First Glaciers in Japan Recognized

Hardly an expectation of Global Warming!

This post needs to be put on record as an unlikely event, if in fact global warming was a reality.  It is agreed that isolated departures from a general trend are not to be taken as conclusive evidence, however, there are increasingly more of these departures.

Formation of brand new glaciers is an event which must be seriously taken into account. Impartial, close investigation needs to be carried out before claims that melting glaciers in other areas are accepted as proof of global warming.

Minoru Matsutani
The Japan Times Online
Japanese Glaciers

© Tateyama Caldera Sabo Musuem / Kyodo
Coup de glacier: An ice gorge near Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture, that has been recognized as one of the three first glaciers found in Japan is shown last June. All three are in the Northern Alps.

Scientists have found three glaciers in Toyama Prefecture, the first recognized in Japan and the southernmost in East Asia.

Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum discovered the three slow-moving chunks of ice in the Hida Mountain Range, otherwise known as the Northern Alps.

Their research paper submitted to the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice was accepted Tuesday, the museum said.

A glacier is defined as a large mass of ice that over many years “flows” owing to its great weight, according to the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice. They are often found on high mountains, such as the Himalayas, and have even been found on Mount Kilimanjaro, which is almost on the equator. Until now, the southernmost glaciers in East Asia were on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

“We have known something similar to glaciers existed, so we checked to see if the masses of ice are moving,” said Hajime Lida, a researcher for the museum.

Between 2009 and 2011, Iida’s team used “ice radar” to find two glaciers on Mount Tsurugi and one on Mount Tateyama. Ice radar sends electronic waves into the ice to measure how thick it is.

Using GPS, the team confirmed that the masses of ice are moving between 10 and 30 cm a month.

The masses are 27 to 30 meters deep and 400 to 1,200 meters long. The Japanese Society of Snow and Ice will publish the research paper in its journal Seppyou (Snow and Ice) in May, the museum said in a news release.

“The group used the latest equipment to research the movement of ice chunks very concretely. The value of this research is high,” said Keishi Ishimoto, the journal’s chief editor.

There is no international organization that officially recognizes glaciers. Therefore, unless researchers abroad express opposition to the group’s paper, it would be fair to say that the three masses of ice are indeed glaciers, Lida said.

Information from Kyodo added.


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About Ken McMurtrie

Retired Electronics Engineer, most recently installing and maintaining medical X-Ray equipment. A mature age "student" of Life and Nature, an advocate of Truth, Justice and Humanity, promoting awareness of the injustices in the world.
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7 Responses to First Glaciers in Japan Recognized

  1. tsubakuro says:

    I think the glaciers are not new but remnants from the ice age. The Japan Alps show lots of evidence of glaciation, including cirques, erratics, tarns and even a matterhorn. Some years back glacial ice was discovered deep in a perennial snow patch but as it couldn’t be proven to be a moving tongue of ice it could not be concretely concluded that this was indeed a glacier. Now it has been proven that in at least three places the ice does move.

    • Thank you for this comment. I suppose, in the context of “global warming”, from what you say, the evidence is less meaningful. The snow cover may be less, due to an increase in average temperature, thus revealing the ice. On the other hand the ice exists, but maybe not newly formed. Or has it actually reappeared since ages ago?
      The Museum seems to think it’s worth a scientific paper.
      At least, no significant warming is indicated, would you agree?

      • tsubakuro says:

        Th reason why this discovery is significant for Japan is partly a reason of national pride but also scientific pride as well. That glaciers once existed in the Japan Alps is something for which evidence was first recognized a century ago, when a man (I forget his name) returned from the European Alps and noticed that the Kita (North) Alps in Japan bore evidence of past glaciation. Japanese have a strong pride in their mountains and the discovery of glaciers in the Alps makes them a step closer to the calibre of their European namesake.

        As for warming, it is difficult to say exact by observing ice and snow in the Japan Alps. Cold air masses from Suberia cross the Sea of Japan and pick up moisture, dumping it on the Kita Alps in mega loads. Some years receive up to ten metres of snow, some even more. Snow fall in recent years has occurred as early as late September and even by the end of May, night time temperatures may drop below zero. This morning, the news reported that the Jet Stream was further south this year than usual, thus cold air masses have frequently crept over Japan and, meeting with the warm air masses of the south, have created unusually unstable weather for May. We have had a high number of thunderstorms, many incidents of hail and even an F2 tornado in the past couple of weeks. Winter was colder and longer than usual this year too, though that has been attributed to the double La Niña of last year.

        Perhaps an indication of warming is that many adults say there was much more snow in Saitama Prefecture when they were children – during the 60s and 70s when a slight global cooling was the issue.

      • Thanks tsubakuro,
        All that you say makes good sense and I appreciate your contributing to this blog.
        It is good for Japan to have something positive on which to focus, given the horrifically negative aspects of the nuclear accident.
        Without wanting to divert from this positive conversation – I can’t help asking if you are familiar with the real Fukushima NPP situation and if you would like to talk about it? There seems to be an enormous element of face-saving response from that damage to the national pride. It’s difficult to get factual information.
        Returning to the topic of global warming, I remember even before the 60’s, as a primary school child, I experienced snow falling in the central Victorian town of Stawell. This was entirely uncharacteristic but that cold period of a few years has contributed to a false steepening of the warming trend now used as evidence of AGW.
        Regards, Ken.

  2. tsubakuro says:

    Hi, Ken. I scanned over some of the recent posts here. There’s some stuff I would like to read. I might just put the link to this site’s home page on my phone so I can read when on the train.

    As for the nuclear power plants, I can’t say I follow it much or well. When all the excitement was going on last year it was difficult to be sure what was the extent of the truth. There were people abroad who thought a huge swath of the country was going to be irradiated and become a dead zone. What I saw recently is that local vegetation and wildlife persists, though it is well-reported that the soil is contaminated. Sometimes the news reports of festivals cancelled because of radiation detected in the soil and a couple of months ago it was discovered that a newly completed apartment block had radiation in the concrete. Right now, all reactors in Japan are not running and we are being asked to conserve energy this summer.

    I think the variety of stories about the reactors range from “nothing really bad has affected the rest of us yet” to “It’s going to be a global catastrophe.” Recently someone posted on a friend’s Facebook post that the U.S. was going to be a dead zone because of radiation from Japan. I doubt it. Chernobyl didn’t make Europe or Asia a dead zone. I have no doubt that the government is careful about what they release. But I also think people tend to over-sensationalize things. Dr. Michio Kaku, two weeks after the tsunami, stated that there was plutonium inside and that if a meltdown occurred, Japan would have dead zones. As much as I respect Dr. Kaku and his writing, I heard nothing about plutonium over here and not even on the BBC reports I read. Perhaps once a week there is a story in the news about the Fukushima power plant, but I hardly take note anymore. It’s always about contaminated water leaking out from here or there.

  3. tsubakuro says:

    Now, a separate comment about AGW. I have been very cautious about this because I have read several books about climate history and a couple about the Little Ice Age, so I know that the Earth has experienced climate swings in the past. I also noted that during the LIA that storms in Europe became more severe and more frequent, and hardship due to agricultural failures resulting from wet summers and early frosts made life a living hell quite literally. As most level-headed scientists point out, climate change has occurred in the past and civilizations that survived were the ones that dealt with the changes rather than resisted them.

    I have no doubts that the world’s climate is changing. There has been a lot of record breaking going on over the last couple of decades with respect to weather. However, weather records tend to only go back a hundred years or a few hundred, or even a thousand or two at best, and the older they are they less reliable they are because they are often just observations noted in a journal or they are very local and can only be supported by climate record proxies such as tree rings, pollen in ice cores, and biological matter in lake sediments. In a way, I would be happy to read solid evidence that the earth was starting to cool down again, just to see the extremists and alarmists proven wrong. On the other hand, since it seems there is little we can do or are willing to do to make any effort to stop the CO2 emissions that everyone says is causing every additional hurricane, flood and snow fall, I think we are better off just doing what we can to keep up with any changes. Technology is working to produce “green” goods to keep up with the demands of a CO2-belching world; science is tirelessly working away at finding out what is really going on and what we can expect; and politicians are just passing time with their silly little pointless summits just so as to make it look like they are doing something in order to earn votes.

    If we are truly heading for doom then the roller coaster is already going downhill without breaks. But the more I read, the more I think we really don’t know for sure.

    • Both of your latest comments deserve a response, thanks for your trouble.
      When I finish my income tax chores in a couple of days I will try to comment further.

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