The BBC reports:
Although the latest global update on climate change says the vast majority of glaciers worldwide have continued to shrink, scientists have admitted that the Himalayas remain an area where they still have very limited information.
Glaciologists involved in the cryosphere chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) first phase report, launched last week, said there was no good sample of Himalayan glaciers that could help them forecast their future behaviour.
“The Himalayas are one of the areas we really are data-poor,” said Prof David Vaughan from Cambridge University, UK, and one of the two lead coordinating authors of the ice chapter in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)…
But scientists involved in the latest IPCC report said there had been very little ground-truthing of the satellite imagery obtained for the Himalayas.
“Ground measurements are still very few, and, in addition, these few are usually limited to very small and not very representative glaciers,” said Prof Georg Kaser, a University of Innsbruck, Austria, glaciologist and a lead author on AR5’s cryosphere chapter.
“Field work on these glaciers is extremely difficult and also dangerous on an unacceptable scale. There is no way to overcome this, and this fact is also one of the reasons why we knew so little about these glaciers – giving thus also good reasons for [exaggerated] guesses.”