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Melting glacier 'false alarm'
By Julian Isherwood, Scandinavia Correspondent
(Filed: 17/08/2002)

Pictures released by Greenpeace claiming to show how man-made global warming has caused Arctic glaciers to retreat are at best misleading and only illustrate a natural phenomenon, says a leading glaciologist.
A greenpeace activist compares the photo above
with the Norwegian glacier at present

The picture series, which compared the size of a glacier on Svalbard in 1918 with its size in 2002, was published across the world alongside a Greenpeace warning that global warming caused by man-made greenhouse gases was causing Arctic glaciers to melt.

"The blame can be put squarely on human activity," Greenpeace said. "Our addiction to fossil fuels releases millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and this is what is causing temperatures to rise and our future to melt before our eyes."

But Prof Ole Humlum, a leading glaciologist in Svalbard, 500 miles north of Norway, said yesterday: "That glacier had already disappeared in the early 1920s as a result of a perfectly natural rise in temperature that had nothing to do with man-made global warming."

Prof Humlum is employed by several universities to research glacial developments in Svalbard and the Arctic in general. He said the picture series was at best misleading. "They should have asked the specialists on Svalbard first."

4 June 2002: US admits global warming is man-made
20 March 2002: Giant ice sheet's break-up 'is a warning to world'
2 February 2001: Melting of huge glacier 'is likely to raise seas'

Watch the glaciers melting slideshow - Greenpeace

The Svalbard Pages

Global warming - Cooler Heads Coalition

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