2014-02-25. Study Implicates Mankind in a Peruvian Glacier’s Retreat.

posted Feb 25, 2014, 1:15 PM by Alan Gould

For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: Sitting on a flat volcanic plain 18,000 feet above sea level, the great Quelccaya ice cap of Peru is the largest piece of ice in the tropics. In recent decades, as scientists have watched it melt at an accelerating pace, it has also become a powerful symbol of global warming. ...a paper released on Tuesday by the journal Geology, a group led by Justin S. Stroup and Meredith A. Kelly of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., ...[concludes] that the glacier is sensitive to temperature and that other factors, like the amount of snowfall, are secondary, thus supporting a view long held by Dr. Thompson that the glacier can essentially be viewed as a huge thermometer. ...that is a sobering finding, considering ... that a part of the glacier that had apparently taken 1,600 years to grow had melted in a mere 25 years. ...land ice is melting virtually everywhere on the planet. That has been occurring since a 500-year period called the Little Ice Age that ended in about 1850, but the pace seems to have accelerated substantially in recent decades as human emissions have begun to overwhelm the natural cycles. ...The biggest scientific battle has been fought not over Quelccaya but over Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. ...Dr. Kelly is now looking for evidence that may shed light on the Kilimanjaro debate. Her method involves dating ridges of rock and debris, known as moraines, that glaciers leave at their far edges.... http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/science/study-links-melting-peruvian-ice-cap-to-higher-temperatures.html. By Justin Gillis, The New York Times.