UPDATE JANUARY 16 2010: See further information on this at http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/1/15/new-scientist-on-glaciers.html?lastPage=true#comment6953553 [thanks to Charles Martin for alerting us to this!]
John Nielsen-Gammon has published an effective summary and further detailed analysis of the error Madhav Khandkkar reported on in a guest weblog Global Warming And Glacier Melt-Down Debate: A Tempest In A Teapot?” – A Guest Weblog By Madhav L Khandekar.
John’s post is titled By the way, there will still be glaciers in the Himalayas in 2035.
Excerpts from John’s detective work include
“Lost amid the news coverage of Copenhagen and Climategate was the assertion that one of the more attention-grabbing statements of the IPCC AR4 was flat-out wrong: [the IPCC text is]
Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world (see Table 10.9) and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005).”(IPCC AR4 WG2 Ch10, p. 493).”
“To recap, the available evidence indicates that the IPCC authors of this section relied upon a secondhand, unreferreed source which turned out to be unreliable, and failed to identify this source. As a result, the IPCC has predicted the likely loss of most or all of Himalaya’s glaciers by 2035 with apparently no peer-reviewed scientific studies to justify such a prediction and at least one scientific study (Kotlyakov) saying that such a disappearance is too fast by a factor of ten!”
The entire post by John is worth reading.