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CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE HIMALAYAS....Joe Romm passes along the news today that Himalayan glaciers are melting faster than anyone has previously predicted. You can add this to Romm's list of other climate change impacts that are happening faster than most climate models predict, including the canonical IPCC models:
"The recent [Arctic] sea-ice retreat is larger than in any of the (19) IPCC [climate] models" [PDF] and that was a Norwegian expert in 2005. The retreat has accelerated in the past two years.
The ice sheets appear to be shrinking "100 years ahead of schedule." That was Penn State climatologist Richard Alley in March 2006. In 2001, the IPCC thought that neither Greenland nor Antarctica would lose significant mass by 2100. They both already are.
Sea-level rise from 1993 and 2006 3.3 millimetres per year as measured by satellites was higher than the IPCC climate models predicted.
The ocean carbon sink is saturating sooner than expected.
The subtropics are expanding faster than the models project.
This is why climate scientists have been running around with their hair on fire for the past couple of years. It would be nice to think that perhaps our current climate models are too pessimistic; or even that they're right but maybe we'll end up at the low end of the predicted warming ranges; or at worst that the models are right and we'll end up right at the center. But that just doesn't seem to be the case. What it really looks like is that our current models aren't pessimistic enough and that the growth in greenhouse gas emissions is exceeding even the modelers' highest estimates. We are fast approaching a point of no return that will likely kill hundreds of millions of people, destroy much of the world's food supply, and spark resource wars that make Rwanda look like a mild family quarrel. More from Romm here and here on what's happening and what to do about it.