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Monday, November 05, 2007
Green Alps Instead of Perpetual Ice

By Michael Breu, ETH Zurich’s Weekly Web Journal

Glaciers are widely considered as indicators for global warming. Several glacier and climate experts now present new studies with astonishing results. The current decline of the glaciers, according to these studies is not unique. Far from it: over the past 10,000 years these slopes of the Alps have been green more than once.

Many studies now strongly suggest that there is something wrong with this hockey stick model that Michael E. Mann of the University of Virginia published in 1999 in Geophysical Research Letters.  A further challenge to the model now appears in an investigation from Christian Schlüchter, Professor for Quaternary and Environmental Geology at the Institute of Geological Sciences at the University of Berne, lecturer at ETH Zurich and a keen Alpine scientist. In the immediate vicinity of the lower Aar glacier in the Bernese Oberland in the high tide deposits of the glacier stream, Schlüchter found–amongst other things-pieces of wood that were between 30 and 60 centimetres thick and the remains of a moor. He examined and carbon dated the samples in the laboratory. What he found was quite astounding: “The age indicated by the data is not a chaotic cloud of data spread over the past 10,000 years but falls into clearly definable time windows,” says Schlüchter. “Until now we have managed to identify ten time windows. Taken over the last 10,000 years this means that, for more than half that period, the glaciers were shorter than they are today.“ In other words, since the last ice age our glaciers have rarely been as extended as they are today.

See this paper and others here that detail the wood and peat findings in the Alps that undermine the hockey stick climate model.

The Susten pass, as it might have appeared in Roman times, around 2000 years ago. The Stei glacier has retreated to the level of the Tierberg hut (2795 m), the tree level lies clearly higher. Picture: from “Die Alpen“ / Atelier Thomas Richner based on a draft from Christoph Schlüchter. See larger picture here.

See also this Climate Audit post on the latest attempt to keep the hockey stick alive. CO2 Science also has documented many studies worldwide that show prior warmth (Medievel Warm Period).


Posted on 11/05 at 02:10 PM
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