No Andean Glaciers from 19 to 27S

Before Caspar Ammann started playing for the Team, he was a geologist who wrote the following serviceable discussion of glaciation in the “dry” Andes between 19 and 27S (Quelccaya is at 12S).

Under current climatic conditions, no glaciers can exist in the high Andes of the Western Cordillera in the high Andes of the Western Cordillera between 19 and 27 S. The annual mean temperatures in the highest peaks are far below freezing but the extremely dry conditions make any glacial development impossible. With increasing summer precipitation towards the tropics, persistent snowfields are more frequent and at 18 30’S the first glacier appears (Volcano Guallatiri) In the southern region, first glaciers appear under sharply increased wintertime precipitaiton south of 27S. Between these two regimes, the South American Dry Diagonal crosses the Andes from the northwest to the southeast.

What does that mean for glaciation at Quelccaya? It might not mean anything. But it’s interesting that the glaciers in the region are on a macro scale precipitation-limited.

When I see a rather good geologically-based article by Ammann, it’s too bad to see him writing such statistical bilge with his co-author Rev. Wahl. He should have stuck to being a geologist.

Now that I think about it, for all the criticism from the Team about me being an “amateur”, neither Ammann nor Wahl is a statistical specialist. Ammann studied as a geologist and Wahl took economics and theology cv here. He has some theological material on the internet.

Reference:
Ammann et al 2001, PPP 172, 313-326 http://www.glaciologia.cl/textos/amman.pdf


32 Comments

  1. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    “He has some theological material on the internet.”

    His prayer would make him a heretic in any self-respecting Christian community.

    Wahl’s Alfred University faculty page has his ‘rescue Mann’ paper in Climate Change with Caspar Ammann as being in press, but the university Faculty/Staff page doesn’t list his theological credentials. It’s a curious juxtaposition, isn’t it, this combination of religious piety and scientific carelessness in one man. One would think the committment to ethics would produce a uniform practice. I wonder if there’s such a thing as constitutional tendentiousness.

  2. bender
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    This is getting creepy.

  3. jae
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    “Our Mother in Earth” Hmm, lots of the “warmers” seem to have this kind of Gaia/Environmentalism philosophy.

  4. John A
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    Neither of course, are trained climate scientists. But, since they’re battling for Mother Earth, any oil that they handle immediately is repelled with no residue.

  5. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    Odd hypocrisy here… Steve M. and Ross are not qualified to audit their work because they are not climate scientists, but by that very logic, none of the climate scientists are qualified to use, and asses, the very statistical methods employed in their papers because they are not statisticians.

    Mark

  6. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if Dr. Wahl gets offended every time Mann, with whom he’s co-authored at least one paper, refers to M&M as “those economists”? :)

    Mark

  7. Lee
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    uhhhh….

    Some Site Rules: I have previously said that I have total contempt for the censoring of scientific comments at realclimate and do not do that here. However, light moderation opens the door for ad homs and taunting, which quickly involves everybody. I don’t have time to monitor everything so my handling of taunting has been inconsistent: sometimes I’ve let it go because the person is just making a fool of themself, sometimes I’ve got fed up and deleted it. A reader has written with the following suggested ground rules which are hereby adopted:

    Blogs like this one provide a wonderful opportunity to people like me (a retired scientist) to get involved in an ongoing debate and it is very disappointing when the debate generates into one of these slanging matches. May I suggest some ground rules for posts:

    1. Refrain from personal abuse and swearing,
    2. Never attribute ulterior motives to another participant
    3. Be patient with people who know less science or maths than you do yourself.

    People who consistently break rule 1 and 2 should be issued with a yellow card by the moderator. If they continue they get a red card and are banned from the site.

    While there’s a little politics from time to time, by and large, I would prefer that you don’t talk politics; there are plenty of other perfectly good places to do that. I don’t allow discussion of religion and will mark anything even close as spam.

  8. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    RE: “he annual mean temperatures in the highest peaks are far below freezing but the extremely dry conditions make any glacial development impossible.” Yep, being that it’s in the same band (with persistent sub tropical High) as Atcama, that is definitely true. No fronts, no rain.

  9. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    RE: “Our Mother in Earth” – AKA Gaia. Interesting. Not exactly a smoking gun, but it certainly hints at the religion of at least some of the warmers, namely Gaia worship. No wonder there are Luddite urges, it’s a “true believer” type of thing.

  10. Nordic
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Be careful about confusing the Cordierra Occidental (spoken of here) with the Cordierra Oriental (where the Quelccaya ice cap is located). The two mountain ranges bound the altiplano on the west and on the east and their climates are very different. On the eastern face of the eastern cordierra you drop strait into the Amazon basin. I once did a hike near Murrurata in Bolivia on an old Inca and pre-inca trading route where I crossed a 4650 meter pass and camped in a grassy/sedgy meadow within sight of glaciers. It was a very cold night, the next night we camped among coffee and citrus trees – just one days hike away.

    A similar hike over a pass and down the Cordierra Occidental towards the Pacific would require one to pack a lot of water.

  11. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    RE: #10 – point taken. Monsoonal / tropical moisture can certainly intrude from the East. However, that would be less and less the case, the closer one got to 27S. The situation is analogous, in a manner, with the two Cordilleras of Mexico, with the Western one being drier. Up where the Eastern One (which merges w/ the Southern Rockies) crosses the Trans Pecos in Texas, it is very, very dry. Down by Veracruz it’s clearly much more moist. But at the end of the day, the Southeast Pacific’s sub trop High is immense and its influence extends far to the East. Bottom line is, precipitation may well control this ice mass’ volume to a great extent.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    Fair enough.

    #7. Lee, I take your point and we won’t push this. The point about Wahl’s background was more that the mathematical and statistical background of both Ammann and Wahl is very slight relative to say Wegman’s.

  13. Andre
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    nevertheless the paper is highly interesting since it dovetails with the African wet period and a multitude of pollen proxies around the Atlantic and Artic that reflect the same humid period, not in the least in the Greenland Ice cores as a strong increase in snow accumulation, which became known as the Bolling Allerod event.

  14. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    Re #12: And Wegman’s climate science background is practically non-existent (as he neatly demonstrated with his CO2 remark). But as he also showed, one does not have to be a climate scientist to have a proper basis for being a global warming alarmist.

  15. jae
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    14: I know you are smarter than that. Can’t you see that this does not matter, as long as he confines himself to statistical issues? Suppose a famous physicist publishes a paper on relativity, and suppose I’m a mathematician. Am I not qualified to point out any mathematical mistakes the physicist makes? If I inadvertently say something wrong about the physics, does that disqualify me? Give us a friggin break and drop that particular false appeal to authority, Bloom.

  16. jae
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    It looks like there is a great deal of variability in glaciation in that part of the world, on quite short time scales.

  17. Lee
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    16:

    Given that the Idsos strip out any quantitative reporting, and alternately use rates and magnitudes of expansion or retreat almost interchangeably, their analysis is largely incomprehensible.
    Some interpretation seesm to extract that they are saying that there have been some expansions and retreats between the max recent expansion in the LIA and the max recent retreat observed now. Well, duh.

    BTW, their attack on ‘LIA-denyers’ miss entiely tha the argument is that different areas of th eearth experienced those low temperatures out of unison with each other, not that the res to f the earth didnt experience colder temperatures.

    Given all that, to the extent the article does say something, it essentaily reduces to ” glaciers have expanded and retreated, so expansions and retreats tell us nothing about temperatures.”

    To which I say… uhhh.. what?

  18. jae
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    Given all that, to the extent the article does say something, it essentaily reduces to ” glaciers have expanded and retreated, so expansions and retreats tell us nothing about temperatures.”

    Maybe so, Lee, maybe so….

  19. JMS
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    17: Well Lee, I have to disagree with you here. Most of the evidence seems to point to a global LIA. Volcanoes, my man, volcanoes. Especially in the mid period (17th – early 19th C or so) there was a period of great volcanic activity. The earth’s climate got cooler, that is expected.

    The Idso’s attack on MWP deniers misses the point you are trying to make abount “LIA deniers”. It is clear that there were warm periods around the 11th C, but they were not globally or temporally simultaneous.

    All I can say is: ignore the Idso’s. They may be the worst of the bunch as far as intellectual dishonesty goes. I’m sure I’ll get flamed by bender for this, but I have to call them as I see them.

  20. Lee
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

    re 18 – JMS, that’s what happens when I post while sleep deprived. I confused the MWP and LIA arguments, and I know teh difference. Oh, well…

  21. JMS
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    I just try and keep your back covered :)

  22. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    Some odd comments about religion given Steve co author on several occasions (Ross McKitrick) is, I understand, at least appears to be a christian. So what if he is I say!

  23. Larry Huldén
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

    Most comments seem to miss the basics here. Steve M. wanted to show that glacier expansion and retreat is not automatically temperature dependant. This main point has nothing to do with religion. Hockey team accuse Steve for not being climatologist and then they forget that they are not that themselves. Some of them may be theologists but that does not mean that they are religious. They are religious only if they believe in hockey stick.

  24. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #23, indeed, but he clearly couldn’t resist his last two sentences could he? The idea was planted! Read post #7.

    It’s NOT religious to believe in the hockey stick in the scientific use of the word ‘believe'(I believe the world is round, I believe in gravity, I believe in plate tectonics, I believe the HS is science and is part of a body of scientific work). To worship it, to make offerings to it, now that to my mind would be both religious, and daft. You can’t be trying to suggest that’s what is going on surely?

  25. Larry Huldén
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    “They” have invented hockey stick. “They” are religious because “they” have provided only semantic evidence of its existence. There are no published scientific evidence of hockey stick in Mannian meaning. A negative claim has not to be proved, it’s enough if the positive claim can be shown to be false. Still waiting for greenhouse.

    As a consequence, Steve M. is justified in writing his text.

  26. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

    The climate hatchet has been hanging over our heads since time began. All the other blabber is belief, whomever or whatever you want to blame to be the cause. Can you say, sin?
    It’s the constant blame ; even on those who came before us; the urgency,–the focus on who funds who or where they are from and where are they published-the proposed “devils” I guess'; then the silencing and ridicule of any one with questions or doubts, or audits AND lack of whole truths in the media; the constant reference to “the community” and the networking: all this is why I think it has become religious in nature.

    What’s all that got to do with scientific data anyway?

    And they are already trying to convert my kids in school!

  27. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    Re #25 and #26. you really believe that?

  28. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    #27
    There are several personal observations in my comment so which “that” are you referring to?
    And please do add what you have to offer to the contrary regarding my observations, if you think I should consider them. ( if that’s what you are implying with your oh so clever comment)

  29. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    OK, I probably asked for trouble by mentioning Wahl’s CV and publications, but please don’t use that as a pretext for the line of recent discussion. Enough.

  30. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    Re #29, you were! But I’ll leave it.

  31. jae
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    19:

    All I can say is: ignore the Idso’s. They may be the worst of the bunch as far as intellectual dishonesty goes. I’m sure I’ll get flamed by bender for this, but I have to call them as I see them.

    You and Bloom keep saying this. Prove it, dammit. You are just upset, because there is no similar compendium of information for the politically correct so-called “consensus position.” Idso’s site proves conclusively that there is no frigging consensus, even if HALF of his summaries are “slanted.”

  32. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    #17 and 19,

    and since volcanic activity has waned in this time period, couldn’t you also consider that this may also contribute to the so called “warming” we are experiencing? That is if I understand you right, you are saying volcanos do matter in some way to how this planet operates. Or is a volcano erupting an anomoly?

    “It is clear that there were warm periods around the 11th C, but they were not globally or temporally simultaneous.” or

    “that different areas of th eearth experienced those low temperatures out of unison with each other, not that the res to f the earth didnt experience colder temperatures.”

    So what size land mass or number of continents do you consider the cut of point for the word “global events” to be used or not? And what time scales are allowed to form these opinions? Where does the most land reside? in the NH? or the SH? Also, just about all the ice has disappeared on this planet several times over before. Is that not supposed to happen ever again?

    In other words, why don’ t you all give us a list of what you all think is important information to consider and what is not allowed so we can go from there?

    I for one am tired of any topic getting interesting then you folks come bossing everyone around with that same old tone you have about what is right and wrong to talk about, and how we should conduct our own thinking and the words we use or can’t use on the road to our own discovery here. I would not call this intellectually dishonest behavior, but for a broader minded person, or at least a curious person to be satisfied, is asking alot.

    Like #31 says, more please or go back to the basis of this topic in # 23. That’s what is interesting here.

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