Fake Glacier Claim Rises Again

Lorne Gunter, part of the National Post climate change denier team (see also Terry Corcoran, Larry Solomon), has revived the fraudulent claim that advancing world glaciers demonstrate an end to climate change.

Gunter claimed in a National Post opinion piece on Monday that “worldwide, there are nearly half as many glaciers advancing as retreating.” And other, unsuspecting or conspiratorial papers under the wing of Canada's largest news conglomerate (CanWest Global) have been picking the story up through the week. (See Vancouver Sun)

But the claim - unsourced in Gunter's article - appears to be purest fiction.

Gunter's full quote ran like this:

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that seven mountain glaciers in northern California were advancing. They joined glaciers in southern Norway, Sweden, the New Zealand Alps and the Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan. Indeed, worldwide, there are nearly half as many glaciers advancing as retreating.

Well, here's an AP story that ran on Tuesday July 8, 2008, documenting the recent advance of seven glaciers on California's Mount Shasta. And here's the only reference in that story to the state of glaciers around the world:

Climate change is causing roughly 90% of the world's mountain glaciers to shrink, said Lonnie Thompson, a glacier expert at Ohio State University.

And if Lonnie Thompson isn't good enough on his own, here's the most recent analysis by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, showing a steady, sustained and relatively “massive” collapse in the net size of glaciers around the world - Mount Shasta's exceptions notwithstanding.

The main thrust of Gunter's piece was a long and old complaint about Al Gore's personal energy consumption. Gunter reports that while Gore “delivered a major address calling on his country to abandon all fossil fuels within 10 years” (which is not even close to what Gore actually said), the vehicles in which the Nobel laureate's party arrived, “two Lincoln Town Cars and a full-sized SUV … sat idling with the air conditioners blasting” awaiting Gore's return.

Well, if that's true - if the people who are responsible for Gore's security have not figured out that they should turn the cars off and repair to an air-conditioned restaurant rather than drag the boss into this kind of an idiotic argument - then somebody deserves to have his wrist slapped. If it's true (and given the accuracy in the rest of the column, I am not sure why you would assume it is), Gore can be condemned for clumsiness.

But Gunter gets the red card for breaking an actual commandment. That whole thing about bearing false witness is so inconvenient when you are trying to defend ideology against science.

For more on the who's who of the climate denial industry, check out our comprehensive climate deniers research database.



This is absolute rubbish and what’s more, there isn’t even any debate about the subject among even the contrarian scientists that I have heard of. Is there not some requirement that publications in Canada NOT disseminate propaganda? Editorializing is one thing, but making up facts is quite another.

I mean, for Christ’s sake, what the hell is this? How can they possibly publish something so clearly ideological and simultaneously so clearly a complete fabrication?

As for Gore’s security detail, the Secret Service doesn’t take dictation on how to manage the well-being of their principals. That Gore is to be held responsible for Secret Service standard operating procedure is just more of the predictable and purely political spin on one of the most important topics confronting society. Why does reality keep getting strained through a political sieve? Stooooopid…. and utterly predictable.


The glaciers of Mt. Shasta are not the only ones that are currently advancing. There are quite a number in the Himalayas that are also advancing whilst others in the Himalayas are retreating. Attributing world-wide glacial movements to global climate changes is rather silly. This is because each glacier is responding to its own local climate. Therefore, there will be both advancing and retreating glaciers at the same time. There is actually no substantiated evidence for current glacial retreats being caused by global temperature changes especially considering there has been no substantial increase in mean global temperature for the last ten years (from MSU satellite data).

Would be much appreciated if comments that make substantial claims include links to source materials. That way we can all learn. Thanks.

here are a few articles I have in my PC under G for glaciers.

Glaciers - Bolam Glacier, Mount Shasta Glaciers Defy Global Warming, Grow (CBS)
Glaciers - Briksdal Glacier, Norway’s glaciers growing at record pace (Agence-France Presse)
Glaciers - Dôme du Goûter Glacier, Permanent Ice Fields Are Resisting Global Warming (Science Daily)
Glaciers - Fox Glacier has been advancing since 1985 (Alpine Guides)
Glaciers - Franz Josef Glacier, A Glacier Grows, Undeterred by Heated Kyoto Debate (CNSNews)
Glaciers - Guyot Glacier, Icy Bay Glaciers get up and go (SitNews)
Glaciers - Himalayan Glaciers Are Growing … and Confounding Global Warming Alarmists (The Heartland Institute)
Glaciers - Hotlum Glacier, Mount Shasta Glaciers Defy Global Warming, Grow (CBS)
Glaciers - Hubbard Glacier, Alaska: Growing and Advancing in Spite of Global Climate Change (USGS)
Glaciers - Johns Hopkins Glacier is advancing and moving 3000 feet per year (Glacier Bay National Park)
Glaciers - Jostedalsbreen Glacier, Norway’s glaciers growing at record pace (Agence-France Presse)
Glaciers - Kolka Glacier is growing again (NTV, Russia)
Glaciers - Konwakiton Glacier, Mount Shasta Glaciers Defy Global Warming, Grow (CBS)
Glaciers - McGinnis Glacier, Alaska Range Glacier Surges (Science Daily)
Glaciers - Meares Glacier, an advancing glacier tearing up trees and rocks in its path as it grows (Alaska Tours)
Glaciers - Mont Blanc Glacier, Global warming makes Mont Blanc grow (The Daily Telegraph, UK)
Glaciers - Mount St. Helens Glacier, Glacier Grows in Mount St. Helens’ Crater (FOX News)
Glaciers - Mud Creek Glacier, Mount Shasta Glaciers Defy Global Warming, Grow (CBS)
Glaciers - Nigardsbreen Glacier is growing by 25 to 50 meters per year (Jostedal Glacier National Park)
Glaciers - Perito Moreno Glacier, The largest glacier in Argentina Advances Continuously (Los Glaciares National Park)
Glaciers - Pio XI Glacier, The biggest glacier in South America keeps growing every year (Visit Chile)
Glaciers - Trinity Glaciers, Small Glaciers In Northern California Buck Global Warming Trend (Science Daily)
Glaciers - Tsaa Glacier, Icy Bay Glaciers get up and go (SitNews)
Glaciers - Watkins Glacier, Mount Shasta Glaciers Defy Global Warming, Grow (CBS)
Glaciers - Whitney Glacier, Mount Shasta Glaciers Defy Global Warming, Grow (CBS)
Glaciers - Wintun Glacier, Mount Shasta Glaciers Defy Global Warming, Grow (CBS)
Glaciers - Yahtze Glacier, Icy Bay Glaciers get up and go (SitNews)

Glaciers - Global warming boost to glaciers (BBC)
Glaciers - Kilimanjaro’s ice set to linger (BBC)
Glaciers - Kilimanjaro, On Africa’s Roof, Still Crowned With Snow (The New York Times)
Glaciers - Kilimanjaro, The Woes Of Kilimanjaro: Don’t Blame Global Warming (Science Daily)
Glaciers - Melting glacier ‘false alarm’ (The Daily Telegraph, UK)
Glaciers - Recent Glacier Advances in Norway and New Zealand (Physical Geography)
Glaciers - Science debunks Glacier Park warming alarm (The Heartland Institute)
Glaciers - Study: Glacier melting can be variable (Breitbart)
Glaciers - Study Says Glaciers Formed During a Very Warm Period (The New York Times)
Glaciers - Warming Climate Can Support Glacial Ice: It Did In Much Warmer Times (Science Daily)

A long list, yes, but a reliable list no.

Anyone quoting the Heartland Institute as an objective source isn’t going to be taken seriously! After all they just do a ‘Fred Singer’ on the facts - turn it back to front and upside down to fit whatever they are trying to prove. The recipe always needs money from the vested interest / industry wanting spin: a little cherry picking here, a little distortion there, a pinch of straw man or other logical fallacy, a sprinkle of doubt, a little shake of false data and hey presto asbestos and smoking tobacco is good for you and there’s no evidence that global warming is happening / global warming is unstoppable / “climate is not warming significantly”.


The Telegraph newspaper is also known for its bias.
The BBC sometimes gets its facts wrong.

It’s impossible to be certain from the titles alone.

You’ll have to try harder!

We need URLs!

Here is the most recent World Glacier Monitoring Service data (linked in the story), in graph form:


Of the 111 glaciers listed, 92 are retreating, 5 are advancing, and 14 have no data.

Any educated person cannot possibly be a climate change denier. We all understand that change is the one constant thing about earth’s climate. So who are these climate change deniers you refer to, Richard?

Is this the new warmist euphemism for those who decline Al Gore’s Kool-Aid? It used to be that you and your fellow warmies called them gobal warming deniers. But I guess you have had to drop that term in recongition that there hasn’t really been any warming for 10 years now despite a continuous rise in atmospehric CO2 levels.

Surely an outfit as dedicated to smearing reputations as Desmogblog has the creativity to come up with something more derogatory than “climate change deniers”. That is sooo lame!

Hey JMD, Coupla things: 1. For clarity’s sake: Although a well-paid minority of people struggle to deny it, there is a consensus [http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861599706/consensus.html] (which, for the record, is different that unanimity [http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/unanimity.html]) in the scientific community that human activity is causing global warming and that global warming is causing and will continue to cause dramatic, somewhat unpredictable and, if unchecked, ultimately catastrophic changes in global climate. So, I use climate change and global warming somewhat interchangeably. And a climate change denier is, in my mind, the same thing as a global warming denier. 2. As to your use of the word “smear” (and this again for clarity’s sake): the DeSmogBlog exists to check the facts, the credentials and the funding of people who contradict the above-mentioned scientific consensus. When we find that one of those people is presenting information that is - objectively and demonstrably - NOT TRUE (as is the case with Lorne Gunter), we say so. If that bugs you (and it seems to), and if you want to challenge the point in any credible way, I suggest you have a responsibility to offer a relevant argument as to the factual content of my links or a likely explanation for Gunter’s “mistake.” Dismissing a documented report that uses: a) Gunter’s own information source supplemented by; b) reports of the most prestigious and reliable glacier experts in the world as a “smear” seem (what was your phrase?) - oh yeah: “sooo lame!”

Sure there is a consensus. You and the Kool-Aid drinkers just keep telling yourselves that, Richard.

…couldn’t go unanswered.

Here (with a nod to David Lewis), is an incomplete list of “Kool-Aid drinkers.” The DSB is happy to be in such good company:

“All the following scientific organizations presented a joint statement, called the Joint Science Academies’ Statement, to each head of government who attended, and to the host Prime Minister of Japan, at the G8 recently:

National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,
Science Council of Japan,
Deutshe Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina Germany,
Royal Society of the United Kingdom,
Chinese Academy of Sciences,
Russian Academy of Sciences,
Indian National Science Academy India,
Academie des Sciences France,
Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei Italy,
Royal Society of Canada,
Academia Mexicana de Ciencias Mexico,
Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias, Brazil, and the
Academy of Science of South Africa

The statement called out to all world leaders that they “limit the threat of climate change” by taking “prompt action”, which was stated as limiting emissions of “greenhouse gases” “to the net absorption capacity of the earth” It is here:

 Perhaps, JMD, you have some Jimmy Jones list that will help us compare the credibility of YOUR sources.

Richard, whenever I see remarks like his, I usually use Logical Science as the one-stop site for debunking it.


Not only does it have the usual list of organizations supporting the consensus, they also directly quote and/or link the statements in question, all on one page. Handy thing, that.

Also, your previous reply’s lack of line breaks doesn’t drive this home enough, so allow me to repeat it (for folks like JMD):


There, is that clear enough, JMD? Even though folks like Gunter disagree with it, this stands as a scientific consensus similar to evolution, plate tectonics, and round Earth.

Wasn’t it the skeptics of their day who successfully challenged the “consensus” view that the earth was flat?

Just what does consensus have to do with science?

Your story omits one critical component: Evidence.

A better example would be relativity. Einstein was skeptical of Newtonian mechanics as he pondered some of his thought experiments, and despite being a mere patent clerk, published his revolutionary papers and overturned the consensus with good science. Today, folks have tried to overturn Einstein, but their science doesn’t jive with the evidence. Just because they’re skeptical isn’t sufficient to overturn the consensus.

Contrarianism isn’t important in science. Skepticism demands evidence, contrarianism doesn’t. You’re being contrarian, opposing any “consensus”, regardless of either side’s evidence.

Looks like India’s science academy exerts little sway on climate change. Came across this news item:

India has issued a report challenging global warming fears. The Indian Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change said that India would rather save its people from poverty than global warming, and would not cut growth in order to cut gases.

Referring to claimed changes in climate attributed to human activity, the report declares: “No firm link between the documented charges described below and warming due to an anthropogenic climate change has yet been established.”

The report goes on to state: “It is obvious that India needs to substantially increase its per capita energy consumption to provide a minimally acceptable level of wellbeing to its people … India is determined that its per capita greenhouse-gas emissions will at no point exceed those of developed countries.”

The Australian Herald noted that this declaration “means India won’t stop its per capita emissions (now at 1,02 t) from growing until they match those of countries such as the US (now at 20 t).”

Quite so, JMD. The Royal Society of Canada has exerted little influence on the current Conservative administration in Canada, and the American Academies of Science seem to have fought an uphill battle against the U.S. administration, too.

So, we have a pattern: scientists the world over say the globe is warming - that humans are doing a catastrophically stupid thing and that we should stop. And politicians say, No, no, no. Our buddies in the oil business assure us that the link between burning fossil fuels and overheating the planet is yet unproven.

And you choose to believe the politicians. Why is that?


Only 59 persons signed off of the 2007 IPCC chapter on the cause of global warming. How many of them were scientists. Also how about the 700 scientists that have added their names to a US Senate report who don’t agree with you or other alarmists? How about climate experts like Richard Lindzen and others. Travis

As suggested by Richard’s comment, this Council is not a “science academy”:


“The official members of the Council are Ministers for External Affairs, Finance, Environment and Forests, Agriculture, Water Resources, and Science and Technology, besides Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairperson of Planning Commission; R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister; V. Krishnamurthy, chairperson National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council; C. Rangarajan, chairperson Economic Advisory Council; Ajay Mathur, chairperson Bureau of Energy Efficiency; the Foreign Secretary; the Union Environment and Forests Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister who would be the convenor of the Council.

“The non-official members of the Council are R.K. Pachauri, chairperson The Energy and Resources Institute; Prodipto Ghosh; Sunita Narain; Chandrakshekhar Dasgupta; Ratan Tata; Raj Chengappa, Executive Editor, India Today and R. Ramachandran, Science Editor, Frontline.”

Climate deniers, global warming denier, all the same crap - Gutner is one of those guys who in high school thought he would look smart, visionary and somehow more enlightened than others by arguing the opposite of what everyone else thought. That’s great, questioning authority and expert opinion is a good thing. That is, unlesss your wrong. It gets downright pathetic when, like Gutner, you’re wrong but you just keep spouting the same bulls**t over and over again.

But he probably thinks he’s pretty damn clever. Too bad he doesn’t realize that the majority of readers think he’s an idiot and his paper is the laughing stock of the country.


Gary, had you bothered to actually look into the research you’re citing, you’d have seen that this was Beck’s CO2 graph – which drew data before Mauna Loa from uncontrolled sources, often contaminated by wherever the researcher was, as opposed to the more rigorously controlled Mauna Loa records.

Hand-holding explanation of Beck’s error:

I also note that while you accept this CO2 measurement for ~180 years as accurate (when it isn’t), you dispute the ~150 years of surface station temperature measurements as horribly inaccurate. Why the double standard? Because one (with errors) supports your preconcieved notion?

I had a long argument last year with my nephew who didn’t ‘believe’ in global warming.
When he came to the 1/2 glaciers were melting I was able to say (thanks to having seen Monbiot’s article) “that’s a lie and I know the name of the liar”.
Then I got to wondering where he got that info from. That’s when I found Falwell and others were preaching the ‘gospel according to Exxon-Mobil’. So Gunter may have heard it in a church. google on Cornwall Alliance to get your very own sermon.

Falwell got recalled promptly, I wondered how he explained his lies to God.

The National Council of Churches AND the National Council of Evangelical Churches have both made resolutions in support of taking action of global warming.

A small group of off-brand preachers formed a group that received $$ from ExM . First they called themselves Interfaith Stewardship Alliance and then Cornwall Alliance.

At least my member of Congress is well aware of these shenanigans.

Maybe he misread something.

I recall this case:

By Lorne Gunter

“Mock ballistic missiles were fired from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Yet on neither occasion did the Atoll-based interceptors make it off the ground - first because of a software glitch and then because of an environmental monitor in the interceptor’s underground silo shut off the rockets. (We regret to inform you that Seattle has been obliterated. But the good news is, vital habitat of the ring-necked tree slug was preserved on some spit of land no one has ever heard of in the middle of nowhere.)”…

End of quote; “Fighting the last war?”, page A12 of the National Post, Feb 21, 2005.

Hmmm. How could that environmentalist be so uncaring about our protection from attack, even placing a slug first?!? The only problem is… the “environmental monitor” that made the author so angry was not an activist. It was a temperature sensor, as all the other newspapers were well aware. No correction was issued.

If they were less like a disease, I would find the deniers, even the professional ones, quite funny.

They’re a pretty funny bunch, from a certain perspective, claiming nearly the whole world of science is part of a vast conspiracy to conceal a truth that only professional liars (Harris? Ball?) and utterly idiotic hacks (Harris? Ball?) “know”. I shouldn’t be so unfair, really, there are a few out there with genuine personality disorders who actually believe that they know the truth, which, oddly enough, changes every time they’re proven utterly wrong,

In Gunter’s case, the only question appears to be, is he a professional liar (joining Harris, Ball, Milloy, blah, blah), an idiotic hack (same suspects), or does he just have a personality disorder that causes him to disagree reflexively with any aspect of reality that people smarter than him can prove is correct using evidence, reason, and similar techniques that appear alien to his persona? And the correct answer, you ask? “Yes”.

Gunter preaches to the fringe, which is getting smaller all the time.



http://climatesci.org/2007/03/13/more-evidence-on-the-issue-of-glacier-retreat-and-advance/ http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/h.j.fowler/fowler&archer_JC2006.pdf

Good for you! You found one of the world’s glaciers that is doing something different than retreating as anthropogenic climate change rolls along. I assume you are not claiming that this paper presents evidence against climate change, given the excerpt from the abstract:

The impact of observed seasonal temperature trend on runoff is explored using derived regression
relationships. Decreases of


There is no such thing as scientific consensus. Only consensus between scientists. Science is not, never has been and never will be advanced through consensus. All the academies and their statements mean nothing. It is individual scientists (not the academic cocktail party set) that make progress in science. I am talking about the blokes and ladies in their labs. Most of these academies executives do not speak for the majority of their members (aka The American Physical Society). They certainly do not speak on my behalf.


Are you arguing that the executives are part of the academic cocktail party set? There really aren’t that many cocktail parties in academics, whatever you might think.

That sounds like a new way to dismiss large numbers of scientists. I haven’t heard the one about cocktails before.


Consensus could easily be argued to be how science advances. Some topics are too complex for laypersons to understand or contribute toward. So there are experts. Experts in a field are recognized by their ability to publish new scientific results in peer-reviewed (that is, reviewed by other experts) publications. These new scientific results are how progress occurs in ‘normal science’ (scientific revolutions are rare and require this relatively boring advancement), with little bits of information adding to the larger body of information that already exists. Experimental and analytical work supports consensus interpretations and the discussion among experts identifies areas of disagreement. These arguments inform the experts regarding next steps and new directions to take, while the consensus provides the context for that work. It has nothing to do with whether or not someone speaks for you, it has much more to do with the major body of scientific research and expert interpretation.

Yet another whopper from Gunter:

“Snow coverage in North America this winter was greater than at any time in recorded history.”

In fact, the 2008 January coverage at 17.0 million square kilometers was identical to the average for that month from 1973-2008. Years having equal or greater January snow coverage include every year from 1974-1985, except the marginally lower years of 1976 and 1980.

Reference:: NOAA

I’ve written to the Post asking for a correction on the glaciers and the snow coverage, and suggesting that they enlist the services of a science reporter to find the rest of the errors, something for which I don’t have the time or patience.

Rutgers Iniversity Global Snow Lab goes back to 1966. According to them The first three months of 2008 was the 10th highest out of 42 years, just slightly above average 17.22 versus 16.52. http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/table_area.php?ui_set=1&ui_sort=0

Let’s face it. Much of the Canadian media, and many Canadians, seem to be unwilling to believe conclusions based on science, or for that matter derived from any advanced training and requirement for evidence. Science and academic work means zero to many in positions of influence (or imagined influence) in Canada. Consider the start of this recent editorial in the Vancouver Province:

“Another day and another earnest academic study proving not very much. …”

They then pick the funniest-sounding (to them) study topic, to make the point that anything academic is not worth doing.

Newspapers and radio (it is not as easy to get away with sneering on TV) often make the point that efforts to consider questions in the detail that is typical of modern science are just a waste of time, and probably either wrong, because the eggheads forgot something central that any child knows, or already obvious, because the investigators are out of touch or just trying to justify their existence. It may reflect some sour grapes in the life of the writer, or it may simply sell news; I have no idea why distrust of science and academics would be so central to some writers in the Canadian media.

No wonder the Canadian public is fertile ground for the deniers. This country will lag behind, because of this general attitude, and not because of a few naysayers and disgruntled self-assigned “experts” who give the message that certain sectors want to hear.

Not that I blame you for sounding cynical. I tend to agree, particularly since the National Post starting making its business to lower the tone on any reality-based issue that the neocons had taken a stand on.

I heard a story on CNN years ago deriding the existence of a major research grant in the US to study plant stress. They just couldn’t figure out that this study was not about whether plants should be made to listen to Mozart before going to bed, but about their responses to different sorts of environmental conditions that might have big effects on, say, crop yields. The sort of work, in other words, that could make or break farmers’ annual incomes, affect world hunger, and other stupid things.

The media, sometimes even the most reputable outlets, suffers from widespread laziness.

But, we have to work harder to communicate science effectively. Science is getting harder all the time for a variety of reasons and it is (sadly) unrealistic to expect that a reporter is going to be able to take a lot of time to understand an issue properly if it is the sort of thing that takes weeks to learn reasonably well. They just don’t have time.

As for the closed-minded set, there’s really no excuse. Reality is not, or in a sane world would not be, a partisan issue.

My $0.02.


I wonder if some of the deniers lies are just “word trickery” - We should be talking of “losing volume” rather than advancing/retreating:
Glaciers can advance while in decline… although normally the toe of a glacier will “retreat” if the glacier is getting smaller, but in some cases the toe can actually slip downhill from all the melting.

Although not a glacier, an example of “advancing ice” in a melting, or reducing of volume, state is the Greenland Ice Sheet where it is slipping forwards due to the lubrication of all the meltwater underneath it.

[sorry if this was mentioned above, I didn’t read all the replies, just most of them]

[I yam back! - just cannot sign in, again] :)

Steve L. seems to be the one who is confused. What does publishing in the peer reviewed literature have to do with consensus. Science advances through the inquiry of scientists (sometimes through collaboration which is not consensus) and building on knowledge published by others. Sometimes there is vigorous debate between scientist with differing viewpoints. It is this sort of debate that develops science, not mutual backslapping. Peer review is merely there to verify the quality of the research not to ensure some sort of mythical consensus.

As for JTK, have a look at any IPCC gathering for the cocktail parties. As well as any government organised function involving science. I do not disparage individual scientists of these societies (after all I am one myself). However, I have never been asked as a member of a professional association to vote on any policy associated with that organisation. Executive councils seem to take it upon themselves to dictate policy.