In the third public misstep in as many months, the IPCC retracted a statement in their last assessment report that asserted an accelerated melt rate in the Himalayan ice cap. In what's been dubbed "the Himalayan scandal," the IPCC built dire warnings of the mountain range's melting ice into their last assessment report. These warnings were not based on science, as there was no research done on the Himalaya's melt rate at all. When asked why the statements were included in the policy-affecting report, the IPCC could only point to an interview with a scientist who had not actually studied the glaciers.http://www.ecofactory.com/news/un-clima ... ent-012010
The skeptics who uncovered the editorial mistake was not a Russian hacker or special interest group, but rather the government of India itself. While the country has been skeptical of climate legislation in the past, virtually 100% of the country's water supply depends on the health of the Himalayan ice cap. Their vested interest has led to the continued monitoring of the melting ice. "They are indeed receding and the rate is cause for great concern," said Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, "but the statements in the [IPCC] report are not based on an iota of scientific evidence."
The Indian Environment Minister led the charge to challenge the peer-review process used to craft the climate assessment reports, which has already received extensive negative publicity due to the Climategate scandal from last November. India's environment program released a study last year that states that the glaciers are collectively shrinking, but at a slowed rate with some areas actually growing. The Indian report states that they could find no conclusive evidence linking global temperature to glacial loss.
Editorials at The London Times, where this story first broke, pointed out that this mistake was only caught because of the Indian government's own extensive research into the subject, and the country's "willingness to accept unpopular science."
In defense of the IPCC and the science in question, The Guardian published an editorial that admitted that there was a "striking lack of useful data" on the Himalayan glaciers, but pointed out that the mountaineering skills required to study the ice caps are beyond the ability of most researchers.
Though American coverage of the Himalayan scandal has been sparse, likely due to the tragedy in Haiti and the political reversal unfolding in Washington, the Dot Earth blog of the New York Times revealed that the scientist responsible for the next IPCC assessment report has redoubled his resolve. Due to both the Himalayan and Climategate events that have brought the science behind the reports into question, Dr. Field says he has intensified his efforts to ensure that AR5 is airtight.