Al Gore’s claim of human-caused global warming proven to be false!
That’s the sort of headline we’re sure to see more of as denialists sling up Al Gore yet again to the tree of reactionary dogma and flawed logic when they hear of a recent report in the July/August edition of American Scientist stating that the loss of snow cover on Kilimanjaro is not caused by global warming.
Gore used the Kilimanjaro as evidence of global warming, indeed many people did, but it appears as if in this instance it may not be so, giving denialists an opportunity to swoop in and claim this as proof that global warming doesn’t exist.
The report doesn’t say that, of course, but why inconvenience ourselves with the facts?
I think everybody should step back and count to ten, lest flawed logic continues to rule the day.
Al Gore’s source of information was wrong, but to cite this example that all glacier’s in the world are not showing signs of a warming world is just as wrong.
As Philp Mote, one of the authors of the study and a research scientist from the University of Washington says, “There are dozens, if not hundreds, of photos of mid-latitude glaciers you could show where there is absolutely no question that they are declining in response to the warming atmosphere.” And Kilimanjaro isn’t one of them.
There are different processes at work on a tropical mountaintop than those in temperate latitudes. Mote and his associate Georg Kaser, a glaciologist from the University of Innsbruck in Austria, have studied the workings of both and conclude that equatorial glaciers experience less seasonal variations and thus the melting is not as much a function of temperature as it is to other factors including cloudiness and humidity; other specific factors include the shape of the mountain and the local climate. But why have me try to explain it when you can go to the source and read the report yourself. That way you’ll have the facts firmly in hand when you find yourself explaining to a wild-eyed denialist why this doesn’t mean that global warming is just the hot air that issues forth from Al Gore’s mouth.
We’re sorry that Al got it wrong in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. But the movie isn’t a scientific paper. It’s a popular media presentation meant to raise awareness on a serious issue. Too many, in my opinion, use this one source for either side of their argument, building an opinion that rests in bad logic. The louder you can shout, the more right you are.
In the case of Kilimanjaro, the answers were quietly waiting for two scientists without an agenda, using sound scientific principles, to find them.
Al Gore and the Denialists can learn a lesson if they so choose.
Sources and Further Reading:
University of Washington News