Humans to blame for melting glaciers

Study links man to rapidly-shrinking formations.
Associated Press
Aug 15, 2014

More than two-thirds of the recent rapid melting of the world's glaciers can be blamed on humans, a new study finds.

Scientists looking at glacier melt since 1851 didn't see a human fingerprint until about the middle of the 20th century. Even then only one-quarter of the warming wasn't from natural causes.

But since 1991, about 69 percent of the rapidly increasing melt was man-made, said Ben Marzeion, a climate scientist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

"Glaciers are really shrinking rapidly now," he said. "I think it's fair to say most of it is man-made."

Scientists fault global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas as well as changes in land use near glaciers and soot pollution. Glaciers in Alaska and the Alps in general have more human-caused melting than the global average, Marzeion said.

The study is published Thursday in the journal Science.

The research is the first to calculate just how much of the glacial melting can be attributed to people and "the jump from about a quarter to roughly 70 percent of total glacier mass loss is significant and concerning," said University of Alaska Fairbanks geophysicist Regine Hock, who wasn't part of the study.

Over the last two decades, about 295 billion tons of ice is melting each year on average due to human causes and about 130 billion tons  a year are melting because of natural causes, Marzeion calculated.

Glaciers alone add to about four-tenths of an inch of sea level rise every decade, along with even bigger increases from melting ice sheets — which are different than glaciers — and the expansion of water with warmer temperatures.

Marzeion and colleagues ran multiple computer simulations to see how much melting there would be from all causes and then did it again to see how much melting there would be if only natural causes were included. The difference is what was caused by humans.

Scientists aren't quite certain what natural causes started glaciers shrinking after the end of the Little Ice Age in the middle of the 19th century, but do know what are human-causes: climate change, soot, and local changes in land use.

There is a sizable margin of error so the 69 percent human caused can be as low as 45 percent or as high as 93 percent, but likely in the middle.

"This study makes perfect sense," said Pennsylvania State University glacier expert Richard Alley, who wasn't part of the research. "The authors have quantified what I believe most scientists would have expected."

Not all of the human-caused melting is from global warming from the burning of fossil fuels, but climate change is the biggest factor, said Ted Scambos, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The study showed that it took time for global warming and other factors to build up and cause melting. That lag effect means the world is already locked into more rapid melting from the warming that has already occurred, Marzeion and Alley said.




"There is a sizable margin of error so the 69 percent human caused can be as low as 45 percent or as high as 93 percent, but likely in the middle."
This is not Science, A 48 point margin of error means its more or less a guess.
"There is a 100% chance of a libtard blaming this on their political opposition." This is a Scientific statement as it has been proven time and time again with near 100% certainty that it will happen. Science is exacting.

Ralph J.

We in Ohio are having a cool fall like summer. 50s at night?


Denial is ugly. More than 99% of scientific experts on climate change agree that climate change is real and that mankind is definitely speeding up the process. News comes every day that proves that.

Ten minutes ago, my wife (not knowing I was reading the above article at same time) announced that scientists just announced that 80% of the coral reefs in the Caribbean have disappeared in the last 2 decades, due to global warming.

Here's how you SHOULD interpret the "sizeable margin of error" sentence that Donegan clearly doesn't understand: Scientists aren't sure to the degree that humans are causing glaciers to melt, but they are absolutely certain that humans ARE causing glaciers to melt.

Folks, I'm not a scientist, but I have enough sense to know that I should listen to the people who ARE scientists. You know, the experts? Climate change is not a political/partisan issue. As Neil DeGrasse Tyson often says, "The neat thing about science is that it's real, regardless of whether or not you believe in it".

100 years ago, people like Donegan belonged to the Flat Earth Society. In spite of all evidence to the contrary, they were absolutely certain that the earth is flat, and everyone else was wrong. There is no reason today to listen to people like him, who know absolutely nothing about a topic, yet still feel they are "expert" enough to denounce those who do.


I think you are wrong but if you are right, who is going to fix it. Do you really think China, North Korea, Iran, or any 3rd world countries are going to spend any monies on it ? We are already bankrupt, out of ink and paper for more printing, so good luck.


Ian Rutherford Plimer is an Australian geologist, professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide, and the director of multiple mineral exploration and mining companies. He has published 130 scientific papers, six books and edited the Encyclopedia of Geology.

Born 12 February 1946 (age 68)
Residence Australia
Nationality Australian
Fields Earth Science, Geology, Mining Engineering
Institutions University of New England,University of Newcastle,University of Melbourne,University of Adelaide
Alma mater University of New South Wales,Macquarie University
Thesis The pipe deposits of tungsten-molybdenum-bismuth in eastern Australia (1976)
Notable awards Eureka Prize (1995, 2002),Centenary Medal (2003), Clarke Medal (2004)

Where Does the Greenhouse Gas Really Come From?
Professor Ian Plimer has published this good summary. Comments?


PLIMER: "Okay, here's the bombshell. The volcanic eruption in Iceland . Since its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet - all of you.

Of course, you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress - it’s that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans and all animal life.
I's very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kids "The Green Revolution" science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50p light bulbs with £5 light bulbs ..... Well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.

The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth's atmosphere in just four days - yes, FOUR DAYS - by that volcano in Iceland has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon. And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud at any one time - EVERY DAY.

I don't really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth.

Yes, folks, Mt. Pinatubo was active for over one year - think about it!!!!

Of course, I shouldn't spoil this 'touchy-feely tree-hugging' moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keeps happening despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.

And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud, but the fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years. And it happens every year.

Just remember that your government just tried to impose a whopping carbon tax on you, on the basis of the bogus 'human-caused' climate-change scenario.

Hey, isn’t it interesting how they don’t mention 'Global Warming' anymore, but just 'Climate Change' - you know why? It’s because the planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past few years and these global warming bull artists got caught with their pants down.

And, just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme - that whopping new tax - imposed on you that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer. It won’t stop any volcanoes from erupting, that’s for sure.

But, hey, relax......give the world a hug and have a nice day!"


LMAO it's an old adage, but fits so perfectly here; a fool and their money shall soon be separated.
Quit letting these morons take what you earn and your lifestyle away from you.
Thank you Jackel!


Your hyperlink goes to email. Volcano eruptions cause cooling.


Well that would make sense considering the last 10 yrs has shown a drop on over all temps.


Face it, 48% margin of error is junk Science. If they cannot get their numbers even in the ballpark don't ask me to trust them. Give it a week they will change what they call it again as soon as they have been caught trying to swindle money again.
BTW how rich is Al Gore again?


Actually, a lot of the things Al Gore predicted are already coming true, but if you're getting your news from rightwing sources, you wouldn't know that, I suppose.


He did say he would get rich...Hmmmm...


Coaster fan.....I could not have said it better. I have read so much literature about global warming. I teach the sciences. There is no doubt in my mind that since the Industrial Age began that the earth's temperature has risen due to primarily the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels produce carbon dioxide and water. That is a scientific fact. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts as a blanket on the earth. Ta Da....warmer earth.


Mr. Coasterfan says "Denial is ugly. More than 99% of scientific experts on climate change agree that climate change is real and that mankind is definitely speeding up the process. News comes every day that proves that."

I was wondering what is your source for the 99% figure?

I was also wondering how the 99% might explain the glacial groves at Kelleys Island as once a sheet of ice covered this part of the world and I think there had to be a warming trend to melt the ice and to give us the warm climate that we now have. I do not think at that time there were that many coal fired power plants or SUV's around to cause the warming so what do you suppose caused the warming. There is the possibility that since this earth was created that it may have gone through several cycles sometimes it has a warming cycle and maybe at other times there is a cooling cycle however at this time it must be definitely warmer than when the ice sheet was here.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

So what will these scientists do about humans since humans are THE cause of this? It's fine and all to point a finger, but then what? If climate warming/cooling/change/disruption is in fact man made, then it sounds like we need to do something about man. Yet, is there a proposal on the table?

These stories never seem to cover that aspect of what happens after the honeymoon of affirmation is over as to the cause. Sure, we can put a solar panel on our house but if there is the constant need for more houses due to a burgeoning population there is really not much gained in the long run (the same run invoked with "weather is not climate" and such).

Overall the way this article (without having read the original in Science as I can't find it online today) talks about the report is awkward. All of this is computer speculation it would seem ("hockey stick" anyone let alone the huge margins?) and how do you differentiate man-caused melting from natural?

Is there some handlebar-mustached villain with an acetylene torch chuckling as he melts the ice? Is half a glacier man and the other half nature?

This was either a poor report or poor reporting of a report, especially since three of the four quotes are from people who didn't participate in the research. I'm all for science, but sheesh...

The Bizness

Science doesn't always find solutions, some of the time it finds the problem.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree with your sentiment, however if the problem has been found, named, and widely spread why there is little to no talk about how to fix the problem of mankind?

That's what is frustrating and disingenuous about it. Many peddle promises of being able to lower the sea level themselves, or use political clout to make money off of "green solutions" when none of it addresses the actual problem we are all meant to repeat over and over again.

It's like Israel saying, "We've spent billions of dollars on reports that all show Hamas is firing rockets into our country. Every report says it's Hamas. So we're going to make more reports to say Hamas is firing rockets so the public knows Hamas is firing rockets instead of doing something about Hamas."

What also doesn't help is that in almost every report like this (or article about a report) there are so many "may/can/probably/in the next XX years" that it really seems like junk and only adds fuel to "denier" fire. Yet, all the reports regurgitate the same lines.

If science finds that man is to blame, then perhaps science should propose to eliminate man? After all it would seem we are THE only cause for climate change and no amount of hybrids, windmills, etc. will stop that change. Yet they never address what to do after their findings, they're just lobbed and ran away from like a grenade.

On top of that, because "climate" is so broad there is literally nothing we can do that doesn't affect it in some major or minor way. That said, here is a list of stories in which climate change is attributed to causing:

Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, cannibalism, cataracts, cats more amorous, death rate increase (US), death rate drop, fish bigger, fish catches drop, fish downsize,new islands, next ice age, NFL threatened, Sidney Opera House wiped out, ski resorts threatened, slavery, wind reduced, winds stronger, winds weaker, etc...

A complete list of things reported to be linked to global warming

So yeah, there's a lot out there, but I'd really like an honest discussion of "if we accept your terms, then what?". Because if nature comes before man as is implied, he who gets to control nature gets to control man and have a great many laws, rules, regulations, and suppositions about your life imposed on you.

Sorry if I come across as ranty, Biz, but this stuff (not you) really sets me off. I appreciate the dialog we share, please know.

The Bizness

I just do what I can do to use less, and pollute as little as possible, it is everyones choice to do what they think is right.

The Big Dog's back

Oh boy, just when the right wingnuts were on to something else, their denial of climate change comes back in.


I should have known Little Puppy would be on this debate ! Try reading if able, my post by a scientist !

Ralph J.

"Oh boy, just when the right wingnuts were on to something else, their denial of climate change comes back in."
Go pee on a electrified fence, Big Dog.



Former NASA Scientist: Global Warming Is 'Nonsense'

A prominent scientist and former NASA researcher has added his voice to those who challenge the "scientific fact" that manmade carbon emissions are causing global warming.

Dr. Leslie Woodcock is a professor emeritus of chemical thermodynamics at the University of Manchester in England, with a Ph.D. from the University of London, and served as a senior research consultant at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Laboratory in Ohio.

In an interview with Britain's Yorkshire Evening Post, Woodcock declared: "The theory of 'manmade climate change' is an unsubstantiated hypothesis.

"The theory is that CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuel causes 'global warming.' In fact, water is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and there is 20 times more of it in our atmosphere [than carbon dioxide].

"Carbon dioxide has been made out to be some kind of toxic gas but the truth is it's the gas of life. We breathe it out, plants breathe it in. The green lobby has created a do-good industry and it becomes a way of life, like a religion. I understand why people defend it when they have spent so long believing in it."

Woodcock is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a founding editor of the journal Molecular Simulation, a recipient of a Max Planck Society Visiting Fellowship, and a former guest scientist at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

He went on to say: "If you talk to real scientists who have no political interest, they will tell you there is nothing in global warming. It's an industry which creates vast amounts of money for some people.

"The temperature of the earth has been going up and down for millions of years. If there are extremes, it's nothing to do with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it's not permanent and it's not caused by us. Global warming is nonsense.

"It's become almost an industry, as a consequence of this professional misconduct by government advisers around the world."

But he added: "You can't blame ordinary people with little or no science education for wanting to be seen to be good citizens who care about their grandchildren's future and the environment."


"Scientists aren't quite certain what natural causes started glaciers shrinking after the end of the Little Ice Age in the middle of the 19th century, but-". That says it all!

Follow the money. Who gives the grants that subsidize the Universities that generate these studies?

Think people, think.


Wars and Nuts are all about money !


Just recently they were doing a study why pig crap smelled.


Follow the money, indeed. What do you think is the motivation behind conservatives who support carbon-based initiatives? They stand to lose a lot of money if the scientists are right, so their motive to deny manmade climate change is real couldn't possibly be more obvious.

The few "scientists" who have published papers supposedly debunking climate change (3 out of 1400+ I recently read) all are under the employ of oil/coal manufacturers. And to think that people suspect that -somehow - 1400 scientists got together and colluded to lie about the issue, but trust the oil/coal industry folks who have done zero research on climate change.

It's a good thing that an IQ test isn't required to vote, or the GOP would die out even quicker than it is,,,


How much is Al Gore worth? Did you buy into his little scam coaster? I have followed the money and the scammers are making BILLIONS off it. LOL!
(To answer for you he is worth 300 million)

The Big Dog's back

The koch brothers are worth 100 billion. So what's your point done in again?


The point is Al made his money off you morons wanting to be god and change the climate. Koch Bro did not.
Find a way to spell my name right, you make yourself look retarded spelling it like you do. Then again i am sorry for pointing out you are retarded.
PS Listen tard, the Koch bro aren't the boogieman you want them to be. Your God has done much much more damage to this country than a bunch of billionaires could have done. He has just made the billionaires RICHER you moron.


Last year, the Koch Brothers increased their wealth from $68 billion to $80 billion. Now they are spending hundreds of millions to elect politicians who want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education, and want to give more tax cuts to the rich. Essentially, they are robbing the poor and middle class and giving to the rich.

They are worse than the bogeyman because they have somehow convinced millions of middle class Americans to support them.


Obama is the Pres, When are you going to blame him for the rich getting richer? Oh yeah my bad you have your head so far up his rump you actually think you are winning!
You are a example of the moron Obama wants to be in his party. Congrats, you have gained special helmet status!
Obama has increase his wealth up to 50 million and Clinton is up to 80 million. When are you gonna learn they do not care about you whether it is 80 billion or 50 million?