Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Melting glaciers clear evidence of global warming, researcher says at USF conference

TAMPA — To see global warming in action, look at the world's glaciers.

Not only are they melting, but they're melting faster and faster, says climate change researcher Lonnie Thompson.

"Within a couple of decades, there will be no ice on Kilimanjaro," Thompson told several hundred people Thursday at the University of South Florida.

The highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, has lost 86 percent of the ice it had in 1912. And 26 percent of the ice there in 2000 is gone now.

Thompson is an Ohio State University researcher and an adviser to the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. He has spent decades studying glaciers, measuring the thickness and spread of their ice caps, drilling solid cores of ice and shipping them down mountainsides, sometimes by yak, for scientific analysis.

He is fond of a saying that ice asks no questions, presents no arguments, reads no newspapers nor listens to any debates as it changes from solid to liquid. It just melts.

And it's not just melting in Africa, he said. Researchers have documented shrinking glaciers from Alaska to Peru to Tibet. Glaciers do advance and retreat over time, he said, but it's alarming to see change take place so quickly.

"It's the acceleration that we're really concerned with," said Thompson, the featured speaker on the first day of a two-day USF conference on climate change, the environment and health.

The conference marks the dedication of USF's new School of Global Sustainability, which will begin to offer an interdisciplinary master's degree in global sustainability starting in August.

Thompson said 2005 was the warmest year on record and 2009 was the second warmest. Eleven of the warmest years on record have been in the past 12 years. The 20th century was the warmest of the last 2,000 years.

The evidence suggests that the warming is not, for example, caused by the sun, Thompson said. The stratosphere is cooling, while surface temperatures are getting warmer. Also, temperatures have warmed more during the winter than in summer and more at higher latitudes than at lower latitudes.

If the sun were driving the change, he said, the stratosphere, the summer and the lower latitudes would all be heating up more than they are.

"There's a whole line of evidence that points to the human-driven changes of climate," he said.

To illustrate what would happen if 8 percent of Earth's ice on land melted, Thompson showed the audience maps with the sea covering parts of the Pinellas beaches, as well as much of Florida south of Lake Okeechobee, New Orleans and New York City.

"If you go to a place like the Netherlands, you can forget it," he said. "It's not going to be there."

Melting glaciers clear evidence of global warming, researcher says at USF conference 02/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 11, 2010 11:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.
  2. Senator: American student arrested in China has been freed

    World

    BILLINGS, Mont. — Chinese authorities have dropped charges against an American college student who was arrested and detained in the a week ago after reportedly injuring a taxi driver who was roughing up his mother in a fare dispute, a U.S. lawmaker said Sunday.

    Guthrie McLean was detained for reportedly injuring a taxi driver after the driver physically attacked McLean’s mother.
  3. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post

    News

    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  4. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike

    Health

    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  5. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116