A Global Warning

Compare the following photographs (in sets of two). Click to enlarge.

Northwestern Glacier 1909

Northwestern Glacier 1909

Northwestern 2005

Northwestern 2005

—–

Okpilak 1907

Okpilak 1907

Okpilak 2004

Okpilak 2004

—–

Carroll Glacier 1906

Carroll Glacier 1906

Carroll Glacier 2004

Carroll Glacier 2004

—–

Toboggan 1909

Toboggan 1909

Toboggan 2000

Toboggan 2000

—–

Mccarty 1909

Mccarty 1909

Mccarty 2004

Mccarty 2004

And a side by side.

Muir Glacier 1941 / 2004

Muir Glacier 1941 / 2004

Do you notice anything … unusual? These are examples of Glacial Repeat Photography. In each case someone happened to take a picture of a glacier at a point in the early 19th or 20th century, then later to illustrate the change in the size of the glacier someone else stood on that exact spot and repeated, or took another photo.

You can view more examples at the United States Geological Survey.

Ok, so what would logically cause the receding of glaciers worldwide? Kind of obvious isn’t it? Global warming. Now you may hear some naysayers say something to the effect that ‘While it’s true that some glaciers have been receding, others have been growing’. A blanket generalization at best. That’s because while a relative few are advancing due to the non-perfectly linear nature of climate change* on a large planet, by far the great majority have been receding, since warming is the major feature of anthopogenic, or human caused, climate change due to our burning of fossil fuels.

As of 2005 this was the situation:

The red vertical lines represent receding while the blue advancing glaciers.

A summation of the study and chart by Real Climate (“climate science from climate scientists”) states:

“In 2005 there were 442 glaciers examined, 26 advancing, 18 stationary and 398 retreating.”

Here’s another chart of the worldwide picture:

And now? As of 2014 the loss continues.

The average mass balance of the glaciers with available long-term observation series around the world continues to be negative, with tentative figures indicating a further thickness reduction of 0.89 metres water equivalent (m w.e.) during the hydrological year 2013. The new data continues the global trend in strong ice loss over the past few decades and brings the cumulative average thickness loss of the reference glaciers since 1980 at 17.5 m w.e. (see Figures 1 and 2). All so far reported mass balance values given in Table 3, are tentative ~World Glacier Monitoring Service

From the University of Illinois a comparison picture of Arctic sea ice in 1980 and 2015.

So you decide. Is climate change real or not?

More on repeat photography here.

A climate change primer here.

*Which is why the term “climate change” is preferred over “global warming” – because climate is not always perfectly uniform planetwide. While the overall trend is warmer, there can be pockets of cooler areas and shifting weather patterns.

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7 thoughts on “A Global Warning

  1. I really like how you differentiated the meanings of climate change versus global warming. Neither of which are debatable as you have presented here. Thank you for this. I don’t feel so alone in blogging about global warming and climate change 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Rekhadotcom. Not debatable but sadly still debated. That serves the purpose of giving people the impression that there is disagreement in the scientific community when the opposite is true. The point of keeping a debate going is to delay needed change ALAP (as long as possible) and that means more money in the pocket of big, dirty energy.

      No need to feel alone, there are other WordPress blogs that are devoted to the subject, notably Tamino’s.

      There are others as well. Google “WordPress.com” & “climate change”.

      Liked by 1 person

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