As Glaciers Retreat, They Give up the Bodies and Artifacts They Swallowed

The Smithsonian has an interesting article on artifacts and bodies emerging from melting glaciers.

As Glaciers Retreat, They Give up the Bodies and Artifacts They Swallowed

Now, thanks largely to decades of global warming, the Presena glacier running through the battleground is slowly melting away. And with that melting the remains of the White War are slowly emerging. Remarkably well-kept artifacts have been streaming down with the melting water of the glacier since the early 90s

They don’t seem to get it. Just like the P-38s on Greenland , for something to emerge from the ice would imply to me that things are returning to where they were when the artifacts/bodies were deposited on the ice.

Artifacts and bodies ended up on the ice. Snow fell. The snow turned to ice and entombed the artifacts. After 100 or 5,000 years it is now as warm as it was long ago.


Melting glaciers in northern Italy reveal corpses of WW1 soldiers


One thought on “As Glaciers Retreat, They Give up the Bodies and Artifacts They Swallowed

  1. Recent science for the 20th century confirms what H.H. Lamb said about climate change between the beginning and end of the century: there was not much change.

    Lamb wrote, “In fact, from about the beginning of this century up to 1940 a substantial climatic change was in progress, but it was in a direction which tended to make life easier and to reduce stresses for most activities and most people in most parts of the world. Average temperatures were rising, though without too many hot extremes, and they were rising most of all in the Arctic where the sea ice was receding. Europe enjoyed several decades of near-immunity from severe winters, and the variability of temperature from year to year was reduced. More rainfall was reaching the dry places in the interiors of the great continents (except in the Americas where the lee effect, or ‘rain-shadow’, of the Rocky Mountains and the Andes became more marked as the prevalence of westerly winds in middle latitudes increased). H. H. Lamb, Climate, History and the Modern World, 2nd Ed. 1995.

    The paper by Belda et al (2014) is probably the best to date in reconstructing the Koppen-Trewartha climate classification map (for the valid reasons claimed by the authors). The maps show the climate regions of the world (except Antarctica) for two periods, 1901-1931 and 1975-2005, based on a 30 minute grid, average area about 2500 km2, (About 50,000 grid cells cover 135 million km2, the land area of the Earth except Antarctica.)

    Between the two periods separated by 75 years, 8% of the cells changed climate type. When you plot a scatter diagram of climate-zone areas for the two periods, you will find there is little divergence from the straight line passing through the origin and with slope unity. R-squared is 99.5. The two maps are so nearly identical, I did not test further.

    The paper does not discuss error bars. However, the CRU (UK) has revised the climate data to remove wet bias, an adjustment that would increase R2, indicating even less change than these maps show.

    In any other field of Earth science, using data with similar precision, we would claim that we cannot reject the null hypothesis that the two data sets separated by 75 years are not significantly different.

    So yes, the Earth has warmed a little and most people worldwide are better off than their parents and grandparents. The people benefiting the most from warming are those on the margins of steppe to desert and those on the margins between ice and tundra.

    Climate classification revisited from Köppen to Trewartha, Belda, M. et al, Climate Research, 2014

    (The link is a little sticky, so be patient and maybe try a couple of browsers.)

    Globally, the Earth has warmed a fraction of a degree Celsius, but NASA research shows that the amount of warming is uncertain.
    Stephens, Graeme L., et al. “An update on Earth’s energy balance in light of the latest global observations.” Nature Geoscience 5.10 (2012): 691-696.

    The data we have do not support the claim that regional climates have changed enough since 1901-1930 to alter significantly the ecological zones defined by the Koppen-Trewartha system. For all of these reasons, I am skeptical that we can even accept that climate has changed.

    Climate has fluctuated, and it will continue to fluctuate, unless the astrophysicists determine otherwise. But that’s another story.

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