Roundup: Glaciers are Visited by Tourists, Scientists and Microbes

Each week, we highlight three stories from the forefront of glacier news.

Glacier National Park prepares for busier season this year

From KPAS:

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local retailer near Glacier National Park (source: Kpax)

Glacier National Park continue to celebrate their 100th year anniversary and anticipates a very busy upcoming summer season and even launched a new program. “Last year we saw a 3%-4% increase in visitation. It was our highest visitation on record; 2.3 million people we welcomed here at Glacier National Park. This year we anticipate an even higher visitation,” park spokeswoman Margie Steigerwald said. This marks the first year for Every Kid in a Park, a program launched by the National Park Foundation. Steigerwald says its purpose is to introduce more kids and their families to the national park system.”

Read more about this anniversary here.

Scientists fly glacial ice to south pole to unlock secrets of global warming

From  The Guardian:

Project leader Jérôme Chappellaz examines a sample. Photograph: Lucia Simion (Source: The Guardian)

“In a few weeks, researchers will begin work on a remarkable scientific project. They will drill deep into the Col du Dôme glacier on Mont Blanc and remove a 130 metre core of ice. Then they will fly it, in sections, by helicopter to a laboratory in Grenoble before shipping it to Antarctica. There the ice core will be placed in a specially constructed vault at the French-Italian Concordia research base, 1,000 miles from the South Pole. The Col du Dôme ice will become the first of several dozen other cores, extracted from glaciers around the world, that will be added to the repository over the next few years. The idea of importing ice to the south pole may seem odd – the polar equivalent of taking coals to Newcastle – but the project has a very serious aim, researchers insist.”

Read more about this ice core repository here.

Microbes and toxins frozen within glaciers could reveal the future of human life on Earth—or threaten it

From Phys.org:

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The world’s glaciers hold tiny particles and microbes that offer clues to past climate change, atmospheric toxins and even global epidemics.(Source: Phys.org)

“Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes once noted that “the little things are infinitely the most important.” It’s a belief that investigators at the University of Alberta obviously share. Whether they’re seeking to understand the tiniest forms of life, taking small steps toward major breakthroughs or influencing students in subtle but profound ways, U of A researchers and educators are proving that little things can make a big impact. If aliens came to Earth on a fact-finding mission after the extinction of the human species, they could do worse than head straight for what’s left of the planet’s glaciers. Frozen in the ice is a wealth of information not only on our past climate over hundreds of thousands of years, but also on the toxins we spew into the atmosphere, even the diseases and plagues to which we succumb.”

Learn more about these organisms and toxins here.

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