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March 14, 2005

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I've really enjoyed your postings about this subject over at Kos --- they're one reason I was pleased to see you all start up your own blog because it makes it easier for me to find your collected data. :=D

It's really quite extraordinary to me that anyone could deny we're already feeling the effects of this stuff. But they do, thanks to an incredibly efficient and effective disinformation campaign by the right.

Case in point: I've lived in hot climates most of my life. One summer, however, while living a bit south of OKC (not by choice - I was attending grad school), temps reached 120+ for several days running, and sayed over 100 for I don't know how long --- weeks. I remember it clear as a bell --- it was unbelievable, everyone was suffering, people stopped going out in the day and did their grocery shopping, etc., at night.

Yet, those temps seem to have disappeared from the record, which I find even more bizarre. I tried to confirm them a year or so ago, and spent at least a day looking at meteorological etc records for Ok --- they were mentioned nowhere.

It was a year or so after that that we had the F5 tornados in the OKC area.

And just like heat, I've spent most of my life living with tornados --- but even I had never been through anything like that.

Think of the hurricanes in Florida over the last year or so. Etc. Change is definitely afoot, and to whose advantage is it? I can;t even believe that the corporations could consider it to their advantage to ignore what's going on.

In any case, I really do appreciate your postings on this and wanted to comment on them on your new blog.

GREAT!

We don't already have enough reasons to worry about turmoil in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the Central Asian republics, Tibet and the majority Muslim regions of China. Now we get to worry that they'll have enough water!

But you know, Page, there's no proof of global warming...

Cookie: one factoid I picked up somewhere in the last few years (but can't remember where, so therefore no link)--in the last 20 or 30 years, the percentage of yearly rainfall that comes in heavy, concentrated rain has increased dramatically. Instead of getting steady, soaking rains, we're now more prone to intense rains that don't soak into the ground and are more likely to wash away topsoil. This is thought, as I remember the article, to be additional evidence of global climate change.

The roof! The roof! The roof is... uh...

Yep. I'm in the Ozarks now in the far eastern part of Ok now --- actually what we fondly refer to as Arklahoma :=D --- and I'm very familiar with the climate in this area, having spent much of my childhood in the region.

And we don't get steady rains here like we used to. Instead, we now have downpours lasting for hours and hours and hours.

Oh sure, we get some steady rains --- but the incidence of torrential downpours has really shot up.

Change is definitely already here and it's not good change. Which is one reason (of many) I am so baffled why anyone could deny this is happening, and why they would want to. We're all going to suffer from it.

Cookie wrote: We're all going to suffer from it.

Not those of us selected to be taken up at the Rapture.

You guys are all gonna be SOOOOOOO jealous...

Judging from that first photo, the glacier started shrinking long before global warming was a significant issue. So what is causing this?

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Roof of world is melting but who cares, At least decision makers od South Asia are not interested to listen the latest findings of WWF report on Siachen Glacers. Please Click the link
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C02%5C13%5Cstory_13-2-2007_pg3_3

Siachen madness or mountain peace —Q Isa Daudpota and Arshad H Abbasi

It is for opinion-makers in India and Pakistan to tell their respective governments to stop ruining the future of our water supplies and our weather system. Bringing their troops down from the inhospitable heights of Siachen would be the first step. This would be welcomed by the troops as well as the mountain wildlife that has been displaced by the war

Back in 2003 one of us (QID) signed an email petition titled the Siachen Peace Park Initiative located at the glacier that bears this name. It had to do with getting India and Pakistan to withdraw from the futile conflict in the mountains and to let nature revert to its snowy tranquillity.

“As part of the normalisation process/confidence building measures, the governments of India and Pakistan are urged to establish a Siachen Peace Park to protect and restore the spectacular landscapes which are home to so many endangered species including the snow leopard.” This was the statement adopted as a lead-up to the 5th World Parks Congress held in September 2003 at Durban, South Africa.

The petition was a follow-up to win widespread support for the idea from citizens of India, Pakistan and around the world, so that the Indian and Pakistani governments could move forward without loss of face, or strategic liability. Sadly there has been no progress in resolving this decades-old dispute.

But new strongly worded reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Feb 2 this year could perhaps make the decision-makers change their minds about this wasteful, futile conflict. The IPCC forecasts that global temperatures would rise by 1.8 to 4.0 Celsius this century. There are already signs that South Asia will be one of the worst affected regions — monsoon affected with reduced agriculture production, sinking of island communities and increase in vector borne diseases.

Here, however, we will mainly consider the impact of human presence and war on the glaciers of this region and the impact of this on the region and globally. Note that melting of the Himalayan glaciers contributes about 25 percent to the sea-rise globally.

A serious unforeseen consequence of the Siachen war is the danger posed to four other glaciers: Gangotri, Miyar, Milan and Janapa, which feed the rivers Ganges (first two glaciers), Chenab and Sutlej respectively. This is because of the heavy traffic on the Indian road from the plains to Siachen passing near these four glaciers on the Delhi-Manali-Leh route. This finding is corroborated by a recent report by one of us (AHA) for the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), available at

http://tinyurl.com/23b5de

According to Prof M N Kaul, Principal Investigator on glaciology in the Indian Department of Science and Technology, “the ecology, the environment and the health of the glacier can be under severe threat in case the Baltal route to the holy Amarnath cave was frequented by thousands of pilgrims.”

Mr Kaul said that heavy pilgrim traffic besides mountain expeditions result in depletion of glacier and environmental degradation. He explained that “this depletion and degradation are the result of human breath, refuse and land erosion.”

When these pilgrims can cause so much damage to the glaciers, imagine what the continual presence of troops from both countries must do to the ice and snow given their high-energy requirement.

Science bureaucrats who wish to be totally ‘objective’ can often be very conservative in their assessment of complex phenomenon that require immediate attention and action. Often a watertight assessment is not feasible and decision ought to be based on the “precaution principle”.

Unlike Prof Kaul, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, director-general of The Energy and Resources Institute, is quoted as saying: “A number of scientists say Siachen should be made a protected area, a heritage site of sorts, and that there should be no army presence on either side. For purely ecological reasons, this might be a good idea. But I don’t see why there would be melting as a result of military presence and activity.” Italics are added to show a lack of conviction in supporting an end to armed conflict at Siachen.

But Dr Pachauri holds an even more important position as the chairman of the IPCC. Launching the finding of the international report on Feb 2nd, he strongly emphasised the cost and danger if there is no action taken on reducing greenhouse emissions which, among other things, melt glaciers.

Research about the Gangotri, India’s largest glacier — which feeds the Ganges — has found that the rate of retreat has almost doubled to 34 meter per year compared to what it was in 1971.

The melting of Himalayan glaciers could have serious consequences as more than 500 million residents of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins rely on them for water supply.

As with Gangotri, so with Siachen the increasing melting can be largely attributed to human activities in these areas. In Siachen, which provides water to the Nubra River, a tributary of the Indus, the ecosystem has been hugely disturbed by the presence of nearly 15000 troops on its two sides, consuming and defecating, soiling the area and littering it with the remains of war. Much of this debris will flow into our river Indus as the glacier melts.

India airlifts food and vital supplies to supplement material that goes up on an all-weather road. Fuel needed for daily needs of cooking and keeping warm is provided by India through a 250 km long pipeline. Vehicular traffic and the heat generated from the activities on this 21,000 ft high glacier has led to unprecedented melting and diminishing of this 72 km-long glacier. Currently temperature rise in the area is recorded as 0.2 degrees Celsius annually, resulting in destructive snow avalanches, formation of glacial lakes and snow holes.

Note that Pakistani troops lie on the western side of the Saltoro ridge, which essentially runs north-south, while Indians are on the eastern side. This is where the Siachen glacier is. Due to much lower activity on the Pakistani side the western glaciers are stable, as shown by recent independent studies by researchers from the UK and Italy.

Unfortunately, climate ‘experts’ in Pakistan seem to lack knowledge of the importance of glaciers for our ecosystem. In 2001, some of them associated with the Global Climate Change Impact Studies Centre in Islamabad suggested that glaciers be melted artificially (by lasers or darkening) to alleviate the drought in the plains! This Centre was set up by old hands of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. It took one of their own colleagues, Dr Khalid Rashid, to debunk in a conference paper their suggestions, which he labelled as science fiction!

Glaciers can also be made secure by the use of common sense. It is for opinion-makers in India and Pakistan to tell their respective governments to stop ruining the future of our water supplies and our weather system. Bringing their troops down from the inhospitable heights of Siachen would be the first step. This would be welcomed by the troops as well as the mountain wildlife that has been displaced by the war.

The authors are Islamabad-based environmentalists

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