Looks like Greenlanders may have to wait a bit longer for those pesky glaciers to melt. The retreat of the world’s glaciers has slowed, not accelerated, since 1950, according to a new study.
A study published in The Cryosphere found that glaciers retreated faster during the first half of the 20th century than during the second half of the century, contradicting mainstream theories about global warming.
“The available glacier length series show relatively small fluctuations until the mid-19th century, followed by a global retreat,” according to the study written by U.S. and European scientists. “The retreat was strongest in the first half of the 20th century, although large variability in the length change of the different glaciers is observed.”
This is the opposite of what scientists argue is happening due to man-made global warming. The theory goes that increased greenhouse gas emissions, like carbon dioxide, are heating the planet. The more mankind emits into the atmosphere, the more warming that will occur, which would cause glaciers to melt more quickly.
Many climate scientists and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change argue that man-made greenhouse gas emissions did not begin to warm the planet until after 1950, meaning glaciers retreated more quickly before man-made global warming occurred.
The UN has made a huge effort to showcase glacial retreat. Recently, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon went to Greenland to observe the impacts of global warming on the Arctic. Ki-moon is trying to make global warming a top priority for politicians ahead of the UN’s climate summit in Paris next year.
“We have to take action now,” Ki-moon said. “The time is now, and I’m very much committed to working with world leaders. The problem doesn’t go away by being silent.”
“I am deeply alarmed by fast-moving glaciers and by the fast-melting ice cap which raises the sea level which affects the whole international community’s environmental system,” he added.
But the authors of the recent international study found that glaciers began to rapidly retreat around 1850. That retreat began to decelerate after 1950, according to researchers. The number of calving glaciers — glaciers where sections of ice suddenly break off — began to decrease by nearly 50 percent since 2000.
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