Glaciers on Mountains

7 Mar 2018

At ... we learn that the Gobi Altai mountain range in western Mongolia seems to conflict with the mainstream storyline of the last Ice Age. It is more or less an established fact that the northern hemisphere was deeply affected by the Ice Age advance during the Late Glacial Maximum, even though there is evidence of boats being used on the Arctic Ocean and great herds of herbivores were feeding in central Asia and Siberia, and apparently in Alaska as well. The LGM is thought to be a period when ice sheets expanded to their maximum and certainly this is true of Europe and N America. Unfortunately, this is where most of the research has been done - by Europeans and Americans. Modern Siberia is frozen - and permafrost inhibits research. However, I had always expected the Chinese to come up with evidence of a warm LGM period in northern China but this has not happened - in spite of the numbers of Chinese scientists that have passed through the education system. Perhaps they are not encouraged to go against the official line on certain subjects - although it is more likely that global warming is not a priority and therefore this also affects palaeo-climate studies. Whatever the reason it seems that a group of western scientists travelled to Mongolia in order to investigate high altitude glaciation. The findings revealed that glaciation in the Gobi Altai very often occurred thousands of years after the LGM had come to an end - and was associated with the Holocene period. The largest glaciers were non-existent in the LGM period and it is supposed some of the glaciers in some parts of the Altai may have existed in LGM (but further research is projected).

They also discovered evidence of glaciation prior to the LGM (in some locations). Therefore Siberia was cold prior to the LGM - but not during the LGM. Or that is one way to look at it. The projected new storyline is that the glaciers disappeared as a result of lack of precipitation. This is known to be the reason the Kilimanjaro glacier shrunk a few years ago - lack of snow to add to the base ice layer. They have now transferred this idea into Mongolia. Throughout the LGM, it is now proposed, precipitation was so low it caused glaciers to starve and they disappeared. Obviously, the idea it was warmer in Siberia and Mongolia during the LGM is anathema and the idea must be quashed. Or is it a fact the establishment would not accept and therefore it was expedient to talk about dry climate responsible for the absence of expected glaciation. The truth is probably somewhere between the two stances - both cold and dry but also warmer than during the Holocene. They intend to look at glaciers elsewhere in central Asia at some point in the future.