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article imageUN estimates on mountain ice based on student's dissertation

By Michael Krebs     Jan 31, 2010 in Environment
The United Nations climate panel that had recently claimed that ice was disappearing from the Himalayas, based its assumptions on a student's dissertation.
Claims made by the United Nations climate panel that ice caps on the world's mountain ranges are in retreat were sourced by a student's dissertation and by an article in a mountaineering magazine.
The inaccurate warning brought a great deal of embarrassment to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last week, leading the panel's leadership to issue a broad apology on the sloppy nature of their research.
The panel's report concluded that ice was retreating on the peaks of the Andes, Alps and throughout Africa as well - and cited two distinct papers on the matter.
The dissertation was written by a geography student from the University of Berne in Switzerland.
The UN's claim was further backed up by anecdotal evidence from mountain climbers that were published in a consumer-facing mountaineering magazine.
"These are essentially a collection of anecdotes," said Professor Richard Tol, working from the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, according to the Telegraph. "Why did they do this? It is quite astounding. Although there have probably been no policy decisions made on the basis of this, it is illustrative of how sloppy Working Group Two (the panel of experts within the IPCC responsible for drawing up this section of the report) has been. There is no way current climbers and mountain guides can give anecdotal evidence back to the 1900s, so what they claim is complete nonsense."
More about Glaciers, Himalayas, Ice, Global warming, Climate change
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