A big story in climate science right now is the fact that the IPCC relied on a mountain magazine and a graduate student’s dissertation as their citations for a specific claim in their Fourth Assessment Report. However there are few details, so I decided to do some digging. I found out a bit about the dissertation.
I believe this is the dissertation. It is written by this man, Dario-Andri Schwörer, also here. He was a student at the Geographical Institute of the Universities of Berne and Zurich, which is where he wrote his dissertation in or before 1997. He is now an avid outdoors-men, and a self-described ‘well known expert on the impact of climate change in the Alps’. Right now he is engaged in the TOPtoTOP program to promote climate protection.
The dissertation itself is titled:
An Inquiry into Possible Effects of Climatic Change on the Mountain Guide Trade in the Bernina Region
Geography Major Dissertation
carried out at the Geographical Institute of the Universities of Berne and Zurich
The dissertation itself is not entirely about climate change. In fact, he mentions the number one reason that mountain guides give for decreased climbs is not climate change, but:
“They attribute this decrease in the first place to the recession and the high exchange rate of the Swiss franc in relation to the German mark. In the second place they mention changes of the natural environment.”
That wasn’t mentioned in the AR4. The ambiguity continues:
“For about half of the mountain guides it was not clear, whether extreme wheather conditions which affect the demand for mountain guides negatively, have been occuring more often in the last few years.”
Half weren’t even sure if the weather has gotten worse. Again, that was not my misspelling of ‘wheather’ or ‘occuring’. He references the IPCC twice:
“Based on the climate scenarios of the IPCC, permafrost and glacier shrinkage scenarios suggest that these changes will continue and probably even accelerate in the future.”
“For the mountain guide these questions are less important compared to the fact that a trend towards increased risks and difficulties can be detected and that changes in this direction are taking place. On the basis of the climate scenarios of the IPCC one has to at least expect a progression of these changes, since the CO2 emissions will increase in the future with great probability.”
The very best quotes come from the conclusion:
“In how far the changes observed indicate a global change of climate can only be guessed and will show in the future.”
“Especially mountain guides should have recognized that nothing lasts and everything flows on the glaciers in the high mountain regions….This should not make us sad, but encourage us to accept new challenges and to meet them with new innovations. The way is the end!”
The IPCC used this as a citation? He doesn’t even claim the changes are due to climate, he simply says it can only be guessed ! It is now official: The IPCC is citing self-acknowledged guesswork from non-scientific sources.