we are “kicking the can down the road” when it comes to the environment. There are so many things we can do NOW, such as planting trees and forests wherever they can be planted, switching from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, and perhaps most importantly, promoting voluntary population control. But we don’t. We keep kicking the environmental can down the road even when we know what we’re doing to the climate.

    Future generations will curse us for our inaction.

  48. noen

    Only 44 comments on a global warming post by Phil?? I prefer to see this as a sign of hope that… at the very least… the denialists are getting tired or just giving up. Which is good news.

  49. TheBlackCat

    And only one denialist so far.

  50. Thorne

    @ shunt1 #14 said:
    [QUOTE] BINGO! At least you have been paying attention.

    If you decrease the available moisture in the air, then there will not be as much snow. But some people have implied that the snow on this specific mountain has “melted” because of human caused global warming.[/QUOTE]
    The National Geographic, back in 2003, reported that “forest reduction in the areas surrounding Kilimanjaro, and not global warming, might be the strongest human influence on glacial recession. ” (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/09/0923_030923_kilimanjaroglaciers.html)

    This does NOT deny AGW, nor imply that AGW does not have an influence, just that in this particular location deforestation had the greater impact. Still human caused, though. And the deforestation would also add to AGW as well.

    The whole system is frighteningly complex, and changes which seem relatively insignificant can have such devastating effects down the line. This is what the denialists either don’t understand or refuse to accept. It’s far more comfortable for them to deny that they could help make a change for the better.

  51. VMink

    It’s worth pointing out that the pronunciation of ‘Kilimanjaro’ is ‘ki-lih-MAH-n-JAH-ro,’ not the pronunciation in the Toto song. =) (Which is, if I recall, ‘Kill-ih-man-JAH-ro.’) The original Swahili name is ‘Kilima Njaro,’ though the origins of the name are murky.

  52. kat wagner

    Just read in the NY Times that windmill placement is drying up because the tax incentive has become a political football and companies don’t know what to do and natural gas is used more because it’s so cheap.

  53. ChazInMT

    @Nigel (36)

    4) Your entire argument is a false dichotomy, because it isn’t a question
    of letting temps decline or forcing them up – the question is between letting temps remain more or less stable (certainly on the time scale of centuries) or forcing them up, and at that rate we force them up. The current rate of GW is unprecedented. Even if we accept some level of AGW, it is the current rate of change that is likely to be the biggest issue. The same magnitude of change will have a different magnitude of impact if it occurs over one century or two millenia.

    OK, so you say you haven’t really looked at the charts. “Unprecedented” temperature rises about 125K & 250K years ago (and numerous others) don’t look anything like todays. I’m good with that. Lets not let facts stand in the way of the opportunity to use the word “Unprecedented”

    And, it appears you believe we can indeed keep the temperature at a nice cozy 9°C Average Land Temperature for an eternity. Good for you.

  54. TheBlackCat

    OK, so you say you haven’t really looked at the charts. “Unprecedented” temperature rises about 125K & 250K years ago (and numerous others) don’t look anything like todays. I’m good with that. Lets not let facts stand in the way of the opportunity to use the word “Unprecedented”

    I am not clear what you are saying. Are you saying that the current warming is no different from past ones? Past warming events were much slower. Even the fastest and most severe warming even since the death of the dinosaurs, the paleocene-eocene thermal maximum, was orders of magnitude slower than the current warming.

    Or are you somehow saying that the current warming is unique yet somehow not unprecedented? if so then I think you should look up the definition of “unprecedented”.

  55. #51 VMink:
    You are correct about the pronunciation. “kilima” is simply Kiswahili for “mountain”, so it means “Mount Njaro” – but I’ve no idea where the name Njaro comes from.
    ( To be more pedantic, “mlima” means mountain, and “kilima” normally means a smaller hill, as the prefix “ki” appended to a noun usually makes it a diminutive form. How the diminutive form came to be used for the biggest mountain in Africa is a mystery! )

  56. Matt B.

    @51 VMink – Well, Toto also obviously mangled “Serengeti”, so I don’t think anyone’s holding them up as a fit example. But wouldn’t it be /ki-LI-mah-n-JAH-ro/? I thought the stress was always on the penult in Swahili.

  57. TheBlackCat

    I know one Swahili word and I like hyraxes… :( I feel very inadequate in this discussion.

  58. Brian Too

    I’ve always heard that mountains (and chasms for that matter) only make the Earth slightly bumpy on a global scale. Something about being less textured than an egg resized to the same scale.

    It’s only when you see photos like this one that you can really see this.

  59. Daniel J. Andrews

    Nuts, missed the game of whack-a-mole.

    Absolutely we’ll be judged harshly by future generations. I’m pretty angry at the generations that wiped out the passenger pigeon, depleted the oceans, removed the giant conifers leaving piddly little remnants in their wake that serve only to sadden us when we realize just how far these forest giants once spread (and I’m plenty angry at the people who are pushing to log even these remnants).

    I harshly judge those who wiped out the numerous Eskimo Curlew, called the Passenger Pigeon of the prairies, despite the earlier lessons learned from the Passenger Pigeon destruction. I want to spit in the face of those who destroyed an entire forest and many lakes through their unchecked pollution as they heedlessly ripped up the earth with no concern about the hazards of the air and water pollution would have on their own children. It isn’t like they didn’t know any better–they did know better, there had been ample examples of what would happen from the states and from Europe. But they went ahead and burned mountains of wood right in the city just to roast the ore collected.

    These roasting beds are still poisoned over 70 years with very little plant growth on them. The waters are still not safe to drink. The vegetation still needs help growing back as the pollution killed every single tree for kilometres around the city.

    Going further back I’m sickened by the wanton destruction of flightless birds like the dodo, the great auk, and the near total destruction of birds like egrets for just their plumes that were all the fashion rage for a bit.

    Hell, yes, future generations will judge us severely. History has already taught us the lessons we need to learn yet we continue to ignore them. How can we not be judged harshly for our short-sightedness, rapacious greed, and stupidity as we pass along a whole host of problems to future generations.

    It is said we borrow the earth from our children. That’s nonsense. Borrowing implies we’ll pay it back. We’re not borrowing. We’re outright stealing.

  60. ChazInMT

    @Brian (58)

    I’ve always heard that mountains (and chasms for that matter) only make the Earth slightly bumpy on a global scale. Something about being less textured than an egg resized to the same scale.

    It’s only when you see photos like this one that you can really see this.

    Actually, the Earth would be as smooth as a billiard ball if it were the same size. In
    surface smoothness it is well within specification to be a pool ball. It always kills me that people want to flex their snobby science brain muscle and point out that Earth isn’t “Perfectly” spherical, but an Oblate Spheroid. Maybe a teeny tiny bit that, but dang, it is pretty freakin close to perfect. The cue ball would only be off by 7 thousandths of an inch in roundness and the biggest bump or crack would be 2 thousandths, the spec calls for 5 thousandths.

  61. B

    Global warming is also bringing billions out of horrible grinding poverty. And future generations will be far richer than we currently are (the beauty of compound interest), and thus better able to cope with global warming’s long run effects.

    And I don’t care about appeals to losing beauty. Feeding people is more important. Only someone living in America that is several generations removed from subsistence farming would choose beauty over wealth.

  62. @ ^ B : Your evidence for that is?

    I think the evidence and a bit of logic is actually showing the exact opposite.

    Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating is hitting the poorest and worst off disproproationately badly.

    Worse heatwaves and droughts in Africa,and India and rising seas drowning poor (& beautiful) tropical islands – not to mention Bangaladesh – to name just a few obvious counter examples.

    Please take a look at the youtube clip linked to my name here : ‘Denial was a River in Africa’ by Peter Sinclair and reconsider what you’ve just said.

    Future generations will be far richer than we currently are (the beauty of compound interest), …

    Huh? Even economically that strikes me as a highly dubious claim given the recent economic financial meltdown and of course overlooks the vast disparities and inequalities in income and capital distributions at global, national and even smaller scales.

    .. and thus better able to cope with global warming’s long run effects.

    How selfish and ignorant and wrong.

    Thing is how bad future generations will have things HIRGO~wise depends on how soon we act and how much we do. The sooner we take action the better off those future generations will be and vice versa.

    We are making the world so much harder, harsher and less predictable for our children -and our own later lives – by failing to act now.

    You seem to be saying here that future generations will fix it. Well, maybe in parts they will (don’t bet on it though) but don’t you think we’re better off thinking ahead and leaving them as little of a problem as we can? How do you think we’ll be remembered and viewed if we wreck the planetary ecosystems such as the Arctic and alpine ones and leave the future a far worse world than we inherited?

  63. @30. shunt1 :

    Messier Tidy Upper Says:
    “Your guess – which I think is totally wrong – is based on what precisely and what actual evidence do you have for any fraud by the climatologists?”
    Two very important lines of evidence:
    1) Nobody needs use the media t0 constantly convince people about the theory of gravity. If someone is trying that hard to “sell something” then it is probably wrong.

    So, wait, how is that evidence? Okay so the media informing us about an issue is making you suspicious that they’re trying to sell something – but the media aren’t doing the science, the climatologists are.

    Just because a claim is in the media doesn’t make it true – or make it false either. Checking up on the actual science shows an overwhelming amount of evidence that HIRGO is real.

    2) The historical climate records keep changing…
    NEVER, EVER alter historical data! Once that had been done, then everything else is invalid.

    Really? :roll:

    So if we discover we got something wrong, that past measurements were inaccurate they couldn’t be fixed? Seriously?!

    The ability of science to change and improve and revise past understandings based on new better measurements and understandings is one of its greatest strengths isn’t it?

    Have you never heard of Isaac Asimov’s famous ‘The Relativity of Wrong? notion.

    Also again, this is hardly “evidnece” of any wrong doing. What historical climate records specifically have been altered and why is that a bad or misleading or fraudulent thing?

    Yes, I do consider this as the greatest fraud in human history. And those that have supported this fraud should go to prison for crimes against humanity.

    You ‘ve probably already seen it but the BA has posted a new thread – linked to my name here – title “Let those global warming dollars flow” posted on the 20th of September 2012 at 11:00 AM – on the whole silly “Conspiracy” idea. I agree with what Phil Plait has noted there.

    Finally, I’m going to ask you again the questions which you seem to have ignored or failed to answer satisfactorily from my comment #29 :

    1. Do you have any idea how many serious and decent researchers who a wide range of political and personal views you are accusing of criminal and unethical behaviour?

    2. Do you think Svante Arrhenius was a fraudster when he published the first paper on the Greenhouse effect back in 1896?

    3. Or Katherine Hayhoe, evangelical Christian and erstwhile co-author with Republican presidential nominee Newt Gingrich?

    4. Do you think NASA’s top climatologist James Hansen is a fraudster?

    5. Do you think scientists and science popularisers Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov and Stephen Hawking are involved in or duped by fraud given they all accept the climatological consensus?

    6. Do you think that Phil Plait is lying or involved somehow or just duped?

    7. How deep and broad do you think this “conspiracy” goes?

    8. Who exactly are the fraudsters?

    9. What basis do you have for such serious charges – and finally

    10. why should we treat the conspiracy theory regarding HIRGO not happening any more seriously than the conspiracy theory that the Moon landings didn’t happen?

  64. Nigel Depledge

    ChazInMT (53) said:

    OK, so you say you haven’t really looked at the charts. “Unprecedented” temperature rises about 125K & 250K years ago (and numerous others) don’t look anything like todays. I’m good with that. Lets not let facts stand in the way of the opportunity to use the word “Unprecedented”

    Apparently in response to my line:

    The current rate of GW is unprecedented.

    [Emphasis added]

    So, Chaz, what “fact” do you think refutes my statement?

    The fact that large changes have occurred in the past does not change the fact that the currently-observed rate of change is unprecedented.

  65. #56 Matt B:
    You’re correct, and I missed the error. The penultimate syllable is indeed always emphasised in Kiswahili. In this case, two penultimate syllables, as the name is formed from two words, Kilima Njaro.

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