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Monday, September 19, 2011

5 climate change exaggerations.

Map of Greenland from the 13th edition of The Times Atlas of the World (left) and a mosaic of MODIS satellite images of the same area acquired on the 14th and 15th August 2011

Scientists claim that the new Times Atlas has got it wrong on the melting of the Greenland icesheet. What other exaggerations have been made about climate change?

1. The Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035

In 2010, the United Nations’ climate science panel admitted that it made a mistake by claiming that the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made the assertion in 2007, saying it was based on detailed research into the impact of global warming.
The panel was forced to retract the statement in 2010 after it was questioned by other scientists.

2. The North Pole could be ‘completely ice free by 2014

During a speech to the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009, Al Gore claimed there was research showing there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire polar ice cap during some of summer months could be completely ice free within five to seven years.

But Dr Wieslav Maslowski, of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, the climatologist whose work the prediction was based on, said he was clear that he never expected the area to be completely ice free.

He added: “I was very explicit that we were talking about near-ice-free conditions and not completely ice-free conditions in the northern ocean."

3. Half of the Netherlands is below sea level

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency accepted responsibility for a mistake in an IPCC report where it was claimed 55 per cent of the Netherlands is below sea level. In fact only only 26 per cent is. The report should have said 55 per cent is prone to flooding, including river flooding.

4. 250 million Africans are at risk of severe water shortages in the next 10 years

The review of the 2007 IPPC report by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency also said there was a mistake on the effect of water scarcity. The IPCC said global warming will put 75 million to 250 million Africans at risk of severe water shortages in the next 10 years, but a recalculation showed that range should be 90 million to 220 million, the agency said.

5. Up to 40 per cent of the Amazon could be lost due to climate change

The IPCC claimed that "up to 40 per cent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation".

The panel was later forced to admit that the figures came from green group WWF rather than from peer reviewed journals.

However the figure has been substantiated by peer reviewed papers and scientists since.


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