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Melting Glaciers December 10, 2009

Posted by Jill S. Schneiderman in climate change, geology, hydrologic cycle.
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Though the New York Times chose not to publish it, I’m posting my letter to the editor regarding Thomas Friedman’s December 9, 2009 Op-Ed about ‘Climategate.’

To the editors,

In “The Odds of Disaster,” (12/9/09) Thomas Friedman writes, “…evidence that our planet has been on a broad warming trend has been documented….” With the brouhaha about hacked data from East Anglia’s Climatic Unit looming over Copenhagen, I recommend the online archive of glacier photographs from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (http://nsidc.org/data/glacier_photo/index.html).

The collection contains photographs taken from the same vantage, at the same season, but separated by decades. Witness:



With regard to the Muir Glacier, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists,  the glacier retreated more than seven miles and thinned by 875 yards over a sixty year period.

One need not have a degree of any sort to see the melting. Whether or not anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the cause hardly matters; as the crysophere melts, meltwater expands, flows into oceans and sea level rises.

‘Climategate?’ I agree with Tom, “be serious.”

Jill S. Schneiderman

Professor of Earth Science, Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, NY

Image used by permission: NSIDC/WDC for Glaciology, Boulder, compiler. 2002, updated 2006. Glacier Photograph Collection.
Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology. Digital media.

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