IPCC admits Himalayan glacier goof-upJanuary 20th, 2010 - 8:29 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Wednesday admitted it had slipped up by referring to “poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers”, while the man accused of saying these glaciers would disappear by 2035 blamed the expert who had included the estimate.
Three days after the revelation that the IPCC, chaired by Rajendra Pachauri, had included unsubstantiated information in its benchmark 2007 report, the global organisation said a paragraph in it “refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly.”
In a statement from its chair and vice chairs and co-chairs of its working groups, the global body of over 2,500 climate scientists “regretted the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance. This episode demonstrates that the quality of the assessment depends on absolute adherence to the IPCC standards, including thorough review of ‘the quality and validity of each source before incorporating results from the source into an IPCC Report’. We reaffirm our strong commitment to ensuring this level of performance.”
Syed Iqbal Hasnain, the scientist whose 1999 statement gave rise to the goof-up, meanwhile said here Wednesday: “I have not given any date or year on the likely disappearance of Himalayan glaciers.
“The statement I gave (in 1999) — on the basis of the results being found till then — was: ‘All the glaciers in the middle Himalayas are retreating ’ — and a scientific postulation was made that all the glaciers in the central and eastern Himalayas could disappear in the next 40-50 years at their present rate of decline.”
Hasnain told IANS: “The lead author of the chapter in the IPCC 2007 report should have got this information peer reviewed before including it. If that had been done, subsequent findings would have ensured that this information was not included, because it was outdated.”
The chapter’s author, M.B. Lal, has in turn blamed Hasnain.
The 2007 report brought world attention to IPCC and that year’s Nobel Peace Prize in conjunction with former US vice president Al Gore.
Now it is facing a grave threat to its credibility.
Hasnain’s 1999 statement had made it to the British magazine New Scientist, from there to a 2005 report of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and from there to the IPCC report.
Hasnain, who has taught in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and been vice chancellor of Kozhikode University in Kerala before joining The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as a distinguished scientist, complained: “Vested interests have targeted my research with the overall objective to malign the science of climate change.”
Saying “I have not given any date or year on the likely disappearance of Himalayan glaciers — neither in any interview nor in any of my publications in various journals”, he added: “Whatever got published in New Scientist was a journalistic assumption interpolated by the interviewer, over which I had no control. During the interview I presented the outcome of the findings on the basis of 20 years of my research till 1999.”
“I must stress that a journalistic substitution of the year 2035 was made - without my knowledge and approval - that was markedly contrary to my research supported finding of the likelihood of the central and eastern Himalaya glaciers disappearing in ‘40-50 years’,” he said.
Despite Hasnain’s clarification, the use of the alarmist assertion in the IPCC report has given a fillip to climate sceptics, who are also pointing out that Hasnain works in the same TERI that is headed by Pachauri.
For long known as India’s top glaciologist, a defensive Hasnain said Wednesday: “Can there be any doubt on the pathetic state of the Himalayan glaciers? This has been affirmed by the findings of research works, published in peer-reviewed journals after 1990s, as well as the present research work being carried out by me and my team.”
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had last October released a study on Himalayan glaciers that contradicted Hasnain. Since the revelation about the IPCC report, Ramesh has said he had also found Hasnain’s prognostication “overly alarmist, though there is no doubt that Himalayan glaciers are overall on the retreat” due to global warming.
Hasnain signed off by saying: “The detractors should note that my research speaks for itself. To buttress this, very soon I will be presenting a report on the status of Himalayan glaciers, based on research works by Indian and international scientists on Himalayan glaciers published in different peer-reviewed journals across the world.”
- Glacier goof-up scientist blames IPCC author - Jan 20, 2010
- Scientists slam IPCC blunder, chief goes mum (Roundup) - Jan 21, 2010
- Pachauri calls Indian govt. report on melting Himalayan glaciers as "voodoo science" - Jan 09, 2010
- IPCC chief goes mum on Himalayan glacier blunder - Jan 21, 2010
- Pachauri won't quit over glacier blunder (Lead) - Jan 23, 2010
- Pachauri accepts Himalayan mistake, but won't resign (Third Lead) - Jan 23, 2010
- Pachauri accepts mistake, rejects resignation (Second Lead) - Jan 23, 2010
- Pachauri concedes mistake, but in no mood to resign - Jan 23, 2010
- 'Warning on melting Himalayan glaciers wildly inaccurate' - Jan 21, 2010
- Possibility of more errors in IPCC report minimal: Pachauri - Jan 22, 2010
- Put on notice, India's Pachauri tasked with carrying out IPCC reform - Oct 20, 2010
- Pachauri too doubts if glaciers would vanish by 2035 (Lead) - Jan 18, 2010
- India will fight attempts to unseat Pachauri: Jairam Ramesh - Mar 15, 2010
- Rajendra Pachauri must quit, says Britain's ex-minister - Sep 24, 2010
- UN climate body admits goof up on Himalayan glaciers - Jan 20, 2010
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