Andew Revkin has a Times blog post about the controversial Himalayan glaciers, which apparently will be with us long past 2035.
The Times also has a story, which includes this summary and insight:
But it now appears that the estimate about Himalayan glacial melt was based on a decade-old interview of one climate scientist in a science magazine, The New Scientist, and that hard scientific evidence to support that figure is lacking. The scientist, Dr. Syed Hasnain, a glacier specialist with the government of the Indian state of Sikkim and currently a fellow at the TERI research institute in Delhi, said in an e-mail message that he was “misquoted” about the 2035 estimate in The New Scientist article. He has more recently said that his research suggests that only small glaciers could disappear entirely.
The panel, which relies on contributions from hundreds of scientists, is considering whether to amend the estimate or remove it.
So the IPCC relies on some combination of peer-reviewed scientific papers and articles they stumble across in the press which may or not accurately characterize a scientist's conclusions?
Dare we ask if this is standard practice at the IPCC? The Times nearly does:
The flawed estimate raises more questions about the panel’s vetting procedures than it does about the melting of Himalayan glaciers, which most scientists believe is a major problem.
As I noted a few days back as well as in December, the IPCC was almost surely aware of their dubious sourcing when they wrote the report, since they footnoted a World Wildlife Fund report from 2005 rather than a specific research paper. And as the Times notes, they included the 2035 claim in the full report but dropped it elsewhere:
He noted that the potentially erroneous figure in question had appeared only in the panel’s full report of more than 1,000 pages and had been omitted in later summary documents that the panel produced to guide policy. The summaries said only that the Himalayan glaciers “could decay at very rapid rates” if warming continued. Such documents are produced after panel members review a full-length report, although if a figure in the report is deemed to be in error, it is supposed to be removed.
Is that supposed to reassure me? It is having the opposite effect.
UPDATE: The BBC reports that the IPCC is dropping the glacier claim. This BBC article from December is very good.