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Thread: How many Glaciers are there in the World...?

  1. #1 How many Glaciers are there in the World...? 
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    My first post.

    I hope no-one minds my jumping in the deep end... :-D

    As funny as it may seem, I have not been able to come up with a reliable figure concerning the number of Glaciers in the world.

    I thought that it might be in the tens of thousands, but was suprised to find (in the process of researching this question) that Alaska alone has tens of thousands of Glaciers.

    Other than that, all I know is at least 48 countries are said to contain at glaciers as part of their territory.

    So can someone help me answer this question.

    How many Glaciers are there in the world...?

    Thanks in Advance.

    Aquafire


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  3. #2  
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    What is the criteria to be classified a glacier? What its made of? Its age? Its size? If it moves?


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orleander
    What is the criteria to be classified a glacier? What its made of? Its age? Its size? If it moves?
    Glacier... Compacted snow formed into a river of ice that descends from higher ground.

    Age...currently existing.

    Size. Big and Small.

    Moves. Yes.

    Calves. Yes

    So, do you have a figure in mind.....?

    Aquafire
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  5. #4  
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    To learn more try National Snow and Ice Data Center:

    All glaciers have at least some ice, though there might be persistent snow fields that are labeled as glaciers.

    They've got at least 100,000 in their catalog.

    http://nsidc.org/data/docs/noaa/g011...ier_inventory/
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    To learn more try National Snow and Ice Data Center:

    All glaciers have at least some ice, though there might be persistent snow fields that are labeled as glaciers.

    They've got at least 100,000 in their catalog.

    http://nsidc.org/data/docs/noaa/g011...ier_inventory/
    Lynx Fox,

    Thank you so much.

    It is an interesting link.

    The reason why I am interested in such information is because (as I suspected...due to costs limitations and inaccessibility) the bulk of the world's glaciers are not being actively measured.

    This is turn, must throw some doubt over the whole question as to whether glaciers in general in fact shrinking, stable or even growing.

    The link suggest the former; that may be so, but I'd like to see hard evidence as to how they came about this conclusion and on what sampling cluster they used.

    Cordially

    Aqua Fyre
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    It is just a fact that has been observed by everyone who lives by glaciers, they have been shrinking everywhere. Moreover, satelite images show that the glaciers in Antartica are shrinking as well. Anyway, this really should be obvious since recorded temperatures have been increasing, so it is natural that if temperatures went up, the amount of ice melting would increase. Global warming is a fact, the question is if it is anthropogenic or natural.
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  8. #7  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    one picture brought the fact of shrinking glaciers home to me
    it was one of somebody's holiday snaps taken from a visitor's centre with a glacier in the very distant background
    when asked why they built the visitor's centre so far away from the glacier, the answer was : "they didn't - when it was built in the 1960s that's where the glacier ended"
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  9. #8 Anecdotal evidence, very scientific 
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    "It is just a fact that has been observed by everyone who lives by glaciers, they have been shrinking everywhere."

    It bothers me that this is the kind of "knowledge" that we are using to justify projects like sending devices into space to BLOCK THE SUN, and giant vacuums to suck the CO2 out of the atmosphere. People jumping to conclusions like you have are going to cause far more damage than good, no matter how well intentioned you may be.

    Has EVERYONE who lives by glaciers observed they are shrinking? Really? Who interviewed everyone? And since when are unrecorded, unscientific observations from untrained personnel a basis for such a sweeping, global conclusion?

    Aquafire, to answer your question, a very small percentage, less than a couple thousand, of the worlds glaciers are monitored in any significant way, and much less than a thousand of those have observed, recorded data going back more than a decade. I don't have the exact numbers with me right now, I can dig them up and get them to you if you like, with some references.

    So there ya go, a very small part of a percentage of glaciers have been truly observed, and the observations show some glaciers receding, some growing, and some staying the same. Without us really know why they are doing either/or. The alarmists blamed global warming for the Kilimanjaro glacier melting, but what turned out to be the true reason? Deforestation at the base of the mountain. It was lack of moist air from the base blowing up the mountain, not temperature change, like all the alarmists claimed. It was regardless of temperature change.

    My big question is: If no one in the world will trust a weather prediction/forecast out more than five days, why do we believe over-simplified weather models predicting out 20-100 years?
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  10. #9 Re: Anecdotal evidence, very scientific 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpepperflag
    My big question is: If no one in the world will trust a weather prediction/forecast out more than five days, why do we believe over-simplified weather models predicting out 20-100 years?
    let's not fall for that old canard again : weather and climate are not the same thing
    climate is the probability that a certain type of weather will occur in any given given location at any given time, and is not at all like trying to predict the weather in the same location and time

    after all, when it comes to weather it either rains or it doesn't, but when it comes to climate it's quite possible to say that under normal conditions there's a 40% chance of rain on any given day
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  11. #10 Re: Anecdotal evidence, very scientific 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpepperflag
    My big question is: If no one in the world will trust a weather prediction/forecast out more than five days, why do we believe over-simplified weather models predicting out 20-100 years?
    Has EVERYONE who depends on weather observed they trust the weather? Really? Who interviewed everyone? And since when are unrecorded, unscientific observations from untrained personnel a basis for such a sweeping, global conclusion?


    :wink:

    Anyhow, to more directly answer your question I'll use a simple example I sometimes use when confronted with the same question.

    Ask someone if they've ever boiled water to cook spaghetti.

    Ask them if they know at what temperature the water boils. (212F)

    Once they give the answer, ask "How could you possibly know that? If you look at the spaghetti, it's chaotic with roils and boils and bubbles and pieces of spaghetti going down towards the bottom. It's so turbulent no one could model it nor predict the temperature!"

    Turbulence inside the pot is analogous to weather. The boiling point is analogous to climate. If the conversation still holds their interest start talking about what happens if salt is added, like some people do when cooking spaghetti.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Sophomore Total Science's Avatar
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    According to Al Gore? Zero.
    "The most likely site for error is in the most fundamental of our beliefs." -- Samuel Warren Carey, geologist, 1988
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  13. #12 Re: Anecdotal evidence, very scientific 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpepperflag
    So there ya go, a very small part of a percentage of glaciers have been truly observed, and the observations show some glaciers receding, some growing, and some staying the same.
    Here are some shrinking ones.

    http://www.geo.unizh.ch/wgms/mbb/mbb9/sum06.html

    Which ones are growing? I found two in Norway and one in Italy in this list, but you must know of some others not listed here.
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  14. #13  
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    Yup, valid calling me on saying nobody trusts weather reports (not EVERYONE trusts them). If Iím going to call someone on using hyperbole, I should avoiding doing the same. Iíll amend to say Iíve never met anyone who trusts weather reports.

    But I say that claiming weather and climate are different things is not quite valid. I consider weather, more specifically meteorology, is a subset of climatology. Our limited understanding of meteorology is based on our even more limited understanding of the climate.

    And yes, you can predict when water will boil given the observations of previous pasta making, but that analogy is insufficient and inaccurate. The movement of the pasta doesnít really affect the chemistry or physics of what temperature water boils at. In fact, its the bubbling caused by boiling water that makes the pasta move. Pasta in non-boiling water just sits there, and gets stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pasta movement and boiling water are not related in the way you stated. Boiling affects movement, not movement affecting boiling. However, the movement of all the variables in the climate does seem to interact in the whole system, though we donít really understand how. The climate has exponentially more variables, many of which variables we still don't even know, let alone how these unknown variables interact with the known ones.

    Meteorology is based off of fewer variables than climatology, on a smaller system, and on patterns that have been observed quite a bit. Climate changes happen over huge spans of time, and in patterns we have only recently (by that I mean the last couple of decade) begun to discern, and still aren't certain of.

    My point in that statement was that weather predictions are based off of meteorology which has more statistical records, better (but not perfectly) understood systems and variables, and they are still inaccurate out past a couple days. Climate predictions go out decades, are based off of less data, less understood systems and variables, using models that have to be simplified and heavily extrapolated due to admitted lacks of data and inability of current computer systems and computing power to contain all the variables and math required to do accurate simulations.

    Basically I'm making the point that we seem to trust the most extrapolated, incomplete, and UNPROVEN models more than simulations and predictions that have a far stronger base of data and track records.

    Hopefully, though, we can all agree that the data and science either way would be improved if we can find a way to take politicians, businesses, and anyone with an agenda out of the whole scientific method. I think scientists would be more likely to publish unbiased data if they knew their next grant/funding didn't depend on them coming up with the "expected" result.

    Oh, and interesting use of "canard." I've always heard it referring to an airfoil on the front of an aircraft, but have never seen anyone use it as the "rumor or false story" definition in conversation.

    And pasta making tip: Boil the water first, and then put in the spaghetti, or faralle, penne, whatever. If you put in the pasta before the water is boiling, the pasta will take longer to cook. And put a little salt in the water first, raises the boiling point a little, but makes the pasta taste better!

    Bunbury, thanks for that link, I can use that for my research. A couple dozen glaciers monitored out of 100,000 some odd. Good illustration of making sweeping claims off of statistically insignificant data. That probably answers Aquafire's question better than I did.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpepperflag
    Bunbury, thanks for that link, I can use that for my research. A couple dozen glaciers monitored out of 100,000 some odd. Good illustration of making sweeping claims off of statistically insignificant data. That probably answers Aquafire's question better than I did.
    I didn't make a claim, sweeping or otherwise. I presented some data and suggested you must know of additional data, since you have strong opinions on the subject. Do you?
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  16. #15  
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    Didn't mean to imply that you were claiming anything. I definitely did not think you were, you were just posting a source. Just one of the the original questions of the post was how many are montiored out however many there are in the world, and that website shows the low percentage that are monitored.

    I do have some more sources, but I just moved, and its packed up. I should be able to get to it in a day or two.
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