London, January 9 (ANI): Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has described the Indian government report that criticized the claim by IPCC over the faster than expected melting of Himalayan glaciers, as "voodoo science".
In 1999, Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain, of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, had said in an interview that all the glaciers in the central and eastern Himalayas could disappear by 2035.
Hasnain, who was then chairman of the International Commission on Snow and Ice's working group on Himalayan glaciology, has never repeated the prediction in a peer-reviewed journal.
He now says the comment was "speculative".
But, the claim found its way into the IPCC fourth assessment report published in 2007. Moreover, the claim was extrapolated to include all glaciers in the Himalayas.
Chapter 10 of the report says, "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world."
The inclusion of this statement has angered many glaciologists, who regard it as unjustified.
Vijay Raina, a leading Indian glaciologist, attacked the claim in a report published by the Indian government in November.
India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, accused the IPCC of being "alarmist".
But, according to a report in New Scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC's chairman, has hit back, denouncing the Indian government report as "voodoo science" lacking peer review.
He adds that "we have a very clear idea of what is happening" in the Himalayas.
Also, the lead author of the IPCC chapter, Indian glaciologist Murari Lal, told New Scientist that he "outright rejected" the notion that the IPCC was off the mark on Himalayan glaciers.
"The IPCC authors did exactly what was expected from them," he said.
"We relied rather heavily on grey (not peer-reviewed) literature, including the WWF report," Lal said. "The error, if any, lies with Dr Hasnain's assertion and not with the IPCC authors," he added.
But, Hasnain rejects that and blames the IPCC for misusing a remark he made to a journalist.
"The magic number of 2035 has not (been) mentioned in any research papers written by me, as no peer-reviewed journal will accept speculative figures," he told New Scientist.
"It is not proper for IPCC to include references from popular magazines or newspapers," Hasnain added. (ANI)